Mayhem!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Normally I adore Allstate’s “Mayhem” commercials – my (as of now not-so-) secret crush on Dean Winters* being reason numero uno – but I loathe their latest edition, “Guard Dog.” Seriously, I start shouting at the tv / my husband / the dogs whenever it comes on. And yet, Dean Winters! I am unable to look away.

Guard Dog Mahem, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. If my house were ever burglarized while I was away, I’d want my dogs – all seven of ’em – to run and hide: under the bed, in a closet, behind the couch, whatever, wherever. Make themselves scarce. Disappear without a peep. Stay safe. What I wouldn’t want is for them to be injured or killed while protecting my property.

    Computers and tv sets can be replaced; my family members cannot.

  2. You hook your dog up to instruments of torture (i.e., “shock collars”) and expect him to be loyal, loving, and obedient, to the point of risking his life to “guard” your home? Fuck that noise!
  3. In this scenario, the dog is mayhem? How about the burglars? Feh, such bullshit.

Also, there are what – four thieves? One dog vs. four humans? Doggie Dean Winters would get his ribs broken and his ass handed to him. You bet he’s choosing the bone over a fight.

* Law & Order: SVU! Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles! 30 Rock! (In chronological order, not order of awesomeness!)

Tell them stories! Also: vegan experts needed, VegListings, and shopping vegan on etsy.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Emma loves her Papa

Emma loves her papa!
CC image via flickr user Vegan Flower (Molly!).
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Hey there lovely people! I have a homework assignment for the dog people in the audience. Don’t worry, it’s short and kind of sweet and won’t distract from your holiday festivities. Dr. Frank McMillan at Best Friends Animal Society is studying human-nonhuman bonding and, as part of his background research, is soliciting stories of love and devotion from those who share their lives with dogs. How do you know that your dog friend loves you? The answer can be short or long-form, simple or multifaceted. Just TELL HIM STORIES! (Always quote His Dark Materials. ALWAYS!)

Here’s the call for submissions, which appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Best Friends magazine:

BEST FRIENDS NEEDS YOUR HELP

If you have a dog who expresses love toward you, we would like to hear your story.

In a very special new study, we are looking in-depth at the emotions of bonding and affection – love – shown by dogs toward their human companions. For background research, we would like to collect stories of dogs’ expressions of love. The story could be about a single incident of your dog’s show of love and devotion, or the ways your dog demonstrates love within your overall relationship. It could simply be an answer to the question: How do you know your dog loves you? If you would like to share your story, please email it to Dr. Frank McMillan at dr.frank@bestfriends.org.

You may recall that I’ve written about Dr. McMillan’s research previously in this here space; see, e.g. Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts). (Wow, has it been two years already?) Participating in vegan-friendly research projects such as this is an awesome and fun way to contribute to science. And easy, too!

Dr. McMillan posts notices of current research opportunities in Best Friends magazine, which comes “free” with a $25 donation to Best Friends. (We made a donation in Ozzy’s name for their annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.) In the future, I’ll try to relay new notices as quickly as possible, for those who don’t get the magazine. Forgetting is easy, since a) I tend to let my subscription lapse and b) the notices are somewhat inconspicuous and easy to miss! But I’ll do better, I promise. This stuff is important, yo!

While we’re doing the bulletin board thing, joyful vegan goddess Colleen Patrick-Goudreau recently posted this notice on her FB page:

Call for vegan experts: I’m building a directory of everything from vegan wellness practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncturists, dietitians, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, massage therapists, veterinarians) to vegan cooking class instructor and chefs. Wherever you are, if you are vegan and fall into any of the first categories, please email lisa@compassionatecooks.com so we can include you. If you teach cooking classes or have a catering company or are a personal chef, please email colleendavis@compassionatecooks.com. We need the city and state your in, your name, and your website! PLEASE PASS IT ON!

Also, VegListings is a newish directory for vegetarian and vegan businesses; it might come in handy for shoppers as well as business owners, especially with the holidays fast approaching! In the past I’ve put together social justice-themed buying guides; this year, I briefly considered compiling a list of vegan shops on etsy (love me some etsy!) – and then I stumbled upon the Vegan Etsy Team page, making my idea seem redundant.

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…and I hope you will too!

So go, browse, buy (if you can). If not, maybe you’ll be inspired to give gifts crafted by your own two hands this holiday season. It’s fun!

(Image via Herbivore, by way of Vegan Etsy.)

Update, 4/9/12: Due to a recent negative experience on the site, I’m afraid that I can no longer recommend etsy to my friends, family, and readers (and ESPECIALLY not for expensive and/or custom orders!). While the majority of transactions do go smoothly, don’t expect any help from etsy’s customer service on those rare occasions when you have a problem with a seller. Seriously, they were a nightmare to work with – worse even than the seller who never delivered on my custom order, even after six months of haggling.

