Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sign ACR's Petition to the US Fish & Wildlife Service

Over the years, cats have been turned into scapegoats and blamed for the depletion of bird populations, especially songbirds. Cats are on the "public enemy" list of most wildlife groups, including our very own government's Fish and Wildlife Service.

Cats are being called "serial killers," "pests" and "The Scourge of Suburbia." Sadly, few groups and writers have ever defended cats by challenging these so-called statistics. It wasn't until 1994, when Jeff Elliott tried to get the truth out by writing for the Sonoma County Independent. Co-author of the Wisconsin Study, Stanley Temple, told the Sonoma County Independent, "The media has had a field day with this since we started. Those figures were from our proposal. They aren't actual data; that was just our projection to show how bad it might be." Though 16 years later, these exaggerated numbers are still being used and they are becoming more and more accepted as fact.

Too long have cats received a bad rap and blamed for the "destruction" of birds and wildlife. Conservation groups need to STOP using exaggerated numbers and bogus studies to base these claims upon. Yes, cats kill birds but for agencies, especially government-supported ones, to push for the eradication of cats based on such lies is horrifying and tragic. Help us help cats and STOP the perpetuation of lies being told by the US Fish and Wildlife Service by signing this petition. Thank you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Louise Appears on Pet Radio


On Tuesday, Deborah Wolfe, the host of "Animal Party" on Pet Life Radio, spoke live on air with our very own Louise Holton! I, Maggie Funkhouser, was originally scheduled to appear on the show; however, due to uncontrollable circumstances, I was unable to be there. Instead, Deborah had the opportunity to speak with our president and founder, Louise.

In a short amount of time, Louise touched on a lot of hot topics concerning the cat rescue world, including spay/neuter, trap-neuter-return, zoonotic diseases, rabies, and predation. She also got a chance to speak about our programs and about our projects both here in the US and in other countries.

To hear Louise discuss feral cat management, along with other topics, please click here. The entire radio show is an hour long. Louise appears about half way through and talks for the remaining time. Good job, Louise!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Australia’s War on “Pests”

So today I read an article in an Australian newspaper that said: “Arid Recovery has won a $29,500 Community Natural Resource Management (NRM) grant to undertake field trials into innovative feral cat management techniques.” By now most of us are familiar with Australia’s fight against “invasive species,” “exotic,” “alien,” “introduced,” “feral,” “pest” or whatever term you chose to use, but we might not know that the country is “waging a war” against these species, which seem to number in the thousands, but no one is actually sure. Australia spends around $3.5 billion a year just on the control of noxious weeds; that’s not including populations of mammals, birds, insects, fungi, or diseases that are being managed.

According to their website, “Arid Recovery is an ecosystem restoration initiative based in the South Australian outback and dedicated to the restoration of Australia’s arid lands. Established in 1997, the program is centered around a 123km² [approx. 403,543ft] fenced reserve. Feral cats, rabbits and foxes have been eradicated from a total of 60km² [approx. 196,850ft] and this has provided an area of complete protection into which four species of locally extinct mammals have so far been reintroduced. Arid Recovery is a unique example of a highly successful partnership between industry, government, education and community via the four way partnership that supports Arid Recovery.”

So I did some research and found out that two of Arid Recovery’s partners or “sponsors,” appear to have their own agenda for lending a hand in conservation. The first is BHP Billiton, “the world's largest diversified natural resources company.” In 2008, BHP Billiton Olympic Dam (the site of an extremely large iron oxide copper gold deposit producing copper, uranium, gold, silver) began expansion on the site, sealing its fate by becoming the largest mine in the world. BHP Billiton donates some land towards conservation and provides some funding, and in return they boast about their mining operations. “[We] aim to be a premier global company, we occupy significant positions in major commodity businesses, including aluminum, energy coal and metallurgical coal, copper, manganese, iron ore, uranium, nickel, silver and titanium minerals, and have substantial interests in oil, gas, liquefied natural gas and diamonds.”

The other company to sponsor Arid Recovery is ODT Australis, a heavy equipment contractor. They specialize in mining, demolition, waste management, pastoral management (lease land for livestock and assist with feral eradication programs), and rehabilitation (reclaiming land after it has been degraded - ODT Australis assists the mining industry by providing “minimal disruption to the environment” when establishing site clearing for exploration, drilling and construction projects), along with other services. ODT Australis boasts about being one of the top contractors for the Olympic Dam. Again, to help conservationists, like Arid Recovery, get passed ODT’s clearly destructive behavior, they are provided with financial assistance as well as help in carrying out pest eradication programs.

