LETTERS [July 1996]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:

Reward Juliette
As you reported in your
June cover story, “Wishing for an
end to bear hunting,” a seven-yearold
New Mexico child recently
chose to receive seven painful rabies
shots rather than have a bear cub
who nipped her be killed and tested
for rabies. Juliette Harris was quoted
as saying, “I just didn’t want that
cute baby bear to die.”
Nice, eh? Especially after
the brouhaha about the Make-AWish
Foundation sending 17-yearold
Erik Ness to hunt a bear.

I spoke with Juliette’s
mother, who said that Juliette had
learned her lesson––”Those needles
aren’t any fun”––and that she probably
won’t soon be cuddling any
more bear cubs, but has no regrets
and would go through the pain again
to keep the cub from being killed.
The rabies treatment is
expensive, about $1,500, and this is
a family of modest means. Methinks
they should be rewarded for allowing
Juliette to do the right thing. In
the spirit of this belief, Sangre de
Cristo Animal Protection Inc. has
started a fund to be split between the
rehab costs for the bear cub and
Juliette’s medical bills. Please send
all donations to the Bear Fund, at
the address below.
––Lawrence Carter-Long
Sangre de Cristo Animal Protection
POB 11395
Albuquerque, NM 87110

We chipped in. CarterLong’s
initial appeal via the Internet
brought donations of $600. Erik
Ness, as it happened, failed to kill a
bear. Make-A-Wish remains baffled
by the objections made to his wish,
since it reportedly hasn’t heard com –
plaints about routinely taking chil –
dren to fish at the Hinckley Reservation
in Cleveland and Paul
Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang
Camp in Connecticut.

Heroic dogs
Your May cover article on
heroic dogs was excellent.
However, I was surprised that with
all the mention of Rottweilers, you
left out Sheba, who broke off her
chain to dig up and revive her puppies
after Robert Homrighous buried
them alive in January 1995. Sheba’s
story was also featured on the Oprah
Winfrey Show and the Liza Minelli
Show and in People magazine. The
fact that my sister was the arresting
officer in this case really made me
sit up and take notice!
––Shelly Schlueter
Montour Falls, New York

We reported on the Homrighous
case––and on the heroic
Sheba––in March 1995, after he
was arrested, and in June 1995,
after he was convicted and sen –
tenced to serve four months in jail
plus five years on probation.
Elsewhere in our May edition, we
noted that police detective sergeant
Sherry Schlueter, of Broward
County, Florida, heads a unique
unit dedicated to investigating
crimes against children, animals,
and the elderly. Our “Heroic dogs”
feature, however, focused on dogs
whose heroism crosses boundaries
of species, relationship, and even
prior acquaintance. The Press Trust
of India reported June 1 on yet
another such case: a pack of feral
dogs in Calcutta, who stood guard
all night over a baby they found
abandoned at a garbage dump, fol –
lowed her rescuer to the police sta –
tion the next day, and waited there
until she was taken to Mother
Theresa’s orphanage.

Cape Town
I recently received your
April edition and would very much
like to continue receiving ANIMAL
PEOPLE. Unfortunately, Animal
Rescue is not in a position to subscribe,
as our finances do not permit
and the rate of currency exchange is
not in our favor. Our work is centered
in the townships and squatter
camps around Cape Town, which
are some of the most poverty-stricken
communities in South Africa. Is
there any way you could continue
sending ANIMAL PEOPLE to us?
––Karen de Klerk
Animal Rescue
Vlaedberg, South Africa

The generosity of our
donors makes possible complimen –
tary subscriptions sent to more than
4,500 animal shelters and animal
protection organizations around the
world, including Animal Rescue,
now added to our list, which might
otherwise have to choose between
subscribing and saving an animal’s
life. Your contributions also make
possible complimentary subscrip –
tions for a growing list of more than
1,000 school libraries.

Firm support for Frederick’s

Your May edition in “Woofs and growls”
quoted from a statement of the National Alliance for
Animals with respect to rejecting Frederick’s of
Hollywood as a $10,000 sponsor of the upcoming
World Congress for Animals and the March for the
Animals. As a firm supporter of the Alliance and as a
sponsor of the March, the Ark Trust wishes to go on
record as opposing their unfortunate decision.
Pressure to reject Frederick’s reportedly came
from two principal sources: Feminists for Animal
Rights and Gary Francione of the Rutgers Animal
Rights Law Center. These people are perfectly entitled
to reject sponsorship for the respective organizations
from anyone they deem inappropriate, but since neither
one of them is sponsoring either the World Congress or
the March, one must ask what right they have to
impose their sanction in the name of the rest of us,
much less in the name of animal rights generally. As
ANIMAL PEOPLE reported, many female participants
in the AR-Views online forum took issue with
FAR, defending Frederick’s and the concept of erotic
self-expression as central to a liberation philsophy. As
for Francione, his opposition to the March is well
known, and his condemnation of those who disagree
with him is even more well-established.
This incident regretably illustrates a tendency
of some elements within the movement to practice the
self-destructive politics of exclusion. Instead of
encouraging and rewarding individuals and groups for
taking steps in a humane direction, such critics prefer
to condemn and discourage potential allies for not being
animal rights purists. This not only betrays a failure to
understand the basic principles of behavior modification,
it reveals a sad lack of understanding that the animal
rights movement will never become mainstream by
marginalizing itself.
The Ark Trust is very proud and grateful that
George W. Townson, the president and chief executive
officer of Frederick’s, is a new member of our board of
directors. But our position on this matter would be
exactly the same even if he were not. The animals need
all the help they can get, and George has been, and is
becoming ever more so, one of the best friends they
could ever have.
––Michael A. Giannelli, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Ark Trust, Inc.
Sherman Oaks, California

Hot dogs
I got Animal People this a.m. and was interested
in Sherry De Boer’s letter about Frederick’s of
Hollywood. I can’t believe they were booted from
sponsorship of the March for the Animals. What about
the Houston Rockets? I am sure they serve hot dogs and
hamburgers at their games and I bet some or most of
their players are not vegetarian. Nobody has proposed
booting them. This seems a little inconsistent.
––Shirley McGreal
Intl. Primate Protection League
Summerville, South Carolina

Disgusted with New York
Were I to believe everything I read in ANIMAL
PEOPLE, I would think New York, through the marvelous help of
the North Shore Animal League, was well on its way to solving the
overpopulation of dogs and cats. Unfortunately, I spend a lot of
time at the city pound, the Center for Animal Care and Control.
Approximately 770 pets are killed every week at the CACC, most of
them young, friendly, and reasonably healthy. (Scores of kittens,
cats, dogs, and pups are “euthanized” for sneezing.) I am beyond
disgustedwith what I see here and the bogus public relations crap I
read and see via the media here.
––Patty Adjamine
New Yorkers for Companion Animals
New York, N.Y.

The editor replies:
New York City has 7.3 million people. The Center for
Animal Care and Control, the only organization in the city that does
population control euthanasia, put down 40,421 animals in 1995:
55 per 10,000 residents.
San Francisco, which quit doing population control killing
on April 1, 1994, has 733,000 people: 10% of New York. In
fiscal year 1995, San Francisco euthanized 4,745 animals: fewer
than any other U.S. city of at least equal size, but at 65 per 10,000
residents, still 10 more animals per 10,000 than New York.
San Diego, with the next lowest shelter euthanasia rate of
any major U.S. city, killed 75 animals per 10,000 residents. The
U.S. as a whole killed 195 animals per 10,000 residents.
The New York City Center for Animal Care and Control
adopted out 9,616 animals, while returning 4,911 strays to their
homes; the North Shore Animal League adopted out 33,000; and
three other major no-kill shelters serving New York City adopted out
as many as 5,000 more among them.
Even allowing that perhaps 10,000 of the North Shore
adoptions were to Long Island and other suburbs, offset by North
Shore imports of about as many adoptable animals from out-of-town
shelters which would otherwise euthanize them, New York City area
shelters collectively saved more animals than were killed.
Except for San Francisco, whose shelters returned 1,411
strays to their homes and adopted out 7,192, no other major U.S.
city is even close to that accomplishment.
Every animal life lost is a tragedy, especially since the
births of homeless animals can be prevented. Flagrant corruption at
the American SPCA during the 100 years, 1894-1994, that it held
the New York City animal control contract wasted resources that
should have gone into low-cost neutering: the standard neutering
procedures were approved by the American Veterinary Medical
Association in 1923, yet low-cost neutering is still scarce in much of
New York City, a situation which should ease with the opening soon
of the Fund for Animals’ new clinic. Certainly there is still progress
to be made. But equally certainly, huge credit is due to North
Shore, the CACC, and the Friends of Animals discount neutering
program, which began in the New York City area, and credit is due
as well to all the other individuals and institutions who are part of
the little appreciated New York City success.

