Call To Action Spokane Serial Cat Killer

From my friend Sia Barbi: SOS….#Spokane serial cat killer case>>I don’t believe in petitions, lobbyists and politicians say they hurt bills– if we had the same people that shared and signed petition write this email and call elected officials, this would move forward!
>>>>I need everyone, to write these elected officials SCRAPS, DA, and KHQ (wonderful) and tell them it is not safe that Spokane has deliberately allowed a dangerous serial cat killer loose in the community without warnings. Below is timeline of Spokane serial cat killing case, and how SCRAPS covered it up and sabotaged it deliberately, while he is still killing daily!

Shane Barbi Peter Askin Katie Cleary Mimi Delfino Richard Couto Simone Reyes Minnie Young Amy Lee Nelson Jessica Feeney Pam Pierpont Pam Tiffany-Koster Tammy Klein Tammy Alleman Sal LaBarbera Bonnie-Jill Laflin Ali Claire-Genis Alison Eastwood William McNamara Jennifer ConradChristi Metropole Sandra Taylor Lori Shepler Elaine Hendrix Larissa TuttleBarbara Johnson Kellie Wester Suzanne Hayes Suzanne West Yana Watson Jana Schulz John J Hargrove Samantha Berg Diane Fraleigh Jane Velez-Mitchell Rachel Carbary Tylyn John Suzy Mccoppin Suzi Athena Singstock Laura Beth Maria Laura Vidoz Robert Kovacik


From: Barbi Twins
Date: Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 8:25 PM
Subject: Attention: to the highest level of government for neglecting animal abuse case
To: Mayor ,
Cc: Wesley O’Dell, “Proszek, Ashley” , Nancy Hill , “Rapier, Francisca L.” ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Dear Mayor Condon and DA Larry Haskill,
Spokane residents, concerned animal lovers worldwide, and I have relentlessly tried to contact you and have yet to receive any response. Therefore, we have been advised to contact elected officials (included in cc). We believe you are allowing SCRAPS to deliberately sabotage and cover up this extreme animal abuse case, that experts have warned, can easily escalate to violent crimes against your citizens. Spokane city watch and neighborhood groups reached out to me because they believe you aren’t doing your job protecting the community and covering up the truth, which is concerning to all, especially because there are a lot of unsolved murder cases in your area. Spokane is rated 2nd highest crime reported in the nation. (…/spokane-ranks-high-on-ano…/). Everyone finds it curious, how no one could contact the DA in this, or even find this case, and had everything filter through SCRAPS, who admitted to blundering this case.

Here is my detailed timeline of the Spokane Serial Cat Killer case and how SCRAPS sabotaged this case and tried to cover it up:

Witness Kurtis Jones Tolliver met alleged cat killer.
Kurtis’s kitten, Lark, was stolen (kidnapped) by alleged cat killer, later that day.
Witness Danielle Shurbutt rescued Timmy from alleged cat killer, a kitten so severely injured by alleged cat killer squeezing him almost to death

Witness Jeff Jennings bravely rescued Lark, the kitten owned by witness Kurtis Jones Tolliver, back from alleged cat killer.
Wesley ODell, a Spokane resident, found the first tortured, dead kitten, strangled and wrapped in USB cords and called police, who referred him to SCRAPS (Spokane County Regional Animal Protection).
SCRAPS told Wesley that the little kitten that was brutally tortured to death, “was not a high priority“, and made connotation it “was only a cat”.

Wesley ODell, was desperate for help, since police and animal protection, (SCRAPS), turned him away, so he sought media to help catch kitten killer.
Local Spokane news (KHQ and KXLY) covered Wesley ODell’s story of finding the first tiny kitten, tied, tapped, strangled and brutally tortured to death.…/couple-finds-tortured-cat-in-north-spo… This media pressure inspired SCRAPS to suddenly appear concerned, and told the media and Wesley they would “investigate”. However, SCRAPS never made any calls, they never made attempts, searched for evidence, they only made Wesley a suspect.

Furthermore, SCRAPS never called or interviewed Wesley, they never asked to inspect the tortured kitten, they never posted any investigation, updates or anything about the kitten killing, when they promised Wesley and the rest of us they would. They didn’t even post warnings to local pet owners. Guardians, the witnesses and Wesley all complained that SCRAPS admitted to them that they accidentally appointed a novice investigator that destroyed all crucial evidence from day one.

