Funds raised for fake sanctuary

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
PALM BEACH–The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation
Commission and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on November 18,
2008 arrested Heather Southworth, 26, for allegedly unlawfully
soliciting funds for an unregistered charity called Rescue: Big Cat
Organization–which appears to have existed entirely in cyberspace.
The Rescue: Big Cat Organization web site, still active on
December 27, 2008 but taken down soon afterward, claimed to
represent a charity founded in Pennsylvania in 1985, also operating
sanctuaries in New York, North Carolina, and Florida. The site
included photos and stories about many purportedly rescued animals,
and listed 18 supposed staff.

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Senior Ragunan Zoo curator speaks out for orangs

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
JAKARTA, Indonesia–Ragunan Zoo senior
curator Ulrike Freifrau von Mengden on December
30, 2008 for the second time in three years put
her unpaid job and her home inside the zoo at
risk by speaking out on behalf of the orangutans
she has looked after ever since the zoo opened.
Prompting von Mengden’s concern each time
were the implications for nearly 50 orangutans
of a long-evolving deal whereby the Ragunan Zoo
is reportedly to acquire a female gorilla from
the Howletts Wild Animal Park in Britain in early
2009, in trade for 12 primates of Indonesian
Brokered by Gibbon Foundation director
Willie Smits, a Dutch-born Indonesian resident,
the exchange was disclosed in February 2006.
Five silvery gibbons and several Javan langurs
were sent to Howletts. Smits credited Howletts
with curing the gibbons of diseases and getting
them out of small cages.
Preparations to receive the female
gorilla are still underway, Ragunan Zoo
spokesperson Bambang Wahyudi recently told
Mariani Dewi of the Jakarta Post.
The female gorilla is expected to arrive
after a Ragunan Zoo veterinarian, a senior
keeper, and a data base administrator complete
three months of training at Howletts. Their
training started in October 2008.

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IRS to crack down on non-filing nonprofits

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
Half a million U.S. charities, including hundreds of small
animal rescues, may lose their federal nonprofit status in May 2010,
after failing for three consecutive years to file either Internal
Revenue Service Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, or 990-N.
Form 990 is the standard reporting form for charities that
solicit funds from the public. Form 990-EZ is used by charities
raising between $25,000 and $50,000 per year. Form 990-PF is used by
private foundations.
The IRS formerly exempted charities with annual income of
less than $25,000 from any filing requirement, but the Pension
Protection Act of 2006 created Form 990-N, which all charities must
file if they do not file any of the other versions of Form 990. The
requirement applies to all tax years ending on or after December 31,
2007. Revocation of nonprofit status is automatic if the filing
requirement is not met. Charities that lose nonprofit status for not
filing will have to petition the IRS for reinstatement.

U.S. issues rabies advisory for Bali visitors as control effort stumbles

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
JAKARTA, DENPASAR–The U.S. embassy to Indonesia on January
12, 2009 issued the outbreak notice that the Bali tourism industry
had feared would be coming since mid-November 2008, when reports
first circulated about four human rabies deaths resulting from dog
bites in two villages on the peninsula south of the Denpasar airport.
“Rabies has been confirmed in dogs from at least two villages
near popular tourist destinations on the southern tip of Bali,” the
outbreak notice advised. “At this stage rabies has been identified
in only one district, but the Centers for Disease Control &
Prevention advises travelers to take precautions on the entire
island,” the notice added.
The outbreak notice was distributed two days after Bali
governor Made Mangku Pastika announced, “We are closing the seaports
and airport to any dog trade.”

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“Mice are lousy models,” says leading scientist

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:

STANFORD–Many people have asserted that
mouse studies are poor models for human disease
research. But few have had the stature within
the biomedical research field of Stanford
Institute for Immunity, Trans-plantation and
Infection director Mark M. Davis, Ph.D., and
few have said so in a leading medical journal.
“We seem to be in a state of denial,
where there is so much invested in the mouse
model that it seems almost unthinkable to look
elsewhere,” Davis wrote in the December 19,
2008 edition of Immunity, in an essay deemed
noteworthy enough that both Immunity and the
Stanford University Medical Center issued press
releases to publicize his statements.

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Dogs among the heroes of the Mumbai attacks

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
MUMBAI, India–Among the most popular heroes of the
three-day terrorist rampage through Mumbai that started on November
26, 2008 are the street dog Sheru, the sniffer dog Jessica, and
the therapy dogs Goldie and Onet.
At least 170 people were killed and 230 were wounded by 10
heavily armed men believed to be Pakistanis, who are believed to
have hijacked a boat to reach Mumbai, killing the crew. On arrival,
they shot up the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, the Taj
Mahal and Oberoi-Trident hotels, a Jewish outreach center, and a
restaurant, and left bombs in two taxi cabs.

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Rescuing greyhounds from the most remote track in the world

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
HAGNATA, Guam; BOSTON– Between the depressed U.S. economy
and the passage of an initiative ban on greyhound racing in
Massachusetts after January 1, 2010, greyhound rescuers expected a
winter of tracks closing and ex-racing dogs needing homes.
But few expected to be coordinating a major rescue on the
Pacific island of Guam –among the most remote of U.S. territories,
and until November 6, 2008 the most isolated outpost of greyhound
racing in the world.
Like the Wonderland and Raynham tracks in Massachusetts, the
32-year-old Guam Greyhound Track was killed at the ballot box–but
indirectly. The Guam Greyhound Track drew 250 to 300 people per night
in recent years, down from 800 per night in 1990, reported Steve
Limtiaco of Pacific Daily News. The track on November 4, 2008 asked
Guam voters to approve a proposition which would have enabled the
facility to build a $30 million convention center and expand into
casino gambling. When the proposition was defeated, track owner
John Baldwin halted dog racing and listed the property for sale at
$15.9 million.

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Dairyland disaster

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
KENOSHA, Wisconsin–Three greyhounds broke their legs
running on the frozen Dairyland Greyhound Park track on December 19.
2008, despite a warning from track veterinarian Jenifer Barker that
she could not approve the surface. Dairyland cancelled 11 races the
next day.
Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel used the
Wisconsin open records law to get Barker’s e-mails to Wisconsin
Gaming Division chief Robert Sloey and Dairyland chief steward Dan
Subach, expressing her concerns.
Dairyland officials reportedly expected to lose as much as
$2.8 million in 2008, after losing similar amounts in each of the
preceding several years. The Menominee tribe of Wisconsin and the
Mohegan tribe of Connecticut jointly hold an option to buy the track,
the last in the state, for $40.5 million, if they can obtain
permits to add a casino and convention center to the property.

Bombay High Court upholds ABC programs

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
MUMBAI–The Bombay High Court, in the most legally influential
judicial ruling yet on dog population control in India, on December
19, 2008 upheld the legal validity of the national Animal Birth
Control program, with two amendments to ensure that dogs whose
behavior imminently threatens human life will be killed.
The verdict was widely misreported. Wrote Swati Deshpande
for the Times of India, in one of the most broadly distributed
accounts, “The fate of lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of dogs was
sealed when the Bombay High Court ruled in a majority verdict that
stray canines who ‘create a nuisance’ by, say, barking too much,
can be killed. The verdict applies not only to an estimated 70,000
stray dogs in the city, but to canines in all of Maharashtra and

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