Cruelty to animals in Marion County

So you’ve done it–

the following is from the Marion County Animal Services website–“MCAS has temporarily suspended intake of all owner-surrendered animals. We ask the public to find alternatives to surrendering their pets. Seek assistance from friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, church members, and any pet lover you know. Other animal agencies may be able to provide support and guidance”.

All stray and homeless animals–you are on your own.  The county no longer cares what happens to you.  What a cruel, heartless means of making animal intake and euthanasia numbers look better for the politicians.  And the clueless media and feckless animal organizations all support this classic example of human perfidy.  There are times I am ashamed to be  a member of the human race.  This is one such time.

As stated before–Only solution is long term: education, spay/neuter efforts, tnr for cats, better shelters, better adoption efforts, real humane education in schools (not reading to kittens), targeting those communities that breed dogs for aggression and fighting, breeder license and fees.

This will take time, as it requires changes to human behavior  There are no quick fixes.

Please forgive us.


Human perfidy (yes, I know, I repeat myself) on display again. As I loaded my groceries into my car at Sam’s I heard the sound of barking dogs from another car. Turns out there were two standard poodles left in a car with the front window slightly cracked open—this on a day where the temperature hit 87. I finished loading my groceries and watched as numerous shoppers and store employees passed by the car, totally ignoring the barking dogs inside. Finally I went back inside the store and asked the staff to page the owner to come and rescue his/her dogs before they baked.

Leaving dogs alone in the car in the Florida heat is a disgraceful act, but I am more disturbed by the utter failure of any bystander or store employee to do anything. This is not acceptable. Come on, people, dogs (and kids) can bake in no time in a hot car. If you see dogs or kids left in a car in the sun, report this circumstance asap to someone who can do something about it. And Sam’s employees—you are out in the parking lots all day long—for goodness sake when you see dogs left to bake in a car report it to the manager and get something done.

Own the problem and solve it—that’s what a reverence for life is all about.

Reverentia vitae!

A cautionary tail, er tale!

In an extraordinary decision, a jury in Marion County recently found a man not guilty of animal cruelty. The basic facts are not in dispute. The defendant amputated the tails of five one-month old kittens who belonged to another person. The law is also not in dispute. Florida statute 828.12 states:” A person who…unnecessarily mutilates..any animal… commits animal cruelty” .

I am hard pressed to view tail amputation in this instance as anything other than unnecessary mutilation. Indeed, a website hosted by a DVM who specializes in cats provides the following information:” The tail is an important part of the feline anatomy and is actually an extension of the spine. The bones of the tail (vertebrae) are bigger at the base and get smaller toward the tip. Soft discs cushion the spaces between the vertebrae and allow flexibility. The tail muscle and nerves facilitate tail movement and play a role in bowel control. This complex tail structure of bone, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels can easily be injured. “ Accordingly, save for a medical issue with a cat’s tail that should always be addressed by a licensed vet, the amputation in question certainly appears to meet the definition of cruelty to animals. On what basis, then, did the jury return a verdict of not guilty?

Only the jurors themselves can answer that question, of course, so in the absence of their clarifying statements we are left with conjecture. Here’s my guess—the jurors, similar to the defendant, are adherents of and acculturated to the philosophy of animal welfarism. That philosophy is simple and prevalent: animals are here for human use and amusement, and humans are obligated to treat animals only as humanely as is convenient to us. So if in my culture we always amputate tails of cats (as the defendant’s sister testified), and I poured Iodine in their open wounds (don’t try this at home!), that is acting humanely. After all, they’re only cats!

Let’s give the jury the benefit of the doubt and opine that, had the defendant cut off the ears or noses of the cats, or gouged out their eyes, or amputated their legs, the decision would have been different. Let’s hope so! Here’s the problem. Once you admit and allow any unnecessary harm as being humane, there is no stopping point. What is needed is a philosophy that not only prescribes any unnecessary harm to any animal, but one that pushes humans to cherish the lives of all animals, enhancing lives and avoiding harm at all costs. We need a philosophy that recognizes the worth and integrity of all life, that views all life as a miracle and that seeks to alleviate suffering and want wherever possible.

This philosophy is Schweitzer’s reverence for life, best articulated as:

“A man is ethical, only where life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellowmen, and where he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”

Animals, especially domesticated animals that humans have caused to be bred, must be viewed as precious lives with a right to be here, with a right to expect human stewardship of their existence. We humans must alter our view of animals to one where we use our intelligence and organizational capacity to make animal lives, all lives, better, to enhance and promote life, and to work to alleviate and eliminate suffering wherever possible.

It is too late for the jury to overturn its verdict, and for the defendant, what’s done is done. The only thing left is to examine what happened and learn from it. Any culture that acquiesces in the slightest harm to animals must be modified, as that acquiescence inevitably leads to an acceptance of greater harm to animals as being the permissible norm. We see this today in our state where animals are bred for human caprice, often illegal, mistreated and then cast aside or killed when they no longer serve a human purpose.

