Articles of interest
Aug 10, 2010 at 9:01am ET by Michael Gray
When we think of social media, the image that comes to mind is remote workers scattered in coffee shops across the world, working for virtual corporations — the last place that comes to mind is probably a dairy farm in Ohio. Earlier this year, social platforms became the tool in a public relations war between animal rights activists and dairy farmers, that’s when social media went to the farm. Animal rights group Mercy for Animals released a video showing undercover footage depicting cruelty to animals on YouTube (note the video shows graphic violence towards animals and is extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant to watch.) While animal rights activists have typically been more likely to use technology and social media tools, that’s not what happened here. Farmers who were outraged that it was an unfair representation of many farms, reached for their smartphones and began fighting back. They took to Twitter and Facebook and began responding. One farmer, Ray Lin, led the initiative by starting his own blog where he posts stories and pictures directly from the farm. To help teach other farmers how to use technology wisely, he started the group AgChat, which has a Facebook page, Twitter Account, LinkedIn Group and Youtube Channel. The group will also be holding its first conference in Chicago at the end of August. The key message he’s trying to get out is that if the farmers don’t tell their side of the story, someone else would tell it for them. The lesson to learn here is to be prepared for a social media crisis before it happens. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube channel up and running before the catastrophe, you’ll be more prepared for a social media crisis. Have a rapid response team with a few key players in place, give them the power to get things done quickly. A crisis is not the time to send things out to the copywriter to lovingly craft a response that has to pass through marketing, legal, and the CEO’s office before it gets published. You need to be able to move quickly and decisively, and giving something that first person human voice, instead of a sanitized corporate one, usually makes you a little more sympathetic. Lastly, don’t be afraid to use Adwords and Press Releases to direct attention to your social media efforts, particularly in a time of crisis.
A recent article by Cornelissen and Hopster, currently in press at The Veterinary Journal, presents the first part of a study commissioned by the Dutch government, the results of which led to the repeal of breed-specific legislation in the Netherlands.♦ The study is significant in that it is the only known scientific evaluation initiated by a government on a national level to evaluate the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation. The study concluded that breed-specific legislation is not an effective dog bite mitigation strategy. The authors recommend that efforts to reduce dog bites should focus on educating both children and adults on how to better interact with dogs. Based in part on the recommendations in the study, the Dutch government repealed its 15-year-old ban on pit bulls in 2008.
An accompanying Guest Editorial by Dr. Karen L. Overall reinforces the notion that legislating breeds is not an effective strategy for reducing dog bites. Dr. Overall makes the following observations based on the study: focusing on responsible dog ownership practices and human behavior are key to preventing dog bites, and using existing educational programs will teach us how to interact safely with dogs. “The best references,” Dr. Overall writes, “address the point of view most often neglected, namely, the dog’s”.
♦ Cornelissen, J.M.R., Hopster, H. Dog bites in The Netherlands: A study of victims, injuries, circumstances and aggressors to support evaluation of breed specific legislation. The Veterinary Journal (2009), doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.10.001.
Raj Salwan: Hybrid breeds: designer dogs or disaster in the making? - 08/03/2010 - Raj Salwan, a second-generation veterinarian, has been involved in veterinary medicine for more than 21 years. Contact him at email@example.com or www.americananimalcare.com
THEY ARE all the rage across the United States and beyond. Crossbreed dogs such as cock-a-poos have been around for many years, while newer crosses, such as labradoodles and puggles, keep rising in popularity. So, are these dogs a new "hot" breed or just a designer mutt? Some historians and dog enthusiasts have traced certain breeds of dogs back almost 8,000 years. This lineage may show that humans began selective breeding of dogs soon after first domesticating the wild ancestors of our family pet. The American Kennel Club officially recognizes more than 160 breeds with almost 60 listed as foundation stock. With all these breeds to choose from, why would anyone want to create another? The current rage of new breeds probably was begun in the late 1970s by an Australian trying to help find a seeing-eye dog for a woman whose husband was allergic to most dogs. According to the International Labradoodle Association, a member of the Royal Guide Dogs suggested mating a Labrador to a standard poodle, and thus the first Labradoodles were born. One of the three pups born in the litter, Sultan, eventually made his way to Hawaii and the vision-impaired woman with the allergic husband. Since that time, more than 3,500 dogs have been registered with the association. Miniature labradoodles have even been bred. But the labradoodle is not the only, or the first, crossbreed to catch the public's attention. Many different mixes, such as cockapoos, schnoodles, and yorkiepoos also have had their time in the spotlight. In fact, the American Canine Hybrid Club lists more than 500 crossbreeds. With names as amusing as the "Woodle" (Welsh terrier-poodle mix) to the powerful "ultimate mastiff— (Dogue de Bordeux-Neapolitan mastiff mix), the hybrid club has been recognizing crossbreeds for more than 30 years. One of the latest crosses to become famous is the puggle. As the name suggests, the puggle is a beagle-pug cross and is being hailed as one of the best family pets, especially among the elite of New York. Not everyone is excited to see these new breeds. According to Allen Reznik, to the editor at large of Dog Fancy and Dog World magazines, society seems to have become infatuated with labels. Now, the trendy thing is not to have a cocker spaniel mix, but rather a cockapoo or a "corkie" (cocker-Yorkie cross). Reznik goes on to say that having a hybrid breed will not ensure that your dog will be free of the hereditary problems that seem to be associated with many of the purebred dogs. So, can just anyone cross two breeds and produce the next big designer dog? Will celebrities be seen walking their "doodle" (Dachshund-poodle cross) or their "bogle" (beagle-boxer cross)? Hopefully not, says Beverly Manners, head of the International Labradoodle Association. Manners believes that the current excitement about hybrid breeds has encouraged many uninformed people to start trying to create their own breeds. Just as the choice of mates in a purebred line can have splendid, or disastrous, results, randomly choosing two breeds to mate also could create unforeseen consequences. Nor is popularity a guarantee of being recognized by the American Kennel Club. According to its website, the American Kennel Club. may not recognize a new breed because of a lack of a parent club or registry records that fail to meet their standards. New breeds must have predictable characteristics and fulfill a specific purpose, in addition to having certain numbers of dogs across a set number of states. Finally, a minimum of three-generation true breeding pedigree must be shown. Even Wally Conron, the man credited with developing the Labradoodle breed, is shocked at the explosion of new breeds. He is quoted as saying, "I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog -- or a disaster!" And, one of the biggest surprises to many is the price tag associated with these hybrid breeds. Labradoodles routinely have been sold in the United States at prices as high as $2,000 or $3,000. Puggles, which are becoming very popular in Manhattan because of their small size, often have cost their owners in excess of $600 to $900. A spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club warns consumers to not be taken in simply because the dog has a trendy breed name and price tag. "I'd like to know how long these breeders have been breeding puggles. Do they own a beagle and their friend has a poodle and they get together and breed a puggle?" says Lisa Peterson. "Historically, all breeds were bred to help man out to hunt, herd or as a companion. What is the purpose of a puggle?" For many people, the bottom line is simply that the puppy had a face that said "pick me." Thoughts of breed history, monetary value, or American Kennel Club rankings often fade away when one is looking down into the eyes of a puppy. Your veterinarian can be a wonderful advocate for helping you to find the right breed, hybrid or otherwise. And don't forget to check out your local shelters and rescue organizations as you look for your new family member.
Background: The Animal Liberation Front occupies the violent fringe of the animal-rights movement. Its website endorses "direct action" -- including illegal action -- aimed at "causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through the damage and destruction of property." Its targets include "laboratories, factory farms, fur farms" and the like.
In other words, when there's a bombing at an animal-testing laboratory, an arson at a restaurant serving goose liver or the "liberation" of the inhabitants of a mink farm, chances are good it's the work of the Animal Liberation Front.
Chances are also good the crime will go unsolved. ALF activists excel at avoiding detection. They work anonymously, without central direction. Even within small cells, ALF members may only know each other by nicknames. Members of one cell may never encounter members of another.
"Above-ground" activists publicize the cause and cheer on the "underground" activists who do the dirty work. But they're careful to stick to the kind of advocacy the First Amendment protects.
Update: Every once in awhile the authorities get lucky. On July 23, a special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed a criminal complaint against one Walter Bond charging him with burning down a sheepskin factory in a Denver suburb. He is being held without bail awaiting trial.
Bond, 34, has tattoos across the right half of his face and "vegan" tattooed on his neck in large block letters surrounded by crossed wrenches; "monkey wrenching" is apparently code for arson or other destructive acts. In what purports to be a dispatch from prison, he declared he would "never relent in the fight for the total freedom of non-human animals." He conceded he could be facing serious jail time but said "nothing they can do to me can ever compare with what animals endure at the hands of speciesist human oppressors." (To animal activists, "speciesism" is the belief that human beings are superior to animals.)
The special agent's affidavit makes fascinating reading. It seems a confidential informant called on July 1, having recently talked to Bond for the first time in 12 years. Asked what he had been up to, Bond directed the informant to a website account of the fire:
"The arson at the Sheepskin Factory in Denver was done in defense and retaliation for all the innocent animals that have died cruelly at the hands of human oppressors. Be warned that making a living from the use and abuse of animals will not be tolerated. Also be warned that leather is every bit as evil as fur. As demonstrated in my recent arson against the Leather Factory in Salt Lake City. Go vegan! -- ALF Lone Wolf"
The informant told the authorities Bond had set fire to a house in Mason City, Iowa, in 1997. Fearing that firefighters might die in some future fire, the informant agreed to a recorded meeting with Bond on July 22. At that meeting, Bond said he was the "Lone Wolf" who'd set the fire.
According to Scott Stewart, an analyst for Stratfor Global Intelligence, "Most successful prosecutions in such cases have come as a result of informants, and because of this we have witnessed a cat-and-mouse game between activists and the government regarding informants, with activist groups pressing informants to commit illegal activities before being accepted and the government giving them permission to do so."
According to another purported prison dispatch from Bond, Bond's informant wasn't an infiltrator; it was his brother. Whoever it was, society was lucky the informant came forward. While ALF says it's careful not to harm human beings, fires and bombs don't discriminate between property and humans who pop up where they weren't expected to be.
Moreover, some fringe activists have no qualms about taking human lives to save animal lives. When the homes of University of California biologists were firebombed in 2008, one activist remarked that "It's regrettable that certain scientists are willing to put their families at risk by choosing to do wasteful animal experiments."
A psychiatrist might convincingly explain why people follow their beliefs to such extremes. I can't. I wonder if it's related to the breakdown of community in an urbanized world. I have to think people who live in a village where they know everybody would be less likely to resort to terrorism.
Or maybe it's a way for a little man to feel big. It's hard for one person to alter the course of history in a slow-moving and messy political system where competing voices might win the debate. But one man with enough bombs might force change through intimidation -- and go down in history, for better or worse.
That's just armchair speculation, of course. Yet when the psychiatrists come up with better theories, I suspect they'll have something in common with mine. The psychiatrists won't analyze whether the activists' cause was right or wrong; they'll treat the activists as dangerously unbalanced people. They'll distinguish between the extremists and the many other animal-rights advocates -- a majority, even -- who feel as strongly as the ALFites about the treatment of animals but pursue their goals through political persuasion, not intimidation.