So let us come back to this group receiving money from its “partners” to continue eradication programs on feral cats. The threat of feral cats in Australia is listed as “high to extreme” on Wikipedia, noting from Australia’s Department of the Environment and Heritage that feral cats are “the most widely spread and invasive of all introduced species. It is possibly responsible for the extinction of some species of small mammals.” Well coincidentally, I also read some of Tim Low’s analysis of feral animals in Australia today, where he speaks of the cat issue as “overrated.” In Feral Future, he points out that the majority of ecological pest research goes towards mammals, when other pests, like insects, fungi, and disease, cause more damage and receive less attention. Low goes on to say, “Many conservationists treat cats as they were our number one pest, but I believe foxes, rabbits, pigs, toads, trout, and some weeds all pose a greater menace.” He also talks about how cats get a bad rap for their predation, when foxes may actually be responsible for the loss of some mammal species.

This book is simply convincing me that everything is SO interconnected and more complicated than we can imagine, that humans need to take it easy when trying to manage the natural world. I know humans have a hard time restraining ourselves from expressing our opinions and sometimes placing our ideas on others, but the earth has been managing the environment for millions of years prior to our living on the planet and it will continue to do so long after we are gone. Taking from Rev. Professor Andrew Linzey of the University of Oxford, we should be acting as “servant species” rather than “master species” when it comes to our place in the environment. And as a servant species, we should be practicing humane, nonlethal management practices. Countless non-killing methods of population control do exist, including TNR for feral cats. Plenty of people are willing to get involved with humane control, but instead, our conservationists continue to do deals with land developers (and chemical companies) and human activity continues to destroy the very environment we are trying to protect.

Eradication attempts are pointless because killing is a continuous cycle; it does nothing to stop the cycle at its beginning. Australian Environmentalist Frankie Seymour says, “Reducing a population of mislocated animals is a complete waste of time (and money) unless you are prepared to keep on reducing it—killing and killing and killing, generation after generation. The moment you turn your back for a year or a season, the population will return to full occupation of all available niches.” With thousands of different species named as so-called “pests” in Australia, that’s a lot of killing.

Friday, August 06, 2010

GreatNonprofits

Supporters around the country have spoken up about great animal welfare nonprofits! In the 2010 GreatNonprofits Animal Welfare Campaign, more than 500 reviews were posted about 99 organizations working on behalf of animals, wild and domestic, both here and overseas. And ACR is honored to be among those listed!

GreatNonprofits is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, which is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Sand Hill Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation, Peery Foundation, and individuals who believe that we provide a vital resource for nonprofits, volunteers and donors. GreatNonprofits is the leading developer of tools that allow people to find, review, and share information about great -- and perhaps not yet great -- nonprofits. At GreatNonprofits, they do not write the reviews, rather the reviews and ratings are posted by people who have been touched by a nonprofit and want to share their story about it.

Twenty-two nonprofits qualified for the Top-Rated Animal Welfare Nonprofits, and ACR hopes to be chosen next year. So we kindly ask that you—our supporters, volunteers, friends and families—take a moment to share your stories by visiting our page on the GreatNonprofits website or by clicking on the blue badge in the sidebar.  It will only take a minute for you to write a short review about ACR, so that others will be encouraged to support our efforts and help keep our programs running. Thank you to everyone who has partnered with us and continues to support our fight against cat homelessness!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

LA County Quietly Sentencing Thousands of Animals to Death

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- D.E.L.T.A. Rescue (http://www.deltarescue.org), the largest no-kill, care-for-life sanctuary in the world, wants Los Angeles County residents to know a proposed ordinance quietly being pushed through the county code process stands to put thousands of rescued animals in harm's way -- but it's not too late to stop it.

For 30 years, abandoned pets in southern California have received a second chance from the 501(c)(3) nonprofit D.E.L.T.A. Rescue. The only facility providing lifelong, no-kill care to rescued dogs and cats, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is home to 1,500 animals that were left to die in the wilderness. But now, as a direct result of little-known proposed amendments to Title 10 of the Los Angeles County Code, animal sanctuaries countywide could be limited to caring for only 50 dogs and cats -- and ultimately forced to surrender all the other unwanted animals to an already overburdened county shelter system. It's effectively a death sentence for thousands of dogs and cats.

Concerned citizens can help ensure the proposed 50-animal limitation is dropped. Actor and lifelong animal activist Leo Grillo, founder of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, urges LA County residents who care about animals to contact the five county supervisors and other county officials to express their opposition to the 50-animal limit on kennel licenses.

"If passed, the changes to Title 10 of the Los Angeles County Code will require all facilities with over 50 dogs and cats to sell, transfer or relinquish all animals above that limit of 50 within 30 days," Grillo explained. "Rescued animals are not always easy to place, and we're talking about thousands of dogs and cats throughout the county. Realistically, most of those animals will end up in the pound, where they will be euthanized simply because there is no space for them."

While Grillo and the D.E.L.T.A. Rescue team are vehemently opposed to the numerical limit on kennel licenses, they support other proposed changes to Title 10, including requirements for facilities to maintain approved emergency evacuation plans and to have 24-hour staff on site.

"We applaud the county's attempt to make sure animals receive proper care," Grillo stated. "However, limiting responsible, established rescue facilities to 50 dogs and cats contradicts the county's stated mission of preserving and protecting public and animal safety. D.E.L.T.A. Rescue stands ready to assist the county in that mission as we have for 30 years, but we cannot do so if the ordinance passes as proposed. We need the public's help to keep providing safe haven for the pets abandoned to the harsh conditions of the southern California wilderness."

To learn more about the proposed changes to Title 10 of the Los Angeles County Code and help get the word out, contact D.E.L.T.A. Rescue at P.O. Box 9, Glendale, CA, 91209 or visit http://www.deltarescue.org.

Members of the community are urged to contact LA County supervisors and officials to voice their opposition to the kennel license cap at the following emails and telephone numbers:

The Supervisors: 

Gloria Molina, Molina@bos.lacounty.gov, (213) 974-4111
Mark Ridley-Thomas, SecondDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov, (213) 974-2222
Zev Yaroslavsky, ZYarosla@lacbos.org, (213) 974-3333
Don Knabe, DKnabe@lacbos.org, (213) 974-4444
Michael Antonovich, MAntonovich@lacbos.org, (213) 974-5555

Other Officials:

William Fujioka, Chief Executive Office, BFujioka@ceo.lacounty.gov, (213) 974-1101
Raymond Fortner, County Counsel, RFortner@counsel.lacounty.gov, (213) 974-1811
James Bell, Dept. of Regional Planning, JBell@planning.lacounty.gov, (213) 974-8480

Monday, August 02, 2010

Delaware Passes Landmark Legislation

The Governor of Delaware just signed the most sweeping, progressive companion animal protection legislation in the United States. The law was modeled on the No Kill Advocacy Center's Companion Animal Protection Act and spearheaded by the non-profit shelter Faithful Friends, in Wilmington, DE and involved groups like Stray Haven Animal Sanctuary.

Like Oreo’s Law seeks to do, the Delaware Companion Animal Protection Act mandates collaboration between shelters and rescue groups. A shelter cannot kill an animal if a rescue group is willing to save that animal’s life. AND it also makes convenience killing illegal—shelters can no longer kill an animal when there are available cages or the animals can share a cage or kennel with another animal.

Specifically, the Delaware CAPA states:

Animal shelters shall ensure that the following conditions are met before an animal is euthanized:

(i) The holding period for the animal required by this chapter is expired;

(ii) There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter that are suitable for the animal;

(iii) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately sized primary living space with another animal;

(iv) A foster home is not available;

(v) Organizations on the registry developed pursuant to §8003(d) are not willing to accept the animal; and

(vi) The animal care/control manager certifies that the above conditions are met and that he/she has no other reasonable alternative.

The law also requires posting "all stray animals on the Internet with sufficient detail to allow them to be recognized and claimed by their owners," requires shelters to maintain registries of rescue groups willing to save lives, and requires shelters to post statistics (intake, adoption, reclaim, transfer and killing rate).

Delaware, the first state to ratify our nation's constitution, continues to lead the way in embracing the legislative framework necessary to ensure justice. And we will build upon this framework in the coming years to strengthen protections for animals even more…our deepest gratitude to the animal loving citizens and legislators of the great state of Delaware.