Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pictures of the Best of the Worst Dog Show

Beautify CNMI! and PAWS Pet Show!

Sorry for the delay in posting the results of The Best of the Worst Dog Show and for posting these photographs. It's been a busy couple of weeks!

It was a great show! We had nearly thirty (30) dogs enrolled in the show, and over 100 people show up to watch!

Here is a summary of the results:

The Fattest:
1. Toy Package - Marcia Schultz’s Coco (Boonie)
2. Dog Food - Bree Reynold’s Ginger (Boonie)
3. Collar, leash, squeaky - Loida Brun’s Ruby (Retriever)

The Most Uneven Ears:
1. Frontline for a large sized dog - James Kendall’s Puppy (Boonie)
2. Dog Food - Melissa Simm’s Scarlet (Boonie)
3. Collar, de-wormer - Joe Przyuski’s Holmes (Boonie)

Best Low Rider:
1. Frontline for a medium sized dog - Rose Callier’s Wyatt (Corgi)
2. Dog Food - Pat Taylor’s Niko (Pug)
3. Collar, shampoo - Chailang Palacios’ Sparky (Maltese)

The Most Disobedient: 1. Vaccination Certificate, box of dog bones, and jerky treats - Sarah Helbert’s Phoebe (Boonie)
2. Dog food - Robert Jones’ Kimo (Retriever)
3. Collar, leash, rawhide chews - Joanne Guerrero’s Fifi (Chichuachua)

The Booniest:
1. Vaccination Certificate, flea/tick collar - James Kendall’s Puppy (Boonie)
2. Dog food - Melissa Simm’s Scarlett (Boonie)
3. Collar, vitamins - James Kendall’s Hunter (Boonie)

The Silliest Pure Breed:
1. Vaccination Certificate, flea/tick collar - Sherina Llagas’s Mika (Maltese Mix)
2. Dog food - Svetlana Atalig’s Butcher (Bulldog)
3. Collar, ear-mite treatment - Kim Young Cheon’s Sam Zig (unknown)

Best of Show: 1. Advantage - Svetlana Atalig’s Butcher (Bulldog)
2. Purina Dog Food - Sherina Llagas’s Mika (Maltese Mix)
3. Anti-itch spray, shampoo, brush, and collar - Marcia Schultz’s Coco (Boonie)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Small Issue Big Problem

The following editorial was published in the Saipan Tribune on April 17, 2007:

In December of 2006, the House passed the Animal Protection Act of 2006. The bill was forwarded to the Senate, where it was amended and passed. The House rejected the Senate amendments, and with good reason.

The bill includes numerous defenses or exemptions to the law, including, but not limited to: accepted methods of farming, hunting, cockfighting, and self-defense. However, the Senate changed the bill to by adding a defense to “accepted methods of training and discipline,” and an “affirmative defense” to animal neglect for impoverished people.

At first glance, such changes might be acceptable, but upon closer examination, these exceptions are gaping loopholes and they make the bill virtually meaningless.

Rather than ramble on about why I think we need a strong anti-cruelty bill – let me show you why we need a well-written anti-cruelty bill without the gaping loopholes. Let me show you how our current policies on animals affect tourism, property value, and the quality of life for our citizens. Let me show you by relaying a couple of the complaints I have received as a board member of PAWS or have experienced myself.

It is important to note, that as the most outspoken board member of PAWS, I receive countless complaints from various members of the community on a regular (sometimes daily) basis. Unfortunately, I am unable to relay all of these stories and still make my point in a concise manner. So, I’ve limited myself to three relevant stories.

(1) Tourism: Last week, a visitor to the island told me this story. She was walking at the beach and noticed a family throwing small dark objects into the ocean. She said at first, she couldn’t see what they were throwing. As she got closer, she thought it was trash. As she got even closer, she saw that the objects were puppies, which she assumed to be dead because of the way they were being handled. But as she got even closer, she realized that they were not dead. She told me she was disgusted by what she had seen, and wondered if such behavior was tolerated on the island.

Forcing an animal to swim and continually swallow seawater is abusive, and unfortunately, this story is all too common. Though I have not personally seen people throw small puppies into the lagoon, I have seen people hold puppies under water or drag a bloated puppy endlessly out into the water. As a matter of fact, I’ve stopped going to certain beaches on the weekends because I don’t want to see this kind of behavior anymore.

That’s fine –the CNMI doesn’t suffer a loss of revenue when I don’t go to the beach on the weekends. But, it sure does/will when foreign tourists start telling their friends back home about what they saw while visiting Saipan.

People who like to travel talk to other people who like to travel. That’s how travel destinations are discovered. Just ask MVA.

With this last point in mind, do you think people want to spend $1,900.00-$2,000.00, on airfare alone, to come to a place where stories circulate of puppies being dragged into the lagoon or pets being stolen for restaurant meat? Do you think travelers enjoy seeing starving animals abandoned at the beach or in the jungle? NO! These people leave Saipan feeling disturbed by what they saw or heard. Then, they go home and tell their traveling friends, who decide not to visit Saipan because these stories are depressing – and no one wants to be depressed on their vacation!

