Animal Control & Rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

Police in the East City dis-
trict of Beijing, China, beat 351 dogs
to death during the second week of
February. “Our policy is to annihilate
them,” said district deputy chief of pub-
lic security Li Wenrui. Some other dis-
trict police bureaus spared smaller pure-
breds––if their owners could find homes
for them outside the city. Still others
killed dogs by strangulation, electrocu-
tion, and dragging them behind jeeps.
Press releases said the dogs were taken
to a shelter run by the Public Security
Ministry, but Jan Wong of the Toronto
Globe and Mail’s China Bureau reported
there is no such place. The Communist
government banned dogs as a nuisance
and a waste of food when it came to
power in 1949. Dogs have been hunted
out and killed every few years since
1951. Despite the killing, stepped up
since 1986, an estimated 100,000 dogs
inhabit Beijing, where a black market
dog can cost as much as many workers’
annual income. Foreigners and others
who can get dogs licensed and vaccinat-
ed may keep them––but rabies vaccine is
so scarce that the disease has killed as
many as 60,000 Chinese since 1980,
and most license applications are denied.

The massacres are unpopular with police,
due to risk of injury from irate dog own-
ers, and are opposed by the growing
Chinese pet industry. Said pet supply
dealer Wang Junxiang, “There are many
reasons why we did not win our bid to
host the Olympics in the year 2000, but
one of them was our image that we are
brutal to animals.”
British Columbia is consider-
ing updating its anti-cruelty act for the
first time in 98 years. The new version
would create a civil cruelty offense,
which would be much easier and less
costly to prosecute than criminal cruelty.
The Animal Defence League
of Canada has begun a nationwide peti-
tion drive to secure stiffer penalties for
animal abuse. The maximum is now six
months in jail, a two-year ban on animal
ownership, and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
“In practice,” the ADLC says, “we do
not know of the maximum penalty ever
having been imposed.” Get petitions
from 613-233-6117. The deadline for
return is May 31.
SPCA National Council of
South Africa records from fiscal year
1992-1993 indicate that South Africans
neutered female dogs nearly four times
more often than males; spayed female
dogs three times as often as female cats;
were 2.5 times more likely to neuter a
female cat than a male cat; were eight
times more likely to take a dog to a vet-
erinarian; and were six times more like-
ly to adopt a dog.
While most other jurisdic-
tions in North America are moving
toward tighter controls on wolf
hybrids, after at least 10 fatal attacks on
children and dozens of fatal attacks on
other animals during the past few years,
Alberta Fish and Wildlife has asked the
provincial legislature to lift a ban on
wolf hybrid ownership because conser-
vation officers dislike enforcing it.
Public safety, says assistant director of
wildlife management Brent Markham, is
“not our major concern from a wildlife
management standpoint,” suggesting
that “the public safety end of things is
routinely handled by municipal bylaws.”
Alberta already has the most liberal laws
on keeping captive wildlife of any
Canadian province, adopted to accom-
modate deer and bison ranchers––and a
growing number of canned hunts. The
move is opposed by the Calgary Humane
Society, naturalist Brian Keating, and
University of Calgary wildlife biologist
Valerius Geist.
British humane authorities
issued a national warning against
mailing pets to animal shelters on
February 23, after workers at the
Edenbridge shelter found an unconscious
puppy in a parcel mailed from Tunbridge
Wells, eight miles away. The puppy
survived a night at subfreezing tempera-
tures, without fresh air, food, or water.
Ian Causley, agriculture
minister for New South Wales,
Australia, said March 17 that he will
soon present a discussion paper on cat
control to protect indigenous wildlife.
Australia has an estimated three million
pet cats––and 12 million ferals.
Measures under consideration include
confining cats to their owners’ property,
a dawn-to-dusk cat curfew, compulsory
registration with microchip ID and a
high neutering differential; a limit on
cats per household; a tax deduction for
neutering; requiring each outdoor cat to
wear at least two bells; and impounding
all strays.
Statistics compiled during
1993 by the Eastern Townships
Society for the Protection of Animals
in Sherbrooke, Quebec, show that
complaints about cruelty to dogs out-
numbered complaints about cruelty to
cats, 78-12. Of the dog abuses reported,
55% involved poor living conditions;
19% neglect of health; 22% violence
against the dog; and 4% cruel transport.
No dog abandonments were reported as
such, but the SPA received four com-
plaints about cat abandonment; only one
complaint about violence to a cat; five
complaints of neglect of cat health; and
two complaints about cats kept in poor
Pet overpopulation
Catching flak for Bill
Clinton’s two attempts last year
to buy a dog from breeders, t h e
White House indirectly addressed
pet overpopulation in February with
a sympathy card purportedly sent by
Socks, the Clintons’ cat, to Rep.
