Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's in a name??

Dog named L.L. Bean adopted by L.L. Bean employee
1:29 PM, Dec 15, 2011
Photo courtesy Dunn County Humane Society

MENOMONIE, Wis. - A dog named L.L. Bean will soon be united with the clothing company of the same name after a TV report in Eau Claire, Wis., featured the dog in an adoption segment.

The day after the dog, a three-year-old, 80-pound coon hound, was showcased on WQOW-TV during a "Pet of the Day" segment, an employee from L.L. Bean's corporate office in Maine contacted the Dunn County Humane Society to inquire about the dog's availability.

According to the Dunn County Humane Society's website, the shelter had not been able to find a place for L.L. Bean the dog for more than a year. That is, until L.L. Bean the company called.

An employee at L.L. Bean's headquarters shared the dog's story with other employees. Four adoption applications were submitted to the Dunn County Humane Society for L.L. Bean.

Pam Burt of Windham, Maine, is a customer service representative at L.L. Bean and in early January, she will be the proud new owner of the hunting dog. She was selected after a phone interview with the shelter.

"I fell in love with L.L. Bean as soon as I read the story and saw his picture," Burt told WQOW. "My family can't wait to get him."

The dog will leave western Wisconsin for Maine in early January.

Employees at L.L. Bean's Maine offices collected more than $800 to pay for the dog's transportation from Menomonie to Burt's home in Maine.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

New limits on use of chimps in medical research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) adopt strict new limits on using chimpanzees in medical research, saying most unneeded

Associated Press Updated: December 15, 2011 - 1:08 PM

Marlon, 10, a chimpanzee, in his outdoor cage at the New Iberia Research Center in New Iberia, La., Oct. 28, 2011.
Photo: Tim Mueller, New York Times

WASHINGTON - The government on Thursday said it would adopt strict new limits on using chimpanzees in medical research, after a prestigious scientific group recommended that experiments with humans' closest relative be done only as a last resort.

The National Institutes of Health agreed that science has advanced enough that chimps seldom would be needed to help develop new medicines.

NIH Director Francis Collins temporarily barred new federal funding for research involving chimps, and said a working group will review about 37 ongoing projects involving the animals to see if they should be phased out.

Chimps' similarity to people "demands special consideration and respect," Collins said.

These apes' genetic closeness to humans has long caused a quandary. It's what has made them so valuable to scientists for nearly a century. They were vital in creating a vaccine for hepatitis B, for example, and even were shot into space to make sure the trip wouldn't kill the astronauts next in line.

But that close relationship also has had animal rights groups arguing that using chimps for biomedical research is unethical, even cruel.

Chimp research already was dwindling fast as scientists turned to less costly and ethically charged alternatives.

Thursday's decision was triggered by an uproar last year over the fate of 186 semi-retired research chimps that the NIH, to save money, planned to move from a New Mexico facility to an active research lab in Texas.

Where and how to house those animals — and others scattered around the country who probably no longer will be needed — are among the issues that Collins said a government working group will decide as it determines how to implement the new research restrictions.

The Institute of Medicine's recommendation on Thursday stopped short of the outright ban that animal rights activists had pushed. Instead, it urged strict limits on biomedical research — testing new drugs or giving animals a disease — that would allow using chimps only if studies could not be done on other animals or people themselves, and if foregoing the chimp work would hinder progress against life-threatening or debilitating conditions.

The panel advised the government to limit use of chimps in behavioral and genetic research as well, saying such studies must provide insights that otherwise are unattainable — and use techniques that minimize any pain or distress.

"We understand and feel compelled by the moral cost of using chimpanzees in research," said bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn of Johns Hopkins University, who chaired the Institute of Medicine panel. "We have established criteria that will set the bar quite high for justification of the use of chimpanzees."

The U.S. is one of only two countries known to still conduct medical research with chimpanzees; the other is Gabon, in Africa. The European Union essentially banned such research last year.

Here, too, the practice was becoming uncommon. The Institute of Medicine's investigation found over the past 10 years, the NIH has paid for just 110 projects of any type that involved chimps. There are not quite 1,000 chimps available for medical research in the country.

While it's impossible to say how many have been used in privately funded pharmaceutical research, the industry is shifting to higher-tech and less costly research methods. One drug company, GlaxoSmithKline, adopted an official policy ending its use of great apes, including chimpanzees, in research.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Horsemeat may become available in U.S.

Horsemeat May Become Available in U.S.
By AP / JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011

(TULSA, Okla.) — Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.

Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts this year as Congress and the White House aim to trim federal spending.