From this day forward, may the jurors and defendant, may all of us view all harm to animals as something to be avoided at all costs, and may everyone, by the adoption of a reverence for life as an ethos, seek to remediate harm to animals and through our words and deeds help prevent future pain to innocent creatures. Their lives are in our hands—may we seek to serve them with compassion rather than subject them to brutality. The needless suffering of any creature diminishes me, for I am involved with life. Therefore never ask for whom the bell of accountability tolls, as it tolls for us all.

Ocala teacher drowns racoons, other animals

Florida–humane education is needed now!

Two Florida statues, 233.061 and 233.09, mandate that humane education be taught in public schools.  If the below story is true it makes a mockery out of any notion that this is being taken seriously.  Humane education does not include such puerile pastimes as reading to puppies or show and tell with the classroom fish.  Humane education entails a hard, built-in  curriculum where a reverence for animal life, all life is taught and reinforced.  It means teaching that humans are to be stewards of all animals, caring for them with compassion and concern.  It means teaching that humans, due to our intellectual and organizational capabilities, have a responsibility to use those capabilities to enhance and promote life.  As regards animals, just once, it would be so refreshing to see a Florida governmental entity choose the harder right (practicing stewardship) over the easier wrong (slaughtering any animal that incommodes us) Florida take heed! The time is now!!

There are no quick fixes for our animal problems

Sat in on a briefing for animal shelter managers.  Thesis: if shelters decrease the animals they take in and increase the animals they adopt out, soon they will show a reduction in number of intakes and euthanasia.  Well, duh.

To implement this idea shelters will argue with each person bringing an animal to drop off, asking that person why s/he can’t take/foster the animal at home.  At the other end, shelter managers will open the floodgates, adopting out any animal to anyone who wants it, no questions asked.

What will happen is simple: people will stop dropping animals off (too hard) and the bad people (yes they exist) will adopt animals, as the restrictions on adoption have been lessened.

This is just a numbers game for shelters and governments to look good.  Problem—if it succeeds it will undermine arguments for shelters and give governments cause to reduce/cancel spending on animals.

Only solution is long term: education, spay/neuter efforts, tnr for cats, better shelters, better adoption efforts, real humane education in schools (not reading to kittens), targeting those communities that breed dogs for aggression and fighting, breeder license and fees.

This will take time, as it requires changes to human behavior  There are no quick fixes.

Senior Citizens–please provide for your pets!!!!!

To our elderly—Provide for your pets!

Recently in a neighboring county a tragic situation played out.  An elderly lady with several pets was admitted to a hospice.  She left written instructions for a local animal rescue group to enter her home and care for her cats and dogs in her absence, and the rescue did just that, acting beyond the call of duty to treat animals who were flea infested, undernourished, lacking proper vaccinations and other medications, etc.

The lady passed intestate, and with her death the effectiveness of her written instructions ceased.  The animals became part of the estate process, meaning an executor (personal representative) was appointed to oversee the process.

Sadly, in my view and the view of the rescue, some animals were sent to other rescues not equipped to deal with animals in their dire conditions, and some did not make it.

Brevity requires that I focus on two obvious lessons:

1. Be certain your elderly friends/relatives/family have a will and/or trust in which they explicitly set forth guidance regarding the care of their surviving animals; and
2. Towns and counties must have a plan in place to deal with what is becoming more common; namely, elderly people pass and there is no one to care for their animals.   

Levy County Animal Services (LCAS)

Fofta helping with the following items:

  • Monthly assistance with medication, vaccines, tests, and microchips;
  • Purchase of Coolaroo beds for dogs housed at eh LCAS facility—helps keep the dogs off the floor and dry and cool.
  • A new washer and dryer as LCAS literally does lads of laundry each day; and
  • Surgical instrument packs for the feral cat trap/neuter/release program.


Williston Animal Shelter

Williston Animal Shelter

First $25K in the books!  Fofta proud to be a sponsor and donor to the new Williston Animal Shelter.  This will be a shelter designed to foster love and compassion to any animal housed there.  Every domesticated animal deserves a chance at a good life in an environment with loving humans , and I know all of us involved will do their damnedest to adopt out as many animals as we can.  May we indeed share the blessings of the merciful. Fofta will also match fund raising up to a certain amount and has helped purchase the blueprints for the new shelter.

So glad to be able to help Levy County

So glad the Foundation could help Levy County.

Our new dental instruments just came in a couple days ago and we used them today to pull a baby tooth from a little dog. That will save him from having to go under anesthesia or have misaligned teeth later on. Thanks so much for your help in getting these!

It’s a small thing, but any act that can prolong the life and relieve the suffering of any creature is worth it.  So privileged to be able to help.  After all–“A man is ethical, only where life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”