An off-duty animal control officer who admitted to shooting and killing her neighbors’ dog at her Picture Rocks home in October has been charged with a felony.
Marilyn Hendrickson, 27, was arraigned in Pima County Superior Court on Wednesday after she was indicted earlier this month on one count of killing a domestic animal without consent, a fifth-degree felony. A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Hendrickson’s behalf.
The Arizona Daily Star reported in early November that Hendrickson, an animal control officer for Marana, trapped and killed the dog, Buddy, days earlier after a monthslong dispute involving her neighbors, Tiffany and Justin Bara, and her former employer, the Pima Animal Care Center.
A criminal case was investigated by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Hendrickson told the Star that she carried out her actions out of desperation after months of what she perceived as inaction by PACC officers.
Records show she called PACC at least five times after more than a dozen of her chickens were killed and her goats were attacked — and blamed her neighbors. She told the Star she installed surveillance cameras and caught a dog on video attacking her goats.
A Marana spokeswoman told the Star in December that Hendrickson was no longer employed by the town.
Both Hendrickson and the Baras said they discussed the incident, but talks about replacing the chickens fell through. Tiffany Bara acknowledged her three dogs would escape from the yard, despite efforts to patch their fence, pack holes they dug and block the fencing with a kennel. Court records show the Baras were also charged with multiple counts of violating leash laws, dogs chasing livestock and for the dogs biting animals.
After the incident, Kristen Hassen, PACC director of animal services, stressed her officers always responded and did everything they could when Hendrickson called and that they would have done so again if Hendrickson had kept Buddy in the trap. She called the incident tragic and avoidable.
Hendrickson was booked into the Pima County jail on Wednesday. She is scheduled to appear in court next on March 16.
As an animal activist, I truly want to celebrate any step forward for animals. On one hand, it makes me very happy that President Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act into law yesterday. (And yes, it’s difficult for this diehard liberal to admit that Trump actually did something good, but even a broken clock is right twice a day).
The legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously – something truly remarkable in these divided times – expands on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act and increases the punishment for instances of animal cruelty, making them felony crimes.
The new law was heralded by many in the animal protection movement. Kitty Block, the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, had this to say: “PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level. The approval of this measure by the Congress and the president marks a new era in the codification of kindness to animals within federal law. For decades, a national anti-cruelty law was a dream for animal protectionists. Today, it is a reality.”
Now, like I said, I agree that this is a positive step. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that this new law completely ignores 99 percent of the animal cruelty that routinely takes place every single day in the United States.
According to The Washington Post, the PACT Act “outlines exemptions for humane euthanasia; slaughter for food; recreational activities such as hunting, trapping and fishing; medical and scientific research; ‘normal veterinary, agricultural husbandry, or other animal management practice’; and actions that are necessary ‘to protect the life or property of a person.’”
Of course animal cruelty to dogs and cats by private citizens should be dealt with severely. But what about the billions of animals tortured each year on America’s factory farms? Or how about the tens of thousands of animals, including dogs and cats, who are tested on and mistreated in laboratories?
Can we actually say we’re cracking down on animal cruelty when we still allow SeaWorld to keep cetaceans captive and force them to perform? Or permit insanely cruel practices like fur trapping and bow hunting?
My objective is not to trash Ms. Block or even President Trump on this issue (though Trump’s record on animals is pretty abysmal), but merely to point out that animal cruelty is still animal cruelty, even when it’s done for money or recreation or sport. In fact, we should take those cases of abuse even more seriously because they affect so many more animals. One sick fuck torturing his dog is abhorrent, but what about a business that tortures thousands in a laboratory or a puppy mill?
As society’s view of what constitutes animal cruelty evolves, so will our laws. But, in the meantime, it’s the animals who needlessly suffer day in and day out. Sadly, the PACT Act leaves the overwhelming majority of those animals no better off than they were before.
Main image: Anna Moneymaker / The New York Times
State-permitted Fur Trapping Leads to Illegal Killings, Captures of Wild Cat
MINNEAPOLIS- The Center for Biological Diversity today
3_2019_to_send.pdf> notified the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
of plans to sue the agency for permitting trapping that harms Canada lynx,
in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
In the past decade, state and federal agencies have documented captures of
16 lynx in traps set for other wildlife in Minnesota, six of which resulted
in death. As few as 50 of the rare cats may remain in the state.
“It’s outrageous that Minnesota’s lynx keep needlessly suffering and
dying in indiscriminate traps,” said Collette Adkins, the Center’s
carnivore conservation director. “The state needs to step up and implement
sensible changes to prevent the tragic deaths of these highly imperiled
cats. Minnesota’s rare animals shouldn’t be strangled in neck snares.”
Trapping of Canada lynx, unless covered by a specific permit from the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, constitutes an illegal “take” under the
Endangered Species Act, even if accidental.
Every year in Minnesota, a small number of trappers kill
> thousands of bobcats, pine martens and other wildlife, largely to sell
In a previous lawsuit filed by wildlife conservation groups, a Minnesota
federal court in 2008
8.html> held the state liable for harm to lynx caused by trapping. It
ordered the state to apply to the Fish and Wildlife Service for a permit to
cover its trapping program. But the state never obtained the permit.
The court also ordered the state to better protect lynx by issuing
regulations to restrict trapping in core lynx habitat. But even after these
additional measures went into effect, the rare cats have continued to get
caught in traps.
“Year after year we see sickening reports of lynx getting caught and even
killed by traps, but the state refuses to act,” said Adkins. “Minnesota’s
wildlife managers would rather appease a small number of trappers than
protect these beautiful wild cats. We hope this lawsuit will finally
convince the state to make lynx conservation a true priority.”
The lawsuit will seek additional measures to prevent trappers from hurting
Canada lynx, such as requiring placement of certain traps within “lynx
exclusion devices” that prevent lynx deaths. Conibear traps snap shut in a
viselike grip and have killed lynx on numerous occasions, but the department
does not require trappers to place them within exclusion devices.
Today’s notice letter starts a 60-day clock, after which the Center can
file its lawsuit to compel the state to comply with the Endangered Species
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) are distinguished from bobcats by their tufted
ears, hind legs that appear longer than front legs, and a pronounced goatee
under the chin. Their large paws work like snowshoes and enable them to walk
on top of deep, soft snows. These cold‐loving cats feed predominantly on
snowshoe hares but may also eat birds and small mammals and scavenge
The lynx was listed as a “threatened” species under the federal Endangered
Species Act in 2000. Its federally designated “critical habitat” includes
Trapping, habitat destruction, climate change and other threats continue to
harm the Canada lynx. Although once more widespread, lynx currently reside
in small breeding populations in Minnesota, Idaho, Montana, Washington and
Maine. A reintroduced population also resides in Colorado. Currently,
biologists estimate, 50 to 200 lynx may range in northern Minnesota.
Last year the Trump administration
-11-2018.php> announced plans to remove federal protection from lynx but has
not yet moved forward with an actual proposal.
21collection531&k=127e8fd67e> Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), Washington Dept
21collection531&k=127e8fd67e> Additional photos and video available for
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation
organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists
dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
<https://biologicaldiversity.org/news/breaking/> More Press
To some, the decline of the international fur market is a chance to return to traditional ways
From August to January, it’s hard to find a trapper in the North.
Most are deep in the bush, working traplines that, in some cases, have been in use for hundreds of years.
So they probably haven’t heard the news yet: they’ll have one less customer for their furs this year — and she’s a big one.
Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state, announced last week she would no longer purchase fur.
“Our only comment on this story is as follows: As new outfits are designed for the Queen, any fur used will be fake,” wrote her communications secretary.
The palace said that doesn’t mean fur on existing outfits will be replaced or that the Queen would never wear fur again. “The Queen will continue to re-wear existing outfits in her wardrobe.”
Gordon Zealand, executive director of the Yukon Fish and Game Association, said, “The trappers I know are all out on their lines currently.
“At the same time all would be disappointed with the decision.”
Rosemarie Kuptana, an Inuk former politician and cultural advocate, said she was “somewhat shocked, and then disappointed.
“I think it’s a real departure from the commitment to Inuit as a people … because fur is important to our way of life.”
Decision follows public opinion
The Queen’s decision follows those made by the world’s biggest fashion houses to ditch using fur in their designs — Gucci, Prada and Armani among them.
D’Arcy Moses, a Dene fashion designer with a workshop in Enterprise, N.W.T. who uses fur in some of his work, said the shift has been the result of “pressure … from the really strong anti-fur movement in Europe and the U.K.
“The whole gamut of the industry has done an about-face,” said Moses. “No one wears mink coats anymore.”
Financially, it’s another blow to a Canadian fur industry that appears to be in terminal decline.
Just last month, the world’s second largest fur auction house, North American Fur Auctions — a former subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company with over three centuries of history — went into creditor protection.
It now says wild and farmed fur auctions planned for 2020 are unlikely to go ahead.
Industry assessments show some tanned and taxidermied products remain in high demand at auctions, and Jackie Yaklin, secretary treasurer for the Yukon Trappers Association, said wild trappers are responding by increasingly sending pelts to be tanned out of territory.
But Mark Downey, chief executive officer of Fur Harversters, Canada’s other major fur auction house, wrote in his 2019 wild fur market forecast that “many fur species are selling below acceptable levels” — even if a surge in Chinese interest led to a moderate recovery in prices this summer.
Even beyond the industry impact, the Queen’s rejection of new fur carries an important symbolic weight, ending a centuries-long relationship with northern Indigenous trappers.
It’s a real departure from the commitment to Inuit as a people … because fur is important to our way of life.– Rosemarie Kuptana, Inuk former politician and cultural advocate
“What she wears is very important,” said Kuptana. “She is, after all, a world leader, a monarch” of 16 Commonwealth countries, “and in these … countries, there are Indigenous people who [have a] relationship with the land that requires them to hunt and trap.”
“The fur trade was how Canada was made,” she said. “It’s how Canada was built…. So fur was always a very important aspect of our relationship with the royalty.”
Trading fur ‘to the liking of the colonizers’
Francois Paulette helped found the Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, the precursor to today’s Dene Nation. He also sued the Crown over the treaty rights of Indigenous people in 1972 in a famous case known as the “Paulette caveat.”
Paulette said what the Queen decides to wear is “her business.” But he added that the failure of the fur industry could be grounds for another lawsuit against the Crown.
“It was the Hudson’s Bay [Company] … that initiated trapping into our part of the world,” said Paulette. “Trapping became a way of life that never existed.”
Paulette said the meteoric rise of the fur trade fundamentally altered northerners’ relationship to the land and animals.
“Before that … our people, the Dene, lived in balance with nature, and we took what we needed,” he said.
“But something changed, and that was when the Hudson’s Bay [Company], along with the British Crown, came to our lands. From there on, our whole civilization, our way of life began to change to the liking of the colonizers.”
Now, Paulette said, with the bottom falling out of the fur trade, Dene people are left at loose ends, with a marred relationship to nature.
“The Hudson’s Bay [Company], that has taken us down the road, and we have nothing at the end,” he said.
For others in the North, the Queen’s wardrobe could not be a more remote concern.
“That’s her choice and that’s her life,” said Andrew Akerolik, a trapper in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region.
“I’m sure she has no concern for me here.”
Wolf sightings hit a record low along the road into Denali National Park this summer, and that’s driving wildlife advocates to push for a halt of wolf hunting and trapping on state lands along Denali’s northeastern boundary, where park road area wolves often roam, and are sometimes killed.
A report recently issued by the National Park Service, shows only 1 percent of agency wildlife survey trips along the road into Denali National Park this summer recorded wolf sightings.
Park biologist Bridget Borg says that’s the worst number since trained park observers began officially tracking wildlife sightings along the road into Denali in the mid-1990s. Viewing percentages previously ranged from as low as 3 percent and as high as 45 percent. Borg says the currently poor wolf sighting percentage is likely primarily representative of natural factors.
“Just there being a lot of variability in where wolves den, and the size of packs over the years,” she said. “Not to say there aren’t the potential for other things to influence that outside of the park.”
Biologist and wildlife advocate Rick Steiner has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get the state to close wolf hunting and trapping on state lands along Denali’s northeastern boundary. Steiner points to the damaging impact loss of an alpha wolf can have on a pack, and makes an economic argument for why the state should care, correlating recent poor wolf viewing opportunity with dips in Denali visitor numbers and spending.
“This is kind of the goose that laid the golden egg for Alaska — if we protect it and help restore it,” he said.
Half a million people visit Denali annually, but there’s state resistance to curtailing boundary area wolf harvest by a few hunters and trappers. Closure requests from Steiner and other Alaskans have been regularly turned down. Commissioner of Fish and Game Doug Vincent Lang recently rejected the second of 2 such petitions submitted since July. Commissioner’s spokesperson Rick Green explains why.
“Data from the Parks Service isn’t a very specified area, and when we manage we manage more of a habitat area — much larger scale — and haven’t seen the evidence to constitute an emergency on the wolf population,” he said.
Green says that means it’s an allocation issue and up to the game board, which has consistently failed to grant requests to re-establish a no wolf kill area, scrapped by the board in 2010. In a July interview, game board chair Ted Spraker pointed to wolves’ resilience, and the potential for wolf viewing to rebound.
“It could all change next year if one of these eastern packs dens close to the road,” he said.
But halting wolf hunting and trapping in the nearby northeast boundary area could also help, according to the Park Service’s Borg. She points to better wolf viewing during a decade long span when boundary area wolf harvest was closed.
“When the area adjacent to the park was closed to hunting and trapping, it was correlated with higher sightings, so we think that bears replication to see if there’s a similar effect,” she said.
The park service and wildlife advocates have submitted separate northeast park boundary no wolf kill buffer proposals to the game board for consideration at a March 2020 meeting, but any change would take place after the wolf trapping season. Steiner is pushing for an emergency game board meeting prior to the November first start of trapping season.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will be the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products and the third to bar most animals from circus performances under a pair of bills signed Saturday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The fur law bars residents from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023.
Animal rights groups cheered the measure as a stand against inhumane practices. The proposal was vigorously opposed by the billion-dollar U.S. fur industry, and the Fur Information Council of America has already threatened to sue.
It follows Newsom’s signing of legislation that makes California the first state to outlaw fur trapping and follows bans on sales of fur in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare, and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” Newsom said in a statement. “But we are doing more than that. We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames.”
The fur ban doesn’t apply to used products or those used for religious or tribal purposes. And it excludes the sale of leather, dog and cat fur, cowhides, deer, sheep and goat skin and anything preserved through taxidermy.
It could mark a significant blow to the fur industry that makes products from animals including mink, chinchillas, rabbits and other animals. The U.S. retail fur industry brought in $1.5 billion in sales in 2014, the most recent data available from the Fur Information Council.
Fashion designers including Versace, Gucci and Giorgio Armani have stopped or say they plan to stop using fur.
Under the California law, there is a fine of up to $1,000 for multiple violations.
Animal rights groups have said animals may be subject to gassing, electrocution and other inhumane actions to obtain their fur.
Advocacy group Direct Action Everywhere said it’s working with activists to pass similar bills in cities nationwide, including Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, and it’s optimistic California’s law will spur action.
“Ordinary people want to see animals protected, not abused,” said Cassie King, an organizer with the Berkeley-based group.
Opponents of the legislation have said it could create a black market and be a slippery slope to bans on other products.
The ban is part of a “radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step to other bans on what we wear and eat,” spokesman Keith Kaplan of the fur information council said in a prior statement. He further said fake fur is not a renewable or sustainable option.
California joins New Jersey and Hawaii in banning most animals from circus performances.
The law exempts domesticated dogs, cats and horses and does not apply to rodeos.
State officials say at least two circuses that include live animals were scheduled to perform in California this year. At least 18 circuses don’t use animals, including Cirque du Soleil.
At first, critics warned the proposal was too broad and would impact county fairs, wildlife rescues or rehabilitation organizations. In response, lawmakers narrowed the definition of circus to include “a performance before a live audience in which entertainment consisting of a variety of acts such as acrobats, aerialists, clowns, jugglers, or stunts is the primary attraction or principal business.”
The law includes penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation.
Democratic Sen. Ben Hueso authored the measure, arguing wild animals in circuses endure cruel training and near-constant confinement.
The Southwest California Legislative Council opposed the law, saying it will prevent people from being able “to experience the thrill of a circus performance featuring beautiful, well-cared-for animals.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals lauded both new laws.
“Today is a historic day for animals in California, including those who have been whipped into performing in circuses, or skinned alive for their fur or skin,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement.
The head of the Human Society of the United States also praised the law about fur products.
“The signing of AB 44 underscores the point that today’s consumers simply don’t want wild animals to suffer extreme pain and fear for the sake of fashion,” said Kitty Block, the group’s CEO and president. “More cities and states are expected to follow California’s lead, and the few brands and retailers that still sell fur will no doubt take a closer look at innovative alternatives that don’t involve animal cruelty.”
Also Saturday, Newsom signed legislation aimed at helping protect horses from slaughter. The law requires public and private auction yard operators to post new signage, maintain sworn statements and post identifying information online starting Jan. 1.
It is key to ensuring California’s horse population isn’t illegally sent to slaughter, said the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Thiessen originally pleaded guilty to the killing of a young Mexican wolf through intentionally trapping and bludgeoning it with a shovel in 2015 on public lands, according to Thiessen’s court documents, in which he pleaded guilty. In explanation, Thiessen said that he had caught the wolf in a leg hold trap on his grazing allotment and killed it because he was worried that if he didn’t hit it with the shovel it would kill him as soon as he released it.
“I knew the animal I caught in the leg hold trap was a Mexican gray wolf because it wore a tracking collar affixed to all Mexican gray wolves in the area,” Thiessen explained in the court documents. Further, he acknowledged that Mexican gray wolves are a threatened species.
The U.S. Forest Service has said that failing to comply with federal laws protecting wildlife, especially with those protected by the Endangered Species Act, gives the Southwest regional forester the authorization to revoke a person’s grazing permits, according to the press release. The case was submitted for review by Calvin N. Joyner, the regional forester.
Joyner gave his official decision on the appeal on July 2nd, deciding to revoke Theissen’s grazing permit. He added that this is a situation where the cancellation is appropriate, as Thiessen “admitted to taking an illegal action and violating federal law. He pleaded guilty and he was convicted by a federal court. His conviction is a violation of the grazing permit.”
Joyner added in his official decision that the Endangered Species Act states that criminal conviction under that statute should result in the immediate cancellation of a grazing permit.
“When ranchers violate federal law or break the terms of their grazing permits, the forest service is absolutely right to revoke their permission to graze on public land,” Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, said in the press release. “Mr. Thiessen’s actions violated one of our bedrock environmental laws, shocked and horrified members of the public who want to see wolves recovered, and dealt a blow to New Mexico’s wild [wolf] population.”
Theissen’s livestock will need to be removed from the Canyon del Buey area by the end of August.
For years the octopus-trapping ropes set up in False Bay have led to a number of marine animals, whales in particular, getting entangled and killed. The recent death of a trapped Bryde’s whale just days after a humpback calf was trapped in the same ropes has pushed the public over the edge.
Members of the community took to social media to share their outrage over the incident and have joined together to see that something is done about these needless and preventable deaths.
An official petition has been created to raise awareness around the harm caused by octopus traps as well as develop safer conditions for marine life.
“We request an immediate moratorium [ban] on all octopus trapping in the False Bay area until such time as stakeholders and concerned citizens are consulted and can agree on a safe operating standard/procedure for the use of traps used in the octopus trapping fishing industry and that the Department uses this period of Moratorium to gather much-needed information on stock levels and the impact of octopus trap fishing on the environment,” the petition reads.
For years permits for octopus trapping have been casually issued, and these traps have lead to numerous entanglements and deaths of marine animals.
The community feels the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has approved a number of permits without proper consideration or updated data.
Octopus traps consist of long ropes tied to buoys that float just above the water surface, and are not only a danger to whales but also to dolphins, boats and ships.
False Bay is home to the South African Navy and octopus traps also often endanger those on board boats in the bay, as the traps no longer include sonar reflectors or lights as they once did.
If a submarine accidentally catches one of the ropes in its propellers, a dire situation could develop.
Recently two whales were caught in the same octopus trap near Millers Point on June 8 and 10, leading to the death of one of them.
The creators of the petition, dubbed “Save our whales: Stop Octopus Trapping in False Bay, Cape Town”, are imploring the Honourable Minister to place an immediate ban on all trapping in the False Bay Area until a safer operating procedure can be put in place. A safer procedure would include compulsory 24-hour monitoring at sea of octopus traps and sufficient visible signalling on the traps’ buoys to avoid endangering any more marine or human life.
The community hopes that the department will also take time to assess the current stock levels and update any information they may need to make educated decision when issuing permits.
Act now to save whales in False Bay by signing the petition here.
Also Read: Whale caught in octopus trap dies
Picture: Allison Thomson/Facebook