Letters [Oct 2008]
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2008:
(Actual publication date 11-5-08.)
Animal welfare vs. conservation
I really enjoyed your September 2008 editorial feature Animal welfare & conservation in conflict. It certainly raised some interesting discussion points in the welfare vs. conservation debate. As an animal welfarist and conservationist is it possible to be both?! I find myself conflicted over such topics. I think its great to raise awareness of these conflicts and hopefully work toward solutions.
Heather Bacon, DVM
Animals Asia Foundation
P.O. Box 374
General Post Office
Dog crime cases
Thank you so much for your September 2008 article on California murder-by-dog defendant Marjorie Knoller being sent back to prison. I have been devastated by the acquittal of Floyd Boudreaux and his son. Your article gave me a reason to smile again.
Editor s note:
District Judge Kristian Earles on October 16, 2008 acquitted pit bull terrier breeders Floyd J. Boudreaux, 74, and his son Guy Boudreaux, 44, of 48 counts of alleged dogfighting. Earles, without hearing the defence, ruled that the prosecution had not proved the case. Louisiana state police on March 11, 2005 seized 56 pit bulls from the Boudreaux premises, along with alleged dogfighting videos and paraphernalia, a sawed-off shotgun, and 40 gamecocks. Then-Louisiana SPCA executive director Laura Maloney had a pet pit bull, and opposed breed-specific legislation in a column she wrote for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, but euthanized the Boudreaux pit bulls three days after they were impounded, deeming them dangerously aggressive. Maloney later in 2005 moved to Melbourne, Australia, after her husband Dan became director of the Melbourne Zoo. Attorney Jason Robineaux, representing Floyd and Guy Boudreaux, indicated to Jason Brown of the Baton Rouge Advocate that Maloney s decision to euthanize the dogs may become the subject of litigation.
Canada & fur
In reference to the strategy documents Defense of the Fur Trade and Launching the Offensive, respectively commissioned and produced by the Canadian Ministry of External Affairs in 1985 and discussed in your July/August 2008 article What does leadership transition mean for WSPA? , it should be noted that the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development asked for the assistance of other ministries, including Revenue Canada.
Shortly afterward, the four main Canadian anti-trapping and anti-fur groups were told by Revenue Canada that if they persisted in their criticism of the fur trade, they risked losing their charitable status. All of the groups but ours quickly acquiesced. We had our charitable status annulled.
U.S. groups cannot understand why Canadian groups never speak against fur. Friends in Britain cannot understand the Canadian silence about sealing.
We were hit hard financially, because now no foundation can legally donate to any group that cannot provide income tax receipts. The Better Business Bureau advises that donors should support only registered charities. Our supporters cannot claim contributions to us as charitable donations. We have difficulty receiving nonprofit advertising rates from the media because we no longer have a registered charity number.
However, the number of animals trapped in British Columbia has plummeted from 300,000 to 1980 to 34,000 in 2006. Trapping in Alberta has declined by more than 90%, and so has trapping in the Yukon and the Northwest territories.
Bunty and I, who founded the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals in 1952, known today as Fur-Bearer Defenders, are now 83, and have been happily married for 57 years.
George V. Clements
225 East 17th Ave.
Canada V5V 1A6
S/N in China
During the past 20 years, Animal Rescue Beijing and other Chinese animal welfare organizations have promoted companion animal sterilization in urban areas while neglecting the countryside. In fact 80% of the companion dogs in China live in the countryside. Most are unleashed and run freely in villages. They eat garbage, are not vaccinated, and mate and breed randomly.
These village dogs are the major part of those who are caught, sold, and slaughtered for meat.
To control the rural dog population, Animal Rescue Beijing recently launched the free dog sterilization campaign in China.
Our first trial village is Mengzu, Baishan Town, in the Changping District of Beijing, where the ARB shelter is located. After 24 puppies were abandoned in front of our shelter, we investigated dog-keeping in the village. We learned that the village is the third biggest one in Baishan Town, with 600 families and about 1,300 dogs.
Animal Rescue Beijing has gone to the village market every Wednesday since September 3, 2008 to promote dog sterilization. With the help of the village committee, the township government, Beijing Pet Dog Management Office of the Police Bureau, and the local police, many local farmers have agreed to have their dogs sterilized.
The program will continue until June 2009. The village is providing a room for the surgeries. The police bureau is helping to obtain some veterinarians and medicine. It is important to find veterinary support, especially from veterinarians who are experienced in doing minimally invasive surgery.
The estimated average operation cost is about $18 U.S. per dog, including the anesthetic, antibiotics, and dressings. Other costs include acquiring the operation table, instruments, a shadowless lamp, an autoclave, and cages for post-operation recovery.
Animal Rescue Beijing
Room 4-4-101, Ta Yuan Xiao Qu
Haidian District, Beijing 100083
Peoples Republic of China
S/N in Portugal
Three friends and I in 2005 decided to sterilize a colony of 40 cats in Porto, Portugal, with a borrowed trap and the help of a clinic that gave us low prices for this colony. We asked family and friends for donations and managed to neuter the whole colony.
But this was very little considering the thousands of animals here. There were a few shelters and organizations that did animal adoption, but none sterilized street animals.
We became a registered charity, now with 15 volunteers, eight cat traps, 25 cat boxes, two dog traps, a net and a catch-pole, working with 12 vet clinics nationwide. Our goal is to have neuter/return programs in all of Portugal. We have neutered more than 1,100 animals, and intend to do more and better.
We dream of having have a van to do mobile neuter/return, and of having qualified full-time staff. Currently we are all still volunteers, with jobs and family responsibilities.
In short, we would like to become a national organization, that can help many thousands of animals and have a real impact.
Maria Pinto Teixeira
Through partnership with Inter-NICHE, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare is planning an all-Africa seminar to introduce alternatives to the use of animals in education, to be held in Nairobi on September 23-25, 2009.
Meanwhile, we are immersed in doing spay/neuter and anti-rabies vaccination to replace use of strychnine in Kenya, collaborating with Worldwide Veterinary Services, the Maria Norbury Foundation, Humane Society International, Nairobi University, the Kenya Veterinary Association, and the Kenya Department of Veterinary Services.
Josphat Ngonyo, Director
Africa Network for Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 3731-00506
Report from Ghana
World Rabies Day 2008 was celebrated in Ghana on September 20. We vaccinated 40 dogs at the Accra puppy market and distributed about 1,000 leaflets.
P.O. Box AN 12051
Ghana, West Africa
Making the case for drop-off cages
Re Drop-off cage debate, in the September 2008 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, I am a strong advocate of drop-off cages, or night kennels, as I call them.
When I moved to Oakland, California in 1989 I saw stray dogs everywhere. The city animal shelter, then as now, is closed more often than it is open. Currently it is open 25% of the hours in a week. When I caught stray dogs I needed a place to take them. I couldn t bring them to my house, and I couldn t miss work waiting for the shelter to open at noon. The public is entitled to a safe place to put an animal 24 hours a day, because the need is 24/7. Many citizens were reunited with their missing dogs because I had a place to take them.
In 2002 I got a job working at a city animal shelter and witnessed first hand what came in the night kennel. Shelter staff might be annoyed to arrive in the morning and find a litter of sick kittens or an aggressive dog, especially when there is no accompanying note about the animal s history or even if it comes from our jurisdiction. However, whoever dropped the animal off did the right thing in bringing the animal to a shelter to be cared for or dealt with appropriately.
There are many reasons people will not bring an animal to a shelter during open hours. These reasons include being unable to pay a surrender fee, not wanting to be subject to the judgment of shelter staff, not wanting to be identified as an undocumented alien, being unable to miss work, etc.
We also get animals in the night kennel who are suffering from illnesses and injuries, usually as a result of long-term neglect. I can guarantee you the owner is not going to walk into our shelter out of fear of prosecution. As irresponsible as the owner has been, they still finally did the right thing in bringing the animal to us.
Many of the reasons the public has in not bringing in animals over the counter may be unfounded, but they don t know that.
Night kennels help animals. Closing night kennels hurts animals. That s the bottom line.
Editor s note:
The term night kennel most often refers not to a drop-off cage, but to an indoor facility where dogs are housed after spending daylight hours in outdoor exercise yards.
The humane community has long recognized the benefits of allowing the public to leave animals in secure drop-off cages that are open when shelters are closed. Drop-off cages were a recommended part of shelter design for most of the 20th century. However, recognition has developed that monitoring drop-off cages adequately to protect the animals left in them from the elements, theft, and abuse is usually neither easier, nor less expensive, than simply keeping the shelter open longer in the evenings and on weekends.
Volunteers from People for Animals/ Guwahati, with the help of locals under the leadership of Nripen Bhagawati, recently succeeded in convincing the people ofKedar village in Hajo, 40 kilometers from Guwahati city, to quit sacrificing animals in the name of the goddess Durga at the Jai Durga temple of Hajo. About 40 goats and hundreds of pigeons and ducks were set free. Animal sacrifice had been done at this temple since 1775.
People for Animals
Hengrabari, VIP Road
Guwahati, Assam 781036, India
The print edition of the September 2008 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE credited SPCA/Los Angeles for two photos taken by Mark Cirillo of SPCA/Los Angeles during the Hurricane Ike rescue operation on Galveston Island, Texas, but omitted SPCA/LA from the list of responding humane societies included in the accompanying coverage. This was corrected in the electronic edition.