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cowAll of my life, I’ve never been much of a carnivore, always gravitating toward vegetables. Well before I could have understood the realities of factory farming I just knew I didn’t want to eat animals. In fifth grade, I proudly announced to my parents that I wouldn’t eat “anything that had a face”. Luckily, I had a caring mother who would make a second vegetarian meal for me almost nightly, but it hasn’t stopped my father from offering me pork chops, steak or lamb still to this day, every chance he gets.

Not everyone shares my sentiments, and I understand that. The light that has been shed on industrial farming – the mass production of livestock and crops – in recent years has shown that nothing about these operations even resembles that of a traditional farm. These large-scale production plants are not even recognized as farms anymore and have been classified by the government as “Animal Feeding Operations”.

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Camp Diggy BonesIn December 2013, 293 dogs were abandoned at a boarding kennel outside of Dallas, TX. They were abandoned by a rescue organization that ran out of funding and could no longer pay their boarding fees. The animal loving kennel owners spent their savings attempting to find homes for these abandoned animals. They were successful in placing 93 of the animals with local rescue groups and private homes. Now the remaining 200 face the risk of euthanasia without outside help. The kennel continues their efforts to get more placed and adopted, but without funds they are quickly running out of time.

Donations are desperately needed to pay for water, heat/air conditioning, electric, food, medicines and minimal staffing to feed, medicate, walk and exercise the dogs in play yards.

Most of the dogs are pits/pit mixes although there are about 50-70 that are "other" mixes. This makes it even harder to find placement. Some have been through the Prison Training Program.

Donations: can be made through a local non-profit, Paws of Hope, and their Happy Endings Relief Fund.
You can donate online at

Checks can be mailed to:

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testimonyAs many of our supporters now know, SPCA International was honored to testify at the Congress of Deputies in Spain about Greyhound abuse issues in Spain on March 12th 2014. It was totally unexpected that we would have the opportunity to speak at this groundbreaking meeting, but we were delighted to get the chance to be a loud voice for Greyhounds of Spain and the rescue groups in Spain working diligently to stop the tradition of abuse and killing. We made brief spoken statements and also delivered an official letter that was submitted along with letters from six other organizations. The six letters introduced a multitude of complementary policy changes and ours focused on 1) that hunting with Greyhounds should be outlawed outright, and 2) new humane education programs should be implemented in the national curriculum.

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We have some very exciting news coming out of Dallas, Texas! Our friends at Lily Lane Home expect their next photo shoot to go to the dogs… literally. On April 5th, they will be holding a “Pup-arazzi” photo shoot in the Central Dog Park in Dallas, TX from 11 am – 4 pm. You can register your dog for one of 3 different looks (we love the “Prepster Pup”!) and after the shoot, supporters will vote for their favorite. The cost to enter is $20 and all donations will benefit SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups program, bringing soldiers’ animals home from war-zones.

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Saving Suffering StraysStray dogs live a very hard life in Sarajevo, the capitol city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Abandoned and ignored, hated by many who consider them a nuisance, they have to live through the cruelty, the heartless dog catchers and the public “shelters” that are just a death sentence for the unfortunate animals that end up there. They live short lives, starving, tortured and killed for no reason, considered worthless beings that need to be eliminated by any means.

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What is truly sad about this situation, is people get the Tegu lizards as pets (legally) and when they get too big they think it is okay to release them in the wild, but it’s not. Now the lizards are destroying habitat and killing native species in parts of Florida. This has led to people killing the lizards when they see them. Keeping lizards as pets should be discouraged. They should live in their native habitat, and not in manmade enclosures. So many captive reptiles live horrible lives because people don't know how to properly take care of them. Sadly, this too often leads to them paying for human indifference with their lives.

