From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1999:

Indianapolis police lieutenant
John H. Walton on August 2 took over as
director of the city Animal Control Division.
Lieutenant Spencer Moore, director since
1993, was reassigned at his own request to
Youth Services. Public safety director Alan
Handt, M.D., said the shifts were “unrelated
to recent complaints” about shelter operations
aired in June by the Indianapolis Star News.
Walton, wrote Star News reporter Bonnie
Harris, “comes to his new position with no
animal control experience. Walton ran into
difficulties in 1995, when he was charged
with raping a female acquaintance. A jury
acquitted him in April 1996; however, the
Indianapolis Civilian Police Merit Board
found Walton had violated departmental rules
in connection with the incident. As a result,
he was suspended for two months and demoted
to sergeant,” winning promotion back to lieutenant
just before his reassignment.

Los Angeles Police Department
c o m m a n d e r Dan Koenig a n d A n i m a l
Regulation Department general manager
Dan Knapp on July 19 announced the start of
a training program meant to reduce dog shootings
by police officers. Los Angeles police
shot 98 dogs during the past two fiscal years.
Nine-year Ottawa Shores Humane
S o c i e t y board member JoLee Wennersten,
DVM, told Grand Rapids Press reporter John
Tunison on July 21 that she would resign her
posts as shelter vet and board member over the
July 20 surprise firing of two-year executive
director Austin Gates, 35. “I have never seen
the place cleaner, better run, and the animals
happier,” Wennersten said. Gates was reportedly
also successful at fundraising, but
clashed with some board members over methods
and priorities, said Wennersten. Board
president Linda Howell did not give Tunison
specific reasons for Gates’ firing.
“Employees at the Oklahoma City
Animal Shelter are suspected in the thefts of
at least seven of 21 dogs and cats stolen this
year as an investigation continues into the disappearance
of a Chihuahua puppy accused of
eating a baby’s toe,” Steve Lackmeyer a n d
Judy Kuhlman of The Oklahoman r e p o r t e d
on July 30. The Chihuahua was the second of
the breed to vanish on the same weekend.
Three other Chihuahuas disappeared earlier,
along with pit bulls, Labradors, and a Boston
terrier. “The shelter has been under increasing
scrutiny,” Lackmeyer and Kuhlman wrote,
“since it was forced to deal with dozens of pets
displaced by the May 3 tornado that devastated
south Oklahoma City. Volunteers helping to
handle the lost pets pleaded with the city council
to investigate the shelter, saying the pens
were overcrowded and inhumane. The city
council responded on July 20 by paying
$18,000 to the Humane Society of the U.S. to
visit the shelter and propose a reorganization.”

Illinois governor George Ryan o n
July 29 signed into law a pair of bills which
create a felony class of cruelty to animals and
allow stiffer sentencing for repeated cruelty.
The city council in Nashville,
Tennessee, on August 3 abolished the sale
of impounded animals to laboratories b y
unopposed voice vote, on a motion by councillor
Janis Sontany. Nashville was reportedly
the last city in Tennessee to sell impounded
animals to labs.
Effective September 18, a new
Maine law requires that dogs must be
restrained if carried in an open vehicle;
expands the definitions of “domestic animal”
to increase the liability of owners of exotic
pets for injuries and property damage caused
by their animals; and bans the use of metabolism-altering
substances to stimulate the performance
of racehorses.
Kansas Animal Health Department
animal facility inspection program director
Debra Duncan reportedly expected new
animal care regulations for pet stores to be in
effect by September 1, after no opponents
appeared at a July 26 public hearing.
However, Duncan was asked earlier by t h e
Kansas Legislature’s Joint Committee on
Administrative Rules and Regulations t o
remove a requirement that predator and prey
species be kept out of sight of each other, and
was asked by the Pet Industry Joint
Advisory Council to ease the proposed
recordkeeping requirements.
In Portland, Oregon, pet store
owners and pet food industry lobbyists are
battling a proposed 5% tax on pet food t o
finance the Multnomah County Animal
Control Division. A telephone poll of 300
registered voters, commissioned by the county,
found that 51% approved of the tax, 38%
disapproved, and 11% were undecided.
SB 1193, the federal Safe Air
Travel for Animals Act, introduced on June
3 by U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg a n d
U.S Representative Robert Menendez ( b o t h
D-New Jersey), got a boost on July 24 when
an Irish wolfhound broke out of his kennel in
the hold of United Airlines Flight 174, from
San Francisco to Boston, chewed through the
lining of the hold, pulled out insulation, and
damaged the wing flap control wires. The
Boeing 767 landed safely with 168 people
aboard, but at a higher speed than normal.
Britain on August 2 issued new
rules to replace the six-month quarantine of
dogs and cats entering the nation which had
been in effect since 1901. After January 1,
2000, pets from nations certified as rabies-free
may be admitted with proof of vaccination,
blood test results, delousing and tick treatment
within the previous 48 hours, and microchip
I.D. Pets from the U.S. and Canada are still
subject to the six-month quarantine.

Fixing the problem
Progress by Virginia-Maryland
Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
student Michaell Meister-Weisbarth toward
developing an immunocontraceptive for
cats is described at a new web site,
> > h t t p : / / w w w . a c t i o n c a t . c o m / c o n t r o l . h t m l <.
Working under molecular biologist S t e p h e n
B o y l e, Meister-Weisbarth has genetically
modified the salmonella bacterium to deliver
the vaccine to feral cats via bait pellets. She
now seeks funding to test her method on lab
animals, in order to win the necessary
approvals to do field testing. Other efforts to
develop immunocontraception for cats and
dogs are reportedly in various stages of development
by University of Missouri researcher
Mostafa Fahim, whose N e u t r o s o l h a s
already been field-tested by Hugh Wheir,
D V M, in Mexico, and by the A r i z o n a
Humane Society and North Shore Animal
L e a g u e in the U.S.; University of Georgia
College of Veterinary Medicine a s s o c i a t e
professor Richard Fayrer-Hosken; Dalhousie
University biologist W a r w i c k
K i m m i n s; and the private biotech firms
Zonagen, Proteus International, Janssen
P h a r m a c e u t i c a l s, and ML Laboratories.
The latter pair at last report seemed to be
focusing on other uses of the same technology.
Thai government veterinarians
shooting tranquilizer darts with blowpipes
captured and vasectomized 20 langurs and
macaques on July 17 at Khao Wang National
Park––a new record. On first try, they caught
and fixed only seven monkeys. The team
hopes to find a means of fixing about 40 monkeys
per day. An estimated 1,000-2,000 monkeys
who inhabit the Wat Phranakorn Khiri
temple have recently become unusually
aggressive toward visitors, apparently because
the monkeys are now so numerous as to accentuate
competition for food.

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