NEW MEXICO Las Cruces animal shelter director dismissed at trial

July 20, 2015

By Carlos Andres Lopez

05:40:56 PM MDT

Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock

LAS CRUCES >> Prosecutors abruptly dismissed a case against Dr. Beth
Vesco-Mock, the director of the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley,
on Monday in Doña Ana County Magistrate Court.
The unexpected dismissal came more than four months after Vesco-Mock had
been charged in a two-count criminal complaint filed in March by Curtis
Childress, the county’s animal cruelty supervisor.
The case, according to the complaint, involved two dogs suspected of
attacking and killing several livestock animals on March 1 at a home in the
900 block of Harper Road.

Vesco-Mock was accused of violating a county ordinance after shelter staff
members allegedly refused to release one of the dog’s microchip information
to a county animal control officer. Vesco-Mock was also charged with
resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

In May, the complaint was amended and two additional charges, including a
second county violation, were filed against Vesco-Mock, who faced up to 364
days in jail for each of the three misdemeanor charges.
On Monday, Vesco-Mock’s attorney, Margaret Strickland of Las Cruces, and
Mick Gutierrez, the deputy district attorney for the 3rd Judicial District
Attorney’s Office, presented opening statements before jurors and Magistrate
Judge Richard Jacquez.

Gutierrez called three witnesses to testify, including Childress, before the
trial went into recess for lunch. Gutierrez indicated to the court that he
planned to call a fourth and final witness, Curtis Herring, a shelter
employee, to testify before jurors.

However, Herring, whom Gutierrez described as a “critical” witness in the
state’s case, was unable to testify because he was out the state.

When the trial resumed in the afternoon, Jacquez informed those in the
courtroom — including several friends and family members who wore pink
clothing in support of Vesco-Mock — that the case had been dismissed with
prejudice, meaning prosecutors cannot bring the case back to court.
“We are very happy that the District Attorney’s Office decided to dismiss
these false allegations against Dr. Vesco-Mock,” Strickland said.
Vesco-Mock declined to comment and referred questions to Strickland.

Gutierrez declined to explain his decision to dismiss the case in detail,
but, in a statement, he said, “In the interest of justice, we dismissed the

Strickland said she was “somewhat surprised” by the case’s abrupt dismal.
She said she learned of Gutierrez’s decision minutes before Jacquez
addressed the courtroom in the afternoon.
Still, Strickland believed the evidence would have shown that Vesco-Mock had
been “falsely and wrongfully” accused.

“I felt confident that the jury would have exonerated Dr. Vesco-Mock,” she
said. “There’s no proof that she committed these crimes.”

During her opening statements, Stickland addressed each of the four charges.
The first count alleged that Vesco-Mock “failed to give licensure
information to a law enforcement officer,” Strickland told jurors.
The complaint states that a county animal control officer went to the
shelter and tried to obtain microchip information for one of the dogs
apprehended in the March 1 livestock attack. But staff members told the
officer to file a records request, the complaint states.

According to Strickland, the evidence presented to jurors would have shown
that the officer sought microchip information, not licensing information.

“Microchips are held by other parties,” Strickland said. “Licensing is held
directly by the shelter, (and) animal control has that information at its
finger tips. In this case, they weren’t asking for that.”
Strickland also argued that the ordinance only applies to areas throughout
the county that are not within city limits, where the shelter is located and
where the alleged violation occurred.

In addressing the second charge — resisting, evading or obstructing an
officer — Strickland said Vesco-Mock and her staff “immediately complied”
with a court order to release the dog’s microchip information.
Childress, during his testimony, maintained that Vesco-Mock resisted the
officer’s orders, saying in part, “If they had complied with the previous
request, I would not have needed a court order.”
He later added, “They had no choice but comply.”

Strickland told jurors that the third charge filed against Vesco-Mock
alleged that she released a dog that had killed livestock to its owner,
which is a violation of county ordinance. The was no evidence that the two
dogs attacked and killed the livestock at the home on Harper Road, she
Shea Beer, the animal control officer who responded to the incident,
testified that she was unable to definitively conclude that the dogs, which
were found in the same pen with the animals, were responsible for the
In his testimony, Childress said he had a conversation with Vesco-Mock on
March 3. He said the two discussed ways in which to improve “dealing with
these types of cases.”

“Then, I brought up this dog and this case. But she said I don’t want to
involve myself with those things,” said Childress, who was also a central
figure in the Kim Stewart retaliation case against Doña Ana County.
Strickland said Vesco-Mock plans to proceed with her own civil suit against
the county. “Now this case is over, we can proceed with the tort claim,” she
said. “Anybody wrongfully facing criminal charges is going to also face
substantial fear and stress, and Dr. Vesco-Mock is no exception.”
Carlos Andres López can be reached at 575-541-5453.

COLORADO Denver RTD accused of double standard on ‘issue’ ads

July 19, 2015

July 16, 2015

by Chris Halsne

Updated at 10:17pm, July 16, 2015

DENVER — The operators of Denver’s bus and rail system are now under
fire for “fact-checking” certain free speech and political ads while
leaving others alone.

Before Republicans were allowed to run a political message on the side
of a Denver bus, the Regional Transportation District in Denver asked
for edits, citing its policy on “false, misleading, or deceptive”

When a pair of animal rights groups wanted to run political messages on
the side of Denver buses, RTD again asked for edits, making certain all
the facts checked out. One of the recommendations was so drastic, the
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) walked away without
buying the space….

…President of Colorado Citizens for Canine Welfare, Dr. Cheryl Saipe,
says the group wanted a special ad placed on the back of twenty buses
around Christmas 2013.

The banner originally said, “END PUPPY MILLS – SAY NO TO PET SHOPS AND

Records show RTD said no and stamped that version “denied.”

Halsne: “Did you think that your first submission was false or deceptive?”

Dr. Saipe: “No.”

Halsne: “But RTD did?”

Dr. Saipe: “Well they didn’t use the word deception. I think they said
you can’t prove that every pet shop sells only puppy mill dogs.”

Using its editorial control, RTD changed the ad to say no to puppy mill
pet shops and online sellers – believing that was more accurate.

Saipe’s group was happy to add the words, but what was their alternative?

“We wanted an ad to get our message across about ending puppy mills by
not buying dogs from pet stores or from the Internet,” said Dr. Saipe.
“We’re new to this and I was just glad they would run it at all.” …

LOUISIANA,HSUS Ally US Senator David Vitter drops support

July 14, 2015

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) doesn’t run any pet shelters but does have a radical, PETA-like agenda. And despite its best efforts to pretend to be moderate, the truth seems to be quickly catching up to it—first from Discover dumping its partnership with HSUS to now losing support in our nation’s capital.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana has always seemed to be an odd friend of HSUS, given that he’s a conservative Republican and the head of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, is to the left of Democrats, having run as a Green Party candidate in Connecticut. Additionally, 80% of the spending of HSUS’s political arms goes to help Democrats.

We’ve always suspected that HSUS’s posturing as a savior of the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina—never mind the attorney general investigation into HSUS’s Katrina fundraising that followed—might have allowed HSUS to appear to Sen. Vitter to be a legitimate organization that helped his community out in a time of need.

That’s certainly the façade that HSUS wants to keep up. But it’s crumbling. Charity Navigator issued a “Donor Advisory” against HSUS last year after HSUS settled a bribery lawsuit for almost $6 million. The Attorney General of Oklahoma is investigating HSUS. Donors are wising up and contributions to HSUS are down.

Now Vitter has issued a statement distancing himself from HSUS. The statement notes that he “has opposed any and all attempts by the Humane Society [of the United States] to limit hunters’ rights,” listing a few bills in Congress, such as the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, over which he has fought HSUS. Vitter might sponsor a milquetoast bill here or there that HSUS likes, but when the chips are down, it’s good to see him stand opposed to HSUS and Wayne Pacelle.

We had a good laugh a few years ago when HSUS tried to give an award to U.S. Rep. Don Young—only to see Young, who is well aware of HSUS’s agenda, publicly reject it. Now that Vitter is attuned to how radical HSUS is, we hope he too will renounce the award HSUS gave him this spring and solidify his stance with sportsmen.

View article…

LOUISIANA, LSU finds farms suffer heavy toll from feral hog damage

July 14, 2015

LSU finds farms suffer heavy toll from feral hog damage Louisiana State University researchers determined feral hogs caused $30 million in damage to crops and farm property in Louisiana in 2013. Soybean crops suffered the most damage, but hay, rice and corn weren’t far behind. The wild swine can also be a source of disease among livestock and wildlife. The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)/The Associated Press


NEW MEXICO Benton calls for release of dangerous dog report

July 23, 2015

By Patrick Lohmann Journal Staff Writer
UPDATED: Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 11:22 pm

City Councilor Isaac Benton is urging Mayor Richard Berry to take two immediate steps the councilor said could reduce the number of dangerous dogs in Albuquerque and better inform the public about what’s been happening behind the scenes at the city’s Animal Welfare Department.

First, the mayor should increase the insurance requirement for owners of dogs declared dangerous from $100,000 to $1.5 million, Benton said at a small news conference at a city animal shelter Sunday afternoon.

He said this change will make it less attractive to owners to adopt or keep animals deemed to be dangerous by the city’s Animal Welfare Department.

Second, the councilor asked that the city immediately release a taxpayer-funded report by a private investigator, Robert Caswell Investigations, which did a report on the department’s practices for adopting animals that failed behavioral tests or that could have been aggressive.

The mayor’s spokeswoman said in a statement Sunday evening that Berry maintains that the report should not be released to the public.

Animal Welfare Department Director Barbara Bruin came under heavy criticism in a complaint to the city Office of Inspector General, which alleged that as part of an ongoing practice, 132 dangerous dogs were allowed to be adopted from the city shelter last year, despite failing a nationally standardized behavior test administered by the shelter.
Another 83 were returned to their owners by the city shelter, the complaint said….

kitten who may have microphthalmia draws a lot of looks online

July 10, 2015

Kitten who may have microphthalmia draws a lot of looks online A blind kitten who may have microphthalmia became an Internet sensation after Orange County Animal Services in Florida posted photos of him online. Murdock has been picked out by a family and will be fostered before the adoption can be completed when his weight reaches 2 pounds. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (tiered subscription model)


cat with 6 legs to undergo limb removal surgery

July 9, 2015

Cat with 6 legs to undergo limb removal surgery In Edmonton, Alberta, Oxford Animal Hospital veterinarian Tamer Mahmoud is caring for Pauly, a six-legged cat rescued by Virginia Marando at Little Cats Lost. Pauly likely had a conjoined twin in utero, said Dr. Mahmoud, and the twin’s hind legs ended up fused to Pauly’s sternum. Pauly also has a small additional kidney. The Edmonton Journal (Alberta) (7/8)

are cats truly domesticated? the debate purrs along

July 7, 2015

Are cats truly domesticated? The debate purrs along Experts disagree about the extent to which cats are domesticated or wild. “When you look at the molecular signatures of domestication, there are 10 times more in dogs than in cats,” said biologist Wes Warren of Washington University in St. Louis. David Grimm writes, “They tame us, and they are tamed by us. Cats may have retained a bit of their wild ancestry, but they always come home.” Slate (7/5)

Mars Inc donates year’s worth of food to lucky kitten

July 7, 2015

Mars Inc. donates year’s worth of food to lucky kitten After a 3- or 4-month-old, 3-pound kitten was freed from the engine compartment of an employee’s truck where it rode for 28 miles, Mars Inc. decided to donate a year’s supply of food for the animal. The lucky feline is resting at the Common Sense for Animals shelter in New Jersey and will be put up for adoption if no one claims him. Daily Record (Morristown-Parsippany, N.J.) (7/6)