Entries in Humane Society (3)


Humane Society Accuses American Kennel Club of Protecting Puppy Mills

Humane Society of the United States(NEW YORK) -- In what could become a nasty dogfight, the Humane Society of the United States alleged Monday that the American Kennel Club is thwarting efforts to prevent animal cruelty by blocking laws that would crack down on so-called "puppy mills, and is also blocking a new federal law that would greatly expand inspections of breeders who sell dogs over the internet.

"This is one of the most important dog welfare reforms of the decade, and AKC is opposing it," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the US (HSUS), told ABC News.

In a 13-page report called "The American Kennel Club: No Longer 'The Dog's Champion?'," the HSUS accuses the world's largest purebred dog registry, which collects membership fees from thousands of dog breeders, of blocking laws across the country that would crack down on puppy mills -- and affect the AKC's members.

"When we added it all up, we learned that the AKC has opposed 80 state and local proposals to crack down on puppy mills," said Pacelle. "That's a shocking pattern of behavior for an organization that says it's focused on the health of dogs."

"Puppy mills" are large-scale dog-breeding facilities that provide puppies to pet stores across the country and for sale via the internet directly to consumers. Many belong to the AKC and produce AKC-registered purebred puppies. The Humane Society says that many puppy mills have substandard living conditions that create health and behavior problems in dogs.

The Humane Society also charges the AKC with trying to stop a proposed change to the federal Animal Welfare Act that would make breeders who sell puppies over the Internet subject to regular health and safety inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Animal Welfare Act currently requires USDA inspections of breeders but does not require inspections of pet stores, based on the old-fashioned, "how much is that doggie in the window?" method of dog-buying, in which consumers could see the conditions in the stores where they bought their puppies. The rule was drafted before the advent of the Internet, which has now become a significant resource for consumers purchasing both purebred and mixed-breed dogs.

The proposed rule would still exempt physical "retail pet stores" from inspection, but would close a loophole via which internet dog breeders had also classified themselves as "retail pet stores." Any breeder with more than four breeding females would become liable to inspection. The change would add thousands of internet breeders, many of them selling AKC-registered purebreds, to the list of breeders subject to USDA inspection and oversight.

In a press release announcing the proposed rule, the USDA described the move as primarily designed to ensure the proper treatment of animals: "By revising the definition of retail pet store to be better suited to today's marketplace, we will improve the welfare of pets sold to consumers via online, phone and mail-based business."

Yet the AKC -- which bills itself on its website as "The Dog's Champion" -- has opposed the proposed changes, stating on its website that the changes, "have the potential to significantly impact AKC breeders." The organization cites a number of concerns, including the challenge for smaller breeders to comply with regulations now reserved for larger ones, and the expense to smaller breeders to establish "commercial-level facilities."

Both the AKC and HSUS are encouraging consumers to voice their opinions on the proposed rule, which is supposed to take effect later this year and is open to public comment through July 16.

The AKC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Video Reveals Torture of Horses Trained to Win Championships

Humane Society of the United States(NEW YORK) -- Large numbers of the famed Tennessee Walking Horses have been tortured and beaten in order to make them produce the high-stepping gait that wins championships, an ABC News investigation has found.

"All too often, you have to cheat to win in this sport," said Keith Dane of the Humane Society of the United States.

In the most recent example, an undercover video made by an investigator for the Humane Society, documents the cruelty of one of the sport's leading trainers, Jackie McConnell of Collierville, Tenn.

The video led to a federal grand jury indictment of McConnell and was seen publicly for the first time Wednesday night on the ABC News program Nightline.

The tape shows McConnell and his stable hands beating horses with wooden sticks and using electric cattle prods on them as part of a training protocol to make them lift their feet in the pronounced gait judges like to see.

In another scene, McConnell oversees his hands as they apply caustic chemicals to the ankles of the horses and then wrap them with plastic wrap so the chemicals eat into the skin.

"That creates intense pain and then the ankles are wrapped with large metal chains so the horses flinch, or raise their feet even higher," said Dane of the Humane Society.

McConnell is expected to enter a guilty plea to one count, according to his lawyers.

He declined to comment, or apologize for his acts, when approached by ABC News this week outside his home.

Leaders of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry maintain that such brutality is rare and that trainers do not have to cheat to win championships, which can add millions of dollars to the value of horses.

"They do not have to cheat to win," said Dr. Steve Mullins of the group called SHOW, which oversees inspections of horses before major events.  "You don't have to do this kind of junk to win. ... And we are terribly against this stuff."

The industry group maintains that the vast majority of horses are not subjected to the cruel practice of "soring."

But a random inspection by the agents of the Department of Agriculture at last year's annual championship found that 52 of 52 horses tested positive for some sort of foreign substance around front hooves, either to cause pain or to hide it.

Dr. Mullins told ABC News there could be innocent explanations for some of the foreign substances found by the inspectors. ´╗┐

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missing Dog Mystery: Terrier Found 2 Days Later, 700 Miles Away

Photo Courtesy - KXTV Sacramento, Calif.(TACOMA, Wash.) -- The owner of a missing Patterdale Terrier is making a long road trip this weekend – from Rio Linda, Calif., to Tacoma, Wash. – to pick up his dog who went missing earlier this week, only to turn up two days later nearly 700 miles away.

When Brian Rapozo got word that his dog had been found, Marguerite Richmond of the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County said the man was excited, but shocked at just how far away his dog had traveled.

“We said 'Well, he's at the shelter in Tacoma,' and he's like 'Tacoma? Tacoma, where?'”

The dog, named Bear, had no identification tag; it was identified by a microchip embedded under its skin.

“He was just really shocked to find out the dog was about 700 miles away,” Richmond said. “He had just lost the dog on Tuesday, and the dog came in on Thursday.”

How the terrier made such a long trip in such a short amount of time is -- for now -- a mystery.

“There's always a possibility it was stolen,” Richmond said. “But you never know.  Sometimes these dogs jump into somebody's cab, or they stow away in a car, and then somehow lose their collar.”

The lesson, Richmond says, is for every owner to have their pets “chipped.”

“It’s really a good safety measure for owners who really care about their pets, because any dog can lose a collar. If they have a microchip…you can't remove a microchip, and that will always find you.”

Bear and its owner were scheduled to be reunited on Saturday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio