Dog spinning is one of the lesser-known acts performed by idiots

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I try to avoid labels and name-calling in debating animal-welfare issues. But there are acts of cruelty, neglect and general clueless behavior that deserve anything we can throw out.

Dog fighting and poaching and bear bile farms and any other cruel examples we can come up with, fall under this category. And I ran across another one this week – dog spinning in Bulgaria.

A group of extremely uneducated and barbaric individuals gather every spring to torture dogs – in an idiotic effort to ward off rabies. This is what can happen when a society doesn’t put enough emphasis on science education.

It seems that the practice of dog spinning was banned several years ago. But these people in at least one town in the country – with less brain function than can be found in a slug – won’t stop the cruelty.

They spin dogs, tied with ropes, over a river or stream and then watch as the terrified dogs fall into the water. Try vaccinations, you idiots. This is 2014, not 1514.

Most likely, however, this is merely an excuse for these people to have fun torturing animals.

 

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Confusing story out of Arizona, concerning proposed animal-cruelty laws

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I’m not quite sure what to make of an article posted March 11 on the Arizona Daily Sun website – under the headline: “Lawmakers create cruelty exceptions for farm animals.”

The story starts out as reporting the state legislature had created special exceptions in regard to acts of animal cruelty, for farmers and ranchers. (Translated – “factory farms.”)

So apparently two provisions were removed, so that factory farms could be protected. But then we read that one of the provisions removed would have stripped the power from police departments to investigate acts of cruelty on the farms. The power would have completely fallen under the Department of Agriculture.

If that provision had remained, police would not have been able to investigate the abuse of the horses, goats and sheep in back yards. But then the article suggests new language was added to allow police to investigate and alert the Department of Agriculture.

But the we read where:

Also gone is a mandate that anyone with a video, photograph or other evidence of cruelty must turn that over to the Department of Agriculture within five days or risk jail time and a fine.

It seems to me allowing police to investigate animal cruelty on farms and removing ag-gag regulations would be opposed by factory farms and would not be considered as exceptions for factory farms.

The one aspect reported from the new bill that does go easy on farmers is one that set a penalty of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine if the act of abuse is inflected on a farm animal. The article notes:

Existing laws make many forms of abuse of any animal, farm or domestic, a felony with potentially two years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

But then the articles notes the measure might not gain passage unless the concerns of farmers and ranchers are addressed, as if they are not yet getting any special treatment in the bill.

So is it that the farmers and ranchers want complete immunity from charges if they are found to be abusing animals and do they not even like the lesser charges included in the bill, even though the story seems to indicated they are getting exceptions?

Wow. We need some clarification here.

 

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Legislation Update: Greyhound racing, puppy mills and animal cruelty

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There has been some positive movement around the map of late, on greyhound racing to animal-cruelty laws.

South Dakota finally joined the ranks of the states with felony animal cruelty laws, becoming the 50th state to enact more serious punishment for severe acts of cruelty to animals.

Thanks to the recent passage of SB 46, cockfighting also becomes a felony in South Dakota and the HSUS reports it is now a felony in 41 states.

GREY2K USA’s Carey Theil reviewed recent legislation on greyhound racing in his Saving Greys blog. Colorado officially banned dog racing this month and West Virginia could cut racing subsidies by 10 percent.

The Iowa State House could hopefully vote soon on a bill to decouple dog racing from the two casinos in the state and in Florida, a bill could help reduce the number of races there. And thankfully, we’re seeing injury reports in Florida that should shine more light on the horrors taking place.

The West Virginia legislation will cut “infrastructure, thoroughbred development, greyhound racing and the racetrack modernization fund” by 10 percent, according to SFGate.com. Thankfully, the bill passed in a big way.

It’s a small step in the right direction But we need to see a complete ban. This most-recent move was prompted by budget concerns. The state could move closer to a balanced budget and end the suffering for the dogs by completely banning dog racing.

In Virginia, at last report, Baily’s Law is only waiting for Governor McAuliffe’s signature. The bill would require pet dealers to reimburse particular veterinary fees within 14 days, for pets they have sold who later require care. And pet stores will be required to reveal the identity of the breeders they use.

Another good step to cut down on puppy mill breeding, but why not ban the sale of pets in stores and why not require breeders across the board to cover veterinary care in cases where a puppy or kitten is found to have genetic problems or health problems that are a result of breeding practices?

