Monday, June 29, 2015

Kevin Johnson pleads guilty to Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act charges

"Some people continue to believe that many animal rights activists are merely disillusioned young people who will grow out of their problem behaviors. But cases like this show that the animal “rights” movement is made up a non-trivial number of recidivistic criminals who are determined to harm others in order to achieve their ends."

A significant victory in social and legal battles against criminal animal rights activists happened very quietly in a courtroom this past Friday (6/26/2015). Kevin Johnson (“Olliff”) pled guilty to federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) charges relating to the criminal sabotage of a mink farm that occurred in Illinois in 2013. Kevin and his fellow animal right fanatic, Tyler Lang, were arrested while traveling in Illinois, not long after the release occurred. I discussed the circumstances of their arrest here.   Read full article 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Mexico animal lovers want to see animal abuse registry

Apparently the push by ALDF for animal abuser registries is still on.  These registries are a very bad idea. Learn more about the registries at the SAOVA website.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Sex offenders have to register online, now there’s talks in New Mexico of making animal abusers do the same.

It all started with a recent post in a Facebook group for New Mexico animal lovers. The post brought up the idea of an animal abuse registry.

“My initial feeling was it was another resource that will give a voice to the voiceless,” said Krisinda Cheney. Cheney said when she saw the post about an animal abuse registry, she was all for the idea. “In New Mexico, a great deal goes unreported so I think it’s something that holds individuals accountable,” said Cheney.

This isn’t a new idea. Other states have considered the database before and some cities have already implemented it.

“So far this policy has been adopted in multiple jurisdictions in New York State,” said Scott Heiser of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Heiser said the organization is pushing for a registry in every state.

“It’s a vehicle that prevents those who are placing animals or adoptive animals out into potentially loving homes, a tool to get accurate information when doing background checks,” said Heiser.

At Animal Protection of New Mexico, they said they’re for any initiative that protects animals. However, they said there’s still a lot of barriers to pass the database. “Not the least is figuring out who will run it, who will build it and maintain it, where the money will come from,” said Jessica Johnson of Animal Protection of New Mexico. Johnson also said the person running it has to have access to the right information from law enforcement.

Full article at link:


Public Hearing scheduled for June 25, 2015 at 7:00 PM, Room 108, Spalding County Annex Building. Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Animal Sterilization Requirement Ordinance and Unaltered Animal Permit Ordinance as proposed by the Animal Care and Control Advisory Board.

To keep your dog or cat intact, you can jump through hoops listed in the ordinance and purchase an unaltered permit. The proposed ordinance includes multiple exemptions for dog and cat breeders, such as having competed in at least one show or sporting competition sanctioned by a bonafide nationally registry within the past 365 days. However, written confirmation by the sponsor that the dog or cat has competed is necessary to satisfy this exemption.  Earning a conformation, obedience, agility, carting, herding, hunting, protection, rally, sporting, working or other title from a pure bred dog registry, confirmed in writing by the organization, will also qualify as an exemption. Persons who are Georgia State Department of Agriculture licensed breeders are exempt.

The authors of this proposed ordinance may have included multiple exemptions in an effort to focus MSN requirements on a smaller portion of the population, or simply to silence breeders.  The ordinance could be targeting those with limited income who cannot provide proof to qualify for one of the above exemptions and those who cannot afford spay/neuter surgeries for their pets. They will be driven away from providing necessary veterinary care for their pets, decreasing rabies vaccinations and possibly increasing rabies outbreaks.

MSN laws are promoted by groups who claim it will end euthanasia of animals, animal abandonment and shelter overpopulation. After decades of attempts, there is NO success story for mandatory spay/neuter.  In fact, such legislation has often had the opposite affect with disastrous results and negative impacts on shelter statistics. The MSN ordinance in Spalding County is doomed to fail. Breeders and the exemptions given to them could then be blamed for the ordinance failure.

There are no national organizations that support MSN. It is undisputable that the number one reason for animal abandonment is related to pet behavior or health problems, or the owner’s lack of time or ability to care for the pet, not reproductive status.