Charlie Wilson (D-Texas), whose
cat Khyber died of kidney failure
last November. “As a former home-
less cat,” Socks said, “I know that
by adopting Khyber from an animal
shelter, you gave him many won-
derful years that he otherwise might
not have had.” Wilson adopted
Khyber from the Angelina County
Animal Shelter in Lufkin, Texas,
and took him to Washington D.C. in
1986, where he became one of the
best-liked occupants of the Rayburn
House Office Building.
A bill mandating steril-
ization of animals adopted from
pounds and shelters has cleared
the Georgia state senate and assem-
bly, and is expected to be signed by
the governor. Initially proposed by
animal rescuer Karen Ball, the bill
was backed by an unprecedented,
sometimes fractious but ultimately
successful alliance of humane soci-
eties, animal rights groups, animal
control officers, veterinarians, and
the Georgia Coalition of Dog Clubs.
A bill to ban the sale, transfer,
and/or possession of wolf hybrids,
sponsored by the state Department
of Natural Resources, was under
assembly review at deadline. There
are now an estimated 10,000 to
20,000 wolf hybrids in Georgia.
Special license plates to
benefit the New Jersey Animal
Population Control Fund are to go
on sale circa April 1 at all 49 offices
of the state Division of Motor
Vehicles, priced at $50 plus $10 for
each annual renewal. Initially
financed by dog licensing, the
Animal Population Control Fund
subsidized the neutering of 69,000
pets during the first eight years it
existed, but was badly depleted two
years ago after more than $600,000
was diverted to rabies control work.
The Wisconsin Humane
Society euthanized 353 more ani-
mals in 1993 than in 1992, even as
animals received dropped from
20,248 to 20,140, because 636
fewer animals were adopted––a
decline of 10.8%. Adoptions by
local rescue groups were sharply up,
suggesting there may be a ceiling on
the number of animals the public is
willing to absorb from shelters and
rescuers––at least until more people
can be convinced to adopt shelter
animals who may not be exactly the
size, age, or breed they want.
The Washington state
senate on February 11 adopted a
nonbinding resolution asking resi-
dents to observe a one-year morato-
rium on dog and cat breeding, and
urging local governments and vet-
erinarians to “expand cooperative
efforts to reduce the population of
cats and dogs by making available
more reduced-cost spaying and neu-
tering programs.”
Twenty of the 95 coun-
ties in Tennessee have no resident
veterinarian, while 35 have no ani-
mal shelter of any kind, reports Dr.
John New of the University of
Tennessee College of Veterinary
Medicine. Developing a survey pro-
tocol for the National Council on
Pet Population Study and Policy,
New recently surveyed veterinarians
to identify every animal shelter in
Tennessee. There are 82 shelters in
Tennessee, all told, 51 of them run
by animal control departments, 25
by humane societies, and six by
other agencies.
Shelter security
The Animal Rights
Foundation of Florida posted a
reward of $1,000 on February 21
“for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of any individ-
ual guilty of stealing and/or selling
animals from Clay Couny Animal
Control for the years 1991, 1992,
and 1993,” after an audit discov-
ered 651 impounded dogs and cats
could not be accounted for. Animal
control director Connie Goon said
that of the 544 animals missing in
1992 and 1993, 137 died, 86
escaped, 184 were still in custody at
year’s end and added to the next
year’s inventory, and the remaining
125 animals may be ‘missing’ only
due to clerical errors by volunteers.
Goon said she had filed theft
charges against four former shelter
staffers in recent years, but local
ARF member Marguerite Richey
told ANIMAL PEOPLE that none
of the four were in fact accused of
theft. On February 24, Florida state
attorney Harry Shorstein announced
that no charges would be filed over
the missing animals, but ordered
seven specific improvements to
shelter security, and pledged to
keep the file open.
Police in Hayward,
California, are seeking a man
who broke into the city animal
shelter on February 24, setting off
a silent alarm; kicked a cat to death;
stuffed four cats into carrying cases
and a duffel bag; and fled––leaving
the cats ––as officers arrived.
The American Red Cross
and the American Humane
Association on March 9 updated
and renewed their 1976 statement of
understanding, which recognizes
the AHA as the lead agency in ani-
mal relief work during national dis-
asters. “The AHA has been
involved in disaster relief since
1916,” said spokesperson Cathy
Rosenthal, “when the U.S. govern-
ment asked the association to form
the Red Star Emergency Animal
Relief Program to care for the
400,000 horses used by the military
during World War I.” The AHA has
coordinated animal rescue work
after more than 40 disasters––
including six in the past two years.
