Tag: american humane association
Technically, maybe it’s correct to say no animals were harmed during the filming of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
But away from the set, when the cameras weren’t rolling, 27 animals signed up to take part in the production died, and more were injured – mostly at a New Zealand farm where they were being kept.
Animal wranglers involved in the making of “The Hobbit” movie trilogy say the production company is responsible for the deaths because it kept the animals at a farm filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other “death traps,” according to an Associated Press report.
Despite that, the movie’s credits do carry the American Humane Association’s “No animals were harmed” stamp of approval — the exact wording of which is “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.”
The AHA says its monitoring of animals is limited to the actual filming of a movie or television show, and that it lacks the manpower, funding and authority to police animals when they are away from the set.
But others, PETA included, think that’s splitting hairs.
“How can something like this happen when the unit production manager was warned and the production was monitored by the AHA,” asks PETA, which has been critical of AHA in the past, and which was involved in breaking the story.
PETA also wonders why — given the state of the art of computer graphics — live animals had to be used at all:
“This movie was directed by Peter Jackson, a master at computer-generated imagery (CGI). In a movie that features CGI dragons, ogres, and hobbits, CGI animals would have fit in perfectly. Jackson could have made The Hobbit without using a single animal—and he should have.”
AHA called the deaths “needless and unacceptable,” and said they show that there are shortcomings in the oversight system, which monitors film sets but not the facilities where the animals are housed and trained. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek December 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 27 animals, aha, american humane association, an unexpected journey, chickens, deaths, director, entertainment, filming, goats, horses, making, movie, movies, new zealand, no animals were harmed, peter jackson, sheep, the hobbit, trilogy, warner bros, warner brothers, wellington
Chuck Shuck was star struck, but his dog Gabe took meeting Betty White in stride, as you might expect from a weapons sniffing dog who conducted 210 combat missions in Iraq.
Gabe, the American Humane Association’s “Hero Dog of the Year,” received his award last month in Los Angeles. (The ceremony will be shown on the Hallmark Channel at 8 p.m. this coming Thursday, Nov. 8.) Betty White was honored with two awards during the event.
“That was the highlight,” Gabe’s handler, Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chuck” Shuck told The State. “Just to be in her presence was amazing.” Gabe, he said “was just his normal self, but I did get him to bark during the standing ovation.”
Another highlight was the grand prize — $10,000 that Shuck will use to support other service dogs and handlers now fighting in Afghanistan.
Now 10 years old, the Lab mix was rescued as a puppy from a Houston shelter the day before he was to be euthanized.
His luck continued in Iraq, where, in 2006, he and Shuck survived when a roadside bomb struck the vehicle they were riding in.
Shuck, 33, is now a Senior Drill Sergeant Leader at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Gabe, who eventually became sensitive to the sound of explosions and guns, was retired. Since then, he’s gone from 67 pounds to 98 pounds.
About 3 million votes were cast in the hero dog competition.
Betty White received two awards from American Humane Association, the National Humanitarian Medal and the Legacy Award, for dedicating herself to protecting and improving the quality of life for animals.
You can find the American Humane Association’s news release about the ceremony — and information about the other finalists — here.
(Photo: At top, White and Gabe, courtesy of Charles Shuck; above left, Shuck and Gabe, file photo from The State)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american humane association, animals, awards, betty white, ceremony, charles shuck, detecting, dog, dogs, explosives, fort jackson, gabe, hallmark, hero dogs, honors, iraq, military, pets, sniffing, television
After enrolling fewer than two dozen of a planned 230 dogs in the study — all paired with vets with PTSD — the VA has announced that the study has been suspended, and that, from now on, service dogs will only be paired with veterans with visible disabilities.
The new policy goes into effect today.
For the 400,000 veterans diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder, that means dogs — despite all the positive effects that have been reported — will no longer be part of their treatment and recovery.
Among those blasting the decision is the American Humane Association.
Just days before its second annual celebration of hero dogs, the organization took time to put together a petition, calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to reverse the new policy.
“Our focus on animal-assisted therapy dates back to 1945 when we promoted therapy dogs as a means to help World War II veterans recover from the effects of war,” the AHA said. ”We know from years of experience that the human-animal bond is a source of powerful healing, whether they are children suffering from cancer or military men and women who have suffered the stress of battle.
