• Don Lichterman

Brooke Houts, Alicia Silverstone, Wildlife Services, Dog Fighting, more on Animal & Wildlife Report!


Hold YouTube Star Accountable for Appalling Dog Abuse

On August 6, Brooke Houts, a YouTube content creator and social media influencer with more than 325,000 YouTube subscribers, mistakenly uploaded a video to her channel showing her slapping, shoving, apparently spitting on, and otherwise brutalizing her Doberman dog,

Sphinx. Join us in asking the Los Angeles Police and the District Attorney to charge and prosecute Houts for animal cruelty and in asking YouTube to remove Houts' content from its site.


Loopholes in Craigslist’s terms of use have opened the door people to buy, sell and give away animals on the website, often under cruel circumstances.


As a result, backyard breeders trading in sickly animals appear reputable to the unsuspecting eye. Unvetted adopters take in animals under false pretenses, often for dog fighting and torture. Pet flippers adopt animals from shelters for low fees only to sell them to the highest bidder.

These are only a few of the ways Craigslist’s terms of use are abused, and it must be stopped immediately.


Please sign our petition today to demand that Craigslist update their terms of use to absolutely and without exception ban any and all buying, selling and giving away of animals on their site.


End the Capture, Torture & Forced Performances of Wild Young Fillies

In the remote city of Burns in Oregon, hundreds of wild horses live in hellish cramped corrals after being removed from the public lands they once called home. Rob Sharpe, the Supervisor of the Burns Corrals has hand-picked a group of horses made up of 12 two-year-old wild fillies to go through the most detestable and invasive series of physical and emotional tortures. The sick grand finale begins soon—we must act to put a stop to this right now!

A dog was aggressively snatched out of her carer’s arms and thrown into oncoming traffic in North Charleston, South Carolina. The traumatized, tiny dog suffered fractured feet, a bruised lung, and a swollen liver. In agonizing pain, she remains in critical care where she is fighting for her life.


The alleged suspect is an ex-boyfriend of the dog’s guardian, Candace Lesston. On August 6 he spontaneously showed up to Lesston’s hotel, and upon failing to find her, allegedly turned to her dog in a fit of rage.


Lesston’s daughter recalls the man grabbing Poo from her arms and running, according to The Post and Courier. Two witnesses chased him before he tossed Poo onto the road like a football.


The Charleston Animal Society assisted with Poo’s immediate injuries and are charitably covering her vet costs, as well as raising funds for the prosecution of the offender.

Lesston filed a police report, and the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) is investigating.


Police must use all of their available resources to find the alleged perpetrator and impose severe penalties that include keeping him away from animals for the rest of his life.

Sign this petition urging NCPD Chief Burgess to locate the person responsible and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.


The Horseracing Integrity Act Would Mean More Dead Horses. The Horseracing Integrity Act speciously suggests that all that stands between horseracing and integrity is a national drug program overseen by a central organization.


First, drugs in racing is a divisive topic within the industry. In a recent Cronkite News article, Dr. Verlin Jones, a track vet with 30 years experience, says: “Right now in Arizona we have probably mid-level to low-level claimers. That population of horses comes with their own set of problems, so we deal with horses that have a higher level of injury… I think that right now these private practitioners on the back side, their hands are really, really handcuffed. When you’re dealing with this level of horse, they have a lot of problems. Those problems can be taken care of, but we have to have our full arsenal in order to do that.” Then this: “I really feel like horses today are having to run in more pain. More pain leads to muscle fatigue, muscle fatigue leads to bone fatigue, bone fatigue leads to catastrophic breakdowns.”


In other words, less drugs may mean more dead horses, at least at the more pedestrian tracks – which is to say, the majority of tracks.


In addition, the bill would ban raceday medication, more specifically Lasix. Many within racing believe that Lasix is therapeutic, as it purportedly controls pulmonary bleeding in fast-moving racehorses. In a Louisville Courier Journal article from April, renowned trainer Dale Romans says, “I like facts, and the facts are that we’ve been using [Lasix] and it doesn’t hurt horses.” Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, added, “I would hope the industry stakeholders understand the ban on the use of furosemide…will not prevent horses from suffering catastrophic injuries, and in fact, could cause further harm and should not be seen as a safety reform.”


But more to the point is what the Horseracing Integrity Act does not, because it cannot, address: The inherent cruelty and inevitable deadliness of horseracing. On the former, in addition to being torn from their mothers as mere babes, being bought and sold like common Amazon products, and subjected to lip tattoos, cribbing collars, nose chains, tongue ties, mouth bits, and whips, racehorses – innately social and mobile animals – are kept locked, alone, in tiny 12×12 stalls for over 23 hours a day. They are kept thus because as costly assets their owners are loath to risk injury in a more natural (humane) setting.


