Humanitarians confront the Cold War legacy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1997:

“Hello,” Ioana Stoianov posted to various
Internet bulletin boards on November 11. “I’m a 23-
year-old student from Romania, and I’d like to do
anything in order to improve the dogs’ lives in my
country. For example, in a big town, Braila, the
dogs without a master are shot to death, and it’s
legal! Can’t we do something? Please write me.”
Her message, which could as easily have
come from the rural U.S., was just one of many like it
posted recently from inside the former Soviet empire.

Armenian documentary filmmaker Vardan Hovhannisyan,
for instance, asked fellow members of the
Society of Environmental Journalists for help in finding
the funding and broadcast time to expose dogshooting
in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, along
with poaching of eagles, the Armenian national bird.
In the U.S. during the Great Depression,
hard times, lack of humane laws, and plentiful
strays produced the traffic in random-source dogs and
cats to biomedical research, which peaked just
before the 1966 passage of both the Animal Welfare
Act and Congressional authorization of thenPresident
Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.
In the Ukraine, alleged Leon Mishnaevski,
M.D., of Kiev, and apparently elsewhere within in
the former Soviet Union, the fur trade rather than
biomedical research is the primary market. Animals
are caught, bludgeoned, and skinned by “a state
institution called Budka,” Michnaevski asserted,
which has a dual mandate, combining animal control
with making jobs for ex-convicts.
“All attempts to stop the activity of Budka,”
Mishnaevski added, “both in the Soviet Union and
afterward, have failed.”
U.S. humane activists who try to reform
substandard animal control shelters might empathize,
especially Jeff Dorson of Legislation In Support of
Animals, in Louisiana, and Doll Stanley of In
Defense of Animals, in rural Mississippi. But the
LISA and IDA teams are trying to bring facilities and
practices up to much better national norms. Within
Kiev, the Ukraine, and perhaps across most of the
former Soviet Empire, Budka a r e the norm. They
prey upon a homeless dog population estimated at 20
million–– compared with just 60 million people.
Added Michnaevski, “There are charitable
people as well in Kiev, who feed and defend the animals,
keeping three to ten dogs and cats apiece in
their small flats. There is a shelter for homeless
dogs, supported by only one woman, Galina D.
Shiyanova. She has not property or money, she does not
work, but she spends all her time with dogs,” about 200 of
them, “most of them rescued from the Budka. She asks alms
on the central street of Kiev, and the dogs live only by the
alms, from bread, beets, and water. They live badly, but at
least they do not die in pain.”
Unfortunately, Michnaevski concluded, “The
administration of Kiev is going to confiscate the building of the
shelter, to use it for other purposes.”
Is it a case of official indifference, of repressing a
contrary example, or just of shutting down a public nuisance,
whose proprietor may indeed be an animal collector?
The hard questions for outside investigators in assessing
any conflict between public shelters and private rescuers
become even tougher to answer across cultural, linguistic, and
geographical divides. Yet they must be answered if humane
agencies from the developed nations are to deliver effective aid.
Established humane organizations in the U.S., Great Britain,
and France are increasingly involved in outreach––but are also
discovering, as have leaders of anti-hunger and other foreign
aid projects, that where needs are great and scarcity is not just
a condition but a way of life, resources ran rapidly be depleted
to no visible effect; corruption and theft are ever-present risks;
and the mere hope that help is coming can produce desperate
infighting among needy people who long since lost faith that
standing in line could bring fair distribution of any resource.
Patrick E. Tyler of The New York Times o n
November 30 documented the work of another lone humanitarian,
Lu Di, 69, of Beijing. Lu Di runs the Association of
Small Animal Protection in China, a shelter for 100 dogs near
People’s University, which she formed after visiting a daughter
in the U.S. in 1988. In addition, Lu Di and her husband share
their own apartment with 51 cats and six dogs.
“I started rescuing cats and dogs with my kids during
the Cultural Revolution,” she told Tyler. “Human beings were
not safe then, let alone cats.”
