Animal control & rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1995:

Legislation
The San Mateo County (California)
pet overpopulation ordinance is “a legislative
f a i l u r e , ” according to The Animal Council, an
association of dog and cat fanciers, in a newly
published “evaluation of statistics and reports.”
But the evidence is ambiguous. Countywide
euthanasia records going back to 1970 show dog
euthanasias peaking at 20,191 in 1971, declining
steadily to 1,298 in fiscal year 1990-1991, just
before the controversial San Mateo County ordinance
was adopted in March 1992. Since then,
dog euthanasias have continued to drop at approximately
the previous rate, to 1,111 in fiscal year
1993-1994. Cat euthanasias peaked in 1970, at
21,796; bottomed out at 4,697 in 1979; were
steady between 6,988 and 7,417 from 1985-1986
through 1991-1992; and since then have fallen to
5,134. Noting that 18 cities in San Mateo County
have not ratified the county ordinance, which
applies in unamended form only to the relatively
small unincorporated part of the county, the
report notes that, “Unincorporated cat euthanasias
in 1993-1994 were 46% greater than in 1990-
1991, the year prior to implementation” of the
ordinance, “compared to a 27% decrease countywide.”


Indeed, both the number of dogs and the
number of cats euthanized from the unincorporated
area hit lows in 1990-1991, of 38 and 168,
respectively. But the rise in dog euthanasias since
has only been to the level of the preceding two
years, and the rise in cat euthanasias to a peak of
437 in 1992-1993 was followed by a 27%
decrease to 312 in 1993-1994. The numbers are in
any case low enough that one or two more feral
cat colonies or collector cases per year could
account for the differences.
Petitioners seeking to place a cat
licensing mandate on the 1996 Massachusetts
ballot needed the signatures of 65,000 state residents
before December 4, but were unlikely to get
them after the Humane Coalition of Massachusetts
on October 16 came out against cat licensing.

Explained directors Val Beatty and Bonney
Brown, “This proposed law would require individuals
to license each cat, and would also require
animal shelters to purchase a permit. This would
cost already overworked and financially strapped
shelters more paperwork and funding. Individuals
caring for stray and feral cats would be forced to
pay for licensing or risk having their animals
taken from them and euthanized. For many stray
and feral cats, this law would be their death warrant.
Responsible cat owners would be forced to
pay a ‘cat tax,’ and all taxpayers would have to
pay for enforcement. Benefits to the cats seem
questionable, at best.”
“A very important bill is coming up in
the House of Representatives,” reminds Batya
Bauman of Feminists for Animal Rights. “ H R
1619,” introduced at urging of the American
Humane Association, “would make it illegal to
prohibit companion animals in federally assisted
housing for people over age 55 or disabled. Please
contact your Congress person and ask him or her to
support HR 1619.”
The Michigan senate on November 9
unanimously passed two bills that impose fines of
from $5,000 to $50,000 for involvement in any
aspect of animal fighting, such as dogfighting or
cockfighting, along with a third bill to require that
all animals adopted from shelters must be sterilized.
“The bills will go back to the state house for
concurrence when the legislature reconvenes on
November 28,” Said Michigan Humane Society
spokesperson Michele Mitchell. “The bills are
expected to be signed into law by the governor in
early December. The sterilization bill will take
effect January 1; the fighting bills will be effective
immediately.”
Lake Mills, Wisconsin, on October 20
repealed limits on the numbers of cats, dogs,
ducks, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets
who may be kept at a property. The revised animal
control ordinance bans keeping any wild, exotic,
or endangered species. “If you have several dogs,
this is probably good news,” said city manager
Vern Johnson, “but if you have a boa constrictor,
it may not be so good.”
The Salt Lake County Commission i n
Utah is reviewing proposed revisions to the county
humane laws including the institution of cat licensing,
breeding permits, permits allowing residents
to keep more than the present limit of two pets per
household, and a ban on selling or giving away
dogs and cats in public places.

