Wednesday Wag Sept. 16

UPDATE: A reader questions the nature of the charges against Philadelphia kennel owner Wendy Willard. She was issued 11 citations for lack of veterinary care and 11 citations for unsanitary conditions. These charges fall under the state's animal cruelty law.


The Michael Vick animal cruelty awareness campaign is growing. It started with Main Line Animal Rescue pledging five bags of food to a Washington D.C. animal shelter every time quarterback Vick is sacked at the Eagles first away game on Oct. 26. Then National Greyhound Adoption Program upped the ante, offering to donate ten cases of treats to a Philadelphia shelter every time Vick is sacked at home or away games. Now Sports Blitz stores say they will donate 10 percent of the proceeds on the Second Sunday of every month during the NFL season to the Pennsylvania SPCA and their Second Chance Dog Program for abused or neglected pit bulls. Its stores, in Easton and Whitehall, will also have Second Chance Dogs available at each store on these Sundays. The next event is Oct. 11.

After two years of debate, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that effectively bans the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers in shelters and other facilites. The law also bans the use of make-shift gas chambers using engine exhaust so puppy mills will no longer be able to use the devices to kill dogs inhumanely, reports the Humane Society of the United States. Pennsylvania still allows the use of gas chambers in shelters. A bill introduced by Sen. Sean Logan banning the practice under consideration by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

In California, animal welfare advocates are urging Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign a bill banning tail docking on dairy cows. The state legislature recently approved the measure which halts the partial amputation of up to two-thirds of a dairy cow’s tail, a procedure typically performed without anesthetic. With the tails docked on perhaps as many as 15 percent of the 1.8 million cows raised for milk on 2,200 farms in California. The procedure already is banned in Europe and is opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Schwarzenegger, however, has repeatedly mocked the bill as trivial in the face of the state's massive budget deficit.
Also awaiting Schwarzenegger's signature is "The Responsible Breeder Act of 2009" which imposes a limit of 50 on the number of unsterilized dogs and cats an individual or business can have for the purposes of breeding for the pet market. It does not include puppies or kittens. The American Kennel Club opposes the bill. Other bills would double the penalites for anyone caught watching a dog fight and prevent those convicted of certain animal-abuse crimes from owning or carnig for other animals.

Crime and punishment

A Philadelphia judge yesterday set a trial date of Jan. 12 for a city woman charged with animal cruelty and other charges. In August Wendy Willard, owner of Murder Hollow Bassets in Roxborough, was charged with failing to provide vet care and for poor sanitation. The Pennsylvania SPCA raided the kennel in July, after warning Willard to clean up the property. They found 23 dogs on the property, many infested with parasites and covered in feces. Agents removed 11 dogs because Willard was in violation of the city's 12 dog limit. The National Animal Interest Alliance, an animal owners' rights group, is taking a collection for Willard's defense.

A Lititz man pleaded guilty late last month to animal cruelty and other charges stemming from a 2008, incident in which more than 100 turtles and tortoises — suffering from starvation and neglect — were removed from his home, according to the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. Paul Russell Cooper had been charged by the Humane League of Lancaster County with eight counts of animal cruelty and by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission for having illegal turtles in his possession. Cruelty agents said the vast majority of the turtles were underfed and living in unsanitary conditions, some of them in containers with dead turtles. Humane League officials will determine which will be placed for adoption and which will be transferred to other rescue organizations.

Four defendants in Missouri pleaded guilty yesterday to federal dog fighting charges stemming from the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history. The Humane Society of Missouri, and federal and state agencies, assisted by the ASPCA and HSUS, conducted the raid on July 8, which resulted in the rescue of over 400 dogs and the arrests of 26 people accused of organizing dog fighting rings. Arrests were made in eight states, including Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi.

Alley Cat Allies, the national advocate for stray and feral cats, has some tips for anyone considering a Trap Neuter and Return program in their community. The goal of TNR is to reduce cat populations by humanely trapping them, spaying or neutering them and returning them to the area where they were caught. Providing, of course that someone will be responsible for feeding them and making sure they have shelter in cold weather. Among the tips: withhold food for 24 hours before trapping, make veterinary appointments ahead of time, practice using the traps before setting them. More detailed instructions, including on setting traps, can be found here.

Central Pennsylvania's biggest pet event takes place this Sunday at Riverfront Park in Harrisburg. The 5th annual "Woofstock," sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance, runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be low cost vaccine and microchipping clinics, agility demonstrations, costume contests and music. Celebrity trainer Victoria Stilwell, from the Animal Planet series "It's Me or the Dog" will be on hand to take questions at 1 p.m. Also appearing is Rescue Ink, New York's "toughest" animal rescue group, which launches its new series "Rescue Ink Unleashed" this fall on the National Geographic Channel. For more info check out CPAA's Website.