Archive | June, 2011

Florida, Ohio Make Anti-BSL Progress

30 Jun

As a nation, one of the biggest problems facing our companion animals is Breed Specific Legislation. BSL unjustly sentences thousands of animals to death, and most commonly, pit bull-type dogs. Nationally, however, people are coming together to reverse the stereotypes against these breeds, and repeal legislation designed to punish them. Instead of penalizing a class of dogs based on misinformation and media hysteria – punishments should be doled out based on individual cases.

In Ohio this week, HB 14 passed in the House (and now moves on to the Senate). This important bill eliminates statewide BSL. Previously in Ohio, state law deemed that all pit bulls (defined as any dog commonly known as a pit bull) were vicious, and the state placed special ownership restrictions/requirements on people who had them as pets.

But HB 14 eliminates these measures, and dictates that “pit bulls” (there is no such breed, of course), be treated as all other dogs, and the same goes for their owners. Equal footing for all canines – as it should be.

Additionally, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 772 into law last week. This bill allows for dogs to be treated as individuals, and evaluated as such following situations of abuse. Previously, all dogs involved in dog-fighting (even those used as bait dogs) were designated as “dangerous” and sentenced to death. We all know the possibilities for rehabilitation (just look at Michael Vick’s former dogs) in situations like this – and now these animals will have the opportunity for a second chance at life.

Unfortunately, due to a tragic recent dog attack on an elderly woman in San Diego, the city is hyped up on media sensationalism. Hopefully this progressive city won’t fall back into regressive attitudes concerning BSL.

So congratulations to Ohio and Florida for these major milestones. Bit by bit, animal lovers are chipping away at the misconceptions and stereotypes that haunt these types of dogs.

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No Kill Nation and the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation Are Not Affiliated With the Upcoming Protest Against Miami-Dade Animal Services

29 Jun

Miami, Florida – June 29, 2011:  No Kill Nation (NKN) and the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (MCABSL) would like to publicly clarify that they are not affiliated with the upcoming protest against Miami-Dade Animal Services, scheduled for July 9th.

NKN and MCABSL have had no role in planning or disseminating the information about this event.

The Facebook event was created by a woman named Hannah Steinberg, not to be confused with Hannah Sentenac of No Kill Nation. The two are different individuals, and No Kill Nation has no affiliation with the protest – although we can understand why confusion has occurred, due to the similarity in names.

While we absolutely support shelter reform and the installation of new leadership at Miami Dade Animal Services, we are advocacy groups, not activists – and we are working for reform through what we feel are the appropriate channels for our organizations, including the Rescue Five-O initiative, a national grassroots effort for shelter reform and legislation.

We hope this will correct any misinformation that may exist about the origination of the aforementioned event.

Cuba, Missouri, Votes to Go No Kill

23 Jun

Rack up another milestone for the No Kill movement! Cuba, Missouri’s City Council (and their Mayor) has voted to officially go No Kill; another town on the list of those committing to re-homing all saveable pets.

This Missouri town has been working towards this goal for some time – and we’re told that thanks to the joint efforts of Lt. Paul Crow of the Cuba Police Department; Jeff Bouse, of Cuba Animal Control; Sue Rhoades, Director of Follow Me Home Animal Rescue & Sanctuary and the animal-loving citizens of Cuba, their dream has come to fruition.

An impressive step, for this small town. Bravo Cuba, keep up the good work!

Click here to check out the Cuba, Missouri Animal Control Facebook page.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Animal Advocacy Groups Condemn Mass Slaughter of Cats at Miami Dade Animal Services

20 Jun

Miami, Florida – June 20, 2011: Animal advocates are horrified by the most recent incident in a string of documented cases of abuse, poor conditions and disease outbreaks at Miami Dade Animal Services. The Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (MCABSL) and No Kill Nation condemn the recent killing of 81 cats in a single day – a fact which was denied by Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS) leadership, but has been verified by shelter records.

MCABSL recently learned that MDAS leadership intended to kill over a 100 cats, as a direct result of one solitary case of Panleukopenia – a disease similar to parvovirus in canines. Advocates reached out to MDAS leadership to ask about the situation, and on June 14, 2011, an e mail directly from MDAS Operations Manager Xiomara Mordcovich to a concerned individual stated the following:

“MDAS did not report and did not euthanize over 100 cats/kittens on Saturday due to the case of Panleukopenia.

One cat tested positive for Panleukopenia. The kittens in his cage were also considered exposed and humanely euthanized. High risk kittens with URI, for instance, were also humanely euthanized. At the end of the day, we had 120 cats/kittens available for Sunday’s (next day) adoption, which is higher than average.”

After further investigation of the situation by MCABSL, the shocking discovery was that on Saturday, June 11, 2011, 81 cats and mostly kittens were killed. This left an approximate total of 60 cats/kittens. On the “MDAS Euthanasia Report” for that day, the reasons given were PARVO AND UPPER RESPIRATORY. However, according to Xiomara’s email, there was only one cat that tested positive for the disease. The majority of the cats killed ranged from one to two months of age. There were also 8 dogs killed, and the reasons given were Parvovirus, injury and “aggression”.

And in a horrifying repeat of the slaughter, on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, another 71 cats/kittens were killed. Again, their ages ranged from two to three months. Another eight dogs were also killed, mostly for “aggression”. The total number of animals euthanized on June 11, 2011 was 90, with a price tag to the tax-payers of $334.00. On June 15, 2011, the total number of animals killed was 83, with a price tag to the tax-payers of $194.00. If we were to transition to a No Kill shelter, the costs for this to our community would have been $0.00.

During March’s distemper outbreak, shelter leadership intended to kill all animals who were not removed from the shelter before the disinfection process began. If it weren’t for the tireless efforts of the rescue community, these animals would have died, but people came together and saved hundreds of lives. This recent slaughter of dozens of cats is more of the same from MDAS – shelter leadership demonstrating a complete disregard for the animals under their care.

Following this most recent in a string of abuses and missteps, MCABSL and No Kill Nation are calling for the resignation of Dr. Sara Pizano, to be replaced with a compassionate and hard-working director who will help lead our community to a No Kill future, instead of needlessly slaughtering the homeless pets of Miami-Dade. Please sign and share the petition for her removal: http://www.change.org/petitions/join-the-call-for-miami-dade-animal-services-directors-resignation.

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The Abuses of NYC’s ACC – and What We Can Do About It

14 Jun

Throughout history, the common consciousness of the American people has gradually been awakened to the great injustices we’ve inflicted on our fellow man. The suffrage movement, the child labor movement, the civil rights movement and others; all have had seen their time in history arrive, and as we’ve gradually righted these wrongs – we look back and wonder – how we could have ever been so blind? This is currently the case for our nation’s homeless pets, and the pets of New York in particular. While not our fellow men, they are our fellow sentient beings, and as a nation, it’s our duty to protect them. We are a nation that adores our cats and dogs – so why should the homeless be any less worthy of protection?

The state of New York’s animal shelters, and New York City’s Animal Care and Control, in particular, have reached a point of cruelty and neglect that would shock tax-paying citizens. Thousands and thousands of homeless animals are condemned to death unnecessarily, despite the Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA claiming “model” results from their city shelters. The reality is far from the PR spin, and it’s time the animal-loving public knew the truth.

Several weeks ago, a popular staffer, Emily Tanen, was fired from NYC’s ACC. Tanen was well-respected in the rescue community for her extraordinary efforts to save lives – including taking exceptional photos and writing engaging biographies of the animals that caught the eyes of rescue groups and potential adopters. The ACC does not support such strategies – and doesn’t believe in participating in social media, period, even though it’s widely accepted as one of the most successful methods for re-homing pets. Tanen says she was fired for violating ACC’s policy of taking photos of the animals while they’re in the company of human beings. This is against the organization’s rules – even though these photos help to demonstrate the positive temperaments of these pets (a key factor, especially with pit bulls). The ACC has refused to comment to the media on why Tanen was fired.

Tanen and other ACC insiders have spoken out to the press about the abuses they’ve seen on an ongoing basis. One of the top offenses? To continue to receive millions of dollars annually from Maddie’s Fund and other organizations, the ACC is not allowed to kill animals solely for reasons of space. So, to hedge this rule, Tanen and others say they’ve lowered the behavioral grade for temperament testing, so many animals no longer pass – then staff is given carte blanche to kill them. Tanen and others also say they allegedly allow animals to develop kennel cough (which every animal will, if left in the shelter for several days), then use this mild illness as an excuse to kill.

Additionally, there is photographic evidence of animals in filthy conditions, with overturned water bowls; cats with their food mixed with kitty litter; dogs lying in their own feces, not being walked for days; and other gross abuses. Volunteers are forced to sign away their right to free speech, so anyone who tries to speak out about shelter conditions is terminated.

And then there’s the story of Ebony – a tragic tale from last week. Every night, the ACC creates a kill list for the following morning. It is released to chosen parties (rescue groups only) at 6pm each evening – and these groups have until 8am the next morning to desperately network these animals in an attempt to save lives. Last week, a photo of a dog on the kill list was posted to the Urgent Facebook page. This dog, Ebony, was seen lying in her own waste. Dozens of people came together through social networking to try and save her – donating money, offering to take her in, etc., but were unable to do so. Why? Because the ACC didn’t bother to answer the phone (on a side note, their phone number is not publicly available). Ebony died – even though a home awaited her.

That same day, the ACC also killed the wrong dog in place of a different dog that was on the euthanasia list. Who was the dog they killed in this dog’s place? They still haven’t answered public inquiries about this question.

And then there’s the story of Ginger – a nearly full term pregnant pup whose babies were systematically killed, though they were old enough to survive on their own. During the surgery, the ACC almost killed Ginger, and later made bogus fundraising attempts while failing to mention that THEY themselves had caused her life-threatening condition.

But there is hope for the NYC ACC and all other shelters across New York.

Several weeks ago, Assemblyman Micah Kellner introduced the Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act (CAARA). This monumentally important bill will offer crucial protections for animals in New York shelters – protections that most tax-payers likely believe are already in place. Last year, approximately 25,000 pets were killed in New York shelters – even though rescue groups were willing to save them. Additionally, thousands and thousands more faced fates like those of Ebony and the nameless dog killed at the ACC. If CAARA passes, these animals will be protected by law, and will not be able to be killed when there are empty cages, or for arbitrary reasons such as breed – and they will not be allowed to wallow in their own waste.

We must speak for the voiceless animals of New York. This bill has the support of the No Kill Advocacy Center, Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends Animal Society and No Kill Nation. It is common sense legislation, and will save the tax-payers money. New Yorkers – please educate yourself on what’s happening in your local shelters, and support CAARA, so together, we can save the lives of thousands of New York pets whose only “crime” is being without a home.

To show your support for CAARA, please call/email Senator Joseph Robach and strongly encourage him to bring CAARA to the floor. Let him know it will save thousands of lives, as well as taxpayer dollars – and thank him profusely!

Fatal Mistakes Continue at Miami Dade Animal Services

2 Jun

Meet Juancho. Juancho was a handsome, sweet boy whose unpleasant past was about to become a happy and hopeful future. After having the tough luck to end up at Miami Dade Animal Services recently, rescuers began working to save him, and a new home was found for this special boy! A warm bed and a new mom awaited him.

But instead, MDAS killed him on Memorial Day (when they were closed, of course – holiday adoption hours? Not a chance!), even after multiple emails from rescuers pleading to keep him alive, saying they were coming to get him on Tuesday when the shelter reopened.

And what was their reasoning for killing this poor boy? “Illness” … his illness consisted of a bump from a recent injection (which MDAS itself said would likely self-resolve), and his teeth looking worn from age. ?!?!?!?!?!?!

So was it really because MDAS didn’t bother checking emails on a Sunday? Or because they no longer honor Do Not Euth requests (even though it means saving lives)? Or because they consider a sore injection site an incurable illness? Whichever excuse they choose – they’re all completely ludicrous, and none of them will ever make up for the loss of Juancho’s life.

This is nothing short of tragic. One more dog who didn’t have to die … and did. If Florida were to pass the Companion Animal Protection Act, or a modified version of it, what happened to Juancho would be illegal. The shelter would not be able to ignore the pleas of rescuers. They would not be able to kill him for having worn down teeth and a little bump on his shoulder. They would not be able to kill when there are empty cages … and so on. CAPA would offer protection for animals like Juancho. It would save thousands of lives. Versions of CAPA have passed in California and Delaware, and have been introduced in New York (as CAARA) and Minnesota. CAPA is our first step towards becoming a No Kill Nation, and its importance cannot be overstated.

Below are transcripts of several emails sent to alert staff not to kill Juancho, as well as an eventual response from MDAS.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

—–Original Message—–
From: XXX
To: pets <pets@miamidade.gov>
Sent: Sun, May 29, 2011 12:40 pm
Subject: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.

DO NOT EUTHANIZE ID #’S A1349005 [Juancho] AND ID# A1350595 WE HAVE MOMES, WORKING ON GETTING THEM PULLED AND TRANSPORTED.
tUESDAY BEFORE CLOSE. THANK YOU.

—–Original Message—–
From: XXX
To: pets <pets@miamidade.gov>
Sent: Sun, May 29, 2011 6:45 pm
Subject: Fwd: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.

—–Original Message—–
From: Pets (ASD) <Pets@miamidade.gov>
To: XXX
Sent: Tue, May 31, 2011 5:34 pm
Subject: RE: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.

Hello

A1349005 [Juancho]– pts sick on 05/30/2011

A1350595- adopted

Thanks

Pets

—–Original Message—–

From: XXX
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 5:42 PM
To: Pets (ASD)
Subject: Re: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.

SICK?  WHAT WAS HIS CONDITION PLEASE?

—–Original Message—–
From: Pets (ASD) <Pets@miamidade.gov>
To: XXX
Sent: Tue, May 31, 2011 6:11 pm
Subject: RE: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.

Hello

A1349005-Mass on the left side of the shoulder blades.

teeth-periodontal disease, needs dental work.

Put on dr’s list.

Small mass on L shoulder blade.  Mildly painful. Seams to be an injection site. Likely it will self resolve.

Teeth: severely worn down. Lots of incisors missing.  Periodontal dz.

Aged.

Thanks

Pets

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Any way you slice it, there’s no excuse for Juancho’s death. We need to put an end to this. The track record for Miami Dade Animal Services is dismal. With over 20,000 animals killed in 2010, documented cases of abuse, and leadership that continually makes excuses for needless killing and disease outbreaks – the status quo needs a major overhaul. Please join the fight to implement No Kill at MDAS, and all the other high-kill shelters out there, killing animals like Juancho every day. RIP boy, we won’t forget you.

For everyone interested in learning more about CAPA, and who wants to stop the needless deaths of thousands of animals like Juancho – please visit www.rescue50.org, where you’ll find all the tools you need to take up the No Kill cause in your community. We can make a difference, and we can save thousands – and eventually millions, of lives.