NBC News promotes cockfighting as a great vacation stop

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I have been stunned more times than I can count over many years of researching animal-welfare information. But what I read today on the NBC News website ranks as one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever read, in terms of an article from a news outlet, presented as a promotion of animal cruelty – in this case cockfighting in the Philippines.

The article is posted in the Travel section, as if people should use it as an option for something to do on a vacation trip. The writer is shamelessly promoting cockfighting. What’s next from NBC News – an interactive map of underground dog-fighting rings, as a great family outing?

And I’m assuming an NBC News editor looked over the text before approving the article for publication. It is not only an extremely poor example of journalism, it also shows a complete lack of education on the part of everyone involved.

I know NBC News would try to defend the piece by suggesting it was written from the perspective of culture where the daily horrors take place. But where is there even a note of how inhumane cockfighting is?

No legitimate news outlet should ever consider publishing a story promoting visits to child porn websites or how people can save money on vacation travel by tripping-out on crack. Sure, some people think both activities are fine. But isn’t there some moral and professional line that should not be crossed by journalists or columnists?

I could understand an article with the cockfighter’s semi-defense of his immoral acts, along with the viewpoint of intelligent people who despise animal cruelty. But what NBC News published today is both unprofessional and disgusting.

I’m calling for NBC News to pull this drivel from its website and issue an apology for ever allowing it to appear for a second.

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Sunday Commentary: Running of the Bulls

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Organizers of Saturday’s running-of-the-bulls event in Virginia found 4,000 participants who just don’t give a damn – for animal welfare or their own safety.

While the event is not on the scale of cruelty found within the original event in Spain, it is cruelty nonetheless. Once again, we find some people can’t get through the day without exploiting animals – for entertainment or other goals.

While more troubling information is coming to the forefront of late about greyhound racing and horse racing and the abuses to circus animals and performing horses, we find some people are looking to expand the effort.

And NBC News reports promoters are planning more bull-running events in at least nine other cities across the nation. They just can’t contain themselves. Would the participants consider swimming a 2-mile course in waters filled with great white sharks?

Climbing cliffs and bungee-jumping offer thrills. Why not go there? Why do animals have to be involved? Mountain biking can be fun. How about down-hill moped races on icy terrain?

One person quoted in the NBC News article traveled all the way from New York City. I have a suggestion. Stay home next time and do some research about animal welfare and volunteer your time in this area. Do something constructive. Become a mentor for kids.

There are so many other things to do on weekends – positive things to do in life.


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Former NFL coach saves puppy, but lets abuser off the hook

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Former Dallas Cowboys and collegiate football coach Barry Switzer recently discovered a puppy locked in a hot van on a brutal summer day. NFL.com reports he waited by the van until the owner returned and ended up buying the puppy to save it.

No where in the report does it indicate he called law enforcement to have the person investigated and potentially charged with animal cruelty. Switzer, in the NFL video, reports the puppy had a large and heavy tether around his neck. He said the man showed him photos to the parent dogs when Switzer offered to buy it.

The former coach found the dog a new home, but what about the person who locked it in the van? The NFL morning show crew failed to asked him if he called 911.

He downplayed the threat to the puppy, maybe in an effort to downplay his effort in saving him from harm. But the puppy was in a life-threatening situation.


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Another wild statement made concerning another animal-cruelty case

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I’m forced to bring back the Wacky Mentality Award. It’s bad enough to read news stories about animal-cruelty cases. But when people in positions of responsibility act in ways that let criminals off the hook, it’s just too much to comprehend.

In Washington State, a man was charged with blowing up his daughters dog, because he got mad at her. But Undersherriff Dave Cox told ABC News the charges were dropped because the prosecutor felt the dog died instantaneously, so therefore they thought it didn’t suffer. The prosecutor seems to be concerned about the verbiage in the state’s animal cruelty statute.

So the message to criminals in the state is – If you want to kill your pet, just blow it up and the state won’t have a problem with it. Killing pets by explosion is legal in Washington State.

This is what happens when the focus on science education falls off the table. What aspect of animal cruelty does the prosecutor not understand? Does he believe a murder committed where the victim dies right away is less of a crime?

I don’t know what he’s thinking, but the prosecutor deserves a Wacky Mentality Award.


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Update: Horrible legal agreement reached with Amish breeder in Ohio

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Update (10 p.m.): A report tonight by 10TV.com only makes the story below even worse. The Circleville Law Director in the report below has stated “the present law on cruelty of companion animals does not directly prohibit omissions or neglect of the animals, but only acts of cruelty.”

It’s either an asinine interpretation of the law or an asinine law. But then, as reported by 10TV.com, Gary Kenworthy went on to say, “Much of the conditions of the Beachy dogs were best described as resulting from neglect, but no actual acts of cruelty.”

I hope no children are being neglected in this community.

Original Post:

An Amish breeder in Ohio had faced 34 counts of cruelty to animals, as a result of the “seizure of 52 mistreated and sick dogs were from his Pickaway County property on Oct. 1,” as reported by the Norwalk Reflector on August 6.

Rather than take the case to court this week, local officials chose to “conditionally dismissed” the charges. With the inappropriate deal, the breeder has reportedly agreed to not to breed dogs to sell puppies for one year. But get this – the deal goes on to allow him to breed if he uses supervised care by a veterinarian.

