Reward of $6,000 for information on dog dragged, chained and set on fire while alive

In another disturbing case of animal cruelty in Charleston, South Carolina, two humane organizations have joined together to offer a $6,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for chaining a live dog to set on fire in Awendaw. According to Live5News, Pet Helpers Adoption Shelter announced on Wednesday adding a $1,000 to the reward along with the Humane Society of the United States’ reward of $5,000.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and the Awendaw Fire Department were called to the front gate of the Center for Birds of Prey after the body of a burning dog was discovered. The dog was already dead.

“Somebody has burned a dog… it’s still burning,” Jim Elliot, Director of the Center for Birds of Prey reported in an emergency 911 call. “I know it’s got a chain on its neck from what I can tell, and I saw some kids walking away when I drove up. I don’t think it’s something we look like we should ignore.”

According to authorities, Elliot stated he saw four boys and two girls between the ages of 12 and 15 walking across the field where the dog was left to burn to death. Authorities suspect the children might have been involved in the egregious animal cruelty crime.  The dog was apparently dragged down the road tied tightly will chains wrapped around his muzzle, torso and legs. A necrospy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of the dog’s death.

The photo of the area blackened by the fire where the dog was set on fire courtesy of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111 or the Charleston County Animal Control Office at 843-529-5319.

Read about the man sentenced to prison for taping a dog’s mouth shut with electrical tape.


Read about the woman who said she lived with 1,000 cats! 

 

 

Political pressure? USDA reposting animal welfare data

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today has been reposting some of the tens of thousands of animal welfare documents previously removed from its website.  In an official announcement from APHIS they were,

“posting the first batch of annual reports of research institutions and inspection reports for certain Federal research facilities that the Agency regulates under the Animal Welfare Act.  The reports posted are part of a comprehensive review of the documents the Agency removed from its website in early February and are in the same redacted form as before.”

The agency claimed the entire search tool database had been removed on February 3, 2017 as part of a review to decide which information would be appropriate for reposting. At that time, thousands of publicly searchable records for zoos, research laboratories, commercial breeders including puppy mill facilities and circuses with the agency were deleted citing “privacy concerns.”

In the past, the data base had been a resource for journalists and animal advocates groups including animal rescue organizations in uncovering animal cruelty. Animal advocacy groups including the Humane Society of the United States accompanied by 101 United States representatives, 18 senators and animal advocates across the nation have publicly condemned the agency’s decision.

As to the “first batch” of records restored on Friday, annual reports and inspection records have been restored. Wayne Pacelle, the CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States calls the reposting of the records a “step in the right direction,” but has no intention of backing down until all the data is restored. Records still missing include information about research laboratories that use animals, puppy mills, zoos, horse soring and those activities relevant to the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sued the agency and states it will not drop the suit until the USDA complies. In a statement Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at the PETA Foundation in Washington, D.C. released the following statement:

“Under duress, the USDA is now attempting to get away with reposting only a tiny fraction of the animal welfare records it suddenly and indefensibly deleted … and that does not satisfy PETA [People for the Ethical Treatmeant of Animals] or the other plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit against it.

And then there are bipartisan politicians speaking out in defense of the animals:

“While I’m glad the USDA is starting the process of restoring some information online, there is no excuse for the agency’s abrupt actions to reduce transparency and prevent Americans from knowing about animal abuse,” stated Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

In addition, Representative Vern Buchanan (R. Fla) states this still isn’t enough and posted in a statement:

“…This website protects animals and the database should be fully restored. At the end of the day, putting a few document back online is not good enough.”

It would appear this barrage of criticism isn’t going to stop until all records are restored. What do you think? Please weigh in. The previous articles are this very important issue can be found below.

Read prior stories here:

USDA removes inspection reports and information from website

Trump USDA pick has animal-rights activists worried

Humane Society challenges USDA for hiding animal welfare data

Humane Society challenges USDA for hiding animal welfare data

The Humane Society of the United States announced on Monday that it is taking legal action after the removal of years of records by the United States Department of Agriculture from their public website this past week.

