VCA Animal Hospitals Offers Free Boarding for Pets Affected

by Fires in Los Angeles

  • Press Release
  • Source: VCA Animal Hospitals
  • On Sunday August 30, 2009, 5:31 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VCA Animal Hospitals announced that all VCA facilities located near the Station Wild Fire that is burning thousands of acres north of Los Angeles are offering free boarding for companion animals whose families have been evacuated or displaced from as a result of the current firestorms.

“As people are being evacuated to shelters or facing the loss of their homes, VCA is committed to assist them by offering free boarding for pets so they can focus on the critical issues with their families and homes,” said Art Antin, Chief Operating Officer of VCA Animal Hospitals. “We want everyone to know that they have this option to keep their pets safe during this difficult time.”

VCA Animal Hospitals situated in Los Angeles can provide a safe environment for pets that have been affected by the fires on a space available basis as long as the fires persist.

Boarding assistance for pets is based on space availability at participating hospitals and owners can call in advance to ensure that the facility of their choice has space available to accept additional pets. A list of all VCA Animal Hospitals located in the Los Angeles area can be obtained at www.vcapets.com.

Activists Blast HSUS

Animal Activists begin to blast HSUS.

Best Friends' Batista Also Question HSUS On Vick


What about Vick's victims?

By Francis Battista

Twenty-two dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting operation were brought to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last year. They arrived at our Utah facility in various states of trauma. While we've had many breakthroughs with the dogs, some have yet to recover. And some may never recover from the abuse and neglect they suffered in Vick's care.

To our knowledge, neither Vick, his handlers, nor the NFL has called to ask how the dogs are doing. And these very real, living victims of the crime are nowhere to be found in the continuing debate about Vick's rehabilitation.

Vick's handlers had shopped him around to various national animal organizations, including Best Friends Animal Society, while he was still in prison. We were interested, but we did not want to involve Vick in our work and effectively give him our endorsement unless he actually demonstrated his remorse by taking on some unheralded volunteer work. Perhaps it would be spending six months or a year doing helpful chores at some animal shelter, or visiting community centers to talk to kids without any fanfare or expectation of personal gain.

When Vick was busted for dogfighting, the publicity generated a wave of discussion and public examination of the horrors of this awful sport. The public outrage surrounding his arrest and conviction were probably the most effective measures against animal fighting since they closed the Roman Coliseum.

Now Vick has returned to football in an Eagles uniform, playing in his first game since his conviction this week. Reports from the locker room say teammates are supportive, relying on the argument that he has paid his debt to society. But Philly fandom is clearly divided, with detractors saying the Eagles and the NFL have shown that all their talk about character and role models is just that - talk.

Vick is also working with the Humane Society of the United States. Unfortunately, the Humane Society's well-meaning involvement is taken as a character reference and apology for a man who killed dogs with his bare hands in unbelievably cruel ways.

The Eagles are complicit in that they brought Vick on board before he had taken even the slightest redemptive measures for animals. The team satisfied his handlers' agenda by facilitating his immediate return to the privileged confines of the NFL, with nothing more to go on than the word of a known liar and animal abuser.

Vick may have paid his legal debt to society, but how does one begin to assess his heart and mind when he has done little more than say what he had to say to get his job back?

More than anything, this episode demonstrates what little regard our society has for nonhuman life. We compartmentalize violent, antisocial behavior according to the species of the victim.

Vick personally drowned, electrocuted with jumper cables, and body-slammed dogs to death, when he could have paid a veterinarian to put them down with lethal injections. After all, he paid someone to meticulously remove the teeth - roots and all - of Georgia, one of the dogs now at Best Friends, so she could be bred without endangering her male partner.

Would someone who expressed that level of aggression and violence against another person, even without a death involved, ever be considered for immediate readmission to professional sports?

This isn't just a sentimental animal lover's assessment. Animal cruelty is a proven gateway for violent criminals ranging from the Columbine kids to your run-of-the-mill wife-beater.

Imagine if the bodies of those animals had turned up at random in Philadelphia neighborhoods over the course of several months. Would the good people of the city want the person responsible playing quarterback for their beloved team?

As it stands, Vick is well on his way to regaining his former status, thanks in large part to the Eagles and the Humane Society. I hope the Humane Society's gamble pays off for the animals.

Vick certainly appeared concerned about returning to football as soon as possible. We would like to be more convinced of his concern for animals, if only he could humble himself by changing water, scooping poop, or sweeping floors at a local shelter - where dogs slated for deaths more merciful than those Vick meted out wait hopefully for simple acts of human kindness.

Dogs Crack Up News Program

A Little Anti PETA Humor

San Diego County Animal Service Officer Says Not Having Cat Limit Law Is a Blessing

I talked to Lt. Kalanai Hudson this morning of San Diego County Animal Services.


