Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for July, 2007


******Gary’s on vacation. This blog will resume Aug. 14 when he returns******

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York has put together a dog fighting FAQ and Glossary for people who want to know who’s involved in dog fights, what happens at the fights, how the dogs are treated and trained, and what YOU can do about it.

I received a press release this morning from the ASPCA explaining that their experts have prepared an illustrated FAQ and glossary for anyone who wants to learn more about this diabolical activity. Just visit the ASPCA’s Anti-cruelty Resource Center at:


Lead bullets in carcass poison released condors
Another press release this morning from Jeff Miller, conservation advocate from the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco refers us to a story in the Monterey Herald:

As I said here on Thursday (Aug. 26), Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced AB 821, which would ban the use of lead shot for hunting big game and coyotes in condor habitat. The bill has passed the Assembly, and is now on the Senate floor. It deserves broad public support. All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. PLEASE WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS AND ASK THEM TO SUPPORT AB 821.

Listening to KCBS radio while driving home from work yesterday afternoon (July 26), I heard a report that a 5-month-old coyote cub was found dead in the street in San Francisco near the spot where two other adult coyotes, a male and a female, were shot on Sunday, Aug. 15, by Fish and Game. The coyotes had reportedly attacked two leashed, large Rhodesian ridgeback dogs in Golden Gate Park on Saturday.

The body of the young coyote was bleeding from the mouth and appeared to have been hit by a car.

Maybe those coyotes DID have a reason for chasing those dogs.

Maybe they were protecting their family.

I’m off on vacation for two weeks with my wife Lois to play hide and seek with the grizzly bears and other fascinating wild creatures in Alaska.

*** I’ll be back with further additions to this blog when I return on August 14. See you then! /Gary

Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »


Condors are dying from lead poisoning … and there aren’t … very … many … left.
Thought this letter might interest you (see below). Please do as Eric says and write your legislators and ask them to support AB 821. This is a VERY important bill. Thanks!

From Eric Mills, Action for Animals:
Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced AB 821, which would ban the use of lead shot for hunting big game and coyotes in condor habitat. The bill has passed the Assembly, and is now on the Senate floor. It deserves broad public support.

It is enlightening to consider the dozen organizations which have submitted letters of opposition to this commonsense legislation:
California Association of Firearms Retailers, California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, California Rifle & Pistol Association, California Sportsman’s Lobby, Crossroads of the West Gun Shows, Dept. of Fish & Game, Gun Owners of California, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Outdoor Sportsmen’s Coalition of California, Safari Club International, Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute.

So much for “hunter ethics.” All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Sincerely, Eric Mills, coordinator ACTION FOR ANIMALS, P.O. Box 20184, Oakland, CA 94620 — 510-652-5603

As I said above, please write your legislators and ask them to save the lives of the VERY FEW remaining California condors and SUPPORT AB 821.
Thanks! /Gary

(PS: Don’t you just LOVE that list of organizations OPPOSING this bill?? Curious)

More on lead exposure and condors:

Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Under: Animal protection legislation | No Comments »


“Animals in the Courts” is the Animal Protection Litigation On-line Newsletter from the Humane Society of the United States
I receive it regularly and it keeps me up-to-date on the interesting and critical court battles that are taking place to protect animals. I thought it might interest you.

Here’s some of what came in the July 23, 2007 issue.

Animals in the Courts — Animal Protection Litigation On-line Newsletter — July 23, 2007
The Humane Society of the United States

Lawsuit Forces New Rules to Protect Endangered Whales
On July 10th, we won a settlement in our case concerning the entanglement of endangered whales in commercial fishing gear. Under the settlement agreement, the government will issue much-needed, and long overdue, protective regulations by October 1, 2007. Read more about the case and HSUS’s work to protect endangered whales. Read More:

Puppy Dealer Wizard of Claws Hit with Class Action Lawsuit
On June 18th, we filed a class action lawsuit against a South Florida puppy dealer known as “Wizard of Claws.” The suit alleges that Wizard of Claws has defrauded customers by selling puppy mill dogs who suffer from severe health problems and genetic defects. Read more about the case and HSUS’s effort to end puppy mills. Read More:

Humane Society Adds Felony Violations to Lawsuit against
On June 6th, we expanded our lawsuit against concerning the on-line retailer’s sale of two cockfighting magazines — The Feathered Warrior and The Gamecock — to include violations of the new Federal Felony Animal Fighting Law. Read more about our suit against and HSUS’s work to combat animal fighting. Read More:

To find out more about HSUS’s Animal Protection Litigation Program and to get involved if you feel so inclined (which you should!) — Read More:

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Under: The HSUS | No Comments »


All states in the U.S. have banned cockfighting. However, cockfighting is still legal in Puerto Rico, and a company wants to transmit videos of this fighting to its Web site and then charge people in the U.S. to view them.

Animal rights groups including the Humane Society of the United States claim that cockfighting is illegal animal cruelty and the Web site should also be illegal.

The company that wants to transmit the cockfighting videos says it’s a free speech issue (First Amendment rights) and they should be allowed to do it. They claim it’s a cultural tradition.

Basically, the company is saying while live cockfighting in the U.S. is illegal … depictions of cockfighting should be OK. They say it’s like watching bullfights, hunting, or fishing on TV.

If actual cockfighting, where fighting roosters slash each other to death is illegal in this country … should it still be OK for you to pay to watch Internet videos of the illegal events? Is there really a difference?

What do you think?

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2007
Under: Cockfighting | 1 Comment »


How did your pets react to the earthquake? I’m doing a column on pets and earthquakes. Use “Post a comment” below, or click on “Comments,” or e-mail Please include your city. Thanks/Gary

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2007
Under: Pets & Quakes | 10 Comments »


I’m doing research on local dogfighting for some columns I’m writing.
If you are familiar with any dogfighting that’s taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d appreciate you passing along details about who’s doing it, what the situation is, when it’s happening and where it’s happening.

You can e-mail me at or leave the info by scrolling down to “Post a comment” below … or by clicking on “Comments” at the end of this entry.

I’ll keep your name confidential. You have my word as a reporter. This is just between you and me.

Any dogfighters out there who will let me interview them? No names. No photos. Just information from the people who really know about dogfighting, to help me educate my readers about it. Thanks. /Gary

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2007
Under: Dogfighting | 2 Comments »


The second alligator in a month has been caught in the Delta
A 3-foot alligator was captured On Jersey Island Road near Dutch Slough (near Oakley) last Sunday, July 15. It was wandering through a resident’s front yard.

On June 15, a 4-foot alligator was caught near Sherman Island, (between Antioch and Rio Vista).

Probably illegal pets that got too big and nasty and were dumped by their human owners into Delta waters to try and make it on their own. I suspect they wouldn’t have made it, of course, because our winter water is too cold for these semi-tropical reptiles.

I suppose we could always blame it on Global Warming. That would definitely put some teeth in the argument.

Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2007
Under: Alligators | 1 Comment »


Why does shooting always seem to be the first (and last) response by government agencies to wildlife encounters?
Bay City News Service (BCN) reports that “two city-dwelling coyotes were shot and killed late Sunday night, following a Saturday morning attack on two leashed, large Rhodesian ridgeback dogs in Golden Gate Park.”

NOTE: Rhodesian ridgebacks weigh 70-85 pounds (“The New Encyclopedia of the Dog”). Coyotes typically weigh 18-44 pounds (“Mammals of California”).

Basically, the coyotes bit one of the dogs, causing “minor injuries.”

Officials said this “marks the first encounter in San Francisco with aggressive coyotes in recent history.”

It will also be the last encounter of any kind that anyone will have with coyotes in San Francisco if the state Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife executioners have anything to say about it.

It would be a shame if this one negative encounter resulted in the deaths of all future coyote visitors to this beautiful Baghdad by the Bay.

Although the coyote “threat” in Golden Gate Park has calmed down since the executions (gee, I wonder why), BCN has a revealing quote from Rose Marie Dennis, director of public affairs for the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department:

“It is not a foregone conclusion either way that there aren’t going to be additional concerns of additional animals.”

Possible translation of quote from bureaucratese to English:

“We’re going to kill any additional coyotes with an additional BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! when we find them.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
Under: coyotes | 4 Comments »


Status of some of the California animal bills in Sacramento as of July 16
To express support or opposition for a particular bill, please write or call the bill’s author, committee chair and members of the committee where the bill will be heard (see committee list below), your own Assembly member and Senator, and the Governor.

The address for all Legislators and the Governor: (Name), State Capitol Bldg., Sacramento, CA 95814.

Phone Directory: 916-322-9900. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: 916-445-2841.

Assembly Appropriations Committee: Mark Leno, Chair. Mimi Walters, Anna Caballero, Mike Davis, Mark DeSaulnier, Bill Emmerson, Jared Huffman, Betty Karnette, Paul Krekorian, Doug La Malfa, Ted Lieu, Fiona Ma, Alan Nakanishi, Pedro Nava, Sharon Runner, Jose Solorio.

Senate Appropriations Committee: Tom Torlakson, Chair. Dave Cox, Sam Aanestad, Roy Ashburn, Jim Battin, Gil Cedillo, Ellen Corbett, Bob Dutton, Dean Florez, Sheila Kuehl, Jenny Oropeza, Mark Ridley-Thomas, George Runner, Joe Simitian, Darrell Steinberg, Mark Wyland, Leland Yee.


*** AB 449 by Assemblywoman Audra Strickland re: Trapping. Support.
Requires trappers who trap animals for a fee (such as raccoons, opossums, coyotes, etc.) to follow American Veterinary Medical Assn. guidelines if animals are killed. Clients must be informed of options, including releasing the animals on the property.
Next Hearing: Senate Appropriations. No date. Tell the legislators trapped animals should be released and if it isn’t possible they should be killed humanely. The list of animals covered should be expanded to include bats and other animals already included in the training and testing for Fish and Game trapping licenses. See AB 1477.

*** AB 821 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava re: Hunting with Lead Shot. Support.
Enacts the Condor Preservation Act to prohibit lead shot within condor habitat.
Next Hearing: Senate Appropriations. July 16 (that’s TODAY!). NO TIME FOR MAIL, YOU NEED TO CALL. Tell them condors cannot survive against lead shot. It is banned for waterfowl hunting and should be banned for all hunting.

*** AB 828 by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin re: Wildlife Corridors. Support.
Requires the Wildlife Conservation Board to determine what areas are most essential as wildlife corridors and utilize the California Comprehensive Wildlife Action Plan to protect those corridors.
Next Hearing: Senate Appropriations. No date. Tell the legislators wildlife corridors are essential to allow migrations and prevent isolated populations.

*** AB 1477 by Assemblywoman Nell Soto re: Trapping. Support.
Requires trappers who trap animals for a fee (such as raccoons, opossums, coyotes, etc.) to have continuing education courses, release non-target animals, take injured/sick non target animals to a vet, animal control, or wildlife rehabilitation facility, and inform their clients of non lethal control options.
Next Hearing: Senate Appropriations. No date. Tell them non target animals should be immediately released and trappers should have continuing education. Non lethal methods to avoid wildlife conflicts are best for everybody. See AB 449.

*** AB 1614 by Assemblywoman Audra Stickland re: Rodeos. Support.
Lowers the definition of rodeo from four events to three in order to cover all rodeos under existing law requiring a veterinarian, or a vet on call, to treat injuries to animals and report those injuries to the Veterinary Medical Board. AB 1614 also requires a conveyance for injured animals so they are not dragged and bans electric prods.
Next Hearing: Senate Floor. No date. All rodeos should be regulated equally and all the animals deserve equal protection and veterinary care.


*** SB 353 by Senator Sheila Kuehl re: Restraint Orders. Support.
Authorizes the court to add animals to restraint orders to protect them from possible harm from domestic abuse.
Next Hearing: Passed Senate and Assembly. Write Governor Schwarzenegger. Tell him animals, like other family members, are victims of revenge and abuse.