Turtle camp
I am a retired biologist. My wife and I are involved with an organization called E l Custodio de las Tortugas, in Nayarit, Mexico, between Puerto Vallarta and San Blas, an area of white sand beaches, nesting sea turtles, wintering whales, and wildlife-filled estuaries. Undiscovered by developers because it was inaccessible until two years ago, it is on the verge of disastrous development. Our purpose is the conservation of the largest sea turtle nesting beach in the region, as well as the preservation of adjacent estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, and jungle habitats. The state of Nayarit has been able to fund one turtle camp, which protected and released over 50,000 hatchlings of several endangered sea turtle species last season. Still, over 70% of the nests on this beach are destroyed or robbed. We are authorized to assist in building and maintaining an additional camp which will at least double these results. We need equipment and volunteer help for the turtle camp. In addition, with the blessing of the local ejidos, we are putting together a lowimpact, eco-oriented resort complex, to provide income for the local population without the negative impacts of large scale development. Please check out our World Wide Web page: >>http://www.methow.com/-custodio<<. Any help or comments will be appreciated.
––Dr. Mindaugas Labanauskas
Nayarit, Mexico

Thank you for your continued interest in our books!
You made a mistake, however, in the “Titles to read aloud”
section of your April edition, in stating that “Most
Charlesbridge titles are translated from French.” We have
translated and published three French series, Animal CloseUps,
Little Nature Books, and Curious Creatures, but most
of our titles are original.
––Jessica Allan, Promotions Coordinator
Charlesbridge Publishing, Watertown, Massachusetts


I’ve admired your news coverage for many years,
and am grateful for your annual listing of the budgets,
assets, and expenses of the dozens of national animal protection
groups. When you first moved to Shushan, four
years ago, I did talk with you about visiting, but never got
there. You were very busy, just settling in––and now
you’re moving away!
The situation in this area is critical. Of seven animal
control officers in this area, only those in Fort Edward
and Queensbury are responsive and responsible re our
efforts at local levels to protect terribly abused animals.
Could you do an expose of the local scene? We
could certainly help provide specifics.
––Polly Rouillard
Fort Edward, New York

