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Why this Cruelty?

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Lennox was killed on July 11, 2012 by the Belfast City Council. He was a pit bull look alike captured by the Belfast City Council under the Breed Specific Legislation that permits them to kill ‘dangerous’ dogs. Lennox was part of a human family, a constant companion to their little girl, and the Council’s expert described Lennox as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across. He was incarcerated 26 months ago, his family fought an uphill legal battle, and lost. There was a candle light vigil to save Lennox right before the day he was reportedly killed.

Reportedly’, because a lot of activists have questioned why the family was refused a last visit, why the body would not be handed over (but ‘some ashes’ may be sent by mail), and why Lennox was not seen for months. It is a suspicion that has been growing, and is likely to find a very strong voice, that the Council had killed Lennox a long time back, and was manipulating the judicial system to save face. That he was ‘humanely’ put to death in a ‘secret kennel’ is fuelling speculations that may appear largely justified to the supporters of this cause.

Lennox: Victim of Abuse of Breed Specific Legislation

This atrocity happened in a city with thousands others protesting it, and tens of thousands more all around the world joining in. There are Irish who have publicly declared that they are ashamed of their heritage after what the Council did. And all this over one little dog. I am happy to say that at least one somewhat similar incident comes to mind: cats were taken into the Writers Building to get rid of a mice pestilence, and when the cats bred as they do, there was a plan to kill them off. Animal welfare organisations all over the State protested and had their way. However, not one of my Indian friends on Social Media sites seemed the least bit interested over the story of Lennox that was literally rocking the world, and still is. That does not make them better or lesser than anyone. That makes them indifferent, and I wish it were otherwise.

This was to be the concluding article to the series regarding vivisection, and animal testing in the cosmetic industry. I did not plan it to be like this originally, but I wish the murder of Lennox will not have been in vain. I wish more of us would take proactive steps to stop the daily torture and killing of innocent animals. There is no point in getting rid of your favourite brand of razor or shampoo just because somebody said so. What I write here is not as important as what you can find out for yourselves. You will find documented evidence (as opposed to unsubstantiated claims) if you search the internet on which brands are into animal testing. And I dare say, you will be shocked.

If you wish to make a difference, please stay informed. Leapingbunny.org: ‘The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program administers a cruelty-free standard and the internationally recognised Leaping Bunny Logo for companies producing cosmetic, personal care, and household products.’ instead of maligning companies that do practise animal testing, Leapingbunny encourages consumers to invite their favourite brands to the cruelty free program which apprises them directly of consumer sentiments. Boycotting certain brands is relatively easy, but it is a more positive step if we make an effort to convince them to be cruelty free.

(Originally published in Pet Theory, htcity, hindustan times, Kolkata, Friday, July 13, 2012)

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Written by kapush

July 20, 2012 at 2:07 am

Kill with Kindness, Cat, Fish and Compassion

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People who work for animal welfare organizations, ones that really want to make a difference, that is, are usually passionate about what they do. Consequently, they are often vegetarians, and some will not wear leather shoes. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), for example, expects as much from its members, and PETA has been doing wonderful work around the globe.

I am often asked if I am a vegetarian. I am not. I have a couple of friends who do not actively work for animals, but have given up meat. I work approximately six hours a day on strays and stray-turned pets, and have given up so much of my residence to an ill-maintained cat shelter that I have to live in a rented house with my family. I may appear to be passionate about the work I do, and yet, I wear leather shoes and partake in killing animals, namely fish, to feed the strays that I shelter.

My fish supplier goes to absurd extents to make sure the strays are fed, even if it means cycling 15 km and back when there is nothing available locally. He also spent out of his own savings when my finances were so low that I could not pay him. I had run up a debt upward of Rs. 20, 000, and all he did was ask me not to worry about it. And yet, this man would chop the fins off fish before he killed them, until he realized how cruel that was.

Somehow, working for animals has become something ‘they’ do and we do not, ‘they’ being people with a lot of money and time for ‘such things’. It was not so long ago that people who chased strays with sticks if they tried to steal food would also make sure they were fed on leftovers. That was not labelled as animal welfare, and was something that ‘everyone’ did. Today, all refuse is carried out of localities infested with multi-storied buildings, and strays are seen as a nuisance.

