Horse trainer in Pennsylvania charged with fraud for selling horses to slaughter

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An Inquirer story on Philly.com reports a horse trainer in Pennsylvania has been charged with five counts of fraud after she admitted that she sold many as 120 horses to contractors for a Canadian slaughterhouse.

She allegedly told thoroughbred owners “she would find great homes for their horses when their racing careers were over” – according to the Inquirer article. Kelsey Lefever, a 24-year-old, was well known in the state for her work with horses.

She is due to appear at a preliminary hearing on February 6.

One individual who gave a horse to Lefever said he did so with the explicit understanding that it would NOT be sold for slaughter. His account states she told him that she never sold horses for that purpose. He later found his horse had been sold to a Canadian slaughterhouse.

I guess it should be no surprise that some people will do anything for profit. If she is found guilty of these charges, I hope they throw the book at her.

Pethealth’s PetPoint Report shows slight improvement in shelter intake and euthanasia rates

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Pethealth, Inc has released its PetPoint report, with analysis on the data for the rate of shelter intakes and euthanasia for dogs and cats.

The data comes from approximately 1,770 animal-welfare organizations in the United States and Canada that use PetPoint to manage their day-to-day operations. The following numbers are based on comparisons with 2010 and 2011 numbers.

MarketWatch.com published the results, which offer better news for cats – notably a 6 percent drop in feline intakes,  including a 5 percent decline in owner surrenders and a 9 percent dip in stray cat intakes.

The figures for dogs was not quite as good – with an increased in dog adoptions of only 2 percent in 2011 and a decline in the euthanasia rate for dogs of 3 percent.

Hopefully, we can see these rates improve significantly going forward. But we should remember that any analysis of euthanasia rates and shelter intakes doesn’t include the dogs and cats that never make it into a shelter or are never saved by a rescue organization.

Until we see a significant rise in the number people who become aware of the importance of spaying and neutering and until we see laws and enforcement that shut down the entities that contribute monumentally to the over-population of homeless pets (puppy mills, greyhound racing, etc) the problem will continue.

Episode of ABC comedy “Suburgatory” includes scene where character is gambling on greyhound race

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Skechers has been rightfully taking heat of late for producing a TV ad promoting greyhound racing and now ABC’s “Suburgatory” has stepped in it.

My wife called me into the living room Wednesday night to show me a scene where one the characters wins $14,000 on a greyhound race he is watching on TV. The plot apparently centers on this person having a gambling problem.

Showing a greyhound race and depicting someone winning $14,000 could easily serve as a promotional ad for the industry.

Once again I ask – What are the the shows writers and producers thinking? Do they have Internet access? Can they look things up on the Web?

I’ve never seen the show but from the brief clip I watched, it appears the person gambling on the race is supposed to be an idiot of some kind. So maybe the producers thought this was showing the industry in a negative light. But the uniformed could take a different message from the scene.

Pack Line Headlines: Florida dog-racing bills, Alaska aerial shooting of bears, 128 dogs in a U-Haul

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128 dogs and a cat found suffering in the back of a truck: Two women have been charged with animal cruelty in Tennessee after a U-Haul truck was pulled over and 128 dogs and a cat were found being transported without food, water or proper ventilation.

According to a story by the Commercial Appeal in Memphis – the animals had been locked in the truck for several days without food and water on a trip from California to Virginia. One was found dead and others were discovered standing in their own feces.

The women run a rescue organization – maybe – and it turns out they were transporting the dogs in the U-Haul and in a minivan towed behind the truck. If they run a legitimate rescue, what in the hell were they thinking?

Alaska lifts ban on aerial killing of bears by state officials: They’re calling it “culling” because they must think this is somehow a kinder way of putting it. But in reality, Alaska’s “Board of Game” – another heartless wording – has decided to lift a regional ban on the aerial shooting of bears by state officials.

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Humane Scorecard ranks members of Congress on animal-welfare issues

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Humane Society Legislative Fund has released its Humane Scorecard, which ranks members of the US Congress on animal-welfare issues.

On his Animals and Politics blog, Michael Markarian notes the ratings were based on “voting behavior on measures such as agribusiness subsidies, lethal predator control, and the Endangered Species Act; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, horse slaughter, animal fighting, and chimps in research; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection.”