“Service dogs, in particular, are an amazing, positive resource for assisting our nation’s best and bravest though their physical pain and mental anguish. We call on the VA and the United States Congress to stand up for our veterans…”
Specifically, the new VA policy ends the program that reimbursed veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder for their use of service dogs while in recovery.
“It’s of the utmost importance that we provide our vets with every option available to treat service related ailments,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), who was also shocked to learn of the new policy.
“Especially as the wars are winding down, and more and more soldiers are returning home with mental trauma, the VA must continue to allow their doctors and mental health professionals to provide benefits to veterans who need mental health service dogs,” he said.
Congress mandated that additional scientific study be conducted on the impact of service dogs paired with PTSD vets several years ago. But apparently that study never got off the ground — at least not as ambitiously as planned.
Launched in June 2011, the study planned to follow 230 PTSD vets and their service dogs, tracking them and their families through 2014. Only about a tenth of that number were registered for the study, though.
The study was halted, according to reports, because of concerns about dogs biting children, dirty and cramped living conditions, and faulty record-keeping.
According to the VA, there are about 400,000 veterans currently in treatment for PTSD, and that group has higher than normal rates of divorce, substance abuse, unemployment and suicide. There are 32 to 39 suicide attempts daily among vets with PTSD, about half of which result in death, according to a column by the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Dale.
Dale’s column looks at the benefits of programs such as those provided by Paws for Purple Hearts – an improved quality of life, fewer flashbacks and nightmares. Vets paired with dogs are said to be more likely to find jobs; less likely to become recluses.
“One hallmark of PTSD is avoidance (of going outdoors and socializing with others),” says Robert Porter, executive director 0f Paws for Purple Hearts. “That’s hard to do with a 60-pound dog who just wants to go out and play.”
The study was a chance to prove, beyond the anecdotal, just how much therapy dogs could help vets with PTSD. But, for reasons that make little sense, both the study and the concept were canned.
Most of the dogs in the study were from Guardian Angel Medical Services of Williston, Fla., and its founder and director, Carol Borden, says there were no biting incidents reported.
Borden says that in the organization’s history, veterans with PTSD nearly always benefit from having a dog. Some patients have been able to cut their medication in half, or stop taking it altogether, she said.
That has raised questions among some about whether pharmaceutical companies lobbied for the new VA policy. That’s conjecture, of course — conjecture being something that tends to occur when no logical explanation is given.
The VA owes vets, not to mention Congress, an explanation.
And we all owe veterans afflicted with PSTD a chance to get past it, or at least cope with it. Ruling out dogs and dropping the study is an oath broken, a promising avenue bypassed, and a slap in the face to veterans.
“We’ve not experienced a single suicide attempt as far as we know,” Borden said of vets paired with dogs under the Guardian Angels program. “I have letters from wives thanking us because the husband has returned, and it all happens because of a dog who provides unconditional love.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aha, american humane association, animals, benefits, ceased, charles schumer, congress, department, disabilities, divorce, dog, dogs, dropped, drug abuse, employment, funding, guardian angel medical services, halted, paws for purple hearts, petition, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, programs, promised, ptsd, ptsd dogs, reimburse, reimbursement, senator, service, study, suicide, terminated, therapy, va, vet, veterans, veterans affairs
Daniel my brother you are older than me
Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal
Your eyes have died but you see more than I
Daniel you’re a star in the face of the sky …
– Elton John
Maybe its because those dogs have beaten such overwhelming odds, or because we like to see the underdog (and a dog can’t get more under than this) triumph; or because we all just love to see death get cheated.
Or maybe it’s because it serves as a haunting reminder — penetrating our veil of denial — that we humans shouldn’t be killing dogs by the millions, whether it’s in outdated gas chambers or by lethal injection.
In that vein (cruel pun intended), we present the case of a beagle mix named Daniel.
Daniel was one of four or five dogs (who can keep count) loaded into the gas chamber recently at the Animal Control Department in Florence, Alabama.
“It’s the toughest part of the job,” said Cody Berry, the loader.
Berry turned the death machine on, carbon monoxide seeped into the chamber, and the fumes worked their black magic.
But when Berry went to unload the corpses, Daniel stood up and walked out.
As is often, but not always the case, the pound decided not to re-gas Daniel, and instead took him to a veterinarian before seeking a rescue group that might take the death-defying dog under its care.
On Wednesday, Daniel arrived in New Jersey, where, until a permanent home is found, he’ll live in a foster home provided through the Rockaway-based Eleventh Hour Rescue, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.
