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Blog the Change 4 Animals

All through the year, we keep our eyes peeled for some good stories to blog about. Then, the morning of Blog the Change, TW goes crazy trying to find them to put a blog together that makes sense. This time, I made her start in early January. It's long, but I tried to keep it inneresting.

Did you know that according to law, little furry family members are not considered family members at all? Believe it or not, kitties, we are considered PROPERTY! Gasp! Meow! Pop's TV is property; TW's records and tapes are property. I'm their adopted daughter. I'm right there on their Census form as "daughter." Well, now there's a lawsuit in New York that axs "do puppies have souls?" The question of whether pets are property HAD to be axed, but I just get the feeling that this suit was brought about for all the wrong reasons. Hear me out.

In a civil suit, dog "owner" Elena Zakharova states that pets are living creatures that feel love and pain and should NOT be considered property. She's wants compensation for vet bills, which will surpass $8,000, from an upper East Side pet store that sold her a pup with bum knees and trick hips. I have a couple of questions for Elena: haven't you ever heard of animal rescues and shelters? Why, with all the shelter animals, were you buying a pup in a pet store to begin with? Don't you know those animals sold in pet stores are from puppy mills and most of them are sickly? and finally, Don't you read newspapers or online blogs about pet store animals? If dogs aren't property, they shouldn't be "impulse buys."

Zakharova also wants compensation for the dog's pain and suffering damage, comparing her to a 7-year-old child that slipped and fell. It requests "humanity for Umka (the dog's name) and that she be considered a living soul that feels pain, and that her pain and suffering is recognized by the state and considered as damages to her."

New York State has a "Puppy Lemon Law" that lets buyers return a sick animal within 14 days because of the proliferation of shady puppy mills that churn out "purebred" dogs with heart and joint problems. I think they should go further and BAN pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs and cats altogether.

Umka, a year-old Brussel Griffon was bred by a puppy mill.
Little Umka, whom Elena bought when she was 2 months old for $1,650, didn't show signs of a problem until months later. Even after her surgery, the suit reads "Umka suffers a disorder causing her pain, her legs hurt, she cried when she is in pain, she drags herself along with her front paws, she cannot run like other puppies. She should not have been sired by dogs with genetic disorders." Duh! That poor, innocent widdle poochie! If you ax me, Umka should take her "pain and suffering" money and run away to an owner who can get her better vet care. She deserves the money, not Zakharova.

If the judge won't recognize Umka's suffering, Zakharova's lawyer will argue the dog should be subject to the Uniform Commercial Code that gives a buyer four years to return a "defective product." Now you're really skating on thin ice, lady. This living, breathing soul is now a "defective product"? Would this human actually return her daughter? I'll give you—and her—one guess how long it'll take the pet store to murder poor Umka.

From reading this article, it would appear that Zakharova loves her money—and fame, more than her adopted daughter. It's not Umka's fault she's not well, but she needs love just the same. Someday, with the right veterinary care, she may live a normal life.

We know she certainly didn't do her due diligence on Raising Rover, the pet store she bought Umka at or she would've seen that it's one of 11 swanky "pet boutiques" buying animals from Midwestern puppy mills with horrific records of animal cruelty. She probably just passed the pet store and fell in love with Umka; so she took out the credit card and took her home. Maybe, there should be a waiting period, like buying a gun. Then the impulsive buyer would be able to check out the store and see if they'd be better off either looking at shelter dogs or deciding they really didn't want a dog that badly.

The point in Zakharova's favor is that the ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to increase the penalties on pet stores so they stop selling animals from unhealthy breeders. I say let's BAN pet stores from selling these pets. Fines aren't going to deter them from making their profit.


Good news! We all need good news after reading about Umka.

Bones, a 90-pound pit bull, suspected of being an accomplice to murder, is getting a second leash on life. The Lexus Project, a Long Island-based animal legal defense group has been granted legal ownership. After he's sprung from the Animal Care & Control shelter, he'll be transferred outside NY to a well-regarded behaviorist experienced in working with troubled dogs.

After thousands of Facebook fans pleaded online for Bones' release and the Lexus Product was ready to go to court, Manhattan prosecutors decided that Bones was no longer needed as evidence to a murder allegedly committed by his owner in which bite marks were found on the victim. Rich Rosenthal and Robin Mitttasch, who run Lexus Project, obtained Bones' guardainship. Bones is just one of the dogs Lexus Project has defended since 2009.

This appears to be a project worth knowing more about. Wonder if they can work their magic and get Lennox in Ireland freed?


Sissi inside her  homemade
birthing box
With the winter now finally taking hold of this country, I thought I'd share with you Holistic Vet Stacey Joy Hershman's advice on how to build an outdoor shelter for stray or feral cats you may be feeding. When the peeps owned a house, they'd worry about those strays once the weather got colder and would place insulated cardboard or wooden boxes on the porch for them.

Dr. Hershman says "Buy inexpensive large plastic storage containers which come as big as three feet long by two feet wide and deep. Cut at least an 8-inch-square hole in lower corner of the lid as an entrance and exit. Buy 2-inch-thick foam insulation to cut into sections and attach to the outside of the container with industrial-strengh silicone glue. Place straw or old blankets inside and microwavable heating pads, which can stay warm for as long as eight hours. Also, there are safe, waterproof, electric heating pads available for animals."