That said, I still love and support the many vegan storefronts on etsy, and will continue patronizing those that have a presence elsewhere on the web.

Book Review: The Strain, Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (2009)

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

It’s a Nazi Vampire Plague, y’all!

Set in present-day New York City, The Strain follows Ephraim Goodweather – an epidemiologist with the CDC – as he races to stop the spread of an virus that essentially hijacks its host body, transforming human to vampire. (Nonhuman animals appear not to be affected, though this doesn’t preclude their consumption by vampires. Spoiler warning: the dog gets it!)

Transmitted via the exchange of bodily fluids (usually in the form of a “brutal” feeding frenzy as opposed to a more sophisticated and sexy neck bite), the virus is as old as the seven vampires – the Ancients – who are spread out among the “Old” and “New” Worlds. Kept under wraps by a tenuous truce between the Ancients for centuries, the virus is about to be unleashed upon humanity by a renegade vampire – the Dark One, Master, Sardu, The Thing – with the help of one especially evil, ambitious and self-involved human. (A billionaire, natch.)

Our hero “Eph” is accompanied by fellow CDC scientist Nora Martinez, along with a rag-tag team of unlikely experts, namely: Vasily Fet, an exterminator working for the City of New York and Abraham Setrakian, an elderly pawnshop owner and Holocaust survivor who has spent much of his life in pursuit of the Dark One.

I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, so I won’t go any further into plot details than this. One rave featured on the back cover describes it as “Bram Stoker meets Stephen King meets Michael Crichton”; I don’t know about Crichton, but if you’re a fan of Stephen King and/or modern-day vampire stories, most likely you’ll love The Strain. I’ve seen a number of complaints that the book itself is “strained” – that is, drawn out, tedious and much lengthier than need be. Co-authors Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan do spend quite a bit of time elaborating on the “science” behind the vampire plague, it’s true; the vampire parasite’s history, biology, anatomy and the like are described in almost-loving detail. However, this need not be a negative; if you prefer your science fiction and horror stories served with a whiff of scientific plausibility, you’re apt to appreciate the “medical mystery” aspects of The Strain.

As an aside, I found myself both touched and charmed by Abraham’s backstory (particularly the “bubbeh meiseh” that opens the first book in the trilogy). I also wanted to throttle the Barbour parents with my bare hands. Seriously, folks, you don’t leave your “family members” chained in the shed out back, even if they are “just dogs”; doubly so if you know that one of your neighbors has beaten them in the past. “Love”? More like neglect. Yuck.

See also: Milk addictions, Nazi monstrosities & long-suffering canines: Three things about The Strain. at POP! goes The Vegan.

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

Bittersweet Mother’s Day Kisses & Vegan Birthday Wishes

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

2007-08-30 - Peedee's 5th Birthday - 0033

This Mother’s Day, I think of Kaylee. Kaylee, the dear, sweet, mild-mannered, infinitely lovable old(er) lady we adopted three and a half years ago. Kaylee, my baby girl. One of three. Seven, if you consider those loved and lost.

This morning, as I cuddled Kaylee in bed, silently wishing her a happy Mother’s Day, I thought of her – and her own babies. In her Life Before Us, Kaylee was not spayed. Nor was she fed, housed, vetted, or otherwise cared for. Her body – large, mushy, misshapen – tells the tale of babies birthed, nursed, and…what? Oftentimes – and especially on days like these – I reflect upon this question. Where are Kaylee’s babies now?

2010-03-25 - Kaylee - 0006

What do they look like? Short, stocky, white and mushy like her, or…more like their father, wherever he may be? Do their butts wiggle like hers, in anticipation of a meal, a treat, or even just a bowl to lick? Do they experience the same insatiable hunger as their mother, whether for physical or emotional nourishment? Are their barks, so infrequently voiced, characterized by the same pained (at times bordering on hysterical), wookie-like roar of their mother? Perhaps, dog willing, their life circumstances have not fostered within them the same fears that drive their mother.

Have the humans they encountered on their life’s path shown them the kindness and compassion that Kaylee has known from us – or have Kaylee’s babies only seen the cruelty and neglect that marked her own Life Before Us?

(More below the fold…)

No Kill Advocacy Center: Free Copies of Irreconcilable Differences to Elected Officials

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Irreconcilable Differences, Nathan Winograd (2009)

Last year, Nathan Winograd and the No Kill Advocacy Center offered up free copies of Winograd’s book Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America to any elected official who requested one. Since then, Winograd has released Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America’s Animal Shelters, an anthology of essays related to animal rescue and the no-kill movement. As with Redemption, elected officials can receive a copy, free of charge.

The details and fine print:

The No Kill Advocacy Center is offering free copies of Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America’s Animal Shelters to any elected official.

We need to change the way shelters operate and our director is willing to pay for it! He has generously donated “as many copies as it takes” of his award-winning book to get City Council Members, Members of the Board of Supervisors, Mayors, Assemblymen, Senators, County Commissioners, or any elected official to read it. All they have to do is ask for it.

If we receive a letter on official stationary from them asking for a copy, we’ll send it free, no strings attached.

Limitations:

1. Letter must be postmarked by April 30, 2010 and sent to our address.
2. Request must be on official stationary (No e-mails, telephone calls, or third-party requests).
3. One book per letter and per elected official.
4. This offer is only valid for elected officials in the U.S.
5. There are no exceptions or extensions.

Please let your elected officials know about this opportunity. A leader in the no-kill movement and a vegan, Winograd is a fierce and outspoken champion of nonhuman animals – of all species.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 16: Breast is Best (and Vegan!)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

“IMG_1805”: Snout covered in milk, pink tongue flicking from her mouth, a young cow suckles her mother’s teat. CC image from destinyuk on Flickr.
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Julie Urbanik @ Humanimalia: “Hooters for Neuters”: Sexist or Transgressive Animal Advocacy Campaign?

In the inaugural issue of Humanimalia, Julie Urbanik explores animal advocacy campaigns that trade in gender-based stereotypes in order to promote compassion. These include “Hooters for Neuters” events held by, among others, Best Friends Animal Society (et tu, Best Friends!?); LA-based Friends for Animals’s “Pimp Your Pit”; NYC’s Rescue Ink; and, of course PETA. (PETA, PETA, PETA!) While I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s conclusions, it’s a thought-provoking analysis nonetheless.

Mylène @ My Face Is On Fire: Fur and

Gary Francione @ The Abolitionist Approach: The State of the Movement

In a much lengthier post about single-issue campaigns (namely, anti-fur campaigns), Mylène refers to Professor Francione’s recent critique of PETA’s racist/sexist State of the Union Undress video. Both posts are worth a read, so rather than quoting gratuitously, I’ll just copy the point to which I responded in Mylène’s piece:

But is the fur industry really any more worthy of such ire? As one advocate recently pointed out Twitter, for instance, ‘fur’ is skin and hair while ‘leather’ is skin. To obsess over people’s wearing of fur while turning a blind eye to others’ wearing of leather (which is much more common and involves so much more loss of life) seems odd and illogical. Furthermore, as Prof. Francione often points out when discussing anti-fur campaigns, considering that a large percentage of those who wear fur are women, fur becomes a convenient and sexist target. After all, when’s the last time you saw PeTA demonstrators bombard a leather-clad biker with paint-balls?

Pause and savor that image for a moment, if you will, before we move on to less savory stuff.

(More below the fold…)

Sweeney Todd, a Caged Bird and the Devil’s Wife

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Sweeney Todd movie poster 07

Caution: spoilers ahead!

Normally, I’m not one for musicals (Little Shop of Horrors and Grease notwithstanding!). That said, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street struck my fancy right away. Now, I could attribute this to the film’s macabre, Gothic Victorian setting, or to the dynamic star/director duo of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton; and, while these are both ginormous positives, I’d be lying if I said that either of these is what compelled me to dabble in a genre I tend to pass up. Nope, as much as I love a Goth Depp/Burton vehicle, Sweeney Todd reeled this vegan misanthrope in with promises of cannibalism. Cannibalism is the shit.

Sweeney Todd opens with the titular character’s arrival in London. “Return to London,” actually: in a former life, Sweeney Todd was one Benjamin Barker (also a barber). But we’ll get to Barker’s story in a moment.

We first meet Sweeney Todd as he and a young sailor dock in a London port. Whereas Todd’s traveling companion, Anthony, marvels at the beauty of London, Sweeney will have none of it. His gloomy, sullen mood sets the tone for the rest of the film: shades of black, gray and blue, colored only by the red crimson of blood spilt.

(More below the fold…)

A hen is a mink is a dog is a boy.* Also: site updates and intersectionality links!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

“Mother hen”: Resting in the grass, a mother hen carries/camouflages four+ chicks under her wings. CC image via topinambour on Flickr.
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Along with The Simple Little Vegan Dog Book, the Book Publishing Company sent me a copy of Karen Davis’s Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs, which I’ve had my eye on for some time now. (The book is now in its second edition; you can download the first ed. for free as a .pdf file here, via United Poultry Concerns.) With five out of six chapters down, I’m not yet ready to offer a review, but I will say that it’s excellent – a must read, and a difficult one, at that. Not difficult intellectually, but emotionally: battery and broiler farms are the Seventh Circle of Dante’s Inferno come to life. You will need to read this book from the bottom of a dog pile – soft fur and warm bellies were the only things to keep me from breaking down in tears some nights. The scale and depth of suffering is simply unfathomable.

Anyhow, whether intentionally or not, Davis writes quite a bit about issues of intersectionality in Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs. The gendered nature of egg production is an obvious topic, but the shared suffering does not stop there. For example, Davis explains what becomes of “spent” laying hens – that is, hens whose bodies are (prematurely, tragically, needlessly) depleted of calcium and other nutrients, such that they’re no longer capable of laying eggs. Their fate is a gruesome one, however, it’s only one link in a long chain of abominations:

At slaughter, spent laying hens are a mass of broken bones, abscesses oozing yellow fluids, bright red bruises, internal hemorrhaging, and malignant tumors. They’ve lost 40 percent or more of their feathers, and because they are economically “worthless,” they sit in transport cages in all weathers at the slaughterhouse “until all other birds are dealt with – up to 12 hours.” The slaughtered birds are shredded into products that hide the true state of their flesh and their lives: chicken soups, pies, and nuggets, commercial mink and pet food, livestock and poultry feed, and school lunches and other institutionalized food service and government purchase programs designed by the egg industry and the Department of Agriculture to dump dead laying hens onto consumers in diced up form. **

In order to mask the abuses inflicted upon the bodies and psyches of egg-laying hens, the industry dismembers – nay, grinds – them into unrecognizable bits. These bits are then fed to the most vulnerable among us: enslaved and exploited nonhuman animals, including the dead hens’ kin; “pets,” including dogs and cats; children who attend public schools, particularly those who rely on the school lunch system; “institutionalized food service and government purchase programs,” such as those that “feed” incarcerated men and women; and working-class and impoverished Americans, whose only access to food may come in the form of fast food joints. One injustice fuels the next, with no end in sight. (Sigh. Where’s that dog pile?!)

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 13: Boobs, bacon & bigotry.

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Burger King's Singing in the Shower 03

Mary Elizabeth Williams @ Salon: Will shower for sausages; She’ll “shake her bits” to whet your appetite

In which Burger King tries to one-up its previous misogynist campaigns (can I interest anyone in a blog job burger?) by covering a naked woman in the dismembered corpses and fried secretions of tortured and murdered animals and making her wiggle her (and the animals’) bits in service of the male gaze. Cue: “morning spank routine.” Barf, gargle, repeat.

Tracy Clark-Flory @ Salon: Berlusconi is a boob; The prime minister sells sex for political gain, but many Italians aren’t buying it

While dissecting Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s entrepreneurial endeavors – which largely involve selling women’s sexuality on his television stations – Clark-Flory mentions this gem of a tv stunt:

[T]he popular video “Il Corpo delle Donne,” which translates as “The Body of Women,” compiles some of the most shameless moments of T’n’A from Berlusconi’s stations and state television. The most egregious example: A woman is shown suspended from the ceiling in skimpy underwear next to a literal piece of meat clad in a matching pair of panties; it’s awfully reminiscent of that infamous meat-grinder Hustler cover.

After 20 minutes spent perusing boob/burger pimp BK’s website, I’m kind of glad I don’t have a video clip to illustrate this piece. Oy.

Stephanie @ Animal Rights: Breaking Unjust Laws: Clarence Darrow and Inherit the Wind and (especially) Breaking Unjust Laws: AETA, Fugitive Slave Acts, and Oppression Connections

Using the 1960 film Inherit the Wind as a jumping-off point, Stephanie briefly discusses a few similarities between the animal rights and U.S. anti-slavery movements. Or rather, similarities in how each movement was (is) countered by corporate powers, with no small amount of help from the government. (Hint: the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is to abolitionism as _____ is to the animal liberation movement?)

(More below the fold…)

You know what?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

On Notice - ASPCA, PETA & HSUS

Fuck PETA, and fuck the ASPCA.

And yes, I’m a little late on this one, but that’s what happens when you step away from the internets for 20 minutes to shave and shower.

While we’re at it, let me apologize to y’all for ever – on any planet, in any and every universe galaxy* in the cosmos – defending PETA, even when the defense was just. Because this shit? Holy Christ. PETA’s jumped into the pornography business, full tit. (Full tilt, I mean. Wait, what did I say?)

Misogynists, speciesists, pimps and animal killers – who needs ’em?

* Updated 11/19/09: Yes, I’m a dolt.**

** Also: I left a comment on the aforementioned PETA blog post, politely chastising the author for failing to mention Pets Alive’s eagerness to take Oreo off the ASPCA’s hands. That was last night. Twelve hours later, and my comment has yet to be approved. I’m not holding my breath.

Odds & Ends: Flu Factories, Shelter "Pets" & JVM

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Here are a few links I’ve been sitting on for awhile. So much to discuss, so little time. Oh, the life of a B-list blogger!

In no particular order:

1. Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic

Dr. Greger, whose Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching I reviewed several years back, was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest project, Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic. Flu Factories is a one-hour presentation by Dr. Greger on the H1N1 influenza pandemic; it’s available for purchase on DVD, or for free viewing (in 40 parts!) on the HSUS’s website.

While I haven’t yet had a chance to view the entire video, if it’s anything like Bird Flu (and, judging from the chapter titles, there looks to be much crossover, particularly in the areas of biology and history), it’s bound to be both illuminating and terrifying. Although Dr. Greger doesn’t take an explicitly animal rights/vegan position in Bird Flu (nor do I know anything about his personal politics, his position at the HSUS notwithstanding), he does emphasize the role that factory farming – and, to a lesser extent, animal agriculture in general – plays in zoonotic diseases, including the influenza (avian and swine). If you can ignore the speciesism (e.g., in the quoted resources), it’s well worth a watch.

Embedded above is a clip from the presentation: Chapter 2, the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Astute readers may notice that I linked to this particular Kinship Circle alert several weeks ago as part of my weekly link roundup. Even so, since this shooting occurred in Raymore, Missouri – i.e., in my neck of the woods – I formatted and posted the alert in full on the KC Freecycle blog, and figured I may as well repost it here as well.

This is just one of several animal cruelty cases highlighted by Kinship Circle in the past month; see also:

10/20/09: Two Dogs Shot At Point Blank Range In New York

10/13/09: Get Serial Cat Killer Off New York Streets

If you choose to contact officials in any of these cases, feel free to append this animal abuse reference list to your correspondence.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM
Subject: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
10/10/09: Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Kinship Circle - 2009-10-10 - Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

Tobey the cat who was shot and killed by Raymore, MO police. (source)

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Pass California Declaw Bans, So Other Cities Follow

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 3:48 PM
Subject: Act/ Pass Calif Declaw Bans, So Other Cities Follow

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

10/8/09: Pass California Declaw Bans, So Other Cities Follow
**SEND COMMENTS BEFORE 10/27/09, WHEN SANTA MONICA MAY VOTE ON A BAN**

Kinship Circle - 2009-10-08 - Pass California Declaw Bans

EVERYONE SHOULD SEND COMMENTS to Santa Monica and Malibu city officials.
Opposing lobbies such as the CVMA and SCVMA certainly will. Let’s be louder. Declawing hurts. It’s a “surgery of convenience” for people with no benefit for cats. Every city that bans it sets an example for the next city…

(More below the fold…)

IDA: Dennis Zeglin Shoots and Kills "Pet" Parrot; Calls Needed!

Monday, September 7th, 2009

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I haven’t been able to find this alert on IDA’s website in order to link to it, and seeing as the deadline for taking action is this Wednesday, September 9, I’ve copied it below in its entirety.

For more on the case, search for “Dennis Zeglin” on Google news or at http://www.pet-abuse.com.

In particular, I find this snippet from the Bleacher Report extremely disturbing:

Mikey the parrot was instead autopsied by a local veterinarian. His owner was then charged with several counts of animal cruelty.

Since the filing of the charges, Zeglin has gone into counseling for his drinking problem. His attorney has also applied for Morris County’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which offers probation for first time offenders.

Zeglin is due back in court on Sept. 9.

Until that time, the local police have advised him that the next time another family pet, like his Labrador Retriever, or a family member bothers him during a NASCAR race, he should call animal control or the police instead of reaching again for his BB gun.

After brutally slaughtering the family’s “pet” bird, the local authorities left another “pet,” a dog, in Zeglin’s care, with advice to “call animal control” the next time he’s drinking, angry, and in possession of firearms. Jeez, officers, you’re beginning to make me feel as though you don’t take animal abuse seriously. I mean, WTF!?

While it’s great that Zeglin has sought counseling for alcoholism, animal abuse should preclude him from “owning” nonhuman animals, at least in the near future. Should Zeglin relapse, who will bear the brunt of his rage the next time around?

Zeglin, by the by, is from Morris County, New Jersey; methinks the local police need to be schooled about animal abuse as well.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – idainfo [at] idausa.org
Date: Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 1:16 PM
Subject: Man Shoots and Kills Companion Parrot – Your Calls Needed!

YOUR CALLS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED or Mikey’s cruel killer may get away with murder!

While Watching TV, New Jersey Man Shoots and Kills Companion Parrot.

Terrified Mikey who was isolated in a cage and had no way to escape, was Zeglin’s innocent target.

On June 7th 2009, 67 year old Dennis Zeglin brutally shot and killed his family’s African Grey parrot with a Daisy Powerline Model 93 C02-powered BB gun. His wife called police and animal control officers were summoned to investigate.

