spcaLA in the News
Orange County Register | | Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Long Beach police were on patrol around midnight on Jan. 28 when they followed a trail of smoke and found a burning motor home in the 500 block of West 17th Street.
The officers grabbed a fire extinguisher from their cruiser and began to extinguish the flames as firefighters rushed to the scene. As they busted open the motor home's front door, a golden retriever covered in ash and soot came running out. The dog was shaken but unharmed, animal control officers said.
Inside the motor home was the body of her owner, 61-year-old Thomas Taylor of Long Beach. Police later determined that Taylor's death was a homicide and arrested Diana Sequen, 20; Jose Alfredo Zolorza, 19; and David Romero, 28. All have been charged with murder and are being held at the Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. They are due to appear in court in Long Beach for arraignment today.
Detectives believe Taylor and the suspects were involved in an ongoing dispute and the fire was an attempt to destroy evidence.
The dog, a 2-year-old retriever named Puddles, was taken Long Beach Animal Control and put up for adoption through spcaLA.
Though it's a tragic ending for Taylor, at least his dog will have a happy ending. On Wednesday, Puddles was adopted by a family, said Ana Bustilloz, a spokeswoman for spcaLA.
Aside from ashy fur from being trapped in the burning motor home, Puddles was remarkably unharmed, Bustilloz said, adding that a few baths restored her golden coat. Bustilloz credited the fast action of the police officers for saving her life.
“She's still a little shaken but she's doing OK,” she said.
By Kelly Puente
The zoo asserted that this giraffe, though healthy, possessed genes too common to be used in their breeding program. The killing was done despite both the posting of online petitions opposing it and the offers of other facilities to take Marius.
The zoo argued that such “culling” occurs in the wild and that it has done this many times with goats, antelope and boar. The zoo further argued that seeing a giraffe killed this way was educational for youngsters.
I understand that we are routinely confronted with the conflicts of choosing between saving the predator and saving the prey. Do you let a snake starve because you won’t kill a mouse?
Such contradictions exist everywhere in our lives: Criminals can behave kindly, pit-bull fighters can cherish the family pet dog, and people can kill to protect others.
Not every decision is a “Sophie’s choice,” but each decision must be recognized as the product of a complex world with competing priorities. The mouse and the snake both want to live, and they will fight to do so.
Zoos have educational mandates and responsibilities to treat their animals and visitors humanely. Zoos should not exist to replicate the wars fought in the wild, but rather, if they must exist, to demonstrate compassion, conserve endangered species and teach respect for those beings with which we humans share this planet.
I don’t think wild animals should be held captive for our entertainment. I surely don’t think they should be massacred for it, either.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Long Beach Press Telegram | | Monday, December 16th, 2013
Responsible pet ownership is what matters most
The latest salvo to reduce euthanasia in animal shelters is to increase the number of pets legally allowed in households. The theory is to increase output thereby reducing the population inside and presto — problem solved. Though spcaLA neither tolerates even one pet per household who is not properly cared for nor worries about those with an excess number of pets who are, the issue is one of responsible pet ownership, the maximum number of which varies in conjunction with the available resources of the adopters. In other words, some can handle 10 while others should not be allowed even one.
Unregulated breeding, lack of sterilization and irresponsible owners cause pet overpopulation and high euthanasia rates in this country — not the shelters. The question, therefore, is whether increasing the number of pets per household will help. In a perfect humane world the answer is yes. Not so much in ours.
First, this fix does not address the need to reduce the number of animals coming into shelters. Therefore, there will always be more unwanted pets than homes for them. Second, lack of pre-adoption screening, record numbers of pets being turned in due to economic pressures, and those unable to adequately care for the animals they have, suggest potential quality of life worries.
Glib sounding solutions — have more pets, leave cats in the street like wildlife, and refuse to take owned pets — without studying whether they address the root of the problem are simply catch phrases to politicians and catnip to the uninformed who seek credit and comfort in presenting an illusory fix to a tragic problem.
We must legitimately stop the influx of animals in the first place by eliminating puppy mills, reporting backyard breeders, adopting from shelters, sterilizing along with ensuring pets are safe at home, wearing identification and retained for his/her natural life.
If not , do we increase the limit to 10 next year?
— Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (spcaLA)
Los Angeles Times | Gardena | Friday, November 1st, 2013
A judge on Friday sentenced the former owner of a Gardena guard dog company to three years' probation for his conviction of animal cruelty.
Charles Ferguson, 52, will also be required to attend counseling for animal neglect and will not be allowed to own any dogs for 10 years under the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Allen Webster.
Earlier this year, Ferguson was convicted of neglecting four of the dogs he owned by depriving them of drink and shelter and subjecting them to needless suffering. Ferguson previously owned and operated J.R. Ewing Guard Dogs.
Steven K. Hauser, Ferguson’s attorney, said he thought the sentencing was fair because Ferguson does not have to go to jail.
“He’s not a criminal,” Hauser said. “He did not intend any harm to any dog, he just didn’t take proper care of them.”
But Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher Frisco said that if Ferguson violates any of the conditions of his suspended sentence, he could end up serving a four-year state prison term.
Frisco said he thought the court’s decision was “proper.”
“I’m glad we’re finally taking these types of cases seriously,” Frisco said. “All animals are worthy of protection.”
Ferguson's license for his guard dog company was revoked by the county prior to the trial, said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, which was the first to discover the abused dogs. He had been operating since at least the 1990s, Frisco said.
The dogs were found in various states of neglect, Frisco said, either emaciated or suffering from burned skin caused by lying in their own feces.
One dog, a Doberman pinscher, had its swollen uterus cut off while she was still alive and bled to death, Frisco said.
Another dog, a 3-year-old Rottweiler, was found dead in the back of a van where he had been left with no ventilation or food, Frisco said.
Ferguson gave differing accounts of what happened to the Rottweiler, including that he had found the dog dead, Frisco said. Throughout the trial he maintained that he had done nothing wrong.
Frisco said he initially asked for Ferguson to be sentenced to state prison, but said that the believes “the judge is giving [Ferguson] an opportunity to reform himself.”
By James Barragan