Dolphins Aren’t for Display

Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas wants to confine dolphins for viewing by paying tourists.

Coral World Ocean Park on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, has requested their last permit needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would allow for the construction of a dolphinarium in Water Bay. With hopes of increased tourism and a boost in economy, proponents of the park are planning to erect a two-story education building, bathhouses, living quarters for employees, decking, and other facilities that will contribute to the removal of nearby corals and seagrass beds. A two-acre dolphin enclosure will house six dolphins captured from within Water Bay for the first year. Once water quality is deemed adequate, more dolphins will be brought into the dolphinarium for public view and interaction among staff members.

Dolphins will typically live up to 40 years in the wild, but when maintained in captivity, their life spans are severely shortened. Although the dolphins living within Coral World will continue to live within the natural currents of the surrounding waters, they will receive little environmental stimulation from their new two-acre habitat. Wild dolphins travel 40 to 100 miles a day in close-knit pods, or family units, when living in the ocean. This will be impossible for those captured for use at Coral World. Not only will they develop overwhelming stress from the separation from their pods, but they will also receive inadequate physical activity within their sea pens.

For these reasons, please comment on the permit application regarding the construction of a new dolphin exhibit enclosure by September 30, 2014, urging USACE directors to reject the permit application requested from Coral World Ocean Park. Protect dolphins and other marine animals from a life of confinement and encourage others to support their natural existence in the wild.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
ATTN: Edgar Garcia
400 Fernandez Juncos Avenue
San Juan, PR 00901

Support the Pets and Women’s Safety Act.

Dogs, cats, and other pets need protection in domestic violence situations.

Dogs, cats, and other pets need protection in domestic violence situations.

The new bill H.R.5267, also known as The Pets and Women’s Safety (PAWS)  Act would increase protection for the companion animals of women in domestic abuse or stalking situations. The bill was forwarded to the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on the Judiciary this month. If passed into law,  H.R.5267  would include measures to set up a grant program that would provide emergency shelter to the pets of victims. The PAWS Act would also include the cost of veterinary care as a damage for which victims could legally claim restitution.

The connection between animal abuse and domestic abuse is well documented. Abusers might physically harm a pet to “punish” the partner or threaten to kill or maim the pet as a means of controlling a partner or family member. Other times violence towards a person’s companion animal occurs as revenge for a divorce, separation or refusal to participate in a relationship.

Take Action: Contact your representatives and senators to express your support of H.R.5267.


Massachusetts Outlaws the Sale of Shark Fin Products

This fall, restaurants, food stores, and other vendors will be prohibited from selling shark fin products.

This fall, restaurants, food stores, and other vendors will be prohibited from selling shark fin products.

pawsupPaws Up!
To the Governor of Massachusetts for signing a bill into law that outlaws the sale of shark fin in products.

Shark finning is the practice of amputating a shark’s fins, typically so that the fins can be used in culinary products such as shark fin soup. The fins are cut off after capture, and the dying shark is thrown overboard to bleed to death in the ocean. It is an inherently inhumane and wasteful practice, and shark finning is already illegal in American waters. According to a recent article, last month Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill into law that prohibits the sale of shark fin products in the state of Massachusetts.

Beginning September 1, 2014, anyone convicted of selling shark-fin products may be subject to a $500-$1000 fine per fin, or 60 days imprisonment.

Take Action: Massachusetts residents, contact the governor’s office and thank him for signing this important bill into law.

Massachusetts State House
Office of Governor Deval Patrick
Room 105
Boston, MA 02133

When you think about it…losing a pet teaches children how to grieve.

1379641382bmhauIt’s a day that we know will come in one form or another. That day, you may feel a pit in your stomach when you arrive home from work and find your daughter’s rabbit stiff and unmoving. Maybe you’ll glance at the fish tank and notice your son’s goldfish floating at the top of the tank. Your family pet may die in an accident, or you may meet the day when the only way to end your pet’s suffering is to ask the veterinarian to end his life.

As a parent, you ache for the pet you lose, but also for your grieving children. You may feel tempted to take great measures to spare them the anguish of losing their pet. Even if you don’t resort to the now-iconic adage of claiming the pet “went to live on a farm,” you might feel tempted to “fix it” by asking your children to choose a new pet before the sun even sets on the former pet’s grave. Some parents have even tried to deny the loss entirely. One mother became so distraught when she awoke one morning to find her daughter’s hamster dead, she hastily buried the hamster’s remains in the trash and bolted to the nearest pet store with hopes of purchasing an identical hamster before her daughter woke up. The desire to protect children from emotional pain is understandable. But are there other ways to support children through grieving for a companion? Just as pets help children understand living, the loss of a pet may be a child’s first experience with death and dying. Though it’s inherently unpleasant, healthy grieving is a life skill. The way you guide your children through grieving for a humble goldfish will influence how they cope with grief later in life.

In the first 48 hours… First, acknowledge your own emotions. Although it is vital that you remain calm, it is okay to show your feelings, even if you cry. If you want your children to recognize the intrinsic value of animals, don’t allow anyone to dismiss your loved one as “just an animal.” This will also reassure your children that their feelings of loss are justified. Seeing the lifeless body of a pet who was moving just days or hours before can come as a shock, especially if the body is still surrounded by food, toys, and the things it enjoyed in life. If possible, put the body in a blanket-lined box. Inform your children of the death in a separate room from the body. Ask your children if they would like to see it. If they don’t, that’s okay.