She also advises "Educate your neighbors to fix their cats because overpopulation is a HUGE problem in the U.S., and millions of animals are killed 'daily' due to careless pet owners and lack of homes. Never buy cats; adopt from local shelters and cat rescues, and volunteer or donate supplies or money to support them."

Great advice!

Would you like to comment?

  1. CK - you are right on with everything today. I think that woman is out to get $$. Some of those charges sound a little far-fetched to me.

  2. That is a fantastic post. I just wish those people that get the puppies from Pet stores would just campaign against the pet store so we could get them all closed or stop the puppy mills.
    That shelter for the outside cats sounds terrific. I might give it a try.
    I wish we could get more people to spay and neuter their animals. On the positive side of that, at least there are low cost spay and neuter clinics showing up and they are very busy.
    Thanks for this great post.

  3. Bravo CK, that was a very well written and thought-out post!!!

  4. Great post CK !
    We totally agree with you about that poor doggie Umka !!
    In Sweden if you are a serious pedigree breeder there is a lot of things you have to do before you can sell the kitty or doggie.
    It has to be vet.checked , chip labeled , have pedigreepapers ,have a latent defects insurance , fill in papers about changing ownership , the cat or dog have to be older than 12 weeks.
    If you buy a cat or dog from a shelter you have to agree to certain conditions too , like that people from the shelter have the right to come and visit the dog or cat , that you shall spay/nuter the cat if that not is already done and so on. I don´t say that Sweden is the purrfect wonderland for cat´s and dog´s we do have a lot of problem with especially homeless cat´s here too :(
    But it seems that we have better laws than you when it comes to animals rights.

  5. CK, a good and informative post and I wish it was published in every newspaper for the education it provides.

    My new girl who will be home with me late tomorrow or early Tuesday will have her own blog with a link back to Admiral's blog so Admiral can blog from the Rainbow Bridge occasionally. We hope you'll come and visit her when she does start her own blog.


    Mom Carole

  6. Great post CK. I agree with you that the owner is just after money and not really for the health care of the poor pup.

    To me my boys, Manny and Marcuz are my fur children and not property. Unfortunatly too many people feel the opposite way.

    again great post.


  7. Come on! Momster is R property; she has 2 do R bidding & take care of us.

  8. Very insightful post today, CK...we learned about the Lexus project, which we hadn't heard of before...and don't get me started on pet stores...

  9. Yup, a ban on those nasty pet stores would certainly help, at least along with knocking out online selling as well. Umka is a classic example of how those stores swindle their customers, and make a profit off the suffering of animals and people like. The Lexus Project is an interesting idea! As for the homemade kitty shelters, I can personally attest to them being a great, workable idea.
    Thank you for making a difference, and blogging for the change for animals!
    Kim Thomas
    CindyLu's Muse

  10. Kim already said so well what I would like to say too. I'll just add that I agree with animals being so much more than property. As sentient beings, they need our help in protecting their best interests, not extorting their best interests for money.

  11. CK! This is a most impawtant blog post. The Human, with all her failings, and believe me there are MANY, would neffur DREAM of getting a kitty from a fancy kitty store. She's had a lot of kittehs in her time (did I mention lately that she's OLD?) but they have all been shelter kitties or strays. Good impawtant stories all.

    BTW, we is cheering for the Giants today since we duz NAWT want our Niners to have to march into Green Bay next weekend, ::shudder::

  12. I agree that it sounds like Umka's owner is just in it for the money, not the dog's best interest. However, I also believe that animals should not be considered property - not in this day and age when most pet lovers consider their pets to be part of the family. Most of these laws were established in a time when a wife was considered property too!

  13. Great post, CK! We think Umka should have her own lawyer. None of the stores around this area sell pets (Thank Catness!); they all have space for animals from several rescue orgs to be seen. My woman's will specifies what happens to her cats, in order to safeguard us, since state law still regards us as property. She has an agreement to care for us with a cat-loving friend. And leaves a chunk of her (very small) estate to pay for it.

  14. You did well to highlight the conflict in Umka's case... Is she a soul or is she a commodity? It can't really be argued both ways.

    At the very least, the attention given to this problem is welcome. Hopefully, it's another nail in the coffin of pet stores selling puppies.

  15. Wow, terrific post CK! We've set up a couple of boxes on our porch for our neighborhood kitties. I try my best not to bark at them, but sometimes I can't help it *shaking head*.

  16. Thank you for all the interesting stories and good information.

    Happily, many pet stores are starting to realize that rescue is the better way. There are, however, still too many out there that sell puppies, but things are beginning to change. At least Petland in Canada has stopped selling puppies. Hopefully the U.S. stores are right behind!

    Signed, Fluffbomb

  17. Wonderful post, CK my friend! Thank you for sharing the stories and info. I have to stop and give thanks for my warm home and family. I'm truly a lucky kitty.
    xo Katie

  18. CK! Yes, the wager is ON, Gurlfuriend! I bet you some kind of takcy '49er swag that you have to pose for a picture with (and vice-versa)--how's that sound?


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