Michael Markarian is the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Humane Society of the United States gave President Obama a C- grade, as Wayne Pacelle posted about on his blog, A Humane Nation.

Pacelle states – “The Obama administration had a wide range of opportunities to advance a constructive animal welfare agenda for the nation in 2011, but it was responsible for only a few noteworthy beneficial actions for animals. It stalled, weakened, or exhibited indifference to some overdue reforms, and it even took some highly adverse actions against animal protection.”

At the end of December, Markarian also reviewed some achievements and setbacks for the 2011 Congressional year.

News pace beginning to pick up on Florida greyhound racing decoupling bill

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The momentum seems to be building for the Florida decoupling bill that would remove the requirement for tracks in the state to hold a minimum number of races each year.

In this video posted with a story on SunshineSlate.com, two fantastic heroes for greyhounds, Sen. Maria Sachs (D-30/Delray Beach) Rep. Dana Young (R-57/Tampa) speak in favor of the bipartisan bills they are sponsoring in both state houses.

Many of the track owners and operators are for the bill, because dog racing has become such a drain and such a losing industry. The “racinos” would just like to offer other gambling options and drop the races.

Animal lovers and advocates are of course for this bill because it could very well either greatly reduce or eventually bring to a close dog racing in the state. I’m hoping this happens and I’m hoping it will begin a domino effect for the scattering of tracks in a few other states.

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Pack Line Headlines: Factory farming, greyhound racing, Texas wild burro slaughter

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Was NC turkey farm forewarned of raid?: ABC News is reporting that officials at a Butterball Turkey farm might have been tipped off that a recent raid on its facility was forthcoming.

The raid on the farm came in response to a A Mercy for Animals undercover video showing turkeys being abused and severely neglected.

The Hoke County D.A.’s office is alleging someone at the N.C. Department of Agriculture contacted a veterinarian employed by Butterball and “informed him she had heard there was an investigation into a Butterball farm in Hoke County.”

The ABC News piece includes this quote –

“It is deeply troubling,” said Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, “that a governmental agency that is entrusted with monitoring and overseeing agriculture and food production is so corrupt that it’s in bed with the very corporate interests that were documented abusing and neglecting animals. The fox apparently is guarding the henhouse.”

Two bills in Florida might hold key to ending greyhound suffering in the state: SB 382 and HB 641 are ever so slowly meandering through the maze of the Florida state legislature. If the bills pass in both Houses and the measure is signed by the governor, the state requirement for greyhound tracks to hold a minimum number of races (currently a high number) each year will be dropped.

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Pack Line Headlines: Puppy mills and pet stores

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LA pet store switches to hosting adoption events: KABC TV pulled a fail on the headline for this story on its website – “Retail store switches to selling shelter dogs” – but the story is a good one.

Barkworks in the Westside Pavilion will stop selling puppies and become an adoption center. Rescue groups don’t “sell” dogs – they adopt them out.

$1,200 puppy stolen from Maryland pet store: Okay, the message from LA apparently hasn’t reached everyone in the retail community. MyFoxDC.com reports a two-month-old puppy priced at $1,200 was shoplifted from a Just Puppies store in Rockville, Md.

There are at least two huge WRONGS in this story. First – the robbery itself is terrible. But why would anyone pay $1,200 for a dog when so many are homeless? And if the store was prepared to sell a puppy at about 8 weeks old, does it sell puppies younger than this.

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Dog intervenes to save woman being beaten by her boyfriend

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Last year, when a woman in Kansas City, Mo. was being beaten with a hammer by her boyfriend, her Great Dane came to her defense. The dog absorbed several blows after laying across her body. Reports state the boyfriend then threw them both out of a second-story window.

KCTV5.com reports the dog’s injuries included a broken hip, ribs and other broken bones.

The woman later called a local domestic violence shelter, but the initially facility would not allow the dog to stay there. She refused to leave her dog and the shelter made an exception to allow the two of them to stay there.

The Rose Brooks Center is now working on the addition of 25 beds to a pet-friendly wing of the shelter. It is a great decision, because as the article notes, many abused women will not leave an abuses spouse or boyfriend for fear he will harm a pet.

So the Great Dane and the Rose Brooks Center get Pack of Justice and Pack of Compassion awards.