LAST CHANCE FOR ANIMALS
HISTORY & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Since its formation in 1984, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) has succeeded as one of the nation’s pioneer animal advocacy organizations. LCA’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has worked with prosecutors nationwide to put animal abusers behind bars. LCA’s educational and public outreach programs have empowered the public to make positive changes for the animals in their own communities.
• COSTA RICA PUPPY MILL - In January LCA’s President and Founder, Chris DeRose, traveled to Costa Rica at the request of a coalition of Costa Rican animal protection and rescue groups to gather undercover documentation of the inhumane conditions at four separate puppy mills. The undercover footage was provided to major news outlets and delivered to SENASA, the animal law enforcement agency in Costa Rica. Because DeRose was able to obtain video evidence of the deplorable conditions of one mill in particular, SENASA was forced to send officials to investigate the mill closing one of the worse mills in Costa Rica.
• BAN LIVE EXPORT - Following Chris DeRose speaking at the News Corps AGM in October 2011 and receiving confirmation from Rupert Murdoch that News Corps media outlets would provide a fair and impartial voice on the Ban Live Animal Export topic, several articles written by DeRose and condemning Live Animal Export in Australia have appeared in eight News Corps publications. He also appeared on HLN Jane Valez Mitchel show to bring the issue to light in the US. LCA continues to work with Animals Australia to educate the public on the issue, and to put pressure on the Australian government to end to live animal export.
• LCA’S MOST WANTED - In February, a 10-month-old Pitbull puppy was found with her face burned, muzzle bound with tape, skull fractured, and a severed right front paw and shattered left paw. Rescuers named her Valentine because she was found so close to Valentine's Day. LCA offered a $5,000.00 reward for any tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Valentine's torture. After seeing LCA’s reward poster, a woman came forward with information that helped lead authorities to a 17-year-old Lucerne Valley, CA resident. The teen was sentenced on May 29th to 1 year probation, 40 hours community service and an order he is not to own a dog for 1 year.
• HAWAII PUPPY MILL - In February Hawaii District Court Judge David Lo imposed the maximum financial penalties possible under Hawaiian law against Bradley International Inc., the corporate parent company of Bradley Hawaiian Puppies, the puppy mill LCA investigated and shut down in 2011. The fines totaled a whopping $685,116.27. LCA is currently investigating a new puppy mill in Hawaii run by the Luke’s, the same people who ran Bradley Hawaiian Puppies.
• DOG FIGHTING - In 2011 and 2012 LCA conducted investigations into dog fighting rings in Illinois and Tennessee. These investigations would go on to be used as the subject of a National Geographic documentary meant to raise awareness of the horrors of dog fighting and its dangerous affects on communities. This footage will be used to encourage the enforcement of dog fighting laws by providing police with footage they can use to prosecute perpetrators.
• LCA’S MOST WANTED - In May LCA offered a $7,500 reward for any information leading to the arrest of suspected animal abuser and murderer Luka Magnotta. Magnotta posted videos of animal abuse and torture back in 2010 but LCA’s repeated warnings to law enforcement were ignored and then in May he posted a video of himself killing and dismembering his alleged ex-lover, a Chinese exchange student named Lin Jun. LCA’s SIU attempted to lure the killer, or his companions, out using covert tactics often reserved for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. LCA’s Chris DeRose appeared on CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell to talk about animal abuse being the first step to violent and fatal crimes towards humans.
• LCA sent an SIU team to Japan to assist with animal rescue after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11th. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes and many of them could not take their companion animals with them. LCA's team made three separate trips to Japan, rescuing over 400 animals, moving them to safety and reuniting some animals with their grateful guardians.
• In March 2011 NBC Miami broadcast a story exposing the multi-million dollar internet puppy business following LCA's undercover investigation. The online puppy brokers, Breeders Direct and Premuim Breeders, knowingly lied to customers, shipping dirty, infested, infected, and sick puppies to its customers. The investigation and subsequent national media coverage exposed thousands of viewers to the horrific link between puppy mills and internet pet sales.
• LCA and a coalition of animal advocates came together to ban the sale of fur in West Hollywood, CA. An ordinance to ban the sale of fur apparel in West Hollywood was drafted in May 2011, and on September 20, 2011, the City Council voted 5-0 to pass the ordinance, making West Hollywood the first fur-free city in the nation. LCA now hopes to roll this ban out across the nation!
• LCA held the largest circus demo in world history on July 20th, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles against Ringling Brothers. Over 500 people advocating on behalf of the circus animals turned up to protest The Cruelest Show on Earth.
• Following LCA's undercover investigation into the illegal sale of animals in the Santee Alley fashion district of downtown Los Angeles, an ordinance was proposed that will prohibit the purchase of live animals on public streets and sidewalks. The LA City Council voted to adopt the ordinance on August 10, 2011 and L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa signed the ordinance which then took effect on September 25th, 2011. The new ordinance makes it illegal for any person to purchase, offer to purchase, barter, or receive without cost, live animals on public streets and sidewalks.
• LCA’s Chris DeRose was the only invited guest at News Corporation's AGM in October 2011. During the meeting DeRose persuaded News Corps founder, chairman, and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, to condemn Australia’s live animal export and promise to provide a forum for a fair and impartial voice through News Corps media outlets. On February 25, 2012 the first Op Ed, written by DeRose and condemning live export, appeared in The Australian, Australia’s “most influential and prestigious,” and only daily newspaper.
• LCA conducted an undercover investigation into a puppy mill in Hawaii, resulting in 152 dogs being rescued from the mill, and evidence against the people running the mill being handed over to prosecutors to press charges.
• After LCA’s undercover investigation into the illegal sale of whale meat at The Hump restaurant in Santa Monica, CA, Federal law enforcement officials brought charges against the owners and the chef for illegally selling the meat of an endangered animal (the Sei whale), and the restaurant shut down.
• LCA held the largest circus demo in Los Angeles history on July 14th, 2010 at Staples Center against Ringling Brothers. Over 300 people advocating on behalf of the circus animals turned up to protest The Cruelest Show on Earth. Undercover video taken by an LCA investigator of circus elephants being beaten during training sessions was shown. Numerous families turned in their tickets and left the arena when shown the footage. Clowns handed out child appropriate literature, and, after looking at the material some families decided they would not support the cruelty. One family with a young boy and girl even joined the demo.
• LCA led the rescue of over 230 dogs and 25 cats from one of the worst cases of animal abuse in California's Mojave Desert. LCA's SIU was asked to investigate a horrific hoarding situation by the producers of National Geographic's The Dog Whisperer. After LCA investigated and spoke with the owners of the property, Bemis and Trapani, sole permission was given to LCA to rescue the neglected and abused animals, which was accomplished after two hot and difficult months. Bemis and Trapani have been convicted and sentenced of 20 combined counts of animal cruelty.
• LCA takes The Dog Whisperer's Cesar Millan undercover inside a Lancaster County, CA puppy mill. A special episode of "The Dog Whisperer: Inside Puppy Mills" shows LCA and Cesar teaming up to rescue and rehabilitate dogs from puppy mills.
• LCA helped in the conservation of the endangered Mountain Gorillas by providing 120 very specialized GPS units, the eTrex Legend HCx, to the Ugandan and Rwandan Wildlife Authorities who protect the last remaining gorillas. These GPS units help the rangers pinpoint the gorilla's locations in the extremely rugged and dangerous conditions they work in.
• LCA busts some of the largest cockfighting rings across the country. The Van Buren, AR cockfighting bust led to over 80 people faced with animal cruelty charges. This trial is precedent setting, with the highest number of animal cruelty charges ever at one time for cockfighting.
• LCA rescues the "Lucky Eleven" from a Midwest research facility. Eleven Class B dogs, in an unprecedented move, were released from a research facility to LCA. Ranging from 2–6 years of life, 8 of these dogs had spent their entire lives in and out of research facilities. 3 of the rescued dogs were previous companion animals.
• LCA launches the "Puppy Mill Free Stores" campaign, aimed at educating the public that "designer dogs" for sale in pet shops come from puppy mills, and buying puppy mill dogs supports the despicable puppy mill industry. Through a combination of non-stop peaceful protests and information gathered from LCA's investigations, LCA shut down four pet stores in Los Angeles during 2008 that sold dogs originating from puppy mills. Two Los Angeles based pet stores, OrangeBone and Pet's Delight have stopped selling animals from puppy mills and instead, are working with LCA and exclusively carrying only rescue dogs in the fight to put an end to puppy mills and to save the thousands of dogs in Los Angeles area shelters. These stores are a model for other pet stores nationwide to "GO HUMANE!" ADOPT, DON'T SHOP!
• A Los Angeles County puppy mill releases over 100 dogs because of LCA's investigation. The puppy mill was ordered to reduce their numbers to comply with county law. LCA is using this victory as an example for stricter laws concerning puppy mills in California.
• LCA hosted the 5th Annual Puppy Mill Awareness Day in September in Lancaster County, PA, "The Puppy Mill Capital of the East Coast." With LCA leading the charge, more than 20 animal groups and supporters joined in. Lancaster County harbors the greatest concentrations of dog breeders in the nation with more than 275 puppy mills and their ranks are growing.
• The national largest cockfighting bust took place in May, with information supplied from LCA's SIU. 150 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel raided a crowded and popular cockfighting arena near Van Buren, AR. LCA's SIU was also responsible for the closure of a large cockfighting pit, with attendance at over 250 people, in Carroll County, VA.
• In December, Michael Vick, pro-football player, was sentenced to 23 months in prison and three years probation for his role in the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting operation and his participation in the brutal killing of several dogs that did not "perform well." LCA's SIU served as a special advisor to Federal Agents who worked on the Michael Vick federal investigation.
• Chris DeRose and LCA served as script consultants on "Lying Down with Dogs," a special dogfighting episode of CSI: Las Vegas that aired December 13th. Chris DeRose had a guest spot in this important episode.
• The nightmare is finally over. C.C. Baird, the largest and most notorious Class B dealer, is convicted and sentenced and set case law! Baird is the first Class B dealer to be convicted of money laundering due to his Class "B" dealer activities. This means that future animal abusers can expect to face prison time for their offenses. Violators of the animal Welfare Act will be prosecuted. This was a landmark decision for companion animals.
• HBO America Undercover aired "Dealing Dogs" which profiled LCA's ground-breaking investigation of Baird. HBO followed LCA's investigator for over three years after LCA finally succeeding in planting the investigator in Baird's Martin Creek Kennels. Wearing a hidden camera while working a low-level job, "Pete" secretly filmed the overwhelming amounts of horrific abuse and neglect committed against the dogs that ultimately led to Baird's conviction.
• LCA's "Save the Mountain Gorillas Campaign" supplied the Ugandan Wildlife Authority with 60 Motorola GP340 handheld radios to help in their day-to-day protection of the gorillas in Bwindi's Impenetrable Forest.
• LCA's "Elephant Sanctuaries-Not Captivity!" campaign to educate the public on the sad plight of elephants in captivity. Chris DeRose, President of LCA, confronted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on his campaign promise "to move the elephants out" and urged him to permanently close down the elephant exhibit at the L.A. Zoo and relocate the elephants to PAWS Sanctuary. LCA's campaign for the LA Zoo elephants included a city wide bus shelter ad campaign on the streets of Los Angeles and a presentation entitled "African Safari" showing an interactive elephant-free exhibit for the L.A. Zoo.
• In September, LCA led the first annual protest at the Los Angeles Japanese Embassy demanding that Japan stop the yearly traditional brutal and inhumane slaughter of innocent dolphins.
• LCA became part of the California Animal Association (CAA), a coalition of animal rights and animal welfare groups working to bring important animal legislation to the forefront of California politics. The first successful bill carried by CAA, CA Dog Chaining Bill, SB 1578, became law in California in 2006.
• LCA's fifteen-year investigation into Class B animal dealers hit a high point in January 2005 when the civil case against C.C. Baird, the largest and most notorious "B" dealer in the U.S. resulted in the permanent abolishment of his Class B license and slapped him with a $262,700 fine – the largest ever imposed by the USDA. Acting on evidence gathered by LCA that was handed over to local, state and federal officials in 2003, a raid on Martin Creek Kennels led to charges against Baird for hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. In a criminal case in August, Baird pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to launder money and consented to criminal forfeiture of $200,000 and approximately 700 acres of land. His sentencing is expected in early 2006 and could result in a penalty of $1.5 million.
• LCA rescues animals in Hurricane Katrina. President Chris DeRose organized and led one of the first rescue teams admitted into the devastated "hot zone" area of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. LCA's rescue team joined forces with Best Friends Animal Society's triage operation situated at the St. Francis of Assisi animal sanctuary in Tylertown, MS.
• Due to an intensive letter writing campaign from LCA and its supporters, LCA's "Most Wanted," Thomas Spencer, was sentenced to 20 years -- five of which are to be served in prison -- for the beating of a four-month-old puppy and additional cruelty charges; he pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals, terroristic threats, arson, threatening a witness in an official proceeding, driving w/ a suspended license and possession of cocaine. Spencer must also undergo psychiatric treatment, maintain his drug therapy, and refrain from ownership of any animals for the length of his sentence.
• Together with Grey2K USA, LCA helped defeat proposed legislation that would legalize slot machines at greyhound racetracks in Miami-Dade County by distributing alerts and mailings to voters in Florida. This victory saved thousands of greyhounds from abuse, neglect, and death, as slot machines would have drawn more people to the tracks, and given the dying racing industry the boost it needed to stay alive.
• LCA's elephant campaign, "Elephant Sanctuaries - Not Captivity" continued to educate, protest and fight for the freedom of all elephants from a life in captivity. LCA commissioned a moving billboard on the streets of Los Angeles to specifically raise awareness for the plight of the three Los Angeles Zoo elephants. Zoos across the country are beginning to understand they are incapable of caring properly for these majestic creatures and are phasing out and/or closing down their elephant exhibits.
• LCA's lobbying efforts were instrumental in the passage of an ordinance in West Hollywood, CA, making the selling of live animals on the street a misdemeanor crime. Due to LCA's urging, the ordinance was expedited and implemented within two weeks. This new law has saved numerous puppies from suffering the cruelty associated with "puppy peddling".
• Due to LCA's undercover investigation, Class "B" animal dealer, C.C. Baird was officially charged with hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act including mistreatment of animals, inadequate veterinary care and improper housing. These violations would lead to the largest penalty ever assessed and paid in an Animal Welfare Act case.
• After learning about one Connecticut animal control officer's decision that resulted in a golden retriever, "Max", to remain in an animal shelter for an undetermined amount of time, LCA got involved and campaigned to have this cruel practice changed. As of May 21, 2004, "Max's Law" was implemented and Connecticut is now required to determine within 60 days the fate of an animal. As a result, the decision of whether or not an animal is destroyed in Connecticut has to go before a panel of at least three people--preferably experts in animal behavior.
• LCA, along with supporters, initiated a massive campaign that urged California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign Foie Gras Bill SB 1520, a bill that will ban the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie gras. The bill will also ban the sale of the product when made from force-fed birds; both provisions taking effect in California in the year 2012.
• Due to pressure from concerned LCA supporters, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a unanimous ruling canceling the state's bear hunt four days before it was scheduled to begin on December 6th, 2004.
• LCA's 15-year investigation into Class "B" animal dealers was handed over to the U.S. Attorney's Office, who brought in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Postal Systems, Arkansas State Police, and the local Sheriff's Department. As a result, law enforcement officers raided Martin Creek Kennels, search warrant in hand, in a dawn raid on August 26, 2003 and took over the animal facilities on the property. This led the way to the 2005 Civil Trial, Baird's revoked license and the largest fine ever imposed by the USDA The bust of America's largest and most notorious USDA-licensed Class "B" dealer, C.C. Baird, helped end Baird's reign of terror on the thousands of animals that languished on his property each year.
• LCA's investigation of Premarin, the country's most prescribed hormone replacement therapy drug, led to national media coverage. Premarin is created through a horrible process that involves the gruesome harvesting of a pregnant mare's urine to produce a drug that not only brutalizes the mares, but was also proven in a NIH (National Institutes of Health) study to be harmful to women's health.
• As a result of the Premarin investigation and the decrease in demand for the drug, Wyeth Ayerst, the manufacturer of the brand Premarin, cut its production by 50%. An estimated 40,000 mares and foals per year are now spared from the suffering they would have endured at the hands of the pharmaceutical giant.
• Pressure from concerned LCA supporters helped urge the West Hollywood City Council to unanimously vote to abolish the inhumane practice of onychectomy (declaw surgery).
• Due to the ongoing efforts of LCA, the county board in Lancaster County, PA denied Daniel Esh, one of the state's largest puppy mill owners, from expanding his breeding facilities.
• Due to several years of tireless campaigning by LCA and Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, the Colorado University Health Sciences Center in Denver announced that it will cease using dogs in the remaining physiology labs that utilize live animals for training medical students
• The persistence of LCA's Katie Woodward of Ontario, Canada, led to the arrest of Matthew Kaczorowski for the brutal, heinous mutilation and death of a young female housecat.
• The notorious Coulston Foundation--a primate testing facility with a terrible record of animal abuse and death-- closed its doors forever. LCA's campaign to save the Coulston primates included lawsuits, educational websites and an aggressive billboard campaign.
• LCA special undercover investigator "Pete," infiltrated C. C. Baird's Martin Creek Kennels and acquired over 70 hours of undercover footage detailing an overwhelming amount of animal cruelty, abuse, neglect and unsanitary conditions. The documentation was handed over to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which resulted in the largest multi-agency (federal, state and local) investigation of animal abuse in U.S. history.
• LCA's San Diego chapter campaigned heavily and helped pass a ban on animal acts in Encinitas, CA.
• LCA successfully partnered with Grey2K USA to stop a Florida bill that would have further subsidized greyhound racing through the expansion of gambling at greyhound racing tracks.
• LCA helped to pass a ban on the use and promotion of wild and exotic animals as entertainment in Huntington Beach, CA.
• As part of the Arizona Greyhound Protection Alliance, LCA helped to defeat a measure that would have legalized slot machines at greyhound racing tracks, thereby subsidizing and perpetuating this cruel business.
• LCA's Chris DeRose completed a documentary in India entitled, "The Animals of the Pink City." Chris was invited as a special guest of Maneka Gandhi to produce this film about a shelter committed to helping India's population of draft (working) animals.
• LCA helped the greyhound advocacy group Grey2K defend itself against a $10 million lawsuit filed by Massachusetts' track owners. The suit was ultimately dismissed.
• After discussions with LCA, the cable station Showtime decided not to accept or pay for an episode of the series Chromium Blue, which used footage from a staged bullfight. LCA had anonymously received unedited footage showing bulls being savagely stabbed by a picador and matador.
• Trader Joe's stores declared a moratorium on the sale of duck meat after LCA members wrote letters of protest as part of a campaign to stop the sales.
• Working with the Houston Animal Rights Team, LCA Houston put an end to pound seizure in Harris County, Texas.
• LCA assisted in putting two USDA-licensed Class B Dealers from Oregon into federal prison.
• Together, LCA and SHARK convinced Pepsi to remove its signage from hundreds of bull fighting rings in Mexico.
• As a coalition member, LCA helped pass groundbreaking spay/neuter legislation in Los Angeles.
• LCA produced a one-hour television special focused on our investigations and the rights of animals. Hollywood Animal Crusaders aired eight times on the national cable network Animal Planet.
• In recognition of his work to help animals, LCA President and founder Chris DeRose received the International Courage of Conscience Award given by the Peace Abbey. Previous award recipients include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Nelson Mandela.
• LCA conducted an investigation and gathered co-plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the National Parks Service to stop the illegal slaughter of over 800 deer.
• LCA helped introduce federal legislation called The Pet Safety and Protection Act. This bill, when passed, will stop USDA-licensed Class B Dealers from selling dogs and cats to research laboratories.
• LCA investigated and gathered evidence against a USDA-licensed Class B Dealer who butchered and sold dogs and cats for food, which resulted in a rare, permanent revocation of a USDA Class B license.
• LCA gathered enough evidence to convict a USDA-licensed Class B Dealer and co-conspirators for their involvement in a massive pet theft ring for research labs. They were the first Class B Dealers sent to state prison for pet theft.
• To end the accusation that animal rights groups fabricate stories about animal research laboratories, LCA took a camera crew into UCLA's Brain Research Institute, where cats were being used as research subjects. The horror of animal research was exposed on the national television show 48 Hours and on CNN, turning the tide in media and public perception of vivisection.