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Archive for December 29th, 2009

Used pacemakers are going to the dogs

Jeanne Howell’s parents were dog lovers, and they were both “big into recycling things.”

So Jeanne figures they would have no problem with the decision she made, after they died five days apart in October, to donate their pacemakers for use in dogs.

It’s not as rare as you might think.

The Indiana Funeral Directors Association says donating the pacemakers of deceased humans for use in dogs is “fairly common,” according to an article in the Gary Post-Tribune.

In the case of the Howells, both of whom were in their 90s, the pacemakers went to Purdue University’s Small Animal Hospital in West Lafayette, so the medical equipment could be placed in dogs.

Jeanne Howell said the suggestion came from the owner of Moeller Funeral Home in Valparaiso, where her parents bodies were cremated.

“I’m a Purdue graduate myself, so it was kind of nice that they were going to the Purdue veterinary clinic,” Howell said. “What else are you going to do with it? It’s a shame to waste them.” Read more »

Petition seeks to cancel Vick’s courage award

An online petition drive has been launched, asking the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation to rescind the award that Michael Vick’s Philadelphia Eagles teammates unanimously voted for him to receive.

The petition, being sent to Sam Lamantia, CEO of the foundation, reads:

Recently the Philadelphia Eagles have elected Michael Vick as their recipient for this year’s Courage Award. Given Mr. Vick’s crimes and felony conviction, we do not believe he is worthy of this honor. For several years, in addition to promoting dogfighting, Vick himself tortured, abused, and murdered innocent dogs for his own profit and apparent enjoyment. This is not courage. This is inhumanity, immorality, and sheer brutality and does not warrant giving Vick this or any other reward.

Many of us have protested Vick’s reinstatement to the NFL. There has been strong media and PR influence in trying to diminish his past actions and erase the public’s memory of his sadistic behavior. We encourage you to stand up for the rights of animals everywhere and the memory of the dogs who endured Vick’s cruelty…

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, based in Baltimore, is dedicated to promoting awareness and assisting in the prevention of child abuse. Vick’s promotion and financing of dogfighting activities and his conviction in 2007 of felony dogfighting charges run counter to that mission, petition backers say.

PETA, meanwhile, has also come out against Vick receiving the honor — one Vick says he deserves because of what he has “been through.”

“In no way does Michael Vick represent courage and inspiration,” the petition’s organizer said. “Rather, he exemplifies cruelty and inhumanity, and is not deserving of reward or recognition. We the undersigned strongly encourage the Ed Block Foundation to demonstrate the true substance of bravery, morals, and ethics. Deny Michael Vick the honor of the Courage Award.”

Sacrificed animals found in Philadelphia home

SPCA investigators in Philadelphia found the remains of dozens of animals when they responded to a report of a dogs living inside a house in unsanitary conditions.

The animals, found inside a house on North Front Street, had apparently been sacrificed in religious rituals.

“The whole house was covered in feathers from chickens that had been sacrificed,” said George Bengal, director of law enforcement of the Pennsyvlania SPCA. There were also skeletons of what were possibly other farm animals, and what appeared to be skeletons of dogs, cats and possibly primates, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Bengal said a blood-spattered altar had been set up in the house. Candles were burning and music was playing when investigators arrived. Two dogs were found alive, according to Bengal.

On Sunday, Pennsylvania SPCA officers used a warrant to search the property after receiving a tip that two emaciated dogs were being kept at the house.

They found, and removed, the dogs, but only after confronting an elaborate altar and the bones of possibly several hundred animals that had been killed, apparently as part of Santeria – a combination of African religions and Catholicism that originated among slaves in the Caribbean, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported today.

The officers also found what appeared to be the remains of small monkeys.

Bengal said the man who lived at the house and is suspected of performing many of the killings is believed to be in Mexico. His wife , who may still be in the city, is being sought for questioning.

N.J. dogfighters could face decades in prison

The leaders of New Jersey dogfighting rings could be charged under the same anti-racketeering laws used to prosecute mobsters and face sentences of up to 20 years under a bill proposed by two state senators.

Under the bill, organizers of dogfighting networks could be prosecuted under the state’s anti-racketeering (RICO) statute, and profits or property gained from dogfighting could be seized, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Oregon, Utah and Virginia have similar laws. If the legislation pases, New Jersey would be the fourth state in the country to use RICO statutes, commonly used in organized crime cases, to prosecute dogfighters.

“You can judge a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable,” said Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who sponsored the bill with Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. “Those that abuse animals in this way, in this severe way, are often individuals that go on to commit heinous acts against adults and children.”

Under current New Jersey law, dogfighting carries a penalty of three to five years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

While penalties would remain the same for people who own or train fighting dogs, or host dog fights, those who finance and organize them would face five to 10 years in prison, or even twice that if the organizer was convicted of a violent offense or gun crime in connection with dogfighting.