Stratfor's Stewart worries that the schism between animal-rights moderates and violent activists is widening. The result, he fears, will be that "any moderating influence on the radicals will also be removed, and the lack of this influence will result in the more radical elements becoming even more violent."
If Stewart is right, more attacks on property and maybe even people are coming. Those who work with animals must, alas, "be warned."
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The American Kennel Club has a new poster available for downloading.
Prattville – (8/18/10) -Prattville council OKs vicious dog ordinance. Prattville has a vicious dog ordinance. The City Council passed the legislation 7-0 during Tuesday night's meeting. The local law is a combination of ordinances that currently exist in several cities in Alabama, said District 4 Councilman Tom Miller, who served on the committee that drafted the ordinance. The legislation defines a vicious dog as an animal that "attacks, bites or inflicts injury to human beings, pets, companion animals, or livestock." The owner of any animal accused of being vicious will be entitled to introduce evidence that the animal was provoked or that the animal's actions at the time of the alleged attack, bite or injury were justified. The proposal goes on to read "In regards to dogs specifically, no dog may be declared vicious based solely on the breed of said animal." If the city's dog control officer believes a dog is vicious, it will be impounded at the animal shelter, and a hearing will be held in municipal court within 14 days of the animal being impounded, the draft reads. The owner will be responsible for paying the expenses for the dog being held at the shelter. If a dog is declared vicious by the court, the owner will be required to have a secure location to house the animal on the owner's property. A pen with a concrete floor, sides and a secure roof will be required, and the pen will have to be inside a perimeter fence of chain-link or wooden privacy fence at least 4 feet tall. A violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor, with the owner of a vicious dog facing fines up to $500 and possible jail time. The court also has the discretion to order a vicious animal destroyed. The vicious dog ordinance does not supercede the city's leash law. Owners of dogs can't let the animals run at large.
Batesville – (8/13/10) - Batesville City Council proposes pit bull ban. It's been said "a dog's bark is worse than its bite," but that's not the case when it comes to pit bulls. Now, one Region 8 town wants to ban the breed! An ordinance has been brought to the Batesville City Council before but was never voted on. After several attacks already this year, citizens feel something needs to be done. But the ordinance still has to be passed by the city council, which Husky hopes passes at the next council meeting August 24th. "I believe it needs to be passed within the city limits. Krug says if the ordinance passes, it will go into effect within two weeks. If a pet owner is caught with a pit bull they will be fined and issued a citation.
AB2000 - bill would exempt from the vaccination requirement a dog , whose life would be endangered due to disease or other considerations if the dog received the vaccine, as determined by a licensed veterinarian. The bill would also prohibit a dog that is exempt from the vaccination requirement to be off the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer or to have contact with an unvaccinated cat or dog and would require, if the dog is off the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer,to be on a leash not to exceed 6 feet in length and to be under the direct physical control of an adult. - Dead in committe
AB2411 - An act to amend Section 120 of , and to add Part 9 (commencing with Section 12880) to Division 2 of, the Insurance Code, relating to insurance.
AB2743 - bill would prohibit a landlord, that allows a tenant to have an animal on the premises, from advertising or establishing rental policies in a manner that requires a tenant or a potential tenant with an animal to have that animal declawed or devocalized, for nontherapeutic purposes, as a condition of occupancy. This bill would impose a civil penalty, not to exceed $1,000, for each violation of these provisions, to be paid to the person or entity that brings the action . This bill would specifically authorize a person to seek declaratory or injunctive relief for a violation of this prohibition.
SB250 - bill would provide, in addition, that every dog owner shall secure a license for the dog, as required by state or local law, and that no person shall own, keep, or harbor, except as specified, an unsterilized dog, as defined. It would make it unlawful for any person who owns, keeps, or harbors any unsterilized cat, as defined, 6 months of age or older to allow or permit that cat to roam at large. It would require any owner or custodian, as defined, of an unsterilized dog to have the animal sterilized at 6 months of age, obtain a certificate of sterility, or, if provided by local ordinance, obtain an unaltered dog license, which license shall be defined and issued as specified. The requirement to sterilize the dog may be appealed, as specified. It would require an owner or custodian of an unsterilized cat who permits that cat to roam at large to have the cat sterilized or obtain a certificate of sterility. It would allow an unaltered dog license to be denied, revoked, and reapplied for, as specified, and the licensing agency to utilize its existing procedures or to establish new procedures for any appeal of a denial or revocation of an unaltered dog license, as specified . The bill would authorize the licensing agency to assess a fee for the procedures related to the issuance, denial, or revocation of an unaltered dog license. - Dead on Assembly floor
SB1417 - bill would eliminate the authority to form these corporations for the prevention of cruelty to children and eliminate the requirement of endorsement of the articles of incorporation. This bill would instead authorize local governments to enter into contracts with societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals for the enforcement of these laws and would also permit these societies to enforce these laws without a contract.
Barstow – (8/18/10) - Barstow may consider mandatory spay, neuter law. City prosecutor reviewing new vicious dog law. The consultant working with Barstow to update its vicious dog ordinance recommends that the city consider a mandatory spay and neuter law. But whether that law would require all dog owners to fix their animals or only to pit bull owners is up to city officials, he says. San Bernardino County began enforcing a pit bull spay and neuter law Friday, and other cities such as Yucaipa have passed similar laws. A draft of the updated vicious dog ordinance is currently being reviewed by Norma Copado, the city’s prosecutor. Steve Fries, whose contract with the city ends later this month, and city staff finished a draft of the updated vicious dog ordinance in May and submitted it to City Attorney Yvette Abich-Garcia. San Bernardino County passed its mandatory spay and neuter ordinance for pit bulls July 13. A State Senate bill, The Pet Responsibility Act, which would require all dogs be altered, is also making its way through the legislature. If passed, the state’s spay and neuter requirement would extend to cats that are allowed outside.
Morgan Hill – (8/13/10) - Require pit bull owners to spay-neuter dogs. How many more serious injuries and deaths involving pit bulls must we tolerate before we take meaningful action to curb these frequently dangerous animals? In unincorporated parts of Santa Clara County, we might not have to wait that long. Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager has proposed that the county require that all pit bulls be spayed or neutered. We hope that the full board approves Yeager's proposal and that Morgan Hill City Council follows suit with similar legislation.
Sacramento – (8/13/10) - Fur-labeling bill passes Senate, to governor. California shoppers may soon know whether the fur they're wearing is real. The state Senate on Wednesday passed AB1656, a bill that would require clothing manufacturers to label the animal fur used in all fur garments. The bill, which was previously approved by the Assembly with a 59-11 vote, passed the Senate with a 22-11 vote. It now awaits the approval of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not yet taken a position on the bill. AB1656 was authored by Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), and Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco. "Many consumers choose not to buy fur products because they have ethical objections or are allergic to animal fur," Lieu said in a written statement. "This bill will help consumers get the facts about the contents of these garments." Federal law requires that clothing manufacturers label all clothes that contain animal fur only if their value exceeds $150. Supporters of AB1656 say this bill will help shoppers distinguish between real and imitation fur, regardless of the price.
San Anselmo – (8/6/10) - Off-leash dog usage sparks dispute in San Anselmo neighborhood. A dispute over off-leash dogs at a San Anselmo park has boiled over, pitting neighbors against each other at public meetings and on town streets. But the barking could die down Aug. 24 when the Town Council decides whether to uphold the Parks and Recreation Commission's June recommendation to restrict off-leash usage at Robson-Harrington Park. The commission suggested off-leash dogs be allowed only between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekends and holidays. "It's divided some folks, and I think that that's really too bad," said Brook McCormick, who has lived around the corner from the park for more than 20 years. "Part of the reason why San Anselmo is such a special place is because everybody knows their neighbors - everyone gets along with their neighbors."
Denver - proposal permitting pit bulls back into the city after a 20 year ban, but only as service animals for the disabled, is being voted on today by the City Council's Safety Committee. The ordinance is being proposed by city attorney David Broadwell, that would permit people to own pit bulls if they are classified as "service animals" under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. The owner would have to prove that they suffer from physical or mental disabilities and that the dog has been trained to perform necessary tasks related to their condition.
Hartford – (8/16/10) - The new head of the Connecticut Humane Society is pushing the state to mete out stiffer penalties for animal cruelty, the latest fallout from the now-confirmed shooting of a German shepherd less than 48 hours after a local rescue group placed him for adoption. "A lot of states have elevated it to felony crimes, aggravated types of cruelty. I think the state of Connecticut should certainly consider that," said Gordon Willard, who was named executive director of the Newington-based organization last month. Willard met with state lawmakers in Hartford Friday to discuss tougher sanctions and the case of Buddy, a German shepherd rescued from the humane society's Westport shelter and later put to death by the couple who fostered him. The meeting was organized by state Rep. Alfred Camillo, R-151st District, co-chairman of a group called Legislators for Animal Advocacy.
(8/11/10) - Senators Want Airline Pet Rules Clarified. Three U.S. Senators are urging the Transportation Dept. to update regulations covering the reporting of pets that die while being shipped by air. According to the Senators, a “flawed interpretation of laws” has allowed some pet death reporting to “slip through the cracks.” The current reporting definition covers only animals currently being kept as pets, and not animals kept by commercial breeders or handlers for dog and cat shows. The intent of the existing reporting law was that all cat and dog deaths be reported, no matter who is shipping them. Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) want the regulations to review the definition language and “work with us to expand it.”
Jacksonville – (8/12/10) – Pet owners concerned about law change. City Mulls Changes Regarding Pet Treatment, Dangerous Label. Animal owners are concerned about the way the city wants to change the laws regarding how pets are treated or if they should be considered dangerous. it's proposing changes that would allow animal control to step in before a dog turns dangerous or remove pets when it's first discovered they are being mistreated, not when they are near death. The measure also addresses puppy mills and makes it harder to breed dogs just for fighting. One of the most controversial issues in the proposal is determining what categorizes a potentially dangerous dog. The measure will require every veterinarian to sell a $20 city licence for every dog and cat that gets a rabies shot, and in January every new cat and dog will be required to have a microchip so it can be easily identified. The measure also puts a limit on backyard breeding, something that has been a concern for legitimate breeders and those who raise the pets as a hobby. Most clinics said this is the way to go.
