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In a decision that will have wide and positive implications for cats, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates voted last week to support programs that sterilize and return unowned cats to the community.
July 20, 2017 4:22 PM
Filed Under: Florida, Greyhound Racing, Jai Alai, Magic City Casino
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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) –Florida gambling regulators this week gave a Miami dog track permission to ditch greyhound races but keep more lucrative slot machines and card games, in a first-of-its-kind ruling.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Wednesday granted a request from West Flagler Associates, which operates Magic City Casino in Miami, to replace dog races with jai alai matches, as part of a drawn-out legal dispute over a controversial “summer jai alai” permit.
It’s the first time a pari-mutuel facility has been allowed to drop dog or horse races and continue operating slots.
The Magic City decision is rooted in a 1980 Florida law that allows Miami-Dade and Broward pari-mutuels that have the lowest betting handle for two consecutive years to convert to summer jai alai permits. But if those pari-mutuels do not seek conversion, other facilities can seek the permits.
The Miami dog track’s lawyer, John Lockwood, first sought the summer jai alai permit for Magic City in 2011.
After much legal wrangling, the department’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering denied the track’s request to do away with dog races, launch jai alai games and keep lucrative slots the track began operating after voters signed off on the machines in 2004.
But the 3rd District Court of Appeal ordered gambling regulators to reconsider the issue.
In a declaratory statement issued Wednesday, state regulators said Florida law gives the track the green light to do away with dog races, as long as the jai alai matches take place at the same facility where the current greyhound permit is operated.
“The jai alai fronton is going to take up significantly less space than the greyhound track, so this frees up West Flagler to develop its property to the highest and best use,” Lockwood told The News Service of Florida on Thursday.
Wednesday’s decision came in response to a question posed by Magic City, asking regulators if the pari-mutuel would still be able to operate slots if the dog races were discontinued and replaced by jai alai games.
The answer rests on whether “a licensed pari-mutuel facility as present in Florida law means `the actual racetrack or jai alai fronton,’ ” Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering Director Anthony Glover wrote in Wednesday’s declaratory statement.
If so, the summer jai alai permit wouldn’t meet the requirements “because a new fronton would have to be built,” Glover wrote.
Alternatively, if a “licensed pari-mutuel facility” means “the areas of the facility where pari-mutuel activity takes place, petitioner’s summer jai alai permit operating at the same location as where the greyhound permit was located would remain an eligible facility,” Glover wrote, siding with the dog track.
“… It is apparent that the Legislature intended for the term `licensed pari-mutuel facility’ … to refer to the physical location or piece of property utilized for pari-mutuel wagering, rather than just the racetrack or jai alai fronton itself,” he wrote.
The agency’s decision won’t have broad implications but comes as lawmakers consider a push by gambling operators who want to do away with live dog and horse racing while holding onto slots or card rooms.
“It’s pretty clear that the department intends for this to not have any far-reaching effects, but once again, John Lockwood has masterfully used a unique set of circumstances to create a positive outcome for his client,” Scott Ross, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation who is now a lobbyist representing other gambling operators, said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Hartman and Tyner, Inc., and H&T Gaming, Inc., which operate rival Mardi Gras Casino and Racetrack in Broward County, had sought to intervene in the case.
Lawyers for the Hallandale Beach dog track argued that Magic City was asking regulators to establish “a new and completely unfounded policy that improperly expands the types of permits eligible for slot machine gaming beyond what the plain terms” of the Constitution and state law allow.
But in Wednesday’s declaratory statement, gambling officials rejected the petition to intervene, saying Mardi Gras had not shown “with particularity what real and immediate injury or impact the outcome of the declaratory statement would have had on the intervenors.”
Multiple attempts to reach representatives of Mardi Gras were unsuccessful.
Isadore Havenick, vice president of the family-owned West Flagler Associates, which also operates a greyhound track in Southwest Florida and owns a 25 percent share of a jai alai fronton in Dania Beach, said Magic City sought to put an end to the dog races in Miami because “nobody wants to watch them.”
The Havenicks are among the track owners who have pushed lawmakers to allow pari-mutuels to “decouple,” which would allow operators to do away with live horse or dog races while keeping more lucrative gambling activities such as slots or card rooms.
“Since decoupling hasn’t happened, and since jai alai has to run fewer performances than dogs do, we said if we have two permits at the same location, why can’t we switch sports that we do here,” Havenick told the News Service on Thursday. “Nobody’s watching. Our dog men complain that they have to come over to Miami and deal with Miami when they get no customers in the stands. So this is a way for us to try a new sport and see if we can make it go of that.”
“The News Service of Florida’s Dara Kam contributed to this report."
In all, twenty-nine individuals participated in the webinar consisting of twenty-five organizations and two independents. The response was wonderful and our feedback validated the need and direction that FAAWO seeks to provide all of our Animal Welfare partners.
“This morning's webinar was fabulously educational for me. It made me realize how far ahead Manatee County is on our community cat program. Thanks for letting me know about it!” Sue
Public Release: 23-May-2017
Declawing linked to aggression and other abnormal behaviors in cats
IMAGE: The surgery, which involves removing the distal bone of the toes, is banned in many countries. view more
Credit: Nicole Martell-Moran
Declaw surgery (onychectomy) is illegal in many countries but is still a surprisingly common practice in some. It is performed electively to stop cats from damaging furniture, or as a means of avoiding scratches. Previous research has focused on short-term issues following surgery, such as lameness, chewing of toes and infection, but the long-term health effects of this procedure have not to date been investigated.
According to research published today in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery*, declawing increases the risk of long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting. This is not only detrimental to the cat (pain is a major welfare issue and these behaviors are common reasons for relinquishment of cats to shelters), but also has health implications for their human companions, as cat bites can be serious.
For the study, the author group, based in North America, investigated a total of 137 non-declawed cats and 137 declawed cats, of which 33 were declawed on all four feet. All 274 cats were physically examined for signs of pain and barbering (excessive licking or chewing of fur) and their medical history was reviewed for unwanted behaviors. They found that inappropriate toileting, biting, aggression and overgrooming occurred significantly more often in the declawed cats than the non-declawed cats (roughly 7, 4, 3 and 3 times more often, respectively, based on the calculated odds ratio). A declawed cat was also almost 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with back pain than a non-declawed cat (potentially due to shortening of the declawed limb and altered gait, and/or chronic pain at the site of the surgery causing compensatory weight shift to the pelvic limbs).
The surgical guideline for performing declawing, as recommended by Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is to remove the entire third phalanx (P3), which is the most distal bone of the toe. Despite this, P3 fragments were found in 63% of the declawed cats in this study, reflecting poor or inappropriate surgical technique. While the occurrence of back pain and abnormal behaviors was increased in these cats, the authors emphasize that even optimal surgical technique does not eliminate the risks. They explain that removal of the distal phalanges forces the cat to bear weight on the soft cartilaginous ends of the middle phalanges (P2) that were previously shielded within joint spaces. Pain in these declawed phalanges prompts cats to choose a soft surface, such as carpet, in preference to the gravel-type substrate in the litter box; additionally, a painful declawed cat may react to being touched by resorting to biting as it has few or no claws left to defend itself with.
Lead author of the paper Nicole Martell-Moran, a veterinary practitioner in a cat-only clinic in Houston, Texas, USA, comments: 'The result of this research reinforces my opinion that declawed cats with unwanted behaviors may not be "bad cats", they may simply need pain management. We now have scientific evidence that declawing is more detrimental to our feline patients than we originally thought and I hope this study becomes one of many that will lead veterinarians to reconsider declawing cats.'
*Martell-Moran NK, Solano M and Townsend HGG. Pain and adverse behavior in declawed cats. J Feline Med Surg. Epub ahead of print 23 May 2017. DOI: 10.1177/1098612X17705044.
The article is currently free to read here.
Important information about the Canine Influenza Outbreak:
With the announcement by the Florida State Veterinarian of the first confirmed outbreak of canine influenza H3N2 (CIV H3N2) in the state, other confirmed cases this March in California, and last year's outbreaks in Chicago and a number of other states, this highly contagious disease needs to be on the radar of all shelters and foster-based rescue groups that handle dogs.