As to the killing, and contrary to what the reformers would have you believe, death at the track is, has always been, and always will be a built-in part of the system: From breeding for speed (big torsos, spindly legs, fragile ankles); to working pubescent bodies (the typical horse doesn’t fully mature until 6; the typical racehorse begins intensive training at 18 months); to the incessant grinding of those bodies (if they’re not racing, they’re not earning); to forcing them to “race” at an unnatural rate (breakneck) through unnatural means (perched, whip-wielding humans); to the commodification (the average racehorse is bought and sold several times over the course of his “career,” making his long-term well-being of no concern to his current people) – horseracing guarantees a certain level of killing. Guarantees.


In the final analysis, the only thing the HIA (or any other “reformist” legislation that may arise) would do is give Racing a desperately needed PR win, which, in turn, would likely help reverse its currently-declining fortunes – which, in turn, would condemn countless more horses to lives of abuse and premature, often gruesome, deaths.


These Deep Pocket Executives Must Take Responsibility for Killing Thousands of Sheep. Sign to Tell Western Australia That It's Time For Those Responsible to Pay.


Last year we told you about Emanuel Exports. The company got into hot water when they shipped more than 64,000 sheep to the middle east in 2017. During the voyage, 2,400 sheep perished from overheating. Shocking undercover footage released to Animals Australia and 60 Minutes captured how the sheep suffered before they died.


The mass death wasn't the company's first. In 2016, the Perth-based exporters lost more than 3,000 head of sheep under similar circumstances. But after more deaths the following year, the government said they would launch an investigation to determine whether or not the company had broken animal welfare laws. Now, two years after the poor sheep perished, Western Australia (WA) authorities have finally filed animal cruelty charges against the company and two executives.


If the executives are found guilty, they could face a maximum penalty of $250,000 Australian dollars or 5 years in jail.

Australia has strict live animal shipping laws and regulations that help ensure animals aren't treated cruelly during the journey nor in the country for which they are destined. In fact, the government has banned or suspended live exports to countries like Indonesia and Egypt in the past. They have also suspended Emanuel from exporting for their most recent breach of animal cruelty law. That's how we know that, if we keep the pressure up, we can convince officials to do the right thing again.


After more than 5,000 animals have died under this company's care in just two shipments, the government should have all the proof they need. It's time to throw the book at Emanuel Exports and the executives that allowed these disasters to happen.


Please sign the petition and tell Alannah MacTiernan, WA's Minister of Agriculture, to demand maximum punishment for those responsible.




On April 24, six officers led by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) stormed into a licensed private residence and violently seized four rescue coyotes from the only home they’ve ever known. The officers chased the terrified coyotes into a corner, shot them with tranquilizer darts and forcefully dragged them away from safety with choke poles.


Since then, three of the four precious coyotes have died. Luna, the sole survivor, has been held in isolation for months without her packmates and the only familiar human she trusts. She lies spiritless day and night in her own feces on a cold concrete floor; lonely, depressed and wasting away.

Luna’s caregiver, Tomi Tranchita, has cared for coyotes that were too habituated for release ever since Luna and her packmates were dropped at a local animal shelter 13 years ago. In order to legally care for them, she obtained a USDA license and IDNR state permits and built above the board enclosures on her property.


For 13 years, Luna and her packmates lived a happy life with Tomi. The coyotes received enrichment and hours of devotion and attention every day. Until they were cruelly confiscated, they only ever knew kindness from humans.


Tranchita is passionately fighting in court to get Luna home, where she can heal from her trauma and live out the rest of her life in peace.


Sign this petition urging Illinois Governor Pritzker to intervene; stop Luna’s suffering and send her home where she belongs.

Dog fighting is on the rise. While the cruel and murderous practice is banned in most places, unfortunately authorities usually don't prioritize enforcing these types of laws. Worse, dog fighting has found a new way to spread: via a website called Gumtree, where people are giving away dogs for free to fighting rings.


Sign the petition to demand that Gumtree to prohibit these "free dog" posts and save precious pups from death in the ring!


Let's be clear: dog fighting is a disgusting practice. It's billed as a form of "entertainment" for humans, but it's more akin to a brutal gladiator tournament. To prepare them for the ring, humans abuse dogs — usually pitbulls, terriers, and similar breeds — before forcing them to fight each other to the death. To bring out the animals' most violent behaviors, people beat, starve and torment them until they're brimming over with aggression. A dog only "wins" when it doesn't die.


Even more callously, people use these fights as a form of betting, putting money on which dog they think will survive the other's vicious attacks. No one should be making money watching this type of cruelty, and no one should be making a living off of procuring these dogs and forcing them into the rings in the first place.


Some websites, like Facebook and Craigslist, are trying to crack down on this practice by ending the sale of animals on their sites. Now we need to ask Gumtree to do the same thing. Will you sign the petition, and speak out for the dogs?


Last year in California more than 26,000 native animals were killed by Wildlife Services, a shadowy federal program that relies on guns, poisons and cruel traps to do its dirty business.

That's why we just went to court to shut down Wildlife Services' operations in 10 more California counties. County by county, state by state, we won't stop until we put Wildlife Services out of business.

Please help today to the Stop Wildlife Services Fund.