Wesley ODell, frustrated with not getting any help or concern, voluntarily brought the dead little kitten to SCRAPS to see if they would investigate. They did not.
SCRAPS refused to call in police, like they have with previous animal abuse cases, like the Wallabies,…/.

Wesley ODell sought the help of the Barbi Twins who enlisted Guardians of Rescue, who:
put up a huge REWARD,
hired people to pass out posters and flyers,
hired a private investigator to collect evidence to present to the prosecutor.

Jasmine Young, the first witness to step forward, went to SCRAPS to give information about the alleged cat killer. SCRAPS handed her a form, made her feel like a suspect, and told her to go home and fill it out. She called Guardians of Rescue to give her information instead. She recognized witness Jessica Davis’s sweatshirt on tv local news with reward.

Mr Linder, another Spokane resident, found another tortured kitten, tied with USB cord. Again, SCRAPS did nothing, so Mr. Linder turned to the media for help, once again. Witness Jessica Davis identified her sweatshirt on the news story about the kitten victim wrapped in wire. Jessica proved it was her sweatshirt that was wrapped around kitten. Jessica identified other crucial evidence, like her phone cords, as well as identifying the alleged cat killer. She was the closet to the alleged cat killer, said she sees him regularly.

Guardians of Rescue Announced: this was a SERIAL CAT KILLER!
The cat killer’s abusive technique was to strangle with wire or USB cords and tie kittens up, and/or squeeze them to death after torturing them for days, breaking bones and jaw, according to witnesses and dead kittens.
Witness Kurtis Jones Tolliver had his kitten, Lark, stollen from alleged cat killer, and rescued by friend Danielle Shurbutt and Jeff Jennings , with a badly injured kitten victim, Timmy, who got a hernia from being squeezed almost to death in front of witnesses.

After hours and hours of a successful investigation, Guardians of Rescue found crucial witnesses to identify both the sweatshirt that was wrapped around the 2nd kitten, and the witnesses who identified the suspect. Guardians of Rescue also obtained audio from witness Jessica Davis, who supplied an email statement and audio of alleged suspect, talking about how he obtains his kitten victims. (Craigslist, Facebook, trapping)

5 more cats were found; 2 duct taped, one having USB wires, and 2 cats were rescued from cat killers car that he lived in, one was seriously injured from being squeezed causing internal damage, as described in this GoFund page by witness Kurtis Jone Tolliver:, who emailed a statement.

Any surviving kittens were killed by SCRAPS and never investigated or even documented.

Oct 31 Witness Jasmine Young and her friend Mandy rescued 2 kittens from alleged cat killer before he tried killing them, and suspect chased them down yelling to Jessica that he was going to “f*cking kill them”

Nov. 14th, alleged cat killer’s car was impounded with crucial evidence, including fecal material, dead cat remains or blood, cat traps, USB cords. SCRAPS never investigated the car or interviewed the suspect. They never interviewed the witnesses, except for witness Jasmine Young, who volunteered an audio statement.
Nov 21 Two kittens were found duct taped that were serial cat killer’s victims.…/scraps-investigating-four-tied-cat-cas….
Nov 17 The black calico cat victim was found by minor
Guardians of Rescue finally had all the evidence to present to prosector but were forced to go through SCRAPS, so they handed over all their evidence and witness’s information to SCRAPS. SCRAPS continued to stall investigation, not interviewing witnesses or accumulating any evidence of their own.

Wesley gave a statement to SCRAPS and asked them to post updates about the case on their website, and they agreed. They did not, so Wesley wanted to warn the community with the news…/witness-wants-spokane-cat-killer-caught.

