A cat hacked to pieces, a terrier beaten by youths with a cricket bat and a dog whose owner inserted a caribiner through its neck all made the Royal New Zealand SPCA’s 2012 “List of Shame.”
The list of inhumane acts toward animals is compiled annually by the SPCA and shared with the public — partly to increase public awareness, and partly as a warning.
“Violence towards animals both co-occurs and is a predictor of violence towards humans,” said Robyn Kippenberger, national chief executive of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.
“The sheer level of violence meted out on animals by some of the perpetrators in the cases in this year’s List of Shame is shocking, and underlying of wider issues in New Zealand.”
Incidents that made this year’s list included a tethered goat stabbed to death in Greymouth, a dog left to starve on the side of a road, and “a family cat deliberately cut up in Timaru.”
The lists recounts 30 acts of abuse and neglect, and their outcomes.
In Rotorua, a dog owner put a metal caribiner, such as used in climbing, through the skin of his Shar Pei mix’s neck and used it to connect a leash. An infection resulted and the dog had to be euthanized. The owner was prosecuted, fined and banned from owning a dog for a year.
In Te Atatu, Auckland a 3 year old cat was found outside an archery club with an arrow in his head. Further investigation showed he’d also been shot with pellets. The SPCA is still investigating.
In Waitara, a man trapped cats in his backyard, then put them in sacks and drowned them. He was banned from owning an animal for five years.
In July, two men who were prosecuted for shooting 33 dogs and puppies during a feud between neighbors in Wellsford, received sentences of 6 months home detention and 6 months community detention, 300 hours community work and reparation.
“The SPCA’s work is made less effective by the low level of sentencing being awarded in animal welfare cases,” Kippenberger said. “ The sentencing in most of these cases is appallingly inadequate, and is no way indicative of the range of penalties that can be handed down under the Animal Welfare Amendment Act.”
“Considering the close links between violence towards humans and animal cruelty, courts should be recognising these crimes as significant in a continuum of violent behaviour. If these crimes are not punished significantly, an opportunity is lost to send a message that no violence is acceptable.”
The Royal New Zealand SPCA, in partnership with Women’s Refuge, recently released a study into the link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence in New Zealand.
In the study, “Pets as Pawns,” 50 per cent of women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence and 25 per cent said their children had witnessed violence against animals.
(Photo: One of the 33 dogs shot in Wellsford; New Zealand Herald)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, arrow, beaten, behavior, caribiner, cat, children, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, domestic, humans, inhumane, link, list, list of shame, new zealand, pets, pets as pawns, research, robyn kippenberger, royal new zealand spca, shar-pei, sharpei, study, violence
A British talk show host – while he was quite genteel about it, at least from an American perspective — threw some hard questions at Cesar Millan last week.
Alan Titchmarsh, a UK afternoon talk show host, politely accused Millan of using old-fashioned and inhumane techniques that include punching, kicking and using shock collars on dogs.
“You punish dogs, you hit them,” Titchmarsh said. “I’ve seen you punch a dog in the throat to get it to behave and to most people, like myself, I would say that is totally unacceptable as a way of training a dog.”
“Well obviously I would respectfully disagree with that,” Millan replied. “It’s not a punch, it’s a touch.”
The “Dog Whisperer” — appearing just slightly uncomfortable at some points — responded calmly, asserting that he never punches dogs, but only touches them to redirect negative behavior.
Millan, while some in America are critical of his methods, is even more controversial in the UK, where many, including the RSPCA, view his techniques as unacceptable.
“Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioral problems,” the RSPCA said in a statement read on the air. “The RSPCA believes that using such techniques is unacceptable, nor are they necessary to change dog behavior for the better when other dog trainers use reward-based methods to train dogs very effectively.”
“We’ve never had so many complaints about a guest,” Titchmarsh told Millan.
More than 1,000 people joined a Twitter campaign calling for the appearance be cancelled, and a Facebook page set up by protesters attracted 1,600 followers. Animal welfare activists threatened to disrupt the show, leading to extra security staff being called in.
After the appearance, critics and supporters of Millan continued to go after each other on various Internet forums, including YouTube, where comments grew so heated they were removed and shut down.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alan titchmarsh, animals, barbaric, beating, british, cesar millan, cruel, dog, dog whisperer, dogs, host, inhumane, kicking, methods, pets, rspca, shock collars, talk show, techniques, television, training, uk
Alley Cat Allies is leading a campaign against Loews Orlando resorts, calling on the hotel to stop the inhumane trapping of feral cats at their properties.
