Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hold the turkey...

The Thanksgiving edition of the Los Angeles Times included a huge article on the front page of the California section, titled, "Hold the turkey please. A vegan Thanksgiving -- where the birds are friends, not feast." The article, by Carla Hall, included interviews with many vegan animal advocates.

Karen Dawn was one of the activists interviewed, thanks to her having invited two turkeys to dinner, Bruce and Emily, who she is fostering until they are retired to Animal Acres as part of a "Thanking the Monkey" event there on December 14. Learn more about that event by visiting and clicking on "events."

The turkeys are named after actors Bruce Greenwood and Emily Deschanel who will be reading with Karen while helping to retire their namesakes.

The article opens with, "At Karen Dawn's Thanksgiving feast, there will be yams and stuffing with cranberries and a dessert of pumpkin-pecan pie, all set out on a table for eight.

"And there will be turkeys, two of them actually -- Emily and Bruce (or possibly Brucilla -- it's a little unclear). The two 20-pounders will have most of the privileges of Dawn's other sentient guests -- a Pacific Palisades patio, a view of the ocean and vegetarian nibbles.

"At Dawn's vegan holiday dinner, guests will ooh and aah over live birds. The only turkey plunked down on her table will be Wild Turkey bourbon.

"'It goes beautifully with the hot apple cider,' Dawn says brightly."

Hall offers some serious and important information in her article. She tells us, "Turkeys are smart -- contrary to popular opinion -- companionable and affectionate, animal advocates say."

And we read, "To animal welfare advocates, the process of raising, then slaughtering animals for food is a torturous one. The federal Humane Slaughter Act, which governs how animals are killed, does not protect poultry -- which constitute 95% of animals killed for food."

You'll find the whole article, including a fun picture of Bruce and Emily Turkey watching dining room preparations, on line at:

Speaking as a grateful guest at Karen’s Thanksgiving Feast, I can only add that the experience was remarkable. I hope that such a life-affirming tradition will soon transition from anomaly to the norm.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to feature Tamar Geller at LA Animal Services!

Be sure to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS. Tamar Geller, best selling author of "The Loved Dog" and dog trainer to the stars, will be appearing at LA ANIMAL SERVICES West LA Center to discuss such holiday-themed subjects as keeping your dog from begging at the table, keeping your dog from jumping on guests, and what to consider when adopting a dog as a gift?

Tamar can be seen during the Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast on CBS, from 9 a.m. to Noon EST, on Thursday, November 27th.

In the meantime, consider adopting a pet from LA Animal Services to share the holidays with so you can put this great advice to work!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Looking for some love in your life?

LA Animal Services had a fantastic adoption event at our East Valley Animal Care Center last weekend thanks to the Found Animals Foundation.

While nearly 70 animals went to new homes as a direct result of this fabulous event, a few of the Found Animals' favorites are still with us. These wonderul dogs have all been assessed and have started on basic obedience training by our good friends at K9s Only. Plus, if you adopt one of these sweethearts you'll get great support and resources from Found Animals.

Found Animals is on a mission to get these dogs into homes for the holidays, so please consider them if you have room in your life for a new friend - and forward this message on if you know anyone who needs some licks and wags this holiday season.

If you've never been loved by a bully you are missing out!

Please feel free to contact Found Animals if you have any questions or want a personal introduction to one of these dogs.

You may have to click on the pictures of the dogs at this site to enlarge them and make the legible.

Many thanks,
found animals foundation ([p] 310.566.7373)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How a 3-legged dog inspired our next President to make history … and got a Congressional bill proposed in her name

The following Op-Ed is by Jana Kohl, Psy.D., a psychologist, animal welfare advocate, and author and is posted with her permission.
During the campaign, then-Senator Obama and his wife promised their daughters that they would get a dog after the election. This made lighthearted news after the President-elect mentioned it in his acceptance speech, but there is a tragic side to the story, due to a special 3-legged dog named "Baby" who found her way into Barack Obama's arms when he was a newly elected Senator.

The public promise to adopt a rescue dog is unprecedented for a First Family, and has the potential to strike a crippling blow to one of the cruelest industries imaginable- dog breeding- an industry that costs taxpayers billions. Most Americans aren't aware that their hard-earned tax dollars are squandered to the tune of billions a year on animal control due to pet overpopulation, an epidemic perpetuated by the dog breeding industry. The economic crisis we now face demands that every sector be scrutinized for greed, mismanagement, and deception-not just Wall Street.

The houses-of-horror known as "puppy mills," where breeding dogs are locked in cages 24 hours a day, spinning endlessly in circles as they go insane from lifetime confinement, never allowed to walk on solid ground, covered in their own feces and that of the dogs stacked in cages above them, maimed or diseased yet still forced to breed every heat cycle, is an industry that has gone unchecked and is nothing short of legalized torture.
The scores of puppies churned out of these mills each year mean a death sentence for millions of homeless shelter dogs, who wait in vain for someone to adopt them, only to be dragged to the gas chamber. Every time someone buys a puppy from a dog breeder instead of adopting one of those deserving critters, it not only seals their sad fate, it costs you and me a bundle. And yet the dog breeders continue to churn out their cruel cash crop, an income that many brag is easily hidden from the IRS.

One survivor of these hellholes is a dog named "Baby" who found her way into the spotlight with then-Senator Obama. Known previously by a number, "94," tattooed in her ear, this gentle creature had her vocal cords cut by the mill owners so they wouldn't have to hear her cries to be let out of her cage, and after her rescue had her leg amputated as a result of osteoporosis that is common among breeding dogs.

When I learned the shocking truth about the dog breeding industry, I vowed to adopt rather than buy a dog from one of these animal abusers, and to tell the country their dark secret. I enlisted my new Senator, Barack Obama, to help tell Baby's story to the world, and several of his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as celebrities from all walks-Judge Judy, the New York Mets, Steven Tyler, Bill Maher, even rabbis and priests who I contacted to weigh in on animal cruelty from a religious perspective.
Those essays and portraits comprise the book, A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission she Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere (Fireside, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), which has sent Baby and me on a grueling cross-country tour the past several months, culminating in a proposed bill named for her that would ban lifetime confinement of breeding dogs. "Baby's Bill" (H.R. 6949/S. 3519) is co-sponsored by Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Terry Everett (R-AL), and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and would require that breeding dogs be let out of their cages for 60 minutes of exercise a day-a baby step as far as I'm concerned, yet one that's likely to be opposed by dog breeders, "Cruella de Villes" that they are.

I remember the photo shoot we did with then-Senator Obama, when he held Baby close, snuggled and kissed her, distressed to hear of her abuse, and an email he later sent to his Illinois constituents, telling them about her and his commitment to stopping all forms of animal cruelty.
President-elect Obama has made history in so many ways, and now the incoming First Family has achieved another first that could not only end a cruel industry, but would also save taxpayers billions. The simple act of acquiring a family pet through adoption will undoubtedly inspire millions of Americans to follow their lead, meaning that millions of homeless dogs slated for death may instead find loving homes, drastically reducing the cost of animal control. The dog breeding industry will see their sales drop dramatically, and countless victims like Baby, locked away at this very moment, prisoners condemned to life behind bars, will be spared that nightmarish existence.

Like all the members of the House and Senate who posed with Baby for the book, Barack Obama understands that this kind of legalized cruelty must end. What the Obamas also see is a wonderful opportunity to teach their daughters a lesson in compassion and mercy by bringing a homeless pet into their family. One of the greatest ways to build character in our children is to encourage compassion toward animals, as the National Parent-Teacher Association states.

It was fitting that we chose the Lincoln Memorial as the backdrop for President-elect Obama's portrait with Baby. President Lincoln himself was an animal lover who once saved the life of a dog, a poignant story recounted in Baby's book. I believe the 16th President is looking down in approval upon our 44th, for so many reasons.

And little does a voiceless, 3-legged dog know, she has helped make history, too.

Jana Kohl, Psy.D. is a psychologist, animal welfare advocate, and author of A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission she Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere (Fireside, an imprint of Simon and Schuster). Having worked for the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies for many years, she has long been concerned with how cruelty becomes legally sanctioned by society. She is a member of the board of HumaneUSA.

ED: Like the idea of a rescued dog in the White House? Check this out:
Jana Kohl's comment is on the page with the Obama and Baby photo.