Friday, April 25, 2003

Nebraska Becomes 41st State to Declare Animal Cruelty a Felony
Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns recently signed into law a bill that makes intentionally torturing or mutilating an animal, or conducting a cockfight or dogfight, a felony. The legislation also makes neglect or abandonment of an animal a Class I misdemeanor and requires employees of government-run child and adult protection and animal control agencies to report suspected abandonment, neglect and mistreatment of animals. "I can't imagine anyone being against something like that," said State Senator Ray Aguilar (D-Grand Island). Conducting a cockfight is legal only in Louisiana and New Mexico, and dogfights are prohibited throughout the United States.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers, who is a champion of animal welfare, introduced the original legislative bill. State Sens. Paul Hartnett, Marian Price, Elaine Stuhr and Dennis Byars introduced and/or co-sponsored correlating animal cruelty legislation that was merged into the final bill. They deserve credit for LB273, this session's often overlooked but welcome and compassionate law making animal cruelty a felony in Nebraska (send them a thank-you email by clicking their names, Sen. Chambers only receives snail mail).

Another bill recently signed by Governor Johanns mandates spaying or neutering all cats and dogs adopted from shelters within 30 days, and requires pet shops to be licensed and provide written information about spaying and neutering to customers.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

PETA to hold demonstration at Lincoln KFC
PETA will be holding a demonstration in Lincoln on April 23rd as part of our international campaign against KFC. The demonstration will be from noon to 1pm, at the 1210 South Street location. We need supporters like you to come out and make it a showing. To learn more about the campaign, please visit, and to get more details on the event, email
Animal facility licensing expansion moves
Senators advanced a bill April 2 that would require animal control facilities and animal shelters to be licensed by the state Department of Agriculture.

Under current law, only commercial breeders and dealers and boarding kennels are required to be licensed. LB 233, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Marian Price, also would increase the licensing fee from $100, as is current law, to $150 and allow the director of the department to increase the fee up to $200 without the approval of the Legislature as long as a public hearing is held on the increase.

The bill was advanced to final reading by a voice vote.

Please call or email Senator Price and thank her for her efforts to rid our state of puppy mills and for her continuing work to advance the status of animals in Nebraska. Senator Price can be reached at (402) 471-2610, or you can email her at

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Marian Price pushes for advancement of LB233
More than 20 senators already have picked their priority bills, and Lincoln Sen. Marian Price was first in line with a measure (LB233) that would maintain the state's new inspection program for commercial pet-breeding facilities. Price, who generally focuses on education and health-related issues, picked protecting pets as her priority bill because the inspection program that helps keep puppy mills out of the state was in jeopardy. Within six minutes Wednesday morning, the measure, which establishes higher fees to pay for the inspection program, gained first-round approval and was on its way to becoming law.

Price's measure increases the pet breeder licensing fee from $100 to $150 and adds humane societies and animal shelters to the list of places that must be licensed. It raises enough money, about $62,000 to $65,000 a year, to pay for continuing the state inspection program. "My putting a priority on this shows its importance," Price said. Before the licensing and inspection program was put in place, Nebraska was one of five states that had the reputation of having a number of illegal puppy mills. "Now we have lost that reputation," Price said. And she wants to keep it that way.

Please call or email Senator Price and thank her for her efforts to rid our state of puppy mills and for her continuing work to advance the status of animals in Nebraska. Senator Price can be reached at (402) 471-2610, or you can email her at

Thursday, November 14, 2002

OMAHA ACTIVISTS: Your Help Urgently Needed
As you may have heard, a bear recently escaped from Kipling’s Animal Refuge in Omaha. It is not uncommon for exotic animals to escape from backyard menageries masquerading as rescue facilities or sanctuaries, as the enclosures for the animals are often unsafe and inadequate. This bear was recaptured before the animal or any humans were injured. Such is not the case in many other instances; bears kept in substandard captive situations have attacked and seriously injured, even killed, several people.

It appears as if the operator of Kipling’s Animal Refuge keeps this bear (and possibly other animals) without the required permit to do so. Please send a letter or e-mail to the Wildlife Division Administrator of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to ask that the facility be inspected and, if animals are being kept illegally, that the operator be charged and prosecuted appropriately. Letters and e-mails should be polite and brief:
Jim Douglas
Wildlife Division Administrator
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
2200 N. 33rd St.
Lincoln, NE 68503

Because Nebraska's state law regulating the private ownership of wild animals contains loopholes and may not be adequately enforced, it is important that Omaha enact an outright ban on the possession of exotic and dangerous animals. We have asked the Omaha City Council to help ensure that other potentially deadly incidents don’t occur by passing such a ban. We need your help. The council needs to know that local residents understand the dangers that keeping exotic animals poses and recognize that animals suffer when stuck in a cage and deprived of everything that is natural to them.

Exotic animals like primates, big cats, reptiles, and bears are often acquired on a whim by individuals with little or no knowledge of their care. As a result, the animals often end up suffering from malnutrition, an unsuitable environment, loneliness, mutilation, and the stress of confinement. Many animals are discarded after their novelty wears thin and may end up as curiosity displays in roadside or traveling “attractions,” set lose in the naïve hope that they will be able to fend for themselves, sent to hunting ranches or laboratories, or “recycled” back into the pet trade.

Please tell the city council members that this is no life for any animal and that many states and localities already prohibit the private possession of exotic animals due to the safety risks these animals pose to humans. Point out that many bears, big cats, reptiles, primates and other dangerous animals have bitten, scratched, attacked and mauled their handlers or bystanders and that many people, including children, have been killed by exotic animals. Zoonosis, or animal to human disease transmission, is also a serious problem associated with exotic animals. For more information, please visit

Please call, write, or better yet, set up an appointment with the city council member that represents your district. You can find names and district locations of, and contact information for, each city council member at

Friday, November 01, 2002

The Vegan Society is sponsoring World Vegan Day 2002 today, November 1. Celebrate your veganism, or give veganism a whirl for the first time today. It really isn't as difficult as you might think, and the rewards are certainly worth it. Try a vegan Boca burger at Village Inn or Denny's, take a long lunch for some curried tofu at Maggie's in the Haymarket... The Coffeehouse in Lincoln is even serving totally vegan "cheesecake" that, let me tell you, is to LIVE for (the Coffeehouse also has a stack of going vegan guides from the Vegan Society, go pick one up for free!). Or make your own vegan delights from one of these fantastic recipe sites. Spread the word (and the hummous)! Happy Vegan Day!

Monday, October 14, 2002

Signatures Needed to Help Stop Smuggling of Indonesian Birds
Indonesia is blessed with some of the most spectacular birds on Earth, especially perhaps its parrots, lories, cockatoos, and birds of paradise. Unfortunately, their beauty makes them frequent targets for smugglers. Wild-caught birds are cruelly treated and frequently die during capture or shipping. Birds are trapped with gum, their frail necks are clamped by rough branches, their feathers are forcibly torn out to prevent them from flying—a painful, terribly distressing torment—and they are confined to tiny wire cages or plastic bags. The initial stress of losing their freedom and being restricted to a cage kills many wild-caught birds. Of those who survive that, half go on to die of starvation, suffocation, dehydration, or disease prior to export, most often to large importing countries in Europe and Asia. Not only is this trade torturous for most endangered parrots, it is the primary cause of dramatic declines in populations in the wild.

We can make a difference! Put an end to their suffering by signing an online petition to Indonesia’s President Megawati Soekarno Putri, urging her to end the illegal trapping of birds and ban their export. We have very little time. We need at least 5,000 signatures by year’s end, when all signatures will be delivered to President Megawati Soekarno Putri and the minister of the Forestry Department.
click here to sign the petition
click here for more information

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Gubernatorial Candidate Stormy Dean Opposes Nebraska's Large Pig Farms
The Sierra Club has endorsed Stormy Dean's candidacy for governor. Dean announced Tuesday he has received the environmental organization's support and said he shares the Sierra Club's concerns about giant hog farms in Nebraska. "Massive hog farms not only pollute valuable groundwater, but they also threaten ... the quality of life for residents in rural towns," the Democratic nominee said. "Quality of life is more important to the survival of rural economies than are the few additional jobs offered by large hog lots," he said.
Nebraska Humane Society offers reward for information on dead horse
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $2,000 reward for information on who killed and mutilated a horse in northeast Nebraska. The 8-year-old quarter horse was found Sept. 11 by its owner, Dan McCarthy of rural Jackson in Dakota County. "The killing and deliberate dismemberment of this horse is very disturbing. You don't have to be Freud to realize that the person who did this has some very serious problems," said Arnold Baer, interim director of the national Humane Society's Midwest regional office. The person responsible is a threat to other animals, Baer said. The Humane Society of the United States routinely offers $2,000 to $2,500 awards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for animal cruelty, said spokeswoman Kate Luse. The Siouxland Humane Society and concerned citizens also have matched the national organization's reward to offer a total of $4,000 to help solve the Nebraska horse death. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Dakota County Sheriff's Office.
Help Stop the Trade in Exotic Animals on the Web
Exotic animals like monkeys, tigers, and dangerous reptiles are almost as easy to acquire on the Internet as a trinket off eBay or an appliance through a newspaper ad. One Web site, Wild Animal World, operated by Randy Davies, advertises animals ranging from capuchin monkeys to chimpanzees to lions to kinkajous. Because the Internet is virtually unregulated, it is a medium to which many animal dealers are flocking.

As the court commission surely knows, the life that so-called “exotic pets” lead is far removed from that which they would experience in their natural habitat. Big cats, primates, and reptiles, for example, are not domestic animals, and their instincts remain very much intact in captivity. A life in a backyard, basement, or garage cage cannot even begin to meet these animals’ instinctual needs and desires, such as seeking a mate, raising young, hunting, basking in the sun, and resolving territorial disputes. Even simple but essential pleasures, like freedom of movement and the ability to socialize with others of their own kind, are often denied them altogether. Many exotic animals kept as pets develop psychotic behaviors resulting from a life of confinement, such as self-mutilation, head-bobbing, pacing, and coprophagia, or (playing with and eating excrement). For more information, please visit

Most of these animals end up being shuffled from one facility or home to the next and often end up being sold to laboratories, where they undergo painful and invasive tests, or are forced to live in horrendous conditions in roadside zoos or curiosity displays. In fact, Davies aided in getting two squirrel monkeys, who were destined to live in a glass enclosure, to a bar in Hawaii. One of the monkeys, who was only 3 months old, died during shipment. Click here to learn how to help the monkey stuck in this bar.

Please ask Qwest Communications, which hosts Wild Animal World at two different locations, to drop the sites and set a policy against hosting sites that are used to sell animals:
Richard C. Notebaert, Chair and CEO
Qwest Communications International, Inc.
1801 California St.
Denver, CO 80202
Tel.: 800-899-7780
Fax: 303-992-1724