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Imagine you just found the perfect apartment. It's not only close to work, but it includes all utilities, a washer and dryer, and, shockingly enough, it's downright affordable. You pinch yourself to make sure it isn't a dream, this is too good to be true... until you see the fine print and read that your landlord requires you to declaw and devocalize Princess Meow-Meow. The lovely dream suddenly becomes a nightmare.

Sadly, this is not a hypothetical situation. Many people have to face such demands in order to live in a nice home. Perfect living arrangements are obtainable at the expense of a dog's vocal chords or a cat's sharp claws and many veterinarians go ahead with the barbaric procedure.

It's cruel and unfair, but is anybody doing ANYTHING about it?

The answer is simple: yes.

"I had always thought that declawing was barbaric and shouldn't be done [...] And the more I learned of it, the more apparent it became that this was a procedure being done for the convenience of people without any real thought to the consequences to the animal."

- Assemblyman Nava to the LA Times

Companion animals have a friend of their own in the California legislature. Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D - Santa Barbara) recently introduced legislation (Assembly Bill 2743) that would ban California landlords from forcing tenants to declaw or devocalize their four-legged family members. The sneaky apartment owners will no longer be able to give preference or special treatment to tenants who take their cat or dog to the vet for the inhumane procedures.

Interestingly enough, one of the largest landlord associations in the state, the California Apartment Association, supports the bill. They encourage landlords to rely on pet deposits and make pet owners responsible for whatever damage Fifi and Fido unleash on said property (sort of like the security deposit university kids pay in case their drunken frat parties get out of control). After all, isn't the human 100% responsible?

Others argue that the bill doesn't go far enough. Many cities in California and elsewhere in the country have banned the practice of declawing and devocalizing altogether. Assemblyman Nava considered introducing a bill to ban both procedures, but decided to narrow down the measure in hopes of reaching the right direction one step at a time. After all, doesn't everybody have a cruelty switch that can easily be turned off with education and persuasion?

Apparently not.

Groups such as the California Veterinary Medical Association disagree with the bill. They say the legislation has claims about declawing that are not substantiated with sufficient research (there's always a loophole, folks!). According to them, statements claiming that felines change behavior after the surgery are hardly proven.

Anyone who has ever gone through the torturous ordeal of trimming nails would agree that feisty, purring companions are VERY protective of their claws. Why would a group composed of experts in the veterinary field overlook that? Why do several European countries, such as England and Germany, made the practice illegal?

Strange, isn't it?

Declawing- or onychectomy- must be done by a veterinarian and is often a non-therapeutic surgical procedure done with a laser, scalpel, or clippers (ouch?). The surgery is often performed so Fifi won't damage the human's favorite chair. Organizations such as Cats International compare it to "amputating a person's finger or toe at the first knuckle." As a result, the mutilated pet won't be able to grow the claws again - a reality many owners regret when they notice a significant change in the cat's behavior, including aggression and litter box avoidance. The Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets defines devocalization as a nonessential "convenience" surgery in which vocal cords are cut to suppress or remove an animal's voice. Some animals struggle to breathe, choke on food and water, and gag uncontrollably for the rest of their lives. Others die due to complications. If you want a clearer picture, imagine a doctor removing your finger and rendering you speechless- not a pretty site, now is it?

Regardless of both dissenting sides, such procedures are done for the convenience of humans, not the other way around. By dedicating more time to observing, grooming, and actually taking care of either felines or canines, the behavioral problems that lead to destroyed furniture or annoyed neighbors can be easily managed without the need of surgery (taking your dog out more often, cleaning the litter box, PLAYING, going for a yearly vet checkup, and buying a scratching post are all good ways to start).

Dealing with scratchy and noisy but happy pets is part of the beautiful experience of loving a companion animal. The easy way out, surgery, isn't always the best decision. Don't let your landlord (or anyone for that matter) tell you otherwise.

More Information:

Reason AB 2743 is Necessary

What YOU can do: the Paw Project

Who devocalizes? What do the dogs sound like?

Hear what animal experts say

CAPS Communication to the USDA and APHIS

To:
Dr. Chester A. Gipson
Deputy Administrator- Animal Care
United States Department of Agriculture
&
...Dr. Gerald Rushin
Veterinary Medical Officer
United States Department of Agriculture

From:
Ed Green and Dave Ross
Crowell & Moring LLP


Excerpt:
On behalf of the Companion Animal Protection Society ("CAPS") and Ms. Howard, we wanted to take a moment to congratulate USDA and APHIS for planning to provide more accessible Animal Welfare Act enforcement information to the public on a regular and systematic basis. CAPS welcomes the increased transparency and enhanced enforcement effort described during the May 20, 2010 Animal Care Stakeholder Update meeting and in Administrator Smith's April 29, 2010 press release (enclosed). Quite frankly, these developments are long overdue... 

Attachments:

Letter to APHIS (PDF)
Inspection Requirements (April 19, 2010) (PDF)
Inspection Requirments Attachments (Checklist for Animal Care Inspection Report) (PDF)
USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care Program Inspections of Problematic Dealers

Related News:

Article: USDA fails to crack down on puppy mills
By: Mary Clare Jalonick (AP)
Who: Associated Press
URL for more info: USDA fails to crack down on puppy mills

Excerpt:
WASHINGTON — An internal government report says dogs are dying and living in horrific conditions due to lax government enforcement of large kennels known as puppy mills.

Investigators say the Department of Agriculture agency in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn't adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs. In one case cited by the department's inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility after inspectors had visited the facility several times and cited it for violations...
By: Carole Raphaelle Davis

URL for more info: http://rivierarescue.blogspot.com/2010/05/rescue-riviera-sauvetage-riviera.html

Summary:

Welcome Miss Tinkerbelle, the latest Riviera Rescue by CAPS, Santa Cruz SPCA and Societe Defense des Animaux in Nice! If you would like to donate the $112 for the freedom ride from the Pound to Provence, click here: http://www.caps-web.org/index.php?option=com_jdonation&;view=donation&Itemid=367Excerpt:

TinkerbelleMiss Tinkerbelle is the latest California death row dog to be rescued by CAPS, Santa Cruz SPCA and Societé Défense des Animaux! Miss Tinkerbelle weighs just four pounds and is a beautiful young Chihuahua lady. She is currently being vaccinated, micro-chipped and quarantined for her flight to freedom in France...for a LIFE in Provence! Isn't she adorable? And to think that she was dumped in the pound and was going to be euthanized. Now she is safe, thanks to generous donations from people like you. In less than 30 days, she will be packin' her bags and flying to the Riviera, where she will learn to bark in French.

If you would like to donate to fly a dog to safety in France, please go to the CAPS website and make a donation!
** PLEASE SUPPORT AB 2743 **

- THIS IMPORTANT BILL WILL PROHIBIT CALIFORNIA LANDLORDS FROM REQUIRING TENANTS TO DECLAW THEIR CATS OR DEBARK THEIR DOGS

For a sample letter and more information on the bill, you can  visit the Paw  Project website at: http://www.pawproject.com/html/what.asp

Please write before Senate floor vote which could be as early as June 21. This bill is needed, not only in California, but also to set precedence in other states where it is a VERY Common requirement  to rent an apartment  to require new tenants to have their cats declawed on 2 or all 4 paws or debark their dogs. We are lucky in California that this bill is supported by the Apartment Association. If you are a landlord , please specify that in your letter. Everyone's letters and efforts will really help.

This bill was doing really well. It passed in the California Assembly with a 63-7 vote but last week  the California Veterinary Medical Association  raised their efforts to block the passing of this bill by using $$$$$ and lobbyists,  The measure narrowly passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 3-2 vote, and could be voted on by the full Senate as early as the week of June 21. This Monday.
The full text of AB 2743 is available at this link: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_2701-2750/ab_2743_bill_20100607_amended_sen_v95.pdf

PLEASE write letters to state senators (find your senator at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html)

YOUR SUPPORT will be helpful because the California Veterinary  Medical Association is lobbying very hard to kill the bill. CVMA is making the rounds of legislators¹ offices and making its views known to the Governor. It  has also sent out an alert to its members stating that it is "strongly opposed" to the bill and urging its members to send letters of opposition to their state  senators and to the Governor.

