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Tag: act

Is this man’s “free speech” worth protecting?

stevensThe self-described “author and journalist” whose dogfighting videos were given the Supreme Court’s seal of approval this week, has at least three “pro-dogfighting videos” to his credit as well as an instructional book for aspiring dogfighters, the Humane Society of the United States says.

Robert “Bob” Stevens, a 69-year-old resident of Virginia, produced the videos “Japan Pit Fights,” “Pick a Winna,” and “Catch Dogs and Country Living.” He has also sold other dogfighting videos, including “The $100 Keep.”

Stevens, the first person tried and convicted under the now-defunct federal Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, is also the author of “Dogs of Velvet and Steel.”

Stevens’ was convicted under the 1999 law in 2005 and sentenced to 37 months in prison. A decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned the conviction, and the Supreme Court agreed with the appeals court decision this week.

velvetsteelWhile Stevens has claimed to be merely a pit bull lover with no interest in dogfighting, HSUS says the evidence points to the contrary. In “Dogs of Velvet and Steel,” he declares, “I attended many pit fights” and gives graphic accounts of several.

“Japan Pit Fights” includes a series of graphic dogfights. In “Pick-a-Winna,” Stevens invites viewers to pick the dog they think is going to win the fight. He goes on to act as commentator for each match, providing analysis on which dog is the better fighter. 

“Theeeere they go!” he shouts as each new pit bull match launches.

Stevens’ final video, “Catch Dogs and Country Living,” is geared toward training dogs for hog catching, an event in which pit bulls commonly latch onto the faces of pigs. Sometimes the pigs go down, sometimes the dogs do.

During one scene a pit bull named Katie is shown doing “catch work” by latching onto the face of a  farm hog. “In about three minutes there is no bottom jaw on that hog.  Stevens says. “Katie took that, and good part of his throat and his nose out…”

(Photo: Stevens, in a scene from Pick-a-Winna)

USDA releases confidential Vick documents

The United States Department of Agriculture, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, released hundreds of pages of new evidence last week from its investigation of NFL quarterback Michael Vick to Atlanta’s WSBTV.

The documents  include summaries of interrogations by federal investigators with member of Vick’s dogfighting ring and confidential informants in the case.

Among the  revelations:

• A confidential informant told investigators that Vick drowned dogs, shot them to death and killed others “with a shovel.”

• A Delta Airlines employee from Virginia was fired “when he attempted to get Vick around security” during the peak of the dog fighting operation. Vick “felt responsible” and went on to hire the employee.

• In 2003, Vick and two other men attended a dog fight in Blackstone, Va., bringing with them two pit bulls. Both lost so the dogs were left with the owner of the property. Vick did not keep dogs that lost matches.

• In April 2007, Vick tested several dogs to determine if they had the predisposition to fight. He ordered six or eight dogs destroyed because they did not meet his standards. The witness said Vick personally helped drown three or four dogs, a process that took two people to hold the animal’s legs while the dog’s head was held under water. Vick also hung dogs.

• The witness told investigators Vick “seemed to get an ‘adrenaline high’ when killing the dogs.”

Vick served nearly two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a federal animal fighting charge. He was released in 2009 and joined the Philadelphia Eagles.

WSBTV.COM submitted the request for the records in March 2008. The information was delivered by the USDA last week.

Franken’s service dogs for vets act passes

Sen. Al Franken’s first piece of legislation — aimed at increasing the supply of service dogs for veterans – has been passed and is headed to the White House for approval.

Under the legislation, the Veterans Administration would develop partnerships with organizations that provide disabled veterans with service dogs. Franken said the measure will cost about $5 million and is designed not to interfere with non-profit organizations providing service dogs.

“The government is going to pay for essentially every other dog. What I didn’t want to happen was to dry up the funding for the organizations like Hearing and Service Dogs in Minneapolis and all of these non-profits who have been providing dogs to some vets.”

Franken said about 200 veterans will get dogs as a result of the legislation. The legislation was passed yesterday as apart of the Defense Authorization bill, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Franken introduced the legislation after meeting Luis Carlos Montalvan, a veteran who said his service dog improved his quality of life.

Vaudeville dogs — circa 1950

We’ll all end up with moo goo dog pan?

I’m not sure what U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, was trying to say when he spoke out against passage of the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009.

It’s clear he was against the act — that he felt the U.S. was in no position to be assisting other countries in preserving endangered species, that he thinks we’re falling too deeply in debt to China, and that he think it’s ironic that some of the funds authorized in the act might be used for preservation efforts in China

But I’m baffled by his statement that, by borrowing more money from the Chinese, we’ll “end up with moo goo dog pan or moo goo cat pan.”

The Chinese will take control of us and force us to eat dogs and cats, prepared in the style of their cuisine? Give it a listen and, if you figure it out, let me know.

Despite Gohmert’s objections, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009, which authorized $50 million to help save snow leopards, wild African dogs and other endangered species, passed the House.