American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. Based in New York City since its inception in 1866, the organization's mission is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States."
|Formation||April 10, 1866|
|Purpose||Humane care for animals|
|Headquarters||New York City|
President & CEO
|Matthew E. Bershadker|
Following the creation of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom in 1824 (given Royal status in 1840), Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on April 10, 1866, in New York City on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. It is the oldest animal welfare organization in the United States. On February 8, 1866, Bergh pleaded on behalf of animals at a meeting at Clinton Hall in New York City. Some of the issues he discussed were cockfighting and the horrors of slaughterhouses. After getting signatures for his "Declaration of the Rights of Animals," Bergh was given an official charter to incorporate ASPCA on April 10, 1866. On April 19, 1866, the first anti-cruelty law was passed since the founding of ASPCA, and the organization was granted the right to enforce anti-cruelty laws. In 1867, ASPCA operated its first ambulance for injured horses and began advocating for more humane treatment of animals such as horses, live pigeons, cats and dogs. Early goals of ASPCA focused on efforts for horses and livestock, since at the time they were used for a number of activities.
In 1918, ASPCA veterinarians developed the use of anesthesia and as a result were able to work on a horse with a broken kneecap. In 1954, ASPCA hospitals added pathology and radiography laboratories and programs. In 1961, ASPCA veterinarians performed their first open-heart surgery on a dog.
From 1894 to 1994, the ASPCA operated the municipal animal shelter system in New York City which inevitably euthanized unadopted animals. Starting in 1977, the ASPCA entered into a contract with New York City Department of Health to receive municipal funding to operate the shelter system. The contract rendered the ASPCA increasingly reliant on government income rather than private donations, and subject to the effects of annual city budget appropriations. In 1993, the ASPCA decided not to renew its contract for operating the municipal animal shelter system in New York City, which they had been operating since 1894. Operation of the shelter system was transferred to Center for Animal Care and Control, later renamed Animal Care Centers of NYC, in 1995.
In 1996, the ASPCA acquired the Animal Poison Control Center from the University of Illinois. In 2013, the ASPCA made a $25 million commitment to assist at-risk animals and pet owners in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a fully subsidized spay/neuter facility in South Los Angeles operated by the ASPCA and a campaign to encourage the fostering of local vulnerable kittens.
In 2014, the ASPCA spoke out in support of new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city.
In 2014, the ASPCA opened the Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery & Enrichment (CARE) in NYC to house dogs brought by the NYPD to the ASPCA in connection with animal cruelty investigations. In 2014, the ASPCA also opened the ASPCA Kitten Nursery in NYC to care for neonate and very young homeless kittens until they are appropriate for adoption.
In 2015, the ASPCA acquired the Asheville, NC-based Humane Alliance, now called the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance.
In 2019, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center in Liberty City, Miami, FL to provide subsidized veterinary services for an undeserved community. Also in 2019, the ASPCA also took over responsibility for The Right Horse Initiative as an official program of the ASPCA.
In 2020, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center in the Bronx, New York.
In 2020, the ASPCA launched a series of programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on pets, owners, and communities including free pet food for dogs, cats, and horses in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Asheville, grants to animal welfare organizations, emergency pet boarding services, a New York City COVID-19 Pet Hotline, and expanded stationary and mobile veterinary care.
In 2021, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center supported by the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, in NYC.
According to Charity Navigator, the ASPCA spends 75 percent of its budget on total program expenses, with 44 percent of that going directly to shelter and veterinary services. Other program expenses include education and policy. Its CEO is paid $762,996. In 2021, an inaccurate claim that only three cents of every donated dollar goes to spending on animals spread around Facebook.
In 2012, the ASPCA agreed to pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the ASPCA's false allegations of animal cruelty by the circus. Courts found that ASPCA activists had paid the key witness, a former Ringling barn helper, at least $190,000, making him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility. Edwin J. Sayres stepped down as CEO in 2012, and in 2013 longtime ASPCA staff member Matthew Bershadker was named president and CEO.
Government relations and legislationEdit
The ASPCA’s Government Relations and Legal Advocacy and Investigations departments work with state and federal lawmakers and citizen advocates and engage in affirmative legislation to secure for animals.
Cases involving torture, killings and mistreatment of animals are some examples of cases handled by the ASPCA. A common example was displayed in the news in October 2008, when the ASPCA was in charge of an investigation involving the slaughtering of a beagle that lived in the Bronx. Brian McCafferty was charged with torturing and injuring his wife's beagle, Jerry, after an argument with his wife. The ASPCA conducted a necropsy that concluded that Jerry was stabbed twice and shot in the neck with a rifle. McCafferty claims that he was acting in self-defense when the dog attacked him. He was eventually released on bail.
In 2019, the ASPCA sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for access to animal breeder inspection records.
In 2020, the ASPCA also opened the ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Science Center in Gainesville, Florida, to assist law enforcement with animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions.
National cruelty and field responseEdit
At the invitation of local agencies, the ASPCA deploys to sites of large-scale animal abuse, animal neglect, natural disasters, or man-made disasters in which animals are at risk. Teams including National Field Response, Legal Advocacy and Investigations, Forensic Sciences, the Cruelty Recovery Center, Relocation and the Behavioral Sciences team, engage in animal rescue efforts. They provide behavioral and medical treatment for the animals and support the prosecution of criminal cases with forensic science, evidence collection and analysis, legal and expert testimony support.
In 2016, ASPCA field deployment teams participated in the largest animal cruelty rescue operation in ASPCA history, rescuing nearly 700 animals from an unlicensed facility in North Carolina.