SCRAPS made false accusations to Wesley and others, about Guardians, claiming they would not allow SCRAPS to use their evidence, so DA threw out the case because of lack of evidence.…/prosecutors-decline-charges…/409278853.
SCRAPS unprofessionally gossiped about Wesley ODell’s personal life to investigators. They discredited, discriminated and intimidated unfairly against the witnesses; they made false claims that Guardians would not get back to them or hand over their crucial evidence, and dismissed any good information given to them about the alleged cat killer. Witness Jessica Davis said that SCRAPS intimidated her by saying if she didn’t sign a statement, (which she eventually emailed one in), they would hold her responsible as alleged cat killer’s accomplice. This proves that SCRAPS is fully aware of how dangerous this alleged cat killer is, and warned absolutely no one in this community.

Feb 22, LA Talk radio show, State of the Oceans,…/defa…/files/audio/Oceans-022217.mp3, invited the witnesses to discuss their experience with the alleged cat killer, whom they identified. The witnesses cooperated to help prosecute this alleged serial cat killer, and warned that he is getting worse, likely to escalate to violent crimes on humans.…/ . Two witnesses provided statements, and one agreed to an audio statement about the serial cat killer and how dangerous he is.

Feb 27, SCRAPS confirmed “Tyler Engstrom” as person of interest and possible suspect .…/scraps-confirms-person-of-interest-in-…

In Coeur D’Alene, approximately 20 miles from the Spokane cat killings, they investigate crimes correctly. When ONE cat was abused, the police were called in for investigation, the community was warned to keep their pets safe, details were supplied to the media for thorough coverage, and locals put up a reward.…/10000-reward-being-offered-in-coeur-da… . Spokane officials, however, absolutely don’t care about serious animal abuse or a dangerous, sick person, loose in the Spokane community.

Furthermore, the witnesses admitted that the cat abuse case in Coeur D’Alene is the same torture style (strangling) as the Spokane serial cat killer. The alleged cat killer goes to Coeur D’Alene with the witnesses often to gamble, accompanied with a new, revolving kitten victim to torture, and later dumps it. These crimes are connected, but only Coeur D’Alene seems to care, while Spokane gave the message– it’s ok to torture and kill animals.

March .1st
LA Talk Radio, State of the Oceans invites special guest Jane Velez Mitchell on with with witnesses Kurtis Jones Tolliver, Rusty Melcher, Danielle Shurbutt to discuss the nation’s outrage that SCRAPS and DA failed to prosecute Spokane serial cat killer (or have police involved, post warnings or updates, never interviewed witnesses or investigated like they claimed).…/defa…/files/audio/Oceans-030117.mp3

Guardians of Rescue, after spending time and resources on this case, is offering a $5000 REWARD; Katie Cleary, of World Animal News and Peace for Animals, is offering a $10,000 REWARD; and we, the Barbi Twins, are also offering a $5000 REWARD, totaling $20,000 for the information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the serial cat killings in Spokane.

What are YOU doing for the Spokane community and your citizens?

We are anxiously awaiting a response from Mayor Condon,

Sia and Shane Barbi,
The Barbi Twins
SCRAPS, Guardians of Rescue (found alleged cat killer), KHQ Katie Chen, Wesley ODell (found first kitten), elected officials
BCC the witnesses (Kurtis Jones Tolliver, Jessica Davis, Jasmine Young, Danielle Shurbutt), .
Jane Velez Mitchell (top journalist), Katie Cleary (World Animal News),


The Netherlands Has No Stray Dogs

There Are No Stray Dogs In The Netherlands

Seems like we can learn a lot from Netherlands, where you won’t find even a single stray dog on the road. The reason? From laws that mandate it to put animal abusers in jail to free sterilization, this video shows how the Dutch government made it possible:

click  here to read PDF ON Holland Is The First Country To Not Have Stray Dogs


By on June 24, 2016

When you think of The Netherlands you’d be forgiven for picturing the stereotypical sights, canals, windmills and tulips. It’s a nation known globally for its liberal thinking on issues such as freedom for its citizens to make their own choices. But does this progressive attitude extend to animal welfare? We find out what life is like for Dutch citizens of a canine persuasion.

Home to 17 million residents, it’s estimated that one in five homes have at least one dog. Although breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever have been the most popular pedigree dogs in recent years, their decline in popularity in favour of mixed breed dogs has become apparent with cross-breed dogs now outnumbering pedigrees in Dutch homes, writes Donna Jannsen.

