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Please send us the date, place, logo, and contact information for your upcoming public event! 2019

February 19-21:  The State of the Beaver 2019,  Cow Creek Indian Tribe Seven Feathers Convention Center,   Canyonville,  Oregon.  Info:  Leonard Houston,  beavers@surcp.org or Stanley Petrowski,  stanley@surcp.org

March 2:  Conscious Eating Conference,  David Brower Center,  Berkeley,  California,  hosted by United Poultry Concerns.  Info:  hope@upc-online.org or 707-540-1760.

March 23:  Trapping Tips & Tricks free webinar,  presented by Community Cats Podcast.  Register:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/840165818640721665?mc_cid=c01295c76d&mc_eid=98285e1fec.

March 29-31:  Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium,  Georgetown University,  Washington DC.  Info:  https://seamamms.wordpress.com/

April 14:  Veggie Pride Parade,  New York City.  Info:  https://www.facebook.com/events/208184960097546/

May 18-19:   Plant-based Prevention Of Disease Annual National Conference,  Raleigh,  North Carolina.  Info:  info@p-pod.org;  www.preventionofdisease.org/;  www.facebook.com/Plantbasedpreventionofdisease/https://twitter.com/plantbasedconf.

July 1-4:   Decolonizing Animals,  2019 conference of the Australasian Animal Studies Association,  New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies,  Christchurch,  New Zealand.  Info:  annie.potts@canterbury.ac.nz.

July 19-20:  4th annual New Harvest conference on cell-cultured alternatives to animal products,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab,  Cambridge.  Info:  info@new-harvest.org.

July 25-28:  Animal Rights National Conference,  Hilton Alexandria Mark Center just outside Washington, DC.  Info:  info@arconference.org

October 9-12:  National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) Training Conference and Show,  Orlando,  Florida.  Info:  https://nacaconference.org/

October 14-16:  One Welfare conference,  concerning “the interrelationships between animal welfare, human well-being and the physical and social environment,”  University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW,  Australia.  Info: https://www.cve.edu.au/conference/one-welfare-conference-ii.

2020

Beth & Merritt Clifton

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Frothing at the mouth does not always signify rabies; neither does not frothing at the mouth signify “not rabid.”
(Beth Clifton collage)

Who named the pit bull Faust,  and why?

ST. LOUIS, Missouri––Faust in German legend was an alchemist,  sorcerer,  and perhaps even a necromancer,  meaning one who consorts with the dead,  who sold his soul to the devil for the secret of transforming “base” metals into gold.

The much more complex Faust of many literary renditions––who even appears in Grimm’s Fairy Tales––may more closely parallel the actual life and character of Dr. Johann Georg Faust,  1480-1540,  who reputedly sought a libertarian mix of unlimited knowledge with worldly pleasure.

But the best-known Faust today in the German-settled city of St. Louis,  Missouri,  is Faust the six-year-old female pit bull.

Dr. Faust & pit bull.
(Beth Clifton collage)

From golden goose to albatross

Who named Faust the pit bull,  when and why,  is unclear,  but she may have been named after Faust Park,  west of St. Louis in St. Louis County.

For a weekend,  anyhow,   Faust showed promise of becoming a “golden goose” for Stray Rescue of St. Louis.

Since then,  Faust may have become more of an albatross around the necks of practically everyone who had anything to do with her.

Faust was briefly the celebrity suffering dog of the post-winter holidays fundraising slow season,  her story amplified on social media worldwide.

Some Stray Rescue of St. Louis volunteers have indicated in social media postings that Faust was rehomed several years ago to a negligent owner,  but what agency rehomed her,  and why she was not reclaimed,  when she was apparently abandoned to roam the streets is also unclear.

Stray Rescue of St. Louis personnel picked Faust up, after she was reportedly frozen to the pavement, on February 8, 2019.

“Pick up your dog!”

Video has surfaced purportedly showing Faust in late January or early February 2019,  wandering in an alley,  wobbly in the hindquarters and displaying other neurological symptoms,  nibbling tossed bits of kibble.

Faust at that time was said to have been fed by Stray Rescue of St. Louis volunteers.  Yet,  though Faust was apparently known to have been abandoned,  the volunteers did not take her into the Stray Rescue of St. Louis shelter and fostering program.

Stray Rescue of St. Louis volunteer Scott Bouchard later claimed to have found Faust at large and to have returned her to an unidentified owner circa February 1,  2019.

About a week later,  on February 8,  2019,  Faust was found frozen in a gutter by a mail carrier,  reportedly with a body temperature initially too low to measure.

Picked up then by Stray Rescue of St. Louis personnel and transported to Veterinary Specialty Services of St. Louis for treatment,  Faust is said to have shown some signs of possibly recovering from her ordeal.

Faust already had weak hindquarters and a wobbly gait when first videotaped in late January 2019.

Faust bit a vet tech

On February 11,  2019,  however,  Faust bit a female veterinary technician,  inflicting a bleeding wound.

The bite was reported,  as required by Missouri state law,  to St. Louis County Animal Care & Control.

St. Louis County Animal Care & Control,  also as required by law,  immediately impounded Faust for observation.

“She was euthanized within six hours after being picked up by county animal control,”  summarized Andy Banker of Fox 2 News.  “Faust couldn’t lift herself up,  she was unable to walk,  she swayed back and forth,  and she had inappropriate neurological responses to stimuli,  all signs she may have had rabies.”

Faust under treatment for hypothermia.

100% fatal

Rabies is for all practical purposes 100% fatal,  continuing to kill several thousand people per year worldwide,  including some in the U.S.,  even though rabies is also 100% preventable with pre-exposure vaccination and boosters at appropriate intervals.

The few known human survivors of rabies were all in their early teens,  and were all treated using the “Wisconsin protocol,”  meaning that they spent a prolonged time in an artificially induced coma while their rabid symptoms were treated.  The “Wisconsin protocol” has not saved older and younger victims.

Rabies infections in humans who have been bitten by rabid animals can usually be prevented with very prompt administration of post-exposure treatment.  In the U.S. this consists of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of a post-exposure rabies vaccine,  given over a 14-day interval.

(Beth Clifton photo)

Narrow window

The window of opportunity for beginning post-exposure treatment,  however,  is a matter of only hours to days,  depending mostly on what part of the victim’s body was bitten by an infected animal and how soon the infection reaches the victim’s brain.

Rabies from a facial bite will reach the brain quickly.  Someone bitten on the foot will have longer to seek and obtain treatment.  Someone bitten on the right hand will have a little more time than someone bitten on the left hand,  but no one bitten anywhere can safely take more time than is necessary

Compendium advice

“Veterinarians at St. Louis County Animal Care & Control then consulted with Missouri state public health veterinarian Howard L. Pue,”  a vet of 40 years’ experience,  “who agreed with their assessment.  According to state protocol,  Faust was euthanized.”

The Missouri state protocol is precisely as recommended by the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention & Control,  published and frequently updated by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians,  under chapters 5,  “Postexposure management,”  and 6,  “Management of animals that bite humans.”

The bottom line is that if the vaccination status of an animal exhibiting rabid symptoms is unknown,  “Any stray or unwanted dog, cat, or ferret that exposes a person may be euthanized immediately,  and the head or entire brain (including brainstem) should be submitted for testing.”

Faust at rescue.  (Stray Rescue of St. Louis photo)

“Dumb rabies”

Dogs are among the five species common to North America,  including also bats,  foxes,  skunks,  and raccoons,  who may be infected with rabies and may infect others through a bite or any other transmission of saliva,  for weeks or in rare cases,  even months,  before displaying obvious symptoms.

