NC legislature set to reintroduce anti-puppy mill bill

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The North Carolina General Assembly will reportedly debate another anti-puppy mill bill this session. The last two attempts in 2013 and 2014 were turned back by the NC Senate, after the bills cleared the House.

Governor Pat McCrory and his wife are in full support of breeding legislation. He commented on the issue in his recent State of the State address, stating “We have to protect our pets from abuse in puppy mills. I’m embarrassed that North Carolina is not giving basic good and water and shelter to our puppies.”

It is highly embarrassing that my home state still does not have protections in place for puppy mill dogs.

Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) sponsored the two most recent bills and WRAL out of Raleigh, NC is reporting he will try again.

The article paints a somewhat positive picture, including a quote from Kim Alboum, state director for the Humane Society of the United States:
“We have just an enormous amount of support from House Republicans. We’ve got a significant amount of support in the Senate, and I think that maybe this is the year that we’re going to come together and pass this bill.”

WRAL rightfully reminded readers recently that the No. 1 opponent of anti-puppy mill legislation is the American Kennel Club.

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Time Warner Cable joins the ranks of companies who are clueless to the puppy mill issue

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Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, it was Go Daddy and its advertising firm that produced a commercial that only proved both companies don’t know how to use the Internet or don’t really pay attention to the news.

The promotion of puppy mills was either clueless or just plain stupid.

Now Time Warner Cable, a company that supplies Internet and cable services to its customers is showing the world that none of the higher-ups at its offices keep up with current events. And they have free Internet.

In addition, those within the advertising firms they work with apparently don’t engage in any research into the topics they highlight in their ads.

The Time Warner Cable commercial in question highlights a mom and her daughter, who wishes for a new puppy. At the end of the ad, the mom asks where the nearest pet store is – of course where she can buy a puppy.

It would have been so easy and reasonable to change the scene to have the mom ask about the location of the nearest animal shelter. Do the ad reps not meet with company officials to present ad ideas? Is brainstorming ideas no longer a part of this process?

Do decision-makers discuss the ads beforehand, to maybe head off any issues or controversies that might crop up? Did anyone at Time Warner not see the backlash against Go Daddy?

We’re trying to get the message out to people that buying a puppy or kitten from a store or online are two of the worst ways to find a new pet. So these two companies over the last few weeks have picked out two terrible things to promote in their ads. And the red flags for both topics were easy to find – on the Internet, which both Time Warner and Go Daddy should be experts at using.

How is this possible? Try searching the phrases – puppy mills, risks of buying puppies from stores or anything similar.

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Quote of the Week: Topic – Foie Gras

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California attorney general Kamala D. Harris has announced she will appeal the horrible recent court ruling that overturned a ban on foie gras. The recent ruling has handed down by a federal judge who apparently has little to no understanding whatsoever of how the birds suffer when force fed with tubes.

So Harris gets a Pack of Compassion Award for working to overturn the federal judge’s poor judgement. Animal cruelty on this level should be illegal, especially when it comes to the production of a delicacy, one that people can certainly do without and end the needless suffering for one more group of animals.

This one is just beyond the pale. Come on. We can draw the line somewhere.

Mercy for Animals founder Nathan Runkle was quoted in a statement –

“In a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animals, including ducks and other farmed animals, from needless cruelty and violence.”

That statement earns a Quote of Week honor.

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Wacky Mentality court ruling of the month so far – High-Fence Hunting

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Two of the three judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals showed a complete disregard for animal suffering when they ruled in favor if caged hunting. It’s called “high-fence deer hunting” in an Indy Star article from February 3.

The Department of Natural Resources had banned the practice, but the ruling overturned the ban and opened up more deer to be shot by hunters who pay big money to hunt farm-raised deer inside fenced enclosures.

In other words, it’s a system where rich, really lazy guys briefly get off their asses to hunt down deer who are trapped and have no means to escape. There’s more actual hunting involved when people go to the grocery store.

It’s for people who are really bad at hunting. It’s like friends gathering together for a fishing trip and when they arrive they just stand on the shore of the lake while boats pull up and hand them a rod and reel with a fish already hooked on it.

