Article highlights weakness in current animal-cruelty regulations

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Ignorance as a primary factor in animal-cruelty cases was the primary theme for an article posted November 30 on the Topeka Capital-Journal website.

But the article also notes how much local law enforcement agencies can be handcuffed by current regulations. Which clearly indicates these current regulations do not offer enough protections for animals suffering from abuse.

So when you read a statement or hear someone state that enforcement of current regulations is all that needs to happen – and claim new laws are not needed, we know these claims have little basis in reality.

The Topeka Capital-Journal piece offers this:

Unless the situation is life-threatening, officers can’t do much within the first three to four days of a complaint.

And this:

Officers also have authority to act under exigent circumstances — those instances in which they know an animal will die if they don’t intervene immediately, Hamilton said.

But it seems in cases of severe suffering, but where the officer might not be able to show the animal is about to die, they cannot act to rescue the pet immediately.

We need stronger regulations nationwide. Clearly, animals can be suffering greatly where the abuse is not to a level where they are going to die immediately. We see this often in puppy-mill cases, where the abuse had to reach horrible levels before


Another weak sentence for animal cruelty – in a puppy-mill case

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I continue to be stunned by the support some facets of our legal system shows for those who engage in acts of cruelty to animals. I use the phrase ‘support’ because some courts refuse to make the punishment fit the crime.

I also blame state legislatures across the nation and the federal government for refusing to enact real sentencing guidelines that put abusers behind bars, with life-time bans on possessing animals.

And it has happened again. A Nebraska puppy-mill operator has been sentence (if you can call it that) to two-years probation and will only be barred from possessing dogs for two years.

The Journal Star reports the following about the puppy-miller, since 2006:

Nebraska Department of Agriculture inspection reports dating back to then show a pattern of neglect and violations, including animals living in their own urine and feces, overcrowding, sharp wire in enclosures, improperly secured animals and too few employees.

The guilty party will have to pay veterinary bills amassed for the care of the rescued dogs. At least the suffering victims get that.

But the report by the Journal Star offers more troubling information, which highlights how weak current regulations really are, along with some very poor enforcement.

Back in January, the Department of Agriculture turned the breeder in to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. Some of the breeder’s dogs were taken away. She was given until July 1 to downsize to no more than 18 adult dogs. WHY? Why allow someone who has been found to be abusing animals to keep ANY animals.

This should never be allowed to happen anywhere. This case alone should be a red flag for every state in the country. Animal abuse on the level described in the story should be grounds for an immediate seizure of all animals on the property – certainly through the trial of the accused.

The article noted 19 of the dogs taken in this case had various ailments that included – “open weeping sores, infections, overgrown nails, matted hair, bad teeth, fistulas, hernias from repeatedly giving birth and lower jaws rotted completely away due to infection.”

How could anyone suggest it was okay to leave animals behind, to suffer for months – or even a few more hours – in these conditions. Those in positions of authority need to step forward to change this system and put some truly strong regulations in place.


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Wacky Mentality Award: Rep. Marsha Blackburn on Horse Soring

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This one ranks as unbelievable. Marsha Blackburn, a congresswoman from Tennessee, is speaking out against legislation that would strengthen the ban horse soring.

The practice involves using corrosive chemicals on the legs of some show horses, in a cruel effort to make them step high for shows. They are known as gaited show horses and are used in competitions. And as we see with greyhound racing and horse racing and other similar industries, where there is this level of competition, there are people who will do anything to win.

But Blackburn thinks it’s too much regulation. A piece on Huffington Post published earlier today quotes her in a hearing as saying:

“This legislation brings excessive regulatory burdens on the walking horse industry and could potentially eliminate the entire industry and thus the entire breed.”

So she believes we should not ban severe acts of cruelty because it could hurt the business where the cruelty takes place. And although she doesn’t seem to possess the self-awareness to understand what she is actually saying – she is actually saying the cruelty should be allowed, so that the industry can thrive.

