Thursday, June 21, 2012

50 Dogs Seized From Bronx Dog Fighting Operation

 ASPCA Assists NYPD in Seizure of 50 Dogs, Forensic Evidence Collection in Bronx Dog Fighting Case

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), in conjunction with the NYPD Vice Enforcement Division and Bronx District Attorney's office, is assisting in the removal, forensic evidence collection and on-scene documentation and sheltering of 50 dogs seized from a dog fighting operation this afternoon at 1254 Sherman Avenue, a six-story apartment building in the Bronx.

Raul Sanchez of the Bronx was charged with animal fighting, a felony. Other related charges may follow.

Many of the dogs, which range in age from 12 weeks to five years, exhibited injuries indicative of fighting. They were living in a windowless basement, which included a makeshift arena with estimated capacity for 100 spectators. Also recovered were a loaded .25-caliber handgun, 22 crude wooden cages, multiple pet carriers, U.S. currency, and paraphernalia associated with dog fighting, including dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes, and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.
"Organized dog fighting is a brutal form of animal abuse where dogs are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture," said Howard Lawrence, senior director of operations for the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement department. "The dogs we saw today exhibited scarring and injuries consistent with fighting dogs. The ASPCA is determined to protect New York City's animals from this form of cruelty."
A search warrant was executed Thursday afternoon for the removal of the dogs. The dogs are being transferred by the ASPCA to a temporary shelter for further evaluation by the organization's emergency response medical team.
In addition to removing the animals and collecting evidence, the ASPCA is providing legal support to the Bronx district attorney's office to help prosecute the case.
The investigation is continuing.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on FacebookTwitter, andPinterest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

National Fire Dog Monument

America’s First “National Fire Dog Monument” Honoring Canine Heroes And Their Handlers to Begin 2,000-mile Journey to U.S. Capital

From June 21 – 28, 12-city Tour to Recognize Certified Arson Dog Teams

Each year billions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of arson-related fires. Now, America is preparing to honor the two- and four-legged heroes who keep us, our families and our communities safe from this deadly threat.
America’s first “National Fire Dog Monument” will take its place along with other venerable symbols of the nation’s gratitude in Washington, D.C. after making a 2,000-mile cross-country tour honoring firefighters, law enforcement professionals, and their invaluable arson dogs in communities across the United States. The 450-pound, seven-foot-high bronze sculpture of an arson dog and a firefighter will start its voyage in Denver, Colorado on June 21 and make its way through 12 major cities to its destination in the nation’s capital.
The National Fire Dog Monument was sculpted by 22-year-old Colorado firefighter Austin Weishel, perhaps the youngest artist ever to have a monument erected in Washington, and pays tribute to the teamwork between humans and their canine companions in solving arson crimes. The sculpture, “From Ashes to Answers,” was commissioned by Jerry Means, an arson investigation agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Means’ own arson dog, Sadie, received national attention last year as the winner of the 2011 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ in the category of Law Enforcement/Arson Dog and was a model for the sculpture.
Arson dogs – also known as accelerant detection canines – are trained to sniff out and indicate traces of petroleum products such as gasoline or lighter fluid that might have been used to start a fire. The traces are sampled and sent to a lab for identification. To become certified for the work, the dogs and their handlers undergo many weeks of professional training and must pass yearly testing to maintain their certification.
The National Fire Dog Monument tour is being sponsored by State Farm and American Humane Association. Since 1993 State Farm has provided funding for the acquisition and training of arson dogs in the United States and Canada, placing more than 300 arson dog teams in 44 U.S. states, 3 Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia. American Humane Association works to ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals, and to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both. Each year the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ honors ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, and has a special category for Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs. More information is available In addition to its organizational support of the nonprofit set up by Mr. Means to make this project possible, American Humane Association helped secure the support of two generous Colorado philanthropists, Fred and Jana Bartlit, to help underwrite the cost of creating the statue.
“America’s first line of defense is our nation’s arson dogs and we need to recognize their role in keeping us, our families, and our communities safe,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the 135-year-old American Humane Association. “The National Fire Dog Monument is a testament to the power and value of the human-animal bond. These animals are our friends, healers, our protectors, and aids — lending their special talents on behalf of us all. American Humane Association is so proud to share the story of these hero dogs with the larger community.”
“This project puts an important spotlight on how committed men and women with the help of specially trained arson dogs work together to protect our nation and keep us safe,” said David Beigie, State Farm Vice President – Public Affairs. “We’re pleased to join the American Humane Association in supporting this effort especially given that Sadie and her handler, Jerry Means, are graduates of the State Farm Arson Dog Program.”
To see the schedule for the National Fire Dog Monument Tour, please or
About American Humane Association
Since 1877 American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. You can help make a difference, too. Support their life-saving work by visiting today.
About State Farm
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada

Media Contacts:

Heather Paul
State Farm
(309) 826-7899
Mark Stubis
American Humane Association
(202) 677-4227

Monday, June 18, 2012

So Do Car Safety Restraints For Dogs Really Work

Car Safety Restraints For Dogs Found Potentially Unsafe in Pilot Study from the Center for Pet Safety

A pilot study conducted by the Center for Pet Safety has shown that pet safety restraints used in cars may be unsafe, leaving the animals to become projectiles, possibly causing severe injury or death to the animal and potential injury to human family members if an accident occurs. The Center for Pet Safety is located in Haymarket, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.

