Animal Defense League -- Los Angeles; Sept 9, 2005
Regarding kill-shelters in LA, CA

Regarding the article written by Andrew Blankstein and Steve Hymon (below) which was on the front page of the California section in yesterday's LA Times, we have this to say. . . .

If underground animal rights activists use illegal tactics and vandalize property, then so did the conductors of the Underground Railroad, the colonists who participated in the Boston Tea Party, and the Allies who liberated the inmates and destroyed the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camps.

Once and for all, let's recognize that those who are responsible for and who neglect, abuse and kill animals at their jobs are the REAL criminals and terrorists.

Animal Defense League of Los Angeles (ADLLA) is an above-ground animal rights group whose protests are, admittedly, noisy and confrontational--but always legal. The group does not engage in, have foreknowledge of, or incite others to commit--illegal activities.

It does, however, understand that some activists are driven to "take it a step further." Years of "please" and "thank you" have done little for the animals--and the consequent frustration impels some to adopt those "tougher tactics." ADL-LA philosophically supports the anonymous brave warriors who risk their freedom to employ "more convincing measures" to fight against the animal killers--or to directly liberate animals from--the interminable abuse.

History has shown that the animal rights movement is the ONLY social justice endeavor that has NOT resorted to violence against its opponents. It has, in fact, been remarkably and admirably restrained in this regard. Some underground activists damage property because they perceive that it is the only medium of "communication"--the only form of "dialogue"--to which abusers pay attention.

Put in a nutshell, the only thing that seems to mean anything to the torturers and murderers of animals is their money, ego and power. It is they, therefore, who determine that economic sabotage is the only language in which some animal rights freedom fighters feel they can meaningfully--and successfully--converse.

The government enacts laws that protect the corporations who torment animals and rape the Earth. The police and courts are their henchmen who enforce those laws. The public flippantly bandies about the "terrorist" buzz word when activists obey the "higher law" that decries the suffering of sentient beings.

For most people, the world stretches no farther than the lengths of their own selfish noses. They are oblivious to suffering--with the duly-noted exception of their own, of course!

Thus, an hour's clamor in their neighborhoods once or twice a month sends them into a tizzy--but the execution of over 44,000 puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, rabbits and wildlife every year in the six City shelters leaves them unmoved.

Indeed--those who are silent toward the pain of others cry the loudest at their own.



Animal Activists Toughen Tactics

Some have moved beyond protesting to vandalism and threats against city officials.
By Andrew Blankstein and Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writers

In recent weeks, one neighborhood in the Larchmont Village section of Los Angeles has been under siege: graffiti scrawlings, stink bombs, menacing midnight phone calls and, in July, a bomb scare that forced an evacuation.

Police and political leaders say it's a part of an escalation by animal rights activists in Los Angeles, whom critics charge are turning away from legitimate protest and embracing illegal harassment tactics and vandalism.

The protesters' target is David Diliberto, a high-ranking official in the Los Angeles Animal Services Department, whom activists blame for failing to stop the city from euthanizing thousands of stray dogs it picks up each year.

The campaign against Diliberto is part of an ongoing effort by activists to stop the euthanizing of animals in city shelters by targeting department officials. Unlike most disputes over city policy, however, this one has been marked by activists' willingness to take their battle to residential streets.

No arrests have been made in the bomb threat, which took place in late July at Diliberto's home. Police have taken nine reports related to animal activists at the home since January 2004, including five in July alone.

Last month, Diliberto told police his family was awakened at 3 a.m. by two people dressed as mortuary workers who said they were trying to pick up a dead body at his home.

"Unfortunately, the only thing they are accomplishing is terrorizing my kids," Diliberto said. "I have a daughter who asked me if she should be wearing a bulletproof vest while walking to the school bus stop. As a father, that's disturbing."

A judge in June issued a temporary restraining order to stop protesters from assaulting, stalking or following Diliberto around during working hours. Activists also were ordered to stay 100 feet away from his residence and his children's schools.

The protesters have affiliations with various groups, among them the Animal Defense League, which advocates against killing or experimenting on animals. Pamelyn Ferdin, the spokeswoman for the league, argues that the group has not violated the law and has forced change by getting key officials of the city's Animal Services Department to resign.

Although her organization does not use illegal tactics, Ferdin said she supports those who do including the Animal Liberation Front, a secretive international group on the U.S. Justice Department's list of domestic terror organizations and believes their help will help win the battle.

"We support those brave warriors out there who take it to the next level," Ferdin said.

Ferdin and her husband, Jerry Vlasak, are facing a criminal trespass charge for refusing to leave Diliberto's property during a protest. Ferdin insists that she was only distributing leaflets in the neighborhood.

The number of dogs euthanized in city shelters has dropped from 39,086 in fiscal 2001-02 to 29,624 in fiscal 2003-04, according to city officials. The Animal Services Department says it has pursued an aggressive campaign to get more dogs adopted and to persuade owners to spay or neuter their pets. There are also privately run shelters in the county that have no-kill policies.

Activists, however, are not satisfied with the changes. They picketed the home of the agency's former chief, Jerry Greenwalt, until he quit, and also protested in the street in front of the home of former Mayor James K. Hahn.

Greenwalt was replaced by Guerdon Stuckey, who has also drawn the wrath of animal rights advocates. Ferdin said that the only reason activists haven't protested at Stuckey's home is because they haven't yet figured out his address.

And if Stuckey doesn't go?

The Animal Defense League will take its protest to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Ferdin said. "You need to understand our constituents are not the people. Our constituents are the animals and we believe if the animals could do what we're doing they would. We're standing up on their behalf. We need to expose these atrocities."

Police say they have tried to enforce a city law forbidding protests within 100 feet of private residences.

Otherwise, many city officials say they are powerless to stop the activists.

That may soon change.