Palm Beach – (8/6/10) - Insurers turning down coverage for homeowners with 'bully' dog breeds. The caller has to give up his dog. "We encounter it all the time," said Roca, founding director of Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital, based in Jupiter. "It is discrimination," said Roca, who has owned eight pit bulls over the years. "Any dog can bite." But to the insurance industry, man's best friend can sometimes be his enemy. A number of major insurers won't write policies for owners of so-called bully breeds, dogs thought to be aggressive even if they've shown no history or inclination to attack. There's a simple reason some companies are taking a hard line. When a dog bite victim needs to pay his medical bills, he often seeks payment from the dog owner's homeowners policy.. Dog bites account for a third of all homeowners insurance liability claims, costing $387 million in 2008, according to the Insurance Information Institute. And more than half of bites occur on the dog owner's property. But some insurance companies aren't willing to bet on certain breeds believed at least by legend to be dangerous. Owners of pit bulls, including Staffordshire terriers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, chows, Presa Canarios, Akitas, huskies and wolf hybrids cannot get homeowners, condo and renters policies through Castle Key, the subsidiary of Allstate that writes such policies in Florida. United Property & Casualty Insurance excludes the same dogs as Castle Key plus German shepherds, American Eskimos or any mixed breed that is half or more of any of the banned breeds. State Farm Insurance ignores breed and focuses on a survey dog owners must fill out before they are approved. The form asks whether their dog has a history of bites and if so what measures the owner has taken, such as obedience classes or a fence, to prevent the animal from attacking again. Excluding dogs based on breed could wrongfully implicate some pets and ignore others that might be more prone to attack, said John Pisula, spokesman for State Farm in Southeast Florida. "We really look at it as a matter of has the dog had a past history," he said.
Winter Park – (8/12/10) - Proposed animal ordinance fails. The Winter Park City Commission voted down changes to its animal ordinance on Monday, another setback in its pursuit to reach a compromise between dog owners and nature lovers. "It's clear the city does not have a handle on the situation pertaining to dogs in different parks throughout the city," Commissioner Beth Dillaha said. "They say the ordinance is adequate, but it's not adequate — it hasn't been working." The vote on the proposed amendments to the ordinance was 2-2, with Mayor Ken Bradley and Commissioner Carolyn Cooper dissenting. Commissioner Phil Anderson was absent. The failed proposal was not very different from the ordinance already in effect that prohibits animals in Central Park and in most areas of Kraft Azalea Garden, Mead Botanical Garden and Dinky Dock. The failed proposal simply tried to clarify the language in the existing ordinance. The changes, which were recommended by staff, also sought to prohibit animals in streets adjacent to Central Park when a special event is being held there, a minor language change that would have allowed dog-themed events on streets near Central Park. On July 27, the City Commission voted down amendments to the animal ordinance proposed by the city's Parks and Recreation Commission that sought a blanket ban on animals in city parks, except for dogs boarding boats at Dinky Dock.
Clayton – (8/17/10) - BOC approves new animal control laws. The Clayton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) unanimously approved a series of new animal control ordinances meant to significantly lower the number of animal-cruelty cases, and the number of stray animals euthanized in the county. The new measures include: mandatory rabies vaccinations, rules against tethering animals, and fines for keepers of animals declared to be vicious by the court system. The sweeping changes to the county’s Animal Control Code were made on Tuesday night during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting. Maj. Ken Green, legal advisor for the Clayton County Police Department, said the department has worked for months with the county’s legal department, the Clayton County Humane Society, and the county’s Animal Control Department to establish the new rules.
Coweta – (8/17/10) - Coweta will consider changes in its animal control ordinances. Major changes to the county's animal control ordinances will be considered at Tuesday's meeting of the Coweta County Board of Commissioners. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the county commission chambers on Perry Street. The biggest change proposed would outlaw "tethering" of dogs for any time. That means chaining or tying a dog to a stationary object. Dogs would be allowed to be on "runners" or "trolleys," but only when the owner is at home, for no more than four hours, and not during the night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. An allowed trolley system must be at least 10 feet long, with a tether that allows the dog to move at least 10 feet perpendicularly. There are also regulations on transporting dogs in the backs of pickup trucks. Measures must be in place to prevent the dog from falling or being thrown out, or jumping out, of the vehicle. Additionally, the proposed amendments require business licenses for commercial animal establishments, humane societies and rescue groups. As a condition of the license, all commercial establishments, humane societies and rescue groups must grant animal control officers permission to inspect their facilities to ensure all animals meet the standards set forth in the animal control ordinance. The proposed amendments also make revisions to the rules regarding dangerous dogs.
(8/20/10) - No puppy breeders in Hawaii are permitted to sell to pet stores. We've discovered a major lapse in regulation among Hawaii's dog breeding industry. Something lawmakers want to change. The undercover video we aired this week helped show some of the conditions at puppy farms. Now the response is exposing more problems within the breeding industry. For the first time a local pet store owner says she's willing to hand over the names of all the breeders she's used. It's a list with as many as 90 names. That's many more than the Hawaiian Humane Society knew about. So how many breeders are out there? Here's why it's so staggering to hear one pet store alone used 90 breeders. By law if a breeder sells puppies to a pet store they must have a federal permit. However right now not even one breeder in the state has that permit, which means there are plenty of breeders out there flying under the radar without abiding by any rules. "It was quite a shocker," said Vaughn. "It clearly says there is no regulation at this point and there's no enforcement at this point." "It's been overwhelming," said State Senator Clayton Hee, (D) Kahuku, Laie, Kaneohe. Senator Hee has also been contacted by a lot of people concerned about Hawaii's weak animal laws. He's already met with the Hawaiian Humane Society going over what should go into a new law. "I think one of the most important aspects, we'll look at pet shops disclosing the source of the puppies," said Sen. Hee. They're talking about capping the number of animals in a kennel, limiting how many times a female can get pregnant in a year, requiring exercise and giving inspectors power to make unannounced visits. Right now they have to get permission to even come on the property and if the breeder says no they can't look around. "So we'll look at loosening that up," said Sen. Hee. "It will take a multi pronged approach but I believe the will is there and obviously if the will is there we'll find a way." Senator Hee plans to make it a priority next session but until they get a grasp on how bad the problem is the Hawaiian Humane Society doesn't want to support breeders or pet stores and encourages people to... "Adopt and not shop," said Vaughn.
Bush – (8/23/10) – Chief wants changes to dog laws. Hurst Police Chief Ron Harvel recalls the day two weeks ago that nearly killed 5-year-old Winston Bankston. "I made the decision at that time to neutralize the situation and prevent the dogs from attacking anyone else." Chief Harvel said the decision to kill the dogs was an easy one considering they almost killed the boy. Illinois is one of 11 states which prohibit towns from making restrictions against allowing specific breeds in neighborhoods. His focus now is on changing that law using this case as an example. UPDATE: (8/24/10) - Lawmaker Looks Into Changing Animal Laws. A state lawmaker is looking at ways to prevent dog attacks, like the one that severely injured a Williamson County boy earlier this month. Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, says he is reviewing current state laws in Illinois. He is considering changing the laws to allow local communities more ability to control animals in their towns. “I'm reviewing the state of the law to try to figure out where things stand, then look at ways we can do things to make the laws that are in place better," Bradley said. The Hurst City Council is expected to revisit changes to its animal ordinance at its meeting Monday evening.
Galesburg – (8/19/10) – City Council needs to reconsider dog ordinance. The question of how to balance the rights of individual dog owners against those of the greater public in Galesburg has been avoided for far too long in this city. It is time for Galesburg to rethink and redevelop the policies dealing with dogs in general and what might be termed “guard” or “attack” dogs in particular. If the City Council can develop a noise ordinance specifically aimed at car stereos and move to protect the greater public with a ban on burning, it certainly can and should take on the issue raised by dogs. That ordinance should strive to fair to all parties — which means it will demand input from experts, representatives from local animal welfare, law enforcement, dog owners and neighborhood groups. Putting off the effort helps no one.
Anderson – (8/10/10) - City Could Make Residents Spay, Neuter Or Pay Up. Anderson Considers Fines To Control Animal Population. The population of four-legged animals is exploding in Anderson, and now city officials are engaged in a real dogfight for control of the issue. The City's Animal Care and Control is behind a proposed ordinance that would penalize pet owners who fail to spay or neuter their puppies or kittens by fining them $100. The ordinance would require breeders to purchase a permit. If they don't, they could be fined, too. The proposal is based on a similar one in Hamilton County that supporters contend works well. UPDATE: (8/13/10) - City Council tables spay/neuter law. Proposed ordinance draws criticism from pet owners, breeders. A proposal to require cats and dogs in the city to be spayed or neutered or for their owners to obtain breeder licenses was scratched for the time being. The Anderson City Council on Thursday tabled an ordinance that had been proposed as a means to control a stray animal population that Animal Care and Control staff members and volunteers have said is exploding. But the proposal before the council brought out dozens of pet owners and breeders who raised objections. “We need to rewrite what we’ve written,” Animal Care and Control Director Maleah Stringer acknowledged after more than 90 minutes of discussion and public comments about the proposed ordinance. People who spoke about the proposal were encouraged to help revise the ordinance.
Indianapolis – (8/13/10) - Tougher dogfighting laws urged after Indy bust. A weekend dogfighting bust has led to the filing of felony charges against five people, but animal rights activists say they will renew a call for Indiana to strengthen its animal fighting law.
Ridgeville – (8/20/10) – Ridgeville board tables dog ordinance. The Ridgeville Town Board Tuesday tabled a vicious dog ordinance after they heard concerns about singling out specific breeds, such as pit bulls, in the proposal. Joan Krieg, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club, told about her background and credentials, which included working with several towns on their ordinances concerning vicious dogs. She said she had consulted with a judge who told her the penalty section of the ordinance needed to be more specific. Krieg said the ordinance was ambiguous, hindered due process, and that animals are personal property. She recommended setting up a review board to declare a dog vicious so the decision would not be left up to the town marshal. She also said she didn’t think that killing a cat defined a dog as being vicious.
Winchester – (8/15/10) - Rural dog ordinance approved by county board at first reading. The Randolph County Board of Commissioners Monday narrowly approved the first reading of an ordinance to restrict vicious dogs that run loose in rural areas. Commissioners Noel "Bud" Carpenter and Kathy Beumer voted in favor and commissioner Troy Prescott opposed the ordinance. Under the proposed law, anyone whose dangerous dog runs loose will be subject to a written warning. A second incident within 12 months will warrant a $100 fine; a third such violation within the time period means a $150 fine. Subsequent infractions will incur a gradually increasing fine amount. Prescott said many rural farmers have watch dogs to protect their properties. He said such dogs should be free to pursue an intruder even beyond the farmer's property line. In discussion Aug. 2 that led to the crafting of this ordinance, Prescott said he could not pass a law he's not interested in enforcing. He later said he would consider an ordinance that results in nothing more than a warning for the first offense. Prescott said if he has a problem with his neighbor's dog, he would just call that neighbor and let him know. The second reading of the dog ordinance will be heard at the commissioners Sept. 6 meeting.
Hampton – (8/19/10) - Vicious dog reports prompt Hampton to revisit its laws. The number of vicious dog reports is on the rise in Hampton despite the city having several dog-related ordinances. It appears that owners are just being irresponsible, Weldin said. The city plans to revisit its dog-related ordinances next month. Raising fines for violations of those ordinances is one thing City Council members will consider.
