Puppy mill news out of North Carolina and Ohio

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I’ve been engaged in posting a lot of updates on my local blog about the recent puppy mill raid in Southeastern North Carolina. So I need to offer the readers of Pack Mentality an update tonight.

The couple who ran the puppy-mill operation has pleaded guilty to charges relating to the bust, specifically pleading guilty to 24 counts of Class I animal cruelty charges. They were hit with 36 months of probation (no jail time) and a lifetime ban on possessing animals was imposed. They will be subjected to warrant-less searches to ensure they are not in possession of animals.

I wish jail time was part of the punishment. But I was pleased to read about the lifetime ban on possessing animals. This needs to be an automatic punishment for anyone, anywhere who is found guilty of operating a puppy mill.

In an editorial for Examiner.com, writer Elizabeth Wilson called it “hopeful” that two North Carolina representatives – Jason Saine of Lincoln County and Craig Horn of Union County – plan to introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session to enact a new commercial breeding regulations.

And Wilson wrote, “Large players in North Carolina politics have adamantly opposed such legislation, including the AKC, the Pork Council, the Farm Bureau, and the NRA.”

And in Ohio – animal advocates are pushing for new legislation to protect animals from cruelty. NBC4i.com quotes one elected official as being “cautiously optimistic” that Senate Bill 130 – which has been successfully passed in the state Senate – will make it out of the House and on to the governor’s desk.


Pack Topic: Georgia rescuer killed by her dogs

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This one is a bit tough to write about. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week on the tragic death of Rebecca Carey, a compassionate rescuer of homeless dogs.

It is believed that Carey was killed by at least a couple of her canine companions. A friend believes she most-likely fell and hit her head while attempting to break up a fight between two of them.

On the one hand, this is rare occurrence, where dogs kill someone. But it can also serve as a cautionary story. Injuries can and do happen and altercations between family dogs certainly do happen. Anyone telling you they live with as many dogs as Carey lived with, without having altercations on occasion, is either very, very lucky or they’re not telling you their whole story.

Tragically, this story had a horrible ending, one we thankfully do not see very often at all.

Over most of our 22 years of marriage, my wife and I have lived with multiple rescue dogs. A very good majority of the those dogs lived together without problems. But as is the case with kids, altercations happen. It might be over treats or toys or maybe a bit of jealously.

I write a lot about self-awareness and state of consciousness and intelligence and emotion in animals. But none of this means dogs don’t still have instinctive behaviors as well.

Good News: Greyhound Freeway Petey finds a loving home

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Freeway Petey, the racing greyhound that was found injured along a Florida highway, is finally going to a loving family.

As his story goes, he escaped from the back of a racing transport truck, after getting into a fight with another dog. He underwent numerous surgeries, at a cost exceeding $3,400, as reported by the Gainesville Sun.

Petey, through a tough process, now becomes one of the lucky ones. We can only hope that one day soon no more greyhounds will be exploited.

Rep. Steve King continues to catch some heat for pro-dog fighting stance

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It is pleasing to see more news about Rep. Steve King flashing across the Pack News Wire. He fully deserves the negative press he is getting for suggesting the country should not punish people for attending a dog fight or bringing kids to dog fights.

The Humane Society of the US continues to hammer King. I received another e-mail this morning from the organization. It notes the Farm Bill, including a provision to make it a “crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight has passed the U.S. Senate as part of the 2012 Farm Bill, and also has passed the House Agriculture Committee.”

The e-mail also reported the provision is supported by “the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and more than 200 law enforcement organizations from across the country.” But King is against it.

We have this video from King, where he tries to defend his previous statements. But it only proves more about the Congressman. He doesn’t know that it is against the law to violate a 13-year-old and take her across state lines. This is an unbelievably revealing video about King.

He tries to also claim there is an effort to somehow place animals above humans. He’s pulling stuff out of his hither regions.

And editorial by Rekha Basu appeared Tuesday on the Des Moines Register website, noting King’s warped thinking is twisting around itself. In one statement, King suggests the federal government should leave dog fighting laws to the individual states. But then he wants to also push an amendment into the Farm Bill that would gut state and local laws that protect his state’s farm animals.

Basu also reports King opposed including pets in disaster planning and voted against a bill to outlaw horse slaughter for human consumption. He apparently votes against anything that might offer animals protection from cruelty.

King has also suggested animal fighting is not even happening. Then he will certainly ignore the story that ran on the CBS47 website out of Southern California. About 1,000 gamecocks were rescued during a cockfighting bust.



Alicia Silverstone promotes Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign

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Actress Alicia Silverstone is the spokesperson for Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign.

From the press release:

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“When people think about helping animals, they generally think about dogs and cats, but chickens, pigs, and other farm animals need our help even more. And science shows that farm animals are just as intelligent and interesting as our pets,” says Alicia Silverstone, whose best-selling book “The Kind Diet” shows just how easy and delicious vegetarian eating can be. “Vegetarian advocacy allows busy people like you and me to spare the lives of thousands of animals every year without a huge time commitment. For example, you can spare at least fifty animals a lifetime of misery on a factory farm with just an hour of leafleting. And there are lots more tips at CompassionateCommunities.org.”

Compassionate Communities was created by Farm Sanctuary, North America’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization, to promote and train animal advocates and grassroots groups in the most effective forms of animal advocacy and community building.

Vegetarian advocacy has proven to be the most effective thing caring individuals can do to help the greatest number of animals in the least amount of time. For each person who reduces the amount of meat they eat, dozens of farm animals will be spared a lifetime of suffering.

Individuals who join the Compassionate Communities Campaign will:
• Receive direct support, physical resources, and instructions on best practices to help sharpen their advocacy skills.
• Receive blog updates twice a month delivered straight to their inboxes.
• Receive challenges that will take their activism to new heights while saving thousands animals.
• Complete the challenges and report back on their progress to receive recognition and prizes.

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Pack Topics: Gas chambers; hunting wolves with dogs; puppy millers want to keep dogs

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The Pack Topics series continues today with a focus on the odd mentality of those from the other side.

Gas Chambers: Despite reports that dogs were surviving a gas chamber in Fairfield County, Ohio, three county commissioners there want more time to consider a ban on the horrible practice. And they requested more time to study the issue despite hearing that dogs who survived the chambers were thrown into an incinerator – while still alive.

An Examiner.com editorial notes approximately 10 of Ohio’s 88 counties still use gas chambers. It is sad to think that we are even discussing this topic euthanizing homeless pets, even if it is only those who are suffering through some terrible injury or ailment. But no counties should be using gas chambers.

Lawsuit filed to stop wolf hunting with dogs in Wisconsin: A lawsuit has been filed in Wisconsin to stop the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Board (NRB) from allowing wolf hunts with dogs.

Let’s give this one a Pack of Clueless. A Care2.com article includes this sentence: “Supporters of the rule don’t expect there to be any problems. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, for one, doesn’t believe there’s any basis to support the notion that dogs and wolves would fight.”
A wildlife federation, with people working in the organization who don’t know dogs are basically wolf-hybrids? This is clueless on a grand scale.
Puppy mill couple wants more dogs: This one is just sad. The Jones County, NC couple who pleaded guilty last week to 19 counts of animal cruelty, for running a puppy mill, is challenging the ruling that bans them from having animals for five years.
The couple denies animal cruelty took place, but an article by WNCT notes prosecutors said many of the dogs “had life threatening infections and diseases.”
Of course, the ruling should have been a lifetime ban on possessing animals.

Rep. Steve King’s defense of his dog-fighting statements only getting worse

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Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who is now infamous for defending dog fighting, is trying to defend his opposition to a proposed federal law to make it illegal to attend a dog fight or prompt others to do so.

He’s only making matters worse for his unbelievably callus stand. The Des Moines Register reports he questioned if dog fighting is even in practice now. The publication quotes King as saying, “There’s no federal nexus in what goes on in an animal fight, if they actually take place anymore — I’m not hearing that they do.”

One person commenting below the story called King, “extremely ill-informed.” This is actually overstating King’s level of intelligence. He’s worse than ill-informed. He’s completely clueless and is clueless to how clueless he is.


2,500 beagles rescued from Italian breeder that supplies to research facilities

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The debate on the use of animals in research should be ramped up by the news Thursday out of Italy, where 2,500 beagles were rescued from breeding operation.

An article by Nature published last week reports a court ruled the allegations of mistreatment of the dogs warranted investigation and apparently the removal of the dogs. The dogs are going to foster homes while the investigation continues.

The main article did not report on the conditions of the dogs, but an update notes – “The court said it was concerned that some puppies came down with diarrhoea and respiratory conditions. Andy Smith, vice-president of Marshall Biosciences which owns Green Hill, says the conditions occurred when the company was banned from caring for the animals.”