According to the organization, the HSUS took the first step to initiate legal action  challenging the action claimed by multiple animal advocacy groups as the undermining of a longstanding consensus about public access to information concerning laws, in turn frustrating state, local, and industry efforts to help enforce them. Records removed included reports for thousands of facilities including zoos, laboratories and commercial breeders – especially worrisome are puppy mill businesses. These records had previously been accessible through the public database website of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection. In the Humane Society’s president’s blog,  Wayne Pacelle questioned why the USDA wouldn’t want their work to be part of the public’s database; stating the government agency’s  “action suggests a deliberate effort to bury its work and impede efforts to ensure the well-being of animals in numerous sectors.”

The HSUS does have a particular advantage in this fight however. In 2005, the HSUS sued the USDA, alleging the department violated the Freedom of Information Act by not providing records relating to animal experiments at research facilities. In 2009, a settlement was reached with the USDA who agreed to post records online including information referencing pain and distress in laboratory animals. And on Monday, the HSUS stated the USDA has violated their agreement:

“The agency’s precipitous decision to purge virtually all AWA and HPA enforcement documentation – just two weeks after President Trump assumed office — violates the plain terms of the settlement and a federal court order. It also runs contrary to Congressional provisions in 1996 and 2016 designed to increase transparency and electronic access to information,” Pacelle wrote in his blog .”Like every federal agency, the USDA operates thanks to the generosity of taxpayers, and it must be accountable to them. The USDA is changing the equation for the worse for animals and the public with this action.

The USDA has since cited privacy concerns for removing the records from its website, stating that anyone wanting information still has the right to receive information via a FOIA request. Those requests can take months to request and are often very costly. The public records have been used for animal shelters, rescues and advocacy groups as well as journalists covering animal welfare issues.

The following specific areas have been addressed:

  • Animal Research – The public will no longer have access to information about hundreds of animal research institutions, including universities, pharmaceutical companies, and federal laboratories using animals regulated under the AWA. This includes information on the number and type of animals (such as dogs, cats, primates, and other species) used as well as how many are subjected to unrelieved pain and distress.
  • Horse Soring – Advocates fighting the criminal behavior of the pain-based Big Lick segment of the walking horse industry has been canned. The new administration earlier froze a near-finalized USDA rule to crack down on the abusers (there’s a major movement in Congress to turn that around).
  • Exotic Animals and Roadside Zoos – The HSUS has tracked violations from inspections of roadside zoos, and has put that information in a form that gives state and federal lawmakers and regulators a broad picture of how this industry is complying with the AWA. On Monday, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a zoo accrediting organization, stated the move only erodes the public trust in high quality facilities while hiding those who mistreat animals.
  • Puppy Mills – Last year, the USDA revoked the licenses of nine horrific puppy mills, most of which The HSUS had identified repeatedly in their annual Horrible Hundred reports. Without the availability of public inspection records, The HSUS will have great difficulty obtaining the information  needed to press the agency on the egregious puppy mills being investigated. The USDA’s decision now leaves regulated dog sellers in those states with no practical way to comply with those laws, and state and local law enforcement with almost no ability to enforce them. Without ready access to information, it will be nearly impossible for consumers, law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and pet stores to know which breeders had violations.

In response the U.S Department of Agriculture released a statement referencing the removal of animal welfare reports from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service stating the following:

“The review of APHIS’ website has been ongoing, and the agency is striving to balance the need for transparency with rules protecting individual privacy. In 2106, well before the change of Administration, APHIS decided to make adjustments to the posting of regulatory records. In addition, APHIS is currently involved in litigation concerning, among other issues, information posted on the agency’s website. While the agency is vigorously defending this litigation, in an abundance of caution, the agency is taking additional measures to protect individual privacy. These decisions are not final. Adjustments may be made regarding information appropriate for release and posting.”

(Photo of Humane Society of the United States puppy mill victim.)

Read previous article here:

Read more about the USDA removing all records from their website.

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