Category Archives: Pet Laws

Patrick the Miracle Dog

Patrick the Miracle Dog’s Abuser Sentenced, Patrick Finds Forever Home

Kisha Curtis, 29, pleaded guilty last month to fourth-degree animal cruelty on the eve of her trial. She was charged in March 2011 after Patrick the Miracle Dog was found near death.

Although she won’t be serving any jail time, Curtis would be required to serve 18 months probation and forfeit her right to Patrick, who has not been in her care since he was found.

She’ll also be required to pay nearly $2,000 to the New Jersey ASPCA, which gave the pup emergency care before he was moved to a veterinary hospital in Tinton Falls.

On a happier note, NJSPCA posted the following on their Facebook page:

“Patrick Court Update : Will post information later BUT I would like everyone to know that Patrick is now PATRICK SCAVELLI, it is official the Scavelli’s were granted legal custody of Patrick. NJSPCA could not be happier with the outcome for Patrick and the Scavelli’s. Thank you all for your support. Capt Yocum”

Congratulations Patrick! May you be happy in your new forever home!

North Dakotan to Stop Animal Cruelty - Don't Be

North Dakota Senate passes felony legislation for animal cruelty and abuse |

From Animal Welfare, with Cheryl Hanna

Senate Bill 2211 passed unanimously in Bismarck on Friday which is designed to increase penalties for animal abuse, neglect and abandonment. Now only a misdemeanor, the new legislation will make animal cruelty an automatic felony if a third offense takes place within ten years.

The bill heads to the House of Representatives, and if passed North Dakota will become the 49th state to pass felony animal cruelty penalties.

Sponsored by Sen. Tim Flakoll, (R-Fargo) neglect, abuse, and abandonment will be charged as misdemeanors for the first and second offenses, however prosecutors will have the discretion to charge someone with felony animal cruelty in cases of egregious mistreatment and to decide if it is neglect or animal abuse. A first offense felony could be charged only in cases where a person willfully commits animal cruelty.

According to, the amended bill limits “band, flock, herd, litter, pack or other collective of same species animals” as singular incidents or to be charged as a single offense.

In a recent egregious case in Morton and Burleigh counties, 100 horses died from neglect while another 150 horses suffered as a result of their owners’ neglect.

The North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty are encouraged by the legislation, but hope the House of Representatives will close some of the loopholes which could allow animal abusers to slip by the law. There are currently no provisions for cruelly and neglect for puppy mills and large scale breeders since breeding or training animals would be exempt.

The North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty is a coalition of animal shelters, veterinarians, animal control officers and concerned citizens who support reasonable animal cruelty laws to protect all animals of North Dakota.

Original Source: North Dakota Senate passes felony legislation for animal cruelty and abuse – National Pet Rescue |

Tax Break for foster pet parents

Tax Breaks for Pet Foster Parents – Philadelphia Animal Welfare |

From The Philadelphia Animal Welfare, with Amy Rossi

In a landmark tax court case, Jan Van Dusen emerged victorious against the IRS. Van Dusen claimed many tax deductions on her 2004 tax return, for all the expenditures she’d put out for the 70 (yes, you read that correctly) stray and feral cats she had fostered, as part of her volunteer work with Fix Our Ferals, a non-profit California charity.

Van Dusen claimed over $12,000 related to cat food, vet bills, garbage bags, and other items for her care of the cats. In 2009, a judge finally ruled that because her expenses were used toward a charitable organization, she was legally allowed to claim them. In fact, 90 percent of her vet bills, cleaning supplies, and food was tax deductible.

What does this mean for you?

If you’ve ever fostered an animal or know anyone who has, you’re probably aware of the expenses associated with it. Beside just opening your heart and home to an unfamiliar animal, you also usually have to provide food, gas used to transport the animal to vet appointments or potential adopter meetings, and all the supplies that come with taking care of an animal.

“People have claimed these types of expenses before, thinking it makes sense because they’re doing this service for a charitable organization, they should be able to recoup some of their out-of-pocket costs,” said Rachel Hirschfeld, estate planner since 1999 and pet trust lawyer who created the Pet Protection Agreement found on Hirschfeld was one of the first in the country to focus on pet trust laws for the security of pets’ futures in cases where their owners might no longer be able to care for them.

Hirschfeld is thrilled with Van Dusen’s victory. “There are so many people who want to foster and help animals, and this ruling will make it easier for everyone. More people will foster knowing it’s a legal expense and this will help the whole community,” she said. She suggested that a great next step would be tax deductions for people even after they’ve adopted the animals. “If you’re adopting from a charitable organization or shelter, you’re really helping out the shelter. The whole world would be a better place if people adopted more animals.” (Side note: I adopted my foster dog, and would love to know I could claim her expenses! Wouldn’t many of you feel the same way? I know I’m not alone as a “foster failure”).

How to get the most money back

Hirschfeld has some tips for foster parents planning to claim deductions on their taxes.

  • Collect and retain all your receipts associated with foster pet purchases
  • Write a note on every receipt and be specific (ie if you go to a hardware store and buy cat litter or lights for the room the dogs are kept in, circle the items on the receipt and write a note about the purpose of the item)
  • Remember that as of right now, the only tax-deductible purchases are for foster pets, not resident pets

“This is huge what’s happened here!” said Hirschfeld, and encourages all pet foster parents to take advantage of this and share with all their animal networks to help raise the rate of fostering, and thus saving, animals in shelters across the country. “This shows that people are starting to really see animals as actual beings.”

Ironically, Hirschfeld used to be terrified of animals. Now she tells the story of adopting her foster dog. “When you adopt an animal, it actually changes your heart.”

NOTE: An approved charity is one that is recognized by the IRS with the 501(c)(3) designation as a Non-Profit organization.

Original Source: Tax breaks for pet foster parents…make sure you claim yours – Philadelphia Animal Welfare |

Related article: Stray Cat Strut: Woman Beats IRS