From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2000:

“For the first time, in a country
where human rights are routinely violated,
someone has been convicted of cruelty to
an animal,” London Observer Service correspondent
Martin Dayani recently reported
from Bogota, Colombia. District Judge
Elsa Lucia Romero, of Suba, a northern
Bogota suburb, jailed two men for three
months and fined them each the value of 35
grams of gold for allegedly setting a street
dog named L u c a s on fire with a blowtorch
and then leaving him to suffer for 24 hours
with the burns that eventually killed him.
“Legally this was a watershed,” Romero told
Dayani. “What was important in this case
was that people had reported the incident. I
considered that the death of the dog caused
upset among the local residents,” who
demanded justice even though the 10-year-old
Colombian cruelty law was so obscure that
Romero had difficulty finding a copy of it.
Continued Romero, “This case appears to
have given publicity to the wide-scale abuse
of animals in our society, which is important,
as ignorance surrounding the legal rights of
animals encourages impunity.” Added animal
advocate Emiliano Castro, “Colombians will
never achieve a peaceful society based on
human dignity and respect for one another if
we can’t first learn to respect the rights of our
brothers in the animal kingdom.”

Royal SPCA of Australia p r e s ident
Hugh Wirth on September 12 agreed to
comply with a federal court order obtained by
the shock collar manufacturer I n n o t e k
A u s t r a l i a, of Muddgeeraba, Queensland,
which enjoins him from commenting upon
“any consequences or potential consequences”
of the use of the collars, pending
the anticipated mid-2001 trial of a suit for
damages brought against him and the RSPCA
for uttering previous criticisms. Shocking
collars are banned in four Australian states,
and Wirth said he believes they should be
banned in Victoria, as well––which Innotek
claims is an improper threat to their business.
Kentucky Assistant Attorney
General Amye Bensenhaver in midSeptember
issued a legal opinion holding that
the Tri-County Animal Control Center, of
Greenup, is subject to the Kentucky Open
Records Act even though it is a for-profit
institution owned and operated by private citizens
Don and Nora Grubb. Under the terms
of the act, Bensenhaver explained, the
records of any organization which derives
more than 25% of its revenue from state or
local government agencies “are subject to
inspection to the extent of its public funding.”
Trixie Foundation president Randy Skaggs
had requested 13 categories of information
from the Grubbs on July 31, while researching
a pending lawsuit against 70 Kentucky
county judge-executives for failing to honor a
45-year-old state law requiring every county
to have an animal shelter. The Grubbs contended
that they did not have to respond.
An Erie County, Ohio probate
court jury ruled on September 27 that the
Humane Society of Erie County is the proper
recipient of $325,000 from the estate of
Ruth Ann Lovett, 72, who died on Christmas
Eve 1996. Lovett left the humane society
$325,000 on condition that it should look
after S i n b a d, her 14-year-old Siamese cat.
After the humane society euthanized Sinbad
three months later due to kidney failure, 14
relatives sued to overturn the will, which
they claimed had been altered under duress.
Hoping to avert massacres of surplus
sled dogs lest they starve or turn vicious
from hunger, Alaska SPCA director E t h e l
Christensen in late September sent 27 tons of
ground frozen salmon to the Yukon River
region to help Native American trappers who
anticipate a dogfood shortage this winter due
to failed local spawing runs. Taking an
approach more likely to help in the long run,
World Society for the Protection of
A n i m a l s veterinarian Normand Joly, vet
tech Manon Duval, and field officer B r i a n
F a u l k n e r responded to essentially the same
problem in Nunavik, northern Quebec, by
sterilizing as many dogs as they could at free
clinics held August 28-September 11.
The value of dogtags may never
have been better illustrated than by the midSeptember
story of Princess, the 16-monthold
German shepherd companion of
Yugoslav-born Mike Begovich. Born in the
former nation of Yugoslavia, Begovich emigrated
to the U.S. in 1962, and now lives in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Princess
was given tags bearing the telephone number
of a friend’s sister. Begovich’s mother died
as a refugee from the war in Bosnia circa
1995, and was buried in Copenhagen. This
summer Begovich returned to Europe to
rebury his mother’s remains in her homeland.
He took Princess to keep him company––but
she vanished. Fortunately she followed
Senada Bajric of the Sarajevo suburb of
Dobrinja one morning as Bajric walked her
seven-year-old daughter to school. Bajric
read the tags and called U.S. Consul Ann
Sides. Begovich and Princess were soon
reunited, with some help from the Humane
Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
The extent to which dogs can
become institutionalized was meanwhile
illustrated by the story of Sandy, a 13-yearold
wirehaired mongrel who spent 11 years at
the Eighton Banks Refuge in Gateshead,
Tyne and Wear, England. National publicity
about his inability to find a home brought
hundreds of calls from people eager to have
him––but when he was placed with S i m o n
and Anne Hunt, of Shearby, Leicestershire,
he was miserable until after a month they
reluctantly returned him to the refuge. “He
was very pleased to see us and ran straight
back into his kennel,” said animal care worker
Kathleen Copeland, who speculated that
Sandy had always been so low in the refuge
pack hierarchy that he hadn’t a clue how to be
top dog, even in a one-dog home where love
and attention were lavished on him. The
refuge now intends to keep him as a mascot

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