The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer questions beyond what was in the statement.

The last U.S. slaughterhouse that butchered horses closed in 2007 in Illinois, and animal welfare activists warned of massive public outcry in any town where a slaughterhouse may open. "If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you'll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate," predicted Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States. "Local opposition will emerge and you'll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed."

But pro-slaughter activists say the ban had unintended consequences, including an increase in neglect and the abandonment of horses, and that they are scrambling to get a plant going — possibly in Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska or Missouri. They estimate a slaughterhouse could open in 30 to 90 days with state approval and eventually as many as 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered for human consumption. Most of the meat would be shipped to Europe and Asia, where it's treated as a delicacy.

Dave Duquette, president of the nonprofit, pro-slaughter group United Horsemen, said no state or site has been picked yet but he's lined up plenty of investors who have expressed interest in financing a processing plant. While the last three slaughterhouses in the U.S. were owned by foreign companies, he said a new plant would be American-owned. "I have personally probably five to 10 investors that I could call right now if I had a plant ready to go," said Duquette, who lives in Hermiston, Ore. He added, "If one plant came open in two weeks, I'd have enough money to fund it. I've got people who will put up $100,000."

Sue Wallis, a Wyoming state lawmaker who's the group's vice president, said ranchers used to be able to sell horses that were too old or unfit for work to slaughterhouses but now they have to ship them to butchers in Canada and Mexico, where they fetch less than half the price.

The federal ban devastated "an entire sector of animal agriculture for purely sentimental and romantic notions," she said.

Although there are reports of Americans dining on horse meat a recently as the 1940s, the practice is virtually non-existent in this country, where the animals are treated as beloved pets and iconic symbols of the West.

Lawmakers in California and Illinois have banned the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and more than a dozen states tightly regulate the sale of horse meat.

Federal lawmakers' lifting of the ban on funding for horse meat inspections came about in part because of the recession, which struck just as slaughtering stopped. A federal report issued in June found that local animal welfare organizations reported a spike in investigations for horse neglect and abandonment since 2007. In Colorado, for example, data showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 percent — from 975 in 2005 to almost 1,600 in 2009.

The report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office also determined that about 138,000 horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010, nearly the same number that were killed in the U.S. before the ban took effect in 2007. The U.S. has an estimated 9 million horses.

Cheri White Owl, founder of the nonprofit Horse Feathers Equine Rescue in Guthrie, Okla., said she's seen more horse neglect during the recession. Her group is caring for 33 horses now and can't accept more. "A lot of the situation is due to the economy," she said, "People deciding to pay their mortgage or keep their horse."

But White Owl worries that if slaughterhouses open, owners will dump their unwanted animals there instead of looking for alternatives, such as animal sanctuaries.

Animal rights groups also argue that slaughtering is a messy, cruel process, and some say it would be kinder for owners to have their horses put to sleep by a veterinarian. "Euthanasia has always been an option," Pacelle said. But "if you acquire a horse, you should be a responsible owner and provide lifetime care."

The fight over horse slaughtering has pitted lawmakers of the same party against each other.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the poor economy has resulted in "sad cases" of horse abandonment and neglect and lifting the ban will give Americans a shot at regaining lost jobs and making sure sick horses aren't abandoned or mistreated.

But U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., is lobbying colleagues to permanently ban horse slaughter because he believes the process is inhumane. "I am committed to doing everything in my power to prevent the resumption of horse slaughter and will force Congress to debate this important policy in an open, democratic manner at every opportunity," he said in a statement.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is safe

Protective grizzly that mauled hiker in Yellowstone Park not predatory, won't be hunted
Article by: MATT VOLZ , Associated Press Updated: July 7, 2011 - 5:51 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. - A grizzly bear that mauled a 57-year-old hiker to death in Yellowstone National Park was only defending its cubs and had not threatened humans before. So park officials on Thursday decided to leave it alone to wander the backcountry.

The mauling — the park's first in 25 years — temporarily closed one of Yellowstone's top attractions on one of the busiest days of the year, leaving some tourists to wonder what was going on.

"It was not predatory and so we see no reason to take action against the bear," said Kerry Gunther, bear management biologist for Yellowstone.

The attack also highlighted the potential dangers, however rare, that face tourists who come in record numbers each year to a park known for its burgeoning bear population and the Old Faithful geyser.

Whenever there is a run-in or attack involving bears, park officials must decide whether the attack was defensive or an act of aggression. In Wednesday's mauling, they based their conclusion on the account of the hiker's wife, who survived, as well as their knowledge of bear behavior.

Brian and Marylyn Matayoshi, of Torrance, Calif., were hiking in a backcountry meadow along a trail a mile and a half from the trailhead when they spotted the bear foraging about 100 yards away. The couple immediately turned and began walking away, officials said.

The grizzly charged and attacked Brian Matayoshi, then went for his wife, who ran for cover behind a tree. The grizzly lifted her off the ground by the day pack she was wearing and then dropped her.

She tried to call 911 on her cell phone, but couldn't get a signal. Other hikers in the area responded to her cries for help and managed to get through to emergency officials.

Marylyn Matayoshi told rescuers that the couple surprised the sow, its cubs nearby — one of the most dangerous situations possible for humans encountering grizzlies. Park officials believe the grizzly had two six-month-old cubs, based on previous sightings in the area and cub tracks where the attack occurred.

"All indications are that this was a defensive attack," park spokesman Al Nash said. "In such cases, the park's policy is to leave the bear in the backcountry."

The bear had never been documented before, never been tagged, and there was no reason to believe it had interacted with humans before, Nash said. They said the way the attack happened indicated the bear didn't intend to eat the couple.

Marylyn Matayoshi escaped injury and was no longer at the park, and officials declined to reveal her whereabouts.

In Torrance, neighbor Kathy Hester said Matayoshi and his wife kept their house immaculate and recently had put in a new lawn. "They are the sweetest people you'd ever want to meet," Hester said.

Park officials called the mauling a "1-in-3-million" encounter.

While many visitors Thursday morning were unaware of the attack, many seemed to know about it by the afternoon. Desk clerks at hotels inside the park told new arrivals that there had been a bear mauling. Worried relatives called or texted other visitors.

Some were surprised that rangers didn't let them know when they entered the park that there had been an attack and that some trails were closed.

"They didn't say one word about it at the gate," said Leslie Finch, visiting with her husband and two children for two days from Missoula, Mont. "I would have thought they'd say this area is closed. But they didn't say anything."

Park officials said the attack shouldn't condition the sow to attack again. They also collected DNA samples from fur at the attack site, so they can determine if the bear is involved in another attack, Gunther said.

"We don't believe that this defensive action by the bear would make any future action more probable," park superintendent Dan Wenk said.

Decades of research has established that grizzlies, while dangerous, rarely get aggressive with people except under very predictable circumstances, said Mark Bruscino, a Wyoming state bear biologist who has investigated some 40 attacks.

Grizzlies become aggressive when they are harassed, taken by surprise up close, are defending a food source or are defending their cubs, Bruscino said.

"You can almost explain every incident that occurs with a grizzly bear around those four," he said.

Bruscino declined to weigh in on the decision not to track and kill the Yellowstone bear.

A bear that fatally attacked a man and seriously injured two people at a campground east of Yellowstone last July was killed in part because the circumstances didn't neatly fit into predictable bear behavior, he said.

Hunger and internal parasites afflicted that grizzly, but investigators said they could not explain its late-night rampage through the crowded campground near Cooke City, Mont. That grizzly was captured and euthanized. Its three cubs are now in a Billings, Mont., zoo.

Wednesday's mauling was the park's first fatal grizzly attack since 1986, but the third in the region in just over a year amid ever-growing numbers of grizzlies and tourists roaming the same wild landscape. In June 2010, a grizzly just released after being tranquilized for study killed an Illinois hiker outside the park.

Grizzlies are an omnivorous species with a diet of berries, elk, fish, moths, ants and even pine nuts. Officials routinely urge visitors to take precautions: Stay on designated trails, carry bear spray, hike in groups of three or more, and make noise in places where a grizzly could be lurking.

The decision not to track and kill the Yellowstone bear isn't unprecedented. In nearby Grand Teton National Park, officials decided not to intervene with a grizzly that wounded a man in 2007. Rangers determined that female also was defending its cubs and didn't pose a general threat to humans.

"This is bear country," said Elizabeth Hoffman, a tourist from California who agreed with park officials' decision. "It's got babies. If someone came after a human mother, I don't think that we'd take her from her children."


Associated Press writers Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Greg Risling in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Makes me laugh every time

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Swan Lady of Monticello

'Swan Lady' created a haven for trumpeters
Star Tribune Updated: April 5, 2011 - 8:13 PM

Sheila Lawrence, who died Saturday, fed more than 1,500 swans each winter near her Monticello home.

