150 attend PSPCA’s ‘Justice for Chloe and Hercules’ rally

Posted: July 13, 2012

The Pennsylvania SPCA is launching a new initiative to stop animal cruelty, spurred by a recent spate of violence against dogs and cats in the Philadelphia area.

At a rally Thursday night, PSPCA chief executive Jerry Buckley said the agency hoped to raise $100,000 to hire a full-time education coordinator and offer more programs for schools, community groups, camps and after-school activities. The rally was held in front of the agency's building on East Erie Avenue in North Philadelphia.

About 150 animal lovers attended "Justice for Chloe and Hercules," named for two pit-bull mixes who were set on fire in recent weeks. Chloe was found badly burned June 24 in East Germantown and died a day later. Hercules was found July 5 in East Oak Lane with severe burns. He is recovering at a New Jersey hospital, PSPCA officials said.

Donations have poured in to the PSPCA, allowing the agency to offer a $5,000 reward for information about Chloe, and $1,500 about Hercules.

Many of those who attended Thursday's rally were already donating to and volunteering for the agency, and many - including Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams - brought their dogs.

"I'm here with my daughters Taylor and Hope, and our best friend, Henry," he told the crowd, as the family's white Westie sat happily at his feet.

Williams noted that animal abuse happens every day, and that it takes many forms: hoarding, neglect, direct violence, fighting for sport, and being used as drug mules.

PSPCA officials said they hoped that public outreach would reduce those cases, which number about 8,000 a year in Philadelphia alone.

The educational programs will target middle school and high school students. At that age, Buckley said, it's easier to make an impression on people, to get them to change their thinking and recognize that "it isn't right" to mistreat animals.

George Bengal, the PSPCA's chief enforcement officer, said 98 percent of investigations begin with a tip from the public. Animal abuse may be reported to PSPCA's Anti-Cruelty Hotline, 866-601-7722.

Contact Jessica Parks at 215-854-2771 or jparks@philly.com.

comments powered by Disqus