Saturday, November 27, 2010

Animal CSI's helping bring a new level of justice

When federal investigators working the Michael Vick dogfighting case needed someone to dig up and analyze the remains of eight pit bulls buried on the football star’s Virginia property, they summoned Melinda Merck.
The nation’s top forensic veterinarian, Merck was one of the few specialists trained in processing crime scenes involving animals. Her job at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals involves helping prosecutors build court cases, and she saw that there weren’t nearly enough vets and other professionals with those skills.
Merck, 46, is trying to change that, co-founding a first-of-its-kind veterinary forensic science training program at the University of Florida. She and scientists from the university’s human forensics lab are sharing their expertise with animal-cruelty investigators, police and veterinarians who come to Gainesville from around the world.
In a nod to the popular TV shows, it’s already being called “Animal CSI.”
Demand for forensic veterinarians has been growing as many states have toughened their animal cruelty laws. And law enforcement agencies nationwide have increasingly recognized that people who abuse animals are more likely to commit crimes against people.
Hands-on seminars teach participants crime-scene processing and the preservation of evidence in cases of animal abuse and neglect such as those involving puppy mills, dogfighting and animal hoarding. Elements include exhuming remains, analyzing hair, fibers and blood splatter and even how insect life cycles and plant growth can yield clues about an animal’s death.
“With animal cruelty, there are usually no witnesses — or reluctant witnesses — and certainly the victims can’t testify, even if they’re alive,” Merck said. “So they’re always evidence-based cases.”
A partnership between the ASPCA and the university’s William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, the program has trained about 200 people so far, mostly through two- and three-day sessions. A certification program in the subject for UF students is in the works.
On a warm afternoon earlier this month deep in a forest near Gainesville, teams of six are sifted through cordoned-off “crimes scenes,” seeking evidence of buried animal remains. Each group had a scenario: One was investigating ritualistic animal sacrifice; others were looking into cases of animals being shot, strangled and stabbed by abusers. The students processed the carefully staged scenes, learning to build a criminal case that will stand up in court.
“We all get abuse or suspected abuse cases,” said Cheryl Clark of San Diego, a veterinarian for more than three decades who took meticulous notes as her group unearthed shreds of potential evidence.
“At this point in my career, I want to get some more precise knowledge to help other professional veterinarians. I want to help animals on a more global scale, so I think the way to do it is prosecute abusers and try to get laws changed and improved."
Others sweating in the woods included ASPCA field investigators, American Humane Association disaster-response team members and vets like Clark.
The idea for the program began with maggots. That’s the way Merck and Jason Byrd tell it. Byrd is a forensic entomologist at the university who has traveled the world helping CSI types discern clues from the life cycles of insects found on decomposing bodies.

Merck, then a private veterinarian in Atlanta, sought out Byrd in 2003 to analyze maggots found on animal remains as she sought to determine a time of death.
Merck eventually joined the ASPCA in Atlanta but continued to turn to Byrd for help. Soon they were holding workshops for law enforcement at the University of Florida. They organized the first international veterinary forensic sciences conference in 2008, and a year later Merck moved to Gainesville. She runs the program alongside Byrd, helped so far by more than $300,000 in ASPCA funding.
"She was really the first veterinarian in the country who came to law enforcement and said, ‘Teach me what you guys do.’ And she was the first person to religiously apply what we do at her crime scenes,” Byrd said.
Last year, Merck marshaled university-trained forensic teams to 25 crime scenes and helped break up the largest suspected dogfighting ring in U.S. history. The investigation rescued more than 400 pit bulls from six states and led to 26 arrests.
In the Vick case, Merck was given the grim task of excavating two mass graves containing the remains of eight dogs in order to determine exactly how they had died. Her findings corroborated what witnesses said about the NFL star and co-defendants killing underperforming animals by hanging, shooting, drowning and slamming them to the ground. Exhumed bones that showed signs of bites also supported dogfighting charges in the federal indictment.
“What we reconstructed was not consistent with his version of events,” Merck says of Vick.
The athlete was convicted in 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting ring and served 18 months in prison and two months of home confinement. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in August 2009, less than a month after his release and has since made speaking appearances urging people to show kindness toward animals.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Veal plant worker admits to abuse, plant closed

A former worker at Bushway Packing Inc. in Grand Isle, Vt., has pled guilty to one charge of aggravated cruelty to animals for his role in the abuse of veal calves at the plant last year.
Christopher Gaudette, 37, was caught on secretly taped video by an "investigator" for The Humane Society of the United States showing Gaudette excessively shocking non-ambulatory calves with electric prods and engaging in other abuse (Feedstuffs, Aug. 16).
He is to receive a sentence of one to three years in jail, which will be suspended to 30 days of work on a state work crew, according to Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell. He also will be prohibited from future work around live animals, Sorrell said.
A co-owner of the plant, Frank Perretta, 51, pled no contest in October to one charge of animal abuse and received a one-year suspended sentence. He also agreed to pay a $2,000 fine, perform 120 hours of community service and not work around live animals in the future.
The plant has been closed.

There is a petition circulating to ban veal production in the US. You may add your name here: PETITION

Please take a moment to sign your name and vow to go Meat Free this Thanksgiving

I know, many are reluctant to break the long standing tradition of Turkey or Ham on Thanksgiving, but we must take a moment to think about how these animals are treated or handled before they are sent along to become your dinner.

We are asking for all that care, please leave your name in the comments section to vow to go "Meat Free this T-Day."

Thank you.

Mistreatment of baby turkeys at hatchery exposed

An undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States has documented what the organization alleges is routine abuse and cruelty involving newly hatched turkey chicks at Willmar Poultry Co.
The Humane Society released its report and findings Tuesday.
The nonprofit organization is calling for the turkey industry to adopt more humane practices for disposing of sick and injured birds and for de-beaking baby turkeys.
“Most people don’t want animals to be treated cruelly,” said Paul Shapiro, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Willmar Poultry Co. said it was committed to meeting or exceeding science-based industry standards for the welfare of its turkeys.
“Willmar Poultry Company is a family-owned business. At WPC, we believe in the humane treatment of turkeys and aspire to do this throughout the company, including the raising, breeding, hatching and transporting of all our turkeys,” Richard VanderSpek, president and chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement.
An undercover investigator with the Humane Society of the United States worked at Willmar Poultry for 11 days in October, using a hidden camera to record how baby turkeys were treated.
Willmar Poultry was targeted for the investigation because “it’s the largest turkey hatchery in the nation,” Shapiro said.
“We’ve done several investigations at factory farms and slaughter plants but this is our first investigation at a turkey hatchery,” he said.
He said the Humane Society of the United States “wanted to shine the light on this part of their lives that few people are familiar with — the very first day of their lives.”
Among the allegations contained in the Humane Society of the United States report:
- Sick, deformed, injured and dying birds, as well as “leftovers” not needed for buyers’ orders, are routinely disposed of by being thrown alive into a grinder.
- Sick and injured birds are left in boxes or on the floor all day until being killed.
- Chicks are routinely de-beaked without first being given a painkiller.
- Chicks routinely have their back toes clipped off without a painkiller.
The report alleges that baby turkeys get trapped and injured in conveyor belts as they’re processed for shipment to farms. It also alleges that boxes filled with poults are sometimes stacked too high or unevenly and crash to the floor, scattering and injuring the turkey chicks inside.
Although the report was issued just two days before Thanksgiving, the peak time for turkey consumption in the U.S., the timing wasn’t deliberate, Shapiro said. “It’s just how it worked out,” he said.
The Humane Society of the United States is calling for more humane methods of handling sick and injured chicks. These birds should be promptly and humanely euthanized rather than left on the floor until the end of the day, Shapiro said.
The Humane Society of the United States also is urging the turkey industry to adopt more humane practices for de-beaking and declawing newly hatched poults.
The organization said there are no current federal laws governing the treatment of baby turkeys.
VanderSpek said Willmar Poultry Co. has policies and procedures for all aspects of turkey welfare.
Employees receive training and can face discipline if they don’t follow policy, he said.
The undercover video from the Humane Society of the United States does appear to identify actions by some employees that violate Willmar Poultry Co. animal welfare policies, he said. “We condemn any mistreatment of animals in our care and will take swift action to investigate and address those issues.”
He said Willmar Poultry also will review its policies, procedures, employee training and site monitoring to help make sure employees understand and follow the company’s animal welfare policies and procedures.
VanderSpek said the standards used at Willmar Poultry include the National Turkey Federation’s animal care guidelines, which are science-based and supported by the Federation of Animal Science Societies Animal Welfare Committee, the American Association of Avian Pathologists welfare subcommittee and the AAAP board of directors. National Turkey Federation guidelines also comply with World Organization for Animal Health standards, he said.
According to its website, Willmar Poultry Co. produces 45 million eggs a year, making it the largest turkey hatchery in the United States. Thirty million poults are hatched each year in Willmar and another 15 million at a custom hatchery in Foley, Minn. The company has been an innovator in poultry genetics, biotechnology and engineering.
The Humane Society of the United States report prompted the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker counties to issue a statement Tuesday reminding the public that the local humane society is neither affiliated with nor receives funding from the Humane Society of the United States.
“While we deplore animal cruelty, our focus is on companion animals and not on any alleged industry abuses,” the local organization said in a statement.

