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Tag: people for the ethical treatment of animals

Two charged in PETA’s continuing protest of Texas A&M muscular dystrophy research

Two PETA protesters were forcibly removed from the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting Wednesday after demanding the board stop funding research at Texas A&M that breeds dogs with muscular dystrophy to create puppies with the disease for use in experiments to find a cure.

PETA has long been campaigning to bring an end to the long-running research project — a cause whose supporters include comedian Bill Maher, and former A&M quarterback Ryan Tannenhill, both of whom have characterized the research as cruel.

The leader of the research, Joe Kornegay, has defended the project by saying it seeks to find a cure for the debilitating disease in both humans and dogs, and that — doomed as they might be to a life of suffering — dogs brought into the world for use in the experiments are treated well.

He says they breed dogs with the disease because they can’t otherwise find enough canine participants who are already afflicted.

On Wednesday, in PETA’s latest protest, two shouting, sign-carrying members of the organization were removed from the meeting and charged with hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct.

A second protest, with fewer than a dozen participants, was staged along the Capital of Texas Highway, near the hotel where the regents were meeting, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“We’re asking them to stop funding Texas A&M while these labs continue,” said Matt Bruce, an organizer for PETA.

PETA says the dogs spend their short lives in cages and struggle to swallow and walk as the disease progresses. They are also subjected to being placed in a mechanical device that stretches, and often tears, their muscles, PETA says.

PETA says the experiments have failed to produce a single effective treatment for human muscular dystrophy in 35 years and don’t justify the misery the dogs are put through.

PETA deems Angel’s Gate a “hellhole”

(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.

Utah labs cease use of shelter animals

The University of Utah has announced that it will no longer purchase dogs and cats from North Utah Valley Animal Shelter (NUVAS) — or any other animal shelter — for use in medical experiments.

The decision was praised by PETA, which has waged a lengthy campaign against the practice.

“PETA is thrilled for the dogs, cats and people of Utah now that the University of Utah has stopped using animal shelters as dirt-cheap sources of living lab equipment, marking the complete end of pound seizure in the state,’’ said Kathy Guillermo, PETA’s vice president for laboratory investigations.

Until last year, animal shelters in Utah were required to sell cats and dogs in their custody to the university under a practice known as pound seizure. A change in state law made it voluntary for shelters to participate. The North Utah Valley Animal Shelter, however, continued to supply animals for research in the belief that it was helping to ease human suffering and advance medical knowledge.

NUVAS sold the university about 100 dogs and cats a year, Director Tug Gettling told the Salt Lake City Tribune.

The practice, over the years, saw hundreds of former pets and strays sacrificed for purposes of medical experimentation — though not all that were used in experiments were killed.  Last year, a pet owner who turned her dog, Sheena (above) over to the shelter was shocked to learn — when she called to see if she had been adopted — that the dog had been sold to the university for experimentation. Later, with help from PETA, she launched a successful campaign to get the dog back from the university and into an adoptive home.

According to the Tribune, the decades-old practice of buying animals from shelters was halted by the university in mid-January.

Thomas Parks, the university’s vice president for research, said the decision was aimed at bringing an end to the campaign against the shelter by animal welfare advocates. Parks said the university will instead obtain dogs bred for laboratory use by certified breeders — a costlier but less controversial method.

PETA’s Guillermo said she hoped the added cost of specially bred animals would lead the university to seek alternatives to using live animals in its experiments.

Parks said employees at the non-profit municipal shelter “have been suffering a lot of harassment” and that the shelter has received thousands of hostile emails and phone calls, several bomb threats and at least three public protests.

A Salt Lake Tribune investigation a year ago found that about 60 percent of all shelter animals the shelter provided to the university between 2007 and 2009 were killed after being experimented on, while the rest entered an adoption program.

Sheena avoids becoming a lab experiment

A mutt named Sheena will live to see Christmas.

Sheena’s former guardian, identified only as Gayle, surrendered the dog to the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter (NUVAS) in hopes of finding her a new home, according to the PETA Files

Sheena wasn’t getting along with another dog in the house and Gayle could not afford to keep three large dogs.

After surrendering Sheena, Gayle, visited the dog several times at the shelter in Lindon, Utah, to make sure that she was being cared for. One day, though, when Gayle called to check on the dog, she was told Sheena was gone.

Shelter staff informed her that Sheena had been sold to the University of Utah, and declined to say much beyond that.

Gayle contacted the university to determine whether Sheena was still alive, then called PETA’s emergency hotline, which informed her that NUVAS regularly sells dogs — some of them the same ones they feature on their website as cute, cuddly and adoptable — to the university for use in medical experiments.

