“Rocky’s Law” Establishes Animal Abuser Registry in Orange County, NY

Paws Up!

Pictured: Legislator Mike Anagnostakis of Orange County, NY, who introduced "Rocky's Law"  Photo by:  Jim Sebastian, The Times Herald

Pictured: Legislator Mike Anagnostakis of Orange County, NY, who introduced “Rocky’s Law”
Photo by: Jim Sebastian, The Times Herald

To the county legislature of Orange County, NY, for enacting “Rocky’s Law,” which establishes an online registry of animal cruelty offenders and prohibits offenders from owning companion animals.

According to a recent news article, county legislators in Orange County, NY, have passed “Rocky’s Law” aimed to prevent cruelty to companion animals in the county. In April, Edwardo Macedowas of Newburgh, NY, was arrested after leaving his dog, “Rocky,” outside in the snow for a period of 5 weeks with no food or water while he was out of town for vacation. By the time help arrived, Rocky’s physical condition was so poor that he had to be euthanized. Under “Rocky’s Law,” Orange County residents convicted of animal cruelty will be named on an online registry and prohibited from owning a companion animal for fifteen years. Repeat offenders will be barred from owning a companion animal for life.

Take action. Orange County residents, contact the Orange County legislators  and thank them for passing “Rocky’s Law.” Residents of other counties, contact your county legislators and encourage them to enact public registries for convicted animal cruelty offenders.

The Case for Living in Harmony with Wildlife

As the outside temperature increases, so do the chances of encountering wildlife in many parts of the country. While seeing wildlife can sometimes be a pleasant experience, finding skunks under the porch, rabbits in the flower bed, or bats in the attic can be frustrating. As a result, humans have developed an entire arsenal of deadly traps, poisons, and weapons designed to destroy unpopular animals or animals we do not want around our property. While lethal means of “pest control” are in many cases legal, we degrade our environment when we fail to make the effort to live harmoniously with wildlife.

Snakes may not be the most popular backyard species, but they serve a valuable role within nature.

Snakes may not be the most popular backyard species, but they serve a valuable role within nature.

Even the self-described “animal lovers” among us sometimes fall into the erroneous thinking that there are “good animals” and “bad animals.” In reality, all species serve a purpose within their native environments. Consider for instance, the copperhead, sometimes found in rural areas near bodies of water in the summer. Rare is the person who forgives the black rat snake for being a snake – but even rarer is the person who concedes the right of existence to the venomous pit viper. Nonetheless, copperheads, as many other species of snake, are valuable predators that help limit the populations of other animals, including mice and insects. In turn, the copperhead is as well, a food source for larger predators. To destroy native species to satisfy our own fear and contempt will in time lead to permanent imbalances within nature. As the famous conservationist John Muir once wrote, “”When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

There is also no denying that killing an animal in many cases, may be the quick and easy solution. Therefore, some might ask, “Why not cut off the head of a snake? It is clearly the quickest way to rid myself of the animal, and there is no law to stop me!” However, as caretakers of our environment, we have a responsibility to consider methods that effectively impede conflicts with wild animals without destroying them. For instance, proper disposal of trash or use of specially designed bins can effectively prevent wild animals from invading outdoor garbage cans. Using lattice under porches and sealing holes in attics can prevent infiltration by groundhogs, opossums, bats, and other animals. Keeping grass neatly trimmed around the home can eliminate hiding places for snakes. While measures like these may require extra effort, they are often more effective in the long-term, and most importantly, preserve our environment and the lives of our animal friends.

Do Your Part This “Kitten Season”

daffThe melodious singing of birds, flowers getting ready to don their vibrant colors, trees preparing to awaken from their slumber and the sounds of baby animals all announce that spring is here! Spring shares with us these new and exciting moments, but there is also a somber side to it as well – the birth of too many kittens. Currently, pet overpopulation is a serious problem in the United States. It is imperative that as caretakers of our environment we spay and neuter our companion cats and feral ones as well. Domestic cats can breed often and in large numbers. A single unspayed female can begin having kittens at four months of age, and can have as many as four litters per year.

When orphaned, newborn kittens have a 50/50 chance of surviving to adulthood.

As an orphaned newborn kitten, Lil has a 50/50 chance of surviving to adulthood.

At The Briggs Animal Adoption Center (BAAC), a program of The National Humane Education Society, kitten rescuing has already begun. Phil, a pure black kitten, and Lil, a tabby kitten, were under a week old when they came to BAAC after being found by someone’s dog.  These precious little bundles have a 50/50 survival rate.  They are being lovingly cared for by an employee at BAAC.  Their care regiment includes bottle feeding every two hours, stimulating and cleaning of urine and bowel movements, nurturing contact and a heating pad for warmth. Caring for orphaned kittens is not for the faint of heart.

Please educate others by making them aware of the loving care that kittens will need if they are found by an animal or abandoned. If you have a “big” heart and are willing to foster any kittens, please contact your local animal shelter or rescue group. And above all, make sure that all pets in your care are spayed or neutered in order to prevent homeless and orphaned animals in your community.


Natural Bridge Zoo Closes to the Public


Exotic animals deserve to live free in their natural environments.

Paws Up!

pawsupTo Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Michael Irvine for upholding the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ decision to revoke the Natural Bridge Zoo’s state permit.

How many of you visited a roadside zoo when you were a child? Lions, tigers, and elephants who seemed untouchable in movies could now be seen up close. As a child, you may not have given much thought to the animals’ daily lives, just the awe-filled memory of seeing exotic animals in real life.