If you cannot attend the hearing, write to the commissioners:
Rita Johnson, Chair -   
Bart Miller, Vice Chair -
Gwen Flowers-Taylor -
Raymond Ray -
Donald Hawbaker -

Sunday, June 21, 2015

News Briefs and Updates June 20, 2015

SAOVA Friends,

Decades have gone by without evidence that mandatory spay and neuter (MSN) laws have had any success. Sometimes that is still not enough to deter officials from proposing these failed ordinances. Should MSN be proposed in your area, we have compiled two handouts for your use. “Mandatory Spay Neuter – A Failure Everywhere” along with a collection of national organizations position statements opposing MSN, can be downloaded from our website

Thank you for reading. Cross Posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

June 2015. US Fish and Wildlife (FWS) in response to a 2010 petition by HSUS and Jane Goodall announced a final rule to classify all chimpanzees, both wild and captive, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rule will go into effect on September 14, 2015. Under the new designation anyone working with captive chimps in the US must apply for a permit from FWS. Organizations that want to continue working with chimpanzees will have to document that the work enhances the survival of the species and benefits chimps in the wild. That could include research that boosts habitat restoration or contributes to improved management. If anyone is actively engaged in chimpanzee research, they must apply for a permit. According to FWS Director Dan Ashe, some biomedical research with chimps may be allowed to continue if it is critical for understanding human disease.

In a press release The National Association for Biomedical Research stated, "The full impact the new FWS ruling will have on biomedical research is unclear. However, it would be unfortunate, even grave, should an infectious disease outbreak occur where human lives are at stake and a chimpanzee model could expedite development of life-saving medicines." Read the full press release at NABR:

The Orca Network, Animal Legal Defense Fund and others failed in their challenge against the Miami Seaquarium 's federal license renewal for the orca known as Lolita. "Only Congress, not this court, possesses the power to limit the agency's discretion and demand annual, substantive compliance with animal welfare standards," Judge Susan Black wrote for a three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit Court.

Every year, Seaquarium must renew its Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Before the expiration of its license in 2012, the ALDF sent a letter to the USDA asserting that Lolita's living conditions are inhumane, and Seaquarium's license should not be renewed. The USDA responded that it found Seaquarium in "compliance with the regulations and standards," and renewed the facility's license to keep and exhibit Lolita. It did not conduct an inspection of Lolita's living conditions based on the allegations in ALDF's letter. The ALDF sued in Miami, seeking a court order to set aside the USDA's renewal of Seaquarium's license, based on the theory that AWA animal welfare inspection laws should apply both to new licensees and license renewals.

In granting USDA summary judgment, the lower court found that the USDA complied with its license-renewal process, which requires just a certification of compliance, payment of an annual fee, and submission of an annual report detailing the number of animals exhibited in the prior year. Full story at Courthouse News Service:

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania allowed a lawsuit filed last summer by ALDF to move forward against the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. According to their press release, ALDF sued the Department for passing watered down regulations that gutted Pennsylvania’s historic Dog Law. ALDF and Petitioners asserted that the Department was not authorized to exempt nursing mothers from the statutory ban on metal strand flooring and from the statutory requirement of unfettered access to exercise areas. Petitioners requested that the court enjoin the Department from enforcing above regulations currently in 7 Pa.Code 28a.8 and 28b.1, declaring these sections to be in conflict with the Dog Law and therefore unlawful, and order the Department to revise the regulations in a manner consistent with the Dog Law.

Petitioners stated that the Dog Law prohibits Class C license holders (Commercial Kennels) from using metal strand wiring in the primary enclosure of adult dogs and requires unfettered access to an exercise area. Department regulations provide for compliance if only 50% of primary enclosure flooring meets that regulation, and allow a commercial kennel owner to be in compliance if a nursing mother is provided with daily access to an exercise area.

Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter overruled the Department’s preliminary objection to Petitioners’ standing. In her opinion Judge Leadbetter noted that before filing the suit Petitioners requested both the Department and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) review the regulations. Both the Department and the IRRC declined. Judge Leadbetter wrote, “These allegations, if proven, strongly suggest that redress through other channels is futile and thus that judicial scrutiny is required to insure that the regulations adopted by the Department conform to the law under which they were promulgated.” Opinion by Judge Leadbetter

Palm Beach County's unwanted dogs and cats are more likely to die if rescue groups keep importing animals from other counties and states, local officials warned. The county's animal shelter near West Palm Beach takes in 15,000 dogs and cats a year that are at risk of being euthanized if they aren't adopted. Finding homes for local shelter animals is made harder by well-meaning rescue groups continuing to have unwanted dogs and cats trucked and flown into Palm Beach County for adoption events, according to county officials. Some imported dogs and cats are coming from as close as Broward and Miami-Dade counties while others come from Alabama, Tennessee and even farther.

Because many rescue groups have ignored the county's request that they stop bringing in outside dogs and cats for adoption, County Mayor Shelley Vana went public with a plea to focus on helping local animals. The press conference was prompted by another local rescue group bringing in 60 dogs from outside the county for an adoption event.

"How does flying or busing in puppies from other regions help the dogs in this community?" Vana asked at a press conference from the county shelter. Vana continued, “What message is being sent to would-be adopters? What happens to those at-risk at animal care and control when those animals are flown in? The truth is often uncomfortable. Importing puppies and dogs into Palm Beach County while dogs in our own shelter die, means that some groups are simply stocking their shelves with dogs that are highly adoptable at a high fee.”

The county wants rescue groups to at least temporarily stop bringing in outside animals until the county shelter reaches a 90 percent “save rate”. So far this year, the county has an 80 percent "save rate" for dogs, while that drops to just a 39 percent for cats. Source: Sun-Sentinel

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Long Road to Animal Welfare

This is a very long essay by Wayne Pacelle published in the magazine Foreign Affairs by the Council on Foreign Relations. In this essay he covers ballot initiatives; use of Michael Vick to promote anti-dog fighting (not to mention raise money); history of the animal rights movement; HSUS successes. Pacelle covers his version of the HSUS heroic efforts in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina. Pacelle includes as a success story an anti-confinement ballot measure in Florida in 2002; however he fails to mention there were only 2 hog farmers in the state. After the ballot passed, both farmers sent their herds to slaughter. 

The article states: "The two largest groups, the HSUS and the ASPCA, together raise and spend nearly $400 million a year and have assets approaching $500 million."

The Long Road to Animal Welfare -
How Activism Works in Practice
By Wayne Pacelle

On election night in November 1992, I waited anxiously with other animal welfare activists at the Radisson Hotel in Denver, Colorado, to learn the outcome of a statewide ballot measure to ban the baiting, hound hunting, and spring hunting of black bears. The initiative was a big deal both for me (it had been my idea) and for the animal welfare movement more generally. Colorado was a political redoubt for the National Rifle Association and other pro-hunting groups; if the ballot measure passed, it might inspire other reforms for animals, and if it failed, it might set the movement back years. Most of my fellow activists had been skeptical about the initiative, arguing that it was a fool’s errand because the hunting lobby was too strong to defeat. But the leaders of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS—then as now, the largest animal protection organization in the country—had overruled their political staff and decided to support the effort, on principle. “It’s too important not to try,” John Hoyt, then the group’s president, told me. “If we lose, I want to be on the side of the losers.” In the end, we won big, getting 70 percent of the vote.

Full Article at link:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Why Animals Are Needed in Research

Why are animals needed for medical research? Watch this video by The Foundation for Biomedical Research to see some of the reasons. Leading scientists talk about why they use animals in science. "The reason we study these living systems is because they have the appropriate structures. So that there are cells that talk to each other, there are different cells types within a given region. When you have it in a dish it is much more difficult. You can use a single cell type, but not necessarily the complexity that happens in the brain. "

Sunday, June 7, 2015

News Briefs and Updates June 7, 2015

SAOVA Friends,

We have recently added an informational page on Agency Rulemaking to our website.  We have included a guide to the rulemaking process prepared by the Federal Register which can answer basic questions on the rulemaking process such as how an agency decides to begin rulemaking and the role Congress may or may not play in the process.

Animal rights and environmental groups often submit petitions to various agencies to initiate the rulemaking process in order to advance their agendas. These groups have found it is easier working through the rulemaking process than advocating for federal legislation as it is generally very difficult to get a bill passed by Congress.  Links to rules we have selected for this page show the diversity of departments, species, and animal use covered by these petitions where various groups have demanded change.  An agency will sometimes deny acting on a petition.

Please visit the new Agency Rulemaking page 
We trust this will become a useful resource for your information and research needs.

Thank you for reading. Cross Posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

EPA and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule May 27. In its ruling release, the EPA states the rule does not create any new permitting requirements for agriculture and maintains all previous exemptions and exclusions.  According to EPA the rules will apply only to those waters with a "direct and significant" connection to larger bodies of water that are already protected. Critics of the rule argue that it will unduly expand federal influence. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said the EPA’s original proposal “dealt more with regulating land use” than water quality, and that the farm organization is still reviewing the final rule, particularly as it addresses streams, ditches, small ponds and isolated wetlands.   Congress is working on bills that will require EPA to withdraw the rule and to adhere to limiting principles that would ensure that any new proposal conforms to the jurisdictional limits set by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court.  See S 1140 Federal Water Quality Protection Act  and HR 1732 Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 which passed the House and has been received in the Senate.

