Written by PETA
When Michael McLeod pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his Norfolk, Virginia, neighbor's dog, Rex, because he was annoyed at the dog's barking, he may not have thought he'd get a long prison sentence for cruelty to animals. But he was facing Circuit Court Judge Karen J. Burrell, a self-described "judge who has compassion for animals." She handed down the maximum sentence: 11 years for felony cruelty to animals, discharging a firearm in a public place, and failing to appear in court (McLeod dodged his original sentencing hearing in 2003 and was on the lam for seven years). McLeod will serve five years behind bars, with six years suspended. If he violates the terms of his probation after being released, he could serve that extra time too.
"When judges hand down sentences like this, they deter people from being cruel to animals," PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch told a reporter. They also deter people from being cruel to people, as there is a known link between cruelty to animals and violent crimes against humans.
If you know any people who leave their dogs or cats outside unattended, please share Rex's story with them. It only takes a few minutes for animals to become victims of people with short fuses and long rifle barrels.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Claire Parker outraged animal protectionists worldwide with her gruesome, cruel method of making "mad money." Parker, a mother of three, held dogfights in the garage of her Kexby home in England. She and her husband, a convicted drug dealer who died earlier this year in prison, would offer beer and sandwiches for dogfighters who attended the bloodbaths, where dogs would maul each other for up to an hour at a time, all as part of one of Europe's largest dogfighting operations.
We're happy to report that Parker and three of her cohorts are headed to the slammer.
PETA Europe urged the presiding judge, Richard Blake, to throw the book at Parker and the others. It asked that the defendants never again be allowed to own animals and that they receive the maximum jail sentences and attend mandatory psychological evaluations and counseling. Now Parker has been sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and is banned from keeping animals for 10 years. The others received jail sentences ranging from 23 to 28 weeks.
One former special forces soldier who infiltrated the operation reported that one dog was so badly injured that he looked like his face had been blown off by a shotgun. That dog, like many others, died from his injuries.
Judge Blake noted, "There's widespread public objection at these sorts of offences; of the sadistic abuse of animals for entertainment." I'd say that's putting it mildly.
Written by Karin Bennett
When we announced our top 10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks, part of the idea was to encourage more people to check out a game or two at those stadiums and sample their vegetarian fare. Same sort of deal with our top 10 colleges—one effect of publicizing their veg-friendly cafeterias was that more people would want to go there. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if this latest top 10 list gets you all amped about the prospect of going to one of these prisons, you may want to set some slightly more ambitious goals for yourself … but for the people who—through bad luck or poor planning—are on their way there, this will come as some very good news.
We get calls all the time from inmates who want to make a positive change in their lives by going vegetarian, and in the course of responding to these individuals, we’ve assembled the following list of the top 10 vegetarian-friendly prisons in the United States as a tidbit for curious citizens, a resource for prisoners’ rights groups, and, well, a menu for future inmates. Whichever category you fall into, I hope you enjoy it.
Click here to read Newsweek’s coverage of the story, and check out the top 10 below:
Hundreds of PETA members and other concerned citizens gathered outside the Michael Vick hearing in Richmond today to ask that the court send a message to any dogfighters that this horrific blood sport will not be tolerated, and that its practitioners will be penalized to the fullest extent of the law. The latest news is that Michael Vick has been sentenced to 23 months in prison, which is almost twice the amount initially recommended by prosecutors. We’re still waiting to hear for certain whether he has received a ban on contact with animals, which is an essential provision in any cruelty case, given the high likelihood of repeat offenses where animal abuse is concerned.
Vick will be facing state charges following his federal sentencing, and we’re calling on State Prosecutor Gerald Poindexter to consider this case with the same seriousness that has been applied to his federal sentencing—i.e., to make sure this admitted animal torturer is made to answer in full for the crimes he has committed. I’ll post updates with any breaking news as this case develops, but in the meantime, you can write to Mr. Poindexter through this page to remind him that vigorous prosecution is essential in cruelty cases like this one in order to prevent repeat offenses and to deter others from committing similar crimes.
Given the high-profile nature of this case, the statement made today and at the state proceeding will have a far-reaching effect on prosecution of dogfighters for years to come, and we need to ensure that Mr. Poindexter follows in the footsteps of the federal authorities and demonstrates for the countless people following this case that Virginia will not tolerate cruelty to animals.