The dozen members of
the Geauga County Animal
Rescue team handle about 200 calls
a month for the Geauga County
Humane Society, whose director,
Betty Nenadal, formed the unique
auxiliary to pick up injured and
abandoned animals at night and over
weekends, when conventional ani-
mal control services are unavailable.
A Valentine’s Day fire
leveled the home of San Benito
County Wildlife Rehabilitation
Center director Nan Pipestem, in
Paicines, California, killing a cat, a
parrot, and a redtailed hawk.
Pipestem and her family, including
two grandchildren, moved into the
rehab center office. The rehab cen-
ter barn survived, though damaged.
The San Benito County SPCA and
the Granite Rock Co., which owns
the site, hope donations and their
insurance policies will enable them
to build Pipestem a new house.
The California state
assembly Water, Parks and
Wildlife committee took testimony
March 8 on a bill to legalize ferret-
keeping. The state banned ferrets
about 60 years ago, to protect farm-
ers who claimed ferrets used for
hunting would get loose and attack
barnyard poultry. These days most
ferrets are kept as pets––and most
poultry never gets outside. Permits
for neutered ferrets were issued by
the state Department of Fish and
Game until 1987, but were dropped
after ferrets maimed small children
in several other states. The bill,
backed by the California Veterinary
Medical Association, may supersede
a pending lawsuit seeking to over-
turn the ban, brought by ferret res-
cuer Bill Phillips of San Francisco.
Aurora, Illinois, on
March 3 updated its animal con-
trol ordinance to allow authorities
to confiscate pets from abusive own-
ers. Confiscatory offenses include
failure to properly feed, water, or
house the pet; overloading or over-
working an animal; failure to pro-
vide veterinary care; and abandon-
ing, wounding, or beating an ani-
mal. Violators may also be fined
from $50 to $500. A state bill to
increase the penalties, now among
the lowest in the U.S., is before the
Illinois assembly (HB 3101, intro-
duced by Rep. Tom Johnson).
Councillor Janice Rett-
man of St. Paul, Minnesota, seeks
an ordinance to mandate microchip
ID for all dogs declared dangerous
by the city animal control depart-
ment. Owners would also be
required to get the approval of the
city health department before relo-
cating or transferring custody of a
dog declared dangerous within city
limits. Any dog who has caused
serious bodily injury or disfigure-
ment to a person, is unusually
aggressive toward other animals, or
has bitten people at least twice may
be declared dangerous in St. Paul.
Such a declaration requires the
owner to post warning signs, post
$300,000 in liability insurance, and
allow only people over age 15 to
look after the dog. There are
presently an estimated 60 dangerous
dogs living in St. Paul.
Dan McCloud, 71, of
Philadelphia, has fed the feral cats
who inhabit the former Eastern State
Penitentiary snce 1971, spending an
estimated $20,000 on cat food, but
has never once been able to pet any
of them. Last year the Preservation
Committee of Greater Philadelphia
paid for neutering the 12-member
colony, which once numbered 40,
and now reimburses McCloud for
the cat food. The PCGP plans to
turn the prison into an historical site.
Atlanta Humane Society’s annual
fundraising pet parade rose from
$5,000 in 1992 to $25,000 in 1993,
after coordinator Cardin Wyatt
raised $12,000 from local corpora-
tions to cover publicity and mer-
chandise gifts to paraders who col-
lected at least $50 in pledges. Wyatt
offers details c/o Atlanta Humane,
981 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta
30318; 404-875-5331.
The Animal Rescue
League of Des Moines, Iowa,
takes in 1,000 abandoned hunting
dogs each fall, shelter director Tom
Colvin recently told The Wall Street
Journal . ANIMAL PEOPLE has
received reports from elsewhere in
the midwest that indicate the ARL
experience isn’t unique. Fewer than
a third of the hunting dogs received
are ever either reclaimed or adopted.
Legislation In Support of
Animals hosted a town meeting
February 24 in Jackson, Mississippi,
to ask what it’s going to take to get
the city council and police depart-
ment to replace the aging and sub-
standard animal shelter. The shelter
was ruled inadequate by the Hinds
County Grand Jury in 1992, by the
Humane Society of the U.S. in 1993,
by LISA on January 27 of this year,
and by the Hinds County Grand Jury
again a few days later.
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