You won’t see many stray dogs on our streets in the Netherlands. They will be captured quickly by the local animal welfare. There are approximately 200 shelters for stray dogs and cats and between 20-50% are rehomed via the internet. Each year, there are more than 70,000 lost and found animals of which over half (52%) are reunited.

In the Netherlands dogs must be walked on leads in most places, including towns. We have designated areas where you can walk your dog leashed, unleashed and where dogs are not allowed. This includes cities, forests, beaches and fields.

On our beaches, (451 kilometres) dogs are allowed from the end of September until April and in the summer time after 7pm. There are special beaches for dogs which have no time restrictions. In most cities we have little fenced dog areas. The government cleans these dog areas with special dog poop cleaners. All owners are obliged to take a poop bag with them on their walks and they must clean up dog poop.

In the Netherlands, we love to bike with our dogs. We can take dog buggy behind our bikes in case our dogs get tired. We like to run with our dogs as well and there are more sports we do together with our pets. And we use dog carts if necessary.

The Netherlands has different kinds of nature. I can drive 2 1/2 hours to the West to beaches or two hours to the East to hills. In between we have wide open fields, forests, cities, roads, bike trails and lots of lakes and rivers. Our climate is mild but our weather is unpredictable and it can seem like it rains a lot! The winter temperature can go to -15c and our summer days can be as high as +35c degrees. Special breeds of dogs need coats here, especially our Greyhounds.

If you have no opportunity to walk your dog properly, some people use professional dog walking services or daycare services. When our dogs cannot join us on holiday, we can leave them in a dog residence or dog boarding facility. In the Netherlands, we can choose from many different veterinarians, specialised clinics for pets, behaviour specialists and training centers, physical therapists for animals, alternative medicine specialists such as homeopaths. In our dog training schools, we can take puppy classes as well as agility and fun lessons.

The Netherlands requires registration for breeders and tries to prevent people from buying puppies from puppy mills. We can insure our dogs for medical expenses and our personal insurance is necessary because if our pet causes any damage, the owner of the pet is always responsible according to our law, no matter who was right or wrong.

In most restaurants you can take your dog as well as in bus, train and metro. Taxi drivers can decide for themselves whether they want to take your pet. We must vaccinate our dogs against diseases and all dogs should be micro-chipped and registered.

As to the dog world in The Netherlands, we have to deal with many differences. People who have small budgets have problems paying the veterinary bills and buying dog food at lower prices. Illegal hunters breed Greyhounds and get rid of the ones that are not useful to them by leaving them behind in the streets. People who abuse animals live here too.

Other breeds of dogs are more lucky, are happy, and live a more luxurious life. We can choose to buy our dogs from professional registered breeders or bad puppy mills who have little interest in animal welfare. We adopt dogs from local shelters or from shelters abroad (more than 26,000 new microchip registrations in 2014 were for imported animals). There are many organisations who work for animal shelters in eastern and southern countries like Romania and Spain.

For somebody who wants to adopt a pet abroad, it is difficult to check how these animal welfare organisations handle their animals, adhere to rules and what they value. Here, as everywhere, love for animals and money go hand in hand.

There are people in the Netherlands who want more rules and procedures for to rehoming organisations and centres. Some organisations never do home visits, some have a bad aftercare and some are not transparent in matters of money.

In this European country it is forbidden by law to hurt an animal and the owner should take proper care of the animal and there have been new rules introduced to improve our animal welfare. One example is a better and more detailed identification and registration process.

Another important one is that all breeders, sellers of animals, shelters and day cares have to get a license. To get this license they need to receive a certification education and this also applies to breeders, even those who have been breeding for 30 years already.

The Netherlands is a small country and we have to share our nature and walking areas with wild protected animals such as deer and in the spring and early summer we have to be careful because of the young deer hiding in the bushes or fields.

It can be very crowded on our walks and sometimes feels as if we are all fighting for our private space.

Depending on the walking area I choose, the time of the day and of course the weather. In the fenced areas we meet many different people and dogs, some well-behaved and some not. For me and my pack, we are dealing with some issues. In our neighbourhood and in the few fenced areas we use there have been issues between cyclists, people on horses, joggers, Greyhounds, bull mastins, ridgebacks, people with small children and people who like to do photoshoots and dog walkers who walk multiple dogs at once, and so some cities have recently introduced the rule that dog walkers can walk only two dogs at once to prevent them walking many, many dogs at the same time.

Many forests are divided by busy roads. Even in areas where you are free to unleash your dog you are not safe from traffic. In this neighbourhood, we have an unfenced area for unleashed dogs right beside the highway! When you walk from the highway into nature you have to leash your dog.

Because I walk with four adopted Spanish Galgo’s who need to run, and enjoy running alongside my bike, we sometimes drive up to an hour to find somewhere to run free. The nearest place to do a proper unleashed walk is a forest 12 kilometres away. We walk on leashes in the streets in our neighbourhoods, but the nearest fenced dog area (15 x 15 metres) is 1,5 kilometres from my house.

Adopted Greyhounds have other rules and communicate in a different way than other breeds. It is very simple – a Labrador likes to play, a Greyhound wants to run.

For me the daily walk can be stressful as an owner of Greyhounds because I have to be very careful not to create any tension or avoid dangerous situations for my dogs and other animals. Sometimes I have the feeling that I cannot walk anywhere with my pack. I am sure in other areas of our country owner of Greyhounds have the same problems.
A Greyhound photographed at the most recent Great Global Greyhound Dog Walk event in the UK – 20,000 paws took part in the global event, according to UK Volunteer National Press Officer for the Great Global Greyhound Walk, Eve Regelous, who is owned by a Greyhound called Aiden

But as we have a lot of agriculture as well there must be areas that offer more space and freedom. If I were to walk my small Poodle down the street who would have no problem being leashed forever or walk my Chihuahua who just wants 10 minutes outside to go for a pee, my point of view would be, of course, completely different.

The walking issues are the main reason why I really love the organised days for rescued Greyhounds. Several organisations and private people organize meeting days during the year. In fenced or unfenced areas our rescued Greyhounds can play amongst each other and the owners can talk while their four-legged precious ones run and play. The play dates are mainly shared on Facebook and on several websites.

My dogs were rescued in Spain from the streets or from killing stations. After their recovery in the Spanish shelter, they were transported by car or plane to the Netherlands. Every dog has their own story to tell and on these organised days, we hear stories about dogs who have survived diseases, traumas, fears, fractures and operations. Since their arrival in my home, my dogs sleep on my couch and run unleashed once a day. They meet many dogs, both pedigrees and rescues, and we visit many events for stray dogs. About once a year my dogs and I travel to their homeland and my dogs don’;t mind the 2,000 kilometre journey. They just adapt and settle. On a terrace, on our walks, at home and always! We drive to Spain to live and work for several weeks in the shelter, Fundacion Benjamin Mehnert. My respect for these animals is without limits.

About the Author

Donna Janssen is a Dutch resident and volunteers for a Spanish shelter ‘Fundacion Benjamin Mehnert’ as well as helping different Dutch organisations. As a volunteer, she mainly takes photographs, describes the shelter dogs, organises events and is involved in the ‘Great Global Greyhound Dog Walk’. She also carries out home visits, administration, picks up dogs from transport and is often a temporary foster mum.

She is studying for her license to enable her to run a shelter and day care centre to be able to help the Spanish shelter in the work they do.

Immediate Foster Needed for Handsome Boy

All expenses paid to foster Seamus this very cool cat

Seamus, a Happy and Content Cat, See His Smile?

Seamus was abandoned in the Bronx on the coldest day of winter when he was 4 years old! A kind neighbor brought him to the ACC where he was rescued, fostered & finally adopted into a wonderful home with other kitties & pups. Unfortunately Seamus’ adopter family went through some hard times & a marital crisis which means that Seamus has to be rehomed. Seamus has a beautiful golden heart pattern right on his heart!

Seamus Will Fit Right In, See How He Fits In On This Laundry?
Seamus Relaxing, This Guy is Very Good at Making Himself at Home, Just Think This Could Be Your Sofa That He is Lounging On!