Throughout the years, more people have come to realize that these majestic animals should not be imprisoned in cages for our enjoyment, but rather they should be allowed to live in their own environments—free. According to a recent news story, the Natural Bridge Zoo has been operated by Karl Mogenson for over thirty years in Rockbridge County, VA. Whereas some establishments improve over time, management of the Natural Bridge Zoo has worsened over the past three decades to the point that it has now become a place of deep sorrow and profound suffering for the animals there. Thankfully, concerned citizens have given these beloved animals a voice. Recent inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) uncovered as many as forty-four animal welfare violations. Upon learning of the USDA inspection report, which cited numerous instances of inadequate veterinary care and inhumane practices, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries suspended the zoo’s permit to showcase wild animals. In a recent ruling, Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Michael Irvine upheld the state agency’s decision. Thanks to this ruling, the zoo will not be allowed to reopen in the foreseeable future. However, despite numerous citations, the zoo still holds a federal license under the USDA.

Take Action: Please contact the USDA APHIS to encourage the agency to permanently revoke the Natural Bridge Zoo’s federal license.
920 Main Campus Drive,
Suite 200, Unit 3040
Raleigh, NC 27606
Telephone: (919) 855-7100
Fax: (919) 855-7123

Long Beach, CA, Passes Mandatory Dog Spay and Neuter Ordinance

pawsupPaws Up!

To the City Council of Long Beach, California, who voted unanimously for the mandatory spay and neuter ordinance for dog owners.patrick the miracle dog

Long Beach, CA, is considered one of the “most walkable cities” in America. The idea of spending a day outdoors may bring to mind bike riding, rollerblading or jogging with your four-legged friend. Soon, residents strolling through Long Beach won’t be seeing many strays in the area. According to a recent news article, the city of Long Beach recently passed an enforced pet population control ordinance. This ordinance will require all dogs over the age of 6 months to be spayed/neutered. There is already a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for cats in Long Beach. The new ordinance will go into effect October 1, 2015. 

Pet overpopulation is a real problem in the United States that strains tax-funded animal shelters and contributes to the deaths of millions of animals each year. The problem arises from pet owners who do not set aside time or money to have their pets spayed or neutered. One might say, “I want to give an animal a loving home, but I do not have the money to get him/her spayed or neutered.” While these people may have good intentions, spay/neuter is a vital part of responsible pet ownership. In many cities, local animal shelters and nonprofits work with owners to provide low-cost spay and neuter surgeries.

 Take Action: Long Beach Residents, contact the city council and thank them for passing this ordinance.  Non-Long Beach Residents, please contact your local city council and encourage them to pass a similar ordinance.

Federal Court Rules to Protect Ocean Wildlife from Military Training Program


A recent ruling by a federal judge likely saved the lives of countless aquatic species living in the Pacific ocean.

A recent ruling by a federal judge likely saved the lives of countless aquatic species living in the Pacific ocean.

Paws Up!

To U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway for upholding animal protection laws in a recent ruling regarding military training in the Pacific Ocean.

According to a recent news article, a federal judge ruled in late March that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated animal protection laws when the agency approved a 5-year plan by the U.S. Navy to conduct military training in the ocean waters off the coasts of Hawaii and Southern California.

According to impact estimates, the program’s use of high frequency sonar and explosives would have likely resulted in the deaths of approximately 155 whales and dolphins in the Pacific ocean in addition to over 10,000 injuries to oceanic wildlife including sea mammals and endangered sea turtles.

Take action. Contact U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway and thank her for upholding our nation’s wildlife conservation and environmental protection laws. Send written correspondence to:

The Honorable Judge Susan Oki Mollway
United States District Court
District of Hawaii
300 Ala Moana Blvd C-338
Honolulu, HI 96850

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Ohio Introduces Dog Chaining Ban

Paws Up!

To Ohio Representative John Barnes, Jr. for sponsoring a bill to ban continuous dog chaining in Ohio.

Dogs require daily socialization, exercise, and shelter to live happy lives.

Dogs require daily socialization, exercise, and shelter to live happy lives.

The practice of continually tethering pets outside for extended periods of time is known to be both harmful to animals and the communities they live in. Chained dogs are vulnerable to extreme boredom and frustration as result of isolation and lack of exercise. In addition to the psychological stress caused by long-term chaining, dogs who are chained continuously are vulnerable to extreme weather, attacks by other animals, and infestation by disease-carrying insects. Many dogs who are chained can also become entangled in the chain itself, resulting in injury and even strangulation. Dogs living under these conditions are not provided with opportunities to be good canine citizens and may be more likely to bark, lunge, or snap at passing people or other animals.

In an attempt to rescue dogs and other animals from the fate of life on a chain, Ohio Representative John Barnes, Jr. has introduced H.B. 94, also known as the Animal Protection Initiative. The bill was introduced to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on March 4, 2015.  If passed into law, this bill would drastically limit the conditions under which an animal can be legally chained or tethered. Specifically, owners would not be permitted to chain any animal for longer than two consecutive hours. After two consecutive hours, owners would be required to relieve the animal from the tether for a minimum of one hour. Provisions under the law also stipulate conditions under which an animal can be tethered. For instance, the law would prohibit the tethering of an animal for more than six hours in a 24-hour period, between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am, in severe weather, or in an unsanitary environment. Violators of the law would be subject to a fine and possible seizure of animals from the property.

Take action. Residents of Ohio, contact your representatives and urge them to pass H.B. 94, also known as the Animal Protection Initiative.

Posted in Action Letters, Paws Up/Paws Down. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off on Ohio Introduces Dog Chaining Ban

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