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September 2001
-Fees Imposed on foster home providers
-Sheters and pet suppy companies aiding in rescue (below)
-Illinois makes severe forms of cruelty a felony (below)
-Gene therapy to begin next year (below)
-Puppy breeding control debated (below)
-Animal sanctuary ordered to close (below)
-Puppy mill plan might be all bark and no bite (below)
-Post office to offer spray/neuter stamps
-Teen who slashed puppies throat must work in animal shelter
-NYC's pets , get rescued too
-Prision inmates training prespective guide dogs
Shelters and Pet Supply Companies Aiding in Rescue
by Hedy Litke and David Milner
Many animal-related organizations are now aiding the rescue effort at the World Trade Center.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has set up a command center in lower Manhattan at 4749 King Street. In the command center are a fully equipped mobile veterinary medical unit, emergency medical supplies, pet carriers and pet food.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Center for Animal Care and Control
Saint Hubert's Giralda
National Disaster Search Dog Foundation  
The ASPCA also has set up a pet rescue hotline, which can be reached at (212) 876-7700, extension 4PET.
The New York City Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) is offering emergency services as well.
International Rescue Corps is among the organizations that are providing teams of search and rescue dogs to help find people who may still be alive.
Thanks in part to the efforts of Saint Huberts Giralda, Afghan Hound Rescue and other animal welfare organizations, Petco, SitStay, RC Steele, Pedigree Perfection and other pet supply producers or retailers are donating supplies for the dogs.
Petsmart is coordinating efforts with other pet stores to deliver donated supplies to the Long Branch, NJ Police Departments K-9 Unit, which is taking them to Manhattan on a daily basis.
Illinois Makes Severe Forms of Cruelty a Felony
Illinois Governor George Ryan recently signed legislation that increases the penalties for animal abuse. The measure makes animal torture and aggravated cruelty to animals felonies punishable by up to five years in prison  both previously were misdemeanors  and elevates to higher misdemeanor classes animal neglect and cruel treatment.
The new law enables owners of pets that have been victims of cruelty to seek damages from offenders. The law also establishes a state abuse investigation fund, and mandates psychological counseling for youths convicted of animal cruelty.
In addition, police will have the authority to impound vehicles of dog owners suspected of involvement in dogfights, and animal shelters will be able to request a security deposit from suspects to defray the cost of caring for impounded animals.  Kane County States Attorney Meg Gorecki formed the Animal Rights Task Force to craft the legislation. She worked with staff members of welfare organizations and the public.
"We are very happy about the new law," said Kane County Assistant States Attorney Joe Cullen. "Its good to see that there is greater attention given to this type of a case."
Puppy breeding controls debated
Measure would putcounty in forefrontof regulating pet sales
GASTONIA -- Gaston County commissioners debated Tuesday night whether the county could enforce an ordinance that would make Gaston the first in the state to regulate puppy breeders.
The measure under consideration would impose minimum standards for sanitation, feeding, exercise and medical care on local breeders who sell directly to pet owners. Those breeders are covered by animal cruelty statutes, but not by the state law that regulates breeders who sell to pet stores.
"Unfortunately, North Carolina is getting the reputation of a `puppy mill' state," said John Owens, a member of the Kennel Standards Advisory Committee that drafted the first version of the ordinance. "It is my hope that you will set a precedent for other counties to follow."
Owens estimated there are about 15 commercial breeders in the county, but Tuesday, he said he thought nearly half were "puppy mills," churning out dogs for profit in inhumane conditions.
However, Animal Control chief Reggie Horton told the commissioners that his 20-person department can barely fulfill its existing responsibilities without the new ordinance and was having trouble responding in time to nonemergency calls.
"There is a definite issue with adding responsibility to animal control with reduced staff," he said. "This will mean added work."
Horton said his department has three officers and four specialists in charge of inspections and told commissioners he would need at least two more officers in order to enforce the new rules.
County commissioner Donnie Loftis said he opposed any proposal that would require hiring more officers.
"We just don't have that kind of money," he said.
But commissioner Tom Keigher said he thought the measure might be a good idea even if it couldn't be fully enforced.
"It's more important to have laws in place," he said. "If you take the traffic police, there's no way they can enforce speeding on every highway and byway. But they set the limit, and most people follow it."
Animal activists turned out in force during the public comment period to advocate the measure, and commissioners said they had been deluged with mailings about it.
But the proposal is less rigorous than the measure initially drafted by the Kennel Standards Advisory Committee. That proposal forbade the sale of puppies younger than 8 weeks, while the new one prohibits the sale of puppies younger than 6 weeks. The initial proposal also banned wire-bottom cages, while the new one, a version put forth by the animal control task force, allows it.
But members of the kennel panel said the proposed ordinance was a good start.
Gene Therapy Trials to Begin Next Year
Researchers in Scotland are planning in 2002 to conduct gene therapy trials on several hundred cats and dogs that have cancerous tumors. The experimental treatments, which will involve firing foreign DNA into the tumors with a "gene gun" that uses compressed helium, are each planned to last for one month.
 Dogs have the highest rates of cancer among domestic animals, and will be provided with the therapy first. Like human beings, one in three dogs develops some form of cancer.
"The disease (in animals) very much mimics what goes on in people," Dr. David Argyle, a researcher working at Glasgow University, told the British Broadcasting Corporation.
