spcaLA in the News
CBS2 Los Angeles | Los Angeles | Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Officials said an illegal cockfighting operation was busted in South Los Angeles Wednesday.
Several people were detained when LAPD — aided by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — served a search warrant at a South Los Angeles property.
Cockfighting paraphernalia, several birds and other evidence of cockfighting was seized, said Ana Bustilloz of the SpcaLA.
The location of the raid was not disclosed.
Bustilloz said the LAPD’s Animal Cruelty Task Force, Animal Control and building inspectors also took part.
An animal cruelty conviction is a felony and can lead to a fine up to $2o,000 and jail time.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)
Daily Breeze | | Friday, March 1st, 2013
The owner of a guard dog rental business near Gardena has been ordered to stand trial on animal cruelty charges, authorities said Thursday.
Charles Ferguson, 51, faces three felony charges and multiple misdemeanor charges related to not caring for his dogs, two of which died of starvation, spcaLA said.
Another dog died of blood loss "due to an organ that had been crudely severed," spcaLA said.
Humane officers opened an investigation into Ferguson's business, J.R. Ewing Guard Dogs Inc. at 1207 W. El Segundo Blvd., in the unincorporated Athens area on the border with Gardena, following an anonymous tip. The investigators discovered dead dogs and multiple animals that appeared to be malnourished.
Following a preliminary hearing, a Compton court judge decided Wednesday that enough evidence exists to try Ferguson. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to 13 1/2 years in prison and up to $240,000 in fines.
By Larry Altman, Staff Writer
Daily Breeze | Los Angeles | Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Gun safety is in the spotlight. However, warning signs of future violent behavior can be detected and successfully treated with early intervention. One such warning sign is cruelty to animals. Deriving pleasure from causing an animal pain can be observed even in young children. As most children are not born violent, such behavior towards an animal is abnormal and indicative of a problem in the home that is either directed at or witnessed by the child. Untreated, desensitization to suffering will continue and the infliction of pain used as a means of empowerment. To that end the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles hosts programs ranging from court-mandated sentencing for convicted juveniles to "at risk" youth classes in schools. The earlier the warning signs are heeded, the greater the chances of successful intervention and the abatement of future violent behavior. I'm often told by parents, "It's just a dog. Be happy it's not a person." Next time it will be.
- Madeline Bernstein, Los Angeles
The letter writer is president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles
By Madeline Bernstein
Los Angeles Times | Los Angeles | Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Things promise to get ruff Sunday as Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl IX" goes snout-to-helmet with the Super Bowl for ratings gold.
Last year the show, which pits pound puppies against one another in a dangerously cute game of faux football using chew toys, set records for the basic cable outlet, with 8.7 million total viewers during the 12 hours it aired.
True, that's nowhere near the more than 100 million viewers the Super Bowl tackles each year, but for a day when most television channels throw in the towel and admit defeat, it's pretty good. And for Animal Planet, it's a huge touchdown. Last year's "Puppy Bowl" marked the channel's highest day of Web traffic, with 5.5 million page views and 1.4 million videos streamed.
"The story line is something we work out in the edit," says executive producer Melinda Toporoff of the nearly 90 hours of footage filmed to create the two-hour special. "When you're dealing with subjects that nap one minute and poop the next you have to tease out a plot later."
There are no teams or uniforms in "Puppy Bowl." The puppies are simply placed on a 3-by-6 yard field with a slew of plush chew toys shaped like footballs, ducks and sausages and left alone to play. Eventually a puppy manages to drag a chew toy into an end zone and the referee, an actor named Dan Schachner, declares that a touchdown has been scored.
"It definitely has a cult following and it seems to get bigger and bigger every year," says Toporoff. "We introduced Meep the tweeting bird (@meepthebird) last year and everyone from Snooki to Zooey Deschanel has tweeted about it. I think Zooey tweeted about it based on her own fervor and love for the special."
The tweet in question was posted by Deschanel (@ZooeyDeschanel) on Feb. 6, 2011 at 1:54 p.m. and reads, "I CANNOT wait for Puppy Bowl, I'm rooting for ALL OF THEM!!!!"
But when the players are so unbelievably cute, how can you not want them all to win? (In fact, referees will throw penalty flags for "unnecessary cuteness."
"I can't imagine the casting process," says Ana Bustilloz, the director of communications for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles. "This puppy is not cute enough. No! How can you say no to any puppy?"
In reality the casting is fairly straightforward. Petfinder.com, which helps owners connect with their dream pound pets, does most of it — sending Toporoff and her team "head shots" of the pups standing next to soda cans so they can get a good idea of the animal's size. Puppies are mainly chosen based on their temperament and ability to play well with others.
Bustilloz has taken two different puppies to "Puppy Bowl" from the spcaLA shelter. Last year she brought a 9-week-old Chihuahua-terrier mix named Fumble who ended up being named the game's MVP (Most Valuable Puppy). This year she brought a tiny mutt named Blitz, who she says is a true underdog because of her diminutive size.
"She was so small, now I understand how stage mothers feel," says Bustilloz. "I was worried about her and then I was like, 'Why is the camera not on my dog? Get that camera on my dog!'"
All of the pets featured on the show, which is filmed in a New York studio months in advance of its air date, were up for adoption (most have already found homes). This includes not just 63 puppies, but 21 kitty half-time show performers, nine hedgehog cheerleaders and a half-dozen hamster sports reporters that fly above the miniature stadium set in a blimp.
"We certainly see a spike in Web traffic and that sort of thing," says Bustilloz of the time during and after "Puppy Bowl" airs. "So many people are watching 'Puppy Bowl' and they call us and say, 'I saw Fumble on 'Puppy Bowl' and I want a puppy just like him.'"
Reps from Petfinder.com say that "Puppy Bowl" has had a huge effect on adoptions. Last year, Petfinder.com saw a 22% increase in Web traffic and a 32% increase in search referrals.
This year's additions include a time-warp "Fluff Cam," which slows down the action so that when the puppies shake they look like furry shampoo models. There's also a tiny cool-down tub at the end of the field that complements the fluff cam since the puppies emerging from the water tend to shake dry.
Next year Toporoff hopes to score President Obama's family dog, Bo, as a very special guest.
"Maybe we can get Bo for the 10th anniversary show," says Toporoff of the first dog, a cuddly black Portuguese water dog. "I know he's an incredibly busy dog, but now that he's secured in his home for another four years maybe he can do the coin toss."
By Jessica Gelt