Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota and New Mexico are 2012’s five best states to be an animal abuser, according to the latest report released by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
The national nonprofit organization compared animal protection laws of every state in the country, analyzing more than 4,000 pages of statutes, to reveal the state’s that are strongest on animal protection and those that are weakest.
The weakest of all? Kentucky, which the ALDF says was the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for the sixth year in a row.
The report ranks all 50 states, and top honors went to Illinois, for the fifth year in a row. ALDF has been releasing the annual analysis for seven years.
Rounding out the top five states were Maine, California, Michigan, and Oregon, all of which demonstrated strong commitments to combating animal cruelty.
States that ranked poorly either lacked or made limited use of felony penalties for the worst types of animals abuse, had weak laws covering basic standards of care for animals, and no restrictions on convicted animal abusers getting news pets and animals.
In the survey, Kansas saw its ranking drop from sixth to 13th, primarily due to its “ag gag” law. Such laws, now existing in five states, make it illegal to covertly take photos or videos at factory farms and other animal facilities as part of undercover investigations.
Idaho was the fastest rising state, moving up from 52 to 44 due to its enactment of felony provisions for animal cruelty.
Since the first rankings report in 2006, more than half of all states and territories have experienced a significant improvement in their animal protection laws, ALDF says.
“We look forward to further progress in the upcoming year,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF. “Regardless of ranking, each state and territory has ample room for improvement. We hope lawmakers will recognize the need for immediate improvement in animal protection laws across the nation. Although animals do not vote, those who love and protect them certainly do.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, analysis, animal, animal legal defense fund, best, best and worst, bottom five, california, cruelty to animals, felony, illinois, iowa, kentucky, laws, maine, michigan, new mexico, north dakota, oregon, protection, report, south dakota, states, statutes, top five, worst
Rex, 12, whose nickname was “Fluffy,” was was laid to rest at the East-West Police K-9 training grounds and cemetery in Sauget.
“He was a phenomenal dog. Amazing. He saved my life at least two times,” said Rex’s hander, patrolman Keith Lewis.
Lewis, shedding tears, spoke at the service, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
He recalled how Rex once took down a suspect attacking him with knives, and how, on another occasion, the dog found a man hiding in a pile of leaves with a rifle and night-vision goggles.
Rex served the department from 2001 to 2009, fighting crime and also winning numerous awards in Police Canine Association trials.
Rex retired in 2009 and stayed with Lewis and his family.
Rex had been suffering from herniated disks as well as a degenerative neurological disorder. He was put to sleep early Monday morning.
His final resting place in Sauget is with other police dogs, not far from the center where police K-9s are trained.
(Photo: St. Clair County Sheriffs deputy Calvin Savage salutes Rex during the funeral; by Steve Nagy / Belleville News-Democrat)
James Robert Wesolaski, 51, of Des Plaines, entered a guilty plea on torture and cruelty charges for pinning his small dog to the ground in front of his home in early June and punching him four or five times.
He was also ordered not to own a pet or live in a residence with any animal for 20 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Police, called to the home by witnesses, found the dog, named Teddy, with swollen, bleeding eyes and broken capillaries, indicating he had been choked.
Wesolaski told police that he was having a bad day and beat the dog because it got outside.
Police took the dog, along with two others inside the home, to Northwest Animal Hospital in Des Plaines, where they were treated. Teddy has made a full recovery and been adopted by a new family, as have Wesolaski’s other two dogs.
Authorities also said Wesolaski’s June arrest violated his probation from an incident earlier this year in which he admitted to trying to take a Taser away from a police officer.
Judge Lauren Edidin also advised Wesolaski to get anger-management counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 30 months, abuse, adopted, animal cruelty, animals, beating, cruelty to animals, des plaines, dog, dogs, illinois, james wesolaski, judge, lhasa apso, pets, punching, recovered, sentence, teddy
When the parents of an 18-month-old girl heard her cries and saw the tip of her finger had been severed, they immediately blamed the family pit bull.
They were wrong.
According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the parents were at home in Maine Township, Ill., one night last week when they heard their daughter’s screams, saw her bleeding finger and realized it was missing its tip.
