Treats on the Internets

War is hell.  For dogs too.

Updates from a coalition of no kill groups working to help pets affected by the disasters in Japan.  (via Clarice)

Major political upheaval in Miami-Dade County and animal advocates want the shelter director out (article and petition at link, via Stephanie)

KC Dog Blog has a post (with video) on how to write up good shelter/rescue pet profiles

Article in American Dog Magazine:  The No Kill Movement – Full Steam Ahead

A meter reader in LA “panicked” when he thought a Yorkie might bite him and kicked the dog, causing the dog’s eye to fall out.  The meter reader has since been fired.  (Thanks Clarice for the links.)

In SC, a deputy and his wife in Georgetown Co have been charged with animal cruelty after authorities found 3 decomposing dog carcasses in outdoor kennels at their home and a mama dog with 9 pups on the porch.

Iowa is considering a bill that would make it unlawful for someone to seek agricultural employment for the purpose of creating undercover video footage.

15 thoughts on “Treats on the Internets

  1. Correction. The Iowa bill violates First Amendment rights of whistleblowers who may feel video is the only method necessary to expose their employers and avoid retribution. It also violates the rights of undercover journalists who may be helping whistleblowers expose alleged violations of state or federal laws. And yes, it would make it a FELONY. That’s total crap. Farmed animals are already treated horribly and left virtually unprotected by state authorities…to take away a viable tool for whistleblowers, undercover journalists and undercover investigators is detrimental to the little protection farmed animals barely receive.

    1. The bill calls for the first conviction to be an “aggravated misdemeanor” and subsequent convictions moved up to felony status. Should it pass, I’m sure the 1st Amendment will be used in the defense of anyone prosecuted under the law.

      1. You are right.

        Wonder how we would have gotten the downer law passed? Wonder how we would have recalled all that tainted beef back in 2008? Thanks to undercover footage, we learned the flesh of downed cows was being fed to our school children. Thanks to undercover footage, we saw clear violations of animal welfare policies in the way downed cows were handled.

        Wonder how Bushway Packing Plant initially got shut down? The one in which “bob veal” calves were skinned alive and stunned improperly? It wasn’t because of the USDA vet who acted as a whistleblower and faced severe retribution, it was the video.

        Taking away such an important need to document what goes on to “produce” the animals people eat should itself be a felony. Instead, documenting what goes on behind producers’ doors, exposing to people who eat meat, milk and eggs how those animals are handled and possible welfare violations is treated as a violation of the law. These animals deserve basic protection and it’s a pity not everyone agrees.

    1. I interpreted it targeting those who specifically get a job at a farming related facility just to get the undercover video. To me, that’s different than the typical whistleblower who usually works at a job in order to earn a living, sees wrongdoing, tries to go through proper channels and the company’s chain of command to get it resolved, is unsuccessful and resorts to undercover video as a means to address the situation. At least, that’s what I would argue in court if I was the defense attorney for someone in that situation being prosecuted under this law. ; )

      1. The bill creates a crime of animal facility interference for *anyone* recording events at an “animal facility” without the permission of the owner. (717A.2A)

        There’s a separate crime specified in 717A.2B, animal facility fraud, that targets someone who infiltrates an operation with the intent of performing any act not authorized by the owner.

      2. If the company is doing something illegal and cruel, who cares who blows the whistle. If what they are doing is legal and appropriate, then perhaps they have nothing to fear? I recognize that some of the things caught in said video footage that are horrifying are legal, of course, and that there’s a fear that releasing tapes will harm public perception, but I have to say I care more about the farmed animals. I doubt many people would agree with similar laws for people who go undercover to expose systematic abuses of human animals.

        People will still seek employment to do undercover videos. They will do it knowing the consequences and still be willing.

      3. My ONLY issue with this is when a big animal rights group gets one of their own to get a job to get footage of alleged abuses and then doctors the tape before release to show only what they want you to see. To me that is completely different than having an employee who sees abuse and reports it only to get fired. So I’m kinda on the fence with this one. If it is protecting employees that are really there to earn a paycheck to support themselves and/or their family then I think it completely different from someone getting a job with a company just so they can gather footage, then cut & chop it and release it for monetary gain in donations, as well as to further an agenda to close down facilities that produce our food supply.

  2. Be aware that puppy mills and dog auctions are classified as “animal facilities” under Sec. 717A, and would be protected from surveillance under this bill.

    Even the vehicles used to transport dogs are covered, so someone who takes a picture of a dog locked in a truck on a hot summer day would be guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor. A second offense is a class “D” felony.

    In either case, the whistleblower would be required to compensate the victim for court costs and damages under Chapter 910.

  3. I was “reading” some news reports online today and wanted to share this with everyone. It is the story of Wall-E, which most of you know as the pup that was put down (TWICE – once in the leg and once in the HEART AND still he lives….)

    They have had over 3,000 people step up and offer to adopt him. I know we’ve talked a lot about how we can take those people and find another animal that needs a home and try to find homes for them!!! I loved reading the story and just wanted to share it…here’s the link –

  4. War is hell for cats, too. This is from the book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran:

    The other humans did notice the cats—and kittens—scampering in the garden and the trailer parks. Staffers named them and played with them during breaks. They even stole cartons of milk and cheese from the dining hall for their newfound companions.

    When Halliburton managers discovered the pets in their midst, they asked the marines guarding the place to shoot the cats on sight lest they spread disease.

    [A biologist onsite] deemed it bad science. “The danger of disease was probably infinitesimally small,” he said. “This wasn’t done with any thought to the psychological value that these cats provided.”

    When their execution orders were announced… staffers saved their favorites, hiding them in trailers, in bathrooms, in the pool house. David Gompert, Bremer’s security advisor, kept a cat he named Mickey in his palace office. Mickey was watched over by Gompert’s security detail, be he still managed to chew through several sensitive documents.

    The Halliburton cat killers finally got wise to the asylum strategy and deployed Filipino contract workers on a hunt-and-kill mission. They opened every trainer while the occupants were at work and rounded up every cat they found.

    One night in June, a woman stood wailing outside her trailer. She was due to ship out in two days and had taken her cat to a veterinarian for the necessary shots for entrance to America. When she returned to her room, she found a note from the death squad informing her that her cat had been seized because it was against the rules to house animals in the trailers.

    “They killed my pet,” she sobbed. “I hate them.”

  5. Florida has a similar bill. I doubt that either will pass and I’m not sure that in their present form that I want them to. Although I do like the premise. Here’s why. I think that true whistleblowers are important to our society. When I think of the term whistleblower I think of Daniel Ellsberg who gave us the real story of what was going on Vietnam, Karen Silkwood, need I explain her?, and Sherron Watkins who helped expose Enron.
    I don’t consider what has happened recently in the farm industry as a whistleblower. When you hold onto a film (HSUS held on to the downer cow film for six months — long enough for the meat to get into the school system), add music to it, voice overs and maybe egg stupid people with a cruel streak on then you aren’t whistleblowing and you aren’t helping those particular animals. I don’t think it’s right to do that and I hope those type of situations can be stopped.

  6. I am a little uncomfortable with people who seek employment on false pretenses. If you are already an employee, and you witness illegal or improper acts, then by all means, whistleblowing should be protected. But as we have seen, not all of these outside organizations which coordinate these “sting” operations are particularly honest or trustworthy. Or have hands that are terribly clean.

    Now a law I think is unconstitutional yet is being passed all over the country is one making it a crime to videotape a police officer. THAT’s aimed directly at real whistleblowers yet getting little or no attention.

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