03 September 2013

Letter to the "Authorities" about Animal Abuse and Welfare

Following is the letter I that I sent to my Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) Commissioners, after which, on a roll, I then sent a variation of the same letter to my state legislators and then to the president and VP.  It's been more than a month and I've not received one single acknowledgment, much less an actual response.   I'd like to think that those who see this post will generate their own letters to their authorities, as well.  You're welcome to use this letter as is or modify it to suit yourselves.  As you'll see, I began with the topic of police shooting innocent dogs and went on to other topics along similar lines.   The letter:

IN RE:  Police and Animal Control Officers' Poor Training in Handling Perceived Dangerous Animals, Particularly But Not Limited to Dogs


Broward County Commissioners;


I could list all of the wrong address police raids that have happened across the country; and the friendly dogs and those protecting their 'masters' from strangers; or the dogs shot dead because some policeman was scared of being bitten and didn't know the difference between being warned, being attacked or being given a friendly greeting.

Should any of you read the newspapers or follow animal welfare and animal abuse issues on Facebook or any other networking site, you'll already know just how many - hundreds - of generally unjustified police shootings of family pets has taken place so far this year.

Some of these dogs were checking out the stranger(s) who had come to visit; some were in their own fenced yards; some were actually inside their own homes during police raids  (some legitimate, some wrong address); some only barking and, in one case, the dog was protecting his master who had a seizure in the street and would let no one near him.  In another, a 13-year old cocker spaniel had the audacity to bark at a cop and was shot dead.

In all of these cases, many of which you're welcome to view at my Facebook  page (link below), instead  of using any of several methods of non-lethal control, these cops shot the dogs at close range.  Nor did they back off and wait for an animal control officer to arrive before pursuing their right (or wrong) address raid.  [This is not even addressing the issue of the animal control officer who shot half a dozen kittens to death in front of some children, having been called to take in the strays for safekeeping, but felt there wasn't any room at the so-called shelter). 

You may be aware that there are 'rescue groups' all over the country, including South Florida, that do their best to rescue animals from kill-shelters and from abusive people and do so on their own initiative, money and sparse funds by donors. 

You may be aware, too, that thousands of animals of all types are being abused, starved, abandoned, too tightly confined in filthy and uncomfortable places (cages, short-chained)et cetera, not only here, but worldwide. Some can be saved through very expensive veterinary care and some must be euthanized if not already dead.

These groups often accompany the police in raids on cock-fighting and dog fighting arenas and take in the animals that can be saved and sometimes manage to have the  worst ones saved, again through expensive surgeries and other medical care.

As I mentioned, there are, in fact, rescue groups in South Florida and some exhibit their adoptable animals at places like Petco and rotate them so that the poor creatures are not stuck in the same cages for more than a week.  Petco, for instance, has nothing to do with the adoptions of the animals, either.  The rescue groups vet the potential "owners" and take in whatever donations are required in order to adopt the pets.  Naturally, the pets have been neutered and given the appropriate vaccinations and other medical care before they are placed for adoption.  

There is even one rescue group that specializes in saving dogs and cats (mainly dogs) that have been abandoned in the Everglades.

Sometimes, the rescue groups are able to shelter the animals until they are adopted, but, more often than not, they ask for foster "parents," temporary homes for the animals, until said animals can be adopted by their new forever families.  Even older animals may be adopted out to people who are so inclined.

Too often, people think they must purchase their pets at pet stores, which often obtain their animals from puppy or kitten mills, which are about as abusive as one can get, and many are already deathly ill.  These mills force a female to have litter after litter until she can no longer do so and then they 'do away' with her; abandon her, kill her, starve her to death, et cetera.  There are some cities and some states that have passed new laws against puppy mills, dog and cock fighting and certainly animal abuse of all kinds and some have strengthened their laws to make it a very serious felony to so abuse animals.

Very little has ever been done about the police who mistakenly or wantonly shoot dogs because they're scared, the poor things (the cops) even when they present no danger and are usually scared themselves (the dogs) and are trying to escape these animal murderers and are chased down and killed and for no apparent reason.  The police tend to stick together and their chief will simply write it off to the public as "protocol."  What utter nonsense.

[Sorry, I'm getting bit angry and bitter at some of the stories and videos I've seen, some of which you'll find on my Facebook page and that of others.]

I'd like to suggest that Broward County take up the cause and do the following;

1.    Train all police to recognize the difference between warning barks and actual attacks by dogs on their persons and in the proper NON-LETHAL means of getting around the perceived problem animals, including, obviously, having the owners secure the animals before entering the premises.

2.   Have all police agencies work closely with the various rescue groups to save those animals found to be in abusive situations.

3.   Pass new laws to create severe penalties for those who abuse animals and/or strengthen existing laws to do the same, including police who simply shoot dogs out of hand instead of following the procedures mentioned above. 

4.   Help fund and otherwise assist the rescue groups in their efforts to save animals and to capture, neuter and release feral cat colonies, rather than have them collected and killed off by the 'shelters.'

5.  Outlaw puppy and kitten mills (the former being the most prevalent) and animal 'games' and 'fights.'

6.  Help fund and otherwise assist our shelters to be, at all times, Non-kill shelters, which will work closely with veterinarians (or have their own) to save every animal possible - including wildlife and not just put down raccoons (for example) and such just because they're too young and have not yet opened their eyes.

7.    Educate the public on all of the above and ask of all decent people to immediately report suspected animal abuse to the authorities.

8.    Outlaw the selling of live animals to be fed to snakes or other creatures.

9.  Outlaw the purchase of animals as "bait" animals for the training of dog fights or racing.  

10.  Outlaw the hoarding by good-hearted people who think they're doing their own rescued creatures a favor. 


I understand one recent law has been passed to protect guard dogs during their off hours, but saw no mention of others in similar situations;  kept in cages or short-leashed, without shade or food or water and given no human attention until needed for their next guard duties.

I expect these actions to apply to the smallest of creatures and not just mammals, all the way up to the largest, horses, elephants, tigers kept in roadside cages for decades at a time, et cetera.

My personal Facebook page began as usual, but evolved into mostly animal abuse and animal welfare issues.  Some of my own comments - including about all of the cops who shoot dogs unnecessarily (another FB site entirely) - are less than polite, but not overly profane.  My FB page hardly covers all the animals that need adoptions or temporary foster homes or have been abused or rescued, but you can find plenty of other examples in FB and other sources.  I am overjoyed when I can Share a story about a policeman or a fireman or anyone who rescues an animal, but I see too few of those.

I believe that Dade County has already begun work on the no-kill shelter idea, but I feel that Broward County should seriously consider the above suggestions - all of them - and become a prime example for the rest of the state and even, perhaps, the nation.  Maybe some other nations may take up on the idea, as well, if we're lucky, because this is not a problem limited to our hemisphere.


Thank you.


Ben Arnold, BSEE, Notary Public,

Past Conservation Chairman for Broward County Audubon Society

Pure Air Systems, Inc.
PS:  I intend to post this on my FB page as, hopefully, an example for others to use with their own city, county, state and even federal leaders.





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