August 26, 2012
Jesse Smith did her job when she was Pennsylvania's special deputy secretary for dog-law enforcement. In return, she was relentlessly criticized in anonymous blogs whose writers went so far as to accuse her of marital infidelity as they questioned her ethics. How Smith was treated reflects the lack of civility too often found in today's public discourse, and it's even worse in cyberspace. It's not that the behavior of officials who implement public policy should be excluded from a robust discussion, but the personal attacks Smith endured step over the line.
May 2, 2012 |
What's Gov. Corbett got against puppies? After years of complaints from dog lovers and people who unknowingly purchased sick and dying pets that had been raised inside puppy-mill cages no bigger than a rabbit hutch, Pennsylvania passed a 2008 law ensuring humane treatment for tens of thousands of kennel dwellers. That law, aimed at ridding Pennsylvania of its reputation as the worst puppy-mill state in the East, has served as a model for 20 other states. But Corbett isn't interested in its enforcement.
August 5, 2011 |
With the federal debt crisis resolved, two area congressmen visited an animal shelter to call attention to legislation aimed at what some Americans might feel more passionate about - their pets. The bill would require breeders that sell more than 50 dogs a year directly to the public be federally licensed and inspected, said Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, with Patrick Meehan by his side. The legislators were upstaged for a time by the furry residents of Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals on Upper Gulph Road in Radnor, where their news conference took place.
June 9, 2011 |
Lizzie Penna was only 7 when she saw an Oprah episode three years ago about puppy mills, so she just wasn't old enough to volunteer with the dogs and cats at the Pennsylvania SPCA or Main Line Animal Rescue. But she had to figure out another way to help abused animals. The owner of a dog and cat herself, Lizzie, of Wynnewood, formed Peace for Puppies, and with the help of her mother, Ali Roberts, she began holding cake sales at her school, Penn Valley Elementary, and setting up lemonade stands, car washes, T-shirt sales and bowling events to raise money to help animals.
May 26, 2010
Ex-Detroit mayor gets prison term DETROIT - Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced Tuesday to up to five years in prison for violating the terms of his probation stemming from his conviction for lying under oath about an extramarital affair with his chief of staff. Kilpatrick, 39, asked Judge David Groner to show him compassion, but Groner said, "That ship has sailed. " At issue is $1 million that Kilpatrick, a Democrat, was ordered to pay the city after pleading guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice.
March 9, 2010 |
Jennifer Muller is an award-winning veterinarian who makes house calls and legislative policy. A kind of house-pet ambassador without portfolio, waiting room, or office staff, but well equipped with flea preventive and powerful friends in Harrisburg and Washington. Her career was not inevitable. The daughter of a math teacher and a stockbroker, Muller grew up in a bedroom suburb of New York City. She studied hard, got into Brown, majored in American civilization, and spent a semester in Botswana studying wildlife.
November 21, 2009 |
When a Philadelphia animal-welfare activist heard that nearly 400 Lancaster County dogs had been trucked to an auction in Ohio last month, he saw it as a chance to call attention to animal abuse in Pennsylvania. But because the dogs had crossed state lines, time was working against efforts to file cruelty charges. So Bill Smith rounded up a private jet and flew off to the Farmerstown Sale Barn in Baltic, a rural village in eastern Ohio. After combing the auction on Oct. 7, Smith and his group, including Pennsylvania SPCA agents and veterinarians, bought 12 Lancaster County dogs that they plan to use to show that abuse still existed at some kennels a year after passage of a tougher dog law. When the group returned to Pennsylvania hours after the purchase, state SPCA officials prepared charges against six of the 12 Lancaster County breeders who sent dogs to the auction.
August 14, 2009 |
Animal-welfare advocates and private citizens voiced their anger last night after learning that the Eagles had signed Michael Vick to a 1-year contract plus an option year. Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, served 18 months in federal prison for bankrolling a pit-bull dogfighting operation at a property he owned in Virginia. "Philadelphia is a city of dog lovers and, most particularly, pit-bull lovers," said Sue Cosby, who heads the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
June 9, 2009 |
Five years ago last week, I took the helm of the Humane Society of the United States, an organization founded in 1954 with the goal of confronting cruelty to animals on a national scale. Inhumane slaughter, animal fighting, puppy mills, wildlife abuse, and other forms of mistreatment were too entrenched and widespread for local humane organizations, with their limited resources, to fight effectively. Pennsylvania, with 671,000 Humane Society members, has long been one of our battleground states.