“He’s one in a million,” said Linda Schiller, the founder of the organization.
While finding him a home is the top priority, the group also hopes to make him the next “poster child” in the campaign to end the use of gas as a form of animal euthanasia.
The practice has been banned in some states, including New Jersey.
In Alabama, it will become illegal next year under Beckham’s law, named for another dog who survived the gas chamber.
In far too many other states and counties, it continues.
The American Humane Association, among others, has been lobbying to end the use of gas chambers, which it says cost more than lethal injection and is a crueler form of death.
Daniel arrived in New Jersey, with 11 other rescued dogs, in a single-engine plane piloted by Scott Messinger, a volunteer with the group Pilots N Paws.
As soon as the 5-year-old dog was on the ground, his tail started wagging, the Star-Ledger reported.
He’ll be staying with Jill Pavlik, a volunteer with Eleventh Hour Rescue.
Roger Keyser, another Eleventh Hour volunteer predicted we’ll be hearing more about the 20-pound beagle mix who outsmarted death.
“This dog has got to have some destiny,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, alabama, american humane association, animal, beagle, campaign, cheated, daniel, death, dogs, eleventh hour rescue, euthanasia, euthanized, florence, gas chamber, gassed, home, mix, needed, new jersey, pets, pilots n paws, poster child, survived, survivor
Roselle, a dog who guided her blind owner down 78 flights of stairs at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was named American Hero Dog of 2011 at the inaugural American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.
The honor was bestowed posthumously in Beverly Hills Saturday night.
Roselle, a Labrador retriever, died June 26, after the nominations were announced.
More than 450 dogs were nominated for the American Humane Association honor. Eight finalists were chosen in online voting. More than 400,000 votes were cast.
The winner was picked by a panel that included Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Chenoweth and Mark Hamill.
In Roselle’s honor, a $10,000 donation will be made to Guide Dogs to the Blind.
“From the outset, Roselle guided and did her job perfectly,” Hingson wrote in nominating Roselle.
“While others in my office saw fire above us, Roselle did not panic. Because of Roselle’s calm demeanor, I knew we could evacuate in an orderly manner. She remained focused as we went to the stairwell and traveled down 1,463 stairs to the first floor. Her poise helped me remain calm as we led others down to safety.”
Once outside, Hingson wrote, “Roselle remained totally focused on her job as we ran. When debris fell around us, and even hit us, Roselle stayed calm. Because of her poise, we found an entrance to the subway system where we could go underground away from the heavy dust cloud.”
Roselle’s heroics are recounted in the new book, “Thunder Dog, The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero.”
The other seven finalists were Bino, who served with the 35th Military Police Detachment at Fort Gordon in Augusta; Harley, a hearing dog from Fountain Hills, Ariz.; Ricochet, the surfing dog from Escondido, Calif., who helps special needs children and people with disabilities; Sadie, a Labrador retriever from Westminster, Colo., who works as an accelerant detection dog for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation; Sage, a search and rescue dog from Hagerman, N.M., who detected the remains of a terrorist in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon; Stacey Mae, a therapy dog from Guffey, Colo. who has helped collect thousands of Teddy bears from around the world for hospitalized children; and Zurich, a service dog in Des Plaines, Ill.
The runners-up each won $5,000 to be donated to one of the American Humane Association’s charity partners.
The ceremony will be shown Nov. 11 on the Hallmark Channel.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, american humane association, animals, awards, dog, dogs, guide dog, hero, hero dog awards, michael hingson, pets, roselle, world trade center
There are three weeks left to vote in the American Humane Association’s Hero Dogs Contest, a competition aimed at shining a light on the thousands of specially trained dogs giving comfort to people every day.
The American Humane Association and Cesar Canine Cuisine, are honoring the work dogs do in eight different categories — service dogs, guide dogs, hearing dogs, therapy dogs, as well as those in law enforcement, the military, and search and rescue.
An eighth, catch-all category will honor an “emerging hero dog.”
Browse through the nominees and you’ll find a few dogs that have been featured on our pages before — including Surf Dog Ricochet and, though he’s no longer in the competition, Miracle Dog Patrick.
Patrick is the dog who survived being tossed down a trash chute and abandoned at a high-rise apartment in Newark, N.J. While his story “is one of heroism in the face of horrific abuse and neglect,” contest officials said, the person who entered him asked that his name be removed to avoid further complications in the continuing controversy over who should have legal custody of the dog.