On June 3, the Connecticut Senate approved legislation that would allow Sunday archery hunting for deer on private lands in the Constitution State. Championed throughout the process by the Connecticut Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, HB 6034 now heads to the Governor for his consideration.  The Sunday hunting ban in Connecticut originated from the American colonial era when puritanical “blue laws” were commonly enacted to encourage church attendance.  With the passage of HB 6034, Connecticut now joins the 45 other states throughout the nation that allow for Sunday hunting in some capacity.  Allowing Sunday hunting in Connecticut will fundamentally increase private property owners’ freedom to choose how to manage their land and its natural resources, and will provide an additional adaptive management tool for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to effectively manage wildlife resources within the state. Additionally, Sunday hunting will result in increased economic activity for the state and will increase access to the resource for Connecticut’s 21,000 archery hunters.  Source: Sportsmen’s Link

NC House and Senate voted to override Governor Pat McCrory's veto of House Bill 405, a law that supporters say protects private property rights but opponents say suppresses whistleblowers. Nicknamed an "ag-gag" bill, animal rights groups claim the measure will hide animal cruelty by preventing undercover investigations. “The Property Protection Act, a result of careful bi-partisan negotiations, balances the rights of business owners with the rights of their employees to strengthen North Carolina trespass laws”, stated Representative John Szoka (R-Cumberland), primary bill sponsor. Szoka continued, “The bill protects property owners against those who gain access to non-public areas of the owner’s property and then engage in activities that go beyond the permission given by the owner. The bill is narrowly focused on illegal activities not on infringing on the liberties of whistleblowers or press.”  Bill Sponsor Senator Brent Jackson, a farmer representing Duplin County, says employees will not be liable for filming in areas where they are allowed to be. “This has to do with employees going to places they’re not allowed to go,” he said. “As long as they’re allowed to move in those facilities, they wouldn’t be liable.”

Senate Bill 373 to amend the state’s cruelty laws unanimously passed the Senate and will be sent to the House.  The bill prohibits a dog from being tethered outside if a severe weather alert has been issued; or for more than 30 minutes if the temperature is below 32 degrees. Compliance with this requirement would be impossible for those who work and are not home should temperatures or weather change during the day.  This would also have direct, negative impact on field trials and winter dog sports.  The bill also sets specific standards for shelter and bedding for dogs that are kept outdoors.  SB 373 requires dog housing to be moisture proof with a floor raised 3 inches from the ground, wind proof, and have an eight-inch overhanging roof to keep out rain. These requirements would force dog owners, breeders, and sportsmen who keep dogs outside in winter to virtually custom build new dog houses.  The bill includes size requirements for dog houses and prohibits certain types of bedding such as hay.

Current PA law already states that it is an offense “to deprive any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal's body heat and keep it dry”.  Look up SB 373  and contact your Representative now to oppose these burdensome and unnecessary regulation changes.

Animal advocates are unhappy with the new registry claiming it is not strong enough. The original bill would have placed everyone who committed abuse, including hoarders and those convicted of even misdemeanor violations, on the TN Bureau of Investigation online registry.  However, the bill was amended to only place felony convictions for animal cruelty on the registry.  Activists are already considering campaigning to elevate some animal cruelty violations to felony charges which would then allow those convicted to be placed on the registry.  Chattanooga Humane Educational Society Executive Director Bob Citrullo told reporters people who commit animal abuse progress onto other things like murders and serial killings.   In May TN lawmakers passed the first statewide abuser registry in history.  Should activists resurrect this issue, we can only hope this will be a lesson learned for lawmakers that zealots are never satisfied.

Sportsmen’s groups are applauding members of the Texas state House and Senate for passing Senate Joint Resolution 22, a constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in the state of Texas. Voters will have the opportunity to ratify the amendment on November 3, 2015.

“Adoption of the Right to Hunt and Fish amendment will safeguard the hunters and anglers of Texas from extreme animal rights groups dedicated to abolishing America’s outdoor tradition,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This important constitutional safeguard will protect wildlife and promote conservation.”

Language for the amendment includes the following:

“The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Hunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife.”

Nearly 3 million people spend more than $4 billion dollars a year on hunting and fishing in Texas. That translates into $415 million raised in state and local tax revenue. Passage of the Right to Hunt and Fish amendment ensures that money, as well as the 65,000 hunting and fishing related jobs, will stay in Texas. Source: NRA