Thursday, December 11, 2008


109th Annual Christmas Bird Count 
The city is for the birds. Nearly 8,000 birds of 57 species were spotted by binocular-toting bird lovers in 2008 - the highest number in four years.  This year, bird lovers from amateur to serious hobbyists from across the city can help tally the bird count, which will be added to a national database.  The tradition was started in 1990 by ornithologist Frank Chapman. The Central Park Bird Count will take place on Sunday, December 14, at 8 a.m., at the Pump Station at 85th and Fifth Ave.  For info on other boroughs go to

A Hawk and Its Prey Visit a NY Times reporter's Harlem Home.

Humane Education in NYC Schools
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, New York City Council is expected to vote on
Resolution 497, which is aimed at increasing compliance with New York's Humane Education law.  The League of Humane Voters of NYC is expected to hold a press conference in the steps of City Hall on Tuesday at noon, and is urging the public to come and speak out in favor of the important legislation.  The law, enacted in 1947, has not been enforced, and few educators even know about it.  Here's a story I wrote last year on humane education.  For info go to

ASPCA Mobile CSI Unit Turns One
The state-of-the-art “Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit” was hard at work yesterday, assisting in the raid of a major dogfighting operation in North Carolina.

The raid of “Wildside Kennels,” an alleged dogfighting operation in McGrady, N.C., was a result of a three-year investigation by the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, the Wilkes County Animal Control Agency, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  Authorities found suspected dogfighting paraphernalia on the property and seized 127 dogs—several of which had scars consistent with dogfighting. Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA, was on-site with the Mobile Unit, assisting with the raid and evaluating the seized dogs for evidence of animal fighting.

A man alleged to be the owner of the operation, and two others, were arrested. Each was charged with one count of felony dogfighting and baiting; additional charges are pending. The alleged owner of the operation, Ed Faron, was previously convicted of dogfighting and is reportedly one of the 10 most influential figures in the underground dogfighting circuit. It is a felony in North Carolina to possess a dog for the purpose of dogfighting. Those involved in illegal dogfighting can receive up to 10 months in prison.

The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal CSI Unit – a specially-designed vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art forensics tools as well as medical equipment tailored for animal patients – was unveiled exactly one year ago today on December 11, 2007 in New York City. A “forensics first,” the “Animal CSI” vehicle was created to significantly advance the prosecution of animal cruelty and help strengthen cases against offenders by incorporating the emerging field of veterinary forensics in crime scene investigations. Yesterday’s raid also took place on the one-year anniversary of Michael Vick’s sentencing in a federal dogfighting case.

Santa Helps Adopted Pups at Rockefeller Center
Gaggles of adoptable pups from NYC Animal Care & Control Shelter got a nod from Santa yesterday, as they posed together at Rockefeller Center.   The event kicked off a month-long awareness and holiday drive for NYC's neediest animals.  For information on how to pitch in to help the city's shelter animals go to or  

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