A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Aug 20, 2012


Courtesy Google Images
California Senate bill 1221, authored by Senator Ted Lieu, will stop the cruel sport of "hounding" in which dogs are used to hunt and detain bears and bobcats so the latter can be killed by the hunter. Indirectly, the passage of this bill will also protect the hounds involved from poor treatment by their hunters.

The bill is now ready to go before the assembly. Please contact your assembly person and urge them to vote for SB1221.

To read more on this "sport", please see my earlier post http://spcalapresident.blogspot.com/2012/04/stop-cruel-and-bullying-pastime-of.html which more fully describes the practice.

Thank you.

Aug 4, 2012

Louisiana Tech Bulldog Mascot Dies of Heatstroke

courtesy Google images
Tech XX, the English bulldog who served as the mascot for the Louisiana Tech University sports teams died of heatstroke after being left outside in the heat too long.

An employee let the dog out to use the bathroom and forgot to let him back in. The 102 degree outside temperature proved too much for Tech XX who succumbed to heatstroke.

The same employee, in an effort to distract authorities from his actions, originally reported the dog as missing. Students searched for the dog and a reward for his safe return was advertised until the truth was discovered. Patrick Sexton, the dog's caretaker, issued the following statement:

"Regretfully, I learned this morning that through negligence of an employee, Tech XX was left outside too long on Sunday evening and passed away from a heat stroke. That employee unfortunately chose to handle it the wrong way and attempted to cover it up. Due to this negligence, the employee is no longer employed by Sexton Animal Health Center."

It has been further reported by CNN that Tech XX's predecessor, Tech XIX,  was retired in 2007 for health issues resulting from heat stroke!

The legend of the Louisiana Tech bulldog mascot dates back to 1899 when students found an old stray bulldog and persuaded the owner of their boarding house  to let the dog stay. That same night a fire broke out in the boarding house and the bulldog ran through the house alerting the students until all were safely outside. Unfortunately the dog did not survive the fire.

It is right that the noble hero bulldog of 1899 deserves honor and fame. It is, however, critical to also understand the susceptibility of bulldogs to heat stroke and related disorders so that they can be properly cared for.

This would be a good time to think about whether the bulldog of 1899 could be commemorated another way, the bulldog is an appropriate choice in the heat and humidity characteristic of Louisiana, and whether a person in a climate controlled bulldog costume would be a smarter choice.

Human negligence notwithstanding, exposing dogs to such heat seems an odd way to pay homage to a hero.

Article first published as Louisiana Tech University English Bulldog Mascot Dead of Heatstroke on Technorati.

Aug 2, 2012

Elephants Are spcaLA Business!

spcaLA early horse ambulance
After speaking out on the recent court decision condemning the treatment of the elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo, I received some advice from some members of the public to "stick to spcaLA business and stay out of the business of elephants and everything else".

Though these comments were few in number, I feel compelled to say something.

Since 1877 spcaLA has been caring for all animals, including women and children of the species human. Be it work horses, beasts of burden, circus animals, sharks or a pet canary, spcaLA was and continues to be here to stop and prevent animal cruelty. In the 1860s Henry Bergh, the father of the spca movement, was known to have fights with P.T. Barnum himself outside the big top when the circus would come to town!  California state law gives us jurisdiction over "every dumb creature" which includes elephants, mountain lions, mice and dogs.

It is spcaLA business to prevent cruelty to animals through education, law enforcement, intervention and advocacy whenever and wherever it exists.

Henry Bergh was nicknamed the "great meddler" as he always spoke up and interceded on behalf of an animal in need. I accept that mantle and raise the bar to that of "equalizer" as spcaLA has and will continue to protect our vulnerable animals by equalizing the disparity in power, neutralizing the bullies and leveraging the law until it is no longer necessary to do so.

The treatment of elephants is spcaLA business.

  "A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to        assist and shrinks from injuring anything that lives."   Albert Schweitzer