Kapparot: 9th Circuit argument Tuesday

What is kapparot?

The 13th-century scholar Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Aderet considered kapparot a “heathen superstition”.

Kapparot or kaparos, meaning “atonements,” is a custom in which a chicken or money may be used.  Kapparot using chickens is practiced by some Jews shortly before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

The ritual begins with selections from Isaiah 11:9, Psalms 107:10, 14, and 17-21, and Job 33:23-24 being recited.  Then a rooster (for a man) or a hen (for a woman) is held above the person’s head and swung in a circle three times, while the following is spoken: “This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace.” The chicken is then slaughtered and may or may not be given to the poor for food. Continue reading “Kapparot: 9th Circuit argument Tuesday”

Time for a national conversation about pit bulls by Ed Boks

Merritt and Beth Clifton

Is it time national animal welfare organizations rethink their position on pit bulls?

This is the recommendation of Beth Clifton, a former Miami Beach police officer, animal control officer, elementary school teacher, veterinary technician and wife of Animals 24-7 editor Merritt Clifton.

Animals 24-7 recently published Beth Clifton’s open letter to Matthew Bershadker, president of the ASPCA; Julie Castle, president of Best Friends Animal Society; and Kitty Block, president of HSUS.  Continue reading “Time for a national conversation about pit bulls by Ed Boks”

Is D.C. Cat Count really necessary? by Ed Boks

D.C. Cat Count includes hidden cameras to take photos of free roaming cats.

The New York Times reported today that the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart Charities and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is launching a $1.5 million, three-year plan to count all the stray, feral and pet cats living in Washington D.C.

The plan is called D.C. Cat Count; and it is a highly technological endeavor. As many as 60 camera traps will record images of outdoor cats. A smartphone app, (still in development), will allow anyone in D.C. to share pictures of feral and/or pet cats in an effort to build a comprehensive library of all the cats living in the District. Continue reading “Is D.C. Cat Count really necessary? by Ed Boks”

When it comes to pit bulls, how stupid are we? by Ed Boks

Collage by Beth Clifton

Every year, ANIMALS 24-7 conducts a national dog-breed survey.  The results of the 2018 survey were just released.  As interesting as the data collected by the survey are, I was particularly struck by a rather provocative proposition posed by Merritt Clifton, the editor/reporter of ANIMALS 24-7 and this survey.

Before exploring the thought provoking proposal, let’s set the stage:

The survey found that as of mid-June 2018, nearly 15% of all the dogs available for sale or adoption in the U.S. were pit bulls.  With that kind of market presence, one might conclude pit bulls are pretty popular in the U.S.  However, Mr. Clifton has another explanation. Continue reading “When it comes to pit bulls, how stupid are we? by Ed Boks”

Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks

Heather with her dog Poppy in downtown Seattle, Washington. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

I recently came across a  study published by Pet Behavior Science in 2016 that found:

  • Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems.
  • Even though lower body condition scores were found, only one dog was found to be underweight.
  • Behavior is not generally an issue in homeless peoples’ dogs

Continue reading “Dogs owned by homeless people are generally healthy with few behavior problems by Ed Boks”

The purpose of Mothers’ Day by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Mothers' Day
Julia Ward Howe: activist, writer, poet and author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic initiated Mothers’ Day as an anti-war effort

Mothers’ day was originally a day for women to change a prevailing paradigm: The idea of a official celebration of Mothers’ day in the US was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872.  An activist, writer and poet Julia rose to fame with her famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic“.

Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2nd be annually celebrated as Mothers’ Day and that it should be dedicated to peace.  She wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war in her famous Mothers’ Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870:

Continue reading “The purpose of Mothers’ Day by Ed Boks”

TNR is good public health policy by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and TNR
Managed feral cat colonies provide toxin free rodent and disease abatement.

During my tenure as executive director of Maricopa County’s Animal Care & Control (1998/2003), I prevailed upon the County Board of Supervisors, with the support of Public Health Director, Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, to proclaim Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) the County’s official methodology for humanely reducing feral cat populations.

In addition to reducing the killing in local animal shelters, another benefit to implementing TNR in our cities is that managed feral cat colonies serve as a toxin free rodent abatement program.  TNR ends the need for poison to control rodent populations and I think we can all agree that this better for our environment, our wildlife and our pets. Continue reading “TNR is good public health policy by Ed Boks”

Formula to end feral cat killing by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and feral cats
The formula to end the killing of feral cats works

It is commonly understood that any serious initiative to end shelter killing has to focus on ending the “supply side” of the surplus animal equation.  The only way to do that is to preemptively spay/neuter those animals most likely to “supply” (give birth to) animals most likely to die in animal shelters.We

The three categories of animals dying in the largest numbers in most shelters throughout the United States are feral cats, pit bulls/pit bull mixes, and Chihuahuas.

There are effective solutions for ending the killing of these populations; and those solutions begin and end with targeted spay/neuter programs.  In a previous blog I addressed the need for targeted spay/neuter programs for pit bulls.  In this blog, I focus on how to end the killing of feral and stray cats.    Continue reading “Formula to end feral cat killing by Ed Boks”

Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Tuscany
Tuscany, transitioned from a foster (recovering from being hit by a car) to a hospice foster (after she was diagnosed with cancer) to being adopted by a loving family.

How often do you get to say, “I saved a life today?” When you volunteer with the your local animal shelter that assertion can be a daily affirmation. That is especially true when you volunteer as a foster caregiver.  Every animal fostered back to health or to an adoptable status is a life saved. The ability of a local animal shelter to care for all the animals rescued depends on reliable foster volunteers willing and able to help. The more foster volunteers, the more lives saved.

Foster volunteers are typically caring people who do everything from bottle-feeding orphaned neonate babies around the clock to socializing little ones to ensure they are able to interact with both humans and animals to caring for an older animal recovery from an injury or surgery.  Foster volunteers provide care, safety and love. Continue reading “Did you save a life today? by Ed Boks”

Good news from IRS to volunteers by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Jan Van Dusen
Jan Van Dusen paved the way for volunteers to deduct unreimbursed expenses that further a rescue group’s mission, such as fostering homeless animals.

One of the best kept secrets to being an animal shelter volunteer is a 2011 U.S. Tax Court ruling.  The ruling brought some much-needed clarity to deducting unreimbursed expenses incurred by volunteers helping IRS-recognized charities like your local animal shelter or animal rescue organization.

The case involved Jan Van Dusen, who appeared before a U.S. Tax Court judge and a team of IRS lawyers regarding a tax deduction for taking care of 70 stray cats. Continue reading “Good news from IRS to volunteers by Ed Boks”