Suspect Arrested In High Profile Dog Killing

A little over a year ago the case of Leo the dog was everywhere. You probably remember it — a woman claimed that she had gotten in a minor fender bender with a man in California. The man got out and began arguing with her and suddenly grabbed her bichon frise and threw it into oncoming traffic.

I have to admit that after seeing interviews with the woman and contradictory media reports about witnesses to the event I was convinced the whole thing was a hoax. The BBC reports, however, that a man is about to be charged with the crime. It reports that Andrew Burnett, 27, who was already in jail on other charges, is going to be charged with the killing today.

If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison for the crime on top of whatever he’s facing for theft and weapons charges. If Burnett is the person responsible, hopefully he’ll get the maximum three years for his actions.


Road-rage dog killing suspect charged. The BBC, April 13, 2001.

Please Don't Feed the Activists

Eric Dezenhall and Nick Nichols, founders of crises management company Nichols-Dezenhall, have a message for companies faced with attacks by animal rights extremists: stop feeding the activists.

Dezenhall, who served in the White House Office of Communications during the Reagan presidency, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Post on the folly of attempting to appease activists. Dezenhall notes that in August 2000, McDonald’s tried to appease People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by agreeing to change the process by which it buys eggs from farmers. PETA went away for awhile, but not very long. Now it is threatening to start its anti-McDonald’s campaign again if McDonald’s doesn’t make changes to the way its suppliers treat pigs, chickens and cows. Dezenhall wrote,

Too many corporations are heeding the advice of public relations capitulation counselors and are going to extraordinary lengths to please attackers who do not want to be pleased. In the end, appeasement usually fails to stop attacks. It simply encourages new ones.

Nichols echoed this sentiment in a speech to pork producers. Nichols emphasized that farmers and corporations who come under attack from animal activists need to stop treating the attacks as public relations disasters which require immediate damage control and treat them as crises which “require crisis management.”

As Feedstuffs described Nichols speech,

Acivitsts and Luddites get notoriety [for their attacks on companies], which leads to contributions and funding, and get to push their agenda, he said; reporters get to write about controversy, lawyers get clients and contingency fees, legislators get to legislate and regulators get to regulate.

“And you get destroyed,” he said.

Nichols solution — don’t feed the activists. “To survive in any situation,” Nichols said, “don’t look like food. …you start to look like food when you don’t fight back but engage in appeasement and let the vindicators divide [and industry.]”

Nichols recommends giving the activists a dose of their own medicine including “protests against the protestors.” Dezenhall echoed this in his op-ed piece writing, “Without exception, corporations must obey the law and never engage in the illegal tactics of some of their attackers. But there is no reason for corporations to fear a good counterattack if they tell the truth and use legal means. In fact, corporations perform a public service when they make people aware that attackers are advocating costly, unrealistic and harmful positions.”


Appeasing extremists brings no peace. Eric Dezenhall, NYPost.Com, March 30, 2001.

Agriculture told to fight on activists’ ground using ‘attack technologies’ or face destruction. Rod Smith, Feedstuffs, March 26, 2001.

The Craziest Animal Rights Quote I've Seen in Awhile

Just to illustrate how
seriously some animal rights activists take their admonition to give equal
consideration to animal interests, an activist posted a note to an animal
rights email list a few weeks ago angry at C-SPAN’s excellent morning

Was the activist angry at some positive coverage of the animal industry,
or perhaps its highlighting of an advance in medical research? Nope, according
to the activist, “The C-SPAN morning show has come under criticism
for requiring a daily newspaper headline, requiring participants to be
involved in the hundreds of millions of trees, birds, squirrels, etc.
killed annually for newsprint.” Wow. Now if we could just get the
activists to understand that millions of birds, squirrels, etc., are also
killed producing the vegetables they consider to be cruelty-free we’d
be getting somewhere.

Insect Rights?

Still don’t think that animal rights philosophy puts one on the slippery slope
to granting rights to just about everything that moves? Then check out
Joanne E. Lauck and Brian L. Crissey’s The Voice of the Infinite in
the Small : Revisioning the Insect-Human Connection
. This little ditty
attempts to smash the myths in Western culture about insects and seeks
to find a new more compassionate and positive relationship between humans
and insects. As one reviewer summed up Lauck’s vision:

The Voice of the Infinite in the Small is an invitation
to experience Oneness, not only with those creatures we find beautiful,
but with those that invoke our deepest fears. Once we experience that
unity, Lauck explains, our sense of self will expand and we will be able
to rediscover ourselves as part of every ecosystem and every creature
on Earth. Then we may dare to ask what part of ourselves is that we hate
and seek to eradicate? [when we, for example, try to kill pests that attack

Soon I imagine we will see groups raiding the folks who make bug zappers.

Cornell activists burn effigy of Animal Welfare Committee chairman

Nine animal rights activists at
Cornell University were recently arrested for trespassing during a demonstration
outside a biology laboratory. A press release by two of the activists
said one of the arrested students is being charged with harassment, “a
charge which violated a restraining order placed on him by the campus
Judicial Administrator after an effigy-torching of the Animal Welfare
Committee chairman last week.”

This is what animal rights activists
must mean when they talk about having compassion for all living creatures.
What is more reprehensible is that, according to the justifications offered
by some activists in favor of “direct action,” this isn’t
really violence because, as in raids on laboratories and fur farms,
all that is being destroyed is property.

Sure, and when the KKK burns a
cross on some black family’s lawn or paints swastikas on a synagogue,
all they’re really doing is harming property in a peaceful, non-violent


Activists attempt to view animal mutilation. Cornell Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, November 2, 1998.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Commends Chinatown Merchants

A few weeks go, I reported
on animal rights activists who took Chinatown merchants to court to stop
live animal sales in local markets. Activists have been trying for years
to shut down the sale of live animals in Chinatown, but once again met
with defeat as a judge ruled that people have a right to sell live animals
for food. The merchants separately agreed to work with a local humane
society to monitor treatment of the animals.

At its August 10 meeting the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors took a swipe at animal rights activists
by interrupting their regular meeting to present the Chinatown merchants
with a commendation. Being that it’s an election year, the supervisors
scrambled to get their pictures taken with the merchants.


Board action spurns animal rights activists. Rachel Gordon, San Francisco Examiner, August 11, 1998.