“Many people call us the heros for not euthanizing him,” notes his owner. “We respond that Rigby is the true hero for loving life and not letting his disability in any way slow him down.”
Winners in each category will be determined by online voting — you can cast your ballot at herodogawards.org — and the grand prize winner will be selected based on those votes and the decision of a panel of judges.
Judges for the contest include Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg and Victoria Stilwell.
For every online vote, Cesar Canine Cuisine will make a donation to the AHA, with a limit of $200,000.
Voting ends July 31.
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the oldest national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. It’s the organization that issues the “No Animals Were Harmed” stamp on film and TV productions.
Winners in each contest category receive $5,000 for the charity they have designated. The grand prize winner receives $10,000 for their specified charity. They also win a trip to Los Angeles for the Hero Dog Awards on October 1st in Hollywood. (AHA officials say a tribute to Patrick is planned as well, even though he’s no longer an official entry.)
The presentation will air on the Hallmark Channel, November 11 at 8 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american humane association, animals, assistance, betty white, cesar canine cuisine, dogs, guide dogs, hearing dogs, hero, hero dog contest, hero dogs, honoring, judges, law enforcement, military, miracle dog patrick, online, patrick, pets, rigby, search and rescue, service, surf dog ricochet, therapy dogs, victoria stilwell, votes, voting, whoopi goldberg, work
Tai, the 42-year-old Asian elephant who stars in the new movie “Water for Elephants” may not have been harmed in the making of that particular film — but he learned the tricks he does in it by being repeatedly shocked with electricity, an animal welfare organization says.
Animal Defenders International said a six-year-old video of Tai being trained has been posted on the Internet, shows trainers administering electric shocks as they teach him tricks.
“Water for Elephants,” a romantic drama set in a 1930s-era American circus, stars Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. It is premiering this month.
Tai, supplied by Have Trunk Will Travel of California, plays the role of Rosie, an elephant who is brutally attacked with a bull hook by by the circus owner.
The American Humane Association monitored production of the movie — and it, as well as the producers, stars, and trainers have said Tai was treated with nothing but kindness during the movie’s making.
A representative of the American Humane Association stated during the making of the movie, “all these animals have been treated fairly and humanely throughout the entire course of their training.”
Gary Johnson, a founder of Have Trunk Will Travel claimed: “Tai was never hit in any way at all,” according to ADI.
ADI, however, says video filmed at Have Trunk Will Travel in 2005 clearly shows Tai being shocked as part of his training.
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said: “We were uncomfortable with the message of this film, but the more we saw the repeated assertions that this elephant has been treated with love and affection and never been abused, we realized that we had to get the truth out. The public, the stars and the filmmakers have been duped. This poor elephant was trained to do the very tricks you see in the film by being given electric shocks.”
ADI said it was sending copies of the video to the film’s stars and makers.
“I believe that Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson will be horrified to learn what Tai went through,” Creamer said.
ADI has also contacted American Humane Association, urging them to re-evaluate how they assess the use of animals in films. ADI is also calling for a boycott of the film.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adi, american humane association, animal defenders international, animals, circus, elephant, elephants, have trunk will travel, movie, no animals were injured, performing, reese witherspoon, robert pattinson, rosie, tai, treatment, video, water for elephants
The American Humane Association is urging Congress to act immediately in light of Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down a federal law that prohibited videos, photographs and other depictions of acts of cruelty to animals for commercial gain.
The association — which bestows the “No animals were harmed” disclaimer on movies — says a new law is needed to “protect animals from the type of horrific cruelty this law was meant to prevent.”
The law, the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, was intended to prevent the creation and sale of dogfighting, other animal fighting, and “crush” videos that show real and intentional harm to animals for “entertainment” purposes.
“Deliberately killing animals for entertainment has nothing to do with freedom of speech,” said American Humane’s interim president and CEO, George C. Casey. “Americans are within their right to keep blatant animal torture and killing out of the marketplace, and the Supreme Court should have made that the priority over the supposed protections of those who take sick pleasure in this material.”
The American Humane Association, whose mission is to protect both children and animals, says the connection between violence to people and violence to animals is undeniable, and many studies indicate that animal maltreatment is “part of a complex constellation of family violence.”
The Supreme Court Monday ruled on the case of Robert J. Stevens, who was convicted of selling videos of dogs fighting each other and attacking other animals. The court ruled the law was overly broad, and that such depictions are protected by free speech.
