ANIMAL NEWS AND VIEWS
PETroglyphs has not taken editorial positions on the stories we’ve brought to you in the past. However, when something happens in New Mexico that we feel illustrates a larger problem, we will now make an editorial comment, which will be labeled as such. The views expressed in these editorials are the consensus of the PETroglyphs’ staff.
In a perfect world Scooby, the Golden Retriever, would have stayed in his yard. He would never have barked in a way deemed “aggressive” by his neighbor.
In a perfect world the neighbor, Thomas Maes, a New Mexico State Police officer, simply would have picked up his child and carried him to safety, if he thought Scooby was a danger.
Instead, in this very imperfect world, the officer decided to go into his house, get a loaded gun, and shoot Scooby in the face. Miraculously, Scooby survived.
Scooby was recovering nicely from his ordeal. But the first time he was let outside in the back yard after his injury, he ingested antifreeze and died several days later.
No one knows how Scooby came in contact with the antifreeze. His owner says it was locked in his truck. All we know is that the new strap used to hold the gate closed was gone, there was antifreeze on the ground, and Scooby is dead.
While this story is horrible and brings feelings of outrage and frustration to all animal lovers, it is actually a symptom of larger problems and gives rise to questions.
1. How can the public trust police to enforce animal cruelty laws when sometimes they are the ones who break them?
2. Why does the result of a cursory investigation by law enforcement agencies of their own employee – the officer was found innocent of any wrongdoing – leave the impression that since it’s just a dog, his fate isn’t important?
At the recent conference on human violence and animal abuse, Bob Schwartz, the Governor’s special counsel, talked about a sheriff who wouldn’t investigate the shooting death of a woman’s pet because “It was just a damn cat.” Schwartz promised this attitude would no longer be tolerated in New Mexico. But Scooby’s case makes people believe it’s simply business as usual. The public despairs of any positive change when people continue to get away with outrageous behavior toward animals yet suffer no real consequences.
One positive result of Scooby’s death is that people are more aware of antifreeze poisoning as a potential killer and are asking what can be done to stop it from happening again. Several things have been proposed.
Mayor Chavez has proposed legislation, referred to as “Scooby’s law,” that would prohibit the sale of antifreeze in Albuquerque unless it contains denatonium benzoate, an extremely bitter tasting substance. This should be enough to discourage dogs and children from ingesting it. While mostly symbolic and probably unenforceable at the city level, this sends the correct message and should be enacted statewide.
Rep. Tom Udall, D-NM, has cosponsored federal legislation, known as the “Antifreeze Safety Act,” to put the additive into any antifreeze sold in the United States. Udall cited Scooby’s case as bringing national awareness to this problem. According to his figures, 90,000 pets and 4,000 children ingest antifreeze every year, often with fatal results.
PETroglyphs supports these proposals and hopes for their quick passage. Until the federal legislation is passed, New Mexico should enact its own law to prevent future poisonings here. Oregon and California already have laws requiring the additive.
Animal lovers should take responsibility to watch the continuing developments concerning “Scooby’s law” and the “Antifreeze Safety Act” closely. We also need to pay attention to the state’s actions on prosecuting those who commit any act of animal cruelty. Voice your opinions to your legislators, the newspapers, and everyone you know. Hold the state legislature accountable for making certain that acts of animal cruelty are not tolerated in New Mexico and that these events are not forgotten.
Unfortunately for Vanessa Salazar, Scooby’s owner, the trauma of what happened to Scooby will remain. But if Scooby’s horrible and unnecessary death serves as a catalyst to change New Mexico’s laws and people’s attitudes toward animals, at least Scooby will not have died in vain.
(For a report on the conference on human violence and animal abuse, see "The Link".
2003 MILAGROS HONOR WINNERS
Concern for domestic animals, wildlife and the environment cuts across politics and generations, as demonstrated at the 2003 APNM Milagro Awards held at the Hilton Hotel on November 1st. KSFR “Journey Home” radio personality Diego Mulligan hosted, animal paintings by the Oz students graced the walls, and a tasty vegan Greek dinner accompanied by Bob Price’s Middle Eastern music was enjoyed by all—even the omnivores.
The Oz kids were the first to accept their Youth Award for activism, ethics and bravery, with a costumed anti-cockfighting mini-drama between cowboys and roosters. They were followed by the co-winner, EARS (The Environmental and Animal Rights Society) of Santa Fe High School. President Angelica Loya talked about the invaluable help EARS had received from the New England Anti-Vivisection League (NEAVS) in their campaign to have dissection banned in the Santa Fe school district, and read a letter from EARS founder Isabel Shanahan.
Rene Romo, reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, won the Media Award for spotlighting animal issues with courage, creativity and integrity in his coverage of the infamous Coulston Foundation, the former chimpanzee research facility in Alamogordo.
Sheryl Wolf, University of New Mexico professor and attorney, received the Humane Education Award for her pioneering role in establishing animal welfare and wildlife law programs at UNM.
Yvonne Boudreaux of Prairie Dog Pals accepted the Direct Animal Services Award for their dedicated work in rescuing and relocating this severely threatened keystone species.
Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the US Fish & Wildlife Service Dave Parsons accepted the Animal Award on behalf of the Mexican Gray Wolf for its exceptional courage and intelligence, and initiated a group howl among audience members.
Fans of the C.H.E.T. Fire Department and Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce flashed “We Love You, C.H.E.T.” signs as they collected their Executive Director’s Award for support of APNM’s mission and program through their community spay/neuter program.
Introduced by State Representative Ron Godbey (R-District 22), Jan Hayes, founder of Sandia Mountain BearWatch, accepted the Advocacy Award for promoting the compassionate treatment of wild bears.
Philanthropist Lola Moonfrog stated she was deeply honored to receive the APNM Board of Directors’Award for her lifetime commitment to animal rights.
Attorney Bob Schwartz, Advisor to Governor Bill Richardson, and Lisa Jennings, president of APNM, also spoke at this festive event, now in its fourth year.
(For photos of the event, visit www.apnm.org/milagros)
COMPANION ANIMAL RESCUE EFFORT (CARE)
by Kat Albright
Karin, a victim of domestic violence, was faced with few options after escaping an abusive home environment. When she left, she took her four animals, who she wouldn’t leave behind with an abuser. Yet she didn’t have family to stay with, and she couldn’t bring her animals with her to a women’s shelter. So for one year, Karin hid out in a condemned house.
The conditions were terrible. The house had no heat, and it was overrun with rats and pigeons. But Karin stayed, as she had nowhere else to take her animals.
Today, due to the help of her advocate, Karin and her animals are now in a happy, safe home. Yet far too often, victims of domestic violence find themselves in situations like Karin’s.
Eighty-five percent of women and 63% of children seeking shelter from domestic violence report animal abuse in the home, according to Frank R. Ascione and D.S. Wood in their article, “The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence: A National Survey of Shelters for Women who are Battered,” in Society and Animals (1997). An abuser will often use family animals to establish power over a partner within a relationship. Threats of violence against a companion animal can be used to control a partner’s actions. Therefore, some abused victims become reluctant to leave a violent situation, fearing for their animals’ safety if left behind. Animals at risk rarely have access to a temporary, safe place while their guardians seek help.
Fortunately, there is now help for victims in New Mexico who need to get themselves and their animals to safety. The Companion Animal Rescue Effort, or CARE, is a program of the All Faiths Receiving Home and Animal Protection of New Mexico. CARE empowers individuals to leave abusive home environments by helping to provide temporary emergency care for the victims’ companion animals. The CARE program has received $5,000 in federal grant money under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This money is being used to reimburse both animal shelters and individual foster homes for the costs of providing protective care to family pets of domestic abuse victims.
In conjunction with service providers in New Mexico’s communities, CARE has established a procedure for placing victims’ animals in protective care. When a victim comes to a domestic violence service provider, the service provider will inquire about her animal. If the animal needs emergency placement, the service provider will contact nearby animal shelters that are participating in the CARE program, to determine which facilities have space available for the animal. The list of animal shelters remains confidential, as does the location of the animal.
There is a $250 limit per family that can be reimbursed through the CARE program. This limit is intended to allow enough time for the victim to escape violence, start a new life, and find a new, safe place for herself and her animals.
When coupled with other valuable services,“ such as counseling, legal assistance, childcare assistance, and job training, the CARE program can help abused women and animals escape the cycle of violence and start a new life.
CARE provides educational tools on the links between domestic violence and animal abuse to law enforcement officials, service providers, and the community. To obtain these materials or for further information, please contact the CARE program at (505) 307-2314, or visit the CARE website at www.apnm.org/care.
SAN JUAN ANIMAL LEAGUE PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
From April to December 2003, San Juan Animal League conducted our first long-term discounted spay/neuter program, SNYP (Spay/Neuter Your Pet). Partnering with four local veterinarian clinics; San Juan Veterinary Hospital, Kirtland Veterinary Clinic, Totah Pet Clinic and Aztec Animal Clinic; we have helped fund the altering of 188 cats and dogs. The SNYP program works like this: the participant pays $5, plus the cost of vaccinations if needed, any complications or tests requested by the participant, and SJAL pays directly for the spay/neuter. In addition, we helped fund several leukemia tests, bordetella shots, and provided additional assistance when complications arose that the participant was unprepared for.
SNYP runs concurrently with our spay/neuter rebate program. The spay/neuter rebate program has been an ongoing SJAL program for man y years. Both the SNYP and spay/neuter rebate programs are available to low-income individuals and families, but in the rebate program the participant pays for the surgery up front, and is able to select their own veterinarian. Once a receipt is received showing that the animal in the program had been fixed, a rebate is sent to the participant to help offset the cost of the surgery. As of mid-October, 112 cats and dogs have been altered through this program in 2003.
On January 11th, the sounds of symphonic music will help support the work of the San Juan Animal League. The SJAL, along with the Farmington Museum Foundation, will be the “Charity of the Evening” at a performance by the Showcase Chamber Ensemble in the San Juan College Little Theatre in Farmington. There is no charge for admission, but donations are encouraged and will be split between evening’s charities. The SJAL is excited to be part of the Showcase Concerts initiative which aims to bring a wide variety of music to residents of the Four Corners, and the benefit local nonprofit organizations. This will be the San Juan Animal League’s first year as a “Charity of the Evening,” and we’re excited about the opportunity to bring our name and our mission to a wide audience.
The San Juan Animal League begins its 2004 low-cost vaccination clinic program in February. The clinics are held eight times yearly in the greater Farmington area. The schedule is as follows:
February 15th: Farmington Civic Center
March 7th: Koogler Middle School, Aztec
April 4th: Naa ba Ani Elementary School, Bloomfield
May 9th: Kirtland Elementary School, Kirtland
July 11th: Farmington Civic Center
August 29th: Farmington Civic Center (tentative; call 325-3366 to confirm)
October 10th: Aztec (tentative; call 325-3366 to confirm)
November 7th: Bloomfield (tentative; call 325-3366 to confirm)
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