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Tag: aldf

Evacuating Japan: Will pets be left behind?

Will families of American military personnel in Japan be forced to leave their pets behind when they evacuate?

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking the anwer to that question.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the non-profit organization asks for a clarification of the U.S. government’s policy on whether or not military families can bring their pets with them — or must be forced to choose between staying in harm’s way and abandoning a beloved companion.

Family members of military personnel stationed in Japan began evacuating today amid the increasing threat of radioactivity in the wake of last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

ALDF says it has received desperate emails from some of them, who say they’ve been informed pets will not be allowed on evacuation planes chartered by the U.S. Department of State.

“In a context of terrifying natural and nuclear disasters, with military personnel and their families already being separated from each other, we would hope that the U.S. government would not place an additional burden on military families by disregarding the very real bonds they have with their animal companions” said Carter Dillard, ALDF’s director of litigation.

“It is our hope that the tragedy of people forced to abandon beloved pets in order to evacuate to safety, which we saw play out on a heartbreaking scale during Hurricane Katrina, is not replicated during the current crisis in Japan.”

ALDF says it has heard from numerous families who say they are hesitant to evacuate from the escalating radiation danger if they are required to leave their pets behind.

Some families have turned to Facebook for help, including Mariaelena Rodriguez Geoffray, shown above with her dog, Bella. Seeking a commercial flight, she has been told by two airlines that temperatures are too cold to fly a pet.

Her dilemma is recounted on the blog Two Little Cavaliers.

There are about 43,000 dependents of American military personnel living in Japan.

Law would ban pet store sales of dogs and cats

windowHow much is that puppy in the window?

He might not even be in the window, in another month, if the West Hollywood City Council approves a proposal that makes it illegal to sell a dog or a cat in a pet store.

The  council unanimously approved the ordinance earlier this month. If officially passed tonight, as expected, the law would go into effect on March 19th, KTLA reports.

The ordinance is aimed at eliminating the demand for commercially bred dogs and cats and reduce inhumane conditions in the breeding industryt. It will include exemptions for those shops that can show they are selling humanely bred, reared or sheltered animals.

According to the city, existing pet stores will be given time “to adjust” to the new law.

“This ordinance represents an important step toward ridding our nation of the cruelty of puppy mills and other commercial assembly-line animal breeders,” Councilman Jeffrey Prang said. “The ordinance not only contributes to the fight against animal cruelty it also recognizes the enormous cost of pet overpopulation in our society, both fiscal and humanitarian impacts. I urge those seeking pet companionship to consider adoption from municipal shelters and other nonprofit rescue agencies.”

The city of West Hollywood has traditionally been ahead of the curve when it comes to animal welfare. It made headlines in 2003 when it banned cat declawing.

The new ordinance is backed by the Companion Animal Protection Society, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States.

The five best states to be an animal abuser

aldfmap

 
Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota are the five best states in the country to be an animal abuser — making them the five worst states in which to be an animal.

Based on an analysis of more than 3,800 pages of statutes, a new report by the Animal Legal Defense Fund recognizes the states where animal law has real teeth, and calls out those like Kentucky – the single worst in the nation again this year for animal protection laws – where animal abusers get off the easiest.

The annual report, the only one of its kind in the nation, ranks all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories for the comprehensiveness and  strength of their animal protection laws. Maryland falls in the bottom 15 states.

The legislative weaknesses seen in the states at the bottom of the animal protection barrel include severely restricted or absent felony animal cruelty provisions, inadequate animal fighting provisions, and lack of restrictions on the future ownership of animals for those convicted of cruelty to animals.

Many state laws have improved since ALDF’s last state rankings report was released in 2008; Arkansas, for example, was one of the worst five states last year, but jumped up to 25th overall in the country in 2009 due to a host of statutory improvements.

On the other end of the spectrum, this year’s “best five for animals” list remains unchanged from the 2008 list, with California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan and Oregon demonstrating through their laws the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty; Illinois was ranked the best for the strength of its laws protecting animals.

“This year we see many states and territories that are continuing to make outstanding progress with their laws. Unfortunately, there are still many places where the laws are incapable of providing the legal protections that our country’s animals need and deserve,” says Stephan Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s director of legislative affairs and author of the report.

“Even in those jurisdictions that have today’s best laws, there remain many opportunities for improvement. Especially important during our country’s current recession are laws that help to save limited community resources by reducing the costs of caring for abused animals and ensuring that those who are responsible for such crimes shoulder this burden instead of taxpayers and private interests. While animals do not vote, those who love and care about them certainly do, so we encourage lawmakers throughout the country to take heed and commit to working to improve these critical laws.”

ALDF was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, including a copy of the state rankings report, visit www.aldf.org.

Ben’s 4th annual doggie cruise is Friday

BenboardingO08[1]Ben — a Jack Russell terrier rescued from a puppy mill — will be hosting his fourth annual cruise this Friday.

One of 300 dogs freed and re-homed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund in a North Carolina legal case, Ben moved to Annapolis.

The cruise, proceeds from which go to the ALDF, is hosted by Ben and his owners, Michelle and Larry Kownacki, who run Paws Pet Boutique in downtown Annapolis.

The three-hour cruise, aboard Watermark’s Harbor Queen, departs at 7 p.m., this coming Friday (Sept. 18) from the Annapolis City Dock.

This year’s cruise will feature complimentary finger food, doggie treats, a cash bar, music by Dan Haas and Ben’s Bones band, a silent auction, and prizes and raffles — one of which is a trip to attend the filming of an episode of the television show “Dancing with the Stars” in Los Angeles.

Tickets ($55 per person, dogs are free) must be purchased in advance, either at Paws Pet Boutique, 64 State Circle, or by calling 410-263-8683. Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance as well.

To learn more about the cruise and other dog-friendly events in and around Maryland, visit ohmidog’sDoggie Doings” page.