Sunday, March 8, 2015
2014 was a difficult year for many, while the country is still digging itself out from recession, many grants have been cut in the animal welfare field. It is up to the individual organization to keep charging through, with help from their faithful followers, devoted volunteers, and donors.
In 2014 Ring Dog Rescue accomplished many many things, here are a few...
Popsicles for Pups a kennel enrichment program run and funded entirely by RDR and its volunteers, made and gave out frozen enrichment treats weekly at Richmond Animal Care and Control, Heritage Humane Society, and Powhatan Animal Control. This program is being started at Chesterfield Animal Services in March of 2015.
Cats... Ring Dog Rescue doesn't have cats! No, we do not take in cats to our program, but we like all animals and species and do love the kitties. In 2014 Ring Dog Rescue provided habitats for 5 feral colonies, and spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped 50 feral cats in the Greater Richmond Area.
Outreach is a big part of what we do! While we would love for all our furry friends to live indoors be healthy, happy companions, we know that many folks just aren't having it. While our purpose is to assist the community to become more healthy and humane, we have chosen to not judge folks for their not wanting the dog inside, but instead to forge relationships and provide services for the dog(s), all the while educating their owners and shaping a healthier community. In 2014, RDR and its volunteers provided over 30 dog houses to those in need. Gave out over 10,000 lbs. of kibble to owned animals. Built over 10 new habitats, getting over 20 dogs off of chains. And spayed, neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and heartworm tested over 150 owned pit bull type dogs in the Greater Richmond community.
Adoption is one of the core reasons Ring Dog Rescue came to fruition. It is our intention to transfer in at risk pit bull type dogs and of course some Low Riders too, into our program. Then get these animals medically sound, and behaviorally fit. Then place them into the proper home. While some dogs may stay in our program an extended period of time, others get healthy and adopted more quickly. Each dog is given the tools needed for success. In 2014, Ring Dog Rescue transferred in 89 dogs and did 87 adoptions. That is 89 dogs who may have been otherwise euthanized, as 90% of our intake were medically unfit for adoption through a jurisdictional shelter.
Fundraising is an important part of rescue, as we all know without funding you can't go very far. It was mentioned earlier that many grants have dried up. We would like to take this opportunity to Thank Maddie's Adoption Days for their generous grant of over $10,000 and The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies for their generous $1000 donation. We would also like to share that in 2014 Ring Dog Rescue spent more than $90,000 dollars on medical care for animals both in our program and owned. If you do the math that is a $79,000 plus difference, and we would personally like to Thank all of our fantastic volunteers who spent their time and effort to raise these additional funds and more. We would also like to Thank all of the individual donors, those who bought a T-shirt or a piece of merchandise, or donated their time to just help.
In addition we would like to Thank all of the families who have opened their homes to foster the dogs in our program, without you we could not have helped the over 1000 (yes one thousand) pit bull type dogs we have rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed in the last 10 years.
A super big Thank You is also needed for the support we receive from our medical providers. Farmers Veterinary Hospital has been RDR's primary care veterinarian since the beginning in 2004, Thank You Dr. Teague and his staff for always being there for the dogs in our program. Virginia Veterinary and Surgical Associates, have kept our dogs in top notch orthopedic health, performing all necessary surgeries, Thank You Dr. Barnes and staff. Prevent-A-Litter, Barron's Surgery, and the Animal Resource Foundation, have all help us spay and neuter thousands of animals over the years and we Thank You for your commitment to reducing the pet population and working towards healthier communities at a reasonable low-cost rate, we applauded you for your dedication. We are not trying to leave anyone out here, and we like to be sure that everyone knows how grateful we are, Thank You!!!
We hope that 2015 is an even better year! We are getting off to a great start. We will be setting up Popsicles for Pups at Chesterfield Animal Services, be donating Kuranda beds to Goochland Animal Control, continuing our Shelter Adopt! Program, The Dog House Project, and many more all while continuing to foster the many many loving dogs in our program.
Thank You and we hope you remember that rescue is more than just adoption, it is working towards a more humane community.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
For media inquiries only, contact:
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
RICHMOND (January 22, 2015)-- Attorney General Mark R. Herring today announced the designation of the nation's first Attorney General's "Animal Law" unit, a small group of current staff attorneys who will spend a portion of their time, as needed, serving as a resource for local law enforcement and state agencies on issues involving animal welfare and animal fighting or abuse. Because of the specialized and relatively infrequent nature of cases involving animal welfare, many prosecutors and law enforcement agencies seek assistance from the Office of Attorney General in effectively investigating and prosecuting these cases. The power to initiate an investigation or prosecution will remain with local agencies, but the Animal Law unit will be available to provide assistance or handle a case by request from a commonwealth's attorney or law enforcement agency.
