Archive: August, 2012
Lots of animal news in the headlines in the past few days:
Animal welfare groups are urging New York City to phase out horse-drawn carriages and replace them with antique cars in the wake of yet another accident. The horse, Oreo, bolted after being spooked by something on a busy street near Central Park last week, forcing authorities to shoot the Pennsylvania-bred horse with a tranquilizer gun and injured the driver and a passenger. The latest word is that Oreo may win an early retirement. (I still wonder why New Yorkers have not explored the idea of building a stable in the Central Park and restricting carriage rides to less-traveled park roads).
Yesterday we reported on the lawsuit filed by ex-dog law deputy secretary Jessie Smith. In today's Inquirer we look at the high First Amendment hurdles Smith face in bringing a defamation suit against citizen activists. The case could also test the bounds of what constitutes "publication" in today's online publishing world.
HARRISBURG - The state's former chief dog-law enforcer is plunging into rarely traveled legal territory by suing her critics in the animal-welfare world for alleged defamation.
The suit, filed Wednesday in Dauphin County Court by Jessie Smith, former special deputy secretary of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, could test the boundaries of libel law in cyberspace and raises fresh issues about what constitutes malice in the public realm, a legal expert says.
Pennsylvania's ex-dog law chief has filed a defamation suit alleging she was the victim of a smear campaign by "radical animal welfare activists" that included claims she traded leniency for sexual favors with an Amish kennel operator.
Former special deputy secretary Jessie Smithsaid she was tormented for five years by a "continuous and relentless campaign of systematic defamation, disparagement and false light deposition" by the three defendants in blogs, emails and public rallies, according to a suit filed Wednesday in Dauphin County Court.
Named in the suit are Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs, Jenny Stephens, founder of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch in Lansdale and Teresita Delgado, identified as a Lancaster blogger.
Two recalls of note this morning: First, Petco has issued a recall of a certain brand of stainless steel bowl because of possible radioactivity and pet food company Arthur Dogswell LLC is recalling some lots of its Catswell cat treats.
This is one we haven't seen before: Petco has determined that one of its foreign suppliers (hmmm, we wonder who) used stainless steel containing small quantities of Cobalt-60 when fabricating certain orders of certain SKUs/models of stainless steel pet food bowls. Cobalt-60 is a radioactive material commonly used in industrial gauging equipment and other uses.
The company is unsure how the material got into the bowl but it believes it came from scrap metal that had some Cobalt-60 accidentally mixed in. The affected products were found to emit low levels of radiation.
At least one Romney is getting some good animal press these days - or mostly good anyway.
Ann Romney's magnificent horse, Rafalca, competed in London as part of the U.S. Olympic equestrian team. Rafalca, with co-owner Jan Eberling, a seasoned Grand Prix dressage competitor aboard, came in way out of the ribbons - 28th place - but being named to represent the U.S. among the world's best horses and riders is an achievement and Romney's involvement put horse sports in the spotlight.
An update on the one of the worst animal hoarding cases in Pennsylvania history involving almost 200 dogs found last month in a Columbia County house.
Thomas and Albert Ambrosia of Benton pleaded guilty earlier this week to two counts each of cruelty and a dog law violation in connection with the discovery of 187 dogs in their house, according court records.
Thomas Ambrosia, 59, said it was difficult for them to enter a plea since they "treated the dogs like our boys and girls." But he told the Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg that they wanted "to get this behind us."
Fellow pet blogger John Woestendiek, also known as Ohmidog, writes about the sizzling fallout over the American Veterinary Medical Association's recent adoption of an anti-raw meat diet policy.
Seems AVMA delegates made that pronouncement and then left to attend their annual convention in San Diego - sponsored by two of the biggest dry pet food companies.
In the end, the AVMA amended its policy, changing the wording from "never feed" to "avoid feeding" dogs or cats a raw food diet.
A Monroe County show dog breeder is facing more than 200 charges, including animal cruelty and scores of dog law violations, for operating an illegal kennel and keeping dozens of dogs and horses in inhumane conditions.
An official with the Pennsylvania SPCA says as many as 220 charges were to be filed against Julie Forsyth and an associate, Dan Sweeny, after five sick dogs, including a pregnant chihuahua, and a miniature horse were seized from her Anamolink property, but that authorities were working to consolidate the charges.
"They were in bad health," said PSPCA spokeswoman Wendy Marano. She said the horse was skeletal and the chihuahuas were being kept outdoors in filth and flooded kennels.