Friday, November 30, 2007

Bullhooks and Elephants

What is a bullhook? It has been said many times before, be careful what you ask for! Well, in this case, we are just ascertaining what it is, and it is pictured on the right. Circus workers, particularly animal handlers, use this tool to " guide " elephants. That's what they say. So, why the hook and the pointed tip?

Obviously, for an elephant to follow the commands of a mere human, a level of coercion must be applied. Have you ever seen a human and an elephant engaged in a great persuasive debate? Who has? What better way to make an elephant faithfully follow an order than through the medium of pain, the circus people so believe. That's where the bullhook comes into play.

You have to ask the question, why not use a stick with blunt ends? Well, it doesn't work. Here's where circuses, like the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, should level with the public. They shouldn't argue that the bullhooks do not hurt the elephants. They should come out clean and declare that application of pain is part of the handling and training of elephants. The application of this painful weapon allows the much smaller human being to impose his will over his gargantuan co-worker. I think this is all very obvious to us who do not have to earn a living this way. Those who do will deny it.

Let's read the testimony of biologist Dr. Joyce Poole, given to state legislators in Massachusetts, January 2007. Dr. Poole spent 27 years living among savanna elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. She studied their behavior and methods of communication. Dr. Poole learned that the elephants use more than 70 kinds of vocal sounds and 160 different visual and tactile signals, expressions, and gestures in their day-to-day interactions. Her testimony is very enlightening. Here it is:

In my opinion the use of the use of the bullhook physically harms elephants. The bullhook is traditionally used on sensitive areas of the body. For example, a bullhook may be used behind the ears where the skin is paper thin, around the eyes where the skin is also very thin, and on the feet, trunk and around the mouth which are highly enervated. These areas are all extremely sensitive to the touch.

In my opinion the use of the use of the bullhook psychologically and emotionally harms elephants. People who use bullhooks often claim that these instruments are only a "guide". In the wild dominance between elephants is based on age-dependent body size thus older, larger animals rank above smaller younger animals. The only way a human being (approx. 1/60 the weight of an elephant) can rank above an adult elephant is either through fear, learned helplessness, or in rare cases through respect based on companionship and trust. By maintaining a fear of the consequences, bullhooks and other "guides" ensure that an elephant will engage in activities it would rather not engage in (such as stand still in a line; defecate on command; stand on two legs, etc). Instruments such as bullhooks are successful in "correcting" or "guiding" an elephant only because the animals have learned to be fearful of the consequences of not following instructions. The fearfulness is based on the experience of pain being inflicted. The fear of being jabbed, however lightly, ensures that an elephant obeys commands or follows a guide, if you will. In this process, however, the independent will, choice, autonomy and purpose so important to the life of an elephant are destroyed.

In my opinion the use of bullhooks constitutes harassment of elephants. In the wild elephants may occasionally be tusked, poked or jabbed by another elephant, but these interactions are relatively infrequent and are carried out in contexts very different from those observed in circuses. In my many years of experience, elephants do not harass or continually pick on another elephant in the manner that can be observed in circuses. In addition, if an elephant is tusked or poked by another elephant she or he receives support from close associates. Elephants in the wild receive physical and vocal solidarity, thus softening any physical and psychological blows received from other elephants. In the circus elephants are not only repetitively prodded and jabbed but have no recourse, no means of escape and no ability to receive support from companions.

In my opinion, the use of bullhooks, whips or other instruments on elephants can constitute handling in a manner that could cause emotional stress and trauma. Many circus elephants exhibit stereotypical behavior - the frequent, almost mechanical, repetition of the same posture or behavior as in the rhythmical rocking, swaying or bouncing of captive elephants. This unnatural behavior of elephants, seen regularly in zoos and circuses, is never observed in the wild and is pathological. Animals subjected to prolonged experimentally induced neurosis, or those who have experienced trauma, such as beatings or continual prodding, may show extreme signs of stress and their behavior may become pathologically abnormal including great anxiety and stereotyped behavior.

In my opinion the use of a bullhook on one individual has negative consequences for other elephants. Elephants are keen social learners. In other words, much of elephant behavior is not instinctive but learned from watching or listening to others. Such learning is seen in many aspects of an elephant’s daily life and is a vital component of learning. Elephants, too, are capable of empathizing with others and have even been observed to wince when a companion reaches its trunk out toward an electric wire. Consequently, when an elephant is jabbed or poked with a bullhook this action has negative psychological consequences not only for the individual elephant receiving the prod, but also for those around it. In other words, the routine use of the bullhook causes psychological harm to the elephants whether they are being hit or not.

In my opinion the use of bullhooks on elephants is inhumane. Elephants are capable of strong and complex emotions including joy, grief, compassion and empathy. Elephants are also capable of suffering from physical and emotional pain. Therefore, to treat elephants in a manner which inflicts both physical suffering and psychological suffering is inhumane.

