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A Dying Puppy’s Rags to Riches Story

January 8, 2019 by Leave a Comment

The News

While driving through a remote village in Liberia in November, 2016, Jenny Desmond, who runs a nearby chimpanzee sanctuary, saw a dying puppy lying on the side of the road. After confiscating the dog, who she named Snafu, she brought him home in an effort to save his life.

According to Jenny’s husband, Jim, who is one of two veterinarians working in Liberia, Snafu was digesting his own muscle and near death. TheirTurn, who was in Liberia documenting the Desmonds’ chimpanzee rescue and conservation efforts, captured Snafu’s rescue and his extraordinary journey from rags to riches.

After saving Snafu’s life, Jenny and Jim Desmond brought him to Colorado to live with Jenny’s sister and her family.

The Desmonds moved to Liberia in 2015 to oversee the care of 66 former research chimpanzees who had been abandoned by the New York Blood Center on six islands on a river about 1.5 hours outside of Monrovia, the country’s capital. Shortly after the Desmond’s arrival, forestry authorities began bringing them baby chimpanzees who they seized from poachers attempting to sell them as pets on the black market. With 35 chimpanzees in their care, the Desmonds are racing against time to build sanctuary in the forest that can house rescued chimpanzees and serve as a conservation center to help protect Liberia’s remaining wild chimpanzees in their forest home.

Your Turn

For more information and to see how you can help, please visit Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection.

Filed under: Companion Animals
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Animal Rights Activists Protest NY State Veterinary Medical Society Over its Support of Declawing

May 14, 2018 by Leave a Comment

The News

Animal rights activists with The Animals’ Battalion staged a protest at the annual convention of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) over its effort to block legislation that would outlaw declawing in New York state.

“Veterinarians who declaw are mutilating animals while masquerading as their caregivers,” said protest organizer Roberto Bonelli of Animals’ Battalion. “We will expose the hypocrisy of NYSVMS until it puts the welfare of its patients ahead of the extra profits made off of these cruel amputations.”

The NY State Veterinary Medical Society lobbies to block cat declawing legislation

The dozen protesters were met by Marriott security guards and police who attempted to move them off of hotel property, but that didn’t stop them from conveying their message to the many veterinarians who were entering and exiting the hotel. Several of the them stated that they disagreed with NYSVMS pro-declawing position.

Declawing is amputation, as it consists of removing the entire bone out of which the claw grows.

Contrary to public perception, cat declawing is not a simple nail removal. During the surgical procedure, veterinarians cut through nerves and ligaments to remove the last knuckle of each of a cat’s digits.

The Paw Project, an advocacy group that is working to ban cat declawing nationwide, states that the surgery causes many potential problems for cats, including prolonged joint and back pain, early onset arthritis, painful abscesses, infection, and behavioral issues which result in owners abandoning them.

According to the Paw Project, declawing is already banned or deemed unethical by professional veterinary organizations in many countries around the world, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Two elected officials in NY State, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Senator Joseph Griffo have introduced a bill (A.595/S.3376) in the state legislature to ban cat declawing.  The NYSVMS is lobbying in opposition to the bill.

Animal rights activists with The Animals’ Battalion protest at the annual convention of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society over its efforts to block anti-declawing legislation.

Your Turn

Sign The Paw Project petition to ban declawing in New York.

If you live in NY State, ask your Assembly Member and Senator to support the bill (A.595/S.3376) to ban declawing.

Filed under: Companion Animals
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Protesters Demonstrate at NYC Pet Store Exposed for Abusing Animals

August 2, 2017 by Leave a Comment

The News

Just days after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released video footage of pet shop employees abusing and neglecting puppies, over 50 animal rights activists and local area residents staged a protest at the store, Chelsea Kennel Club. NY Animal Defenders, the grass roots group that organized the protest, said that the video taken by an undercover investigator at HSUS “shows violence toward and rough handling of young puppies, neglect of sick animals, failure to disclose illnesses to customers, and other shameful behavior.”

NY Animal Defenders said the purpose of the protest was to demand an immediate investigation into the businesses of Dana Derragh, who owns several pet stores in NYC, and for the immediate closure of Chelsea Kennel Club. Participants also used the protest as an opportunity to inform neighbors about the abuses taking place inside and to encourage the public to adopt dogs instead of buying them from pet shops, which sell puppy mill dogs.

Animal rights activists march through Chelsea to educate area residents about the abuses uncovered at Chelsea Kennel Club, a pet store that sells puppy mill dogs

“This is what happens when profit is placed ahead of animal rescue and welfare efforts – abuse, cutting corners to save pennies, and lying to customers,” said Leo Nardo of NY Animal Defenders. “Instead of buying an animal companion, New Yorkers should adopt at one of the city’s many animal shelters, which are full of dogs and cats who desperately need a home.”

Animal rights activists demand that NYC shut down Chelsea Kennel Club after video showing abuses is released by HSUS

A day before the protest, several activists entered the store to confront the owner and inform unsuspecting customers about the abuses.

Animal rights activists disrupt business at Chelsea Kennel Club, a pet shop caught on camera abusing animals

Filed under: Companion Animals
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Cheetahs in Chains: From Africa to Arabia

October 14, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Cheetahs can run a staggering 75 mph, but that’s not fast enough to escape their captors. Each year, animal traffickers in Africa kidnap an estimated 100 cheetahs to supply the exotic pet trade in the Middle East, where big cats are status symbols.

Kuwait City

Kuwait City (photo:

Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar

Most captive cheetahs were stolen from their mothers as cubs, who are easier to handle. This cheetah, being kept as a pet in Tanzania, was rescued by government authorities.

Captured cheetah by African border control

Captive cheetah in Tanzania rescued by authorities (photo: Rosa Mosha)

Cheetahs are an endangered species; fewer than 10,000 remain in Africa — down from 100,000 in 1900. Kidnapping isn’t the only culprit. Their numbers are also declining due to habitat destruction, the construction of fences that block hunting routes and a diminishing number of prey.

Historic & current cheetah range

Historic & current cheetah range

Capturing wild cheetahs isn’t just bad for conservation; it’s also bad for the cheetahs, who suffer in captivity. No palace in the Middle East can replicate their natural habitat, where they live amongst members of their own species, hunt, raise their young and run faster than the speed limit:

As part of its “Global Campaign to Keep Cheetahs off Chains,” Born Free USA, which estimates that 70% of smuggled cheetahs die in transit, is calling on members of the CITES treaty to increase enforcement at borders and strengthen the laws. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Your Turn

To learn more about the plight of exotic animals held captive as pets and to find out how you can help, please visit Born Free USA.

Filed under: Companion Animals, WIldlife
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After Much Debate, Denmark to Ban Bestiality

October 13, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

In response to an onslaught of negative press, Denmark is outlawing bestiality on the grounds that animals cannot consent to sex. Denmark is the last European country where sex with animals is legal, which explains why busloads of tourists from other countries travel there to engage in legal bestiality.

Animal rights activists have been lobbying for a ban for years, but authorities resisted due to fears that it could drive the worst offenders underground. Lawmakers also rejected the idea in the past because Denmark’s ethics advisory body said that a crime is not committed if the animal isn’t injured. That argument, however, was diminished by evidence of atrocities against animals used in the sex trade.


The 2014 documentary Animal F*ckers, which chronicles the efforts of animal rights activists to ban sex with animals, presented a nuanced view of the practice, informing viewers that zoophilia (attraction to animals) is, for some, a sexual orientation, not a fetish, and that “zoophiles” love and care for their animal companions.

In the film, Oliver Burdinski, a German man who speaks openly about his sexual relationship with his dog, says, “When I was 14 or 15, I wasn’t sure if it was right, so I tried to get human partners. But I was not happy with them. I tried to be normal. In 1994, I got internet and realized that I’m not alone.”

Oliver Burdinski says his huskie decides when they have sex.

Oliver Burdinski says his Siberian Husky decides when they have sex. (photo:


If Denmark outlaws bestiality on the grounds that the animals cannot consent, then will lawmakers take a closer look at other circumstances in which animals are exploited without their consent? Gestation crates on factory farms have been banned in other European countries, yet they’re still legal in Denmark. What pig would willingly reside in an indoor crate that is so small that she can’t turn around or lie down?

Filed under: Companion Animals, Victories
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