Petition to Patti Mercer
Demand Houston SPCA Save Hurricane Harvey Animals
Update: We want to be clear that our call to action regarding the HSPCA has nothing to do with unsubstantiated rumors that have been floating around the internet that the HSPCA is killing animals in Beaumont. Our concern is for the long-term commitment to the animals, and that’s why we’re asking you to read and sign the petition below. ***Please sign the this petition to hold Houston SPCA to these simple life saving guarantees. Help save the pets in Hurricane Harvey! People are risking their lives to rescue Harvey pets, yet some may go to shelters where they may be killed. Yesterday the Best Friends Animal Society team on the ground in Texas arrived in Beaumont. Beaumont is one of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Harvey and is struggling to provide basic services – the entire community lost access to clean water. The animals rescued from the area were being housed at a pavilion-type shelter set up at the Ford Center. The reports from our team on the ground late yesterday were that the animals were in dire need of basic medical care, and the heat was taking its toll.The Houston SPCA obtained the memorandum of understanding (MOU) from local officials to serve as the small animal lead at the Ford Center. That’s when the rumors began to swirl.The Houston SPCA has a history of a lack of transparency around consistent reporting regarding the outcomes for the animals entering their care. They have questionable policies regarding pit bull type dogs and have received continued criticism from the animal welfare community around these policies. So it’s understandable that the rescue community and other pet-loving members of the public, aware of the Houston SPCA’s history, would be worried about what was taking place with the pets in Beaumont.We contacted the Houston SPCA and spoke with the organization’s President, Patti Mercer. Knowing the Houston SPCA is already stretched thin from their necessary work in Houston, Best Friends offered to relieve them of the responsibility in Beaumont and take over the MOU to provide care and reunion efforts for the animals rescued in Beaumont. This offer was denied.We then offered assistance and general help for the animals of Beaumont to the Houston SPCA, but this offer for help was also declined. While Ms. Mercer did verbally commit to at least a 30 day hold for the animals of Beaumont to be reunited with their owners, our attempts to determine if there would be an adoption guarantee for these animals regardless of where they might be transferred failed – we were told by Ms. Mercer to wait for a “press release” and she was unwilling to put anything in writing to us. The list of possible receiving agencies for these animals that she cited are not known for their commitment to no-kill policies.We detailed the expectations Best Friends has set for ourselves for animals we rescue from this storm, and asked the Houston SPCA to commit to the same, in writing. Minimum 30-day stray hold so owners can reunite with their pets Proactive pursuit of families and reunion of all pets displaced by Harvey A clear, transparent operation that offers an appropriate standard of care A guarantee for a positive outcome for all animals rescued. In other words, that all the animals in Beaumont are either reunited with their families; adopted into a loving home; or are transferred to an agency who will guarantee a no-kill outcome Sharing of raw data so that the above points can be audited and confirmed by interested parties Ms. Mercer refused to put these simple commitments and procedures in writing, and again she referred us to a yet-to-be-made press release. We advised her that her personal word in writing to us would do more to allay the public’s concerns than a press release, but again Ms. Mercer declined. Without this in writing, Best Friends does not feel comfortable with what is happening in Beaumont, or anywhere else the Houston SPCA is rescuing pets.Whether it is a time of disaster or not, organizations that rescue animals need to be held accountable by the communities they serve. Best Friends is committed to help the animals of Texas, and will not back down.**As is often the case when talking about animal welfare organizations, there is confusion regarding the relationship between the Houston SPCA and other SPCAs, including the national organization, the ASPCA. While these organizations share the SPCA moniker, they are separate organizations with their own 501(c)(3) designation, boards, leadership, policies and so forth. The Houston SPCA is an independent organization and should not be confused with any other animal welfare organization.**
Petition to Department of Homeland Security, President of the United States
Waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to Help Rebuild its Infrastructure and Economy
Everyone has seen the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The entire island is without power and thousands of Americans may die. Many have asked how they can help. This petition focuses on cutting through bureaucracy that could cost lives and add to the suffering of millions of Americans in Puerto Rico. The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act 1920, 46 U.S.C. § 883) prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Foreign ships can't stop in Puerto Rico to offload goods. Instead, goods are dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flag ships. This makes everything more expensive, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act to relieve PR, but the waiver expired on September 22, 2017. I started this petition on Saturday, September 23rd. By September 28th, this petition garnered nearly 500,000 supporters, and President Trump and DHS agreed to waive the Jones Act for 10 days. While this is a good start, Puerto Rico will need additional time to rebuild its economy and infrastructure and should receive the benefit of foreign support. For example, Germany has already begun assisting Puerto Rico with restoring its power grid. By signing this petition, you are telling the Department of Homeland Security and the President of the United States to waive the Jones Act for 12 months to give Puerto Rico the relief it needs to recover and rebuild its infrastructure and economy.
Petition to Bill Shuster, Don Young, Eleanor Norton, John Duncan, Frank LoBiondo, Eddie Johnson, Sam Graves, Elijah Cummings, Duncan Hunter, Rick Larsen, Rick Crawford, Michael Capuano, Lou Barletta, Grace Napolitano, Blake Farenthold, Daniel Lipinski, Bob Gibbs, Steve Cohen, Daniel Webster, Albio Sires, Jeff Denham, John Garamendi, Thomas Massie, Hank Johnson, Andre Carson, Mark Meadows, Scott Perry, Rodney Davis, Dina Titus, Mark Sanford, Sean Maloney, Rob Woodall, Elizabeth Esty, Todd Rokita, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, John McCain, Lois Frankel, John Katko, Cheri Bustos, Brian Babin, Jared Huffman, Garret Graves, Julia Brownley, Frederica Wilson, Barbara Comstock, David Rouzer, Donald Payne, Mike Bost, Alan Lowenthal, Randy Weber, Brenda Lawrence, Doug LaMalfa, Mark DeSaulnier, Bruce Westerman, Lloyd Smucker, Paul Mitchell, John Faso, Drew Ferguson, Brian Mast, Jason Lewis, John Thune, Roger Wicker, Roy Blunt, Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer, Jerry Moran, Dan Sullivan, Dean Heller, James Inhofe, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Shelley Capito, Cory Gardner, Catharine Young, Bill Nelson, Maria Cantwell, Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, Edward Markey, Cory Booker, Tom Udall, Gary Peters, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth, Maggie Hassan, Catherine Cortez Masto, Marco Rubio, Sonny Beauchamp
Send Helicopter Aid to Puerto Rico to save lives NOW!
Supplies getting to Puerto Rico have been bottlenecked. They are sitting in warehouses in Puerto Rico and are not being distributed to the people on the island that are in desperate need. People are living without access to food and water. Because of the Jones act the island is unable to receive aid from anywhere but the USA unless the USA decides to waive this (which as of 9/26 they have not). We also have failing infrastructure throughout the island due to the overwhelming amount of debt we hold and an unyielding attitude to allow us to restructure the debt or have access to bankruptcy court. PROMESA was nothing but broken promises to our people. We have still seen no debt relief in any form since the passing of the bill. We demand respect and dignity as people who have been continuously exploited by the USA despite the immense sacrifices we have made for this country economically and militarily. We demand the following: 1. Suspend the Jones Act just as was done for FL & TX & allow foreign relief vessels into Puerto Rico. EEUU controls air and marine frontiers in Puerto Rico. They need to be open NOW for any and all international help. The Jones Act needs to be waived for hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.2. Send immediate and massive aid to Puerto Rico beginning with helicopters to distribute donations and rescue people in areas that are cut off & including cell towers to aid in communications for residents & relief workers.3. Pass bankruptcy relief legislation & negotiate public debt relief immediately.4. Pass a major reconstruction bill that includes solar energy & other sustainable technology that will save millions in the long run.
