Archive: June, 2009
For state lawmakers, constituent services generally means helping residents navigate government agencies to get drivers' licenses, information about college grants and enroll in prescription drug programs.
State Sen. Michael O'Pake of Berks County recently added pet adoption to his list of constituent services.
Recently he ventured across district lines to find out why Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester County rejected an application from a Berks County couple who wanted to adopt a dog.
The former state dog warden in charge of the counties where two large kennel raids and a mass shooting occurred in the last year - and the subject of a lengthy investigation - has been fired from the Department of Agriculture.
Richard Martrich, who spent 12 years with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement before being transferred to another office in the Department of Agriculture, was terminated Thursday, said an agency official.
Agriculture spokesman Chris Ryder said he could not comment on the reasons for Martrich's firing or the contents of the Inspector General's report that apparently led to the termination.
Humane agents on Tuesday seized a five-foot long alligator - and three flesh-eating piranha - from a home in South Philadelphia.
The gator, named Kurt, was living in the basement of the home of an exterminator who got him from a customer.
In 2006, three Shepherd mix dogs were found dumped by the side of a road in a northeastern Pennsylvania community - all of them shot in the head.
A male dog, 2 to 4 years old was shot four times. A female dog, 6 to 8 months old was shot three times. Another female dog, 2 to 4 years old, who had just had puppies, was shot between the eyes while chained.
Arnold Eugene Wheeler - a failed dog breeder - was arrested in the case and tried on animal cruelty charges. He admitted to shooting his dogs, but Wheeler was found not guilty on the cruelty charges because under the law it was legal to shoot one's dogs.
Dogs caucus not raucus in Radnor - Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) says state lawmakers, locked in contentious budget negotiations right now, could take a cue from the four-legged attendees at his first annual Dog Park Day in Radnor last Saturday. He said 100 dogs turned up at Harford park and pretty much everyone got along. "Harrisburg could learn a lesson from them," said Leach this morning.
The event celebrated National Pet Adoption Month with homeless dogs from Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals. Leach presented the Radnor shelter with a $10,000 state grant to renovate its facility. Francisvale is a no-kill shelter based in Radnor aimed at raising public awareness about the plight of homeless animals and the benefits of adopting an animal in need. Leach said he decided not to take his two cats to the dog-only event because at the last minute he decided "he liked them too much."
Bat survey help needed - Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists and the White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) Maternity Colony Monitoring Task Group are seeking assistance from residents in a national monitoring effort to collect bat maternity colony data this summer. To obtain applications and information on how to participate, visit the Game Commission’s website and click on “Appalachian Bat Count” icon in the center of the homepage.
Half of the country’s state attorneys general and the Humane Society of the United States have filed “friend of the court” briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a federal animal cruelty law struck down by a federal appellate court last year.
The 1999 Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act banned the commercial sale of videos depicting extreme and illegal acts of animal cruelty. Its passage was prompted by an HSUS investigation that uncovered an underground subculture of “animal crush” videos showing women, often in high-heeled shoes, impaling and crushing to death puppies, kittens and other small animals.
HSUS credits the law with stopping the proliferation of animal crushing operations and helping crack down on commercial dog fighting operations, in which the animals often fight to the death for the amusement of viewers.
Last year, in U.S. v. Stevens, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split decision, threw out the conviction of Robert Stevens, a Virginia man who sold videos through his "Dogs of Velvet and Steel" business. The court ruled that the depictions for which video purveyor was being prosecuted were “protected speech.” Among the judges who joined with the majority was Marjorie O. Rendell, the wife of Gov. Rendell.
A new study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association reports that
the vast majority - at least 80 percent - of pet cats in U.S. households are neutered, with middle-to
higher-income households reporting rates of over 90 percent.
The study - based on data collected for feral cat advocacy group Alley Cat Allies - is the first study to examine household income as it relates to the neuter status of the estimated 82 million pet cats in the nation.
“This study indicates that spaying and neutering is an accepted, established practice among the
large majority of Americans with pet cats,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies.
“This is a very positive finding. As a result, our nation’s pet cats are living much healthier lives.”
A New Jersey Assembly committee has approved a bill to make low-cost spay/neuter assistance available for more pet owners.
To qualify for the subsidized operations, owners would have to show proof of benefits from state or federal public-assistance programs. Animals eligible for the spay or neuter surgery would have to come from a shelter or nonprofit rescue group.
Under the bill, which must be approved by both chambers and signed by the governor, pet owners would pay $20 toward the surgeries and a special state fund would subsidize the difference. The program would be funded through proceeds from the sale of animal welfare license plates and a check off box on tax return forms.