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Cheyenne Animal Shelter Rescues 58 “Giant” Dogs From Hoarder’s House; Expecting 10 More

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Photo by Cheyenne Animal Shelter
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A flood of “giant” dogs and a flock of 30 to 40 birds, the result of animals seized from a “hoarding” case, has inundated the Cheyenne Animal Shelter in recent days, a shelter spokeswoman told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

Shelter branding Director Niki Harrison told Cowboy State Daily that this week, 58 “giant” dogs and 30 to 40 birds have arrived at the center since the owner willingly surrendered the animals.

“We’re working through vetting and getting everybody checked out, but these dogs came at a time when we already had 40 dogs available for adoption and we’re in the middle of kitten season kicking off,” Harrison said.

In an email sent to Cheyenne Animal Shelter supporters, CEO Britney Tennant called the hoarding case “one of the biggest challenges [she has] ever faced.”

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it – these animals have a rough road ahead,” Tennant wrote. “The dogs are undersocialized, unaccustomed to living as house pets, filthy, and generally unwilling or unable to walk on leashes.”



The surrendered dogs included St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees, Catahoula Leopard dogs and bullmastiffs.

As of Wednesday, there were around 30 dogs available for adoption or fostering at the animal shelter, not including the dogs from the hoarding case. Those animals will still need to be checked by staff veterinarians to ensure they are healthy enough to be around other dogs or people.

However, Harrison did note that none of the animals from the hoarding case have had to be killed due to illness. The animals are are timid and dirty, but overall, seem sweet, she said.

The shelter has also slashed its adoption fees for all adult dogs to $99 in order to drum up interest in potential new owners.



“We are also opening the shelter up and letting people come on by, walk through and if they’re interested in one of the animals, you can do a meet and greet then with their pets,” Harrison said. “We’ve had a really great response so far. We’ve had a lot of people show up and support us.”

There are also at least four dogs in the shelter that are pregnant and Harrison said it would be great if they could be fostered in a home that would allow them to have their puppies in a warm, safe house.

Harrison said that the shelter is working with some of its partners, including Cheyenne’s Black Dog Animal Rescue, to transfer some of the dogs out to free up space, but called on anyone interested in helping animals to consider adopting, fostering or donating to help the creatures in need.

“Our hope is we’re a safe place to land on a long road for these animals, as far as finding a home and attention they deserve,” she said.

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More Than $20K Raised For Wyoming Animal Shelters In Honor Of Betty White

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More than $20,000 was raised on Monday for Wyoming animal shelters in honor of late actress Betty White.

Three Wyoming animal shelters received thousands of dollars in donations on Tuesday, many of which came in honor of White, the well known actress and animal lover whose 100th birthday would have been Monday. She died on Dec. 31, just a few weeks shy of her birthday.

The #BettyWhiteChallenge encouraged social media users to donate $5 to their local animal shelter in honor of White, who rescued several dogs during her lifetime and worked with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association for decades.

Kaitlin Whitman, spokeswoman for Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne, said the donors gave the shelter $6,156 in White’s memory on Monday.

“It was a truly heartwarming day with lots of messages of gratitude for Betty and the work that we do,” Whitman told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “We had 192 individual donors and many first-time donors as well.”

Casper Human Society Director Craig Cummings said that the shelter received nearly $6,000 in memory of White on Monday.

“We have been amazed by the response from our community,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “The people in Casper are always generous but we are so grateful that they came out in force to celebrate the life of an animal lover.”

The Kindness Ranch in Hartville raised at least $4,000 in honor of White, but Executive Director John Ramer said he expected the total to be closer to $5,000 once all of the donations have been added up.

The Cheyenne Animal Shelter, Park County Animal Shelter and Sheridan Dog and Cat Rescue did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Shelters across the country were flooded with donations on Monday in honor of White. For example, donors raised nearly $50,000 for animal shelters in Philadelphia and country singer Trisha Yearwood raised $24,000 in just minutes for her charity, Dottie’s Yard Fund.

Following White’s death last month, the Audobon Nature Institute shared a story about how she paid for a plane to relocate zoo and aquarium penguins and sea otters from New Orleans to California following Hurricane Katrina.

“She did not ask for fanfare,” the organization wrote on Twitter, “she just wanted to help.”

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Facebook Needs Agriculture, & Ag Needs Facebook

in Cat Urbigkit/Column/Range Writing/Agriculture
Cat Urbigkit animal agriculture
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The world needs more people sharing stories of life with animals.

By Cat Urbigkit, Range Writing columnist for Cowboy State Daily

A lot of my ag friends are switching social media platforms, leaving Facebook (FB) for greener pastures. Green as in $$, since FB’s commerce policy forbids posts that “promote the sale of any animals.” Although animal-sale posts are still rampant on the platform, FB began cracking down on the posts in the last few years and has increased that activity in the last few months.

But animal sales aren’t the only animal-related items undergoing the FB smackdown: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has complained that FB has upped its use of warning screens on PETA videos. That means that rather than PETA videos popping up in a FB-user’s news feed, the videos are replaced with a warning screen that must be clicked on before the video can be viewed. I love these warning screens, but PETA hates them.