Farmer charged after starving his cattle

A 62 year-old man has pleaded guilty to 2 counts of animal cruelty after a herd of starving and dying cattle was discovered at his farm at Tenterden this year.
The Mount Barker Magistrates Court heard more than 20 cattle from Thomas Ward Irving's herd of 660 had to be put down and the rest were in a very poor condition.
Irving was fined $4,000 and must pay $45,000 in costs to the RSPCA.
He was also banned from keeping cattle unless he receives RSPCA approval.

100 pit bulls being rescued from dog fighting operation

Search warrants are currently being executed for suspected dog fighting operations in South Georgia in two separate raids underway in Berrien and Cook counties.  More than 100 pit bulls are involved.
Norred & Associates Inc, an Atlanta private investigation and security firm, initiated the dog fighting investigations approximately six months ago.  Information and evidence was provided to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s office of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit. This information was confirmed by the GBI.  As a result, search warrants were obtained by the GBI and are being executed in cooperation with law enforcement officials in Berrien and Cook counties.  
According to Norred Investigator Chuck Simmons, a number of observations during the course of the investigation prompted today’s raids. “The pit bulls were observed with severe scarring on their muzzles and forelegs consistent with wounds observed in other dog fighting operations,” said Simmons. “There were additional forms of abuse including lack of water and food and emaciated dogs. The dogs were being maintained in a manner that has been observed in other dog fighting operations.“
The Atlanta Humane Society, working in conjunction with Norred and local law enforcement, has deployed its HEART, or Humane Emergency Animal Rescue Team, to help triage and transport the rescued dogs.
For over three years, Greg Norred, CEO and Founder of Norred & Associates, has contributed his company’s expertise and financial resources to investigating suspected dog fighting in Georgia and surrounding states. Twenty-six raids have resulted in 48 arrests of individuals involved and rescues of 600 dogs. In addition to their investigations, the company has instituted a toll-free animal cruelty hotline—1.877.215.2250—that enables private citizens to report dog fighting and other cases of suspected animal abuse anonymously.

Man again facing animal abuse charges even after dragging a dog to death 17 years prior

An 41-year-old Aurora man is again facing animal abuse charges, 17 years after he was sentenced to prison for dragging another dog to death.
Phillip Rinn of the 300 block of South Kendall Street was charged last Monday with misdemeanor cruelty to animals, the Kane County sheriff’s office said. At 8:30 a.m. Nov. 15, police were called for a report of a man beating a dog.
Investigators determined that Rinn was punching a 1-year-old Lab Shepherd mix named Magda, police said. The dog had several broken teeth and was taken to the VAC Aurora Animal Hospital for treatment. Police said the animal is expected to recover from its injuries.
The Kane County state’s attorney’s office is reviewing the case and may upgrade the charges to a felony, police said. Rinn posted $100 bond Nov. 16.
In 1993, Rinn pleaded guilty to cruelty to an animal. Police officers testified that Rinn admitted to chaining his dog “Royal” by the neck and dragging it down Peck Road a short distance in an attempt to kill it.
When the dog didn’t die, officials said Rinn told them he pulled over onto a roadside grassy area and ran over the dog. Rinn explained he was mad at the dog because it had chewed his car’s vinyl roof and tried to bite his wife, the officers said.
Rinn was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 100 hours of community service for that incident.

Two men charged after attempting to burn cat in oven

Two men who face arson and burglary charges in Cleveland County District Court are accused of placing a cat in an oven while trying to set fire to a Norman transition house last week.

Michael John Ketcham, 20, and Brandon Ke Reed, 18, also are suspected of setting two fires at an abandoned chapel and another fire to a vehicle Thursday morning on the Griffin Memorial Hospital grounds, and of having stolen property from the transition house and a hardware store.
Each man was charged Friday with two counts of second-degree burglary, single counts of second-, third- and fourth-degree arson, endangering human life during arson, and cruelty to animals.
Sheriff's detectives found and interviewed Ketcham and Reed on Thursday, according to a sheriff's news release. The statement said the suspects tried to set the transition house on fire by using an accelerant and attempted to kill a cat by placing it in an oven with the fire combustibles.
Deputies later found the cat at the scene with injuries to its paws.

Man charged after 161 cats found in home, sick and dying

A northwest Florida man who once had 161 cats will spend 30 days in jail on animal cruelty charges.
Larry Kruger was sentenced Monday. He received credit for ten days he spent in jail after his March 22 arrest on eight felony charges causing pain and suffering to animals and 161 misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty.
His attorney says the 62-year-old Kruger is a hoarder. A veterinarian told the court Kruger had spent $28,000 on health care for his animals.
But the cats were sick with a host of intestinal diseases and parasites. The home was overrun with feces. Eight dead cats were found in a freezer, waiting to be sent for cremation.
Kruger pleaded guilty on Oct. 26. He will also spend the next six years on probation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nitro's law needs support

Ohio - The cruel, senseless death of a beloved dog named Nitro is the driving force behind supporters of Nitro's Law HB70. Nitro was a dog that was starved to death back in October 2008 while in the care of High Caliber K-9 in Youngstown, Ohio.
Nitro, a family's beloved Rottweiler, was one of 19 dogs that grievously suffered at this boarding and training facility.
Nitro had been sent to High Caliber K-9 for a board and train "summer camp" after his owners thoroughly researched the facility. The kennel owner, Steve Croley, came highly recommended - there was nothing that would have led Nitro's owners to be concerned for his welfare.
But the facility's failure to return a dog to an owner caused law enforcement and animal welfare agencies to conduct a raid on the kennel in late October. What authorities found was stomach turning.
Dehydrated, emaciated and deceased dogs were found in the kennels at High Caliber K-9. Fifteen of the dogs discovered were being boarded there, 4 others,belonging to the owner, were also in horrifying condition.
Of the 19 dogs discovered on the property, 7 were dead, the remaining were in terrible condition. Among the dead was the emaciated body of Nitro.
When Croley was questioned, he told officials that times were hard and there was no money for food for the dogs. Why this man could not reach out to the dog's owners to ask them to retrieve their dogs, or to the community for help - is an entirely different topic.
Nitro's Law HB70 has stemmed from this devastating incident. Animal welfare laws in Ohio are terribly outdated. Nitro's Law HB 70 seeks to amend section 959.99 of the Revised Code to increase the penalty for violation of the prohibition against cruel treatment of a companion animal by the animal's custodian or caretaker to a felony of the fifth degree.
The law passed the House of Representatives in February 2010, but it has stalled. Supporters of the bill are concerned because it has been sitting in the Criminal Justice Committee since that time - if it does not get to the Senate floor for a vote by year's end, it will die and more animals will suffer as a result.
The Nitro Foundation is encouraging individuals to reach out to law makers and ask them to move forward on this crucial legislation.

Six pit bulls found malnourished/abused

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Georgetown County Deputies are searching for the owners of six dogs found malnourished and possibly used as fighting dogs in the Jock Trail area of the county.
Authorities say on Nov. 19 deputies responded to the Oatland Section of Georgetown County in reference to animal cruelty, and discovered six Pit Bulls chained up behind an abandoned residence.
Three male and three female dogs were suffering the weight of heavy duty logging chains and several were out of reach of water, according to the deputies' report. All dogs were reported to be in poor health and displayed evidence of possible fighting injuries.
St. Frances Animal Center reports that the dogs showed aggressive behavior toward other animals. In addition, all six dogs exhibited signs of physical abuse by humans.
Anyone with any information in reference to the owners of these animals or any information regarding dog fighting please contact the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office at (843) 546-5102.
Anonymous tips can also be sent by using Text-A-Tip, Just text the word "GCSOTIP" to 274637 and your message from any text enabled cell phone.

Michael Vick going to schools to educate about animal abuse

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Students at Hillhouse and Wilbur Cross high schools are in for a treat Tuesday – NFL football star Michael Vick, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, will be paying them a visit to talk about animal cruelty.

Vick is making the rounds at schools across the country as part of his rehabilitation after serving 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring.

One of the NFL’s biggest stars, Vick will also talk to the students about the importance of going to college.

On Sunday, Vick ran and passed the Philadelphia Eagles to a victory over the New York Giants in Philadelphia.

Vick is expected to touch on the New Haven Promise, the city’s newly launched scholarship program.

The Promise program offers a free college education to students who live in the city, graduate from New Haven public or charter schools, and maintain certain academic and attendance goals.

Yale University is funding the scholarship portion of the Promise program and the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven is covering administrative costs.

He will be joined by Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, on the visits to Hillhouse at 10:30 a.m. and Cross at noon.

The pair will talk to kids about the cruelty of dogfighting and other forms of animal exploitation and about the responsibilities associated with taking care of animals.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrity Chef refuses to Remove Foie Gras from menu

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain gave a speech today while local residents held a banner outside displaying the cruelty involved in the production of foie gras, or liver from force fed ducks.
Bourdain has been an outspoken defender of the controversial appetizer, made by ramming large metal pipes down the throats of ducks and pumping them full of massive quantities of food to the point where they are sick and dying, according to animal cruelty investigators who have documented the process.
"Anthony Bourdain has made many false and misleading statements about foie gras production," states Bryan Pease, Esq., President of the Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL). "He has even claimed that the ducks in Hudson Valley Foie Gras approach the force-feeders, but I have witnessed that they actually struggle to get as far from the force-feeders as their pen or cage allows them to."
Bourdain does not defend all controversial eating practices and has gone on record saying that he has taken pains to ensure that he is never offered dog or cat meat.
The production of foie gras by force feeding has been banned in at least 15 countries, and the state of California banned sale of the product, effective 2012. Six city councils have supported a ban. Chicago also banned the cruel delicacy from 2006-2008, but Mayor Richard Daley gave his former chief of staff and Illinois Restaurant Association lobbyist the clout she needed to get the ban repealed for her clients.
While the Chicago ban was in effect, some chefs experimented with various faux foie gras dishes which were received well by restaurant critics, with the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel noting that it was virtually indistinguishable from foie gras.
The Animal Protection & Rescue League has been holding protests nationwide at restaurants that continue serving liver from force fed ducks. Animal cruelty investigators for the organization have documented what they allege to be animal torture in the three U.S. foie gras facilities and several in France. Their video narrated by Sir Roger Moore, the early James Bond Actor, is posting at
Celebrity chefs who have renounced foie gras because of the animal cruelty include Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter. Dozens of other restaurants have removed the item as well, listed on under "Campaign."

The petition to ban Foie Gras in the US may be found here:   Petition Site

"Crush" videos ban before Senate

WASHINGTON — Videos appealing to a sexual fetish by showing women killing small animals will be banned under legislation that cleared the Senate on Friday and is headed to President Obama for his signature.
The voice vote in the Senate followed a vote in the House on Monday to ban so-called crush videos that depict the abuse and killing of animals.
Congress banned such videos in 1999, but the Supreme Court earlier this year struck down the law, saying it was too broadly written and violated 1st Amendment free-speech protections.
The more narrowly crafted bill going to the White House makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos that violate bans on animal cruelty by showing animals being burned, drowned, suffocated or impaled.
"Animal torture videos are barbaric and have no place in a civilized society," said Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), one of the House sponsors. "By promising to lock up the people who produce and distribute these videos we can work to put a halt to this horrendous practice."
Crush videos typically show women, often barefoot or wearing high heels, stomping small animals to death.
Every state bans animal cruelty, but it has been difficult to apply those laws to crush videos because they often do not show faces, dates or locations. The legislation makes interstate sale of such videos a crime subject to fines and imprisonment.
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley), a sponsor of the original bill in 1999, said in a previous statement that another reason to ban the videos was the tendency in some people to transfer cruelty to animals to cruelty to humans. He cited the cases of famed killers such as Ted Bundy and Ted Kaczynski, saying they tortured or killed animals before killing people.
The legislation makes exceptions for films depicting hunting, trapping and fishing.

To view and sign the people's petition banning the production of these videos, click here:  PETITION SITE

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Woman's Ignorance kills dog

SOMERVILLE — Virginia E. Hendricks, 63, of Hillsborough was charged with animal cruelty in connection with leaving an unattended dog in a car with fatal results.
According to investigators, police arrived at the rear parking lot of 50 W. Main St. on April 30 at 4:36 p.m. to find Hendricks standing next to a beige 1999 Toyota Camry. In her arms was a dead dog, a white Bijon Frise.
Police said all the car windows were closed at the time officers arrived, and the temperature outdoors was 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hendricks said she left the dog in the car for about 20 minutes and thought she had left a window ajar, according to police. Witnesses at the scene told police they had previously seen Hendricks frequently park her car in the same lot leaving the dog inside for long periods of time with the car windows closed.
Hendricks said she would contact a veterinarian to make arrangements for the dog’s remains.
 Police are skeptical of her alleged "ignorance" to the danger of leaving her dog in a closed car and the case remains open for invesitgation.

"We would like to take the time to remind everyone - with summer coming and warmer temperatures, DON'T LEAVE YOUR DOG/CAT/FRIEND IN A CLOSED CAR! This can be fatal! Would you do this to your child?"