It was a practice in East Bengal to stop eating hilsa fish between Dashami and Saraswati Puja. The fish spawn during that period, and the custom was not unlike that of not cutting down or even pruning trees that have just borne fruit. Traditions that are both practical and humane.

Homeless

I wish animal welfare did not have to be the work of a group of people who appear to be ones with a lot of restraint, or just plain eccentric. You need not prevent cruelty by turning vegetarian. You can, however, ask your butcher to treat animals with kindness while they are still alive – without appearing self-righteous. You may also want to pick one dog in your locality to give a small treat to on your way home from work every evening. A single biscuit will reward you with an expression of genuine gratitude that, if you care to notice it, will stay with you forever.

It isn’t that we aren’t compassionate, but it’s just that we do not always know what we would like to be compassionate about. Most people are not sadistic, or cruel: they just don’t realize that there are so many different ways of being kind, and so many in need of such acts of kindness. If we can believe that animal welfare is not something that only eccentric people and celebrities indulge in, we would probably find many happy strays in every locality, and a lot less cruelty against them.

(Originally published in Pet Theory, htcity, hindustan times, Kolkata, Friday, February 17, 2012)

Written by kapush

June 19, 2012 at 12:59 am

Games that we play with our furry friends

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I simply must quote myself: a civilized society is primarily defined by its public transport system and by what it does that it does not absolutely have to do, like realizing that animals deserve a decent life as much as we do, and acting upon that realization. We are not bound to take care of our parents when they are old. Some of us do,out of love, and some, out of compulsion, either of a dutiful mind or of a fear of scandal. Animals have not been so fortunate. A dog burned alive is fun. Puppies crushed under vehicles are nuisance to be shoved aside, with a ‘tsk tsk’ if they are lucky, and disposed of when they die after hours of agony. Pouring boiling water over strays is fun too. The recent procession by some persons of note including actress Debasree Roy and Prof. Nabanita Deb Sen in protest against cruelty to animals only goes to show how far we are away from being civilized.

Cruelty to animals is not a novelty: we had the Colosseum, and we still have the Bull Fights. The difference between the Roman Games and the Bull Fights, and burning a dog alive is that the former are still a game where both sides are at risk. And no, this is not a subversive way to condone the killing of bulls by prodding them with several pointed objects first to damage the central nervous system and then heroically spearing them to death. I just wish to point out the difference between the idea of sport however perverted it might be, and the idea of fun.

A very close friend of mine confessed that he used to tie pieces of brick to frogs’ legs and watch them drown when he was a kid. He recounted this with guilt and shame, and explained that he had no idea that the frog would feel pain. For him, it was just an amusing experiment. Coming as he does from an area where there are, on an average, about two murders each month, he did not get to learn much about frogs from whatever was around him.

Something curious: there was this man, carrying his daughter, both watching the complete process of killing, skinning and quartering of chicken, the man all the while holding a conversation with the seller. No one taught me to be squeamish about chicken screaming while they are being trussed up and beheaded. It came naturally. Genetics perhaps. If this little girl grows up to become someone not affected by the real nature of food that we find on our plate while still caring about animals in general, so much the better.

Some people actually do not realize that strays feel pain as much as we do – or that they need medical attention when sick or injured. When you request them to do something like covering up open tanks after work, they sometimes oblige. I am referring to construction workers. However, I still could not convince a long time neighbour to cover his tank while he was promoting his own land. I bought four panels made of slit bamboo and did his job for him. I still had to go every night to put them in place. Sometimes I would find them missing: the workers had been using them. I finally got back three of them after the construction was over. He was not sure what had happened to the fourth one.

Then there are the sadists. A dumb unprotected animal is easy prey. The solution is simple as far as these people are concerned. Before anything else you must put the fear of God into them, or, in this case, the fear of the Law. As it stands, the Prevention of Cruelty Act is, well, laughable. Unless that is amended, no amount of work by lonely crusaders will bear fruit. I would like to think that not a lot of people thought of this before. Those that did somehow did not manage to see it through, as I have not. I am currently working on an alternative version of the Act to present it for review. If you think this might be a worthwhile idea, please do contact me.

To sum up, then, people are indifferent or sadistic, and there are a few lazy ones. And a handful care. There is another category. These people go for breeds. Pets are not family to them, but posessions. Once the pet grows old, IT is set free, in remote and almost uninhabited areas where the poor thing so far provided for dies slowly, without food, fighting off packs of strays. You would not expect them to spare a bread-crumb for the neighborhood stray.

There are quite a few animal lovers out there. I do not include pet lovers who actually love their pets but consider taking in a lost kitten a burden. I am talking about those eccentric individuals who somehow seem to have time to spare to feed the street-dogs or shelter lost kitties in cardboard boxes. They ought to collaborate to make better use of time and resources.

At the same time, the legal aspects must be taken care of, with a formal request to the Chief Minister – or even the President if necessary so that the issue of amendment may be taken seriously. I am not referring to endless virtual signatures in online campaigns. We do not need superior numbers to demand something that is only fair. Even one person is enough. Five are probably better. Fifty applications/ requests from fifty different local unofficial outfits are likely to draw slightly more attention. I repeat: amendments are necessary. People are mostly not saints, and they very often have to be coaxed and forced at the same time. In addition to that, the Police must be instructed to take the Animal Rights Laws seriously. My experience with the Police says this will be more difficult than gettting the amendment done, so we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Also, the indifferent class of people, one may hope, will transform into a slightly less unfeeling lot when animal welfare is in fashion.

In Germany, they have fishing competitions. The hooks are made in such a way as not to hurt the fish. The fish, when caught, is placed in a container that has water in it and the hook taken out. After it has been weighed (in order to decide the winner), it is released back into its habitat. If you are caught manhandling fish that you have caught and are taking home to consume, you will be penalized. Now compare the scene in our fish markets where live fish are kept for sale, gasping for breath, proving to the happy customer that they are indeed fresh. If the seller is benign, he will kill the fish before cutting off the fins. It takes very little to kill a fish, just throwing it on hard ground or beating on its head with a club is enough. If the seller is not inclined to waste his time, then the live fish is scaled, its fins chopped off, the gills ripped out and finally a slit is made where the head joins the body and the guts pulled out. It is not always this gruesome, however. So that the fingers do not get nicked if the fish struggles too much, the seller will sometimes kill it first to protect himself. He does this to protect himself, not so that the fish does not suffer further.

I say let us have our chicken and our fish and what not, let us wear leather jackets and shoes and perhaps even wear fur. Let us kill them all for food or comfort, but please, not torture them for fun. And when we do live up to the dictum of survival of the fittest (read the most cunning and ruthless), let us kill with kindness. Amen to that.

helencha-and-puppies

(Published in OPINION, Hindustan Times, Kolkata, November 27, 2008).

Written by kapush

March 12, 2009 at 9:56 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

Maurya and I

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You will probably find all this ridiculous if you cannot think of your pets as family. Regardless, I believe I owe it to my family to publish certain things…

 

This is Chew .

He and his two sisters came to us when they were about two months old. Their mom would come to our garden with them and leave them to play there. Once she realized they were safe she left them with us. Chew was a gentlemanly cat. When other kitties crowded our home he would stay away for long periods. He simply could not bear the divided attention, and was too dignified to ask for more. We never realized he was sick. We could see that he had lost weight, but he looked and behaved normal. Once, he did not come home for two days. This was about two months back, in May 2008. On the third day my mother went out looking for him, found him too weak to move and carried him home. We never took him to a vet. We had our reasons – which I intend to enumerate in a separate article. We could have taken him to Moitri but he looked too weak. Instead, we took him to our family physician who is a homeopath, and has cured many of our cats. My own reasearch on the Net revealed Chew had symptoms of diabetes. Dr. Roy assured us it was a case of paralysis that was affecting both dogs and cats these days. We were reassured. Chew appeared to improve. He did not leave home again. Sometimes he would sit outside, in the sun.

Around the last week of May his condition deteriorated rapidly. I still did not want to move him because he was too weak. We called Dr. Soumen Chatterjee who came highly recommended. He found nothing particularly wrong with Chew and told us that he was merely in shock because of some fight with other tom-cats that he must have had. Chew was prescribed Resource Powder – a high protein supplement. He did not want to eat that – in fact he resisted the extra protein. We force fed him, because surely it was good for him. Didn’t the Doctor say it was? He seemed better for a while. After that we were forced to call Dr. Chatterjee again. A whole week was wasted already. He could not understand what was wrong and lamented that this was the problem with animals: they could not tell us of their troubles. He prescribed fluids to take care of the acute dehydration and anemia that was now apparent. One of the fluids was Haemaccel®. I somehow managed to find someone who could administer the fluid. This very competent man held Chew like he was cattle and put in the needle and expected us to keep him still while he took a call. The needle slipped and then he tried poking it in again. We decided Chew was better off dehydrated than tortured. We paid the man Rs. 200 for his troubles. I had brought him home on my two wheeler. He expected me to reach him to the main road so he could go home easily. I gave him clear directions and bid him goodnight.

The next day we went to Moitri. Dr. Sourav Banerjee understood what was wrong with him even before the blood tests were done and prescribed the proper medicines and fluid. When the test results came out we found Chew was suffering from diabetes, chronic renal failure and accompanying non regenerative anemia. He was NOT supposed to have been on a high protein diet. Haemaccel® would have killed him sooner because of its crystalline nature. It is contraindicated in case of renal problems. (Here is a page that provides relevant information on it). Dr. Banerjee was almost apologetic and nodded his head while looking at the report: ‘ I don’t know what to say’ he said. And i could see that he saw his patients as patients, and that he was a doctor, not a businessman. Chew died two days later, at five to four in the morning of June 12, 2008. His eyes had gone still and had remained that way for the last four hours of his life. I don’t think he recognized any of us any during those final hours.

This is Two.

Why he has such a curious name is a different story. Two had not been well for a very long time. He had been treated by so called doctors, including Dr. Soumen Chatterjee when he visited us for Chew. Two was prescribed an antibiotic and a mouth gel and a spray which I could not locate in any of the Medical Stores that i went to. There was apparently nothing seriously wrong with him except for some mouth/tooth infection, and perhaps he had also caught a bit of cold. After Chew died we did not delay further and took him to Moitri. Dr. Sourav Banerjee, as before, did not need a blood test to diagnose his condition. The test results were less unfortunate than Chew’s: Two was suffering from chronic renal failure with a creatinine count of 10.4  (Chew measured above 14) and acute anemia (5.8). Two was kept on medicine and mostly fluid – twice daily- for a month. I took leave from work during the last phase to look afer him constantly as also to turn the Net upside down for some remedy. I went to work on July 11, 2008 and called home. Two had passed away at quarter to eleven in the morning.

He would put up a fight whenever we tried to administer the fluid. The solution was simple, which we should have found out earlier than we did: we only had to put him in my mother’s lap – or should I say, his mother’s lap, and he would be quiet. He was on her lap when he died. He had looked around, just before death. Ma thought he was looking for me. Possible. Guests, who heard him call ma were always surprised to hear him call calling ‘maa’ and not ‘meow’. He was four and a half years old when he died. He had never really grown up. Liked to sit with ma in the kitchen. Would sleep beside her, with a paw on her. He was the big healthy baby who did not like his mother talking on the phone. He would keep meowing whenever she did, and even tried to take the receiver away from her with his paw.

I am glad Chew and Two died the way they did. It could have been much worse. They could have drowned, like Meemee. Or poisoned, like Lomba Lej. Or dumped somewhere – probably in a lake, by our neighbours, in a sack, like at least four others. We are thankful they died amongst their family knowing always that they were loved and cared for.

Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

Feline CRF can happen because of a number of reasons. The symptoms are quite clear, however. Increased thirst, weight loss, wounds that refuse to heal, foul breath usually accompanied by dental tartar, weak hind legs in many instances – which is also a clear symptom of diabetes. I have also noticed other symptoms which may or may not be clinically acknowledged. Cats thus affected tend to go for raw fish or meat. The reason being, protein, generally speaking, is not particularly healthy for CRF cats since the weakened kidneys cannot get rid of the toxins produced through protein metabolism. On the other hand, without protein, cats are weakned further. They seem to know instinctively, which some doctors also know, that the protein content in raw meat/fish is absorbed almost completely by the body leaving little or no toxic waste for removal. If you are unfortunate enough to have a CRF cat in your family, please do not force him to eat the usual Renal Diet which he will probably find unappealing.  A raw fish diet is just fine. They seem to know their health better than we do. Chew had stopped eating rice almost completely. It was not until the blood work was done that we knew he was diabetic. Please don’t force your cat to eat what he doesn’t want to. Understand that he may be terminal, and he needs all the love and care that you can give him. He might not understand why you have put him on a restricted diet, especially when his inbuilt mechanism is telling him to go exactly for the food that you will not let him have. Dr. Banerjee tried his best, but after the final blood work, he simply said, ‘There is nothing more that we can do; give him whatever he wants to eat; let him remain happy and comfortable’. We hope we were able to do just that.

Another symptom – very important when you have to diagnose a doctor: a real doctor will not lament that animals cant talk , that they cannot tell us of their grief. A real doctor will know. And in spite of his knowing he will insist upon tests just to make sure that his diagnosis is correct. Both Dr. Chatterjee and Dr. Banerjee are associated with Moitri. I really have no idea why Dr. Chatterjee could neither diagnose the problems nor bother to get blood tests done when he could see that the animal that was his patient could not talk to us.

This article may be found in my website in this page. There is much that I would like to put in here, including a review of vets that I have come to know personally, and where one can find decent facilities for animals in Kolkata, as also what to avoid. I also intend to publish my own experience with Alternative Remedies and their efficacy as far as animals are concerned. Please visit in a month for updates.

Written by kapush

July 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

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STOP THE SEAL HUNT: please follow the link below…

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I got this through email first, and then came upon this site: please let us do something. Visit the link below to learn more:

http://www.stopthesealhunt.com/site/c.ihKPIWPCIqE/b.3958845/k.CFC9/Stop_the_Seal_Hunt.htm

Written by kapush

May 20, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Animal Welfare

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Fw: How low can humanity go – please sign this petition

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this is what i received via e-mail. i would say “the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American” is what ought to be boycotted. one sadistic pervert practising his ‘art’ is one thing, but an association endorsing it-and the viewers appreciating it… i just dont know what to say.

the ‘artist’ defended his action by saying that he wanted to show the hypocrisy that allows dogs on the street to die unnoticed and cries foul at what he has done. well, he failed, apparently: the visitors took no notice of the dog. still, i wonder: how many of the people signing the online petition ever really cared to feed a stray? ever? when i signed there were 547620 signatures total. quite a lot. i didnt know there were so many animal lovers in the world. nice to know. nice indeed. i wish they would (perhaps they do already) take care of just one stray animal in their lifetime. that would be 547620 poor creatures saved from starvation and torture. if i were younger i would probably write a blog and send e-mails around on this. today, this will have to do i guess…

Subject: How low can humanity go – please sign this petition

Hi All,

this is a very serious matter…
In 2007, the ‘artist’ Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, took a dog from the street, he tied him to a rope in an art gallery, starving him to death.
For several days, the ‘artist’ and the visitors of the exhibition have watched emotionless the shameful ‘masterpiece’ based on the dog’s agony, until eventually he
died.





Does it look like art to you?

But this is not all… the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American decided that the ‘installation’ was actually art, so that Guillermo

Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the biennial of 2008.

Let’s STOP HIM!!!!!

Copy and paste this link into your computer web browser http://www.petitiononline.com/ea6gk/petition.html
You’ll come onto the page where you can click on “sign the petition”,
On the next page you need to “preview your signature”, so click on that, then click “approve signature”
Please do it.
It’s free of charge, there is no need to register, and it will only take 1 minute to save the life of an innocent creature.
Please also send this e-mail to as many contact as you can… Let’s stop him!!!

