Guilty verdict in NC puppy mill case, but the punishment doesn’t fit the crime

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The operator of a Jones County, NC puppy mill has been found guilty of 38 counts of animal cruelty. But the couple who operated the mill were sentenced to just two years probation and are only prevented from having animals for two years.

Each time the North Carolina state legislature has debated new bills to regulate dog breeding, the pro-puppy mill side claims the laws on the books are good enough. This case and others like it offer proof that the state’s laws and the level of punishment for offenders is VERY weak.

This is my home state, so it is especially troubling to me. Sadly, I don’t know what it must take for courts in so many states to really hand out a stiff penalty for a violent crime, drunk driving or cruelty to animals. Our criminal justice system is broken – badly broken.  And because criminals know they’ll only get a slap on the wrist, they will continue to commit crimes such as this.

The Wake County SPCA posted photos of the puppy mill in question on its Facebook page.

So we can see the conditions at the mill and we can relate it to the extremely weak punishment the couple received. And yet, WRAL reports their lawyer plans to file an appeal.

There is a very good reason why opponents battle back against better regulation on puppy mills and stiffer penalties for animal cruelty. They want the slap-on-the-wrist system to continue and they know exactly what regular inspections of breeding facilities like this would uncover.


Greyhound racing news from Florida to England

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Regular readers will recall the story of Petey, the racing greyhound who escaped from the back of transport vehicle in Florida, after an altercation with another dog. He was fortunately found by a kind person and is under the care of University of Florida veterinary hospital and a greyhound rescue organization – Gold Coast Greyhound Adoptions.

Freeway Petey is recovering from severe injuries, as reported by the Gainesville Sun. His medical bills are mounting but donations are pouring in and the man who found him wants to adopt him.

As it turns out, he is lucky. Racing greyhounds are killed for merely breaking a leg on the track. For others, they are sent to rescue groups with untreated breaks.

Dog racing is in a steep decline in the US. I’m hoping very soon the Florida legislature will finally remove the legal requirements for a minimum number of races each year. An outright ban would be great, but decoupling the racing from the casinos would be a big step.

In England, the effort to educate the public about the horrors of dog racing has a longer distance to travel.

A proposal to bulldoze Walthamstow stadium in favor of a housing project is being opposed by the pro-racing crowd. The London Evening Standard reports Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith has launched a last-ditch effort to save the stadium and bring back dog racing.

Smith is quoted as saying, “… the vast majority of my constituents and local residents are passionately opposed to the scheme and want to see the return of greyhound racing.” I would hope that by now – in 2012 – only a small percentage of people anywhere are still uninformed about the cruelty of dog racing.

But when it comes to civil rights for people or when it comes to protecting animals from cruelty, it’s not about what the majority wants. It is about what is right.

The article notes the mayor can only block the proposal to replace the track with housing on “on strict planning grounds, including that the national heritage would be harmed.” Smith claims this is case for the greyhound track. No one should consider exploiting and killing greyhounds a “national heritage.”

Hero dog; hero soldier

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Lilly the hero pit bull is back at home: Lilly, the dog who pulled her collapsed guardian off a train track earlier this month in Massachusetts, is back home and recovering from her injuries.

And it is important to note that Lilly is a dog rescued from a local shelter. This offers another piece of the ever-growing mountain of evidence that rescued dogs are the greatest ‘breed’ of dog on the planet. reports – “” Her front right leg was amputated and she went through surgery to fix her pelvis and a badly injured left hind leg. The doctors implanted steel plates to repair Lilly’s fractured pelvis and support her left leg. “”

America soldier reunited with Afghan dog he rescued: A U.S. staff sergeant serving in Afghanistan rescued a dog from a fighting ring and has now been reunited with Bodhi back in the United States.

And the New York Daily News also reports this bit of very positive news:

“” A spokeswoman for The Puppy Rescue Mission, a nonprofit dedicated to helping soldiers save puppies from war zones, said that more and more soldiers have called for their help in bringing home man’s best friend.

She said the group has rescued 300 dogs since the mission began in April of 2010, and gets around three to five requests per week. “”

Editorial slams greyhound racing – on a gambling website

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The latest post is an absolute indictment of dog racing.

The writer notes the industry is no longer profitable and attendance is way down at races, where people are far more interested in poker. The writer explained …. “reports also started reflecting the cruelty and inhumanity that the hounds faced at the hands of their owners, breeders and trainers …”

And he states, “Hounds’ speed and performance at the track is what matters the most to them without ever considering the brutality that they inflict on the miserable dogs.”

Wow! Does this mean the gambling industry has turned to this degree against greyhound racing? I hope so.

I’ve lost a friend and the planet has lost a truely compassionate animal lover

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I stepped away from blogging for a few days, as during that span I attended a memorial service and the then the funeral for Father Al Dash. The retired Catholic priest was 74 years old.

Father Dash conducted a blessing of the animals service every October in my hometown and rescued ex-racing greyhounds. We met him back in 2003 through a fellow animal-welfare advocate, who also rescued greyhounds and also advocated for an end to the cruel industry that is dog racing.

We had also rescued a greyhound named “Dash,” so there was a real connection there with Al. Dash passed away last summer and now Al is no longer with us, after an extended hospitalization. My wife and I really took the news hard.

Father Al Dash and Dash the greyhound

For several years, we met Al Dash for weekend breakfast meals at local eateries. When the weather was cool enough, he always requested that we bring along our Dash. After the meal, he’d give Dash a large dog biscuit. By the time the blessing of the animals serviced rolled around in 2010, our Dash was unable to attend due to his declining health. So Father Al blessed him from the back of our car one morning.

