Rep. Steve King of Iowa supports those who support dog fighting

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I haven’t been dishing these out of late, but today I’ve got a Pack of Putrid Punditry Award to present – and it’s a major one.

Representative Steve King of Iowa has stepped in it. With King’s statements last week in support of dog fighting, he suddenly manages to look worse than Michael Vick, who at least was speaking out against the horrible industry after his release from prison. King was speaking out against – yes against – legislation to make it a federal crime to attend a dog fight.

When asked at a town hall meeting about his opposition to legislation to prevent animal cruelty, King replied – “When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight, but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.

It is hard to find words strong enough to explain how clueless, idiotic, cruel, heartless and anti-compassionate that statement is. Can it be that anyone could ever vote for this individual after reading this statement? King’s volume of stupidity on this subject would not fit inside a good-sized galaxy. And yet he sees something wrong with the “priorities” of people who want to stop dog fighting.

How could anyone be that cold, heartless and completely uneducated? No one with a functioning moral compass should ever vote for any politician with views such as this.

Writer Jason Linkins rightfully refers to a recent study about those who engage in dog fighting, in his Huffington Post editorial. The Chicago Police Department found that 70 percent of these individuals also have records that include felonies such as domestic and aggravated battery, illegal drug trafficking and sex crimes.

On her piece, Penny Eims notes – “Somehow, King fails to realize that human fighters choose to engage in their “sport,” dogs do not – they are forced into the ring.”

And of course, boxers and MMA fighters and Olympians are not routinely tortured to death in civilized nations for failing to win fights.

The Daily Shame out of the UK hammers King. And editor Jeromie Williams writes – “Unfortunately, King is a longtime advocate for legalizing dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal torture. Most recently, he fought legislation that would make it illegal to bring a child to an animal fight.”

The Baltimore Sun quotes from actor Josh Charles’ Twitter feed – “I like to think of Iowa as the Field Of Dreams, not as the Field Of Idiotic Congressmen. Shame on you @SteveKingIA.”


GREY2K USA calls for removal of Arizona state racing commissioner

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The debate over greyhound racing in the state of Arizona is heating up, in large part due to the appointment of a racing commissioner who, according to GREY2K USA, has made disparaging remarks on Facebook about the anti-dog racing organization and at least one individual who leads its efforts to protect greyhounds.

Carey Theil, the executive director of GREY2K, wrote a letter to Governor Jan Brewer, requesting that Arizona Racing Commissioner Rory Goree be discharged from his position.

A couple of the statements that Goree is accused of posting on Facebook are reported in a story on the website.

How about this suggestion: Free the dogs from this horrible life and then you won’t need a racing commissioner. And then state officials can focus on finding loving homes for the dogs and can focus on promoting the creation of more jobs and a better economy. Sounds like a much better plan than the state’s full-scale promotion of a dying industry with a horrible track record on animal-welfare.

Kennel owner charged with drowning puppies; challenges law against the act

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This story is really, really disturbing. A kennel owner in Minnesota was charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty, after employees “saw her drown puppies in buckets of water or by throwing them in a swimming pool with a cinder block tied to their necks” – as reported by the Crookston Times.

Rather than a simple not-guilty plea, the accused is challenging the law. Her lawyer is suggesting the puppies are commercial animals, not pets. So she could kill the puppies in this horrible way because they are so-called commercial animals?

Let’s call this the “Cold, Heartless Defense.” Or maybe the “Yeah, I torture and kill dogs – so what” defense. So would these people support dog fighting by claiming the dogs are commercial athletes, not pets?

Although regulations to protect the health and welfare of animals on factory farms are weak at best, at least some individuals have been charged for crossing the existing line. No one should be allowed to torture animals – ever. And certainly no one should be allowed torture animals while hiding behind warped nomenclature.

Pack Topics: Trendy rescue pets; puppy mill sales; animal cruelty penalties

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Is the adoption of homeless pets becoming the trendy option: An opinion piece published Saturday on the Arizona Republic website suggests the adoption of homeless pets has become the trendy thing to do. I hope that’s true and from what I’m hearing, reading and seeing in my area, the trend seems to be growing for this trendy movement.

Another city considers ban on puppy sales at stores: The Burbank City Council is due to consider late in August a possible measure to ban on puppy sales from mills and retail outlets.

