Canine News from Near and Far, March 2008


Help Rescue Rocket Dog

On December 21, a San Francisco apartment fire destroyed the home of Pali Boucher, founder of Rocket Dog Rescue, and took the lives of three of her foster dogs and two beloved birds. 

Boucher lived most of her early life on the streets, child of a drug-addicted mother. Her own addictions kept her living on the edge until a dog in need of love and shelter inspired her to get clean and sober and start an agency devoted to rescuing dogs. The group has so far saved over 3,000 canine lives.

Characteristically, Boucher is more concerned about animals than herself in this difficult time. Her home was the first stop for many dogs when they were saved from euthanasia at local shelters. Until Pali has a new home to share with transitioning dogs, the group will depend on other foster parents. 

To learn more about Rocket Dog Rescue, to foster a dog in need or to donate to the fire fund, visit


Puppy Mill Investigation

The Humane Society of the United States has run an undercover investigation of Pets of Bel Air, an upscale pet boutique on the edge of Beverly Hills frequented by Hollywood celebrities. The investigation revealed that although employees tell customers that the puppies for sale are raised by private breeders, many of them come from puppy mills in the Midwest — factory-like operations where dogs are kept in barren cages and treated like production machines. 

HSUS reviewed documents showing that at least 28 commercial breeders in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma have supplied Pets of Bel Air with puppies. Undercover investigators also visited five of the suppliers that store management insisted were “private breeders” and not “puppy mills.” All are actually mass-breeding operations that house 100 to 300 dogs at a given time.

Sadly, such practices are not uncommon in the pet store world. To learn more about this high-profile case and how you can help stop puppy mills, visit

The most important action you can take is to adopt your next dog from a local shelter or rescue group rather than purchasing a puppy.


Romania Animal Rescue

A Bay Area-based organization focuses its efforts on the needs of stray dogs and cats in Romania. Romania Animal Rescue has funded four international missions, in which American veterinarians volunteered their time to provide medical services and teach Romanian veterinarians how to perform pain-free spay and neuter surgery. Some animals have been brought back to the United States and have eventually found homes through the efforts of Bay Area shelters.

Overpopulation and the attendant suffering of stray animals remain serious problems, in Romania and many other places worldwide. Currently, Romanian Animal Rescue is seeking lightweight fleece blankets to ship to Romanian shelters, as harsh winter weather is ongoing.

To make a donation or for more information, visit or contact Nancy Janes at, or 925-672-5908.


Pet Trust BilL Clears First Hurdle

In mid-January, the state Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB 685, The Pet Trust Bill, which would make pet trusts valid and enforceable under California law. The San Francisco SPCA initiated the bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo).

Pet trusts are designed to provide for companion animals when their owner-guardians die or become incapacitated. California has recognized “honorary” pet trusts for many years, but they are essentially unenforceable. SB 685 would make pet trust law consistent with other trust law by requiring trustees to carry out trust instructions regarding pets, and by establishing oversight to ensure an owner-guardian’s wishes are carried out.

SB 685 must be passed by a full vote of the Senate, then the Assembly, before reaching the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.


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