The editor fulminates further:
Attitudes toward animals are as bad in the
Adirondacks as we’ve seen anywhere. We regret that we
haven’t been able to do more to turn things around, though
we donated many subscriptions, books, and videos to local
schools and libraries, spoke at every gathering we were
invited to attend, and wrote often to the Glen Falls PostS
t a r, correcting misinformation reported there about ani –
mals, until we were barred from writing by the publisher,
who is also a rodeo promoter. We have reported on the
major local cruelty cases, including the December 1995
resignation of former Granville animal control officer Ralph
E. Holmes, after he was convicted of drowning a cat––his
admitted usual means of killing cats. We also reported on
the frequent local instances of violence toward animals pre –
ceding violence toward humans, e.g. the cases of serial
child-killers Lewis Lent Jr. and Arthur Shawcross, who
were prominent hunters; William A. Burdick, who stran –
gled his 17-year-old niece, orphaning her infant daughter,
then videotaped himself raping the corpse, but was defend –
ed by his hunting buddies; and serial rape/kidnap suspect
Joel O’Keefe, a local hunter who was lauded on t-shirts for
evading the police and living off the land, until a sandwich
shop employee turned him in because “he smelled like a
hunter” out of season. The mind-boggling frequency of
child molestation locally led to our studies of the association
between hunting participation and child abuse, an associa –
tion which became ever stronger as we eventually analyzed
the records of every county in New York, Ohio, and
Unfortunately, the Adirondacks region is not the
only “cruelty pocket” in the U.S.; there are many such. We
believe we can do most to enlighten such “cruelty pockets,”
which often coincide with poverty pockets, by highlighting
not the dismal depths but rather the successes of people like
Meredith Fiel, the high-voltage president of Adirondack
Save-A-Stray, whose low-budget accomplishments in a
Corinth storefront are analagous to those of the San
Francisco SPCA and the North Shore Animal League in
their much bigger spheres of operation, and might be emu –
lated by others in their own locales. We profiled Fiel in our
April 1995 edition.
We appreciate all who carry on the work here,
and shall not forget you in our new location.

On May 11, a puppy came to our shelter with a
gunshot wound. The puppy was shot in Washington
County, Maryland, by a young man believed to be in his
mid-twenties. Soon after hearing the shots, a neighbor
caught the puppy. She saw a man walking away with what
appeared to be a teenaged boy. Both had guns. Another
dog, apparently the puppy’s mother, ran off.
Getting no response from the county animal control
officer, we asked the witness to call. She did, despite
concern for her safety and that of her animals. The investigating
officer told us that the suspect confessed and agreed
to pay the puppy’s veterinary costs, expected to exceed
$500. No reimbursement has been made. We asked if the
suspect shouldn’t do community service at the county shelter.
The officer said this could only happen by court order,
and that the county prosecutor would not pursue it , as the
suspect admitted the shooting and claimed his fiance was
threatened by the dog.
The neighbor tells us these two young men have
caused other problems related to “target practice.”
Excuses aside, is it humane to wound and leave
an animal, or wise to fire a weapon in a residential area?
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources tells us that
state laws about discharging weapons apply only to hunting.
Apparently the law does not bar shooting nongame animals.
This was not an isolated event. We also recently
received a cat who had been thrown from a car; a rescuer
friend had two dogs poisoned by a neighbor who was a
retired police officer; and a rescue group we work with in
Pennsyvlania has a kitten who was used as a basketball by
several children. On Saturday we received a litter of kittens
whose mother’s neck had been broken by someone who
intended to use the kittens for target practice.
These cases are indicative of social issues, not
just animal issues. ––Paul Harrington
Cause For Paws
Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

The editor isn’t quite done yet:
Hope for getting law enforcement to take animal
cruelty cases seriously comes from the cruelty sentencing
survey we published in June. Far more offenders do jail
time now than four years ago, as more judges and prosecu –
tors recognize that animal abuse often precedes spouse and
child abuse, rape, arson, and murder. Unfortunately,
such recognition is not yet universal, especially where hunt –
ing, fishing, cockfighting and rodeo are part of the culture,
and even spouse and/or child abuse–– and nonpayment of
child support––are still often treated no more seriously than
a parking ticket. The American Humane Association, with
a mandate to protect both animals and children, is notewor –
thy for advancing this recognition. The American SPCA,
with authority to prosecute cruelty anywhere in New York
state, is conspicuous for not getting involved outside the
New York City area, whether or not local organizations
have adequate resources to address cruelty. Too many
other national groups are likewise invisible at the local
level. As Andrea Thompson recently put it in the newsletter
of the Humane Society of Montgomery County, Texas,
“What would the impact on animals be if the nationals
ceased to exist? Probably, no impact would be noticed on a
local level.” One thing some of the nationals could do is
send out attorneys and investigators to help local humane
societies bring sadists to justice, not just in high profile
cases, but as a routine charitable service.

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