Monday, March 31, 2008

A Mission of Love

After Susan Walsh and her beloved animals were abused by her husband, this Maine native embarked on a passionate crusade to protect family pets.

Ladies Home Journal/March 2008
By Louise Farr

Lazlo takes chores seriously at the 32-acre Blessed Be Farm, in Ellsworth, Maine, where Susan Walsh, 52, lives with her teenagers, Joshua, 18, and Cordelia, 16, and an assortment of pet ducks, turkeys, and sheep. Lazlo, a 12-year-old Belgian sheepdog, knows chickens belong in the barn and eagerly herds them in when they stray. He also thinks anything with wings is a chicken, however, so he barks and bounces on his hind legs as he tries to round up whatever flies by.

When it's time to turn in Lazlo sleeps on Walsh's bed. "He's my baby," says Walsh, a job coach to the developmentally disabled. She is a vegetarian, and she runs the farm as a hobby, keeping animals not for the table, but because she loves having them in her life. "All the animals are my family. I'm fierce about them."

Life wasn't always this cozy for Walsh and her brood. A sign in front of Blessed Be Farm reads "founded 1984, liberated 2001." The latter year was when Walsh's divorce became final -- after 12 years of marriage to a man who she says abused her emotionally, shot two of the family's sheep at close range, and wrung the necks of a dozen pet turkeys.

Read how Walsh turned the abuse she and her companions endured into a legal protection a long time coming here...

If you happen to be in Chicago on April 22nd, the Anti-Cruelty Society will be hosting a seminar on how to protect yourself and your companion animals from domestic violence (see link at right). In the interest of full disclosure, this blogger is among the panelists that will be presenting at the seminar.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

For a Temporary Best-Friend Fix, Rent a Dog (Kibble Included) for a Day

Not exactly animal law, but so odd that I'm posting it anyway:

Seems there is a business in New York City called "Flexpetz" that offers daily rentals of companion animals. Check out the entire New York Times article by Vincent m. Mallozzi here...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Worker Sentenced in Slaughterhouse Abuse

CHINO, Calif. - One of two men caught on videotape apparently abusing cattle at a California slaughterhouse has been sentenced to six months in jail.

The video - which showed Herrera and other workers at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company dragging sick cows with metal chains and forklifts, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water in their nose and faces - led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Read more here...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New class of hairy lawsuits asserts pets' rights

(This article from North Carolina's The News and Observer courtesy of one of my former interns-extraordinaire [and animal lawyer-to-be], Joe Mustian. Thanks for the heads-up Joe and the attorney profiled in the article is going to have some tough competition pretty soon!)

RALEIGH - Fido is getting a new name -- several, in fact: "plaintiff," "trustee," "beneficiary" and even "defendant."

Dogs, cats and creatures of all sorts are being redefined in an emerging area of legal practice known as animal law. Once considered mere property, animals are being invested with legal standing as they're increasingly being named as partial beneficiaries of estates, subjects of lawsuits and victims of abuse.

As animals rise in the law, so does the profile of animal lawyers, or lawyers who practice animal law.

Ninety-two of the 196 law schools in the country approved by the American Bar Association now offer courses on animal law, up from the nine that offered classes in 2000, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

"You're seeing this real snowball effect," said Pamela Alexander, director of the defense fund's animal law section.

Read the rest of the article here....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

800 Small Dogs Seized From Ariz. Home

By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN Associated Press Writer
7:46 PM CDT, March 12, 2008

TUCSON, Ariz. - About 800 small dogs, including Chihuahuas, terriers and Pomeranians, were seized from a triple-wide mobile home whose occupants were overwhelmed trying to care for the animals, authorities said Wednesday.

Pima County sheriff's deputies and animal welfare officials who removed the dogs also found 82 caged parrots in the home in a rural area northwest of Tucson.

Read more here...

115 Starving Dogs Found in Ky. Shelter

Don't think that all hoarding issues involve individuals and private residences. Check out this AP Article:

By Associated Press
1:22 PM CDT, March 12, 2008

SAND SPRINGS, Ky. - Police found 117 starving and diseased dogs -- including about 40 that were dead or dying -- during a raid at an eastern Kentucky animal shelter.

Some officers donned hazardous-material suits Tuesday before they went into the basement, which was full of filth, feces, murky liquid and more than a dozen dogs.

Read more here...

Ex-wife of Walgreen heir says she is leaving house, moving 3 controversial pigs

By Susan Kuczka Tribune reporter
March 13, 2008

Three not-so-little pigs that had been at the center of a lawsuit claiming they were noisy, stinky and potentially dangerous will soon be moving out of their North Shore digs.

Read the rest of the story here...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pharmaceuticals get slapped for Premarin, Prempro and Provera

A federal jury on Thursday ordered Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Upjohn Co. to pay more than $27 million to a Little Rock, Ark., woman who got breast cancer after taking hormone replacement therapy. The jury had ruled last month that the companies failed to adequately warn the plaintiff that the drugs carry an increased risk of breast cancer.

Read the rest of the article from and The Associated Press here...

Personal commentary: While $27 million may not be a crippling blow for the pharmaceutical industry, hopefully it - along with some other recent suits - will be enough to encourage manufacturers to reconsider their use of pregnant mares to make the hormones.

Canine DNA test leads to court victory

An eight month legal battle is over for a Kansas City man who had to prove his dog didn't violate a local ban against pit bulls. Read the Fox 4 News story here....

Woman Faces $1,000 Fine For Pink Poodle

This gleened from KMGH in Denver:

A Boulder woman said she will fight a $1,000 fine she was given for dyeing her miniature poodle pink. Joy Douglas said she dyed Cici pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer. The salon owner said she has used beet juice -- and occasionally Kool-Aid -- for four years now to "stain" her dog.Officials at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley told the Daily Camera Douglas was warned several times before she was issued the ticket on March 1. Douglas is accused of violating the city's code saying "No person shall dye or color live fowl, rabbits, or any other animals." It’s a code meant to keep people from dyeing rabbits and chicks at Easter.

Click here to read the rest of the story...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Update on Illinois guide dog trial

Following last month's hung jury in a rural Illinois town, complaining witness Don Hert says that the Adams County prosecutor has added a charge under the state's White Cane Law. At issue was the refusal by owners of the Greek To Me Restaurant to allow Mr. Hert's guide dog to enter the establishment. The case is set for re-trial during the week of April 14th.

Mr. Hert did not file a civil suit in this matter.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Australia takes a closer look at animal law

Some encouraging news from the land down under...

Voiceless/The Fund for Animals is reporting that "the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has devoted the latest edition of its half yearly journal, Reform to the subject of Animal Law. The ALRC is an independent federal statutory body whose mandate is to conduct inquiries into potential areas of law reform...."

Read more here...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

9th Circuit win for marine mammals!

In what is being described as a major victory for marine mammals and environmentalists, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Navy's request for exemption from some important environmental protections, and even strengthened others, such as increasing by ten-fold the distance in which the Navy must shut down its sonar when it spots a whale. The court did allow the Navy a 30-day stay in order to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and to conduct some previously-scheduled March training missions.

Read more in the L.A. Times article by Kenneth R. Weiss here...

49 dogs seized from barn in suburb southwest of Chicago

PEOTONE - Authorities raided a suspected puppy mill Saturday in Will County, seizing 49 dogs in stacked cages and covered in excrement, the Cook County sheriff's office said. Authorities raided a Peotone farmhouse about 11 a.m. in response to a weeklong investigation of a possible dogfighting or puppy-mill operation in Cook County, said Penny Mateck, a sheriff's spokeswoman.

For more, click here...