It is far from being an “excessive regulatory burden” to ban cruelty. Blackburn’s lack of knowledge concerning the severity of this practice and concerning the suffering the horses endure in training is troubling. And her lack of logical thought here is staggering.

And the Huffington Post piece also notes trainers “use heavy weights or painful chains on the horses’ hooves.”

I applaud Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield for introducing the bill to protect horses. But for her efforts, Marsha Blackburn is more than deserving of a Wacky Mentality Award.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Local, online poll shows huge support for anti-puppy mill laws

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Online polls can be a bit unscientific, the numbers found in a local news station poll this week are incredible. WWAY in Wilmington, NC asked readers if they think North Carolina needs to enact tougher puppy-mill laws.

Just up the road from Wilmington, around 100 dogs were recently rescued in a raid on a rural puppy mill.

As of Friday morning, 762 people had voted in the poll, with 92 percent voting YES. While any reasonable person would vote this way, a few did go with NO or Don’t Know/Don’t Care.

Our nation is divided on many political issues and as we’re seeing right now, gridlock is the new norm. But our collective love for animals brings people of all political corners into agreement. Now we just need our elected officials follow the movement. To date, too many elected officials at the state and federal level have been caving in to special-interest groups, who regularly lobby against any and all breeding regulations and/or animal-welfare laws.

In its next session, the North Carolina General Assembly will take up a new anti-puppy mill bill, which has passed one house already.  Any puppy-mill regulations need to include regular, unannounced inspections; requirements for daily exercise and play time; regular veterinary care and standards for kennel sizes and construction.

Our current laws in North Carolina and at the federal level are far too weak. Don’t let anyone tell you current laws are good enough, if enforced. There are gaping holes in current regulations – especially for breeders – in NC and elsewhere.

Enforcement is one key area, but currently, law enforcement does not have the guidelines it needs. Conditions have to be reach extreme levels before police and sheriff departments can act. By that point, the suffering might have gone on for years. Without inspections, we’ve seen puppy mills operate undiscovered for years, if not decades. So many are operating freely right now.


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Pack News Wire (10.2.13): Dog Fighting

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ANOTHER weak sentence for dog fighting

In another example of how dysfunctional our criminal justice system can be, an Alabama man who recently pleaded guilty to dog fighting will serve no jail time. He will ONLY serve 100 hours of community service – working around dogs at a shelter.

And in a completely clueless move on the courts’ part, the man will ONLY be banned from having dogs for two years. In the meantime, the court will put homeless dogs in the shelter at risk.

Something is really wrong with any judge or any sentencing guidelines that allow for this level of weakness in punishment being handed out for violent felons. And there is no doubt that dog fighters are violent felons. What we’ve seen in too many cases puts innocent people and innocent animals at risk.

The top mission of our criminal justice system should be to protect the innocent. Because too many people involved in the system all over the country seem to be lacking in education and in the reality of what is going on, the innocent are at risk.

Couple ran dog fighting ring out of home – where five kids lived

A Pennsylvania couple has been accused of running a dog-fighting operation out of their home, where their five children lived. The woman has pleaded guilty and has agreed to testify against her husband.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Mentality for Monday – Puppy Mills and Dog Fighting

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A couple of news articles from this month put Wacky Mentality on display – again.

Dog fighting and animal cruelty charges were filed last week against a Utah man. Witnesses saw two men holding the leashes of two dogs as they fought. An officer responded and also saw what was happening, as reported by Opposing Views.

So what was the excuse given by one of the men charged? – He said he was letting the dogs fight because they weren’t getting along and this was a way to “help them “get along.”

That is Wacky Mentality.

Over in Oceanside, Calif., the city council voted down a proposal to ban the sale of puppies from puppy mills in retail stores. The vote was 3-2.

The U-T San Diego article included the following:

But Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller said they didn’t have enough information about what constituted unethical breeding to move forward with changing the city’s laws.

They didn’t have enough information about the definition of an unethical breeder? How is that possible in 2013?

And others speaking out against the ban tried to claim a ban on the sale of dogs in stores would send dog breeding underground and somehow hurt the long-term viability of breeding.

