LETTERS [Oct 1998]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1998:
A statement by Leo Grillo on
page 17 of the September ANIMAL
PEOPLE hit the nail on the head concerning
“free gifts” to donors and
prospects from animal organizations. It
has been a sore subject with me for some
time. How do we convey the message
that our money is intended to help animals,
not to distribute greeting cards,
coffee mugs, calendars, etc.? I resent
the use of my money for unsolicited gifts,
whether sent to me or to someone else.
In exasperation, I wrote to one
organization. The nest time I heard from
them, they had noted “Doesn’t want
gifts.” The point, however, is that I
don’t want them spending any money
meant for animal welfare on gifts, for
me or anyone else.
San Francisco, California
In all the years I’ve been
receiving ANIMAL PEOPLE, I think
your September edition was the best
yet––tremendous article on Leo Grillo
(see, you made a “Grillo Believer” out of
me), super article on Martine Collette,
and the review of Peter Singer’s biography
of the great Henry Spira, etc.
You’ve made no bones, ever,
about your criticisms of In Defense of
Animals and HSUS, but I was flabbergasted
to see what you said about Ingrid
Newkirk. Some years back I supported
PETA, but then they got a bit extreme
for me: frankly, I think they do more
harm to the animal rights movement
these days than they do good. Newkirk
was on San Francisco’s KGO Talk Radio
recently and made a complete idiot of
herself (i.e., PETA wants to see Guide
Dogs and dogs that help the disabled no
longer allowed, and I just can’t be convinced
that blind people and wheel-chair
bound people aren’t helped greatly by
service dogs). Host Ronn Owens (who’s
no AR person, believe me) tore her
apart, but with good reason. To see you
call her a sociopath bowled me over!
Uh, may I assume you haven’t
much use for her?
––Ronaele J. Findley
Santa Cruz, California
I called the Humane Society of
the U.S. last week. I asked why I hadn’t
seen even one HSUS public service
announcement promoting spay/neuter on
prime time TV during the past two years.
I was appalled at their response, that
they were at the mercy of the media. It is
an outrage, considering the size of the
HSUS donation base, that it should
choose to wait for free PSA time while
homeless animals continue to be killed.
Surely HSUS has the financial resources
to purchase air time.
Yes, I’m angry. I’m sick of
receiving pleas from HSUS and other
giant humane organizations, promoting
themselves with requests for donations,
sending us address labels and packets of
greeting cards with sweet little faces.
Send us tools to help promote
Taking the message where it
hasn’t been heard, Chaplin personally
sponsors a spay/neuter message on the
side of a racing car.
Your ongoing reports on pet
overpopulation statistics, like those in
your September issue, are really helpful,
especially the statewide stats from different
parts of the country.
Here are the most recent numbers
from New Hampshire.
Solutions to Overpopulation of Pets, Inc.
Concord, New Hampshire
The number of animals killed
in New Hampshire shel –
ters fell from 17,378 in 1980 to 6,057 in
1997, while the state human population
doubled. The number of animals killed
per 1,000 humans thus dropped from
28.6 to 5.9.
Although I have received information
concerning the financial practices
of charities through the National
Charities Information Bureau, it has not
given me the kind of specifics I found in
your Watchdog Report on Animal
Protection Charities. Your report really
opened my eyes to where my money has
been going, and tipped me off to those
organizations I have been supporting
whose principles are far different from
mine. I have written to several of those
organizations, letting them know I will
not continue my support until they clearly
oppose sport hunting, trapping,
and/or poisoning wildlife, native or nonnative,
endangered or not.
Several organizations I have
supported in the past were not represented
in the NCIB surveys, but you supplied
the information I wanted, and I
will continue to support them.
Canyon Lake, Texas
The Watchdog Report on
Animal Protection Charities, covering
52 prominent organizations, is $20, c/o
ANIMAL PEOPLE, POB 960,
Clinton, WA 98236.
I wanted to let you know how
touched I was by your editorial about
Wolf and Simon. You always seem to
capture my feelings about animals, and
this time was no exception. I am always
amazed at the joy that my wild and
domestic freinds bring me just in being
themselves. My Asian kitty, Miao Miao,
wants to thank you for emphasizing the
––Judith Riddell Messimer
St. Louis, Missouri
The American SPCA was both
shocked and saddened by the Air Force’s
recent decision to retire only 30 of the
141 Holloman chimps. We had been
working formally with the Center for
Captive Chimp Care [an unsuccessful
bidder on the chimps] and will now be
forwarding our donors’ support to
Primarily Primates [which is to receive
the 30 chimps who are being retired].
We began fundraising among
our own members in December 1997.
Our members sent more than $42,000 in
donations for the Center for Captive
Chimp Care. The ASPCA also pledged
an additional $10,000 from our treasury.
Since the ASPCA promised our
members that their gifts would be
returned to them if the Center did not
receive any chimps, we are now contacting
our members and offering to forward
their donations, via the Center, to
Primarily Primates. Their money will
either be sent to Primarily Primates, earmarked
for the Holloman chimps, or
refunded to the donors, as they wish.
National Legislative Office
Kudos for your expose of the manipulation
of the marine mammal advocacy/rescue
community in your September feature
“Fixing for a fight of Leviathans.”
Please continue to hold a mirror to
persons who should take a cue from the marine
mammals we admire, who have managed 50
million years of mostly peaceful coexistence.
There is no doubt that everyone’s
efforts can be improved. But efforts to
demean or redirect projects should be accepted
only if led by those who have proved that they
can go out on the high seas, or into a legislative
body, wild habitat or captive marine
mammal facility, and either duplicate or
upgrade present marine mammal protection.
In a better world, having competing
operations along the lines of the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society, Earth Island Institute,
or the Dolphin Project would not be all bad!
In a perfect world, such organizations would
operate so flawlessly that they would work
themselves out of necessity.
Meanwhile, tt begs mention that con
artists drawn to the easy mark of “dollars for
dolphins” (or any other warm and fuzzy cause)
need vigilant policing lest we visit more
crimes on the dolphins, whales and the public
on whose generosity we depend. In that
regard I look forward to further inquiry.
Marine Mammal Conservancy
Key Largo, Florida
On June 21, 1998, a pack of stray
dogs killed a four-year-old girl in Hyderabad.
We were shocked by this incident and
empathize with the grief of the child’s mother.
The dogs had, over the years, fed
upon raw flesh dumped in the area by a set of
tanneries which have operated illegally in this
residential colony for years. Appeals to the
Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad to close
the tanneries met with no response. The MCH
has refused to answer questions about the tanneries,
and has announced instead an intensification
of its dog slaughtering. The MCH has
been catching and killing dogs on an unprecedented
scale, countering questions with blatantly
false statements that humane societies
have caused an uncontrolled rise in the stray
The facts are as follow:
• In 1994, with the consent of the
then commissioner of the MCH, the Blue
Cross of Hyderabad began the Animal Birth
Control program, sterilizing 6,000 dogs in 12
months. The program was aborted in 1995,
after a change of commissioners. The MCH
claimed there was a lack of public support for
the program, not withstanding that 12 months
is too short a time to show results.
• A local English daily campaigned
against the ABC program, creating an impression
that rabid dogs had taken over the city.
• No mention whatever was made
by either the MCH or the local paper that the
ABC program is recommended by the World
• No mention was made that since
1995 the MCH has caught and killed stray
dogs as usual, and that the ABC program has
• No comment has been made upon
the fact that although the MCH has brutally
killed stray dogs for the last four years, their
numbers have continued to increase.
• No acknowledgement has been
made of clarifications from the Blue Cross of
Hyderabad and SPCA Hyderabad &
• The commissioner and MCH have
refused even to look at the statistics we have
collected to prove that killing stray dogs is
only a futile attempt to treat the symptom,
rather than the disease. The MCH refuses to
accept that this is a community health problem,
requiring a proper strategy to combat it.
• Garbage festers on the roads in all
colonies, providing ample food for strays.
––Vasanthi Vadi, Secretary
SPCA Hyderabad & Secunderabad
1 Durga Bhavan
Secunderabad 500 001 India
Dogged investigative reporters
might sniff into the possibility that top officials
of the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad
may derive special benefits from the presence
of the illegal tanneries, and are perhaps also
using the chance to hire dogcatchers as a way
to create patronage jobs.
As you reported in your September
edition, the Mumbai (Bombay) municipality
wanted to resume killing sick, rabid, or “nuisance”
stray dogs. This sudden, unilateral
decision has been credited to Mr. Kirit
Somaiyya, president of the [newly elected
Hindu nationalist] Bharatiya Janata Party in
Mumbai, whose son was bitten by a stray dog.
Mumbai civic health committee
chair Sardar Tara Singh was quoted in A N IMAL
PEOPLE as saying that only sick and
rabid dogs would be killed, but the municipal
act actually gives the municipality the right to
kill all “nuisance” dogs, and “nuisance” is a
very broadly defined term. For years the
municipality killed arbitrarily and randomly
any dog they found, which was totally illegal.
A recent poll showed that 64% of the
Mumbai population does not want stray dogs
to be killed. The newspapers were flooded
with letters against dog killing throughout
August and September.
After talks with the relevant authorities
failed, we and the Viniyog Parivar Trust
approached the High Court. A stay was granted
on implementation of the killing policy.
The municipality is to submit guidelines which
have to be framed in accordance with the
guidelines of the Animal Welfare Board of
India, which advocates sterilization as the
only acceptable method of dog population control.
Animal welfare organizations are to
implement the policy and take care of the dogs
[as has been the practice since 1994].
It would really be a help to us to
obtain oral rabies vaccinations for dogs and a
method of sterilization by injection.
c/o R.F. Wiesinger & Co.
Maker Bhavan #1
1 New Marine Lines
Bombay 400 020, India
African wish list
Greetings from the SPCA in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe! We thank you most
sincerely for sending us copies of your excellent
and much appreciated newspaper.
Here in Bulawayo, one of our
biggest probkems is the overcrowding of goats
in small trucks that bring them from rural
areas. I enclose a photo of a recent case. A
layer of goats are beneath the ones you see.
We’ll spare readers the photo; the
description is enough. Harrison also sent the
current Bulawayo SPCA “wish list.” In
entirety, they hope someone can send them
some cellophane tape, file boxes, staples,
ball point pens, drip stands, bandages, surgi –
cal scissors, a screwdriver, collars and leads,
and––the big item––”a second-hand bicycle.”
No one has to go to a far-away country
to see thousands of unwanted dogs and cats
roaming the street. In Tennessee, over 50% of
the cities and counties have no form of animal
control, which means unwanted pets are left to
starve. If they are taken to pounds, they are
kept in deplorable conditions. Most pounds
here offer little food and water, no veterinary
care, and a horrible, terrifying death at the
hands of untrained, uncaring dogcatchers.
Many unwanted pets are sold to research.
Others go to dogfighters as live training lures,
or to just anyone who comes by and wants a
dog to tie to a tree and starve in a yard.
I invite any of the animal welfare
groups that are going outside the U.S. and
spending their dollars to come to Tennessee.
In Tennessee, there are no large, well-funded
organizations that can pay people to have their
pets sterilized. There are no effective,
humane animal control facilities in the rural
areas, including over 90% of the state.
To me, charity begins at home.
Come to Tennessee and help us.
––Melissa Cothron Walrond
The editor responds:
ANIMAL PEOPLE has reported
often about the ongoing efforts of the Humane
Society of the Tennessee Valley and the
University of Tennessee College of Veterinary
Medicine to improve rural humane service.
The UoT outreach neutering project, led by
Eric Davis, DVM, hopes to hold clinics to fix
the pets of low-income families in Walrond’s
area, with her help, starting in November.
We have also often reported on the
initiatives of the League In Support of
Animals, the Mississippi office of In Defense
of Animals, and the Trixie Foundation to
extend humane services to comparably blight –
ed regions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and
Most of the national organizations
which were once involved in these states have
meanwhile pulled back, unprepared to either
do or finance the necessary hands-on work,
and apparently unwilling to invest heavily in a
region of limited fundraising potential. The
Humane Society of the U.S., for instance, has
only recently reopened a Tennessee office after
several years without one.
HSUS has overseas affiliates via the
Humane Society International, formed in 1991
as an umbrella for all the HSUS organizations,
but it has never funded hands-on work to any
noteworthy extent in either the U.S. or abroad.
The North Shore Animal League and
Pet Savers Foundation are, to our awareness,
the only national organizations now funding
low-cost neutering in the rural South between
Georgia and Texas.
North Shore, Pet Savers, and the
International Fund for Animal Welfare are
also to our awareness the only U.S.-based
organizations which directly fund any overseas
hands-on work for dogs and cats.
$100 in India
I am extremely grateful for your
donation of $100 [in payment for photos]. The
amount may be small to you, but for us it is a
very significant contribution to the welfare of
animals. In fact, this has been our major contribution.
As advised, I am spending the
donation on our assistance to stray dogs.
Due to the financial crunch, I am
guilty of not doing enough for the injured animals
by way of giving effective medicines and
good food to assist quick recovery. There are
more than 10,000 stray dogs here locally, and
I want to start an Animal Birth Control program.
Any form of assistance is most welcome,
with folded hands.
––Pradeep Kumar Nath
26-15-200 Main Road
Visakhapatnam 530 001, India
The Visakha SPCA is the primary
animal protection organization in
Visakhapatnam, whose human population is
comparable to that of Nashville, Tennessee.
We thank you for your newspaper,
an enormous source of hope for us. We need a
newspaper such as yours in Australia, to
report in depth, no holds barred, on a variety
of animal-related issues. That would scare the
pants off quite a few people! Most of the animal-related
reporting done here is based on
statements made by the Royal SPCA, and
tends to represent only their opinions, their
work, and their appeals.
Our organization has been going for
five years. We are the only humane organization
on the north coast of New South Wales.
We have no inspectorate powers to investigate
reports of cruelty or neglected. Only the
RSPCA and a smaller group, the Animal
Welfare League, are authorized agents. The
RSPCA closed two branches in this region
over the last 10 years, and now has only one
cruelty inspector in the entire region.
It is a farming region, basically.
Our opinions regarding the harsh treatment of
livestock and callous drowning and shooting
of unwanted cat and dog litters are not welcomed.
We are situated near the coast, in an
area of high unemployment, a large drug
problem, and many transient people, all of
which spells disaster for animals. We have no
shelter, but our volunteers manage to keep
about 60 animals at a time in their homes.
We are no-kill. We euthanize only
when our veterinarians advise that we cannot
save an animal. Most large RSPCA shelters
handle stray dogs for their municipalities. In
contrast to our policy, the RSPCA-NSW
recently sought to reduce the mandatory holding
period for animals held in public pounds.
––Barbara Steffenson, Coordinator
Animal Rights & Rescue Group