"This is a virus that is highly contagious and easily transmitted within a population of dogs such as those housed in shelters," said Dr. Cynda Crawford of the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. "Most dogs have no immunity to it. Coughing dogs produce virus-containing mists that can travel 20 feet or more in the air, so the disease can spread in epidemic proportions. Most infected dogs have some symptoms, and some will go on to develop life-threatening pneumonia."
While the Florida outbreak is associated with dogs who attended a regional dog show, Crawford pointed out that if the outbreak makes its way into shelters, it would severely impact lifesaving capacity. "Because dogs are contagious for up to four weeks, shelters would have to develop extended isolation procedures to prevent spreading the disease back out into the community," she said. "It's very hard for a shelter to house dogs in an isolation capacity for an entire month before they can move to a home or pet placement partner."
That may sound daunting, but there's good news, too. "Fortunately, CIV is a highly treatable infection that most dogs can recover from without complication," said Crawford. "While the virus can survive in the environment - things like kennel surfaces, crates, food/water bowls, collars/ leashes, toys, beds, vehicles - or on people's clothing and hands for up to 24 hours before it dies, it's easily killed by most disinfectants, handwashing with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing and bedding, and washing food and water bowls and toys with soap and water.
"It is not a public health threat, or some very lethal disease that would trigger consideration of depopulation. There are strategies to manage CIV transmission within a shelter population with outcomes that save the dogs' lives and get them placed into homes safely, without spreading disease in the community. We've used these strategies for years in shelters, and there is expertise available to help shelters formulate such strategies.
"Doing that will involve effective communication both internally and with the community at large, including veterinarians. Fortunately, this this type of communication and transparency usually engenders public support and understanding."
Shelters can also take steps to stop a CIV outbreak before it starts. "Heightened awareness of the presence of CIV in your community or areas you acquire dogs from is key," said Crawford. Her recommendations:
Crawford also urged foster-based rescue groups to be prepared to respond to CIV H3N2, as they could inadvertently bring an infected dog into their home and expose other dogs in the home to the virus. "But foster homes without other dogs can be a great resource for a sick dog, who will do better in a homelike environment as opposed to an institutional setting. Foster groups can play a major role in helping manage CIV in shelters, but they have to be aware of how to deal with the situation."
Shelters and foster-based rescue groups who observe a greater-than-normal number of coughing dogs in their care can consult this document for more information, including how to contact the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UF and other experts for assistance and advice.
Additional information can be found at the links below:
Canine Influenza H3N2: Frequently Asked Questions
Management of Disease Outbreaks in Shelters
Collection of Swabs for Diagnosis of Respiratory Pathogens by PCR
Video: Collection of Swabs from Dogs and Cats for Respiratory Pathogen PCR Testing
FAQ for Veterinarians on Canine Influenza
Info for Pet Owners on Canine Influenza
2017-18 FAAWO Calendar of Events
Florida Legislative Webinar
Advocating for Humane Legislation
Humane Society of the United StatesAugust 17, 2017, Noon – 1:00
From Cats to Caregivers: A Holistic Approach to Caring for Shelter Cats, Staff and Volunteers
September 14, 2017
Cat Depot, Sarasota
9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
with Jen Hobgood, Ph.D. Director, State Legislation Southeast Region ASPCA, FAAWO Advisory Board Member
“From Cats to Caregivers: A Holistic Approach to Caring for Shelter Cats, Staff and Volunteers”
October 11, 2017
Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River, Vero Beach
9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Best Friends Animal Society Seminar Details TBD
Best Friends Animal Society
Thu, Jun 15, 2017 12:00PM - 1:00PM EST
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone (but there will be a visual presentation).
United States (Toll Free): 1 866 899 4679
United States: +1 (571) 317-3117
Access Code: 863-196-165
It’s estimated that nearly three-quarters of cats who enter our nation’s animal shelters each year don’t make it out alive. Most are free-roaming “community cats,” many of whom are not suitable for adoption into homes. This ineffective, costly and inhumane approach to managing community cats is steadily being replaced with progressive community cat programs (CCPs). These shelter-based programs are effective at reducing the numbers of these cats, reducing shelter admissions and shelter deaths, saving taxpayers money and providing a public health benefit to the community. Join Desiree and Emily of Best Friends Animal Society to learn more about these programs and how you can be involved in your own community!
Emily Prusnek, No More Homeless Pets Network Specialist
Desiree Triste-Aragon, Community Cats Project Supervisor
Current state Statute requires disclosure of certain shelter data upon request on a monthly basis however not everyone compiles in providing this data. Further complication of obtaining meaningful data results from no master list of shelters, sanctuaries, and rescue groups in Florida being available. This prevents the development of statewide animal sheltering trends and puts the onus on individuals to collect data. Some shelters refuse to comply, even though the statute is more than 3 year old.
Florida animal shelters are invited to join a statewide initiative to develop a reliable snapshot of the state’s shelter animal census. Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is responding to a request for information that we frequently receive from Florida shelter managers: How many cats and dogs are admitted to shelters each year and what happens to them?
This is the question that the Second Triennial Florida Shelter Animal Census is meant to answer and a new census is being conducted right now! Your shelter can participate by submitting shelter data for calendar year 2016 (January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016). We’re asking all Florida animal shelters to fill out a brief survey with your shelter data and information. Click the button below to launch the official census survey and submit your shelter data and information.
TAKE SURVEY NOW
Florida Legislative Session 2017
Directs animal shelters to take certain measures relating to the holding, treatment, & euthanasia of animals; provides exceptions; provides for declaratory or injunctive relief actions.
Status: No hearing, died in committee.
Local Regulation Preemption; Prohibits certain local governments from imposing or adopting certain regulations on businesses, professions, & occupations after certain date; preempts to state regulations concerning businesses, professions, & occupations; provides exceptions to preemption.
Status: Passed 1 House committee; died.
HB 743 (Smith) / SB 515 (Young) Steroids in Greyhound Racing
Provides that positive test result for anabolic steroids in greyhound results in violation.
Status: Passed House, passed 2 Senate Committees, died in Senate.
SB 8 included a measure to decouple greyhound racing from other forms of gaming and require injury reporting by greyhound tracks. HB 7037, however, prohibited decoupling for 20 years.
Status: Passed Senate/House, withdrawn from Conference Committee on Gaming; died.
Requires FDLE to post publicly accessible list on its website of persons convicted of specified animal abuse offenses; requires each clerk of court to forward notice of animal abuse conviction to FDLE within specified time; provides requirements for list; specifies period for listing; provides for removal of listing if conviction is expunged or sealed; requires FDLE to send annual notice to specified entities; authorizes probation conditions to prohibition certain persons from having certain responsibilities for or association with animals.
Revises presale specialty license plate voucher requirements; prohibits development of new plates except under certain circumstances; provides requirements for issuance of such plates; [. . . .] revises design of, deletes provisions relating to, revises distribution of proceeds from sale of, & directs DHSMV to create certain plates.
Status: Passed House, died.
Requires person transporting a dog in certain areas of certain vehicles or trailers to secure dog; provides penalty; provides exceptions; preempts regulation of transportation of dogs in vehicles to state; declares void certain ordinances/rules adopted by local governments; requires court to declare such ordinances/rules invalid & issue permanent injunction.
Prohibiting animal hoarding; providing penalties and remedies for animal hoarding, etc.
Status: Died, no House companion.
Provides that judges may allow use of certain therapy animals or facility dogs in proceedings involving abuse, abandonment, or neglect; allows such animals to be used when taking testimony of certain other persons.
Status: Passed. Signed by officers and presented to the Governor (5/4).
Requires pet dealers to only sell or offer for sale dogs procured from humane society, animal shelter, or person or entity who has not been adjudicated and issued certain citations for violating federal Animal Welfare Act; prohibits unlicensed commercial dog breeder from selling dog to pet dealer; requires pet dealer to retain certain records for specified period after sale; provides penalties.
Help the Psychology Department at the University of South Florida – Sarasota-Manatee with some research! Click the link below to take their survey.
Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizationsinfo@faawo.org
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