Last fall, Al had to say goodbye to what would be his last two greyhounds – Willow and Captain – who passed away about 10 days apart. They were older dogs and led a great post-racing life with their special guardian.

On both occasions at the local veterinary hospital, my wife and I shared hugs and so many tears with Al. We knew we needed to be there with him. It was such a sad time and the veterinarian and the staff members were all in tears as well.

But now, we take some comfort in knowing that Al Dash has been reunited with loved ones and with our Dash.

Father Al Dash conducting a Blessing of the Animals service in 2007


Pack Line Headlines: horse racing, greyhound racing, gestation crates

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Horse race at a greyhound track: One industry that exploits animals will meet another Saturday during the Preakness Stakes. The horse race will take place at the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Florida.

The news out of both horse racing and greyhound racing paints the two industries as all too similar.

Unfortunately, a lot of people will be there Saturday. That does not happen during dog races these days.

Domino’s Pizza the focus of new petition against gestation crates for pigs: I received a press release this morning from, highlighting a new petition circling the web that is calling for Domino’s Pizza to stop purchasing pork from suppliers that use gestation crates.

In under a week’s time, the petition drive has collected more than 115,000 online signatures, covering 50 states. Long-time Domino’s customer Rina Khadivi started the petition.

Also from the release:

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“Domino’s should stop feeding customers meat from pigs kept in dirty, cramped pig prisons,” said Khadivi, who launched the campaign on “If McDonald’s, Burger King, and Denny’s are willing to get rid of gestation crates, why can’t Domino’s?”

“I love to order in a good pizza after a crazy day,” she added. “But the last thing I want to do is eat something I know has contributed to animal cruelty.”

Denny’s is the latest company to commit to phasing out gestation crates from its supply chain. Denny’s Vice President Greg Linford recently said the company “will endeavor to purchase products from companies that provide gestation crate-free pork and are committed to influencing (its) suppliers to share in a gestation crate-free vision for the future.” At present, more than 115,000 people have signed Khadivi’s petition on asking Domino’s to make a similar commitment.

“What’s especially interesting about Rina’s campaign is that she’s a long-time fan of Domino’s, especially their double-pepperoni pizzas,” said Senior Campaigner Pulin Modi. “She clearly wants to work with Dominos to meet certain animal welfare standards. Rina’s an example of how consumers everywhere are using to deliver powerful feedback to the companies that matter to them.”

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Abuse uncovered in training of Tennessee Walking Horses

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A leading trainer of Tennessee Walking Horses – those who compete in high-stepping competitions – faces a federal grand jury indictment, as reported by ABC News.

Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States is quoted by ABC News as saying, “All too often, you have to cheat to win in this sport.” Far too often, we see this as being true when animals are used in a variety of competitive, so-called “sports” or contests.

Once again, the Humane Society of the United States has uncovered people abusing animals. Sadly, people who engage in cruel training practices like this probably brag about the success with their methods. In reality, what they know about animals would not fit on the tip of sewing needle.

The video shows the lead trainer and others “beating horses with wooden sticks and using electric cattle prods.” This is not training. It is torture.

ABC News also reports painful chemicals and chains are used on the horses’ legs to force them to step higher. This is sick and the people involved in this sort of animal cruelty within any industry should be sentence to long spells behind bars.

WARNING: This video contains VERY disturbing images of horses being abused.

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The industry is claiming abuse is rare, but the article paints a far different picture –
“” But a random inspection by the agents of the Department of Agriculture at last year’s annual championship found that 52 of 52 horses tested positive for some sort of foreign substance around front hooves, either to cause pain or to hide it. “”

Skechers company in the negative news again

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The Skechers shoe company – the same outfit that promoted greyhound racing in an infamous Super Bowl TV ad – is in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission over claims made in TV ads.

The phrases “unfounded claims” and “deceptive claims” were used in a Bloomberg Businessweek article. People who purchased these shoes thinking they would magically transform their bodies, will be eligible for refunds.

From a company that brushed off reports of inhumane practices in greyhound racing, I’m not at all surprised by this news.

The curtain continues to come down that hides the horrors of greyhound racing

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An injured greyhound was found last week after falling out of transport vehicle taking a group of exploited dogs from Sarasota Kennel Club to the Ebro Greyhound Track. It is believed two dogs got into a fight and Petey D fell out when a door opening during the fray.

A kind person found Petey D and called an area greyhound rescue group. It seems some people are slamming the rescue for not immediately tracing the dog’s ear tattoos to find its racing “owner.” If I found a racing greyhound in the physical condition that this dog was found with, I would not have traced the ear tattoo either.

On a side note, it seems now the dog racing industry does not like the fact that organizations who take in the former racers are called “rescue groups.” I guess they think it’s bad press. There has been a direct correlation between the decline in greyhound racing and the level of facts about the industry reaching the public. So now in desperation, the industry doesn’t even what the groups who save the dogs to use the term “rescue”

Don’t let the puppy mill industry hear about this.

And over in New Zealand, the Scoop reports the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) was set to receive a $100 donation from Greyhound Racing New Zealand for each winning dog wearing a red coat during races in the month of May.

Thankfully, the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand and animal lovers in the general public contacted the RNZFB and informed the group about what a poor decision this was. And the RNZFB right away decided to end the relationship.

I’m still reading about well-known companies sponsoring greyhound racing. At this point in history – with that Internet thingy and its array of search engines – I can only guess these companies are either ill-informed or clueless.