Call on Mayor, City Council to Retire Elephants

photo by elephantccby20wwwkewlwallpaperscom.jpg
photo by elephantccby20wwwkewlwallpaperscom.jpg
Last week Seattle voters approved Proposition 1 which establishes the Metropolitan Parks District that will be managed by the City Council. The district is a taxing district that can increase property taxes without voter approval. The funds will benefit local parks including Woodland Park Zoo. The Zoo now stands to receive $2 million additional dollars each year (up to $34 million) — maybe more.

From the Seattle Times’ latest Editorial: ” . . . Or is the money going to public-private ventures such as the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium or the planned waterfront park? The council gets to decide.”

The Zoo has two lobbyists. The elephants, Chai, Watoto, and Bamboo, whom the Zoo is holding in abysmal conditions, only have you.

Time for us to speak up for the elephants.

Please write to the Mayor and City Council. We were told that the Council and Mayor count the number of emails they receive for each issue. If you only write one line, IT COUNTS.,,,,,,,,,

Talking points:

· No more additional money should come from the City until the Zoo releases the elephants to a sanctuary.
· The Zoo spends upwards of a million dollars a year keeping elephants in a pathetic environment. Why are they spending our tax
dollars causing these magnificent animals to suffer?
· Why are we taking precious tax dollars away from parks when the Zoo can save a million dollars by retiring the elephants?
· The City Council and Mayor need to represent the will of the people and retire the elephants to a sanctuary.

For more information…..

Also, please volunteer/donate to support the efforts of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants.

Support Community Coalition for Elephant Retirement! These organizations are leading the fight to save Watoto, Chai and Bamboo from the terrible conditions they suffer at Woodland Park Zoo.

Ohio’s Goddard’s Law

Goddard's Law dogGoddard’s Law, H.B. 274, is named after Dick Goddard, a beloved weather anchor for WJW Channel 8 in Cleveland, Ohio. Many Ohioans see him as a hero willing to step up for the animals to strengthen Ohio’s weak animal welfare laws.

Under Goddard’s Law, it would be a felony of the 5th degree on the first offense for anyone to “knowingly cause serious physical harm to a companion animal”. “Serious physical harm” is defined to mean “physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death”; “physical harm that involves either partial or total permanent incapacity”; or “physical harm that involves acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering or that involves any degree of prolonged or intractable pain.” It can be difficult to prove “substantial risk of death”, “substantial suffering” or “prolonged pain” when it comes to an animal.

Under current law for owners and caretakers other than dog rescues, and boarding and training dog kennel owners and employees, the knowing torture, torment, needless mutilation or maiming, cruel beating, poisoning, needless killing or other act of cruelty to a companion animal, is a misdemeanor of the first degree on the first offense and a felony of the fifth degree for each subsequent offense. Sec. 959.131(B). Under Goddard’s Law if the companion animal dies as a result of such abuse, the crime would be a felony of the fifth degree on the first offense.

Earlier this year Ohio enacted Nitro’s Law. Under Nitro’s Law it is now a felony of the 5th degree on the first offense for any dog kennel owner or employee to knowingly (1) torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill or otherwise commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal left in their care; or (2) deprive a companion animal of necessary and sufficient, good, wholesome food and water or access to shelter if the animal would reasonably be expected to become sick or suffer without it. A kennel owner or staff does not include high volume breeders, only dog rescues and boarding and training kennels.

Nitro’s Law also made animal cruelty, any act or omission that causes unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering to a companion animal a misdemeanor of the first degree on the first offense for dog kennel owners and staff. Unless the perpetrator is an owner, manager or other employee of a dog kennel, the crime is a misdemeanor of the second degree on a first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree on each subsequent offense.

Under Goddard’s law the felony crime applicable to dog rescues and boarding and training dog kennel owners and staff that was established under Nitro’s Law remains intact.

