LETTERS [May 2001]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2001:



I am writing again to publicize the plight of stray dogs in Tirana, Albania. The situation is reverting again to the conditions I described in the letter you published in November 1999. The Albanian public TV station has proudly informed the people of Tirana that “mass shooting of stray dogs has begun,” and has advised people to “please do not be afraid to try eating dog meat instead of beef, swine, or poultry, because the city of Tirana has taken all the necessary measures” to insure that it is safe for human consumption.

The veterinarians and related specialists of Tirana made a “very professional decision,” we were told: pound dogs must be shot. We, the private vets of Tirana, were taken by surprise. Many of us have been trying to sensitize the public to the need for humane and professional stray dog control, not just catch-and-kill. Once again we seek help. Letters addressed to the newlyelected mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama, sent c/o our clinic, may be of use.

–Ilir Kusi, DVM, Small Animal Clinic
Rruga “Sami Frasheri”, P. 11, Shk. 4, Apt. 28, Tirana, Albania
Phone: 355-4-261-878, <ilir_kusi@hotmail.com>


A group of charities here in Greece are trying to convince the authorities that municipal shelters and mass euthanasia are not the solution to strays on the streets. There are reports that the government wants to remove all strays before the 2004 Olympics. If this goes ahead all the work we have put into neutering thousands of strays will be wiped out and these animals which have lived quietly in the streets of Greece for years will either suffer in confinement for the rest of their lives or be killed.

I really appreciate the international stance of ANIMAL PEOPLE–it is very useful to be aware of what is happening around the world and to get ideas and information. I am always encouraged to feel that there are so many people in so many places fighting for the same thing.
–Mary Cochran, Pangrati, Greece


For years, as you reported in June 1999, we have been trying to stop the brutality of the Kyev animal control agency, Animals In The City, but high-ranking Kyev functionaries continue to cover their actions, even trying [unsuccessfully] to sue us for slander.

In November 2000, SOS Ukraine volunteers shadowed the cars used to catch animals. The volunteers’ video confirmed that the captured animals were poisoned and died in pain. It also showed the cynicism and brutality of the catchers. The video was shown on Ukrainian television. One deputy mayor responded by telephoning the television channel editor, demanding that the channel never again discuss Animals In The City.

On March 1, 2001, we got a 25-minute interview with a member of one of the Animals In The City catching crews. He told us that each team has a monthly quota of 450-500 animals to be caught. Of those animals, 10 to 15 are taken to a quasi-shelter in Borodianka. There, he said, they starve to death. The rest are killed with ditilin, a curare-based poison that is banned in civilized nations.

The Animals In The City staff officially do not work on weekends. On these days they work for personal profit poisoning animals in marketplaces, paid by the market directors. Puppies are killed by smashing their heads. The catchers earn additional money by flaying dogs and
collecting their fat. A three-litre jar of dog fat sells for $100. It is used by tuberculosis patients, of whom there are many in the Ukraine.

Some of the dogs’ remains go to a processing plant in Bary-shevka. Others are thrown into a forest near Kiev or dumped into a lake. Gasoline allocated for use in transporting the bodies is then sold. Once a week dogs are sold to research institutions. We have just received information from the German Animals Protection Society which indicates that many dogs are used in ballistics tests of rubber bullets by the Weapons Development Center of Schmeisser International. The bullets are fired into the dogs’ groins, elbows, hearts, spleens, and pancreas.
We can put the documentary video of the Animals In The City activities at your disposal.

–Tamara Tarnavska, SOS Ukraine
Volodymyrska St. 29, 253003, Kyev
Tel/fax: 380-44-229-42-95



Animal advocacy among the larger nonprofits often does not really advocate for animals. These organizations use animals to advocate for themselves. They are corporate America unleashed and unmonitored. They are trusted to care, and more often than not they abuse that trust. The bottom line is that to make real progress, we must become better humans. Somewhere along the line, we forget that truth.

–Gail R. O’Connell-Babcock, Sherwood, Oregon

Rich get richer

I recently received my credit card statement from Citibank that shows the notation: “Thanks to thousands of cardmembers like yourself, over $350,000 has been donated this year by Citibank USA to the Humane Society of the United States.” $350,000!

–Terry Snyder, Alexandria, Virginia


Poor do the work

Through our nonprofit organization Spay/Neuter Hotline of Graham County, we help people get their pets sterilized. We also help with shelter dog and cat adoptions and trapping feral cats. In two-and-a-half years we have helped pay for 1,758 sterilization surgeries, helped with 125 cat adoptions, 98 dog adoptions , and paid the shelter fee for 183 feral cats. Our total cost has been more than $81,000. This is a poor farming community, with backward attitudes, so this has been quite a feat. We take no salaries and donate what we can each month.
–Sylvia Crisler, S/N Hotline of Graham County
P.O. Box 1149, Thatcher, AZ 85552
Phone: 520-428-6558, Fax: 520-428-0024
E-mail: <hotline@zekes.com, Web: <www.zekes.com/~hotline>



We feel sorrow and shame that animal rights is not a burning issue in Pakistan. It is not even a hot issue. It might well be a cold issue. The only relevant legislation in Pakistan is a portion of the penal code, dating to 1890, meant to compensate the owners of animals who may be abused by the “mischief” of others. And there is almost no use of that. Most people do not even know that the 1890 law exists. The upshot is that a pariah dog or wild animal has no protection from even the cruelest treatment.

–Arif Mahmood Quereshi, Advocate, Managing Trustee
Animal Rights International
133 Pakiza Lodge, Lodhi Colony, Multan, Pakistan
Phone: 92-61-221659


“Humanity Dick” Dorson

Last year the League In Support of Animals received a private investigator’s license from the state of Louisiana, after I completed the required coursework and examination. In Louisiana, if you work for a firm with at least three years of investigative experience, it can seek certification as a private detective agency. We applied for and received our certification. We may now be the only humane society that is registered as a private investigation agency as well.

The idea behind obtaining certification is to raise the standards of our investigations. Here, as in most places, cruelty investigations are often not done in a thorough and professional manner. Trained law enforcement personnel and agency resources are usually not allocated to cruelty investigations, so few cruelty cases make it through the courts.

We are trying to change that. We expect to file 20 to 25 court cases this year. We will also monitor another 25 cases, and will have about $50,000 worth of legal work donated by our pro bono legal panel. We win approximately 90% of our cases, and receive about $1,200 a year in restitution from convicted animal abusers. We are also listed with the Jefferson Parish Office of Parole and Probation, and each year several defendants donate hundreds of hours of volunteer service to us as part of their probation.

One heinous case of animal abuse in our area, however, has never been brought to trial, because the suspects left town and have eluded our best efforts to find them. The suspects, Hank and Kay Doyle, in June 2000 allegedly abandoned 35 cats and a dog to die slow deaths in a locked apartment. We were able to save 30 of the cats, after five were cannibalized. The dog was euthanized.

I would like to reopen this case, and am hoping someone will recognize the suspects. We cannot extradite them, but if we find them, we can ask the local animal control department or police to inspect their premises, in case they are hoarding animals again.

–Jeff Dorson, League In Support of Animals
P.O. Box 740321, New Orleans, LA 70174
Phone: 504-366-8972, Fax: 504-365-0966

[The headline to this letter is a pun on the nickname of Richard “Humanity Dick” Martin, who in 1822 initiated efforts to prosecute cruelty by authoring the first British anti-cruelty law.]


Tribal hunting traditions

As a mostly retired veterinarian and wildlife rehabilitator, I wish to make some comments on the issues raised by “Cannibalism, sacrifice, and hunting in National Parks,” in your April 2001 edition. Golden eagles have become so scarce in the arid Southwest that punitive measures against tribal hunters should be pursued at once by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in lieu of pandering to “tribal religious customs,” which is unmitigated nonsense. As long as Native Americans want to drive around in gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and hunt with modern weapons, they should live in 2001 and obey all the rules and regulations that everyone else must obey. Alternatively, they could give up modern conveniences and live the original tribal lifestyle, but they should not be allowed to have one foot in the present and one foot in distant history, as pleases them.

This applies equally to Makah whaling and the activity of Cree trappers in Nunavet, formerly the Canadian Northwest Territories. Several years ago some of the Cree used snow machines to run down (and run over) more than 700 wolves. The government did nothing to stop this carnage. And where did the pelts end up?? Most went to Russia, and many to China. I tried to promote a boycott of tourism to the region, but most of the tour group organizers were indifferent.

–Marvin J. Sheffield, DVM, Wild Canid Research Group
651 Sinex Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950


Roman cats

As a subscriber to ANIMAL PEOPLE for some years, I dare write to you about Rome, whose Torre Argentina cat sanctuary and network of about 300 individual cat colony caretakers I have been assisting since July 1999.

My personal report about my first year of helping Torre Argentina may be obtained from Silvia Viviani, Via Marco Papio 15, 00175 Roma, Italy; telephone 06-6872133; <torreargentina@yahoo.com>; <www.romancats.com>.

–Isabel Fuchs
Blauensteinerstrasse 19, CH-4053
Basil, Switzerland


Soul veggies

We are very delighted to let you know that we are still receiving ANIMAL PEOPLE. Your efforts to show kindness to animals are very much appreciated here. I am 84 years old. In my locality, we are three vegetarians. We of course have few associates. Only about 2% of the population of Nigeria love not to kill animals or eat their flesh, even to taste the blood of living creatures.

We want to preserve the lives of animals as others are doing in the U.S. and abroad. If someone could produce low-cost pamphlets for us to distribute to institutions of higher learning here, this would go a long way toward educating people and promoting our ideal.

–S.I. Amadi, Soul Vegetarian Society, Naze Owerri Chapter
P.O. Box 1715 Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria



“Dogs, disaster, and ABC,” starting from page one of our March edition, misidentified Oppoli Padmanabhan, a staff writer for The Hindu, as a writer for the rival Times of India.

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