Wildlife Services' trail of slaughter reaches far beyond California's borders. Nationwide last year, 1.5 million native animals were slaughtered by this government-sponsored killing operation, mostly at the behest of the agriculture industry.

These heartless operations cause immense suffering through the use of painful leg traps, strangulation snares, and aerial gunning.

Non-target animals are threatened too. Because of the program's indiscriminate methods, pets and protected wildlife like gray wolves have been killed — and it'll happen again if we don't stop them.

We've been fighting Wildlife Services for years — and we're winning. Just weeks ago we secured a ban on its use of deadly M-44s — spring-loaded capsules armed with cyanide spray — across more than 10 million acres of public land in Wyoming.

We also helped secure a ban on the targeting of beavers, minks, muskrats and otters by Wildlife Services in Oregon, saving hundreds of animals a year. And in California our legal action got the program to stop shooting and trapping beavers on more than 11,000 miles of river and 4 million acres of land.

We're winning our battles against Wildlife Services, but we still have a long way to go. We won't tolerate the purposeful, mass killing of wildlife.

Our legal victories save thousands of animals every year, but we need your help to keep up the pace.

Please help today to the Stop Wildlife Services Fund.

Our appetite for cute puppies and kittens seems to be insatiable. Even as animal activists push people to adopt, not shop, unscrupulous commercial breeders continue to pump out new puppies and kittens like they are widgets made in a factory. "Puppy mills" is an accurate nickname for these operations.


But the State of Pennsylvania could stop this practice in its tracks. The state legislature is considering a bill that would regulate pet sales and root out unlicensed and illegal breeding operations. It would require pet stores to get animals from shelters and rescue organizations and force breeders to disclose their license number so consumers can know they are legit before they take a puppy or kitten home.

Puppy mills treat living creatures like commodities.


Animals are products to be created at the lowest possible cost and sold for the highest possible price to maximize profits. That leads to irresponsible breeding that leads to serious medical problems in the animals, much of which new pet parents can't discover until they've brought their new pet home. Animals awaiting adoption often live in deplorable conditions.


California and Maryland have already taken a stand against puppy mills by passing common sense laws that ensure these animals are treated as living beings, not just a chance for profit. It's been nearly a year since Pennsylvania introduced its own version. We need the state to keep momentum going.


Sign the petition to urge Pennsylvania to crack down on inhumane puppy mills.


Another Horse Dead on the Havasupai Trail

For years, eyewitnesses have reported the neglect and deaths of horses used for packing tourist gear along the Havasupai trail in the Grand Canyon. The latest complaint describes a dead horse simply discarded in the middle of the trail in August. We may never know what happened to her, what suffering she endured. But you can help the other horses. Please, don't use animals to pack gear when visiting the Havasupai trail.


A loophole in international animal trade regulations allows trophy hunters to legally kill animals deemed as extinct in the wild. And they’re doing it with the blessing of the US and U.K. governments, as revealed by the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is a trade agreement between world governments. CITES classifies animals into three appendices, and Appendix 1 contains the most critically endangered species. However, instead of protecting these magnificent creatures, CITES awards permits to trophy hunters to brutally murder them for fun.


Trading nearly extinct animals listed in Appendix 1 is banned except when it comes to killing them for “commercial purposes”. 


Approximately 2,500 endangered species trophies have been imported into the U.K. between 2004 and 2014 because of this loophole. 2,500 animals that should have been protected, but instead were legally murdered in the name of entertainment.


Even more sickening, ranch owners in the US are breeding animals classified as extinct for the sole purpose of selling them as paid trophy ‘hunts’ for profit.


Several animals declared as extinct are advertised at captive hunting ranges, such as the scimitar-horned oryx and Père David’s deer. The federal government regulates this industry and issues permits through various treaties, including CITES.


“The domestic wildlife trade is the dirty underbelly of the trophy hunting industry,” said Kitty Block, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. Block told CBS News that “Animals are fenced-in, hand-reared, hand-fed, and they’re baited so food is out when hunters come. Hunters are then driven up to the area where animal is eating and they’re shot there.”

Despite these horrific revelations, CITES is an important global animal trade regulator. Before CITES, wildlife trade was unrestrained. Animals that were killed and exported illegally from one country could easily be imported legally into another.


It’s time to do better than lax regulations that legally permit trophy hunters to kill animals declared as extinct for cruel entertainment.


We must close these loopholes and urge CITES to stop issuing legal permits allowing trophy hunters to kill the world’s rarest exotic animals. They deserve our protection and should not be pawns in a sick game.


CITES international conference started last weekend in Geneva and runs for 2 weeks. There, delegates from 180 countries will deliberate changes to the rules. 50 Members of the European Parliament have already written to Ivonne Higuero, secretary-general of CITES, urging her to close down these loopholes.


We can make demands too. Join us in speaking out against allowing hunters to mercilessly murder nearly extinct animals by emailing the head of CITES Ivonne Higuero at info@cites.org.



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