California earned first place for the fourth year in a row, while South Dakota remained in last place in the Humane Society of the United States fourth annual “Humane State Ranking” report.
The HSUS graded all 50 states and Washington, D.C. on the strength of a wide range of animal protection laws, including public policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research, and farm animals.
Ohio was the most improved state, leaping ahead in the ranks by passing laws regulating puppy mills and the private possession of dangerous wild animals.
You can find the complete rankings here.
“Members of The Humane Society of the United States want to know what their state lawmakers are doing to improve animal welfare. Our Humane State Ranking report demonstrates which states are falling behind important protections for animals, and which states are leading in the effort to create a more humane and civil society,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
California stayed on top for the fourth year in a row by passing a number of new laws, including banning the hound hunting of bears and bobcats. Other top states included Massachusetts (tied for second place), which passed laws allowing pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders, and banning gas chambers for euthanasia.
South Dakota earned the lowest score (51st place). Also in the bottom five were Idaho (50th place), Mississippi (49th place), North Dakota (48th place) and South Carolina (47th place).
South Dakota and North Dakota received especially low marks in part because they are the only two states in the country with no felony-level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. North Dakota voters rejected a ballot measure to increase penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty on the November 2012 ballot.
The rankings are based on 75 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; wildlife abuse; exotic pets; companion animals; use of animals in research; farm animals; fur and trapping; puppy mills, and equine protection.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 17th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal welfare, animals, california, cruelty, dogs, euthanasia, farms, fighting, hsus, humane, humane society of the united states, Humane state ranking, hunting, laws, legislation, north dakota, penalties, pets, protection, puppy mills, rankings, south dakota, state, violence, wayne pacelle
A week before Thanksgiving, a Plymouth District Court judge granted the dog — owned by a 38-year-old Marshfield woman — the protection of a restraining order from a violent ex-boyfriend.
We like this law, and suggest other states take a look at it, including Alabama.
In the Massachusetts case, the dog is now in foster care, while the woman and her two-year-old daughter are staying in a domestic violence shelter at an undisclosed, out-of-state location.
“(She) feared that her boyfriend might try to take the dog, and she stated that he had already kicked and dragged the dog in the past,” said Deni Michele Goldman, Marshfield’s animal control officer.
“This new law allows a judge to award the possession of an animal to the victim and to prohibit the accused from abusing, threatening or taking the pet,” Goldman told the Taunton Daily Gazette.
“I give her updates by phone. And once she gets settled into a safe place, she will have her dog again,” said Goldman, who is the spokeswoman for the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts.
The woman had filed for a restraining order in September just weeks after Gov. Deval Patrick signed an animal protection bill creating a safety net for pets caught up in domestic violence situations. The bill also instituted a statewide spay and neuter program and required training for animal control officers.
Goldman said that that more than 70 percent of abused women report that their batterers have threatened to hurt or kill their pets.
(Photo: Marshfield Animal Control)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, courts, custody, dogs, domestic violence, first, judge plymouth, labrador, law, marshfield, massachusetts, mix, panzer, pets, protection, rescues, restraining orders, shelters, state, violence
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
An Atlanta area man is facing upgraded charges in connection with a fight he had with his wife two months ago in which he beat her with her dog, then killed the Pomeranian by snapping its neck, police said.
Emmanuel Alfredo Tadeo, 27, of Sandy Springs, was in the Fulton County jail Wednesday facing felony animal cruelty and other charges, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Police said the charges stemmed from a May 19 disturbance at the home of Tadeo and his wife, Andrea Jill Armintrout, in their condominium on Roswell Road.
“The argument started over him blaming his wife for his misfortunes in life,” said Capt. Steve Rose, spokesman for the Sandy Springs Police Department. The man had been drinking heavily, he said.
“It is probably one of the worst cases of animal cruelty that we’ve ever seen,” Rose added.
Rose said the man had kicked and stomped on the dog and at one point he swung the animal at his wife, striking her.
Tadeo initially was charged with battery and misdemeanor cruelty to animals, according to Fulton County jail records. He was released June 14 after posting $5,000 bond.
This week, prosecutors upgraded the charges to aggravated assault, aggravated battery, battery and two counts of cruelty to animals.
Armintrout was also arrested Friday and charged with one count of obstruction, a misdemeanor. She was being held on $500 bond Wednesday.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, argument, arrest, beating, charges, cruelty to animals, dispute, dog, dogs, domestic, Emmanuel Alfredo Tadeo, felony, fight, fulton county, husband, killed, pets, police, pomeranian, upgraded, used, violence, wife
The city of Baltimore has released the fourth ad in its continuing campaign urging young people to “Show Your Soft Side,” and treat animals with kindness.
It features Dizzy Grant, one of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters, and his dog, Saber.
Aimed at combating animal abuse, the “Show Your Soft Side” campaign began earlier this year and has also featured Baltimore Raven Jarret Johnson, Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones, and MMA fighter John Rallo, all posing with their pets.