The CVMA is powerful because many legislators automatically support  the position held by a trade or business association. Therefore, letters coming in from across the state strongly in support of the law will be necessary. Please inform as many people and rescue groups as  possible.

Thank You!!!!!
** PLEASE SUPPORT AB 2743 **

- THIS IMPORTANT BILL WILL PROHIBIT CALIFORNIA LANDLORDS FROM REQUIRING TENANTS TO DECLAW THEIR CATS OR DEBARK THEIR DOGS

For a sample letter and more information on the bill, you can  visit the Paw  Project website at: http://www.pawproject.com/html/what.asp

Please write before Senate floor vote which could be as early as June 21. This bill is needed, not only in California, but also to set precedence in other states where it is a VERY Common requirement  to rent an apartment  to require new tenants to have their cats declawed on 2 or all 4 paws or debark their dogs. We are lucky in California that this bill is supported by the Apartment Association. If you are a landlord , please specify that in your letter. Everyone's letters and efforts will really help.

This bill was doing really well. It passed in the California Assembly with a 63-7 vote but last week  the California Veterinary Medical Association  raised their efforts to block the passing of this bill by using $$$$$ and lobbyists,  The measure narrowly passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 3-2 vote, and could be voted on by the full Senate as early as the week of June 21. This Monday.
The full text of AB 2743 is available at this link: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_2701-2750/ab_2743_bill_20100607_amended_sen_v95.pdf

PLEASE write letters to state senators (find your senator at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html)

YOUR SUPPORT will be helpful because the California Veterinary  Medical Association is lobbying very hard to kill the bill. CVMA is making the rounds of legislators¹ offices and making its views known to the Governor. It  has also sent out an alert to its members stating that it is "strongly opposed" to the bill and urging its members to send letters of opposition to their state  senators and to the Governor.

The CVMA is powerful because many legislators automatically support  the position held by a trade or business association. Therefore, letters coming in from across the state strongly in support of the law will be necessary. Please inform as many people and rescue groups as  possible.

Thank You!!!!!
Get the PDF at: http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf

The Office of Inspector General for USDA has released a scathing 69 page report for an audit and investigation conducted between 2006 and 2008.  This audit/investigation was prompted by a May 2006 meeting between OIG officials, CAPS and Crowell & Moring attorneys, who provide pro bono counsel and lobbying to CAPS.



In 2006, the Office of Inspector General requested a meeting with CAPS. The OIG never meets with citizens or nonprofits (they turned down our first request), so this must have been based on our in-depth investigations of hundreds of puppy mills where we document Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations and compare our findings to those of the USDA APHIS inspectors.

During a two hour meeting in May 2006, CAPS President Deborah Howard and CAPS attorneys/lobbyists Edward Green and David Ross met with two OIG officials. At this meeting, we discussed a long list of concerns and recommended necessary changes.

After that meeting, our lobbyists did not get a reply from OIG. The reason was that shortly after our meeting, the OIG commenced an investigation and audit, which ended in 2008.

All of the issues we covered in the meeting are in the report. In fact, the OIG report reads more like a CAPS investigation report (they included graphic photos, which is what we use in addition to undercover footage) than the usual dry government type OIG report. USDA officials, of course, are now saying they are going to make sweeping changes, and congressmen are calling for the same. CAPS has been meeting with congressional aides and USDA officials for more than eight years in an attempt to get oversight hearings and changes to the AWA.

CAPS will continue to cooperate with USDA while conducting ongoing oversight of the Animal Care inspection program.  Since 1995, CAPS has been to approximately 1,000 commercial dog breeders and brokers, most of them federally licensed.

