A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Dec 19, 2016

"Healthy Communities" - Why Thomas Friedman is Correct



I was watching an interview with Thomas Friedman who was advocating the concept of "healthy communities". Essentially he articulated the fact that life was moving too fast for single families to anchor themselves securely against the winds of change, and that governments are too slow to turn on a dime and help. The solution, he posits, is to focus on the local level, where there is more nimbleness to adapt to changes, and develop "healthy communities".  Additionally, it is your fellow neighbors that know who needs the help from jobs to services. It is the local nonprofits that know where those who fell between the cracks of the government and for-profit sectors lie suffering, and can respond. As local communities respond and become healthy, the nation benefits

I agree. It starts with the power of one. If I am strong and solvent I can care for another. Then we two can help a third and so on. We can then hire one who needs a job, shop in a local store and build up our neighborhood so that it is strong and able to thrive. Strong neighborhoods are the foundations of strong cities and so on and so forth.


Let us add local charities to the mix.  The resources, new jobs, services and aid to our vulnerable constituents, including animals, will boost the local economy and quality of life, thus strengthening the community’s ability to prosper. As an auxiliary benefit one can actually visit the charity, participate in the effort, and confirm that the funds are actually benefiting the area rather than merely assuming so. For example, the aspca, the New York City spca, is not an umbrella organization which funnels funds to other spcas by zip code. spcas throughout the country are individual legal entities and not chapters of the aspca. Yet aspca spends tens of millions of dollars annually on television and other fundraising outlets which omit that significant fact. Donating to your local charities keeps the funds local and helps build "healthy communities" for all.

Finally, many local charities are now shuttered having fallen victim to the slow growing economy, foreclosures, unemployment, and increased operating costs. Yet, the need for our services is greater because of those same reasons. Ironically, we have to figure out how to serve more with less. What if we're not there? Neither, the government nor those behemoth fundraising organizations have the agility or ability to identify, locate, adjust and provide aid with the alacrity needed to help those in need, when they need it.

Let us heed Thomas Friedman - vote, shop locally, care, volunteer, donate locally, and let's build "healthy communities" for the good of us all. His theory is by doing so, everyone will be connected, protected and respected. Imagine that. Imagine the hope for our planet should that come to pass.






Dec 6, 2016

A $5.00 Rolex Will Not Tell Time!

It is not uncommon for someone to approach you on a New York City street and offer you the deal of the century. Hung on the inside lining of a long coat are all sorts of shiny objects, including a $5.00 Rolex watch. If you spend your hard earned cash on this watch, two things will be true. It will not tell time and you have no one to complain to but yourself.

The same is true for dogs. A $3,000. purebred puppy, offered from the back of a truck in a parking lot for $500 in cash will often be ill, unable to survive, will have forged papers, and could cost you $10,000 in lifesaving medical bills. The seller is usually long gone leaving you only a burn phone number and heartache.

spcaLA recently convicted one such individual, Armando Viramontes, on 2 counts of the Penal Code - selling a puppy under 8 weeks of age and selling said puppy in a public place. He is currently awaiting sentencing.

Holiday season brings out more of these individuals than we have the resources to deal with. Please, don't create a demand for these puppies. You do not want your holiday puppy to die in someone's arms, nor do you want to be complicit in the suffering of these animals.

spcaLA suggests giving a gift certificate for a pet which allows the recipient to choose, adopting a shelter pet, and, as a last resort, researching a legal, humane and local provider of puppies.

The $5.00 Rolex will simply not tell time. The callous trafficking of these babies hurts all of us, all the time.










Dec 1, 2016

Fish and Game (Wildlife) Outsourcing Killing of Mountain Lion -P-45

Courtesy Google Images
By issuing the depredation permit to a private citizen to “take” i.e. kill the mountain lion known as P-45, the Department of Fish and Game, (trying to change their image by renaming themselves Fish and Wildlife) has circumvented the law and permitted a citizen to do that which the Department itself cannot do.

After the massacre of the lion cub that wandered into Santa Monica, against the landscape of a genetic dearth of diverse male lions, and because mountain lions are legally protected, the law was changed.

Fish and Game Code 4801.5 entitled “Removal or Taking of Mountain Lion Not Designated as Threat to Public Health or Safety” was enacted to mandate that nonlethal procedures shall be used to take a mountain lion unless there is an imminent threat to a person and not specifically the responders. The law also allows the Department to authorize qualified individuals to use these nonlethal measures on their behalf. Unfortunately, the law still allows anyone who suffered livestock or property damage by a mountain lion to request a permit to take a mountain lion.

If the Department itself can’t use lethal force to remove a mountain lion that is not threatening people, why would they grant a request to any person trained or untrained to use lethal force when there is no such threat? Are they not circumventing the point of the law which is that mountain lions are legally protected and the Department must so protect them, specifically, keep them alive?

I mourn the loss of the alpacas as well. But those keeping animals must take steps to protect them from reasonably foreseeable dangers including known predators. Killing the lion doesn’t make the rest of the alpacas safer, it just kills the lion.

As for the Department, they need to start protecting the wildlife under their purview rather than treating them like hunting game and assist people in protecting their livestock rather than automatically granting depredation permits. Then their name change will mean something.


P.S. - After a great deal of protest the owner of the alpacas has decided not to pursue killing the lion. It does not, however change the fact that Fish and Game needs to rethink its actions.