Goddard’s Law would amend the crime of negligence that is now applicable only to dog kennel owner and staff. Under Goddard’s law they could be charged with negligence in the event of deprivation of sufficient, good, wholesome food and water, or deprivation of adequate shelter if it can be reasonably expected the animal will suffer. The crimes would still be misdemeanors of the first degree unless the animal dies in which case the offender would be charged with a felony of the 5th degree.

Goddard’s law would otherwise amend Nitro’s Law to the extent it would be a crime for anyone to negligently “torture, torment, or commit an act of cruelty against the companion animal”, deprive the companion animal of good, wholesome food and water or deprive the companion animal of adequate shelter from the weather if it can reasonably be expected the animal would become sick or suffer. The crimes would be misdemeanors of the second degree on a first offense and a misdemeanor of the first degree on each subsequent offense. If the animal dies, however, the crime would be a felony of the fifth degree.

Goddard’s law is another incremental step to improve Ohio’s animal cruelty laws, for companion animals, that is. Companion animal means any animal kept in a residence and any dog or cat regardless of where they are kept. (Goddard’s Law would clarify this includes dogs and cats held in pet stores.) Like most of the Ohio cruelty laws, Goddard’s law does not protect farm animals, horses and other equines, animals used for research, animals used by breeders other than dogs or cats, or even any dogs used for hunting or in field trials. Sadly, Ohio has chosen to protect only selected animals from cruelty.


Goddard’s Law, H.B. 274, is sponsored by Rep. Bill Patmon (Dist. 10) and Rep. Barbara Sears (Dist. 47). Find your Ohio state legislators here. Write (letters or faxes are best) or call and urge them to support H.B. 274, Goddard’s Law, and offer amendments that would make the law applicable to all animals, not just certain companion animals.

Ohio’s Pet Protection Bill

dog.mamaAnother effort is underway in Ohio to pass a law that will allow judges to issue civil or criminal orders of protection for companion animals at risk in situations of domestic violence. The bills, H.B. 243, introduced by state Reps. Marilyn Slaby (Dist. 38) and Michael Stinziano (Dist. 18), and S.B. 177, introduced by state Sen. Michael Skindel (Dist. 23),follow on earlier legislative efforts to protect companion animals that may be victimized by domestic violence.

The House of Representatives version, H.B. 243, also requires a minor adjudicated as delinquent for cruelty to a companion animal, to undergo a psychological evaluation and, if recommended, counseling. Any adult felony offender not already in counseling must be sentenced to a period of probation supervision or intensive probation supervision.

A law allowing judges to issues orders of protection for pets was first passed in Maine in 2006, 19-A M.R.S. Sec. 4007; and since then a number of states Vermont, 15 V.S.A. Sec. 1103; New York, NYS CLS Dom Rel Sec. 240; Family Ct. Act Sec. 352.3, 446, 551, 759, 1056; California, Cal Fam Code Sec. 6320, Illinois, 750 ILCS 60/214; Connecticut, Conn. Gen. Stat. 46b-15; Washington, RCW 26.50.060; Louisiana, S.B. 264 (2008), Hawaii, H.R.S. Sec. 586-4; Arizona, A.R.S. Sec. 13-3602; Colorado, C.R.S. 18-6-803.5; West Virginia, S.B. 490 (2010), Washington, D.C., D.C. Code Sec. 16-1005, and Maryland, S.B. 747, have passed similar laws.

It is well-established in domestic violence situations, the abuser will many times threaten or abuse animals to control the victim spouse or children. Many times abused spouses are too afraid to leave a situation of domestic violence because they fear harm will come to their animals they must leave behind.

In one study 71% of women in a battered women’s shelter reported their abuser either abused a household pet or threatened to abuse a pet. (Ascione, 1998)

In another study 88% of child abusers also abused the animals in the home. (Ascione)

In a study by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Public Health Department, the Johns Hopkins University from 1994 to 2000 in eleven US metropolitan cities, pet abuse was one of the four significant predictors for determining who was at highest risk for becoming a batterer. Many abused spouses delay leaving out of fear for their pets’ safety and because they have nowhere to take them.