Sheila Lawrence, shown in this 2007 photo, began feeding a pair of trumpeter swans that showed up near her Monticello home in 1988. The number grew to 1,500, at an annual cost of nearly $20,000.
Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

It was typical of Sheila Lawrence that she didn't take her leave of Monticello until after her beloved trumpeter swans, nurtured and fattened all winter long on the Mississippi River below her house, were on their way north once again.

Lawrence, 65, died Saturday after an eight-month battle with cancer. She left a legacy for her river town in the large graceful birds that now winter there, thanks to the "Swan Lady" who fed them for more than 20 years.

"Maybe she was the bird whisperer. Some people have it," said her husband, Jim, who took over the feeding for his wife this winter when she became too sick to continue.

"I don't know when she became the Swan Lady, but it kind of fit. She accepted it as a badge, and it worked for her and everybody else."

Carrol Henderson, nongame wildlife program supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources, said that Lawrence "single-handedly speeded up the recovery of this threatened species in Minnesota." He called her "a great conservationist."

Sheila Lawrence's daily feedings of shelled corn have regularly drawn more than 1,500 swans to Monticello in the winter months, making the community of 13,000 northwest of the Twin Cities a destination for hundreds of tourists from Minnesota and outside the state.

"She has put us on the map," said Sandy Suchy, director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The Wisconsin native graduated from high school in Somerset, Wis. After a stint as a beautician, she worked in several manufacturing plants before joining Medtronic in Fridley as an assembler. There she met Jim Lawrence, whom she married in 1980.

While still working for Medtronic, the Lawrences in 1984 built a house in Monticello above a stretch of the river that remains open in the winter due to the water discharge from the nearby power plant. Sheila began feeding the ducks and geese that stayed over the winter.

Four years later, the first few pairs of swans arrived.

"She said 'Wow, look at these big things,'" Jim Lawrence said.

The more swans she fed, the more came.

She worked hours moving buckets of corn from a grain hopper in her driveway down to the shallows where the swans rested. In recent years, the couple rigged a conveyor system using an auger that empties the feed into a tub near the water.

Sheila was quiet and didn't seek attention, her husband said, and years went by before her efforts became widely known.

As more tourists came to watch the growing number of swans, the city set aside a vacant lot next to the Lawrence home to accommodate them and dubbed it Swan Park. The chamber published a brochure with directions, a history of Monticello's swans and a food and lodging directory.

In recent years, Sheila was feeding the birds 1,200 to 2,000 pounds of corn each day. More than 2,200 birds were fed this winter, at a cost of nearly $20,000, but Jim Lawrence said that he plans to continue. "That is my intention. I'm not going anywhere," he said.

Besides her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Tracy Ford, of Big Lake, Minn.; three stepsons, James and Jason, both of East Haddam, Conn., and Chad, of Kings Bay, Ga.; her mother, Mabel Shay, of Monticello; and a sister, Sandra Simma, of Somerset. Services will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel, 250 E. Broadway, Monticello, with visitation at the funeral home from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

Friday, March 18, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Competing Puppy Mill bills in MN

This news is so disappointing. Looks like the two largest animal rescues in Minnesota have drawn a line in the sand yet again: Animal Ark is supporting one bill and AHS (Animal Humane Society) is supporting the other.

Can't animal rescue groups work together even for such an obvious common goal as eliminating animal cruelty in puppy mill breeding operations??

Who Is Behind Efforts to Kill Minnesota’s Puppy Mill Bill?
Posted by Mike Fry on February 27, 2011 at 11:30pm

Those who work on legislative efforts nationally and locally know that one of the most effective ways to kill a bill is to offer a competing alternative, thereby splitting the supporters of the cause, and giving opponents a rational excuse to vote down both bills. This is especially true if there is broad support for the original piece of proposed legislation.

This fact combined with news of competing bills to House File 388 and Senate File 384 being introduced in the Minnesota Legislature have left many people wondering, “who is trying to kill Minnesota’s puppy mill bill?”

The potential answers to that question get stranger if people look deeper into who is supporting the new competing legislation. It is a story that uncovers what could be either deliberate sabotage or incompetence within the animal welfare community.

The story begins a few years ago, when differing factions within the Minnesota animal welfare community were working on different approaches to regulating large-scale breeding operations in the state. One faction had been working for many years on one approach that had little support at the legislature and no support at all from those outside the animal welfare community. They had introduced bills repeatedly with absolutely no success at all.

Animal Ark had supported past efforts, but we realized a different approach needed to be taken. We began seeking input from other organizations, including small, responsible breeders, like the Minnesota Purebred Dog Breeder’s Association, sheriffs and veterinarians. The result was an interesting and widely supported new approach. It resulted in new language with broad support. But, a few animal welfare advocates clung to the old model.

