DEAR JOAN: Some abused animals need your help. Please ask your readers to contact their state legislators and encourage them to author these two state bills:
- Onsite veterinary care at all rodeos. Current state law — Penal Code 596.7 — allows for an “on call” vet option. It’s not working. The vets are not being summoned, and animals are suffering needlessly. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, race tracks and horse shows all require on-site veterinary care. The law should be amended so as to
require either an on-site veterinarian or an on-site registered veterinary technician at every rodeo and charreada, a Mexican-style rodeo — there is an estimated 800 every year in California. It’s only fair.
- Ban the rodeo’s brutal “steer tailing” event. The cruel event was outlawed in both Contra
Costa and Alameda counties in 1993, in Nebraska in 2009, and in Brazil in 2016. Tails can be stripped to the bone and even torn off. The horses involved sometimes suffer broken legs when the steers run the wrong way.
The 2018 legislative session begins on Jan. 3. Most legislators decide in November upon which bills to carry. Good potential authors for these two bills would be East Bay Senators Steven Glazer and Nancy Skinner, and Assembly members Catharine Baker and Rob Bonta. Let them hear from you.
All legislators can be written to in care of the State Capitol, Sacramento, 95814. People also can contact the district offices.
Eric Mills, coordinator, Action for Animals, Oakland
DEAR ERIC: I have a confession to make. As a kid, I went to the rodeo every year during the New Mexico State Fair. I always enjoyed the spectacle and the displays of skill that were honed in the days of open ranges and cattle drives.
Some of the events in today’s rodeos, however, inflict unnecessary pain and harm on animals and are not part of the cowboy tradition. Thanks for the work your organization does, and I hope some legislators will step forward to help the cause and the animals.
Squirrels and drip lines
Here are some reader tips on dealing with squirrels chewing on your irrigation lines.
DEAR JOAN: As you know, I am a wildlife rehabber and have been rehabbing squirrels for 35-plus years. My suggestion is painting the sprinklers with peppermint oil, which also is good for flower pots that they like to dig up — they hate things that are herb-y and smelly, such as peppermint oil, sage, garlic and the like.
The other thing is to throw some cooked, scraped beef rib bones into your yard to give them something to chew on and wear down their ever growing teeth.
All worth a try.
Norma Campbell, Injured & Orphaned Wildlife, Campbell
DEAR NORMA: Thanks for your experienced suggestions. It’s something that is easy and shouldn’t require a lot of work. Plus, I bet the yard will smell nice.
DEAR JOAN: The squirrels want water. Your suggestion to leave water out was spot on. I, too, experienced this when I first switched my irrigation over. Now I leave the birdbath full, the squirrels have a place to drink, and the problem went away.
Jan Richardson, Danville
DEAR JAN: Sometimes you’ve just got to give them what they want.
Wanted: State legislators willing to stand up for rodeo animals