Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Face of Meat. Sentient Being on Your Plate.

Meat sauce, hamburgers, steaks, and stews don't have a face on them. Most people don't know where their meat came from, and how those animals lived, were fed and how they were killed. Most people have never met the meat they consumed. It's all very convenient when people just have to order from a menu. It's all been made pretty on a plate for them. People like that arrangement unless they have a conscience. For something that is so critically important, the meat that people put in their mouths, chew, and swallow into their bodies, most of them turn a blind eye to the animals' well-being while alive, to the manner of their slaughter, and preparation as food. I know. I have been this kind of fool for the greater part of my life.

People don't even want to sit on a park bench that is dirty, but they will eat meat whose past is unknown to them.

We, as a species, must be incredibly stupid. Most animals will check out their food by sniffing at it, but we go right in and put it in our mouths, presuming, trusting, that all is well from live cow to ceramic plate. Meat is cruel. It is unhealthy. It is unchristian. There are no accounts of Christ eating meat. Always bread and wine.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Scotch Plains. New Jersey. Nativity Scene. Live Animal Display.

I am cross-posting a message from the Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ) regarding a nativity scene in Scotch Plains, NJ that uses live animals 24 hours a day---even during the snowstorm we had last week. The misinterpretation of Jesus' birth as it is stated in the bible ( Matthew and Luke ) coupled with a disregard for animal welfare makes this display more of a naivete display than a nativity display. From Luke, the most we can know is that Mary placed Jesus in a manger after being told that there was no room in the inn. There is no account of animals living in the room or stall where the manger was located. The location of the manger is also in dispute. Two early accounts placed the manger in a cave outside town. Furthermore, Mary's placing the baby Jesus in the manger does not mean that the birth took place there. The gospels are not clear on these points.

We must ask, whose bright idea was it to use live animals and what is in it for the town of Scotch Plains? Is it that the town officials keep score and the live animals make their display better than the others? Bragging rights at the expense of animal welfare is despicable.

Since this live display has become a tradition, fifty years, it will take a strong will to stand up to a flawed tradition. Mayor Nancy Malool, Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Strauss, and Council members Domick Bratti, Mary DePaola, and Kevin Glover don't seem to have it. They would rather seek the safety and comfort that traditions provide than courageously confront the error and stop the abuse of animals. Evidently, they don't know their gospels either or else they wouldn't put any animals, ceramic or real, in a city-funded religious display. It's kinda scary to have people in elected positions of power and authority who can't get a biblical story right, isn't it? But they want to be seen in church as pious worshippers. Politicians who spend other people's money and tout themselves as judicious individuals should do better than this.



The town of Scotch Plains, NJ is, right now, once again holding a live nativity. The cruel spectacle, which has been held for 50 years, lasts for 10 days (generally from 12/19-12/29). The animals are outside, with minimal shelter, during this entire time. The temperatures have been between the teens and early thirties (the latter feeling 10 degrees cooler, according to weather reports). They were on display this past Saturday (12/19/09), when we had a bad snow storm, which dropped close to a foot of snow.

The lack of care for the animals (and the possible danger to the public), is detailed below. The Mayors (past and present) have refused to meet with concerned citizens since we first approached them during 12/07.


**** NOTE: Please send copies of your letters to me, Susan Gordon, at , so I have a record of the correspondence sent to the town. Thank you!

Mayor Nancy Malool (I include 3 separate e-mail addresses for her—use them all), Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Strauss, and CouncilMembers Dominick Bratti, Mary DePaola, and Kevin Glover

FAX: (908) 322-8678 ;;; ;;

SEE HER LETTER TO US, INSULTINGLY DISMISSING OUR CONCERNS, DIRECTLY BELOW THE CONTACTS. And, see below, the information that we had provided to the Mayor, prior to her letter, which disputes all of her claims.

* There is little hope that politicians so little-concerned about the animals or the public, will stop this year’s event, but let’s do all we can to convince them to replace, in the future, events that harm animals with humane events that truly celebrate the Christmas season.

* Feel free to make suggestions to them, on alternative holiday displays, whether animal neutral (such as a nativity without live animals) or ones that will actually benefit animals (such as collecting supplies and donations for local companion animal rescue groups or for the For the Animals Sanctuary.

* Ask them if they are prepared for the financial liability should a child be injured or made ill by the animals? Or if there is a car accident caused by the animals again escaping? Is this a risk that taxpayers will want the town to assume?

* Ask why they are so attached to a display that angers and saddens so many individuals and groups, during what should be a season of peace.

(2). The Scotch Plains Business and Professional Association

CONTACT them from:

Let them know that as long as events that use animals are held, you will not spend your shopping dollars in Scotch Plains. I spoke to one of their representatives, last year, and he was disinterested in seeing any of my documentation.

(3). Send letters to the editor, including, but not limited to, the below:

(a). The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times:
(b). The Star Ledger

From: Mayor Nancy Malool
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:53 PM
Subject: manger animals

I received your emails, but have not had the opportunity to set up a meeting as I have been consumed with issues that involve the welfare of our human residents. I am not unsympathetic to animals and would not be involved in anything that I believe to be abusive. The manger scene has been a tradition in Scotch Plains for more than 50 years. Cloverland Farm has been providing us with the animals for many of those years and I have spoken with the owner who assured me that we were providing adequate care. The animals are being cared for by both our Dept. of Public Works employees and our police. According to our DPW director, the manger animals were safe, warm and fed throughout the evening on Saturday during the snowstorm and an added tarp was put in place as a wind screen. The heater for the water was working on Sat. afternoon; I actually checked it myself.

