LETTERS [March 1998]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1998:
House Jack built
Your November 1997 editorial,
“Living in the house that Jack built,” is a
masterpiece. I’ve circulated copies to a
variety of people. Your description of the
wildlife problems on Whidbey Island
made me laugh, something that never
happens when I read other animal protection
publications, and a welcome relief
from anger, frustration, and tears.
Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife
should have been noted in your December
report on the finances of animal protection
organizations as having no paid staff.
This has always been true of BW&W
during our 12 years of operation.
Also, our name should have
been given with a colon after “Beavers,”
not a comma. We chose the colon as
more indicative of beavers’ role as a keystone
species, who create wetlands habitat
for other wildlife.
In other news, Senator Wright
has decided not to sponsor the New York
state snaring bill this session, so it is
dead for the time being, anyway. Also,
it appears that our efforts with the North
Carolina Zoo have paid off, in that they
have decided to relocate the beavers within
the zoo grounds, experiment with neutering
them, and keep them fenced away
from the sensitive African wildlife areas.
Thanks for your help with that situation.
Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife
Dolgeville, New York
Thank you for writing the article
about the Bombay SPCA in your
January/February edition. Comparing
their donations, expenses, and services
to those of the fat-cat Massachusetts
SPCA was brilliant. I sent a donation to
I’m so glad you were able to do
your special report from India.
Everything and everybody seemed
Give my number to the next
person who calls to threaten you––I’m
used to dealing with idiots.
Pet Assistance Answering Service
Long Beach, California
After a visit with our daughter
and son-in-law in Poulsbo, Washington,
your October 1997 editorial mentioning
slugs brought a smile. Our daughter, a
Navy nurse, feels just like your son
Wolf. As unattractive as a slug may be,
it still is a living creature.
Thanks again for your
“Watchdog” section in your December
issue. I always look forward to it. Now I
hope my contributions are for animals’
needs rather than exorbitant salaries.
Jamestown, North Carolina
Two recent radio debates I
heard put up non-professional animal
activists against professional talk show
hosts. The activists were ridiculed, outtalked,
and in some instances not even
allowed to reply before another question
was thrown at them.
We step backward when we
lose such debates. The humane societies
that are asked to participate can afford to
send professional speakers.
New Orleans, Louisiana
I was pleased to see Dorothy
Chechi O’Brien’s letter in the
January/February edition of A N I M A L
PEOPLE in support of animal groups
donating toward the retirement of the
LEMSIP-owned chimpanzees, who otherwise
would go to the Coulston
Foundation for probable continued laboratory
As you know, 10 chimpanzees
from LEMSIP were retired to
Primarily Primates before funds were
collected to complete an outdoor enclosure
or provide an endowment for their
continued care. This was the only way
we could save them from being sent to
Coulston. Primarily Primates is still in
need of $9,285 to complete the outdoor
area for these eight adult and two infant
chimpanzees. At present, no endowment
funds have been raised for their
To their credit and for the
record, the Humane Society of the U.S.
has given $15,000. The Massachusetts
SPCA gave $5,000.
I am attaching a funding status
report, which lists all the sponsors of
this effort and the amounts each gave to
save these 10 great apes.
––Wallace W. Swett
San Antonio, Texas
Dorothy Chechi O’Brien
wrote of the LEMSIP chimp rescue,
“The MSPCA and HSUS alone could
sponsor them.” The MSPCA has assets
of $67 million with an annual budget of
$24.2 million; HSUS has assets of $58
million with an annual budget of $38
The top donors to the project
are Karen Bunting, $30,000; New York
University, former home of LEMSIP,
$27,000; and Nancy Abraham, through
three different accounts and founda –
tions, $25,000. HSUS is fourth. The
MSPCA is sixth, behind Marion
Bochner, who contributed $7,000.
Could you do something on the
situation here in Israel? The cost of a cat
spay is $120 to $180, and for dogs is
$150-$220. These prices are fixed by the
veterinarians’ association and they are not
supposed to charge any less. In the three
big cities a few organizations operate
lower cost clinics but in the south there is
nothing and people here are poorer and
less aware. Israelis earn much less than
Americans and are not educated about
neutering. The situation is very difficult
to fight. Last year the Minister of the
Environment convinced the veterinarians
to hold a one-month reduced price neutering
campaign. The vets very much
resented it, but many cooperated. The
prices were cut by almost half––still not
very cheap. This was a one-time thing,
and has not been repeated.
Bardot had son
Your January/February reports
from India really bring home the definition
of “mixed bag.” How can India be so
far ahead of us “civilized westerners” in
some ways, and yet be so cruel in others?
It was an issue I had to read at one sitting,
front to back.
By the way, I’m sure I’m not
the first to tell you that Brigitte Bardot did
have a child, by her marriage to Jacques
Charrier–– a son named Nicholas, who
must be approaching 40. Ironically, she
didn’t have much to do with his upbringing,
saying that she wasn’t meant to be a
mother. Perhaps she wasn’t meant to be a
human mother, but she’s done a hell of a
lot of good for animals!
Boulder Creek, California
I wish you would write something about
pathetic chained dogs, in the open with no food, no
water, and no shelter except sometimes cold carports
or open basements. They are just there, and
no one will do anything to help. I was in a lawsuit
last spring that cost me $2,000 because I tried.
The Editor replies:
In our observation, dog-chainers tend to
be people who, feeling out of control of their own
lives, take their only sense of power from dominat –
ing an imal vicitim.s Pleading with them to stop
only enhances their illusion.
Unfortunately, most anti-cruelty statutes
either don’t recognize prolonged outdoor dogchaining
as cruelty, or qualify recognition with
language inhibiting enforcement.
Humane societies would better able to
fight chaining if shelter conditions were always
markedly better. Too often they are not.
I would appreciate seeing A N I M A L
PEOPLE discuss how animal shelters can provide
proper housing for long-term care of dogs and cats,
to avoid the excessive boredom and depression that
comes with lack of stimulation, socialization, and
exercise. I am trying to advise a well-to-do local
shelter on this matter. It keeps dogs in bare indoor
pens. They have no interaction with animals other
than exchanging barks at the dogs across the corridor.
Their only human interaction is at feedingand-cleaning
time, plus an occasional brief walk.
Some dogs stay more than a year in this situation.
Due to my gentle but stern suggestions,
the board and manager have agreed to convert part
of a parking lot into an exercise area, but are hazy
on how to go about it. I am encouraging them to
build several large pens, rather than linear runways,
where suitable dogs can fraternize.
––Ann Cottrell Free
The Editor fulminates further:
Ann Cottrell Free’s newspaper exposes of
poor laboratory animal holding conditions and pet
theft were instrumental in securing passage of the
1966 Laboratory Animal Welfare Act, the forerun –
ner of the current Animal Welfare Act.
As we’ve often pointed out, many animal
shelters are poorly configured to achieve either
high-volume adoption or quality care-for-life,
which are distinctly different jobs, requiring differ –
ent facilities. An adoption center must be conve –
niently located, but need not hold many animals,
nor hold them overnight. All it really needs to do is
display animals attractively during afternoons,
evenings, and weekends.
Longterm care facilities should be out of
town, where dogs can bark and run.
Most dogs and cats in longterm care,
after initial quarantine, should be housed in com –
patible groups. The more interaction they have,
the better their psychological health, and the better
their chances of eventual adoption.
Our animal population is comparable to
that of many shelters. Our facilities demonstrate
space-saving methods that most shelters could copy.
Our cats all have 24-hour-a-day access to
a securely screened porch where each can sprawl
on junk lumber “tree limbs” overlooking woods,
grass, and even a bird-feeder––whose users seem
to know they’re safe.
Our dogs enjoy an interconnected maze
surrounding our house and office, which by closing
gates could be split into as many as four separate
runs, ranging in size from near the shelter standard
to a cedar-decked area of 300 square feet. Our
dogs usually enjoy simultaneous use of them all.
We’ve actually used less space and fenc –
ing than many conventional shelters use to cage as
many animals as could be comfortably kept here,
yet because of our concentric design, with our ani –
mal facilities wrapped around one another and the
main building, each animal gets maximum stimula –
tion from different views, long distances to run or
chase a ball, etc. There are few straight lines.
Something similar could probably be
done within any space, no matter how starkly
square at the outset. Think about interlocking Lshaped
runs, which can be joined or separated by
opening or closing two-way gates and together form
a divided chaseway; ramps to upper runways, like
on a modern children’s climbing structure; and
concrete walls that meet at an angle, so that a vol –
unteer can lob a ball at the joint and have the
carom go randomly either way. Dogs love the
chasing and the constant surprise reversals, they
especially like to do it in groups of two or three,
and the reversals greatly increase the amount of
exercise they get relative to volunteer time spent.
There were a few mistakes in your
January/February article “Whitetails and
pronghorns,” about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service plans to kill coyotes at the Julia Butler
Hansen Refuge for the Columbia whitetailed
deer, in southern Washington, and the Hart
Mountain National Antelope Refuge, in northeastern
The 1995 USFWS plan to kill coyotes
at Hart Mountain was dropped after the
Predator Defense Institute and the Oregon
Natural Resource Council crafted a lawsuit,
but it was never filed. Biologist Joy Belsky,
PhD., met with the USFWS regional director
on behalf of ONRC and PDI to present documentation
of pronghorn population trends on
the refuge (from USFWS data), and USFWS
decided to pursue a two-year study instead.
We have only been involved with Friends of
Animals re the Julia Butler Hansen refuge.
Cattle were taken off the Hart
Mountain refuge in 1990. Because cattle have
been removed, Hart Mountain is an incredible
demonstration of how ecosystems recover after
a century of degradation.
Predator Defense Institute
Parallel to the lawsuit that PDI and
ONRC threatened to file in 1995 to stop the
proposed Hart Mountain coyote killing,
Friends of Animals threatened to file a similar
suit in January 1996, but held off when on
January 31 USFWS agreed not to kill coyotes
for at least two years while doing the study
Fahy mentions above. Upon completing the
study, USFWS issued permits to 35 hunters to
kill coyotes at Hart Mountain this spring, even
though the pronghorn herd they would suppos –
edly be protecting has rarely been bigger.
However, on January 26, 1998, USFWS can –
celled the proposed coyote hunt, again under
threat of lawsuit by PDI and ONRC.
“There was no scientific reason to
initiate this hunt,” Belsky told Associated
Press. We have to conclude it was political.”
Explained AP, “Hart Mountain has
been at the center of controversy since 1990,
when USFWS decided to end a century of cat –
tle grazing so fish and wildlife habitat could
recover. Local ranchers were outraged.”
The status of coyote-killing on Julia
Butler Hansen refuge, temporarily suspended,
in settlement of a PDI/FoA joint suit, pending
study, took another twist on January 9 when
USFWS said it would seek to downlist the
Columbia whitetailed deer. The 5,500-strong
herd at Roseburg, Oregon, would be taken off
the federal “endangered” and “threatened”
species lists. The Julia Butler Hansen herd
would be reclassified from “endangered” to
“threatened,” just a year after USFWS
claimed an urgent need to kill coyotes to pro –
tect the deer from imminent extinction.
On February 9, USFWS published
the supplemental environmental assessment it
was to produce under the settlement with PDI
and FoA––again proposing to kill coyotes “if
other control methods fail,” as the Julia
Butler Hansen refuge management already
claimed they had back in January 1997.
The original USFWS proposal to kill
coyotes at the Julia Butler Hansen refuge
came, as ANIMAL PEOPLE reported in
April 1998, three days after acting Division of
Refuges chief Stan Thompson issued a memo to
“All Refuge Managers,” indicating that
refuge managers were to back fur trade oppo –
sition to the then-pending European
Community ban on the import of pelts from
animals possibly caught by leghold trapping.
Attachments including a memo from
Jim Beers of the USFWS Division of Federal
Aid outlined a strategy to play up the use of
leghold traps in endangered species programs.
The European Community fur import
ban was killed on December 1, 1997, under
heavy pressure from the Bill Clinton/Albert
CALIFORNIA PROPAW INITIATIVE
The January/February edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE stated that the California
ProPAW trapping initiative “would allow continued
use of leghold traps by so-called nuisance
The actual initiative language reads,
“It is unlawful for any person, including
employees of the federal, state, county or
municipal government, to use or authorize the
use of any steel-jawed leghold trap, padded or
otherwise, to capture any game mammal, furbearing
mammal, nongame mammal, protected
mammal, or any dog or cat. The prohibition of
this subdivision does not apply to federal, state,
county or municipal government employees or
their authorized agents in the extraordinary case
where the otherwise prohibited padded-jaw
leghold trap is the only method available to protect
human health or safety.”
Hence steel-jawed leghold traps are
prohibited across the board and padded-jaw
leghold traps will only be allowed in “extraordinary
cases…to protect human health or safety.”
Animal Protection Institute
The editor replies:
Use of steel-jawed leghold traps has
already been prohibited in California since the
August 1991 meeting of the California Fish and
Game Commission, which ratified regulatory
changes to that effect recommended by the
Department of Fish and Game.
The phrase in the ProPAW initiative
referring to “federal, state, county or munici –
pal government employees or their authorized
agents” is legalese for “USDA Wildlife Services
(formerly Animal Damage Control),” counter –
parts with other public agencies, and any pri –
vate individuals whom public agencies either
hire or by other means “authorize” to trap any
animals deemed potentially dangerous to
“human health or safety.”
Examples of such animals who are
already trapped in California include coyotes,
foxes, and raccoons (who might bite or scratch
a human who gets too close, or cause a traffic
accident or airplane crash by dashing into a
road or runway); squirrels (an occasional
bubonic plague vector); beavers, muskrats,
and nutria (who might damage dikes, causing
floods); skunks (occasionally rabid); rabbits
(who might carry tularemia); and mice (who
might carry hantavirus).
There is no test built into the ProPAW
measure to define “human health and safety.”
Thus the concept might be stretched to cover any
possible risk from any animal. “Extraordinary”
is left open to interpretation. The ProPAW lan –
guage thus appears to allow almost everything a
nuisance trapper might be doing now. However,
if the ProPAW initiative passes, a nuisance
trapper must henceforth claim to be protecting
people, even if actually protecting cattle and
sheep. Once trappers are hiding behind the pre –
text of protecting people, further restricting
trapping may be much more difficult.
ProPAW submitted petitions bearing
720,000 signatures favoring the initiative to the
58 California county election offices on
February 6. If at least 433,269 signatures are
found to be valid, the measure––which also
bans use of Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide
to kill wildlife––will be on the November 1998
How to stop backyard breeders:
1) Look in your local newspaper classified
ads under “dogs and cats for sale.”
2) Save the ads. Log the telephone
numbers, breeds, and names of breeders.
3) Keep a running log by checking
the newspapers at least once a week. You
will find some breeders selling hundreds
of animals for thousands of dollars––all
from back yards, without paying taxes.
4) Send copies of your evidence to
the offices in your states that are responsible
for collecting sales and income taxes;
the Director of Criminal Investigation,
IRS, Washington, DC 20224; and your
city code enforcement department, which
enforces zoning ordinances pertaining to
home occupations, occasional sales,
and/or animal production.
It is important to send these agencies
only information about heavy breeders.
They want to see people who are doing
this as a regular occupation, making a lot
of money and perhaps not paying taxes.
For further tips, please write.
Companion Animal Rights
Dallas, TX 75224