Animal control & rescue notes
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1994:
Five months after the California
cities of Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, and Monte Sereno contracted
with a Campbell animal hospital for pound
service, instead of the Humane Society of
Santa Clara Valley, about one resident in
five who finds a stray still takes it to the
wrong place. The errors may erode the sav-
ings the cities hoped to gain by the switch.
The Harbor Animal Shelter in
San Pedro, California, estimates that 75%
of the animals it has received this
year––three or four a day––were left by
Navy families being transferred due to the
closure of the Long Beach Naval Air
Station. A parallel situation has developed
at the Wuensdorf barracks in Germany,
closed in August. Russian troops going
home left circa 150 cats behind, now fed by
volunteer Wilhelm Schrader, whose fund-
ing comes mainly out of his own pocket.
Associated Humane Societies of
New Jersey executive director Lee
Bernstein made national headlines on
August 2 after citing Frank Balun, 69, of
Hillside for cruelty when Balun bludgeoned
a rat he’d trapped in his garden, then called
Associated Humane to take the rat away.
Union County prosecutor Andrew Ruotolo
Jr. asked that the charges be dropped, but
Balun demanded the chance to fight them in
court, arguing that rodents should be
exempted from the cruelty laws.
Demonstrating why they should not be,
unknown persons littered Bernstein’s lawn
the next week with rodent remains and a
crucified baby opossum.
Nominations for the Collective
Humane Action and Information
Network Golden Link Award, honoring
an outstanding humane officer or animal
control officer, are due Sept. 9. Get details
from Cindy Machado, 415-883-4621.
Dog bite records kept by Palm
Beach County, Florida, throughout 1993
show that Dalmatians caused 24.3% of the
bites rated “severe,” while Rottweilers
caused 21.4%. More than 40% of the bites
by both Dalmatians and cocker spaniels
were to children under age 10. “Nearly a
quarter of Dalmatian bites required profes-
sional medical attention,” according to the
Florida Animal Control Association.
Overall frequency of bites by breed showed
German shepherds first at 224, consistent
with the findings of other studies and with
the popularity of German shepherds, who
make up about 16% of the U.S. canine popu-
lation. Labrador retrievers, the most popu-
lar breed, were third with 164 bites.
However, chows––a rare breed––were sec-
ond, at 166, while pit bulls (148) and
Rottweilers (144) rounded out the top five.
Chows, pit bulls, and Rottweilers together
don’t make up 5% of the canine population.
Of 241 dog bites investigated by
police and health officials in Bridgeport,
Connecticut, in 1993, 130 involved pit
bull terriers, according to chief animal
control officer Ralph Corson. Feral pit bulls
abandoned by gang members––often after
being trained to attack––are becoming an
inner city menace, Corson says.
The Humane Society of Greater
Akron on July 15 “graduated” the first 12
human participants in a pioneering program
called Humans and Animals Learning
Together. The 12 adolescents were matched
with six shelter dogs and taught to teach the
dogs basic obedience.
Victoria Wellens, formerly
executive director of the Christophe
Memorial YMCA in Waukesha,
Wisconsin, is new executive director of the
Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Humane
Society. Wisconsin Humane, seeking to
reverse a falling adoption rate, is trying to
raise $6 million to build a new shelter.
The Fulton County Humane
Society, in Swanton, Ohio, has closed its
cat shelter, opened in 1988, due to low
funds and lack of volunteers. The society
continues to offer discount neutering, do
humane education, and invesigate cruelty.
The Morgan County Humane
Society in Priceville, Alabama, found itself
with 600 rabbits in July when a trucker tak-
ing them to slaughter abandoned them in a
trailer with a flat tire. Thirty rabbits died of
heat exhaustion in the trailer––which fire-
fighters hosed down to save the rest––before
a judge allowed the rabbits to be confiscated.
At least eight infants died a f t e r
being left in hot cars during July, along with
countless animals. But a good-news hot car
story came from the Lackawanna Humane
Society in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which
on July 7 saved nine puppies who had spent
three hours in a car trunk
Euthanasias at the San
Francisco city shelter were down 35% (to
1,038) during the first three months of an
agreement whereby the San Francisco SPCA
accepts and places any adoptable or rehabili-
tatable animals that the city can’t place. Get
details from the SFSPCA, 2500 16th St.,
San Francisco, CA 94103-6589.
Ralston Purina is ending its
“Pets for People” program on September
30, which pays participating shelters $100
per pet placed with a senior, and replacing it
on October 1 with a subsidy of $10 to be
paid to any shelter that accepts Ralston
Purina coupons good for $10 off the adop-
tion price of any animal by any person.
The Humane Animal Welfare
Society of Waukesha County, Wisconsin,
celebrated 25 years of sheltering in July.
Founded in 1965, HAWS outgrew three
expansions by1990. Two founding mem-
bers, Kathleen Merkel and Mike Schallock,
are still on the board.
New York governor Mario
Cuomo on July 21 vetoed a bill that would
have enabled judges to order a person con-
victed of cruelty to surrender custody of the
animal(s) in question, and to forbid such
persons from owning animals for a specified
period. Pets could then be adopted out or
euthanized; farm animals could be sold,
with reimbursement to the farmers after cov-
ering fines and holding costs. Drafted sever-
al years ago by then–American SPCA attor-
ney Eleanor Molbegott, the bill was
pushed by both the ASPCA and the New
York State Humane Association, but was
opposed by Molbegott after amendments
because it included “an overly broad defini-
tion of farm animals” in her view, which
could have covered dogs and cats raised for
profit as well as livestock. Further, said
Molbegott, “I don’t think the perpetrators
of cruelty should be compensated.” Long
Island activist Barbara Schultz also fought
the bill, arguing that it could have allowed
shelters to sell animals to laboratories––
which would violate other state laws.
Cuomo urged that the bill be rewritten and
reintroduced next year. Cuomo also vetoed
a bill that would have set up a state pet pop-
ulation control fund, providing subsidy of
$30 toward neutering pets of the indigent
and animals adopted from shelters. Since
most major shelters in New York already
neuter adopted animals for $30 or less,
Molbegott said, “it may have only subsi-
dized what’s already being done.”
Copies of Michigan’s new felony
anti-cruelty law, adopted in May, are
available from 1-810-852-7420.
The Peninsula Humane
Society, in San Mateo, California, says
the anti-breeding ordinance covering unin-
corporated areas that the county passed in
1992 is so effective it should be extended
to incorporated cities. The largest city,
San Mateo itself, could save $80,000 a
year in animal control costs with an anti-
breeding ordinance, Peninsula Humane
says. The numbers are challenged by the
National Pet Alliance, founded to fight
the original San Mateo County breeding
ban proposed in 1990, which last year
sponsored a landmark survey of pet owner-
ship in the nearby Santa Clara Valley.
NPA figures indicate that euthanasias of
stray animals from unincorporated areas
are up; only shelter surrenders are down.
A Connecticut neutering sub-
sidy program scheduled to start on July 1
was indefinitely delayed because it had
raised just $260,000 of the $400,000 in
requisite funding. The program will
increase the cost of adopting shelter ani-
mals to $50, from the present $5, $35 of
which will be refunded to people who pre-
sent proof of neutering. The higher adop-
tion fee isn’t popular with shelter wardens,
some of whom argue it will hurt adoptions.
British Columbia agriculture
m i n i s t e r Dave Zirnhelt has introduced a
bill, expected to pass this fall, to empower
SPCAs to inspect all facilities where ani-
mals are offered for sale, hire, or show.
Missouri’s Animal Care
Facilities Act, passed in 1992 to clean up
puppy mills, takes effect on September 11,
after two years of work on enforcement
regulations. “The law covers all breeders
who have more than four intact females,
pet stores, kennels, city pounds, and pri-
vate humane societies,” explains Laura
Barnekow Swain of the Alliance for the
Welfare of Animals. “Unless these facili-
ties are already licensed by the USDA,
they must be inspected and licensed by the
state. Holding periods for strays will be
five business days, not including the day
they arrive, and must include a Saturday.
Records of all animals must be accurately
kept and will be inspected at least one a
year..” Even before the regulations were
completed, Swain says, some puppy
millers in the Springfield area were getting
out of the business.
Los Angeles has exempted pot-
bellied pigs from regulations that bar keep-
ing livestock within city limits.