Letters [Jan/Feb 2009]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
Use it, not lose it

Regarding the Animal People November/December editorial “How
hard times affect animal rescue,” the recent “Ponzi ” scheme
executed by financier Bernard Madoff was responsible for charities
losing billions of dollars–about 20 times more than the sum of all
money raised for animal welfare and advocacy, according to some
estimates. The question that should be asked of the victims in the
charitable sector is why they kept so much money in the trusts Madoff
managed, when their purpose is to do good works with their money,
not just accumulate more money to sit in their trusts!
How many appeals do we all receive from charities that
already have vast reserves, not disclosed in their appeals?
Charities have no business keeping more money than they need to fund
programs and management costs, and should start new projects that
are in accord with their mission statements if they come by any extra
money. Perhaps charities can now be encouraged not to sit on their
money, or invest it unwisely, but instead use it for its intended
purpose–to do good deeds.
If any charities have run out of projects, let them give the
money they have in their trusts to other charities who can surely use
–Eileen Weintraub
Help Animals India/VSPCA
19215 32nd Avenue N.E.
Seattle, Washington 98155


“Obama circuit” bullfight cancelled

Your November/December cover article “Pending White House dog
adoption upstages Obama cabinet picks” mentioned that the Kenyan
government has begun promoting tourism to Kogelo, the western Kenya
town where U.S. President Barack Obama’s father lived, and that a
private promoter was trying to attract the visitors to a bullfight.
The bullfight, scheduled to have been held at the Moi
International Sports Center in Kasarani on December 13, 2008, was
cancelled. The government moved in to officially stop it following a
beehive of activities by animal welfare organizations, including our
court case (thanks to the World Society for the Protection of
Animals/Africa for supporting it), letters to relevant government
offices, lodging an official complaint with the police, a press
conference, press releases and several media interviews.
–Josphat Ngonyo
Africa Network for Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 3731-00506
Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 254-20-606-510
Fax: 254-20-609-691

Street dogs who refused kibble

Glad to see you’re making a difference for Third World dogs and cats!
We were just on a cruise last month, visiting Belize City,
Belize and Roatan, Honduras. Unlike most of the tourists, we
didn’t take the scuba diving trips, etc. that they offered.
Instead, we jumped on local transportation to get out and see reality!
It was shocking to witness the conditions of the strays in
the streets. There were few cats. Some of the dogs were dying in
the gutter right in front of us. We were running around with bags of
dog food we were able to buy, to try and feed the starving, but they
didn’t even recognize the kibble as food when it hit the ground.
What could that be about?
–Susan Roghair
Tampa, Florida

Editor’s note:

Sporadic attempts have been made for more than 70 years to
start street dog sterilization, vaccination, and mange treatment
projects in Belize and Honduras. Louisville Courier-Journal reporter
Brandy Warren in May 2007 described a two-week series of free clinics
in Belize offered by a team of visiting veterinarians, including Ray
Schaff, DVM, and family, of the Bullitt County Veterinary Center
in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
The paucity of cats that Susan Roghair noted is typical of
the developing world. Street dogs tend to monopolize the food
sources and keep cats on the rooftops– and are often quite well-fed
in places where lack of refrigeration and reliable refuse collection
means that food waste and rats are abundant. Without street dogs,
these communities would have 3-4 times as many cats as there are
dogs, plus far more rats, or would have monkeys and/or feral pigs
in about the same total number as dogs.
All of these species can be vastly more problematic than dogs
to capture, sterilize, vaccinate, and live with.
The street dogs whom Roghair tried to feed may have
recognized kibble, but in places where “animal control” often
consists of poisoning dogs, including Belize and Honduras, dogs
typically learn soon that kibble may come mixed with strychnine. Pet
dogs or former pet dogs who are familiar with kibble as their daily
rations will eat it, and if they eat some and don’t die in
convulsions, true street dogs may creep out to get some too.
Meanwhile, pets and the fed “community dogs” who would be the
easiest to vaccinate and sterilize are the most frequent victims of
poisoning, while truly feral dogs become warier and raise wary pups.
Susan Roghair forwarded photos from Belize and Honduras
showing an apparently quite representative sample of a typical street
dog population, ranging from relatively prosperous “community dogs”
to dogs suffering severely from a variety of conditions other than
simple lack of food.
Most had untreated mange. Sarcoptic mange can be treated
with cheap and simple malathion dips, at a ratio of one part
malathion to 1,000 parts water, repeated once a week to 10 days
after the first dipping–but someone has to catch the dogs and dip
them. There are better mange treatment products, but malathion is
readily and inexpensively available wherever there are mosquitoes,
and works until the better products are available.
Oher dogs in Roghair’s photos appeared to have severe
problems with internal parasites, common to most street dogs.

Killing not the answer

Just where to start I know not, but I am convinced that you
are unique individuals with your ANIMAL PEOPLE publication. My
immediate concern is the continual killing of millions of felines and
canines who are unwanted surpluses and just wasted, costing millions
of taxpayer dollars. The problem is the lack of control at the grass
roots. All life comes programmed to propagate and cats and dogs have
no choice, until each gets neutered. Killing the surplus is not the
answer and we can’t neuter all of them either, but we can neuter
enough so we have no surplus, and the answer is to make everyone
responsible for the cats and dogs they keep. My web site
<http://www.texas-no-kill.com> is telling the truth and when enough
citizens want a change, we can have it.
–Bruce Dailey
Willis, Texas

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