Topeka – (8/19/10) - Kansas voter initiative plan draws agriculture groups' ire. A Kansas politician's plan to allow voters to enact laws without going through the Legislature is drawing criticism from major farm groups, and a fellow Republican leader said Friday that the idea worries agriculture leaders. Kris Kobach, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, said he's not surprised interest groups oppose his voter initiative plan. As residents of other states can, Kansas residents could put proposed laws and state constitutional changes on the ballot for voters' approval. Secretary of State Chris Biggs, a Democrat who faces Kobach in the Nov. 2 general election, said allowing voter initiatives could make elections far more expensive. But Biggs isn't as vocal in criticizing the idea as major agricultural groups. The Kansas Livestock Association declared its opposition to the idea even before Kobach won the GOP primary last week. In a post-primary e-mail, the Kansas Grain and Feed Association and the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association cited Kobach's plan as an example of "industry unfriendly" views. Agriculture groups worry that organizations like the Humane Society of the United States would use voter initiatives to push for animal-rights initiatives that enjoy little support among legislators. One example is a successful 2008 proposition in California to ban small "battery cages" for chickens. Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican and farmer, said Kobach's plan is a serious concern for some agriculture industry officials. "Why would we want to be like California?" Morris said. "Everybody I've talked to about initiative and referendum, their reaction was dismay."
New Orleans – (8/18/10) - LA/SPCA: neuter enforcement starts in Oct. New Orleans residents who don't want to spay or neuter their dogs must now get a permit from the Louisiana SPCA. The ordinance passed this year is aimed at reducing the number of strays and dogs that bite people - and at cutting an animal control deficit expected to exceed $1 million this year. It requires a "breeder's permit" for any dog that is more than six months old and has not been spayed or neutered. The SPCA says there's a $10 application fee and a $10 permit fee for permits through the end of this year, with renewals of $20 per dog starting next year. It says it will begin enforcing the ordinance in October. Applications are available at the organization's headquarters or online at www.la-spca.org/intactpermit.
Augusta - (8/16/10) – Maine should take the lead on the prohibition of vicious dogs. There is no need for bad dogs, just as there is no need for bad citizens. Maine must lead the nation by enacting the first comprehensive law which bans breeds proven to be vicious; and Maine must enact strict criminal penalties for all owners, irrespective of breed, whose dogs are involved in these attacks. Such laws will ensure the same attributes in our four-footed friends that we seek in our neighbors, and those attributes are loyalty, affability, gentleness and strength.
Annapolis – (8/18/10) - Charges Filed In Shooting Of Husky. A police officer was charged Wednesday in the shooting death of a Siberian husky and Maryland officials said they would look into tougher animal cruelty laws. Keith Elgin Shepherd, 32 -- a federal police officer who works at Fort Myer, Va. -- fatally shot the husky at a dog park in Anne Arundel County this month. He was charged in Annapolis, Md., with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied home, The Baltimore Sun reported. Shepherd's attorney, David Putzi, says his client maintains his innocence and is "looking forward to challenging this in court." Shepherd told police after the shooting the husky attacked his dog and he shot the husky after Kurinij did not take action when he was asked to control Bear-Bear. Rettaliata has said the two dogs were just playing. Bear-Bear was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment but did not survive the shooting. Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold said Wednesday he will look into whether "there is a need to stiffen" animal abuse penalties.
Lynn - Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy will wait until after Sept. 7, when the City Council is slated to give a proposed pit bull ordinance a final review, to finish legal research into the proposal and decide if she will sign or veto it. Kennedy has legal questions about the city adopting an ordinance that declares a specific dog breed dangerous and seeks to set special conditions on dog owners. Pit bull owners will be required to fill out a lengthy registration form and muzzle their dogs. The council passed the ordinance on July 13 and reviewed it again on Aug. 10, after it was tabled for reconsideration until Sept. 7 to review what Council President Timothy Phelan called "technical language."
Lowell - animal advisory committee is in the process of formulating recommendations for their animal control ordinance. A breed specific ordinance is among one of the possibilities.
Saginaw – (8/16/10) - Cat ownership laws minimal in Saginaw and statewide. Free to roam, felines are often as elusive as the laws that regulate them. Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch said the problem of stray, feral and loose domestic cats grabbed his attention after a dispute surfaced in a historic Saginaw neighborhood related to the capture of at least two cats in a community garden.
Carver County - dangerous dog ordinance passed. The ordinance lays out the process and roles and responsibilities for designating a dog as potentially dangerous or dangerous, what steps owners of those dogs must take with the animals and an appeals process for owners who dispute their dog’s designation. The ordinance defines a potentially dangerous dog as a dog that when unprovoked bites a person or domestic animal on public or private property, when unprovoked chases or approaches a person, including someone riding a bicycle, on the streets or sidewalks or any public or private property other than the dog owner’s property in an apparent attitude of attack or has a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack when unprovoked causing injury or threatening the safety of people or domestic animals. A dangerous dog is defined in the ordinance as a dog that has unprovoked caused substantial bodily harm on a person, engaged in an attack on a person unprovoked under circumstances which indicated danger to the person’s safety, killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property, has been found potentially dangerous and after that finding aggressively attacks or endangers the safety of people or domestic animals, has unprovoked bitten one or more people on two or more separate occasions or has been trained or encouraged to fight with another animal.
Jackson – (8/12/10) - Lawmakers re-examining animal cruelty laws. An attempt to toughen the state's animal cruelty laws died in the legislature this year. But the House Agriculture Committee, which killed the bill, is resurrecting it for next year. A meeting Thursday included lawmakers, an animal control officer, shelter workers, a veterinarian, and others. They're working together to fashion a bill, regarding cruelty to dogs and cats only, that everyone can agree on. Farm Bureau Federation President David Waide was not present for the meeting. We were unsuccessful trying to reach Waide by phone on Thursday. The Farm Bureau has raised objections in the past regarding animal cruelty legislation. In March, Waide told us, "Our concern is that this type of legislation will be used as a vehicle to open avenues for activists to extend their reach and push other, more extreme agendas." But Committee Chairman Greg Ward says the Bureau's influence only stretches so far. "The Farm Bureau or no other organization, even myself, has the power to overrule my committee," he says. "Over the past three years we have not presented a bill to the house we have lost. It's not my intention to bring one to the house floor that's gonna fail." A tentative version of the bill should be drafted in the next few weeks. More meetings may be on the agenda to hone the legislation.
Oktibbeha – (8/16/10) - Supervisors looking into vicious dog laws. District 5 Supervisor John Young Monday said he is "very concerned" by the handful of attacks over the past three weeks on farm animals in his district. He plans to research dangerous dog laws and ordinances in different counties and municipalities around the state, including Starkville. No leash laws or dangerous dog laws exist in Oktibbeha County outside Starkville city limits. One problem the county could face, however, is enforcement of a dangerous animal ordinance, said District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson. In Starkville, police and animal control officers can issue summons and citations to owners of dangerous animals. But in Oktibbeha County, where there are no animal control officers, the task would be left up to the Sheriff's Department. "That would mean adding more money to the Sheriff's Department's budget," Jackson said, noting the county already is facing a tight financial situation as budget season approaches. "There would be no point in passing something if we couldn't enforce it."
(8/15/10) - Judge rejects challenge to ballot wording. A Missouri trial judge on Friday rejected a challenge to the ballot summary for an initiative petition that seeks to impose new restrictions on dog breeders. A critic of the ballot measure filed a lawsuit and argued that the proposed ballot summary was unfair, particularly its description of a violation of the proposed restrictions as a misdemeanor called "puppy mill cruelty." Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem upheld the ballot summary written by the secretary of state and the cost estimate prepared by the state auditor. Last week, the secretary of state's office determined the ballot measure had gotten enough signatures and qualified for the November ballot. Had Beetem ordered the ballot summary to be rewritten, however, opponents said they planned to file another lawsuit to keep the proposal off the ballot because people who signed the petitions read a different description. The lawsuit was filed by Karen Strange, who is the president of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners. Strange said Friday opponents were working to oppose the proposal in November and declined to comment on whether she planned to appeal the court decision. Under the proposal, people could have only 50 breeding dogs and would be required to feed animals daily, provide annual veterinary care and not breed animals more than twice every 18 months. Breeders also would have to follow rules for the dogs' living space and house animals indoors with unfettered access to an outdoor exercise yard. It would apply to people with at least 10 female dogs for breeding. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. The measure calls that crime "puppy mill cruelty."
Kirksville - (08/30/10) Pit bulls and other vicious animals are once again in the city's sights as a draft ordinance was debated Monday during the council's study session. Council agreed that no consensus could be reached and that public input would be crucial in deciding how to proceed on addressing, in particular, vicious dogs such as pit bulls. The council will hold a public forum Oct. 18 with a possible vote on the ordinance coming at the following meeting Nov. 1.
St. Ignatius – (8/17/10) - Orders, ordinances and obstacles. A boil order, marijuana ordinance, parked cars, nuisance dogs and next year's preliminary budget were the all topics of conversation at last Tuesday night's St. Ignatius town council meeting. The council is working on ways to deal with the current issues of nuisance dogs, junk cars and trailers being used as living quarters. Chief of Police Shay Clairmont said, "The Tribe does not recognize any ordinances. You're going to run into the same problem as with the dogs. That is all stuff that the Tribal Council will have to look at in their own way and decide if that is something that they want to govern or not." The council looked at a proposed budget for the new year, which Gottfried said mirrors what happened last year. They looked at increasing the allotted budget for animal control, however. "If the revenue from dog tags was increased, that could offset the cost of animal control," Johnson said. The topic has been on council members' minds for quite some time.
Omaha – (8/12/10) - Dog Trainer Loses Custody Of Pets. An Omaha dog trainer rescued nine puppies, then lost custody of her own dogs. The Nebraska Humane Society said it's a case of having three strikes in two years. After being cited for having too many dogs, she can't have animals in her home for four years. On Tuesday, the group took her Boston terrier Boz, her Chihuahua Little Bit and her cat, saying she violated Omaha's Reckless Owner Ordinance three times. The Reckless Owner Ordinance was enacted in 2008 to "safeguard the public against those irresponsible dog owners whose dogs pose danger to the public."
High Bridge – (8/19/10) - Dog barking rules lack teeth, High Bridge resident complains. The borough’s barking dog ordinance is too vague, a resident said at Thursday’s council meeting. Mayor Mark Desire said borough officials are collecting information about barking dog ordinances in nearby towns, and will discuss changing the ordinance at the Sept. 16 meeting.
Bernalillo County - APNM and other animal rights and welfare groups have returned with new recommendations for ordinance changes for the Bernalillo County commissioners. The changes they are recommending relate to animal restraint and care and maintenance. For now, here is access to the proposed revisions to allow for your analysis: Bernalillo County-2010 Proposed Changes. The pdf file has information in the following order: Current Chapter 6-45 Restraint of Animals page 1 Proposed Chapter 6-45 Restraint of Animals page 2 Current Chapter 6-58 Care and Maintenance page 3 Proposed Chapter 6-58 Care and Maintenance page 4-6
Big Flats – (8/13/10) – Animal Fighting Laws Lack Bite. New York state’s lax animal-fighting laws make it a prime destination for such illegal activity. In fact, law enforcement raids of animal-fighting rings – typically dogs and roosters – in New York often find 50-70 percent of the perpetrators are from outside the state. But legislation introduced in both houses of the state Legislature aim to strengthen animal-fighting laws, including stiffening the penalties against spectators of animal fights. State Senate candidate and current Assemblyman Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, visited the Chemung County Humane Society and SPCA on Thursday to discuss the legislation with officials there. O’Mara supports the legislation and said increasing the penalties will be a deterrent. Currently, holding an animal fight in New York is a felony, but the penalty for being a spectator is about the same as a traffic ticket, according to officials. The bill would make being a spectator a crime punishable by imprisonment and a possible $1,000 fine. The legislation would also target puppy mills, which are large-scale commercial breeding facilities that mass-produce puppies for sale. The animals are often subjected to harsh conditions, and many end up euthanized or in facilities like the SPCA.
Suffolk County – (8/20/10) - Legis. Cooper Gets 'RRRuff' with Animal Abusers. Landmark animal protection initiatives rolled out during Thursday press conference. In the face of the growing number of cases of animal abuse being reported locally, Suffolk County Legislative Majority Leader Jon Cooper, D-Lloyd Harbor, announced a series of initiatives that would put Suffolk at the national vanguard of protecting animal rights at a press conference at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge on Thursday morning. Cooper laid out the groundwork for two bills which would create a public Animal Abuser Registry listing the names of those convicted of inhumane treatment and torture of animals, prevent those convicted of animal abuse from adopting or purchasing animals, and prohibit pet stores and animal shelters from selling pets or allowing them to be adopted by individuals on the Animal Abuser Registry. If adopted, Cooper's proposed laws would make Suffolk County the first municipality in the nation to have an Animal Abuser Registry on the books and to offer such far-reaching protections for pets and other animals. Cooper added that his hope is that the legislature will be voting on the bill in October. Cooper's first bill would create a publicly accessible and searchable database of those convicted of animal abuse crimes as defined by the New York State Penal Code. Convicted abusers would have to register their names, aliases, addresses and submit their photograph for inclusion in the database. Cooper said those in the registry would be required to update their personal information annually or any time they change their address. He added that an appearance in the registry would be mandated for five years following an abuser's incarceration or judgment and those failing to register during that period would be subject to a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail. In order not to penalize taxpayers, Cooper's bill would also require abusers to foot the bill for the upkeep of the registry by paying a $50 annual fee. The bill also won't tax the already scarce police resources as the legislator has worked out an agreement that would give the Suffolk County SPCA responsibility for maintaining the database by using their peace officers and retired law enforcement personnel, who already enforce the New York State Agriculture and Market Laws with regard to the prevention of mistreatment and cruelty to animals. Cooper said he will follow up the creation of the Animal Abuser Registry with a companion bill prohibiting convicted animal abusers from adopting or purchasing pets during the period they are required to register their offender status. This bill would also require pet stores and animal shelters to check the identity of those seeking to purchase or adopt pets against the registry. If a person seeking an animal is in the database, the shelters and stores would face a fine if they knowingly allowed the convicted abuser to leave with the pet, according to Cooper. The first of Cooper's bills has been assigned to the Legislature's Public Safety Committee. It will be the subject of a public hearing at the Legislature's next general meeting on Sept. 16, at 2:30 p.m. at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge. Cooper encourages all pet owners and animal lovers to come out and express their support for these proposals. Syracuse – (8/15/10) - New York state getting out of dog licensing business. New York’s state government will stop administering dog licenses in 2011, which could mean higher fees for some pet owners. Municipalities, which sell the licenses, will be taking over Jan. 1 the responsibility for renewals, tags and administering a database of licenses. In turn, the municipalities will keep all the fees collected. New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker announced Friday the state would save more than $325,000 annually by getting out the dog licensing business. Dog licensing will still be required by state law. But minimum fees for dog licenses and other program requirements will no longer be mandated by the state. Local governments will set fees and tailor dog programs to meet the unique characteristics of their communities. The state will also look for another agency to take over its Animal Population and Control Program, which provides low cost spay or neuter surgery for dogs and cats adopted from New York shelters or owned by those from low-income households.
Suffolk County – (8/20/10) - Legis. Cooper Gets 'RRRuff' with Animal Abusers. Landmark animal protection initiatives rolled out during Thursday press conference. In the face of the growing number of cases of animal abuse being reported locally, Suffolk County Legislative Majority Leader Jon Cooper, D-Lloyd Harbor, announced a series of initiatives that would put Suffolk at the national vanguard of protecting animal rights at a press conference at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge on Thursday morning. Cooper laid out the groundwork for two bills which would create a public Animal Abuser Registry listing the names of those convicted of inhumane treatment and torture of animals, prevent those convicted of animal abuse from adopting or purchasing animals, and prohibit pet stores and animal shelters from selling pets or allowing them to be adopted by individuals on the Animal Abuser Registry. If adopted, Cooper's proposed laws would make Suffolk County the first municipality in the nation to have an Animal Abuser Registry on the books and to offer such far-reaching protections for pets and other animals. Cooper added that his hope is that the legislature will be voting on the bill in October. Cooper's first bill would create a publicly accessible and searchable database of those convicted of animal abuse crimes as defined by the New York State Penal Code. Convicted abusers would have to register their names, aliases, addresses and submit their photograph for inclusion in the database. Cooper said those in the registry would be required to update their personal information annually or any time they change their address. He added that an appearance in the registry would be mandated for five years following an abuser's incarceration or judgment and those failing to register during that period would be subject to a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail. In order not to penalize taxpayers, Cooper's bill would also require abusers to foot the bill for the upkeep of the registry by paying a $50 annual fee. The bill also won't tax the already scarce police resources as the legislator has worked out an agreement that would give the Suffolk County SPCA responsibility for maintaining the database by using their peace officers and retired law enforcement personnel, who already enforce the New York State Agriculture and Market Laws with regard to the prevention of mistreatment and cruelty to animals. Cooper said he will follow up the creation of the Animal Abuser Registry with a companion bill prohibiting convicted animal abusers from adopting or purchasing pets during the period they are required to register their offender status. This bill would also require pet stores and animal shelters to check the identity of those seeking to purchase or adopt pets against the registry. If a person seeking an animal is in the database, the shelters and stores would face a fine if they knowingly allowed the convicted abuser to leave with the pet, according to Cooper. The first of Cooper's bills has been assigned to the Legislature's Public Safety Committee. It will be the subject of a public hearing at the Legislature's next general meeting on Sept. 16, at 2:30 p.m. at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge. Cooper encourages all pet owners and animal lovers to come out and express their support for these proposals.
Syracuse – (8/15/10) - New York state getting out of dog licensing business. New York’s state government will stop administering dog licenses in 2011, which could mean higher fees for some pet owners. Municipalities, which sell the licenses, will be taking over Jan. 1 the responsibility for renewals, tags and administering a database of licenses. In turn, the municipalities will keep all the fees collected. New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker announced Friday the state would save more than $325,000 annually by getting out the dog licensing business. Dog licensing will still be required by state law. But minimum fees for dog licenses and other program requirements will no longer be mandated by the state. Local governments will set fees and tailor dog programs to meet the unique characteristics of their communities. The state will also look for another agency to take over its Animal Population and Control Program, which provides low cost spay or neuter surgery for dogs and cats adopted from New York shelters or owned by those from low-income households.
Brunswick County – (8/10/10) - Dangerous-dog decision may be made by panels in Brunswick County. Brunswick County health officials are putting the finishing touches on a plan to have panels of volunteers rule on whether dogs should be declared dangerous. The health board on Monday approved paying the panel members $50 per session, the same compensation earned by health board members. The dangerous dog judgments are now made by Health Director Don Yousey, and his decisions can be appealed to the health board’s environmental health subcommittee. Under the new system, which mirrors one used in New Hanover County, the panel is responsible for deciding whether a dog that has attacked a person or injured another animal while off the owner’s property meets the state’s qualifications to be considered a threat. The panel will comprise three members, chosen from a group of about 12, and be assembled on a case-by-case basis. To ensure objectivity, panel members will not be told certain information, such as the name of the dog owner and the breed of the dog. “It’s totally blind. We want to make sure the decision is fair and prevent some breeds from being profiled,” Environmental Health Director David Stanley said. If the panel designates the dog as dangerous, a county official will hand-deliver an order that the dog’s owner take certain steps – such as building a fence and keeping the animal muzzled off the property – to ensure the safety of the community. The dog is seized until those mandates are met. Appeals would be made to another three-member panel. (3 pages at link)
Guilford County – (8/18/10) - Proposal: Require Dog Breeders To Get Inspected, Pay Fee. Some dog breeders said a proposed change to Guilford County's Animal Control Ordinance isn't fair. Thursday, commissioners will hear a presentation from a group that wants to keep a closer eye on breeders, by requiring high volume breeders to pay for a permit and get inspected once a year. As it stands now, Animal Control will only inspect a breeder or kennel if it receives a complaint. The change would allow for an annual inspection, which could be unannounced, according to Animal Control Manager Scott Greene. The rule would only apply to breeders who sell 50 or more puppies a year or have seven or more litters. Greene said the goal of proposing the change is to ensure dogs are properly cared for and breeders are educated on the best practices. "We're not out to put any breeders out of business," he said. Greene said field officers already on staff would likely be responsible for enforcing the rule. High volume breeders would be exempt from the county inspection and fee if they could prove inspection by the American Kennel Club. Penalties could range from educating breeders to fines to seizing dogs. Commissioners meet at 1:00 pm Thursday. They will hear the presentation and are expected to set a date for a public hearing on the issue for September.
(8/19/10) - Guilford County is seeking to get tougher on animal cruelty laws. Commissioner Linda Shaw gave a new ordinance proposal to Guilford County Commissioners Thursday afternoon. Shaw is particularly interested in getting tougher laws on the books after the incident of abuse occured at Rush Kennels. "This is for unregulated puppy mills and the ones that are really abusing the animals," said Shaw. "They're the ones we need to take a serious look at and that's what this is about." The proposal includes new regulations for people with exotic pets, or pets that you'd normally see in the wild or at a zoo. These pet owners would have to get a county permit. The committee is asking county commissioners for a public hearing in September. A permit charge of $45 for owners who have more than six litters or sell more than 50 dogs a year is being considered.
Lake Gaston – (8/18/10) - Lake Gaston woman found guilty of allowing cats to create a nuisance. A ruling against a citizen last week for violating the county's animal control ordinance has set a precedent that future court cases here could follow. Susan Linkous of Wildwood Point subdivision on Lake Gaston was found guilty of allowing animals to create a nuisance. According to Animal Control Director Elma Rae Greene, Linkous had allowed her cats to run at large for some time, creating a nuisance and a public health hazard through the cats' habitual loitering and destruction of property. Greene said that Linkous's neighbors lodged complaints against her that led to investigation by animal control, which picked up several cats in that area, and that at least one warning had been issued prior to a criminal summons being filed. Judge Randolph Baskerville sentenced Linkous to 10 days in the county detention center, suspended with unsupervised probation for six months; ordered to pay court costs, to reduce the number of cats at her residence from 10 to two, ordered to have the remaining two cats neutered and to maintain control of them by putting up a fence, to keep the cats off her neighbors' property, to have the cats vaccinated and wear their vaccination tags.
HB570 - To amend sections 955.04, 955.21, and 955.99 and to enact sections 956.01 to 956.11 and 956.99 of the Revised Code to establish standards of care for commercial dog breeding kennels and to establish requirements governing the sale of dogs.
Colerain Township - Trustee president Dennis Deters wants the board to talk about putting some teeth into a pit bull ordinance. In 2004, the township passed an ordinance regarding the registration and training of vicious dogs, not pit bulls specifically. That resolution was based on a section of the Ohio Revised Code that the Ohio Supreme Court held was unconstitutional later that year. The next regular meeting of the Colerain Township Board of Trustees is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the Colerain Township administrative offices, 4200 Springdale Road.
Fairfield Township – (8/20/10) - Fairfield Twp. resident questions barking dog rule. A township resident questioned the sense of a barking dog resolution in a rural community at the regular trustees meeting Thursday night. The resident, who was recently reported by a neighbor, claimed that the resolution is vaguely worded and leaves complaints open to interpretation. Noting that the resolution is good for concentrated communities, the resident stated that it serves little purpose in a rural area, noting that his dogs are his security system on his farm. Trustee Chair Bob Hum responded that the resolution was established to help the zoning inspector monitor kennels, and that the responding officer in any incident must determine if the complaint is valid. Hum said he would look into the issue to see if the wording can be made more clear.
Shadyside - unusual ordinance prepared for months by the town's "vicious dog committee" has passed. It is now illegal to have a pit bull. There's a grandfather clause for people who already have them, but they can't have more than two to a family. And once these dogs have died, no more will be allowed in town.
Toledo – (8/14/10) - Dog Ordinance has bite. The long, difficult task of crafting comprehensive dog regulations for Toledo that encourage responsible ownership and make the treatment of canines fair and humane has been completed. As the ordinance is tweaked to address legitimate concerns, it should not be amended so much that it fails to accomplish needed reforms. The Lucas County Dog Warden Citizen's Advisory Committee spent months putting together the regulations it has presented to Toledo City Council. It sought advice, examined best practices, and came up with a proposal that places the onus on owners to make sure their dogs are not a danger to the community. The ordinance also removes the "vicious dog" label from so-called pit bulls, so that they can be judged according to their actions rather than their breed. As Police Chief Mike Navarre pointed out, some proposed changes - a 15-minute limit on chaining an unsupervised dog outside and a ban on outside chaining within 500 feet of a school - may be difficult to enforce. Difficult, but not impossible. And it is reasonable to expect compliance to improve as people become aware that Toledo's dog laws will be enforced. Revision of Toledo's dog laws is long overdue. The ordinance under consideration is an effective measure that fosters responsibility, punishes negligent, careless, and reckless owners, and treats all dogs the same. Fear that it isn't perfect should not be allowed to result in a watered-down law that's all bark and no bite.
Bensalem – (8/15/10) - Gun club won't face animal cruelty charges. Animal rights activists criticized the district attorney's involvement in the case. District Attorney David Heckler has asked the court to dismiss animal cruelty charges against the Philadelphia Gun Club and instructed pigeon shooters there to make a $200 donation to the Bucks County SPCA for a wounded bird that wasn't immediately killed by hunters. At Heckler's request, Bensalem District Judge Len Brown said he will no longer consider the June 18 complaint filed by Humane Society officer Johnna Seeton. Seeton, a court appointed officer, alleges that pigeon shoots at the Bensalem gun club violate animal cruelty laws. But Heckler said, "the shooting of live pigeons is unquestionably legal." The district attorney said he perceived the citation was "motivated by a desire to discourage live pigeon shoots themselves, despite the fact that the Pennsylvania Legislature has repeatedly and specifically declined to outlaw this activity." Animal rights activists immediately criticized Heckler's decision to have the case dismissed. Steve Hindi, president of SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness), said the Republican district attorney should have recused himself from the matter because Sean Corr, the gun club's attorney, made a $2,800 contribution to the Bucks County Republican Campaign. (Corr's contributions were made before Seeton's citation was filed, Hindi said.) "We believe Heckler killed the charge because of political donations and connections to the gun club," Hindi said in a written statement to the media. "When you look at the evidence, follow the money and see how hard Heckler interjected himself and worked to protect the club, there is no question in our mind that this was corruption." Corr was recently named the assistant solicitor for Bucks County. Members of SHARK said they plan to protest during the Aug. 18 meeting of the county commissioners.
Harrisburg – (8/19/10) - Pennsylvania's dog law threatened by puppy provision. In 2008, Gov. Rendell signed the state's new dog law, proclaiming it the toughest in the country governing commercial breeding kennels, which sell thousands of puppies to pet shops each year. Now a standoff between the Rendell administration and animal welfare advocates over the use of wire flooring in cages is threatening final approval of the law's regulations for the 100 commercial kennels that remain in Pennsylvania. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission will hear public testimony Thursday before approving or rejecting the law's 873 pages on conditions in commercial kennels. Rendell administration officials will be defending what they call "a gap" in the law involving cage flooring. The law requires adult dogs to have solid flooring in cages, but allows puppies under 12 weeks to stand on wire flooring. That means adults bred twice a year could end up living on wire through pregnancy and nursing for up to six or eight months a year, which opponents argue violates the spirit and letter of the law. Wire is blamed for painful paw abrasions, cysts and splayed feet on animals that spend years in such cages. The prospect of dogs' continuing to spend even part of their lives in cages without solid flooring is unacceptable to the legislation's lead sponsor. "The administration is circumventing the intent of the dog law," said Rep. James E. Casorio (D., Westmoreland). "I don't understand why they would try to harm the very animals it was supposed to protect." Administration officials acknowledge recently discovering a "gray" area in the law and have sought to address it by requiring 50 percent of the nursing mothers' cages to have solid flooring. "I don't think there's a controversy," Rendell said in a recent interview. "I'd never let dogs stand on wire day after day after day. They will find their way to the wood floor." Rendell's rescued dog, Maggie, was pulled from a wire-floored rabbit hutch in 2008. Karen Overall, a member of the governor's Canine Health Board, which was charged with drafting and approving the regulations, called the administration's revised proposal "deplorable," arguing that wire for any dog under any circumstances leads to long-term physical and behavioral problems. Marsha Perelman, a member of the Dog Law Advisory Board, said that if the regulations in their entirety were voted down, including those governing temperature extremes, dogs in breeding kennels would continue to be at risk of life-threatening conditions. The number of commercial kennels, defined as those selling or transferring more than 60 dogs or selling any dogs to pet stores, has fallen from 300 to just over 100 since the law took effect in 2009. The lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association did not respond to several requests for comment. UPDATE: (8/20/10) - Panel approves controversial Pennsylvania dog law. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding called it "a great day for dogs." But few others agreed. The state Independent Regulatory Review Commission yesterday approved Pennsylvania's controversial dog law, aimed at improving the lives of breeding dogs in the state's 111 commercial kennels. The 3-1 vote occurred after more than four hours of testimony, which featured rare agreement between animal rights activists and breeders. The groups usually are at odds, but yesterday they urged the commission to reject the law and send it back to the Department of Agriculture for further revision. Activists argued that recent amendments to the law betray its original intent. The law now goes to the Attorney General's Office for a legal review, officials said. The new regulations take effect July 1, 2011. The dog law is an example of "overregulation," breeders said, arguing that upgrades to install ventilation and cooling systems are too expensive and designed to run them out of business. At the beginning of last year, the state had more than 300 commercial dog kennels. Today, there are 111. It smacks of us being criminals who need round the clock monitoring," said Marlene Lippert, a member of the state Dog Advisory Board, who said she has raised Boston terriers for 30 years. John Simms, a veterinarian from Shippensburg, said he worried that "overzealous regulations" will force breeders to shut down and sell off their dogs at auction in states with weaker regulations. "We may feel good that we have seemingly achieved our welfare goals, but the dog being sold at the out-of-state auction is wondering why we let her down," Simms said. "Finally we have clarity," Redding said after the hearing. "And most importantly, the quality of life for dogs in our commercial kennels is much improved."
Memphis – (8/10/10) - Memphis Considers Tougher Dog Laws. The Memphis City Council is considering new dog laws that would crack down on pet owners. The first item under consideration would require dogs and cats that weigh more than 30 pounds be spay or neutered. There are exemptions to the law. Breeders, police dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and show dogs are just a few examples of animals that would be exempt from the spay/neuter law. Expanding the dangerous dog law is also on the table. Right now if a dog aggressively attacks a human or another animal it can be deemed dangerous. The same goes for dog used for fighting. If expanded, the definition of a dangerous dog would also include a dog that bites someone, and is caught running on the loose. If your animal is considered dangerous, you can be fined $50 and have to pay a dog bond to keep the animal. City Councilman, Shea Flinn has also proposed having pet owners, who tie up their dogs, be required to install fences. Flinn said the new laws are needed. “If a poodle bites someone, you could end up with stitches, if a larger dog ends up attacking, you could end up with a loss of life,” said the councilman. Animal activists have mixed feelings about what needs to be done to address Memphis’ stray dog problem. Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee spokesperson, Donna Malone, said the new laws are restrictive, not practical and would be a burden on low income pet owners. “It unfairly penalizes certain segments of our society,” said Malone. Animal Activist. UPDATE: (8/20/10) - Memphis Mulls Mandatory Sterilization for Dogs, Cats. A Memphis City Council committee has recommended mandatory spaying or neutering of cats and dogs. The full council is expected to vote on the issue on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.
Lebanon - proposed ordinance would fine animal owners for not keeping them confined to their property and non-stop barking. If the issue isn't addressed, the pet could potentially be taken and euthanized.
Nashville – (8/12/10) - Nashville Suggesting Pet Limit Laws Based on Size of the Yard. Other communities have set "pet limit laws" with totally random numbers, 3 dogs and 4 cats, or whatever it is. Police don't go door to door counting pets, this is complaint driven...complaints about barking or inhumane conditions. My point is that there are already laws and ordinances about disturbing the peace or treating animals (or people) living in poor conditions. Community members in Davidson County have apparently suggested Metro Animal Control to set a limit on the number of dogs and/or cats a person can have depending how big their yard is. This is NOT in any pets' best interest and makes no sense. The animals shouldn't be in the yard all day in the first place, and therefore yard space is irrelevant. What about people with no yards (condo owners or renters in apartments), are they to have no pets? Why not enforce the laws already there, or if need be, strengthen the animal abuse laws? I implore residents in and around Nashville stand up to this notion.
Lubbock - (08/26/10) City Council decided against a new mandatory spay and neuter program after hearing from Animal Services. After hours of discussion they decided instead of creating new ordinances, they need to enforce the ones they already have. "Frankly nobody is enforcing anything that's on the books. And to look at a whole new host of pretty draconian new measures to be honest with you. I am not interested in moving in that direction," says Mayor Tom Martin.