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Little Miss MuffinI wanted to share this difficult, but happy story with you that was shared with us by our one of amazing partners, SPAY Panama. This is Little Miss Muffin. She was thrown out of her house when her owners found out she was pregnant. Before she was thrown out, they abused her, resulting in multiple fractures in her leg. She had no where to go and was forced to give birth to her litter in a planter on a walkway. A concerned citizen called SPAY Panama and they immediately set out to find her. By the time they did, her puppies could not be saved and her leg required amputation. But with supplies and funds donated by SPCAI, SPAY Panama was able to give Little Miss Muffin a second chance at life. Thanks to a spay surgery, Little Miss Muffin will never again have to suffer helplessly as her entire litter dies beside her, and she now lives a life of comfort and love.

These are the kind of stories that both break my heart and warm my heart every day. They are only possible thanks to the support of SPCAI staff, volunteers, partner organizations and, most importantly, donors like you. Thank you for helping us give Little Miss Muffin a happy ending.

Tagged in: dog rescue spay-neuter
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Whiskers SyndicateWhen one envisions images of Indonesia, it's usually of beautiful white sand, warm turquoise water and lush tropical jungles in the sun. Sadly there is a darker side to this paradise when it comes to the monsoon seasons and animal welfare. There are literally no laws governing unwanted and abused animals there and just a couple of tiny shelters. Stray animals run rampant in the streets and suffer from wide spread starvation and a myriad of sicknesses they spread amongst themselves.

The city of Bandung on the island of Java is no exception. It is the backyard breeder capital of the country with horrible repercussions for the unwanted animals. There is only one haven for the unloved street cats and its run single handedly by a little wisp of a girl named Josie. She has named her shelter The Whiskers' Syndicate and its home to close to 60 cats and kittens. Upon reading Josie's posts on her site some of her amazing heroic rescue missions are enough to warm your heart with her empathy and compassion and also make your hair stand on end at the same time. Josie started saving animals at a very young age and comes from a long line of animal rescuers in her family, going all the way back to her Grandfather. No cat or kitten in need is left behind, even if it means climbing through the sewer to get to a cry for help in the dark.

Tagged in: cats crisis
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Stop BSLMost, if not all states, have their legislatures in session right now. One of the most important issues many are deciding relates to restricting or banning certain breeds of dogs in various jurisdictions. Many of these laws do not base these bans on breed alone, but whether a dog LOOKS like a breed. Most dogs are mixes and impossible to classify into a single breed.

These laws do not take into consideration whether the owner has raised, trained, or managed the dog. It does not take into account the dog’s actual behavior.

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We are absolutely in love with Icey, the rescue dog that competed at Westminster!

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Cat Shelter FelixEstablishing and operating an animal sanctuary can’t be an easy task anywhere in the world, but running a cat sanctuary in a country like Serbia, where cats are utterly marginalized and often horribly abused and where their suffering passes virtually unnoticed, it sounds like mission impossible… From the very beginning, setting up and maintaining Cat Shelter Felix, the one and only cat sanctuary in Serbia, has been a courageous and risky project that no one has ever dared to try before but it's also living proof that even when things look darkest, if there’s a will there’s a way.

Tagged in: animal protection cats
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Here's a book I look forward to checking out at the library soon: The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. Already a best-seller in France, this reviewer says of The Guest Cat, "The best novels are ones that...over time, they stay with us — like small miracles." Between this review and the book's title - it's made it's way to my "2014 Must Read" list.

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Gorilla CoatHow often have you scrolled through the posts on your Facebook page and found an entry about animal suffering? I see these types of posts frequently because of my extensive network of animal friends – linked together by Facebook. My initial response is still to skip over these posts, yet I force myself to stop – once again to be confronted by another despicable display of animal mistreatment. A story that screams, “You owe it to the animals to pay attention!” Even glimpses of the often-gruesome photos that entice you to read the story leave their mark - an indelible image imprinted in my mind.

Tagged in: abuse cruelty issues
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Holmes County Humane SocietyBy Lori Kalef

The recent cold snap brought in record breaking below average temperatures prompting many severe cold weather warnings across the country. The extreme weather brought on many flight cancelations, school closures and forced businesses to close down. Many scrambled to find heat and comfort from the outside, while others suffered frostbite, hypothermia and even fatality.