Lu Di talked to Tyler just three weeks after Shanghai
officials reportedly beat 3,000 dogs to death in the streets,
emphasizing the seriousness of plans to cut the city dog population
of about 150,000 by at least two-thirds. License fees are
set at $600 for first registration and $240 for each renewal––
more than the average Chinese annual income.
Similar fees are imposed in Beijing, where dog massacres
have proceeded often since the beginning of the
Communist regime in 1949. Three times, most recently in
1990, authorities have killed Lu Di’s dogs.
China, generally, is not a promising venue for
humane work. Animal fighting for entertainment is still popular,
though recently halted at some zoos due to complaints
from western visitors; meat consumption is rising as fast as
production permits; and the sale and cruel slaughter of live animals
for food, a hot issue in San Francisco, is generally
remarked––and decried––only by foreigners.
Lu Di does have some supporters. A British charity
funded her work for a time, and she receives pharmaceutical
help from Gao Deyl, chief of the Beijing Agricultural
University animal hospital.
“I think that in China, 80 to 85% of the people do not
understand the significance of animal protection,” Gao Deyl
observed. “But at least in the cities, it is getting better.”
Like Shiyanova, Lu Di might be deemed an animal
collector by U.S. standards, but in nations where use of the
term “slaughterhouse” to describe public pounds isn’t just an
extravagant metaphor for a high euthanasia rate, forming alternatives
may take a measure of obsession.
The still relatively low per capita dog and cat populations
of most of the former Soviet Union and China, if kept low
by the introduction of high-volume, low-cost neutering, make
possible the hope that their humane movements can avoid the
century-long sidetrack into animal control that more-or-less
derailed the U.S. humane movement until the past decade.
On the other hand, the wherewithal to curb dog and
cat fecundity must arrive before increased petkeeping brings
reproduction at the rates that sent U.S. shelter intakes and
euthanasias soaring for most of the 20th century.
An initial effort to share information and material
support, the International Conference on Companion Animal
Welfare, was held in Budapest, Hungary, during midOctober.
The cosponsors were the North Shore Animal
League’s International Programme Office and the National
Canine Defence League, of Great Britain.
“We tried hard to invite grassroots people, besides
decision-makers,” explained North Shore foreign representative
Roger Weeks, noting the participation of 105 delegates
from 80-odd organizations in 23 nations. “We think we managed
to build bridges between these groups in their own countries,
as well as across borders.”
Weeks and other western humane representatives are
picking focal projects, pairing off in a sort of buddy systeme.
North Shore, for instance, already has a neutering and adoption
program started in southern Italy, an underdeveloped area
with cultural links to the former Soviet block nations on the
eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, and is setting up similar programs
in Slovakia and––tentatively––the Ukraine. The British
Dog Wardens Association and Battersea Dogs Home are likewise
involved in southern Italy; the NCDL is also a partner in
Slovakia. The British groups Blue Cross and the National
Animal Welfare Trust, as well as the France Societe de
Protecion des Animaux are targeting other areas, Weeks said.
The new humane societies in eastern Europe have the
advantage of being relatively close to each other, and therefore
relatively easy for a traveling representative like Weeks to
assist on visits.
Elsewhere, new organizations often carry on
alone––among them Animal Rescue Kuwait, emerging after
the 1990 Persian Gulf War; the Life Conservationist
Association of Taiwan, incorporated in 1993; and the Esther
Honey Foundation Clinic of the Cook Islands, opened in 1995.
At last word, ARK was following a traditional western
model in seeking to take over from the Kuwait government
the responsibility for handling feral cats. The ARK shelter
housed about 700 cats, but was perhaps most favorably recognized
for halting the alleged live skinning of incompletely
stunned camels by impatient slaughterers.
The Life Conservationist Association, led by
Buddhist monk Wu Hung Bhiksu, emphasizes public education,
in part because it lacks the economic base to take on a
large hands-on mandate. A primary objective is to improve
Taiwanese animal control practices, now resembling those of
the U.S. in the late 19th century, before humane societies
formed. Packed cages, rough handling, starvation, and cruel
killing are the norm, Wu Hung Bhiksu and his volunteer
helpers allege, believing lasting change will come only when
the public cares enough about animal suffering to demand
change. While seeking outside pressure to help obtain immediate
improvements, the LCA emphasizes the need to develop a
uniquely Taiwanese humane movement.
