A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

May 17, 2017

Largest Cockfighting Bust in U.S. History

Over 7000 fighting birds, paraphernalia and other related items were seized in what is purported to be the largest cockfighting bust in U.S. history.

Spearheaded by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Blood Sports Unit, spcaLA elite Humane Officers, Los Angeles County Animal Control officers and helping hands from hsus volunteers entered a property in Val Verde which hosted the birds, mobile fighting arenas and other combat accessories. There was an excess of 100 deputies on the scene along with support personnel, such as crime lab experts, veterinary support, and over 100 other people provided by the involved organizations to assist in this massive raid.

It is spectacular to see this level of commitment from law enforcement here in Los Angeles as there is a recognition that these crimes never exist in a vacuum, often involve minor children as spectators, and is an absolute painful, cruel and often fatal experience for the birds. Additionally, the sheriff's department took extra steps and planned to make sure that numerous loose dogs on the property, used to guard the birds would be handled gently and without the need of lethal force. To that end, spcaLA officers entered in the lead with the first team to ensure that neither humans nor dogs would be harmed as a result of this criminal operation. The plan worked beautifully, and all officers could then turn their attention to collecting evidence and processing the crime scene.

I would just ask you to believe me when I say that this type of enlightenment and commitment to crimes against animals is special and not typical either in California or in other states.

Congratulations to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Blood Sports Unit!

May 1, 2017

Fakers, Frauds and "Fonies" Oh my ...

UPDATE: California Attorney General issued Cease and Desist order to Saving Spot. They are also prohibited from reincorporating under a different name. They are no longer in operation.

KCBS news investigative reporter David Goldstein did an expose on a "fake animal rescue charity". In the piece, we learn that the "rescue" Saving Spot is advertising as a charity, soliciting donations and advising people that the 450 dollar price tag for a dog was deductible. Upon further investigation it is revealed that it is not true, and that their charitable status was actually suspended due to noncompliance. More alarming was the fact that in Los Angeles, 29 out of 66 "rescues" were also not proper nonprofit charities who were likewise soliciting funds.

Fake charities, fake net-workers and fake internet fund raising pleas have sprung up in epidemic proportions and capitalize on the kindness of human beings who want to help. Some may even be in cahoots with backyard breeders or puppy mills.

Make no mistake. It is a crime to take funds under false pretenses. Worse, it takes funds away from legitimate shelters, and those, both private and nonprofit entities that are in compliance with the law.

It is bad enough that there are real charities that don't act very charitable or, as in the case of the aspca (New York's spca) a real charity that refuses to correct the misimpression that they are a national umbrella organization thereby receiving funds from those who believe that it will be distributed locally, we now have to deal with outright frauds, all of whom are taking food out of the mouths of animals residing in shelters who need financial support. Some of these "rescue net-workers" simply use a public picture of a shelter dog and raise funds on line to care for him or her. In other words, your 5 or 20 dollar donation on Facebook is supporting a person who doesn't even have an animal.

Please, don't just give funds without checking, don't just buy a dog believing that you are helping a rescue when you might be purchasing a dog from a breeder, and please, donate locally so you can see your donor dollars at work.

This is just the beginning of this story. Stay tuned and stay smart!