The Reflector quoted the breeder’s attorney as saying, “Mr. Beachy is most pleased. He does believe this was a crusade against Amish breeders …”

For one thing, there should be a crusade to shut down Amish breeders. And with non-punishments such as this, anyone accused of crime like this would be pleased.

And I simply could not believe the incredibly uneducated statement attributed to Circleville Law Director Gary Kenworthy. He apparently stated the poor condition of the dogs was “best attributed to neglect, such as a lack of grooming and veterinarian care, rather than cruelty.”

I don’t know what it would take for Kenworthy to consider a cruelty case in his region. But in this case, the reports indicate the dogs were “matted with feces and urine, overgrown nails and dental disease.” It is idiotic to suggest that this does not constitute cruelty.

After Kenworthy’s statement, he should either apologize and reopen the case or resign his position – or both. Resolving cases in the manner reported in this case, is an invitation to puppy mill breeders to continue to engage in acts of cruelty.


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Another clear example of why we need much stronger penalties for dog fighting and other acts of cruelty

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A Cincinnati, Ohio man has been indicted on seven counts, including dog fighting, cruelty to animals and promoting dog fighting. But WCPO reports he has a prior conviction for dog fighting.

So he got off easy the first time and now has been charged for same horrible offense again.

Too often, the message criminals get in cases like this is – ‘no big deal – it’s worth it to continue to break the law.’

Our criminal justice system has to do a much better job of protecting innocent people and animals.


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Another dog fighting case, where the criminal will be allowed to have animals again

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It has happened again, an animal-cruelty case where the guilty party has been handed a very light sentence. An Illinois man pleaded guilty in the case and received an 18-month sentence – in what a Post-Tribune story calls “an alternative program and on probation.”

Juble Nathan Hairston will have to perform 120 hours of community service and pay back the Humane Society of the US for $2,000 of its costs for caring for the canine victims.

He is only banned from having pets while he serves his sentence. Somebody thinks its okay to allow a dog fighter to have another dog or cat after 18 months has passed.

I will never understand why some elements of the criminal justice system find it is so difficult to impose a lifetime ban on possessing animals. In severe cases such as this, a lifetime ban should always be a part of the sentencing. Why put more animals at risk of suffering.


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Ag Gag supporters are opening a horrible door, while hiding abusers behind another

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Imagine for a moment that someone hired to work on a home AC system sees a child being abused inside the home and takes a photo of the crime with his phone, to back up his 911 call to law enforcement. Those who support Ag Gag Laws would support charging the service person with a crime.

Suppose you are walking your dog and from your position on the sidewalk you see man inside his home punching his wife, near the front window. You pull out your smart phone and record the act, so that the video can be used to support the court case against the abuser. Those who support Ag Gag Laws suggest your actions should be a crime.

Suppose from one backyard, someone spots what he or she thinks is dog-fighting equipment in a nearby backyard and then a dog with severe facial injuries walks up to the fence. They take pictures of the equipment and the dog.

But when the police arrive later, the evidence is gone. When the compassionate person shows the photos they took earlier, Ag Gag supporters want that individual arrested, while the dog fighters walk free.

Those who support Ag Gag laws would suggest the crimes being committed are a matter of privacy for the criminals engaging in the abuse. Translated: ‘How dare anyone be bold enough to document the severe abuse of an innocent animal.

The primary goal of our criminal justice system should be to protect the innocent. The system should not work to protect abusers, while making criminals out of those who report the abuse.


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ALDF: First person charged with violating Ag Gag Law

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports the first person has been charged with violating the Ag Gag Law in Utah.

The ALDF has filed a lawsuit in the state to overturn the horrible law.

In this video, people are being harassed for standing in a public right-of-way. So a crime can be underway and the people documenting the crime can be harassed? What’s wrong with this picture?

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Nevada breeder back in the news after being cited multiple times this year

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The punishment for acts of animal cruelty and running puppy mills must be increased, nationwide. This latest case reported by KTNV only adds to the long history of abusers ignoring and brushing aside the weak sentences they are given.

A breeder in Amargosa Valley, NV has been cited on three occasions since May 29, for a number of violations ranging from not having a kennel or breeding permit to the dog not having rabies vaccinations to 20 counts of animal cruelty. And the same breeder was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty in 2011.

KTNV reports officers were recently back on the site and found dogs with severely matted fur – with no shelter from the hot Nevada sun and green algae in their water.

The article reports one local store has been selling puppies from the breeder and a family purchased a Yorkie there that cost $2,200. And therein lies the problem. Some people are still buying puppies from stores and online – too often for huge amounts of money.

These people do not realize that they can go to a local shelter or rescue group and find GREAT dogs and cats. They are unaware that they are often supporting puppy mills. They are being scammed into believing they have to buy a puppy. It is 2013, with factual information at their fingertips – and yet these people are still uneducated on this issue.

The dogs and cats from the shelters and rescue groups are more than equal on every level to any sold by breeders. I’m  not even slamming the best breeders. It is just a point of fact. Rescued dogs and cats are the greatest. It’s just a matter of consulting with the shelter staff or rescue volunteers to get matched up with the right pet.


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