The Burbank Leader reports the city would join 26 others with similar ordinances in the United States and Canada.

Do the punishments for animal cruelty fit the crimes?: Two teens in Nevada will serve less than a month in jail after sentencing for the torturing and drowning of two kittens. Because they were juveniles, they did not get the maximum penalties.

According to the story from Monday, the judge in the case did place some restrictions on the pair – such as house arrest through the end of the summer break; 12 months of GPS monitoring and other monitoring; 200 hours of community service; counseling and more.

Is it enough? Does the punishment fit the crime in this case? It seems the judge did everything he could in tacking on extra penalties, but I can’t help but state that the base penalties should be more.


Pack Topics: Coyote trapping; animal cruelty; BP Oil Gusher

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BP Oil Gusher continues to impact marine wildlife: Researchers are still finding severe illnesses and deaths among dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico.

The site also reports 754 marine mammals have washed ashore (95 percent dead) since February of 2010. Since all dead wildlife don’t wash up on shore, the number deaths is believed to be higher.

Troubling rise in animal cruelty cases: Forsyth County Animal Control reports its investigators have written 1,300 animal neglect and animal cruelty citations over the past year. This is a rise of 40 percent.

But according to a My Fox 8 article from Wednesday, the increase might be more a factor of more people reporting these crimes, as opposed to a specific rise in cruelty.

Animal-welfare activists decry coyote-trapping plan in California: The Carson City Council has a plan in place to trap coyotes that are showing up a mobile home park. A 10,000-signature petition was presenting Wednesday to the council in opposition to the trapping, according to CBS Los Angeles.


Hero Georgia dog wins HSUS award

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A pit bull in Georgia has been honored by the Humane Society of the US for saving the life of one of his guardians and then coming to her aid later again.

Last July, Gloria Benton suffered an suffered an aneurysm, fell and fractured her skull – as reported by My Fox Atlanta. Titan alerted her husband that something was wrong, as he was headed out the door to go to work.

He came to Gloria’s rescue again when she broke her hip several weeks ago.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

New York Gov signs puppy mill bill

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Back at it after a couple of busy days including writing deadlines, hijinks from our dogs and more work.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a state bill into law last week to regulate puppy mills. Charlemagne’s Law is named for a puppy mill dog who died in 2007.

The article on the Newsday website includes a list of provisions in the new law. I wish the regulations were more concrete, as many of them are led by instruction from the breeder’s veterinarian. Problems might arise if a puppy mill breeders finds a vet who will be soft on their crimes. It is not out or the zone of possibility, although a good majority of veterinarians are beyond allowing suffering.

I do like the following provision:

“” Develop, maintain, document and implement an appropriate daily exercise plan approved by the attending veterinarian. The plan will include providing positive physical contact with humans that encourages exercise through play and other similar activities. “”

The Animal Law Coalition offered its explanation on the new law.

Sunday Commentary: Don’t believe the propaganda – Do believe in humane legislation

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I thought I had read it all, in reading comments from people trying to defend greyhound racing. But what I’m reading from people opposed to regulations on puppy mills and from those trying to defend the AKC and its efforts to block any new regulations on puppy mills is equally offensive.

Some of the falsehoods uttered of late – in comment sections on the Web – are nothing short of astounding. I’ve seen comments over the last few days suggesting new regulations on puppy mills would mean families will be prohibited from allowing their dogs to sleep in bed with them and families would be forced to make their dogs live in cages.

I don’t think politicians could even make this stuff up.

On the one hand, the proposed regulations are directed to breeders with five or more breeding females. And let’s live in reality, as opposed to Propaganda Fantasy Land. If we’re talking about breeders with their dogs living inside their homes, as part of the family and under conditions families maintain their pets – no one is suggesting anything different for them.

The regulations are minimum standards. Those exceeding minimum standards have nothing to fear.

The most recent effort is to close a huge loophole in the Animal Welfare Act. The loophole allows breeders to sell over the Internet and through adds – sight unseen to people buying puppies – and allow puppy mills to go unchecked in regard to inspections and to humane standards of care.

All it is going to take is some good, humane common sense to develop reasonable regulations on dog breeders. The best already maintain better standards of humane care.

What I’m seeing now is an effort to flood the Web with misinformation, in an effort to scare people into thinking they won’t be allowed to keep their pets inside their homes and to scare people into thinking national animal welfare groups are coming to take their pets away.


