A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Apr 26, 2012

Chris Brown Breeding and Selling Pit Bull Puppies for $1000 Online

courtesy Google Images
Would you buy a used car from Chris Brown? Let alone a pit bull puppy.

Chris Brown is breeding and selling 2 month old pit bull puppies for a $1000 each.

Why does a rock star and known domestic violence abuser choose to breed dogs, and why, specifically pit bulls? What does Brown know about the genetics of responsible breeding? Will the dogs be fixed? How will they determine what is a good home? Who would pay that price? Do pit bulls enhance his "bad boy" image?

Animal shelters across the country are brimming with unwanted pit bull dogs. Adopters shun them because they fear that the dogs have violent dispositions as they are associated with dog fighting, gang violence and other crimes. Home insurance companies won't insure homeowners with pit bulls as pet. The breed is completely banned in some cities altogether and some animal shelters won't adopt them out as a matter of policy.

The result is the dogs suffer when they are misused and abused by felons and those who want to convey a "bad-ass" image, or euthanized in droves because nobody wants them - not even the "good ones". So it is this dog that Chris Brown chooses to breed.

I fear that people who want a celebrity dog will pay this price despite the fact that they can get a dog from an animal shelter for a fraction of the cost. I fear that those who wish to emulate Brown's tough guy persona and violent temper will now want a pit bull accessory. I wish his mother would talk some sense into him rather than advertising these dogs on Twitter. I wish that Brown would use his celebrity and financial resources to help deal with the existing pet overpopulation problem in this country.

I would love to see the USDA ( as online sales will cross state lines) or local enforcement that regulates breeding step in and stop this activity and perhaps deter any other similar escapades.

Where did I place my magic wand?

Apr 18, 2012

Stop the Cruel and Bullying "Sport"of Hounding California's Bears and Bobcats

Senate Bill 1221 will stop the cruel and bullying pastime of “hounding” bears and bobcats.

Courtesy Google Images
"Hounding" is a hunting practice where dogs are first sprayed with a bear attractant and fitted with high‐tech radio collars, that permit the hunters to hunt remotely. The dogs can chase the bear or bobcats for miles until they are treed or exhausted, at which time the tip-switch on the collars alerts the hunters, who, arrive and shoot a weary animal at point blank range. Essentially, the hounds take all the risks while the "sport" hunter lounges around in the park waiting for the signal to exert him or herself enough to shoot a trapped, immobilized animal.

Courtesy Google Images
Notwithstanding the terrifying ordeal suffered by the target animal, the hounds don't fare much better. They are not treated as pets but as working animals. They get injured running, hit by cars, and are often wounded or killed by the target animal or any other wildlife (such as deer) that they may encounter. There are reports of shelters receiving these dogs dehydrated, skinny and injured after they are no longer any use to the "sportsman".

I respectfully submit that this form of hunting is neither sport nor sportsman like. As comedian Paul Rodriguez said: "In a sport both sides should know they are in the game".

Not only do the animals not know they are playing - the bullies are cheating.

It is time to end this practice in California. Please contact your representatives http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html and urge them to pass SB 1221.

Thank you.

Apr 13, 2012

"Something's Happening Here - What It Is Ain't Exactly Clear..."

I wasn’t going to write about this – but – it has been bothering me.  Last week, the aspca (NOT a national umbrella organization) subsidized adoptions across the country for a couple of days. The subsidy allowed some shelters to give away pets, or to charge 10 or 20 dollars for the pet.  So why has this been nagging at me?

Courtesy spcaL
I began to wonder why they are really doing this.  Promoting adoptions is the obvious answer but is it the correct one? You and I will never know – but here is what I think. The aspca has been and is under fire for fundraising in everyone’s neighborhood and amassing approximately 188,024,402 million dollars in New York to the detriment of all the other spcas and the animals they serve. They get away with it because consumers believe that they are the “national office” and that every spca in the country is a chapter which receives funding from them. Not true.  Each spca is a separate and independent legal entity and it could affect the aspca’s ability to raise funds if they disclosed that.  In fact, out of that near 185,000,000 million dollars,  they grant out fewer than 6 million but spend over 25 million on fundraising.

So, they throw pocket change at this adoption promotion, publicize the hell out of it and generate more smoke for the mirrors.

But was it a good event that helped animals? In California they worked mostly with government pounds where adopters are not screened and all one needs is the fee to take home an animal. At no charge or even with a nominal charge many animals very likely went to hoarders, backyard sellers, and other entities that had only plans to resell the pets at a huge mark up. How many sales were an impulse grab where the pet was returned or simply turned out? It is easy to empty a shelter but not so easy to have the adoption stick and actually find the pet a home. It is neither a success nor even an adoption if the pet is not kept. Do you think the aspca is tracking that or is even concerned about that? I don't know, but if so, the event business model would have been different. Of course there are those of us who would cherish a pet for life that we found on the street or received at no cost. I am not talking about us.

I think that my disquietude comes from the fear that many of these animals might be in awful places as a result of the aspca’s public relations effort to appear to be funding animals in areas in which they solicit donations and provide nothing in return.

They could be throwing couch cushion change to seem to be something they are not, while perhaps tossing pets to the very real wolves.  

Please donate locally. 

Apr 2, 2012

Obama to Decide Whether to Expand Military's Animal Cruelty Policy

The Department of Defense is asking President Obama for permission to expand the military's current animal cruelty policy to include abandonment and to also apply to personal pets rather than just those owned by the military. The constant relocation and reassignment of military families has resulted in many pets simply being left behind, abandoned, and unattended. Stars and Stripes is reporting that the problem is so great in  places like Hawaii and Germany that local shelters are reluctant to adopt pets to Americans and/or military families at all.

The military is further concerned that the problem will worsen as United Airlines, the airline contracted to transport military personnel, refuses to permit certain breeds of dogs, such as American Staffordshire Terriers, on their planes, and will not waive this restriction for the Defense Department.

While I fully support holding those who choose to have a pet responsible for caring for that pet and accountable to the authorities for not doing so, I would also suggest that the military drop United Airlines and contract with another carrier so those with "banned" family dogs can travel without the additional heartbreak of the loss of a pet or the expense of funding their own flights on another airline. It seems an unnecessary stressor for those who would otherwise not abandon their pet.

In fact, if all pet lovers chose, in sympathy, to fly with different airlines - maybe we would see an attitude change from United.

The president is expected to decide this spring.