 

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Column about Michael Vick is a dropped pass in the end zone

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Writer Brenda Linck used a blog post on Fan IQ to suggest NFL quarterback Michael Vick, convicted on dog-fighting charges, is a role model.

Maybe, in a stretch, one could suggest he turned his life around – if and only if we see a change going forward for an extended period of time. But at this point, I’m not seeing enough from Vick. What he did was nothing short of horrible.

But Linck went even farther with her column on January 5, stepping into a heaping pile of clueless.

Linck made the following statement:

He ended up serving 21 months in prison. Did the punishment fit the crime? In my opinion, no; He should have served less time.

Actually, 21 months in prison is far too little time for operating a dog-fighting ring and torturing dogs to death. But Linck justifies her opinion by claiming that criminals can serve less time for acts against people. So increase the penalties for these crimes; don’t lessen the punishment for cruelty to animals.

And she says we all make mistakes. Sure, but we don’t all engage in cruelty to animals or people. And those who do should be severely punished. Yes, people can change and turn their lives around. But for this sort of horrible crime, the punishment should come first and then it’s up to the offender to prove him or herself over time.

Linck lost all credibility on this issue, when she suggested Vick’s punishment was too harsh – in comparison to his crime.

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Finally, a longer ban on possessing animals in a criminal case – but …

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I finally found a story where someone convicted of animal cruelty received an extended ban on possessing animals. I wish lifetime bans were a regular part of the sentencing, but we’re just not seeing this, except in rare cases.

The only thing about this latest case, where a 20-year ban was imposed, is it in Australia. So the US legal system is this far behind Australia? It should not be.

The Kiama Independent reports the guilty party has been “banned from owning, purchasing, acquiring or caring for any animal for 20 years.”

As reported in the story –

The dog was also in an emaciated body condition, with hair loss and around its rump and thickened skin around its tail and rear legs.

So a single dog was found in this condition and the 20-year ban was imposed. Sure, prison time should have been imposed. But we’ve seen so many cases in the US where the abuse was worse, especially in puppy mills – yet the penalty was much less severe.

I don’t get it.

 

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Ohio close to passing new animal-cruelty law

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The Ohio House voted Wednesday to approve new legislation to increase the penalty for acts of animal cruelty, specifically making the act of “abusing or torturing a pet to death” a felony – as reported by Cleveland.com. The measure will now move to the State Senate before hopefully being signed into law by the governor.

Those guilty of the fifth-degree felony could get six months to one year in jail.

I wish the penalty involved a longer sentence. And in reading over the text of the HB274, it seems a ban on possessing animals can be left up to the court:

The court also may prohibit or place limitations on the person’s ability to own or care for any companion animals for a specified or indefinite period of time.

It should be a lifetime ban for anyone who abuses or tortures an animal.

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Article highlights weakness in current animal-cruelty regulations

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Ignorance as a primary factor in animal-cruelty cases was the primary theme for an article posted November 30 on the Topeka Capital-Journal website.

But the article also notes how much local law enforcement agencies can be handcuffed by current regulations. Which clearly indicates these current regulations do not offer enough protections for animals suffering from abuse.

So when you read a statement or hear someone state that enforcement of current regulations is all that needs to happen – and claim new laws are not needed, we know these claims have little basis in reality.

The Topeka Capital-Journal piece offers this:

Unless the situation is life-threatening, officers can’t do much within the first three to four days of a complaint.

And this:

Officers also have authority to act under exigent circumstances — those instances in which they know an animal will die if they don’t intervene immediately, Hamilton said.

But it seems in cases of severe suffering, but where the officer might not be able to show the animal is about to die, they cannot act to rescue the pet immediately.

We need stronger regulations nationwide. Clearly, animals can be suffering greatly where the abuse is not to a level where they are going to die immediately. We see this often in puppy-mill cases, where the abuse had to reach horrible levels before

 

Another weak sentence for animal cruelty – in a puppy-mill case

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I continue to be stunned by the support some facets of our legal system shows for those who engage in acts of cruelty to animals. I use the phrase ‘support’ because some courts refuse to make the punishment fit the crime.

I also blame state legislatures across the nation and the federal government for refusing to enact real sentencing guidelines that put abusers behind bars, with life-time bans on possessing animals.

And it has happened again. A Nebraska puppy-mill operator has been sentence (if you can call it that) to two-years probation and will only be barred from possessing dogs for two years.