Man microwaves pet cat

NEWS RELEASE:  Animal Cruelty Charges
Incident: Animal Cruelty
Date of Incident: 20 April 2010
Location: 1500 block of May Drive, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Mark Laird, 20, Salisbury, MD
Narrative: On 20 April 2010 at 4:00 PM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into animal cruelty that allegedly occurred inside a residence in the 1500 block of May Drive in Salisbury. During the investigation the deputy learned that Mark Laird was accused of placing a cat that belonged to the complainant into the microwave and turning it on. Upon initiating the investigation, the complainant advised that the cat went outside and has not been seen since the microwave and is believed to have possibly succumbed as a result. After meeting with both the suspect and witnesses, the deputy determined that the incident warranted charges being filed.
The deputy completed an Application for Statement of Charges and received a warrant for Laird’s arrest from the District Court Commissioner. On 28 April 2010 the deputy placed Laird under arrest for Animal Cruelty. After processing at the Central Booking Unit and an initial appearance in front of the District Court Commissioner, Laird was released on Personal recognizance.

May Newsletter

Hello all,

It's been some time since our last post... for that I apologize. I've been spending ALOT of time at work recently and have been basically coming home to sleep. :-)

It's time to get back to work here and I expect to post more in the coming days on news, events and other goings on.

Once again, thanks for sticking with us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Moment Of Silence

Good evening everyone,

It is with great sadness that I report that the stray cat that my family had adopted was hit and killed by a car today while trying to come home.

She had bolted out the door when company came to visit this morning and we were confident that within a half hour or so she would be back, crying to be let in (this is what she would always do when she wanted in. That or climb the windowscreens.)

Shadowfax was a very pretty little girl with long white hair and piercing eyes.

Our house was built in 1860 along the main street in town which is unfortunately VERY busy. I found her in the middle of the road facing the house and can only assume that she was on her way home to us and never made it. Just 30 more feet and she would be on my lap now.

Please take a moment today to hug your cat, dog, or other furry friends and cherish every single moment that you have with them. You'll never realize how huge a part of your life that they really are until they're gone.

Shadow fax went from being a starving, frozen stray that came to sit in front of my store one night to a spoiled-rotten princess that slept on my couch.  We will always miss her and only hope that wherever she is now, they have an unlimited supply of toys, food and good upholstery for her to lounge on forever.

I leave you with these thoughts:

"Dost thou cherish life?
Then do not squander time
for it is the thing life is made of."

                - Benjamin Franklin

Thank you all!

Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all the people that have helped us so far!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Montana Rancher Starves More Than 200 Goats, Horses

Dogs, and cats, and... goats, oh my!
A Montana rancher in a community where there really are more goats than people is facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly starving 200 of those goats to death.
Neighbors of Dodson-area rancher Jon Carman alerted state livestock officials to the suspected abuse Feb. 4. Investigators went to check it out and reported finding hundreds of dead goats, including babies, piled on top of each other in a barn.
Three others are said to have died with their heads stuck in a fence, with still more found in a trailer.
Dodson allegedly locked the animals in a barn without food or water for more than a month. Phillips County Sheriff Tom Miller says a few goats and two horses on the property survived.
Dodson was arrested, and pleaded not guilty to aggravated animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Please take action against this and sign our petition to make sure that he receives the maximum sentence.

Puppy Thrown In Dumpster May Have New Home

A case of animal neglect in Davenport. A puppy stuffed in a duffel bag and thrown into a dumpster outside the Freight House in downtown Davenport.

Luckily for her, Freight House maintenance worker Jaret Gelande was heading to the dumpster when he just happened to see a set of big eyes staring back at him. "I bent over to pick up the garbage can and dump it in. Well, I look into the garbage can and I see the little puppy sitting inside the garbage can and I'm like, ‘No, no, no, that can't be.'"

But it was. A black and white puppy, about 3 months old, her head poking out of a duffel bag. Gelande says, "The bag was almost zipped up. I think the dog used its nose to unzip it and get out."

His first thought? "No way. No way would somebody be that stupid to do that to a dog."

Gelande says someone tossed the puppy into the dumpster along a busy road Monday afternoon. He thinks he found her about half an hour later. "It was just sitting in the back of the garbage can - shaking. That to me is just a heartless act by a coward. It shook her up real bad."

With a little coaxing, Gelande was able to calm her down and brought her inside. He looked through her bag for ID, but instead found tennis balls, a leash and some chew toys.

Now she's settling into a routine at the Scott County Humane Society. Executive Director Pam Arndt says no matter how many times an animal is dumped - it's still shocking. "You would think that you would go, ‘Oh great, another one.' But you don't. You just go, ‘What is wrong with people, why do they do this?'"

But there are also people like Jaret Gelande, who's just happy he noticed her, and can't seem to get her off his mind. "I would've really felt bad if something would've happened to something that sweet and that cute. In 5 days, if the dog doesn't have a home, it will, ‘cause I'm taking it home."

The shelter's policy is to hold strays for 6 days. They think this puppy is a Jack Russell / Beagle mix and her initial health tests look good. If Gelande passes a background check and the puppy passes a behavior test, the two could end up together.

Gelande says from now on, they'll be keeping the gates to the dumpster closed and locked.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shelter Dog Finds New Life, Goes to Chile to Help

LONGMONT, Colorado — Joe is on his first rescue mission.
The yellow Labrador that was on the adoption block at Longmont Humane Society a few years ago is on his way to Chile to help rescue survivors trapped in the rubble after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks devastated parts of central Chile early Saturday, killing more than 700 people.
Joe and his handler, Linda Tacconelli, deployed on their first mission Monday morning.
They are one of six teams — part of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force based in Los Angeles County — heading to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif., to catch a military transport plane to Chile.
“The whole purpose there, of course, is to find and identify and alert rescuers to live humans that have been trapped,” National Disaster Search Dog Foundation canine manager Karen Klingberg said Monday.
“They need to be able to focus their rescue efforts before it becomes a recovery effort.”
When Joe arrived at the Longmont Humane Society in 2007, employees and volunteers quickly discovered his endless energy for playing fetch, LHS training and behavior department coordinator Sarah Clusman said Monday.
But after Joe had been at the shelter for “quite a while” without being adopted, Clusman had another idea: search and rescue.
She worked with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, based in Ojai, Calif., to drill Joe, running him through a series of tests: throwing balls and toys into bushes, throwing them when he wasn’t looking, allowing him to watch the throw then spinning him around and around before releasing him to search.
He found his target every time.
“One time, it was stuck up in a tree; he could see it, but he couldn’t reach it, and he just kept jumping up and down trying to get it,” Clusman said. “He practically climbed the tree.”

Klingberg watched Joe’s tests on YouTube and liked what she saw. She flew to Denver in late December 2007 to pick him up and fly with him (he wormed his way from the floor onto the airplane seats) back to California. Joe graduated from his initial training program in July 2008 and was paired with Tacconelli, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., Klingberg said.
The two continued working together, training intensively to pass the difficult tests to become a FEMA-certified search-and-rescue team. They were certified in October.
“This shelter dog that was dumped turned into this fantastic animal, which Joe very much is,” Klingberg said.
Unlike Haiti, which was devastated Jan. 12 by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake, Chile has a structured government with emergency response teams in place, Klingberg said.
“(But) their resources are stretched so thin, they cannot keep up with everything; they have finally asked for our help,” she said.
When task force members arrive, they likely will be briefed by Chilean officials, but no one yet knows exactly where the teams will be sent to work, Klingberg said.
The teams will be there for two weeks. NDSDF provided them with satellite phones, she said, “so we’re hoping to hear from them on occasion.”

Donate To Humane Societies To Help Animals In Need!!


We would like to take a moment to remind you to donate to Humane Societies and shelters whenever you can. Many, many animals are in need of our help and most may never find their forever homes without it.

Thank you,

CLAWS Admins

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

'Foie Gras' French for "Cruelty"?

Please watch the video and then follow the link to a petition to ban Foie Gras in the United States.