*** SB 880 by Senator Ron Calderon re: Kangaroos. Oppose.
Removes the protection, since 1970, of kangaroos by allowing the importation of their skins (used for athletic shoes) and meat (possibly pet and/or livestock food) into California as long as the kill quota is not raised in Australia.
Next Hearing: Assembly Floor. Tell your Assemblymember and Governor Arnold Schwarznegger kangaroos need California’s continued protection from cruel killing and the danger of killing/importing endangered species of kangaroo. Since the killing never meets the quota, hundreds of thousands more kangaroos can be killed for the California market. Sponsored by Adidas, they have spent over $435,000, thus far, to pass SB 880. (Kangaroo skin shoes?)

*** California Budget re: Fish and Game Wardens
Requests $3 million to fund “relocating and expanding the Warden Academy, improving the warden hiring system and pay for overtime.” It will not be spent on hiring additional wardens.
Next Hearing: Tell Governor Schwarzenegger wildlife depend on the enforcement of hunting, trapping, and fishing laws and the protection of endangered wildlife and wildlife in captivity. Fish and Game wardens are underpaid and understaffed.

1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

*** Turtles and Frogs in Live Animal Markets.
In August 2006 the Commission voted to “go to notice” to pass a regulation to prohibit the importation of turtles and frogs. But no action has been taken.
Write: California Fish & Game Commission. Tell them to protect our native wildlife from non-native turtles and frogs who are imported by the hundreds of thousands and commonly released depleting populations of native wildlife such as the Western Pond Turtle and the Red Legged Frog.

Many thanks to Virginia Handley of PawPAC* for compiling this information.
*PawPAC is California’s Political Action Committee for Animals. You can reach PawPAC at 415-646-0622;;

You can obtain official legislative information on ALL bills 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.

NOTE: Your non tax deductible donation to Paw PAC, PO Box 475012, San Francisco, California 94147 helps makes these alerts possible. Thanks for caring.

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2007
Under: Animal protection legislation | No Comments »


Surprise! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to make it easier for states to kill wolves.
Today is Friday the 13th. Apparently it’s a bad luck day for wolves, because isn’t the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) the same organization that operates the Wolf Recovery Program that is releasing those poor wolves back into the states so they can be killed? (An interesting use of U.S. tax dollars, isn’t it — helping to save lives so we can kill them?)

Word is the USFWS is bowing to political pressure by proposing to make it easier for some states to kill wolves to protect other wildlife.

By the way, that’s what predators do, you know. They kill other wildlife. (Yes, Virginia, wolves are predators. Interestingly enough, wolves are also “wildlife.”)

The USFWS says politics has nothing to do with it. (That’s a relief!)

The Associated Press reported that last week the USFWS published notice in the Federal Register saying it plans to let Wyoming, Montana and Idaho kill wolves if they can show they are a “major cause of elk and deer herds failing to meet state or tribal management goals.”

Those management goals have been set, some suspect, to increase the herds to an attractive size that will attract human hunters to come to their states to hunt elk and deer and spend lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of money.

And if that wasn’t enough, AP says the Wyoming attorney general said Monday that the state doesn’t believe the USFWS’s proposed changes go far enough in giving the state the ability to kill wolves that prey on other wildlife.

As I said above, isn’t that what wolves do to survive? Prey on other wildlife? What’s the point of having a wolf recovery program in the first place if you release the wolves back into the ecosystem and then not allow them to be predators and prey on other wildlife?

Are the wolves supposed to graze and eat grass, instead? Won’t this make the local ranchers get all upset and in a tizzy because the wolves are eating grass that was meant for their cattle?

Say … you don’t suppose those states DON’T want a wolf recovery program, do you? Naw, forget I ever said that.

AP says the Wyoming Attorney General also said it would be more efficient to let states kill those wolves when the number of calves in an elk herd in areas populated by wolves fall below critical levels. In other words, kill the wolves for just being there.

By the way, since there will also be human hunters in that area where those elk calves are falling below critical levels … hunters who are hunting those very same elk and deer … wouldn’t it be more efficient to let the states start killing off the hunters, too? (After they spend all their money, of course.)

I’ll bet that would stop the decline of those elk and deer herds in a New York minute.

There’s more about killing wolves and the politics that has nothing to do with it at

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »