Winter Wildlife

One of the things I like about being on the rural side of Colorado is the frequent wildlife sightings. Bunnies and jackrabbits are common. On our property, we’ve also seen coyotes, deer, elk, a badger(!), a bear (alas, only my wife saw that one), prairie dogs, eagles (both Golden and Bald), vultures, foxes, and while we didn’t see the animal, we’ve found mountain lion tracks here.

Continue ReadingWinter Wildlife

Originally posted 18 February 2013

Bear Country Update

An update on the Bear Story from a couple of weeks ago.

Now that Donna, the woman who was feeding them, is dead, sure enough: more bears are now invading town, breaking into houses far more than before to try to find food — Donna isn’t there to feed them, and what they now know is humans = food. Winter is coming, and they need to fatten up for hibernation; they’re ravenous. Last week another of my friends had her place broken into; she has two teen daughters; one was home at the time, and came face to face with the unafraid bear.

Continue ReadingBear Country Update

Originally posted 24 August 2009

Bear Country

A few comments about this week’s lead story. If the location sounds somehow familiar, it’s because that’s where I live. Ouray County is pretty big (550 square miles), but is otherwise pretty small (around 4,100 people). And since I’m a volunteer with both our EMS agency and (occasionally) the local sheriff’s office, I was quite aware of this event while it was happening. (I’m happy to say it wasn’t in my response area, so I didn’t have to go.)

Continue ReadingBear Country

Originally posted 10 August 2009

The Truth about PETA

Does PETA protect and nurture the animals placed in its care? Find out — this story is from True‘s 17 July 2005 issue.

(Letters and more commentary have been added to the very end of this page. Go there.)

“Ethical” Defined

After more than 100 dead dogs were dumped in a trash dumpster over four weeks, police in Ahoskie, N.C., kept an eye on the trash receptacle behind a supermarket. Sure enough, a van drove up and officers watched the occupants throw in heavy plastic bags. They detained the two people in the van and found 18 dead dogs in plastic bags in the dumpster, including puppies; 13 more dead dogs were still in the van. Police say the van is registered to the headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the two occupants, Andrew B. Cook, 24, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, identified themselves as PETA employees. An autopsy performed on one of the dogs found it was healthy before it was killed. Police say PETA has been picking up the animals — alive — from North Carolina animal shelters, promising to find them good homes. Cook and Hinkle have been charged with 62 felony counts of animal cruelty. In response to the arrests PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said it’s against the group’s policy for employees to dump animals in the trash, but “that for some animals in North Carolina, there is no kinder option than euthanasia.” (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald) …Oops, my mistake: that’s “Playing God” Defined.

Continue ReadingThe Truth about PETA

Originally posted 25 July 2008

PETA’s Reply

An official spokeswoman from PETA headquarters responded to the PETA page, which contains my story, a brief editorial, and some interaction with readers. The response is specifically replying to that page, not simply the story itself, yet she didn’t really address the most important points that were brought up on that page. Here it is, unedited and in its entirety. My response follows.

Wed, 10 Aug 2005 10:57:11
Dear Mr. Cassingham:

The two individuals mentioned in your editorial The Truth About PETA, (7/17/05) are compassionate people. Ms. Hinkle has helped countless animals, delivering free houses to dogs left out in the cold without shelter, providing free veterinary care, and even helping to build the first cat shelter in Bertie County, N.C.

PETA has no magic wand to place the droves of unwanted animals in loving homes. But we have prevented suffering by providing euthanasia services because before we did so, animals were shot with a .22, gassed in a windowless metal box, and injected with a paralytic agent that left them to suffocate, fully conscious as their organs seized up. We have also found homes for many animals, sterilized others free of charge, cleaned the shelters, sent wardens to training programs, and worked with local veterinarians. At the same time, we have pressed the counties to implement a spay/neuter program and an adoption program, to open during evening hours, and more, but so far this has not happened.

Please, if you would like to help stop animal killings, stay away from pet shops, adopt from your local shelter, spay or neuter, and never abandon animals when they become inconvenient. Readers can visit to learn how else to help.

Daphna Nachminovitch, Director
Domestic Animals and Wildlife Rescue & Information
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Continue ReadingPETA’s Reply

Originally posted 15 August 2005

PETA: Pretend Ethics Totally Abused

I challenged the several PETA defenders who complained about my story and/or editorial (which is on the main PETA story page) to try to justify PETA’s actions. Which fact(s) did they dispute? What is their source for “more correct” data? And how can anyone justify throwing dead animals in the garbage? I noted that no one replied with answers to those questions.

Reader Thomas in Pennsylvania took up the challenge. This is the full exchange I had with him, unedited (even if I see typos as I review it now) except of course for HTML coding for display here. Thomas’s portion is indented and in blue; my replies are not.

Continue ReadingPETA: Pretend Ethics Totally Abused

Originally posted 1 August 2005

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