A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Feb 24, 2016

Death by Selfie - Please Stop

coutesy google images
The obsession with selfies has become dangerous to living things.

In China, a peacock died of fright as he was passed around to tourists for selfies. An Argentina crowd did the same with a rare dolphin with the same result. A man dragged a shark out of the water on a Florida beach to take a selfie, also killing the shark. I have seen people, who should know better, attempt to grab a raccoon for a photo, or others in our deserts unable to resist a selfie with a tortoise.

In these instances there is certainly a risk to the photographers, but I must speak up for the risk to the animals. Whether they die on the spot, (how do you explain that to your children) or dehydrate and die slowly as is typical with tortoises, (you miss seeing that) it is an abominable thing to do and most certainly can be a crime. In one car commercial taking a selfie with your dog is used as proof of love and a reason to buy that car.

The craze has evolved from just posting photos of social encounters and meals, to staging weird and dangerous poses. This is not a new problem. Think back to shows about funniest videos or David Letterman's stupid pet tricks. They started out harmless and natural to choreographed daredevil stunts and a dog "trick" that was achieved by breaking the dog's back so he would walk funny.

Whether you are addicted to or apathetic towards selfies, you must agree that killing an animal by shooting a photo is the same as doing so with a gun. Let's think about our animals and not just about our "selfs".

Feb 11, 2016

The Animal Three Card Monte Game Continues With "Pet Shops"

Once again the Los Angeles City Council Personnel and Animal Welfare committee, chaired by Paul Koretz is doing something that will ultimately be detrimental to Los Angeles pets. 

Now, they want to change the definition of "kennel" in the zoning code to exclude pet shops thereby obviating the need for a kennel permit and allowing these "pet shops" to be in commercial zones. 

Though seemingly innocuous on its face, it is not, and here's why. A pet shop is subject to the California Health and Safety Code pet shop provisions among other things, even if they sell shelter pets. That would also be true of an animal rescue group that is not a 501(c)(3).  An animal rescue group that is a 501(c)(3) and operates a pet shop would be exempt from that statute, but typically, would have enough animals in said space to qualify as a kennel - thereby requiring a permit and be subject to inspection. The scary part under the proposed change, is that rescues can call their kennels "pet shops", warehouse animals all over town, and voila- no Health and Safety, no kennel permit required, and no inspections mandated! No scrutiny at all. There are already existing permitted places where you only need to walk nearby to smell the unsanitary conditions to then see depressed pets sitting in their own filth. Imagine no oversite.

Said another way, under this proposed change (to be heard in committee February 16th) those presenting the most danger to the health and welfare of our pets will lose the most routine oversight. I reiterate that I am not talking about the legitimate and wonderful rescue groups that we deal with routinely, and, of course, criminal charges will lie if applicable, but Councilman Koretz and his committee are offering a free pass to abuse and neglect animals on a large scale.

I can only theorize why he is selling this to us. In conjunction with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the commission that oversees the city's animal services department, they have figured out another way to move animals out of the shelters, off their books, and into the shadows to create an impression that they have a successful live release rate. Again, they are moving the queen around in their endless game of Three Card Monte. If they would only use their skills to figure out how to honestly place pets into loving homes instead of creating the illusion of placement, there would be far less suffering for our pets.

It is again the case where the emperor has no clothes, but this time, they are trying to sell us the clothes they don't have.

Let's say no to this.

The Committee:

Paul Koretz -- paul.koretz@lacity.org

David E. Ryu -- david.ryu@lacity.org

Marqueece Harris-Dawson -- councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org