More than 31,000 people have signed a petition, and 68 people protested in front of Loews resorts on April 14, 2012 after the hotel abruptly changed its policy regarding the stray cats living on and around the property.
The hotel had agreed and endorsed a program in which 23 feral cats were trapped, neutered and returned to be managed as a colony.
But now the cats are being removed — trapped and taken to animal shelters where, given they are feral, they are not likely to be adopted, and very likely to be euthanized.
Regular feedings were halted, and Loews threatened to fire any employees who fed the cats. After allowing the cats to co-exist with guests, the hotel hired an exterminator to remove them.
Resort officials said the cats were a public health threat.
“The hotel chain says they are the most pet friendly hotel around and that they love having animals on site, and yet they continue to trap the feral cats and remove them,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies.
“There’s still time for Loews to do the right thing,” she added.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agreement, alley cat allies, animals, cats, change, colony, euthanasia, feral, feral cats, health, hotel, inhumane, loews, neuter, orlando, petition, pets, policy, protest, released, resort, shelters, strays, trap, trapping
It’s not exactly a new problem, just one that has been given a sexier name, but indications are that “dog flipping” may be on the rise.
As with house flipping, it’s all about the profit — immoral sleazebags respond to ads placed by people looking to re-home a pet, pretend that they are going to give it a loving home, and then turn around and sell it.
“You might think you are giving your dog to a loving home, but it is going to be warehoused with up to eight to 10 other dogs in tiny apartments and sold to the highest bidder,” animal rescuer Sarah Clinton told WMC-TV.
Dog flippers usually target websites like Craigslist — both to procure dogs and to sell them.
Falling victim to it led one couple in Ohio to start a Facebook page after their dog was flipped.
Amy Cannon was trying to find homes for nine puppies. After she advertised her puppies, free to good homes, one family took two of them, including one named “Frankie.”
Not much later, she saw an ad on Craigslist that read, “My husband and I are selling our dog Frankie. We just moved and now don’t have enough yard for him to play.” Attached to the post was a picture of her dog Frankie.
Cannon confronted the person who had Frankie, who said he was selling the dog because he needed grocery money. Cannon bought Frankie back for $70.
Experts said charging a fee for your dog is one deterrent for dog flipping.
“It cuts down on their profit and maybe they will overlook that pet and look for some easy money some other way,” said Clinton.
Even more important might be building a relationship with the potential adopters, or even asking to visit their home.
“It’s beyond our realm of thinking that anybody would look at a companion animal and see it as a means to turn a quick buck,” said Clinton.
But they do. The practice isn’t illegal, just revolting.
Last year, Gene Baierschmidt, executive director of the Humane Society of Utah, denounced the practice, which he said appeared to be on the rise.
“Flipping a house for profit is one thing. Flipping an animal is inhumane,” he said. “Cats and dogs are not inanimate objects and should not be viewed as commodities. They are living creatures who feel fear and pain.”
In addition to being unethical, “flipping animals is stressful on pets, and could put them in danger because people can’t ensure that the pets will be placed in a safe environment. Shelters have protocols to ensure that animals are placed in a safe and loving home.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, buying, craigslist, dog, dog flipping, dogs, facebook, flip, flipped, flipping, frankie, free dogs, free to good home, humane society of utah, inhumane, pets, profit, selling, warning
Most voters think it’s wrong to carry a dog on the roof of a car, even in a crate, but a majority also say a candidate having done so — as Mitt Romney did — would not have an effect on their vote, according to a new poll.
The poll found 68 percent say they think that it is inhumane to put the family dog on top of the car for a long trip.
Stunningly, 14 percent said they think it’s humane, and 18 percent weren’t sure, according the Huffington Post.
As asked by the polling firm, the question did not specify that it was a 12-hour trip; just a long one.
Nine hundred registered voters were interviewed for the poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), which is described as a Democratic-leaning firm.
While most voters think putting a dog on the car roof is inhumane, 55 percent said Romney’s 30-year-old action didn’t affect which candidate they would support. More than a third — 35 percent — said it made them less likely to support Romney. Seven percent — and we can only assume they represent the dog haters among us — said it made them more likely to support him.
Among only the people who were already Romney supporters, 17 percent said the Seamus story made them less likely to vote for him, while 75 percent said it didn’t make a difference.
Romney drove his family to Canada for a vacation in 1983 with their Irish setter, Seamus, in a crate fastened to the roof of their station wagon. At one point, Seamus suffered a bout of diarrhea and Romney pulled into a gas station to hose off the dog, crate and car before continuing.