They go back home and tell their wives about how tough it was, after sending out photos on Facebook.

Thankfully, the Indy Star reports Senator Pete Miller (R-Avon) has introduced Senate Bill 442, which would ban high-fence hunting.

The Indy Star ran a series of articles last year about the practice of canned hunting, noting it’s all about profit and the antlers. It’s not sporting and it’s not about food. It’s just so a few people can pay big money to take home some huge antlers.

Let’s hope Miller’s bill passes very soon.

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Derby Lane and Orange Park – Florida’s top two death-trap tracks for greyhounds

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The pro-dog racing folks will try to compare the number of total races to the death toll at Florida’s Derby Lane and Orange Park, Kennel Club, in an effort to claim that the killings are minimal. For these people, 48 dogs dying in the final seven months of 201, at only two tracks,  is no big deal.

For these people, it’s just part of the costs of doing business, like the leftover bread a restaurant tosses out each night. If your average family was putting their pets at risk to this degree every day, law enforcement officials would rightfully investigate.

But the greyhound racing industry gets a free pass by a few remaining states like Florida, Iowa and West Virginia, for example. And it’s not merely looking the other way for these states. To date, the state legislatures are requiring the existence of this carnage.

Thankfully, a vast majority of states long ago banned greyhound racing. While my home state of North Carolina has some real faults, I’m really proud to say dog racing was banned here decades ago.

(I just wish we could make as much progress against puppy mills.)

But now, Florida tracks are at least required to report deaths and will hopefully soon be required to report injuries. It’s one of the worst nightmares for those who still support greyhound racing. The last thing they wanted to do was let the general public learn more about what is going on behind the curtains.

The industry is already reeling from the increased level of awareness within the general population. A vast majority of people don’t want to support industries such as this.

The Florida Times-Union attempted to interview two organizations concerning the latest kill numbers out of the two tracks, but no one would respond. I wonder why?

Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, was quoted in the article as noting the 12 dog tracks in Florida lose $40 million per year. So the state of Florida is propping up an industry that regularly kills dogs and drops tens of millions every year.

I’d like to ask any of the elected officials there who are blocking efforts to drop dog racing to justify why they support this industry. Of course, they can’t. There are no justifications for supporting a horrible industry such as this.

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Wacky Quote of the Day: Topic – Greyhound Racing

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I’ve got to run more of these, as I regularly read statements in news articles or in comment sections that defy all levels of reality.

The Kenosha News ran a guest editorial today that contained the following in one paragraph:

Greyhound racing has made great strides in the last few years, with attendance and overall handle up at many tracks and the sport just had its first national championship race since 1993. As an active member of United Greyhound Racing, I fully believe that the sport’s best days are ahead of us and would be happy to share our blueprint for future success to anyone interested.

The man wants to bring back greyhound racing (and add snowmobile racing) to the Dairyland facility in Wisconsin.

RealityVille: Dog racing is in free fall and the stands are all but empty for races. And I guess the writer is reading about the losses and about the states where huge subsidies are needed to keep the industry afloat.

“Great strides” isn’t such a great phrase to use for the dogs who are regularly dying or who are injured on tracks every day.

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Cartoon hits the right temperature on climate change and science

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In the January 31 edition of the newspaper comic strip, Non Sequitur, the dad is trying to explain a basic principle of climate change to one of his daughters.

When she screams that she doesn’t want to hear about the “science junk on a Saturday,” his response is – “How long is this anti-knowledge trend going to last?”

It struck me that this is exactly the phrase to use to frame this trend. The phrase “anti-science” is accurate, but “anti-knowledge” covers the movement in a much better way. We have some politicians and TV talking heads who are leading this effort.

The latest topic on the anti-knowledge table is vaccinations for kids. Vaccinations have been highly successful in wiping out or greatly reducing particular diseases over many decades.

It’s about your kids AND the children of other families in your community. The country was experiencing an alarming rate of diseases like measles before the vaccinations spread far and wide. Countless kids were saved from suffering and death.