Other large-scale ASPCA rescues included providing emergency sheltering and assistance for approximately 1,300 animals displaced during the Joplin tornado in 2011, and assisting with the care of 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia in 2013 in what is believed to be the second-largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history.
In 2014, after many years of providing humane law enforcement services in NYC, the ASPCA and the New York City Police Department announced a collaboration to provide enhanced protection to New York City’s animals. In this partnership, the NYPD responds to all animal cruelty complaints throughout New York City, while the ASPCA provides medical and behavioral care for animal cruelty victims and provides legal and forensic assistance in the prosecution of cases. The ASPCA Community Engagement team also works closely with NYPD to connect pets in need to services such as medical care, grooming and pet supplies.
In 2018, the ASPCA established the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. Located in Weaverville, North Carolina, the Center provides behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty and neglect. The Center’s Learning Lab also disseminates rehabilitative aid and training to shelters around the country.
Welfare of farm animals and horsesEdit
The ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare Program features a “Shop With Your Heart” campaign that guides consumers on making animal welfare-conscious food buying decisions including seeking out meat, egg, and dairy products certified by a one of three credible animal welfare certifications, including Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and exploring more plant-based food options.
The ASPCA’s Right Horse Initiative is focused on increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the U.S. and improving the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition as they move from one home, career, or owner to the next.
The ASPCA Animal Relocation Program transports animals from source shelters in locations with high homeless pet overpopulation to destination shelters, where there is a higher demand for adoptable animals.
Presidents and chairpersonsEdit
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- "Agency starts big pet-rescue project in California". Yahoo.com. 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
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- "'We do one thing, and one thing only' ASPCA tackles pet overpopulation with training program devoted to high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter". avma.org. 2019-04-10.
- "Residents in Liberty City area can go to this new center for free veterinary care". Mieami Herald. 2019-10-28.
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- "ASPCA announces $45 million commitment to help animal cruelty victims and low-income pet owners". Chicago Tribune. 2019-07-11.
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- "Coronavirus spurs surge in North Bay pet adoptions". The North Bay Business Journal. 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2021-05-30.
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- Winter, Emery (June 8, 2021). "No, the ASPCA does not spend just 3% of its budget on animals". king5.com. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
- "Animal rights group settles lawsuit with Ringling". Denver Post. Archived from the original on December 30, 2012. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
- "Angst at the ASPCA". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "Around Brooklyn: Applications to community boards up". Brooklyn Eagle. 2021-04-09. Retrieved 2021-05-22.
- "Survey shows the risk of buying a puppy from a pet store". WXMI. 2019-12-13. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "New York State lawmakers seek to stop puppy mill pipeline". NEWS10 ABC. 2020-07-23. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
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- "Adopt or Shop: This Dog Startup Says You Don't Have to Choose". www.bloomberg.com. 2019-05-03. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Chernicoff, Michelle (2021-03-30). "ASPCA partnership brings new courses to FIU". CASE NEWS. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "Overview of ASPCA Field Investigations & Response and the Nuts and Bolts of Animals in Distress-Disasters". Maddie's Fund. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "Overview of ASPCA Field Investigations & Response and the Nuts and Bolts of Animals in Distress-Disasters". Maddie's Fund. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "Pets rescued, treated after deadly tornado". American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "ASPCA: 367 dogs rescued from 'horrendous conditions' in Alabama, Georgia (photos, video)". al. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Tracy, Thomas. "NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton awarded for fighting animal abuse in the city". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Toussaint, Kristin. "ASPCA and NYPD continue their mission to protect the animals of NYC - Metro US". www.metro.us. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad gets its own set of wheels". www.ny1.com. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Colangelo, Lisa L. "Intervention program helps pull animal hoarders from a downward spiral". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "Pups in Jamaica to Brave Cold in Free Doghouses, ASPCA Says". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Brown, Elizabeth Anne. "Puppy mill survivors are paralyzed with fear. ASPCA learned to save almost all of them". The Asheville Citizen Times. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "1 Of A Kind Shelter Helps Traumatized Dogs Learn To Trust Humans Again". NPR.org. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- May 10th, Ken Ulmer; 2018 (2018-05-10). "CANINE CRUSADERS: ASPCA Rehab Center Opens In Weaverville". The 828. Retrieved 2021-05-23.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Chaker, Anne Marie (2018-07-31). "Have You Met This Cow? She's Delicious". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Spice, Café (2019-04-08). "Cafe Spice Joins ASPCA's Shop With Your Heart Program". Perishable News. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Illustrated, Horse (2021-03-29). "My Right Horse Adoptable Horse of the Week - Shady". Horse Illustrated. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Staff, FWBP (2021-02-23). "Animals moved from Texas shelters during severe weather". Fort Worth Business Press. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- Swanson, Sady. "As demand for rescue pets rises, Larimer Humane Society works with ASPCA to find animals homes". The Coloradoan. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- source: Lane, Landon M.; Stephen L. Zawistowski Ph.D. (2007-12-30). Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Praeger. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-0275990213.
- "Hoyle C. Jones, Chairman and CEO of the ASPCA stands with Linda..." Getty Images. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "Philadelphian Marsha Perelman Joins The Humane Society of the United States Board of Directors". The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- ASPCA. "ASPCA Elects Mary Jo White to Chair of the Board". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "ASPCA Elects Tim F. Wray to Chair of the Board". ASPCA. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "ASPCA Elects Frederick Tanne to Chair of the Board of Leading National Animal Welfare Organization". ASPCA. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
- "ASPCA Elects Sally Spooner to Chair of the Board of Leading National Animal Welfare Organization". ASPCA. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
Much of the content of this article is based on information from the official ASPCA website: "ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals".