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Archive for the 'Animal welfare' Category

Losing your house? Don’t lose your pets!

On Dec. 22, Times staff writer John Simerman wrote a story about pets becoming a casualty of the foreclosure epidemic. People who have to move out sometimes don’t or can’t take their animals with them.

Real estate agents who specialize in foreclosed properties now sometimes find themselves also rescuing pets that have been left behind.

Tony La Russa, co-founder of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), shocked after reading the above story, immediately made the following two Public Service Announcements (PSA) and sent them out to Bay Area radio and TV stations. If you know pet owners in the process of losing their home who could use a little help from their friends with their pets … please have them contact ARF for some assistance. Thanks.

Recently California had more than 39,000 foreclosure filings.
Increasingly, pet owners who lose their homes are abandoning their pets, often with tragic results.
If you face losing your home and pet, or would like to get involved helping others, please contact ARF at 925-256-1ARF (925-256-1273) or visit
If you lose your home, please don’t abandon your pets, please contact ARF.

Household foreclosures are at epidemic levels. Too often homeowners with a pet family member are facing the loss of their homes and pets.
Please don’t abandon your pets. If you need help or to be a part of the solution, contact ARF at 925-256-1ARF (925-256-1273) or

Thanks for caring. /gary

Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007
Under: Animal welfare, ARF | No Comments »

Happy Birthday, American Humane

The American Humane Association is celebrating its 130th anniversary on Oct. 9. This organization has done much in its 130 years for animal and child welfare.

In 1874, a handful of animal welfare enthusiasts in New York City joined together to come to the aid of Mary Ellen Wilson, a 10 year old girl who was being abused, beaten and neglected. The horrors they discovered prompted them to form the first Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. But their history as animal advocates also made them realize something bigger: Cruelty is cruelty and humanity is about a lot more than just humans.

Three years later, this bit of wisdom produced the American Humane Association, an amalgamation of child and animal welfare organizations that banded together to become the voice for the voiceless.

Some AHA successes include:
** Improved care for animals in entertainment via the creation and continuing oversight of the “No Animals Were Harmed” end credit at the end of movies and television shows. This credit, which has become a must for movies and television programs, is an American Humane program.

** The development of Red Star Animal Emergency Services, a program where American Humane volunteers march headfirst into disaster sites to rescue abandoned pets and other animals. During Hurricane Katrina, American Humane and partners helped recover 10,000 animals.

** Founding the National Resource Center on The Link Between Violence to People and Animals, a one-of-a-kind information center that provides resources, training and technical assistance to organizations and community agencies searching for methods to prevent violence.

** Creating Free Farmed, one of the nation’s largest certification programs to guarantee the humane treatment of livestock animals.

You can learn more about this organization at: Click on the 130th anniversary link.

Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2007
Under: Animal welfare | No Comments »


It’s all a matter of perspective
When I got to work on Monday, I found two startlingly different views of a ruling by the federal district court on an old lawsuit brought by various animal welfare groups against the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Baily Circus for elephant abuse.

One view came in a press release from the animal welfare groups that had filed the elephant abuse case seven years ago against the circus. The other view was in a story on the PRNewswire, an electronic press release, from Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus.

After reading both versions of the ruling, I wondered if they were talking about the same lawsuit. It shows you what can happen if two different groups go through an event and highlight ONLY those things that makes their side look good.

Go ahead … pick a side … any side.

“Ringling Brothers Will Stand Trial for Elephant Abuse”
WASHINGTON (Aug. 23, 2007) — Today, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the federal district court in Washington D.C. issued a major ruling rejecting the last-ditch attempt of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to avoid trial over charges that the circus abuses its Asian elephants in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.

The groundbreaking lawsuit, brought by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal Protection Institute, the Animal Welfare Institute, The Fund for Animals, and Tom Rider, a former employee of Ringling Bros., alleges that the circus violates the Endangered Species Act by abusively training and disciplining elephants with sharp implements such as bullhooks, by intensively confining and chaining the multi-ton animals for prolonged periods, and by forcibly separating baby elephants from their mothers.

“The ASPCA is delighted with today’s ruling, which paves the way for the real case at hand: whether Ringling Brothers violated the Endangered Species Act in its treatment of the elephants,” stated ASPCA Senior Vice President Lisa Weisberg.

In its ruling, the Court scolded the circus for “wast(ing) a considerable amount of time and resources” of the Court and the groups by engaging in “dilatory” delay tactics over several years. The Court had previously ruled and today reiterated that the circus had repeatedly withheld critical evidence, in violation of a Court order.

“After five years of legal wrangling, we look forward to unveiling the curtain at trial to expose the suffering and death of elephants at the hands of the so-called ‘Greatest Show on Earth,’” said Tracy Silverman, General Counsel for the Animal Welfare Institute. “These magnificent animals will finally have their day in Court.”

In today’s ruling, the Court also recognized the important “public policy in favor of protecting the animals from unlawful harassment or harm.” The Court further admonished that “promoting the public interest in the preservation of such species will remain an ever-present threat to those seeking to unlawfully harm such species.”

“Today’s strongly worded decision shows that the Court has run out of patience for Ringling Brothers’ stalling ploys,” said Michael Markarian, president of The Fund for Animals. “This trial will come not a moment too soon, as Ringling’s elephants continue to suffer every day from abusive discipline and prolonged chaining.”

The Court also rejected Ringling’s attempt to interject baseless counterclaims against the plaintiffs, and to harass the plaintiffs with discovery on irrelevant issues. The Court ordered all further discovery to be completed by the end of the year, and a trial date is expected soon.

More information at: … …

“US District Court Dramatically Narrows Issues in Seven-Year-Old Lawsuit”
VIENNA, Va. (Aug. 24, 2007) — This week the US District Court in Washington, DC granted partial summary judgment to Feld Entertainment, parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, in a meritless lawsuit filed years ago by various animal rights groups. The Court’s ruling dramatically narrowed the scope of the lawsuit by finding that none of Fend Entertainment’s Asian elephants born in the United States are subject to the plaintiffs’ claims in this case. The ruling validates the arguments that Feld Entertainment has consistently made about its conservation program and dramatically reduced the plaintiffs’ case.

“We are pleased that the Court ruled many of the Asian elephants in our care are not covered by the plaintiffs’ unfounded claims,” stated Feld Entertainment General Counsel Jerry Sowalsky. “We are proud of our efforts to preserve the endangered Asian elephant and look forward to proving our animal care practices are the best in the world.”

The Court also sided with Fend Entertainment on its claims that plaintiffs unjustifiably withheld important documents and information about this case and granted Fend Entertainment access to the majority of items that plaintiffs had withheld. The Court also agreed with Feld Entertainment’s “valid concerns” about security and animal safety for the elephant inspection that the plaintiffs sought, finding that parameters needed to be set prior to any inspection.

Finally, the Court ruled on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and Conspiracy Counterclaim sought by Feld Entertainment against the plaintiffs. The Court said that given the issues in this case “had been narrowed” and that the case is “winding down,” filing the counterclaim at this time would unduly complicate this seven-year-old case by injecting into it a claim involving an “elaborate corruption scheme” on the part of the plaintiffs. The Court did not comment on the merits of the claim and denied the plaintiffs’ assertion that the RICO and conspiracy allegations were frivolous. Fend Entertainment will pursue its RICO and conspiracy case against the animal rights groups in a separate lawsuit.

More information: …

Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
Under: Animal welfare | 1 Comment »

“Leading opponent of animal welfare” in Congress

I normally don’t let myself get dragged into political debates, but with voting day coming up in a couple of weeks, there is one U.S. Representative who really scares the heck out of me.

According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Richard Pombo is the "leading opponent of animal welfare" in Congress.

The Fund reports that Pombo has consistently voted to protect dogfighters and cockfighters, to advocate the slaughter of horses (the meat is exported to Europe for restaurants), to allow trophy hunters to kill wildlife on public lands, and is the only member of Congress who has advocated for the resumption of commercial whaling by Japan and Norway.

"Representative Pombo couldn’t have a more terrible record on animal protection issues," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. " … Voters in the 11th District who care about animal welfare should support Jerry McNerney."

I agree.

There’s lots more at

Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
Under: Animal welfare, Pombo | No Comments »