The animals will be treated for a variety of cancers, including mouth, bone and lymph node.
The therapy is expected to be most successful when used to treat cancer in the early stages of development.
Animal sanctuary ordered to close
LOS ANGELES -- A celebrity-supported wildlife sanctuary plagued by environmental and safety concerns will be closed for the second time in as many years for fire code violations.
The county Fire Department has ordered the 160-acre Wildlife Waystation in the northeast San Fernando Valley to stop having its educational programs and taking in animals.
The compound's director, Martine Colette, said fire officials want her to install a 700,000-gallon water tank and move 29 lions from hillside cages, which "was just more of the unreasonableness we endured last year. The county has to become part of the solution instead of the problem."
The sanctuary was closed for 10 months last year by an order from the state Department of Fish and Game. Officials placed the facility on two years' probation after an inspection in March 2000 revealed that animal excrement was flowing into creeks, which caused health and environmental concerns. State officials also found that some of the cages were too small for the animals.
Although she believes the most recent demands are unfair, Colette said she intends to comply with the Fire Department's request and reopen.
As part of the probation agreement, the Waystation must undergo routine inspections, which led to the most recent action. The order said the hillside beneath the lion cages may collapse, and the sanctuary does not maintain a water reserve.
The Waystation, which houses 1,200 abandoned animals such as lions, tigers and bears, was reopened in December.
Celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe and Bruce Willis came to the Waystation's rescue by recording a musical album earlier this year. An unspecified portion of sales were donated to the sanctuary.
Puppy mill plan may be all bark and no bite
From the Journal Sentinel
Astrange partial veto of budget bill language by Gov. Scott McCallum means the state could end up with new regulations on pet breeders, pet stores and animal shelters that have no enforcement teeth.
The budget provision, worked into the bill by Rep. Marc Duff (R-New Berlin), was designed to crack down on puppy mills.
It called for any person, company or organization that sells or offers to sell more than 25 dogs or cats a year to meet certain minimum standards for humane care of animals, pass a state inspection and obtain a state license to operate.
The license requirement also would apply to commercial kennels where dogs or cats are kept for 24 hours or more.
Duff engineered this addition to the budget during work by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, of which he is a member.
The language made it all the way through the torturous budget process and finally landed on McCallum's desk.
Duff said during the month or so that McCallum and his staff were considering vetoes, there was no indication that the so-called "pet facilities" language would be a target.
"Nothing was ever brought up about any problem with my initiatives," said Duff, whose staff talked to McCallum's staff during the time vetoes were being considered.
Etiquette panned
In making his first-ever budget vetoes, McCallum got low marks for legislative etiquette.
McCallum succeeded in making Joint Finance Committee Co-chairman John Gard (R-Peshtigo) angry enough to sound off in front-page newspaper stories about the governor's veto of his provision to split the Department of Natural Resources.
"There were a lot of surprise vetoes in the budget," said Duff.
For Duff, one of the surprise vetoes was the axing of part of the language of his pet facilities initiative.
McCallum deleted the means to pay for enforcement of the new regulations and also vetoed language that would have authorized the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to hire staff to inspect pet facilities.
What's left is the direction that the department develop the regulations.
"He kept the policy intact but vetoed the staffing and the funding," said Duff.
"So the most important part was kept, the authorization to come up with the standards for breeders, kennels and pet stores."
Duff had worked closely with the agriculture department in writing the pet facilities initiative and the department had endorsed it.
Next move uncertain
Sandra Chalmers, a spokeswoman for the department, said officials there aren't sure what they will do now.
Writing regulations without any means to enforce them puts the department in an awkward position.
Under Duff's original proposal, inspections of pet facilities and enforcement of the regulations were to have been paid for by a new state surcharge on dog licenses of $1 for every spayed or neutered dog and $1.50 for every dog not spayed or neutered.
Each city, village and town in Wisconsin sets its own license fee. But the state sets a minimum fee. That minimum fee would have been raised under Duff's proposal from $3 to $4.50 for a spayed or neutered dog and from $8 to $10 for an unaltered male or non-spayed female dog.
It was anticipated the municipalities and towns would raise their dog license fees to accommodate the new state fee.
But no one was predicting huge increases and there was no public outcry against the plan to impose a new state surcharge on dog licenses.
"Some of my colleagues in the Capitol were kidding me about it. They were saying things like, 'Hey, you're taxing my dog,' " Duff said. "But most people thought it was worthwhile."
McCallum also vetoed fines that the department would have levied against pet facilities found operating without the required licenses or violating regulations regarding basic animal care.
In this veto message, McCallum said, "The prescribed penalties and taxes are burdensome to pet owners and businesses."
He indicated that money to pay for the inspectors could be included in the next state budget bill because it will take the department some time to develop the regulations.
Officials of the Wisconsin Federation of Humane Societies, the Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups that worked with Duff on the proposal are rightly disappointed by McCallum's vetoes.
These are the organizations whose financial resources are taxed to the limit every time a puppy mill gets busted in Wisconsin and the confiscated dogs need shelter and veterinary care.
Having come this far with the proposal, Duff plans to try to get funding to enforce the pet facilities regulations in the next state budget bill or a budget adjustment bill that may be introduced next year.
"You always have setbacks in politics," he said. "Now, we have to keep going and work out the rest of this initiative."