Sure, caution should be used, as some kids might have allergies or other conditions that might prevent them receiving certain vaccines. But what a few talking heads are putting out in recent days isn’t helping at all and only serves to needlessly scare some moms and dads.

And of course, the climate-change debate has gone way off the tracks. Even some proponents of the science are letting the anti-knowledge side frame the debate by arguing endlessly about what the temperature was at any given point in time.

The debate should be more about topics like pollution and deforestation and what mankind is doing to the Earth’s oceans. These impacts affect the climate AND the overall health and welfare of humans and our fellow inhabitants of the Earth. These impacts are undeniable – completely undeniable.

Science and knowledge have led to and are leading to advancements for the human race. Without science and knowledge, diseases and unchecked pollution would have led to massive impacts on the planet, far beyond what we’re even facing now.

Without science and knowledge, there are no phones, Internet, transportation as we know it – including airplanes, farming, weather forecasting, TV, radio, heating and air systems for our homes, electricity, space exploration and much more.

So being anti-science and anti-knowledge only serves to limit advancement. We can’t be so selective when it comes to science and knowledge, especially when it’s just a matter of being inconvenient for the power and propaganda brokers.

And denying science and knowledge does a huge disservice to children and future generations.

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Even racing greyhound breeders are seeing the writing on the wall

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I was really surprised to read a comment this morning by West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association president Sam Burdette. He was quoted in a article concerning the mounting costs of keeping dog racing going, with subsidies, in West Virginia.

“It’s a situation where we’re saying it probably is time to stop racing, but we would like to be made whole for the money we have lost,” said Burdette in the WCHS story. And he said, “The perception, especially in the legislature is that it’s a dying industry and to most extent it is.”

There is a $74 million buyout plan on the table in the state, as compensation for eliminating the racing industry.

I have mixed feelings. Other businesses don’t receive public compensation when their businesses fail. In this case, dog racing is unpopular due to the treatment, injuries and deaths being reported over time. Very few people are now willing to support this kind of industry.

But if $74 million means we can see another state drop greyhound racing and this money comes from the gambling pot, I can get behind the plan. I would prefer an outright ban and the money goes to animal welfare and/or to people in need.

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Former NFL player charged with animal cruelty

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Multiple media outlets are reporting former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody has been indicted for animal cruelty. The charges involve a dog and the abuse, neglect and illegal possession of an alligator.

Peter Schaffer, Cody’s agent, told Fox Sports, “If this affects at all my client’s ability to get a job, I’m going to do everything in my legal power to protect his rights.”

I get it, Schaffer is defending his client. But what about the welfare of the animals in this case? If he is found guilty and his employment options are limited, it’s no one’s fault but his.

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Super Bowl Sunday Commentary – The Anti-Puppy Mill Edition

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One of the grandaddy of all misinformation campaigns swirling through cyberspace is the attempt to deny there are any definitions to the phrase “puppy mill.” So it’s time to highlight this lie again, as it has reared its ugly head again of late.

The folks who propagate this extreme level of misinformation are doing so in an attempt to shut down any efforts to regulate breeding. Shutting down puppy mills means a loss of income for those with a stake in the industry – directly or indirectly.

Clearly, the states, cities or counties with breeding regulations have included provisions for minimum standards of care – such as housing, care and feeding, veterinary care and time for exercise. Often, the regulations are minimum at best.

The operations that fall under these minimum guidelines can be considered puppy mills or substandard operations. There’s nothing hard to understand about it. But those who support puppy mills are hoping some people will blindly believe the propaganda, without actually researching or engaging in a simple fact check.

And I’m seeing some wild, tangential misinformation being spread about recently. One recent comment under a website post claimed rescue groups are buying puppy-mill puppies and are the main reason why puppy mills exist.

This one gets five piles of feces on a scale of 1 to 5 feces piles. Rescue groups across the nation are taking in dogs who are rescued directly from puppy mills or were sold through a puppy mill and later ended up at shelters or being cared for by rescue groups.

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