Socorro - (08/19/10) A dispute centered on a proposed large animal ordinance and the city council meeting became heated. City Council members argued about some of them not knowing about the ordinance and admitted there needs to be better communication. Ralph Duran chairman of that committee to draft the ordinance. "We were supposed to put together an ordinance for keeping of large animals, one that protects horse owners as well as non horse owners," said Duran. Duran said it's frustrating because council didn't ask for the committee's feedback. "We came to the meeting on Monday, but the ordinance had already been written without our input," said Duran. The proposed ordinance as it reads now would negatively affect all horse owners in Socorro. The discussion ended when the council decided to form another committee, even though they had already formed one a few weeks ago.
Clarke County - (08/14/10) By a vote of 3:2 of the Board Of Supervisors, Clarke County VA set a 15 dog limit for breeders. If you don't breed, you can have any number. If you have over 15 and want to breed then a $5000 special use permit will be required and you must meet a number of requirements. Current residents and their dogs are to be grandfathered.
Thank you Walt Hutchens UPDATE - (08/17/10) Supervisors modified its zoning ordinances for breeding and boarding kennels.
Everett - Snohomish County – (8/16/10) - Owners would be billed for care of impounded pets. Snohomish County wants to shift the burden of costs of animals that come under its custody to owners. All pet owners whose animals wind up in the custody of Snohomish County would have to pay for shelter, veterinary bills and other enforcement costs under a new proposal. The way the county code is written now, an owner or custodian gets off the hook for reimbursing the county if they don't take the animal back. Put another way, they only have to repay the county if they claim their pet. The County Council has scheduled the public hearing on the proposed changes for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 8. The public will be able to comment. Afterward, the council can vote. Two ordinance amendments are under discussion. One makes all owners responsible for the county's costs, but includes other changes, too. It would clarify what qualifies as nuisance behavior for an animal, would make it clear that dogs are allowed to run free in designated off-leash parks and would prohibit tethering dogs in a way that allows them to become entangled or otherwise at risk. The second proposed amendment provides an appeals process for violations involving dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs. Some common animal-control costs for the county are enforcement, impound fees, veterinary bills, catching the animal and transporting it.
Handley - 3 Years ago, the Town Council decided to 'deal' with people dumping their dogs in their town, so they banned the following dogs. Rottweilers Pit Bulls American Pit Bull Dog Terrier German Shepherds Huskies Alaskan Malamutes Chow Great Dane St. Bernard Akitas This ban has not been enforced, as the town doesn't have a dog-warden or animal control officer.
Thank you Judy Chevalier
Point Pleasant – (8/16/10) - Pit Bull Ban Falls Flat in Point Pleasant - Point Pleasant City Council ultimately voted to defeat the ordinance to ban pit bull breeds, while also amending a proposal to grandfather in all existing pit bulls in town. (video at link) Talk of banning pit bull breeds in Point Pleasant drew plenty of angry residents during a city council meeting Monday night. Council ultimately voted to defeat the ordinance to ban pit bull breeds, while also amending a proposal to grandfather in all existing pit bulls in town. In the end, though, questions of enforcement seemed to create more issues than council members thought the ordinance was worth.
Wheeling – (8/16/10) - All Bark, No Bite: Only 19 Dogs Registered Under Ordinance. Only 19 dogs are registered under the city's dangerous and vicious dog ordinance, officials recently said. The ordinance, which was passed by Wheeling City Council in January 2006, requires a number of particular breeds of dogs to be registered with the city and to meet other requirements. The breeds include Canary dogs and any Staffordshire bull terrier or American pit bull terrier. The cost of registering with the city is $5 per dog, yet according to the city's finance department only 19 are currently registered. "We are having our community action teams identify dogs in their normal course of patrol," he said. "We also have received a number of call-ins of locations to check that may have unregistered dogs." In addition to taking note of potential unregistered dogs, officers and community members are also on the lookout for other violations of the dog ordinance. The extensive list requires all vicious dogs to be kept on a leash and muzzled whenever they are outside a pen of walls that are at least 6 feet high. The owner must have proper signage informing the public of the dog at their home, and the dog must be spayed or neutered with proof provided to the city manager's office within 30 days of registering. Owners must maintain $100,000 of liability insurance for any injuries the dog may cause. Fines of $500 per day are to be imposed on the owners for failing to register the dogs, and fines are to be $250 per day for the other violations. Matheny said he believes the ordinance is necessary and stressed the intention is not to restrict residents from owning dogs.
Janesville – (8/19/10) - Lawmaker wants to toughen animal abuse law because of local case. A mistreating animals case involving a Milton man accused of shooting a dog with a bow and arrow has spurred a state legislator to propose a tougher law against pet assaults. The case concerned Rep. Kim Hixson, D-Whitewater, enough that he is drafting “Casey’s Law,” which would allow prosecutors to pursue felony charges in cases of unprovoked assaults on pets involving a deadly weapon. “Pets are not merely animals living among us—they are friends and family,” Hixson said in a news release announcing “Casey’s Law.” “As a state, we cannot allow cruelty to companion animals to occur in any form.”
Plans are progressing to site a state-of-the-art processing plant designed to humanely slaughter horses in Wyoming. The Unified Equine LLC plant is only one component of a holistic system designed to provide a solution to the problem of excess domestic horses in the United States. All horses entering the holistic Unified Equine System will be first evaluated by veterinarians. If they are in poor condition they will be sent to the Rejuvenation Program for extra feed, care, and supplementation to put them quickly back to good health. If they are in decent condition and have any prospect for use they will be sent to the Rescue Program which is a collaborative effort with college and university equine training programs and private horse trainers to train, re-train and market horses. If they are inappropriate for either slaughter or other aspects of the system such as pregnant mares, colts, yearlings, and weanlings they will be put on pasture until ready for re-evaluation and placement. Finally, those horses that are past their useful life, unsound and unable to recover, or dangerous and untrainable will be humanely processed at the Unified Equine facility.
IN OTHER COUNTRIES – OF INTEREST !!!
Maroohdah – (8/24/10) - DOG LAWS: Council delays off-lead restrictions. MAROONDAH councillors have bowed to a barrage of emails and phone calls from dog owners unhappy with changes to off-lead laws. Councillors agreed at last week’s meeting to defer the council’s new domestic animal laws, which require dogs to be leashed unless they’re in one of 31 designated areas, until further public consultation took place. Cr Nora Lamont, who instigated the decision, said she had received as many as 30 emails a day from disgruntled dog owners. “(When) I approved this at the previous meeting I felt it was responsible to have dogs on leads,” Cr Lamont said. “But I did not realise that people were socialising (in the parks) until I heard it from the community.” Council’s corporate services director Marianne Di Giallonardo said a consultation meeting would take place at a date to be confirmed. She said the council planned to exhibit the proposed dogs in the public places report during October and November. Despite the dog laws being scrapped, on Friday, the council’s website was continuing to claim the laws would come into force from September.
Queensland – (8/13/10) – Outrage over pet plan. LOGAN: Thousands of outraged pet owners are expected to sign petitions protesting against Logan City Council’s proposed new animal-keeping laws. Already 31 Logan pet and produce stores have launched petitions, with another 20 stores and veterinary practices expected to join the protest. Torey Holman, of Doc Torey’s Pet Centre at Beenleigh, said he thought the proposed laws were unfair and would make it difficult for people to keep their animals. He said he had collected 300 signatures in three days and hoped up to 10,000 people would sign by August 31. ``I think people are upset because council is playing big brother and because they’re depriving people of having the animals they want to keep on their own properties,’’ he said. Included in the proposed laws are restrictions on keeping horses, guinea pigs and cockatoos. Council is proposing a minimum of 4000sqm is needed to keep a horse; roosters cannot be kept on less than 25,000sqm; permits are needed for seven or more guinea pigs and cockatoos can’t be kept on less than 600sqm. Submissions on the proposals close on September 3, but Cr Pidgeon said council would not make a decision on any new laws until after it had considered all the public feedback. Logan councillor Hajnal Black said she believed the proposals were a grab for cash and ``blatant daylight robbery’‘. She advised as many people as possible to log on to council’s website and lodge a submission. The new laws are expected to not only affect pet owners but also connected industries such as pet and produce stores, vets and animal breeders.
Victoria – (9/1/10) - Victoria proposes tougher pet breeding laws. The Victorian Government is proposing tougher laws on pet breeders to try to stop inhumane treatment of cats and dogs. If re-elected in November, the Government will give councils the power to shut down rogue pet breeding operations and immediately seize animals. Agriculture Minister Joe Helper says breeders that have five or more fertile female dogs or cats would also have to register as domestic animal businesses. "I must stress that the vast majority of pet breeders do so responsibly and they have nothing to fear from this," he said. "But those few rogue ones that don't do the right thing by animals and perform acts animal cruelty will be pulled up really hard under the legislation we propose under the next term of Government."
Toronto - Bill 60 - Hershey's Bill - calls for the immediate removal of all aspects of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) from the Dog Owners' Liability Act. Hershey's Bill in honour of an abused "pit bull" type dog who later became a St. John Ambulance certified therapy dog working in senior's homes. Sadly, due to BSL, commonly referred to as the "pit bull" ban, she was forced into retirement. Attorney General Michael Bryant, the person who introduced the "pit bull" ban, could not identify a "pit bull" from a selection of dog pictures. As there is no such thing as a "pit bull" there are three breeds named: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier- along with 28 other breeds and their mixes that are commonly mistaken for "pit bull" type dogs. Experts agree that breed bans don't work.
Thank you LeeAnn O'Reilly, Pres.DLCC
Toronto – (8/15/10) - City delays talk on proposed pet store bylaw. Animal rights activists in Toronto who hoped to push the city to ban the sale of cats and dogs at pet stores are angry after a civic committee cancelled plans to hear their concerns. A group of 30 people had arrived at City Hall Friday after they say the licensing and standards committee had promised to see them. Dean Maher led the group pushing for the ban, saying he believes pet stores promote impulsive buying and inhumane treatment. "I challenge any pet store to show me they take their puppies for walks around the store," said Maher, who is running for city council in the Trinity-Spadina Ward in this fall's municipal election. Michelle Nadon, who works with Toronto animal rescue A Cause for Paws, agreed pet stores are not suitable for cats and dogs. "What ends up happening is the [animals] come out of these places with medical if not severe behavioural problems," said Nadon. But the group left frustrated after the committee decided it needed a staff report and recommendations before it would hear from the public about the issue. Activist Ken Wood said it was a disappointing result. "The city has been talking big about consulting the public, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of actually doing it, they duck and run," he said. The licensing committee said it would consider the proposed bylaw the next time it meets. However the committee is not scheduled to meet again until 2011.
Guernsey – (8/5/10) - Dangerous dogs pose a problem. An unknown number of dangerous, uncontrollable and unpredictable dogs are in the island because the GSPCA will not accept them. GSPCA welfare officer Lorna Prince said the society does not exist to mop up the island’s problem dogs. She estimated it has taken 30 calls this year from owners of uncontrollable pets that resulted in the charity refusing to home the animals. The society’s welfare officer, Lorna Prince, said it was a problem, but they could not risk taking them on. ‘People think we are here to mop up society’s problem dogs,’ she said. ‘We can’t.’
