Edmonson Shelter Must Be Closed

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No reason to try to rehabilitate or reuse terrible facility

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 The situation at the Edmonson County Animal Shelter should have never been allowed to happen.

Animals were discovered very malnourished, without water, covered in their own urine and feces, with urine burns on some of the animals’ feet, and some of them had obvious wounds.

 Last week, the shelter’s director, Kim Carroll, of Bee Spring, was cited and charged with second-degree animal cruelty following the discovery of dozens of cats and dogs – including dead ones – in what police called an “extremely poor environment.”

It’s very unfortunate that a year after a Daily News investigative team visited the shelter numerous times and reported conditions that appeared to fall short of guidelines for shelters offered by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians that the same conditions still exist. In that investigation, it was revealed that animals were in cages too small, some were underweight and some were without water.

It’s quite obvious the newspaper’s story had no impact on those running the shelter as the conditions remained the same.

After the animals were discovered last week, several of them had to be euthanized due to the cruel conditions of this shelter.That’s a shame and a good indication that Caroll and her husband, Greg, have no business running an animal shelter. The conditions these animals were found in is a clear evidence of that.

It’s truly reprehensible that someone would let animals live in these types of conditions. There is some good news out of this and that is that the shelters doors have been shuttered for now and 47 dogs and 17 cats were removed from the property. Other county agencies as far away as Owensboro also took animals from the property to their shelters.

The question now is, where does Edmonson County go from here in regards to the future of this shelter? Edmonson County Judge-Executive Wil Cannon says the county doesn’t condone wrongdoing and that the county government doesn’t own or operate the shelter in Bee Spring. He is correct. It is a for-profit business owned by the Carrolls.

Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society Director Lorri Hare has been invaluable in getting some animals out of their shelter and getting them here. Hare has called for this shelter to be closed and has been invited to speak by Cannon before the Edmonson County Fiscal Court next week.

Hare expects the county will ask the Bowling Green shelter to take in Edmonson County animals with a contract agreement. Hare said there will only be a chance for that if the Carrolls are no longer involved at all in animal control in Edmonson County.We agree with Hare that it’s time for the Carrolls to move on to a new profession because this one certainly isn’t for them.

Cannon seems to be on the same page as Hare, which is good. Edmonson County government will have to hire, equip and properly train someone to take the animals to Warren County if something is worked out with the Warren County shelter. Barring some legal reason, Cannon plans to ask fiscal court to dissolve the county’s contract with the Carrolls.

 Cannon is being proactive and taking the right approach. He should be commended for doing so. Cannon made a very good point when he said the Carrolls were given a chance last year to right whatever wrongs that may have been occurring at the shelter and they didn’t.The Carrolls simply dropped the ball and in doing so put animals at risk which in some cases resulted in animals being euthanized.

In the final analysis, this should’ve never happened. We’re glad to see that the county and Hare are working on correcting this bad situation and providing a better home for these animals. Our view is that this shelter needs to be closed permanently and we sincerely hope that is the final decision.

News Link:http://www.bgdailynews.com/opinion/our_opinion/edmonson-shelter-must-be-closed/article_d0c68420-8ae7-5178-ae75-a6d60b691a15.html

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Animal activists stage protest in Beijing against China’s barbaric annual dog meat festival which sees tens of thousands of canines beaten to death and cooked

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By TRACY YOU FOR MAILONLINE |

“Nobody will die if dog & cat are taken off the menu!!!”

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 

  • Around 30 animal campaigners carried out the protest today in bid to stop Yulin dog meat festival in China
  • The controversial festival sees as many as 10,000 animals butchered and eaten on summer solstice  
  • A petition signed by over 11 million people has been submitted to the authority, animal charity claimed
  • During the event, activists called Yulin in rural Guangxi Province a ‘scumbag’ and ‘a total embarrassment’ to China
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A group of animal activists staged a protest today in Beijing in a bid to stop a Chinese dog-eating festival set to occur later this month.

This must stop: A group of around 30 animal activists staged a protest today in Beijing in a bid to stop the Yulin dog meat festival

The demonstration, initiated by three animal protection groups, submitted a petition allegedly signed by over 11 million people, calling on the Chinese authorities to end the Yulin dog meat festival.

The annual festival, which takes place in south China’s Guangxi Province, sees tens of thousands of animals beaten to death, cooked and sold on the market to celebrate summer solstice.

Around 30 activists carried out the protest outside of the Yulin government office as the petition was presented to the authority by three animal charities: Humane Society International, VShine and Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty.

Pictures from today’s event show animal campaigners, many of whom brought their own pet dogs, holding signs saying ‘Scumbag of China’ in English and ‘Shame on Yulin’ in Simplified Chinese.