He is magnificent to look at. His mellow, easy going, big guy stature comes across as intimidating to some folks, but those who know him are blessed with a mush of a cat who loves to sleep with you, loves pets and kisses unless you corner him for those pets and kisses, lol. He is 11 years old, fully vetted & healthy! Seamus needs a home with a person who is patient and understands that abandonment comes with just a little bit of baggage, such as a lion king who marches to his own drummer. If you are patient you will witness an evolving, amazing cat! Seamus gets along with most dogs & cats, but would do best in a home with just one or two submissive type cats who are ok with him being the king. Please contact Susan to foster/adopt at:

Seamus Would Be A Gift To Any Home


Ringling Will Still Torture Elephants In their Retirement With Vivisection

Ringling Cuts Open Retired Elephants For Research


Now the elephants at Ringling Bros are heading back to a research center disguised as a “retirement” community.  Not even going to call it a sanctuary.  They will be used now for research purposes.  We know this as vivisection.  The researchers want to figure out why elephants don’t get cancer.  Let’s see they don’t smoke, they don’t drink, they are not injected with toxic chemicals when they are born and THEY DON”T EAT ANIMALS, they eat plants. How much GRANT money will the Feld family get now?  Probably more than what they were making dragging the elephants from city to city. ~Ellen Ericksen

Read about their “retirement” CenterforElephantConservationAbuse
please sign this petition petition4elephants and then follow up by tweeting to Nicole Feld (@NicoleFeld)—executive vice president of Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company—and urging her to use her position of authority to take all the animals off the road and send them to true sanctuaries.



US Government to Murder 1000 Bison

Bloodbath in Yellowstone: the Plan to Slaughter 1000 Bison

Recently Yellowstone National Park announced the intentions of culling (read kill) as many as a thousand of the park’s genetically unique and only continuously wild herd of bison. The annual slaughter has no basis in science, and is ethically bankrupt and corrupted management precipitated by ranching interests.

The slaying of bison is an annual event. Since 1985 some 8634 Yellowstone bison have been sacrificed to the livestock industry.

The main justification given for this carnage is the fear of brucellosis transmission to domestic livestock. The Montana Dept. of Livestock and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have worked together to perpetrate the idea that brucellosis poses a threat to the livestock industry. As a consequence the state and federal agencies, including the National Park Service, more or less restrict bison to Yellowstone Park (although there is a small area where bison are permitted outside of the park for a short period of time—but they are then killed by Native Americans and Montana hunters).

 A Bison Wall Exists

Unfortunately for the bison, the urge to migrate in winter to find accessible food under shallow snow cover puts them in the cross hairs of the Montana livestock industry. A “bison wall” (analogous to the Berlin Wall) effectively confines them to Yellowstone National Park.

The main justification given by the livestock industry for its continued support of slaughter or hazing of wild bison is a disease known as brucellosis. There are reasons to believe that brucellosis is a Trojan Horse.

First, only infected pregnant bison cows  can potentially transmit brucellosis during the last trimester of pregnancy (February – April), bison bulls and calves are regularly slaughtered, so the killing of these animals demonstrates that brucellosis is not the primary reason for the containment of buffalo in the park.

Also keep in mind that other animals also carry brucellosis. Some elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are also infected with brucellosis. Predators and scavengers, such as coyotes, crows, vultures, and bears, are rarely infected as well, though they are not at high risk for shedding the bacteria.

Though there has never been a single documented case of brucellosis transmission to cattle from wild bison, all the instances of cattle infection seem to be the result of elk transmission.  Despite these well-known facts, bison are still singled out for control and death.

Yellowstone Bison are Unique and Threatened

The wild bison in Yellowstone are not just any old bison herd. They are the only continuously wild bison left in the United States. They are the most significant bison herd free of cattle genes. They are a national and international heritage.

Most of the bison in the US are managed as commercial livestock and selection is for traits favorable to domestication.

Both the Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project have petitioned to have Yellowstone’s bison declared a threatened distinct population segment under the Endangered Species Act. An earlier attempt to get the bison listed in 1999 resulted in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to consider the listing, however, they did acknowledge that the Yellowstone population may be discrete and may meet the criteria for Distinct Population Segment.

To treat Yellowstone’s bison as political prisoners to promote the power control of the livestock industry is a national disgrace. The fact that this carnage has been on-going for decades without resolution is also a scandal.