Dennis Zeglin admitted to animal control officers that he shot Mikey in his cage because the bird “irritated” him while he was watching the NASCAR races on TV. According to reports, Zeglin had been drinking and was intoxicated when he fired the three shots that killed Mikey. Since the animal cruelty charges were filed, Zeglin has been undergoing counseling for his alcoholism according to Zeglin’s Defense Attorney, Stephen Fletcher. Fletcher also claims that Zeglin is a first time offender and has applied for an Intervention Probationary Program. This may suggest that Mikey’s cruel assailant may get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for brutally murdering an innocent, and highly intelligent creature.

Undisputed, scientifically proven evidence supports the link between violence to humans and violence to animals and we believe that Zeglin’s violent act could have easily been directed toward a human family member or their family dog.

Every year millions of captive birds suffer from abuse and neglect like Mikey. It is estimated that the majority of captive birds suffer and die prematurely, secretly and silently behind closed doors, from horrendous abuse, malnutrition, and starvation, and live in deplorable conditions, with no hope for rescue. It is also estimated that the majority of captive birds who do survive, suffer an entire lifetime of agony and loneliness.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Louisiana Vet Marcy Miranov "Kills Without Cause"

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I’m a little late in forwarding this alert from Kinship Circle, and in the interim, there’s been a development in the case. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t resulted in justice for the animals killed by veterinarian Marcy Miranov (and Dr. John Edwards, as well).

Reports The Times-Picayune:

Raw emotions and poor record-keeping triggered whirling accusations of animal cruelty at Jefferson Parish’s animal shelters, according to the results of an independent study released today.

But no laws were broken when 51 cats and dogs were euthanized on Aug. 13 at the parish’s Elmwood facility, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered. […]

“Our report is not a glowing report about what’s going on in interoperation,” said Ana Zorrilla, chief executive officer of the state SPCA. “We certainly hope that it’s well received and we certainly hope that the public reads parts and pieces of it, that it’s really seen as an opportunity to improve those operations, not just as criticism or critique of what’s been going on there.”

The SPCA’s representatives worked in an atmosphere already emotionally charged by the abrupt resignation of the shelters’ director, Lee Ann Matherne. She quit the day before the animals were put down.

The most glaring problem appeared to be shoddy record-keeping and lackluster policy management, Zorrilla said. The shelters have four different written policies governing euthanasia. Each one says a different set of people need to approve each procedure.

As far as the SPCA could tell, none of them were being followed. But since none were being implemented, no policies were broken, Zorrilla said.

The SPCA report, however, dispelled several rumors that arose from that incident. Dr. Marci Miranov, the parish’s senior veterinarian in Marrero, had clearance to work at the Elmwood shelter, Zorrilla said. Her colleague, Dr. John Edwards, did not stop her from euthanizing the animals on Aug. 13, as some animal activists suspected. Rather, he assisted her in her work.

The cats put down that day had been sedated, Zorrilla said, contrary to reports that Miranov was lethally injecting the animals without killing the pain first.

The report also found the number of animals put down that day were average. Euthanasia sessions don’t occur daily, which accounts for larger numbers when one is conducted, officials said.

Zorrilla did say that the SPCA found that some of the animals killed that day were adoptable.

“Some were sick, some were feral, but some were strictly space conditions,” she said.

Parish President Aaron Broussard said he would be asking the Parish Council to enact several ordinances Wednesday that would go a long way to cleaning up the poor conditions at the shelters. Broussard has asked that the parish hire the American SPCA to take over the shelters for 90 days, that his administration begin searching for an outside group that could permanently run the facilities and that he enter negotiations to transfer the Marrero shelter to a new site – a former West Jefferson Medical Center clinic near the Oakwood Mall.

(Background here.)

If you choose to act on this alert, please take the SPCA’s findings and recommendations into account. In addition to turning control of the parish shelters over to an outside organization, please urge Jefferson Parish to work in concert with local animal rescue organizations in order to make NOLA a no-kill city. By “no-kill,” I mean truly no-kill – this goes for “feral” and “less adoptable” cats and dogs, too. While shelters may not have the time or resources to rehab animals with medical or behavioral problems, some rescue groups do; some even specialize in these cases.

Whether any human law was violated or not, this slaughter needn’t have happened. Judging from ARNO’s comments, little-to-no effort was made to place these animals in rescue groups prior to killing them – and this is simply unacceptable.

(More below the fold…)

And what if I love dogs, yoga and yogurt?

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The recent spate of probiotic/fiber-filled yogurt commercials is starting to make me loathe yogurt – even the vegan kind. And I freaking adore cherry and lemon Whole Soy!

These dairy-based offenses have become so frequent that even Sarah Haskins – who has poked fun at yogurt ads not once, but twice – cannot keep up with all the stupid.

First, we have this uber-obnoxious ad from Fiber One:

In case you can’t view the video, here’s the gist: A thin, blonde, WASP-y looking woman – who, incidentally, appears to have stepped straight out of the ’80s – runs into a friend at a Fiber One sample station, located outside the supermarket’s exit. Our fair WASP is dressed head-to-toe in oversized accessories: softball-sized “pearl” earrings and necklace; a bracelet that might have been fashioned out of a mug from Central Perk; huge, Pee Wee Herman sunglasses; a purse the size of a backpack; a heart-shaped pendant nearly as big as her head. And…a large dog. A Great Dane, perhaps?

The large accessories are supposed to make her body look smaller and thinner when viewed next to their comical monstrosity. Why resort to such crazy antics, the commercial suggests, when you can just go on a semi-liquid Fiber One yogurt diet and slurp your way to an eating disorder?

Aside from the emphasis on thinness (incidentally, neither of the two women are what you’d call “fat,” yet the need for dieting is not questioned, but reinforced), there’s some pretty casual and nefarious speciesism at play here. The dog is likened to an object, a fashion accessory, a tool of sorts; something to be disposed of when no longer needed. He’s not treated as someone, but something. Earrings, necklace, bracelet, sunglasses, purse, pendant, dog: one of these things is not like the other.

The disposal of “pets,” by the by, is a pretty serious problem. Perhaps this commercial might seem like a harmless joke – but try explaining the punch line to the three to four millions cats and dogs killed in U.S. shelters each year.

Thankfully, the next offender isn’t speciesist, rather, it’s just plain stupid.

(More below the fold…)

Hyperactive Dogs (Read: Puppies) Ruin (Court) Adoption

Monday, August 17th, 2009

My sister sent me this video with the following note:

This cracks me up. I want the dog on the left….:-)

Adorable, them both. I’d joke about wanting to adopt the pair, but next thing you know, I’m waking up to seven dogs in my bed, instead of the customary four or five (Jayne sleeps under the bed during rainstorms). Dangerous road, my friends.

FYI, you can learn more about the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – and adopt one of their many available animals – here.

(More below the fold…)

In celebration of my "special" fireflies.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

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Kaylee & Jayne, x-mas 2006

So. When last we talked of my furkids, I told you how my husband and I came to adopt Ralphie, Peedee and O-Ren – none of whom were considered “less adoptable,” or at least not at the time of their adoption. In fact, I doubt that each dog’s respective rescue group would have had much trouble placing them, had Shane and I not come along. We both recognized this, and felt rather guilty about it. So when we decided to adopt dog number four (and possibly five!), we resolved to find a “special” dog – a senior, someone with medical or behavioral issues, maybe even a bonded pair of dogs.

Our first choice was a pair of teeny lil’ rat terrier sisters, Bella and…I forget the other dog’s name. They were older adults with behavior issues, namely, anxious temperaments and a fear of men. They also needed to be adopted together – strike three. Ultimately, the adoption didn’t pan out; we were never able to meet the girls, in fact, because their fear of men was so great that their foster mom had more or less decided to adopt them herself. When we inquired about them, they’d already spent a few years in their foster home and were still fearful in the foster dad’s presence. I can see why mom gave up any hope of rehoming them, dog bless her heart.

So we hit Petfinder again, specifically in search of a pair of dog-friends who had to be adopted together. Unfortunately, Petfinder’s search parameters don’t easily allow for such a search (or even easy browsing), so when looking for a pair, you really just have to hope that they share a single listing. (Or else be prepared to pour over every single profile!) There really weren’t many bonded pairs of dogs listed at the time; besides Bella and her sister, Kaylee and Jayne were the only smallish dog-friends up for adoption. So, three years ago this September, we went out to Lexington, MO – about an hour’s drive from where we lived – to visit them.

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From Kaylee’s Petfinder listing

Kaylee and Jayne originally came to Friends of the Friendless with a third dog, Paige, roughly six months before we met them. The three had been abandoned in a home when the tenants moved out; the landlord found them, several weeks later, starving and in rough shape. Jayne had heartworm, while Kaylee suffered from some serious dental problems, the result of both bad genes and a lifetime’s worth of neglect.

Curiously, Jayne had already been spayed by her previous owners, while Kaylee had not. From the looks of her sagging belly and, shall we say “well used” nipples, Kaylee had obviously birthed a few litters during her eight years. Jayne, in contrast, doesn’t appear to have ever had pups – odd because Jayne is a classically handsome terrier, while Kaylee is…not. (I joke that she’s so ugly, she’s back to being cute, much like a rhinoceros or ground mole. I totally mean that in a nice way, though.)

