This Week in Animal Protection
News and headlines for February 12 - February 25, 2022
These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
When a company “submitted a proposal” in Gardiner, NY, “to house a puppy mill,” the Town issued a moratorium on all new kennel licenses while it rewrote existing laws to make it illegal to commercially-breed dogs. The new law is now official. It helps protect “the healthful and humane treatment of dogs,” along with protecting “the rights of Gardiner residents to the peaceful enjoyment of their property.” As more and more people become aware of the cruelty of puppy mills, the tide is turning against them.
Studies show that declawed cats are at significantly greater risk for back pain, not using the litter box, aggression (scratching/biting), and excessive grooming (barbering). They are at even greater risk for pain if bone fragments were left in as a result of “poor or inappropriate surgical techniques,” which occurred in a whopping 63% of cases. Legislation pending in Arizona and Maryland would ban the practice.
Regressive pounds and their allies have introduced legislation in New York to make it easier to kill animals and harder for rescuers to save them. The bill introduces a first-of-its-kind, dangerous precedent in the U.S. for killing homeless and lost dogs and cats: “mental suffering.” There is no definition of what constitutes “mental suffering” and no standards to how it will be applied, allowing pounds to kill animals at their discretion based on an animal’s perceived state of mind. All animals can experience stress on entry to a pound. Many of these animals are used to sleeping on beds and couches in homes or even living on the street and will find their familiar routines upended in a confined place that is loud, often dirty, unfamiliar, disorienting, and hostile. Not only is this a real and immediate threat to shy and scared animals, as well as feral cats, but it is a very dangerous precedent to introduce in the animal control laws of our nation.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers are calling for the phase out of animal experiments. In a letter to the National Institutes of Health, they note that over 95% of drugs tested on animals “did not work in human trials and that the percentage for failure was higher still in research areas including sepsis and strokes, in which they said new drugs failed 100 percent of the time.”
The Washington Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that animal abuse can constitute domestic violence. The Court issued the ruling in the case of a “man who was convicted of animal abuse with a domestic violence designation for savagely beating his girlfriend’s dog — a Chihuahua-dachshund mix named Mona — to death in a Seattle parking lot in 2018… He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.” An important ruling and progress to be sure, but not nearly enough of a sentence. As a former Deputy District Attorney, I once prosecuted a case where the defendant was sentenced to six years in prison for burning to death a cat. In addition to animal cruelty, I charged him with arson of property, a strike under California’s three-strikes law.
Some residents of South Lake Tahoe, CA, are calling for the killing of a 500-pound bear named “Hank the Tank.” Hank has apparently been breaking into homes to eat their food. Residents admit he is not aggressive and has no interest in people. The only thing Hank is interested in is what is in their refrigerators and pantries. The Bear League and more compassionate homeowners are asking that the bear be relocated to a sanctuary.
Food for thought:
Sam, a rescue dog, lived and died 40 years ago. He’s the most famous dog you’ve never heard of. But his spirit resides in your smartphone, your laptop, your PC, and every other digital device that contains a microprocessor. When we were kids, his name was inscribed on our Apple I and Apple II computers, on our Commodore 64, our Atari and Nintendo video game consoles. We didn’t know it. In fact, no one did. Only Rod Orgill, Sam’s adopted dad, knew. Here is his story; a story that “bears the mark of a future in which our dogs would come to occupy such a special place in our hearts that they would become synonymous with who we are.”