 A pilot study conducted by the Center for Pet Safetyhas shown that pet safety restraints used in cars may be unsafe, leaving the animals to become projectiles, possibly causing severe injury or death to the animal and potential injury to human family members if an accident occurs. The Center for Pet Safety is located in Haymarket, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.

The Center for Pet Safety is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which is undertaking a study to define safe travel for companion animals and their owners in a moving vehicle. Currently, animal restraints are not held to specific safety standards and testing by the manufacturer is not a requirement.
Through scientific testing, data collection, and analysis, the Center for Pet Safety plans to author studies of specific types of pet travel “safety” devices and from those studies to develop criteria and test protocols to support safe performance. The Center for Pet Safety is an independent organization, not associated with any pet product manufacturer. The Center is currently seeking grant funding to continue its independent research.
"With tens of millions of dogs traveling with their families every year, the use of pet travel safety restraints is at an all-time high," says Lindsey Wolko, founder and chairman of the Center for Pet Safety. "Safety advocates, travel associations and now law enforcement agencies are recommending ormandating the use of pet safety restraints. But how does the consumer know that the pet harnesses and crates actually protect their pet in the case of an accident? There are currently no official standards to measure performance success, nor are manufacturers required to test their products for this category of pet product. So who says 'safe' is safe?"
While Wolko agrees that tethering or containing your pet may help reduce incidents of distracted driving, any other safety claims must be proven through the development of performance criteria and test methodologies. "Saying that these products prevent your pet from becoming a projectile in an accident is a potentially misleading statement. In our pilot study, the harnesses tested failed to keep the dog from becoming a projectile in a standardized crash simulation."
The pilot study conducted by the Center for Pet Safety in 2011 indicated a 100% failure rate of a set of four popular animal travel harnesses crash tested according to the conditions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 for child safety seats. FMVSS 213 was selected as it is commonly referenced by some pet product manufacturers and pet safety advocates as a general standard.
The harness size selection for the CPS pilot study was based on the American Kennel Club’s Most Popular Dog Breed List from 2010, where six of the top ten dog breeds were within the “large” harness category. A realistic crash test dog was specially designed, weighted and instrumented for data collection.    
In 2011 Lindsey Wolko, pet safety advocate and founder of The Center for Pet Safety, invested over $10,000.00 in scientific testing of pet harnesses used in automobile travel. A “blind” control group of pet travel harnesses was selected for the pilot study. Wolko hired an independent test laboratory, MGA Research Corporation in Manassas, Virginia, to perform unbiased scientific product testing.
MGA Research Corporation performs safety compliance testing for FMVSS 213 child restraint systems for the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The goal of the testing was to determine if the products protected the companion animal from injury in a standardized crash simulation. A second round of quasi-static testing was completed to confirm the initial dynamic test results. A weighted and instrumented crash test dog was developed for the tests. No live animals were used for the tests.
Procedures for the testing of companion animal restraints:
A total of 12 restraints from major brands within the pet product industry were purchased from online vendor/manufacturer websites and delivered by independent carrier (UPS, USPS,etc) to the test laboratory. The restraints were received in new, unused condition with intact packaging. The restraints were handled only by laboratory personnel. Out of an initial sampling of 12 brands, four harnesses were selected as a "control group". Selection of the control group was based on perceived strength of the materials and design, associated marketing materials that indicated testing had been completed by the manufacturer and the reputation of the manufacturer in the pet travel product marketplace – similar to the way the consumer would select a product for purchase. Although not identified in the study, the control group harnesses are considered quality brands within the pet product industry and are widely marketed as safety devices for companion animal travel.
"We have re-sampled these products and performed follow-up testing to confirm our initial findings," says Wolko. "While we did not test all brands of harnesses in our initial pilot study, our sampling was broad enough for us to gain better insight regarding the expected performance of these products when tested to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 conditions. Their safety is not guaranteed and the buyer should beware."
About the Center for Pet Safety:
The Center for Pet Safety was founded in 2011 and is a registered 501(c)3 research organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety. The idea for the Center for Pet Safety was developed from eight years of pet product industry and consumer research.
In 2004 Lindsey Wolko’s dog, Maggie, was injured by a poorly designed safety harness designed for car travel. At that time, Wolko began to purchase pet travel products and try them with her dogs. This practice continued until she launched Canine Commuter in 2007.
Through Canine Commuter, Wolko independently sampled and tested pet products for quality and performance. She purchased the products, ran them through consumer trials, and evaluated them for wear and tear, instructions, marketing, packaging and overall product performance. Over time, Wolko developed official product reports and a formal Consumer Trial Methodology. Products were given a rating based on their overall performance. The products that passed were included on Canine Commuter’s website. Products that failed were put on an unpublished “Watch” list – for follow-up with the manufacturer and future re-evaluation if product improvements were made.
In 2010, Canine Commuter was contacted repeatedly by new pet product manufacturers to lend their product expertise to evaluate proposed product lines and provide feedback. This testing was formalized with the incorporation of the Center of Pet Safety in July 2011 and its recognition by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Center for Pet Safety is currently seeking grant funding to continue its independent research. Donations may be made through The Center for Pet Safety’s website
For more information on the Center for Pet Safety, visit