Stuttgart –(8/18/10) - German ruling puts USAREUR plans for live-animal medical training on hold. U.S. Army Europe’s plans to conduct medical training on live animals is on hold after German state government officials ruled that the surgical exercises violate host nation animal protection laws. The U.S. Army maintains that working on live animal tissue provides soldiers with the best predeployment training to prevent death by massive hemorrhages. But government officials in the German state of Bavaria disagreed. After consulting with medical doctors, the ministry of interior from the district of Oberfalz concluded that effective alternatives to animals are available. However, USAREUR said it remains committed to bringing the live animal training — which is mandatory for deploying U.S.-based Army brigades — to the military’s Joint Multinational Training Command facilities in Grafenwöhr. USAREUR officials said they will continue to negotiate with the German government, but declined to describe how that process is expected to unfold.
New Delhi – (8/8/10) – Who Let the Dogs Out? The draft Dog Breeding, Marketing and Sales Rules 2010 aim to regulate the sale and wellbeing of dogs at shops and at breeders’ and lay down the power of inspecting these places. This draft, along with one for Pet Shop Rules 2010, will be open for public discussion in September. People close to the matter hope to get both sets of rules notified by December. The rules propose, among other things, that breeders will have to obtain an annual licence from the local civic authority and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). And that AWBI inspectors will be able to inspect the premises without notice. More worrying for owners, no more tail docking, ear cropping or mutilation of puppies.
Iran issues fatwa against pets- Iranian authorities have banned all advertisements for pets, pet food and other pet products. While keeping dogs as pets has become increasingly fashionable in Iran in recent years, the fatwa cited Islamic tradition, which dictates that dogs are unclean. In June, Ayatollah Shirazi declared dogs unclean, saying that dog owners were “blindly imitating the West” and that their devotion to the animals would result in “evil outcomes”.
(8/6/10) - Northern Ireland shooters fight tail-docking ban. Exemptions for working gundogs sought as BASC calls for urgent lobby of committee before debate in September. BASC Northern Ireland is calling on shooters to lobby now for working dogs to be made exempt from a proposed ban on tail docking in the province. The ban is threatened in a draft Welfare of Animals Bill in Northern Ireland. The Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, which will be considering the draft bill next month, has called on the public to provide their views on the subject by 27 August. BASC is urging individual shooters to call on the committee to consider an exemption for working dogs in the proposed ban. The committee will examine comments received from the public when their debate on the content of the bill resumes in September. Subsequently, stakeholders will be invited to give evidence on various aspects of the bill during that debate. Eventually, the committee will publish its recommendations on changes to the content towards the end of the year. Those recommendations will influence decision-making on the final content of the bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly. To have your say on the importance of tail docking in working dogs in Northern Ireland, email the committee: firstname.lastname@example.org Will the tail docking ban spread to the UK?
(8/12/10) – Tail docking a must for working dogs. Tail Docking has not been banned in Northern Ireland. Recent media articles have been misleading to say the least and indeed, they have been written in such a way as to infer that the Welfare of Animals Bill (which is entering committee stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly) has become law. We wish to clarify the fact that tail docking has not been banned and is still lawful in Northern Ireland. In working dogs, docking may be defined as the prophylactic shortening of the tail. Working dogs are docked in order to prevent injury and the procedure is a long-established aspect of kennel management. The normal age at which the procedure is generally carried out is between 2 and 5 days, depending upon the breed concerned and always before a puppy’s eyes are open. Docking is thus only undertaken when the task which a dog is expected to perform and the characteristics of the breed predispose it to tail injury. Lyall Plant, Chief Executive of Countryside Alliance Ireland said “A survey recently undertaken shows that there is clear evidence that the tail docking ban in Scotland has led to a sharp rise in tail injuries for working dogs with full tails, leading to suffering and in most cases multiple injuries, extended treatment and an amputation for those dogs with full tails trying to carry out intensive work without repeated reoccurring injuries”. Countryside Alliance Ireland believes that to ban the prophylactic docking of working dogs tails would result in unnecessary suffering for large numbers of working dogs. As such, it would be extraordinary that a measure designed to improve welfare would, for working dogs at least, have the opposite effect. We therefore recommend that an exemption for working dogs in respect of tail docking should be included in primary legislation in Northern Ireland.
(8/12/10) - Gov’t seeks tougher laws on abuse of pets. Korea is seeking to bolster its animal protection and regulatory rules to help curb the mistreatment of pets, the government said yesterday. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said it will send a revised bill on animal protection to parliament in the coming months. The proposed law would establish prison terms for offenders and would double fines. Under the proposed changes - which would take effect in the second half of 2011 upon approval by lawmakers - someone who violates the law could face a prison term of less than one year and/or be ordered to pay up to 10 million won ($8,500) for cruel treatment of animals. The maximum incarceration period and the size of the fines would be extended for repeat offenders. The ministry said regional governments will be empowered to rescue, treat and protect animals from abusive owners. In addition, all pet owners will be held responsible for abandoning their pets. “There will be a grace period so ... registration can take place. Nationwide registration of pets will be completed by January 2013,” said Lee Sang-soo, head of the ministry’s animal quarantine division. Registering animals with local authorities is expected to make it more difficult for owners to abandon their pets and to speed recovery if an animal is lost. The new standards also will call for more rigorous oversight of laboratory animals, to ensure that they are treated in an ethical manner.
(8/16/10) - New Zealand Puppy Tail Docking Decision (Tail Wags Dog?) - In New Zealand, animal welfare issues are general considered by a ministerial advisory committee called the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). The Code of Welfare relating to dogs was recently revised, and in the associated report mention is made of receiving only one oral (rather than written) report--from the Council of Docked Breeds (pg. 3). This makes it easy to wonder whether balanced consideration was given to the issue of puppy tail docking before before conluding that puppies less than four days old do not feel pain:
"there was no available evidence to suggest that tail banding of puppies according to current recommended best practice ... caused pain or distress to puppies." (pg. 7)
What is astounding about this is that even the strongest supporters of tail docking, the New Zealand Kennel Club, state:
"It is accepted that the procedure may inflict a degree of discomfort"
While it would seem possible to argue that pain was fleeting and not severe, the suggestion that tail amputation involves no pain, and that lack of evidence should lead to the conclusion of a lack of pain, frankly dismays me. NAWAC's own report includes the existing studies that suggest that some degree or pain is anatomically likely and behavioral indicated--or at the very least that the issue is not settled--and that there is at least a risk of more serious health consequences after docking. And across many nations and organisations the tendency has been to give the animal the benefit of any doubt.
NAWAC also noted that as the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) does not allow their members to perform tail docking ("The NZVA opposes the prophylactic and cosmetic docking of dogs’ tails, and supports docking for medical or surgical reasons only"), requiring that it be carried out by a veterinarian was a proxy ban on the procedure. Their response to this situation was to allow puppy tail amputation to be carried out by non-veterinarians. Cosmetic tail docking with a band may now be carried out by:
"...a person who possesses the appropriate knowledge, training and competency necessary to do so effectively, and who is acting under a documented quality assurance scheme that assures compliance with this minimum standard"
And who will manage this tail dockers accreditation scheme? The New Zealand Kennel Club. I would note that to apply to the scheme one needs to supply "a reference from a veterinarian". One might assume that the NZVA policy would include not supplying such a reference? Although, of course, long standing members of the Kennel Club with a history of doing their own docking are exempt from this requirement.
I can, with some effort, see why NAWAC did not want to ban the procedure, but I am astounded that they went as far as they did to actively enable it. Sometimes the best response to a lack of clear scientific evidence is to not act and let the vested interests work it out on their own, rather than to pick a side based on who last whispered into your ear. (Yes, that last comment is less than fair given NAWAC's use of science and track record, but why did they not hear an anti-docking oral presentation? Any number of organisations would have been happy to provide one.)
(8/6/10) - More danger dogs are put down. An animal charity has almost doubled the number of dogs it has put down over the last year after more and more were classified as potentially dangerous. Wood Green Animal Shelters, which has branches at Godmanchester and Heydon in Hertfordshire, has seen the number of dogs it has taken in rise by almost 20 per cent since 2008. There has been a “big increase” in the number of badly behaved Staffordshire bull terrier and bull and mastiff cross breeds which it has been unable to retrain. This has led to an increase in the number of dogs considered a safety risk being destroyed rising from 5 per cent to 9 per cent in the last 12 months. Wood Green has become part of the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group which is working to introduce better dog control legislation. It is growing increasingly concerned at the number of dangerous “status dogs” it is seeing.
(8/18/10) - New report on EU welfare legislation for pigs. Wageningen UR Livestock Research in the Netherlands releases a new report on the EU welfare legislation for pigs. The report describes the present situation regarding the implementation of Directive 2008/120/EC. The report also lists national government funded research on pig welfare issues related to the Directive, covering the past five years. The current legislation (EU Directive 2008/120/EC) for pig welfare of the European Commission - originally formulated in 1991 - will soon be up for review. The direction this review will take, is yet unknown. Except for two relative new members, all states have implemented Directive 2008/120/EC in their legislation. A limited number of countries formulated stricter or additional demands to the EU legislation. Floor area, floor design and group housing of sows are the main themes with additional demands. According to the report, governments of more than half the EU member states fund research on pig welfare issues. The main themes are floor design, group housing, environmental enrichment, castration and farrowing pens. The authors cautiously conclude that group housing of sows is not challenged but implemented, that surgical castration may be an issue in future legislation, and that members states are interested but hesitant to change the rules on farrowing systems and tail docking of piglets.
(8/24/10) - Dangerous dog laws 'complete nonsense'. Existing legislation designed to control dangerous dogs is "complete nonsense" and contributing to the rise in so-called status dogs, according to animal welfare charity Blue Cross. The charity's director of external affairs, Steve Goody, warns that current laws that ban dogs based on how they look rather than their actions only serves to "glamorise" certain breeds. The charity is backing Lord Redesdale's Dog Control Bill, which aims to revise the raft of dangerous dog legislation and focus on "deed not breed". "The issue is very much about how a dog is bred, reared, trained and kept; as opposed to existing legislation which focuses on what a dog looks like which intrinsically makes it dangerous, which is frankly complete nonsense," Goody says. "Because they are banned they become attractive," he explains. Goody argues that current Dangerous Dogs Act has contributed to significant numbers of Staffordshire bull terriers being bred with no hope or expectations of homes being found for them because there are too many. "As a result of that we are seeing increased numbers being euthanized, left astray or abandoned," he observes. "We are hoping the government will start to take some of the heat out of that, and change attitudes in terms of particular breeds of dogs." Several animal charities have today called on the government to take action to tackle the problem. A letter send to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said: "We believe that irresponsible dog ownership, whether it is allowing dogs to stray, be dangerously out of control or indiscriminately breeding them causes significant problems for the safety and welfare of both humans and animals. "Current legislation is proving inadequate in many cases to ensure sufficient protection. "We believe that both the provision of sufficient resources at a local level for local authorities and the police, and updated and consolidated legislation that has a genuine preventative effect, are needed to address this problem."