Wendy Higgins, the Director of International Media at Humane Society International, said over 11 million signatures had been collected worldwide through the internet to demand the festival to stop.

The petition also included signatures gathered by four other international animal welfare organisations. They are RaiseURPaw in Canada as well as the Duo Duo Project, Care2 and Avaaz from the United States.

The petition has been accepted by officials from the Yulin government in Beijing, according to Ms Higgins.

Peter Li, the China Policy Expert at Humane Society International, attended the protest in Beijing today.

Mr Li told MailOnline:

‘There was a huge presence of police, but our hand-in went very peacefully. It was a great feeling to join with our Chinese partner group activists in Beijing today, there was a tremendous sense of determination to get our voices heard to the global media, and to let the world know that many people across China want the brutal Yulin dog meat festival shut down.

He added: ‘We gave a show of strength and defiance against the dog thieves and the blatant animal cruelty, to say loudly – you will not steal our best friends! 

‘I hope that the authorities listen, they really should do as the strength of public upset about Yulin and the trade here in China is really growing.

‘Next stop for me is Yulin, where I have been a number of times before, for the grim task of visiting the slaughterhouses before the festival starts.’

329f258d00000578-0-image-a-62_1465547648595Sickening feast: Residents in Yulin tucked in their dinner made with dog meat during last year’s festival. Many of the animals, which were caged and beaten before being slaughtered, are thought to be stolen pets!

Xu Yufeng, founder of Beijing Mothers Against Animal Cruelty who were also present at the protest, said: ‘Yulin is a total embarrassment to China. 

‘Its failure to stop mass dog slaughter and mass dog consumption shows that the local authorities are not doing their job to protect the people, especially young children.

‘We urge the Yulin authorities to stand on the right side of history and to end the “festival” in the interests of public security, food safety, social morality and China’s reputation.’ 

Another member of the protesters, Pan Danyang from China-based small animal protection group VShine, said:

‘This is the third year of our participation in the nation-wide campaign against the Yulin dog meat festival. ‘Since we have over the last few years helped accommodate dogs rescued from the dog meat trade, we know Yulin’s dog meat market relies on dogs from suspicious sources. ‘I hope that Yulin authorities will take actions to stop the dog trucks from going into their city so that the mass slaughter on the summer solstice day won’t happen.’

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Visitors play with rescued dogs at a shelter ran by Yang Xiaoyun in Tianjin, China, July 8, 2015. Yang said she spent 300,000 RMB (48,248 USD) to purchase 500 dogs to rescue them from dog meat dealers at Yulin’s annual dog meat festival last month. She keeps more than 1,000 dogs in her shelters, mostly abandoned or she purchased from dog meat traders. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

 

To learn more & signn other petitions, please visit the following, just a handful of sites that contain very informative material:-

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3634923/Animal-activists-stage-protest-Beijing-against-China-s-barbaric-annual-dog-meat-festival-sees-tens-thousands-canines-beaten-death-cooked.html

 

Redwood City man pleads no contest to torturing, killing family puppy

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“WTF…this guy was already on psychiatric drugs…on probation…being treated for a mental illness. The girlfriend must have known, because she was scared of him, I just hope she didn’t leave him in charge of her daughter?? Don’t the Doctors who know these people are sick, have a duty to ensure they are not a threat to others & keep an eye on those that are a threat to society? Apparently not! He is a dangerous man, the kind that enjoys torturing a little puppy, to the point of death; in front of a minor! This sick bastard should never be let out to repeat this type of thing. Bet you in 5 years time his name comes up again for doing something heinous!! Yet another case for an “Animal Abuse Register”!

A Redwood City man accused of torturing and killing a puppy in front of his young daughter has pleaded no contest to animal abuse and child endangerment charges, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Don’t forget this evil mans face! Picture from Examiner

Alan Benjamin Velete

On Friday, 32-year-old Alan Benjamin Velete was sentenced to two years in jail, in addition to a year in a residential rehabilitation treatment center, for the cruel acts which left his family’s puppy dead. (Picture & text from http://www.examiner.com/article/man-who-tortured-puppy-front-of-young-child-is-sentenced-to-jail?CID=PROD-topic-email-articles

In exchange for Friday’s plea, Alan Benjamin Velete, 32, won’t receive more than three years in prison. He also pleaded no contest to violating his probation for a 2011 felony assault conviction.

He was arrested Jan. 9 on charges that stem from a pattern of violence over several weeks against his family’s terrier puppy, named “Lucky,” that ended with the 4-month-old dog’s death, according to the district attorney’s office.

