LETTERS [March 1995]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:

In Africa
Please be advised that the
city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, is
not the first in Africa to have enact-
ed a law to address pet overpopula-
tion. Though the amount of fines
levied for allowing bitches in heat to
roam vary from one municipality to
another, such bylaws are in place
and have been for many years in
South Africa. The National Council
of SPCAs has in addition submitted
proposals to the Government to
address the population of domestic
pets. Educational programs on this
issue have been carried out by the
SPCA movement in South Africa
for nearly 20 years.
––Barbara Nash
National Council of SPCAs
Republic. of South Africa

Hunters, perverts
The article “Ohio data con-
firms hunting/child abuse link” in
your November issue is significant,
impressive, and revealing. It occurs
to me that there is a strong possibility
that many young boys are forced into
hunting because of fear of their
father’s reaction if they refuse.
Perhaps a similar study can
be made regarding the two states that
have the highest percentage of
––Jean Lauren
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Having already found a
strong statistical association between
rates of hunting and child abuse in
New York and Ohio, stronger even
than the association of hunting and
child abuse with rural poverty,
we’re now looking at the Michigan
data. (The New York study appeared
in March 1994.) The New York and
Ohio studies are still available from
us at $2.00 each.
It worked for St. Francis
I guess you’ve noted how
upset Idaho, Montana, and
Wyoming are over wolf reintroduc-
tion. What more could be done for
public relations?
Widely distribute the
film and book Never Cry Wolf, by
Farley Mowatt.
Widely distribute factu-
al information about wolves,
including what to do if you meet
Hold a lot of meetings
and interviews with ranchers. The
more they talk, the more their
greed and self-centeredness
becomes apparent.
Make the connection
that if we eat vegetarian, we won’t
have large livestock herds.
Some wolf defenders
unfortunately may have anti-social
motives, and may be deifying
wolves. In particular, deep ecolo-
gists may deify the senses. Their
hope in life seems to be to re-expe-
rience those times when they are so
caught up in stimulus/response that
they forget they are spiritual, mor-
tal, and emotional as well as physi-
cal beings. They seem to use the
advantages over animals that God
has given us to become super preda-
tors rather than super stewards.
The remarks of anti-wolf
ranchers that we ought to put
wolves in New York City’s Central
Park make the point that if we
thought we might be suddenly and
unexpectedly confronted by a wolf,
we might agree with them. Yet if
Christ lives in us, we ought not to
fear wolves. Lack of fear and abun-
dance of trust might affect the wolf,
or perhaps the Holy Spirit would
counsel us to a safe course of
action, or inaction.
––Karen Moore
Duluth, Minnesota
With the urban prolifera
tion of wolf hybrids and the tenden
cy of hybridizers to backbreed, one
is more likely to meet a wolf in
Central Park right now than any
where in the wild.
Rabies scare
Please accept this long
overdue thank you for your help and
the material you sent to me and the
Martin County public officials con-
cerning the rabies scare we had in
November. We had a meeting with
our county officials and I presented
them with your materials. Over two
dozen private citizens showed up in
the small conference room they
arranged for us. They were over-
whelmed that so many people were
concerned about the welfare of
wildlife. We were strong in our
objections to random trapping and
killing. They listened, looked at the
material, and agreed with us. It is
amazing what a little knowledge can
do to make a large difference.
Martin County, Florida, now
knows that random trapping doesn’t
prevent rabies, and that there is an
effective animal welfare force here.
A big thanks for that goes to you.
––Susan Beattie
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Dirty pool
Just wanted to
congratulate you on the
fine article, detective
work, and philosophy of
your series “Dirty pool.”
We need a Carl Rogers or
Jimmy Carter to get some
peace and understanding
between some of these
warring factions, and on
the same note, between
warring humane groups. I
would love to try as a
group therapist. Once I
saw Carl Rogers help an
Israeli and a Palestinian
realize they had so much in
common that the session
ended with both of them
hugging each other.
––Dr. Emmanuel Bernstein
Saranac Lake, New York
James Pearson of
People Acting for Animal
Liberation made an
extremely important point
in his letter in your
January/February edition:
the date of World
Laboratory Animal Liber-
ation Week, late in April,
is absolutely useless in
Canada because the stu-
dents have left the campus-
es and the university news-
papers have all closed.
How can we go about get-
ting the date changed?
––Marg Buckholtz
Voice for Animals
Kingston, Ontario
The American
SPCA’s annual Dog Walk
is nothing but a public rela-
tions fraud perpetrated on
thousands of well-inten-
tioned dog-lovers who
believe their registration
fees are used to help ani-
mals. In truth their money
is used to promote this
event. According to the
ASPCA’s 1993 IRS Form
990, the 1993 Dog Walk
had gross expenses of
$132,886 on gross rev-
enues of $123,789, for a
net deficit of $9,097. The
kind-hearted public is pay-
ing the ASPCA to make
the ASPCA look good.
Period. The animals most
assuredly do not benefit.
––Livi French
Eye on the ASPCA TV
New York, New York
This is an update on Daniel P.
Boyle, DVM, former head of animal control
in DuPage County, Illinois, who was hired
last summer in the same capacity in Fairfax
County, Virginia, and drew salary from both
posts for nearly two months. He has been dis-
missed, and the animal lovers of this county
are happy about it. The double-dipping was
just a good excuse to fire him. He upset so
many veterinarians and animal rescue groups
here that he had to go. Many wildlife rehabil-
itators were removed from the call list, and
breed rescuers were told they could no longer
take purebreds out of the shelter, even if no
one adopted them. If a dog so much as
growled, he was put down. Cats were con-
fronted with strange cats. If they reacted neg-
atively, they were put down. Even the
euthanasia curtain was taken down, so that
other animals could see their companions
being killed.
There was a lot of bad press. Dr.
Boyle’s life was allegedly threatened, and
Fairfax County had to do something. This
county does not like controversy. All the ani-
mal groups have worked well together, and
we are happy things are back to normal.
––Pam Grant
The Ferrets of Pet Pals
Ferret Rescue and Adoption
Annandale, Virginia
Grant’s account is substantiated by
Fairfax County media and other rescuers.
Boyle has declined the chance to comment.
What hope?
I thought you might be interested in
a few articles from the Long Island Newsday
concerning incidents that happened within
two days this week. A young female seal who
was so badly slashed she required 300 stitches
died, the third seal to die from slashing since
November. A dogfighting ring was broken up
in Coram, and another in Amityville, and a
cat was doused with kerosine and shot six
times in the head. Luckily the cat’s owner
found him and the veterinarian was able to
save him. The one consolation is that the peo-
ple involved in these atrocities will all be pun-
ished, but how can we expect people to ever
live in peace with one another when they do
these things to the most innocent of all?
––Jean Boucher
Holbrook, New York
Thank you for publishing the assets
and salaries of the humane establishment in
your December issue. There was a picture of
a small black cat at the bottom of the page
concluding the salary listings, advertising a
video. The cat was sitting beside the caption,
“Born to be Betrayed, alone, abandoned,
and out of sight of the people who betrayed
him.” The cat appears to be looking up at the
millions of dollars in assets and salaries. That
cat now knows who betrayed him, and why.
––Marilyn June
Volunteers for Inter-Valley Animals
Pueblo, Colorado
Wise vs. Swett
As you may recall, two years ago
Primarily Primates Inc. sued me in Texas [dur
ing a dispute over the amount PPI owed Wise
for legal counsel]. Last year, after PPI refused
to compromise, I filed counterclaims against
PPI for defamation, abuse of process, and vio-
lation of the Federal Civil Rights Act.
