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Archive for February, 2007

2007 California (Animal) Legislation as of Feb. 9

Many thanks to Virginia Handley of PawPAC* for compiling this information on animal-related legislation, and to Rose Lernberg for sending it out … and for giving me permission to reprint it here so more people can have a chance to read it and get involved as an animal advocate if they feel so inclined. As I’ve said before, they’re the best!

*PawPAC is California’s Political Action Committee for Animals. You can reach PawPAC at 415-646-0622;;

You can obtain official legislative information by going to this web site:

By entering the number of the bill, you can access the bill text, status, committee analysis and roll call votes.

Next Legislative Meeting: Monday, March 5, 2007, 10 a.m. to Noon, Room 113, State Capitol Building, Sacramento. Agenda: New legislation. Deadline for introduction Feb. 23. All animal advocates welcome.

Mailing address for all legislators: State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

AB 64 by Assemblywoman Patty Berg re: Emergencies. Support.
Enacts the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act, including licensed veterinarians and vet techs from out of state, to allow them to practice in California during emergencies. Next Hearing: Possibly Assembly Business and Professions Committee. No date set. Write: Assemblywoman Berg. Thank her for introducing AB 64. Tell her it will help in the implementation of AB 450 passed in 2006 to require disaster plans to include animals.

CALIFORNIA FISH & GAME COMMISSION, 1416 – 9th St., Sacramento, CA 95814

Hunting and Trapping Regulations
The Fish & Game Department will propose trapping regulations and will write an Environmental Document. The Commission is required to “consider the welfare of individual animals” and in the past each document had a chapter on it. The Department has changed it from “welfare” to “effects” in an effort to get away from the concept of welfare. AB 87 passed in 2006 to make it clear that “pest” control operators do not have to get a Fish & Game license to trap mice, rats, gophers and moles. SB 1645, passed in 2002, requires “nuisance” and predator control wildlife trappers to get a Fish & Game license to trap coyotes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc. Many trappers do not tell their customers that the animals will be killed if not released on site. Nor do many of them have licenses. The Commission has voted to consider banning lead shot on the condor habitat. They also want to increase “hunting opportunities” for junior hunts, archery hunts, and trophy hunting.

Next Hearing: March 1 or 2, Arcata. Write: California Fish & Game Commission. Ask them to reinstate the chapter entitled “Welfare of the Individual Animal.” Ask them to enforce the existing law requiring “nuisance” and predator control trappers to have licenses and ask that a list of licensed trappers be available to the public. Ask that they include specific requirements for the humane handling of wildlife, including bats. Also, thank the Commissioners for the consideration of a ban on lead shot, the leading cause of condor mortality.

Turtles and Frogs in Live Animal Markets
The Commission voted to “go to notice” to pass a regulation to prohibit the importation of turtles and frogs for the live animal markets. But no action has been taken to submit any regulation. Next Hearing: March 1 or 2, Arcata. Write: California Fish & Game Commission. Tell them to protect our native wildlife from non-native turtles and frogs that are imported by the hundreds of thousands (frogs by the ton) and commonly released. They deplete populations of California wildlife such as the endangered Western pond turtle and the red-legged frog. The importation also contributes to the illegal pet trade of baby turtles born to captured wild turtles for the market.

Siskiyou Mountain Salamander. Oppose
The timber industry wants to delist the salamander as a threatened species. Next Hearing: March 1 or 2, Arcata. Write: California Fish and Game Commission. Tell them the salamander has a limited range and clear cutting is their greatest threat.

Advisory Committee on Humane Treatment of Wild Animals
The Committee advises the Department on inspection procedures to enforce permit requirements including minimum standards for wild animals in captivity. Next Meeting: April 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1416 ­ 9th St., Room 1206, Sacramento.

CALIFORNIA VETERINARY MEDICAL BOARD, 1420 Howe Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825; 916-263-2610

Rodeo Injury Reports
Current law requires veterinarians who cover rodeos to report injuries to the Vet Med. Board. 2006 had no report and 2005 had only one. Veterinarians are not complying or, when on-call, are not being called. The Vet Board should make it clear to the vets that not reporting is a violation of law and clarify what specific information is required in the report. Next Meeting: May 1 and 2, Sacramento. Write: California Vet Med. Board. Tell them current law requires rodeo injury reports and their assistance is needed.

Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2007
Under: Animal Laws | 1 Comment »

More pets are sleeping in bed with their owners

If you find yourself cuddling up with your furry friends each night when you go to bed, you’re not alone.

In a recent survey of policyholders and visitors to their Web site by Veterinary Pet Insurance, 56 percent of those who responded said their pet sleeps right next to them each night.

Of the nearly 8,000 respondents, 21 percent said their pet sleeps in a pet bed, 18 percent claimed their pet sleeps at the foot of the bed, 5 percent of pets sleep on the couch, and 1 percent said their pet sleeps outside.

“Our pets have made a definitive move from the barnyard, to the backyard, to the bedroom,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, director of veterinary services for VPI. “With the human-animal bond stronger than ever, more pet owners are taking care of their pets like they would a family member. Our pets are spending more time indoors with the entire family, and now they share the comforts of a soft mattress with the family, too.”

This inspires me to have my own quickie little survey. Just click on “Comments” at the end of this post and answer these quick questions:

** Does your pet (cat, dog, bird, fish, other?) have its own room in your home?

** Does your pet (cat, dog, bird, fish, other?) have it’s own place at the table for daily meals?

** Does your pet (cat, dog, bird, fish, other?) help to prepare meals?

** Does your pet (cat, dog, bird, fish, other?) have a job and contribute to paying household expenses?

** Is your pet (cat, dog, bird, fish, other?) answering this survey?

Come on, now, be honest.

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2007
Under: Pets | 15 Comments »

You gotta have heart … I guess

Valentine’s Day used to be simple when I was a kid. You got your mom or girlfriend a heart-shaped box of chocolate candy and that was it.

Today, things have changed. Boy, have they changed.

These are just three of the Valentine’s Day press releases I received this week:

Monkey business at S.F. Zoo: The San Francisco Zoo will offer an enlightening look at the birds and the bees — and perhaps some monkey business — at its annual adults-only Valentine’s Day event. Woo at the Zoo, formerly called the Sex Tour, will be held Saturday (Feb. 10) at 6 p.m.; Sunday (Feb. 11) at noon; and Feb. 13 and 14 at 6 p.m. The 21-and-over event is held in the zoo’s Osher Great Hall. Woo at the Zoo aims to entertain and educate guests with the sexual and mating behavior of animals. Guests will also enjoy Champagne, sushi and a risotto bar. Tickets are $70 and may be purchased by calling 415-753-7236 or online at

Smooch With Your Pooch Dog Valentine Party: February 17, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Paws and Claws Natural Pet Store, 2023 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland; call 510-336-0105 for details. $10-$20 donation requested for new dog park at Joaquin Miller Park. Contests and prizes for best kissing dog, best love song to a dog, best costume …

This Valentine’s Day, there will be Less Lonely Farmers thanks to launched just over a year ago. It has quickly become THE place for farmers, ranchers and down-to-earth people who relate to the agricultural lifestyle to meet their match. In the last year, membership went from 2,000 to close to 50,000 members. Of course all dating Web sites have their success stories. However, has some very unique ones … right down to a country music singer in New York who found true love with a Canadian pig farmer …

You know, I think I’ll just stick to buying a box of chocolates for my wife.

Posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2007
Under: Valentine's Day | 2 Comments »

Rodent on the rocks

In case you didn’t notice, last Friday was Groundhog Day and it looks like we can expect an early spring because Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow. Of course, that’s assuming you believe in giant rodents and allow them to guide your life.

Groundhog Day is a curious tradition don’t you think? We let a rodent predict our weather. Actually, it’s probably a lot more accurate than the predictions you find on most newspaper weather pages (or TV news channels!). One morning I looked at weather pages in the Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune and the Sacramento Bee on the same day and all four weather predictions were different.

We don’t do Groundhog Day around my house. I was once tempted to try “Tut & Newman Day,” in honor of my two cats, but they never seem to wake up.

So I have a weather rock. Actually, it’s a lot more practical.

It’s a round smooth stone about the size of your fist with great mystical qualities. I have it hanging from a string right outside my kitchen window. As a weather predictor, my weather rock has never been wrong. And it couldn’t be simpler. I just look out the window and get my daily weather rock forecast before heading into work.

** If my rock is all wet, I’ll take my raincoat.

** If it’s white, my snowshoes are in the closet.

** If it’s covered with ice, I’ll be prepared for slick driving conditions on the way to work.

** If the rock is swinging back and forth, it will be a windy day. (If it’s blowing straight out at a 90 degree angle, I’ll go back to bed and get under the covers.)

** If I can’t see my rock, that’s just the morning fog.

** And if the sun is being reflected off the shiny surface of my pet weather rock and hurting my eyes, I’ll expect fair weather for sure.

Sad news from Florida
Remember that great 1996 film, “Fly Away Home,” about a girl and her father who used an ultralight aircraft to lead a flock of orphan young geese from Canada to a wildlife refuge in the U.S.? The technique proved to be so successful it has since been used to teach hand-raised endangered young whooping cranes the migration route to Florida so they could learn to migrate north and south on their own.

Just imagine a whole flock of young endangered whooping cranes gliding along beside their “mama” — a smiling man flying a low-speed ultralight airplane — all the way from a wildlife refuge in Wisconsin to a refuge in Florida.

Unfortunately, here’s something else for you to imagine:

Last Thursday night, all 18 young whooping cranes that were led south from Wisconsin last fall … were killed in those Florida storms (thunderstorms and a tornado) that also killed 19 people.

What a tragic loss: 19 endangered humans and 18 endangered cranes. Sad.

Posted on Monday, February 5th, 2007
Under: Groundhog Day | 4 Comments »

Judge won’t stop wolf-killing

The state of Alaska just doesn’t get it. Blasting wolves from airplanes isn’t a management program. It’s a greedy slaughter.

See the news story below by Associated Press writer Mary Pemberton from today’s AP wires:

“ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A judge denied a request Wednesday to put an immediate stop to an Alaska program that allows wolves to be shot from the air.

“The request was made as part of a lawsuit filed by Defenders of Wildlife, The Alaska Wildlife Alliance and the Alaska chapter of the Sierra Club to stop the program operating in five areas of the state.

“‘We are disappointed that Alaska’s ill-advised aerial gunning program will continue before a complete examination of all the facts can take place,’ Karla Dutton, director of the Alaska office of Defenders of Wildlife, a national group with more than 800,000 members, said in a statement.

“The program, which has been the target of lawsuits since it began in 2003, is intended to boost moose and caribou numbers where residents have complained that predators are killing too many, leaving them too few to hunt for food.

“Under the program, now in its fourth year, 580 wolves have been killed. The goal is to reduce wolf populations in each of the specified areas by as much as 80 percent annually. … “

As I suggested on Jan. 12 when I was discussing why the Gov. of Idaho wants to kill wolves in his state … the wolves are competing with Idaho’s multimillion-dollar hunting industry.

Alaska’s ulterior motives appear to be the same. They don’t want natural predators competing with paying hunters who travel to Alaska and feed dollars into the state’s hunting industry coffers.

The wolves don’t buy hunting licenses and contribute to the state’s economy. Human hunters do.

More on the Internet:

Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2007
Under: Wolves | 2 Comments »