They called 911 and an ambulance took the girl to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where a doctor realized that, based on the looks of the wound, it wasn’t a dog bite after all, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Frank Bilecki, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said authorities called to inform the girl’s father, who was still at home, about that.
At that point — and we can only assume he didn’t do this with the pit bull, or the story would have mentioned it – the father plunged his hand into the fish bowl, grabbing one of family’s two piranhas.
“He grabbed a knife and cut it open and found her fingertip right there,” Bilecki said.
The piece of her finger was taken to the hospital. Doctors were trying to re-attach it.
Bilecki said he did not know if the tank was covered or how the child got access to it, but he said the mother and father are not facing any citations after the incident.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, aquarium, bit, bite, blame, blamed, child, cook county, dog, dogs, finger, fingertip, fish, fish tank, illinois, maine township, parenting, parents, pets, piranha, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, safety, severed
“I could feel it right away,” she told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. “I was fearing the worst.”
Wiersma, 37, broke her left front tooth in the spill. And it was all the fault of Moses.
The next day, Sunday, she called her dentist in Barrington, Dr. Russ Fitton, who encouraged her to find the missing chunk of tooth and bring it in.
She searched the backyard, but couldn’t locate it.
It was later Sunday afternoon, after being let out in the backyard, that Moses came back inside and dropped something at Wiersma’s feet. It was the missing piece of tooth — about 3 millimeters by 2 millimeters in side.
Wiersma said she isn’t surprised Moses found the chunk of tooth. But she is surprised he didn’t eat it.
“He eats everything,” she said.
The dentist cemented the piece of tooth back in place, returning Wiersma’s smile to its natural state.
Moses is forgiven.
(Photo: Mark Welsh / Daily Herald)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, barrington, broken, chicago, dental, dentistry, dog, dog finds tooth, dogs, falls, finds, found, illinois, leashes, megan wiersma, missing, moses, pets, safety, smile, suburbs, teeth, tooth
“I want the officer to know that what he did was wrong,” Haley Pekala, 20, told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday. “There was no need to taser the dog.”
Pekala’s 50-pound dog, named Chooch, died May 8 . Police said officers responding to a report of a dog bite were forced to use a Taser on the animal to subdue it.
Chooch had bitten a relative of her boyfriend at his family home in Roselle.
Roselle police said that after helping the woman to an ambulance, they found Chooch in the kitchen. Unable to slip a noose around Chooch, they used a Taser on the 2-year-old dog.
After that, officers transported the dog to a Schaumburg animal hospital, where he died.
“We don’t know for sure why the dog died,” said Lawson. “Part of our training is to learn how to properly use a Taser on an animal.”
Pekala and her boyfriend weren’t home when the bite occured.
She said Chooch and a dog belonging to her boyfriend’s family became agitated when a delivery person rang the doorbell. That might have agitated the two dogs, she said.
“It was a dog dominance thing,” said Pekala, a college student who plans on becoming a veterinarian.
Pekala drove the dog to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to have a necropsy performed. She is awaiting results of that examination before having Chooch cremated.
“My dog, he’s still not resting in peace,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bit, bitten, chooch, dog, dog bite, dogs, haley pekala, illinois, investigation, necropsy, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, response, roselle, taser, tasered, training
The residents of a group home for developmentally disabled adults in Belleville, Ill., were distraught when their adopted dog Gigi disappeared over the Christmas holiday.
Gigi had been rescued from the flooded Mississippi River in southeastern Missouri this summer and adopted from a humane society by residents of the group home.
The arrangement was working out well for all, according to Trudy Baxter, director of programs and services for the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois.
“We are one of just a couple of agencies that actually have a pet for the individuals with disabilities who live in our homes,” she said. “Gigi has been a wonderful pet. The residents have participated in petting her, bathing her and walking her. She has been a big part of the successful program.”
But according to the Belleville News Democrat, Gigi slipped outside and disappeared over Christmas. Despite a search of the neighborhood, and a $50 reward, no one could find her.
Hearing about what happened, a couple in Florissant, Mo., offered to donate their dog, Lily, a beagle mix who suffers from seizures, to the group home.
But then Gigi was found and returned safely, the News Democrat reported yesterday.
The couple plans to follow through with the donation, anyway, and give Lily to another group home operated by the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beagle, belleville, developmentally disabled, disabilities, dog, dogs, donation, epilepsy foundation, found, gigi, group home, home, illinois, lily, lost, offer, pet, pets, return
Betty Peltier of Antioch, Ill., pleaded guilty to just that this week in exchange for a sentence of 100 hours of community service.
She could have been sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail and fined $2,500, according to the Lake County News-Sun.
Peltier was accused of stealing Peanut, a 3-pound Chihuahua who ran out of his family’s house while they were unloading groceries. Peanut served as a therapy dog for the son of Monica Hidalgo. Hidalgo offered a $1,000 reward for the dog’s return.
After Peliter called Hidalgo several times inquiring about the reward, Round Lake Beach police arrested her when she attempted to return the dog.
In addition to 100 hours of community service, Peltier received one year of supervision, after the successful completion of which the theft charge will not go on her record as a conviction.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, antioch, autism, autistic, chihuahua, dog, dogs, guilty, illinois, lake county, peanut, pets, plea, reward, sentence, stealing, stolen, theft, therapy dog
More than a dozen dogs starved to death while at the Muddy Paws animal shelter, operated by Diane Eldrup.
The 49-year-old woman faced up to five years in prison for 18 counts of animal torture, and up to three years in prison for 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty. A jury convicted her of the charges last month.
Lake County Circuit Judge James Booras sentenced Eldrup to 30 months of probation to serve at the same time as the 30 months of “periodic imprisonment,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported
“It takes a certain mean spirit, a certain meanness of heart,” Booras said. “She was running a concentration camp for dogs, taking those dogs in so that she could kill them.”
A jury heard evidence that Eldrup allowed 14 dogs to die of starvation and dehydration while they were under her care at the Deer Park animal shelter. Their rotting carcasses and four live dogs were found at the facility in December, 2010.
Evidence was presented at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing that — in addition to the 14 dogs that died of starvation and dehydration at the facility – eight to 10 more carcasses were found at Muddy Paws after the snow melted.
“The defendant has been hiding and killing dogs far longer than the evidence of trial,” one of the prosecutor said. “The state is asking for a prison sentence. She starved them to death. She prolonged their suffering. This was a torture camp for animals and she was a prison guard.”
Her defense attorney said Eldrup has has obsessive-compulsive disorder and a depressive disorder and was undergoing a divorce and having business difficulties.
Booras also ordered Eldrup to perform 200 hours of community service and fined her $1,000.
Under her periodic imprisonment, she will be kept in the custody of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in a residential facility next to the jail, and will be released from custody for counseling, court obligations and work.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 30 months, animal, animal cruelty, animal shelter, animal torture, concentration camp, deaths, deer park, diane eldrup, dogs, illinois, judge james booras, Muddy Paws, periodic imprisonment, pets, rescue, sentenced, shelter, starvation
Moose, the bull mastiff who was mistakenly put up for adoption after biting a child at the Kendall County animal control shelter in Illinois, was euthanized yesterday morning.
Moose bit a 6-year-old boy at the county animal shelter in Yorkville on July 3, and the head of Kendall County animal control told officials the dog was euthanized after that incident.
Last week, though, it was revealed that the shelter accidentally euthanized the wrong bull mastiff, and that Moose was adopted by a couple in nearby LaSalle County. When officials found out Friday that Moose was still alive, the animal control administrator was put on leave, and officials asked the family to return the dog.
Moose was returned and euthanized yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Moose, who had bitten two people before biting the boy, had bitten another person since he was adopted — a neighbor of the couple that adopted him.
After initially telling officials and reporters the dog had been euthanized, the director of animal control, Christine Johnson, admitted Friday at a special meeting of the Kendall County Board’s animal control committee that he had not been.
Johnson was placed on administrative leave after the meeting, and her future employment is scheduled to be discussed today.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animal control, animal shelter, animals, bit, bite, bitten, bull mastiff, christine johnson, director, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, illinois, kendall county, mastiff, mistake, moose, pets, put down, shelter, shelters