From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The Los Angeles City Council’ s
ad hoc committee on the ongoing municipal
budget crisis has dropped plans to merge
city and county animal control, as a merger
might hurt service without saving money.
The Agricultural Subcommittee
of the Maine legislature has unanimously
killed as impractical a bill to institute
statewide cat licensing.
Washington state senator Scott
Barr’s bill (SB 5832) to force pounds and
shelters to surrender animals to research lab-
oratories recently cleared the state senate
agriculture committee 6-0. The committee is
headed by Marilyn Rasmussen, who is
author of another bill, SB 5532, that would
strip humane societies of the power to
enforce anti-cruelty laws, and exempt dog
and cat breeders, circuses, zoos, aquariums,

fairs, and farm animals from anti-cruelty
enforcement. A bill to strengthen the state
anti-cruelty laws, SB 5282, also cleared the
agricultural committee, but only after it was
significantly weakened through amendment.
Washington residents may contact represen-
tatives at 1-800-562-6000, or c/o
Legislative Building, Olympia, WA 98504.
Dog breeder Eileen Myers of
Spencer, Ohio, on April 8 won reversal of a
December 1991 cruelty conviction for
allegedly exposing 69 dogs to excessive cold
and depriving them of air and exercise. The
Ohio Court of Appeals ruled the judge
misinstructed, but allowed the Medina
County SPCA to retry the case. MCSPCA
attorney Jeff Holland said the case would
either be retried or be appealed to the Ohio
Supreme Court. Myers has sued the
MCSPCA for allegedly improperly seizing
her dogs, 54 of whom were returned to her
after she was acquitted of five of the seven
counts of cruelty that went to trial.
The Toledo Humane Society
and the animal control department in
Parma, Ohio, are dealing with the after-
math of two apparent animal collector
cases. About 100 cats were seized in
March from the Toledo home of Matthew
Kursh, 72, who was reportedly unable to
leave his couch, while 42 fox terriers were
removed April 15 from the Parma home of
Helen Schmidt, 76, who is also suspected
of having been an unlicensed breeder.
Jose Vela, age seven, was in
critical condition April 22 at the Albert
Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia
after police officer Kevin Walton wounded
him in the abdomen while shooting a
Rottweiler whom witnesses said would
otherwise probably have killed the boy.
Even the dog’s owner, Naeem Frisby, 19,
agreed, “The cop had to do what he had to
do.” The Rottweiler attacked Vela and
another boy after breaking off a chain.
After a year of negotiation,
volunteers from the Los Angeles SPCA
have begun moving several hundred feral
cats from the Mobil Oil refinery in
Torrance, California, to a ranch in Kern
County run by the Life Is For Everything
Foundation. Mobil donated $25,000 to the
foundation and $3,000 to the LASPCA, to
cover neutering, shots, and treatment of
any other medical problems.
Karen Medicus, who coordinat-
ed rescue efforts for the American Humane
Association after Hurricane Andrew,
resigned as director of the Humane Society
of the Treasure Coast on April 6 to take a
similar job with a much larger humane
society in Texas. Medicus headed the
HSTC, in Stuart, Florida, for almost
exactly 10 years, and was in the middle of
building a $2.7 million new shelter.
However, since the hurricane, she was
under continual fire from ad hoc rescue
groups who accused her of hoarding relief
funds––which she was not allowed to give
to anyone without nonprofit status and
documentation of expenses. The heat grew
after shelter manager Rhonda Sedlock quit
December 29 and took a string of com-
plaints to the media, none of which stood
up when ANIMAL PEOPLE investigat-
ed. Medicus will be best-remembered in
Florida for initiating early neutering at the
HSTC clinic in 1989, along with free neu-
tering of cats kept by people of low incomes.
Anne Speakman, executive dir-
ector of the Shelby County Humane Society
in Columbiana, Alabama, since she found-
ed it in 1980, was fired March 30 by the
board of directors, along with four staffers
who walked out in protest. Her son Mike
Speakman was arrested for alleged criminal
trespass the next morning while cleaning
cages and feeding animals. Speakman was
noted for stopping a bear-wrestling event in
nearby Alabaster, trying to stop the Tim
Rivers diving mule act when it appeared at
the Alabama state fair, and for leading
protests against animal research at the
University of Alabama in Birmingham. The
directors accused her of ignoring a dress
code, poor record-keeping, and alienating
veterinarians by charging in an open letter
that they were more interested in making
money than in preventing rabies.
The Colorado code of kennel and
animal shelter regulations will expire
under the state’s sunset law on March 1,
1994, if neither budgeted nor renewed.
Governor Roy Roemer cancelled enforce-
ment funding on November 1, 1991, after
the state health department asked that the job
be transferred to the agriculture department,
which has responsibility for enforcing other
anti-cruelty laws. The agriculture depart-
ment, however, exhausted its entire cruelty
law enforcement budget handling a single
animal collector case. “We have very decent
laws on paper,” says Denver veterinarian
Jeff Young. “But there has been no state
enforcement at all for over a year. The cities
do some enforcement under the municipal
codes, but there’s little duplication of laws.
We have nothing to use against animal collec-
tors, puppy mills, or pet shops that mingle
sick and well animals.” (Write Roemer at
136 State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203.
Nebraska on April 13 banned trade
in native amphibians and reptiles.
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