The goal of eradicating brucellosis began in the 1930s. Brucellosis causes cattle to abort their first fetus and is transmissible to humans as undulant fever.  Undulant fever causes flu-like symptoms in people. The brucellosis campaign was justified by health concerns and taxpayers have spent billions to eradicate the disease. However, since the major pathway for human infection was from drinking unpasteurized milk, once pasteurization became widespread, the human health threat was eliminated. Most cases today are due to people drinking unpasteurized milk and/or people who work with infected animals like veterinarians.

That hasn’t stopped the livestock industry from using the public health excuse to maintain federal funding to control brucellosis, even though it is now mostly an economic issue to the industry–i.e. the livestock industry loses calves when brucellosis infected cows abort them.

Today the last major reservoir of brucellosis in the United States is found in wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Wild bison were infected on or before 1917 by domestic dairy cows that were once kept in Yellowstone to provide fresh milk to tourists.  Apparently, brucellosis has less serious effects on wild bison than domestic cattle because the population continues to grow in spite of infection.

The risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to domestic cattle is extremely low. Testing under controlled conditions by Texas A&M researchers demonstrated that, in theory, brucellosis from bison can be transmitted to cattle (cattle were swabbed with brucellosis bacteria obtained from an infected bison). However, there has never been a documented case of brucellosis transmission from wild bison to domestic livestock.

There are a number of reasons for this.

First, most wild bison pose no risk – bulls, calves, non-pregnant cows and cows with calves cannot transmit brucellosis to cattle. Only pregnant female bison can abort a fetus and this does not happen very often. If infected with brucellosis, the bison cow appears to reabsorb the fetus. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective because the risks and costs of calving are significant, and if the bison’s body is able to confirm the calf is infected, it makes sense to terminate the birth.

Second, an aborted bison calf would have to remain available for a domestic animal to find it and lick it. Given the abundance of natural scavengers including coyotes, ravens, magpies, and eagles found in the region, the chances that any infected bison fetus would remain on the ground more than a few days is extremely small.  Plus the bacteria is extremely sensitive to heat, drying out and so forth, and only remains viable outside of the body for short periods of time.

Third, the main time period for reabsorption and/or abortion of the fetus is in late winter (Feb-April), the chances this would occur on pastures in the Yellowstone area actively being grazed by domestic livestock is extremely small. All public grazing allotments are devoid of cattle, and even many of the private grazing lands are only stocked with cattle in the summer months.

Since the main way a domestic animal can contract the disease is by licking a brucellosis infected aborted bison fetus, the fact that this occurs very rarely limits the opportunity for transmission.

Other factors that also cut the chances of infection are vaccination/inoculation of cattle. A vaccine that protects cattle against infection exists, but it is not required in Montana except in the immediate area surrounding Yellowstone. While not considered 100% effective, the vaccine does significantly reduce the chance for brucellosis infection in domestic animals.

Finally even if an infected animal shows up in a rancher’s herd, it is not a total loss. The herd is quarantined while it is tested for the disease. Animals testing positive for brucellosis are removed (sold for meat), and the remainder of the herd can be  maintained.

To recap the probability of transmission of brucellosis to domestic livestock is extremely low. An infected bison cow must abort her fetus, something that apparently is very rare in wild bison, the bacteria must remain alive and the aborted fetus has to be missed by scavengers anxious to consume an easy meal. The aborted bison fetus has to occur where there is active grazing by domestic livestock—something rare in the colder regions where bison graze in winter months.  Finally a domestic animal has to find the infected fetus, lick it, consume an infective dose and be a domestic animal that was not effectively vaccinated.

As any statistical analysis would tell you, the chance of all these variables being met are almost zero. The threat of bison transmission to cattle is just a ruse to justify control of wild bison by the livestock industry who fear competition for forage from wild bison on public and private lands.

Because the brucellosis transmission scam is increasingly being questioned by scientists, and others, the latest excuse for killing bison is to “reduce” the population. You will hear people saying they are no longer shooting bison to prevent brucellosis transmission, but to “cull” the herd which has “grown too large.”

However, the only reason the herd is “too large” is that it’s bottled up in the park. The majority of wildlife winter range is located outside of the park borders, but unavailable to the bison because of the senseless demands of the livestock industry. If the vast amount of public land (and bison friendly private lands) outside of the park were available to bison, there would be no need for “culling” by any government agency.

