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Tag: protest

Animal activist detained in Moscow

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A Russian animal rights activist has been detained in central Moscow after he and two others protested the country’s policy of killing stray dogs in Sochi, according to an Associated Press report

Three activists unfurled a banner near Red Square on Saturday that read “Bloody Olympics.”

The banner depicted a puppy covered in blood.

According to the report, a policeman approached and pulled the banner out of the activists’ hands.

One man was detained while the other two fled.

A year before the Sochi Olympics, municipal authorities announced a contract to “catch and dispose” of strays.

Public pressure led authorities to announce they’d dropped the plan — but they didn’t. Companies have been hired to continue killing the dogs throughout the games, which started Friday and end Feb. 23.

(Photo: A stray dog walks past the Olympic rings during the official flag raising ceremony; by Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press / AP photo)

More than a hundred protest Vick’s award

As 100 to 150 sign-carrying protesters stood outside, convicted dogfighter Michael Vick received the Ed Block Courage Award at a Baltimore banquet hall tonight.

Vick, who served a 21-month prison sentence for dogfighting before getting signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, has said he feels he deserves the award. He was the unanimous choice of his teammates.

“I think everybody has a right to their own opinion. I feel like I’ve done everything I said I  would do,” Vick said in an interview with WBAL during the ceremony. “My peers felt like I was doing the right thing … that I displayed courage and sportsmanship and leadership.”

Protesters began gathering at Martin’s West in Woodlawn before 4 p.m., carrying signs that said, among other things,  ”No awards for dog killers” and “Cowards abuse animals.” 

“I am here to protest that the Eagles have given Michael Vick a Courage Award and everyone else has gone along with it,” said Darlene Sanders Harris, an organizer of the protest. “I don’t think he exudes courage or any of the qualities they are looking for in an Ed Block recipient.”

Animal advocates have voiced their dismay at Vick being named to receive the honor since last December when his teammates chose him for the award.

When Vick confirmed he would be attending, the foundation had to boost security for the event and scrap the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans to sign autographs.

Every year 32 NFL players receive the honor, which is named after a longtime Baltimore Colts trainer who also worked as a physical therapist at a hospital for disabled children. The award honors players who are “role models” and “exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”

Maryland SPCA’s Executive Director Aileen Gabbey released the following statement about the decision to give the award to Vick:

“The Maryland SPCA remains shocked and disappointed that Michael Vick will, indeed, receive an award for courage from the Ed Block Foundation after being nominated by his team. Mr. Vick does not deserve this honor. He has been convicted of horrific crimes against living creatures; he has served jail time; he has somehow been re-employed. His attempts to speak on behalf of animals have been half-hearted and disingenuous. None of this warrants a special award.

“No truly courageous or honorable person would say ‘Yes, I deserve an award.’ Yet, this is precisely what Mr. Vick has done, defending his nomination and claiming that he has suffered hardships. He has never suffered the hardships, or torture, that his poor dogs did at his hands. The honorable thing for Mr. Vick to do would be to not accept this award. This would actually show some courage and that he is serious about being on the road to atonement for his terrible actions against innocent lives.”

Vick coming to Baltimore for Block award

News that Michael Vick is expected to attend the 32nd annual Ed Block Courage Awards dinner in Baltimore Tuesday has led to a change in the ceremony’s format and an increase in security.

Vick, who was convicted in 2007 of running a dogfighting ring, is one of 32 winners to be honored with the award, which singles out one member of each NFL team for his courage, sportsmanship and inspiration to his community.

Vick’s unanimous selection by his Philadelphia Eagles teammates triggered angry e-mails to the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, a petition drive and a planned protest by dog lovers and animal welfare activists at the award’s ceremony, to be held at Martin’s West, 6817 Dogwood Road, from 4 to 10 p.m.

More than 100 people have already signed up to protest at the event — a number that could grow as a result of the news that the quarterback will be attending.

In addition to scrapping the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans and sign autographs,  organizers say they are boosting security, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“We’ve put in place enough [guards] to make sure that our players are safe and that everything runs smoothly.”said Ed Block Courage Award Foundation spokesman Paul Mittermeier.

The Block Award is named for a former team trainer of the Baltimore Colts, who worked for years to help abused children.

 Criticism for bestowing the award on Vick has come from groups ranging from animal rights activists to the American Kennel Club. “It is unconscionable that a man who tortured and abused helpless animals be honored by an organization dedicated to ending abuse,” the AKC said.

Vick will be accompanied to the event by Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States,  a group for which the quarterback has made public appearances in recent months, attempting to steer youth away from dogfighting.

Sadie wins best in show at Westminster

Sadie, a four-year-old Scottish terrier, was named best in show at Westminster, beating out 2,500 entrants at the 134-year-old dog show.

“She’s the total package,” said Elliot Weiss, of Eagle, Idaho, who judged the Best in Show round before a cheering, capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden. “This is the complete dog … That’s what you want a Scottie to look like.”