Support Stronger Regulation of Pet Food Industry!!!

 This just came to us from a friend and I thought I would really like to share this story with you...

Currently, these are quotes from the United States FDA website regarding regulation of pet food safety:

"The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled."

"There is no requirement that pet food products have pre-market approval by the FDA. However, FDA ensures that the ingredients used in pet food are safe and have an appropriate function in the pet food."

If that's all true, then how do they explain this?:

This photo was taken yesterday at her workplace. She noticed a truck come, take a couple of barrels from behind the store and replace them with two more. She asked the manager what they were for and he replied that: "They were for disposing of the nasty stuff we can't use... it'll make people sick." Needless to say, she went around later on a cig break, saw the label, and was FURIOUS!

Out of curiosity, she decided to stake out the barrels for a day and was horrified by what she saw: people using them to dump used motor oil, garbage and as toilets.

So... what I want to know now is how does the FDA define "inedible"? Does that also fall under "safe" and "appropriate function"?

Please sign our petition to ask the FDA to STOP FEEDING OUR FRIENDS POISON!

Help Save Animals On Factory Farms!!

Through the support of Action For Animals, CLAWS has now posted a "click to donate" link on our page (scroll all the way to the bottom)

It's free, click as many times as you like,  and help us help these animals that desperately need it.

Thank you.


Monday, March 1, 2010

March 2010 Newsletter

Wow guys! It's been a busy month here, how about you?

Lots of posts, articles and even a few petitions... we think February was a great success and again want to thank you, our followers, for your support.

As stated back in January, we are still planning a peaceful demonstration in City Park in Denver, CO this summer and are now in the paperwork phase (permits, licenses, etc.) and hope to have it all ready in time!

In regards to this, there is even a company that we are currently working out a deal with a company that is offering to make us t-shirts, hats, etc. and allow us to donate the proceeds directly to animal shelters and humane societies wherever there is a need! That's what we're looking for - a way to help.

Thank you all again so much and let's make March a great month as well. Remember: "1000 Hearts United" and please invite friends, co-workers and even family to join as well. We would LOVE to have 1000 members before summer.

Hope you are all well,

Ethan & Krystall - Founders & Chairpersons, CLAWS

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Do You Define Human?

 Exactly what does it take for someone to define human behaviors? The following example should show that we are not that different from the animals around us:

A Russian chimpanzee has been sent to rehab by zookeepers to cure the smoking and beer-drinking habits he has picked up, a popular daily reported on Friday.
An ex-performer, Zhora became aggressive at his circus and was transferred to a zoo in the southern Russian city of Rostov, where he fathered several baby chimps, learned to draw with markers and picked up his two vices.
"The beer and cigarettes were ruining him. He would pester passers-by for booze," the Komsomolskaya Pravda paper said.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What DO cats do when they're home alone?

What do cats do when their owners are away? There was one way to find out – "cat cams."
Fifty house cats were given collar cameras that took a photo every 15 minutes. The results put a digital dent in some human theories about catnapping.
Based on the photos, about 22 percent of the cats' time was spent looking out of windows, 12 percent was used to interact with other family pets and 8 percent was spent climbing on chairs or kitty condos. Just 6 percent of their hours were spent sleeping.
"What surprised me was how active the cats were. I believed my three cats were sleeping during the day," said Jill Villarreal, an animal behavior scientist who collected the data for Nestle Purina PetCare's Friskies brand of cat food.
The 777 photos studied by Villarreal showed the cats looking at a television, computer, DVDs or other media 6 percent of the time and hiding under tables 6 percent of the time.
Coming in at 5 percent was playing with toys; eating or looking at food finished at 4 percent.
Will the cats get movie cameras next? "We are in the think tank now," Villarreal said.

Remove Ken Salazar!!

Recently, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar enacted a plan to remove Endangered Species protections for Wolves in the western US. This will lead to 1000's of wolves deaths.

We move for the removal of Ken Salazar... seems fair, doesn't it?

Please sign the petition and leave your thoughts on the comments area.

Thank you.

Promote Your Blog

Thank you for not smoking... indoors

Everyone knows that second hand smoke is bad for people, but does anyone consider how bad it can be for their pets?

Animals can be just as sensitive to airborne pollutants as humans and if you smoke, there is a chance that you are one of those many people that do it inside your home. You take your pets for their checkups, take them for walks and feed them only the best food; you're doing good right?

Well, every time you light up indoors and around your animals, you could very well be undoing all of that good.

Pet owners are rightly concerned about the safety of the food they feed their pets, in light of this year’s wide spread recalls. But pet owners who smoke might be inflicting just as much harm, a veterinarian warns.
Dr. Carolynn MacAllister, an Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service veterinarian, says if secondhand smoke is harmful to people, then it stands to reason it hurts animals too.
“There have been a number of scientific papers recently that have reported the significant health threat secondhand smoke poses to pets,” MacAllister said. “Secondhand smoke has been associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, as well as lung cancer in birds.”
She said a study conducted recently at Tufts College of Veterinary Medicine found a strong correlation between secondhand smoke and certain forms of cancer in cats.
The number of cats with mouth cancer, also known as squamous cell carcinoma, was higher for those animals living in smoking environments versus those felines living in a smoke-free home. In addition, cats that lived with smokers for five or more years had an even higher incidence of this type of oral cancer.

Fatal fur

“One reason cats are so susceptible to secondhand smoke is because of their grooming habits. Cats constantly lick themselves while grooming, therefore they lick up the cancer-causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur,” MacAllister said. “This grooming behavior exposes the mucous membrane of their mouth to the cancer-causing carcinogens.”
Malignant lymphoma is another type of cancer that cats that live with smokers have a higher risk of getting.
This cancer occurs in the lymph nodes and cats are twice as likely to have this type of cancer compared to cats living in a non-smoking home. This form of cancer is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing the cancer.

Polluting the pooch

MacAllister also pointed out that secondhand smoke is greatly associated with the increased occurrence of cancer in the nose and sinus area among dogs. Research also indicates a slight association with lung cancer.
“A recent study conducted at Colorado State University shows that there is a higher incidence of nasal tumors in dogs living in a home with secondhand smoke compared to dogs living in a smoke free environment,” she said. “The increased incidence was specifically found among the long nosed breed of dogs. Shorter or medium nosed dogs showed higher rates for lung cancer.”
MacAllister said the longer nosed breeds of dogs have a great surface area in their noses that is exposed to the carcinogens. This also provides more area in which the carcinogens can accumulate. The carcinogens tend to build up on the mucous membranes of long nosed dogs so not as much reaches the lungs.
Unfortunately, dogs affected with nasal cancer normally do not survive more than one year.
“The reason short and medium nose dogs have a higher occurrence of lung cancer is because their shorter nasal passages aren’t as effective at accumulating the inhaled secondhand smoke carcinogens,” she said. “This results in more carcinogens reaching the lungs.”

Canaries in cages

Pet birds also are victims of secondhand smoke. A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air.
MacAllister said the most serious consequences of secondhand smoke exposure in birds are pneumonia or lung cancer. Other health risks include eye, skin, heart and fertility problems.
Secondhand smoke is not the only danger faced by pets that live in smoke filled environments. Poisoning is another risk they face.
“Curious pets can eat cigarettes and other tobacco products if the products aren’t stored properly,” MacAllister said. “When ingested, this can cause nicotine poisoning, which can be fatal.”
It is important, both for the health of pets and others living in the household, that the smoker has a designated area in which to smoke that is physically separated from the home. In addition, always keep cigarettes, cigarette butts and other tobacco products put away.
“A better choice that could enhance your chances of enjoying a healthier lifestyle with your family and pets would be to stop smoking altogether,” MacAllister said.

Kingston's Story

 The following is a story that was emailed to us by an employee of a local animal shelter:

In early December of 2006, we received a phone call from a gentleman seeking assistance for an abandoned dog that had been living in an alley behind his house. The gentleman, James, had been trying for weeks to gain the dog’s trust and had made little progress as the dog was very skittish, probably meaning he had been on his own for most of his life. The best James could offer was to provide the dog with food and water and blankets, in the hopes that this brought the dog with some comfort. James suspected the dog was living under a car parked in the alley and according to neighbors, had shown up in the area at the start of the many snowstorms and frigid nights we endured.
On the morning that James contacted us, the dog was hit by a car speeding down the alley and then picked up by animal control. Animal control reported that they suspected the dog was a pit bull mix, and would thereby be euthanized after being held at the shelter for a certain number of days. James immediately contacted area rescue groups, hoping that someone would be able to save the dog from the fate that awaited him, due to his breed, and work with the dog while he learned to once again trust in people. Two rescue groups offered solace to this poor dog, and the dog was placed in foster care at a kenneling facility to await a foster home.
Three weeks following the dog’s rescue, a fire broke out in the kenneling facility where the dog was being housed, and he died along with two other dogs. James had visited the dog, which he named Kingston, a number of times during his stay at the kennel, and was so relieved to finally see Kingston, finally safe, warm and cared for. It is beyond heartbreaking for all of us who knew, or had only heard of Kingston, to know what he suffered, only to meet such an end.
Unfortunately, too many animals experience horrible things as a result of the decisions made on their behalf. Kingston’s story highlights so many areas where much work is left to be done. Please spay and neuter your animals, and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Every unwanted dog and cat pays the price of pet overpopulation and very, very few will find their way into forever homes. Question breed specific legislation and breed bans. Educate yourself about the breeds and breed mixes under fire right now and acknowledge that legislation proven to be ineffective is determining the fate of hundreds of thousands of dogs, based solely upon what they look like. Cultivate compassion for all creatures. Animals depend on us to make the right decisions for them. Care for them as you would want to be cared for, with kindness and respect.
We dedicate our ‘In Memory of’ page to Kingston, in the hopes that his life and death will bring us all closer to allowing our lives to be guided by compassion and giving.

Animal Abuser Registry Moves Forward

A bill to establish a publicly accessible statewide registry of people convicted of felony cruelty to animals, introduced Monday in California, would, if passed, be the nation's first such registry. And proponents hope it will spawn similar legislation in more states.
To capitalize on the buzz surrounding the California bill, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has launched a website — — with data and model legislation to prompt grass-roots efforts to get more animal-abuser registry laws passed.

"The idea is to protect a vulnerable population at risk of abuse," much as sex offender registries warn communities of sexual predators in the area, so the public, shelters and law enforcement can work together to keep animals safer, the fund's Stephan Otto says.
Bills similar to the one in California have been proposed in Rhode Island, Colorado and Tennessee, though none became law. But this year there's confidence about passage, partly because it's favored by California's Senate majority leader, Dean Florez, and because "this is an example of law catching up with society's values," Otto says.
"Cruelty against animals is happening every hour of every day," says Joyce Tischler, the fund's co-founder. Studies link such abuse with violence against humans, so monitoring animal abusers can be vital to public safety, she says.
Still, such registries aren't universally applauded. Opponents have many concerns, says Randall Lockwood, a cruelty expert at the ASPCA. Among them: Is it fair to offenders who have served their sentences to wear a life-long label? Will offenders plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid registry inclusion?
"An upside is that a registry enlists the public in the monitoring process," he says. But many worry "a spirit of public vigilantism" could arise, prompting people to "take revenge on an offender who in their minds has not been suitably punished by the legal system."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

United States Armed Forces - Covering Up F**K-Ups Since 1778

Colorado Springs, CO -  23 year old Jackson Czechowicz, a United States Army soldier just returned from a tour in Iraq, was arrested by Colorado Springs Police on Monday afternoon after a neighbor had called saying that Czechowicz had beheaded a dog in his backyard after kicking it fiercely with his boots.

The neighbor admits to peeping from his upstairs window and says that he saw Czechowicz drag the dog outside and kick and beat him for a few moments before he: "Reached down in one clean motion and severed his head with a few hard hacks from what appeared to be a combat knife." Says the witness.

Police were skeptical until the body and weapon were discovered in the suspect's dumpster, wrapped in trash bags. Czechowicz was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty and neglect and appeared before a county court judge early Wednesday morning.

Jackson spent his speaking time whining and complaining to the judge that: "It was his dog and he did as he pleased with it." He further went on to state that: "He didn't understand what the big deal was." The judge did note that Jackson has had TWO previous complaints of animal abuse and neglect filed against him by neighbors and friends and has had a previous conviction for assaulting the child of a girlfriend three years ago.

(Here's the REAL kicker:)

Czechowicz has opted to fire his court appointed attorney in favor of a US Armed Forces Legal Aide that has taken his case. Their first move? Dismiss the charges claiming that Czechowicz is suffering from PTSD from his tour overseas and should be given special consideration for his veteran status.

Essentially, the US Army is asking a civilian court (with every jurisdictional right) to dismiss this case and let him go because he's one of their own. They state that: "He will be dealt with by our own courts and manner of justice."

If that isn't the most egotistical, self-serving load of crap that has even been told...

We at CLAWS feel that this isn't right. This man should NOT be given special consideration for his status (when it comes to committing crimes) and should HAVE TO ANSWER to the law LIKE ANYONE ELSE would. We are aware that the US Armed Forces have had a long history of training men to think with a "Gun and God Complex" frame of mind and simply have had enough.

Please sign the petition to see to it that he not be released to courtmartial by a sympathetic group of friends and spends time in a civilian jail where he WILL NOT be given special treatment. The link is below.

Please take a moment to join us and be "1000 Hearts United." It's free, takes very little time and together we can help stamp out animal abuse wherever it may exist. Click here: Join Here

Monday, February 22, 2010

And A Child Shall Show Us The Way.....

This is a letter from 8 year old Caeleigh Nelson to the Canadian Prime Minister regarding her thoughts on conservation:

It is 4 pages long.

It's truly amazing to me that an 8 year old child can see the problems with our world and yet our "adult" elected leaders cannot.

Animal Abuser Registry?

SAN FRANCISCO — California may soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.

The proposal, made in a bill introduced Friday by the State Senate’s majority leader, Dean Florez, would be the first of its kind in the country and is just the latest law geared toward animal rights in a state that has recently given new protections to chickens, pigs and cattle.
Mr. Florez, a Democrat who is chairman of the Food and Agriculture Committee, said the law would provide information for those who “have animals and want to take care of them,” a broad contingent in California, with its large farming interests and millions of pet owners. Animal protection is also, he said, a rare bipartisan issue in the state, which has suffered bitter partisan finger-pointing in the wake of protracted budget woes.
“We have done well with these laws,” he said.
Last fall, California became the first state to outlaw so-called tail-docking of dairy cows, where the tail is partly amputated to ease milking. In 2008, voters in the state passed Proposition 2, which gave hens, calves and pigs more room in their crates or cages. That law has upset many in the California egg industry and prompted some agriculturally-minded residents to even talk about seceding from the state.
Under Mr. Florez’s bill, any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s offense.
The bill was drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal-protection group based in Cotati, Calif., north of San Francisco. The group has promoted the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes.
“We know there’s a link between those who abuse animals and those who perform other forms of violence,” said Stephan Otto, the group’s director of legislative affairs. “Presumably if we’re able to track animal abusers and be able to know where they live, there will be less opportunity where those vulnerable to them would be near them.”
In addition to sex offenders, California lists arsonists in an online registry, and the animal abusers would be listed on a similar site, Mr. Florez said. Such registries have raised privacy concerns from some civil libertarians, but Joshua Marquis, a member of the defense fund’s board and the district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore., said the worries were unfounded.
“Does it turn that person into a pariah? No,” Mr. Marquis said. “But it gives information to someone who might be considering hiring that person for a job.”
He added: “I do not think for animal abusers it’s unreasonable considering the risk they pose, much like the risk that people who abuse children do.”
One supporter of the proposed law, Gillian Deegan, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Botetourt County, Va., says such a registry could also be valuable in tracking people who run puppy mills and animal-fighting rings, as well as hoarders, who sometimes collect hundreds of animals, often resulting in neglect.
“A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught,” said Ms. Deegan, who has written on animal welfare laws. “It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around.” One Web site — — already offers a type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes.
Such registries have been introduced in other states, but never passed. In 2008, a similar bill in Tennessee stalled after passing the State Senate.
That legislation was endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, said Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the society.
Mr. Pacelle said that the proposed financing mechanism for the California bill, a small tax on pet food, was “an extremely controversial idea” and unpopular with the pet food industry.
Taxes are usually opposed by Republicans in California, and that gives Mr. Pacelle doubts about the bill’s prospects.
“The idea of that succeeding in this climate in California is not high,” he said.
But the bill’s sponsor, Mr. Florez, who recently helped establish an Animal Protection Caucus, which includes Republican members of the State Senate and Assembly, says he is confident that he has the votes to move the measure forward and estimates that the registry would cost less than $1 million to establish. He also said his background — he hails from the farming-friendly Central Valley — will help the cause.
“I think people think, well, if Dean is supporting it,” he said, “it can’t be that off the wall.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Canine Police Officer Starves His Family Dog To Death

The jury trial of a fired Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority K-9 officer charged with starving his family dog to death has been rescheduled to 9 a.m., Monday, April 26, in Wareham District Court.
A hearing on the defense's motion to suppress evidence in the case of fired MBTA K-9 officer Antonio Carneiro, 43, was heard before Judge Thomas Barrett in Wareham District Court on Jan. 8. The judge gave the prosecution and defense 10 days to supply the court with photographs taken by Rochester Police during a January 2009 visit to Carneiro’s 373 County Road property.
 Judge Barrett said that he would rule on the motion as quickly as he could after receiving the photographs. As of Thursday, Feb. 4, he had not yet issued his ruling. The trial had been scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8. However, on Friday, Feb. 5, the case was continued to April 26.
 Carneiro faces one count of felony animal cruelty in the death of his family pet, Nitro, a six-year-old Belgian Malinois breed, whose emaciated remains were found in an isolated area of Carneiro’s Rochester property. A Tufts University Veterinary School autopsy confirmed that the cause of Nitro’s death was starvation.
 Following Carneiro’s Feb. 26, 2009 arrest, he was fired from his job as a canine police officer for the MBTA. Carneiro, a civil servant, is appealing his firing. He remains free on personal recognizant.
If convicted, Carneiro faces five years in a state prison, or two and half years in a county house of correction, a fine of not more than $2,500, or both the fine and imprisonment.

Frozen Dog Found, Woman Charged with Animal Cruelty

An Omaha woman is facing a felony charge of animal cruelty after police say she left her dog to die.
The Nebraska Humane Society says they found the German Shepard on February 1st, frozen to the floor of his dog house.
The house had to be taken apart to get the dog out.
An examination showed the dog, named Tramp, died of starvation and hypothermia.
An investigation also determined the dog had been chained in the backyard for up to 2 weeks with no food, water, and inadequate shelter.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dog Rape spurs action in Alaska

Alaska and Florida consider bans on bestiality

JUNEAU, Alaska — It's a subject that can cause nervous snickering, a little uneasiness and even a few bad jokes.
But many in the southeast Alaska community of Klawock, population 800, weren't laughing last April after a 26-year-old registered sex offender was accused of molesting a local family's pet dog.
The man was spotted by a local woman coaxing the Labrador retriever into the woods near a ball field. There he allegedly tied it to a tree, taped its muzzle shut with duct tape and had sex with it, witnesses told police at the time.
The man had been twice convicted of raping a young boy and more recently had served probation for assault after lunging at a child. While the incident with the dog was reported to the police, Klawock Mayor Don Marvin said nothing happened for two days while fearful parents escorted their children home from school.
"When this incident happened, we had a community that was scared," Marvin said.
Because Alaska has no law against such an attack, Ketchikan District Attorney James Scott eventually charged the man with two counts of criminal mischief, which was later changed to a theft charge.
In requesting a $10,000 bail, Scott told the court that the state was concerned that if a small child had been available and unattended that day, "the small child would have been found taped (and) tied in the woods."
State Rep. Bob Lynn, an Anchorage Republican, wants to make Alaska the 36th state to ban bestiality by expanding the state's animal cruelty law to include sexual conduct. His bill would make the offense a class A misdemeanor that's punishable by up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Other states are also moving to ban bestiality. In Florida, a bill that would make sex with animals punishable by up to five years in prison has been unanimously approved by two Senate committees and has two other committee stops before reaching the full chamber.
Florida Sen. Nan Rich, a Democrat, has a thick folder in her office containing news clippings of cases around the state of people having sex with animals. While the act is sickening enough, she says research has shown that people who molest animals are likely to rape or molest people.
"There's quite a number of cases," said Rich, holding up an article. "This one is, unfortunately, a man having sex with his guide dog. This is about a goat's death, a female goat in Walton County that had been sexually assaulted. Unfortunately it's not an isolated incident. We need a mechanism to prosecute."
The Walton County case in 2006 helped bring the problem to light. There were at least four goat rapes in Mossy Head, including one that resulted in the animal dying. Instead of being charged with a sex act, a suspect was charged with stealing two goats, said Dee Thompson, the director of Panhandle Animal Welfare Society.
Authorities in Tallahassee, Fla., also struggled in 2005 to find charges that would fit against a blind man accused of having sex with his guide dog. The man was initially charged with felony animal cruelty, but prosecutors dropped that charge and recharged him with "breach of the peace."
In Tennessee, bestiality was banned in 2007. Arizona did so in 2006 after a Mesa deputy fire chief was accused of bestial acts with his next-door neighbor's lamb. Washington state also banned sex with animals in 2006, after a man died of a perforated colon from having sex with a horse on a farm in rural King County.
In Alaska, Lynn's measure is backed by the Department of Corrections, the Alaska Farm Bureau, the Humane Society of the United States and the Alaska Peace Officers Association.
Rachel Dzuiba, a veterinarian at the Gastineau Humane Society in Juneau, said it would not only protect animals but also protect the public against a cycle of abuse and violence.
"The act of forcing a living creature to engage in a sexual activity without the ability of consent cannot simply be viewed as a personal choice — no more than forcing a child or an impaired adult would be," Dzuiba told the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing Friday.
The society's executive director, Chava Lee, said she has received several complaints at the Juneau animal shelter about sexual deviancy against animals.
"In each case that has come to my attention, coercion, abuse, threat of physical harm or terrorizing a human during the practice of a sexual assault on an animal was present," Lee said.
According to the national Humane Society, several studies highlight the link between the sexual assault of animals and sex crimes against humans, including:
— FBI research on the backgrounds of serial sexual homicide perpetrators that uncovered high rates of sexual assault of animals;
— A report in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry that said twenty percent of children who sexually abuse other children also have histories of sexually abusing animals; and
— A Utah State University study showing 37 percent of sexually violent juvenile offenders have a history of animal sexual assault.
The committee also heard testimony from Klawock Chief of Police Cullen Fowler who said the dog that had been allegedly assaulted did not require veterinary care but appeared to have suffered.
Fowler said the pressure of the taped muzzle cause blood vessels to burst in its eyes and the dog was sensitive to the touch, jumpy and afraid for a long time after the incident.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Man starves animals to the point of cannibalism

Man arrested for animal cruelty

MANATEE — An 86-year-old man was arrested Saturday on animal cruelty charges for the third time since 2002, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Web site.
Felipe Munoz, of Bradenton, remained in jail late Saturday night without bond.
Details were not readily available for Munoz’s latest arrest by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Munoz, who was previously convicted of animal cruelty after a May 2007 incident, was found guilty after he left animals outside without water or food. Deputies found multiple dead chickens on the ground and in cages in the 4800 block of Wauchula Road in Myakka City.
Deputies also discovered pigs eating off what appeared to be the corpse of another pig. Also, deputies had to tranport 10 pigs, 19 goats and six sheep away from the property because of their poor condition.
In that incident, Munoz was told “this action cannot continue.”
He was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail on the weekends, according to court records.
In a 2002 incident, he was accused of not giving animals enough air, food, water and exercise according to court documents.
He was found guilty of four counts, according to court records.
Munoz has also violated his probation, according to records.
Last month, he failed to check in with probation officers.


Friday, February 5, 2010

C.L.A.W.S is Seeking Members!

February 2010 Newsletter

Hello once again to everyone out there on the web!  
I am very happy to report that as of today, C.L.A.W.S is ready to begin accepting new members. We have decided on the simplest way to accomplish this in 3 steps:

1. Sign up to follow the blog.
2. Check back regularly for news updates.
3. Respond to your welcome email that is sent when you join. That's it!

Our members will receive only the freshest news and updates on animal welfare stories from around the world to here in our own backyard.  In addition, members will be invited to participate in all of the inner workings of the organization from submission and discussion of new ideas down to attending a very large (peaceful) animal rights demonstration that is planned for Summer of '010.

We thank you for your support but most importantly, every creature that currently suffers in agony also thanks you.....    for giving them a voice.

Check back soon!


5 worst states to be an animal: Abuse laws lax

5 worst states to be an animal: Abuse laws lax

Report: Idaho, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota have weak laws

What's the punishment for being cruel to an animal? In five states — Idaho, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Dakota — the law’s response is, “Not much.”
Those five states have the weakest animal protection laws in the nation, according to a recent report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization based in Cotati, Calif. The report says the states' failings include not requiring owners provide basic animal care such as adequate food and water, no requirement for mental health evaluations or counseling for those convicted of animal abuse and no restrictions on future ownership of animals following a conviction.
Three of the five states do not consider cruelty, neglect or abandonment a felony. And of the five, only North Dakota regards all animal fighting as a felony, not just dog fighting.

People in these states aren’t more likely to mistreat their animals, says Stephan Otto, ALDF’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report, but the laws haven’t caught up with society’s values.
“Most people treat their animals wonderfully, but the question is whether there are appropriate penalties when they don’t,” he said.
In Mississippi, for instance, the penalties for neglect and dog fighting are the same: a fine of between $10 and $100 or jail time for between 10 and 100 days. Someone who maliciously injures or kills a dog or cat cannot be fined more than $1,000 or imprisoned for more than six months. The only restitution required is the replacement value of the animal, plus the cost of any veterinary fees or other expenses incurred. By contrast, in California, one of the states with tougher penalties, dog fighting is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months to three years, a maximum fine of $50,000 or both.
Kentucky vets not allowed to report abuse
In Kentucky, veterinarians are prohibited from reporting suspected cruelty or fighting, an unintended consequence of a law mandating client confidentiality. Otto says a bill was recently introduced to rectify the problem.
States that are soft on crimes toward animals often have an agricultural lobby that may see animal protection issues as potentially limiting options for farmers, says Francis Battista, a founder and director of Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit organization based in Kanab, Utah. When animal issues come up, they tend to be put on the back burner in favor of human issues. Cultural or traditional attitudes can also affect the way people relate to animals and the willingness to adopt animal protection laws, he says. People in southern and western states can have an independent mindset that precludes being told how to treat their property, including animals.
In 2009, when a Mississippi man tied his dog to a tree, set her on fire and let her burn to death, it was considered only a misdemeanor. He was fined $1,000 and given a six-month sentence. Last month, the Mississippi legislature introduced a bill that would increase the penalty for acts of cruelty toward dogs and cats. If passed, people convicted of cruelty could go to prison for up to five years and pay a fine of $10,000.
Beyond greater penalties, there are other consequences to being convicted of a felony rather than a misdemeanor, Otto says.

“Those convicted of felonies will usually serve their sentences in a state or federal prison rather than a local, city or county jail," he says. "A felon will also have more restrictions on their rights than a person convicted of a misdemeanor. In many states, convicted felons cannot serve on juries. They may also lose their right to vote or to practice certain professions, such as lawyer or teacher. Felons may also be prohibited from owning guns or serving in the military.”
Arkansas, which was once ranked at the bottom of the ALDF's annual report, improved its standing last year after the state’s attorney general brought together people from agricultural and animal protection organizations and hammered out an agreement that included a felony penalty for torture, including starving, and neglect, improved the definition of care, and provided for mental health evaluations and counseling. People who commit animal cruelty in the presence of a minor face stronger penalties.
“It catapulted them from the very bottom to the middle,” Otto says.
Many states are taking steps to offer better legal protection for animals, including mandates for mental health evaluations, counseling or restrictions on animal ownership for people who are convicted of animal cruelty. Those are important because people who commit crimes against animals frequently repeat them.
There’s also a strong connection between animal abuse and other types of violence, particularly domestic violence, a link that has been shown in many studies. A 1997 study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University found that those who had committed a violent crime against an animal were five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people. When animal abuse is addressed early, before it becomes a habit, it can help to reduce overall violence in a community, Otto says.

“We think it’s incumbent that the mental health angle of this is addressed in laws,” Otto says. “A lot of states too are looking at prohibiting those convicted of animal cruelty and neglect from owning animals for a certain period of time after conviction. We think that’s another helpful tool to break the cycle of abuse and potentially eliminate new victims.”
Better definitions of care provide a baseline for pet owners to meet as well as objective criteria for law enforcement to know whether the law has been violated. But in the end, enforcement is key.
“You can have the best laws on the books, but if you’re lacking enforcement, they’re not worth anything,” Otto says.
Second chance for abused animals
The good news is that animals are resilient, Battista says. Whether they have suffered neglect, abandonment or overt physical abuse, they have an amazing ability to respond to rehabilitation efforts.

He would know. Best Friends took in 22 of the 47 dogs rescued from the estate of Michael Vick after he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to engage in dog fighting in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Many were so shut down and unresponsive due to the abuse they'd suffered that they that they would have been euthanized if Best Friends hadn’t taken them, says spokesperson Barbara Williamson. Because of judicial requirements regarding their placement, only a few are in adoptive homes so far, but the rest are at Best Friends or in foster care and all are making progress. Only one is considered aggressive toward people, Williamson says, and even she is now friendly if introduced by someone she trusts. She will stay at Best Friends for the rest of her life.
“Animals are survivors, like people, and they will take every opportunity to respond to help,” Battista says. “Depending on what category of abuse you’re talking about, the way we rehabilitate and the time for rehabilitation might be different. Some animals are never going to be lap cats or lap dogs, but they’ll always improve and they’ll always respond. It’s simply a matter of time and patience.”