Bloody business goes to the California governor’s mansion
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2001:
SACRAMENTO–California Governor Gray Davis, who signed more
animal-related bills in 2000 than any other governor, signed another
pair in August and September 2001, but allegedly broke his streak of
endorsing legislation strongly favored by animal advocates by using
his influence in the state legislature to kill a bill to legalize
possession of ferrets.
An aide to California state senator and ferret bill sponsor
Maurice Johannessen (R-Redding) told Los Angeles Times staff writer
Jennifer Warren that after the bill cleared the senate, Davis
prevailed upon the state assembly committees on water, parks, and
wildlife and appropriates to keep it from coming to a floor vote.
The aide reportedly said Davis opposed the ferret bill because the
California Department of Fish and Game considers ferrets a
potentially invasive species.
There was contrastingly little opposition to the bill signed
in August, SB 338, which requires animal shelters to post notices
to the public if they provide animals to blood banks or biological
supply companies. There was no opposition to the bill signed in
September, AB 1709, stipulating that anyone in custody of a vicious
dog may be prosecutable if the dog kills or maims another person.
The bill easily cleared the assembly and then was unanimously
ratified in the state senate.
Davis has yet to act on AB 161, a bill which would redefine
the term “dog breeder” in California law and regulation to mean
anyone who sells dogs from three or more litters in a year, or sells
20 or more dogs. The current definition is that a breeder is someone
who sells 50 dogs in a year.
SB 338 responded to 18 months of controversy surrounding the
adoption of at least 97 dogs and 62 cats from the Butte County Humane
Society since 1994 to Animal Blood Bank proprietor Patricia Kaufman,
of Orland. The issue began making local headlines in March 2000 when
former kennel worker Vickie Adams accused one of Kaufman’s
subcontracted kennel managers of repeatedly hanging and reviving an
unruly dog. The kennel manager, Matt Barkley, admitted hanging
the dog once. Other people wrote to the Orland-area newspapers
claiming to have seen Barkley electroshocking dogs. Barkley
meanwhile sought a permit to expand his kennels.
The episode moved beyond the initial allegations to focus on
blood banking itself after PETA, the Humane Society of the U.S.,
and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights argued that
death would be a better fate for an otherwise homeless dog than life
as a blood donor.
Similar controversies have risen often in other areas. In
the 1970s and early 1980s many shelters routinely bled some unclaimed
animals to death to supply blood, plasma, and serum to veterinary
clinics. As that practice became known and unpopular with the
public, Angell Memorial Hospital at the Massachusetts SPCA pioneered
nonprofit animal blood-banking. Staff members, veterinary students,
and eventually members of the public were encouraged to bring their
pets to give blood, in exchange for which they would receive
certificates good for free vet care.
Similar programs are now in effect all over the world, but
as in the 1980s and 1990s petkeepers began routinely paying for
surgical treatment of conditions in dogs and cats for which the
animals previously would have been euthanized, the demand for blood
soon outstripped the supply from nonprofit organizations. Animal
Blood Bank, founded in 1988, was among the private blood suppliers
that emerged to fill the gap.
In November 2000, as Kaufman amplified reports of a dog and
cat blood shortage around the U.S. and Canada, the Butte County
Humane Society adopted a policy against adopting animals to blood
AB 1709 addressed the circumstances of the January 26 fatal
mauling of San Francisco lacrosse coach Diane Whipple, 33, by one
or both of a pair of Presa Canario dogs who were being walked by
attorney Marjorie Knoller, 45. Knoller and her husband, fellow
attorney Robert Noel, 59, claimed to be keeping the dogs for Dale
Bretches, 44, and Paul Schneider, 39, prison lifers and reputed
leaders of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood gang. Three days
after the attack, Noel and Knoller legally adopted Schneider–who
reportedly kept “X-rated” photos of Knoller in his cell.
Knoller, charged with second degree murder and manslaughter,
and Noel, also charged with manslaughter, have been jailed awaiting
trial since attempting an apparent high-speed getaway on March 17.
San Francisco Superior Court judge James L. Warren on September 13
granted them a change of venue and a delay of trial until January 21,
Schneider on September 7 pleaded not guilty to 13 counts for
alleged crimes including arranging the 1995 murder of Sonoma County
Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Trejo, attempting to murder two other people,
and conspiring to kill three more, including Robert Scully,
convicted of shooting Trejo during a robbery allegedly set up by
Seven other alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood pleaded
not guilty to related charges of racketeering, conspiracy, robbery,
attempted murder, and drug possession.
* The Pennsylvania SPCA and New Holland Police Department on
September 4 made the first seizure of horses under Act 64, a bill to
protect horses in transit signed in June by governor Tom Ridge.
Introduced by state representative Jim Lynch (D-Warren), Act 64
makes hauling horses in a doubledecked trailer a thjird class
misdemeanor. Thirty-one horses bought at the weekly New Holland
Sales Stables auction by Ohio livestock dealer Shawn White were held
by the Penn/SPCA as evidence.
* Felony cruelty laws were signed on August 27 by acting New
Jersey governor Donald DiFrancesco and on September 1 by Texas
governor Rick Perry.
* Animal advocates were disappointed at the federal level,
however, when a wrangle over funding levels in the 2001 USDA
appropriations bill caused a conference committee to drop the U.S.
Senate version of the bill and take the simpler House version back to
both chambers for ratification. The Senate version of the bill
included an amendment by Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) which would have
prohibited interstate shipment of fighting cocks. Cockfighting is
illegal in all states except Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.