December 22, 2005
Who Let the Dogs Out?
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa never should have promised
that he would fire L.A. Department of Animal Services head Guerdon
Stuckey when he was running for mayor.
when Villaraigosa fired Stuckey last week, he rewarded the violent
tactics of the Animal Defense League and anonymous animal-rights
activists who oppose city shelters euthanizing unwanted animals.
would like to see all city animal shelters adopt the no-kill policies
supported by pet lovers. But I understand that shelters don't
euthanize dogs and cats for kicks. They are overwhelmed with unwanted
animals. The culprits are people who don't spay, neuter or take
loving care of their pets -- not those who work in shelters.
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals kills animals in its shelter.
In fact, PETA's 2003 rate for euthanizing animals was more than
85 percent. That's worse than Los Angeles, which is expected to
euthanize half its animal population this year -- according to
the Los Angeles Daily News. As Rafael Pizarro of the
union that represents Los Angeles shelter workers noted, putting
animals down is devastating for those who must do it.
then, that 149 Animal Service employees -- about half of the department
-- sent a letter to Villaraigosa protesting Stuckey's dismissal.
"The terrorists will never be satisfied," they wrote.
"They will never go away. It is time you stand up to them."
activists have been harassing L.A. animal workers for some time.
They planted a smoke bomb in the building where former Animal
Services Director Stuckey lived. The car of Stuckey's predecessor,
Jerry Greenwalt, was spray-painted with the word "murderer."
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo recently filed charges against
the Animal Defense League for a two-year campaign of harassment
against department manager David Diliberto. ADL leaders reportedly
gave out Diliberto's address and announced to their followers
"action alerts" -- which entailed pounding on the door
of his home at night, shouting at his four children, threatening
his wife ... they even posted online the address of a neighbor
who complained. There was a bomb threat. In August, two people
dressed as mortuary workers showed up at his home to pick up a
dead body. A false report of gunshots brought three squad cars
and a police helicopter to the Diliberto home.
author Joel Kotkin figures Villaraigosa made "a promise which
I'm sure he's sorry he made."
spokesman, Joe Ramallo, argued that Villaraigosa did not cave
in to animal-rights extremists, but instead that Villaraigosa
tried to work with Stuckey but "this guy was not up to the
job." (Los Angeles Daily News writer Rick Orlov
reported that Stuckey had no animal experience when he took the
job and "he didn't even have a pet.") With Villaraigosa's
support of the criminal charges, Ramallo added, his boss is "doing
something that upsets both sides."
I have to agree with David Martosko of the Center for Consumer
Freedom, who observed that when you give in to terrorists, "you're
just asking for more trouble." The mayor's spokesman told
me that Villaraigosa will stand by Stuckey's replacement, Ed Boks,
if the rat-huggers attack him.
speaks their weird language. As the Los Angeles Times reported,
Boks said of the extremists' aggression: "Usually it erupts
into what you call radicalism when people feel they haven't been
call radicalism? Try: threatening families, scaring children and
destroying other people's property. Not listened to? ADL spokesman
Jerry Vlasak recently appeared before the Senate and on "60
Minutes" justifying the murder of medical researchers who
use lab animals.
of any stripe -- anti-abortion, anti-trade or anti-shelter --
get what they want after resorting to harassment and intimidation,
know that other extremists are paying attention. That's why you
don't reward them. Ever.
2005 Creators Syndicate