"We've seen firsthand in Virginia that animal fighting is associated with other serious crimes such as drug distribution, possession of illegal alcohol or firearms, assaults, and illegal gambling," said Attorney General Herring. "There's also evidence that abuse of animals or exposure to animal abuse, especially by young people, can be predictive of future abusive or criminal behavior. Our attorneys often serve as a training and prosecutorial resource for commonwealth's attorneys working complex or specialized cases such as gang crimes, internet crimes, or complex drug cases. This unit won't replace or undermine local law enforcement decisions on whether to investigate or prosecute, but it will formalize the delivery of training and assistance our office already provides for communities who confront situations involving animal fighting, abuse, or neglect."
The team will be led by Michelle Welch, an assistant attorney general with nine years of service whose work on animal-related cases has earned her numerous accolades including the Humane Law Enforcement Award from the Humane Society of the United States, the Albert Schweitzer Medal from the Animal Welfare Institute, the Prosecutor of the Year Award from the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and awards from the Virginia Animal Control Association and Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.
"Over the past twenty years, there has been a growing realization that cruelty toward animals is a criminal act that cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. All of the evidence shows a very direct link between animal cruelty and violence against women and children," said Anthony Spencer, Caroline County Commonwealth's Attorney. "As the Commonwealth's Attorney of Caroline County, I have relied on Michelle Welch on many occasions to help me in navigating Virginia's laws regarding animals and in prosecuting serious charges of dog fighting and animal cruelty. Her knowledge in these areas is unparalleled, and she is widely regarded throughout the Commonwealth as 'the expert' on understanding and enforcing Virginia's animal laws. Michelle has also been the person most responsible for drafting changes to our animal laws to make them more effective. Our Attorney General, the Honorable Mark R. Herring, is to be commended for his efforts in enforcing Virginia's animal laws and in ensuring that Michelle Welch will be available to assist local prosecutors throughout the Commonwealth with cases of dog fighting and animal cruelty."
As their first project, the unit has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to send a letter and fact sheet to Virginia pet stores on important consumer rights involving the purchase of animals, including new rights created by Bailey's Law, which was sponsored by Sen. Chap Petersen and signed into law in 2014. The law helps ensure that customers have complete and accurate information about the health and history of a dog or cat before purchase and gives consumers recourse if an animal is later found to have significant, undisclosed health problems. Within certain specified time periods, if an animal is sold and subsequently determined by a veterinarian to suffer certain illnesses, or if the animal dies from an undisclosed health problem, the consumer has the right to return the animal for a refund, exchange the animal for a healthy one, or keep the animal and recover the costs of veterinary fees up to the original purchase price. A consumer can take legal action to recover damages if a retailer fails to honor the remedies in the law.
"The decision to bring an animal into the family, whether by adoption or purchase, is a big one, and consumers have the right to make an informed decision when they decide to add a companion animal to their household," said Attorney General Herring. "Though many Virginians may choose to adopt, these important new provisions will protect consumers purchasing pets, those who sell pets, and animals that will one day go to the home of a Virginia family."
In November, Attorney General Herring teamed up with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the ASPCA for a statewide Law Enforcement Conference on Combating Animal Fighting in Virginia. The event trained nearly 100 prosecutors, police officers, and sheriffs' deputies on the tools they need to identify and investigate animal fighting, strategies for building a case against suspected animal fighters, and tactics for successfully prosecuting animal fighting cases.
Attorney General Herring's office recently worked with the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Tim Heaphy to prosecute the operators of one of the largest cock fighting rings in the region. Five individuals were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 6 months to 1.5 years in addition to fines for their roles in operating a cock fighting ring in Virginia and Kentucky.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Friday, December 5, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
U.S. communities increasingly ditching pit bull bans - Aamer Madhani for USA Today November 18, 2014
U.S. communities increasingly ditching pit bull bans
Three decades after officials in
more than 700 cities throughout
the country began passing bans
and other restrictions to keep
pit bulls out of their communities,
state and local governments are increasingly reconsidering their
approach to what not so long ago was America's most vilified pet.
Since June, at least nine communities in the Midwest have
overturned pit bull bans that were on the books.
Last week, Hallsville, Mo., became the latest to lift its
ban after a family successfully appealed to the City Council
for a change in law when it learned the family dog was a pit bull mix.
Over the past two years, more than 100 municipalities
across the USA have overturned bans and other
restrictions that target dogs in the pit bull family,
the generic term commonly used to describe the
American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier
and many mixed-breed dogs with square-shaped
heads and bulky builds.
More communities could soon follow suit.
