Thursday, January 29, 2009

Strathmore. Music for Animal Abusers. Apathy not Art. Ignorance in High Places. Eliot Pfanstiehl.

Ignorance and apathy. They continue to strive in the most unexpected places. This time, it is an arts center who decided it was appropriate to include the circus in their festivities. Fine arts, good music? No. Bad judgment is more like it.

Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland touts itself as the intersection of art and life. Really? Evidently, that doesn't include animal life and welfare. By including Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus in their annual festival, Strathmore abdicated their high stature, their exulted position as patron of the arts and anything ethereal, to one that embraces and pushes animal cruelty. PETA has already tried to enlighten Strathmore President Eliot Pfanstiehl about the hideous conditions in which Asian elephants live in, or any of the circus animals for that matter. The gentleman was unmoved. And so ignorance and apathy, not violins and brushes, became the instruments of Strathmore.

You can help save the circus animals from forced labor and long-term detention, from days-long chaining and savage bullhooking, by sending a formatted email to the president of Strathmore. It only takes a stroke of his pen to save the circus animals from being prostituted to the public, thus lifting his organization above the muck and slime. Doing business with any part of Barnum is not acceptable. Maybe Mr. Pfanstiehl is just ignorant, and sees himself as above the welfare of animals. But he may not be totally lacking in compassion. As for those who are otherwise connected with Strathmore, those who perform or exhibit their work there, I refuse to believe that they will blindly support Mr. Pfanstiehl's cooperation with who I consider modern day barbarians and slaveholders. Strathmore should be better than that. Send your email here:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Whippet. Maxine. January 2009.

I featured Maxine on this blog a few days ago with another dog named Zeke. Zeke went home to his forever home, but we are still looking for loving humans for Maxine. Now, Maxine is a whippet and she has a lot of energy. So, we are looking for someone or a family with at least person who can keep up with Maxine. Above is a video I took yesterday in our shelter yard. As you can see, letting Maxine loose in a fenced in yard makes her very happy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Iron Man Step Aside. It's Iron Animal. January 2009.

I was walking around the Soho / Greenwich Village area last weekend, and came upon this animal. It wouldn't help to say that it stands in a street cornering Mulberry because Mulberry is a long street. At first, I thought it was a dog. Since the tail is rather long and somewhat straight, I now think that it is bovine and not canine. You might one day come upon him/her, and then you can help me decide for sure.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hydrogen Peroxide. Friend or Foe? Animal Poison Control.

Hydrogen Peroxide. Such an ominous sounding name, isn't it? Heck, does it explode and create a mushroom cloud? Does it eat your flesh to the bone? Well, in tsunamic proportions, I don't know. Maybe it could. But I do know that in proportionate amounts it can save your poisoned pet from dying.

At the end of 2008, the ASPCA put out a bulletin entitled, What Poisoned our Pets in 2008?. Poison? Now, there's a word that can send chills down your spine. In the ASPCA's Top 10, you will find the usual suspects---lawn fertilizers, household cleaning agents, certain fruits and plants, and also mundane items such as batteries. For our pets, our human environment can be very treacherous.

But, what about hydrogen peroxide (HP)? Well, I actually recall that name with fondness. I recall my mom lovingly wiping my wounds, usually infected wounds, with a cotton ball soaked in HP. Oh, when it fizzed, it was just heaven. It felt like a lot of good was happening, fungi/bacteria/viruses getting killed, healing taking place. You see, when I was a kid, I climbed over 5-foot walls, climbed unto neighbors' roofs, fetched fruits from the trees, played marbles on the bare ground, fell off my bike quite often, jumped into rocky rivers, and sat wherever I pleased. With short pants on, my legs were always bruised and wounded. Such was my childhood in a developing(?) country in Asia.

According to the ASPCA, as good pet owners, we should always have 3% HP as part of our first aid kit. Why? Because, in amounts proportionate to your pet's weight, HP can induce vomiting. Out with the poison, in other words. And if you are going to keep a supply of HP handy, you will also need something to administer it, like a plastic syringe or dropper. Before anything else, it is best to seek the opinion of experts like your vet. Call your vet right away or call the ASPCA poison control center at (888) 426-4435. A $60 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. With an expert on the phone, you'll have a better chance dealing with a poisoned pet.

The question remains, how much HP should you administer? According to, it is going to be about a teaspoon per 10 pounds of weight. A teaspoon is 5ml. So, for my 8-lb chihuahua, that would be like half a teaspoon. I must stress though that not all ingested items will come out as easily as they went in. The HP way is just one of the ways you could solve the problem. So, it is very important to get in contact with your vet or a poison control center as soon as possible.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Northern New Jersey. Dogs for Adoption. Coonhound & Whippet. January 2009.

We have a couple of relatively new additions to our shelter population. First, Zeke arrived at the shelter approximately three weeks ago. He is good all around, having no issues at all with other dogs, food, cats, or humans. Zeke's got this nice combo of black and brown fur plus a very expressive face. Does he look sad? Well, yes, he looks sad. He's in a shelter, not a home. Zeke will be a great companion dog. He's not the aloof type, but the type who is always checking up on you. The most noticeable trait of Zeke is quietness. He does not bark like the other dogs in their kennels. He acts as if he is doing his duty as a shelter dog, no barking, just waiting. Ask yourself, are you missing out on a great dog? Yes, you are. If you are like me who can't take in another dog, please tell your friends about Zeke.

Maxine is very much like Zeke, quiet and gentle. But I can see Maxine's uneasiness being in the shelter. She acts like she's always looking out for someone. This is probably true because Maxine is an owner-surrender. Supposedly, her former humans could no longer take care of her. Like Zeke, Maxine is a very quiet dog. No problems with her that I know of. You can have more info on her from the shelter records and full time staff. She's considered as a whippet, and young. Nice body and outstanding ears!

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Zeke Adopted 01/23/09

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New York. D'Agostino Shows Some Class. Drops Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Back in the late 70s, when I was in my early twenties, I lived on E20th Street between First Avenue and the FDR Drive in Manhattan. For the locals, the area is still known as Stuyvesant Town. Down the block was a grocery store called D'Agostino. For all I know, it could still be there but there are many branches in the city. It was a time when I counted every penny, couldn't afford to eat out, made my lunch and dinner from the stuff I bought from D'Agostino, saving money by shopping there. That went on for three years until I moved to Queens. So, I was all ears when I heard something about this chain of groceries in the news, something relating to animal welfare at that, something good.

Well, as it turned out, D'Agostino became the latest business establishment to drop their partnership with that God awful, inhumane, saddest show on Earth, Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. Unaware of the hideous imprisonment and forced labor of animals practiced by the circus, D'Agostino offered their patrons discounted tickets to the show. That's okay because we can't expect every business out there to be on the ball when it comes to animal welfare. The great thing is that D'Agostino dropped the promotion after PETA enlightened them about the plight of the Asian elephants, their chaining for long hours, the loneliness, the forced separation from their children, the bullhooking, the temperature extremes, and other forms of deprivation and cruelty that Ringling believes is acceptable. My old lifeline, D'Agostino has joined Denny's, Liz Claiborne, Lukoil, MasterCard, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in ending their sponsorship of Ringling. Good job, D'Agostino.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fort Dix, NJ to Maim Animals for Practice. Jan. 14 2009. Animal Cruelty.

I am going to repost an alert sent by the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance to its members and to all who care about animal welfare. I have already sent my own email to the authorities at Fort Dix, and I am asking you to send in yours as well. Phone calls, emails, and demonstrations do make a difference, and please do not be skeptical about their efficacy. Help open their eyes to compassion and respect for animals. There are individuals at Fort Dix who would turn the home of our fighting men and women into a house of horror for animals. The maiming of innocent animals will take place in two days, and so time is of the essence. I won't even repeat the points made in the alert since you can read about them as follows:

NJARA received a call from a whistleblower at Fort Dix, NJ informing us of the Army's plans to stab, shoot and break the legs of pigs and goats, attempting to create combat injuries, in order that medics can work on them. As with all animal experimentation, this exercise is inhumane and absurd and has no relevancy to human beings who are injured in combat situations.

They will be continuing this barbaric teaching method this week, Wednesday, 1/14 through Friday, 1/16. Please contact the base asking Colonel Thaxton to halt these experiments which may violate the Department of Defense's animal welfare regulation that requires the use of non-animal methods when such methods are available. And numerous methods DO exist, such as the military's own Combat Trauma Patient Simulator. The Air Force Expeditionary Medical Skills Institute's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills and the Naval Trauma Training Center in Los Angeles both do not use animals in trauma experimentation.

NJARA passed this information along to PCRM and PETA, who have both had campaigns to end the military's use of animals. PETA acted by sending a press release and writing the base commander.

Please take a moment to email Colonel Thaxton by using Peta's emailer alert: As asked, it is always best to write a short, heartfelt letter in your own words, and not use the sample verbatim.

Additionally, please read PETA's alert on the Army's use of live animals to train medics for combat conditions: Then, write NJ's federal senators, Lautenberg, and Menendez as well as your federal representative (visit starting at page 18). Ask them to contact the Army and insist that they ban the use of animals in such tests.


Janine Motta
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance (NJARA)
PO Box 174
Englishtown, NJ 07726

New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance is NJ's only statewide animal rights organization. NJARA has been advancing the rights of animals for 25 years through advocacy, public education and legislation. Visit us at

Be Green! Visit and explore a plant-based diet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lobster George. Old Age Does Pay. New York City. PETA Rescue.

Well, finally, we're showing some respect for our elders! George was estimated to be 140 years old and could have been served hot if not for an eagle-eyed patron of City Crab and Seafood restaurant in New York City. After all those years, George had finally put himself in mortal danger, from mankind and its insatiable appetite for eating other animals. Poor George. He must have been just trawling along the bottom, as usual, and when he walked into a trap. And so he ended up the subject of a phone call from a caring consumer to PETA. Through PETA's intervention and the restaurant's sympathy, George is free again. This native of Newfoundland, Canada was released Saturday at Kennebunkport, Maine. For a short while George was priced at $27 per pound. George's true age is uncertain, but lobsters are known to live up to one hundred years old. If George is, in fact, 140 years old, then he was born right after the American civil war. Think about it. Lobster George was swimming around the bottom all through the Spanish-American War, the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, The First Iraq Invasion, and up to the present war in Iraq. Geez, leave the old man alone.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Animal Welfare. Jobs. New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance. NJARA. Englishtown, NJ. January 2009.

Based in Englishtown, New Jersey, the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance (NJARA) is looking for a few good men, and women too. They've advertised three paid positions that you could be interested in. Of course, it is up to you to negotiate salary and benefits. But let's be realistic here. Your personal satisfaction will be greater than your pay. Although I am a member, I don't really know what goes on there administratively. It's best to contact NJARA directly : New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance (NJARA) P.O. Box 174, Englishtown, NJ 07726...Tel. 732-446-6808. Here are the positions to be filled:

Veg Outreach Program Coordinator : Educate the public about the use of animals raised for food and the human health benefits of a plant-based diet. REQUIRED: excellent understanding of the issues, public speaking and good communication skills, computer literate, vegan. Wonderful opportunity for a compassionate person who cares about the plight of animals. Full time position, from our Englishtown office. Program Coordinator : The position was created to educate the public about vivisection, expose the fallacies surrounding it and give people actions they can take to help stop vivisection. Full time position, from our Englishtown office.

Project TNR Coordinator : We are looking for a passionate, highly motivated thinker who has a strong desire to improve the situation in New Jersey for feral cats. 20 hours a week, from our Englishtown office.

All the best.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Animal Shelter. Volunteer Work. Hours Worked. 2008.

The day of reckoning has come. Meaning, our shelter president requested all volunteers to send in their estimated hours of work for 2008. The shelter is required to submit shelter stats to the authorities, whoever they may be, including volunteer activity. As I have said before, our shelter doubles as the animal control facility for four towns in Passaic County, NJ. It consists of four buildings: the main doghouse, the cattery, the outside kennels, and the offices of the animal control department. There is also a fenced in yard in the back where agility tests, general dog training takes place. I spend most of my time in the doghouse.

Well, let's see what we have here. I finished my three Sundays of training in January, and I became a volunteer officially in February. That makes eleven months of shelter duty. In that time, doing two-hour shifts every Sunday morning, add the occasional Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoons, I estimated my volunteer hours to be 144 altogether. Somehow, it feels much more than 144 hours, but that's about it. In that time, I've seen dozens of dogs get adopted, about five of which I was directly involved. I don't know how much time I spent cleaning the cages and runs: scooping up poo from the floor, hosing them down, scrubbing them with anti-bacterial agents, hosing them down again, and finally squeegee to dry. I estimated that just seven regular sized dogs can produce five pounds of poo at one time. How many pounds of poo did I haul to the garbage bin in 2008? More than a hundred, easy. Yep, if you want to volunteer at a shelter, you'd be doing some tough cleaning jobs. You'd be washing bowls, beds, feeding dogs and administering their respective medications. We also machine wash soiled blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys. A washing machine and dryer sit in the back room.

Now, we don't euthanize dogs/cats to make space. In fact, we have a dog who has been there for nearly a year and a half. My heart breaks for her. However, we do euthanize dogs for other reasons, like those who are miserably and terminally ill and those who have a history of aggression. You can't allow an animal to suffer any more when it doesn't have a chance at a good and healthy life. And you can't adopt a dog out to a family when you know that the dog can turn on them. For this reason, I believe that there isn't a true " no kill " shelter. Some people can handle tough dogs, but full disclosure is a must. In the past eleven months, I've known three dogs who went down for sure. There are others who disappeared, adopted perhaps. But, I have not asked about their true fate and I'll let that be as it is. When I expressed my sadness about seeing a dog go, one who I've known for a time, our president said, " Ted, concentrate on those we've helped and not on those we couldn't. " I am sure that euthanasia is part of the yearly report. 2009, let it be better.

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Walk in the Woods. Fred, a Homeless Dog. Adopt, Don't Buy.

Yesterday morning, I took one of our shelter dogs for an extended walk in the woods behind the shelter facility. We usually walk our dogs along a driveway that leads to the shelter gate and along the property line. This time, I decided to go deeper into the woods with Fred.

It's actually our first time to walk together. The area behind the shelter is a favorite for off roaders because the trail is rough and undulating. In the warm months, the vegetation is dense and you cannot see more than 50 feet ahead. It shouldn't be a surprise if you encountered a deer, but it's the stray bear that could ruin your day. But it's winter and I trust that the bears are asleep and not on the prowl around the area.

Walking with Fred, a homeless dog like all others at the shelter, was like walking with a friend. He picked his way among the snow-covered leaves and ice-clogged ruts of the trail as I did. Fred looked back periodically, checking on me, seeing if I was alright or able to keep up. That was very nice of him, my sentient animal friend, a loving being without a loving family. We were the only ones out there, amidst slabs of basalt rock and boulders strewn all over the place when the Earth was formed, surrounded by bare trees standing still, playing dead, waiting for March. With the leaves gone from the trees, I could see farther and get a better idea of our remoteness. Our footsteps made the only sounds, spooky but I loved the privacy. It was as if all the animals in the woods had taken the day off. I took Fred to the stream but it didn't interest him too much. The water felt ice-cold; it was clear, clean, and from melted snow.

We could have stayed there for a couple of hours, but my colleagues at the shelter might send out a search party for us. When we got back to the shelter, I took Fred to the enclosed yard behind the main building and let him loose. He ran and barked at passing dogs, inviting them to play from behind a fence. The sweet dog that he is, Fred would run to where I was seated and nudge me with his head. And off again he went to check out the multitude of scents in the yard. I thought, what a pity that Fred spends many hours in a kennel. The time I spend comfortably at home, Fred spends it pent up in his kennel. A small bed, some stuffed toys, food and water bowls, those are his companions. When we close our doors at 4pm on Sundays, a dog like Fred wouldn't interact with a human again until 9am the next day. They will be fed and walked in the morning, and then several hours of solitude again until the afternoon crew comes in. A shelter is not a home.

A good dog like Fred, and there are many like him, deserve a loving home. Rest assured, we do our best at the shelter and we have found loving homes for many of our dogs and cats. I think that someone is already interested in adopting Fred; there was a yellow tag on his kennel door. If I don't find him at the shelter by next Sunday, then I know he's made his escape. All the best to you, my friend.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Fred adopted February 09

Friday, January 02, 2009

Nature. Balloon Race. Time Lapsed. Reno, Nevada.

Well, there were no animals injured in the filming of this motion picture, and so perhaps that is the news. A few years ago, I was actively flying single-engined airplanes---pipers and cessnas---out of Teterboro Airport and it would just be a matter of minutes before I was over farmland, green pastures, or the seemingly unending beauty of the Hudson River area. Being up in the air at the controls of a small airplane made me feel that I was living my life and not just spending it. Once, I followed the shore of the Hudson River all the way up to Albany and on the return I flew south over the farmlands of upstate New York. I don't fly anymore due to cost and I would rather donate the money to animal rights orgs than spend it on hourly rentals and fuel. I will not admit to the money I blew on my flying lessons and the flying I did after I earned my pilot's license. It's an obscene amount. But I can admit that my appreciation for natural beauty and all the animals who live in it increased. Here is a video I found on the web that somehow runs along the same lines. Those who cannot afford to be licensed pilots can still appreciate a bird's eye view of our beautiful planet via ballooning. I've never done it, but you might be a braver soul than I. I, actually, have a fear of heights when in an open area. Anyway, I think the time lapse is just wonderful.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Southern Utah. Land for Auction. Anti-Environment. Bush Administration. Civil Disobedience.

Why is the Bush administration so hell-bent on destroying the beauty of the land? This eleventh hour auctioning of lands in southern Utah, 150,000 acres, is like a thief in the night with George Bush as the get away driver. He wouldn't benefit financially from the sale, and so this is all about pushing an anti-environment agenda to the very last days of his administration. Watch the video :