Sadly, many companion and wild animals suffered the same exposure and were found frozen to death or with frostbitten ears and paw pads. One shelter in Ohio did their best to protect their 100+ dogs and cats, but unfortunately they are operating with an inadequate heating system and poor insulation from the cold. They are doing all that they can now to keep the animals warm and save new arrivals from the freezing temperatures, but they could really use your help. Please read on…

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NegritaIn Panama you can still find a person to do your ironing all day for $10. This person is usually a female and the sole supporter of her household. SPCA International, in association with SpayPanama, is trying to reach these people and their pets to put a stop to the suffering caused by overpopulation of animals.

Tagged in: shelters spay-neuter
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Up DogsThree years ago I was just another burned out cog in the advertising world. In my decade of working long hours at the computer producing ads for giant corporations with questionable practices, I did my best to balance the harm I was causing my body and the world by exercising, volunteering and fundraising for various charities, but I was starting to feel like Sisyphus in an unwinnable battle with the boulder of stress and dissatisfaction I was facing.

So I got out.

Tagged in: dogs donate
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Christmas petsHere at SPCA International, we love celebrating the holidays with our pets just as much as with our human families. We’ve compiled some of our favorite traditions and recipes to share with you and your family to make the holidays magical for everyone!

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How does one begin to thank two heroes who, by their generosity of spirit and tireless efforts, have forever enriched the lives of many strangers? Publicly acknowledging their important, selfless work is a start.

SPCA International VolunteersIt began three years ago in December, 2010, when I wandered into my local SPCA to deliver some much-needed supplies. We had sadly lost our wonderful Black Labrador, Jake, several months before and we were all missing him greatly, including our other dog, Stella. When Jake passed, Stella would lie in his bed, face the wall and stay there – disinterested in her regular routine of play and walks. By the time December rolled around, I knew we would need to get her a mate in the coming months. After dropping off the supplies, I mentioned I would start checking their site after the holidays to look for a suitable puppy for Stella. The woman immediately told me about an amazing litter of nine puppies that had just that morning been posted on their site for adoption...and four were already gone! Would I like to have a peek at the remaining pups...? At that precise moment, the Mom – a beautiful mix of Collie and Border Collie breeds was brought to the front for her daily walk. She looked and acted like the epitome of sweetness and calm – everything I would look for in a puppy. Of course, I would take a “look” at the puppies. Suffice to say, it was confirmed that my Christmas present from my family that year would be a playmate for Stella and on December 4, we welcomed a new puppy into her forever home.

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Erbil TNR - SPCA International Every one of the 515 dogs and cats that Operation Baghdad Pups has transported from Iraq to the United States has their own unique story. During this most recent set of missions, one of the cats has an exceptional story, which brings me great joy to share.

For 11 years, Hasseeb worked as a vendor for the U.S. military and after the troops left Iraq, he kept his shop open for American contractors. Being Iraqi, choosing to do business with Americans meant he was putting his life at risk, as well as that of his family. Enemies of the United States loathe those who would do anything to help Americans, and given the opportunity, they will brutally kill them.

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Erbil TNR - SPCA International Life for a feral Tom cat is especially tough. Their days are filled with frequent encounters with other male cats, that often result in fights as the cats compete for ownership of a territory they want to claim as their own. Each fight inflicts more injuries – sometimes life threatening. The battle scars on one of the cats SPCA International trapped at the United Nations compound in Erbil, Iraq, as part of our Trap, Neuter and Release project, are a testament of a short life with little hope. As we watched from a distance this veteran fighter cautiously approach the trap we had set outside the United Nation’s dining hall, we hoped he’d be hungry enough to take the risk and walk into the trap. After sniffing almost the entire length of the trap, from the outside, he finally poked his head just far enough inside to grab the first bite of sardines and then he quickly back away from the trap. Unable to resist another bite, he returned to the trap and stepped a little further inside, only to grab a morsel of sardine and make another exit. When another male cat showed up, the beat up orange and white cat knew he better act fast if he was going to get some more sardines to eat.

Tagged in: cats Iraq TNR
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