If the CNMI wants to improve tourism, it must market itself as an enjoyable vacation destination. Passing and enforcing an anti-cruelty law ensures that such behavior is not tolerated, while also protecting our tourist industry.

(2) Property value and the “affirmative defense” to animal neglect for indigent people: A woman who recently arrived on island relayed to me her difficultly in finding a house to rent. Apparently, she had looked at some nice homes in Kagman, Koblerville, and Dan Dan, however, she was unwilling to rent in these areas because of the number of stray or sick dogs in the neighborhood.

According to a local realtor, he has a hard time selling or renting properties in Kagman, Koblerville, CK, and Dan Dan because of the number of roaming, sick, or aggressive dogs. He said that on more than one occasion, some one had declined to rent a house because of the number of ill-kept animals in a neighborhood.

If the Animal Protection Act were passed with an “affirmative defense” to animal neglect for impoverished people, the owners of the ill-kept dogs would not be held responsible for depreciating the value of their neighbor’s property or negatively affecting the community. This loophole protects the individual who irresponsibly decides to keep an animal they cannot afford. The loophole does not protect the individual who responsibly tries to improve his property, his neighborhood, and his life.

By including an “affirmative defense” to animal neglect for indigent people, the government has created a gaping loophole for half the island. How many people on this island qualify as indigent or impoverished? Enough to make the anti-cruelty bill meaningless if it is passed with this exemption.

Why not provide a means of adopting or humanely euthanizing the animals of people who cannot afford to properly care for them, rather than exempt people from the law and allow these animals to pollute our neighborhoods, tourist industry, and our quality of life? DLNR offers affordable veterinary services – why not encourage and/or expect people to use these services?

Without this affirmative defense, the government is requiring the same thing from all us, regardless of your income, and that is to act responsibly.

(3) No escape from “accepted methods of training and discipline”: I remember the first time a co-worker told me of her neighbor who beats her dog. She said, “My neighbor makes my kids cry. She ties her dog up to a pole outside and just beats it. She does it all the time.” According to my co-worker, she and her children could not escape the whimpering cries of the dog, or the image of the beatings.

There was nothing I could do to help this woman. I told her to call the police and file a complaint. But she had already called the police, and they told her there was nothing they could do about it.

Now, if we had an anti-cruelty bill, without the defense to “accepted methods of training and discipline,” the police could do something to help my co-worker. They could issue a warning or a citation for animal cruelty. Ideally, citations serve as a deterrent to acting in way that negatively affects our community, while also generating money for the government through fines.

If the bill was passed with the defense to “accepted methods of training and discipline,” the neighbor could argue that she was using an “accepted method” of discipline. This is the loophole, and such loopholes leave my co-worker, and people like her, with no remedy to problems that invade the home and negatively affect the family.

In sum, including a defense to “accepted methods of training and discipline” and an “affirmative defense” to animal neglect creates two loopholes that defeat the entire purpose of the bill, that is: to protect animals from abuse and neglect, which protects our tourism, our property values, and improves the quality of life for the individual. Plus, such exemptions makes our legislature look like a joke. What’s the point of passing a law that has no meaning? It’s a waste of time and resources.

Raise the bar - contact your local representatives from the House and Senate and urge them to support the version of the Animal Protection Act without the gaping loopholes.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

On Dr. Tudor and the public animal clinic

Let me be the voice of moderation in all the acrimony being hurled about regarding Dr. Tudor, our lone private veterinarian on island. I have been using Dr. Tudor's services since I got here four years ago. I think he is a fabulous vet who knows his way around the many unique health issues facing animals here in Saipan. I have no intention at all of switching to a public clinic, and I seriously doubt people like me, CNMI expats obsessed with the well being of their pets, who I'm sure make up the crux of his business, plan to do so, either.

Dr. Tudor, you are a fine doctor offering a great service, and I hope you don't get angered by all the hostility being hurled over this issue and leave this island. We need you more than you need us. I'm sure the existence of the public clinic allows for a few animals, who for financial reasons will never see a vet the chance to get some basic care. In 2000 the census reported that 46 percent of the people here live in poverty. That number has gotten worse I'm sure with all the well documented economic issues we read about each day. People living in poverty are never going to drop a couple hundred of dollars per year on a pet. Like a lot of things, maintaining a healthy pet is expensive here, which is why I'm sure there are so many dogs living miserable lives. I also know you do a lot of pro bono work and have been a supporter of the arts. Pet care on island is a giant problem, and if someone else can help a bit, then good for the animals.

I personally would rather gouge my own eye out than watch my own pet suffer for lack of medical care to save a few bucks. I would imagine your clinic is full of pet owners who feel the same. Not everyone can get the money together to get private medical care for their pets, and I feel sorry for them and the animals. The doting on animals that is becoming an increasing part of American culture isn't very established here. Given that you are the first vet here, going to the vet probably isn't an ingrained part of the culture. In time I'm sure it will be. Dr. Dela Cruz's practice will help some animals. As a customer and animal lover, I implore you to please bear with the situation as best you can. You are needed here. The dogs and cats of the island need you. The children and adults who love those dogs and cats need you.


This year, Beautify CNMI! and PAWS are proud to celebrate National Pet Week. In 2007, the week will be observed from May 6-12. In observance of this week, Beautify CNMI! and PAWS have numerous events.

General Events:

Monday, May 7, 2007 at 7:00 a.m.: PAWS Board Member Katie Busenkell and Beautify CNMI! Czar Angelo Villagomez will appear on the Harry Blalock Show on Monday, May 7, 2007 at 7:00 a.m. The topic of conversation will be the newly introduced Animal Protection Act of 2007, why responsible pet ownership is so important, pet care tips, and the events planned for National Pet Week. KZMI will also broadcast pet care tips throughout the week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 9:30 a.m.: Mayor Tudela will sign a proclamation declaring May 6-12, 2007 as CNMI Pet Week. The signing will take place at the Mayor’s Conference Room. All those who are interested are invited to attend.

Sunday, May 6 through Saturday, May 12, Costco and Ace Hardware will offer a discount on various animal care products while supplies last.

Education about the Benefits of Responsible Pet Ownership:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 – Friday, May 11, 2007
, the PAWS Education Committee launch the PAWS education program in the following classrooms: Ms. Ellen’s First Grade class at Kagman Elementary on Tuesday, May 8th at 10:00 a.m.; San Antonio Elementary School’s Second Grade class on Wednesday, May 9th at noon; Ms. Thorpe’s Third Grade class on Thursday, May 10th at 12:00; and Mr. Steinberg’s Fourth Grade class on Friday, May 11th at 11:00 a.m.

Presentations will be given by various volunteers, like Beautify CNMI!’s Angelo Villagomez and MCV's Gin Gridley, and will educate children about the benefits of responsible pet ownership. Presentations include reading to children, showing videos, and engaging the children in activities.

Veterinary Clinic:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007, DLNR Clinic from 8:00 a.m – 9:15 a.m. and from 11:00 a.m until finished, Dr. dela Cruz will hold a special clinic in observance of National Pet Week at the DLNR Animal Health Center. The time of the clinic has been changed so that Dr. dela Cruz can attend the signing of a proclamation declaring May 6-12 CNMI Pet Week.

Services that are available include: parvo vaccination for $5.00, a combo vaccination for $10.00, treatment for skin diseases, and Revolution prescriptions for $5.00. Revolution is a topical parasiticide that is applied to the skin of dogs six weeks of age or older, and is used to: prevent heartworm; kill fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and ear mite infestation, AND kills roundworms and hookworms. Revolution is also used to treat and control sarcopic mange.

“The Best of the Worst” Dog Show:

Saturday, May 12, 2007, from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Airport Football Field, Beautify CNMI! and PAWS proudly present The Best of the Worst Show – Saipan’s first pet show! The pet show is a fun event intended to help us laugh at ourselves and the animals that we love.

The show will take place from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the airport football field.

Prizes will be awarded to dogs that get the highest marks in the following categories: Fattest, Shortest Legs, Most Uneven Ears, The Booniest, The Most Disobedient, Silliest Pure Breed, and The Best of Show.

Prizes include, but are not limited to: gift certificates to the DLNR Animal Clinic for free vaccinations and de-worming, Frontline, large bags of dog food, tick and flea shampoo and sprays, vitamins, and collars and leashes.

Everyone is invited to participate. There is no entry fee. All those wishing to enter their dog(s) in the show must have their dog fitted with a collar and leash. If your dog has mange or other parasites, PAWS and Beautify CNMI recommend skipping the pet show. Instead, please take your dog in for treatment.

Those who wish to attend the show should bring a beach blanket, drinks, and a water bowl for their dog(s). Water will be provided for the dogs, but bowls must be provided by the owners. Various drinks will be on sale at the show, and all proceeds will be donated to MINA.

PAWS Education Committee Mascot Competition:

Also at the Dog Show, PAWS and PAWS Junior Members will announce the winner of the PAWS Education Committee Mascot Competition. All elementary school children were invited to participate in a drawing competition for the first PAWS Education Committee Mascot. The winner of the competition will be awarded with TWO tickets to PIC’s water park. Entry forms must be submitted to PIC by Thursday, May 10th at 4:00 p.m.

After the dog show, there will be a Beautify CNMI! clean-up of the bomb shelters.

Sponsors this week’s events include Beautify CNMI!, PAWS, DLNR, PIC, Costco, Ace Hardware, Elite Printing, MARPAC, Mayor Tudela, DEQ, and various members of the community who have donated their time and resources.

For more information on how you can be a responsible pet owner or participate in events planned for CNMI Pet Week, contact Katie Busenkell at or visit the PAWS blog site at