LETTERS [April 2002]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2002:
The right stuff
Bonny Shah of Ahimsa wrote to us that the readers of Animal
People have mailed to her a lot of t- shirts and other stuff which
has reached her by carton loads! Last December she helped us run a
stall at the Cricket Club grounds here, and we collected 10,000
rupees by selling all sorts of things donated by your readers. All
the money went towards purchaing essential medicines for our street
dogs. May God bless you and your readers!
People For Animals ( Mumbai )
130, Sindhi Society
Mumbai 400 071, India
We have worked out that the book Arapawa–Once Upon An
Island, including postage, would come to U.S. $18.50. [The book,
about Rowe’s struggle to save the feral sheep, goats, and pigs
descended from stock left by Captain James Cook from government
extermination, was favorably reviewed in the October 2001 edition of
ANIMAL PEOPLE.] –Betty Rowe
Arapawa Wildlife Sanctuary,
Private Bag, Picton 412
Alleged can scam
A red collection can being distributed with the Associated
Humane Societies’ photos, bearing addresses in Union, New Jersey,
and Washington D.C., is very suspect. Now there are new collection
cans being placed in various areas, with addresses in Woodbridge,
New Jersey, and Washington D.C., bearing photos of domestic animals
and the name “Exotic Rescue.” The organization called Exotic
Rescue, located in Iowa, is not receiving any of these funds, and
does not handle cats, dogs, puppies, or kittens. We are notifying
state and federal agencies of the specifics.
Associated Humane Societies
124 Evergreen Avenue
Newark, NJ 07114
The impact of Maddie’s Fund
As was duly noted in “Animal Charities Make Post 9-11 Cuts,”
the slumping economy caused a decline in philanthropic giving over
the past several months. The trend was reversed by PeopleSoft
Founder and Board Chairman David Duffield who gave an additional $37
million to Maddie’s Fund, the $200 million foundation he and his
wife Cheryl started to save dog and cat lives.
For the latest information on applying for a Maddie’s Fund
grant, visit <http://www.maddiesfund.org/>www.maddiesfund.org and go
to Grant Guidelines.
2223 Santa Clara Ave.,
Alameda, CA 94501
David and Cheryl Duffield intended, when they
dedicated the resources of the Duffield Family Foundation to Maddie’s
Fund in 1998, that their generosity would not only help fund humane
work through grants, but would also inspire other philanthropists
to make comparable investments in animal protection. Annual studies
of grantmaking produced by The Foundation Center show that in 1995,
“Animals & wildlife” received 0.7% of all U.S. foundation grant
money, for a total of $44.5 million. In 1998, “Animals &
wildlife” got 0.9%, for a total of $69.6 million–a 56% increase.
In 2000, “Animals & wildlife” got 1.2%: $153.7 million–a 345%
increase since 1995, and a 221% increase since the fiscal year
before Maddie’s Fund debuted. Relatively little of the increase is
directly attributable to Maddie’s Fund, although Maddie’s is the
biggest grantmaking organization dedicated entirely to humane work,
but the formation of Maddie’s Fund does appear to have been the
pivotal event in nearly doubling the share of the U.S. foundation
dollar that goes to benefit animals.
Concerning the December 2001 evacuation of 23 lions and
tigers from the former Gate Keepers Sanctuary in South Dakota,
mentioned in your December and March editions, we ended up with 14
of the cats. Nine went to Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Colorado.
–Carol Asvestas, president
Animal Sanctuary of the U.S.
P.O. Box 690422
San Antonio, TX 78269
About the page 6 reference in your January/February edition
to a “baboon” colony in Gibraltar, the monkeys introduced from
Morocco to Gibraltar are Barbary apes, which are actually a macaque
species, Macaca sylvanus.
Also, although Cheryl Morgan may have purchased the Noah’s
Land property at auction in October 1997, somehow it has been
returned to the previous owner, Richard Burns. The most recent
financial report on Noah’s Land specifies that they pay $1,000 a
month to Burns.
San Antonio, Texas
The problems at the Humane Society of Indianapolis go far
deeper than Marsha Spring’s alleged misuse of the humane society
credit card. In fact, Indian-apolis affords an excellent example of
what is happening in most cities in America. Thanks to the excellent
reporting of Bill Theobald and Bonnie Harris in their Indianapolis
Star series, “Destined to Die,” Indianapolis is now re-examining
their whole community animal management system.
Spring, according to conventional wisdom, did an admirable
job. She replaced an old farm house with a modern new shelter, and
increased the Humane Society of Indianapolis financial reserves to
$6.6 million. But killing at the Indianapolis shelters is rising,
and proactive response from the humane society and animal control
department is almost nonexistent. Their inertia will only be
overcome through pragmatic leadership and the introduction of a
method of measuring success that includes consideration for the
welfare of the animals.
Author, Save Our Strays
P.O. Box 450715
Atlanta, GA 31145
The 30,000 dog and cat sterilizations done since March 1999
by the FACE clinic in Indianapolis have actually cut the rate of
shelter killing per 1,000 residents, but the total deaths are down
by under 5%, as the human population of Indianapolis has increased
6% over the same time.
Response to “Shooting animals in the rural South”
I was deeply moved by “Shooting animals in the rural South.”
I must tell you that as a native Southerner who has grown up around
animals all my life, I have witnessed many animal cruelties, mostly
performed by family and friends, none of which I approved of or
understood. I have had deep feelings about this since childhood. As
an only child, I spent a great deal of time alone with my animal
I grew up on my grandparents’ farm and have dozens of
memories of animal abuse dispensed by grandparents, parents, and
family friends who saw no problem with “correcting” an animal for
some misdeed, or neglecting an animal’s illness, mostly due to lack
of funds for medical care. I witnessed my grandmother kill kittens
because she “had too many.” My own parents let one family cat die in
the backyard. I visited the cat daily as he withered away from what
I believe now was parvo. My folks were poor and simply did not have
the money for a vet. As a child I knew this and found it hard to get
angry, but that did not ease the painful memory of watching Charlie
die what had to be an agonizing death. I clearly remember sitting
with him and praying God would heal him because we could not afford
vet care, and because I knew God was Charlie’s creator and was
basically “still in charge.” There were other similar pet deaths in
my childhood that vet care could have prevented, all of which left
indelible marks on my childish soul.
I am a Southerner who will never accept animal abuse or
neglect as okay. But I know that for my grandparents and parents,
it was “culturally” the way to handle things. I believe there are
many Southerners, however, who feel as I do. Maybe my attitude is
shaped by the fact that I have never had to depend on animals for
food, or had to do without the basic things of life, like my
grandparents and parents during the Depression. I think their
perspective of “putting people first” comes from poverty and the
struggle for survival. These are experiences I have been fortunate
enough not to have had and never want to have.
I enjoyed your March editorial on dealing with rural
realities and the guest essay “Shooting dogs in the rural South” by
Sue-Ellen Brown. Our movement has been for and by affluent city
people for too long. It is a measure of maturation that we are
beginning to look outward to the South, the plains, Appalachia,
and other poor, isolated areas where animal exploitation is
concentrated and animal abuse is at its worst.
Being an ex-farm kid and hillbilly southerner myself, I have
way too much first-hand knowledge of the conditions for animals in
such areas. Now, fortunately, I am in a position, as a funder,
to help advocates make positive differences for animals in these
places. For several years now, Two Mauds has focused its grant
program in the Deep South. We help grassroots groups with spay/
neuter, rescue, and other hands-on programs, and prefer those that
also work to lift up attitudes and standards of care in their
There is one enormous problem in these regions: too little
money for animal concerns. Unless other funders (foundations,
national groups, wealthy donors, etc.) pitch in, we will not be
able to sustain-let alone expand-the work of southern and rural
grassroots animal advocacy groups. We need a redistribution of
wealth in animal work. We need a Superfund for animals in backward
–Jim Mason, Secretary
The Two Mauds Foundation
P.O. Box 381
Mount Vernon, MO 65712
Sue Ellen Brown in her March 2002 guest essay “Shooting
animals in the rural South” related her experiences with
trigger-happy neighbors and their cultural acceptance of shooting any
animal they feel like shooting. I grew up in Maine and now live in
rural Iowa. Believe me, the same attitude is the norm in both of
Brown worried that she “was becoming similar to her new
neighbors” because she had a snake shot on her property on account
that it threatened her dogs. She was and is: she based her decision
to kill the snake on fear and ignorance. Why not just remove the
snake–rattlesnakes can easily be manipulated with a stick–and let
it go a few yards away?
The snake was simply warning the dogs not to come too close.
It certainly did not intend to waste valuable venom on something it
could not eat.
Yes, the occasional small dog is bitten and killed by a
rattlesnake, but this happens far less than Brown’s neighbors would
have her think. The reason these people come up with such excuses
for shooting animals as armadillos digging holes, beavers wrecking
dams, and coyotes killing livestock, is because the truth is harder
to defend: they just like to kill animals.
I speak from experience when I say it is hard to get bitten
by a rattlesnake. I have spent years in snake country, with my
dogs, looking for snakes to move them off roads and out of harm’s
Many species of rattlesnake are becoming endangered,
including Crotalus horriblus, likely to be the species she had
“Can beliefs and values be changed through education?” Sue
Brown asked. I guess we will find out the next time a snake crawls
into her yard.
Cedar Valley Humane Society
7411 Mount Vernon Road SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Sue Ellen Brown replies:
I did contact the Herpetol-ogy Club at Auburn University.
They identified the snake as a timber rattler, and said they would
come out here and catch the snake for me, for release somewhere
else. But it would take them over an hour to come. They recommended
against trying to catch it on my own. Despite that, I got a pool
cleaning net to use in catching any more snakes in my yard.
Last summer, there were no rattlers in my yard. But I did
capture an eastern hog nose snake, who puffed up like a cobra and
hissed. I put it into a plastic container to take pictures to show
to the people at Auburn to find out if it was poisonous. When I did
this, it squirmed, vomited up a half digested frog, and lay still.
I felt terrrible that I must have injured it, even though I had been
very gentle. I left it in the container and went into the house to
look for it in my two new reptile books. When I came back, it was
crawling around normally, like a different snake! The book said
eastern hog nose snakes are the kings of playing possum. That whole
show was to scare off threats. They are harmless, so I let it go.
I have also learned that the timber rattlers here are fairly
docile and will not come after me. I am no longer afraid for myself.
Meant to be tossed
Yesterday we received a piece of what looked to be junk mail
from a life insurance company. It was computer generated, very
small, and had the look of junk mail. My office opened it crudely
and tore it in the process. I would have tossed it unopened.
Guess what was in it! The total benefit of the policy—a
large check! A check to our organization from a donor who made us
the beneficiary. But it was meant to be tossed. We would never
know we were the beneficiary–and would never have wondered about
it–and they would have kept the entire amount! The insurance
company collected premiums from this lady–and almost didn’t have to
pay out the benefit!
How many benefits have they not paid because people tossed them?
–Leo Grillo, president
P.O. Box 9
Glendale, CA 91209
ANIMAL PEOPLE is a gold mine of information. Thank you for
all that you do to educate, inform, and otherwise assist animal
advocates. It’s the only publication I’ve found that tells it like
it is, without sugar-coating or omitting information that might not
be pleasant or popular. It is my belief that if we really want to
effect change, it is crucial to face the facts and understand the
issues from all sides.
The detailed directions for use of your November 2001 “Who
gets the money?” feature are well done, but I would like to see a
simplified version so that I could understand at a glance what
charities I would like to continue to support, instead of having to
remember three paragraphs of ways to compare statistics.
Old Forge, Pennsylvania
Thank you for all your hard work in putting together the
facts. I sure wish there were people like you to take the
environmentalists, lawmakers, and medical care delivery system to
task as you do the animal protection scams.
Thank you for your part in the achievements for animals of
recent years. Gratifying changes have occurred in attitudes,
perceptions, knowledge, respect, and concern for animals.
I believe, however, that two disturbing developments
threaten our progress.
One is that the many users of animals have gone
“underground.” They regularly violate the fairly meager legal
protections that animals have been given, while saying “Oh yes, we
are inspected by the Department of Agriculture,” and “Well, we have
an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to assure humane
treatment of animals,” etc. Yet there is not enough money to hire
enough honest inspectors to visit each animal user even once a year.
As long as laboratory doors are closed and IACUCs select their own
community representatives, animal suffering will continue.
The other development that I find disturbing is that animal
rights and protection organizations seem to spend more to educate and
inform their own members than they do to inform the public and reduce
animal suffering. Do we really need slick publications, conventions
involving expensive trips, and so many organizations, some of which
could probably be combined?
–Maria E. Sommer, Ph.D.
I do not know what I would do without your Watchdog Report.
The mail that comes into this house is unbelievable! We have a large
dining room table. For the last week it has been covered with
you-know-what. So I sat and read all of your report, and marked
each charity as I saw it. Then I read the Better Business Bureau’s
Wise Giving Guide. Oh me! I nearly threw up! Anyway, I want to
thank you for your report and your newspaper and all that you do.
The 2002 ANIMAL PEOPLE Watch-dog Report on 101 Animal
Protection Charities will be ready to mail soon after this edition is
mailed. Along with the financial data on each group presented in our
November edition (updated when possible), the Watchdog Report
includes summaries of the major programs of each, and of any
unusual, controversial, or problematic issues involving their
programs, policies, or administration. Included are 76 prominent
U.S. organizations and 25 of note abroad. The Watchdog Report is
$20, c/o ANIMAL PEOPLE, P.O. Box 960, Clinton, WA 98236.