Letters [Sep 2004]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2004:
I appreciate animal people’s June 2004 coverage of sea turtle
conservation. I just returned from Bali, Indonesia, where the
trade in endangered turtles is alive and well. Hundreds of turtles
are caught off shore and brought into warehouses where, fins tied,
they languish without water until they are sold for slaughter. All
of this is against Indonesian law, but occurs anyway due to to
corrupt law enforcement and greed.
–Wayne Johnson, Ph.d
CHAMP International Forum
Thank you for enabliing me to show the video of the Animal
Balance work in the Galapagos at the international session of the
recent Conference on Homeless Animal Management & Policy. You have
helped me SO much and I will be forever grateful to Animal People.
I love meeting other folks from around the world and hearing
about their amazing work and how they find solutions to such awful
problems. We all become friends very quickly.
Thank you for providing us with a forum that gives us energy
to keep going and save more lives.
Thank you for facilitating so many inspirational
presentations by international visitors at the Conference on Homeless
Animal Management & Policy. Each made a memorable impression upon me
and many others.
Bringing together animal advocates from remote places knits us
together as the strong family we must be if we are to realize our
dream of a cruelty-free world.
Animal Aid Unlimited (India)
4508 SW Massachusetts St.
Seattle, WA 98116
The CHAMP conference is a project of the North Shore Animal
League America. The CHAMP International Forum is coordinated each
year by ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett.
Dog rescuers are prosecuted
Our organization Sathva Mithra (Friends of Animals) has for
the past 11 years defended the rights of animals in Sri Lanka. We
have challenged in courts the actions of the authorities against
animals including elephants, cattle, and dogs. We also carry out
animal welfare work such as holding clinics to sterilize and
vaccinate community dogs and cats.
With the unrelenting negative attitude of state and local
authorities toward the rights of animals, we urgently require the
help of international organizations.
For the first time in Sri Lanka, two animal rights
activists, both women, have been charged by the Colombo Municipal
Council before the Municipal Magistrate on allegations of letting
dogs owned by them loose on the street, thereby causing a public
The activists, Shyama Peries and Kumudhini Saravana-muttu,
have entered pleas of “not guilty.” They have in fact been regularly
rescuing animals from cruel death at the dog pound, sterilizing and
vaccinating them against rabies, and re-homing them.
Shyama Peries and Kumudhini Saravanamuttu have not taken dogs
who were impounded following allegations of being problematic. The
dogs were impounded by the Colombo Municipal Council under a cruel
blanket catch-and-kill policy. Some were seized despite the presence
and protests of their guardians. Dogs are seized whether or not they
have been reported as troublesome by local merchants, residents or
passers-by. The catchers even seize dogs who have been vaccinated
against rabies, and carry tan identifying collar.
The CMC impounds dogs for three days. If their guardians do
not claim the dogs and pay a fine, the dogs are gassed. Shyama
Peries and Kumudhini Saravanamuttu have released some dogs on behalf
of poor owners who could not pay the fines, but most have been
re-homed at the Shelter for Dogs of the Animal Welfare & Protection
Association, outside Colombo. Others have been re-homed with persons
who are known to the dogs and care for them.
Animal rights activists in Sri Lanka believe that the CMC is
attempting to intimidate and cause fear among all animal welfare and
rights organizations and activists, to quell their criticism of the
cruelty of the catch-and-kill program of the Colombo Municipal
Council, and their efforts to introduce alternate ways of
controlling dog populations and eradicating rabies.
Your support could be shown by writing letters of protest to
the authorities, including Prasanna Gunawardana, Mayor of Colombo,
fax 94-11-2698149, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Nimal Siripala
de Silva, Minister of Health, Government of Sri Lanka, fax
94-11-2694227; and Udaya Nanayakkara, chair, Sri Lanka Tourist
Board, fax 94-11-2437953.
73/28 Sri Saranankara Place
Enkosini has published a new web site to highlight the
different wildlife volunteer placements in South Africa. We are
already featuring ourselves, the Baboon Sanctuary, the Penguin
Conservation Centre, the Shark Research Project, and the Vervet
Monkey Sanctuary, and are adding new projects every day. Check us
Enkosini Wildlife Sanctuary/
The Lion Foundation
P.O. Box 1197
Lydenburg 1120, South Africa
How to help animals in Darfur?
Warm greetings from Darfur, Sudan. Thanks so much for your
concern about the situation here. We are faced with many problems.
The janjweed militias have killed countless domestic animals and our
wildlife has escaped to Chad and Libya. Warfare normally brings
epidemics, and the remaining animals have not been spared. Most of
the nongovernmental organizations working in Darfur are concerned
only with trying to relieve the human suffering. Animals are not
receiving consideration. We hope you will look into this. We need
drugs and vehicles to distribute them. Thank you.
Sudanese Animal Care
P.O. Box 227, El Obied
Kordufan State, Sudan
ANIMAL PEOPLE met Mustafa Bakrawi at the All Africa Humane
Education Summit in September 2003. We forwarded his e-mail to the
World Society for the Protection of Animals, Humane Society
International, and Inter-national Fund for Animal Welfare.
We have received a copy of your e-mail to Animal People
concerning the situation affecting animals in Darfur and Sudan
The World Society for the Protection of Animals is monitoring
the situation in Sudan both through our office based in Kenya and
through the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad, which is a
WSPA member organisation operating throughout the Middle East and
SPANA has agreed to assess the needs of the animals caught up
in the current crisis in Sudan and we are currently awaiting the
results so that we may determine the most efficient and effective way
in which we might assist.
Due to travelling restrictions and other operational
difficulties, it is likely to be several weeks before we have that
WSPA has written to the ambassadors of both Sudan and Chad in
London to register our concern about the animals, particularly farm
animals and beasts of burden. When security has been re-established
in Darfur. WSPA would be keen to deliver an intervention, either in
person or through SPANA.
–Peter Davies, Chair
World Society for the
Protection of Animals
89 Albert Embankment
London, U.K. SE1 7TP
Parallel responses were later received from IFAW and HSI.
We never realized that the end was near for Bonny Shah,
whose obituary appeared in your July/August 2004 edition.
Bonny and Rati Shah visited us in 2000. Their visit was
cruelly shortened by Bonny’s complaint of fatigue after visiting
Telenelipuram, an unprotected nearby resting, feeding, and nesting
area for 43 migratory and native bird species. That was the first
that we knew that she had leukemia.
Bonny gave the right meaning to being kind toward helpless
living beings. She knew deep in her heart that the most
underprivileged and least understood are children, and she extended
this feeling to animals. She realized that animals benefit when
children are educated and encouraged in their moral and intellectual
She most identified with donkeys. Her Dharma Donkey
Sanctuary now conducts donkey camps twice a year in Sagoroli village,
Nanded District, Maharastra State. More than 8,000 donkeys have
been helped there during the past three years.
Her dream of running the Dharma Donkey Sanctuary with the
help of the children at the nearby school she sponsored will require
more work to fully accomplish. It is most unfortunate that Bonny
will not see it.
–Pradeep Kumar Nath
26-15-200 Main Road
One area of animal use I have never seen described or
commented upon in any animal welfare publication (nor can I find any
reference to it on the Internet) is the use of live birds in training
and competition involving field dogs. Since such events are
sanctioned by the American Kennel Club and trained retrievers are
actively sought by hunters, I know that such activities go on, but
find it hard to locate any objective information about how they are
Presumably live waterfowl or upland game birds are used.
What rules and regulations cover the treatment of these living
decoys? Is cruelty an issue? Is anyone focusing attention on avian
welfare? It would seem a major chink in the AKC’s public relations
armor if they are indeed actively promoting animal abuse in training
–George Bates, DVM
About 12 years have passed since the use of live birds in
“gun dog” field trials last drew significant attention from animal
welfare organizations. Specific practices vary with the type of
event, but the captive-rearedbirds are usually shot. The most
prominent relevant web site may be a subsection of the pro-hunting
National Animal Interest Alliance site, posted in response to U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service regulations of field trials held at National
Wildlife Refuges, issued in 1992.
Hunting & the link to chaining dogs & women
Thank you for the mention in your July/August 2004 editorial
about “Treating people like animals.”
I love how you tie everything together, and make a cohesive
whole out of all the parts, from war to hunting to dog chaining. I
found the hunting angle very interesting from a personal perspective.
My father and my two brothers hunt.
My dad tried to strangle my mom when I was 16 because he
thought she was having an affair. They are now divorced.
I remember a particular moment where he pointed his wrath at
me. I was out sunbathing and thinking about having a great time at
the prom, and of course my thoughts were all focused on me. He came
home and was furious that I hadn’t made dinner. He told my mom that
night that he had a new gun, and I was the first one he would use it
As a child we had a chained beagle, a “huntin’ dawg,” whom
I pitied so much. None of our animals were allowed in the house.
One time my mom complained so much about the cats sitting outside the
door of the house wanting to get in that my dad took all but one and
I have been anti-gun ever since. I feel that just having a
gun is much too tempting for someone slightly off his rocker or
feeling the anger of the moment.
When I spoke to my dad about all this a year or two ago, I
told him that he needed to apologize to my mom for trying to kill
her. He said, “She was having an affair.” I said, if she were
having an affair, that gives you the right to divorce her or leave
her. It does not give you the right to kill her. He looked
surprised at that.
–Tammy Sneath Grimes, founder
Dogs Deserve Better
P.O. Box 23
Tipton, PA 16684
Saved by taking her own pit bull advice
The hard data in the July/August 2004 edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE about the rising numbers of pit bull terriers coming into
animal shelters validates the impression that many of us have from
Ironically, in view that I have been rescuing pit bulls for
more than 15 years, I was almost attacked by two loose pit bulls
recently. It sounded as if horses were coming up behind me, but I
only heard one bark– enough to make me turn instantly. The dogs
turned out to be two unneutered male “guard dogs” from a glass
company, weighing at least 85 pounds each. They came in tandem down
the sidewalk at full speed. I have never seen pit bulls run so fast.
There was no way to get to shelter, so I stepped off the
sidewalk as smoothly as possible, so as not to seem like prey. I
positioned myself against a telephone pole (you always want find some
type of support that will keep you from going down) and turned
sideways to look as non-challenging as possible, but still able to
see them out of the corner of my eye, and completely stopped
The dog on my side stopped, barked, and started to lunge,
but my motionlessness did not stimulate him. The other dog
continued his race straight ahead. I don’t think he saw me. Left to
decide whether to attack and get left behind or try to catch up, the
closest dog decided on the latter and I stayed glued to the pole
until they tried to attack a dog through a fence down the street.
They then crossed the street and tried to attack a dog through a
By that time, a man came running down the street yelling
“Lucky,” which neither dog acknowledged. The man got both dogs by
their collars and pulled them home.
The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services sent an officer
out almost immediately. The dogs tried to attack him through the
gate. Animal Services encouraged the man to have both dogs neutered.
This was done within two days.
While that is well and good, the dogs are still in a
low-income neighborhood where children play in the streets and
unfenced yards, and people walk to the stores. Had other people been
on the streets at the time of this incident, we would have had a
death or severe mauling.
As many times as I have contacted victims of dog attacks,
set up bank accounts to help them, and taught people how to protect
themselves, this was the first time I came so close to becoming a
victim. The “hype” after an attack is usually somewhat like being
raped. People insist that the victim must have done something to
deserve it. Or that it is not the poor dog’s fault–the dog(s) must
have had a terrible childhood.
These dogs had excellent care, a huge dog run, and a big
area to run in after the business closed each day. The owner has
three children who play with the dogs. They are well fed, never
chained, and he raised them from puppies with every good intention.
None of that prevented a rampage which included a threat to a
pedestrian (me) and attempted attacks on two dogs and an animal
control officer. None of that will console anxious neighbors who
know a rampage could happen again with different consequences.
–Phyllis Daugherty, Director
Animal Issues Movement
420 N. Bonnie Brae Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
The chart accompanying “Post-9/11 shelter killing hits 4.9
million a year,” on page 8 of the July/August edition of ANIMAL
PEOPLE included two lines for Springfield, Missouri, received from
conflicting sources. Neither line appears to have been correct. The
best data we have been able to obtain indicates that the shelters
serving Springfield and Greene County, population 242,000, killed
9,689 dogs and cats in 2002, for a rate of dogs and cats killed per
1,000 humans of 40.
The line for Flagstaff, Arizona, covered all of Coconino
County, most of which is within the Navajo Nation. If Flagstaff is
viewed in isolation, the shelter killing rate drops to 30.7, still
nearly twice the U.S. norm of 17.4, while the killing rate on the
Navajo Nation jumps to 136, eight times the U.S. norm.
The line for Chattanooga stated a shelter killing rate of
36.1, based on 2001 data. Three weeks after going to press we
received newer data showing a drop to 22.5 by June 30, 2004.
“The Terminator kills proposal to terminate animals sooner,”
on page 13 of the July/August 2004 edition, concerned an abortive
attempt by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to repeal “the
1968 Hayden Act.” That was a typographical error. The Hayden Act
was actually passed in 1998.