Watch this video: http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=carson_barnes_long

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Denny's Goes For the Circus

UPDATE: January 9, 2008 Denny's has finally agreed to drop their partnerhsip with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. In fairness and appreciation, I have deleted my critical post of 11/29/07 about their partnership. This is victory for animal welfare and a step in the right direction for the business world. Thank you, Denny's. Wishing you prosperous times ahead.

A note on Tear Stains

During my daily meandering through online forums, I picked up an interesting question from a perplexed dog owner. This one relates to a natural phenomenon called tear stains.

The concerned dog owner asked what causes a tear stain and if it was true that changing dog food brands causes it. First of all, anyone involved in dog ownership, or in the appreciation of this wonderful branch of the animal kingdom, is not new to the sight of a tearful dog. Sure, but they are not tears of sorrow but an overflow of this liquid whose function is to clean the eyeballs. There are ducts that allow this liquid to drain into the nasal area where it is eliminated. When these ducts are clogged or closed, for whatever reason, the liquid overflows unto the cheek area and causes the stain that we are so familiar with. Many small dogs, like Chihuahuas, have protruding eyeballs. Tear staining is very common among them as well as in any toy class. In this case, the protrusion of the eyeballs stretches the ducts and prohibits the liquid from draining into the nasal cavity. Humans are no different. Ever wonder why our noses clog up when we cry? Excessive tearing, thus crying, causes an overload in the nasal cavity even if tears are overflowing unto our cheeks. That's when we reach for the tissue. For goodness sake, when you see these tears, please do not assume that the dog is emotionally distressed neither is it overjoyed.

As for changing dog food brands as the possible culprit, it seems to me that someone was trying a different angle on this issue, one with commercial interest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Harlan UK , Animal Hell in the United Kingdom

There is a company in the United Kingdom called Harlan UK , and it is a horrific place for animals. The company breeds animals for research, and profit is of paramount importance to them. Nothing else. This is big time puppy milling. Who is Harlan UK?
" Harlan, founded in 1931, is a major international company with locations throughout the world, including the USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Israel, The Netherlands, Mexico and the UK. It is a breeder and supplier of animals, animal diets and bedding for the research industry. Harlan UK Ltd. is the British arm of the parent company, Harlan Sprague Dawley Inc. The UK company has an annual turnover of £6.6 million.
According to the company's sales brochure it supplies more stocks and strains of laboratory animals to research than any other commercial producer in the world. Nine species (beagles, marmosets, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, cats and hamsters) and over 225 stocks and strains of laboratory animals (including hybrid, mutant and transgenic animals) are produced. Harlan UK claim to have customers across 30 countries which include pharmaceutical and biotech companies, universities, and government agencies.
In recent years Harlan UK has expanded its services to offer a veritable supermarket of biological products including monoclonal antibodies, laboratory animal sera, plasma, whole blood, organs, glands and tissues. It also offers other services such as surgically altered animals, diagnostic services, health screening, genetic monitoring and contract services. " Quoted from BUAV.
The Lab Animals Buyers Guide listed Harlan UK at :
Harlan UK, Ltd. Shaw's Farm
Blackthorn, Bicester, Oxon OX6 OTP UK
Phone: +44 1869 243241
Fax: +44 1869 246759
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), exposed Harlan UK's merciless operations in an undercover investigation. Take a look at what goes on behind closed doors. Take a look at dogs who were born, raised, and killed without even experiencing a tiny bit of freedom. You have to know that this brand of cruelty exists in business. There is just so much to say that it is better to go to the investigation website. Read about Harlan UK here:

Kenya, Huruma, and the Animals...

First of all, here is my son, Buzz, who took time off from his cushy job in Wall Street to volunteer at an orphanage in Kenya last month. The orphanage is called Huruma, and it is located outside Nairobi in the Ngong Hills. Children from babies to 17 yrs of age are sheltered in Huruma, and a wonderful lady named Mama Zipporah is the head mistress there.


Here is Buzz on an outing with some of the children of Huruma.


Okay, here's a giraffe in the wild. All animals photographed here are living in the wild. That's a far cry from the caged or confined animals we see in the zoos that live in man-made environment. More giraffes form a group...


A couple of zebras. Nope, those are not prison stripes. These guys are free to roam.

More stripes here than the American flag...


Better keep a safe distance from this rhino. They can charge you with great speed and power. Impressive and powerful.


These rhinos are unfazed by vehicular traffic.They have the right of way by dint of their size alone...

More rhinos...

Several of them...where they're going, we don't know. Have a nice day, fellas.

Checking the tire pressure? Free to roam the grounds...

That left rear tire must be very interesting to them...

I don't know what these creatures are, but they are obviously fed by people...


I've seen this animal in those aweful hunting shows on television, shot and killed by cowardly big game hunters, usually while drinking water from a river. Aren't you impressed by their skill, using high powered and scoped rifles? This is the way to shoot them, with a camera.


A wild boar...


Who's checking out whom? This is a pretty close encounter with our wild relative.

He's off to join his group...

I think these are impalas...





Pelicans have a gathering...


Flamingos, aplenty... Isn't this just beautiful? God's creation at peace.

Humankind's best friends... No cages, collars, harnesses and it seems no energy for one.
DO NOT SUPPORT ANIMAL CIRCUSES AND ZOOS

If you would like to see photos of Kenya and the orphanage, Click HERE for Buzz's online gallery.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Some News on Animal Welfare Legislation

My copy of the " ASPCA Action " arrived today in my mailbox, and I am going to share some of the reported news with those who do not receive this magazine/newsletter/report. Before I go on, I strongly urge you to join the ASPCA and become a monthly donor like I am. This is a very good organization and it is well worth supporting. They are involved in many areas of animal rights and at different levels, from grassroots to the federal level. Go to http://www.aspca.org/

In their section for Advocacy 2007, I saw that the ASPCA is still working on the Downed Animal and Food Safety Act. This is at the federal level. This act will require the immediate humane euthanasia of any critically ill and injured cows, pigs, sheep, goats, mules, and horses too sick to stand and walk on their own. Right now, animals in this state of health are dragged or pushed to slaughter and then their meat is allowed to enter the food chain. Can you believe that we even have to tell people, make laws, not to do this?

Then, there is the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, still in the works. Believe it or not, last year, over 100,000 American horses were killed and their meat shipped to Japan and Europe for human consumption. As you can imagine, the road to the slaughterhouse is very painful for the horses, long trips on double decker vehicles, overcrowding and inhumane methods of slaughtering. The bill will stop the interstate and international transport, delivery and receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling or marketing of any horse to be consumed for human consumption.

To help, you can go to http://www.aspca.org/lobby

At the state level, there was a setback in Ohio where the state supreme court " denied a motion for reconsideration and decided to uphold Ohio and Toledo laws classifying Pit Bulls as vicious, and regulating Pit Bull ownership on this basis." Ed Sayres, President and CEO of the ASPCA, was quoted as saying, " We have seen time and time again that responsible pet ownership is the key to successfully resolving the dangerous dog issue, and this decision does not take that into consideration."

In Illinois, dogfighting is a felony due to House Bill 3614, but now felony charges can be extended to those who participate in cockfighting or any animal figthing. Great News!

In California, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 353, " allowing judges to include companion animals when issuing protective orders in domestic violence cases. Studies have shown that abusers often threaten, injure or kill pets as a way of controlling others in the family. Connecticut enacted a similar bill, Senate Bill 284, extending the same protection to companion animals in that state...and cheers to Tennessee for their version of this bill called House Bill 1161 / SenateBill 196.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Puppy Mills: How to Beat Them

You've heard about the horrors of puppy mills before, no clean food or water, feces everywhere, no vet check-ups, disease and sickness, cramp cages, animals suffer for profit etc. But, what can we do at this end of that problem? The ASPCA has given us some pointers in that direction:

1) First of all, do not buy dogs from pet stores. " That puppy who charmed you through the pet shop window has most likely come from a large-scale, substandard commercial breeding facility, commonly known as a puppy mill. "

2) Your first option is to Adopt. " Not only will you be saving a life, but you will ensure that your money is not going to support a puppy mill. There are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country―and an estimated one in four is a purebred! Your second option is breed rescue. If your heart is set on a specific breed you haven’t been able to find in a shelter, you can do an Internet search for a breed-specific rescue organization. "

3) Only deal with Responsible Breeders. "...remember that responsible breeders have their dogs’ interests in mind. They are not simply interested in making a sale, but in placing their pups in good homes. A responsible breeder should screen you as thoroughly as you screen them! "

4) Ask to see where the dog was born and bred. " One sign that you are speaking to an unscrupulous breeder is that they will not let you see the facility in which your puppy was born. Always ask to see the breeding premises and to meet both parents (or at least the mother) of the puppy you want to take home."

5) Don't buy through the Internet. " If you buy a puppy based on a picture and a phone call, you have no way of seeing the puppy’s breeding premises or meeting his parents. And those who sell animals on the Internet are not held to the Animal Welfare Act regulations―and so are not inspected by the USDA. "

6) Tell the ASPCA about your puppy mill story. " If you have—or think you have—purchased a puppy-mill puppy, please tell them your story. Every bit of evidence gives us more power to get legislation passed that will ban puppy mills. "

7) Say Something! " Inform your state and federal legislators that you are disturbed by the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and would like to see legislation passed that ensures that all animals bred to be pets are raised in healthy conditions."

8) Inform your Friends and Other People. " If someone you know is planning on buying a puppy, please direct them to ASPCA.org where they can find puppy mill information. Let them know that there are perfectly healthy dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted. "

9) Spread the News Globally. " Have a webpage, a MySpace page or a blog? Use these powerful tools to inform people about puppy mill cruelty by adding a link to... ASPCA.org. "

10) Take Action Locally. " When people are looking to buy or adopt a pet, they will often ask the advice of their veterinarian, groomer or pet supply store. Download and print flyers from ASPCA.org and ask to leave them in the offices of your local practitioners. "

Willie Nelson Speaks Out Against DogFighting

American country music superstar, Willie Nelson, has thrown his weight behind the passing of more anti-dogfighting laws in Georgia. Nelson will be appearing in a television ad in December. A Utah-based animal rights group called, Best Friends Animal Society, produced the piece. Nelson was quoted as saying, "Dogfighting is against the law in Georgia, but the laws are so weak, the beautiful state of Georgia has become a haven for dogfighters from around the country." At the present time, there is a bill moving through Georgia legislation that would make it a felony for anyone to sell, trade or transport dogs for the purpose of dogfighting. The author of the bill is State Sen. Chip Rogers. The bill has passed the state Senate and will go before a House committee in January 08.

Willie Nelson, a man with a good level of social consciousness...God bless you.

Thank you, Willie!

Friday, November 23, 2007

UPDATE: Antipolo Dogs Rehabilitated

Previously, I posted about Three Thai Nationals who are wanted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Division of the Philippine Police for setting up and officiating a dog-fighting ring in the town of Antipolo, Rizal. Two dogs were seized that night in March 2007 and fourteen people were charged under the provisions of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998. The dogs looked pretty beat up from the photos shown in the link above, but the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) took over their care and rehabilitation from that night on. Here they are in photographs taken by a PAWS volunteer, Liza Umayam , and you will be pleased with their progress (Nov.,07) They were renamed Buddy and Midnight (before and after):





Here are Buddy and Midnight at the Vet:



Here's Midnight below, still scarred but much happier and safer. This photo should make Midnight the poster child against dog-fighting:


Midnight has facial scars too...


Midnight's left side. This dog has had a very rough life before being rescued.


Above, PAWS volunteer Liza Umayam with Midnight... Ok, let's take a look at Buddy:




Buddy gets his feet washed carefully, one at a time...

It was time to take the stitches out...hold still, please...


Here's Buddy with a PAWS volunteer, Gina. He gets a lot of love now.


It's ok, Buddy. No more fighting for you. You're in good hands...


As you can see, once these dogs are taken out of the fighting environment, they revert to being good and non-biting dogs with some exceptions. Pitbulls get a bad reputation not from their true nature but from human ignorance. Animal abuse degrades the society you live in. Do not accept it as a fait accompli, but reject it and take action.

PAWS is always looking for volunteers in the Philippines. If you are overseas, you can still help in the fight against animal cruelty by donating to the organization. There's a lot of work to be done in the Philippines, but the number of animal rights activists ( and just plain good-hearted citizens) is growing. Be one of them and make a difference. Click on the link I provided above for PAWS' website.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Iowa State Vet, Paul Armbrecht, Supports Hanging Pigs

Is there really a humane way of slaughtering farm animals? NO. I consider that a contradiction by itself. And, are they slaughtered with needless agony and pain with no consideration that they are, like us, sentient animals? More times than not.
Consider the case against Dr. Paul Armbrecht, a paid expert for the defense of Wiles Hog Farm in Creston, Ohio, accused of animal cruelty. His testimony at the trial of the owners and employees of the pig farm appeared to have violated the Iowa Veterinary Practice Act, which prohibits "knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representation in the practice of the profession." The Humane Farming Association (HFA), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, and The Humane Society of the United States, together with PETA have sent a letter to the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, urging them to investigate Dr. Paul Armbrecht's conduct who testified under oath that strangling pigs to death does not constitute cruelty to animals.
According to PETA, " During an undercover investigation conducted by the HFA at Wiles Hog Farm in Creston, Ohio, employees were documented killing sows by fastening a chain around their necks and then attaching the chain to a front-end loader. The loader was then lifted as the sows struggled and were slowly strangled to death over a period of four to five minutes. "
Dr. Armbrecht testified that ( hold on to your seat now) :

(1) Hanging is an acceptable method of killing downed and disabled sows, despite the fact that the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and the National Pork Board don't list hanging as a humane method of "euthanasia" in their guidelines.
(2) Wiles Hog Farm's practice of dragging, kicking, and dropping sows off a 4-foot ledge was an acceptable means of transporting sows to their deaths.
(3) Killing methods that cause animals to take up to 10 minutes to die are acceptable.
(4) Dr. Armbrecht had observed at least one similar strangulation elsewhere in recent months but failed to report it.
Take Action at : http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/iowa_pig_hangings
Viewing the video of a pig hanging is your option.
Credit for above photos : PETA

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pitbull Saves Family from Cobra, Killed in Action


Take a good look. Doesn't he seem like the vicious pitbull we have been warned about? Temperamental and treacherous? He'll attack family members, even children. Well, actually, he was far from it. I said that in the past tense because Chief is no longer with us on this Earth. Two human beings are alive today because Chief gave his life for them. How many people do you know who are willing to make that last full measure of devotion? He saved an 87-year-old Liberata la Victoria and her granddaughter Maria Victoria Fronteras from a cobra that slithered through an opening in the family’s kitchen. The confrontation left two dead, but let two others live out their lives. This was in Cagayan de Oro City (Philippines) in February, 2007. Chief's story is one that hardcore anti-pitbull people would have trouble understanding and accepting. But, here it is whether they like it or not. Those who are plain ignorant about the breed might free themselves from this prison by giving Chief the credit that he so rightfully deserves. Pitbulls are neither traitors nor salivating, blood-thirsty killers of humans. Chief's courageous story is beautifully recounted here by Herbie Gomez at the Cagayan de Oro Journal:

Friday, February 16, 2007 Dog saves family from cobra, is killed... CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Feb 16) – A pit bull terrier proved beyond doubt that a dog can become a man’s best friend when it saved and gave its life for its master’s wife and her grandmother in Barangay Lapasan here. The dog named “Chief,” saved 87-year-old Liberata la Victoria and her granddaughter Maria Victoria Fronteras from a cobra that snaked through an opening in the family’s kitchen shortly around 8 a.m. Monday. On two occasions, the snake was about to attack the women when the dog dashed from a corner and used itself as a shield. Marlone Fronteras, an employee of Nestle Philippines who owned the terrier, said Chief seized the venomous snake in the neck with its teeth and repeatedly slammed it on the floor until it died. The dog was bitten too by the cobra; it died a few minutes later after giving its master a farewell gaze, according to the dog owner’s friends Mare Sabelita and Derf Ian dela Rama.

An organization of pit bull terrier owners here, Royale Pit Bull Club-Ancient Fraternal Order of the Pit Bulls Inc., honored Chief and gave it the moniker “grandfather” of all pit bulls in the community. Marlone told the Cagayan de Oro journal, that he, his family and members of the pit bull owners’ group gave the dog a “hero’s burial” the same day. “We just waited for the children to arrive from school because they loved Chief so much,” said Marlone. Sabelita said Fronteras’s wife Maria Victoria was teary eyed when she narrated the dog’s “heroism” to friends. “The snake was in front of us., maneuvering a deadly attack,” Sabelita quoted Maria Victoria as saying. “I screamed out loud to ask for help.” Hearing this, the four-year old pit bull terrier dashed from its sleeping area to fight off the deadly snake, said Sabelita quoting Maria Victoria. The cobra fought back and bit Chief at the lower left portion of the jaw. The dog then repeatedly slammed the cobra after it succeeded in immobilizing the snake with its sharp teeth, she said. Dela Rama said la Victoria was watching television when she panicked and alerted her granddaughter. The old lady said the cobra was about to attack her and the dog came to her rescue. Maria Victoria said she saw the cobra expand its neck as soon as she turned the lights on. She said the cobra looked like it was spitting as its inched closer, about a meter away, toward her. De la Rama said the terrier, “out of nowhere,” jumped on the cobra , bit it the neck, and then shook it till it died. Moments later, the dog slouched flat and fainted, spreading its arms and feet on the floor, after killing the killer snake. De la Rama said the dog went wobbly and lost control of its organs some 30 minutes after being bitten by the cobra; it started to urinate and defecate uncontrollably as it grasped for air and panted heavily.

The Fronterases sought the help of veterinarian but they were reportedly told that it was too late because the snake bite was near the dog’s brain and the venom had already spread. Sabilita said Marlone rushed home when his wife called him up to tell him of what had happened and the dog’s master was stunned. The Fronteras children, who treated Chief like a member of the family and who called the dog “Kuya Chief,” were deeply affected, according to Sabelita.

The last thing Chief did was waggle its tail and gaze at Marlone who had just come from work, said Sabelita. “Chief gave his two deep breaths and died. (It) was fighting and saving (its) last ounces of breath to see a glimpse of (its) master for the last two seconds of (its) life,” added dela Rama. Sabelita said he hoped people would change how they look at pit bull terriers, a breed strongly discouraged in many countries and banned because of their “cruel looks.” We never get the change to know them more,” said Sabelita.

A hero's death: Good night, sweet prince...




Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thai Nationals, Fugitives from the Law

Have you seen this man? He goes by the name Timothy Amel Dharmajiva, 37, a Thai national. Timothy fled the Philippines, presumably back to Thailand, while a suspect in a dog-fighting ring in Antipolo, Rizal Province, the Philippines. He was arrested with 14 other individuals at fight night at the Kaysakat Cockpit Arena in Sitio Kaysakat, Barangay Inarawan at about 8:30 p.m. in May, 2007. His other accomplices (pictured behind him) are Kittiya Phungmung Boonyang, female, 23, and Phanuwat Jinda Nunthawat, 43. They also fled the country. The alleged mastermind of the dog fight, Danny Tan Sy, 51, is a resident of Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City. He will stand trial along with the locals arrested that night.Any information about these fugitives should be forwarded to Philippine Animal Welfare Society or at philpaws@yahoo.com who can, in turn, contact the Criminal Investigation and Detection Division led by Senior Insp. Ernesto V. Padilla. Do your civic duty.


Here's a closer look at the two suspects, Phanuwat Numthawat on the left, and the young lady named Kittiya Boonyang. Below is Timothy Amel Dharmajiva officiating the fight.



If you need more convincing, take a look at their work:


Thursday, November 15, 2007

MORE : Animal Massacre in Puerto Rico

For Mr. Julio Diaz and the local Mayor of Barceloneta, this Christmas will not be as merry and the new year not as prosperous as before. Not with a $22.5 M lawsuit against them. The ghosts of thousands of dogs and cats have come back to haunt them. They are accused of cruelty to animals, a sort of animal genocide in my opinion. Animal lovers around the world are red in the face that even a completely innocent company in Maryland with the same name as Animal Control Solutions has gotten heat from them. Central to this case is the gestapo-like arrests of pets and strays supposedly bound for the shelters, but were thrown en masse off a bridge instead. They were forcibly taken from their owners under the threat of eviction. Mr. Julio Diaz claimed that he didn't know that such things were happening while the Mayor claimed that he ordered the round up of animals but not the killing. Looks like a he-said, she-said situation is developing here. Essentially,these individuals are claiming that they had nothing to do with it. Hmmmm...a man bright enough to form two companies for the purpose of animal control didn't know what his employees were doing on the job? A city Mayor and other city officials who paid such a company to collect and bring strays to the shelter did not check on the progress of the government-funded work? Both of them never checked with the shelters regarding the arrival of the animals? Over several years? Should I play dumb here or what? Well, of course, we've seen this phenomenon before. " It's not me, but someone else did it and I would never approve of it if I only knew." How transparent! Nevertheless, here is another report on the massacre:

Updated AP NEWS ARTICLE

Pet massacre in Puerto Rico
By MICHAEL MELIA Associated Press Writer
Article Last Updated: 10/13/2007 06:03:39 PM MDT


BARCELONETA, Puerto Rico? Elvia Tirado Polanco says she reluctantly handed over her black- and white-spotted mutt to animal control workers after they threatened that she would be evicted from her housing project for keeping a pet there.

The workers promised to take the small dog named "Lucero"?or "Star"?to a shelter. Days later, however, Tirado was horrified to learn that dozens of pets seized this week in Barceloneta on Puerto Rico's north coast were instead thrown to their deaths from a bridge.
"It was barbaric," said Tirado, 56, who wept Saturday as she described caring for the seven-year-old dog. "This has been a really hard blow for all of us."

Several pet owners inside the Antonio Davila Freytes housing project, one of three raided by animal control workers Monday and Wednesday, said they had provided vaccinations and lavished care on the cats and dogs taken from their homes and killed with strays.
The government circulated a letter inside housing projects this month warning that violators of a no-pet policy would be evicted. Mayor Sol Luis Fontanez said the town ordered the removal of the pets, but he blamed the massacre on a contractor hired to take the animals to a shelter.

Fontanez said he would cancel the city's contract with Puerto Rico-based Animal Control Solutions and that city lawyers were considering a lawsuit.

Company owner Julio Diaz said he went to the bridge when he heard of the allegations, but denied that the dead animals were the ones his company collected. He said he would present his records as proof to city authorities on Monday. "I have the dead dogs in my facility," he said Saturday. "I am a certified animal control officer. I have been doing this for nine years."

Puerto Rico's housing department has opened an investigation into who is responsible for the deaths, said Doris Gaetan, of the department's office of community relations. She said regulations in the U.S. Caribbean territory allow pets in government-funded housing projects if they are small and do not pose a risk to others.
"We do not support the way in which this was done," Gaetan said during a visit to hear the accounts of pet owners at one of the complexes.


A local resident, Jose Manuel Rivera, used a backhoe to bury about 50 animals Saturday in a mass grave near the bridge where they were dumped. He discovered the animals around dawn Tuesday after hearing barking and whimpers from animals who survived the 50-foot fall. He recovered six injured dogs, who were reunited with their owners after they saw their pets on a television news broadcast. "One had a broken spine, and about all of them had broken legs," Rivera said.

Many of the pets inside the housing project were strays that were adopted by residents after wandering into the low-income neighborhood. Owners said they feel they are now paying the price for the neglect of others on an island with no pet registration law and little spaying or neutering.

"It is not our fault that they come here," said Carmen Valle, 56, who said workers seized two of her dogs. "We are humble people, but we have good hearts. Animals should be treated with decency."

The scandal has led to problems for Hughesville, Md.-based Animal Control Solutions, a company which is not related to the Puerto Rican firm with the same name. Owner James White told The Associated Press he has received hundreds of threatening e-mail or phone messages since Friday from people upset about the Puerto Rico incident.
Tirado said she had cared for Lucero for seven years as if the dog were her child, feeding her from the plastic table in her cramped living room and letting her sleep beside her at night.

During the raids, she said workers surrounded the housing complex and prevented anyone from leaving with pets. But she said she wishes she had never let Lucero go.
"I have been crying so much I can barely sleep," she said.Permission to post above by AP news .

Here is the company that is responsible:

Name used : Animal Control Solution
Owner : Julio Diaz
Address: 560 J. Jimemez Street, San Juan,Puerto Rico 00918
Phone: 787-593-2465
Fax: 787-753-1045
Year Established : 2002
Web Site or Email: None Available


Take Action : http://ga0.org/indefenseofanimals/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=10980828

Animal Massacre in Puerto Rico


If you live in the United States, you probably have seen ads on television inviting us to vacation in Puerto Rico, a tropical island with warm weather. It sure is tempting when it's Winter up here on the East, but there is a dark side to paradise where dogs and cats are brutally slaughtered en masse by a company hired by the government to bring strays to shelters. Actually, there are two companies, Animal Control Solutions ( not the company based in Maryland, USA with the same name ) and Pet Delivery, both founded by a certain Julio Diaz, that are accused of these mass killings. Writers Yaisha Vargas and Andrew Selsky, together with Associated Press writers reported on the matter:

Pet Massacres Carried Out in Puerto Rico
By YAISHA VARGAS and ANDREW O. SELSKY


TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico (AP) — Back roads, gorges and garbage dumps on this tropical island are littered with the decaying carcasses of dogs and cats. An Associated Press investigation reveals why: possibly thousands of unwanted animals have been tossed off bridges, buried alive and otherwise inhumanely disposed of by taxpayer-financed animal control programs.
Witnesses who spoke with the AP said that, despite pledges to deliver adoptable strays to shelters and humanely euthanize the rest, the island’s leading private animal control companies generally did neither.
News that live animals had been thrown to their deaths from a bridge reached the public last month when Animal Control Solutions, a government contractor, was accused of inhumanely killing some 80 dogs and cats seized from three housing projects in the town of Barceloneta. A half dozen survived the fall of at least 50 feet.
The AP probe, which included visits to two sites where animals were slaughtered, found the inhumane killings were far more extensive than that one incident. The AP saw and was told about a scale and brutality far beyond even what animal welfare activists suspected, stretching over the last eight years.
A $22.5 million lawsuit against Animal Control Solutions and city officials — including those who helped round up the animals — was filed on behalf of 16 Barceloneta families whose dogs or cats were seized under rules prohibiting pets at the city projects. The animals’ deaths show “a cold and depraved heart and has stirred public outrage around the whole world,” the lawsuit says.
Julio Diaz, owner of Animal Control Solutions and a co-founder of another company, Pet Delivery, declined AP requests for an interview but told reporters there is no proof his company was responsible for the Barceloneta pet massacre. “We have never thrown animals off any place,” he said.
A police investigation into the Barceloneta killings has not led to charges, but police Sgt. Wilbert Miranda, who heads the probe, said the information gathered so far indicates Animal Control Solutions was responsible. He declined to give details.
Maria Kortright, a lawyer involved in the suit, said it’s clear the pets Animal Control Solutions removed from Barceloneta were the same ones hurled off the bridge because the survivors have been identified by their owners. “Last Tuesday, I saw one of the survivors back at its home,” Kortright said.
Animal welfare activists have complained to government agencies for years about allegations of improper disposal of animals, but say officials didn’t act. Preventive action also is almost nonexistent: Puerto Rico has at least 100,000 stray dogs and cats — and no island-wide spaying or neutering programs.
Activist Alfredo Figueroa said the animal disposal companies acted with impunity because government agencies ignored allegations of cruelty, rather than investigate the companies or address the overpopulation of strays.
“There is apathy,” Figueroa said. “No one wants to take responsibility.”
A former employee of one of Diaz’s companies told the AP that the firms rounded up thousands of animals over the years, brutally killed many of them and discarded the corpses wherever it was convenient. One of the former employees led the AP to two different killing fields and he and another former employee described a third.
“Not a single animal was turned over to a shelter,” a former dogcatcher for Animal Control Solutions told the AP. Both he and an ex-employee of Pet Delivery, who was interviewed separately, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Both said they left the animal disposal jobs voluntarily.
The AP contacted all eight animal shelters and sanctuaries across Puerto Rico, and they confirmed that none had received animals for potential adoption from Diaz’s companies.
Diaz co-founded Pet Delivery in 1999 and created Animal Control Solutions in 2002. Pet Delivery appears to be defunct, having reported no earnings since 2004. Facing little competition, the companies had 85 contracts with municipalities and other clients worth $1.1 million in the past eight years, according to the Puerto Rican comptroller’s office.
The AP could find no sign that any of the municipalities checked to make sure the companies dealt with the strays humanely.
“It wasn’t our responsibility,” said Edwin Arroyo, special assistant to the mayor of Barceloneta, which paid Animal Control Solutions up to $20,000 per year and in October hired the company to remove banned pets from housing projects — allegedly the ones that wound up at the bottom of the bridge.
The pet disposal scandal adds to Puerto Rico’s poor reputation for treatment of animals. Cockfighting is legal, with matches shown on television. One of the island’s beaches is known as Dead Dog Beach — a place where teenagers drive over live puppies sealed in bags or cruelly kill them with machetes and arrows, according to animal welfare groups that photographed the atrocities.
Figueroa says he met Diaz in 1999 and introduced him to city officials in Fajardo. The city then awarded Pet Delivery a contract to remove strays. But Figueroa said he later learned that Diaz’s company also was removing pets with collars and ID tags, and dumping their bodies in a field.
“Crying children, old people, a sick woman were all calling us, thinking we were involved,” Figueroa said.
A former Animal Control Solutions employee told the AP that he witnessed another worker in 2005 dragging 12 to 15 small dogs out of a van along a road outside San Juan. Normally, workers injected animals with a euthanasia drug but on this day there was none. The animals were instead given an overdose of a sedative and flung 50 feet into a trash-filled gully. Some of the dogs were alive as they crashed on top of junked beds, bottles and other garbage.
“I could hear some of the dogs whimpering as they hit the tree branches and then the ground,” the former employee said as he stood with AP journalists in the muck at the site, which still holds the stench of death.
Not all the dogs died, however. A dog that was not a stray, but a sickly pet whose owner wanted it euthanized, managed to limp home. The angry owner telephoned the company and demanded it retrieve the dog and do the job right, the former employee recalled.
The former employee also showed AP reporters a highway rest stop near a gorge outside the town of Cayey where, he said, workers would inject dogs. At the edge of the gorge lay the skeletal remains of more than a dozen dogs amid matted fur and two dog collars with no tags.
Asked if the number of dogs and cats killed by Animal Control Solutions was in the hundreds, the former employee shook his head.
“It is in the thousands,” he said. “On a good month, we would pick up 900.”
One dog, stuffed in a sack, was found recently at the Cayey site among other bagged carcasses. It apparently survived the fall and managed to poke its head out of the bag before dying, said Carmen Cintron, who runs an animal shelter.
“I am having nightmares when I think about what that poor dog went through before it died,” Cintron said.
Until 2003, Pet Delivery ran a shelter where workers injected strays, often not knowing what the drugs were or their proper doses, the former employee of that company told the AP.
Some animals were adopted from the shelter, but others — including puppies and kittens — were euthanized, the ex-employee said. Euthanizing animals that cannot be adopted is standard practice in pet shelters, but the former employee said animals at Pet Delivery’s shelter were inhumanely killed.
“Any available employee at that moment would use the drug that was available and they were thrown half dead into a hole, and that’s why there were some live dogs among them,” he said. “What he (Diaz) had us do was to throw dirt on top of the live dogs along with the dead ones, so they all would die.”