Enclosed, please find a copy of the final judge-
ment of the U.S. District Court in Texas. The
judge notes that Wally Swett [president of PPI]
swore that PPI spent $50,000 in this lawsuit, as
well as that PPI suffered no damages from any
of my alleged acts, and that Swett’s claims
against me were “based on speculation.” This
speculation was incorrect.
I also want to express my disappoint-
ment concerning your recent article about PPI.
Despite falsely making it appear that I was a
money-grubber, you got some facts wrong,
omitted other facts that were unfavorable to
Swett, and made it appear that Swett was a
victim. Perhaps worst of all, you didn’t even
bother to get my side of this continuing unfor-
tunate saga or, apparently, the viewpoint of
anyone unfavorable to Swett.
––Steven M. Wise, P.C.
Boston, Massachusetts
We have reported on the various
allegations against Swett and PPI, by Wise
and others, five times in the past 31 months.
The most serious charges have involved animal
care; a recent personal inspection affirmed
that the PPI animal care remains excellent
despite the ongoing acrimony.
Zoo or sanctuary?
If you can classify as a roadside zoo a
facility that cares for its permanent residents in
the manner that Wild Animal Orphanage and
its compassionate and caring staff do, then yes,
call us a roadside zoo. We do charge admis-
sion for an “Educational Tour.” The fees keep
our animals healthy, happy, and fed. Our
members and the general public can walk in off
the street any time they wish and will always
find a clean, well-maintained facility. While
many of our animals are in small quarters,
none are cramped to the point of distress. Had
we been granted the luxury of being financially
well-off at the beginning of our endeavor to
build a tip-top facility, we certainly would
have given them more space. But like most,
we struggle by the month to reach our goals.
We do, however, have the luxury of
not depending on the organization for our per-
sonal livelihood. For 10 years my husband and
I have not drawn one red cent in salary.
We challenge ANIMAL PEOPLE to
find another USDA-licensed facility compara-
ble with WAO. Primarily Primates and
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation are not
licensed by the USDA to exhibit animals to the
public and do not give educational tours
because, according to them, that would make
them into roadside zoos.
––Carol Asvestas
Wild Animal Orphanage
San Antonio, Texas
Editor’s note: The USDA-licensed
Flag Acres Zoo, just 20 miles from here, pro
vides a similar standard of lifetime care to a
similar group of cast-off exotics, charging the
same $5.00 admission, providing a compara
ble tour. It too is nonprofit, with unpaid direc
tors. We suggest that the distinction between
“roadside zoos” like Flag Acres and sanctuar
ies like WAO is more semantic than real––and
as we pointed out in our article about WAO,
the Association of Sanctuaries’ categorical
exclusion of all facilities that exhibit animals
and charge admission is unrealistic. Most ani
mal care facilities do need to support them
selves; and if sanctuaries don’t do public edu
cation about exotics, the job will be forfeited to
those who are strictly out to make a buck.
Service dogs aren’t pets
The advertisement for the North
Shore Animal League on the last page of the
January/February issue of A N I M A L
P E O P L E, captioned “Training Special Dogs
To Assist Special People,” failed to distin-
guish between personal pets and service dogs,
which have access to public places under the
Americans with Disabilities Act. Those of us
at the Delta Society® national Service Dog
Center, as well as the over 73 service dog
training programs across the country, have
worked for many years to educate the public
that service dogs are working dogs, defined
under the ADA as “any guide dog, signal
dog, or other animal individually trained to
provide assistance to an individual with a dis-
ability.” Though much loved by their owners,
they are not family pets.
The obedience training that the
North Shore Animal League provides to
ensure that dogs become suitable companions
to senior citizens and people who may have
disabilities is laudable, but is n o t the same
thing as a rigorous training curriculum which
qualifies a service dog to perform reliably in
public places despite distractions and stress.
It is important to maintain the distinction
between dogs who perform the service of
companionship, valuable though this is, and
dogs who are in fact trained to do specific
essential jobs and enjoy special legal status
because of their unique qualifications. If
companion dogs are misidentified as service
dogs, are admitted to situations where dogs
are ordinarily forbidden, and then misbehave
as even the most obedient companion dogs
may under unusual conditions, the special
status of service dogs could be eroded.
This is already a risk inherent in the
lack of uniformity in service dog training. No
certification of trainers/instructors, accredita-
tion of training programs, or uniform evalua-
tion of service dogs is now required. To com-
plicate matters, an increasing number of the
more than 1,300 calls and letters the Delta
Society handles each year have come from
people with disabilities who want to work
with a local trainer to train their own service
dogs, rather than go to a training program.
Their reasons vary: a desire to select and train
a dog from a local shelter; discouragement
with the up to six-year waiting list at some
programs; inability to travel to another state
to get a trained dog; a desire to bond with the
dog while it is being trained; or a need to cor-
rect inadequate training in a dog they current-
ly have, or to train the dog to do new tasks.
To our knowledge, there is no comprehen-
sive training curriculum now available to help
these people and to set a standard of quality in
service dog training.
The Delta Society recognizes a need
for reliable service dog training experts in
every community, able to meet the needs of
residents and to work with dogs whose initial
training may have come elsewhere, at other
centers. To meet this need, the Delta Society
Service Dog Center received a small planning
grant to convene a Service Dog Training Task
Force in December 1994. The task force has
produced a plan for writing a comprehensive
curriculum that will be made available nation-
ally and will especially focus on how to select
and train dogs from animal shelters. The cur-
riculum will have modules for how to train
the service dog, the trainer, the handler (per-
son with disabilities), the family of the han-
dler, health care professionals (who can “pre-
scribe” a service dog), businesses and the
general public, veterinarians, and pet loss
counselors. The curriculum will be field-test-
ed in cooperation with several shelters.
Delta Society staff will not write
this curriculum. Our role is to find the fund-
ing and to empower skilled and experienced
volunteers (dog trainers, educators, persons
with disabilities) to write each of the modules,
as we have done with our national animal-
assisted therapy curriculum in our Pet
Partners® Program. We will seek funding for
each module based on its priority to produce a
timely and top-quality curriculum, and to
implement it.
We invite NSAL and other shelters
across the country to help us. There are over
50 million people with disabilities, but we
estimate only about 14,000 service dogs are
helping people who are blind, deaf, mobility-
impaired, or facing mental and emotional
challenges. Millions of dogs now euthanized
could find new lives as cherished service
dogs. But we owe it to the dogs to be sure
they receive extensive and humane training;
and we owe it to people with disabilities to be
sure that they receive the training and follow-
up they need to be an effective and loving
partner to their service dog. Then we can feel
confident when we advocate for these teams
to be welcomed in all public places, knowing
they will perform safely and professionally.
––Linda M. Hines
Executive Director
Delta Society Service Dog Center
Renton, Washington
Who gets the money?
Our annual budget is less than what
the Humane Society of the U.S. spends on a
coffee break.
––Ruth Weddon
Pet Lovers Protective League
Canoga Park, California
Je me souviens
Please find enclosed my subscription
to your wonderful paper. I have been working
at the Montreal SPCA for four years, until last
July, when my job as an education officer was
cut. Since then, I’ve missed a lot reading your
paper. Keep up the good work!
––Liette Chevalier
CP 607
Napierville, Quebec
IFAW saves elephants too
It is nice to be able to congratulate
you for something, rather than complain, as I
regularly do, about the energy you expend on
trashing animal welfare organizations that you
think do not meet your standards. Your
review of John Hoyt’s book Animals In Peril
was excellent and to the point.
However, I must say it was bizarre
to claim that “elephants were spared o n l y
through energetic lobbying by Friends of
Animals, via the many nations which have
received FoA help in fighting poachers.”