As a family, you may decide to hold a memorial service or “celebration of life” for the pet. If your family holds religious beliefs that include animals, you might incorporate those into your service. Avoid referring to the pet as “asleep.” The euphemism doesn’t spare older children, and can be confusing to young children. They may feel reluctant to fall asleep themselves, or believe that in time their pet will wake up.

The week of… Encourage your children to write a letter to their pet, or if they want to, build a memorial.

Reassure your children that the pain of loss subsides with time and will be replaced by happy memories.

Watch very young children for signs of guilt and worry. Some children may fear that the death was their fault or begin to fear that you will die. Reassure them that death is a part of life. Also, let your children know that you will be around for a long, long time!

Resist the urge to immediately acquire another pet. Doing so inadvertently sends a message that animals, and for that matter, relationships, are replaceable. Equally problematic is the perception that grief is bad and something a person should fight to distract oneself from.

Allow your children to choose a few of the pet’s belongings to keep in the family as mementos, such as the collar and a few favorite toys. Other items should be thrown away or donated. If young children continue to see pet food in the cabinet, this could delay their acceptance of the pet’s passing.

The weeks following… Allow your children the freedom to grieve, but encourage them to continue hobbies, even when they don’t feel like it.

If your children wish, allow them to talk about any dreams they might have about the pet. Also, be aware of “grief hallucinations”. Some studies show that over 50% of people think they can see or hear a deceased loved one immediately after the loss. A child may tell you he “saw” his cat rounding the corner. Simply put, our brains are so accustomed to seeing familiar people and objects on a regular basis, that our perception can take some time to catch up. This phenomenon is temporary.

As your grief within the family eases over time, consider the possibility of adopting another pet. There are millions of animals in shelters whose very lives depend on adoption. Adopting an animal could very well be one of the best ways to honor your pet’s memory.

When you think about it…the death of a pet can teach valuable lessons about the end of life.

Posted in When you think about it. Comments Off

Tony the Tiger Still Languishes

Lions, tigers, and other exotic cats are not suitable companions.

Lions, tigers, and other exotic cats are not suitable companions.

The Louisiana legislature has passed a bill that would exempt certain persons from the requirements for possessing big exotic cats and, therefore, would allow Michael Sandlin to continue to house Tony the tiger at Sandlin’s Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete.

Only experts with many years of experience studying and working with wild and exotic animals are capable of caring for and safely interacting with them. The general public lacks this expertise and should not attempt to keep wild and exotic animals as pets. Documented attempts by members of the general public keeping wild and exotic animals as pets have led to tragedy in many instances for both humans and animals.

Louisiana residents, please contact your governor immediately and let him know you want to see Tony freed from his captivity.  Ask him to veto this SB 250.

Humane Travel

STA Travel has taken a step in the right direction by ending tours involving inhumane treatment of animals.

STA Travel has taken a step in the right direction by ending tours involving inhumane treatment of animals.

pawsupPaws Up!
To STA Travel for ending tours that involve elephant rides and trips to SeaWorld.

According to a news story, “STA Travel, which provides flights, accommodation, tours and expeditions for 2.5 million students and young people each year, has stopped tours taking in elephant rides and Tiger Temple in Thailand, as well as trips to SeaWorld in Orlando and San Diego….”

There are many ways to teach humane treatment of animals and STA has taken one way—by no longer offering tours to locations where animals are being mistreated and abused. The old cliché, “actions speak louder than words,” is definitely at work here.

Take Action: What actions can you take that will show others you will not tolerate animal mistreatment and abuse? Take those actions now. Support organizations that are already taking action to disengage from events/locations that support animal mistreatment and abuse. You can also write a note thanking STA Tours for taking action.

John Constable, CEO
STA Travel Ltd.
Priory House, 6 Wrights Lane, Kensington
London, W8 6TA England

Amendment to Delaware Code Would Save Victims of Dogfighting

With proper care, many rescued victims of dog-fighting can live long and happy lives.

With proper care, many rescued victims of dog-fighting can live long and happy lives.

If passed into law, a new bill in Delaware would protect victims of dog fighting from being automatically euthanized following confiscation. The bill, SB 245, was assigned to the Delaware Senate Health and Social Services Committee in June 2014. Currently in Delaware, the law requires that any dog suspected to have been the victim of dog fighting must be humanely destroyed. SB 245 would change the code so that that dogs confiscated from an animal fighting situation would first be evaluated. Any dogs found to be good candidates for rehabilitation and adoption would then be transferred to a rescue organization.

In many cases, dogs who have been removed from animal fighting situations have gone on to be adopted and live long, happy lives with new families. Many dogs are excellent candidates for recovery, but they must be given the chance.

Delaware residents, please contact your legislators immediately and let them know you support SB 245. Address written correspondence to:

The Honorable Bethany A. Hall-Long
Senate Chairman of Health and Social Services
411 Legislative Avenue
Dover, DE 199013

Posted in Action Letters. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off

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