Letters [June 2010]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2010:


Using credit cards in adoption screening

Thank you for publishing “Rethink-ing
adoption screening in the computer age” in your
May 2010 edition.
Many of the points addressed in this
editorial are valid, but as a consumer who is
concerned about identity theft and financial
privacy, I would be very leery of an
organization that required presentation of a
credit card if I had planned to pay via cash or
check. Further, if it were not revealed to me
ahead of time that my credit would be checked
when I was not applying for credit, employment
or a security clearance, adverse publicity for
the organization could result.
While I understand the reasons for
requiring a credit card for non-credit purposes,
applicable shelters should make these
requirements known in publicity materials.
–Cecily Westermann
St. Louis, Missouri

Editor’s note:

Responded Helen Woodward Animal Center
executive director Mike Arms, who has long
recommended asking for a major credit card
instead of doing extensive adoption screening,
“I have never had an issue when requesting a
credit card along with a driver’s license or
other photo ID. In past years when doing
follow-ups with adopters, a high percentage of
adopters who did not possess credit cards no
longer lived at the addresses they reported
during their adoption interview. It seems these
folks were more transient. So credit cards are
one more clue in helping us to find qualified
Global Vets in Tanzania

In May 2010 we were happy to host
students from Ontario Veterinary College under
their Global Volunteer Vets 2010 Program. The
Tanzania Animal Welfare Society is a needy
grassroots organization. We welcome support to
help us reach poor communities where animals are
–Dr. Thomas W. Kahema
Executive Director
Tanzania Animal Welfare Society
P.O. Box 10268
Dar es salaam, Tanzania.
Phone: 255-713-322-796
Editor’s note:

Two second-year Ontario Veterinary
College students started the Global Vets program
in 1997, based on a program called Defi
Vet-Monde offered by the Faculte de medecine
veterinaire at the Université de Montreal. The
Global Vets program gives student vets an
opportunity to investigate animal health care in
developing nations. The International Veterinary
Medicine Club was founded in 2006 to host the
Global Vets program.
Contact the Global Vet program c/o
Ontario Veterinary College, University of
Guelph, 50 Stone Road, Guelph, Ontario,
Canada, N1G 2W1; telephone 519-824-4120,
x54401; <www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/globalvets/>.
City of Chennai, India extends Animal Birth Control program to cats

I am delighted to inform you that Chennai
has become the first municipality in India–and,
I may add, one of the very few in the world–to
take up trap-neuter/spay-and release of street
and feral cats.
The Chennai Animal Birth Control program
for dogs, initiated by the Blue Cross of India
in 1964, succeeded because of two factors,
for both of which thanks are due to our former
brilliant mayor, M. Abul Hassan. One of these
factors was that he supported the dog ABC program
in concept, if not financially. The other
factor was that almost simultaneously
Hassan improved the garbage removal system in the
city, which reduced the carrying capacity of the
Chennai habitat for street dogs. Chennai led the
way in ABC by stopping the barbaric electrocution
of dogs in 1996, five years before the Dog
Control Rules of 2001 became law throughout
The Blue Cross of India took up ABC for
cats, too, in 1964. Cats have not been a major
issue in Chennai because we have always
sterilized both cats and dogs, but with the
number of dogs having come down drastically due
to the success of ABC, more cats are being
noticed than ever before.
What Hassan did for the dogs of India is
now being done for cats by Rajesh Lakhoni, IAS,
Commissioner of the Chennai Corporation. While
the dog program has been funded by the Blue
Cross, with occassional funding for a few years
from the Animal Welfare Board of India in the
past, the cat program will be funded by Chennai
to the extent of 500 rupees per cat. While this
will not cover our total costs, this will be a
trend-setting program for the rest of the country.
We congratulate the Chennai Corporation,
and especially the mayor and commissioner, for
this far-sighted act. We are most happy that the
initiative for this came from the Commissioner
–S. Chinny Krishna
Blue Cross of India
1-A Eldams Rd., Chennai
Tamil Nadu 600018, India
Phone: 91-44-234-1399
Bulgaria giving puppy to Barack Obama?

A three-month Bulgarian shepherd puppy is
to be given by Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko
Borisov to U.S. President Barack Obama later this
year, WAZ.euobserver.com reported on June 20,
At the same time, key Bulgarian
officials are receiving thousands of letters and
phone calls, but there is still no funding
provided for encouraging and promoting
sterilization of pets.
In fact, Bulgarian officials hide
Europe’s dirtiest industry. Our national cat and
dog populations include about three million
animals. Their annual birth rate remains near
Most unwanted pets are just waiting for
death, in pounds, unlicensed laboratories,
illegal fur factories, or by poisoning on the
street, as when 11 dogs were poisoned in
downtown Pernik in mid-March 2010.
The Bulgarian government has done nothing
to restrict either cat and dog breeding, or
commercial movement of stolen and unwanted pet
In recent years the Sofia Animal Control
Service has reported impounding and disposing of
about 5,000 dogs annually, while every year the
local pet dog population produces tens of
thousands of offspring.
Curiously, there were no lost dogs
reported as returned to their homes by Sofia
Animal Control.
–Emil Kuzmanov
Animal Programs Foundation
18 Janko Sofijski Vojvoda Str.
1164 Sofia, Bulgaria
Context of the AVMA guidelines on gassing

American Veterinary Medical Association
guidelines are often mentioned by proponents of
gas chamber euthanasia. While the guidelines say
that gassing is acceptable they also say that a
backup method is required for animals younger
than 16 weeks and for various other conditions.
The only acceptable backup is euthanasia by
injection so the argument that cites security and
safety concerns as a reason for using gas makes
no sense.
Using a gas chamber according to AVMA
guidelines requires euthanasia by injection for
those animals that cannot be gassed. Those
shelters who do not use euthanasia by injection
backup are in violation of the very same AVMA
guidelines they use to support continuing use of
At a recent bill hearing in Lansing I
listened to a prominent veterinarian state off
the record that he would never put his own (or
client) animals in a chamber. He said he would
only use euthanasia by injection. This same vet
opposed the Michigan bills requiring euthanasia
by injection. The double standard of what’s good
for our own animals vs what’s good for shelter
animals is in full force.
I have watched, too many times to count,
workers load chambers with fractious dogs and
feral cats using an animal control pole. Getting
the pole on the animals and stuffing them into
chambers is no less dangerous than putting a
fractious dog behind a restraint gate or a feral
cat in a net so that pre-euthanasia anesthetics
can be administered.
In my experience, it is more dangerous
to pole cats and dogs and try to load them into
–Doug Fakkema
Charleston, South Carolina
Details of the Idaho Falls choice to quit gassing animals

Thank you for “Gassing in animal shelters
nears abolition, but continues on farms & in
fields,” published in your May 2010 edition.
However, I was misquoted by your source, Katy
Moeller of the Idaho Statesman, and would like
the opportunity to correct the error.
The gas chamber at the Idaho Falls Animal
Shelter did break down and could not be repaired.
However the decision to not purchase a new gas
chamber was not made because the shelter
“couldn’t afford $30,000 for a new one,” as
Moeller reported and you quoted Moeller. The
decision to not purchase a new gas chamber was
made because we–meaning animal shelter
personnel, the police department and our city
council–felt that this was the right thing to
do. During the past few months, we have had
many discussions regarding the use of the gas
chamber and the timely breakdown of our gas
chamber pretty much made the decision for us.
Purchasing a new gas chamber was never an option.

–Irene M. Brown
Animal Services Manager
City of Idaho Falls Animal Shelter
2450 Hemmert Avenue
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
Phone: 208-612-8673

Three paragraphs of the 10-paragraph May
2010 ANIMAL PEOPLE article “Is Zimbabwe loading
animals two-by-two to send to North Korea?”
contained reportage from Zimbabwe submitted by
Zimbabwean journalist Barnabas Thondhlana, as
part of a 15-paragraph article under his byline,
without attribution to any other source. After
ANIMAL PEOPLE credited Thondhlana in print and
compensated him for his contribution, we learned
that all 15 paragraphs that Thondhlana
represented as his own had actually appeared,
two days before he sent them, under the byline
of Sandra Mandizvidza of the Zimbabwe Standard.
The quotes that ANIMAL PEOPLE attributed to
Thondhlana were actually from Mandizvidza. Asked
to explain, Thondhlana failed to offer a
coherent response.

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