Pack Topic: Animal Cruelty, the Law and the Link to Domestic Violence

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Maybe it’s because I’m so laser-focused on the subject, but it seems to me that we’re seeing more and more cases of animal cruelty – and with the trend, more cases relating animal cruelty to domestic violence.

No recent story makes the connection more than the Associated Press article from Thursday, where a Georgia man reportedly stomped the family dog to death and then used it’s dead body to beat his wife.

Up in Connecticut, a man has been charged with animal cruelty after witnesses saw him beating a Jack Russell terrier before a failed attempt to throw the dog off a highway overpass. Fortunately for the dog, his collar hooked on a spike on the fence, preventing a fall into the traffic below.

The Valley Independent Sentinel reports police had “responded to a domestic dispute involving Rosario within the last 24 hours.”

I can’t help but think one primary reason for the level of both domestic violence and acts of animal cruelty in this country is the slap-on-the-wrist punishment abusers routinely receive. The message I’m getting says our federal government, state governments and the criminal justice system across the board considers acts of abuse to women, children and animals to be a lesser offense.

If advocates for victims of domestic violence and animal-welfare advocates see current laws as being very weak, it doesn’t take a social scientist to understand what criminals must think of system. Even repeat offenders know they’ll get nothing more than a short stay in the slammer before heading back home to wreck more abuse on the family or other innocent beings.

What are the judges saying to these people? – ‘You bad, bad person. This is fourth time you’ve severely assaulted your family. This time you’re going to pay. I guess a month in jail with free food and medical care will teach you a lesson?’

And do our elected officials across the board think a few weeks at most away from the abuse is good enough for the victims?

An editorial from Fairfax Times out of Virginia (published Friday) rightfully calls for more bite from animal abuse laws.

The piece includes these important facts –

“” “”

A recent study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University found 70 percent of animal abusers had committed at least one other crime. Almost 40 percent had committed violent crimes against people.

Equally troubling is more than 80 percent of family members being treated for child abuse also had abused animals. In two-thirds of those cases, an abusive parent had killed or injured a pet. In one-third, a child victim continued the cycle of violence by abusing a pet.

“” “”

It is long past time for increased penalties for violent crimes – committed against people and animals.

Pack Topic: Puppy Mills

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In an effort to spread more news about puppy mills – to be at least one more voice against this national, tragic epidemic of cruelty – I will continue my non-stop blog-athon on this topic.

Every day that the federal government and state governments delay action against puppy mills is another day of extreme suffering for puppy mill dogs. Every successful effort by the AKC and other groups to table new legislation to battle puppy mills means the suffering continues.

For every purchase of a puppy made on-line or in store or through a newspaper ad, where the buyer fails to visit the breeder’s facility or otherwise research the breeder to ensure he or she engages in humane practices – the more dogs will continue to suffer horribly.

Fortunately, news outlets are focusing at least to some degree on puppy mills. Some recent examples that arrived on the Pack News Wire this week:

News On 6 out of Oklahoma reports there are between 1,000 and 1,500 breeders in the state and funding for enforcement of regulations is a real problem. And the report indicates “most of the breeders are not currently on record with the state.” This is a huge problem as well. All commercial breeders should be registered and licensed with the federal government and/or respective state governments.

Animal advocates in Oklahoma are looking at a possible ballot initiative if the current system fails to work.

The debate goes on in Iowa, where The Hawk Eye newspaper published an article on the puppy-mill debate on Thursday.

The piece goes into the use of the term “puppy mill” and what constitutes such a facility. For the individuals who suggest there is not a clear definition of the term, it is strategy to spin the problem away from the suffering of the dogs. The article references a definition from Frank McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society:

A puppy mill is any dog-breeding facility that keeps so many dogs that the needs of the breeding dogs and puppies are not met sufficiently to provide a reasonably decent quality of life for all of the animals. Simple. And with no wiggle room.”

This is one of a number of clear, logical definition of a puppy mill.

And actress Katie Holmes is catching some heat from animal-welfare advocates for taking her daughter to a store that sells puppies. The reports indicate a store attendant showed two puppies to them before Holmes decided not to make the purchase.

It was good that she did not buy a puppy from the store. But she is being criticized for even the notion of doing so, rather than going to a local shelter to save a homeless pet.