In her opinion, it was a blessing not to have to enforce a cat limit law. She said she has been to houses where there were 65 indoor cats and you could see no dirt and smell no smell. She said with no limit, the County is not in a position of being forced to settle neighbor disputes where fighting neighbors use animal services as a club.


She stated when there are complaints of an animal nuisance, like too many cats, they inspect, and if necessary intervene based on their animal sanitation codes (http://sddac.com/docs/ord_chap6_of_div2_of_title6.pdf). In matters of very poor maintenance, they will impound and treat. She said they also will involve volunteer and non-profits who will come out and help clean or supply food. She said they handle each case on an individual basis, and the term "hoarder" is never used, because its conditions, not the number of animals that is important. She said raids with mass impounds are almost unheard of as they work with people to abate problems.


She points out they have not had a substantial increase in impounds on a year to date basis as has Los Angeles. This points that Wingrad may be right and that the Manditory Spay/Neuter law may be the direct cause of the massive increase in pet turn-ins, from 46,000 to 56,000.


Chinese Mass Killing Dogs Again

These people don't stop. It never ends with them, the complete contempt they have for all living things including each other. I read this morning that they executed over 1,600 people in 2008 and harvested their organ, selling kidneys to Japanese at $87,000 each. Imagine a nation of 1.3 billion Republicans.

Don't open the below unless you have a strong stomach. These are photos of the killing as well as the story.



The ASPCA Not So Forgiving as HSUS-From Ed Boks Blog


NEW YORK, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ed Sayres, President and CEO of The ASPCA(R) (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(R)) issued the following statement regarding Michael Vick's interview with 60 Minutes.

After careful consideration, we have decided to speak out now about Michael Vick because of the special circumstances involving the ASPCA. Several months ago, Mr. Vick's PR representatives approached the ASPCA to help educate America about the heinous act of dog fighting following his release from prison. We were the first animal welfare organization given the opportunity to work with Mr. Vick but immediately turned him down due to the unique knowledge we had of his indescribable and barbaric acts of animal cruelty where he and his associates savagely electrocuted and beat dogs to death after they lost their brutal fights.

The ASPCA's general consultation and our specific role in processing the forensic evidence in this case were key elements that resulted in Mr. Vick and the three other defendants all pleading guilty to felony crimes. As such, this organization and I personally have seen the acts of cruelty committed by Mr. Vick first hand -- acts so heinous that the public has never laid witness to them. And now that Mr. Vick has spoken out for the first time since his release from prison, the ASPCA wants to make clear why this organization chose not to partner with him in his supposed rehabilitation efforts. We are simply not convinced that Mr. Vick has demonstrated compassion toward animals as living beings or the necessary remorse for his criminal actions against them.

60 Minutes provided a convicted criminal a national platform to selfishly focus on his own recovery when, in fact, the animals, the victims who cannot speak for themselves, should have received the attention. CBS did a grave disservice to the animal welfare community by failing to show the ugly truth of Mr. Vick's actions and the horrors of dog fighting and animal cruelty in this country. The continued attention paid to Mr. Vick is only reinforcing that criminal behavior does not destroy fame and fortune.

The ASPCA works every day to prevent animal cruelty, in the absence of tougher, more consistent laws and lack of education and awareness. We serve as the animals' voice, as millions of animals suffer alone and in silence because they cannot speak out against their perpetrators. When a crime against animals is committed, the ASPCA's priorities are to build a sound case that results in successful prosecution of the perpetrators, as well as the rehabilitation of the victims. Our direct involvement in the Vick case yielded success in both areas, and in fact, we work every day to ensure perpetrators like him are behind bars.

Although Mr. Vick has served his time and is now entitled to employment, the ASPCA was strongly against him being able to immediately re-join the NFL, to play alongside highly paid elite athletes who are looked upon as our heroes and role models. Today, it is difficult to see him in the uniform of a Philadelphia Eagle because of the startling lack of judgment and moral character he has demonstrated over the past several years. It is questionable whether he will have any credibility as an educator on the dog fighting issue. The ASPCA welcomes a national conversation on animal cruelty and especially dog fighting, but questions Mr. Vick's ability to lead it. The ASPCA will heighten its efforts to bring this national travesty to the surface through meaningful education and discussion that brings the hard, cold sickening reality of a fight into stark relief for those who might wonder why all the fuss about a dog fight. A true national discussion would focus not on one man and his crimes, but on a nation that allows dog fighting to happen every day without a national outcry. This is where the ASPCA will focus its energies in the coming months.

Mr. Vick has indeed been given another chance to play football with the Philadelphia Eagles. It is important to state that the ASPCA is extremely disappointed that owner Jeff Lurie hired him for his team before it was clear that Mr. Vick has truly developed a sense of compassion for his victims, the animals whose lives were taken by him. The ASPCA believes in second chances -- in redemption -- but that second chance has to be earned through contrition, conversion to the cause of animal welfare and finally, through hard work. Mr. Vick has only now begun his journey toward a second chance. It will be a long and hard road for him, and while we wish him well, we also want to remind the nation that the work of ridding the nation of dog fighting is as compelling a story as one man's path to redemption. Let's not forget to focus on the animals, the crimes that are still being committed every day in the United States. What are we, as a nation, going to do about that? How are we going to express our outrage long past the first time Mr. Vick takes the field in Philadelphia?

Compassion for animals is the hallmark of the ASPCA and the ultimate message that we hope is gleaned from this horrific story. While this case has garnered the national spotlight because of Mr. Vick's notoriety, it is the end result that will matter most. Will Mr. Vick have learned something -- and taken the opportunity he has been granted to impart to his legion of fans the importance of compassion toward animals? Certainly, only time will offer us an answer -- but we will be watching.

Source: http://latopdog.blogspot.com

San Diego Has No Cat Limit Law; Their Live Save Rate Is Far Higher Than Los Angeles


The City of San Diego does not have a cat limit. The limit on dogs is 6.

The Live Save rate for San Diego County Animal Services that covers both the City and the County is 82% for dogs and 54% for cats. Their live save rate for other animals, which would include rabbits, turtles, ferrets, etc., is an amazing 83%, and the live save rate for all animals, dogs, cats and other animals is 70%.

All of these stats are better than either LA City or County Animal Services.

Therefore, having no cat limit law, and a 6 dog limit
certainly has not affected their save rate statistics negatively.

This County Agency impounds about 26,000 animals annually, which is about 60% of LA City's usual impound rate.

In addition, San Diego Humane, which does have investigation and seizure powers, as well as takes owner turn-ins, handles about 3,500 animals a year and has a live save rate of 86%. They work in association with the County agency.

In addition, eight City, County and private SPCA organizations cooperate to save animals in San Diego. Together they have an impound rate of 47,000, slightly more than LAAS, but a live save rate for dogs of 85%, 64% for cats, 89% for other animals and 76% for all animals.

These are fantastic statistics compared to Los Angles City or County.


Actually, it was hard to talk to anyone at the SD County shelter because no one seemed to be answering their phones. I finally talked to someone on their emergency reporting line, and then someone in the administrator's office. Both told me there was no cat limit. In addition, I then searched the stats of the various shelters and the SD Municipal code for info on pet limits. The city website confirmed no regulation of cat numbers.

From the City of San Diego website:

The quantity and type of animals kept on residential property are restricted in the San Diego city limits. Cats are not regulated. The total number of fowl and rabbits maintained on a residential property is restricted to 25, except up to 100 pigeons provided that the animals are kept at least 50 feet from any residence. Having more than six dogs at a residence is considered a kennel, and is not permitted in residential zones.


More information to follow.

Jimmy's Cats Ask For Compassion

This is from Jimmy's tent behind Bed, Bath and Beyond in Northridge. This is a test of Blogger's capability of posting videos. Jimmy is reading for the cats.

video

Santa Monica Allows Backyard Cat and Dog Kennels

I just talked to the acting head of Santa Monica's animal shelter, Stan Hernacki. Stan has been with the shelter for over 20 years.

Stan said he was asked by their Council 15-20 years ago to do a study of the number of busts they did regarding people with too many cats. The study revealed they did 2 or 3 in a ten year period of time, despite having no limit on the number of cats owned.

He said during the past five years there were no such cases. Any impounds were for single or animals.

He stated several people have built cat or dog kennels in their back yards that cause no neighbor complaints whatsoever.

He stated sometimes SMAC responds to neighbor complaints of excessive smell or nuisance conditions, and they do investigate. He said, for example if they found 30 cats living in deplorable conditions due to an owners inability to maintain the cats, they might give an order to reduce the total number to 15 or face further action. If conditions persist, they could and would seize under Californian Penal Code 597, but they have not.

He says it is not a matter of how many animals but the conditions the animals live in.

Once again, this leads me to question the logic of a 3-cat, 3-dog limit, irregardless of living conditions, as well as the excessive time that is spent by Animal Services and the ACTF enforcing such limits.

By the way, Santa Monica is currently interviewing for a permanent shelter director if anyone is interested.

ACTF/LAAS: Stop Seizing Cats During High Kill Months!

Dear Capt. Aborn
Kathy Davis,

I hope you both see ACTF/Animal Services’ moral problem of “rescuing” cats from “deplorable conditions,” and then killing 55% of them because Animal Services refused to provide basic medical service to clear up the non-lethal colds (rhinotracheitis) that Masons’ cats had.(1) The ACTF arrested Mason for felony neglect for not providing such care. In fact he was providing care, but not enough. LAAS, with hundreds of times the resources for curing, failed to make any effort at all to help the kittens.

Had Mason euthanized the cats as did LAAS because he could not afford to pay care, he would have been guilty of a felony, killing a cat. Had he taken these kittens to a vet, I am sure every vet would have made a strong effort to save the kittens, but at a cost few individuals could afford.

Remember, in the end Mason was not charged with anything, yet 51 cats were seized, 26 killed immediately, and he got 3 back. Then the judicial system ignored his property rights with regard to the remaining cats.

So far as I know, none of Marc Madow’s cats even has a cold. His only “crime” is having too many cats and two neighbors who constantly complain despite the fact the cats are kept indoors because someone is poisoning or trapping and turning animals in to LAAS or abandoning them elsewhere. If these neighbors are poisoning or trapping without posting, they themselves are guilty of City or State code violations.

Madow has repeatedly told ACTF that cats are being poisoned or are disappearing, and asked them to investigate. Instead, LAAS and the ACTF have gone to his neighbors to see if they detect a cat “problem.”

Hypothetically, when his house is raided and lets say 20-30 disease-free cats are seized, and 2/3 killed, who is the guilty party? He for raising more than 3 healthy and happy cats that are strictly inside cats, or ACTF/LAAS for killing them because they can’t adopt them because the shelters are full, or because some cats are feral?

The 3 cat/dog limit is strictly arbitrary. The limit is 5 cats in Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica has no cat or dog limit. Impounds for health or nuisance reasons are rare. When there is a complaint against a person with too many cats, they go to the person’s house and say there is a complaint.

What is it with the ACTF and LAAS obsession with going after people with more than 3 cats, and then killing the perfectly healthy cats for lack of room or because they are feral?? It boggles my mind and makes no sense.

This was left as a comment on my blog:

“The question is, is the ACTF a kinder, gentler Task Force now or are they just going to be better at following the procedures that will keep their noses clean while kittens die? I strongly suspect the latter unfortunately. Mason is clearly on their radar and it's just a question of when and what they will do rather than if they will do anything. Living peacefully and being left alone is unfortunately not in the cards for Ron Mason. He is well past the fail safe point with those who murder animals under the color of authority.”

“I doubt they see the simple fact that they are murderers, actually serial murderers.”

My point is, if you can’t care for the animals, don’t seize them “just because you can” as one of your officers told Mason two days before the raid.

Officer Muniz told me that people with too many cats were the ACTF’s biggest problem. You say that that 53.50 surveillance requires a rather small amount of LAAS/ACTF time. Therefore there is a gross disparity between what management says and what a field officer says and the reason for my Request For Records, as well as a request for an audit by the City Controller of ACTF field activities.


I know three people where AS or ACTF have gone to their houses during the past 4 weeks about complaints of having too many cats. I really don't know a lot of cat people personally, and when three of that few have had visits within a month, I ask, "What on earth is ACTF/AS doing with their time?"

It seems obvious that ACTF/LAAS is going after the low hanging fruit of otherwise law abiding Angelinos rather than helping the animals in the City or really fighting animal abuse. This is done by pumping up an arbitrary code violation into something akin to a major crime.

From the LAAS Website, November 2007:

“The kittens were emaciated when received from Mr. Mason and were suffering with impacted rectums and crusted eyes, along with a respiratory infection. They had pale mucous membranes and were severely dehydrated. The oculo-nasal discharge was symptomatic of feline viral rhinotracheitis.

“Although a small amount of Amoxi-drops (amoxicillin) was found at the residence, such antibiotics are not effective against the viral rhinotracheitis from which these animals suffered. Twice daily subcutaneous fluid replacement and diligent nursing care is indicated and even then kittens often succumb. This treatment was not being provided.”

(My Comment: Animal Services provided no treatment either. They just killed them. LAAS didn’t even try, yet they walked away apparently with no felt guilt at just killing the cats. Since when do we hold government less accountable for exactly the same actions as a private citizen with far less resources?)

Head of the ACTF Responds, And My Response

Good morning Mr. Muzica,

It was my belief that we resolved many of the issues that you list here when we exchanged emails back in June, specifically that the focus of the Animal Cruelty Task Force is and has been aggravated animal abuse and blood sport and that the amount of time spent by the on hoarding issues is minimal. We also discussed some of the issues in the Mason case, and you were advised that some procedural changes resulted from an internal review of that case.

The efforts of the ACTF and the collaboration between LAPD and LAAS have resulted in remarkable inroads into addressing animal cruelty and other animal welfare issues. As we strive to become more effective, any suggestions you have to accomplish that would be appreciated.

I have asked to be briefed on any current activities involving the two locations you mentioned. We have tried to work with the two individuals to ensure that the conditions that existed previously did not recur, and that is our responsibility. As I indicated in the prior email, any effort you and others can make to assist those residents would also be appreciated.

Carol Aborn

MY RESPONSE:

Hi Carol,

Call me Ed, please.