Petition to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas State House, Texas State Senate, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Ft. Bend County Judge Robert Hebert, Brazoria County Judge L.M. "Matt" Sebesta, JR, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal
30 Day Hold from Euthanasia for Harvey Animals in Texas
We are writing this petition, in hopes of having a mandatory 30 day hold for all displaced animals in all Texas shelters due to Hurricane Harvey and for any other area disasters in Texas in the future. With a disaster of this magnitude there are still many stranded, homeless and devastated people and families who were separated from their pets due to the flood waters, destroyed homes, and the rescue process. Numerous people are still without cars, transportation or the means to locate their pets. OVERVIEW: The animal situation in Houston and Texas is dire. Dozens of thousands of strays, at one point conservatively estimated at 1.2 million, were on the streets before Hurricane Harvey. There are few laws about breeding, selling or spaying/neutering animals with little or no enforcement of any laws that do exist. Backyard breeding and dog fighting, especially involving the bully breeds, is rampant. Dogs and puppies are sold openly out of cars in parking lots. The Houston SPCA (HSPCA) is overwhelmed with the many reports of cruelty as animals are dumped and wander the streets. Only a couple of places offer low cost spay/neuter and there are few if no free clinics. Shelters are already over-crowded and animals can be killed in 3 days under city law if strays/owner surrenders are not adopted out. Thousands and thousands DIE yearly. This is true for Harris County, Brazoria County, Ft. Bend, Montgomery, and Galveston County which can all be considered part of the greater Houston area as they are bedroom communities to Houston. THE NEED FOR A 30 DAY HOLD FOR HARVEY ANIMALS: There is no current legislation protecting displaced animals for longer than the typical 3 day hold time at government animal control shelters during a disaster - meaning an animal coming into a county or municipal or any animal shelter could be legally euthanized after only 72 hours. People report that FEMA: (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/conferences/iaconference/2010/wednesday_830am_household_pets_intro_1.pdf - Page 7) and the Federal PETS Act: (http://www.akc.org/content/news/articles/federal-pets-act-information/ ) require hold times for 30 days or more in a disaster area to reunite people with pets. However, we have found no written documentation or information that supports this and have learned there is no mandate to hold animals in a government animal control/shelter for longer than usual hold times of 3 days (72 hours) during a disaster. It is each animal shelter's discretion in the State of Texas as to whether they extend the hold time or not. Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and has numerous animal shelters located in different areas for families to locate their pet. But, to our knowledge, NONE of the government animal control animal shelters are no kill shelters. There are only 2 no kill animal shelters in and around the Houston area, both of which are private shelters - Friends for Life and Special Pals. Many animals that came in at the beginning of Harvey are already out of "time" and legally can be, have been, and are being euthanized at this very moment. Indeed, some unfortunate animals are rapidly approaching their 30 day hold limit for shelters that did agree to give the 30 days. There are unimaginable numbers of displaced animals and Austin Pets Alive nonprofit has already taken in more than 1000 displaced pets from Hurricane Harvey and expects to reach 2000 soon if not more. Many local nonprofit organizations and out of town rescue groups and nonprofits such as Best Friends Animal Society are doing all they can to rescue and care for thousands of Texas animals, with many more to be rescued - hopefully to be reunited with their families or placed into new homes if the families cannot take them. However, this time limit is tremendously challenging for people who have already lost so much. Record-keeping of the displaced animals appears to be chaotic and animals are being transferred out of town/area, making it even more difficult for people to simply LOCATE their pet. Government animal shelters requirement to only hold displaced Harvey animals for 3 days is, in our opinion, inhumane for both the animals and their families who have likely lost everything. Rescue groups cannot even plan to save these animals or transfer them to safety or to fosters if they are rushed to euthanasia in just 3 days. Found animals are now being directed to BARC or HSPCA - the kill shelters now! There are still thousands of injured and/or stray animals. The City of Houston does not want to address these problems. Ignoring the problem will not resolve the issues. Right now individuals and rescues are desperately forming groups and transport chains to try to pull dogs/cats and get them to safety - but the numbers are staggering....and overwhelming and they are running out of time in many cases. It's extremely challenging, if not impossible, to reunite animals with only a 3 day hold, or even the 30 day hold that is soon ending. Many are elderly people who cannot get to computers to search through the multiple difficult data bases to look for an animal they may be missing, and in many cases animals are not even showing up in the data bases. A better system must ultimately be put into place so this does not happen again. One database for all animals involved would help, better evacuation plans and shelters taking pets would help, suspending euthanizing at local shelters while animals are moved to rescues or foster groups would help, mainstreaming and keeping records to where animals are moved would help. In short, a greater discussion must be had very soon about the problem with the over pet population in the greater Houston area and surrounding counties, along with what to do in these emergencies. In the meantime, we are asking the State of Texas, and the animal shelters for The City of Houston, Harris County, Brazoria County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Galveston County and all the surrounding cities and areas affected by Hurricane Harvey to PLEASE have compassion for these animals and their families. Please give them a chance to reunite with their families if they can be, by instituting a state-wide minimum 30 day hold, for the sake of the Harvey victims and their beloved pets. Thank you. Signed, The Righteous Paws Group (formerly The Go Team Rescue Group) Wendy Thompson, Mia Bendixsen Shorey, Sheri Boyd Haynes, Godiva K. Guillory, Lisa Carroll, Tara Taheri, Francene Chlon Weber, Chrystal Spencer, Rebecca Kornblum, Sallie Humphries, Deanna L. Lopez, Jimisu Balko, Tina Eilders, Ashley Cyrena Johnson Photo Credit: Nancy Wilmont. Photo taken of actual Hurricane Harvey displaced dogs rescued by Angie Shawn Sanchez. Angie rescued the lucky mom and 10 puppies and currently is caring for all of them. The photo was taken when the pups were loaded into her car. Shelters in Corpus Christi where these dogs are located are able to euthanize in 3 days. Another mom and her pups was picked up by the county shelter the same day. They were euthanized.
Petition to Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Ted Poe, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Al Green, Gene Green, John Culberson, Kevin Brady, Michael McCaul, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pete Olson, Brian Babin
Change Addicks and Barker Reservoir Design
We, the undersigned, petition Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn along with congressional representatives of the State of Texas to co-sponsor a bill that 1) bans the US Army Corps of Engineers from operating the Addicks or Barker Reservoir above the elevation of government-owned land and 2) compensates homeowners inside the Addicks and Barker reservoirs for whom they flooded when they retained water past the elevation of the government-owned land during Hurricane Harvey and 3) protects homeowners downstream when water is released. This deliberate act of retaining water on private land in August, 2017 (which was publicly confirmed by the ACOE and Harris County Flood Control in front of Congressman Poe on 9/21/2017) caused devastating physical damage and is a clear case of Inverse Condemnation - a violation of the homeowners' 5th amendment constitutional rights: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Rather than hire private attorneys and have them receive the majority of the compensation owed to the homeowners, this petition aims to see that homeowners receive the full compensation due them. It is directed toward the attorneys hired to represent these homeowners in Congress when they elected them and paid them with tax money. The US Army Corps of Engineers has stated it will take an act of Congress to change the design of the reservoirs. The government operates these reservoirs beyond the point of the land that they own. They built the reservoirs and then sold much of the land inside of it to private developers who built and sold homes to private citizens. As a local realtor, I know that the material fact that these homes were INSIDE the reservoir was not disclosed to home buyers. In fact, homeowners were regularly and publicly misled by government officials to believe that their homes are BEHIND the reservoir rather than in it (even during the flood event). This is our petition: With all due respect, we ask Texas representatives of the US Congress to represent their constituents, acting sooner than later, so that families can recover the compensation due them, rebuild, and know that their private property will no longer be a part of the reservoir design. We request 1) compensation for damages due to inverse condemnation AND 2) that the maximum pool level of the reserviors not exceed the elevation of government-owned land. 3) We also request that the design include changes to protect downstream private property with responsible releases of the water.
Petition to Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Stop FEMA From Ending Food & Water Aid for Puerto Rico
On Monday, January 29th, 2018, the National Public Radio announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will end food and water aid for Puerto Rico on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018. With an estimate of about one-half of the island still being in complete darkness and much of the island without running water, we are asking FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to continue providing federal aid for impoverished Puerto Rican citizens. Many Puerto Ricans are dependent on FEMA's food rations and, without food and clean water, lives will be endangered. Please sign to ensure that Puerto Rican citizens will get the resources they need. Photo Credit: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/unseen-aftermath-hurricane-maria-heart-puerto-rico-gallery-1.3594028
Petition to CBS
Sign Petition David Begnaud to get nominated for an Emmy for his Reporting in Puerto Rico.
David Begnaud, CBS journalist, went to Puerto Rico to report on Hurricane Maria. His constant and informative reporting to all Puerto Ricans out of the island, has made him a hero. He continues to get questions answered and maintain updates. He has been the eyes and ears for all Puerto ricans. Is because of his investigating reports that in some cases is been the only way of knowing what is really happening in Puerto Rico. He was move to New York after 3 weeks. But that didn't stop his reporting and investigating for the people of Puerto Rico. He has return where he is currently reporting from. We collectively thank you and your team. We salute great and constant reporting. If not an Emmy the highest journalist award. Please share..
Petition to U.S. Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer, U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi
Rebuild Puerto Rico
Make Puerto Rico Great Again! Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico need--and deserve--our best effort! Let's approach this devastating event as an opportunity to redevelop Puerto Rico and address its problems. Develop ports, hospitals, airports, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, industries, resorts, agriculture, casinos, ..., to invigorate the economy. Make Puerto Rico the Hawaii of the Caribbean, and set the stage to make Puerto Rico the 51st state. Rebuild with hurricane resistant building codes, using solar roofs to supply 100% of electricity, plus power for desalination and extraction of hydrogen from sea water. Make Puerto Rico 100% powered by solar, wind, and hydrogen. Let's point the Senate and House of Representatives in the right direction!