Natural Bridge Zoo in VA Reopens after Permit is Reinstated

Paws Down!

PawsDownTo the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for re-instating The Natural Bridge Zoo’s permit to showcase wild animals.

Recently, NHES applauded Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Michael Irvine for refusing to allow the reopening of the Natural Bridge Zoo after the attraction was cited 44 times by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for animal welfare violations. Now, according to a recent news article, the Virginia Department of Inland Fisheries has reinstated The Natural Bridge Zoo’s permit, after having revoked it not 90 days prior.tiger

Natural Bridge Zoo owner Karl Mogenson claims that in that brief period of time, he has “fixed” the abhorrent conditions that caused him to be cited for 44 violations under the Animal Welfare Act. He goes on to claim that the big cats, elephants, apes, and other animals in his possession are happy in his roadside zoo, which reopened May 30. Roadside zoos are a miserable substitute for a wild animal’s natural habitat, and those that fail to reach the AWA’s most basic requirements are undoubtedly unsuitable for animals that live there.

Take action. Virginia residents, contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and express your displeasure at the reinstatement of The Natural Bridge Zoo’s permit.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
P.O. Box 996
Verona, VA 24482

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Natural Bridge Zoo Closes to the Public

PD_Black_Bear

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.
USDA, APHIS, AC
920 Main Campus Drive,
Suite 200, Unit 3040
Raleigh, NC 27606
Telephone: (919) 855-7100
Fax: (919) 855-7123

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Fairfax, Virginia, Passes City-Wide Ban on Continuous Dog Chaining

pawsupPaws Up!
To Fairfax City Council in Virginia for passing an ordinance that dramatically limits dog tethering.

All dogs require daily exercise and interaction with their owners.

All dogs require daily exercise and interaction with their owners.

According to a recent news article, Fairfax, VA, recently passed a city ordinance to set strict limitations on dog chaining. The new city ordinance stipulates that companion animals can’t be tethered or chained for more than one hour per day. Residents are not permitted to tether any animal who is sick, injured, or under the age of 4 months. Tethering and chaining is also prohibited when the temperature is above 90 degrees or less than 32 degrees. Penalties for chaining a companion animal outside of these stipulations range between $50 and $250.

Dogs who are chained continuously face daily threats to their physical and psychological well-being. In addition to the dangers posed by extreme weather and disease-carrying insects, chained dogs are also vulnerable to attacks by wild or roaming animals. Furthermore, dogs who are chained continuously suffer from extreme frustration and lack of socialization, which can make some dogs more likely to bite.

Take Action: Contact your city council or county commission and express your support for an ordinance prohibiting the continuous chaining of pets. Residents of Fairfax, contact your city council and thank them for passing this important ordinance.

Richmond, VA May Soon Outlaw Use of Bullhooks on Elephants

Paws Up! pawsup To the city of Richmond, VA for considering a new ordinance that would outlaw the use of bullhooks on elephants.

Bullhooks are commonly used by circus employees to prod, strike, or jab elephants.

Bullhooks are commonly used by circus employees to prod, strike, or jab elephants.

According to a recent news story, three councilmen in Richmond, VA have introduced a city ordinance to ban the use of the ankus, or bullhook, for the control of elephants. A bullhook is a steel rod with a sharp hook at one end that is used to strike or prod an elephant into performing a certain behavior. In addition to the bullhook, no person can use a “baseball bat, axe, handle, pitchfork or similar instruments or a tool designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant.” Violations would be classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Ringling Bros. regularly employs bullhooks and opposes the proposed ordinance. If passed, the ban would go into effect January 2017.

Take Action: Richmond residents, contact your city council to express your support of an ordinance to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants. Richmond City Council 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305 Richmond, Virginia 23219 804-646-2778

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Running with Bulls Bad Idea

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Virginia, Georgia, and Texas are supporting an event this year called Running with the Bulls, which is meant to mimic the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Virginia, Georgia, and Texas are supporting an event this year called Running with the Bulls, which is meant to mimic the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Paws Down!
To three arenas hosting running with the bulls spectacles this year.

An organization called Running with the Bulls is sponsoring three events this year in three states: Virginia, Georgia, and Texas.

These events are meant to mimic the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. However, just as in Pamplona, the bulls have no say in the matter. They are treated as spectacle rather than as living, breathing, sentient beings who belong almost any place other than an arena with a group of people sprinting ahead of them.

While some may say running with the bulls is tradition, it was never tradition in Virginia, Georgia, or Texas. As with many traditions, however, it should be put to rest in all other areas of the world.

Take Action: The best action any of us can take is to refuse to support organizations and venues that host animal-related entertainment by not attending these events and not even watching them on television. For our readers in the three states where these events will take place, please take time to write to the managers of each venue and express your displeasure at their booking such a frivolous event.

General Manager Bryan Pierce, General Manager
Virginia Motorsports Park
8018 Boydton Plank Rd.
Petersburg, VA 23803
Tele. No.: 804-862-3174
E-mail: bryanp@virginiamotorsports.com

General Manager
Georgia International Horse Park
1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway
Conyers, Georgia 30013
770-860-4190

Fern Davis, Sales Director
Royal Purple Raceway
2525 S Farm to Market Road 565
Baytown, TX 77521
Tele. No.: 281-383-7223
E-mail: fdavis@royalpurpleraceway.com

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Animal Abuse Registries

Implementing animal abuser registries could prevent further cruelties to both people and animals.

Implementing animal abuser registries could prevent further cruelties to both people and animals.

Several states have legislation pending that would create animal abuser registries similar to child abuser and sex offender registries. An animal abuser registry would list individuals convicted of felony animal abuse or who committed certain violent offenses against animals.

Intentional animal cruelty is of particular concern as it is a sign of psychological distress and often indicates an individual may be predisposed to committing acts of violence toward humans. Since animal abuse is often an early sign of potential human abuse, tracking animal abusers would help protect not only the animals of a community but also the people. Therefore, creating and maintaining a registry of individuals convicted of felony animal cruelty can be an asset in identifying potential criminal behavior.

Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. Additionally, mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider the blatant disregard for life and suffering evidenced by all forms of cruelty to animals to be an unquestionable warning sign. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders; and the FBI uses reports of animal cruelty in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.

In addition, such registries could be valuable in tracking people who engage in illegal animal fighting, such as cockfighting and dog fighting; hoarders; and those who run puppy mills.

The following states have legislation pending:

Arizona SB 1161
ConnecticutHB 5205
New YorkS2305A
Hawaii SB 0528
OregonHB 2394
PennsylvaniaHB 0265 and SB 0320
South CarolinaHB 3045
VermontS 0009
VirginiaHB 2242

NHES urges the citizens of these states to contact their legislators and encourage them to support a felony animal abuser registry in their state.

Related Posts:
Animal Abuser Registries, June 2012
Animal Abuser Registries, Feb 2012
Animal Abuser Registries, Jan 2011

Dying with Dignity

No animal should die in a gas chamber.

Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, introduced House Resolution 736, which expresses opposition to the use of gas chambers as a way to euthanize shelter animals and supports states to enact laws to replace gas chambers with euthanasia by injection.

With 3 to 4 million cats and dogs being euthanized in animal shelters today, we need to ensure those deaths are humane. Gassing often can take 30 minutes or more during which time the animal is confined in a large chamber often with many other animals all terrified and some panicking to the point of attacking the other animals in the chamber. This is no way to euthanize an animal who, through no fault of his or her own, became expendable.

Please contact your representative and express your support of House Resolution 736.

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