Associated Press writers Danica Coto and Kaila Diaz contributed to this story. Photo from AP.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Tiger gets Rescued

Actually, it's a dog named Tiger who had the misfortune of getting run over by a tricycle at a very young age. This accident ripped and almost severed the upper portion of his snout, and Tiger went without medical help for two weeks. Word of his plight got to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society who provided assistance and ongoing care for Tiger. Tiger's story is both sad and happy. It tells us about the ignorance and neglect by some people in contrast to the outstanding generosity and compassion of others particularly Vets in Practice Animal Clinic, individuals like Dr Nielsen Donato and Marian Barola, and a certain Tita Josie who owns Bodhi vegetarian restaurant. We need her real name to give her full credit. God blessed this world with people like them. Rather than paraphrase Tiger's special story, I am directing you to the source : Babybranny

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fidelma and Me

Here's daughter and dad taking a walk on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York. It wasn't a warm day, and so we had our jackets on. Fidelma is only 8 pounds which makes her two pounds overweight. Don't underestimate her abilities because she's just a tiny Chihuahua. The longest walk we took went eight miles, along a woody and rocky trail. She loved every step of it. I adopted Fidelma in September, 2004 and she is approximately nine years old now. Nobody knows for sure how old my sweetie is. One thing is sure, she had a difficult life before I adopted her. She was sick with an upper respiratory infection, lost most of her teeth, only patches of hair on her body, and angry at most people who approached her. I think Fidelma was a chained dog and neglected in the backyard. Her neck had a ring of callous skin from a tightly-fitted collar. I suspect that someone saved her from this bad situation and turned her in at the Philadelphia Animal Control Center. On the day she was to be euthanized ( nobody adopted her at the shelter ), the good people of the Belle Mead Animal Alliance swooped her up and loaded her into their van to safety. I believe that Fidelma remained with the Belle Mead Animal Alliance for approximately two weeks before I adopted her, reading about her and seeing her photo on Petfinder.com. Fidelma received further medical attention as soon as I became her official daddy, and her complete recovery underway.


Here is Fidelma, getting cozy by our backdoor. She's a beautiful girl once again, and people can't avoid stopping us on the street to admire her. We are very close and do a lot of wet nose kisses.


Here she is again, always walking ahead of me, at our local park which is no more than a mile from my house. Fidelma loves this place, and she would walk there all day if I let her. We're happy together.