Since FB wrecked PETA’s social-media campaign, PETA adopted a new strategy: purchasing enough shares in Facebook to enable them to send out a press release noting this radical group is now a FB shareholder. For those who have lived under a rock and don’t know much about PETA, the animal-rights organization opposes any human use of animals (including keeping animals as pets, or used in agriculture, entertainment, as clothing, etc.). PETA “opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.”

The post-press-release frenzy from those opposed to PETA was predictable for those willing to read past the headlines. PETA’s shares simply enable the group “to submit a shareholder resolution, attend the company’s annual meetings, and ask questions of executives there.” That’s it. It’s not a corporate takeover; it’s a successful ploy to grab headlines. PETA doesn’t stand a chance at turning Facebook into an animal-rights activism site – at least not under the platform’s current structure. For more on that, check out this great Vox article.

Between the FB crackdown on animal sales, and the PETA press release, ag producers are leaving the platform in droves (excuse the pun), and turning to other social media platforms that allow animal sales. But I beg those involved in animal agriculture to please keep posting about their lives with animals on Facebook. Facebook may be the only place that many members of the public will know anything about animal agriculture – even though we feed the world.

Animal agriculture needs Facebook to reach the masses, to tell our stories to the world. We need to keep showing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg what it is we do, and to give him reasons why he should pay us a visit every now and then, like he did to a South Dakota beef cattle outfit in 2017.

He also visited drilling rigs in North Dakota, a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and rail yards in Nebraska. I say good on Zuckerberg for his willingness to learn. It’s our job to continue to teach.

FB users have utilized a variety of ways to get around the FB policy banning animal sales, including posting animals in discussion groups (rather than the FB Marketplace). Some groups are infiltrated by animal rights activists who report the violations to get the groups shut down, and, ironically, some animal breeders are apparently reporting posts written by their competitors to the same affect.

In case you’ve had the fortune to be blissfully unaware, parts of the horse and dog sales worlds are highly competitive and somewhat cutthroat. But that isn’t a reflection of most people involved in animal agriculture. We’re more of an independent lot who prefer to do our own thing.

We need Facebook as a platform to share our stories of what it’s like to live in close association with animals, and with nature. To share the stories of how animals feed our bodies, nourish our souls, and sustain the world. To share how we develop partnerships, those critical human-animal bonds, and how animals solve our problems, make our lives both easier and more pleasant, and how living and working with animals opens our eyes to art, science, and beauty every day. To share stories of how we think about and communicate with animals, about how these human-animal relationships both fill us with wonder, and crush us when those bonds are severed. 

Please, my friends, stay with me on Facebook, and continue to share the world of agriculture to the masses that are far removed from this way of life.

Cat Urbigkit is an author and rancher who lives on the range in Sublette County, Wyoming. Her column, Range Writing, appears weekly in Cowboy State Daily.

In Brief: Felony penalty restored to animal cruelty bill

in News/Criminal justice
Wyoming animal cruelty penalties
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A last-minute compromise in Wyoming’s Legislature this week restored a felony penalty to the state’s animal cruelty laws.

HB 235, as it goes to the governor’s desk, would make it a felony to abuse an animal with the intent of killing it or to engage in “aggravated cruelty” that results in an animal’s death. The bill had originally made repeated offenses of the state’s animal cruelty laws a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. However, the Senate removed all the language regarding the enhanced penalty and the House rejected the changes.

A compromise was reached late on Wednesday, the Legislature’s final day of its general session, restoring the felony penalty of up to two years in prison.

In Brief: House rejects significant changes to animal cruelty bill

in News/Criminal justice
Wyoming animal cruelty penalties
1003

By Cowboy State Daily

Significant Senate changes to a bill originally designed to create a felony crime of animal cruelty were rejected Monday by representatives.

Members of the House on Monday voted not to adopt the Senate changes to HB 235 and instead to create a “joint conference committee” to meet with senators to address the differences in the two versions of the bill.

As approved by the House, the bill would have made repeated violations of animal cruelty laws a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. The Senate removed all language pertaining to the felony crime, leaving intact only a section that would let judges bar people from having contact with pets if they are convicted of a domestic abuse charge.

The three-member joint conference committees from both the House and Senate will be charged with reaching a compromise on the bill. If no compromise can be reached, the bill will die.

Animal abuse measure amended to remove felony language

in News/Criminal justice
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By Cowboy State Daily

A measure that would have made it a felony to repeatedly abuse animals is heading for a Senate review, but without the felony penalty language.

The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday approved HB 235, but removed all language strengthening the penalty for animal abuse.

As originally worded, anyone convicted more than once on a charge of cruelty to animals could have been charged with a felony and sentenced to up to two years in prison. Currently, animal abuse is a misdemeanor.

Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, proposed the amendment stripping the felony language out of the bill. She said as written, the language did not specifically define what an animal is and she feared it would not be approved by the Senate.

Steinmetz said if enforced, existing laws would be sufficient to address the problem of animal cruelty.

“There are a lot of penalties and statutes on the books that deal with that,” she said. “I think that they’re probably not being enforced as much as folks would like to see.”

The bill still contains language that would let a judge bar a person convicted in a domestic abuse case from owning or caring for an animal.

The bill is on the list of measures to be considered in the Senate’s “Committee of the Whole.”

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