Why would the facility be banned from caring for the animals? This sounds like the typical spin from a puppy mill breeder.

An article from Opposing Views asks the question – Is animal research necessary? And it links to another Nature piece concerning a panel discussion in 2010 at UCLA.

The point is made that animal testing in too many cases fails to predict results for humans and much of it is unnecessary. The other side, of course, claims the successes are enough to allow the research to go on.

I fully understand that some research has resulted in the development of drugs or treatment for humans. But it is clear we need FAR MORE in the way of regulation. Too often, we’re reading about animals suffering horribly in research labs. And as is the case with puppy mills, it seems the exposure of the horrors routinely comes from undercover video or someone who just happens to report the horrors.

The Italian breeding facility was reportedly inspected regularly. Was this like the AKC inspecting kennels?

And what about redundant testing? This has certainly been the case for the cosmetic industry. I know the other side will bring up the notion that testing needs to carry so many case trials before a result might be concluded. But how many times do they need to pour a particular chemical into a rabbit’s eyes before you conclude it’s not a good thing. They’ve been doing this for decades.

I can only conclude that some testing continues long after a conclusion has been reached, merely to keep the facility in operation – to justify its existence. It is long-past time to completely reevaluate animal testing and toss out the aspects where logic concludes it can be banned – and where modern technology offers an alternative. At least we can do this.

And in areas where it might continue, we need extremely stringent regulations and oversight. The treatment and care of the animals should be covered under strict guidelines. And we need for the curtain to be lifted on this research. It needs a lot of sunshine.

More proof that current puppy mill laws are not enough

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A breeding couple in Jones County, NC faced 19 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty this week in court, for operating a puppy mill. The pair pleaded guilty and therefore received a very light punishment for their terrible deeds. Back in May of this year, the same couple was found guilty in district court to 38 similar counts.

The Jacksonville Daily News quoted District Attorney Ernie Lee as saying, “Many of the dogs were emaciated or had serious medical conditions including severe hair loss, skin infections, dehydration, gum disease, loss of teeth and gastro intestinal issues.”

Kim Alboum, the state’s director of the Humane Society of the United States, reported the dogs were soaked in feces and urine.

So what so-called punishment did the court hand out, while basically admitting the laws are so weak in North Carolina the its hands were tied? They got 270 days of incarceration, but the time was suspended for five years, if they honor the terms of the probation. And to make matters even worse, they are only prohibited from having animals for the next five years.

The request for about $18,000 in restitution to cover medical treatment and housing for the rescued dogs, was denied by the court. Why? – Because it was ruled they were not financially able to pay it. So when it was all said and done, no punishment at all was handed down in this case.

In North Carolina and in too many other states, it is only a misdemeanor to torture animals in this way. The conditions described in this case should always lead to felony charges, which should include a lifetime ban on possessing animals and much more.

According to the Daily News story, this puppy mill facility was uncovered for one reason -because a customer decided to report the mill to law enforcement. Without a system in place that includes licensing and routine inspections, puppy mills are only reported in cases where someone happens to feel suspicious.

This case clearly exposes huge gaps in the current laws. This is THE example to cite to show we need licensing and inspections. It would be horribly callus and uncaring to suggest other dogs and cats, by more than hundreds of thousands in mills across the country, should continue to suffer in agony for years, waiting for a slim hope that someone might report their torturers.

Two stories show the two sides of our society

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I will never be able to understand the mentality it must take to abuse a child or an animal. It is perplexing to consider that while our society includes people with great levels of compassion, it also includes people capable of terrible acts committed on innocent people and creatures of this planet.

Two stories came to attention today that highlight this divide.

My brother Mark sent me the link to a Huffington Post story about a Wisconsin man who regularly takes his elderly dog down to the warm waters of Lake Superior. He does this to help ease the pain of arthritis. He floats him in the water as Shep relaxes and falls asleep.

The photo, which is the centerpiece of the feature, is very touching. The man said the Shep saved his live, coming to live with him in a troubled time in his life.

And then we have the Associated Press story about hundreds of malnourished cockfighting roosters that were euthanized after being found at a business in Southern California. It is not the first time this year that huge numbers fighting roosters were discovered and later killed in California. The Ventura County Star reports about “1,000 roosters were euthanized in late January near Oxnard.”

What sort of warped mentality allows some people to engage in acts like cockfighting?