The abuse began after Velete and his daughter moved into the Redwood City apartment of his girlfriend’s mother in early December. The man became incensed after the puppy defecated on the floor and over several weeks he tortured the animal, including punching and kicking it, spraying household cleaner in its eyes, putting it in a duffel bag that was hung in a shower for hours, taping its mouth closed and feeding it his psychiatric drugs, according to the district attorney’s office. Much of the harm was done in front of his daughter.

His girlfriend and her mother later said they were too terrified of Velete to contact law enforcement, according to prosecutors. But after Velete killed the puppy, the mother anonymously called police.

Velete’s defense attorney, Naresh Rajan, said his client was being treated for mental illness at the time of the abuse and was under a lot of stress, and he has since “expressed all kinds of remorse” for his actions. While in county jail, he’s been receiving help through a counseling program.

“It’s horrible, it’s a 4-month old puppy,” Rajan said. “There’s no excuse, but he wasn’t thinking with a normal person’s mind.” ” Then why was he allowed into society???”

News Link:-http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_26233265/redwood-city-man-pleads-no-contest-torturing-killing

Rhino: No Horn Of Plenty

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“This is a long post, but if you are interested in Rhino, this is a must read & well worth the time needed to read it!!”

More rhinos will be killed in the next two years than will be born, so those charged with saving the endangered animal are considering radical and previously unimaginable solutions.

Twenty-four-hour watch: An anti-poaching team guards a de-horned northern white rhinoceros in Kenya in 2011. Photo: Brent Stirton

The battle to save the African rhinoceros has all the ingredients for a Hollywood thriller. There are armed baddies with good guys in hot pursuit. There is a hint of glamour. And the drama is played out against a backdrop of a beautiful, bloodstained landscape.

It is a story that begins, perhaps improbably, in Vietnam soon after the turn of the 21st century. A Vietnamese official of some influence, so the story goes, lets it be known that he, or perhaps it is his wife (for the sake of the story it matters little), has been cured of cancer. The miracle cure? Rhino horn powder.

With disconcerting speed, the story shifts to southern Africa, where a series of gunshots ring out across the African plains. This is followed by the hacking sound of machetes – it takes little time to dehorn a rhino because its horn consists not of bone but of keratin fibres with the density of tightly compressed hair or fingernails.

The getaway begins, armed rangers give chase. Once the horn leaves the flimsy protection of the national park or game reserve, where its former owner lies bleeding to death, it may never be found.

White Rhinoceros with a calf at Lake Nakuru national Park in Kenya. Photo: Martin Harvey/WWF

Its new owners never brought to justice. Sometimes they are caught. Sometimes they get away. Either way, another rhino is dead in a war that the bad guys seem to be winning.

The story shifts again, back to Vietnam where even the prime minister is rumoured to have survived a life-threatening illness after ingesting rhino horn. More than a cure for the country’s rich and powerful, however, rhino horn has by now crossed into the mainstream. Young Vietnamese mothers have taken to keeping at hand a supply of rhino horn to treat high fevers and other childhood ailments.

It is also the drug of choice for minor complaints associated more with the affluent lifestyle to which increasing numbers of Vietnamese have access; rhino horn has become a cure-all pick-me-up, a tonic, an elixir for hangovers.

With this new popularity has come the essential paraphernalia common to lifestyle drugs the world over, including bowls with specially designed serrated edges for grinding rhino horn into powder. In a short space of time, rhino horn has become the latest must-have accessory for the nouveau riche.

The sudden spike in Vietnamese demand, the miraculous fame of a saved official or his wife, and rhino horn’s emergence as a symbol of status all came at a time when legal stockpiles of rhino horn were at an all-time low. Demand and supply. This is the irrefutable law of economics.

Or, as one expert in the illegal trade in rhino horn put it: ”It was a perfect storm of deadly consumption.”

The rhinoceros is one of the oldest creatures on earth, one of just two survivors – the other is the elephant – of the megaherbivores that once counted dinosaurs among their number. Scientists believe rhinos have changed little in 40 million years.

The rhino’s unmistakable echo of the prehistoric and the mystery that surrounds such ancient creatures – this is the animal that Marco Polo mistook for a unicorn, describing it as having the feet of an elephant, the head of a wild boar and hair like a buffalo – have always been its nemesis.

As early as the first century AD, Greek traders travelled to the east, where the rhino horn powder they carried was prized as an aphrodisiac. But the rhino survived and, by the beginning of the 20th century, rhino numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands.

They were certainly plentiful in 1915 when the Roosevelts travelled to Africa to hunt. Kermit, the son, observed a rhinoceros ”standing there in the middle of the African plain, deep in prehistoric thought”, to which Theodore the father is quoted as replying: ”Indeed, the rhinoceros does seem like a survival from the elder world that has vanished.”

The Roosevelts then proceeded to shoot them.

Rhinos are epic creatures, gunmetal grey and the second-largest land animal on earth. Up to five metres long and weighing as much as 2700 kilograms, the white rhino, the largest of all rhino species, can live up to 50 years if left to grow old in the wild. In an example of advanced evolutionary adaptability, the black rhino will happily choose from about 220 plant species, eating more than 70 kilograms of plants a day.

These impressive numbers, combined with some of the rhino’s more limiting characteristics – it has very poor eyesight – have added to the myth that surrounds it.

”A slight movement may bring on a rhino charge,” reported nature writer Peter Matthiessen in the 1960s. ”Its poor vision cannot make out what’s moving and its nerves cannot tolerate suspense.”

Thus it was that the rhinoceros became a permanent member of the ”big five”, the roll-call of the most dangerous animals in Africa as defined by professional hunters.

But respect has always been tinged with derision. ”I do not see how the rhinoceros can be permanently preserved,” Theodore Roosevelt is reported as wondering, ”save in very out-of-the-way places or in regular game reserves … the beast’s stupidity, curiosity and truculence make up a combination of qualities which inevitably tend to ensure its destruction.”

In the 1960s, one eminent scientist described the rhinoceros as ”a very pathetic prehistoric creature, quite unable to adapt itself to modern times. It is our duty to save and preserve this short-tempered, prehistorically stupid but nevertheless so immensely lovable creature.”

Such disparaging remarks aside, they were, of course, right to be worried.

We have been here before when it comes to saving the rhino. In 1960, an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed across Africa, absent only from tropical rainforests and the Sahara. By 1981, 15,000 remained. In 1995, there were just 2410 left on the continent. In 2006, the western black rhino was declared extinct.

In Kenya, the numbers of black rhino fell from 20,000 at the beginning of the 1970s to 300 within a decade. This catastrophic fall in rhino numbers was the consequence of a poaching slaughter that consumed the country’s wildlife as lucrative ivory and rhino horn was consumed to meet the growing demand in Asia; rhino horn also made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, where it was used to fashion the handles of traditional Yemeni daggers.

It was in Kenya’s south, in the Tsavo National Park, that the war against rhinos reached its nadir – the park’s rhino population fell from 9000 in 1969 to less than 100 in 1980.

Since then, rhino numbers have rebounded thanks to a combination of legal protection – the trade in rhino horn was declared illegal under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1975 – and beefed-up security.

When I visited the Tsavo West Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary three decades after the massacre, I was met by guards in full military fatigues and armed with machineguns. ”These rhinos in here,” one guard told me, ”they receive more protection than many African presidents.”

Kenya’s population of black rhinos grew to about 600, with the continent-wide figure thought to be 10 times that number. Efforts to save the white rhino proved even more successful, with more than 20,000 in South Africa alone. A corner had been turned, it seemed, and the battle to save the rhino was counted among the great conservation success stories of our time.

And then Vietnam acquired a taste for rhino horn.

In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa. In the years that followed, the rate of killing grew steadily. From 2007 to 2009, one quarter of Zimbabwe’s 800 rhinos were killed, and Botswana’s rhino population has fallen to just 38. In South Africa, home to 90 per cent of the world’s white rhinos, armed guards patrol the parks.

Even so, 448 rhinos were killed in 2011. The following year, the number rose to 668. In the first 65 days of 2013, poachers killed 146 rhinos. At current rates the figure for this year will be close to 830.

As a result, rhino populations could soon reach a tipping point that may prove difficult to reverse. The rhino death rate will exceed its birth rate within two years on current trends, according to Dr Mike Knight, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s African Rhino Specialist Group. ”We would then be eating into rhino capital.”

Chief scientist of South Africa’s National Parks Hector Magome agrees: ”If poaching continues, the rhino population will decline significantly by 2016.”

The importance of saving Africa’s black and white rhinos is given added weight by the negligible numbers for the world’s other three surviving rhino species – the almost 3000 Indian rhinos live in highly fragmented populations, while just 220 Sumatran and fewer than 45 Javan rhinos survive. Vietnam’s last population of Javan rhinos was declared extinct in October 2011.

It is proving far easier to quantify the threats faced by Africa’s rhinos than it is to arrest the decline for one simple reason: what worked in the past no longer holds.

The recent upsurge in poaching has taken place in spite of the CITES regime of international legal protection. Security is also tighter than it has ever been.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home to almost half the world’s white rhinos, 650 rangers patrol an area the size of Israel or Wales. This falls well short of the one-ranger-per-10-square-kilometres ratio recommended by international experts, and more than 100 rhinos have already been killed in Kruger this year.

Thus, those charged with saving the rhino are considering radical and hitherto unimaginable solutions. One such approach gaining traction is the controversial plan to legalise the trade in rhino horn, dehorn thousands of rhinos and flood the market with newly legal horns.

Were this to happen, supporters of the proposal say, the price of rhino horn – which reached $65,000 a kilogram in 2012 – would fall, and the incentive for poaching would diminish.

Dehorning has long been opposed by conservationists – rhinos use their horns to defend themselves and while feeding. But the failure of all other methods has convinced some that the time has come to contemplate the unthinkable.

”The current situation is failing,” Dr Duan Biggs, of the University of Queensland and one of the leading advocates for legalising the trade in horns, said recently. ”The longer we wait to put in place a legal trade, the more rhinos we lose.”

Dr Biggs and others point to the legalisation of the trade in crocodile products as an example of how such a plan could work.

Critics counter that any legalisation of the trade in rhino horns is unenforceable. They also argue that lax or ineffective legal controls in Vietnam – where trading in rhino horn is already illegal – and elsewhere ensure that it will be impossible to separate legally obtained rhino horns from those supplied by poachers.

”We don’t think it would stop the poaching crisis,” says Dr Colman O’Criodain, of the World Wildlife Fund. ”We think the legal trade could make it worse.’

The debate about saving rhinos is riddled with apparent contradictions: that we must consider disfiguring rhinos if we are to save them; that rhino numbers have not been this high in half a century but the risk of their extinction has never been greater.

And so it is that the story of the rhinoceros has reached a crossroads. It is a story that pits, on one side, a creature that has adapted to everything millions of years of evolution have thrown at it, against, on the other, the humans that will either drive the species to extinction or take the difficult decisions necessary to save it.

News Link-http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-horn-of-plenty-20130514-2jknt.html#ixzz2TKNlQary

Maryland Child Behavioral Specialist Placed on Leave After Being Indicted on Bestiality Charges

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Jarrettsville, Maryland — A child behavioral specialist at a public school system in Maryland was recently indicted on bestiality charges after investigators allegedly found numerous video tapes at her home capturing her engaging in sexual acts with a dog.

Stephanie Mikles, 45, was placed on leave without pay this month by the Harford County Public School District after she was indicted in April for engaging in “unnatural and perverted sex practice.” According to reports, the allegations stem from incidents occurring in August 2008, which were not discovered until late last year. There is no statute of limitations involving the crime in the state.

A complaint against Mikles regarding a separate issue led to an official investigation by the child advocacy center, which resulted in the discovery of a number of videos. The shocking videos were then removed from the woman’s home and reviewed by investigators. Harford County States Attorney Joseph Cassilly told the Baltimore Sun that the footage “took a while to go through.”

“As a result of what they found, they placed the charges,” he said, noting that he believed the sexual acts occurred on “more than one instance.”

 A grand jury then indicted Mikles of having “sexual intercourse with a dog,” according to court records and still photographs presumably taken from the videos.

Mikles was released on $5,000 bond following the indictment. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1,000 fine. The dog is stated to still live at the Mikles household.

Mikles has been working as a behavioral specialist for the past four years, providing strategies for helping children that struggle with abnormal behavior. She was moved to a non-instructional position late last year when the district became aware of the charges against her, then put on leave with pay following her indictment in April. This month, she was placed on leave without pay.

Moral Low Ground Ground Notes that Mikles’ case is not unique, but is rather one of a string of bestiality cases to come to light just this year.

“Last month, North Carolina animal shelter volunteer Seadon Collins Etienne Henrich of Zebulon was arrested and charged with four felony counts of crime against nature and three felony counts of disseminating obscenity for allegedly abusing dogs in his care and photographing the incidents,” it outlines. “In March, 38-year-old Derwayne Wesley Sharp of Greensboro, North Carolina was charged with raping a young girl and having sex with a dog, crimes that allegedly occurred at the same time back in 2005.”

“In February, 23-year-old Kara Vandereyk was arrested by Las Vegas police who witnessed her having sex with a pit bull in her backyard,” the report continues. “In January, Charles Ralph Horton, 57, of Cedar Springs, Michigan was charged with sodomy after allegedly raping a lab/shepherd mix on multiple occasions last year. Also in January, Milford, Delaware couple Samantha L. Golt, 24, and her 25-year-old boyfriend James P. Crow were arrested and charged with bestiality. Golt allegedly had sex with a dog while Crow is accused of filming the action.”

