Three judges of the Superior Court upheld a conviction for animal cruelty of a dog groomer who had offered “gothic” kittens for sale on eBay.
An investigation into the pierced kittens began in 2008 when a citizen saw the animals being offered for $100 each on eBay, inquired about them and reported it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne County, according to the Times Leader in Wilkes Barre.
A citizen tipped off PETA, as well, which conducted an investigation of its own and passed on information to the SPCA.
Accompanied by state police, SPCA officials visited Pawside Parlor, located at the home of Holly Crawford in Sweet Valley, Pa. They removed three kittens and a cat. While at the home, police also found a dog with pierced ears.
A jury found Crawford guilty of animal cruelty, and last year she was sentenced to six months of home detention and electronic monitoring, followed by probation.
In her appeal, Crawford argued that Pennsylvania’s cruelty statutes were too vague, and pointed out that many accepted veterinary procedures like declawing cats and cutting a dog’s vocal cords could fall under the same category she was being prosecuted under.
The law forbids “acts that maim, mutilate, torture or disfigure the animal.”
This week, the Superior Court panel upheld the lower court’s findings, the New York Times reported.
In a 19-page opinion, Judge Kate Ford Elliott wrote that “metal protruded from the kittens’ small bodies, pierced through their ears and necks, and at least one of these kittens also had an elastic band tied around its tail, an attempt at docking …”
Crawford, who was described in the opinion as being “enthusiastic about piercing,” had admitted to piercing the kittens without anesthetic.
“Appellant’s claims center on her premise that a person of normal intelligence would not know whether piercing a kitten’s ears or banding its tail is maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring an animal.” Judge Elliott wrote. “We disagree.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, cats, decision, disfiguring, ebay, goth cats, gothic, gothic kittens, holly crawford, kittens, luzerne county, maiming, mutilating, opinion, pennsylvania, peta, piercing, sale, spca, superior court, upheld, wilkes-barre
(WARNING: The contents of this video are disturbing.)
Angel’s Gate – an animal sanctuary you may have seen Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Ray sing the praises of — bills itself as a non-profit organization that cares for disabled, abused and abandoned animals, providing them a place to live out their years in dignity and comfort while receiving holistic treatment and spiritual support.
PETA — hold the harp music — calls it “a chaotic hellhole.”
The hospice and rehabilitation center in Delhi, New York — founded and operated by Susan Marino — takes in “special needs animals” from all over the U.S., and provides for them through donations from the public. Marino promises both donors and people who send her animals that animals will “live out their days in peace, dignity and love.”
PETA says photos and video from its investigation show “Angel’s Gate was a chaotic hellhole where animals whose conditions required special, individualized, round-the-clock care were deprived of basic necessities and quality of life.”
PETA’s undercover investigator, posing as a volunteer, documented paralyzed animals dragging themselves until they developed bleeding wounds; animals kept in the same diaper for up to two days until they suffered urine scald; dehydrated animals denied access to water; animals confined to crates, bathrooms, cribs and a bathtub; animals denied treatment for pain, seizures, tumors, open wounds, respiratory infections, eye infections, ear infections, and mouth, gum and skin infections; and crowded conditions so stressful that fights broke out daily.
Despite claiming to provide “hospice care” and “rehabilitation” to hundreds of animals, Angel’s Gate does not have a veterinarian on staff and most animals were denied veterinary care for a variety of ailments, from simple to terminal, PETA reports.
Among the investigator’s findings:
- An elderly Chihuahua named Malcolm, sent there from Animal Care and Control in Brooklyn, suffered for about two weeks before he finally died — anemic, lethargic, thin, dehydrated, and unable to balance, walk, or even eat.
- Medications that had been prescribed for Shifty, a bulldog suffering from seizures, and Tucker, a dog with hydrocephalus, was untouched almost a week after a veterinarian had dispensed them.
- A miniature horse named Mimi was denied veterinary care for respiratory distress for days before she finally died. More than four months after Mimi’s death, Marino still solicited sponsorship donations for Mimi’s care on the Angel’s Gate website.
Angel’s Gate, like any facility that houses the sick, terminally ill and handicapped — be they dogs or humans — is bound to have messy moments and daily disasters. But the investigator’s video goes a long way toward documenting that, whatever love Angel’s Gate may, as it promises, be providing, ”peace and dignity” are far from ever-present.
Some of PETA’s findings may have been judgment calls: “Horribly suffering animals on death’s door were deprived of the dignity and relief of euthanasia.”
Others clearly were not: “The bodies of dead animals were left out for days among live animals. Animals were fed rancid, raw meat that had been left unrefrigerated.”
PETA says that in 2004, the IRS listed Angel’s Gate as an organization that failed to establish its status as a public charity, and in 2010, it was listed by the IRS as being at risk of having its charity status revoked.
Marino, PETA points out, has been featured positively on national TV, prompting public donations — one lottery winner apparently sent $50,000 — and what PETA says is the “false impression” that Angel’s Gate is a good place for animals.
