Lucy’s Law: Puppy farm ban set to be confirmed

PuppiesImage copyrightPA

A new law aimed at cracking down on so-called puppy farms in England is being presented to Parliament on Monday.

Known as Lucy’s Law, it will ban the sale of kittens and puppies from third parties from spring 2020, making buyers deal with breeders directly.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the new rules would give animals “the best possible start in life”.

The RSPCA said it was “absolutely thrilled” with the legislation – but stressed it required enforcement.

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Presentational grey line

The new law would require animals to be born and reared in a safe environment, with their mother, and to be sold from their place of birth.

The rules, which will apply to England, are also designed to deter smugglers who abuse the Pet Travel Scheme to bring young animals into the UK to be sold.

Named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who died in 2016 after being poorly treated on a puppy farm, the ban is scheduled to come into force on 6 April next year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

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Marc Abraham, Lucy’s Law campaigner and founder of Pup Aid, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Lucy’s Law is now being laid in Parliament and will come into effect from April 2020.

The story of the dog behind Lucy’s Law

Rogue puppy farmers hit with ÂŁ1m tax bill

What are conditions like inside a puppy farm?

“Lucy’s Law is named after one of the sweetest, bravest dogs I’ve ever known, and is a fitting tribute to all the victims of the cruel third-party puppy trade, both past and present.”

But Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, urged the government to go further.

She said: “We would like to see additional measures introduced to ensure the ban is as robust as possible.

“There is time before April 2020 for the government to consider regulation of re-homing organisations and sanctuaries, ensure full traceability of all puppies sold, and strengthening of the pet travel scheme.”

UPDATED: Rep. Shea’s secret group discussed sending severed wolf tail and testicles to environmental activist

Bosworth suggested sending severed wolf parts to environmental activist KierĂĄn Suckling. - GARY KRAMER/USFWS PHOTO

Gary Kramer/USFWS photo
Bosworth suggested sending severed wolf parts to environmental activist KierĂĄn Suckling.

This article has been updated to correct who sent the screenshot with Suckling’s address information, link to the response from Redoubt News, and include the statement from the source who leaked the Signal messages.

By now, Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and his allies definitely know the name KierĂĄn Suckling. As executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, Suckling has repeatedly been at the opposite side of some of the most heated controversies in Shea’s world. It was Suckling’s group who was battling Cliven Bundy, the cattle rancher who’s defiance led to an armed standoff in 2014. When right-wing militants occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, it was Suckling who showed up to counterprotest. And lately, it’s been Suckling’s group that has been pushing litigation to protect wolves in Washington state.

“Since the ’90s, we have been exposing the connection between anti-environmentalists and the militias and the white supremacist movement,” Suckling says. “These are part and parcel of the same world view.”

Rep. Matt Shea hates wolves, and he’s not too fond of being tied to white supremacists. (Though that didn’t stop him from linking to a white nationalist website to slam a journalist he disliked.)

And so perhaps it’s not surprising that when Shea’s allies discussed targeting specific individuals with the state legislator on the private messaging app Signal, Suckling’s name came up.

The plan being brainstormed? Send the guy severed wolf parts.

Last month, Guardian journalist Jason Wilson wrote a story based on some of these leaked Signal messages, as Shea’s allies reveled in detailed fantasies of violence against local Spokane residents. The revelations sparked bipartisan condemnation in the Washington state Legislature.

Among other moments, Three Percenter Anthony Bosworth — the guy who Shea feted with a “2016 Patriot of the Year” award and sent down to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a “security specialist” to “de-escalate” the standoff — discussed targeting alleged “antifa” members by confronting their parents, their workplaces, their landlords and targeting their “safe spaces”… “while they’re out on the streets rioting.”

“If we can catch a few of them alone and work him over a little bit,” Bosworth wrote, according to the Guardian. While Shea was not quoted directly encouraging violence, he offered to help run background checks for those who were.

In the Spokesman-Review, Bosworth characterized his comments as mere angry venting. The Spokesman reported that many of the comments were made in the lead-up to Nov. 4, 2017, which right-wing groups incorrectly believed would be a day of far-left violence. But previously unpublished chat messages obtained by the Inlander showed that discussions of targeting political opponents continued after the rumored “Antifa Civil War” date fizzled without an incident.

The discussion about targeting Suckling begins on Dec. 12, 2017. Bosworth, using the screen name “Scout,” wants to send Suckling a message.

The image that Anthony Bosworth suggested sending to Suckling, along with severed wolf parts. - SIGNAL SCREENCAP

Signal screencap
The image that Anthony Bosworth suggested sending to Suckling, along with severed wolf parts.

Bosworth posts a picture of a skull and crossbones along with “смерть,” the Russian word for death. The image was the symbol of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (1918), an anarchist guerrilla force that fought against both the Communist Reds and the establishment Whites in the Russian Civil War. Shea’s group had discussed using the symbol as a calling card.

“As far as I’m concerned we can send one of these and a wolf tail to Suckling,” Bosworth writes to the group. “Suckling would make sure it made national news.”

One of the other group members — Jay Pounder, the source who leaked the Signal conversations to the Guardian — posts a screenshot of Suckling’s address and contact information.

“OK, do we have anybody up north to get us a tail?” Bosworth responds.

A redacted version of Suckling's address and contact information, shared in the group with Shea. - SIGNAL SCREENCAP

Signal screencap
A redacted version of Suckling’s address and contact information, shared in the group with Shea.

Pounder then floats the name of Cope Reynolds, a Three Percenter and a gun rights activist who, like Suckling, is based in Arizona. (If you’re assuming Reynolds uses the Confederate flag as his Facebook banner image, you’d be correct.)