The unified government of Wyandotte County and
Kansas City, Kan., is considering lifting a pit bull ban
that has been on the books for nearly a quarter-century,
as part of a comprehensive overhaul of its animal control
The push in Kansas City (pop. 148,000) comes as
Roeland Park, Kan. (pop. 6,800) recently began reviewing
its ban on pit bulls. The nearby community of
Bonner Springs announced this year that it was lifting its ban.
Advocates argue the bans have been ineffective in reducing
dog bites and led to millions of dogs being euthanized.
They say too often animal control officials, law enforcement
and the media misidentify offending dogs as pit bulls.
"The only ones that are being affected by these bans are
responsible dog owners,"said Janelle Holland, a pit bull
owner who was forced to leave Roeland Park more
than a decade ago after learning she was violating the ban.
There's been action on the statewide level as well.
This year, South Dakota and Utah joined 17 other
states in passing laws to prevent local governments
passing "breed-specific legislation," or BSL, making
it illegal for cities to pass bans targeting pit bulls or
any other breed. (The South Dakota law went into
effect in July, and Utah's prohibition on pit bull bans
will be law on New Year's Day.)
Breed-specific legislation began spreading in
communities throughout the country in the mid-1980s
after a surge in fatal dog bitings, including a
disproportionate number of incidents initially
attributed to pit bull-type dogs.
The pit bull was popular in illegal dogfighting rings,
and the breed developed a reputation as a favorite
accessory of drug dealers and gangsters.
This month, residents in the Denver suburb
of Aurora, Colo., voted by a 2-to-1 ratio in a
referendum to keep their pit bull ban on the books.
The Aurora vote follows a vote in 2012 in
Miami-Dade County, where voters opted to keep
the ban by a similarly wide ratio.
Jeff Borchardt, an East Troy, Wis.-man whose
14-month-old son, Daxton, was fatally mauled
last year by two pit bulls while being cared for by
a babysitter, says government leaders should
look to the Aurora and Miami examples before overturning bans.
"There's this pro-pit-bull movement that tries to
paint these dogs as nanny dogs and sweet, lovely
and kind," Borchardt said. "It's disgusting,
it's dangerous, and it's irresponsible."
Some groups, including the American Veterinary
Medical Association, the Humane Society and the
American Bar Association, have suggested governments
would be better off focusing attention on problem
animals in a community rather than banning
any particular breed of dog.
The push to end pit bull bans got a boost last year,
when the Obama administration — in response
to opponents of such laws petitioning the White House
— said it was opposed to breed-specific legislation.
Stakeholders on opposite sides of the issue cast
aspersions about the evidence the others use to
back their arguments. A lack of recent government
or third-party data on pit bull bites further muddies
the national conversation.
The National Canine Research Council, which
opposes breed-specific legislation, points to a
2013 study it partly funded that suggests a dog's
environment has more to do than its breed with
the likelihood of a dog making a deadly attack.
The study, published in the Journal of the
American Veterinary Medical Association, of 256 dog
bite-related fatalities from 2000-2009 found
co-occurring factors in more than 80% of the
deadly incidents, such as the absence of an
able-bodied person to stop the attack, a history
of abuse or neglect of the dog and the failure
by owners to neuter the dogs.
"It's becoming more and more obvious that
breed-specific legislation doesn't improve public
safety," says Janis Bradley, director of
communication for the NCRC. "Its purpose is to
reduce injuries from dog bites, but there is no
municipality or state where it's enacted where
they've been able to show that it's accomplished this."
The Center for Disease Control, which opposes
BSL, notes that fatal attacks represent a tiny
fraction of about 4.7 million dog bites Americans
suffer annually and that it's difficult to accurately
calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
DogsBite.org, a group that advocates in favor of
BSL, points to its own research, culled from news
reports of dog-bite-related fatalities, that shows
74% of incidents from 2005 to 2013 involved a
pit bull or Rottweiler.
Colleen Lynn, founder of DogsBite.org, dismisses
the suggestion from the CDC and others that BSL doesn't work.
"It's not designed to reduce all dog bites," said Lynn,
who said pit bulls are an inherently aggressive animal.
"It's breed-specific and meant to reduce pit bull
maulings and fatalities."
Even as dozens of American communities abandon
BSL, some ponder its merits.
This year, Riverside, Ala., a community about 40 miles
outside of Birmingham, weighed enacting a pit bull
ban after a 5-year-old boy was fatally mauled by
neighbor's pit bull. City officials opted against it.
Mayor Rusty Jessup said he would prefer not to
have any pit bulls in his community of 3,000.
Jessup said he didn't think his community could
enforce such a ban or even positively determine
the breeds of dogs.
"We were just afraid that we were going to get
situations where we're trying to enforce this and
people are saying, 'That dog's not a pit bull,
it's a boxer,'" Jessup said. " And doggone it, who
are we going to have to make that determination?"