The Esther Honey Foundation has similar practical
goals, but an opposite approach, in that it is primarily a highvolume,
low-cost neutering clinic, staffed by U.S. veterinarians
who assist on their vacations.
Begun in 1985 by U.S. rescuer AnnaBell Washburn,
a parallel neutering project on Virgin Gorda in the British
Virgin Islands is run by volunteers from the Tufts University
School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dog and cat population control killing is a perennially
hot topic, in the U.S. and abroad––and how animals are killed
seems to generate more outrage than killing itself. An April
1994 ANIMAL PEOPLE review of public controversies at
101 U.S. shelters over the preceding decade found allegedly
cruel killing at issue in 29, and premature killing at issue in 10.
In the U.S., however, there is at least a pretense that the killing
is “euthanasia,” done to prevent suffering. Abroad, dogs and
cats are often killed any way that works.
Ironically, progress may come faster in some of the
poorer nations, where an infusion of animal protection cash
buys more clout. In November, for instance, the World
Society for the Protection of Animals claimed victory over the
use of electrocution to kill dogs in Bogota, Columbia. After a
spring rabies outbreak, WSPA press officer Laura Salter
reported, “the city paid dog catchers $4.00 for every dog they
could bring in,” a handsome sum by the national standards.
“This economic incentive led the dogcatchers to start
stealing pets,” Salter continued. As many as 500 dogs a week
were crowded into cages, drenched, then jolted with cattle
prods. Some survived both the shocking and subsequent mass
burial. “Armed with video evidence,”
Salter added, “WSPA immediately entered
into negotiations with the Columbian
Embassy and the Columbian secretary of
health. Worried that the video might be
broadcast, the government within days conceded
to stop the electrocutions in Bogota
and all other Columbian cities. To completely
resolve this problem, WSPA has
offered to make a financial commitment to
help the Colombian officials institute
humane stray control methods.”
By contrast, Concern for Helping
Animals in Israel and Israeli humane societies
have been unable to persuade either
judges or mayors in the cities of Emek-Hefer
and Arad that poisoning cats with alpha
chlorolose is inhumane, despite edicts from
both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic chief rabbis
that such poisoning violates the foundation
principle of tsaar ba’alei chayim,
loosely translated as “cause no suffering.”
In Japan, one of the wealthiest
nations in the world, animal control is conspicuously
efficient––too efficient, charges
Fusako Nogami, head of the Japan AntiVivisection
Association. Each year, he
recently told London Times c o r r e s p o n d e n t
Robert Whymant, Japanese animal control
staff kill 750,000 animals in carbon dioxide
chambers, 40 to 50 at a time, who are then
automatically conveyed to cremation ovens
after 30 minutes without anyone checking to
see if they are alive. Shelter killing rates are
high; adoption rates are low. Animals are
apparently more likely to be sold to laboratories
than be placed in new homes. JAVA
literature argues that Japan uses about 20
million animals of all types in biomedical
research, about 30% more than the U.S.,
but a species breakdown is unavailable.
In absence of other strong national humane organizations,
JAVA not only fights vivisection but also defends animals
in other contexts, for instance trying to reunite displaced
residents of Kobe with lost pets after the January 1995 earthquake.
Those who got their pets back were allowed to keep
them in temporary dwellings, through the lobbying efforts of
then-JAVA president Anko Shiina and others, but replacement
housing opened in September was offered on a no-pets basis.
Japanese donor support of wildlife protection is
reportedly rising fast, especially on behalf of “warm, fuzzy”
species such as koalas. Similar developments in the U.S. and
Britain during the 1960s and 1970s presaged the rise of the animal
rights movement.
Institutional age
Wherever standards of living are high, most animalrelated
controversies seem familiar––which may be taken as
either an encouraging hint that progress will follow development,
willy-nilly, or as a depressing suggestion that humane
progress won’t be possible without economic progress.