“Well, if Cope crossed a wolf he’d smoke it himself,” Bosworth responded.

“These transplanted wolf packs can be traced back through DNA,” Bosworth writes. “Get me the testicles off a North Idaho wolf and I’ll send it to him.”

A dozen minutes later on Signal, Shea — using the screen name Verumbellator — gives Bosworth a warning. To be clear, he doesn’t warn Bosworth that he shouldn’t cut the tail and testicles off a North Idaho wolf corpse to send to environmental activist along with a skull and crossbones.

Instead, he warns Bosworth that they shouldn’t talk about this stuff electronically, and instead they should do it face-to-face.

“This is not something to put out electronically,” Shea writes. “We need to meet f2f.”

(Shea is frequently cautious about information security, once telling a crowd that there are “private investigators that work for the Republican establishment, that actually use technology to hack into your phone.”)

“Roger,” Bosworth responds. And with that, he drops the subject.

It’s possible, of course, that Shea met Bosworth to discourage him from sending a threatening package. But Suckling is skeptical: Why would Shea want to take the conversation offline to tell Bosworth he shouldn’t threaten Suckling.

Either way, Suckling says, he’s never had anyone deliver him anything resembling a wolf tail and testicles. But he argues that just the fact that it was discussed is revealing. In an email, he explained:

“Threatening to mutilate a wolf and mail its bloody body parts is outright psychotic. But it won’t scare the Center for Biological Diversity, it makes us fight harder for the endangered species and people Matt Shea has declared war on. He’s a textbook example of how racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, animal abuse, and anti-environmentalism go hand in hand. Shea should resign or be impeached immediately. His paranoid self-dealing authoritarianism has no place in American democracy.”

Shea’s legislative assistant, Rene’ Holaday, responded to a request for comment with this statement:

“Thank you for writing to the office of Rep. Matt Shea. Rep. Shea is out of town on a Missions trip serving the Lord, and won’t be back for several more days.”

As Shea rarely speaks to the local reporters, instead preferring to bash them from a distance after the story has come out, the Inlander does not anticipate the state representative agreeing to answer questions when he returns. If he does, we will update the story.

Bosworth has so far not agreed to a phone interview with the Inlander, but in an email sent Tuesday morning, he offered the following statement:

“Here’s what I have to say about Wolves and Fine Cigars , ‘smokem if you got them'”

The eco-terrorists can stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Suckling, meanwhile, acknowledges he’s been arrested in civil disobedience actions before, including chaining himself to trees and occupying politician and developer offices, but stresses that these actions were nonviolent.

In that vein, no evidence has surfaced to suggest that Bosworth, Shea or the other members of the Signal chat undertook any of the violent or threatening tactics discussed. Still, the chats are rife with fantasies about violence and destruction toward various individuals and businesses.

“When the Patriot Revolution starts I know what store I’m burning to the ground,” Bosworth writes in a Signal message, linking to a search for “Antifa” products at Walmart.

And Bosworth has become violent in the past, including allegedly getting into a fistfight at a funeral.

Kierån Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity. - COURTESY OF KIERÁN SUCKLING

Courtesy of KierĂĄn Suckling
Kierån Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Suckling says his group has been the victim of arson and violence before.

“We’ve had the militia show up at our office and try to get inside,” Suckling says. “We’ve had a truck [torched] in our parking lot. We’ve had people beaten up over the years.”

He says he won’t be dissuaded by the tactics of Shea and his allies.

“We have to push on and never let this thing deter us from saving endangered species,” Suckling says. “If there’s anything worth dying over it’s stopping the mass extinction that’s going on with this planet right now.”

But not, to Suckling at least, worth killing over.


As of Wednesday morning, Bosworth sent the Inlander a link to a post by Redoubt News, a far-right blog that champions the patriot right. It notes that the first version of the Inlander blog incorrectly identified who shared Suckling’s contact information, and also accuses Pounder of using “willing, radical, left-wing extremists to further his own personal grudges against Matt Shea and his friends” and of “using extreme violent rhetoric himself.” It does not, however, provide any proof that the Guardian‘s source had used that rhetoric, nor does it provide any clarity for why Shea wanted to meet Bosworth face-to-face to discuss his wolf-package proposal. (Pounder denies using the incendiary rhetoric quoted by Redoubt News.)

On Wednesday, Pounder released a lengthy statement on Facebook explaining why he leaked the Signal messages. He denies that he was trying to set Shea up — instead, he says that he gradually became disillusioned with the Shea organization and eventually decided to speak up.

Dear Friends,

Right now we face an unprecedented threat to the public safety and security of the Pacific Northwest and that is all due to the threat of Christian Identity Politics, what is that you ask? Check out this article from Christianity Today’s Editor in Chief Mark Galli:

Why this is important and relevant right now, I’ll start in with a scripture… because this week I’ve read many times and it keeps speaking to me;

2 Chronicles 16:7-9: “At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites[b] and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen[c]? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. 10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.”

Consider that last verse, “Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.”

Well as some of you have read and heard that a series of articles and chats that I was privy to that I released several NW media outlets regarding the activities of a State Rep Matt Shea that I used to be involved with several years ago.

I want to make it evidently clear. I parted ways with State Rep Matt Shea due to his headlong full barrel decent into the world and ideologies of Christian Identity politics and Dominionism. I feel that at the time I followed proper Biblical protocol in addressing what I was seeing and hearing from Matthew and what at that time I considered “my people”. He may differ in opinion. While I volunteered with him, I was caught up in the ideas of identity politics and didn’t know it until God showed me what true freedom and liberty are really about.

I thought I was on the side of what was right, I thought that God was going to use us to save and help the community in the Pacific Northwest to give glory to His name and help bring about a restoration of faith and hope should things get really bad in the world.