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From Jayne’s Petfinder listing

Paige had since been adopted, while Kaylee and Jayne languished in the shelter/rescue. Supposedly, an older women had committed to adopting them, but died while on a cruise she’d already booked and had to take before she could bring them home. (Shane is convinced that this is the most elaborate cop-out, ever.) So I can only imagine what their foster mom, Gina, thought when we committed to adopting them, but said we’d be unable to bring them home until after we got back from an already-scheduled trip to New York! Unlike their would-be fairy dogmother, Shane and I kept our word; we welcomed Kaylee and Jayne into our home several weeks later, on September 30, 2006.

(More below the fold…)

Be a Fairy Dog-Mother: Adopt a "less adoptable" animal companion!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, today is the first (?) annual Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day! Petfinder created the holiday in order to raise awareness about animals who have an extra difficult time finding their forever homes, for a whole host of reasons.

Among cats and dogs, animals who face added obstacles to being rehomed include:

– Seniors and adults;
– Animals with medical issues, including disability and disease;
– Animals with emotional or behavioral issues, such as shyness or a nervous temperament;
– Animals who must be the only nonhuman in the home;
– Bonded animals who must be adopted as a pair – or, worse still, a trio, quartet, etc.;
– Cats with feline leukemia (a transmissible disease);
– Black dogs (for additional information, please see my post at Change.org on Black Dog Syndrome); and
– Dogs who belong to a so-called “dangerous” breed (pit bulls being the “dangerous” breed de jour).

If you plan on adopting an animal companion (or have adopted in the past), congratulations! With this one simple act, you become a hero to two animals – the one you rescued from a pound, shelter, rescue group or sanctuary, and also to the animal for whom you’re freed up a space in said pound, shelter, rescue group or sanctuary. According to the HSUS, between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs are killed (note: not “euthanized”) in U.S. shelters every year. While adopting one or two or even ten animals might seem a drop in the bucket, it makes a world of difference to the animals whose lives you’ve saved by adopting instead on buying.

But, as always, there’s more you can do! In regards to animal adoption, go out of your way to choose a cat or dog who meets the above criteria. Naturally, you may not be able to deal with all of these issues; for example, if you already live with one healthy cat, a FIV+ feline is out of the question. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, however, concentrate on how you can help animals in need. For example, adopting a black dog doesn’t take any more effort than adopting a multi-colored one.

If your home is already filled to capacity, you can urge friends and family members to adopt – and to consider adopting a “less adoptable” animal, to boot. Or make a donation to any one of the hundreds+ animal rescue organizations across the country (and the globe) – many of which specifically focus on a population of “less adoptable” animals, be they companion, farmed, or “exotic”/wild animals.

Of course, you can also help by spreading the word. Make this Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day a success by linking to Petfinder on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc., and by telling the world about your “special” kids!

Speaking of which, part two of my family’s own story is coming up next!

[Pictured above is a very young me, circa 1997 – note the leather purse, ugh! on each count – with two of my family’s own “less adoptable” girls:

Shannon the black mutt, one half of a 6-year-old pair of sisters we adopted from the local humane society (her sister, Shana, had already passed when this photo was taken); and

Shadow the pit bull mix, who had been hit by a car and had a crushed leg when we found her.

As with all our kids, they were both pure awesomeness, and I miss them more than words can say.]

(More below the fold…)

Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

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I’m usually one to roll my eyes at pseudo-holidays – National Hot Dog Day, anyone?; and, hell, even some of the “real” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving – but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Petfinder has designated August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day:

To help senior, special-needs and other often-overlooked pets find homes, We’ve named August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable- Pet Day. Visit our special section to:

* Get widgets to help pets find homes
* Find out which pets have it hardest
* Read touching adoption stories
* Learn why “less adoptable” pets rule!

And help us spread the word: Some pets are “less adoptable,” but they’re just as lovable!

Which animals have it hardest, you wonder?

Big black dogs. FIV+ cats. Senior pets. Special-needs pets. To help these and other often-overlooked pets find homes, Petfinder has named August 12 “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.”

We asked our shelter and rescue group members: Which pets are the hardest to place?

Here’s what they said:

* 30% senior/older pets
* 15% pets with medical problems
* 13% victims of breed prejudice
* 10% shy pets
* 10% those who need to be the only pet

“Pit Bulls are the No. 1 dog put down in our local shelters. There are too many of them, and there is never enough time to get them all adopted.”

“There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big.”

“Once a dog is past 1-2 years old, people flat-out expect it to be housetrained. They consider the dog too old to be trained if they’re not housetrained by 2.”

(Links mine.)

Speciesist language aside (HIM! People expect HIM to be housetrained!), I love the idea of promoting not just adoption, but the adoption of “special needs” animals, who usually fare worse in shelters and rescues alike. (Though, happily, some rescues do specialize in hard-to-place animals, while others provide them permanent sanctuary; Old Dog Haven is a personal favorite!)

My own family is a mix of “normal” and “special needs” animals.

(More below the fold…)