Since the brouhaha erupted two weeks ago over the Rendell administration's hiring - and more recently firing - of a Philadelphia security firm to monitor threats to the Commonwealth's assets, details have been spilling out about the activities - the vast majority of them peaceful and legal demonstrations - by a slew of activist groups.
Among the groups identified on the terrorist watch list were those promoting animal rights, including organizations protesting rodeos, mink farms and, yes, puppy mills.
Now we learn the firm - International Terrorism Research and Response - in its December 2009 "Actionable Intelligence Bulletin" warned that animal rights activists might target commercial kennels, or puppy mills, as a result of the new state dog law taking effect.
The report advised that animal rights activists might break in to kennels and steal dogs, fearing they would be euthanized by owners who did not want to comply with the new law and recommended local law enforcement step up its patrols to protect the puppy mills. (To see all the reports click here)
Here's what the report said:
8. 'Puppy Rescue' Likely to Cross the Line
ITRR Domestic Terror analysts have identified written communications describing distress over the potential euthanasia of dogs from facilities identified by the animal rights activists as "puppy mills."
Animal welfare activists note that legislation in Pennsylvania was passed in 2009 with the intention of reducing the number of dog breeders that over-bred dogs for sale. As of 31 December 2009, breeders who have not obtained the required licensing will be out of business.
The activists believe that "thousands of dogs will be euthanized in PA." Stating that, "the horrible fact is that MOST of these puppy millers do not care what happens to the dogs, and will be euthanizing unless rescuers step up to help," animal rights activists are preparing to take action.
******ANALYSIS****** Threat Level: MODERATE
Much of the attempts to "rescue" dogs from breeders will include trying to arrange cooperative adoptions between the breeders and people willing to adopt these animals. However, ITRR analysts believe that there is a strong likelihood of some activists attempting to take matters into their own hands by breaking into kennels and stealing dogs.
ITRR analysts recommend that, through 15 January 2010, law enforcement agencies increase pro-active patrols around facilities that are vulnerable to such attempts to illegally seize the property's animals.