The Journal Star reports the following about the puppy-miller, since 2006:

Nebraska Department of Agriculture inspection reports dating back to then show a pattern of neglect and violations, including animals living in their own urine and feces, overcrowding, sharp wire in enclosures, improperly secured animals and too few employees.

The guilty party will have to pay veterinary bills amassed for the care of the rescued dogs. At least the suffering victims get that.

But the report by the Journal Star offers more troubling information, which highlights how weak current regulations really are, along with some very poor enforcement.

Back in January, the Department of Agriculture turned the breeder in to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. Some of the breeder’s dogs were taken away. She was given until July 1 to downsize to no more than 18 adult dogs. WHY? Why allow someone who has been found to be abusing animals to keep ANY animals.

This should never be allowed to happen anywhere. This case alone should be a red flag for every state in the country. Animal abuse on the level described in the story should be grounds for an immediate seizure of all animals on the property – certainly through the trial of the accused.

The article noted 19 of the dogs taken in this case had various ailments that included – “open weeping sores, infections, overgrown nails, matted hair, bad teeth, fistulas, hernias from repeatedly giving birth and lower jaws rotted completely away due to infection.”

How could anyone suggest it was okay to leave animals behind, to suffer for months – or even a few more hours – in these conditions. Those in positions of authority need to step forward to change this system and put some truly strong regulations in place.

 

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Wacky Mentality Award: Rep. Marsha Blackburn on Horse Soring

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This one ranks as unbelievable. Marsha Blackburn, a congresswoman from Tennessee, is speaking out against legislation that would strengthen the ban horse soring.

The practice involves using corrosive chemicals on the legs of some show horses, in a cruel effort to make them step high for shows. They are known as gaited show horses and are used in competitions. And as we see with greyhound racing and horse racing and other similar industries, where there is this level of competition, there are people who will do anything to win.

But Blackburn thinks it’s too much regulation. A piece on Huffington Post published earlier today quotes her in a hearing as saying:

“This legislation brings excessive regulatory burdens on the walking horse industry and could potentially eliminate the entire industry and thus the entire breed.”

So she believes we should not ban severe acts of cruelty because it could hurt the business where the cruelty takes place. And although she doesn’t seem to possess the self-awareness to understand what she is actually saying – she is actually saying the cruelty should be allowed, so that the industry can thrive.

It is far from being an “excessive regulatory burden” to ban cruelty. Blackburn’s lack of knowledge concerning the severity of this practice and concerning the suffering the horses endure in training is troubling. And her lack of logical thought here is staggering.

And the Huffington Post piece also notes trainers “use heavy weights or painful chains on the horses’ hooves.”

I applaud Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield for introducing the bill to protect horses. But for her efforts, Marsha Blackburn is more than deserving of a Wacky Mentality Award.

 

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Local, online poll shows huge support for anti-puppy mill laws

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Online polls can be a bit unscientific, the numbers found in a local news station poll this week are incredible. WWAY in Wilmington, NC asked readers if they think North Carolina needs to enact tougher puppy-mill laws.

Just up the road from Wilmington, around 100 dogs were recently rescued in a raid on a rural puppy mill.

As of Friday morning, 762 people had voted in the poll, with 92 percent voting YES. While any reasonable person would vote this way, a few did go with NO or Don’t Know/Don’t Care.

Our nation is divided on many political issues and as we’re seeing right now, gridlock is the new norm. But our collective love for animals brings people of all political corners into agreement. Now we just need our elected officials follow the movement. To date, too many elected officials at the state and federal level have been caving in to special-interest groups, who regularly lobby against any and all breeding regulations and/or animal-welfare laws.

In its next session, the North Carolina General Assembly will take up a new anti-puppy mill bill, which has passed one house already.  Any puppy-mill regulations need to include regular, unannounced inspections; requirements for daily exercise and play time; regular veterinary care and standards for kennel sizes and construction.

Our current laws in North Carolina and at the federal level are far too weak. Don’t let anyone tell you current laws are good enough, if enforced. There are gaping holes in current regulations – especially for breeders – in NC and elsewhere.

Enforcement is one key area, but currently, law enforcement does not have the guidelines it needs. Conditions have to be reach extreme levels before police and sheriff departments can act. By that point, the suffering might have gone on for years. Without inspections, we’ve seen puppy mills operate undiscovered for years, if not decades. So many are operating freely right now.

 

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