Currently some bison that attempt to migrate from the park are killed by Indians and/or Montana licensed hunters in small confined zones close to the Park. All of this killing provides cover to the livestock industry. In addition, bison captured and slaughtered by the Department of Livestock or the National Park Service are given to tribes which also provides an easy way to put a happy face on what is in effect a totally unnecessary slaughter of unique and rare animals.

In effect, tribal members and Montana hunters are doing the dirty work for the livestock industry.

Room to Roam

At present there are almost no cattle that winter in the regions north and west of Yellowstone where bison migrate during harsh winters seeking food. Most of the public lands grazing allotments near West Yellowstone, as well as north of Gardiner, have been closed. Furthermore, many of the private land owners in both places actually support having wild bison on their properties.

In recent years seasonal “bison tolerance zones” have been established in the Gardiner Basin/Eagle Creek areas adjacent to Gardiner, and in the West Yellowstone area.  However, there is absolutely no reason we need “tolerance” zones in the first place.

Bison should be permitted to roam on public lands year round just like all other wildlife. There is no legitimate justification for the selective killing of bison. The brucellosis threat is nothing more than a subterfuge designed to garner control over our wildlife by livestock interests. Keep in mind that we do not automatically shoot wolves that leave Yellowstone. We do not automatically shoot grizzlies that leave Yellowstone. We don’t automatically shoot pronghorn, mule deer, or elk that leave Yellowstone.

Elk are among the major vectors for brucellosis transmission. Indeed, all 20 reported cases of brucellosis in GYE cattle were the result of elk transmission. In particular, elk concentrated on feed grounds as occurs in Wyoming are at a higher risk of contracting the disease from other infected elk. Estimates suggest that 35% of the elk on Wyoming feedgrounds are infected.  Thus one solution is to phase out and eventually close the feedgrounds in Wyoming to prevent disease transmission of brucellosis, as well as other threats to wildlife and livestock like Chronic Wasting Disease (better known as Mad Cow Disease), and give less reasons to the livestock industry to continue its brucellosis deception.

In addition to the above, the biggest factor that could change the game is if bison were listed under the ESA. If they were given the protection they deserve, the DOL would not be able to be so cavalier about killing these animals, and indeed, it would force the federal agencies like the Forest Service to work towards restoration of bison on federal lands. (Send donations to the Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds to help in this effort).

Currently all of Montana’s nearby state wildlife management areas including Dome Mountain, Gallatin, Bear Creek and Wall Creek are unavailable to bison. Also most of the Custer-Gallatin NF and all of the B-DNF and the Caribou-Targhee NF are off limits to bison. This needs to be changed. There is no justification for prohibiting wild bison from occupying public lands surrounding Yellowstone.

In addition to opening up adjacent federal lands on the Custer-Gallatin, Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests, and nearby state wildlife lands like Dome Mountain Wildlife Management Area, listing under the ESA could speed reintroduction to other suitable federal lands like the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge in Montana, on Bureau of Land Management lands in Wyoming’s Red Desert, and Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument.

There are National Park Service employees who are strongly opposed to the annual capture and carnage of wild bison. Secretary of Interior Jewell could direct Yellowstone National Park to drop its cooperation in the bison slaughter and conserve bison under its natural regulation policy like it does for all other wildlife species. While this might not end the butchery occurring beyond the park borders, at the very least it would make the public aware of who is behind this slaughter—namely the livestock industry. At present, due to the participation of the Park Service, tribes, and even Montana hunters, the livestock industry is getting a pass in the public relations department. Most people assume that if the NPS is participating, than killing bison must be OK.

Keep in mind that livestock production harms many other species besides bison. . Everything from the killing of wolves/grizzlies to the destruction of sage grouse habitat to the dewatering of rivers critical to trout and even global climate change is a consequence of trying to raise beef for human consumption.  One of the easiest ways you can undermine the ranching industry is to eat less beef, and gets friends and neighbors to understand when they consume a hamburger, they are helping to kill wild bison, wolves, and other wildlife.

George Wuerthner has published 36 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy.