Category Archives: education

Justice for Byron and all other animal victims

It was over 17 months ago when Byron was scalded with hot water by his previous owner, Kyle Voissem, and it was over 15 months ago when Voissem was  arrested for the crime.  It has been since the arrest that his case has drawn out for as long as it did.  But, finally, it all came to a conclusion yesterday after a 2 day bench trial.  Voissem was found guilty of criminal intent of animal cruelty, a felony charge that includes up to 3 years in prison.  Voissem’s sentencing date was set for May 20th.  However after a long extension granted by the Judge due to a psychological evaluation, Voissem’s sentencing was finally on July 11th.  He was sentenced to 1 year probation.

Although the sentencing was very light and that Voissem basically cried as victim due to the petitioning and action by all animal lovers, the felony conviction alone is a great victory for both animals and animal rights groups because not only does it set a precedent for other first-time offenders but it also sets the precedent that a split-second decision out of anger can change the course of an abuser’s life in an instant.

Another animal cruelty case that I have been following is that of Derek Fierro. I will post the details and update on this case soon.


Ireland Sets the Bar

On January 1, 2012, 2 new laws – the Welfare of Greyhounds Act and Dogs Breeding Establishments Act – were introduced in Ireland to control puppy farming (ie. puppy mills).  For so long, Ireland was known as the Puppy Mill of Europe and  after years of animal welfare activists fighting legislators, the legislators finally listened.  These 2 new acts created new legislation specifically aimed at banning all puppy farms/mills.

With this new legislation, there are 3 key points:  1.) Veterinarians now have the right to inspect all breeding locations and immediately shut down any facility that does not meet the new strict standards  of care and environmental conditions.  2.) Just as in shelters,  all puppies are required to be microchipped so that history can be traced directly to the breeder.  3.) All breeders must be registered with their local authority.

Although this new legislation still allows commercial breeding, Continue reading

Victories in 2011 paving the way for 2012

From shutting down puppy mills to rescuing animals from disaster-stricken areas to creating stricter laws in animal protection, what cause did your donation help in fighting for a victory?  What petition did you sign that reached it’s goal?  In 2011, many of the worldwide organizations dedicated to caring, rescuing, and protecting all animals accomplished more than expected and thus paving the way for more victories in 2012.

Each year we (animal advocates) get closer and closer to the greater good and so we must continue fighting the good fight and be the voices for those who can’t speak.

Click on any of these org’s links for a recap of what you helped accomplish in 2011:

Humane Society of the U.S.


World Wildlife Fund

Care2 Petitions


Whether it be any of these organizations or your local shelter/rescue, please continue to donate what you are able to afford.  Even $10 goes a long way.

Thank you and Happy New Year!  Let’s accomplish more in 2012! 

Byron’s Story – Animal Cruelty Case of Kyle Voissem


In early October 2011, Byron (pictured above) was scalded by boiling hot water for urinating on the floor by his owner Kyle Voissem , a student (gymnastics) athlete at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Sadly, Byron suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns but did not receive medical treatment until several days later when a neighbor tipped off the Anti-Cruelty Society, who later alerted authorities.  Kyle was not arrested with misdemeanor charges until December 13 and his story then spread like wildfire via The Huffington Post, CBS Chicago, Chicago Tribune, and of course social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

This is a photo of Byron during his recovery.

(courtesy of the Anti-Cruelty Society)

While a petition is available online via to upgrade Kyle’s misdemeanor charge to a felony, Continue reading

Yoda and his Jedi mind tricks

Once again, I’ve been absent due to the demands of everyday life and became too comfortable with all of the successful pet adoption stories that would flood in online and through word of mouth.  Whether via Facebook or eblasts or educating one person at a time or new legislation in favor of humane animal treatment, all of the progress convinced me enough to step back for a bit.  The message was getting across.  People are listening.  Mission accomplished……..for now.

About 2 weeks ago, a friend was dropping off some donations at an animal shelter and came across an emaciated 3lb chihuahua.  Despite his condition and appearing to be the most sickly dog there, he had a spirit about him.  A forgiving and optimistic persona that despite what he most likely experienced, he wanted to show everyone that he was still loveable and that he believed there are loving humans out there. Continue reading

Trying to Stay Strong and Positive

I’ve been away from my own site for a long time, which was not my intention.  There was a moment when I felt defeated, burned out, helpless, hopeless about my campaign in protecting and caring for animals.  I felt that no matter how hard I tried, the message was barely coming across.

I love and want to care for animals of all species, breeds, shapes, and sizes.  With my upbringing and educational background, I thought that I had the capability to make a difference.  However, animals are still being abused, neglected, and abandoned.  Shelters continue to fill up and more animals are being euthanized for lack of room.  Abusers and dog fighters are still on the street and puppy mills are still in business.  I was starting to feel that my mission was going nowhere but that moment is now gone. Continue reading

The Shelter Pet Project

Pawsitive Change is a proud partner of The Shelter Pet Project and is now partnering up with PetSmart in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. I will be there this Saturday March 27th 11am-2pm promoting pet adoptions! I hope to see you there!

The Pet Store Disclosure Bill – Illinois HB 5772

Attention all Illinois Residents:

The Pet Store Disclosure Bill will be voted on this week.  This disclosure law is vital for consumer protection – helping them to make informed decisions and learning more about where animals come from.  This important legislation will help combat the unethical puppy mill industry by mandating that pet stores post their breeder information on the cage so consumers can make informed decisions.  It will also list the health record and size of the facility as well as if the dog was in the hand of a dog broker or middleman.  Continue reading

Where does your state rank?

Two weeks ago, the Humane Society of the United States released a state-by-state ranking of animal protection laws.  The ranking was based on 65 different animal protection issues in 10 major categories, such as animal fighting, puppy mills, and animals used in research laboratories.

Where does your state rank?
Alabama – Missouri
Montana – Wyoming
Total Scores of all 50 States

Designer Breeds are my Pet Peeve

While on vacation in Hawaii (and already knowing that Hawaii ranks near the bottom of the Humane Society’s list of animal protection laws), I was curious to see the problem for this lack of animal welfare.  One of the major problems I noticed early was all the mixed breeds being sold as designer breeds.  Everywhere I looked and all the dogs and dog owners I approached, a majority were all mixed breeds sold by breeders as designer breeds.  One designer breed dog that I met, which is the one that sparked this rant, was a “Schnug” (schnauzer-pug mix) that was bought from a breeder.

“Breeders” selling designer breed pups to unsuspecting buyers.  It’s one thing to cross breed but it’s another thing to sell to the public as if the pups were intentionally cross bred to make a brand new breed.  To me and many others, ‘designer breed’ is just another fancy term for mixed breed or mutt used so that breeders can prey off the general public.  There are so many of these designer breeds abandoned at shelters too.  Continue reading