In Ohio Lesley Ashworth, a Columbus City prosecutor noticed during her 27 years of working on domestic violence cases, that abused spouses often returned to the abusive situation because the abusive spouse threatened or harmed family pets. Her study of Franklin County, Ohio, revealed 17% of domestic violence victims reported in 2004 they could not leave the abusive home because no help or shelter was available for their pets.

Louisiana’s 2008 law, Senate Bill 264, is typical of these laws that allow judges to protect animals in domestic violence situations. Under that law the judge may enter a temporary restraining order giving sole custody and care of an animal to the victim or a third party and also direct the abuser to “refrain from harassing, interfering with, abusing or injuring any pet”.

In a twist on a pet protection order, Alaska made it a crime in 2009 in most instances to “knowingly kill” or “injure” an animal “with the intent to intimidate, threaten, or terrorize another person”. Click here for more on Alaska’s new law.

In Illinois, 510 ILCS 70/16.3 ab abuser may be liable to the abused spouse for acts of aggravated cruelty or torture or for injuries or damages incurred as a result of harming an animal, including veterinary expenses and any other costs incurred in rectifying the effects of the cruelty, emotional distress and even punitive damages limited to 25,000 per act of cruelty. An injunctive order can be obtained to protect the animal from further acts of abuse, neglect or harassment.


If you live in Ohio, find your state legislators here. Write (letters or faxes are best) or call and urge them to support legislation to allow judges to issue orders of protection for companion animals, H.B. 243/S.B. 177. Also, the House bill, H.B. 243 is pending before the state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Find committee members here, and write or call and urge them to pass this important legislation for animals. If a member is also your state representative, be sure to let him or her know you are a constituent.

It’s Time to Pass Grant’s Law


Update September 16, 2013: The Michigan Senate has unanimously passed Grant’s Law, S.B. 354, a bill that would prohibit use of gas chambers to kill animals in shelters. It’s onto the Michigan House of Representatives!

Four animal shelters in Michigan still use the archaic and cruel gas chamber to kill animals. S.B. 354 would require all shelters to use lethal injection as the means of euthanasia. 

The bill is named for Grant, pictured here, a sweet dog killed in a gas chamber at St. Joseph County Animal Control in 2008. The county has since discontinued the use of the chamber.  

Many states have banned its use, most recently Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and relatively few shelters in the U.S. still use this archaic, cruel method of killing animals.

In its proposed 2011 Euthanasia report, AVMA announces carbon monoxide gas is not recommended for "routine euthanasia" of dogs and cats. The proposed report notes that it can be "challenging" and "costly" for shelters to meet all of the requirements necessary for safe and effective use of carbon monoxide gas, assuming that is even possible, and concludes:

"[T]here is substantial risk to personnel (hypoxia) if safety precautions are not observed. Consequently, carbon monoxide is conditionally acceptable for use in institutional situations where appropriately designed and maintained equipment and trained and monitored personnel are available to administer it, but it is not recommended for routine euthanasia of cats and dogs. It may be considered in unusual or rare circumstances, such as natural disasters and large-scale disease outbreaks. Alternate methods with fewer conditions are recommended where feasible." 

(It is not known if the AVMA will adopt these changes to its euthanasia policies; until now the AVMA has found "acceptable" use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for animals. For more on this…..)

Regardless, the National Animal Control Association (NACA) issued the following policy statement in September, 2010: "NACA considers lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital, administered by competent, trained personnel, to be the only method of choice utilized for humane euthanasia of animal shelter dogs and cats."

Also, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians agrees, stating flatly that "the use of carbon monoxide for individual or mass companion animal euthanasia in shelters is unacceptable due to significant humane, operational and safety concerns…[C]arbon monoxide euthanasia should be banned in shelters.

For more information on Grant’s Bills and how you can help pass them, visit