Bully

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/clerk-in-wellston-who-aired-live-facebook-video-of-dying/article_59920ec7-5a70-523a-aaf2-8171a1ec43a6.html

Kashina Harper, a store clerk in St Louis, MO, hit live on facebook when an officer was shot in the store. She has since received death threats and vile comments, even after the video was removed. She later apologized and said she was not sure why she posted the video. The video did show her trying to comfort the officer and call for help.

Although posting the video of the aftermath of the shooting was perhaps in questionable judgment, I can imagine why she may have done it. First, with all the distrust of police in the black community, having a record of events is probably a commonly-accepted practice. In this case, however, the officer acted appropriately but was shot and killed.

Second, taking video seems to be the first thought at most activities today. Go to a concert, restaurant, or any public event. Then tag yourself, your pictures and video on social media.

I feel empathy for Ms. Harper after experiencing a similar albeit on a smaller scale level of online bullying after I opposed Mike Vick’s appearance at a recent football camp. I was called racist, told to die and many other unpleasant things.

With all the pressing issues today, from kids being kept in cramped, dirty, lice-infested camps without adult supervision to the environment being destroyed by regulation rollbacks, do people have nothing better to do than harass others online?

What possesses people to think that because they are typing behind a screen rather that interacting directly, they have the right to speak to a stranger as if they’re subhuman? How did this become acceptable enough that people behave this way and don’t give it a second thought? Is it technology? Is it the current political climate and leadership? I don’t know the answers, but I know it’s not acceptable. Maybe Melania Trump should focus her Be Best non-bullying program on adults rather than children.

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Mila Part Deux

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When I was in my mid-20s, I was visiting my cousin’s apartment with my sister and baby niece.  Her roommate’s pit bull had just had puppies.  Having only known what the media said about pit bulls, I was terrified to let my niece loose in the apartment.  I held her on my lap in a chair, fighting her efforts to free herself to see the doggies.  She got loose and reached one of the puppies before I reached her.  “Doggy,” she said, laughing and petting it.  The mom looked at her.  Then she licked her.

In the years since, I’ve volunteered in shelters, transported and met lots of nice pits and many other dogs.   I never owned a pit until meeting foster failure Mila a few years ago though.  Well actually, she’s only 25% American Staffordshire Terrier.  She’s also 12.5% Boxer, 12.5% Heeler, and 50% Asian groups, whatever they may be.  Nonetheless, she’s come to represent Dog to me in a way not even Broadway, my previous “favorite” dog of all time, did.  Her licks, farts and stupid faces are some of my favorite things in the world.  I love my son, husband and family, but I’d probably miss her absence more than most people’s.  Even though she’s only 3 1/2, I’m already dreading the day she won’t be there anymore.

I say all of the above to explain how annoyed and sad I feel when people say they would never have a “pit bull.”  Although pit bull isn’t actually a breed designation, most people know what’s meant by the term:  big, blocky head and muscular, compact body.  What some may not know is that one that is of sound temperament is generally fiercely loyal, protective and goofy.  Although there are many exceptions, they tend to not do great with cats or other small prey animals, and some may be dog-selective, depending on socialization.  Typically they love their human families tremendously.  Any time there is a publicized dog bite, it seems if the breed involved is any other than a pit, the headline says “Dog bite” if anything.  If it involves a pit, it’s something more along the lines of “Pit Bull Attack”

No wonder some people who haven’t been around them are wary.  I’m just glad I got to know one.  Since I’m not in an area encumbered by ridiculous breed bans,  I’m sure she’ll be the first of many.  Although, no other dog could lick or fart just like she does, I know there will be many more in need with that familiar fat head and meaty thighs just waiting to be patted.

By the way my niece still loves pitties.

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13 Reasons Why Animal Abusers Suck

ADB2A866-E1F5-4E63-BCDB-75B3A4CD394E13 Reasons Why Animal Abusers Suck

I recently started binge watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. I was also recently attacked on social media by dogfighter and cockfighting supporters for taking stances against animal abuse. How are those two things related?

Our organization KVFA spoke out against cockfighting. Cockfighters came out of their caves in droves to attack and report us.

We also recently planned a protest of Michael Vick camps in KY. The school systems uninvited him to their campuses, and the camps were moved from public properties charging $100+ per kid to a free camp at a Louisville church. We ultimately decided, after that change and after receiving threats from his defenders, not to protest that event. More info: https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article229865254.html

So what do these happenings have to do with a TV show about a bullied teenage girl who committed suicide? I have been called a libtard, Trump supporter (LOL), racist, “dick-rider”(had to look that one up) and more. Others and I have tried to respond to criticism with kindness and facts, mostly to no avail.

I can’t imagine being a teenager in school having to cope with a constant barrage of attacks. We wonder why bullying, depression and even school shootings happen with our youth, when there are grown a*s people acting like children.

Maybe, instead of wringing our hands and calling for teachers to start packing the next time there’s a school shooting, everyone of us should concentrate more on treating others with respect and setting a good example for kids.

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Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook, Zuckerberg, etc-

I was blocked from Facebook for 24 hours today. What was the horrible violation I committed, you might ask? Did I make racist, homophobic, obscene remarks? No, I did not. I shared comments made by cockfighters on an animal advocacy page. Another advocate reported a cockfighter’s profane comment on the post. Did your crack report investigation team just delete his comment? No, they removed my post and blocked me.

Several months ago I shared comments from someone who ran over a dog and gladly left it. My post was removed. However most of the time when I report animals for sale, a clear violation of FB policy, the posts remain.

Is there something you’re not telling us? Despite your cool California roots, is Facebook actually a pro-animal fighting and abuse site? Or are your employees just inept and lacking in critical reading skills? No wonder the Russian bots found it so easy to operate there. Whichever the case, if you want to present as a socially responsible company, methinks you need to do some re-vamping!

Sincerely,

A Pissed Off Animal Advocate

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Florence & Farmers

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/wild-horses-alligators-and-octopuses-animals-across-the-carolinas-brave-tropical-storm-florence/ar-BBNnD0h?li=AA4ZnC

Many of you may have seen pictures and articles of farm animals floating dead in N.C. floodwaters. While I hate factory farming, I’m afraid those pictures don’t tell the full story of most small farmers. I have seen animal advocates question how farmers could leave their animals in danger. Having grown up on a farm, I can tell you it’s not really feasible to move even forty cows unlesss you have multiple trailers and a place to move them to.

My dad has a rare degenerative neurological disease. He is pretty much bed-ridden at this point and has bouts with dementia. However, the only thing that gets him up most days is taking a ride to check on his cattle. When he occasionally hallucinates, it’s not about flashbacks from Vietnam. It’s him wanting us to move a tractor or do something with a cow and calf.

I admire people who have the fortitude to act on their beliefs and be vegetarian and I hope some alternative can be found to factory farming. I just felt the need to speak from the “other side” for a bit.

 

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Mila

Mila is a pretty spoiled, pampered pup now, but she didn’t have an easy start in life. At six months old, she found herself in a high-kill rural animal shelter in KY. Being in a shelter is hard for any dog, but it can especially be a death sentence for pitty-type breeds, which have been maligned in the press for years despite scoring as well or better in temperament tests as other breeds.

Some kind people, enamored by the little pit’s pretty face and sweet personality, shared her picture on facebook in the hopes of saving her. Having done a little animal rescue work, I came across her post. I scrolled on, but I couldn’t get her picture out of my mind. I shared her post to try to find a rescue that could take her. Her time grew shorter. One day she was moved to the top of the “list.” I drove two and a half hours each way after work that day to get her. I was determined to find a rescue for her. Having two dogs and getting ready to leave for vacation, I knew I couldn’t keep her. A kind lady agreed to foster her short-term while we continued to try to find a rescue for her.

While I was on vacation with my family, she stayed at the vet getting checked out, vaccinated and spayed. When we returned from vacation, my husband picked her up from the vet while I was running errands and preparing to take her to meet her foster the next day. I called home to see if everything had gone ok with her pick up. “Yes,” my husband said, “but she’s not going anywhere.”

That was almost two years ago. Today Mila is a much-loved member of the family and a great ambassador for her breed. The first photo above was her in the shelter. Others are her at home.

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Kiss My Tax!

Not only did the Kentucky General Assembly not pass any animal welfare bills this session, they also passed a tax bill which includes a provision to tax small animal veterinary, boarding and grooming services, thereby penalizing responsible pet owners. Their actions and lack thereof will leave Kentucky with the dubious distinction of the worst state for animal laws for the 12th year in a row, as deigned by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Despite good animal bills on pets in hot cars (SB 8), animal sexual abuse (SB 239), preventing early release of domestic/animal abusers (HB 447) and service animals (HB 442) being filed by Sen. Danny Carroll, Sen. Paul Hornback, Rep. Walker Thomas and Rep. Sannie Overly respectively, none of the bills passed. All but one, SB 8, never even got a hearing in committee. SB 8 passed the Senate. However, when it was sent to the House, it was inexplicably re-assigned from the Judiciary Committee to the Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Committee, chaired by Tommy Turner, a known Kentucky Houndsman. The Kentucky Houndsmen Association and Kentucky Farm Bureau are two organizations that oppose animal bills each session.  SB 239 was assigned to the sponsor’s Agriculture Committee, but he failed to call it for a vote.

To add insult to injury, the Republican-controlled House and Senate then passed a tax bill which, in addition to cutting taxes for the top 5%, will tax services, including lawn care, linen cleaning, auto repairs and yes, small animal veterinary, boarding and grooming services. Note that large animal veterinary services are not included in the tax plan. Presumably the legislature did not want to draw the ire of farmers, including wealthy horse farm owners. These arbitrary taxes will harm animals and will harm low and middle class Kentuckians. Constituents can call the Governor at 502-564-2611 to ask him to line-item veto the pet taxes.

There is a bright side: The tax bill, along with a very unpopular pension bill that may harm teachers, has angered many Kentuckians. Kentucky voters need to review the voting record on these bills and vote for change in the May primaries and November general elections.

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Black Panther

I saw Black Panther with my son, niece, nephew, cousin, & friend last night. Three of them are black or Hispanic. The movie was good, with a solid plot and beautiful scenery, for a superhero movie.

I couldn’t help but notice that no one in the movie looked like me, and I’m ok with that. Unless you’re black, Asian or a white man, no one in the movie looks like you either. I could of course still identify with the characters, and I got a taste of what it’s been like for minorities to see movies with basically all-while casts.

Although action movies like Blade and Zorro have featured women, black, Latino & other leads, this is groundbreaking. Wonder Woman and Black Panther are the first Marvel movies that feature leads that aren’t white guys. They have also both been immensely successful.

I give the movie two thumbs up. Judging by the way all the kids were practicing their movie fighting moves afterward, they liked it too!

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legislative roundup 18

With Ky remaining the worst state for animal laws and the deadline for bill filing approaching in the legislature, here are some bills for Kentuckians to watch and ask legislators to support at 1-800-372-7181:

SB 8- This bill would exempt Good Samaritans who broke a dog or cat from a hot car from liability after taking certain measures. This bill passed easily in the Senate but has stalled in house committee.

HB 442- This one is a reparative bill which would correct the exclusion of service animals for people with disabilities from the felony service animal assault law. It would include all legitimate service animals in the law’s protections.

HB 447- This bill would prevent early release of those convicted of animal torture if that torture was used in intimidating someone in a domestic violence situation.

It is hoped that an animal sexual assault bill is still forthcoming. Updates will be posted. Thanks!

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#notmetoo

So, my dad’s sick in the hospital, & my son’s failing classes in school.  I suppose it’s distraction, but what can I not get out of my head?  With the recent #metoo campaign, it seems the majority of my female acquaintances have faced some form of sexual assault or harassment. I feel the utmost sympathy for them.  However, I can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong with me because I haven’t.

Unless you count the occasional honk from a trucker or passing motorist or the one-time groping in a bar years ago, I can’t think of a single time I’ve been harassed in any way.  Perhaps I’m just lucky.  Or maybe I am less attractive than average.  I don’t know.  Granted, I work in a female-dominated helping field, and my supervisors for the last twenty plus years have either been female or gay, so maybe that’s some explanation.

What I think also bothers me about this is the fact that, although I’m fairly progressive on most issues, I feel society is currently swinging the pendulum a little too far toward everyone feeling the need to be victimized or offended.  Rape and assault victims, as well as those who have faced harassment in the workplace, deserve great respect and support, and their attackers deserve punishment.  However, I was informed by some women that my being catcalled or touched did amount to harassment, and I was just too stupid to realize it.  Having lived independently to the grand age of forty-four, I think I’m capable of deciding whether or not I’ve been victimized.  Have I ever felt that what I was saying might be taken more seriously or given more weight if I were a man?  Yes.  Does that mean I want special treatment that would actually give me less power?  Hell no.

Women do make up the majority of victims of sexual assault and harassment, but we don’t have a corner on the market.  Since the Weinstein story broke, many young gay men have also come forward with similar stories about other movie and play producers.

Likewise, the current campus climate can be taken so far as to unfairly penalize men.  According to some colleges, if a girl and guy have a few drinks and have sex, it could be considered rape because the woman could not give consent.  I don’t know about anyone else, but if I, at 110 pounds, can have a drink and safely drive home with a BAC under the legal limit, I can certainly decide whether I want to have sex with someone or not.  I rarely agree with Betsy DeVos, who wants to leave special education to the states and arm schools to protect children against bears, but I think she makes some good points in this case.  Back in the day, if you slept with a guy and he didn’t call, you were screwed over and he was a dick, not a rapist.

Furthermore, I’ve often felt more judged by women than men.  I’ve had a neighbor woman comment to a relative about my choice of dress, or lack thereof,  as I was mowing my own yard.  A woman also commented that my boss in a previous job must enjoy the short skirt I had on.  Again, those comments were made by other women.

Maybe if everyone treated everyone else as human or living beings, there would be less need for sanctions or hashtag movements in the first place.  Until that happens, I guess I’ll just keep wondering if I should feel offended or lucky…

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