Rabies without evident symptoms is called “dumb rabies,”  and is the most common form in dogs.  Typically the infected dog will gradually develop weakness in the hindquarters,  a wobbly walk,  lethargic behavior,  fever,  and have difficulty swallowing,  drooling excessively for several hours before going into the frothing-at-the-mouth “furious” form of rabies that precedes paralysis and death.

But not all rabid dogs develop the whole suite of symptoms in the “dumb rabies” phase.

“Dumb rabies” symptoms can develop in humans and animals suffering from hypothermia,  as Stray Rescue of St. Louis founder Randy Grim and other critics of the St. Louis County Animal Care & Control decision to euthanize Faust often mentioned in ensuing days.

Faust awaiting rescue.

“Dumb rabies” & hypothermia

But a dog who is already suffering from “dumb rabies” is also much more likely to become hypothermic.  An abnormally lethargic dog,  in particular,  is less likely to seek shelter from adverse weather,  and less likely to just keep moving to stay warm.

Where Faust was found,  in a gutter,  was not at all a place where healthy,  unrestrained dogs would choose to lie on a cold night.

St. Louis temperatures in the week before Faust was found had averaged between 26 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit,  according to readings posted by the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport:  well below freezing,  but above the level (20 degrees and below) at which most healthy dogs may become hypothermic.

Stray Rescue of St. Louis veterinarian Sarah Frei told media that Faust was improving under care at Veterinary Specialty Services,  not further deteriorating as an animal with rabies would.

Yet hypothermia,  by slowing an animal’s circulation,  can temporarily retard the advance of rabies,  so that the victim animal may show indications of recovery from hypothermia before unambiguous signs of rabies develop.

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(Beth Clifton collage)

Elaine Richman killing resembled the 1955 & 1960 attacks that made Dobermans  infamous

HOUSTON, Texas––Found dead in her Houston back yard on February 8,  2019,  Doberman enthusiast Elaine Richman,  66,  most likely succumbed to severe facial wounds and apparent defensive wounds to her hands and arms.

“Preliminary autopsy results list a sharp force injury as the cause of death,”  reported Taisha Walker and senior digital editor Aaron Barker of Click2Houston.com.

Apart from the nature of the wounds,  a sharp force injury as the cause of death would be indicated by evidence of spurting blood:  when the heart stops,  blood pressure stops with it.  Blood from bite wounds inflicted after a dog attack victim’s death slowly oozes and soon congeals.

Elaine Richman & Doberman.

“Many of her dogs were champions”

“The two Dobermans were confiscated by authorities,”  reported Miya Shay of KTRK-ABC 13 television news.  “They are currently being held by the city of Houston’s animal control department, pending the outcome of a Houston police criminal investigation.

Elaine Richman “spent a big part of her life training and showing the dogs,”  her brother Bruce Richman told Shay.  “She would take such pride in seeing them win ribbons and awards and many of her dogs were champions.  That was her life,”  Richman added.

“However,”  Shay said,  “Richman’s relationship with other Doberman owners was strained after she was forced out as treasurer of the local [Doberman] organization following a financial probe.  After her death,  a number of Doberman owners contacted by ABC13 were reluctant to talk about Richman.  They wanted to focus on the Dobermans, not wanting one tragic death to impact the perception of the dogs.”

(Beth Clifton photo)

Doberman advocates in denial

But fellow Doberman owners by the dozens,  many of whom knew Richman and her dogs,  one male and one female,  remained in denial that Richman’s own Dobermans could have attacked her.

“That is extremely unusual,  that a person is attacked by their personal dogs,”  Houston Kennel Club president Tom Pincus told the Houston Chronicle,  overlooking that the most frequent victims of fatal attacks by any dogs are owners and other members of their households.

“I would not believe that for a second until I heard that from a coroner’s report,”  insisted Pincus.

Dog show handler Theresa Nail,  who walked one of Richman’s Dobermans through several competitions,  told the Houston Chronicle that Richman’s dogs were “very well-behaved and sweet.”

Elaine Richman & Doberman in recent agility event. Note the apparent elastic bandage on her left wrist.

Heart attack?

Others,  as well as vouching for the Dobermans,  mentioned that Richman had fallen in competitions as recently as November,  suffering unspecified complications from the falls.  A photo of Richman at a recent agility event appears to show her left wrist in an elastic bandage.

Richman was also said to have been scheduled for heart surgery to have a stent implanted,  a hint that she might have had a heart attack in conjunction with the Doberman attack.

But even if Richman fell or had a heart attack before her Dobermans inflicted the bloody injuries from which she tried to protect herself,  the Dobermans almost certainly finished her off.

Whether the Dobermans knocked Richman down before mauling her,  or just mauled her after she fell,  and whether the Dobermans triggered the hypothetical heart attack or the heart attack triggered the Dobermans to bite,  are details in the sequence of events bringing about her death,  not exonerating factors for the dogs.

Elaine Richman’s two Dobermans.

“Didn’t see them as vicious”

What Richman’s Dobermans did not do is bark loudly and incessantly enough to inspire neighbors to look over the fence to see why they were barking,  or to call police or animal control to complain.

“I didn’t see them as vicious,”  Richman’s next-door-neighbor of 20 years Robert Amie told Barker and Walker of Click2Houston.com.  “They sounded vicious, but they never acted vicious toward anybody.  They were trained so well from what I saw,  it’s hard for me to believe that they would attack her.”

Police found Richman several days after her death,  after she had missed two sessions of obedience training classes at which she and her Dobermans were expected.

The 1945 fatal pit bull attack on Doretta Zinke of Miami shared top headline space with World War II.

Pit bulls vs. Dobermans in the 1940s

It is commonly said,  and is perhaps half true,  that Dobermans were the most feared dog breed in the U.S. before pit bulls.  But even when Dobermans were at the height of their notoriety as a dangerous breed,  in the 1950s and 1960s,  there was really no apt statistical comparison that put them in the same risk bracket as pit bulls.

The first known fatality in the U.S. from a Doberman attack was two-year-old Mary Jane Lund,  mauled in her back yard in Oakland,  California by her family’s longtime pet on June 28,  1943.

The most recent previous U.S. dog attack fatality,  21-year-old Dorothy Whipka,  of Davenport,  Iowa,  suffered severe head injuries when knocked down by a dog identified by contemporary newspaper coverage as a large mongrel,  but identified as a Rottweiler by recent sources.  The most recent fatal mauling had been that of 17-month-old Vernell Jacobs,  by a pit bull,  in Whiteville,  North Carolina.

After the Doberman killed Mary Jane Lund,  the next two known U.S. dog attack fatalities were both killed by pit bulls:  21-month-old Marguerite Derdenger of Los Angeles,  on February 13,  1945,  and 39-year-old Doretta Zinke,  of Miami,  Florida,  on May 16,  1945.

Nazi Doberman circa 1940.

Pit bulls vs. Dobermans in the 1950s

The next Doberman fatality did not come until Winifred W.L. Bacon,  64  was mauled by her two Dobermans on June 22,  1955  in an unwitnessed attack at Island Beach State Park,  near Toms River,  New Jersey.

The most recent serious dog attack on the east coast,  on June 2,  1955,  had ended without injury,  other than a pair of broken glasses,  when a rampaging pit bull at Fancher-Davidge Park in Middletown,  New York,  pulled a 17-year-old girl down,  biting her clothing twice.  The attack was thwarted when the girl’s sister and another girl helped the victim to escape into a restroom,  where they remained until an unknown person removed the pit bull.

