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Howard Linett

Why I've Been Too Busy To Write...
July 18, 2008

With deep regret I am compelled to share with you the distressing situation in which the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals today finds itself. After 70 years caring for the needs of Jerusalemís animals our volunteer, not-for-profit association is facing its demise at the hands of the Municipality of Jerusalemís Veterinarian.

 

The Veterinarian, Dr. Zohar Dworkin, "Dr. DĒ has the legal authority to kill stray and roaming dogs. He uses that authority, poisoning dogs using Strychnine. We thought he exercised his authority sparingly. We were wrong. We just learned that last year he poisoned 628 dogs. That number may not include the poisoned dogs whose bodies were not collected because they walked-off before succumbing to the Strychnine. Dr. D must be routinely sending out his minions to poison dogs.

 

Our requests that Dr. D coordinate with us, so we could attempt to rescue the dogs before he poisoned them, fell on deaf ears. Our requests to tell us in advance where and when poison would be spread were refused. In February poison was spread not far from our shelter. A member of our Board of Directors and his dogs were staying at our shelter. One evening he went for a walk with his dogs, off leash. As was normal they would run ahead, sometimes out-of-sight depending on the terrain. Two disappeared. He could not find them. The next morning the Municipal Veterinarian Service called him. They had identified a dog now in their pound, poisoned and dying, as his from his petís imbedded computer identification chip.

 

He rushed to the Pound to get his dog and bring her to our clinic to try and save her. While at the Pound he was neither pleasant nor polite. There was a scene. He left with his dog. Several of the individuals present may have filed criminal complaints against one another.

 

Dr. D ordered us to throw the Board Member off our Board of Directors. We responded that this was a police matter, between private individuals, and did not involve the JSPCA. We did not carry out Dr. Dís order. Ever since, Dr. D has waged a war of attrition against us. His stated position is that he now no longer has faith in the JSPCA, so he will not allow it operate where doing so is "under his exercise of discretion.Ē

 

Anything that we had previously been authorized to do under the rubric of Dr. Dís "exercise of discretion,Ē suddenly the JSPCA was no longer permitted to do. Alternatively what had been routine, such as holding a Friday "Adoption DayĒ in Jerusalemís German Colony was suddenly encumbered with stringent, burdensome, suffocating regulations and the presence of Municipal dogcatchers. Dr. D effectively curtailed 80 percent of our functioning by summarily removing the authority we had exercised for years; everything from holding Adoption Days, now almost regulated out of existence, to prohibiting a Quarantine Area at the shelter, necessary to rescuing dogs. Dr. D has withdrawn that exercise of discretion because of our continuing refusal to allow him to dictate the composition of our duly elected Board of Directors.

 

We have had a series of meetings with the Municipality. The Mayorís Chief of Staff has assisted us by staving-off the continuing series of municipal inspectors suddenly appearing at the shelter and finding fault with everything from our alleged lack of a business license (and the resulting Closure Notice) to rumors of building code violations. He also crafted a resolution to the Veterinarianís Vendetta.

 

But the Mayor's term in Office is almost over. His administration is in its last months. It is unclear whether he will seek another term. Dr. Dís is the attitude of the typical Israeli bureaucrat, I was here before you and Iíll be here after you. His position is that he is not subject to the orders of his Municipal superiors in the exercise of his professional discretion which he derives from the Israeli Government Ministry of Agriculture. Dr. Dís freely and often repeated bottom line is either we allow him to dictate who may or may not be allowed to serve on our registered non-profitís Board of Directors or he will destroy the JSPCA putting in its place an alternate organization he has told us he has waiting in the wings. Thus far Dr. D has been successful in turning his threat into a reality.

 

Obviously, this letter does little more then provide a brief description of a situation that has been going on for many months. We know Dr. D has lots of mud to throw at us. He is waiting to "exposeĒ us as having killed hundreds of dogs and cats just last year. It isnít so. He now routinely sends his minions of vets and dogcatchers to photograph every inch of our Shelter, every pile of poo not yet scooped-up, every pile of soiled towels on the floor in the laundry room waiting its turn in our washing machine.

 

We are exhausted by the months of constant, continuous threats. We are exhausted by the months of daily harassment. Dr. D's minions have been to the Shelter on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and twice on Wednesday this week! We are exhausted by the months of putting out the fires Dr. D starts. But we will never allow our efforts to rescue the homeless, sick, injured, abused and abandoned animals of Jerusalem to be exhausted. We will fight!

 

The Jerusalem Law Firm of Ehud Green & Associates, a premier Israeli litigation firm, has taken up our cause. This morning Attorneys Ehud and Roy Green instituted legal action against the Municipality and the Municipal Veterinary Service seeking to enjoin an Order issued by Dr. D requiring the dogs and cats living in our Shelter be "thinned out" by July 21st and several dates shortly thereafter. We anticipate that following the Hearing on our Request for a Temporary Restraining Order, there will be a lengthy court case. We are all up to the challenge!

 

Join us! Assist us in our efforts. Should you or your friends have any contact with any Israeli Powers-that-Be please contact them and express your distress with the relentless attack upon the JSPCA, an animal welfare association which predates the State of Israel.

 

Mayor Uri Lupolianski
Telephone No. 011-972-2-629-7998 Fax: 011-972-2-629-6014
Email:lpuri@jerusalem.muni.il

Howard Linett is an attorney, an independent journalist, a lecturer, sniper instructor in the Israeli Police Civil Guard and the author of "Living With Terrorism: Survival Lessons from the Streets of Jerusalem." The author's blog is www.howardlinett.com.

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