The story was first reported by the Boston Globe in 2007. Last week, Rick Santorum’s campaign finally seized on it: “If you can’t be nice to your dog, who are you going to be nice to?” a Santorum spokesman said.
In the poll, 44 percent of respondents gave President Obama a favorable rating for his treatment of dogs, compared to 20 percent for Romney.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, campaign, candidates, car, crate, decision, diarrhea, dog, dogs, hose, humane, impact, inhumane, irish setter, mitt romney, obama, opinions, pets, poll, presidential, public policy polling, romney, roof, santorum, seamus, voters
(UPDATE: Plans to bring back the diving horse act have been scrapped.)
In what would be a stunningly stupid return to yesteryear, Atlantic City’s Steel Pier plans to bring back the diving horse act.
This summer spectators will be able to watch as horses ridden by stunt divers jump from a platform and plunge into a pool of water.
Perhaps you’ve seen grainy black and white footage of the event, in which swimsuit-clad women rode horses off a 40-foot platform. It began in the late 1920s and — with all due respect to nostalgia and extreme sports — should have stayed there.
Yet it’s returning as part of a multimillion effort to bring “family entertainment” back to Atlantic City. In other words — irony alert – let’s get all those folks we chased away with gambling to come back, and bring the kids, so that they might be traumatized and learn that animals are on this earth to help humans make money.
“This is a full-scale, custom act,” Tony Catanoso, one of the pier’s owners, told the Press of Atlantic City. “We know the diving horse is controversial, but I think people need to look at the bigger picture. A diving horse is going to be iconic. It’s going to be a small piece of the development project that will bring family entertainment back to Atlantic City.”
Plans for the show’s return were announced last week when the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a $6 million contribution to the $20 million first phase of the Steel Pier improvement project.
Animal welfare groups are, of course, chomping at the bit, and a petition to halt the act is gathering signatures at Change.org.
“It just boggles the mind that they’re going back and doing this again.” said Janine Motta, a spokeswoman for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey. “Certainly, we’ll be looking into finding out more about it.”
Motta was among the protesters when the show returned briefly in 1993, only to be terminated by the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, then the owner of the pier.
The Humane Society of the United States says equine diving acts expose the animals to “inhumane and potentially abusive situations in the course of their training, transport and performance.”
“The stress and trauma endured by these animals, in addition to the risk of injury to them, make these acts unacceptable,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for the HSUS. “They are senseless animal exploitation, for the sake of entertainment and profit.”
HSUS was among the organizations that protested the short-lived return of the diving horse show in Atlantic City in 1993. It featured two ponies, a mule and a dog jumping 15 feet into a pool of water, and it lasted only a couple of weeks.
Catanoso says the event will be neither cruel nor inhumane. An out-of-state consultant is training three horses with trick divers that will rotate through the shows. The dives will be the finale to a 15- to 20-minute show at an amphitheater at the pier.
Expect some fallout on this one, as animal welfare organizations will likely mount a campaign against it. Expect as well that those involved with the act will step forward and say how much the horses enjoy it — much like greyhounds “enjoy” racing because it’s “in their blood.”
We’d suggest the brilliant minds behind this idea take a long walk.
Off a short pier.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abusive, animal protection league, animal welfare, atlantic city, casino, cruel, diving, diving horses, entertainment, equine, extreme sports, family entertainment, horse diving, horses, hsus, humane society of the united states, improvement, inhumane, initiative, new jersey, nostalgia, platform, pool, project, steel pier, stunts
Despite their plea of poverty, despite maintaining they’ve sidestepped the crisis, our verdict remains.
As does the evidence: a police memo that instructed officers, when it came to stray dogs, to serve as judge, jury and executioner for any that seemed sick or violent; and transport and dump the others elsewhere — all while assuring any concerned citizens they were going to “a nice farm in the country.”
In the fall of last year, the cash-strapped capital city found itself unable to keep up with the terms of its contract with the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area, which operates the key animal shelter in the area.
About $6,300 in arrears, the city quietly waltzed out of the contract, with no announcement to the public, Amy Worden at the Philadelphia Inquirer’s dog blog, Philly Dawg, reports.
As a result of police having nowhere to take abandoned or stray dogs, Capt. Annette Books gave police supervisors the following instructions in a Dec. 5 memo:
If the animal is vicious and a danger to the public and/or officers, or if the animal is obviously sick, injured or suffering the animal may be destroyed in as safe a manner as possible. The animal will then be taken to the Agriculture Bldg. (near the loading dock area) on Cameron St. for disposal.
The memo went on to add:
If the animal is determined to be a “found” animal, the officer can ask the complainant if they want to keep the animal or if they know someone who will adopt the animal, or the officer can adopt the animal for himself/herself, or the officer can place the animal in a prisoner van and release it to an area where it will be safe for the animal.
If you choose to adopt the animal yourself or release it in a safe environment, DO NOT inform the complainant of your intentions.
Instead, the memo suggested that officers tell citizens the dog is “going to a nice farm in the country.”
Animal welfare advocates, rightfully, were enraged and called the policy both inhumane and illegal. Abandoning an animal is a crime in Pennsylvania, and here was a police official ordering that officers do exactly that, or worse, as a matter of policy.
“Police officers cannot play judge, jury and executioner in the case of a stray dog,” said Tom Hickey, a member of the governor’s Dog Law Advisory Board.
By the end of December, the city publicly declared the matter resolved, making the memo’s instructions a “moot” point, a spokesperson for the city’s mayor said.
We’d disagree with that. We’d say it’s not moot at all. And we’d suggest that the police captain who wrote the memo be driven somewhere out in the country, perhaps to a nice farm, where she would be safe.
It’s not entirely clear what, if any, definite terms have been agreed upon by the city and the humane society, but they are reportedly meeting and talking.
Worden reports that, according to animal rescuers, the shelter continues to turn away stray animals and that “police officers are telling the public they cannot help unless the dog is aggressive. In which case, according to the memo, they will be shot.”
Worden also reports that a Facebook petition drive has been started, called “Stop the Shooting of Dogs in Harrisburg.”
All that considered, Dusty Rose, the dog pictured at the top of this post, is lucky to have seen 2012.
A female pit bull, she was found outside a convenience store on New Year’s eve by a volunteer with Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance (CPAA). The volunteer called 911, and a police officer arrived to tell her the only thing he was authorized to do was shoot the dog if it was aggressive.
Wadsworth told him she’d prefer to do without his services and called fellow CPAA volunteers to help round up the dog.
Dusty’ Rose is now receiving medical care at a veterinary hospital in York, where she is recovering from surgery to fix a prolapsed uterus. Donations to her care can be sent to CPAA or made through its website.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, abandonment, animal shelters, animal welfare, animals, budget, central pennsylvania animal alliance, contract, cpaa, crisis, destroy, disposal, dog law, dogs, dusty rose, email, finances, found, harrisburg, humane society, humane society of harrisburg, illegal, inhumane, memo, nice farm in the country, pennsylvania, petition, pets, philly dawg, pit bull, police, policy, release, rescues, shoot, stray dogs, strays
In the Davidson County town of Lexington, it’s now against the law to bring your dog to a city-sponsored function, even on a leash, or to keep your dog in your front yard, even if it’s fenced.
The Lexington City Council unanimously approved stricter controls on dogs at its Monday night meeting, all of which are effective immediately.
The measures include giving the police department the power to determine what dogs are dangerous and seize them; prohibiting dogs from attending city-sponsored public events; and requiring areas where dogs are fenced be only in backyards, 50 feet from neighboring structures and 20 feet from sidewalks.
The stricter measures stemmed from complaints from residents and an incident last year, in which an unleashed dog described as a pit bull killed a resident’s Yorkshire terrier, according to The Dispatch in Davidson County.
The new ordinance does not prohibit tethering — as long as it is in the back yard, is done without a heavy chain, and does not prevent an animal from reaching food, water or shelter.
“We require chains and tethering devices to be of a reasonable weight and length for the size of the animal to treat those animals humanely,” Lexington Police Department Capt. Mark Sink said.
Beyond that, and the fact that the city council didn’t ban any specific breeds, it’s hard to find much humanity in the new regulations.
But then again, Lexington is in Davidson County, whose commissioners last month — despite hundreds of residents showing up to encourage a much needed change — voted to continue it’s preferred method of euthanizing dogs: A gas chamber.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animal shelter, animals, back yard, cats, city council, controls, county commissioners, dangerous dogs, davidson county, death, dogs, euthanasia, gas chamber, gassing, humane, inhumane, law, lethal injection, lexington, north carolina, pets, ralph houser, restrictions, sheriff, strict, tethering
What do some Westminster show dogs have in common with some drug dealers’ attack dogs?
They’ve been debarked.
The surgical procedure, which critics label outdated and inhumane, has been around for decades, but continues to fall out of favor, especially among younger veterinarians and animal-rights advocates, the New York Times reported this week.
There are no reliable figures on how many dogs have had their vocal cords cut, but veterinarians and other animal experts say that dogs with no bark can be found in private homes, on the show-dog circuit, and even on the turf of drug dealers, who are said to prefer their attack dogs silent.