That’s right, it’s time for another arbitrary assortment of at least tangentially animal-related links that I’m too lazy to write a full post about. Actually, that doesn’t sound very appealing at all. Ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome to this week’s Internet Soup—a wild and wacky collection of the latest animal rights news, videos, and photos painstakingly researched by everybody’s favorite PETA blogger* and served up piping hot with a pithy little introduction that’s guaranteed to tantalize and amuse! Here we go:
Hopefully that’ll be enough to tide you over through the weekend, and if you’re in the mood for something a little more arcane, you can always check out my fictional blog—a little slice of the 17th century that my closest friends have described as “completely unreadable.”
And finally, we’re going to be doing a bit of maintenance on the ol’ blog this weekend, so the comments may be down for a little while, but everything will be up and running by Monday. Have a good weekend!
*That’s right, Amy and Karen. I said it.
The wonderful Bea Arthur, whose record in terms of helping to advance the rights of animals is as impressive as her unforgettable performances in Golden Girls, has gone out on a limb once again for animals—this time to help the rats, lizards, and other animals who get a raw deal in pet stores, where they're inadequately cared for and often destined for a miserable life even if they do survive the lousy conditions they're kept in.
Bea, who was deeply affected by PETA's undercover investigation of a PetSmart store in Scottsdale where scores of small hamsters, birds, and other animals were left to suffer and die, has written to PetSmart CEO Philip L. Francis urging him to permanently end the sale of live animals in his stores. As she puts it in her letter,
“This was a store that, according to one of your executives, has ‘an outstanding pet care team and an exceptional pet care record. But PETA’s findings show a sad and different story. . . . I look forward to the day when you stop selling live animals. Until then, I cannot in good conscience shop at PetSmart, and neither can my friends or family.”
You can check out her letter here, and the investigation that she's referring to is below. Thank you, Bea Arthur. You rule.
I am very, very excited about the fact that it's finally summertime and, by extension, barbeque season. My roommate and I kicked off the season a couple of weeks ago with a Memorial Day barbeque to end all Memorial Day barbeques—Boca burgers, chick'n patties, grilled portabella mushrooms, vegan potato salad, veggie bratwurst, veggie dogs, and pretty much every other fake meat you can think of. Doubtless inspired by our legendary cookout, the folks in PETA's Vegan Campaigns Department have cooked up a little BBQ recipe contest of their own, with a sweet-ass portable grill as first prize and some other cool stuff, including a cookbook and some barbeque sauces, for the runners-up.
Anyway, if, like me, you have an unbeatable vegetarian recipe for a summertime barbeque, you should enter that bad boy here—the winners will be featured on VegCooking.com and PETA.org, so even if the portable grill isn't enough of an incentive for you, you may enjoy that opportunity for instant Internet celebrity. Also, if you have any cool vegan BBQ recipes that you'd like to share, feel free to post them. Barbeque king though I may be, I'm not above learning something new every now and then.
In a bizarre move for a network that prides itself on shocking viewers, Fox Television’s New York affiliate has banned a paid PETA ad—narrated by Ocean’s 13 star Casey Affleck—despite the fact that the ad has been accepted to run on other networks in Los Angeles and in Affleck’s hometown of Boston. We wanted to run the ad during none other than Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen in a bid to show his viewers what happens to animals before they’re turned into ingredients in his kitchen.
Remember when this version of the ad was rejected a couple of months ago for being too graphic? Well, since then, we’ve toned down the factory farm and slaughter scenes in a big way, which worked in LA and Boston. Could the Fox rejection in New York have anything to do with this PETA UK protest of Ramsay’s promotion of horse meat?
Hey, I say if the animal-hating Ramsay gets an hour to promote ways to slice and dice animals, viewers deserve at least 30 seconds of the animals’ side of the story. Here’s the toned down version so you can judge for yourself . . .
And on a lighter note, yes, I will be first in line for the 9 o’clock showing of Ocean’s 13 tonight . . .
OK, so it’s no secret how I feel about hunting.
But I just couldn’t resist this one. It seems that from the start, hunters have had trouble not shooting each other with their weapons . . . could it be that this was the world’s first hunting accident?
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.