It is my understanding that a lot of visits by AS or the ACTF to people allegedly with too many cats are off book and therefore would not be reflected in any stats given to me as a result if my request for records. However, we do have records for dates of visits for several people who were raided.

Madow stated to me on many occasions that ACTF told him they did not have the manpower to investigate the dead cats he found on his front lawn. Ditto Mason. Madow continues to claim that cats are disappearing in his neighborhood and nothing is being done. Perhaps they are being trapped using live traps from LAAS, or perhaps they are being poisoned.

The complaining neighbor's boy had been throwing rocks at the cats when he still had any outdoors and AS and ACTF said nothing could be done unless the cats were actually injured and the incident witnessed.

Therefore I see aggression against cats as not responded to, but considerable time being spent investigating Marc's neighbors if he has too much cat activity.

I write this email now and make the request because both addresses have been the sites of recent ACTF activity--during summer months which given any impounds, would be the immediate cause of death for many cats.

Given that the Kennel law is entirely arbitrary, Beverly Hills has a 5 cat limit and Santa Monica HAS NO LIMIT FOR CATS OR DOGS WHATSOEVER, I am amazed that LAAS/ACTF sends out teams of officers to question neighbors about someone else having more than 3 cats. I was told by a shelter worker there that they do not raid and confiscate for too many cats or dogs, and if there is a complaint, they merely inform the resident that there was a complaint against them. However, Santa Monica does require residents not to let their cats roam outside.

Santa Monica states they have no problems with alleged collectors, hoarders, or people with more than 3 cats. But it seems that a central core problem so far as LAAS and the ACTF is concerned, is with people having more than 3 cats. This is just amazing.

Ed Muzika

Request for Public Records

August and September are still high kill months for cats. Last month cats were being redlisted within a day of being impounded due to overcrowding.

However, despite the high kill rate during these months, the Animal Cruelty Task Force is busy chasing neighbor complaints of people with too many cats. From the few examples still available on the department's website--there used to be more--AS ends up killing about 60% of the cats impounded for one reason or another, usually URI or being feral.

That is a high price cats have to pay for being seized because of violation of the Kennel Law.

(By the way, the cat limit in Beverly Hills is 5 and there is no limit in Santa Monica on cats, and a limit of 4 for dogs--at least when I moved in 2002.)

How many New Hope Partners are violating the Kennel Law? How many have animals with URI, mange, or other medical condition when rescued from an Animal Service shelter or rescued off the street? 80%? 90%.

All rescuers know of this danger, yet the law has not been changed.

Here is the really bad news: Ron Mason has been visited again by the ACTF. He was not home. They left a card with a demand to phone them immediately.

Hence, my Request for Public Records. I'd like to know what percentage of time is spent by LAAS and the ACTF regarding neighbor complaints of too many cats, or of a feral cat colony, which one ACTF Officer deemed at the Task Force's biggest problems.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC RECORDS
August 21, 2009


Carol Aborn
Kathy Davis
Ross Pool

Dear Above Mentioned,

This request is being made subject to the California Public Records Act: Government Code §6250-6268. Under this statute you have 10 calendar days from the date of receipt of this request to respond as to whether you will release the records requested as detailed below. It is preferred your response be made in writing to either the street address or email above.

During a conversation with officer Muniz of the ACTF about a year ago, he made the statement that people with too many cats or people that fed large feral colonies with the Task Force’s “biggest problem.” He stated, “How would you like to live next door to someone with too many cats, coming into your yard….?”

It seems that he considers neighbor dispute and nuisance resolution the ACTF’s biggest problem. I wonder, if in fact, the ACTF is spending far too much time “busting” people violating the Kennel law, because it is easy to find them due to neighbor complaints, as opposed to investigating complaints of cats being poisoned, or animal abuse.

For that reason, I am requesting the following public records:

Information Requested

1. For the years 2006-June 2009, how many investigations were carried out by either the ACTF or the LAAS regarding allegations of persons having too many cats?
2. How many investigations were conducted re allegations of persons who alleged their own cats or dogs were being poisoned?
3. How many raids were conducted by either agency regarding either alleged animal neglect, abuse due to having too many cats or dogs, or simply a violation of the Kennel law, LAMC 53.50?
4. How many arrests were made of people during 2006-June 2009 for alleged animal abuse, cruelty, neglect or violation of 53.50 for having too many cats or dogs?
5. How many convictions were there regarding persons arrested who had more than three cats or dogs, and what were the charges?
6. How many animals were seized on each occasion, and how many were killed?
7. On October 4, 2006, 18 cats were seized and 14 were killed for one reason or another, such as an alleged failure of the resolution of URI. On October 11, 2007, AS killed 26 of Ron Mason’s seized cats. Therefore, just these two occasions resulted in a 58% kill rate. Is that what AS and the ACTF means by rescue, seize and kill?
8. What was the total number of investigations, arrests and convictions of the ACTF during this time?

Form of Information Requested
The requested information should be provided as an standard wordprocessing file, PDF file, Tiff file, JPEG file, and can be electronically transferred to the email address shown below. Should there be file size limitations on what you are permitted to send outside of your internal network, please contact me so that other arrangements for data transfer can be made. In lieu of electronic conveyance, please supply a hardcopy of the requested documents.

Denial and Redaction
Should you choose to deny this request, as required by law, please indicate the exact reason for denial and the person and title of the person who made such decision. Should information be redacted from the files, statute requires that you list for EACH record the reason for redaction and type of information redacted.

Fees
I am willing to pay reasonable copying fees, as defined under law, not to exceed $25.00. Should fees run higher, please contact me.

Should you have any questions regarding this request, please contact me immediately.

No Vote Tonight on TNR in Beverly Hills

The Audubon Society contacted Beverly Hills staff demanding a CEQUA Study. Their Council did not believe a study was necessary, but referred the matter to the City Attorney.

Most persons who talked opposed the liability insurance requirment for the TNR colonies as well as specific identification of location.

The matter is continued.

Armed Republicans Turn Up Outside Obama Event

Violence Works.

The Democratic Health Care Reform may be going down the tubes, partially because of the televised violence at Democratic town halls around the country. Now we here that 12 openly armed people were outside an Obama event in Phoenix. Who knows how many in the crowd were carrying weapons concealed. Democratic talk shows are all over themseleves about the Republicans creating an environment of fear and fear of assassination.

For Christ sakes, where are the armed Democrats? O yea, I forgot they don't like guns.

Obama is turning out to be one weak Democratic leader, willing to make compromises WAY before anything goes to a vote, and without getting anything from the Republicans in return.

From talkingpointsmemo.com today:

Man Carrying An Assault Rifle And Pistol Outside Obama Event


An unidentified man carries an assault rifle outside an event in Phoenix where President Obama was speaking.

(Late update: CNN now reports that there were two men carrying assault rifles, reportedly AR-15s, outside President Obama's event in Phoenix.)

(Late late update: The Associated Press reports that there were about 12 people with guns outside the event.)

A man was seen carrying an assault rifle and a pistol outside the VFW Convention in Phoenix where President Obama spoke today, a local newspaper reports. (Click through for a photo.)

Local police said it's legal under Arizona law, but two officers kept close by him.

"If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time," said Detective J. Oliver.

The man, who gave his name only as "Chris", was asked why he was armed. "Because I can do it," he said. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms."

Here's video from ArizonaCentral.com (go to about 1:30). It looks like the man giving the interview was also carrying a pistol.

Hundreds of people demonstrated both for and against heath care reform outside the convention, where Obama spoke about Iraq, Afghanistan and veterans affairs. His remarks about health care were limited to improvements to the Veterans Affairs system.

This is the third report in a week of someone bringing a gun to a presidential event. At Obama's town hall last week in Portsmouth, N.H., a man was arrested for having a gun hidden in his car after the Secret Service found him at Portsmouth High School hours before Obama arrived carrying a pocketknife. He didn't have a license for a concealed weapon.

Another man in Portsmouth was spotted carrying a gun in a leg holster outside the school. The unconcealed weapon was legal under New Hampshire law and he was not arrested. Later, when asked why he brought the gun, he replied, "That's not even a relevant question. The question is, why don't people bear arms these days?"

And that's not all. A man brought a gun to a town hall with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) last week, without incident. At an event with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), someone dropped a gun, but he had a permit and no police report was taken. And two weeks ago, a New Mexico man tweeted that reform opponents should bring guns to town halls and "badly hurt" SEIU reps.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/2009/08/man-carrying-an-assault-rifle-and-pistol-outside-obama-event.php

Sea Shepherd Ship Rams Japanese Harpoon Boat

These are my kind of guys. No picketing. No flyers.

If you have been following "Whale Wars," you have seen the Japanese whaling fleet becoming increasingly violent towards the Sea Shepherd ship, the Steve Irwin, using nets, noise machines and even flash bang grenades thrown by Japanese Coast Guard members staying on the Japanese vessels.

Recently the Japanese have grown so bold as to kill the whales right in front of the Steve Irwin's crew.

Watson, true to form rammed the harpoon vessel as it was trying to transfer a dead whale to the factory ship, where it would be processed for food in a half hour or so.

It is quite brutal the way the Japanese kill the whales, first with the harpoon, and then the whale struggles for a half hour drowning in its own blood. Finally, the harpoon vessel gets the whale close enough to the ship and pump it full of bullets.

Having seen three whales killed thus right in front of them, Watson decides to ram the harpoon boat to prevent the whale being transferred to the factory boat.

You can see several seens by clicking the video below. I am so far in disagreement with those who say it is reckless and counterproductive to risk human life. How can you watch the videos of the whales being killed and blame the Sea Sheperds? I don't know why animal people embrace pacifism so much.

I am sending him a check tomorrow.


Wayne Paacelle Video on Michael Vick, and Vick's Video on Himself



.....

HSUS: Abused Dogs Should Face “Pretty Certain” Death

July 10, 2009 by Nathan J. Winograd

Dogfighting Raids Help

In February, rescue groups throughout the country pleaded with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Wilkes County officials not to put over 150 dogs seized from a dog fighting raid, and their puppies, systematically to death. They even extended offers of assistance, support, and resources. But HSUS refused, arguing that all the dogs should be killed, including puppies who were born after the seizure and posed no threat to public safety. John Goodwin of HSUS also attacked the animal lovers for raising an unnecessary “fuss.” Across the country, animal advocates, No Kill shelters, and rescue groups, as well as everyday dog lovers condemned the killings and Goodwin’s callous retort about it.

The resulting outcry forced HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, who had defended the slaughter and HSUS’ handling of the criticism, to back down. While stopping short of an apology or admitting they were wrong in having the dogs killed (including forcing a volunteer to return puppies to be killed), they agreed to re-evaluate their position and meet in Las Vegas to come up with a more humane policy.

The resulting April statement that came out of Las Vegas was hailed as a breakthrough. I was skeptical about it, and I wrote:

In reading the new joint statement, there is no right of evaluations. There is no stated commitment to save all the underaged puppies. There are no independent evaluations. Rescue groups do not have a right to save these animals, regardless of what the HSUS evaluation shows. And there is no commitment for HSUS to use its significant resources in order to expand the adoption opportunities of these dogs. Instead, we got, what reads to me, to be more HSUS equivocations: “recommending,” “should be,” “approved” rescue groups, “reasonable” time frame, and “future protocols.”

We got a policy that says, in essence, that these dogs should not automatically be killed, but that HSUS will recommend that they be given individual consideration and equal opportunity. But what does that mean? Does it change the outcome for the dogs? Does it mean they live instead of die? Are we really going to settle for an unenforceable promise of equal opportunity, which in too many communities means little more than an equal opportunity to be killed? Are we really going to trust that the same people who brought you HSUS’ defense of killing in Tangipahoa, LA and Wilkes County, NC are going to fully champion the dogs going forward, especially since they resisted a new written policy and began the process by defending their actions?

I am not blind. I realize what has resulted is better than the automatic kill policy, and that is certainly progress. But I also know that doing better is true by definition. You couldn’t do worse. It isn’t possible. If only one dog is saved going forward, that’s improvement over automatic destruction. And by an automatic destruction standpoint, 13 of 145 dogs in Oklahoma is significant. It certainly is better than the zero who made it out alive in Wilkes County. But it is not enough.

And but for the fact that HSUS simply refuses to give more, we don’t have more. There is simply no reason why we shouldn’t have gotten all those guarantees requested. Instead, we hold back comprehensive progress because Wayne Pacelle won’t allow for more, and we accept it for no rational, financial, or practical reasons other than Pacelle refuses. It doesn’t have to be this way. It is only this way because we let it be. The power he has is the power we give him.

And so, as to whether the new policy actually results in dogs being saved, rather than killed while Wayne Pacelle, John Goodwin, and the others are still in charge of implementation, I’ll say this in a moment of diplomatic self-restraint: I’ll believe it when I see it.

So what has changed since the Las Vegas meeting with Wayne Pacelle over the fate of dogs seized in dog fighting cases? From statements Wayne Pacelle recently made, the answer appears to be not much. HSUS claims it was involved in a major dog fighting bust of over 400 dogs, the vast majority in Missouri. Given the Las Vegas agreement, Pacelle’s statement about the fate of these dogs is ominous. According to Wayne Pacelle,

I think it’s pretty certain that a lot of those dogs will not pass a behavioral test.

Given everything we have been through with Pacelle:

His statement is outrageous. The Humane Society of Missouri, which is housing these dogs, isn’t talking except to say that in a recent case, they killed half of all Pit Bull-type dogs they seized. Is that a bellwether of things to come? I would have feared so, but maybe not.

Randall Lockwood, who was part of the ASPCA team that evaluated and passed the vast majority of the Michael Vick victims, is on the scene in St. Louis. He is doing a preliminary evaluation of the dogs this week and will be designing an exercise and socialization regimen for them, as well. And that, at least for these dogs, gives us a small modicum of hope. But, at this time, that is all it is. One reason is that as a consultant, Lockwood can only recommend, not dictate. In addition, Lockwood himself made statements to the media about this case that the Vick outcome may not be “replicated.” He also made statements that we should not focus on our differing opinions about what to do with the dogs, but focus on blaming the dog fighters. No one questions the need to rescue these dogs from the abuse they faced. And kcdogblog’s aptly titled posting about the situation,Scumbags, conveys what we think about the perpetrators. But Lockwood is wrong. The case is in the hands of the U.S. Attorney. So there is nothing more to do on that score. The only choice now is whether, when granted custody of the dogs, the Humane Society of Missouri will kill them or whether the Humane Society of Missouri will not kill them. In fact, that is all we should focus on.

But at the very least, the outcome isn’t guaranteed as it would be if HSUS was involved. Because if Pacelle’s kill-oriented crew were involved, Pacelle’s premonition would be the most likely outcome. But the fact that Pacelle doesn’t have a role in their future doesn’t make his callous comment less obscene.

Once again, HSUS has taken on for itself the role of championing killing. Once again, Pacelle shows he is not fit to run the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Once again, Pacelle shows that his claims that “HSUS is changing” ring hollow. Once again, Pacelle replaces comprehensive, thoughtful, rigorous analysis, with an ignorant sound-bite that favors death.

If the Vick tragedy taught us anything, it is that our most basic assumptions about dogs, pit bull-type dogs, and dog aggression, were wrong. In short, it showed we can save virtually all the dogs, even when they were raised for dog fighting and horrifically abused.

As I stated in an earlier blog,

After the arrest of former national football league quarterback Michael Vick and the seizure of almost 60 pit bull-type dogs raised for fighting, many animal protection organizations called for the dogs to be killed, arguing that these dogs were vicious and beyond our ability to help them. None made this argument after evaluating the dogs, but based on assumptions about pit bull-type dogs, dog aggression, and dog fighting. After deceptively fundraising off of the dogs, for example, the Humane Society of the United States lobbied to have them killed. Because they believe all Pit Bulls who enter shelters should be slaughtered, it was no surprise that PETA also asked the court to put them to death.

In 2008, the court thankfully said “No.” Only one dog was actually killed for aggression after evaluation, and the remaining dogs were placed in either sanctuaries or in loving new homes. Two of the dogs are now even therapy animals, providing comfort to cancer patients.

The results forced even dog lovers-but more importantly the humane movement-to question their most basic assumptions about dogs, pit bull-type dogs, and dog aggression. In short, it showed we can save virtually all dogs in shelters.

Secondly, it showed that there is a real, practical, and potentially widespread “third door” between adoption and killing-the network of foster homes, sanctuaries and long term care facilities to provide for animals who may not necessarily be immediate adoption candidates, but can enjoy a good quality of life which would make their killing neither merciful nor ethical.

As a result, we should no longer assume the dogs can’t be adopted or for the ones who are traumatized, rehabilitated first because the vast majority can. We should assume the opposite: they are savable unless a rigorous, fair, and comprehensive evaluation proves otherwise, which it might—but only for a small number of the dogs. And we should no longer assume there isn’t a sanctuary or even homes for these dogs, since HSUS (and Lockwood’s ASPCA) has the public relations power, financial wherewithal and global reach which easily prove otherwise.

Given this, we must stop talking about how these are “often broken dogs” or how there might be difficulty finding “available homes.” We need to stop speaking the language of defeatism, the language which frames the debate in a negative light, that condemns some of the dogs without all the facts, that assumes killing may be inevitable, and thus may actually help pave the way for their eventual slaughter.

In other words, we need to put aside unfounded biases and consider the victims of these cruelty cases the way we talk about the animals in other cruelty situations—with regret and condemnation for what they have suffered and with the expectation that whatever agency now has power over them will give these dogs what they deserve. We must assume—as the facts in the Michael Vick case proved—that condemning them as vicious simply because a dog fighter possessed them is guilt by association and unfair. That they were abused doesn’t make the dogs abusive. That they were subjected to violence doesn’t make them violent. That they were unloved doesn’t make them unloving.

In short, we must not echo Wayne Pacelle and the unfounded biases which plague our movement and have harmed animals for far too long, with no evidence to support such claims. Instead, we must adopt a language that is optimistic about the dogs and uncompromising in defense of their lives. We must put the ASPCA and the Humane Society of Missouri on notice that we expect them to save these dogs. Because anything short of that clears a path for those—like Wayne Pacelle—who appear bent on destroying them.

Instead, we must start demanding outcomes—outcomes that include rescuing, rehabilitating, and ultimately saving these dogs. A fair, rigorous evaluation will lead to lifesaving for the vast majority of these dogs and given HSUS wealth, media power, membership in the tens of millions, America’s dog loving culture, and the vast number of available homes, these are not barriers. Even the slide show of photographs from the law enforcement raid shows the rescuers handling the dogs with little restraint, fear, or concern for their own safety. Because, at the end of the day, even if they do get evaluations, it’s not progress from the dogs’ perspective, if the outcome is the same.

Thankfully, it appears Pacelle and his kill-oriented dog fighting team will have no say in that.

For Further Reading:

In Bed with Monsters

Las Vegas, Round 3

Wayne Pacelle Under Seige