Stevens, who made the video “Catch Dogs and Country Living” — sounds almost civilized, don’t it? – was the first to be prosecuted under the federal law.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, american humane association, animal cruelty, animals, crush videos, depictions, dog fighting, dogfighting, films, freedom of speech, news, no animals were harmed, pets, pit bulls, robert J. stevens, supreme court, videos, violence
Until the Academy Award folks wise up and start giving awards for canine performances, we have the “Pawscars” — unofficial honors from the American Humane Association given to commend those films that, in their making, have treated animals well.
The American Human Association, which bestows the “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer seen during movie credits, monitors the use of dogs and other animals on more than 1,000 productions each year.
This year, the association singled out three movies that excelled in keeping safe the animals involved in the productions – ”Avatar,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.””
For Best Alien Animals, the association praised “Avatar,”’ which used computer generated images created with the use of real horses with sensors attached to their joints and facial areas.
For Best Newcomer, the association picked Uno, a Neapolitan mastiff who appears in ”Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Uno, who is believed to have been abused before she was adopted, gained confidence and trust during the making of the movie, where she did her job with the help of a patient owner/trainer.
For Best Cameo, the association singled out Bonecrusher, the family bull mastiff of director Michael Bay (above) who appeared in Bay’s movie “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”
The association didn’t limit honors to dogs. It also singled out such non-Academy Award nominated films as “The Hangover,” in which a tiger appears; “Did You Hear About The Morgans?” in which a bear plays a big role; and ”The Proposal,” which includes a scene in which the family dog is snatched by an eagle.
To achieve the effect, the movie had a trained eagle scoop up a sack made of green-screen material, into which the dog was later inserted. In reality, the dog and the eagle were never even in the same shot together.
Also recognized was the chase scene in ”Hotel For Dogs.” Near the end of the film, the main characters release all the dogs from the shelter, which then chase the teens’ van down the street to the hotel. Trainers rehearsed the dogs for several weeks for the scene, which involved the most dogs ever filmed in a single scene on an American Humane-monitored film.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy awards, american humane association, animals, avatar, awards, bonecrusher, bull mastiff, director, dogs, dogs in the movies, films, harry potter, harry potter and the half-blood prince, hotel for dogs, michael bay, movies, neapolitan mastiff, no animals were harmed, oscars, pawscars, revenge of the fallen, special effects, transformers, uno
Should the sale of videos depicting dogfighting and other animal cruelty be protected by the First Amendment?
That’s the question the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on today in the case of Robert J. Stevens, author and producer of several films about pit bulls and dogfighting.
Stevens, 69, says he had nothing to do with the dogfights themselves. He only made and sold tapes showing them — tapes he says had educational and historical value. He was convicted and sentenced to 37 months under a 1999 federal law that bans selling “depictions of animal cruelty.”
The law was struck down last year when a federal appeals court overturned Stevens conviction on First Amendment grounds.
The case has divided animal rights groups and free-speech advocates, according to the New York Times.
At issue is whether the court should designate a category of expression as so vile that it deserves no protection under the First Amendment. The last time the court did that was in 1982, with child pornography.
The law was enacted in 1999 in response to the sale of “crush videos,” which showed small animals being stomped on by women.
The law applies to recordings of “conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded or killed.” It exempts materials with “serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value.”
News organizations, including The New York Times, filed a brief supporting Stevens, arguing that the 1999 law “imperils the media’s ability to report on issues related to animals.”
In a brief supporting the government, the Humane Society of the United States said that “gruesome depictions of animal mutilation targeted” by the law “simply do not merit the dignity of full First Amendment protection.”
The American Humane Association also supports the federal government’s position. “This is a case about animal cruelty, plain and simple,” said American Humane President and CEO Marie Belew Wheatley. “… While many parties may argue the technicalities and interpretations of the law, the real focus should be that it is immoral, it is inhumane and it should be illegal to exploit, torture and kill animals for someone’s twisted sense of ‘entertainment’ and someone else’s profit.”
“While acts of animal cruelty have long been outlawed,” the brief for Stevens said, “there have never been any laws against speech depicting the killing or wounding of animals from the time of the First Amendment’s adoption through the intervening two centuries.” The brief also notes that Stevens’ sentence was 14 months longer than that of Michael Vick.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american humane association, animal cruelty, arguments, crush videos, depictions, dogfighting, dogs, first amendment, free speech, hsus, recordings, robert J. stevens, supreme court, video