Sadie went into the competition as a favorite of both oddsmakers and experts, having won both the National Dog Show in suburban Philadelphia in November and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in California in December.

Unlike in recent years, when relatively unknown crowd favorites Uno, a beagle, and Stump, an aging Sussex spaniel, captured top honors, this year’s best in show was no surprise.

On Tuesday, the loudest cheers were for a sleek Doberman Pinscher and a French Bulldog whose mugging won the crowd over, Reuters reported.

The final round of judging was disrupted when two female protesters strode out to the winner’s circle and held up signs, including one reading “Mutts rule,” a reference to the “Dogs rule” ad campaign that has run throughout the competition. The protesters were removed by security.

Terriers are the winningest group in WKC history, having won nearly half the events throughout the club’s history. Sadie also made last year’s Best in Show round. The WKC was her 112th Best in Show and the eighth Westminster Kennel Club victory for a Scottie.

This year’s competition saw 2,500 entrants representing 173 breeds and varieties. Other breeds vying for the big prize on Tuesday were a toy Poodle, a Puli, a Whippet and a Brittany.

Handler Gabriel Rangel said Sadie was “a very happy dog. She always enjoys herself. Nobody ever tells her ‘no.’

Vick makes his debut as a Philadelphia Eagle

Michael Vick received a rousing ovation from Philadelphia Eagles fans last night when he took the field for the first time.

Only a handful of protesters gathered at the stadium before Thursday night’s exhibition game against Jacksonville, including three women who held a sign outside Lincoln Financial Field that said, “Murderers are not role models.”

Inside the stadium, though, Eagles fans, some clad in Vick jerseys, defended the quarterback, saying he had been punished for his crime and deserved a second chance.

Prior to the game, as fans tailgated outside the stadium, dog lovers were holding a competing tailgate party on the other side of town.

It was part of the Pennsylvania SPCA’s “2nd Chance Dogs” campaign to increase awareness of dogfighting and encourage adoption of rescued pit bulls. The initiative was launched after the Eagles signed Vick, upon completion of his 18 month term in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring.

“As a lot of people have pointed out, the animals never got a second chance,” the SPCA chief executive Sue Cosby said. “We need to speak for them.”

Protests held in South Korea over dog meat

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Protests were held in Seoul yesterday — the International Day of Action for Dogs and Cats in South Korea — calling for an end to using dogs and cats as food.

In Seoul, members of the group Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth wore dog costumes and climbed into cages in a downtown plaza to draw attention to the issue.

“Dogs and cats are not livestock, but they are our partners. They are not food, but they are our friends,” one protester told New Tang Dynasty Television (click the link for a video). “We should abolish the bad habits of eating dogs or cats.”

Other demonstrations were planned at South Korean consulates and embassies around the world.

Although the practice is illegal under South Korean law, an underground industry continues to flourish, with thousands of restaurants in Seoul alone serving dog. Some studies have estimated as many as one in three South Koreans have eaten dog meat.

Animal advocacy groups argue that eating dog — whether its part of the country’s culture or not — is a practice that should be ceased. Others disagree. “It’s my country’s own food culture, so South Koreans will continue to eat dog meat no matter what other countries say against it,” Park Seo-ho, who owns a restaurant that sells dog meat, told the BBC.

An international online petition campaign at has been launched in 10 languages world wide to stop the consumption of dog meat , where some groups estimate more than 2 million dogs are raised and killed for food at dog farms in South Korea every year.

United Dogs and Cats is hosting an online petition campaign to draw the world’s attention to the cruel treatment of many dogs in South Korea despite animal protection laws that have been in place since early 1990s. During the first week of the campaign, over 50,000 signatures were gathered world wide.

“This is probably the cruelest thing that could happen to companion animals – many are tortured and end up on dinner tables. And the strangest thing is that it is happening right under our noses in one of the most rapidly developing countries in the 21st century,” said United Dogs and Cats head Ragnar Sass.

(Photo: Dogs awaiting butchering at the Moran Market near Seoul, by John Woestendiek; not to be used without permission)

Vigil planned for 145 euthanized pit bulls

 

A candlelight vigil will be held in Raleigh Wednesday night for the 145 pits bulls — including dozens of puppies like this one — that were euthanized after being seized by authorities from a big-time breeder of fighting dogs in North Carolina.

The vigil starts at 7 p.m. at Bicentennial Mall, 16 W. Jones St., in Raleigh, near the North Carolina General Assembly. Here’s a map.

Organizers of the vigil hope it will lead to changes in the law to guarantee that dogs seized from dogfighting operations have the opportunity to be individually evaluated, rather than being automatically deemed “dangerous” and destroyed.

The recent mass euthanasia of 145 dogs — including puppies born between the time they were seized from breeder Ed Faron and the conclusion of his court case – prompted the candlelight vigil, said Laura Gonzo, one of the organizers. The dogs were seized from Faron’s Wildside Kennels.

Wilkes County authorities said their laws required them to euthanize the dogs. Unlike those seized in the higher profile Michael Vick case, no efforts were made by the government, lawyers or major rescue organizations to save these, at least not until it was too late.

Concerned citizens and representatives of animal rescue groups from across the state are planning to attend the vigil.

“We are so thankful that law enforcement and the courts took the crime of dogfighting serious and that it led to a guilty plea by the dog fighter,” Gonzo said. “But people across North Carolina, as well other parts of the country, expressed outrage because none of the dogs or 75 puppies from the dog fighter’s breeding operation were given any opportunity to be evaluated individually and the dogs were all destroyed. We North Carolina humanitarians are calling on the legislature to act to prevent future tragedies.” Gonzo said.

(Photo courtesy of Laura Gonzo)

PETA protests equates AKC and KKK

A PETA protest outside the Westminster Kennel Club show — following the same lines as the PETA ad above — drew puzzled gawkers, double takes and complaints as the dog show opened today.

“Welcome AKC Members,” read a banner hanging from the table set up outside Madison Square Garden, with AKC crossed out and KKK written above it. Two PETA protesters were dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, and volunteers handed out brochures that read: “The KKK and the AKC: BFF?”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is protesting the start of the show because it contends the American Kennel Club, through breeding standards that accentuate appearance, is harming the health of purebred dogs.

“Obviously it’s an uncomfortable comparison,” PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said. But the AKC is trying to create a “master race,” he added. “It’s a very apt comparison.”

David Frei, spokesman for Westminster and TV host of coverage on USA Network, said: “I can’t speak for everyone, but the vast majority of the people exhibiting and handling and showing at Westminster are more interested in the health of dogs than anything else. We want to produce the next generation of healthy and happy dogs, not just for the show ring but for the couches at home.”

Most passers-by seemed more puzzled than offended, according to an Associated Press report. The most common reaction was to pull out a cell phone and start snapping photos.

Police monitored the situation from nearby, but — except for one shouting that match broke out during the hour-long protest — the scene was mostly calm, the AP reported.

PETA had sought to end TV coverage of the event, first by asking USA network to cancel the broadcast, then by going to the show’s sponsors and asking them to withdraw.

Three agencies to probe Cecil County SPCA

The Maryland State Police confirmed this week it will investigate allegations of misconduct and animal cruelty at the SPCA in Cecil County, where two other state agencies have also launched inquirires.

Both the Maryland attorney general’s office, which has assigned an attorney to look into the case, and the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, a division of the state Department of Agriculture, are also conducting investigations.

Nancy Schwerzler, president of the facility’s board of directors, said she welcomes independent investigations “so long as they’re fact-based and emotion-free,” the Baltimore Sun reported  Wednesday.  She said she has invited the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a national organization with no ties to Cecil County facility, to investigate as well. (The Cecil County SPCA also has no ties with the Maryland SPCA, based in Baltimore.)

Four former employees and four former volunteers of the Cecil County organization have submitted written accusations against the facility in Chesapeake City, ranging from animal cruelty and neglect to mismanagement.

Read more »

Protestors picket “Chihuahua” premiere

While celebrities walked the red carpet at Thursday night’s premiere of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” about 20 protesters stood by with signs urging people not to rashly buy chihuahuas after they see the movie.

“We know the movie is cute,” says Kim Sill, who runs the campaign against puppy mills for Last Chance for Animals, the group that organized the protest. “We don’t want to say we’re against the movie. We’re against people going to a pet store after they see the movie.  We want them to go to a shelter, because there are a lot of Chihuahuas there”

Animal welfare advocates have been concerned about the impact the Disney movie — which opens Oct. 3 — will have on sales of Chihuahuas, the Los Angeles Times reports in its pet blog, Unleashed.

Popular dog movies often cause a run on the breed featured. “101 Dalmatians” led to a surge in Dalmatian ownership. But when people realize the dog may not be right for their family — Damaltians are difficult and Chihuahuas are not always great with children –”they get dumped,” says Sills.

When a movie is about to open, puppy mills, she contends, gear up to produce more of that breed to supply pet stores.

There are already more Chihuahuas among registered dogs in Los Angeles County than any other breed, and shelters say they already have high concentrations of the breed.

Some of the Chihuhuas at the Carson shelter, run by the Los Angeles County shelter system, are featured in the video that Last Chance for Animals made to drive home its point about not buying Chihuahuas.

Sill said her group wanted Disney to air a pre-movie public service announcement in theaters, telling patrons to think hard before choosing a pet. “We would have happily produced it for them and given it to them,” said Sill.

The movie’s credits include an advisory that getting a pet is a serious and lifelong commitment that should be researched first.

Ed Boks, general manager of LA Animal Services, saw the movie Thursday night.  “I was a bit disappointed,” he said. “The movie has a strong ‘adopt’ and ‘rescue’ message, but no ‘spay/neuter’ message. In fact, one female dog opined that she longed for a boyfriend who has NOT been ‘fixed.’

“…Disney just does not seem to share our concern over the influence this movie could have on people who will now think of Chihuahuas as cash cows.”