No-kills
The 1995 No-Kill Conference co-hosted
by Doing Things for Animals and the Pet Savers
Foundation in Phoenix was such a success that the
next three No-Kill Conferences are already booked.
The 1996 No-Kill Conference will be co-hosted by
the Max Fund, of Denver; the 1997 No-Kill
Conference will be co-hosted by the Neponset
Valley Humane Society, in Canton, Massachusetts;
and the 1998 No-Kill Conference will be
co-hosted by the San Francisco SPCA.
Vet tech Janet Cioppini underbid the
Humane Society of Sonoma County in July t o
win the animal control contract in Petaluma,
California, but the humane society resumed management
of the reportedly decrepit city shelter in
early November after Cioppini’s attempt at no-kill
animal control apparently ended with her arrest over
unspecified alleged financial irregularities amid
complaints about overcrowding and disease in the
shelter. Defenders of Cioppini countercharged that
HSSC framed her. Cioppini’s organization, TLC,
is named for her personal cats, Thunder,
Lightning, and Cause.
Greg LaTraile, 68, former editor of
the Phoenix Zoo magazine, has approximately
one year to relocate the Meow City care-for-life
shelter for geriatric cats. While working at the zoo
a decade ago, LaTraile began rescuing cats he
found abandoned on the grounds. After acquiring a
dozen, he left the zoo to become live-in cat caretaker
at Meow City, begun by the late Trudy Hay,
who then had 350 cats. Most had been abandoned
when their caretakers moved, died, or entered rest
homes. There are now just 120 cats left, but the
Hay estate is depleted and the land has been sold.
A San Jose M e r c u r y – N e w s article last
July about impoverished cat rescuer Sharon
Wills, of nearby Menlo Park, brought her donations
of $29,460 plus 2,880 pounds of cat food
from Cat Claws Inc., an Arkansas mail-order
house––but, the M e r c u r y – N e w s reported on
October 29, Wills still needs volunteers to help her
look after the 30 feral cat colonies under her care.
Wills, 40, is a drug researcher for Roche
Bioscience, of Palo Alto.

 

Dogs
According to a recent American Kennel
Club bulletin headlined, “Attention all shelters,”
the AKC “has adopted a new policy concerning
owner release of AKC-registered dogs. If anyone
owns an AKC-registered dog and releases the dog to
a pound or shelter, or does not retrieve an AKC-registered
dog who has been picked up for running at
large, his or her privileges to register another AKC
animal or future litters of puppies will be revoked.
Shelters or pounds are asked to retain the papers on
AKC animals which are owner-released to their
facilities, and attach an affidavit to the papers stating
that the animal was owner-released. If the
owner does not turn in the papers with the animal,
shelter workers are asked to get the animal’s registered
name from the owner and send it to the AKC
along with an attached affidavit.” But apparently
this declaration isn’t as sweeping as it sounds. A
clarifying statement issued October 20 by AKC
administrative manager Patricia Fiore added, “Only
in cases where an individual attempts to evade prosecution
for animal cruelty or neglect and as a matter
of plea bargaining turns his/her dogs over to the
humane society, would an individual’s privileges be
affected.” Thus owner-surrenders for reasons of
behavior and conformation would apparently not be
included, nor would owner surrenders resulting
from contested cruelty cases.
A University of Washington study of 37
serious dog attacks on children found that 21 of
the dogs belonged to neighbors of the victims, 13
belonged to the victims’ own household, and just
three were strays. Three children were killed; a
dozen required treatment in an intensive care unit.
The study appears in the December edition of
Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of
Pediatrics.

Shelters
Oregon statewide animal shelter
statistics gathered for the fourth straight
year by the Oregon Animal Welfare
Alliance show marked gains in all categories.
Intakes were down from 116,490 in
1991 to 88,994 in 1994, with a statistically
insignificant fluctuation upward of 96;
adoptions were up from 19,105 in 1992 to
29,803 in 1994; returns to owner rose from
8,355 in 1992 to 10,350 in 1994; and
euthanasias have dropped from 79,713 in
1991 to 45,245 in 1994.
Girard Home Kennels, of
Bloomfield, Connecticut, reportedly
underbid Connecticut K-9, of
Newington, in competition for the
Hartford dog pound contract––a decade
after losing the contract amid extensive allegations
of mismanagement––but didn’t get
the contract due to quick intervention by
Hartford residents. Julie Lewin,
Connecticut representative for the Fund for
Animals, called the episode a classic
example of the importance of having local
animal people politically organized.
Oklahoma City is to vote
December 12 on a bond issue needed to
outfit the new city shelter with cages and
runs. Support for the bond issue and supplementary
funding are being raised by Best
Friends of the Oklahoma City Animal
Welfare Division, an auxiliary also
involved in promoting adoptions. The odds
against the bond issue looked long in early
November, after BFOCAWD cancelled its
Save-A-Pet Holiday Outreach due to short
funding, which annually placed about 75
animals, but voters typically decide on
bond issues at the very last minute, and the
traditional key to passage is just asking voters
to go to the polls, which takes volunteer
door-to-door and telephone help, rather
than money.
The Highland County Humane
S o c i e t y , in Hillsboro, Ohio, on October
26 auctioned 115 Arabian horses confiscated
in February from farmer William Sheets,
who was convicted of 10 counts of cruelty,
fined $1,250, barred from owning horses
during a three-year probation, and given 60
days in jail, serving 10 days with the
remainder suspended. Highland County
humane officer Anne Tieman said the auction
was necessary because, “We’ve gotten
to the point where we don’t have any
funds.” To prevent the horses from going to
killer-buyers, the humane society barred
removal in large trailers. Bidders reportedly
came from as far as Texas.
The American SPCA has convened
a December 5 roundtable discussion
among executives of major shelters in
the greater New York metropolitan area to
discuss “Mutual cooperation among humane
agencies, animal identification and licensing,
overpopulation and spay/neuter, and
the feral cat problem,” all in just two hours.
Burglars hit the Michigan AntiCruelty
Society during the night of
November 4, taking $20,000 worth of computer
equipment , fax machines, typewriters,
telephones, cameras, rifles confiscated
in cruelty investigations, and a just-donated
$2,000 camcorder system.

Exotics
PIGS, A Sanctuary for Vietnamese potbellied pigs,
during Thanksgiving week moved the unclaimed pigs from among
123 left homeless by the collapse of the Clemenswine Memorial
Potbellied Pig Sanctuary to the PIGS headquarters in Charles Town,
West Virginia. The pigs were temporarily housed by Jan Hamilton
of the Wilderness Ranch Sanctuary for Farm Animals, in Loveland,
Colorado, after Clemenswine founder Rhonda Slogar walked away
from her rented facility in Sedalia. The Boulder Valley Humane
Society took in 26 pigs, PIGS accepted custody of 89, the Denver
Dumb Friends League covered their feed costs at Wilderness
Ranch, and the Ahimsa Foundation and United Animal Nations
issued emergency grants to cover the cost of moving the pigs to
Charles Town––where PIGS founders Dale Riffle and Jim Brewer
scrambled to find $5,000 to cover housing, fencing, vaccinations,
and neutering. “This year,” Riffle asked, “instead of having a ham
for Christmas, we’re asking people to help us save these pigs.”
[Address PIGS at POB 629, Charles Town, WV 25414.] Singer Wayne Newton pledged November 15 to hold a
benefit concert in San Antonio in early 1996 to raise funds to
help relocate 600 Japanese snow monkeys from the present South
Texas Primate Observatory site at Dilley, Texas, to a far larger site
near Millet. Earlier this year, statements by Texas Parks and Wildlife
personnel hinted that the monkeys might be shot with impunity
when they wander outside their present quarters, as young males
often do, but an unofficial “monkey season” was averted when
defenders of the monkeys pointed out that they are private property,
protected by the same laws that protect wandering livestock.
DePaul University (Chicago) biology professor Dolores
McWhinnie this fall commenced teaching a course in the management
and behavior of exotic cats, including a winter field trip to the
Turpentine Creek Exotic Wildlife Refuge near Eureka Springs,
Arkansas. Initial enrollment was 10.

Licensing
County-by-county dog licensing statistics compiled by
the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture show a range in estimated
compliance of from under 1% (Menomonee) to 100% (Marquette),
with the median at 46%. The percentage of licensed dogs who are
neutered ranges from 20% (Barron) to 100% (Menomonee), with
the median at 59.5%.
The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA in California
achieved 79% dog licensing renewal compliance in fiscal year 1994
using computer-generated mailers. However, overall dog licensing

compliance may be as low as 12%.
Complaints about the new cat-licensing law in
Fremont, California, reportedly center on the use of large tags
designed for dogs to mark compliance. The Animal Services
Department reportedly told the San Jose M e r c u r y – N e w s that 850
cats have been licensed, of an estimated 2,300 owned cats in
Fremont, but national ownership norms indicate the actual owned
cat population is closer to 24,000.

Foreign
“Thanks to all who sent faxes and letters to Bezalel
Tabib, mayor of Arad, Israel, protesting the planned campaign to
poison every cat in the city,” writes Nina Natelson of Concern for
Helping Animals in Israel. “The mayor has agreed to postpone the
poisoning in order to consider humane alternatives. Please advise
Tabib that the most humane alternative would be to establish an
animal shelter, which would undertake a neutering program to prevent
overpopulation. The number to fax is 011-972-7-954-265.”
Paris spends $8.4 million to lease and operate 70
motor scooter-like sidewalk vaccuum cleaners to remove the 25
tons of dog poop per day left by the city’s estimated 250,000 canine
residents. A fine of $600 for allowing a dog to defecate on the sidewalk
is reportedly seldom enforced; 650 people per year are hospitalized
or treated for broken limbs after slipping and falling on dog
poop.
Dog packs––including wolf hybrids––are terrorizing
Moscow, Russia, the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets reported
on October 27. Vitus Inc., a private animal control firm, was said
to be catching 20,000 stray dogs a year, killing 18,000.
Two hundred outraged dog owners protested on
November 19 in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, against a newly imposed
$17 licensing fee––low by U.S. standards, but two weeks income
for the average Mongolian. Having no animal shelters and no neutering
clinics, Mongolia hires gunmen to kill stray dogs on sight.

 

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