D-CON: the Poison that Keeps on Killing

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Earlier this month, my wife and I tried out a job as caretakers of a river front lodge in the heart of the Oregon Coast Range. It sounded idyllic, but on closer examination we found that the whole place was overrun by rats and mice. They had made themselves at home in the “trophy lodge’s” basement, attic, and furnace room and even throughout the heat ducting system (which—judging by the smell—they must have considered their own private out house).

Had the lodge owner even hinted at the “rodent situation” (as he later put it) ahead of time, we would never have moved our cats and dog in without first asking if there had been any poisons used around there. Well, it turns out there had—someone put fresh d-CON in all the heating vents, and who knows where else around the “estate.”

Among the sinister side effects of d-CON is that it kills slowly and stays in the victim’s body, allowing them to wander far from the source before a predator or scavenger consumes them, spreading the poison to an entire food chain. Needless to say, we gathered up our companion animals and got the hell out of there.

But about a week after we got back home, our worst fears were realized. One of our adopted cats, Caine, a gray tabby in the prime of his life with a black belt in the art of mousing, started showing the tell-tale symptoms of d-CON poisoning. He refused to eat or drink and slept round the clock. His lethargy grew more pronounced until he eventually tuned everyone else out, as though preparing to pass on. If we hadn’t rushed him to the vet, where he received IV fluids and an emergency injection of vitamin K to counter-act the lethal anti-coagulant agent in the poison, he would have died like so many other wild and domestic animals (including people) before him.

The problem is so extensive that the manufacturers of d-CON recently agreed to stop production of this particular rodenticide.  Though it’s now banned in California, stockpiles still exist in stores throughout the rest of the country. And this insidious gold-standard—this household name in “pest control”—has surely found its way to all corners of the globe by now and will keep doing its damage for years to come. How many cats, bobcats and cougars, dogs, coyotes, mink, ermine, opossum, raccoons, owls, hawks and eagles will suffer a drawn-out death from this pervasive poison before the sale of d-CON is completely discontinued?

In a way, Caine was one of the lucky few. Most rodent-eaters don’t have companion humans who care about them enough to nurse them back to health.

DSC_0037

While on the Other Side of Illinois

Illinois House OKs measure to allow bobcat hunting

Friday, March 28, 2014

FILE - In this 1996 file photo, a bobcat is seen in a tree at Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria, Ill. Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years. The Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate. Photo: Dennis Magee, AP / Herald & Review

FILE – In this 1996 file photo, a bobcat is seen in a tree at Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria, Ill. Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years. The Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate. Photo: Dennis Magee, AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports (http://bit.ly/1iI5vfM) the Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.

Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.

But supporters say the population has made a comeback.

Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill’s sponsor.

He says the bobcat population is growing in rural, non-farming areas of western and southern Illinois.

The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Illinois-House-OKs-measure-to-allow-bobcat-hunting-5357469.php

 

Mendocino County supervisors back hunting with hounds

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20140311/articles/140319928

By GLENDA ANDERSON

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

March 11, 2014

Mendocino County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to support a bill that would overturn a year-old state ban on hunting bears and bobcats with hounds.

Assembly Bill 2205 would allow individual counties to decide whether to ban the use of hunting dogs to chase down and kill those animals.

“I think you guys should have the authority,” not somebody from Los Angeles or San Francisco, said Daniel Davis, a local member of California Houndsmen for Conservation, the bill’s sponsor.

The bill was introduced late last month by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for governor and gun-rights advocate. Supervisor John Pinches asked that a letter of support for the bill be placed on the board’s agenda.

“This is an issue where we can basically take control,” he said Tuesday.

California’s ban on hounds for sports hunting has been in effect since January 2013. It continues to allow the use of hounds to hunt errant bears that cause property damage.

The ban was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.

No one at Tuesday’s meeting spoke in opposition to the newly proposed bill but national Humane Society officials said they are dismayed by the attempt to revive hound hunts. They called it “unsporting, cruel and unnecessary.”

Four Mendocino County residents, including Davis, his mother and father, and Steve Johnson spoke in favor of overturning the ban.

