Sunday, May 6, 2012


Helpful Buckeye received a lot of responses to the first two parts of this series on pet legal issues.  This week's issue will be the last part of that topic.  Feel free to send comments or questions to:

Colorado Animal Abuse Registry Rejected By Lawmakers

Recently, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill that would have required animal abusers over the age of 18 to register to their address, name and photo for police and public records similar to what is required of sex offenders, according to 9News.

7News reports that Linda Hart an opponent of the bill with the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs said, "We don't think it serves any purpose. We also feel this bill would be even more restrictive toward the animal offenders than our child abuse laws or drunk drivers. Those people do not have their faces or their home addresses listed on a website online."

Lawmakers opposed to the bill were concerned the bill might unfairly stereotype animal abuse offenders while supporters argued that animal abusers are often at a higher risk of committing more serious crimes.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the first such registry was created in Suffolk County, N.Y. just two years ago. Similar to websites for convicted sex offenders, the list of animal abusers would be open to the public.

ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells explains:

"Animal abuse is not only a danger to our cats, dogs, horses, and other animals, but also to people ... Many animal abusers have a history of domestic violence or other criminal activity, and there is a disturbing trend of animal abuse among our country's most notorious serial killers."

Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David Berkowtiz ("The Son of Sam"), Albert DeSalvo ("The Boston Strangler") and Dennis Rader (Kansas' "BTK killer") all abused animals before their other crimes, as did many of the teenagers who went on shooting rampages at their high schools: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (Columbine, CO), Luke Woodham (Pearl, MS) and Kip Kinkel (Springfield, OR).

"But it's not just about how animal abusers end up also hurting or killing humans," said Wells. "It should be motivation enough to protect our animals from repeat offenders--and any abuse of any kind."

Colorado's animal abuse registry bill, House Bill 1087, was sponsored by State Rep. Jeanne Labuda, (D-District-1) and would have kept offenders in the database for five years. The Department of Public Safety would have incurred a one-time cost of $160,000 though it was expected to generate less than $5,000 per year.

Other states that have considered an online animal abuse registry include Rhode Island, California, Tennessee, Arizona and Maryland.

In Maryland, the bill under discussion is called "Heidi's Law," after a seven-month-old Golden Retriever puppy who was shot four times while playing on her farm in Frederick County.

"I'm not trying to brand someone for life, just to put the warning flag up and keep pets away from them," said Maryland State Senator Ron Young of Heidi's Law.

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First, a sex offender registry. Next, an animal abuser registry?

Animal abusers, take heed. Efforts to establish online registries for animal abusers, like the ones for sex offenders, are gaining support, with legislation pending or soon-to-be-introduced in at least five states.

Among the efforts is one from Florida state Sen. Mike Fasano, who has proposed Dexter’s law, named after a kitten that was beaten to death in his state. His proposal would require convicted animal abusers to register with authorities. Their names, home addresses and photographs would be posted online, and they would be required to pay $50 a year to maintain the registry.

Registries also have been proposed in Maryland, Colorado, Arizona and New York. Stephan K. Otto, director of legislative affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, expects similar proposals in more states.

Suffolk County on Long Island in 2010 moved to create a registry, and has since been followed by two other New York counties. No names appear on the Suffolk County registry yet, because it was only recently set up. Convicted abusers will appear on the registry for five years. Those failing to register are subject to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

The New York counties also require pet stores and animal shelters to check the names of anyone seeking to adopt or buy an animal against the registry, Otto said.

Maryland State Sen. Ronald Young said he plans to introduce legislation in the wake of two incidents in his state. In one, a Yorkshire terrier was thrown off a 23-foot-high balcony; the dog, Louie, survived. In the other, a golden retriever puppy named Heidi was shot to death.

"Just too many people are mistreating and killing animals,’’ Young said in an interview.

A bill to create such a registry in California, introduced in 2010, didn’t make it through the Legislature, partly because of concerns about its cost.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund says the registries can reduce the number of abused animals and serve as an early warning system for potentially violent criminals, citing cases of serial killers who had tortured animals as children. Otto said they also can save taxpayers money by reducing the cost for caring for and treating abused animals.

Among the issues that need to be addressed is who should be required to register? Should it include "someone who took their golden retriever out one day, went into a 7-Eleven, but it was too hot outside, and the dog died," asked Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles.

Otto said that some states have looked to limit the registry to felons.

Liberty Watch Colorado, in its blog, called the legislation "an unnecessary expansion of government.''

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VA Dog Fighter, NYC Cat Owner Face Consequences of Animal Cruelty

The ASPCA is celebrating two more courtroom victories in our fight against cruelty.

Last April, the ASPCA participated in a raid of a property in Halifax, Virginia. The dogs, many of them used for fighting, were chained up and neglected. This month, their abuser finally faced the consequences for his actions.

On January 19, Jonathan Kennard Williams, 27, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for charges related to dog fighting, weapons possession and drugs. Williams pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell dogs with the intent for fighting, as well as several counts of distributing drugs and weapons possession. He was also sentenced to six years’ probation after his release from prison.

“Thanks to the diligence of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the local agencies, Williams was held accountable for exploiting these innocent animals,” says ASPCA Animal Fighting Specialist Terry Mills.

The Halifax dog fighting case wasn’t the only one to come to a close this month. In August 2010, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents discovered a seven-year-old cat living in the basement of a store in Ozone Park, Queens. He was starved, dehydrated, infested with fleas and close to death. Agents rushed him to ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital.

After three months of intensive care, Leo made a full recovery. He’s now living it up with a family from New Jersey—and his former owner now has a criminal record.

On January 18, Queens resident Davanand Raghunath, 28, was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty and sentenced to three years’ probation. Raghunath was also barred from owning an animal for three years.

“We can only hope this experience was sufficiently sobering for Mr. Raghunath,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department.

Want to see more victories like these? The ASPCA is committed to helping bring animal abusers to justice all over the country, but we can’t do it without you. If you suspect cruelty in your area, visit our Report Animal Cruelty section to learn more and find out how you can help.

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Petco Sued For Allegedly Cutting Dog's Ear Off And Gluing It Back On

Just a trim, thanks.

Two Hawaii animal owners are suing a local Petco location, claiming that groomers at the pet shop mutilated their dogs and, in one case, tried to cover up the hack job using glue, HawaiiNewsNow reports.

Last July, Gladys Kapuwai took her Pomeranian-Maltese mix to the Kaneohe Petco for routine grooming, but when the grandmother retrieved "Dodo," she noticed that the puppy was missing a piece of her ear.

"[She] was dried, bloody, was dry blood, everything," Kapuwai told the website. "I noticed that at home, so when I took her to the vet, the doctor had told me it looked like they tried to glue it back."

In another case, Estelle Green, the wife of attorney Michael Green, who is prosecuting both cases, picked up her dog to find that the pup's nails were cut too short and bleeding, according to the Star Advertiser.

"The dog was filthy and the tip of the dog's tail was cut off," Michael Green added.

"My dog, they offered another free grooming," Green also told HawaiiNewsNow. "I guess they wanted to take off other body parts."

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Lost canine returned for ransom

Bill Garland and Vickie Glowczynski of Shorewood lost their English bulldog, Ernie, on Jan. 28. He was returned Saturday.

It’s safe to say it was the longest week of their lives.

“My girlfriend, Vickie Glowczynski, was home alone with our two dogs, Ernie the bulldog and Blue, a pit bull,” Garland said. “At around 2 p.m., she heard both dogs barking and scratching at the all-glass storm door. She quickly noticed that the door was not closed all the way and started to restrain Blue because he is much more likely to run out and would run much faster than Ernie.”

Unfortunately, Ernie’s sharp nose picked up the aroma of a delectable critter — probably a trouble-making rabbit or squirrel. Before Glowczynski knew it, Ernie managed to nose his way out the door.

Despite widespread searches, phone calls to animal control offices and shelters, there was no sign of Ernie. It was as if he disappeared off the face of the earth.

Cloak and dagger return....

The couple contracted a service that contacted more than 500 homes to be on the lookout for Ernie, and dedicated a Facebook page to finding their dog:

Ernie rivals Justin Bieber in the number of Facebook fans he has earned. Well-wishers from all over the globe responded, providing hope, prayers and reward money to assure Ernie’s safe return.

On Saturday, Garland got a mysterious call. The male caller told Garland he had Ernie and demanded a $2,000 reward for the dog’s safe return.

Like something out of a 1940s Sam Spade flick, the caller told Garland to meet him at the Plainfield Menards with the cash. In turn, Garland asked for a photo of the dog to make sure it was Ernie. While he waited, the couple drummed up the cash from donations through Facebook and a relative.

In the Menards parking lot, the exchange was made — cash for the dog.

Though the experience of paying virtual ransom for the return of their pet no doubt left Garland and Glowczynski befuddled, they’re happy to have Ernie home.

And despite learning that some folks will exploit people in pain, they have found a couple of thousand wonderful new Facebook friends who provided hope and donations to assure that Ernie was reunited with his family.

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Veterinarians see more dogs snarfing humans’ medical pot

Consuming the drug can be harmful but rarely fatal

Some veterinarians in Durango have seen a spike in the number of dogs poisoned by marijuana since the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries made the drug more accessible.

“We used to see maybe one case a year,” said Stacee Santi, a veterinarian at Riverview Animal Hospital. “Now we’re seeing a couple a month.”

Dogs can be exposed to marijuana through smoke or eating cannabis-laced foodstuffs.

Recently, a large-breed dog was brought to the hospital stumbling, dribbling urine and exhibiting the classic symptoms of dilated eyes and slow heart beat, Santi said.

“We induced vomiting, and up came a 3-by-3-foot piece of cheesecloth,” Santi said. “The cheesecloth could have been used to strain marijuana butter.”

The butter, once infused with cannabis, can be used to make baked goods such as brownies.

Jennifer Schoedler, a veterinarian at Alpine Animal Hospital, has seen incidents of dogs getting into marijuana since she came to Durango in 1998.

“Dogs love the stuff,” Schoedler said. “I’ve seen them eat the buds, plants, joints and marijuana in food.”

Just as the caffeine and theobromine in chocolate are safe to humans but poisonous to dogs, so is marijuana, Schoedler said. The darker the chocolate, the more pronounced the toxicity can be.

The level of intoxication varies according to the size of the dog and concentration of marijuana, she said. It almost always requires a stay in the hospital, she said.

Eric Barchas, a veterinarian in San Francisco, says on his website that he treats “stoned dogs” on a regular basis.

“Serious, long-term health consequences and fatality from marijuana intoxication are essentially unheard of,” Barchas writes on his site. “However, pets that are exposed to marijuana may display anxiety and are prone to ‘bad trips.’ They may lack the coordination to consume food and water.”

Makenzie Rennick at Durango Animal Hospital said the clinic hasn’t seen any marijuana-ingesting dogs recently but had four or five during the summer.

“We don’t know where they got the marijuana,” Rennick said. “It could have been where they live or someplace else in the neighborhood.”

Other prescription and over-the-counter medications also are a threat to pets. The American Veterinary Medicine Association and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have joined forces to prevent pets from ingesting household medicines and to keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines out of waterways,

The effort aims to educate people about proper storage and disposal of medicines. The animal poison control center of the Association for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals reports that medicine for humans was the leading cause of toxicity in pets in 2010.

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The LA Dodgers lost 2 of 3 games twice this week on the away 3 of those 4 losses in the bottom of the 9th inning.  We need to consider using another relief pitcher as our closer.  The good news is that we still are well ahead in our division.

The San Antonio Spurs have played well in the first round of the NBA playoffs and will face their next opponent this week.

"Near the sea, we forget to count the days."  Anonymous

Knowing the ocean is still there and the tides are in synch is always reassuring.... 
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

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