Doberman, 1904.  (Beth Clifton collage)

Pit bulls vs. Dobermans in the 1960s

Five years after Winifred Bacon was killed,  and after pit bulls killed at least two more people,  a Doberman on March 19,  1960 killed Frances Tetreault,  50,  of Northvale,  New Jersey,  about 75 miles north of Toms River.  The second fatality inflicted by a single breed of dog in one state lastingly established the bad reputation of Dobermans.

But only 10 days later,  on March 29,  1960,  two pit bulls belonging to one William D. Fair severely mauled 9-year-old Patricia Brown of Chicago,  whose prospects for survival remained uncertain,  as of publication of the only known coverage of the attack.

(Beth Clifton photo)

Pits 4,  Dobies 3.  Then pits ran up the score

Over the entire 1943-1960 time frame,  there were 16 documented non-rabid fatal dog attacks in the U.S.,  four of them by pit bulls,  four by huskies,  three by Dobermans,  two by German shepherds,  one by a Rottweiler,  and two by packs identified as only “mongrels.”

As of 1960,  according to published estimates by breed fanciers,  the Doberman population of the U.S. was about 39,000,  compared to about 20,000 pit bulls.  Thus,  while Dobermans were,  and are,  clearly much more dangerous than the average dog,  a pit bull was even then nearly three times more likely to kill someone than a Doberman.

(Beth Clifton collage)

No more fatal Doberman attacks for 21 years

Following Tetreault’s death,  there was not another Doberman-inflicted death until in 1981 a neighbor’s two Dobermans killed four-year-old Ronald Messer,  of Kettering,  Ohio,  when he climbed a low chain link fence to retrieve a ball.

From then to the present day,  Dobermans have killed only ten more people,  disfiguring 25. ..

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(Beth Clifton collage)

“This goes down as one of the really significant failures in wildlife management in recent decades.”

PORTLAND, Oregon––Cormorant massacres at East Sand Island,  near the mouth of the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington,  not only did not save any salmon and steelhead from predation in 2015 through 2017,  but may have tripled predation losses,  according to new research by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife avian predation biologist James Lawonn.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers killed 5,576 cormorants and destroyed 6,181 nests in an effort to prevent the birds from eating an estimated 12 million young salmon each year,”  summarized Karina Brown for Courthouse News Service and Willamette Week on February 5,  2019.

Double-crested cormorant.
(Sally Fekety photo)

“Little to no gain”

Lawonn,  however,  told Brown that he expects “expects little to no gain” in salmon and steelhead survival as result of the killing,   ordered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and executed by USDA Wildlife Services

Explained Brown,  “That’s because cormorants are now living farther upriver—still in huge numbers.  And where they live makes a difference.  Cormorants who live closer to the ocean choose from an extensive menu of ocean fish that form huge schools in the Columbia estuary,  such as anchovies,  herring and smelt.  Upriver, they eat a far higher proportion of salmon and other freshwater fish.

“None of the estimated 16,000 birds who fled East Sand Island in 2017,  amid the USDA Wildlife Service gunfire,  “were tagged or radio-collared,  so there is no data to show exactly where they went.  But last year,  a sudden surge in cormorants nested on the Astoria-Megler Bridge,  seven miles upriver from the island,  and at other upriver spots.”

Bridge cormorant colony “will likely double”

Some cormorants had nested at the Astoria-Megler Bridge,  spanning the Columbia River,  since 2004,  “but only in very small numbers,”  Brown specified,  paraphrasing Lawonn.

“Now there are 1,750 breeding pairs on the bridge,”  Brown wrote,  “and based on available habitat,  the colony will likely double.”

Altogether,  the Columbia River estuary cormorant population has recovered to about 10,000 nesting pairs,  “a number comparable to the original average of 12,000 pairs on East Sand Island before the Corps of Engineers project,”  Brown assessed.  “Other spots upstream have become new homes for 750 breeding pairs.”

Bob Sallinger.  (Facebook photo)

Feds knew killing cormorants would not help

That the cormorant massacres would do little or nothing to conserve salmon and steelhead was no surprise to Audubon Society of Portland conservation director Bob Sallinger.

The outcome should also have been no surprise to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies involved in the killing,  Sallinger contended in an unsuccessful 2015 lawsuit,  based on a suppressed and ignored study by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Steve Haeseker.

(See Feds hid data showing that killing cormorants will not help salmon & steelhead.)

Cormorant catching a fish.
(Beth Clifton photo)

“One of the worst things I’ve seen”

“We think this goes down as one of the really significant failures in wildlife management in recent decades,”  Sallinger told Brown.  “It’s without question one of the worst things I’ve seen in my 25 years of wildlife advocacy.”

“This was never about protecting salmon,” emphasized Sallinger.  “This was always about scapegoating birds to avoid the real challenges that the Corps of Engineers needs to face up to. And the result has been a stunning failure,  whether you care about birds or fish.”

Sallinger and many other conservationists have long blamed salmon and steelhead declines in the Columbia River estuary on the many upstream dams blocking the Columbia,  the Willamette,  and other spawning rivers.

(Beth Clifton photo)

Dams & hot water

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has refused to do what’s necessary to modify those dams to protect salmon,”  Sallinger has often said,  “and that is why salmon are continuing to decline. Killing wildlife is not going to change that situation.”

Several reports indicate that global warming is also a major and growing factor.  Effects of elevated water temperature have been found by at least one recent study to be contributing to the premature deaths as many as half of the adult sockeye salmon returning to the Columbia River and tributaries to spawn.

(Beth Clifton photo)

Feds blame eagles

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,  meanwhile,  denied to Brown that shooting thousands of cormorants and smashing their nests had anything to do with their 2017 exodus from East Sand Island.

Instead,  wrote Brown,  “The Corps blames eagles for the birds’ mass abandonment of the island.”

“The management plan has been very successful in reducing the amount of salmon eaten by birds on East Sand Island,”  contended U.S. Army Corps of Engineers biologist Kris Lightner.  “We just don’t know about the estuary as a whole.”

(Beth Clifton collage)

“Pure scapegoating”

Responded Oregon State University wildlife ecology professor Dan Roby,  who was hired by the Corps of Engineers to study the potential effects of rousting cormorants from East Sand Island,  but whose advice was ignored,  “If there is a place in the Columbia River estuary where it would be best for cormorants to nest – and by best,  I mean their effect on salmon and steelhead survival – it would be East Sand Island.”

Brown published her exposés of the failure of the cormorant killing to help salmon and steelhead on the same day that ANIMALS 24-7 published Why killing predators won’t bring back the salmon,  examining and exposing schemes pursued by a variety of state and federal agencies to try to recover salmon and steelhead by killing gulls and California sea lions.

Beth & Merritt Clifton

All of this,  said Sallinger,  “is a continuation of a very unfortunate pattern of killing wildlife to protect other wildlife––pure scapegoating.”

Please help us continue to speak truth to power:  http://www.animals24-7.org/donate/
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Bane. (Beth Clifton collage)

Murder-by-dog convict Marjorie Knoller is denied parole

SACRAMENTO––The California Board of Parole Hearings on February 7,  2019 denied parole to Marjorie Knoller,  64,  convicted of murder-by-dog for the January 26,  2001 death of St. Mary’s College lacrosse coach Diane Whipple,  33,  at the door to her San Francisco apartment.

Knoller will be allowed to seek parole again in 2022.

Don Thompson of Associated Press described Knoller’s conviction as “a bizarre dog-mauling case that tested the limits of the state’s murder laws.”

(Beth Clifton collage)

Humane community ran through red lights

It was all of that,  and more.

The Knoller case flashed a string of red lights that much of the humane community ran through in embracing advocacy for dogs bred to kill.

Among the red lights were the association of dangerous dogs with militant white supremacy,  drug-related crime, bestiality,  pornography,  animal hoarding,  dogfighting,  human-to-human violence including murders by prison gangs,  and an inverted variant of political liberalism that presents ruthless victimizers as victims of society.

Among the animal advocacy trends visibly emerging through those associations were the use of blame-the-victim media blitzes and spurious lawsuits to defend dogs who have killed animals and humans.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Knoller case marked refocus of no-kill goals

Equally problematic,  the Knoller case marked a refocus of advocacy for no-kill sheltering away from spay/neuter,  to prevent the birth of animals in need of impoundment and perhaps euthanasia,  toward preserving dangerous dogs’ lives,  in particular,  at any cost in suffering,  including to the dogs themselves.

For 90 years before the death of Diane Whipple,  the humane community prided itself on being the “Voice of the Voiceless,”  as expressed in the 1910 Ella Wheeler Wilcox anti-hunting poem by that title.

The poem at length decries “the rapture of killing things,”  a long phrase that Wilcox used to describe sadism.

Humane organizations had long recognized that discouraging “the rapture of killing things” required more than just discouraging hunting,  dogfighting,  cockfighting,  and other sadistic uses of animals.

Discouraging “the rapture of killing things” also included protecting other animals,  and humans,  from dogs bred or trained to kill.

Maddie’s Adoption Center at the San Francisco SPCA.

How San Francisco no-kill success evolved into catastrophic failure

But the Knoller case came on the heels of a decade-plus of no-kill advocacy,  led by the San Francisco SPCA,  which took the city to quasi-“no kill” status by giving up the animal control housing contract it had held for 100 years,  to instead emphasize spay/neuter and promote shelter adoptions.

The San Francisco formula worked,  and was and is widely emulated.  Ten years after the San Francisco SPCA quit doing animal control,  the city of San Francisco had the lowest rates of dog and cat intake and euthanasia,  relative to human population,  of any U.S. community.

What did not work,  including for Diane Whipple,  was that both the San Francisco SPCA and the San Francisco Department of Animal Care & Control went on from reducing shelter killing through promoting spay/neuter and adoption,  to trying to further reduce shelter killing by redefining what they considered dog behavior dangerous enough to warrant euthanasia.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“St. Francis terriers”

Five years before Whipple’s death,  in 1996,  the San Francisco SPCA tried to rebrand pit bulls as “St. Francis terriers,”  in order to rehome more––and was obliged to suspend the program after several of the first rehomed “St. Francis terriers” killed cats.

Despite that failure,  then-San Francisco SPCA president Richard Avanzino pushed pit bull advocacy after moving across San Francisco Bay to head the no-kill advocacy foundation Maddie’s Fund in 1998.

Then-San Francisco SPCA attorney Nathan Winograd has also pushed pit bulls since founding his own No Kill Advocacy Center in 2006.

And so has then-San Francisco SPCA behaviorist Jean Donaldson,  in her subsequent career as author and celebrity dog trainer.

Neither Avanzino,  Winograd,  nor Donaldson,  and certainly none of their legions of disciples,  have ever acknowledged any responsibility for creating the atmosphere of tolerance of dangerous dog behavior that contributed to Diane Whipple’s death.

Diane Whipple in front of the San Francisco apartment house where she died.  (Beth Clifton collage)

Complaints ignored––until too late

Bane and Hera,  the two Presa Canarios that killed Whipple,  remained in custody of Marjorie Knoller,  and her husband and fellow attorney Robert Noel,  in their apartment right across the hall from Whipple,  despite at least 30 complaints about their behavior.

The complaints,  reiterated to public safety agencies after Whipple’s death,  came over many months from a multitude of neighbors and pedestrians,  none of whom seem to have been taken seriously until too late.

Whipple herself had been bitten on the left wrist by one of the dogs who killed her in December 2000,  but escaped serious injury,  said Sharon Smith,  her companion of six years,  because Whipple’s watch took the force of the bite.

Smith and Whipple had only moved into the building a month before Whipple was killed,  five days after her birthday.

Marjorie Knoller & Robert Noel

Noel nearly lost right index finger

Even Noel himself “said Bane had his share of run-ins with other dogs––one of which ended in Noel having his right index finger almost severed,”  wrote Suzanne Herel of the San Francisco Chronicle. But Noel claimed the other dog started the fight,  Herel reported,  and said he did not know which dog injured him.

At a February 2001 hearing on whether Hera should eventually be euthanized or be returned to Knoller and Noel,  mail carrier John Watanabe testified that an encounter with both Bane and Hera had him “fearing for my life.”

Former Knoller and Noel neighbor David Moser testified that Hera bit him on the buttocks. Dog walker Ron Bosia stated that Hera seized a poodle by the head,  in front of Noel,  and would not let go.

Hera (left) and Bane (right)

“A liability in any household”

Then-San Francisco animal control officer Vicky Guldbech,  who later was operations director for the animal control department,  read to the court a letter from veterinarian Donald B. Martin to Knoller and Noel,  warning them when they first obtained Bane and Hera that the dogs “would be a liability in any household.”

Meanwhile,  people who called public safety agencies to complain about Bane,  Hera,  and the attitudes of Knoller and Noel in defiantly walking both Presa Canarios toward people who were trying to avoid them,   were repeatedly told that they should not judge dogs by their looks.

Christopher Columbus’ war dogs

Never mind that Presa Canarios,  a mix of pit bull and mastiff,  have for more than 500 years been bred to look like exactly what they are:  war dogs and fighting dogs,  essentially the same dog as the bull mastiff,  though English bull mastiff fanciers tend to deny the parallel ancestry.

Before the Diane Whipple attack,  such war dogs were perhaps best known having helped the Spanish conquistadores to destroy entire Native American civilizations––and for having often been fed on Native American captives,  served still alive.

Presa Canario  (Wikipedia photo)

Kelly Sue Jaime

Presa Canarios should already have headed anyone’s list of inherently dangerous dog breeds after Kelly Sue Jaime,  22,  was on January 15,  2001 killed just inside the door of..

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Severo Luera.
(Beth Clifton collage)

Suspect could get eight years,  or life

            MALAD, Idaho––Severo Luera,  39,  the only person arrested in connection with a 2013 triple murder linked to pit bull breeding,  dogfighting,  and growing marijuana,  “has struck a deal with state prosecutors that could get him out of prison in less than 10 years,”  reported Madeleine Coles of the Idaho State Journal on February 8,  2019.

Apprehended in Utah in February 2015,  Luera was initially charged with three counts of aiding and abetting a murder in the first degree plus one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree.

From left, clockwise: Yavette Carter, Trent Christenson, Brent Christensen.

Two-year-old & two-month-old survived

The victims,  Brent L. Christensen,  62,  his son Trent Jon Christensen,  32,  and Trent Christensen’s girlfriend Yavette Chivon Carter,  27,  were found shot to death on April 5, 2013 inside their home in Holbrook,  Idaho,  a crossroads town of about 400 people located west of Malad.

The three were apparently killed as long as 24 hours before an unidentified man who came to pick up several dogs found Carter’s two-year-old daughter sitting on the front steps.

Walking inside,  the man found the bodies,  found a two-month-old baby girl beneath Carter’s arm,  and called police.

“It looked as if Carter was protecting the baby when she was killed,” Oneida County Sheriff Jeff Semrad told media.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Refused to name alleged killers

Luera in May 2015 pleaded not guilty to the four felony charges,  then repeatedly changed lawyers and sought delays in the legal proceedings while insisting he did not actually kill any of the victims,  yet refusing to name the men he said did the shooting.

“Law enforcement officers testified in April 2018,”  Coles wrote,  “that Luera had confessed to accompanying five individuals to the home in Holbrook where the murders occurred, as well as knowing which two of the five men pulled the triggers.

            “Luera agreed to a plea deal with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office,”  Coles continued,  “in which the charge of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree was dropped,  and all three counts of aiding and abetting in the first degree were downgraded to aiding and abetting in the second degree.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“Waived right to appeal”

“Luera will remain incarcerated at the Caribou County Jail until he is sentenced on May 3,  2019 at the Oneida County Courthouse in Malad,”  Coles added.

“As part of the plea agreement, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office sentencing recommendation for Luera is at least eight years in prison and possibly eight additional years,  as well as a $2,000 fine,”  Coles explained.

“If the judge chooses not to accept the plea agreement, Luera will be facing up to life in prison.  Luera has waived his right to appeal the sentence.”

(Beth Clifton)

Tight security

The triple murder case has been kept under unusually tight wraps from the beginning,  and more so since Luera was arrested.

“At least one dozen officers from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho State Police were stationed inside and around the courthouse,”  noted Idaho State Journal reporter Shelbie Harris on March 30,  2018,  after Luera made a rare court appearance.

“Every courthouse visitor was asked to sign in and out when entering and leaving the building,  access to parts of the building were restricted,  and the door to the courtroom where the hearing was taking place remained locked and guarded during the proceedings,”  Harris said.

“It’s a bit of a mystery why so many officers were providing security,”  Harris mentioned.  “Authorities would only say that the increased law enforcement presence was because of the high-profile nature of the case.”

(Idaho Humane Society photo)

“Volatile” defendant

Said Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, “Based on the volatility of this particular defendant,  I think the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office was very wise to exercise so much caution.”

Already facing alleged misdemeanor drug offenses in Utah when detained for questioning about the triple murder,  Luera reportedly had multiple prior convictions,  including for possession of a vicious dog,  a class C misdemeanor,  in Garland City,  Utah,  in 2010.

Earlier, Luera was convicted of misdemeanor drug possession in 2001,  of unlawfully selling or supplying alcohol to minors,  also in 2001, and of felony drug distribution in 2002,  for which he was sentenced to serve a year in jail.

Scene of the crime.
(Beth Clifton collage)

More busts expected,  but did not follow

Sheriffs Nielsen and Semrad were confident when Luera was arrested that further arrests would soon follow.  As years passed without more arrests,  speculation developed that the other unidentified suspects might be trying to kill him and possibly other witnesses.

The triple murder followed major dogfighting raids in six other states on successive weekends, and preceded several even larger dogfighting busts that were apparently based on information gathered during the first round of arrests.

(See Arrest made in suspected dogfighting-related 2013 triple murder.)

Still unclear is whether there was any connection among the persons apprehended in the other states,  the murder victims,  and/or Luera.

64 chained pit bulls were found here.
(Beth Clifton collage)

64 chained pit bulls

At the Holbrook murder scene,  sheriff’s deputies found 64 pit bulls chained in two dog yards. Both dog yards were visible in photographs taken from two county highways intersecting near the scene.

Also found were 38 marijuana plants, with a cumulative street value estimated at $95,000.

Bruce Christensen,  brother of murder victim Brent L. Christensen, told media that Brent had served prison time for drug-related offenses.

Brent L. Christensen was also reputedly a professional dogfighter.
“Evidence at the scene suggests dog fights were held at the site,” reported Debbie Bryce of the Idaho State Journal.

Pit bulls vanished in previous local case

The triple murder came six years after the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department in August 2007 found as many as 34 pit bulls believed to have been bred for fighting on the premises of alleged marijuana growers Andy Ray Willard and Tiffany Willard, near Malad, the only incorporated city in the county.

Both Willards were convicted in November 2007 of manufacturing a controlled substance. Andy Willard was sentenced to serve two years in state prison;  Tiffany Willard was eligible for probation after serving 180 days.

Dogfighting charges were not filed.  The 34 pit bulls disappeared soon after the Willards were arrested.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Willards afraid to rat

Semrad indicated that the Holbrook murder victims were not involved in the Willard case, but the Willard case did involve possible murder suspects.

Said Semrad soon after the pit bulls in the..

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Queen Victoria.  (Beth Clifton collage)

Royal SPCA,  Royal Society for the Protection of Birds,  et al disregard & even promote cruelty on a shocking scale

            LONDON,  U.K.––The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Great Britain,  the world’s oldest western-style animal advocacy organization,  founded in 1824 and granted a royal charter in 1840 by Queen Victoria,  wants you to know about the long widely recognized accidental harm done to animals by plastic waste and litter,  especially to marine life.

This is something that ANIMALS 24-7 has been reporting about,  incidentally,  for more than 30 years.

(See Which are more deadly, balloons or alligators? for a recent update.)

(Beth Clifton collage)

Decries hundreds of cases,  overlooks millions

The Royal SPCA would apparently prefer,  however,  that you not notice the much less recognized but vastly larger deliberate harm done by fishing,  which ANIMALS 24-7 has also been reporting about for more than 30 years.

Summarized Guardian environmental correspondent Fiona Harvey on February 4,  2019,  “Plastic litter led to 579 cases of damage to wildlife or pets that were reported to the RSPCA in England and Wales in 2018,  up from 473 in 2015.

“Water birds and marine animals were particularly at risk,”  the RSPCA observed and Harvey recited,  “with 28 incidents involving seals hurt by plastic litter in 2018,  compared with five in 2015.  Among birds,  swans were among the worst affected, followed by geese and gulls.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Angling

“But the biggest source of damage to wildlife from litter comes from angling, according to the RSPCA’s findings,”  Harvey continued,  “with discarded equipment such as lines,  nets and hooks causing more than 3,200 of last year’s reports.”

Explained an unidentified RSPCA spokesperson,  “[Fishing] lines can wrap around necks,  causing deep wounds in flesh and cutting off the blood supply.  Hooks can pierce beaks or feet, become embedded in skin or get caught in the bird’s throat, and weights can be swallowed causing internal injuries and blockages.”

All of this is also true of what fishing does to fish.  But the RSPCA spokesperson said nothing about that.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“Only takes one to endanger an animal”

Instead,  the RSPCA spokesperson told Harvey,  “We would strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious when packing up to make sure no litter is left behind.

“It only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal,”  the RSPCA spokesperson reminded in conclusion.

Note that the Oxford Dictionaries define fish as “a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins living wholly in water.”

Fish also happen to be the most numerous order of vertebrate animals,  meaning animals who have evolved essentially the same structures for sensing and suffering pain as ourselves.

John F. Robins

RSPCA still promotes salmon farmers who shoot seals

Meanwhile,  mentioned Animal Concern Scotland secretary John Robins,  “Last August was the tenth anniversary of my first asking the RSPCA to stop endorsing salmon farmers who shoot seals,”  through the RSPCA Assured program that certifies “humanely produced” meat,  eggs,  and dairy products.

“I also told them what to put in their contract with the salmon farmers to ensure they didn’t have any excuse to shoot seals,”  Robins said.  “We are now into the eleventh year of the RSPCA repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot over their unforgivable failure to deal with this properly.”

John Robins also heads the Save Our Seals Fund. 

Scottish salmon farms shot an average of 267 seals per year between 2010 and 2016,  according to the most recent available data.

Institutional cruelty to wildlife

Disregard of cruelty to one species on purported behalf of another is not,  however,  unique in the United Kingdom to the Royal SPCA,  nor to situations in which the cruelty has an evident economic motive.

Similar attitudes permeate the attitudes and policies of British,  Scottish,  and Welsh agencies and organizations entrusted with protecting wildlife and habitat,  just as those attitudes permeate “wildlife management” in the U.S.,  Australia,  and New Zealand,  among other nations which have long notoriously sought to “save” certain animals by killing others,  with many more failures than nominal successes.

The most obvious difference is simply that since Victorian times the United Kingdom has often been described as “a nation of animal lovers,”  in which public displays of cruelty are not tolerated––except for fox hunting,  banned by law if not in practice since 2004,  and profligate bird shooting,  a frequent pastime of the British royal family.

(Beth Clifton collage)

The goat hunter

Along with importuning the Royal SPCA to recognize the suffering of all animals,  not just a favored few,  John Robins has also been striving for some time to highlight the hypocrisy of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and two of her cabinet secretaries,   Michael Russell and Roseanna Cunningham,  for their purportedly shocked and horrified responses after visiting U.S. trophy hunter Larysa Switlyk in October 2018 infamously shot a wild goat on the Isle of Islay,  then posed for photos with the corpse and a sex toy.

Robins recognized from the information about the incident published in media accounts,  obtained mostly from Switlyk herself,  that Switlyk apparently violated section 11a of the Firearms Act 1968,  governing the lending and use of firearms in Scotland.  Robins petitioned to have the Firearms Act enforced against Switlyk,  should she ever return to Scotland.

Scottish wild goat.
(Mark Chivers/Flickr photo)

“Played into the hands of the huntress”

But Robins also recognized that the underlying issue was scarcely limited to Switlyk.

“Goats have been on the quarry list of Scottish shooting tour holiday companies for as long as I can remember,”  Robins wrote to Animal Concern donors.  “Despite there only being around 1,500 wild goats in Scotland,  you can book an organized trip to shoot one for as little as £250.

“My calls for protection of these animals have fallen on deaf ears in government circle,”  Robins recalled,  “but at least the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds responded by replacing bullets with contraceptive darts when they shoot goats on the shores of Loch Lomond.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“Hire Switlyk to teach government cullers how”

“Forgive the sick pun,”  Robins continued,  “but Larysa Switlyk has been made a scapegoat by senior government ministers.  Their knee-jerk response to social media posts of Switlyk posing with the animals she killed,  in full camo gear and full make-up,  played right into the hands of the huntress.

“The free publicity enhanced the notoriety Switlyk relies on to promote her TV show [about trophy hunting] and the wide range of merchandise she endorses and sells,”  Robins pointed out.

“My tongue was only half in my cheek,”  Robins continued,  “when I suggested to Nicola Sturgeon that she employ Larysa Switlyk to teach government cullers to make a clean kill instead of causing extreme,  unnecessary suffering to the birds they maim and leave to die slowly from festering wounds.

Barnacle goose.
(Beth Clifton collage)

Massacring barnacle geese

“While Larysa Switlyk paid to humanely and legally shoot a goat on Islay,”  Robins explained,  “the government was paying some farmers and landowners on Islay more than a Member of the Scottish Parliament’s annual salary to kill and maim thousands of geese on the same island.  Hundreds of these birds were left to die a slow,  lingering death from their injuries.  The government even has a word for this.  They call it ‘crippling.’

“Scottish Natural Heritage,”  the agency responsible for maintaining Scottish wildlife and habitat,  “openly accepts that 10% of the shot geese are ‘crippled’ rather than cleanly killed,”  Robins said.   “To accept that any birds will be crippled is bad enough,  but our evidence shows the figure to be at least six times higher than Scottish Natural Heritage claim.”

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(Beth Clifton collage)

Four dead dolphins bring “temporary” closure of barely two-year-old swim-with-dolphins attraction

            SCOTTSDALE,  Arizona––Already a target of protest before opening in October 2016,  Dolphinaris Arizona,  the newest U.S. marine mammal exhibition facility,  is to be scene of yet another of many demonstrations on February 9,  2019.

This demonstration,  though,  will have a bite to it that online petitions signed by more than 100,000 people worldwide in 2016 lacked.

This will not just because the protest will be personally led by Ric O’Barry,  the former “Flipper” trainer at the Miami Seaquarium who has spearheaded opposition to marine mammal captivity worldwide since Earth Day 1970.

Dolphinaris Arizona site.
(Beth Clifton collage)

Facility closing day before demo

Nor will it be just because Dolphinaris Arizona will be closed indefinitely on Friday,  February 8,  2019,  laying off about 40 staff and giving many activists hope that the barely two-year-old swim-with-dolphins on the Salt River Pima/Maricopa Indian Community reservation will never reopen.

Of the eight bottlenose dolphins that Dolphinaris Arizona began with,  housed in a total pool area only half again the size of an Olympic swimming pool on a 35-acre,  $20 million development site,  four have already died.

The four dolphins who died at Dolphinaris Arizona.

“Rare muscle disease”

The first was seven-year-old Bodie on September 23,  2017.

Dolphinaris Arizona spokesperson Jen Smith announced initially that Bodie,  had died from “a rare muscle disease.”

However,  the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration report on the death,  obtained and released to media by “Advocates Against Dolphin Captivity in Arizona” Facebook page administrator Laurice Dee, specified that Bodie had died of a fungal infection.

Bodie. Circle shows a probable effect of mucormycosis.  (Beth Clifton collage)

Fungus among us

A spokesperson for the Animal Defense League of Arizona in November 2017 told Lindsey Reiser and Morgan Loew of television stations KPHO KTVK that this caused members of the organization to suspect that the actual cause of death was valley fever,  or coccidioidomycosis,  a relatively uncommon fungal disease identified more often in Arizona more often than in any other state.

Dolphinaris Arizona spokesperson Smith then clarified that Bodie had actually died from mucormycosis,  another fungal disease which in Bodie presented itself by attacking his muscular functions.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention [CDC] defines mucormycosis as “a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes,”  which “mainly affects people,”  or animals,  “with weakened immune systems and can occur in nearly any part of the body.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Mold,  bacteria,  parasites

“It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs,”  according to the CDC,  “after inhaling fungal spores from the air,  or the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut,  scrape,  burn,  or other type of skin trauma.”

“These molds live throughout the environment,”  the CDC adds.  But they rarely afflict heathy people or animals.

Alia,  10,  succumbed on May 22,  2018 to what Dolphinaris called “acute bacterial infections that spread quickly throughout her body.”

Khloe,  11,  died on December 30,  2018.  Dolphinaris general manager Christian Schaeffer told media that Khloe had arrived from a Six Flags facility in California already suffering from sarcocystis,  a parasitic disease most often passed from prey to predators.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Dolphin ate a bird?

A captive-born dolphin,  like Khloe,  might most likely be infected by eating a diseased small mammal,  bird,  or reptile who happened to fall into the water.

Sarcocystis weakens the host animal’s immune system,  causing muscular damage and impairing the central nervous system.

The fourth deceased dolphin at Dolphinaris,  Kai,  22,  was euthanized on January 31,  2019 after a two-week illness,  the nature of which is currently unclear.

Of note is that while mucormycosis,  bacterial infections,  and sarcocystis may all present similar symptoms,  and could even all infect the same animal,  if the animal suffered from a weakened immune system,  they are distinctly different families of diseases.