We provide a standard of care that is at least equal to that provided at the farm. The owner of the animals would not continue to let us keep them if they were being treated well. If you still have an issue with how the animals are being treated, I urge you to contact their owners at Cloverland at If the owners agree that we need to change the way we are sheltering or feeding the animals, then I will be sure to institute the changes.

Thank you for your concern.
Nancy Malool
Mayor, Scotch Plains

For over 2 years, activists have tried, unsuccessfully, to meet with the Mayor, to no avail. Residents opposed to the live nativity, who have approached the town, have also met with no interest in their concerns.

First, we repeatedly approached then-Mayor Martin Marks (who ran for Assembly this past election and lost), who ignored our concerns. For the past year, we have repeatedly contacted current Mayor Nancy Malool (Mayor since 1/09), who barely paid lip service to our concerns.

We provided Mayor Malool with letters from (a). retired Reverend Frank Hoffman (stating that such cruelty is not in keeping with Jesus’ teachings) and (b). Debbie Kowalski, of the For the Animals Sanctuary (, who stated that the conditions for the animals do not meet what her sanctuary would consider even minimal standards.

In addition, we provided a press release from the Centers for Disease Control, educating the public to the dangers to children from contact with farmed animals at such public events.

We also advised her that: (a). the Vice Chancellor for Administration for the ArchDiocese of Newark (which covers Scotch Plains), Deacon Joseph A. Dwyer, Jr., stood behind our efforts to stop the live nativity, and that he was willing to either join us in meeting with the Mayor (his schedule permitting) or to provide a written statement, (b). I had been advised by a Scotch Plains teacher that many of the students at her school were upset by the obvious cruelty of the live nativity, (c). several Scotch Plains residents had contacted me, in opposition to the live nativity, (d). we had been told, by a Scotch Plains police officer that the animals had escaped twice, from their enclosure, in 2007, and could easily cause an accident on the busy, main street or the nearby very busy highway, and (e). the For the Animals Sanctuary had been willing to give sanctuary to the calf, which would have generated positive publicity for the town.

So, apparently the humans whom Mayor Malool was too busy looking after, to meet with us, do not include the school children and adult residents opposed to the display or religious leaders who find the spectacle at odds with the Christmas spirit. Or the Scotch Plains school crossing guard who tried various channels to make changes, and got nowhere.

The following are the conditions that we have observed, during 2007, 2008 and 2009.
All three years, the exploited animals consisted of a calf, 2 sheep, and 2 goats. They are surrounded by a locked, wooden picket fence, about 4 feet high, enclosing an area about 20 feet X 30 feet. The only shelter is the wooden manger (entirely open at the front, with a shallow roof and sides), which is barely big enough for all of the animals to sleep in, at the same time. Malicious individuals could easily throw dangerous materials into the enclosure or jump the fence and harm the animals. I found and removed a pacifier from the enclosure.

Even on the rare (if, at all) occasions that the animals are well-cared for, while at such events, live nativity scenes and petting zoos should be banned. The frightened animals, rented for such events, are generally trucked from locality to locality, during the heat of summer and the cold of winter, to be manhandled and gawked at, only to end their days in slaughter-houses.

Bringing hay to the animals, and monitoring their safety, gave us the opportunity to talk to members of the public who came to look at the animals, frequently with their young children. Without exception, everyone we spoke to came to look because they love animals, and were shocked and dismayed to learn the truth about these cruel displays.

2007: There was a thin layer of hay (wet from melting snow and rain) on the ground, but NO bedding, whatsoever. There was very little hay for the animals to eat (virtually none on 12/23, the first day we went). The small food trough was too small to hold a day’s food for even one animal. Parker Gardens, a local garden center, compassionately donated 6 bales of hay to us, for the animals. We were not aware of the live nativity until several days after it started. We went there every day, for the remaining days (including Christmas Eve and Christmas) to check on them and give them the donated hay.

I showed the photos of the animals to Debbie Kowalski, a nurse who runs For the Animals Sanctuary in Blairstown, NJ (, a sanctuary that has saved, and provides a permanent home to, cows, goats, pigs, and chickens. Ms. Kowalski said that the calf (estimated to be 2 months old—see his photo below) should have been with his mother. At the VERY least, he should have been in a barn. The sanctuary houses their now grown, rescued cows in a heated barn, but this baby, and the sheep and goats, were outside, 24/7, with no real shelter. Ms. Kowalski said that what Cloverland Farms (which supplies the animals to the town) was instructing, to Scotch Plains, as care for the animals, is totally insufficient for even minimal care. I shared her letter with Mayor Malool. As Mayor Malool’s letter indicates, she does not care what a sanctuary, as opposed to a business that uses animals, considers minimal care—and we were not urging minimal, or even maximum, care, but an end to animal-exploitative events.


As stated above, a Scotch Plains Police officer told us that the animals had escaped on 2 occasions and had to be rounded up, endangering the animals and local drivers. This live nativity is on a main street (Park Ave) and is ½ mile from VERY busy Rt. 22 (especially during this holiday shopping season).

2008: While Mayor Malool made a very minimal attempt to respond to our concerns (which Mayor Marks did not)—e-mails from the town attorney, attempting to assure us that the animals were cared for, she did not address the real issue: such events should not be held, at all.

2009: There was very minimal bedding available. The calf was lying on a small amount of bedding, barely the size of his body, out in the open, on the snow (in the fenced enclosure, outside of the manger). The other animals were huddled in the manger, on the only other bedding available. School children were shrieking at the frightened animals. As mentioned in the beginning of the alert, the animals were on display during a bad snow storm on 12/19. The witness felt the manger might not be big enough for the calf, who remained outside, lying on the snow, during her 2 visits, the weekend of the snow storm. One 12/19, she found the water frozen, and at 4 or 5:00, when it had started to snow, and was bitter cold, the tarp was not yet up. Another witness saw the tarp being removed the next day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vermont. Dog Shooting. Scheele vs. Dustin. It's more than just Property.

I love Vermont. It's God's little green acre, picturesque both in Summer and Winter. My wife and I made all sorts of excuses just to come up to Vermont to see our son who, back in 1999, was a freshman at Middlebury College. Well, he transferred to a school in England after another year but those two years were enough for us to enjoy the natural beauty of the state. We haven't been back since 2001. At the present time, amidst Vermont's bucolic splendor, a case is pending in the state supreme court regarding emotional distress and the value of a pet's life in our own lives.

Is it sufficient compensation when the man who shot your dog is ordered to do 100 hours of community service, a year's probation, pay for vet bills and cremation ($4000) resulting from his harmful and criminal act? According to Denis and Sarah Scheele of Annapolis, that isn't enough.

The culprit is 76-yr old Lewis Dustin ( Vine Street, Northfield, Vermont ) who shot the Scheele's dog, Shadow, with an air gun when it wandered into Dustin's lawn. The Scheeles were visiting relatives in Vermont. This stupid, old man pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges after claiming he didn't mean to kill the dog, that he meant to shoot its rear end and not its heart. Well, why don't we just forget it then! It's all perfectly acceptable. Dustin only meant to shoot the dog in the ass! A little scratch here and there and things should be alright. I get it now; I get it.

The Scheeles argued that the loss of a companion pet like Shadow isn't like losing inanimate personal property. True, dogs love us back unlike cars, furniture, clothes, or television sets. Animals are sentient beings, and they react very much like us in terms of fear, pain, happiness, loneliness, expectation, and gratitude. The pain of losing a loved one, including an animal, is more than the loss of chattel property. When someone kills our pet, we've lost a personal relationship, a partner in life, and their premature departure ushers in a period, sometimes years-long, of depression and agony. This is the gist of the Scheeles' lawsuit. In my book, that's murder. No decision is expected until after Spring of 2010.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Philippines. Quezon City. Midnight Dog Rescue. PAWS. Carlee.

I never get tired of rescue stories, animal rescue stories to be exact. Human rescue stories, I must admit, are simply news to me. They are not as heart-warming as animal rescues. I love the animal kingdom, but the human race scares me. Heck, I am being very frank here.

The photos below tell you the story of a dog who ran for its life, and found the only safe refuge in a sewer. This dog reportedly ran away from some guys who intended to slaughter it for its meat. Horrible, horrible stuff. If God had a drop box for suggestions, I would implore the almighty God to endow all animals a natural element, a cell or pigmentation, or whatever, that would make them inedible to humans. Now, that would be the only true God! I am still waiting.

A kind-hearted citizen had been trying to reach members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for hours. Unfortunately, PAWS was out rescuing animals from the floods that typhoon Ondoy brought to the Metro Manila area. Upon their return around midnight, they received the information about this dog in Banawe. It has been said many times over, no rest for the weary. No time for a break because an animal is in distress. We don't need to convince PAWS about it, really. At about 11pm, in a beat up PAWS van, volunteers Joe Claret, John Tangkeko, Karla Garcia and PAWS staff Doc Wil Almoro, Anna Cabrera and Cha Laxamana arrived at Banawe.

As it turned out, this midnight rescue lasted till sunrise because the dog could not be coaxed to come out of the sewer. Can we blame the terrified dog? How is it to know who is a dog-eater and who isn't? One of the photos shows a PAWS volunteer actually entering the sewer to get a better grip at the dog. Well, they finally succeeded and brought the dog to PAWS headquarters where it was bathed and blow dried. I reckon at this point the dog already realized that she was in good hands. They named the dog Carlee in honor of the two female volunteers, Charlene and Karla, who crawled into the sewer to rescue her.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

IHOP. International House of Pain. Bill Maher. Cage-Free Poultry.

It would be off the mark to describe Bill Maher as a funny guy. Yes, he makes us laugh but that is made possible through his quick wit, his lampoons, and not through exaggerated and silly situations that some comedy shows thrive on. His sarcasm and perspicacity are traits to be admired and feared. In other words, he is not a comedic character, and he certainly wasn't kidding in The Video .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vegans. Eggs and Chicks Poster.

I reckon men who are vegans can have a field day with this poster, but it will be one of those unsubstantiated claims reminiscent of PETA's ad about vegetarians having better sex. But, in reality, this poster reminds us that they are chicks behind those boiled or fried eggs. And for those who can't make this equation, remember that a diet heavy with eggs could translate into arteries with plaque. As a vegetarian, I consider myself a lumpen vegan, short two yards of the required ten. I still wear leather shoes and a leather belt although they are holdouts from the past, just like my leather jacket which I refuse to wear anymore. And my expensive leather portfolio? That one is in the closet, replaced by a nylon shoulder bag. Look closer and we will find an abundance of animal products in our daily lives.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birthday Wishes. Mom at 76. Thanks to you.

Mom celebrated her 76th birthday yesterday with a Sydney Harbor cruise so graciously provided for by my sister. I heard they had a grand time, and this photo was taken during the cruise. Mom spent most of her life in the Philippines including four years of WW2, and her retirement years in and around Sydney, Australia. She's a proud and grateful Aussie alright, just like my Dad when he was still alive. She's very independent and strong-minded and even at 76 Mom is still full of spunk. Last year, she ran for President of her local senior citizens organization and lost by 12 votes. I heard that it was a tough campaign, but Mom slugged it out with all who meant to besmirch her reputation. She hasn't said so, but she will run again.
From my Mom and Dad, I learned never to hurt an animal. As a young boy, I manage to convince my Dad to get me a Co2 powered BB rifle. Nothing wrong with shooting tin cans. Naturally, birds became my targets. When I showed my Mom a little bird I just shot, she threw a fit and scolded me to no end. Mom was truly upset. On demand, I gave up the rifle and from then on never bothered any animals nor insects again. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving. 2009. Not for Some Animals.

It's going to be the day to give thanks very soon, but not for some beings. Their slaughter, unfortunately, is a requisite for many families in America, turning the hapless turkey into the centerpiece of their thanks-giving. I remember as late as the 1970s when some of my friends and acquaintances frowned at my idea of doing a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey. I wasn't into animal welfare yet at that time. True to my iconoclastic nature, I just thought that the tradition was to give thanks, and not the turkey on the table. So, my family had many Thanksgiving dinners/lunches without the turkey while my so-called friends accused me on trashing a cherished tradition and setting a bad example and a terrible precedent for my then young son. Well, if one is comfortable with a tradition and it fits well into his/her personal philosophy, then so be it and be happy with it. However, there are no limits on tradition and new traditions are born all the time.

As for those Thanksgiving dinners of the past, my family opted to served some Filipino dishes at home, sometimes partaking in a Japanese buffet or some Italian cuisine minus the yams, the cranberry sauce, and the bird. All these done in the spirit of giving thanks for the good life we have enjoyed so far. Let there be no one to accuse me of being a lesser American because I chose to give thanks in a non-traditional way. America culture is ever-changing because her demographics are ever-changing. Diversity is our strength, and not our liability. Since I became an animal rights proponent, it has become even clearer how absurd some traditions are...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Poster. Animals Have Rights. Animal Liberation Front.

Fur-Free Friday. Demos. Manhattan & Red Bank. 2009.

It's Friday again! Well, not today, really, but next week, it's Fur-Free Friday. The annual demo takes place at Lord & Taylor on 38th and Fifth and then marching over to Macy's on 34th is the big event. Fur-Free Friday is observed not only in New York City. Check your local listings, my fellow animal lovers, at Fur Free Friday

The specifics for Manhattan:

11/27/09 – FUR FREE FRIDAY –
Meet at Lord & Taylor 424 5th Ave by 38th Street 1:00 – 1:15
March to Macy's 151 West 34th Street between 7th & Broadway
Protest starts at 1:30 and goes to 3:00pm
This year is the 1st Annual FFF Costume Contest
Come Dressed As Your FAVORITE Fur Covered Animal
We know, it's hard to choose!

And then, there is a gathering of animal rights proponents in Red Bank, New Jersey on Saturday, Nov. 28th, to protest at Winter Furs at 43 Monmouth Street. That's going to be between 1 and 4 pm. Activists are invited to gather from 12pm in the Municipal Lots near and around Wallace Street for discussion and review codes of conduct. Then, the group will walk over together at 12:50pm - No payment needed for municipal parking on weekends. Contact: Anthony at (732)-693-9044 for more info.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Europe. Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. Rejected By Germany and Spain.

No rest for the cruel, and bad news travels fast. Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus has taken their act to a place where they have never been before---Europe. It might look like their expanding their horizons, but I've got this feeling that they are actually looking for new markets to peddle their scandal-ridden show. With more and more Americans getting educated about the cruelty behind circuses that use captive, performing animals, Ringling Bros., must have decided to do an exploratory tour of Europe and gauge its potential. Well, the circus is there now and we've learned that Ringling has recently canceled their plans in Germany. They might veil this cancellation in so many different terms, but it is a cancellation nevertheless. No interest, no market potential, and the Germans are simply not going to be entertained by captive animals performing unnatural acts. What did Ringling think? That Europeans are as gullible as we are?

But wait. There's more. With Spain in their cross hairs, Ringling hoped for a better reception there. But again, Ringling was forced to call off its visit to Valencia, Spain. All dressed up and no place to go. Well, they can return home to the United States where the federal case against them is still in the judge's hands. That case is about violating the Endangered Species Act by chaining and beating the Asian elephants. If the decision comes down on the side of the plaintiffs, Barnum must give up their bullhooks and their chains, and their unventilated boxcars and so on. It's like being strong-armed into a certain level of humanity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't Kill Me. 50 Billion Animals Killed Each Year. Go Meatless.

50 billion pleas for mercy are ignored every year

50 billion animals suffer for meat, milk and eggs. They are cruelly confined, mutilated, burned, condemned to a life of degradation, loneliness, pain, and terror of slaughter. Most spend their lives unable to turn around or spread their wings. Most never see the sun. Most never leave their cages except to die.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kentucky. Owingsville. Golden Retriever. Dusty. Justice Sought.

That's Dusty hanging by his neck in the photo. Who hanged him? His owner, Wesley Barrett of 478 Peeled Oak Road, telephone 606-674-3193, claimed that Dusty was shot by a neighbor and he hung Dusty's body as a message to his neighbor. What? Already, this story doesn't make any sense. Why treat your beloved pet's body in such a manner just to send a message to a neighbor who shot it? Something isn't right here. But when the authorities met with Mr. Barrett, he couldn't name the neighbor and therefore he couldn't press charges. To compound the situation, the authorities decided not to press charges against Mr. Barrett, and let the case go cold. Not just yet, said Slyvia's Animal Sanctuary, Inc. Someone is responsible for this animal cruelty, and they are asking for signatures to send to the Governor of Kentucky and other elected officials to take action. Please go to the website below and sign the petition. It only takes for good people to do nothing for evil to triump in our world. Take action. God Bless.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New York. Gassing of Animals. It is now Illegal.

The gassing of stray and shelter animals is so repulsive that we assume that there must be a law against it. After all, we're a civilized nation. Wrong. Actually, in New York State, no law existed that prohibited the gassing of homeless or unwanted pets. More often than not, such issues come under the purview of the state government and not the federal government. It would be wonderful to have a federal law against gassing, but no such luck yet. " There ought to be a law against it! " How many times have you heard that in your lifetime? Well, in the Empire State, there now is a law against this most cruel form of extermination.

The Humane Euthanasia Bill (NY A. 999B) became law last October 9th when Governor Paterson signed it after laying dormant for nearly a year. The prime movers of this bill were the ASPCA, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Senator Suzi Oppenheimer and their respective staff. God bless them. They just made this world a better place. The law, however, takes effect a year from now. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they are turning. The ASPCA provided us with the provisions of the law:

(1) Prohibit carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide poisoning (gassing) of stray and shelter animals (effective in 90 days).
(2) Require that the euthanasia of stray and shelter animals be performed by injection.
(3) Require that such euthanasia be performed by a certified euthanasia technician, licensed veterinarian, or licensed veterinary technician.
(4) Prohibit intracardiac euthanasia—a painful injection right into the heart—on unsedated shelter animals.
(5) Require that veterinarians who perform intracardiac euthanasia on unsedated animals not under the care of a shelter do so only if it is the most humane option and that they document the event and rationale.

Pretty good stuff. It's comforting to see that the " heartstick " method on conscious animals was also prohibited.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Northern New Jersey. Bloomingdale. Dogs for Adoption. Beagle, Lab, Rat Terrier and Hound.

Behold four of our latest arrivals at the shelter...

Troy is a Beagle mix who came to us as a stray. He's a bit overweight, and so he must not have been a stray for a long time. He's my favorite at the moment. He is most willing to roll over and have his tummy rubbed. Troy is syrupy sweet, wagging his tail and cocking his head sideways at you, keeping low in some kind of submissive position. What a sweety! I could hug this dog all day. His left eye is kinda cloudy, but the doctor said to leave it alone.

Uh oh, looks like Troy isn't the only super nice dog at the shelter! This is Polly, and she's a Rat Terrier. Polly gets up from her bed and greets volunteers at her gate, a bit shy at first but warms up to people very quickly. She's got no issues, and on the quiet side. Polly is bigger than a Chihuahua, but she could become a lapdog if you allow her. What a nice dog!

Maggie is a Hound mix who also came to us as a stray. You can see that she is on the skinny side. Calm and well-mannered, Maggie will not give you any trouble at all. She tolerates other dogs, and is not food aggressive. She's a real friendly dog, and very easy to walk. Some dogs just have a certain peaceful quality to them.

Gee, here comes Clyde but without his favorite green alligator toy. Clyde holds this rubber toy in his mouth most of the time, letting go of it to sniff around and then picking it up again when he's ready to move on. He's so funny that way. It's like he never had a friend until he met this green alligator. Clyde is mid-sized but you will feel his strength when he pulls. He likes to sniff around, very curious about his surroundings. The last time, he was pointing his nose up the rocky hill along our path, like he was telling me that there was something there. Since it was early morning and not yet Winter, I got out of there before a bear jumped out of the bushes. This dog is smart and very friendly. You can't miss with this Lab-Beagle mix.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Animal Shelter. A Few Thoughts. Two Adoptions.

A fresh influx of dogs brought our kennel population to eighteen, and that's about full. Beyond that, dogs need to double up in a kennel. Our dogs come to us in a myriad of ways : divorces, foreclosures, confiscations, strays, rescued from cruel conditions, and even rescues from pounds down South where they would have been put to death via injection or gas chamber.

Dottie, a cattle dog mix, went home last Sunday with a couple looking for their first dog together. She stayed with us for approximately a month and a half. Mostly White, Dottie had a few black spots on her body and head. Thus, the name. About medium to large in size, Dottie was strong and a puller. She's the type who will give you nylon burns on your hands from the leash. Dottie didn't fully realize what was going on until our president heaved her unto the back of the SUV and shut the tailgate on her. And off she went to a place easily superior to the best kennel we can provide at the shelter.

And then, there was Tony Baloney. A young hound mix, Tony Baloney made the shelter his home for approximately one month. He also went home last week, evidently, to someone with a very big heart. For a while, we had Tony Baloney shaking and salivating uncontrollably. His seizures would make your heart sink. It wasn't a nice sight to behold, and your loving embraces do little to settle his condition. The shelter, as usual, provided the proper medical attention to stabilize his condition. The last time I walked Tony Baloney, I walked him very slowly in order not to excite him. It was like walking in molasses. At one point, I was just standing with him by the bushes, looking out to nowhere, waiting for a propitious moment to proceed. We must have looked like two lost souls in the woods.

Adoptions never fail to warm the heart, and it is a bittersweet moment when you see them hop into a vehicle and drive away with their new family. The irony here is, you never want to see them again at the shelter no matter how dear they have become to you. So long, good-bye, farewell.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Jersey. Elections for Governor. Jon Corzine. Not a Friend of Animals.

It wasn't too long ago that Governor Jon Corzine signed into law Senate Bill 802, a bill permitting bow hunting on Sundays on state wildlife management areas as well as on private lands during the respective deer season. This was sometime in March 2009. Because I was vehemently against another day of hunting when hunters already had six days to kill animals, blogged about this issue and encouraged readers to take action, and called the governor's office several times when he opened the lines for an opinion poll, it was with great disappointment, even resentment, that I learned that the governor finally sided with the hunters. The main thrust of the hunting community's argument was that Sunday will compensate for their lack of time to hunt during the week. However way Gov. Corzine came to his decision, through days-long deliberation and consulting with many groups at opposite sides of the issue, in the end, he bought the argument and signed the bill into law. Yes, I felt that his decision was very callous and pandered to the hunting community.

Politically, I am neither democrat nor republican. I can best describe my position as " anti-incumbent. " I believe that power corrupts and elected officials should not be allowed to stay in office for a long time. One term is enough. Power has an intoxicating effect, and long staying politicians albeit legitimately re-elected are like drunken drivers who believe that they are on a straight course but are actually straying. One example, if not for vetting or confirmation proceedings, we wouldn't know that many elected officials have not paid their taxes in full or paid them at all. It is inevitably excused as an oversight, but such tax delinquencies are more easily forgiven because the erring parties are in power. I say, vote the incumbents out not excluding Obama, Bloomberg, or Corzine.

The League of Humane Voters-NJ has a different take on it. They are asking us to support Corzine and his running mate Senator Loretta Weinberg and give thanks for their support of animal welfare. According to the LOHV_NJ ,

" During his first bid for Governor, Jon Corzine opposed a bear hunt and said there would be no bear hunts during his term. While other issues such as property taxes and health care reform have to go through the legislature, CORZINE had direct control over a bear hunt. Corzine made a promise to protect black bears and he kept it.Senator Loretta Weinberg (Corzine's running mate) is a staunch supporter of all animals. She has consistently voted to protect them and advance their rights. In fact, she was the first legislator who introduced a bill to protect black bears over a decade ago. Weinberg has sponsored a large number of animal-friendly bills and she is known for standing up for what she believes -- no matter who is applying pressure. "

From this, it seems to me that Senator Weinberg should be running for governor, not Corzine. I don't think she's ever been governor. What else has Corzine done for the animals? And that isn't a rhetorical question. When Congo, the German Shepherd who attacked a landscaper who he taught was attacking his master, was sentenced to death, people asked Gov. Corzine to commute his sentence. The governor never even issued a statement. Governor Corzine is not a friend of the animals notwithstanding his opposition to bear hunts. As an animal lover and anti-incumbent, I say NO to Corzine. In this year's New Jersey gubernatorial elections, there are no good choices but that doesn't mean we should vote for Corzine.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Time Magazine. Strays to the Rescue. A Photo Essay.

Time Magazine has come out with a photo essay on rescued dogs who have, through their humans, contributed to societal good in one form or another. The stories come from a book entitled, To the Rescue: Found Dogs with a Mission by Elise Lufkin. The photographs were by Diana Walker. Each individual case warms the heart and underscores the fact that a human-animal relationship could be the very best relationship one, or many, could possibly have on this Earth. Read through each case and come out even more assured that dogs do have a special and comforting role in our society. These examples of harmony between dogs and humans make it ever so clear that abusing a dog, or any animal for that matter, is disrespectful, indecent, inhumane and outright barbaric. Tell me how you treat an animal and I will tell you who you are.

Strays to the Rescue

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthy Food. Vegetarian. VegNews. Barley and Porcini Soup.

Of all the forms of food out there, I like soups the most. Hot soup on a wintry or clammy day is the ideal, but soups are good anytime you feel the need for a simple, hale and hearty meal. Its complete, one-dimensional form is probably what attracts me to them as compared to full course meals plus their accompanying utensils. A spoon, that's all you need. Okay, maybe a pair of chopsticks if you are having noodles with your soup. Appetizers, two entrees, some rice and dessert can be very busy.

Here's a recipe from VegNews Magazine for a Barley and Porcini soup. If you're the type who can't work a screwdriver, you should still be able to put this soup together. ( Credit is given to VegNews for the photo and recipe.)

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 cup barley5 cups water or mushroom stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

1. Remove the porcini mushrooms from the soaking liquid, reserving the water. Thinly slice the porcinis and return to the soaking liquid. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the barley and water, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add the reserved mushrooms and soaking liquid plus half the dill. Cook until the barley is tender, about 10 minutes longer. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining dill.

New Jersey. Meatless Diet. Path to Better Health and Animal Welfare.

The Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ) has sent out an invitation to those who have yet to make a lifestyle change for the better. We're talking meatless diet that is surely to improve your health and say NO to animal cruelty at the same time. This is a free presentation by Food For Life, a community health outreach program, to be held at Organic Style, 621 Cookman avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712. Time and date are October 27, 2009 at 7pm. They will discuss the four food groups : fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Yum, that made me crave for some. You can learn about their nutritional value and health benefits plus mouth-watering recipes. Food-tasting will top the evening off like the cherry on other people's sundae. Please call Nancy Ehrlich at 732-775-1051 for reservations. Space is limited.

If there is something I can kick myself in the rear for, that would be for being tardy in making this dietary change. I am only on my third year of a meatless lifestyle, but my weight has lessened and my blood tests have become much better than before. It's like coming face to face with yourself about your past and asking, " Why did I do that to you? Why did I not realize that I was feeding you life-shortening garbage? " There is so much good food out there and there isn't anyone stopping you from having them. What's the point about sticking with hamburgers, steaks, meatballs, beef stews, pork loins, and hotdogs? As I have asked so many times before, why eat the body parts of dead animals? Go Vegetarian.

Friday, October 16, 2009

United Kingdom. A Farmer. His Cows. And the Dark.

And there was the case of the case of the 65-yr old farmer, Ronald Norcliffe, who was fined £150 fine for failing to address the psychological needs of his cattle. What exactly were the psychological needs of cows could not be determined but keeping them in a darkened room proved unacceptable to officers from Kirklees Environmental Health department and the Government's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The darkened room was actually a basement barn that allowed little natural light to come in during the Winter. The barn lacked electric lights and the barn doors kept shut to keep the cold out. For DEFRA, such conditions in Norcliffe's farm at Scammonden, West Yorks, were a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. This was in August 2008, and Mr. Norcliffe has been a farmer for thirty years.

Bob Carr, lawyer for Mr. Norcliffe, stated that "In my respectful submission this didn't do any harm whatsoever." But how do we know that? Are harmful effects always evident? If we start with the assumption that cows are sentient beings, long periods spent in a dark room must cause some harmful effects. I don't think that we need to point to something and say, " That's what is wrong. " We are not talking about bats or other nocturnal beings. In fact, our ideal picture is one of cows that are out to pasture under sunny conditions.

But wait a minute. The animal-lover haters will surely portray DEFRA as having gone overboard with concern. Well, first of all, DEFRA is not necessarily an animal-loving entity. They're just applying the laws pertaining to animal welfare. DEFRA isn't PETA, in other words. Those who detest and ridicule animal-lovers are quick to label animal-lovers zealots and misguided fools with a twisted sense of priority. You know the deal. Some in the animal experimentation field even refer to us as extremists. The truth is that Mr. Norcliffe benefited from several notices from DEFRA to improve the conditions that existed in his barn. It was suggested that Mr. Norcliffe clean the glass windows and to cut the bushes around them. But Mr. Norcliffe ignored all improvement notices. The good farmer attached lights to a generator, but when DEFRA came calling the switch was off. Aside from the fine, Mr. Norcliffe was also charged with £50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Let there be light.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Philadelphia Eagles. Michael Vick. A Cruel Past. A Bleak Future.

Clicking through some web pages yesterday, I came upon Michael Silver's piece on Yahoo Sports declaring Michael Vick as a dud, a has-been, nothing more. It was argued that for all the controversy and promise that Michael Vick brought with him on his return to the NFL, the truth is that Michael Vick isn't worth all that attention. I won't regurgitate what Silver has said because you can read his article, but I gather that Vick's time at the big house has cost him more than just time but his momentum and prime years as a player. Against the Buccaneers, Vicks gained ten yards on four carries. I don't mean to be facetious, but even my chihuahua can cover more ground than that.

Vicks might be advised to hold dear and cherish that one year, $1M contract the Eagles have so munificently given to him because that might be the most he's getting from them, or from any NFL team. Pity? Most law-abiding, non-animal torturing citizens will not realize that kind of money in their lifetime, and players normally get one chance at playing in the NFL. Vick had two chances. No pity for Vick.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cuteness in Thumb size. Nature's Way. Cuteness Overload.

Lately, I have been putting up a lot of depressing graphics from the typhoon in the Philippines, and I thought I should lighten up a bit with something that will surely make you smile. Sometimes, nature's beauty is out there in grand, breathtaking style. That's when we say, " Wow, take a look at that! " Fortunately, beauty knows no proportion. Equally beautiful sights or things can be found in a dimunitive size. Take a look:

Monday, October 05, 2009

Northern New Jersey. Bloomingdale. Dog for Adoption. Bear.

Anyone for a St. Bernard mix? Bear is our well-behaved gentleman at the shelter. He's a willow tree on four legs. I love cupping his head between my two hands and just go nose to nose with him. And that's like having a small watermelon in your hands. Bear ran away from his home, and his humans(?) decided not to pursue him. So, Bear became our dog. He's up to date on all shots, and ready to go to his new home.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE : Adopted! 10/11/09

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Michael Vick. Nike Commercial. Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Some news about convicted animal torturer, dogfight promoter, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Philippines. Typhoon Ondoy. Animal Rescue. PAWS.