What a load of what I regularly scoop from our backyard. And then a store owner claimed he had to sell puppies to make a profit, as he could not make it selling supplies.
Again – a load of dung. There are pet stores all over the county that profit from selling pet supplies. It’s one of the consistently-performing elements of the economy.

There are examples of Wacky Mentality all through that news piece.


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Editorial covers a lot of ground on animal welfare

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An editorial by Peter Fricker, projects and communications director for the Vancouver Humane Society, ran September 8 on the Vancouver Sun website.

Fricker covers a lot of territory on animal-welfare topics, from endangered species to habitat loss to horse racing to factory farming to fur farms to bull fighting. He offers one quote indicating that unlike the extinction of animals over the past history of the Earth, human activity is almost entirely to blame for the current extinction crisis.

Among the terrible statistics he cited is this:

More than 10,000 U.S. thoroughbred horses are shipped annually to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Most of these are young, healthy horses — their racing careers can end at three years old but they can live to 30.

This is a stunning number that outpaces the horrors of the awful greyhound racing industry. The convenient excuse is to claim we have to inflict suffering on animals in vast ways, for financial reasons – or for the jobs the suffering supports.

Is our society still so greedy or in other ways so apathetic that we’re supposed to support cruelty and torture as long as it supplies jobs? We should be at a point – in 2013 – where we’ve advanced beyond this point. But we are not there yet.

I think most people care. But there exist enough greed and apathy and cruelty around us to maintain these industries and entities and to maintain the protection the government is offering them. So horse racing, dog racing, puppy mills and other horrors still exist because too many politicians refuse to put compassion above profit margins.


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Wacky Mentality: In NZ, claim made that clubing seals does not cause pain

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An animal-cruelty case in New Zealand has taken a wacky twist, as the accused is denying he did anything wrong.

On the one hand – fur seals are protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act. And then there’s the nation’s Animal Welfare Act, where suffering is the key issue.

The accused is charged with “ill-treating” and killing 23 New Zealand fur seals. The Marlborough Express reports the man’s lawyer says he would have pleaded guilty under the Marine Mammals Protection Act. But he’s denying he made the seals suffer.

And get this from the article:

Defence lawyer David Clark contended it was possible all the seals were killed or knocked out instantly, and would therefore not have felt any pain before they died, some after being hit a second time.

So even if he had to strike the seals a second time, they claim no suffering was involved. The claim stretches far beyond the boundaries of science and reason. So it easily earns a Wacky Mentality Award.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Another example of how limited bans don’t work with animal abusers

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A couple in Tennessee was arrested a second time this year on animal cruelty charges. They were charged with 134 counts back in February, as reported by

They took a plea deal that included turning over all of their animals and agreeing to not possess animals for one year. Someone negotiated a plea deal that included a mere one-year ban. How is this possible in 2013?

So what did the couple do? How serious did they consider the punishment? – It only took them a few months to get caught with animals again. This time it they were found at an area flea market with 29 chickens.

The article included this quote:

“I was just in shock,” said shelter manager Misti Coffey. “I couldn’t believe that he would go ahead and be so public about owning more animals again.”

I am not shocked at all. The message the couple received from their initial “punishment” was nothing more than a friendly pat on the back from the criminal justice system.

As is the case with too many criminal acts, the criminals believe the judicial system is a joke. A quick slap on the wrist and they are free to plan their next crime.


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Major dog-fighting bust highlights major problem

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I think U.S. Attorney George Beck has struck the key note, in terms of the criminal element in our society. In the first paragraph of an article on the site, about a huge dog-fighting raid, Beck was paraphrased as saying he, “thinks there are two types of people in hell – those who are cruel to children and those who are cruel to animals.”

The article reports the raid and rescue of 367 pit bulls was a joint effort from the Auburn Police Division out of Alabama, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, other local law enforcement agencies, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States.

Ten individuals were arrested and the search is on for three more. They should be charged as terrorists. The dogs were living in what was described as being “horrendous” conditions. They were chained and malnourished.
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