The common denominator,  among captive dolphins,  might be stress,  rather than exposure to any one particular pathogen.

Jay Sweeney.  (Dolphin Quest photo)

Dolphin Quest

Kai and two other dolphins were at Dolphinaris on loan from Dolphin Quest,  founded in 1988 by marine mammal veterinarians Jay Sweeney and Rae Stone.

The first Dolphin Quest swim-with-dolphins facility opened in 1988 on the Big Island of Hawaii,  and is noted for having hosted at least a dozen captive dolphin births.

A second Dolphin Quest facility opened in Bermuda in 1996,  relocating from the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel to The Keep in the Royal Naval Dockyard,  now the National Museum of Bermuda,  after Hurricane Gert damaged the original dolphin habitat in 1999.

Dolphin Quest opened a third swim-with-dolphins site on Oahu,  Hawaii in 2000.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Ventura Entertainment

The dolphin loans to Dolphinaris appeared to be the beginning of a lucrative partnership with the Dolphinaris subsidiary of Ventura Entertainment,  a Mexican company which bills itself “The biggest and most influential parks and attractions operator in Mexico and Latin America,  with nine brands,  14 facilities,  two countries,  and 165 different attractions,”  hosting “more than 3.5 million guests per year,  keeping the safest operations record in the industry.

“SunRiver Corporation hired Ventura Entertainment,”  the Ventura web site adds,  “for the design, development, and operation of seven mega parks in China.”

Many recently opened “mega parks in China” include dolphin exhibition facilities,  but whether Ventura Entertainment is involved with any of them is unclear.

Two of these four surviving dolphins at Dolphinaris Arizona will be returning to Dolphin Quest in Hawaii.

Dolphin Quest recalled dolphins

The Dolphinaris subsidiary operates swim-with-dolphins facilities at Barcelo,  Cancun, Cozumel,  Rivera Mayo,  and Tulem,  all of which claim to have been approved by the American Humane Association,  which has operated in recent years more-or-less as a rubber stamp for animal use enterprises that pay for certification.

Three of the Dolphinaris Arizona dolphins came from the Mexican locations,  including two of the four survivors.

But whether Dolphin Quest and Dolphinaris will be doing any further business is unclear.

“As of yesterday, “  Dolphin Quest announced two days after Kai died,  “Dolphin Quest has formally terminated its animal loan agreement with Dolphinaris.”

Left: Rae Stone. Right: Jay Sweeney.

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(Beth Clifton collage)

“Fugitive from justice” charge dropped, but carried lightest penalty

WASHINGTON D.C.––Denied bond on two counts of robbery for allegedly sticking up a Subway sandwich shop on January 20 and January 26,  2019,  appearing before the Washington D.C. Superior Court in jumpsuit and handcuffs,  Animal Rescue Corps founder Scotlund Haisley,  50,  on February 6,  2019 won dismissal of a “fugitive from justice” charge that had been the least serious of the charges pending against him.

The dismissal was anticipated by the prosecution.  Conviction on the “fugitive from justice” charge carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison.  Conviction on each of the robbery counts carries a potential penalty of two to fifteen years in prison,  or up to 30 years in prison if a deadly weapon is found to have been used.

(See Scotlund Haisley takes Subway to jail for alleged armed robbery and Scotlund Haisley allegedly took Subway while on bond for alleged assault.)

(Beth Clifton collage)

Six months of escalating trouble

Haisley had been in continuously escalating legal and personal difficulty at least since August 16,  2018,  when Animal Rescue Corps chief operations officer Tim Woodward asked him,  on behalf of the ARC board of directors,  to account for “approximately $61,000 in expenses in question from the preceding four months.”

Haisley made no apparent effort to respond,  according to Woodward in an October 25,  2018 termination letter.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Liver failure

Instead,  on September 27,  2018,  Nick Beres of Scripps Media Inc.,  who had often before done puff pieces on Haisley,  reported that Haisley was “stepping away from day-to-day operations” at Animal Rescue Corps “to care for himself.  The ARC leader faces possible liver failure,”  Beres wrote,  “possibly linked to his years of rescuing animals from toxic living conditions.”

The latter appears to have been purely speculation.  Intensive exposure to ammonia fumes can cause liver failure,  but liver failure attributed primarily to ammonia inhalation experienced on the job is rare even among factory farm workers who are exposed to high levels of atmospheric ammonia all day,  every day.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“Messy home” led to mayhem

Three weeks later,  on October 18,  2018,  Haisley was arrested in Takoma Park,  Maryland,  for alleged domestic violence.

According to the arrest report,  complainant Lynne Haisley,  wife of Scotlund Haisley for 16 years and mother of their three minor children,  told responding police officers that  “She and her husband began arguing over the messiness of their home.  Lynne Haisley explained that her husband,  Scotlund Haisley,  didn’t want to help her clean the house.  According to Lynne Haisley,  the argument became physical and her husband struck her approximately five times with a closed fist.  Then he grabbed her by the neck, and began choking her.  Ms. Haisley could not recall if he used one or two hands to choke her.  Ms. Haisley estimated that her husband choked her for 30-60 seconds.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Kicking & biting

“Ms. Haisley was eventually able to kick Mr. Haisley off of her,”  she told police,  “but then he bit her on the right arm.  After this,  Mr. Haisley began to calm down and Ms. Haisley fled the residence and ran to a neighbor’s house.

“Ms. Haisley had a bruise on her forehead,  above her left eye,”  the police report continued.  “She also had a mark on her right forearm.  Both injuries were photographed.  When asked,   Ms. Haisley stated that she did not require medical care.”

The responding police officers waited while Lynne Haisley collected essential items from the Haisley home.

Scotlund Haisley

“White powder residue”

“As Ms. Haisley was leaving the home,”  the arrest report said,  to go to a safe location,  “Mr. Haisley returned.  Mr. Haisley was placed under arrest,  into handcuffs,  and searched.”

Police “located a needle cap in Mr. Haisley’s right pants watch pocket.  In a side cargo pocket on the right leg,  another syringe cap was located. Both caps contained a small amount of a white powder residue.  The caps were properly packaged and later submitted into evidence for analysis.  Mr. Haisley could not remember if he had additional syringes on his person.”

Noticing “several open wounds on Mr. Haisley’s wrists,”  one of the responding police officers “asked him if he had any communicable diseases.  Mr. Haisley then stated that he had hepatitis C,”  the police report said.  “He also stated that he has stage 4 cirrhosis and that it is a terminal illness,”  although it can be controlled with appropriate medication for many years.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“30 syringes”

Mr. Haisley was transported to [Washington Adventist Hospital] to receive medications and to be treated for heroin withdrawal symptoms.

“Scotlund Haisley gave officers consent to search his vehicle and signed a written consent form,”  the arrest report finished.  “During the search,  officers located approximately 30 syringes, two vials of suspected heroin,  and a scale. All of the contraband was packaged according to departmental policy and the relevant items were submitted for analysis.”

Scotlund Haisley was reportedly released after the October 18,  2018 arrest on $5,000 bond.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Final Protective Order

The October 18,  2018 arrest resulted in a Final Protective Order issued by the District Court of Montgomery County,  Maryland on December 20,  2018.

The Final Protective Order stated that Haisley “SHALL NOT abuse,  threaten to abuse,  and/or harass the petitioner and others to be protected,”  and “SHALL NOT contact the protected parties by any means,  except as stated in this order,”  to be in effect until December 20,  2019.

“Respondent has admitted to longtime and recent history of heroin and cocaine abuse.  Petitioner placed in fear when respondent is under the influence,”  noted the Final Protective Order.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Counseling orders

Scotlund Haisley was also ordered to stay away from the three Haisley children and the schools they attend.  Scotlund Haisley was granted supervised visitation rights,  was ordered to surrender any firearms in his possession to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department,  and was further ordered to “participate in and meet the requirements of” a domestic violence counseling program.

Judge Holly D. Reed also ordered that Lynne Haisley,  as petitioner,  “shall enroll in and successfully complete a drug addiction/counseling program.”

ANIMALS 24-7 was told by a Haisley relative that “Scotlund violated the Final Protective Order shortly after it was issued,  on December 20,  and then on January 4,  2019,  physically assaulted Lynne in her condo.  He was arrested again on January 11,  2019,  this time in Washington D.C. by the D.C. police.  He was released from the D.C. jail on Jan. 12 and there are presently two Maryland warrants outstanding related to his January 4,  2019 assault and violation of the December 20,  2018 Final Protective Order.”

Former HSUS president Wayne Pacelle (left) and..

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(Beth Clifton collage)

Voice of America notices “the sounds of silence” from animal advocates

            TEHRAN, Iran––If Iranian cheetah conservationists Taher Ghadirian,  Houman Jowkar,  Morad Tahbaz,  and Niloufar Bayani were pit bulls accused of “sowing corruption on earth,”  facing the death penalty for killing someone,  tens of thousands of animal advocates worldwide would long since have signed online petitions demanding their immediate release.

Ghadirian,  Jowkar,  Tahbaz,  Bayani,  four codefendants facing “only” long prison sentences,  and another cheetah conservationist,  arrested on February 2,  2019 on no charges yet specified,  would together be known worldwide as the Tehran Nine.

Celebrities would be holding fundraising events for them.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Lexus Project,  among other organizations,  might be sending pro bono lawyers to represent them by the limousine load.

Lara Trump,  the pit bull advocate daughter-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump,  would be Tweeting on their behalf.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“Crime” of having American friends

Instead,  without having harmed anyone and without having violated any written law of Iran,  so far as Iranian vice president Isa Kalantari and other elected legislators have been able to determine,  Ghadirian,  Jowkar,  Tahbaz,  and Bayani are on trial for their lives––and hardly anyone is saying anything about it.

(See Iranian cheetah defenders face the death penalty and Trial of Iranian cheetah defenders facing death penalty begins.)

            On trial with them for alleged espionage are fellow cheetah conservationists Sepideh Kashani,  Amir Hossein Khaleghi,  and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh.

Accused of “conspiracy against national security” and having “contacts with enemy states” is Sam Rajabi,  whose purported crime is having biologist friends in the United States.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Where is cheetah advocate detained on February 2,  2019?

All eight are staff members and volunteers for the Tehran-based Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation,  as is the February 2,  2019 arrestee,  Pouria Sepahvand,  who was detained for an unknown reason and is held at an unknown location.

The six men and two women now on trial are represented in court only by lawyers appointed by the prosecution.  Arrested on January 24 and January 25,  2018 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,  they have for more than a year been held incommunicado in reputedly one of the world’s bleakest prisons,  their fate depending on the whim of Revolutionary Court Judge Abolqasem Salavati,  also known as “Iran’s hanging judge.”

Iranian Revolutionary Court Judge Abolqasem Salavati.
(Beth Clifton collage)

“Confession” extracted under torture

Three day-long sessions into their trial,  Ghadrian,  Jowkar,  Tahbaz,  and Bayani appear to be accused of spying on the Iranian missile and nuclear weapons program based solely on an alleged confession extracted from Bayani,  the one woman among the four defendants facing death.

“Bayani interrupted the proceedings [during the first day of the trial] several times to assert that investigators extracted her confessions under mental and physical duress,  and that she had since retracted them,”  reported the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran.

“Iranian state media said several lawmakers met with President Hassan Rouhani as he visited parliament on February 4,  2019,”  added Voice of America Persian correspondent Michael Lipin,  “and urged him to ensure the eight conservationists on trial are granted legal protections,  including a right to choose their own lawyers.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Iranian politicians spoke out––but not U.S.-based conservation orgs

“One of the lawmakers who met with Rouhani,  Mohammad Reza Tabish,  told the state-controlled news agency ISNA that they asked the president to be mindful of the concerns of human rights activists and other Iranians about the case against the conservationists,”  Lipin added.

“Tabish said Rouhani responded by expressing hope that the defendants would get a fair trial. The lawmaker also said parliamentary speaker Ali Lairjani agreed to meet the families of the defendants a future date.”

Radio Farda,  the Radio Free Europe branch serving Iran and Iranian expatriates,  confirmed the Voice of America report.

(Beth Clifton collage)

“I’m not seeing any attention to this case”

“Unfortunately,  I’m not seeing any attention [to this case[ by [other] international media,  or even by the environmentalists and conservationists of the world,  whom I was expecting to be more active and to question what is happening and ask for justice,”  former Iranian deputy environment department chief Kaveh Madani told Lipin.

Appointed to his Iranian environment department position in September 2017,  Madani fled Iran in April 2018,  Lipin reported,  “under verbal attack from conservatives who accused him of spying under cover of environmental activism.”

Added Lipin,  “A Voice of America Persian review of seven major international conservation organizations found that only one of them of has posted a comment on their website about the plight of the Iranian conservationists:  the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  In an October 26,  2018 online statement,  the Switzerland-based organization declared its ‘solidarity’ with the eight detainees and said it was ‘deeply alarmed by the charges against these dedicated women and men committed to protecting Iran’s rich natural environment and unique species.’”

The eight accused, four of whom face death.

IUCN spoke for own members;  others said nothing

Two of the cheetah advocates facing the death penalty,  Ghadrian and Jowkar,  are members of the IUCN cat specialist group.  Founded in 1948 as an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,  the IUCN is best known for maintaining an international Red List of endangered species.

“The six organizations whose websites did not contain statements about the Iranian conservationists include Conservation International,  Greenpeace,  Friends of the Earth International, The Nature Conservancy,  the Wildlife Conservation Society,  and the World Wide Fund for Nature,”  Lipin continued.

“Contacted by Voice of America Persian,”  Lipin added,  “Conservation International,  Greenpeace and The Nature Conservancy declined to comment.  Friends of the Earth International, the Wildlife Conservation Society,  and the World Wildlife Fund did not immediately respond.

(Beth Clifton collage)

Humane,  animal welfare,  & animal rights groups also silent

“A Voice of America Persian analysis of the social media channels of the seven groups and those of 19 other international conservation organizations also found that none of them have commented on the issue since the start of this year,”  Lipin finished.

Neither has any international humane,  animal welfare,  or animal rights organization commented on behalf of the Tehran Nine,  so far as ANIMALS 24-7 has been able to determine.

Sons Ramin & Mehran Seyed-Emami, with father Kavous Seyed-Emami and mother Maryam Mombeini.
(Family photos)

One defendant died in prison

The Tehran Nine would be the Tehran 10,  had Kavous Seyed-Emami survived.

Seyed-Emami,  64,  the Iranian/Canadian founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation,  was arrested with the eight defendants now on trial,  but Iranian authorities on February 8,  2018 notified Sayed-Emami’s wife,  Maryam Mombeini,  that he had “committed suicide” in prison,  allegedly by “strangulation.”

Mombeini,  a Canadian citizen,  has not been allowed to return to Canada,  “and has reportedly been subjected to repeated interrogations,”  the Toronto newspaper National Post recently updated.

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