As of Sunday, September 27 2009, a day after typhoon Ondoy hit the Manila area, the Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC) had taken in 16 animals stranded by the floods. Some of them include a German Shepherd, an Aspin ( Filipino dog ), a turtle, and several cats. The animals came from De Castro Subdivision in Pasig, and Midtown and Provident Villages in Marikina. The rescue continues and more animals are expected to come into the shelter. Help is on the way from the Humane Society International (HSI) who is sending a team to help with the rescue and to set up safe stations. The team will be working with PAWS and the Animal Welfare Coalition. Donations have come in from kind-hearted individuals, but supplies are never enough. Here are places where you can drop off your donations :

MAKATI - c/o PAWS Volunteer MARLA NICANDRO 360 Media, Rm 508, 5th Flr Chinabank Bldg (formerly Manila Bank) Ayala Ave, Makati (MON-FRI 9am-5pm)

QUEZON CITY - c/o PAWS Director RICH ILUSTRE 2-B Legaspi St, Philam Homes, West Ave, QC

PARC Aurora Boulevard, Katipunan Valley Loyola Heights, QC ( for map and directions). We are right at the boundary of Marikina and Quezon City. Contact Nos.: (02) 475-1688; 0917-7931097

MANDALUYONG CITY:c/o DR. MARGA CARPIOVets in Practice Animal Clinic 2F Doggieland, San Francisco St., Mandaluyongnear the rotonda of Mandaluyong City Hall.

PAWS are in need of the following:

For Humans:
1. Used Clean Clothes. 2. Canned Goods. 3. Bread and/or Rice. 4. Drinking Water.

For the animals:
1. Cat Food; 2. Dog Food; 3. Old Blankets/Towels; 4. Medicines (Antibiotics, Injectable Sedatives, Dextrose, Cefalexin, etc.) 5. Basins and Pails 6. Zonrox, Detergent and Liquid Soap.

Please give generously and as soon as possible.
Here are some photos from last weekend:

UPDATE: Oct. 5 2009 :

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Philippines. Typhoon Ondoy. A State of Calamity. September 2009.

By now, the devastation left behind by Typhoon Ondoy in Philippines has become world news. It pains me so much to see thousands of people lose their homes, their personal belongings, their clothes and food, and their loved ones both human and animal. I have been through many typhoons myself, having grown up in that country, but nothing compares to destruction caused by Ondoy. A natural steamroller that knew no mercy, Ondoy, basically, trashed everything in its path. How can people rebuild their lives when all have been washed away in the flood? How can one survive the aftermath when there is no food to buy? Ondoy reduced thousands of people to a state of penury. There are many tragic stories, but I learned that a couple of directors for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society were stranded on their houses' roofs for two days without food or electricity. Those who can save their pets had them on the roof, some as many as ten or more. As of yesterday, the estimated dead was more than 200 people, but that figure is expected to grow when the flood subsides and bodies are found. An estimated 1.9 million people have lost their homes or have their homes made unlivable.

I feel for the people as I do for the animals. Where are the stray animals who didn't have a home to begin with? Strays were surely washed away to become flotsam, an ignoble end to a life of utter neglect and apathy. Even those animals who had families who loved them perished. One PAWS director lost a dog ( one of her many dogs ), birds, and chickens to a flash flood in her neighborhood. And her story shouldn't be the worse. How about those horses who pull kalesas? There is a photo of one of them below. How did they survive since they can't climb unto a roof? They must have perished themselves. The thought of lives lost, both human and animal, is all so painful.

The Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC) survived the typhoon and the animals there are unharmed. PAWS Director Anna Cabrera braved the waters to spend the last days and nights there. The center is open to take in abandoned animals, and some have already arrived there. They will need a lot of help, and for those of us who are overseas and cannot help in person, I urge you to donate to PARC. There is a Paypal button on the main page of this blog. I am also going to add a link to the Philippine Red Cross ( ) for those who want to donate and help the human victims of Ondoy. Please join me in making a difference.

For people in the Philippines needing assistance, here are some numbers you can call, if you are able to : National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) Emergency Numbers: 912-5668, 911-1406, 912-2665, 911-5061. Help hotlines: 734-2118, 734-2120. More:






UPDATE: Oct. 1, 2009 The Humane Society International is sending a team of rescuers to help rescue animals in distress in the aftermath of Ondoy. They are on their way already. The team will be working with local animal rights orgs like the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Animal Welfare Coalition.

Lastly, below are photographs that I could find on the web. I would give credit to the photographers if I only knew who they truly are. If there is someone out there who objects to my use of their photograph, please send me a comment and I will oblige you. I have intentionally chosen photos that depict animals in distress, leaving out photos of humans struggling to stay alive, or humans already dead.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Philippines. Dogs for Adoption. PARC. PAWS. September 2009.

Here are several dogs who are under the wing of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, and they are up for adoption. Because I don't have personal interaction with these dogs, I can't offer any substantive background information on them. You will have to contact PAWS for that. However, I read that John Dog was run over by a vehicle and survived in pain for many days before being rescued while Flipper was abandoned on a riverbank to drown as the tide rose. If you are interested in any of these dogs, your contact info is Keep in mind that these are not the only dogs up for adoption. There are more at the Philippine Animal Rehabilitation Center (PARC).

John Dog