This Week in Animal Protection
News and headlines for February 26 - March 5, 2022
These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
Animals in zoos, in shelters, community pets, wild animals, and animal companions are all under mortal threat from Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Images from the country show terrified people and animals fleeing in droves. The European Commission is asking all member states to allow those seeking safety for their animals not to enforce veterinary requirements for entry.
A new study finds that 90% of dogs who “experienced the death of a ‘companion’ canine in the same household showed negative behaviors in the following months. This included becoming less playful, eating less, being more fearful and seeking more attention.” This suffering is being called “a major welfare issue that has been overlooked, considering the relatively high number of dogs who live with at least another companion dog and the dog aging population; so they are therefore at high risk of experiencing the loss of a close conspecific [dog].”
A bill to end the continuous chaining of dogs has passed in Natchez, MS. Dogs offer people undying loyalty and unconditional love. In return, they ask for nothing more than a sense of belonging. Yet to banish a dog permanently to a chain is a betrayal of what should be a loving pact. And that is no way to treat man’s best friend.
Utah appears intent on making it easier to harm animals and harder to help them. Specifically:
Although there are only two counties in the state that still use it, a bill to ban the gas chamber in Utah appears to have failed to pass for the ninth year in a row because the Utah Sheriffs’ Association testified against it. A lobbyist for the group admitted its officers are afraid of cats. Their views are not only pathetic and wrong, they are pernicious. There is no progressive sheltering agency of any scope or stature willing to philosophically embrace gas systems for the killing of animals.
Webster’s dictionary defines euthanasia as “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” Unfortunately, in many animal shelters across the nation, animals are not being killed because they are hopelessly sick or injured, but rather out of convenience, as “population control.” In fact, millions of healthy and treatable animals needlessly lose their lives in our nation’s shelters every year, and for many of them, their lives are taken not in a “relatively painless” way, but in one of the most prolonged and excruciating ways possible: the gas chamber.
Meanwhile, another Utah bill that would overturn local bans on the sale of commercially-bred animals in pet stores at the expense of dogs and cats who will continue to suffer in mills, appears on its way to easy passage. Pet stores generally get their animals from breeding mills that engage in systematic neglect and abuse of animals, leaving severe emotional and physical scars on the victims. One in four former breeding dogs have significant health problems and many are psychologically and emotionally shut down, compulsively staring at nothing.
As more people turn to rescue and adoption and more shelters embrace progressive policies, the number of communities placing over 95% and as high as 99% of the animals is increasing. Arlington County, VA, for example, reported a 96% placement rate for cats, 93% for dogs, and 98% for rabbits and other animal companions. These communities and the data nationally prove that animals are not dying in pounds because there are too many, because there are too few homes, or because people don’t want the animals. They are dying because people in those pounds are killing them. Replace those people, implement the No Kill Equation, and we can be a No Kill nation today.
I reported last week that some residents of South Lake Tahoe, CA, are calling for the killing of a 500-pound bear named “Hank the Tank.” Hank was accused of breaking into homes to eat their food. According to residents, he is not aggressive and has no interest in people. The only thing Hank appeared interested in is what is in their refrigerators and pantries. And while the Bear League and more compassionate homeowners asked that the bear be relocated to a sanctuary, new evidence has exonerated Hank in many of the break-ins. DNA evidence shows that other bears were involved.
A shelter that is being promoted by Austin Pets Alive as a national model killed a “slightly human” 11-month old puppy. “Rumble lived with kids under and over 10 years of age, including a six year old. The owner stated he had never bitten a person or an animal. Additionally, the owner stated Rumble didn’t chase animals, people or vehicles and had no medical issues. In fact, the owner stated Rumble ‘acts slightly human.’”
A lawsuit has been filed against the San Diego Humane Society for sterilizing and re-releasing “friendly” cats, rather than putting them up for adoption.