PETA has turned over evidence gathered by its investigator to Delaware County District Attorney Richard Northrup Jr., and it is asking its members and others to urge his office to file animal cruelty charges against Marino.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abused, angel's gate, animal, animals, attorney general, cats, delhi, disabled, dogs, donations, hellhole, horses, hospice, investigation, new york, non-profit, opray winfrey, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, pets, rachel ray, sanctuary, susan marino, undercover
Residents of Chesterfield County demanded improvements yesterday at a South Carolina animal shelter under investigation for, among other things, shooting surplus dogs and “euthanizing” cats by blows to the head with a pipe.
The allegations began surfacing a month ago, and yesterday’s county council meeting was the first opportunity for residents to speak publicly about them.
“Chesterfield County has a black eye, and I’m so ashamed,” Joy Young told members of the Chesterfield County Council.
“Significant changes must be made to ensure that this never happens again,” said Jerri Gaskins, who founded Paws and Claws, a volunteer group that helps run the shelter.
A member of Paws and Claws, Deborah Farhi, blew the whistle a month ago, coming forward to allege that dozens of dogs and cats were being shot rather than euthanized by lethal injection.
The allegations, and subsequent media coverage by WSOC Eyewitness News and others, led to an investigation by the state — the findings of which have yet to be reported.
County Sheriff Sam Parker, after the allegations surfaced, put all four animal control officers on leave and assigned deputies to run the shelter and answer animal-related calls.
Animal welfare activists also say the shelter is failing to properly care for dogs and cats and provides insufficient food and medical care.
Some reports suggest as many as 50 dogs had been shot and dumped in a landfill across the street from the shelter, and quote a former a former shelter worker as saying cats were euthanized by being beaten on the head with a pipe
According to Change.org, the shelter’s director, Brian Burch, is a convicted felon who served time on drug charges and is a breeder of pit bulls. Equipment that could have been used to train dogs to fight was found at the shelter, which doesn’t officially adopt out pit bulls, the Change.org article said.
Council members told Wednesday’s crowd that they are awaiting the results of the state investigation, and wouldn’t take any action until it is complete.
No charges have been filed in the case. Sheriff’s deputies said only about two dozen dogs remain at the shelter. A rescue group recently took all 38 cats from the shelter. More than 100 animals have been adopted out, and none have been euthanized since the allegations first surfaced last month.
Change.org reports that the State Law Enforcement Division wrapped up their investigation late last week and turned its findings over to the attorney general’s office. A petition urging the attorney general to file charges and hold the shelter accountable can be found here.
A rally is scheduled for April 21, at 3 p.m. on the steps of the State House in Columbia.
More information and updates are available on the Paws n Claws Facebook page.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelter, animal welfare, animals, beating, cats, chesterfield county, coverage, cruelty, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, guns, investigation, killing, news, pets, pipes, rescue, shelters, shooting, south carolina, WSOC
Americans may be cutting corners to cope with the crappy economy, but spending on pets appears healthy as ever, at least according the the American Pet Products Association’s latest report and poll.
Pet ownership is at an all-time high of 72.9 million households — about two of every three households, according to survey results released Monday.
The total number of pets — including 78 million dogs and 86.4 million cats– represents a 2.1 percent increase over last year, according to UPI.
The APPA’s annual report showed Americans spent more than $48 billion on their pets in 2010, an increase of of 6.2 percent over 2009, and it anticipates spending could top $50 billion in 2011.
The biggest surge in spending is expected to be in the area of veterinary care, with the APPA estimating $14 billion will be spent by pet owners in 2011.
More than 15 percent of dog owners, in fact, said their animal’s medical treatment would take priority over their own, according to a Reuters report on the poll.
Spending on treats, toys and accessories was up a reported 30 percent, from $56 million to $73 million. And the cost of buying a dog has also spiked from $121 to $364 due to the increased price of pure breeds.
“The pet industry continues to see unprecedented growth,” said APPA President Bob Vetere. “The survey reveals pet owners are willing to spend money on their pets despite a downturn in the economy.”
(Photo: Money sculpture by Justine Smith. To see more of her art visit justinesmith.net)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, american pet products association, americans, animals, appa, cats, dogs, economy, industry, pet, pet industry, pets, poll, products, spending
Cats displaced dogs as the nation’s favorite pet – or favourite, if you live there – for the first time in 1994, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA).
Now, a study by the association predicts dogs will be number one again, possibly as early as this year.
“Rovertaken,” read the headline in the Sun. “It’s raining more dog than cat,” said the Daily Mail.
The study says the number of dogs in Britain is at an all-time high having risen from 5 million in 1970 to 8.3 million today. Cats have fallen from a 2004 peak of 9.6 million to 8.6 million.
Figures from the Kennel Club reveal ‘handbag dog’ breeds have increased sixfold and the number of Chihuahuas have tripled since 2001.
While more households have dogs than cats — both in the U.S. and Britain — there are more cats overall in both countries, given the number of households where mutliple cats reside. As of 2007, census figures showed 82 million cats and 72 million dogs in the U.S.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, britain, cats, census, count, dogs, favorite, fish, great britain, number, pet, pet ownership, pets, population, study, top, u.s., uk