Grant’s dog, Saber, is a two-and-a-half year old purebred boxer. He’ll be showing up, along with Grant, on billboards, print ads, and posters that make the point, “Only a punk would hurt a cat or a dog.”
The “Show Your Soft Side” campaign grew out of the work of the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, which was originally created as a task force to study the issue after a pit bull named Phoenix was discovered to have been set on fire. She later died.
Given the alarming incidence of animal abuse in Baltimore, and given that many of the more horrific cases have been perpetrated by teens, the commission looked for ways to change the mindset of young people who often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless dogs and cats as a sign of “toughness” or “manhood.”
The campaign puts forth a very different message – that “being a man” includes having a “soft side” when it comes to animals.
The goal of the campaign is to influence children early — for the sake of animals, and humans. Research shows that kids who abuse animals often graduate to even more violent crimes.
The campaign is made possible by support from Eddie’s of Roland Park, Fullmoon Marketing & Events, Kirk Designs, Inc. and Media Works, Ltd.
For more information about the campaign, you can visit its Facebook page.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, animal cruelty, animals, anti-animal abuse, baltimore, campaign, celebrities, commission, cruelty to animals, dizzy grant, dog, dogs, eddie's of roland park, facebook, fullmoon marketing & events, harlem globetrotters, kirk designs, media works, pets, public service announcements, saber, show your soft side, sports, violence
The scientist behind the study, biology professor Ronald Oldfield, hopes his findings benefit the 182.9 million ornamental fishes in the United States. (Animal welfare proponents, he notes, often overlook our underwater friends.)
But, beyond that, the findings of his study could apply to other species as well.
Oldfield, according to a university press release, is the first to scientifically study how the environment of home aquariums affects the aggressive behavior of ornamental fishes. The results are published in the online edition of Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.
Oldfield compared the behavior of Midas cichlids (Amphilophus citrinellus) in a variety of environments: within their native range in a crater lake in Nicaragua, in a large artificial stream in a zoo, and in small tanks of the sizes typically used to by pet owners.
The study focused on juvenile fish, so that aggressive behavior related to mating would not be a factor. Also, resources such as food and shelter were removed prior to observation to eliminate direct competition for those.
Along with environment size, Oldfield tested the complexity of an environment and the effects of number of fish within tanks.
The addition of obstacles and hiding places using rocks, plants, or other similar objects can increase the complexity of the aquarium environment. He found that an increase in tank size and complexity can reduce harmful aggressive behaviors, and make for healthier fish at home.
The aggressive behavior he monitored included flaring fins, bites, chasing or charging at another fish.
In environments sufficiently large and complex, fish spent less time exhibiting aggressive behavior. And a more natural environment elicits more natural behaviors, Oldfield said. “This study might help us to better understand how human behavior changes when people are placed in different social environments,” he said.
Among the species that could benefit from Oldfield’s findings, it seems to me, are America’s 2.3 million prisoners (prisonus inmatus) and others held in what are often stark, impersonal institutions that lack visual stimuli, mental challenges, or for that matter tiny treasure chests, mermaids and sunken ships.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agression, animals, aquairums, behavior, biology, case western reserve university, connection, environment, fish, learn, research, ronald oldfield, science, species, study, surroundings, violence, welfare
More than 20 Connecticut state legislators have asked a judge not to show leniency in the case of a New Haven man charged with stabbing a young pit bull mix 29 times.
The legislators, led by state Rep. Diana Urban, of North Stonington, voiced their concerns in a letter to the judge who is presiding over the case of Alexander Bernard, 24.
Bernard told police he stabbed the eight-month-old dog, named Princess, because “no one in the family liked her,” according to Patch.com.
Princess is recovering from her injuries at North Haven Animal Hospital and is expected to be put up for adoption when the criminal case conludes.
Bernard was charged with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, which is punishable with up to a year in jail. A felony animal cruelty charge carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine in Connecticut.
“What Mr. Bernard did to this innocent young dog shows a shocking lack of empathy and a shocking and inappropriate level of violence,” the legislators wrote. “This adult didn’t steal a pack of gum from the grocery store, he stabbed a living, breathing creature capable of feeling pain 29 times like it was a natural thing to do.
“Clearly this individual in incapable of making rational decisions and shows a dangerous lack of civility and remorse. If Alexander Bernard could ruthlessly stab the family pet, imagine what he might be capable of in the years to come should his behavior go unpunished and untreated.”
“It is time we took animal cruelty seriously and approach it as an opportunity to interrupt the cycle of violence,” the letter added. “The sheer violence of his attack is enormously worrisome and the fact that the court doesn’t appear to take what he did seriously is also distressing.
Judge Philip Scarpellino said in court last week that he believed the letter could be interpreted as “intimidation” towards him. “I am upset by the letter but not influenced by it, ” he said. The judge postponed taking action on the case.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, alexander bernard, animal cruelty, animals, connecticut, cruelty to animals, diana urban, dogs, judge, justice, legislators, letter, mix, new haven, north haven animal hospital, pets, philip scarpellino, pit bull, princess, recovering, representatives, stab, stabbed, violence, wounds
Opposition is mounting to the new game app “Dog Wars,” and among those speaking out is Michael Vick.
According to the NBC blog, Digital Life, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who served 21 months in jail for operating a dogfighting ring, released a statement, in conjuntion with the Humane Society of the United States, against the free app, now available as a free download through Google’s Android Market.
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street. Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app,” Vick is quoted as saying in the statement.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, added, “Android should drop ‘Dog Wars’ from its online market and join the national movement to save dogs from this violent practice. Because “Dog Wars” actually instructs players on how to condition a dog using methods that are standard in organized dogfighting, this game may be a virtual training ground for would-be dogfighters. Its timing and message are all wrong.”
Meanhile, a petition calling for the game’s removal from the marketplace has been launched at Change.org, the same open petition website on which 150,000 people signed a petition demanding Apple drop a “gay cure” game from its App store.
(Android is an open source operating system created by Google. While Google does not approve every app offered there, it does maintain a website where people can complain about objectionable content in games and apps. You can find it here.)
The Massachusetts SPCA also has spoken out against the dogfighting game app.
“Although illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, dog fighting remains a pervasive problem in America and is investigated inby the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement department. Dog Wars is a sickening tool that can be used to recruit potential dogfighters about how to train future victims, perpetuate breed specific stereotypes, and undermine the many years of hard work that animal protection agencies, including the MSPCA-Angell, have contributed to ensure strong penalties against dog fighters and spectators,” said Carter Luke, MSPCA-Angell president
“In the past, dog fighting instruction remained underground; however this ‘game’ brings this knowledge to the mainstream public through a tool attractive to young game players. Similar to the Dog Wars application, real life trainers work to ensure a mean temperament in kind animals from puppyhood, subjecting the young animals to ongoing cruelty and neglect, including living without shelter, enduring bouts of starvation, and sustaining beatings. To improve stamina and muscle mass, trainers also impose exhausting treadmill exercises on their dogs and force them to wear heavy chains around their necks. Identical to Dog Wars, the dogs are fed steroids and stimulants to increase their aggression. Dogs who refuse to fight, or consistently lose, may be shot, hanged, drowned, or electrocuted by their trainers. To further promote viciousness, trainers bait their dogs with intentionally wounded dogs, puppies, cats, and other small animals.
“The training ground that Dog Wars provides has the potential to increase occurrences of animal cruelty as well as violence against humans. In a study performed by the MSPCA and Northeastern University we definitively discovered the correlation between those who abuse both animals and humans. Our research proved that those who abuse animals have the same psychological detachment as those who abuse humans and may harm animals after purposefully injuring people.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: android, animal welfare, app, carter luke, cruelty, dog wars, dogfight, dogfighting, game, google, hsus, humane society of the united states, michael vick, mspca, mspca-angell, pit bulls, society, video games, violence, wayne pacelle
The ASPCA has made its first felony arrest of the year — a 265-pound Queens man accused of punching his 8-pound Chihuahua, the New York Post reported.
ASPCA officials say Jerry Melendez, 33, struck his dog, Spotty, hard enough to fracture his skull and cause a hemmorhage to his left eye.
Melendez took the dog to a veterinary clinic, but, being unemployed, was unable to pay for the medical care vets said would be necessary to save him. So Spotty, 5, was euthanized.
Veterinarians notified the ASPCA about the case, and a necropsy determined Spotty died of blunt-force impact.
“It appears he was just frustrated and became angry at his family dog,” ASPCA Assistant Director Joe Pentangelo said of Melendez, who recently lost his job at a pharmacy.
Melendez’ wife, Lillian Vargas, said her husband only yelled at the dog after discovering the couch had been soiled. The dog, she said, jumped off the couch and ran into the leg of the dining-room table. Authorities didn’t buy that account.
Melendez was charged with animal cruelty and faces a maximum two-year sentence and a fine.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, arrest, aspca, beat, beaten, charge, chihuahua, cruelty to animals, dogs, fracture, hit, jerry melendez, necropsy, new york, pets, punch, punched, queens, skull, spotty, violence
The first trial ended Monday in a hung jury.
The new trial is scheduled for May 4, ABC2 in Baltimore reported.
The announcement came after a series of meetings held by the prosecutor’s office this week.
The dog, named Phoenix, was doused with accelerant and set on fire in the summer of 2009 — an act that would make headlines across the country, lead to the formation of a citywide animal abuse task force and provoke outrage from animal welfare advocates.
The five-day trial came to a close Monday after the jurors deliberated for more than 20 hours over three days, but couldn’t agree on a verdict. One juror wasn’t convinced of the brothers’ guilt in the attack, according to news reports.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruetly, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, brothers, burning, courts, crime, dog, dogs, fire, hung jury, johnson, may 4, new trial, pets, phoenix, phoenix case, pit bull, pitbull, prosecutors, retrial, torture, travers, tremayne, trial, twins, violence