Category Archives: legislation

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.


Byron is just 1 of many

Based on all of the comments about Byron’s Story, Facebook postings, various message boards all over the internet, it can go without saying that there has been an overwhelming reaction to the cruelty by Kyle Voissem.  Many have threatened acts of vigilantism against him.  While many others have expressed passion over getting justice for Byron.  It is because of all this attention that on January 26 Kyle was officially charged with a felony and his preliminary hearing for the new felony charge was February 2nd, where he denied “pouring” hot water and instead claims he only splashed or flicked hot water at Byron.  His next court date is set for February 28 now for 2 counts of aggravated cruelty instead of the previous 1 count. Continue reading

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

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

How much is that doggie in the window really worth?

Over 3 years ago, a family brought a 4-month old toy poodle mix to my parents’ animal hospital.  They had just recently bought him at a pet store and wanted to make sure that he had a full check-up with complete vaccinations, a typical routine for new dog owners.  Fortunately, he was given a clean bill of health despite his matted coat, which had to be shaved off to thoroughly check for any hidden skin ailments.  Afterwards as routine, my parents explained to the new owners the costs and responsibilities of owning a pet.   Although they walked away that day happy with a healthy puppy, they returned 2 weeks later because they realized that they had neither the funds nor the time to take care of him.  Just as quickly as they relinquished him, I rescued the little guy, now known as Stuart, before any transfer to a shelter.  He was just too sweet and little to be homeless….again.  Besides, I already had 2 senior dogs at home and they needed a puppy to boost their energy, which he did successfully every day.

Three months later when Stuart was 7-months old, he started vomiting and became suddenly lethargic, which was very unusual not only for him but also for a puppy.  At first, I thought he probably just ate something outside and had an upset stomach but my intuition was telling me something different.  Something just didn’t seem right about him.  I then immediately brought him into my parents’ office, where my dad ran tests and took an x-ray.  Although the tests came up normal, the x-ray raised a huge red flag.  There were half a dozen gas pockets all along Stuart’s intestines, which were an obvious sign of a blockage.  Just by both the x-ray and the look in Stuart’s eyes, my dad knew he had to move quickly and perform emergency exploratory surgery. Continue reading