In Hungary, the hot humane issue in November was
a national ban on pit bull terriers, adopted in response to a rise
in dogfighting, increasing association of pit bulls with drug
dealers, and several fatal pit bull attacks on children.
How bad the Hungarian dog situation may be overall
is strictly relative. “Every fifth family has a dog,” says Agnes
Szechy of the Fauna Society. “About 1.5 million dogs are registered
with the animal health authorities. Another half million
dogs are stray, and there are plenty of dogs in the country who
are unregistered and unvaccinated, but have masters.”
Emerging antivivisection protests are controversial in
Singapore, but at deadline the most recent appeal for international
help from Singaporean activitst, issued December 8,
called for letters protesting as too lenient a fine of $360, roughly
75% of the maximum, imposed on Seah Kian Hock, 31, for
beating a dog to death. Survey data published in the June 1996
edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE indicated that similar crimes
committed in the U.S. since 1992 have drawn an average total
financial penalty of $408, plus six months of jail time, usually
suspended––but as recently as 1991, the average sentence was
about the same as Seah Kian Hock’s. Singaporan dog and cat
population management statistics likewise parallel those of the
U.S., as the workload is divided between a private humane
society and a government animal control unit.
To considerable extent, the growth of humane attitudes
in any nation is generational, and the strength of humane
societies is a factor of age. This incurs a paradox in India,
where humane teachings may be traced far back into the evolution
of Hinduism, the primary religion. Buddha made kind
treatment of animals a basic precept circa 2,600 years ago;
Mahavira taught strict veganism, as the most influential
founder of the Jains. In the 15th century, the Hindu leader
Jambhuji instructed the desert-dwelling Bishnois people to protect
trees and wild animals with their lives; in the 18th century,
300 faithful were killed in the act of hugging trees to protect
them from a Maharajah’s loggers. Strict vegetarians, the
Bishnois today are fierce foes of poaching.
“There are many cases of Bishnois surrounding
hunters and beating them so badly that they
were unable to walk again,” New York Times
correspondent Sanjoy Hazarika reported in
1993. “The hunters’ vehicles are usually
Despite the age and strength of the
Indian religious traditions, points out
Compassion Unlimited Plus Action joint secretary
Sanober Z. Bharucha, “The animal welfare
movement in India is comparatively new.”
The oldest animal protection institution
in India may be the Jain-run Charity Bird
Hospital, in Delhi, begun in 1917. The oldest
dog-and-cat shelters date back about 50 years,
typically tracing origin to the efforts of British
immigrants such as Annabella Singh, founder
of Help In Suffering and longtime Indian
director of WSPA, and the late Crystal
Rogers, who founded four humane societies
between 1960 and 1991.
The humane societies of South
Africa, Jordan, Pakistan, and many other
one-time parts of the British Empire have similar
history. It would be easy to ascribe their
rise to the British influence.
Yet there is another possibility.
Much of the cruelty in contemporary India
may be traced to economic desperation, associated
with urban crowding and the breakdown
of rural society. It may be that when the overwhelming
majority of Indians had genuine
faith that animal abuse could lead to reincarnation
as a suffering beast, humane institutions
were less needed than in a society transformed
by science and industry. Perception by British
immigrants of a need to form humane societies
doesn’t seem to have begun until after the era
of British administration, while Rudyard
Kipling, much involved in the early English
and American humane movements, held forth
Indian attitudes toward animals as morally
instructive for his Anglo/U.S. readership.
The humane movement of each
nation has its own etiology. Like almost every
form of humanitarian endeavor in Argentina,
Argentine efforts against animal cruelty are
sometimes said to have begun through the
interest of Eva Peron, 1919-1952, the all-butsainted
fur-wearing yet dog-loving wife of former
president Juan Peron. True or not, the
Asociacion para la Defensa de los Derechos
del Animal president Martha
Gutierrez personifies a 35-year tradition
of humane work; ADDA,
begun in 1979, seems to have
become a national model, working,
Gutierrez reports, on “education,
legal information, and early sterilization
of cats and dogs.”
An October funding
appeal from the SPCA of Fiji likewise
depicted an established institution
of both history and promise,
despite poverty. Founded in 1953,
the SPCA of Fiji is still using dilapidated
kennels and other facilities
from that era. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that Legislation In
Support of Animals and In Defense
of Animals routinely find municipal
shelters in far worse shape all over
Louisiana and Mississippi, with far
less management interest in making
repairs. Unlike the average rural
U.S. animal control shelter, the
SPCA of Fiji even has an in-house
veterinary clinic. Raising the
$60,000 necessary to renovate will
be about as difficult, relative to the
Fijian Gross Domestic Product of
$4,000 per capita, as raising
$100,000 for shelter renovation in
the U.S., where the GDP is about
$6,000 per capita. Difficult: yes.
But it can be done.
In some aspects of humane work,
developed Third World nations may be surging
ahead. Ewa Siebert, DVM, of the
Phoenix Animal Clinic in Hong Kong, reported
on November 6 that, “The Hong Kong
Agriculture and Fisheries Department plans to
make it a requirement from this month onward
for all dogs in Hong Kong to have an AVID
microchip implanted when they receive their
rabies vaccination. Microchip identification is
voluntary for other pets,” Thus, she noted,
“Hong Kong will probably become the first
country where all the dogs have to be
microchipped,” albeit only a month before the
reabsorption of Hong Kong into China.
Yet to be seen is whether the present
relatively high cost of microchipping will help
discourage dog ownership, as the Chinese
administration might hope, or whether instead
the microchipping requirement will boost
demand enough to drop prices to the level of
standard dog tags––a prerequisite, surveys
show, for microchippng to gain favor in the
U.S., where just 14% of all dogs are licensed.
West Side Story
A problematic facet of outreach by
U.S. humane organizations is the export of
conflict between exponents of no-kill sheltering,
with the focus on neutering and adoption,
and traditional sheltering, centering on highvolume
euthanasia. Sometimes the export is
accidental. Other times, it’s hard to know.
The risk recently became reality in
Puerto Rico, where factional feuding of
exceptional intensity recently erupted along
lines familiar to observers of the perennial
conflicts between street-level rescuers and
shelter management in U.S. cities.
Among the predictable flashpoints,
Centro de Control y Adopcion de Animales del
Municipio de San Juan director Ana Salgado
provides animals to laboratories at the
University of Puerto Rico, where she herself
teaches animal science.
In Caguas, meanwhile, P r o t e c t o r e s
de Animales Regional y Estatal director Emilio
Massas clashed with volunteers and rescuers
over selections of dogs for euthanasia. One
cause celebre involved a chow named Brandy,
who was prepared for shipment to a U.S. adoption
shelter, but was put down instead––in
keeping with standard shelter procedure––after
she bit a kennel worker.
Ironically, Salgado and Massas
reputedly run two of the best shelters in Puerto
Rico. In addition, Massas himself, founder of
the Animal Protection Federation of Puerto
Rico, which links the seven shelters in the
islands, has been known as a humane crusader
since 1980, when, he recalls, he quit as manager
of the Humane Society of Puerto Rico to
protest against conditions there. Working with
Alice Dodge of Pet Search, a major St. Louisarea
adoption/rescue group, Massas subsequently
pioneered the export of small mixedbreed
stray dogs to the U.S. for placement.
Abundant in Puerto Rico, the small dogs are
in high demand stateside, where placements
cut into the puppy-mill traffic.
The rescuers, including some former
shelter personnel whose reasons for dismissal
or resignation are disputed, held grievances
against most other Puerto Rican shelters
too, in particular HSPR, a.k.a. the Humane
Society of Guaynabo. The oldest private shelter
in the islands, HSPR was founded in 1958
by Belgian consular representative Richard
Durham, who at age 86 is still executive
director. Animal control sheltering contracts
with eight nearby towns keep 60 runs filled
with 100 to 110 animals at a time, Durham
says, of whom about half are euthanized each
week. Despite the poor condition of many of
the animals, euthanasias are done just once a
week because the shelter has been unable to
afford more frequent visits by a qualified veterinarian.
The animal control contracts provide
about 25% of the annual operating cost of
the shelter, Durham says; the rest comes from
adoption and neutering fees, plus donations,
sponsorships, and other fundraising projects.
Over the years, HSPR has been criticized
for just about every problem afflicting
shelters in impoverished areas, including allegations
of overcrowding, high rates of kennel
death and euthanasia, adopting out animals
without adequate screening or neutering,
waits of weeks or months to have animals
neutered in-house, inadequate facilities, and
purported staff neglect.
Massas and other Puerto Rican shelter
directors who spoke with ANIMAL PEOP
L E acknowledged problems at HSPR, but
called the most heated rescuer criticisms
“exaggerated,” agreeing that perhaps no shelter
in business anywhere for 38 years hasn’t
been accused of at least some of these things,
while kennel deaths are unavoidable––except
by euthanasia––when a shelter receives
severely ill and starving animals.
An outside opinion came from Neil
Trent, North and South American Regional
Coordinator for the World Society for the
Protection of Animals, who visited the HSPR
in early October with Sally Fekety of the
Humane Society of the U.S. and Geraldo
Huertas, of WSPA’s Colombian office.
Trent’s verdict was generally positive.
“It’s a very old, dilapidated concrete
and wire structure,” Trent said. The one luxury
he noted was an automatic watering system.
“It has obviously seen better days,” he added,
“but with a good budget someone could turn
the place over and improve it drastically. It
gets street dogs, and they come in terrible
condition––starving, diseased, some after
being in accidents or being abused. I talked at
length with Mr. Durham about the need for
daily veterinary visits and daily euthanasia,”
Trent said. “I said, ‘You can’t give your critics
this kind of ammunition.’ But I understand
his concern that daily veterinary service might
not be possible within the budget. This is a
typical Third World situation where good
intent collides with reality.”
Refuting most of the rescuer allegations,
Trent added, “There was nothing we
saw there that was obviously negligent. Mr.
Durham appears to have done heroic work for
many years. It is not his fault that the problems
of Puerto Rico are bigger than he is. But
one should not exaggerate the problems,
either. As bad as the situation in Puerto Rico
is, and there certainly are lots of starving,
homeless dogs, I saw more street dogs in my
first 10 minutes on a recent visit to Nassau
than I saw during my whole four days in
Puerto Rico. Obviously the shelters and the
rescuers in Puerto Rico, whatever their differences,
have been making visible headway.”
Sharks vs. Jets
Sniping flared into war in early
1996, after U.S. organizations became
involved. The trigger may have been the 1995
formation by the Puerto Rican government of
a blue ribbon commission on animal control.
The Puerto Rican legislature is expected to act
soon, Trent says, on a recommendation that
funding be allocated to establish a coordinated
network of municipal animal control services.
USDA veterinarian Isis Johnson, of
Mississippi, provided another spark, first
demanding a boycott of Puerto Rican tourism
to protest nonenforcement of the current
Puerto Rican animal protection law, Law 67,
then organizing neutering clinics with some
help from In Defense of Animals.
On March 20, after People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals member Celeste
Arzuaga of New York City provided undercover
videotape of conditions at the Ponce
public shelter, PETA issued an appeal for
protest of the conditions there, and for the
establishment of “professionally run, humane
animal shelters to serve every community.”
PETA won concessions from the Ponce
municipal government, but reports disagree as
to how well the promises have been fulfilled.
Meanwhile, at the May annual conference
of the National Animal Control
Association, representatives of NACA, the
American Humane Association, Humane
Society of the U.S., and American SPCA
agreed to jointly invest in a Puerto Rican
assistance project. They asked Puerto Rican
humane groups to list their priorities and
report back to the consortium at the AHA
annual conference in October. One mandate,
according to AHA disaster relief coordinator
Nick Gilman, was that the Puerto Ricans
agree as to what to do first; the U.S. groups
did not want to fund a project only to be
bashed for ostensibly doing the wrong thing.
The promise of aid from both U.S.
humane groups and the Puerto Rican government
apparently had much the same effect on
the infighting as the hope of the arrival of
peacekeepers recently had on African and central
European civil wars. Instead of forming
an orderly line for the help, at risk of being
left at the back, organizations seem to have
fought to be in front.
Accounts differ as to just why a
coalition of rescuers met in August, as some
participants told ANIMAL PEOPLE t h e y
were unaware an offer of substantial U.S. help
was on the table, while others indicated that
the purpose was to insure that the non-sheltered
rescue groups had a place at the table.
One participant, Leilani Belendez of the
Fundacion Beneficia de Gatos, frankly called
it a war council, aimed at overturning management
the rescuers believe to be inhumane.
The meeting appears to have been
called by rescuers Jean Apostol and Karen
Fehrenbach. Apostol has worked at several
Puerto Rican shelters, reportedly including
HSPR. Her husband Nicholas formed the
Caribbean Recycling Foundation in September
1994 with one Dr. Matt Kessler. CRF now
has vocational, industrial, educational, and
animal welfare divisions, sponsoring a range
of grant-and-gift-supported projects including
finding jobs for 23 deaf persons, doing disaster
relief after Hurricane Hortense last
September, and producing public access TV
programs. Projects in planning, according to
the CRF World Wide Web site, include a 78-
municipality “Animal Awareness Network,”
a national pet licensing system, and seeking
government funding “for shelter or community
clinic development,” while positioning
CRF as “catalyst” to “the formation of an
entity that can provide the necessary leadership”
to solve Puerto Rican animal problems.
Fehrenbach, a U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration staffer, was transferred
to Puerto Rico in July 1994, where she
formed an evacuation program for adoptable
strays similar to that of Pet Search, under the
name Save-A-Sato. A “sato,” in Puerto Rican
slang, is a street dog. Taking dogs to U.S.
shelters for placement––chiefly the Houston
SPCA and the Humane Society of Broward
County (Florida)––she apparently helped
about 250 dogs to find homes during 1996.
After the August 7 meeting, both
the Apostols and Fehrenbach posted World
Wide Web attacks on Puerto Rican shelter
management, of which Fehrenbach’s, incorporating
long statements from other rescuers,
were especially aggressive. In September and
October, she focused on Salgado. In midNovember
she and Belendez alleged that
Durham was allowing animals to starve to
death––a charge not supported by anyone outside
the circle of rescuers convened by
Apostol and Fehrenbach. Durham responded
immediately with firm denial, denied the allegation
again in writing, and then called twice
more to state categorically in response to specific
claims about specific animals that no animal
in his care, ever, has not been fed.
“Our food is donated in plentiful
supply,” Durham said. “During the short time
that our animals are here before they are
adopted or euthanized, as is sadly the case for
most of them, they are fed, and watered, and
are fed and watered well.”
But Fehrenbach’s allegations had
their impact. On December 9, Gilman indicated
to ANIMAL PEOPLE that while a
final decision hadn’t been formalized, the
AHA, HSUS, ASPCA and NACA were likely
to withhold any immediate help to anyone,
and instead give the Puerto Rican animal protection
community a stern warning to get their
act together, to speak as one voice or else.
“All we need,” Gilman said, “is
agreement on one priority. Then we’ll work
on that. They can disagree about everything
else if they give us one priority.”
Similar discord characterizes the
emergent humane communities of southern
Italy and eastern Europe, observes Weeks.
There, the public animal control situation is
sometimes compounded by institutional links
to organized crime.
The South American legacy of virtually
unfettered capitalism and the eastern
European Communist legacy of have come to
the same point for animals: little tradition or
practice of charity, unresponsive governments,
and exhausted, frustrated animal protection
infrastructure, if any exists at all.
Theonly good news is that around
the world, humanitarians in poor nations
whose voices were long mute can now ask for
help––and at last, counterparts in the wealthier
nations are trying to find ways to give it.

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