Yes, did I say things that I am not proud of because I thought that I was doing God’s will? Yes.

Have I ever done anything illegal? No.

Are they attempting to smear me on alternative media sites with false statements and negative information? Yes, but I forgive them.

Have I gone to those individuals I sinned against and asked forgiveness of them for my words and made it right? Yes I did that a long time ago.

I have because it’s the Biblical thing to do and I know it was the right thing to do. Doing the right thing is incredibly hard to do, but forgiveness is divine and grace is amazing for all that accept it.

Does Matt and his associates believe they are doing the right thing in God’s name? Yes, but in my opinion, this couldn’t be further from what we know to be Christ’s great commission.

In my opinion, Matthew, the Church at Marble Community Fellowship near Northport WA and anyone tied to his spiritual ideology are focused on one thing and one thing; The sheer use of raw power and fear to achieve their political and spiritual ideology that only Christians should lead the United States of America. This is Christian Identity Politics and Dominionism in its purest form and it is dangerous. It’s also idolatry to put politics before the Lord. I am going to reference the following statement by a quote by the aforementioned article on this;

“Yes, a nation is better served by laws influenced by Christian ethics, and yes, we are obliged by love to persuade others of the wisdom of Christian ethics; but we cannot “insist on our own way” (1 Cor. 13:5) by forcing unbelievers to submit to our morals. Yes, borders should be secure, but they can go hand in hand with a generous immigration policy. Yes, every nation is graced with favor from God but also is subject to God’s judgment.”

The focus of Christian Identity politics is to force people to subscribe under pain of death (according to Matt’s Biblical Basis For War and the Remnant Resolves) to the belief in Christianity and should you not, you are the enemy and are demonized for being an “atheist”, “communist”, “Pegan”, “Social Justice Warrior”, “leftwing liberal”, “Benedict Arnold” who must associate with “Antifa” and should be put to death under the Dominionistic / Christian Identity ideology.

Once I uncovered this, I could not and would not stand for those ideals. That is why I released the chats. No one should be subjected to those types of ideals. God loves all.

Why have I kept quiet about this you might ask? Well out of heavy safety concerns for my family and those I hold dear. I had hoped the local media would be able to bring about the truth and that anyone reading this would have already seen and understood that this behavior and ideology is wrong.

By bringing this to the forefront I beg that you all read and understand that this isn’t Christianity. I also hope that by being more public with my statement on this, should anything happen to me or my family or those I hold dearest, those in this movement would be held severely accountable for their actions. We don’t anticipate this, God is sovereign, but this is a rebellion against their theology and now I have gone against “Asa”.

Have I contacted legal counsel should I need it? Yes. I hope to never have to bring any lawsuits against anyone for harassment or physical intimidation. God is sovereign.

My God, our God is a God of love and forgiveness and wants all of you to know that you are loved, and he doesn’t want to kill you if you don’t believe in him. He is not going to bring about civil war and he certainly isn’t going to come on the clouds and bless the USA should the entire sitting body of the government be Christian in belief. Is there a deeper conversation to be had about faith, grace and redemption and what that means, sure, but those conversations are best left for quiet private conversations and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those being talked with.

It is not for us to judge race, creed, ethnicity, sex, orientation or belief. It is for us to love our neighbor and to show them Christ’s love. Everyone is our neighbor and we are instructed to love our neighbor as yourself and not force our neighbor believe like we believe. Once we realize that, then we can allow the holy spirit work and bring about true freedom and spiritual liberty. This cannot and should not be done through force of action or threat of death.

Do I still love Matthew, his associates, Barry and Anne Byrd and the rest of the Marble fellowship people? Yes, absolutely I do, but I still struggle daily with doing this. We are called to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you (Matt 5:44). I don’t view these people as my enemy but because I am human I have to work each day to love the sinner and hate the sin. I grieve the fact that they would rather demonize someone who doesn’t believe like them rather than engaging in a dialog that could lead to an extraordinary moment. I believe that through pain/struggle, comes healing and restoration and that is what our region and our country needs most right now. We don’t need anger, we don’t need hate, we don’t need division. This has to stop.

In closing, I hope that as you have read this statement you understand that I am not the same man who thought he was serving the right cause, but now stand in front of you begging you to see that the leadership in Olympia represented in the Spokane Valley area is on a path that will spiritually destroy people and soul of this region. Left unchecked it will also physically destroy it someday as well if their plan is enacted.

Some will read this and view this as a political stunt. It isn’t, it’s so much bigger than just the man in office. Yes, this does have major political ramifications, but this is about the soul of the area. Christian Identity Politics and Dominionism has no place in our region, it does not fulfill the great commission. It does not encourage healthy dialog between groups who believe differently. It does not encourage those without a voice to speak up and it certainly doesn’t bring people together to work towards better communities. It goes against everything this country was founded on.

Know that what you feel is right, this isn’t ok. Go with your heart, do what’s right and know that you are loved by the King of the Universe who has a plan for your life despite whatever your background may be.

Special Note: This will be my only statement on this situation, I will take no media inquiries nor answer any questions or engage in nonproductive dialog regarding this post. Any and all threats regarding this post, attempts at physical intimidation, veiled threats to my business ventures will all be forwarded to my council for consideration and prosecution should the need be.

Google clarifies: Hunting ads OK

RMEF Elk Network video screenshot
A Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation video had its internet advertisements briefly disallowed by Google before being reinstated after protests by Montana’s Sen. Steve Daines and Greg Gianforte. Content Exchange

Google’s animal cruelty prohibition does not apply to hunting ads, according to a company spokeswoman who explained how a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation video ad was mistakenly rejected in April.

“Google doesn’t have a policy prohibiting hunting ads,” the unidentified Google spokeswoman wrote in an email statement on Tuesday. “We do have a policy against ads that promote animal cruelty or feature gratuitous violence towards animals. In this case, we made a mistake and the ad is now approved to run. We always encourage advertisers to appeal if they feel that an ad was wrongly disapproved — this helps us improve our systems and processes.”

On Friday, hours after receiving a letter from Montana’s congressional members, Google restored a paid ad promoting a RMEF video it had initially rejected because of animal cruelty issues.

However, it was unclear whether Google was reviewing an appeal from RMEF before the letters from Montana’s congressional delegation became public. RMEF spokesman Mark Holyoak said the organization was unaware of any appeal process beyond the initial rejection it received on April 25.

The Missoula-based hunting advocacy group appealed to Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester and Rep. Greg Gianforte, who sent inquiries to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Friday. Holyoak said a Google representative called on Friday evening rescinding the decision and reinstating RMEF’s ad.

The advertisement appeared as a “pre-roll” spot before other videos on the YouTube media website. It promoted an 8-minute video about former RMEF board member Nancy Hadley, who participates in a muzzle-loader elk hunt in New Mexico and reminisces about growing up in a hunting family. The cover image of the video shows Hadley in camouflage holding an elk antler in the field. RMEF’s Elk Network media department produced the video. One scene in the video shows a bull elk flinching and running away after an off-camera gunshot is heard.

In an email provided by Daines and Gianforte, a Google Support representative states “any promotions about hunting practices, even when they are intended as a healthy method of population control and/or conservation, is considered as animal cruelty and deemed inappropriate to be shown on our network. I can imagine how displeasing this could be to hear as you would like to promote this video so that you can show hunting in a positive manner, however, we are also bound by our policies and protocols and according to Google’s policies, promotions such as these cannot be allowed to run.”

Google’s “Inappropriate Content” policy states “we don’t allow ads … that display shocking content or promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination or violence.” While most of the examples involve human activities such as hate-group promotion, execution videos, and “gratuitous portrayals of bodily fluids,” it does have a specific entry for animal cruelty. That includes cruel entertainment such as dog fighting and trade in threatened species products such as rhino horn.

Contrary to the Google email to RMEF, hunting practices are not mentioned in the policy. However, Google has user buttons where someone can flag or object to content they think inappropriate. That content gets reviewed by Google’s support services, which may decide to reject it or leave it up.

“We appreciate things were turned around in a quick manner,” Holyoak said on Tuesday. “We communicated that this is about conservation and ethical hunting.”

Owner faces jail time for abandoning dog to starve in locked home

Kyle Springer, 27, was taken into custody until sentencing scheduled for April 18

Kyle Springer, 27, faces jail time for abandoning his dog in a locked home without food for two months. The dog starved to death before being discovered. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

A 27-year-old man was sent to jail to await sentencing for leaving his dog to starve to death in a rented home he abandoned in 2015.

Kyle Springer was in Woodstock court Tuesday afternoon for sentencing on the criminal charge of cruelty to animals.

But after going over evidence, statements of fact and victim impact statements, Judge Julian Dickson said he needed more time to decide a sentence.

Springer is to be back in court April 18 at 1:30 p.m. for sentencing.

He was taken into custody until that time to the loud applause of a packed courtroom.

Two-and-a-half hours before Springer was scheduled to appear, the sidewalk in front of the Carleton County Courthouse was packed with nearly 100 protesters, many with their dogs, demanding a stiff penalty.

Springer pleaded guilty Jan. 8 to leaving his dog, Diesel, to starve to death in a locked rental home in the Woodstock area over the course of two months.

Protesters brought along some of their four-legged companions to the Woodstock courthouse Tuesday and called for a stiff sentence for Springer. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

According to the statement of facts read in court, the two-year-old shepherd mix was found dead in the fetal position near a window in the house weeks after Springer had left.

The dog had torn open everything in search of food and water, including bags of sugar, pillows and garbage bags. The home appeared covered with scratch marks and the living room, kitchen and bedroom floors were covered with the dog’s urine and feces.

‘Emaciation and dehydration’

RCMP were called to the house after the landlord found the dog Jan. 15, 2015. In June of that year, an arrest warrant was issued for Springer, who had left for Western Canada.

A necropsy performed by provincial veterinarian Jim Goltz found only two bits of plastic in the dog’s stomach. The animal lacked body fat, its eyes were sunken in, and its ribs protruded from its body.

Springer left his dog, Diesel, to starve to death in a locked rental home near Woodstock. (Submitted by Advocates for Animals)

The cause of death was “emaciation and dehydration,” said Crown prosecutor Nathalie Lajoie, reading from Goltz’s report.

According to western New Brunswick Crime Stoppers, Springer had moved to Alberta but was arrested after an anonymous tip when he returned for the 2018 holidays.

Nearly 100 protesters gathered outside the Woodstock courthouse Tuesday during the sentencing hearing for Springer. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The statement of facts said Springer’s physical description as well as the make and model of his vehicle were shared with RCMP. Later in the parking lot of a Foodland grocery store in Florenceville-Bristol, police approached Springer in the vehicle described to them.

When police asked if he was Kyle Springer, Springer said ,”No.” He later admitted it was indeed his name when police requested he step out of the vehicle and placed him under arrest.

He was released on an undertaking and appeared in court on Jan. 8, when he pleaded guilty.

Sentence requests

The Crown argued Springer has obviously tried to avoid justice. Lajoie is requesting a jail sentence of five to six months,  along with a year of supervised probation and a 10-year ban from owning any animals. The request garnered gasps from the courtroom full of animal advocates.

Springer’s lawyer, Peter Hyslop, argued for a lighter sentence of 90 days in jail, to be served intermittently. Hyslop argued this was Springer’s first offence and his guilty plea should be considered a mitigating factor.

When Hyslop argued a stiff sentence could result in Springer losing his job with a fertilizer company and result in nobody in the area ever hiring him again, the judge was not having it.

“If he loses his job, there’s not much chance he’ll get another one in Carleton County in the foreseeable future,” said Hyslop.

“And whose fault is that?” Dickson said.

Thirteen seconds of uninterrupted applause followed Dickson’s response, and he demanded no further outbursts.

Animal advocate Susan Henley was pleased to see Springer remanded into custody until a sentence is delivered next Thursday. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

When asked if he had anything to say, Springer stood, wearing a plaid blue shirt and blue pants, and said: “I do feel bad for what happened to Diesel. That’s all, sir.”

Dickson then stated that he would need more time before handing down a sentence.

“I’m going to tell you right now an intermittent sentence is not in the cards,” Dickson said. “It will not be an intermittent sentence and I will give you full reason on the 18th, and, Mr. Springer, I’m remanding you into custody until then.”

Protesters react

Applause broke out again as Springer was handcuffed, but the outburst was quickly stopped by sheriffs.

On the courthouse steps afterward, protesters were pleased with the proceedings.

“I feel positive,” said Susan Henley, an animal advocate who travelled from Fredericton.

“We always want more. You come into these things praying for the most but expecting your heart to break at the end. But I really feel more positive than I have in a lot of cases that we’ve followed and gone to.”

Fellow advocate Stephanie Thornton said, “Hearing the shackles at the end was awesome.”

Nest Predator Bounty Program offers trapping incentives

This spring and summer, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will be trying to get more people into the sport of trapping, and there will be financial incentive to do so.

Monday GF&P started the Nest Predator Bounty Program, a program that runs through Aug. 31 and will pay $10 per tail for those bringing in raccoons, striped skunks, badgers, opossums and red foxes that have been trapped.

The program will end early if the amount awarded hits $500,000. There is also a $590 cap per individual household.

GF&P regional terrestrial resources supervisor Trenton Haffley said there are a few goals of the program, one of those is to help revitalize a outdoors activity that used to be very prominent in South Dakota, the sport of trapping.

“As part of the department’s strategic plan,we identified trapping as activity we could reinvigorate or get new participants,” he said. “It encourages people to get out and trap during a time where there are animals available and there is no fur incentive.”

Haffley said while there won’t be many opossums in the western side of the state, the other four population groups are healthy enough that the program could be a success.

Originally it was only supposed to be a program rolled out to the eastern side of the state, but eventually GF&P decided it would be worth it to make the program available state-wide.

It started specifically as plan to held protect the nesting habitats of grassland nesting birds and waterfowl. In order to get more people interested in trapping state-wide, the program was opened up.

Haffley said there isn’t research as to why the trapping tradition in South Dakota has fallen off, but mentioned that the sport requires a set of particular skills that aren’t easy to learn.

Still, he said if the program can get the next generation out outdoors enthusiasts interested in trapping, it can help ensure that the tradition survives and starts to thrive in South Dakota.

“It’s a pretty specialized skill set, it’s a long learning curve,” he said. “It takes going out with someone with a lot of experience or dedication to go out and try it every single day. There’s a lot of error and time between success.”

Haffley said in the development plan that was established in 2016, trapping was a key component.

With the plan set to expire in 2020, he said GF&P decided to take action on building on the trapping history in South Dakota.

“We want to recruit, retain and reinvigorate,” he said. “That was one thing we identified in 2016, now here we are in 2019, and we thought we let that fall by the wayside.”

GF&P will evaluate how successful the program is at the end by using hard numbers and a qualitative survey about the experience participants had with the program. Haffley also said it will look at not only the number of participants, but how widely spread they are across the state.

Tails can be taken to the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City, located at 4130 Adventure Trail.

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14-Month-Old Lioness Declawed In Zoo So Kids Can Play With Her

A Palestinian zoo, in an attempt to bait visitors into visiting the zoo, decided to declaw a 14-month-old lioness in their possession so the guests could play and interact with the animal. The incident took place two weeks ago in the Gaza strip, where there’s a lack of proper veterinary facilities.

Falestine, the lioness, was tranquilized and shrouded before a veterinarian named Fayez al-Haddad got to work. He deliberately clipped off her claws one by one using a pair of shears before he sewed her up.

He completed the job on Tuesday, when the poor lioness was subjected to much pain once again. One can only imagine the confusion the animal experienced when she realized that she no longer has her claws, and the Four Paws charity says that the procedure is similar to a person losing their fingers up to their knuckles. Mohammad Jumaa, the zoo owner, and the veterinarian, however, both seem to be morally unaffected by what they did.

Rafah zoo opened 20 years ago, but animal welfare is clearly not on the top of their list of priorities. The zoo is located on the border of Egypt in the southern part of the Gaza strip. The zoo was closed down from 2004 to 2017, and Jumaa got it running again two years ago.

According to Four Paws and many other organizations, the zoo has bo business staying open, as there is no improvement in the well-being of the animals that are held captive there. Four newborn lion cubs were left to freeze at the zoo, and there are at least 49 other animals trapped in pitiful enclosures.

Victory! Spain’s Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Cruel Bullfighting Festival!

There are few nations more embroiled in the animal rights debate than Spain. In a country where bulls are abused, lit on fire, and ritually prodded to death, the fight to protect bulls rages on. According to survey results, 70% of Spanish citizens disapprove of the various bullfighting traditions around the country, and the governing bodies in Spain have finally begun to catch up.

