ASPCA-led Expert Behaviorists Provide Recommendations to USDA On Disposition of Dogs Seized in Michael Vick Case

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Following a motion filed yesterday by the U. S. Attorney’s Office on the recommended disposition of 49 pit bulls seized in the Michael Vick case (Case # 307CV397), the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today thanked the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the opportunity to lead the behavior evaluations that resulted in these recommendations, as well as the behaviorists who contributed their expertise during this process.

Following a motion filed yesterday by the U. S. Attorney’s Office on the recommended disposition of 49 pit bulls seized in the Michael Vick case (Case # 307CV397), the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today thanked the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the opportunity to lead the behavior evaluations that resulted in these recommendations, as well as the behaviorists who contributed their expertise during this process.

As outlined in the motion, the ASPCA-led team’s report ensuing from the evaluations, which were conducted between September 4 and 6, 2007, show that the experts evaluated 48 of the 49 dogs as having potential for some form of placement. Recommended placement options include possible re-homing into appropriate foster homes, rehabilitation as law enforcement dogs, or placement in sanctuaries (which will need to meet U.S.D.A. facility standards). Only one of the 49 dogs was deemed unfit for rehabilitation and recommended for euthanasia, which order was entered yesterday by Judge Henry E. Hudson.

“The ASPCA—which was founded to fight cruelty 141 years ago—has been honored to assist federal investigators in this groundbreaking case, from participating in the investigation itself, to leading the behavior evaluations, and we greatly appreciate the trust placed in us,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “More than anything, I am extremely proud of the dedication and collaboration demonstrated by the behaviorists who evaluated the dogs—that almost all these dogs can expect to live long and happy lives is an incredibly uplifting and inspiring outcome to this case.”

Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, C.A.A.B., executive vice president, National Programs, and science advisor for the ASPCA, led the team of several Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (trained animal behavior experts who have been certified by the Animal Behavior Society) in conducting the evaluations—the team comprised C.A.A.B.s both from inside the ASPCA as well as independent C.A.A.B.s from around the country. In addition, BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls), a San Francisco-based non profit organization that is an educational resource for pit bull owners and the shelters that house them, also worked with the ASPCA-led team to help identify dogs that can be absorbed into experienced foster programs for further observation and possible re-homing into appropriate homes.

For more information on the ASPCA, or to learn more about staying alert to animal cruelty, please visit http://www.aspca.org/cruelty .

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has one million supporters. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York’s animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series “Animal Precinct” on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit http://www.aspca.org.

Media Contact:
Shonali Burke
shonalib(at)aspca.org
(212) 876-7700 x 4565

Inga Fairclough
ingaf(at)aspca.org
(212) 876-7700 x 4564

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Shonali Burke
ASPCA
212-876-7700-4565
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Inga Fairclough
ASPCA
212-876-7700-4564
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