A scheduling conference will be held on May 20th regarding Mikles’ case as she remains under investigation.

News Link:-http://christiannews.net/2013/05/14/maryland-child-behavioral-specialist-placed-on-leave-after-being-indicted-on-bestiality-charges/

School Employee Indicted For Having Sex With Her Dog “I added this News clip, purely for a picture of the reprobate!”

An employee of the Harford County public school system who works primarily with special needs students has been placed under suspension without pay following her indictment on a sex offense charge last month.

Sick

Stephanie Mikles, 45, of the 1500 block of North Bend Road in Jarrettsville, was indicted April 16 in Harford County Circuit Court on a charge of unnatural and perverted sex practice, according to court records.

The alleged crime, which involves an allegation of bestiality, occurred from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31, 2008, according to court documents. There is nothing in the court record that relates the charge to Mikles’ employment with the county school system.

News Link:http://blurbrain.com/school-employee-indicted-for-having-sex-with-her-dog/

A Tiger, a Truck Stop And A Pitched Legal Battle

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“Please let me point out, that at no time, have I ever said Tony is abused or cruelly treated. My issue & that of most advocates for Tony, is simply his living enclosure & it’s site at the truck stop. Please see the videos & sign the petition at the end of this post…thank you!”

GROSSE TETE, La. — The American truck stop is a promise of certain reliable’s  a shower, a warm meal, some small talk at the counter, a 24/7 source of diesel, beef jerky and cigarettes

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied

Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied

The truck stop here just west of Baton Rouge offers all those things, but as most southern Louisianians know, it has another less standard feature: a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger.

Tony is only the latest in a line of tigers to live here. Thirteen cubs were born at the truck stop, and several adult tigers brought in, including a white tiger named Salena who died of pancreatic cancer in the early 2000s and is now stuffed and sitting in the Tiger Cafe atop the salad bar.

Tony, who is 12 years old, spends his days draped languidly on top of his cinder-block den or pacing around the grass in his 40-foot-by-80-foot caged enclosure on one side of the parking lot, seemingly as unriveted by the truckers as they are by him. “The enclosure gates have been filmed open many times, but Tony often prefers to paces back & forth in his concrete enclosure. His enclosure may be large for a tiger living in a yard, but size is nothing…it’s what’s in it that makes all the difference. There is nothing for Tony to do nor any natural foliage to make it appear more like his natural habitat. Tony does not have a swimming pool, although Mr. Sandlin has been quoted several times, saying it is a pool; it’s a horse feed trough or something similar. Irrelevant of what it is, it’s way too small for Tony to sit in never mind swim; In all the years I have been advocating for Tony’s move, i have never once seen him dip so much as a toe in that water trough & I’ll bet nobody can find any evidence of him being in it (apart from possibly when he was a young cub)!”

He also appears unmoved by his role at the centre  of a costly and complicated legal dispute, pitting claims of property rights against animal rights and prompting regular news reports about his impending removal. The legal fight has gone on for years. Tony remains.

“It’s become more of a liability than an asset,” said Michael Sandlin, 50, who has run the truck stop for the past 25 years. “But it’s not the money. It’s the principle.

The Tiger Truck Stop has long been a thorn in the paw of animal rights organizations and many animal lovers generally. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, public officials lobbied. Robert Barham, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, described “cases of mail from every state and a host of foreign countries.” Still, he said, state veterinarians sent to inspect Tony invariably returned with reports of good health. “Good, I’m glad some vets have seen him, but was it a routine check or did he have bloods, scans etc. to check his internal organs are not being effected by the air born fumes? I would sure like to see a copy of that report!”

Matthew Liebman, a lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in California, acknowledged that Tony’s situation was not the worst he had ever seen, though he and others worry about the tiger’s constant exposure to exhaust and diesel fumes.

“The bottom line for us is that tigers don’t belong in truck stops,” Mr. Liebman said. “I think it reflects a pretty commodified, objectifying view of animals that we don’t support — that they are objects of entertainment, that they are gimmicks to sell gasoline.

In 2006, the state passed a law that put limits on “big exotic cat” possession, but allowed anyone who owned such a cat at the time to be grandfathered in. Mr. Sandlin, who had kept tigers here for nearly two decades, was granted a permit for Tony. But in a 2011 trial, lawyers for the animal defense fund showed that a parish law that was on the books in 2006 prohibited keeping exotic animals and argued that he should not have been exempted from the new law. The judge agreed and ordered Mr. Sandlin’s state permit revoked.

Mr. Sandlin, who still has a federal permit, has appealed the decision, and has also filed a separate lawsuit arguing that the state law itself is unconstitutional because it is applied unevenly and leaves too much discretion to enforcement officials.

Still, he has been looking for a retirement home for Tony. This search generated its own outcry when he said he was leaning toward a wildlife park in Oklahoma owned by a man who calls himself Joe Exotic, but whose real name is Joe Schreibvogel.

Mr. Schreibvogel’s park has attracted a good deal of controversy itself and is being investigated by federal officials for 23 tiger cub deaths. Although this was found to be tainted formulae.  But Mr. Sandlin said he believed that it provided good care, and did not trust others to know what was good for Tony. “Now with Joe Exotic becoming bankrupt, how will this effect Tony, will Mr Sandlin still prefer to move him their, will he still be able to move him their or will he choose an accredited sanctuary; which Tony deserves. Joe Exotic has been asking for donations to build Tony an enclosure, for some time now. He has been quoted as saying, it would be off the usual track visitors take, so Tony can be private! Yet Mr. Sandlin say’s Tony is used to noise??? I have just found the same article on Joe Exotics new web page; the name of the park has change to The Garold Wayne interactive Zoological Park:-http://www.gwpark.org/Tony-The-Tiger.php

“He’s used to the noise from the Interstate and the trucks,” Mr. Sandlin said. “He’s used to people coming up here and looking at him.”

“To tear him away from this,” he said, breaking off, then added, “I think it would be very cruel because that’s what he’s used to.”

Mr. Sandlin and his opponents see the world rather differently. The phrase “animal rights activist,” particularly if it means someone who would ban the private ownership of exotic animals, is to Mr. Sandlin a disparagement on its face. (A T-shirt for sale in the truck stop store reads “Animal Rights Activists Taste Like Chicken.”)

But he takes no offence when critics deride him as a purveyor of roadside entertainment. He considers himself an ally of the travelling circuses that occasionally stop here, and he allows the elephants to graze out back. “Why when he has plenty land at the back, did he build the enclosure at the front; if it was not for monetary gain?”

The idea of a tiger truck stop had been his father’s, but opening one here seemed particularly apt given that the mascot of nearby Louisiana State University is a tiger. (The university keeps its own tiger, Mike VI, in an enclosure next to the football stadium.) “Yes, & you want to see his enclosure in fact I will post a video of it at the bottom so you can see the difference!”

So in 1988, Mr. Sandlin arrived from Houston with Toby and Rainbow, he a mostly Bengal mix, she a pure-bred Siberian. In 2000, after the sale of a tiger truck stop owned by Mr. Sandlin’s father in West Texas, Toby and Rainbow were joined by Tony and Salena. “But didn’t Toby & Rainbow end up at a tiger sanctuary?”

In the ensuing years, the United States Department of Agriculture issued several citations to the truck stop, among other things for allowing cubs to run loose around the office. Mr. Sandlin paid a fine and sold all the tigers but Tony.

About 35 people work at the truck stop, including a sister of Michael Sandlin’s; a brother-in-law; a niece; a nephew; Mr. Sandlin’s mother, Virginia, who handles billing; and his domestic partner of 26 years, Scott Holbrook, who is the vice president of the truck stop as well as the video poker manager. “No mention of the person that cares for Tony, cleans his enclosure or feeds him then?”

There is also a middle-aged man named Ray Jackson, who buses tables at the restaurant and who will sing on command. Seeing him outside the Tiger Cafe, Mr. Sandlin said the word and Mr. Jackson stopped immediately and sang “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.”

“People get a kick out of that,” Mr. Sandlin said.

For now, there is the wait for a ruling. An immediate change is unlikely even then, but as a breed, the tiger truck stop’s days may be numbered.

There are certainly some substandard roadside zoos,” Mr. Liebman said. “But this is the only truck stop tiger I know of.”

News Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/us/truck-stop-tiger-in-louisiana-stirs-legal-battle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Petition to send Tony to an accredited Sanctuary:– http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

News from the Animal Legal Defence Fund on Tony:http://aldf.org/article.php?id=1675

UPDATE (15) Aug 11, 2011: Mike VI, the LSU Bengal Tiger Mascot’s HABITAT

My dear friend Cloversweed has around 40 videos of Tony, taken personally with no editing. What you see is what you get. Check out the ones that show no water in the so called pool, & the one with a live kitten sat in Tony’s feed area…Cloversweed has captured a lot of evidence to suggest that  a truck stop is not  the right place for a Tiger to live. Please visit her Channel:-http://www.youtube.com/user/cloversweed

Uploaded on 13 Aug 2011

Mike, the LSU Bengal Tiger Mascot taken Aug 11, 2011
Mike the Tiger has one of the finest habitats in the USA. 
Mike’s HISTORY follows, but first please read the NOTE I have posted below concerning Tony, the “truck stop tiger”.

UPDATE #34 (01.22.13):Tony, “the Truck Stop Tiger”- A Trucker’s Opinion.Vid2

Published on 23 Jan 2013

1. NOTE: You will see ALL TONY in Video One and Tony does not look good at all… http://youtu.be/_oW85GzKEWg
PLEASE READ video description in Video ONE.

2. In this video, Video 2 of 2, Tony had just returned back to his concrete bed and this truck driver came over to try to get a picture. This gentleman also expressed his feelings/concerns about Tony’s situation. I found his views interesting.

3.TONY UPDATE: On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 the courts will hear ALDF’s oral arguments in the appeal to free Tony. 
http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2233#….
*Video ONE has been submitted to our ALDF contact and we certainly hope can be used in this hearing.

UPDATE # 35 (01.22.13):Tony, “the Truck Stop Tiger” Vid 1 OF 2

BATTLEFRONT DIES ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE GRAND NATIONAL MEETING

Comments Off on BATTLEFRONT DIES ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE GRAND NATIONAL MEETING

“OMG…the dreaded day is ahead…& it’s started already, one horse dead, although that was through a heart attack, so one has to question, why was he racing in the first place? was it just about MONEY!!!”

“Please if you love animals, especially horses, don’t back on the cruelty! These horses may well be very well cared for but at what cost? their life, in one race! I am dreading the Grand National & would ask everyone to pray that all horses finish the course & get to go home without any incident!”

“The spokes people at the Grand National have to mention a horse that has gone down, because it’s live TV. But you don’t hear them mentioning the ones that have gone back to their stables & died of heart attacks like Battlfront R.I.P or other horses who have burst pulmonary arteries etc.” 

The Grand National course, which has undergone what have been described as major safety improvements, claimed an equine victim today (4 April), when 11-year-old Battlefront collapsed and died with a suspected heart attack.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/04/04/article-2304044-1917423A000005DC-297_634x371.jpg

He was being ridden by Katie Walsh, who earlier this week triggered controversy when she seemed to trivialise the deaths of horses on racecourses (‘these things happen, and they’re horses at the end of the day’), and claimed that race horses are looked after ‘better than some children’.

Battlefront had been racing in the 3.40 Foxhunters’ Chase, which is run over 18 fences on the Grand National course. Walsh pulled him up when he appeared to become distressed after jumping the challenging Valentine’s Brook.

He had been carrying an exceptionally heavy weight of 12 stone. Twenty-three other horses were entered into the 2m 5f event. It has been reported that four of them fell, another was brought down, several were pulled up and just 14 of the 24 finished.

Battlefront is the 23rd horse to have died on the Grand National course since 2000 – eleven of them having perished in the big race itself.

report published by Animal Aid last month identified Aintree as the country’s most lethal racecourse for horses when deaths are calculated in relation to the number of days’ racing.

Says Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

‘The Aintree authorities and the British Horseracing Authority have been claiming that major new safety measures and efficiencies would eliminate much of the risk associated with racing on the Grand National course. But today’s Foxhunters’ Chase, in which Battlefront lost his life, was stomach-wrenchingly chaotic from start to finish. Several horses fell or were pulled up, tired and potentially injured. It was both utterly depressing and served as confirmation that the Aintree authorities have got it badly wrong once again.’

For more information:Contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.

News Link:-http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse//2860//

The Grand National meeting at Aintree suffered its first fatality on day one this afternoon as Battlefront collapsed and died after the 3.40 John Smith’s Fox Hunters‘ Chase.

The horse, ridden by Katie Walsh, was pulled up at the 11th fence of the 2m 5f chase, which was won by 100/1 long shot Tartan Snow.

Unfortunately 11-year-old Battlefront, trained by the jockey’s father Ted, then suffered a suspected heart attack on the way back to the stables and died.

Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree Racecourse, confirmed the news, saying: ‘We can confirm that Battlefront was pulled up at fence 11 of the John Smith’s Fox Hunter’s Chase on the Grand National course by his jockey Katie Walsh and sadly afterwards he collapsed and died.

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-2304044/Battlefront-dies-Grand-National-meeting-day-one.html#ixzz2PVz6zhvu

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Changes to the fence course:- WHW…Video

Working towards a safer Grand National


Published on 4 Apr 2013

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, discusses the changes being made by Aintree Racecourse to the Grand National 2013 fences and course, including the new fence cores. 

Find out more about World Horse Welfare’s work with sport regulators; http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/sport

Just a few of the many petitions to sign:-

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