In a ruling today, Spain’s Supreme Court proved they are finally ready to take action against the malicious treatment of bulls in their country, dismantling it piece by piece. The first stop? Putting an end to the insanely cruel Toro de la Vega, a sickening tradition held in the town of Tordesillas in central Spain.

During the grim ceremony, spear-wielding crowds chase a bull to the banks of the River Duero. Once the animal has no escape, the crowds lance the animal to death. Animal rights groups have long been opposed to the practice, and the Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the regional government’s decision to ban the activity entirely. The law also applies to similar practices that may be held in other towns in the area.

The Tordesillas local council has often argued with the ban, saying the legislation undermined “the essence of the popular rite that gave rise to bullfighting” and argued the move would trample of the enjoyment of the festival’s “40,000 fans.”

Since the ban was put in place, a new Toro de la Vega has been put in place, one which still involves a bull-run through town, but forgoes the animal’s public murder.

The president of Spain’s animal-rights party PACMA, Silvia Barquero, has spent years of her life fighting to end the abuses at Toro de la Vega festival. She praised the court’s effective and definitive ending of the practice, which is, according to her group, “not in accordance with the sensitivities of today’s society.” But Barquero still says there is much further to go, and the ruling will hopefully be the first of many victories in the battle to end bullfighting once and for all.


While it’s only one festival in a nation that tortures and executes bulls with regularity, the importance of the ruling cannot be overstated. As mentioned earlier, the Spanish public is overwhelmingly opposed to Bullfighting, which as seen as more of a tourist attraction than a reflection of Spanish society. Like any legislative battle, the wins come in small doses, but for the bulls at this years Toro de la Vega, the change couldn’t have come at a better time.

Love Animal Rights? Check out Animal Rights Groups Call on Government to Shut Down Country’s Cruelest Primate Testing Lab

A pregnant harbor seal was shot in the head and lost an eye. Now she’s going home.

The seal was shot through the head near the San Juan Islands during a fishing derby. She and her unborn seal pup are lucky to be alive.

A pregnant seal, now without its left eye after being shot with a pellet gun, is heading home to the San Juan Islands Sunday after successful surgery and nearly a month of recovery away from the sea.

A fisherman shot the seal through the head near the Sucia Islands late last month, and the creature only endured the initial trauma of the ordeal through luck and quick emergency care.

The feisty one-eyed seal, who goes by “19-0120” among staff caring for her at the PAWS Wildlife Center, is expected to survive her reintroduction to the wild.

Her plight highlights rising tensions between fishermen and federally protected pinnipeds — seals and sea lions — in the Pacific Northwest, as both compete for their catch of fish.

Suspect identified

The harbor seal was shot during a fishing derby, according to Jennifer Olson, the Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator for San Juan County.

Deputies with the San Juan County Sheriff’s office, along with a border patrol agent, were the first to reach the seal the afternoon of the shooting on Jan. 26.

“We received a call that somebody was out shooting a seal with a pellet gun,” said Zac Reimer, the office’s undersheriff. “Another person, who was also fishing, observed this happening right in front of them and gave us a call right away.”

Reimer said the person who reported the shooting was close enough to capture video of the events.

When deputies arrived, the suspect’s boat was still there and the seal was “bobbing around, not acting like a healthy harbor seal,” Reimer said. “It just appeared stunned.”

The animal was so listless that deputies were able to get a rope around the creature and haul it onto their 26-foot patrol boat.

No one was arrested at the scene, but deputies were able to talk to witnesses, take photographs and collect evidence, Reimer said. A 40-year-old man is suspected in the shooting, he said. The man’s boat had remained there with several other people onboard.

“Since we were already on marine patrol, we were able to just go right up to the boats and talk to everybody,” Reimer said.

The evidence is in the hands of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law-enforcement branch, which is investigating and could pursue federal charges. Violations of the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act can result in fines of up to $28,520 along with up to one year of imprisonment.

A rare case of survival

Washington state once financed a bounty hunting program that encouraged people to kill harbor seals in an effort to bolster fishermen’s catch, according to the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife.

With the program’s end in 1960 and the passage of the federal protection act 12 years later, the population of harbor seals began to multiply many times over.

But the recovery of pinnipeds has also spurred an increase in salmon consumption by the creatures, according to a 2017 paper published in Scientific Reports. In 1975, harbor seals ate an estimated 3.5 million chinook salmon. In 2015, that figure rose to 27.4 million chinook, most of them juveniles.

Conflict with people fishing has increased, too.

“There’s certainly frustration out there, at the slow recovery of salmon, and these animals are using those resources that we also rely on,” said Michael Milstein, a NOAA spokesperson.

Researchers examined pinniped stranding data in the Pacific Northwest from 1991 to 2016 in a recent Aquatic Mammals Journal article.

Strandings — when a pinniped comes ashore dead or is alive and unable to return to the water without help — began to rise in the early 2000s, a trend driven, in part, by a rise in the animals being shot, according to the data.

In 25 years of study, 896 harbor seals were found to have been stranded after interacting with people. More than 21 percent of those seals were shot.

Meanwhile, dead sea lions, with bullet holes, have been washing up across Puget Sound shores.

The Whale Museum, where Olson works as a data specialist, tracks marine-mammal strandings in San Juan County.

Since 1980, the museum has counted 39 confirmed cases in which pinnipeds were shot. Most of the cases are identified in necropsies.

“To have a live seal survive the gunshot wound where there’s time to help them, that’s what makes this case rare,” Olson said.

‘Cross our fingers and hope’

Soon after the shooting, the deputies brought the struggling seal to Olson, who loaded the animal into a crate and drove her to the Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island.

“She was moving. I could tell she was alive,” Olson said. But after “giving her a small tap on her back, there was absolutely no response.”

Olson could see entry and exit wounds. Blood and pus were leaking out of the creature’s head, she said. She worried the seal could have suffered brain damage.

Once the seal arrived at Wolf Hollow, Penny Harner, a staff rehabilitator began to treat the “lethargic” animal.

“Basically, all we could do the first night was get some fluids in her, get some medications on board and cross our fingers and hope for the night,” Harner said.

But the next morning, when she flipped the lights, the 128-pound creature stirred and began to look around with her good eye.

When Harner entered the room to treat the seal, “she did what a typical seal would, which was lunge.”

Wolf Hollow staff typically work with injured or orphaned seal pups, but not strong, muscular adults. During treatments, it took four staffers, clad in protective gear, to hold the animal down for medication.

“She gave me a ride around the room at times,” said Harner, who was in charge of using her knees to control the seal’s flippers.

When a veterinarian visited the rehabilitation center, it was clear that the pellet wound, just above the seal’s bugged-out and bloodshot left eye, would require surgery.

Nearly a week after she was shot, the seal was taken in an animal ambulance to the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, which treats hundreds of species of injured wild animals.

As snow fell on Seattle on Feb. 4, veterinarians, surgeons and other helpers crowded into a small room that looks like a shabby doctor’s office for surgery. Earlier, an X-ray showed tiny metal fragments of the pellet lodged inside her head, and also a surprise — the seal was pregnant. The scan had revealed the curvature of a tiny spine, rib cage and skull growing inside.

While the seal remained under anesthetic, two surgeons began their work, as the others monitored the animal’s blood pressure, breathing and heartbeat.

The surgeons carved out the damaged tissue, severed the seal’s optic nerve and removed her eye. Then, they scored the seal’s eyelids and sutured them to one another so the skin would heal together.

“It’s a bloody surgery,” said wildlife veterinarian Nicki Rosenhagen, but the seal fared well.

PAWS staffers placed the seal’s eyeball, and some extra tissue, in a plastic gelato container. “We do a lot of educational talks,” Rosenhagen explained.

The pregnant seal has had a smooth recovery, Rosenhagen said. The seal arrived to PAWS plump, strong and healthy, aside from the gunshot wound. The surgical site has been healing well and there’s no evidence of infection. She’s been swimming. And her behavior has been “appropriately aggressive” — normal for a seal and a good indication that no brain damage occurred.

‘Super lucky’ and headed home

On Sunday morning, as long as a blood test comes back clean, PAWS naturalist Jeff Brown will help load the pregnant seal into a giant dog kennel, secure her in the bed of a pickup truck and haul her home.

He’s scouted two locations for a beach release, one in the Sucia Islands and another on San Juan Island with easier access, in case a storm stirs.

By the afternoon, a crew will unload the kennel and release the seal back to her home.

The veterinarians expect the seal to adapt to hunting with one eye and give her good prospects to survive. The baby should also be fine, Rosenhagen said. A radiologist who examined the X-ray said she saw no evidence of fetal death, despite the mother’s ordeal.

“She got super lucky,” Rosenhagen said, “if getting shot in the head is lucky.”

Amid seal and sea lion boom, group calls for hunt on B.C. coast

Quickest way to reverse declining salmon stocks is to introduce a harvest: Pacific Balance Pinnipeds Society

Some fishermen want to see a cull of sea lions and seals which they say are overpopulated on the B.C. coast. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

For the first time in decades, a small-scale seal hunt is taking place on Canada’s West Coast — all in the hopes that it leads to the establishment of a commercial industry to help control booming seal and sea lion populations and protect the region’s fish stocks.

In early November, a group called the Pacific Balance Pinnipeds Society (PBPS) started using First Nations hunting rights as part of a plan to harvest 30 seals. The society plans to test the meat and blubber to see if it’s fit for human consumption and other uses.

“We can look at opening up harvesting and starting a new industry,” said Tom Sewid, the society’s director and a commercial fisherman. “Since the [West Coast] seal cull ended in the 1970s, the population has exploded.”

Sewid, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw group of Indigenous peoples, points out that the animals have been hunted for thousands of years. Recent decades with little or no hunting have been an anomaly, he said, pointing to research that shows seal numbers are even higher now than in the 1800s.

Out go the nets, in come the sea lions

What’s become an ongoing battle between humans and sea lions played out on a recent nighttime fishing expedition, when Sewid and a crew of commercial fishermen set out in a 24-metre seine boat to fish for herring off the coast of Parksville, B.C.

The crew’s goal was to catch about 100 tonnes of herring, which rise to the surface to feed after dark. But the faint barking of sea lions was soon heard over the thrum of the boat’s diesel engine.

“All them sea lions out there are all happy — [they’re] all yelling, ‘Yahoo, it’s dinner time!'” Sewid said.

Once the crew spotted the herring, they let out hundreds of metres of net, while a smaller boat helped to circle it around the huge mass of fish. The crew then closed the bottom of the net, capturing the herring.

Watch sea lions pillage fishermen’s nets:

Sea Lions feeding in fishing nets

00:00 00:27

Many Sea Lions are caught in fishing nets, as they try to feed. 0:27

But the catch also provided some uninvited visitors with a captive dinner: Dozens of sea lions jumped over the floats holding up the net and started to gorge.

“These guys, it’s just a buffet for them,” said Sewid, as the bodies of the sea lions glistened in the boat’s floodlights. “Just like pigs at a trough.”

Sewid said the sea lions have learned there’s an easy meal to be had whenever they see or hear the fishing boats.

“They’re not afraid of us. They’ve habituated themselves to seeing that humans and fishing equates easy access to food, which is not right,” he said. “The animal kingdom is not supposed to be like that.”

Restarting a banned hunt

The hunting of seals and sea lions — which are collectively known as pinnipeds — has been banned on the West Coast for more than 40 years. It’s one reason their numbers have exploded along the entire Pacific coastline of North America.

According to one study, the harbour seal population in the Salish Sea is estimated at 80,000 today, up from 8,600 in 1975. The study also says seals and sea lions now eat six times as many chinook salmon as are caught in the region’s commercial and sports fisheries combined.

That adds up to millions of tonnes of commercially valuable fish.

Sewid’s group is proposing to cull current populations of harbour seals and sea lions by half, which would see thousands of the animals killed each year.

Tom Sewid is leading the effort to secure what he calls a sustainable harvest of seals and sea lions along the B.C. coast. (Greg Rasmussen/CBC)

The society’s small-scale “test” harvest is taking place between B.C.’s southern Gulf Islands and as far north as Campbell River, on Vancouver Island. It’s being carried out under the provisions of the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy, which gives some First Nations harvesting and management rights for food and ceremonial purposes.

Testing the meat to see if it’s safe for human consumption is a first step in a plan to eventually gain permission for what the PBPS envisions as a sustainable, humane commercial hunt, which would largely be carried out by coastal First Nations.

“All the meat that’s in there, you’re looking at the high-end restaurants [that would sell it],” Sewid said. “The hides can also be used.”

Seal blubber is particularly valuable, he said, because it can be rendered down into an oil that’s in demand because of its high Omega-3 fatty acid content.

Watch fishing crew struggle to free sea lions entangled in their nets:

Sea Lions freed from fishing nets

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Watch as fishing crew struggles to free sea lions trapped in their nets. 0:49

One of the biggest hurdles facing the group is convincing the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to open a commercial hunt on the West Coast.

The seal hunt that takes place in the Atlantic and Arctic is controversial, and has long been subject to protests and fierce opposition from animal rights groups. The group expects a West Coast harvest to also face fierce confrontations.

Canadian Inuit have been waging a counter-campaign, highlighting the importance of the animal and the longstanding tradition of their hunt.

Most Canadian seal products are also banned in Europe and a handful of other countries, but the society says demand is strong in Asia.

Supporters and opponents

The PBPS does have a growing list of supporters, including 110 First Nations groups, a number of commercial fishing organizations, and some sectors of B.C.’s economically important sport fishing sector.

However, one key player, the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C., opposes a large commercial hunt, fearing it would generate public outrage and might not achieve the goal of enhancing fish stocks.

The institute’s director, Martin Paish, says the group sees some value in targeting some seals and other fish predators at specific times of year in a number of key river systems; he believes a limited hunt would help protect salmon stocks and boost the billion-dollar-a-year B.C. sport fishing industry.

“Our goal is to use predator control in a careful manner to improve chinook [salmon] production where it is needed,” said Paish.

Carl Walters is a fish biologist and UBC professor who supports cutting B.C.’s population of seals and sea lions by half. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

Fisheries scientist Carl Walters, a professor emeritus with UBC, believes culling the regions sea lions and seals could dramatically boost salmon stocks. He points to numerous studies showing how pinniped populations have been increasing, while salmon numbers have been plummeting.

“They’re killing a really high percentage of the small salmon shortly after they go into the ocean, about half of the coho smolts and a third of the chinooks,” he said.

Advocates of a hunt are also pitching it as a way to help B.C.’s endangered southern resident killer whales, which feed mainly on salmon.

“The thing that would benefit southern resident killer whales is to see improved survival of small chinook salmon — and I think the only way we can achieve that is by reducing seal numbers,” Walters said.

Peter Ross, from the Coastal Ocean Research Institute, says there would be little benefit to salmon from a seal and sea lion cull. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

Others disagree, including Peter Ross, the vice-president of research and executive director of the Coastal Ocean Research Institute.

“Killing of seals and sea lions is not going to have any positive impact for any salmon populations in coastal British Columbia,” he said.

While a few localized populations of salmon might benefit from a cull, Ross said climate change, habitat destruction and overfishing are all bigger factors in the overall decline of stocks.

Other subspecies of orcas, however, feed mainly on seals, so a hunt would reduce their access to prey.

Back on the boat, Sewid concedes a hunt would be controversial — but he firmly believes it’s necessary.

“All the indicators are there,” he said. “It’s time to get the balance back.”

The fishing crew from the Western Investor are shown harvesting herring in November. But they say they are being hampered by dozens of sea lions in their nets almost every night. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

Letter: Mandatory trap checks needed in MT


According to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, trappers should check their traps at least once every day.

The American Society of Mammalogists states, “Snares or foot-hold traps should be checked a least daily, but more frequent depending upon target species, the potential for capture of non-target species, and environmental conditions. Frequent checking of traps is the most effective means of minimizing mortality or injury to animals in live traps.”

Montana has no mandatory trap check time. Trapped animals can suffer for days, even weeks, injured and exposed to the elements. Only bobcat trap sets in designated lynx protection zones and traps set for wolves require checking every 48 hours.

“The longer that animal is in a trap, the more likely you have foot injury, shoulder sprains, vascular damage, neural damage,” said Carter Niemeyer, a retired wildlife biologist.

Thirty six states have 24-hour/daily trap checks in their trapping regulations. House Bill 287 requires daily trap checks and allows for exceptions if a trapper cannot tend to the traps. HB287 helps end prolonged suffering of trapped animals and gives the trap-released non-targets, i.e. raptors, mountain lions, grizzly, deer, lynx and beloved pets a chance to survive.

Trapping is a bipartisan issue.

KC York,