News from abroad

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1996:

A ferocious spring battered central Asia into May––and got
worse when Mongolia officials seeded clouds to produce unseasonable snow,
hoping would help quell at least 288 simultaneous grassfires that killed 17
people, injured 62, burned 31,000 square miles of forest and pasture, forcing
the immediate relocation of more than 1,600 families and 436,000 cattle,
with the evacuation of another 1,600 people and 588,000 cattle anticipated.
The snow––almost the first to hit Mongolia in more than a year––put out only
a few of the fires, but froze or drowned at least 4,900 cattle, along with two
shepherd boys and their 150 sheep. Just to the south, in China, 700,000 cattle
and yaks reportedly froze to death in February during a natural cold snap.
Cyprus SPCA president Toula Poyiadjis on May 18 led 100
CSPCA members and their dogs, donkeys, and a chicken to the palace of
Glafcos Clerides, president of Cyprus, demanding enforcement of humane
laws. “Cyprus lags behind other countries in its treatment of animals,”
Poyiadjis explained. “There is prejudice, fear, and an inexplicable mania for
killing animals.”

Facing a June 2 election, Gheorghe Funar, mayor of Cluj,
Romania, on April 26 issued a pooper-scooper law and an anti-running-atlarge
law, both by decree, enforced by fines of up to $330––a whopping sum
by Romanian currency standards.
A billboard campaign against allowing dogs to poop in public,
in Lisburn Borough, Belfast, features a bare-bottomed boy squatting in a
park, captioned, “Shocking, isn’t it? You wouldn’t let your child do it…so
why let your dog?” Dog poop became a hot topic in a city better known for
sectarian civil war through the efforts of the mothers of several children who
were blinded by fecally transmitted parasites.
The British Home Office on May 2 again rejected proposed
weakening of the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, the national ban on pit bull
terriers and other dogs of similar breed type, which mandates euthanasia of
suspected pit bulls found running at large. Twelve days later, another of a
long series of cause celebre mandated euthanasias made headlines, when
unemployed builder Mark O’Brien, 34, was obliged by lack of grounds for
appeal to abandon a two-year effort to save his dog Jessie, an eight-year-old
brain-damaged paraplegic who has been in a police pound since briefly wandering
off during a dispute between O’Brien with his girlfriend.
Two roving dogs had killed 800 sheep in five months around
Glencolumcille and Carrick, Ireland, as of April 16, evading relays of
Animal attacks on British letter carriers have increased from
4,105 in 1977 to more than 6,000 in 1995, junior trade minister Philip
Oppenheim announced on April 18. The record for attacks by a single animal––10
verified in 12 months, with others probable––apparently belongs to
a black cat named Gizmo, age two, who lives with Mick and Daphne SmithHowell
in Beccles, Suffolk, and lies in ambush to nip and claw any fingers
that poke through the mail slot in their door.
The Royal SPCA and National Canine Defense League were
irate on May 4 because London Underground ordered four trains to pass over
a German shepherd cross who was lying injured between the rails, rather
than delay 1,200 passengers while attempting a rescue. The dog was apparently
hit by two trains between 7:07 a.m. and 7:28 a.m., when he was finally
picked up. Called eight minutes later, the RSPCA took an hour and eleven
minutes to get there, then euthanized the dog within four minutes.
The National Canine Defense League has begun a million-dollar
rebuilding of its rescue center at Ilfracombe. Included are to be new kennels,
with capacity for 68 dogs; an isolation unit; reception for visitors; a veterinary
block; and a new entrance and driveway.
A dog breed character assessment by the Southampton University
Anthrozoology Institute released May 14 rated greyhounds, English pointers,
and basset hounds the least reactive and aggressive, while Corgis, cocker
spaniels, and Jack Russell terriers were cited for “high aggressivity and
The British Columbia SPCA and B.C. Veterinary Medical
Association on May 16 announced a joint media campaign to promote neutering
in parts of the province beyond Victoria and the Lower Mainland.
Between May and July 31, 100 veterinarians and 30 participating SPCAs
hope to neuter 1,000 animals. The veterinarians will waive 20% of their normal
fee, while the SPCAs will cover 30% of the normal fee, leaving half to
be paid by the animals’ owners.
Christina Morison, 45, who spent the past five years setting up
the Greek Animal Welfare Society, returned to England in May with 37 cats,
at cost of about $50,000 for transportation and the mandatory six-month
British quarantine. Seventeen have already been placed for adoption. Her
organization, GAWS, sends British veterinarians to the Grecian islands to
provide discount neutering and emergency care.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals on May 17 dispatched
animal control expert Ken Rowe and team to Sarajevo, BosniaHerzegovina,
in response to news reports that roving dogs are being shot on
sight. “I expect to find the dogs in very poor condition,” Rowe said, “In
every war there are forgotten casualties.” WSPA has made frequent visits to
the war zone since the fighting broke out in 1991.
TASS reported on May 17 that a Rottweiler owner in the Volga
town of Samara will be fined just $4.00 for “improperly walking” the dog,
after the dog killed an aggressive drunk who apparently threatened the owner.

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