David Frei, the longtime co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, acknowledged that some show dogs have the operation. “There is no question we have some debarked dogs among our entries,” he said.
Many veterinarians refuse to do the surgery on ethical grounds, and some states have banned it, except for therapeutic reasons, including New Jersey. Similar legislation is pending in Massachusetts.
In the surgery, vets anesthetize the dog before cutting its vocal cords, either through the mouth or through an incision in the larynx. Dogs generally recover quickly, veterinarians say, and while they usually can still make sounds, their barks become muffled and raspy.
But Dr. Gary W. Ellison, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, said the procedure can lead to complications, such as excess scar tissue building up in the throat of dogs, making it difficult to breathe.
Ellison said the procedure is no longer taught at the University of Florida’s veterinary school.
Banfield, the Pet Hospital, with more than 750 veterinary practices across the country, formally banned the surgery last summer.
“Debarking is not a medically necessary procedure,” said Jeffrey S. Klausner, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer. “We think it’s not humane to the dogs to put them through the surgery and the pain. We just do not think that it should be performed.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that the surgery only be done “after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american veterinary medical association, avma, banfield, banned, bark, barking, cut, debarked, debarking, dogs, inhumane, jeffrey s. klausner, massachusetts, new jersey, new york times, outdated, problems, proposal, scar tissue, show dogs, surgery, surgical procedure, university of florida, veterinarian, veterinary, veterinary school, vocal cords, westminster
America’s toughest sheriff seems to have a soft spot for pooches.
That, in part, explains why Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs an animal shelter out of the old Maricopa County jail in Phoenix — one complete with air conditioning, a luxury Arpaio has never seen fit to afford the incarcerated humans entrusted to his care.
Arpaio — a strong supporter of the death penalty, cracking down on illegal immigrants and providing the bare minimum, or slightly less, for inmates – has long been criticized for inhumane practices in the county jail, from the use of chain gangs to housing inmates in tents to mandating all inmate underwear be pink.
He once told CNN he was proud of the fact that the no-frills county prison system spent $1.10 each a day to feed its guard dogs, but only 90 cents each to feed its inmates.
His no-kill animal shelter, on the other hand — called MASH (Maricpopa Animal Safe Haven) – offers a cool and comfortable, supportive and nurturing environment for pets.
Prisoners help run the shelter, and news reports recently highlighted the story of two emaciated Rhodesian Ridgebacks who were nursed back to health by female inmates. The dogs were taken in after their owner, 34-year-old Jonathan Eder, was arrested on animal cruelty charges in August, ABC15 in Phoenix reported.
Named Bazzele and Frank, the dogs had been deprived of food and water for so long that the outlines of their rib cages were “drastically visible.” Bazelle reportedly weighed only 48 pounds, Frank 57. At the shelter, both have recovered. Bazzele now weighs 71 pounds and Frank 73. Both are up for adoption for $100 each.
The shelter was created to house and care for animals that, because of abuse or neglect by their caretakers, have been seized by the county’s Animal Cruelty Investigative Unit and must remain in custody until the court cases are resolved. After that, the sheriff’s shelter finds adoptive homes for the dogs.
Arpaio opened the shelter in the First Avenue Jail, which was closed for repairs in December 1999, then reopened for pets after getting refurbished.
“Some critics have said that it’s inhumane to put dogs and cats in air-conditioned quarters when inmates don’t have air conditioning,” the sheriff’s website says. “A good answer came from one of the inmates assigned to care for the dogs. When asked if she was resentful about not having air conditioning, she gestured to some of the dogs and said, ‘They didn’t do anything wrong. I did.’”
Consider the case of Schultz, the mastiff pictured to the left, also known as #1001.
“My owner kept me locked in a crate so I wasn’t allowed to go outside to use the bathroom, they also failed to provide me with the necessary food & water,” he says on the sheriff’s shelter web page that lists available animals. “I was brought to the MASH Unit in August, 2007, in which I received the medical attention and the love I needed to get better and recover …”
You won’t find many testimonials like that from the humans Arpaio oversees.
In Maricopa County, for an inmate to be treated like a dog would, literally, be an improvement — and, contrary as nurturing an inmate would be to the highly popular Arpaio’s philosophy, maybe it would keep some of them from biting again, once they are eventually released from their crates.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioning, animal shelter, arizona, arpaio, county, dogs, humane, inhumane, inmates, jail, joe, maricopa, mash, no-kill, pets, phoenix, prison, rescue, rights, sheriff