If you want to double check all the above information you can Google the name of the ‘artist’ to see all I have just said corresponds to truth, .
Thank you

Written by kapush

April 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

Tagged with , ,

with 2 comments

Dog-haters list methods to kill on Orkut

Archana Sharma | TNN

Mumbai: The thoughts are gory and the messages chilling. Tips on how to kill dogs are being circulated on social networking site Orkut, with 1,000 of its members—some apparently from ‘aamchi Mumbai’—forming an ‘I Hate Dogs’ community online. If so, their actions are illegal.
On Monday, the animal rights o r g a n i s at i o n , People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), wrote a letter to the cyber crime cell of the Mumbai police after repeated requests by animal lovers to ban the online
community received no response from the networking site.
By Wednesday, a dog was found in Andheri, Mumbai, with five air gun pellets in her body, one of them in her private parts. That is close to what someone called ‘Meldon Rodrigues’, member of the Orkut community, had exhorted fellow members to do: “Shoot them with airgun/pellets in their testicles.”
The Orkut jottings are disturbing, to say the least. Persons, purportedly from Mumbai, have boasted of throwing out a puppy from a high-rise window or running a car over a dog again and again until it dies.
In one Orkut entry, ‘Ashay Khopade, a graduate’ boasts of killing two dogs with his car “after 10-12 hard tries’’. During Diwali festivities last week, city veterinarians were reported to have treated many cases of dogs being scalded with firecracker injuries.
‘Meldon Rodrigues’ also recommends, “Put petrol on their bums..n watch them suffer’’.
After news spread of the hate-dog site, the members were bombarded with hate messages from pet lovers. ‘Rodrigues’ has apparently delinked himself from the online community. Moreover, the section “How to kill dogs” has been removed from the ‘I hate dogs’ community.

The Times of India, Kolkata, November 22, Page 8.

Dog shot with air gun in Mumbai
22 Nov 2007, 0036 hrs IST,Archana Sharma ,TNN
MUMBAI: Boastful entries detailing how members of an online community tortured dogs may not be fiction after all. A dog found in Andheri, Mumbai, on Wednesday had five air gun pellets in its body, one of them in its private parts.

That is close to what someone called ‘Meldon Rodrigues’, member of the Orkut community ‘I hate dogs’, had exhorted fellow members to do: ‘Shoot them with airgun/pellets in their testicles.’

TOI had reported about the online community, which listed ways to kill dogs. A few months ago, Karuna for Animals in Distress, an Andheri-based NGO, had found a five-year-old bitch suffering from mammarian gland cancer. The lump was so big that it would touch the ground and the black mongrel had to drag it around painfully. Karuna’s veterinarians operated on the animal, now called Rani, and removed the lump.

However, recently, the animal seemed in distress again, so on Wednesday the NGO again took it in for care.

“She didn’t seem alright so we thought that she may have a new tumour. We decided to take an X-ray and the outcome shocked us,” said veterinarian Shirish Deshpande. He said there were bullets lodged in Rani’s abdomen, vertebral column and even private parts.

Deshpande said Rani couldn’t be operated on to remove the bullets as the procedure would have risked her life. The bullets are lodged at various places and at a distance from each other.

“In a similar case earlier, we had tried to remove the bullet, but when we operated that dog we realised that the two-dimensional X-ray had misled us,” said Deshpande. Meanwhile, after TOI’s report, Rodrigues, who had also recommended to “put petrol on their bums…n watch them suffer” has apparently delinked himself from the online community.

Moreover, the section “How to kill dogs” has been removed from the ‘I hate Dogs’ community. A member signed on as ‘Ashay Khopade’, who had boasted of killing two dogs with his car “after 10-12 hard tries”, has kept his profile hidden.

The members are being bombarded with hate messages by pet lovers.

link for original article.

any useful suggestion here? and i am talking to normal human beings here. something we could do other than writing in blogs to stop these pathetic psychopaths?

Written by kapush

November 24, 2007 at 7:15 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

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