Johnson, a winemaker, said he moved to a rural area because “I want to have my dogs, I want to hunt bears,” he said. “It’s what I like to do.”

“Me and my dad, this is our passion,” Davis said.

Supervisor Carre Brown said allowing houndsmen to hunt bears reduces the number of bears that get into trouble and must be killed by federal trappers.

“Management of marauding wildlife I think is very important,” she said.

Pinches said hound hunting also draws tourism dollars.

“You’ve got to give people things to do,” he said.

The other three supervisors did not comment.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com

“Kill ‘Em All Boyz” Are “Ethical Hunters” Once Again

Ever since a friend sent me an article from back in 2006 about the poaching ring4cbfbced5cc75_image who gave themselves the narcissistic name the “Kill ‘Em All Boyz,” I’ve been wondering when they would be back in the Washington state “game” department’s good graces and be allowed to hunt again.

I found the answer in an October 20, 2008 article by the Daily Astorian entitled “Tip alerted WDFW officials to poaching gang” which reported that Micky Ray Gordon, ringleader of the “Kill ‘Em All Boyz” (who pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree animal cruelty, illegal hunting with hounds, second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief and was sentenced in ‘08 to 13 months in prison, following a seven-month undercover investigation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) would be eligible to purchase a hunting license again after only five years of suspension.

The other poachers were given even more lenient sentences, with even shorter
suspensions before they could hunt again. According to the article, “Brian Hall, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal trespass, third-degree malicious mischief and second-degree hunting with dogs. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $1,500 in fines, and will not be eligible to purchase a hunting license for two years. Adam Lee, 21, pleaded guilty to hunting with a suspended license and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $1,850 in fines. And Joseph Dills, 23, pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, ranging from second-degree big-game hunting to using bait to hunt for bear. His total penalties amounted to 65 days in jail and $2,050 in fines.” At their press time, “Dills [was] pending trial in Lewis County on charges of committing other hunting violations.”

The article also states that this “case has provoked outrage among the hunting community in Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon, in part because of the nature of the crimes but also because Gordon and his gang were initially referred to as “hunters” and not “poachers.” That sentiment was echoed by a comment I received earlier today from a hunter who piously stated, “Please remember. These are poachers, not to be confused with legal, ethical, ‘pay for conservation’ hunters.”

Well, they can go out and buy a hunting license now, just as legally as anyone. Does that make them different people? Are they “ethical” hunters again now that they’re
1800308_664612120267816_1839536551_nallowed to re-up their annual hunting licenses and bear, elk, deer, cougar,
bobcat, etc., etc. tags? How do these former poachers’ mindsets differ from the
average hunters? Is it just a matter of how many they killed at one time; or
the fact that they were not playing fair by the law-abiding hunters?

Poachers or not, it’s all ends the same for the animals they killed.

________________________
Anyone who witnesses a wildlife violation call WDFW’s toll-free Poaching Hotline at (877) 933-9847

Lead-ing the Way in California

From Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation

October 11, 2013

Bullets should not keep killing long after they’ve left the barrel of a firearm. Soon, in California, they won’t.

In an act that will have major national reverberations for hunting and ammunitions manufacturing in the United States, Gov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation to make California the first state in the nation to halt the use of lead ammunition in hunting. The HSUS led the fight, along with Audubon California and Defenders of Wildlife, besting the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and other hunting-rights lobby groups that called for the status quo and the continued incidental poisoning of countless birds and mammals, including endangered California condors, in the Golden State. Gov. Brown also signed legislation today to forbid the trapping of bobcats around Joshua Tree National Park and other national parks and wildlife refuges – a second major wildlife victory for us.

Thank you, Gov. Brown. We are immensely grateful.

The lead ammo bill, AB 711, was authored by Assemblymembers Anthony Rendon and Dr. Richard Pan, and the bobcat bill, AB 1213, was authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom. We are also so grateful to these legislative champions for pushing these important policies over the finish line.

Last year, Gov. Brown signed legislation to outlaw the use of dogs in hunting bears and bobcats, and the year before put his signature on a bill to ban the sale and possession of shark fins. He’s also signed more than 25 other animal welfare bills, protecting mountain lions, banning cruel traps and a wide range of other practices. In all, since voters passed Proposition 2 in California in 2008, state lawmakers and two governors have together enacted more than 40 new statutes for animals – including bans on tail docking of dairy cows and forbidding the sale of shell eggs that don’t meet the standards of Prop 2. Hats off to my colleague, California senior state director Jennifer Fearing, and the rest of our team for leading the advocacy efforts and skillfully working with so many lawmakers and with Gov. Brown. This incredible raft of legislation cements California’s place as the nation’s leading state on animal welfare.

When the NRA and other groups fought efforts more than two decades ago to ban the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting, they said that a legal prohibition on its use would result in the end of duck and goose hunting. Such outlandish claims, which we can now evaluate in a very tangible way, have proven false. In this year’s legislative fight in California, the National Shooting Sports Foundation – the trade association for gun and ammunition makers, based in Newtown, Conn., of all places – spent tens of thousands of dollars running print and radio ads attacking The HSUS, but their expenditures were all for naught.

Lead has been removed from paint, gasoline, and other consumer products because lead kills. A preponderance of scientific evidence demonstrates that there are significant public health, environmental and wildlife health risks associated with lead from ammunition. One estimate says that there are more than 10 million doves a year who die from lead poisoning. When you consider that there are more than 130 species known to suffer from the toxic effects of spent lead ammunition, it’s quite a staggering toll. Scavenging birds like condors, owls, eagles, and hawks, as well as mammals like coyotes, are all at risk and known to be suffering. Death from lead poisoning is painful, and even when lead exposure isn’t high enough to kill an animal, it doesn’t take much to weaken an animal to the point that it succumbs to predation or disease.

With an alternative product available – including steel, copper and bismuth ammunition – why not make the switch?

Editorial support for AB 711 from newspapers across California has poured in – The Los Angeles Times, the Monterey County Herald, the San Jose Mercury News, the Fresno Bee, the Sacramento Bee, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Bakersfield Californian, to name a few. The president and the vice president of California’s Fish and Game Commission backed the bill, as did Department of Fish and Wildlife director Chuck Bonham.

This is an enormous win for our movement. Committed conservationists and animal welfare advocates know it is wrong to allow random poisoning of wildlife. It is inimical to any sound principle of wildlife management and other states should follow California’s lead. With the signing of these two bills, today is a great day for condors, bobcats, and more than 130 other species of wildlife in California!

00-intro

TIME TO END A TWISTED TRADITION!

Unless a severe blow to the head or some congenital brain disorder has rendered them incapable of feeling empathy, anyone who has witnessed the harrowing ordeal suffered by an animal caught in a leg-hold trap should be appalled and outraged that trapping is legal in a society that considers itself civilized.

The continuation of this hellish violation in a country governed by the people suggests that either most folks have brain damage, or the majority of the voting populace is blissfully unaware of the terrible anguish someone caught in a trap goes through.

They must never have heard the cries of shock and agony when an animal first feels the steel jaws of a trap lock onto his leg. They must never have looked into the weary eyes of a helpless captive who has been stuck for days and nights on end…

525140_440817092654544_311118433_n

Sidestepping the indisputable cruelty issue, pro-trapping factions try to perpetuate the myth that this demonic practice is “sustainable,” but time and again entire populations are completely trapped out of an area, often within a single season. The winter after I found wolf tracks in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, all seven members of a pack who had filled a niche in and around that preserve were killed by trappers. Though wolves are extinct or endangered in most of the US, but 1500 are permissibly “harvested” in Alaska each year.

Leg-hold traps are now banned in 88 countries and a few enlightened US states. Yet in most states, as in Canada, this twisted tradition is not only legal, it’s practically enshrined as a sacred human right. Compassionate people everywhere must add their voice to the rising call to end this gratuitous torture for good.

__________________________________________

Text excerpted from the chapter “Time to End a Twisted Tradition” in the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson