Sunday, February 27, 2011

California Rabies Medical Exemption Bill Now in Committee: Contact information to voice your support

CALIFORNIA Rabies Medical Exemption Bill AB 258 (Molly's Bill) has been referred to the Agriculture Committee. Please contact Committee members (especially Chair Galgiani (916) 319-2017 ) and ask that they vote "Ought to Pass."

2011 California Agriculture Committee

Committee Phone (916) 319-2084

Cathleen Galgiani - Chair (916) 319-2017
David G. Valadao - Vice Chair (916) 319-2030
Bill Berryhill (916) 319-2026
Jerry Hill (916) 319-2019
Fiona Ma (916) 319-2012
Tony Mendoza (916) 319-2056
Kristin Olsen (916) 319-2025
Henry T. Perea (916) 319-2031
Mariko Yamada (916) 319-2008

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More on the Sled Dog Killings

Christie Keith of the Pet Connection has written a very good series of articles on the topic of the recent killings of 100 sled dogs in British Columbia. Here are links to some of her writings, for those interested in learning more about this situation.

Head of BC Task Force: Sled dogs "arent pets," can be killed.

Anatomy of a Sled Dog Massacre

Lessons from a Sled Dog Massacre

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Petition to end the needless killing of sled dogs

I have been planning a series of articles to post here about the recent killings of sled dogs, but have determined that Christie Keith of is already doing an outstanding job of covering this story and I'll refer readers to her writings in a separate post.

Right now, however, I'm particularly outraged by statements made recently by Terry Lake, the head of the task force that is investigating these killings, which imply that sled dogs, because they are working dogs, should be held to lower standards of what is considered "humane" euthanasia (i.e. killing) and are not adoptable as pets.

The petition is directed to Dr. Lake's e-mail inbox and sends a letter expressing outrage and urging him to seek additional information from people who have adopted animals such as these before making decisions.

Sign it here: and pass it on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why PHAN exists

This post was made to our companion blog, Save Louie, a few weeks back. PHAN is growing, but we thought it would be good for those who wander here to have some background about why this page exists, particularly now that the California rabies vaccine exemption legislation is being reintroduced.


Recently we got involved in a California campaign to formally legalize vaccination exemptions for dogs whose veterinarians determine they are too sick to be vaccinated.  Because Louie is one of those dogs, the legislation which was proposed has the potential to directly impact his life, and mine too.

Currently, California law leaves it to the local public health officer to decide whether or not letters of exemption written by veterinarians will excuse pets from being vaccinated.  The bill that was introduced, AB-2000 (also known as Molly's Law), would have required all counties to accept these recommendations from veterinarians.

My initial involvement in this bill came about due to a troublesome clause which was inserted into the language as an amendment, stipulating in essence that any dog in California with a medical exemption from rabies vaccination would have to be quarantined.  I, and others, objected to that language while agreeing with the overall spirit of the bill itself, and so, with the help of my friend Cynthia Jeremica (whose dog is also immuno-compromised due to rabies vaccine), the wonderful Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet, Jan Rasmusen of, and Kris L. Christine of the Rabies Challenge Fund, I crafted a press release highlighting the problem with the proposed amendment.  Cynthia, Louie and I, along with Cynthia's dog, Ruby, all ended up on the Sacramento news (@7:15 on the clip) to talk about the problem.  We were successful in getting the quarantine language struck from the bill and then worked hard to get the bill passed, but ultimately the whole bill was voted down in committee due to some political wrangling behind the scenes.

Though we tried very hard to get the word out about the bill to pet owners in California, urging them to call their congressional representatives, in hindsight it became clear that what we lacked was a network of concerned citizens willing to pick up the phone and make those calls.  When AB 2000 was voted down, I realized that it might be important to the health of pets everywhere if we could put information about issues that affect the health of our companion animals directly into the hands of those people most interested and most willing to take action.  And so the Pet Health Action Network (PHAN) was born.

But PHAN needs your help if it is to grow into what we need it to be in order to be an effective force for our pets.  There are several ways you can receive information from PHAN.  You can follow us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, bookmark our blog, or follow us on NetworkedBlogs.   We ask you also to please share PHAN with your pet-oriented friends.   We've just begun this journey, and we may be small now, but we don't intend to remain that way for long.

Finally, leave us a comment and give us your own ideas about how PHAN can grow.  Let's work together to make this world a better place for those who don't have a voice of their own-- our beloved companion animals.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CALIFORNIA: Medical exemptions for rabies vaccine back on the table; please support!

This press release just hit my inbox: 

California Legislature

Curt Hagman
Assembly District 60


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             CONTACT:  Mike Spence
February 3, 2011                                                         (916) 319-2060

Assemblyman Curt Hagman: Presents Legislation to Protect Man’s Best Friend from Inflexible State Mandate Endangering Their Lives

CHINO HILLS – In an effort to improve the welfare of animals in California, Assemblyman Curt Hagman will hold a press conference on Molly’s Bill, legislation seeking to save Molly, a dog from Chino Hills with an auto-immune disorder.

WHO:        Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R – Chino Hills)
Sam and Cecilia Gadd and their dog Molly
Dr. Tracy Yen, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association member and local veterinarian
Lisa Lippman, veterinary student and animal activist

WHAT:      Press conference to discuss legislation to allow an exemption to the state mandated rabies vaccinations for dogs whose life would be endangered due to disease or other considerations if the vaccine is administered.

WHEN:       Friday, February 4, 2011
                10:30 a.m.

WHERE:    Chino Hills City Hall
                14000 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Let's make AB 2000 happen this time.  More to come. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blame Game: SPCA claims they were not approached by Outdoor Adventures Whistler prior to mass dog shooting, claims "culls" are common practice

An article in today's "Province" argues that the British Columbia SPCA was not approached prior to the mass execution of 100 sled dogs, but was approached afterward.  It further claims that no laws would have been broken in the typical handling of what is being called a "cull" of sled dogs by Outdoor Adventures Whistler. 

According to the article, in a chilling statement, the head of the British Columbia SPCA's Animal Cruelty Division also indicated that:

" is not uncommon for sled-dog tour operators in Canada to complete large culls, but mentioned previously that the criminal probe will focus on whether the killings caused unnecessary pain and suffering."
Which makes me wonder whether we ought to be focusing on the sled-dog tourism industry as a whole with this boycott.  Is this a common business practice which only came to light as a result of one man's claim of post-traumatic stress?  If so, something needs to change. 

UPDATE:  2/4/2011
I've gotten in touch with some folks doing Siberian Husky Rescue and hope to have more information soon about how we can recognize and avoid doing business with companies such as this one.  Please check back.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Facebook page for Outdoor Adventures Whistler Boycott

CANADA: Outdoor Adventures Whistler shoots 100 dogs due to slowdown in business; boycott called

As incredulous as it may seem, a Canadian tourism company had its employees shoot 100 sled dogs and dispose of their bodies in a mass grave after their business took a turn for the worse.

No evidence has so far been provided to suggest that this company did anything to attempt to rehome or shelter these animals, though it has been reported that a veterinarian refused to euthanize the healthy animals using more "humane" methods.

Read More HERE.

The Pet Health Action Network is calling for a boycott of this company. If you live in Canada or plan to travel to Canada, please DO NOT do business with Outdoor Adventures Whistler. The remaining 200 dogs are not in danger of the same fate; with all eyes now upon this tragedy, rescues and shelters are almost certain to step in to help those that remain, and an investigation is now underway involving the RCMP and the SPCA.

UPDATE: It looks like there was an attempt to rehome these dogs, after all.  See this article for details.