This Week in Animal Protection

News and headlines for October 9 - October 22, 2021

Maya, a beloved dog, was stolen from her home by PETA representatives and then illegally killed that very day. A lawsuit by the family led to a $49,000 settlement. She is one of over 40,000 animals killed by PETA.

California's “cruel, obsolete and inhumane” system of providing blood for dogs who need transfusions is coming to an end. A new study concluded that the lack of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters keeps both animals and women in harm’s way. This week marked the anniversary of PETA's theft and killing of Maya from her home. The communities of Dyer and Highland, Indiana, passed ordinances to ban the retail sale of commercially-bred dogs and cats in pet stores. Likewise, “Elizabethtown made history earlier this week, becoming the first municipality in Kentucky to ban the sale of cats and dogs in retail pet shops” unless they are rescue or shelter animals. The number of communities placing over 95% and as high as 99% of the animals is increasing. And Texas’ Governor was forced to retreat after he vetoed a bill that would have protected chained dogs. A swift and unrelenting backlash from dog lovers, including from those in his own party, caused him to change his mind.

These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:

  • California's archaic system of providing blood for dogs who need transfusions is coming to an end. Currently, California is the only state that relies on two “closed colony” blood businesses. In it, these businesses “house hundreds of dogs, mostly greyhounds, for the sole purpose of draining their blood.”

    But the Governor signed into law AB 1282, a bill that phases out the “cruel, obsolete and inhumane” practice, in favor of allowing veterinarians to voluntarily collect blood from the dogs of their clients. Despite fearmongering by those closed colony businesses and their allies that blood supplies will disappear, “Other states have allowed community-based clinics to collect blood from pets for decades with little drama, leaving California as the only state in the nation to still require closed colonies.”

    Moreover, a whistleblower who “volunteered to walk dogs” at one of the blood bank businesses says she “was horrified by the conditions she witnessed there… ‘The filth was out of control… There were rat droppings and cockroaches crawling out from under the grates.’” She says she “adopted one dog that looked especially abused. ‘His skin was raw. He was skinny and looked like he was dying.’”

  • A new study about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) concluded that the lack of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters keeps both animals and women in harm’s way as “women are more likely to delay leaving as they do not want to leave the pet with the abuser” for fear “Animals can be harmed or killed as an act of revenge by a violent partner after the victim has left.” And abusers know this: “Perpetrators of IPV attempt to control victims by exploiting the bonds they have with their pets.”

    The study's author concludes that in order to stop IPV, “it is necessary to always include animals in safety planning and for professionals to have the necessary training and information to assist people at risk in planning for their animals’ safety. Of course, this means that resources must be available, such as the development of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters, pet-friendly rental housing, and increased animal safekeeping programs are urgent and necessary.” 

    Although this particular study was conducted in Canada, the situation is also severe in the United States, where a new report found that less than 10% of domestic violence in the U.S. shelters allow pets.

  • This week marked the anniversary of PETA's theft and killing of Maya. On October 18, 2014, two PETA representatives backed their van up to a home in Parksley, VA, and threw biscuits to Maya, who was sitting on her porch. They were hoping to coax her off her property and give PETA the ability to claim she was a stray dog “at large” whom they could therefore legally impound.

    Maya refused to stay off the property and after grabbing the biscuit, ran back to the safety of her porch. One of the PETA representatives went onto the property and took Maya. Within hours, Maya was dead, illegally killed with a lethal dose of poison. She is one of over 40,000 animals put to death by PETA.

As more people turn to rescue and adoption and more shelters embrace progressive policies, the number of communities placing over 95% and as high as 99% of the animals is increasing:

  • Shiawassee County, MI, reported a 97% for dogs, 98% for cats, and 100% for rabbits and other small animals.

  • Alger County, MI, reported a 100% placement rate for dogs and 98% for cats.

  • Benzie County, MI, reported a placement rate of 96% for dogs, 95% for cats, and 100% for other animals.

Likewise:

  • Montmorency County, MI, reported a 96% placement rate for dogs and 98% for cats.

  • Flat Rock, MI, reported a 98% placement rate for dogs and 97% for cats.

  • Wexford County, MI, reported a 96% placement rate for dogs and 98% for cats.

  • The shelter that serves the communities of Riverview, Allen Park, Southgate, and Wyandotte, MI, reported a placement rate of 97% for dogs and 97% for cats.

These shelters and the data nationally prove that animals are not dying in pounds because there are too many, because there are too few homes, or because people don’t want the animals. They are dying because people in those pounds are killing them. Replace those people, implement the No Kill Equation, and we can be a No Kill nation today.

And, finally, never underestimate the power of millions of dog lovers. That power came to bear after Texas Governor Greg Abbott vetoed a bill back in June that would have offered neglected dogs protection by requiring shelter, shade, and abolishing restraint by short, heavy chains.

The Governor claimed that protecting dogs from cruelty amounted to “micromanaging.” In fact, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act was hardly that. It simply sought to remove the worst aspects of outdoor isolation, rather than ban it altogether which would have been the more humane thing to do. In a state where polarization seems to be fairly severe, both sides agreed on the need to protect these neglected dogs. The bill “received ample bipartisan support in the Texas legislature, passing in the Senate 28-3 and the House 83-32, but died once it reached Abbott's desk.”

Then came the swift and unrelenting backlash from dog lovers, including from members of his own party. That backlash caused the Governor to change his mind. During a special session, the Governor asked legislators to pass the bill again, promising to sign it. They did. 

It now heads to his desk for his signature.