spcaLA in the News
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles sought public help Friday in identifying anyone involved in killing peafowl in Rolling Hills Estates.
About 40 of the birds have been found dead in the community, some near Dapplegray Lane, according to the society, which did not disclose over what period of time the deaths occurred.
Twelve of the peafowl were shot with pellets or BBs, 15 were killed by vehicle strikes, five were poisoned, one was shot with a bow and arrow and another was shot with a gun, according to the spcaLA.
“Peafowl in many areas of Southern California are considered pests. But, it doesn’t matter if you think an animal is a pain or a pet, maliciously injuring or killing an animal is criminal,’’ spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said, adding that a conviction on felony animal cruelty charges can lead to imprisonment and fines of up to $20,000.
Anyone with information about the peafowl deaths is urged to contact spcaLA’s Cruelty Tipline at 800-540-SPCA.
By City News Service
By Associated Press
ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, Calif. (KABC) -- Who is killing peacocks on the Palos Verdes Peninsula? Residents tend to either love them or hate them. Examinations of the dead birds found in Rolling Hills Estates show some were shot.
Resplendent, exotic and so adaptable to the Rolling Hills Neighborhood where they have lived for decades.
Residents don't know how many peacocks and peahens live on Buckskin Lane. But they do know someone is trying to kill them off.
So many dead birds have been found that officers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Los Angeles (SPCLA) are increasing surveillance: 47 dead peafowl have been found over the last two years. Two were found last weekend, one with a telltale injury.
"It had buckshot, which is bullets that are shot from a shotgun, embedded, which caused fractures to its legs," said animal-cruelty investigator SPCALA Lt. Cesar Perea, Animal Protection Services.
The birds are noisy. Some residents complain of damage to their roofs and cars. But hurting the birds is a crime.
Twelve peafowl have been killed by BBs; 15 were killed by vehicles; five from poisoning; one from blunt-force trauma; and one was killed with a crossbow.
"We've been doing quite a bit of surveillance in the area, hopefully trying to catch somebody in the act," said Perea.
Perea has collected human DNA evidence on one projectile and is now seeking a match in the criminal database.
"If you're going to injure a bird, it's a felony crime, and if we get information that you are injuring a bird then we're going to prosecute you, absolutely," said Perea.
Anyone with information is urged to call (800) 540-SPCA.
(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
By Miriam Hernandez
I've been accused of ruining the reputation of the entire animal rescue movement — dooming thousands of dogs to death — with my column on Tuesday about a spat over a lost-and-found pet.
If you missed the column, here's a recap:
Rosa Torres' dog disappeared from her backyard, landed in a shelter with no tags or ID and was bailed out by an animal rescue group, Karma Rescue. The group adopted the dog out to a new home the next day even though it had received calls and emails from Torres trying to reclaim her lost pet.
It bothered me that Karma Rescue didn't respond to Torres until her dog had already been placed with the new family. Her application — to adopt her own dog — didn't meet their standards, the group said in a statement on Monday.
The column caused a storm in a rescue world made up of thousands of passionate volunteers who don't always agree on how best to save unwanted dogs and cats. And it infuriated animal-loving readers already frustrated by bad experiences with rescue groups.
Karma Rescue had plenty of defenders, who said I'd unfairly cast the group as the villain in this drama, when I should have blamed the irresponsible dog owner.
"I have no doubt that Torres loved" her dog, wrote Linda Wendell Henry, owner of a rescued dog. "But let's face it, love alone is not enough."
What kind of person, angry readers asked, buys a puppy from a breeder, fails to spay or license the dog — as the law requires — and doesn't bother to protect the pet with ID tags or a microchip?
A person who needs an education in the responsibilities of a pet owner.
That's a lesson Karma Rescue could have taught Torres, if its volunteers had talked with her, visited her home and considered returning her dog — under the strict scrutiny that makes adoption contracts a form of mutual bondage.
I didn't intend to malign the rescue world. The groups work on shoestring budgets doing a difficult job that's often more heartbreaking than fulfilling.
But rescue groups have an image problem outside their tight-knit community. That was clear from the public comments on my column and the dozens of emails I received.
"These people are supposed to be finding homes for animals, not playing God," wrote Karen Jossel, who found a great dog through a rescue group, after being turned down by another that required owners to be home all day with their dogs.
I understand the passion of rescue volunteers. They see the worst of human nature in the abused and neglected animals they take in. They want to make sure those dogs and cats land in loving, responsible and permanent homes.
But that leads some to set unrealistic standards for prospective adopters. One reader told me he had an easier time adopting his infant son than adopting a rescued dog. Even rescue volunteers joke that they might not make the cut if they had to apply for their own pets. .
Qualifying can be an intrusive and exhausting process. Applications can run to a dozen pages; Karma Rescue's has more than 100 questions, including "Are you planning on having children in the future? If so, when?"
Readers shared distressing stories about arbitrary and condescending guidelines that deemed them unfit:
They were too old (60s) or too young (20s). The yard was too small, the house didn't have a doggy door, the 6-foot-high backyard gates were latched but not locked. If you're unemployed, you can't afford a dog. If you work, you don't have time for one.
"The way they talked to me was like I was dirt," wrote Barbra Chambers, whose yard was deemed by rescue groups too small for a dog.
She adopted a pooch from a shelter instead. "He has a wonderful life. He goes to doggie day care, runs on the beach, sleeps with us, has special food from the vet — you get the picture," she said. "I will never forget my terrible experience with the rescue groups."
I do get the picture — and I hope rescue groups do, too.
For all the attention this situation has received, cases like this crop up frequently and are hard to resolve, said Madeline Bernstein, Los Angeles president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which helps mediate disputes.
"We talk to everybody, try to figure out what happened and broker a deal," Bernstein said. "But it's no simple process. There are always complex feelings involved on both sides."
Officials at Karma Rescue said they've contacted the new owners several times and appealed to them — without success — to return the dog.
"We are truly sad about the situation, but there is no legal way we can remove a dog from its adopter," the group's statement said.
Karma Rescue is considering revising its procedures so this doesn't happen again. I hope they take a lesson from other rescues that don't put strays up for immediate adoption, but lodge them with volunteers for 30 days in case an owner spots a photo of a missing pet online.
The group will also be offering free microchipping on Sunday, March 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the first 500 dogs brought to the East Valley Animal Shelter at 14409 Vanowen St. in Van Nuys.
That's a worthy gesture by a group that has yet to admit that it rushed an adoption that didn't have to happen.
Karma Rescue has been battered by this in ways I never expected. I may not agree with its actions in this case, but I do respect the good work the group has done for more than 10 years.
It's time to dial down the ugly rhetoric and threats, and work to make sure that cherished pets don't land in crowded shelters.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
By Sandy Banks