When the Minnesota Legislature was approached with this new language, we were given a clear directive: get together with the animal welfare advocates working on other approaches, get on the same page, and deliver to the legislature a viable, single “compromise” bill. We did just that.

The process of getting agreement was fairly long, and somewhat painful for all parties involved. But we all together and succeeded.

The amended House File 253 in 2010 was the result of that challenging work. The new language was strong, tight and was supported by a remarkably broad spectrum of supporters. Organizations that testified in support of this new language last year included Animal Ark, Second Chance Animal Rescue, RAGOM, the Animal Humane Society, the Minnesota Purebred Dog Breeder’s Association, veterinarians and others.

Beyond that, the Board of Animal Health had produced a fiscal note that was very favorable to the language. The language got traction and quickly passed a couple of committees in the House. This was more success than any of its predecessors had ever seen.

In the end, after some dramatic twists and turns, an amendment version of House File 253 came within a handful of votes of passing in the House, thanks to the leadership of Representative John Benson, and others.

Believing in the language and the importance of collaboration, Representative Benson held a series of meetings with the small group of opponents to House File 253 over the interim. At these meetings, he asked for constructive input that would improve the language. None was offered.

As a result, he introduced House File 388 this year, identical language to the “compromise” language that was House File 253 in 2010. Immediately, a group of respected legislators signed on as co-authors. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate (Senate File 384) and immediately gained more sponsors.

Then, more momentum got going. A new Facebook page in support of the bills surged. A grass-roots effort of letter writing resulted in news coverage, letters to the editor and petitions being spread around the Internet. House File 388 and Senate File 384 were off to a strong start.

Then, something happened…

A little known web site ( announced competing bills. (The House version of this competing set of bills, it is worth noting, was authored by Representative John Lesch, the same representative that tried for several years to ban a variety of dog breeds throughout the state of Minnesota.)

A private individual apparently authors the web site She claims to represent a “broad coalition” of organizations, but has continually refused to say who they are. She has reportedly worked with the Humane Society of the United States. However, an email received today from the President of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, clearly states his organization has nothing to do with these competing bills. Furthermore, does not appear to have a legal lobbying presence at the legislature.

So, the question remains: Who is Who are they representing? And why would they be working to sabotage the puppy mill bill?

We will continue to keep you posted as we learn more.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Support MN Dog & Cat Breeder Bill

S.F. 462/H.F. 702

SPEAK UP for Minnesota Dogs and Cats on Tuesday, March 1.

We have great news! The Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill has been introduced at the Minnesota State Legislature.

The bill number in the Minnesota Senate is S.F. 462, introduced by Senator Barb Goodwin. The bill number in the House of Representatives is H.F. 702, introduced by Representative John Lesch.

Now is the time to act. Your help is needed!

Join the Take Action Day on Tuesday, March 1

A statewide Take Action Day has been scheduled for this Tuesday, March 1, to educate Minnesota legislators about the need for regulation and inform them about S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

That means - on Tuesday, March 1 - we are asking Minnesotans from across the State to call, write or email your State Senator and State Representative and urge their support of this legislation.

Be sure to mention the bill numbers (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) and names of the chief authors (Senator Goodwin / Representative Lesch).

Please put March 1 on your calendar and be ready to call, write or email your legislators on that day. Plan to join the Take Action Day!

For ideas about what to say and for key highlights of the bills, see below.


Please contact YOUR State Senator and YOUR State Representative to urge their support of S.F. 462/H.F. 702, the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill.

Here's how to call, write or email:
If you don't know who your State Senator and State Representative are or how to reach them, go to MN District Finder. Just type in your address and it will tell you your political district and state legislators and list their contact information -

State Senator
Call, write or email your State Senator. You can say, "As a constituent of yours (or Senator _________, if you reach an aide), I am contacting you (him/her) to urge support of the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill, Senate File 462. This bill is authored by Senator Barb Goodwin. It will regulate the dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota and help prevent inhumane breeding practices and conditions. I would also appreciate it if you would sign onto the bill as a co-author. Thank you."

State Representative
Also call, write or email your State Representative. You can say, "As a constituent of yours (or Representative _______________, if you reach an aide), I am contacting you (him/her) to urge support of the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill, House File 702. This bill is authored by Representative John Lesch. It will regulate the dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota and help prevent inhumane breeding practices and conditions. I would also appreciate it if you would sign onto the bill as a co-author. Thank you."

NOTE: If you call your legislators, you will likely speak with an aide who will relay your message.

ALSO: As in past years, multiple breeder bills have been introduced this session. To be clear when speaking with legislators and/or their aides, be sure to mention the bill numbers (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) and author names (Sen. Goodwin/Rep. Lesch).

You may also wish to mention some of the points below.


The Situation
The problem is inhumane dog and cat breeding practices in Minnesota by unscrupulous or negligent breeders and a lack of oversight of this industry.

No State Laws
Minnesota has no state laws to license, inspect or regulate the dog and cat breeding industry.

Top Producers
Minnesota is among the top producers of puppies in the United States with some of the largest breeding kennels in the nation - housing 300, 600 or over 1,000 dogs and puppies. Kittens are also mass-produced in Minnesota.

Substandard and Deplorable Conditions
While many breeders in Minnesota act responsibly, there are unscrupulous or negligent breeders who have created deplorable breeding conditions. Adult dogs and cats live their entire lives in small, overcrowded cages and are bred repeatedly. Cages are often stacked, allowing feces and urine to fall onto the animals below. Animals may be malnourished from inadequate food and water, receive little of no veterinary care, are stressed from constant confinement and neglect, have fleas, worms, etc. Many have deformed paws, are severely matted, or are burned from sitting and standing in urine and feces. The animals are rarely, if at all, provided human interaction or socialization, resulting in behavioral problems (including aggression and anxiety).

Current "System" is not Working
The current "system" used in Minnesota to address animal neglect and cruelty is complaint-based - i.e., a person must see the inhumane conditions and report the cruelty or neglect to authorities; law enforcement may then decide to investigate and pursue a case; and a prosecutor may choose to take the case.

Animal anti-cruelty laws kick in after the cruelty occurs - if someone files a complaint and if action is taken. Regulation is preventative - allowing authorities to legally enter the property and inspect breeding facilities so conditions can be assessed and cruelty can be prevented before it occurs. Relying solely on reporting, cruelty investigations and prosecution is time-consuming and costly for local law enforcement, animal control, animal welfare organizations and the courts. Regulation is a more efficient use of resources.

The Solution
Breeder regulation will give the State of Minnesota the authority to:
• License - Require commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota to be licensed
• Inspect and Enforce - Give legal authority to the Board of Animal Health to inspect commercial dog and cat breeding facilities and enforce existing State laws to ensure animal care standards are met
• Penalties - Impose civil, administrative and criminal penalties for those who violate the law

Additional highlights about the bill language are below.

Bill Highlights
The 2011 Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) is supported by a large coalition of humane societies, rescue groups, animal control, veterinarians, animal protection and advocacy organizations, and citizens.

The Coalition introduced the first breeder bill five years ago, when the issue of inhumane dog and cat breeding practices was not known or understood at the Capitol. Over the years that the Coalition has been working on the bill, huge strides have been made in educating legislators and the public – much of it due to all of your help and commitment.

The Bill - Changes and Improvements
Much of the language in the 2011 Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill is from last year's bill; however, specific improvements have been made to reflect new research, information and input. Some of the improvements made this year are noted below.

Lower licensing number
A key aspect to a breeder bill is the licensing number - i.e., how is a "commercial breeder" defined and who is required to obtain a license to operate? The 2011 MN Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill will license and regulate dog/cat breeders defined as: “a person, other than a hobby breeder, who possesses or has an ownership interest in animals and is engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange in return for consideration, and who possesses ten or more adult intact animals and whose animals produce more than five total litters of puppies or kittens per year”

NOTE: Last year, the breeder licensing number was raised to 20 breeding animals as a compromise. This session and with this bill, the licensing number was lowered to 10 (protecting more animals), a decision supported by legislators, law enforcement, rescue groups, humane societies, animal control, veterinarians and others.

Strengthen care standards based on scientific research/input
Considerable studies by respected veterinarians have been conducted in regards to dogs and cats in population settings and what is required to ensure the animals are healthy - physically and psychologically. The Coalition has incorporated some of this insight into the bill language, such as:

Veterinary plan - A provision was included in S.F. 462/H.F. 702 that requires breeders to have a veterinary care plan developed in conjunction with a licensed veterinarian. This not only helps the animals but it provides guidance and support for the breeders.

Animal well-being - S.F. 462/H. F. 702 contains language that requires adequate staff to observe each animal daily in order to monitor health, well-being and temperament.

Strengthen fiscal options
As with last year's bill, authority for inspections and enforcement has been directed to the Board of Animal Health (BAH). In order to best utilize the inspector’s time (and address breeders who are compliant), S.F. 462/H.F. 702 provides:

Inspections - allows every other year inspections if a breeder has had two consecutive years of inspections with no violations.

Reinspection fee - allows the BAH to charge a reinspection fee if they have to continue to return (multiple visits in one year) to a facility that is out of compliance with state law.

Please join the TAKE ACTION DAY on Tuesday, March 1!
Call your State Senator and State Representative and ask them to support S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

Thank you for your commitment to the animals and taking action!

475 North Cleveland Avenue Suite 100B | St. Paul, MN 55104 US

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brooklyn Center animal shelter faces foreclosure

11:32 AM, Feb 14, 2011
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. -- Cats and dogs have called the Gentle Touch Animal Sanctuary home for many years. But come July those animals may have no place to call home.

Last month the shelter was notified that the mortgage on the building they've been leasing for eight years is in default. Suzanne Thompson, a volunteer with the shelter, says the news came as a surprise because they've always been current with rent.

"Our first concern was what would we do with our animals and where would be able to find a space for them," Thompson said.

The non-profit is scrambling to find a new home. They have until July 31 to relocate but one huge problem stands in the way: money. They need at least $10,000 to move. So far they've raised $3,000. If they don't get enough the animals that cannot be adopted will have no home.

"They deserve to have a life just like some of the more adoptable cats are. They have their own unique personalities," Thompson, said.

The organization does not have a new location picked out yet but Thompson said when they have enough money to start looking they want to remain close to their old home.
To see how you can help, visit their website here.

Written by
Boua Xiong

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beagles rescued from research lab

Watch Freedom and Bigsby's first-ever romp in the sunshine (tear-jerk warning in full effect):

Shannon Keith, a Los Angeles attorney and founder of the nonprofit animal advocacy group, Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME), received a call in December tipping her off to news that some beagles were being retired from a research lab. These dogs, bred exclusively for animal testing, had lived in the lab nearly their entire lives had never felt the rays of the sun or grass under their feet.

Shannon Keith, Beagle Freedom Project founder, with Freedom and Bigsy.
Keith gathered a few of her friends and came to the aid of the two young dogs, who they named Freedom (1 1/2) and Bigsby (2 1/2), and the Beagle Freedom Project was born. The organization is dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for beagles used in laboratory research. It hopes to encourage more research labs to release their animals and give these potentially adoptable pets a chance at life, rather than needlessly destroying them.

Beagles are the most popular breed for testing pharmaceuticals, household products and cosmetics because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving and people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage and are inexpensive to feed. Research beagles are usually obtained directly from commercial breeders who specifically breed dogs to sell (for a pretty penny) to scientific institutions.

When the dogs are no longer wanted for research purposes, many labs simply kill those that have survived (depending on the nature of the experiments). But some attempt to give them a chance at a normal life by finding homes for those dogs that are deemed adoptable and healthy.

In the case of Freedom and Bigsby, the holidays were approaching and labs typically kill their animals just before the end of December since no one wants to stay and care for them. "Not only is this a horrific practice, but is also wasteful in so many ways," says Keith. "Often the experiments that these dogs were subjected to have not concluded, and the new batch coming in will need to start from scratch."

Working directly with labs, the Beagle Freedom Project is able to remove the retired beagles so they can be placed in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.

Freedom was recently adopted and lives in Glendale, California. Bigsby is being fostered in Studio City, but is still looking for his forever home. The same lab where they came from recently informed Keith that more beagles will soon be retired.

If you are interested in fostering or adopting a lab beagle, be aware that they come with some unique challenges. They will not be accustomed to life in a home and will not have experience with children, cats or other dogs. They will not be house-trained and accidents will happen (although they will learn quickly). Many have gone directly from a commercial breeder to the lab, and have never felt grass under their feet or even seen the sun. They will have been fed a special diet formulated for lab animals and may have difficulty adjusting to new foods. They will be unfamiliar with treats, toys, bedding and may never have walked on a leash. They will have lived in cages with steel wire floors and may have inflamed or infected paws. They may be initially fearful of people and may have other phobias from a lifetime of complete confinement. They are likely to have been surgically "de-barked" by the breeder and have an ID number tattooed in their ear. Although these beagles are considered healthy, very little information is disclosed about their origin, medical history or what kind of testing they were used for.

With time, patience, play, companionship — and most of all, love — these dogs will embrace their new-found freedom and learn how to become dogs. Just watch the video. Their transformation is nothing short of amazing.

The Beagle Freedom Project needs volunteers, sponsors, fosters, adopters and donations. For more information and to get involved click here.

Please, PLEASE buy products that are labeled "cruelty free" and "not tested on animals." Just like so many tuna fish cans are now stamped with the "dolphin-safe" seal of approval, it's time we advocate for the beagle equivalent on household cleaners, cosmetics and common pharmaceuticals.

Hamadi, one of my favorite haircare brands, proclaims that its products are "Tested on actresses, never on animals." I like the sound of that.

Posted By: Amelia Glynn (Email, Facebook) | January 20 2011 at 03:50 PM

Here is a list from PETA of companies that don't test on animals. So sad that anyone is still doing this.

Peta list:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Minnesota Puppy Mills

Minnesota Puppy Mills Again Making National News

For more information about this press release, contact Mike Fry at 651-772-8983 Ext. 99

January 13 – Animal Ark, a Minnesota-Based animal welfare organization announces the creation of a new Facebook page at for the purpose of raising awareness of the need to regulate large-scale breeders of puppies and kittens in the land of 10,000 lakes. One of the first posts on the page was to a newly released short-form documentary about Kathy Bauck, a notorious puppy mill operator from Minnesota. Bauck has been convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty and torture.

The 17-minute film includes graphic undercover video captured by the Companion Animal Protection Society, the producers of the documentary. It also features interviews with animal welfare advocates and one prosecutor whose efforts resulted in convictions for several counts against Bauck of cruelty and torture.

The most serious charges against Bauck included her performing her own Cesarean Sections on her dogs without anesthesia. In one compelling piece of video, a veterinarian from Bauck’s hometown recounts a conversation he had with Allan Bauck, Kathy’s husband. The veterinarian says, relating to the C-Sections “I asked, ‘in other words you just tie them down and take the puppies out?!’ Bauck responded, ‘Well, if I have to, ya.’”

Another post to the new Facebook page included photos of health certificates of puppies being sold in New York pet stores as recently as September of 2010. The documents list Kathy Bauck as the breeder for the puppies. (Copies attached)

In 2009 Bauck lost her USDA license following her most recent conviction for cruelty and torture, meaning that it is illegal for her to sell puppies commercially to pet stores.

Another post at is a link to a report by the USDA’s own Inspector General. The report is the result of an audit of the USDA’s inspection process. The report uncovered gaping holes in the agency’s inspection and enforcement practices.

Bauck is one of an estimated 400 large-scale commercial puppy mills in Minnesota. Surprisingly, the State of Minnesota provides for no regulation of these facilities. However, a bipartisan group of legislators are hoping to change that this year. Representatives Steve Smith (R) and John Benson (D) co-chaired a legislative workgroup that met with stakeholders over the summer for the purpose of preparing legislation to be introduced in 2011. will provide updates and alerts relating to these efforts.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pets banned on Indian reservation

Reservation Pet Rescue Needed in Minnesota:

Reservation Pet Rescue Needed in Minnesota
Updated: Wednesday, 05 Jan 2011, 6:47 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 04 Jan 2011, 9:23 PM CST

by Maury Glover / FOX 9 News

SISSETON WAHPETON, Minn. - You've probably never heard of the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, but a recent change on a reservation near the Minnesota South Dakota border has hundreds of pets -- including some right here in the Twin Cities -- in need of some loving homes.

There's nothing quite as cute as a brand new puppy. While Lilly, Nilly and Willie are trying to find their footing in their new surroundings, Lucy here is expecting some puppies of her own any day now

"We are all guessing when she will have them and how many there will be," said a caretaker.

All four were rescued from the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation near Sisseton, South Dakota after the public housing authority there banned all dogs.

The agency said there have been too many attacks and fights caused by the animals, and that all tenants must get rid of their pets by April 1.

"They are staked out on chains in little igloo houses, They don't live a very good life."

So far animal rescue groups like Paws for a Cause have removed almost 200 dogs from the reservation with 20 ending up here in the twin cities, and volunteers are heading down to pick up more this weekend.

"I just think there are so many dogs that need our help and the idea they would get shot or euthanized breaks my heart so anything i can do to help. I'm willing to do."

After breeding and training afghan hounds for most of her life, Cynthia Dunahay is making room for another dog in her home. And she hopes other animal lovers who hear what's going on will do the same.

"They need homes,” she said. “Good homes…and they appreciate it so much."

That ban by the housing authority includes cats too.

Of the 20 dogs brought to the cities a few weeks ago, all but five have been adopted. Paws for a Cause expects another 20 this weekend. If you'd like to adopt one, click