Thanks to the expertise of veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH), a nine-month-old pit bull named Hugo is happy and healthy in his Long Island home after being struck by a van in April.
When the back door to Sara L.’s family’s house opened one afternoon, Hugo darted out the door and into the street. He was immediately struck, which smashed his left hind leg into the asphalt as the driver screeched to a halt. Seconds later, Hugo leapt up and fled back toward the house, bleeding and yelping. Sara and her mother, Gloria, rushed Hugo to a local veterinary clinic, which referred them to AAH. An advanced veterinary procedure conducted there can be credited for Hugo’s subsequent recovery.
First, ASPCA veterinarians examined Hugo and took X-rays. “The bones and tendons inside his left ankle joint were just gone,” recalled Dr. J’Mai Gayle, Director of Surgery, who also noted that Hugo’s right hind leg had severe skin wounds.
“We considered amputating his left leg but hesitated because of the severity of the right hind leg wounds,” Dr. Gayle continued. “We wanted Hugo to eventually have four legs to walk on.” She determined that an external fixator—an apparatus that stabilizes the joint while allowing daily wound care—was the best option for Hugo.
Doctors then began the three-hour surgery by removing contaminated tissue and cartilage from the dog’s injured joint. Then they applied the external fixator by placing pins through the bones surrounding the joint and connecting the pins to external bars to prevent movement. Although the end result looked like metal scaffolding over Hugo’s leg, it provided necessary stability for the soft tissue to heal while new, solid bone grew across the joint.
Since the fixator’s bolts pierced Hugo’s skin, it was crucial for him to receive regular cleaning and bandage changes to prevent infection. His family made frequent trips from their Long Island home to AAH, where Hugo, with his loving looks and indefatigable nature, soon became a staff favorite.
“I know his bandage changes were often somewhat uncomfortable, but Hugo was always a good boy, giving us wags and licks,” said Jennifer Doyle, Senior Veterinary Technician. “His exuberant personality is infectious.”
“He was always such a happy boy,” said Senior Vet Tech Michaelene Albert. “It’s obvious in the huge smile Hugo has for us every time he comes in.”
The family managed to keep Hugo’s E-collar on most of the time, although Hugo made several successful attempts to remove it. They used a crate to help keep him still—Sara’s Seven-year-old brother, David would crawl in with him to keep him company—and rewarded Hugo with his favorite treats. Sara notes that Hugo now has his own bed in the living room, and “is very happy.”
Keeping Hugo safely in his home was always as much a priority as keeping him alive, explained Dr. Gayle. “This was a very rewarding case for many reasons, but being able to save Hugo and keep him with his family was the best part,” she said.
Today the ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association jointly filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging the agency to improve care standards for dogs kept in federally licensed, commercial breeding facilities for use in the pet trade. The USDA regulates these facilities—the worst of which are commonly known as puppy mills—but its standards are woefully inadequate and fall quite short of ensuring the humane treatment of dogs.
The rules enforced by the USDA leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated. Dogs in American commercial breeding facilities can be kept in cages only six inches longer than the dogs in each direction—and these tiny cages may be stacked on top of one another. It's completely legal for these cages to have open wire flooring, and it’s fine to breed female dogs at every opportunity (not allowing their bodies to rest and recover between litters). It’s also legal to breed dogs without screening them for painful and expensive heritable disorders like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Take a look at our gallery of breeder photos taken by the USDA to see for yourself what it means for a breeder to be “USDA-licensed.”
The changes we’ve proposed today would dramatically improve the lives of tens of thousands of dogs in commercial breeding facilities by creating stronger, clearer standards for veterinary care, housing, food and water, socialization, breeding practices and placement of retired breeding dogs.
Yesterday the ASPCA hosted a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the need for Congress to pass the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act. Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President for Forensic Sciences & Anti-Cruelty Projects, was among those presenting the overwhelming evidence of the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.
Many abusers threaten or commit violence against pets as a means to intimidate and control their victims. Sadly, victims of domestic violence often remain in dangerous situations to protect their pets or delay going to a shelter because they fear for the safety of the pets they must leave behind.
The PAWS Act would criminalize the intentional targeting of a domestic partner’s pet, establish a federal grant program to help victims safely house their pets and add veterinary care to the list of costs that victims can recover from their abusers.
During yesterday’s briefing, Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), sponsors of the PAWS Act, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, stressed the need for this legislation. We appreciate their leadership on this very important issue.
Chase and Blaze are a dynamic duo looking for a loving home. These two loveable, low-key Shih Tzus are brothers with an inseparable bond, and would do best in a home where they can live and play together!
Both pups get along well with most people they meet, but aren’t always interested in playing with other dogs. Chase and Blaze love to go for walks, and will stick close to their pet parents when out for a stroll. At home, these two couch potatoes love to relax, and are excellent lap dogs. Adopt Chase and Blaze!
Chase and Blaze are available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting them, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120.
In a landmark announcement last week, McDonald’s Corporation committed to using only cage-free eggs in all of its U.S. and Canada store locations within the next 10 years. Given the purchasing power of McDonald’s, this is huge news for animals.
Battery cages—archaic wire cages in which egg-laying hens are forced to live so closely packed together they can barely move—are still standard in the egg industry. Hens suffer injuries, disease and the repression of their natural behaviors in these conditions. Some states and companies have turned away from this cruel practice, but this move by McDonald’s, which purchases billions of eggs annually, is a giant leap toward our goal of eliminating battery cages for good.
The McDonald’s announcement coincides with efforts by the ASPCA and other groups to pass a historic ballot measure in Massachusetts to ban the sale of products from farms using battery cages, veal crates and gestation crates (severe and cruel forms of confinement that barely allow egg-laying hens, veal calves or pregnant pigs to move or engage in normal behaviors). A large and exciting effort is underway right now to gather enough signatures in Massachusetts to get this measure on the November 2016 ballot. Even if you don’t live in Massachusetts, you can help! Please visit the campaign website to learn more.