According to PETA, dogs recently purchased by the university from the animal shelter have had holes cut into their chests and necks, and pacemakers implanted onto their hearts in order to induce irregular heartbeats; the dogs were then killed and dissected.

(A PETA petition urging the shelter’s board of directors to cease the practice can be signed here.)

Gayle called the university and demanded her dog back, and with assistance from PETA found a foster home where Sheena will stay until a permanent home can be found.

(Photo: Courtesy of PETA)

Ochocinco says: Don’t skin animals

Chad Ochocinco has shot two “super hot” ads for PETA, in which the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver is cloaked in nothing more than a football.

Wait a minute, aren’t footballs made of pigskin?

Actually, no. They were intitially made with pig bladders, but those days are long gone. They are still made with leather, though, and an estimated 35,000 cowhides a year are used to make NFL footballs, according to a New York Times blog.

Of course, those 35,000 cows aren’t slaughtered to make footballs, but they are slaughtered to make meat, with their hides then being used to make footballs.

Probably, if one wanted to try hard enough, they could find some hypocrisy here, especially considering the tagline of the new PETA ad is, “Ink Not Mink: Be comfortable in your own skin and let animals keep theirs.” On top of that, probably even more cowhides are used to make official NFL leather jackets.

Then again, given Ochocinco’s admirable abs, and the fact that a football is the only thing covering his privates, I doubt the focus of most people will be on such a teeny tiny possible double standard as this: Killing animals for their skin is wrong, but separating dead animals, killed for other purposes, from their skin is OK?

Given the ill will between the NFL and much of the animal welfare community — especially after convicted dogfighter Michael Vick was invited back to the league — Ochocinco’s public service ad is still a huge step, unless you’re a cow, in the right direction.

“To tell you the truth, when I was younger growing up, I thought it was all fake … they didn’t really kill animals,” Ochocinco says in the ad. When he found out how animals are killed for their skins, “he really wanted to become a part of this campaign,” PETA says. “Animals killed for their fur endure tremendous pain and suffering before being turned into coats, hats or used as fur trim. Foxes, minks, rabbits even dogs and cats are bludgeoned, stomped, electrocuted, and gassed to death. and sometimes skinned while alive.”

Ochocinco, PETA notes, is “known for making superstar plays on—and off—the field. He hosts a football show with fellow Bengals teammate Terrell Owens called the T. Ocho Show and has set multiple franchise records for the team. He charmed viewers on season 10 of Dancing With the Stars and captured the hearts of lucky ladies on his own VH1 dating show The Ultimate Catch. This NFL legend is everywhere…and is now showing off everything! Chad, an avid animal lover, posed nude for PETA’s iconic ‘Ink, Not Mink’ campaign to protest the cruel fur industry and prove that he’d rather go naked than wear fur.”

You can back Chad’s new cause by signing a PETA petition.

Bikinied “Lettuce Ladies” to dog Baltimore

PETA thinks Baltimore residents are too fat, and that a vegetarian diet could help them achieve a much-needed slimming down.

To that end, it is sending women clad in lettuce bikinis to the city to hand out veggie hot dogs.

Makes perfect sense.

Baltimore was recently ranked the eighth fattest city in the country, so PETA’s “Lettuce Ladies” are hitting the road to show Baltimore (and other fat cities, as well)  how healthy, compassionate, and delicious it is to be vegan.

The free veggie dogs will be handed out at noon this coming Friday at City Hall, 100 Holliday St.

PETA says meat consumption has been directly linked to obesity, and that adult vegans are, on average, 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters. On top of that, PETA says, foregoing meat also helps fight heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.

Utah shelter selling dogs for experiments

“Very cute.” “Cuddly.” “Enjoys belly rubs.”

That’s how the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter (NUVAS) described the dogs in its care that were up for adoption — some of the same dogs it later sold for use in university laboratories.

PETA says the dogs were sold to the University of Utah and used for “deadly and invasive” experiments: 

“Dogs recently purchased from the animal shelter had holes cut into their chests and necks and pacemakers implanted onto their hearts in order to induce irregular heartbeats; the dogs were then killed and dissected.”

North Utah Valley Animal Shelter is the only animal shelter in Utah that continues to sell animals entrusted to its care for use in experiments, according to PETA’s blog, The Peta Files.

PETA conducted an undercover investigation and says it found more than 100 animals were purchased from shelters by the University of Utah.

Demonstrations have been held at the shelter, with activists handing out leaflets that warned of the possibility that surrendered dogs and cats could end up being used in experiments. Activists personally rescued two surrendered cats, Angel and Libby, who might have otherwise ended up being used in experiments. The organization is urging supporters to join a campaign calling for an end to the shelter’s practice.

You can learn more about the campaign here.