Pack Line Headlines: Elephants, dog saves guardian, man stabs dog 11 times, adoption groups slammed

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Editorial slams adoption groups: A editorial that ran Thursday on the website suggests the adoption process through rescue groups can amount to an “inquisition.”

I don’t doubt that some rescue organizations can have detailed adoption application processes that turn some people off. The process varies from group to group. But the fear that homeless dogs and cats might end up back in the wrong hands is the primary reason why applications are part of the system.

A lot of pets find homes through local rescue groups all over the country. It happens every week in thousands (many thousands) of communities across the nation. But I also don’t doubt that on occasion some potentially good homes are blocked out.

So maybe there are some groups that could ease up  a bit. But I fully support the system. So many homeless pets have already lived a rough life. We need to insure as best we can that their next family is a good one.

Endangered elephants face more threats from food poachers in Thailand: This story is just disgusting. In Thailand, some people have taken to eating the meat from the trunks and sex organs of elephants. So because they think something is tasty, they are willing to wipe a majestic species off the face of the Earth.

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Bill to decouple greyhound racing in Florida advances out of Senate committee

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By a narrow 6-4 margin, a Florida Senate committee voted this week to advance a bill to allow dog track/casinos in Florida to self-determine whether or not races are held at these facilities.

Back in 1996, the state legislature passed an extremely troublesome bill, requiring tracks hold a minimum number of races per year, if the facilities had card rooms. Translated , this means – ‘We’ll let you run gambling operations with card rooms, but in doing so we’ll force you put dogs through a life of hell.’

There has been debate over a provision in the bill that allows the facilities to keep tax credits if they drop racing. Opponents of the bill and the pro-racing side wanted to drop this credit, conveniently  forgetting how much dog racing has been getting from the state in taxpayer dollars over many years.

A lobbyist for racing greyhound breeders is quoted in a article as having concern for the dogs if tracks close suddenly with the passage of this bill. Sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test. Dogs are dying in horrible numbers every year in racing and the conveyer belt goes on and on and on every year that racing is legal.

Sure, we should all be concerned with making sure these dogs find homes if tracks close suddenly. A lot of groups would step forward if that happens. But allowing dog racing to continue means thousands more will die. Supporting dog racing while at the same time showing concern for the dogs if racing is shut down is really warped thinking.


Video: Portlandia goes to the dog park

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The marketing team from the IFC (The Independent Film Channel) cable network sent a link to the video below to the Pack Mentality inbox this evening.

Portlandia airs on IFC and stars Fred Armisen (of Saturday Night Live fame) and Carrie Brownstein.
This clip features the couple’s trip to a dog park. The message – don’t be these people. Be the friendly, responsible dog park visitors.

Martha Stewart featured in video speaking out for farm animals

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Martha Stewart has joined the Farm Sanctuary in speaking out for farm animals. The life farm animals lead on factory farms across the country is nothing short of horrible.

Warning: Some of the images depicted in this video might not be suitable for all viewers. It shows the extremely harsh conditions and the extremely harsh treatment many factory farm animals suffer every day.

On a more positive note, the Farm Sanctuary is offering a Valentine’s Day gift idea. The organization says – “Our special organic, fair trade Vegan “Milk” Chocolate Heart is the perfect expression of love and compassion this Valentine’s Day.”

All proceeds from the sale of the chocolate hearts go to support Farm Sanctuary’s work on behalf of abused and neglected farm animals.

Another court case concerning the true “worth” of animals

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Another family is challenging the legal notion that a pet is only worth its so-called replacement value. WRAL out of Raleigh, NC reports a 12-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Laci died five years ago after a a feeding tube was inserted into her trachea instead of her esophagus at the veterinary facility at North Carolina State University. She slowly drowned over the course of a seven-hour period.

The WRAL article notes the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine admitted negligence and has since changed its procedures.

The key to the story is the fact that Laci’s family is appealing a court ruling that awarded them $350 – the cold, hard, compassion-less retail price of buying another Jack Russell terrier.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals finally heard the case Tuesday but isn’t expected to publish its ruling for several months. A similar case in Texas resulted in an appeals court ruling in favor of placing more value on pets.

Some people will cringe in hearing this news, suggesting it will increase the cost of veterinary care as the profession seeks to cover its liability. I get that and maybe in this case, we can call this an error or a very unfortunate slip-up and maybe it doesn’t warrant a huge level of compensation. Maybe this case can be made in this instance. But what about other cases?

What if a family found their pet was deliberately killed or what about a possible case where it was determined an individual engaged in criminal negligence or deliberately killed a dog – or anything along these lines? Shouldn’t the family be awarded more than retail value for their loss?

I think we can use some common sense and logic to develop some legal definitions and laws that offer a more reasoned approach.

New dog toy fails Labrador Tug Test in backyard “lab”

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We purchased a new dog toy over the weekend, billed as tough and dog-resistant. It didn’t last two minutes when three of our rescue dogs had at it in the backyard.

We know this, but the only option is to not try new toys. A few we’ve purchased over the years have lasted longer – even for a few weeks.

The product was put to the ultimate test in the Grady Backyard Lab Toy Testing Ground. But to be fair, very few toys make it out with more than a “Ripped to Shreds” grade.

Excuse the video quality. It was an overcast and drizzly day and I think I had dog fuzz on by phone’s camera lens.

Pack Line Headlines: Dog fighting, humane farming, abuser registries

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Vick ‘case’ might be helping to curb dog fighting in Georgia: The headline on the USA Today website reads “Michael Vick case helped curb dog-fighting in Georgia.” My immediate reaction was, ‘Wait, no one should be giving credit to Vick for this.’ But after that flash reaction, I felt better of the headline and article because it correctly included the word “case.”

Michael Vick himself hasn’t been the key to shining more light on this horrible, illegal industry. His arrest and conviction – the case against him as a sports celebrity – served to shine more light on the evils of dog fighting.

The January 17 article also notes Georgia now has tougher dog-fighting laws and set up an anonymous tip line.

Animal Welfare Approved farmer is 12 years old: Shelby Grebenc of Broomfield, Colo. is the youngest farmer in the country to be Animal Welfare Approved (AWA). She sells the eggs from her chickens on her Happy Chapped Chicken Butt Farm.

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Pack Line Headlines: The animal-welfare movement, animal welfare plan in the EU, puppy mills, tethering bans

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Important quote from Wayne Pacelle: I found a letter by HSUS president Wayne Pacelle posted on

The final paragraph led with this: “The animal welfare movement is strong and growing. It represents mainstream values. Although there is no official registry, an estimated 20,000 organizations are engaged in the important work of safeguarding animals, …”

A lot of good new in those two sentences. The animal-welfare movement is growing and getting stronger. I really believe that. And it is great to know that about 20,000 organizations all over the country are working to make life better for animals.

And why are we seeing this growth in animal-welfare organizations over the last two decades and why are we seeing the movement grow overall? – Because it does represent mainstream values.

Jury finds Oklahoma puppy mill operator guilty of animal cruelty: A jury took only four hours to find a puppy mill operator in Oklahoma guilty of animal cruelty charges, as reported by Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.

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

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An Inquirer story on 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.