Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Animal group claims it set fire to Idaho fur store - By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - Animal rights activists claimed responsibility on Monday for a fire that caused $100,000 in damage to a Boise-area store that sells fur coats and fireworks, authorities said.
No one was injured in the early morning blaze at Rocky Mountain Fur & Fireworks, a retailer in Caldwell, Idaho, about 30 miles northwest of the state capital.
The North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which says it conveys messages for unnamed animal advocates, distributed a statement from a group calling itself the "arson unit" that said it set fire to a store stocked with "chemically treated skins of thousands of tortured animals".
"By oppressing innocent life, you've lost your rights. We've come to take you down a notch. Stay in business and we'll be back," the unit said.
Investigators were taking the arson claim seriously, and it was one of several leads in the case, said Mark Leiser, assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle Field Division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Leiser said evidence collected at the fur shop by the bureau, the FBI and the Canyon County Sheriff's Office in Idaho would be thoroughly analyzed "before we can make a determination of the veracity of the statement."
A woman who answered the phone at Rocky Mountain Fur & Fireworks, which bills itself as a full-service fur company selling "luxurious fur coats" from chinchilla, mink, rabbit or fox, declined to comment except to say: "We're all OK."
Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, said the arson unit may refer to a branch of the Animal Liberation Front, an underground group of animal activists who promote economic sabotage.
"It has proven effective: Fur stores have closed, fur breeders have closed," Vlasak said, adding that the press office was supportive but not affiliated with the organization behind the claimed arson, the first action of its kind in Idaho.
The press office said on its website it was founded "to communicate the actions, strategies, and philosophy of the animal liberation movement to the media and the public," adding that many of those actions were illegal.
A first offense on a federal arson charge stemming from the destruction of property and involving interstate commerce carries a prison sentence of at least 10 years.

I am an ethical vegan who believes in ahimsa and I don't like when I read stories of arson and violence.  I know these people who set fire to the fur store had the animals in their mind while doing it, though I really feel they can better serve the animals by trying to help educate people about how these animals are killed for these furs and help to change the "buying" public to not spend their money on these items and to purchase vegan alternatives. I realize it sends a message to the owners of the fur store to maybe change the products they are selling to something that are not animal skins, but if there is a demand for these items, they will just rebuild and continue selling them.  We need to educate the public to stop the demand.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

'Casper' Case Ends With Stiff Sentence - Jeremy Campbell

TAMPA - He's the dog that broke our hearts and then captured them.

When we first met Casper, he looked like nothing but an abused bag of bones. On Friday, the man accused of the abuse found out his punishment -- and it was unprecedented.
Judges had the option of this stiff sentence in other animal abuse cases, but it took Casper's case for that punishment to stick.
Wilmer Fernandez will serve a 15-month prison sentence.
"There was so much attention on this animal in this case in this community, and the good thing --even though it's been three years -- is it's kept everybody kind of holding hands for three years. So maybe it's made us all stronger for us to push forward with these prosecutions," said Dennis McCullough of Hillsborough County Animal Services.
An appellant judge upheld the 15-month sentence. It's one of the stiffest punishments ever issued for an animal abuse case here.
Historically, judges rarely call for the maximum punishment for animal abuse, but Casper's case is anything but ordinary.
The boxer was found three years ago in Carrollwood -- chained, starving, and looking a little ghostlike. But Casper survived.
He was adopted in 2009. He's up to 80 pounds now, more than twice his weight when investigators found him.
In court, Fernandez's attorneys were pushing for a lighter sentence, but the judge denied their appeal.
The ruling could change how judges sentence future cases of animal abuse.
"Today is closure and we send a strong message, I hope, in Hillsborough County: If you commit animal cruelty, you'll be punished," McCullough added.

'Casper' case ends with stiff sentence: MyFoxTAMPABAY.com

New NY Law: Attending Dogfight, Cockfight a Crime

Submitted by The Humane Society on Sep 13, 2011

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- In New York, anyone who knowingly attends a dogfight or cockfight will now be charged with a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to three months in prison and a $500 fine. A second offense will carry up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. The new law will be highlighted this week at the New York State Sheriffs’ Association and New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s 10th annual “Law Enforcement Supervisors' Training Conference” during a workshop conducted by Sgt. Michael Gabrielson of Ohio’s Kettering Police Department on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization.

“Animal fighting is closely associated with other violent crimes and criminal activities such as gangs, drugs, and illegal weapons possession,” says Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States is grateful to the New York State Sheriffs’ Association for the opportunity to share our knowledge and resources to aid in the anti-crime and anti-cruelty efforts of Empire state’s top law enforcement officers.”

While dogfighting and cockfighting are felonies in New York, the spectators who fuel the economy of animal fighting with their admission fees and gambling wagers faced only a traffic-ticket style violation. Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August and taking effect this month, S.3237a/A.4407a passed unanimously in the legislature and was championed by Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn with 70 total state legislators as co-sponsors. Introduced at the urging of The HSUS, the bill raised penalties against animal fighting spectators and closed a major loophole that allowed some dogfighters and cockfighters to escape punishment by masquerading as spectators.

“Animal fighting is a serious crime, and new legislation in New York will give police offi
cers more tools to prevent these terrible incidents,” said Thomas Mitchell, counsel to the New York State Sheriffs’ Association. “We know that there is often a close connection between animal abuse and other very serious crimes, and want to make sure that our Sheriffs and their law enforcement supervisors know about this new law.  That is why we asked The Humane Society of the United States to speak at our annual training conference this week.”

To assist law enforcement efforts, The HSUS offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. The HSUS asks anyone with information about animal fighting criminals to call 1-877-TIP-HSUS (1-877-847-4787). Tipsters' identities are protected. Learn more at humanesociety.org/rewards.

Animal fighting facts:
-- Spectators pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in admission fees and gambling bets, generating the bulk of the revenue for this illegal enterprise. The fights would not occur without the crowd betting on the outcome and enjoying the bloodletting. Spectators provide cover for animal fighters, who weave into crowds to evade prosecution at the first sign of a police raid.

-- Animal fighting is closely associated with other criminal activities such as gangs, narcotics, illegal weapons possession, public corruption and various violent crimes. A three-year study by the Chicago Police Department found that 70 percent of animal offenders had also been arrested for other felonies, including domestic and aggravated battery, illegal drug trafficking and sex crimes.
-- The United States Congress is considering H.R. 2492 which would amend the federal animal fighting law to include spectators. This would allow for cases prosecuted in federal court to include the entire cast of characters that participate in animal fighting ventures.

-- In 28 states, it is a felony to be a spectator at an animal fight.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Dead Boy, 200+ Animals Found at Berwyn Home

Officials discovered massive case of animal hoarding after responding to call of a dead teen

More than 200 animals were rescued from a Berwyn home Thursday and Friday in a major case of animal hoarding discovered during the investigation of a teen boy.

Officials on Thursday were called to a home on the 2800 block of Lombard Avenue after a 14-year-old boy was reported to have died. A Friday autopsy revealed the teen, Matthew Degner, died of bronchopneumonia. His death was ruled natural, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said.

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation said three other teens -- aged 15, 16 and 17 -- also lived in the home. All three of the surviving children have been quarantined because they are "suffering from flu-like symptoms," the source said.

The mother told investigators that all of her kids got sick on Sept. 4 with stomach problems, but she said that everyone seemed to be getting better, the source said.
Officials refused to confirm some details, but neighbors told NBC Chicago that someone living in the home took the teen's body outside, presumably so investigators wouldn't go inside.

They did, and investigators said they found more than 200 animals in the roughly 1,100 square-foot bungalow. The menagerie included dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, squirrels, at least one raccoon, two monkeys and two kinkajous.

"The place was colorless. There were no rugs on the floor. There were birds flying loose on the second floor. There were cats running loose on the first floor," a source told NBC Chicago.
The cats -- dozens of them -- are in particularly bad shape, said Terri Sparks, the Animal Welfare League's marketing and public relations director.

"They're riddled with disease, sick and mean," she said.
The more exotic animals will be taken out-of-state to an undisclosed rescue sanctuary, said AWL Director Linda Estrada.

Crews from the AWL, the region's largest humane society, were on the scene in hazardous materials suits.
"They're hungry. They're thirsty. The cages aren't cleaned. It's bad," Estrada said of the animals.

"Our animal control officers who have been in some pretty horrific and disgusting environments said this home was easily the worst they’ve been in," said Cook County Sheriff's Office spokesman Steve Patterson.

The three surviving children were in the care of Department of Children and Family Services personnel Friday night. It's believed they were kept in isolation.

"Social isolation is one of the most powerful risk factors for serious harm to children. If we, as a community, never knock on that door, that no one ever seems to open, we may never know how bad it is, or how we can help," said DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe.

Neighbors said the children never went to school and that the family had lived in the home for about eight years. The children were extremely malnourished, neighbors said, and it's suspected they never saw medical care.
The mother was being held at the Berwyn police station Friday night. No charges have been filed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Python bitten by Sacramento man is on mend - By Whitney Mountain / McClatchy Newspapers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A pet python that underwent surgery after being bitten by a Sacramento, Calif., man is "looking a ton better," Sacramento animal control officials said Saturday.
The man who allegedly bit the female snake, 54-year-old David Elmer Senk, has been in custody in the Sacramento Jail since Thursday on $10,000 bail. Police arrested him on charges of maiming/mutilating a reptile.
Gina E. Knepp, acting animal care services manager for the city of Sacramento, said surgery that the snake received Thursday saved her life.
"She is looking a ton better, she was really dehydrated," Knepp said, adding that the owner of the snake has not yet made contact with animal services. "We would very much like to place the python in an appropriate rescue."
Knepp said the snake is "very touchable" and "not the kind of python that sinks its incisors in you."
According to police and animal control officials’ accounts, a few people were admiring a woman’s pet python outside a liquor store in Del Paso Heights Thursday evening, passing it around and getting a feel for it.
And that’s when Senk allegedly took two big bites out of the python, Knepp said.
Sacramento police responded to the 3600 block of Marysville Boulevard about 6:30 p.m. Thursday on a call about a man who had been assaulted and was not responsive.
The owner of the snake allegedly had beaten Senk up after she said he bit her pet, said Sgt. Andrew Pettit of the Sacramento Police Department.
When police arrived, a witness told them about the man’s scaly tastes, and animal control was called to treat the snake.
"While it was being passed around, the snake was just dangling, limp in their hands. That’s very unusual for this kind of snake; they like to ball around your arm," Knepp said. "It was clearly not healthy. Apparently the woman keeps it in her backpack and takes it everywhere with her."
The snake lost a couple of ribs, Knepp said, and has several stitches. She is receiving antibiotics.

Python bitten by Sacramento man is on mend
Related Posts with Thumbnails