The USDA has been very negligent in its enforcement of AWA regulations with respect to commercial dog breeders and brokers.  USDA APHIS/Animal Care uses inspectors, including veterinarians, to conduct "unannounced" inspections of federally licensed dog breeders and brokers who supply puppies to the pet shop industry.

For a good summary of the OIG report, read this article on the Animal Folks (run by CAPS Advisory Board member Ann Olson) website.

http://www.animalfolksmn.org/news-recent.html
Date: 2010-06-30
Where: Nice, France
Publication:MSNBC
URL for more info:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37995504
Summary:

WHO: The Companion Animal Protection Society ( www.caps-web.org), Santa Cruz SPCA ( www.santacruzspca.org), the Societé Défense des Animaux, and the official Mayor's Office of the City of Nice.

WHERE: Promenade des Anglais, seaside, across the street from the Negresco Hotel, 37 Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 30th, 7:15 PM

WHAT: Riviera Rescue ( www.rivierarescue.blogspot.com), CAPS, the Santa Cruz SPCA and Air France are conducting a historic rescue airlift of little death row dogs from Los Angeles animal shelters to Nice, France. This is the first such rescue ever to take place in France. The dogs were scheduled to be euthanized because of the American pet overpopulation crisis that is killing five million companion animals per year in our nation's shelter system. CAPS, the SDA, and the Mayor's office of Nice will welcome the L.A. dogs' arrival on the famous Promenade des Anglais in the heart of Nice along with French families who will be fostering the dogs until they find their adoptive homes.

This effort marks the internationalization of the Companion Animal Protection Society, which plans to expand its puppy mill and pet store investigations in Europe. CAPS claims pet stores all along the Riviera coastline are supplied by European puppy mills -- inhumane breeding factories. The Riviera Rescue airlift is a way to divert puppy mill sales on the Riviera and to promote adoption while saving lives.

"Given the crisis dogs are facing in California shelters, we have a moral obligation to act. Riviera Rescue is proof of the long friendship between our two countries. The people of Nice have opened their hearts to these little death row dogs and with this airlift, we hope to pave the way for a continuing international program to save lives." -- Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director, Companion Animal Protection Society

"Because of our spay/neuter ordinance, decreasing euthanasia over 70% in Santa Cruz County, Rescue Riviera was made possible -- saving dogs that were on death row from Los Angeles. Most people don't realize that pet overpopulation in the United States is an epidemic and innocent adoptable dogs are dying as they wait for a loving home. Until we have spay/neuter ordinances nationally, consider adopting a death row dog. Save a life." -- Lisa Carter, Executive Director, Santa Cruz SPCA.

Reprinted courtesy of MSNBC.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010 20:00

Adoption de Chiens Californiens à Nice

Publication/Event date: 2010-06-23

Publication name: Direct Nice

URL for more info: http://www.directnice.com/pages-presse/archives-telechargement.aspx (find the article on page 3 of the PDF version of the paper)

Excerpt:

HoneyBee, Mickey et Dinky font partie des sept premiers chiens qui devraient être adoptés par des familles niçoises. Ces toutous arriveront lundi à l’aéroport azuréen en provenance de Californie, où ces animaux sont régulièrement abandonnés, puis euthanasiés. Carole Raphaelle Davis, directrice pour la côte Ouest des Etats-Unis de The Companion Animal Protection Society (Caps), une association américaine qui lutte contre ces «usines à chiens», a pris ce problème à bras le corps.
Publication/Event date: 2010-07-01
Saturday, 10 July 2010 20:00

Dog Days of Summer

Staying indoors during those beautiful summer days can spell misery for you and for your rambunctious buddy. The sky is clear and blue, the birds are singing and chirping, and all your friends and neighbors are finally out of hibernation mode. The only thing keeping you inside, besides the locked door, is the sweltering heat outside. It hits you like a wave every time you step out the cool sanctuary- so why bother? Even though turning up the a/c and remaining oblivious to the high temperatures outside sounds tempting, you and the barking pooch need some quality time in the sun. Not only is it fun, but it helps burn away those extra pounds you both probably gained during the winter.

Humans can easily accommodate to the rising temperatures outdoors. Like MOM probably told you repeatedly: stay hydrated, bring H2O (in a stainless steel or BPA-free bottle), slather on the sunblock, bring a hat, and wear light clothes. If the sun gets too bright, find shelter under a tree or make plans to go out during the morning or evening while the heat is bearable. Easy, right? Now what about your canine companion who's covered in hair and cools off by panting? If you're worried about his/her health, you have every right to be. Heatstroke should be taken seriously, especially with elderly and short-nosed dogs. But all that can be avoided with the proper preparations and precautions.



Just like people carry bottled water on bright and sunny days, they should bring portable travel pet bowls (or collapsible bowls) when hanging out with animal companions. Pack up on water before you head out and make sure you freeze the bottles or store them in a cooler- dogs and cats are very picky and dislike warm, stale water. You and Buster will be glad you prepped up when you gulp down that heavenly cool H20. Setting the bowl under the nice shade of a tree isn't a bad idea.

Now that we've discussed hydration, let's move to the next topic: cars. Most dogs love the ride- not only do they get to stick their heads out the window and watch tongues flap against the wind, but they also get attention from smiling drivers and see the wonderful world pass by in a flash. As long as you make sure your dog is safe (don't open those windows too much and get a dog car harness or booster seat! Car accidents also affect animals!), a ride in the family vehicle is A-OK. However, NEVER leave your barking friend inside, especially when temperatures get high. If you thought the heat outside was bad, inside the car it's ten times worse. That goes for everyone else as well. If you drive by a parked car with a hot pooch inside, look for the owner or talk to a store manager, guard, or call the authorities. Most people are misinformed or in a hurry- forgetting that a few minutes in a car can feel like an eternity.

Going for a walk is great for you and your companion. Taking a stroll cures cabin fever and allows you to exercise stiff muscles. Dogs also need their daily workouts! While many people believe paws are resilient to ANYTHING, the skin in that area is very sensitive. That's not an excuse to stay indoors, though: there's always grass or dirt. Tar and pavement can cause burns- so check Fido's paw-paws frequently. Having multiple shade spots is a must! Everyone needs a breather from ultraviolet rays! Even when you're back home, it's extremely important animals have a shaded corner to cool off.

Can't head out to the park? If you have a backyard (or any type of yard), bring out the water hose. You're not bathing the dog! By splashing some water on the panting pooch, you're helping the poor, hairy friend cool off. Just don't attempt this with a cat! A dampened towel will work just fine. When felines and canines figure out they're not in line for a scrub-a-dub, they'll be extra thankful. Want something more creative? Get a sprinkler or a kiddie pool. Just make sure there's no danger of drowning (pups and children should ALWAYS be supervised).

Last but not least, keep your companion animals healthy and well-groomed. The groomer doesn't need to shave off pounds of hair- a trim works just fine. A brush or two a day helps Fido feel more comfortable and saves you from having to vacuum hair from every surface in the house 7 days a week.

Still feeling weary about taking Buster outdoors? Provided he is small or you're strong, you can buy a doggie stroller or backpack. Go ahead, we know you like to spoil him!
Page 11 of 13

Bea's Beat

Blog with CAPS Spokesmodel Beatrice, a puppy mill survivor and vegan advocate.

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Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Learn more about Deborah Howard, president and founder of Companion Animal Protection Society.

Meet Deborah

CAPS Blog

Read about issues affecting companion animals, especially those suffering in pet shops and puppy mills.

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Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
759 CJC Hwy., #332
Cohasset, MA 02025
p: 339-309-0272

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Class Action Lawsuits

scales of justice

If you purchased a sick or dying puppy from Barkworks or Happiness is Pets, you may be able to join consumer class action lawsuits. The first step is to fill out the CAPS complaint form.

Read more about Happiness is Pets or Barkworks.

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