While not undervaluing FoA’s activities,
many other non-governmental groups––
including IFAW––also lobbied actively, and
have also given anti-poaching aid to small
nations that came to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species tri-
ennial meeting opposed to the South African
downlisting proposal.
IFAW had hoped, among other
things, to help combat what you rightly call
the “sustainable use myth” from within the
International Union for the Conservation of
Nature by applying for membership in that
body, knowing that many of the present
members are equally opposed to it. However,
IFAW’s application was recently rejected.
This happened essentially because the so-
called “wise-use movement” now controls a
blocking vote on the IUCN Council as well as
having a powerful lobby within its Secretariat.
We now plan to put much more energy and
resources into alerting all NGOs––both those
concerned primarily with animal welfare and
those more focused on conservation and envi-
ronment, inside and outside IUCN––to what
is going on in a union which was originally
established to promote “conservation of nature
and natural (living) resources.” The powers
that be are now evidently more concerned to
promote the killing of wild animals for sport,
commerce and so-called “tradition,” with
conservation of species a poor second priority
and their overall and individual welfare
nowhere in the picture.
This activity is not condoned by the
IUCN membership as a whole, as the out-
come of debates in its General Assembly last
year make evident. It is being justified by a
not very subtle but very persistent distortion
of language. The Members did agree that if a
society (state or whatever) permitted the
(lethal) use of a certain species of wild animal,
then such use has to be demonstrably “sustain-
able” and “equitable.” They did not agree that
those two were the only criteria that can legiti-
mately be applied in policy decisions by
appropriate authorities concerning “use”:
there are many others, not least among them
being humane treatment. But despite that, the
IUCN Secretariat is now proudly announcing
that it is actively p r o m o t i n g lethal use (and
commerce) and advising governments on how
to set about it, all on the spurious grounds
that Hoyt and you denounce: that the money
so obtained might go back to “saving” the
remaining animals.
Those of us who are determined to
stop all this nonsense will find many allies,
not least among the personal memberships of
some of the groups whose bureaucratic lead-
ers have been seduced by the “sustainable
use” myth. We shall, however, only be
effective if we are coherant and cooperative in
our endeavor, even if we sometimes differ
among ourselves regarding the tactics used to
achieve our ends. Do not underestimate the
determination or the financial resources (some
private, some from certain governments) of
the constellation of persons and organizations
that constitute the “wise use movement.”
––Sydney Holt
Scientific Advisor
International Federation for Animal Welfare
Podere Il Falco, Citta della Pieve, Italy
Editor’s note: According to IFAW director of animal welfare Paul J. Seigel, “IFAW
began helping elephants in Uganda in 1987 when, following the reign of Idi Amin, only some
200 elephants remained in Queen Elizabeth National Park––an area that as recently as 1979 was
estimated to hold approximately 3,500. Since 1987, IFAW has given more than $300,000 in
aid. We have provided six lorries to mobilize the ranger force and supported park running costs
and paid for the training of rangers and education programs. The result has been a three-fold
recovery of the population. There are now estimated to be nearly 600 elephants in the park.
Ivory poaching is unknown. Meat poaching of hippo and buffalo is rare.
“This past fall, IFAW began to support a similar anti-poaching program in Kidepo
Valley National Park, also in Uganda. Prior to our participation, this was the only one of
Uganda’s 10 national parks that did not receive outside aid. Located in the remote northeast
corner of the country, bordered by Kenya and Sudan, Kidepo is home to some 80 mammalian
species––but poaching continues. Cheetah are seldom seen. Just four giraffe remain. Rhinos
have been wiped out completely. The elephant population is now estimated at just 250.
IFAW’s contribution of $35,000 will help to provide transport, vehicle parts, and fuel for the
rangers. We will also help to repair roads to improve the team’s mobility. We have high hopes
that our efforts in Kidepo will be as fruitful as our efforts in Queen Elizabeth.”
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