Maine’s New Drug Law: Veterinary Visits Get Complicated….Part 2

Maine’s New Drug Law: Veterinary Visits Get Complicated….Part 2

Why are the legislators in Maine including veterinarians in a bill that is geared towards stemming the opiate epidemic?

The nation has an opioid abuse problem and it’s naive to think some animals owners have never diverted their pet’s medication or sought drugs for the animal when it’s really for them. To vet shop however requires more than doctor shopping. When doctor shopping one much be a very good actor. If you have a history of chronic pain even better. Veterinarian shopping requires a prop; your animal. It means establishing a profile for your pet at numerous veterinary practices. It means paying multiple veterinary bills to get drugs which A. aren’t really the type an addict wants and B. could be obtained cheaper on the street or through friends.

It’s not uncommon for veterinarians to prescribe painkillers to animals that suffer from chronic pain or that have undergone surgery. In some cases, these painkillers can be opioid based. But what our legislators  fail to take into consideration is the dosing difference between humans and animals; the dosing difference between felines and canines. And unlike a human who can “act” the part of a person in pain and verbalize their symptoms, animals can’t. Because they cannot communicate, non-verbal cues are the best way to determine the severity of a pet’s pain regardless of what the owner says. The veterinarian listens to the owner describe what Pup or Kitty are doing but then does a physical assessment of the animal. The last two decades have seen a huge change in the way veterinary medicine addresses  pain in an animal. Whereas the previous line of thinking was Animals don’t feel pain” or “Keep them quiet and it will speed their healing because they won’t move around much”. Thankfully the veterinary profession has embraced the idea of pain management for both large and small animals and several pain scales are currently in use. Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center uses this scale to evaluate acute pain in kittens and this one to evaluate acute canine pain.

A November 2015  publication from JAMA  gives an excellent overview of how pain is assessed and evaluated in animals whether it’s acute as in surgical or chronic like osteoarthritis. And if one is fortunate to live in a progressive area, there are even pain management clinics for animals like the one at Cummings Hospital which is part of The Veterinary School of Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts. More than ever, veterinarians are aware of pain in animals whether it be a broken leg, advanced arthritis or cancer. This excellent article, The Hurt Unlocker, by Genevieve Rajewski, Editor for Tufts Veterinary School, gives a great overview of pain in animals and how it’s best managed.

PL 488 requires the following parameters for veterinarians:

  • All veterinarians who prescribe opiates or benzodiazepines must register as data requesters with the PMP
  • All veterinarians must check the records of the individual seeking care for the animal, and if appropriate the owner, prior to prescribing opiates or benzodiazepines. A valid state or federal photo ID should be checked, and a birthdate and full name must be acquired in order to check the PMP of an individual. This would also apply to anyone you had drop off or pick up Fido.
  • All written prescriptions must include a DEA number.
  • All prescriptions intended for use by an animal must indicate such use on the prescription.
  • Diagnosis and exemption codes are not required on veterinary prescriptions.
  • As of July 1, 2017, veterinarians with the capability to prescribe electronically will be required to do so. In April 2017 a waiver is expected to be released that will allow veterinarians without the capability to apply to be exempt.
  • The Aggregate Morphine Milligram Equivalent for the person who either owns the animal or is transporting.  The 100 MME/daily limit would  include the anticipated new prescription.
  • The number of prescribers currently prescribing controlled substances to the individual.
  • The number of pharmacies currently filling prescriptions for controlled substances for the individual.
  • Veterinarians will be required to complete three hours of CE (continuing education) related to the prescription of opioids by December 31, 2017, and subsequently every two years. **

The Maine Veterinary Medical Association has even “helped” veterinarians by preparing a presentation  plus consent form for the humans to sign which gives the veterinarian or his designate permission to access the person’s drug records. What exactly does that mean? If narcotics are being prescribed, the human bringing the animal in or picking the animal up must consent to having their drug records accessed by someone in the veterinary practice. Let’s think about this for a minute. Your dog has surgery and because of the postoperative pain the veterinarian wants to prescribe tramadol, a Schedule III narcotic as of 2014. Because of work hours you ask your neighbor to pick Fido up. Imagine their shock when they have to fill out the consent form, show their driver’s licence or other form of photo ID and wait while their drug profile is accessed and evaluated by a veterinarian, highly trained and skilled in animal medicine. And if the veterinarian calculating the human dosage determines your neighbor is at the top of the 100 MMEs daily allotment and the tramadol for your dog would exceed that amount, legally they can’t prescribe it. Also, a veterinarian had no way of knowing why a person is on the controlled drugs; only that they are. Based on numbers found in a database, a highly skilled veterinarian is being ordered by the State of Maine to practice veterinary medicine but use human protocols. In short, they are being mandated to practice outside their scope which is a violation. To ask a veterinarian who as I outlined in my previous post has extensive knowledge of animal physiology to prescribe pain medication for an animal based on how much of the daily allotment a human already has prescribed for them by a medical doctor is absolutely ludicrous.

Then there is palliative care for an animal with an end stage disease that is painful. The State has not set any exemptions for veterinarians but has for human doctors.

Prescribers are exempt from the limits on opioid medication prescribing established in this rule if:

  1. Pain associated with active and aftercare cancer treatment. Providers must document in the medical record that the pain experienced by the individual is directly related to the individual’s cancer or cancer treatment. An exemption for aftercare cancer treatment may be claimed up to six months post remission

  2. Palliative care in conjunction with a serious illness;

As someone who had a beloved dog diagnosed with canine lymphoma in October 2015, I would have been beyond furious if her oncologist couldn’t prescribe opiates for her as she neared the end ~ simply because my husband or I were at the top of the daily allotment. 

Addiction is an epidemic that can no longer be ignored. However the welfare of innocent animals should not be impacted, veterinarians mandated to operate at best, on the fringe of their scope of practice, nor our guarantee of privacy under HIPAA violated because neither veterinarians nor their staff are bound by HIPPA regulations.

Yet the State of Maine is doing all of these things.

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Maine: Passed A Law That Could Harm Animals And Their Veterinarians…Part 1

Maine: Passed A Law That Could Harm Animals And Their Veterinarians…Part 1

Like nearly every state, Maine is dealing with an opiate and heroin epidemic. In 2015, Maine experienced 272 overdose related fatalities.

In an effort to combat the opiate epidemic, the Maine Legislature enacted   P.L. 2015, ch. 488 (An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program) which became effective January 1, 2017. PL 488 affects nearly all facets of healthcare by establishing specific rules for prescribing and dispensing controlled medications. It defines the protocols that must be followed and sets prescription limits on how much opiate a patient may legally be prescribed to take per day. This is called the Aggregate Morphine Milligram Equivalent and the total daily amount allowed is 100 Morphine Milligram Equivalents (100 MMEs ).

PL 488 mandates that whenever a medical provider prescribes a controlled substance, they first check the PMP (Prescription Monitoring Program) to review the MME for the patient, what controlled drugs the patient is currently taking, who prescribed them and the pharmacy that filled the prescription. They must calculate if the drug they want to prescribe will, when added to the patient’s current daily MMEs, increase the allowed 100 MMEs and if so, not prescribe it. They  must note if there are multiple prescriptions, providers or pharmacies. If the provider notices anything in the patients PMP profile that raises a red flag, they are required by law to report it to the PMP Coordinator. There are of course many other components to PL 488 but I only want to touch on the highlights and how it impacts Maine residents who are pet owners in addition to  veterinarians. Yes that’s correct ~ veterinarians because Maine’s Legislatures have determined that the inclusion of veterinarians in PL 488 will help reduce the opiate epidemic. I disagree because including veterinarians in PL 488 creates two major violations. First however I’d like to walk you through a veterinarian’s education.

If a young person thinks they want to become a veterinarian, they should begin preparing in high school by paying attention to their performance in science courses, such as chemistry, biology, and physics. This same attention applies to math courses; trigonometry, geometry, and algebra. After high school graduation the student attends a 4 year college to earn their bachelor’s degree where they take the prerequisite courses for admittance into veterinary college.These consist of many advanced science courses, such as biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics. They are necessary to prepare the student for the vigorous coursework in veterinary college. Prospective veterinarians must complete a doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Typically, a doctorate in veterinary medicine takes four years to complete. Of these four years, three are spent on classroom training where students take courses in animal anatomy and physiology. They also take courses on disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment. After completing three years of classroom training, students take another year left to complete their degree in veterinary medicine. The fourth year is typically spent getting practical, hands-on training. This takes the form of a one-year clinical rotation in a veterinary medical center or veterinary hospital to gain experience in a variety of areas of veterinary medicine. After graduating with a doctorate in veterinary medicine, veterinarians are not yet able to open a practice. Before practicing veterinary medicine, graduates must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and any applicable state exams. Their path is definitely not a short one but throughout it is focused primarily on one thing ~ animal anatomy, physiology and wellness. 

Maines’s new PL 488 and it’s impact on veterinarians is such. If an owner takes their pet to be seen and the veterinarian feels it necessary to prescribe a narcotic or benzodiazepine for your pet, they must first do a check on the owner with DHHS to determine if the owner is on a controlled substance. As I previously mentioned I still need to clarify the parameters but the fact that a veterinarian or perhaps his staff has the power to access a person’s prescriptions is a huge HIPAA violation. But I digress. Let’s use a hypothetical situation. Owner has an anxiety disorder for which he takes Valium on a daily basis. He also has a severe back issue (long-term) so is on hydrocodone for pain control. His cat is hit by a car and taken to the vet where she undergoes successful emergency surgery but because her injuries are severe, the vet prescribes a pain medication; hydrocodone. Would the fact that the owner is on hydrocodone prohibit the vet from prescribing it for the cat’s postoperative pain? If so, would he be allowed to prescribe a different pain medication such as tramadol which also falls in the opiate category? Is he is prohibited from prescribing any narcotic because the owner is on two (2)?  Or is it only if the owner is on the same drug? If his prescriptive powers are limited because the owner is on a controlled substance, what criteria is used to determine if the animal can or cannot get a prescription?

Whilst I understand the opiate epidemic our country is tackling, how can a veterinarian or anyone for that matter be absolutely certain that a person who is taking several controlled drugs is abusing or trafficking? Plus the thought that an innocent animal might have to suffer needlessly because his owner is on a controlled substance is not only abhorrent but inhumane.  I want to know if it’s possible for the check to be done during non-business hours when DHHS is closed. Does the veterinarian’s office have to speak directly to a DHHS employee or is the information accessible online? And if it is accessible online, how can we, the human patient, be assured it’s secure? If the drug check on the owner can’t be done when DHHS is closed, then what happens to the animal who is in pain?  Any pet owner knows that many accidents happen at night, weekends or holidays when government agencies like DHHS are closed; what then?  Going back to HIPAA, who has authority within the veterinary practice to request the DHHS information? Can a receptionist do it? A vet tech? Or only the veterinarian? Finally, I do not understand how PL 488, a state law, can override HIPAA, a federal law enacted in 1996 by Congress and signed into effect by then President Bill Clinton. Under HIPAA an individual’s medical and other health information including prescriptions, is private and protected. The Privacy Law sets limits on who can look at and receive our health information such as covered entities and their business associates. As a nurse and former Union representative I am extremely familiar with HIPAA. In light of PL 488 however I reviewed it once again and nowhere did I find where veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or veterinary employees of any type are entitled to our records in any form. Additionally, PL 488 is in essence requiring veterinarians to understand human medication dosages compared to animals which often differ greatly.

I chose a veterinary team for my German Shepherd based on their reputations and expertise in animal physiology, not human. I value all members of her team despite being in different practices because of their knowledge. Having said that, I expect they keep current with the newest modalities of treatment for my dog. They work long hours yet now the State of Maine expects them to undertake additional training in order to understand and monitor the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)?  A program historically used only for humans?

This is ludicrous. There has to be a middle ground, a way the government, human healthcare providers and law enforcement can work together in an effort to reduce the rampant drug abuse without violating a person’s rights or including veterinarians where there is potential for an animal to suffer because “something” raises a red flag when in reality it could be legitimate.

Veterinary Visits In Maine Just Got Complicated…

Veterinary Visits In Maine Just Got Complicated…

Like nearly every state, Maine is dealing with an opiate and heroin epidemic. In 2015, Maine experienced 272 overdose related fatalities. In January 2017 one of Maine’s media outlets, WMTW, did an outstanding feature entitled Goodnight moon, goodnight mum,’ ‘Chronicle’ investigates Maine’s heroin epidemic. Anchor David Charns did a phenomenal job detailing the pain and heartache of addiction through a series of interviews and videos including one with Oxford County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Matthew Baker Sergeant  who, moments after arriving home from work in February 2015, discovered his 23-year-old daughter Ronni near death in the upstairs bathroom. Despite CPR from her father and several doses of Narcan by paramedics, she died, leaving behind an 11 month old daughter Claire. Ronni’s daughter, now 2, lives with her grandparents and is the source behind the name of the WMTW article:

When Claire asks for her mother, she and her grandfather look up, past that second-floor bathroom, to the sky. “I’ve always told her that that full moon is mum,” Baker said. “We go outside, and she says, ‘Goodnight moon and goodnight mum.'”

In an effort to combat the Maine opiate epidemic, the Maine Legislature enacted Public Law 488 which became effective January 1, 2017. PL488 affects nearly all facets of healthcare except in this law, veterinarians are included. I didn’t have all the exact data on PL488 so reached out to my State Senator, Thomas Saviello. I must tell you, he is the only government official to respond during the two weeks I called and emailed various agencies, elected officials  including the State House. Sad indictment against them but a huge kudos for Senator Saviello. 

What I do know about PL488 and it’s impact on veterinarians is such. If an owner takes their pet to be seen and the veterinarian feels it necessary to prescribe a narcotic or benzodiazepine for your pet, they must first do a check on the owner with DHHS to determine if the owner is on a controlled substance. As I previously mentioned I still need to clarify the parameters but the fact that a veterinarian or perhaps his staff has the power to access a person’s prescriptions is a huge HIPAA violation. But I digress. Let’s use a hypothetical situation. Owner has an anxiety disorder for which he takes Valium on a daily
basis. He also has a severe back issue (long-term) so is on hydrocodone for pain control. His cat is hit by a car and taken to the vet where she undergoes successful emergency surgery but because her injuries are severe, the vet prescribes a pain medication; hydrocodone. Would the fact that the owner is on hydrocodone prohibit the vet from prescribing it for the cat’s postoperative pain? If so, would he be allowed to prescribe a different pain medication such as tramadol which also falls in the opiate category? Is
he is prohibited from prescribing any narcotic because the owner is on two (2)?  Or is it only if the owner is on the same drug? If his prescriptive powers are limited
because the owner is on a controlled substance, what criteria is used to determine if the animal can or cannot get a prescription?

Whilst I understand the opiate epidemic our country is tackling, how can a veterinarian or
anyone for that matter be absolutely certain that a person who is taking several controlled drugs is abusing or trafficking? Plus the thought that an innocent animal might have to suffer needlessly because his owner is on a controlled substance is not only abhorrent but
inhumane.  I want to know if it’s possible for the check to be done during non-business hours when DHHS is closed. Does the veterinarian’s office have to speak directly to a DHHS employee or is the information accessible online? And if it is accessible online, how can we, the human patient, be assured it’s secure? If the drug check on the owner can’t be done when DHHS is closed, then what happens to the animal who is in pain?  Any pet owner knows that many accidents happen at night, weekends or holidays when government agencies like DHHS are closed; what then?  Going back to HIPAA, who has authority within the veterinary practice to request the DHHS information? Can a receptionist do it? A vet tech? Or only the veterinarian? Finally, I do not understand how PL488, a state law, can override HIPAA, a federal law enacted in 1996 by Congress and signed into effect by then President Bill Clinton. Under HIPAA an individual’s medical and other health information including prescriptions, is private and protected. The Privacy Law sets limits on who can look at and receive our health information such as covered entities and their business associates. As a nurse and former Union representative I am extremely familiar with HIPAA. In light of PL488 however I reviewed it once again and no where did I find where veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or veterinary employees of any type are entitled to our records in any form. Additionally, PL488 is in essence requiring veterinarians to understand human medication dosages compared to animals which often differ greatly.hipaa_violations_by_type_-_pie_chart

I chose a veterinary team for my German Shepherd based on their reputations and expertise in animal physiology, not human. I value all members of her team despite being in different practices because of their knowledge. Having said that, I expect they keep current with the newest modalities of treatment for my dog. They work long hours yet now the State of Maine expects them to undertake additional training in order to understand and monitor the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP)?  A program historically used only for humans?

This is ludicrous. There has to be a middle ground, a way the government, human healthcare providers and law enforcement can work together in an effort to reduce the rampant drug abuse without violating a persons rights or including veterinarians where there is potential for an animal to suffer because “something” raises a red flag when in reality it could be legitimate.

Once I have all the specifics, I’ll revisit this in a future post.

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Update on Luke Stribling, Puppy Killer…

Update on Luke Stribling, Puppy Killer…

Ever since I launched my petition something has bothered me  ~ the media discrepancies in some Florida outlets. It didn’t make sense (yes I’m one of THOSE people who needs an answer) that two media reports would give a completely different version than other media sources about a single event; the first time Luke Stribling took  his puppy Julian to a vet for a broken leg on June 12. Since I wrote the petition, it was extremely important that it be accurate. So I went back the other day to look at the two original  media articles and to my shock they had been changed. Gone was all the damning indictments against both the first veterinarian and animal services for allowing Luke to take an abused puppy home. If I hadn’t archived the original stories I would have thought I definitely lost my marbles. So I emailed each reporter to subtly ask why the change yet neither responded. Hmmmmm.

I contacted Orlando Animal Services to put in a records request under FOIA. They hit my in box the next day. Impressive! Then I reached out to the first veterinary practice and was finally able to connect with the practice manager. You see, the two media reports said that when Stribling brought his puppy in for a broken leg the treating vet became suspicious, did an MRI which revealed even more fractures. Both stories went on to say that the veterinary practice notified authorities but there was “insufficient evidence to seize the puppy” so little Julian went home with Stribling. Not sure if it was over zealous reporting, misinformation, or misconstruing information received but the first veterinary practice never became suspicious because the story Luke told was plausible; Julian caught his leg in the dock slot as he was being walked. They didn’t do an MRI and in fact the practice doesn’t even have an MRI machine. No additional fractures were found and they never called animal services. It bothered me that the two initial media reports gave such detailed yet erroneous information because  what they reported is the type of thing that can tarnish reputations. So I edited my petition today and explained why.

Sadly, everything that occurred when Stribling brought his dead puppy to the vet on June 26 is true. In fact, its even worse than reported.  Reading that poor baby’s necropsy report was difficult for I could actually visualize his last minutes of life and it was disturbing. Forget that I’m a nurse who’s seen more than my share of “gruesome”. Forget that I’m a volunteer disaster nurse with DHHS and have been activated to several equally gruesome disasters. Sitting in a chair reading that report brought tears to my eyes ~ a lot of them

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Even though I’ve survived brutality, I’ve never understood why people feel the need to inflict harm. Do they have mutated chromosomes? Or is their gene pool deficient? And how the hell did this pollutant of life, Stribling, manage to reach age 20 without anyone noticing his low frustration tolerance  or propensity for anger? Anger that in an innocent puppy’s case led to a violent death? Frustration and anger are related emotions, but they’re not identical. Some people are able to control anger or frustration and channel these feelings to nondestructive outlets. I get angry sometimes with automated phone systems that seem like an endless merry go round i.e. press this for that, press that for this only to wind up reaching the persons voice mail, leave a message and never get a callback. Frustrating and invokes anger. Yet I don’t throw the phone at the wall or scream when I finally reach a human. Well ~ there WAS that one time after I’d hung up that I threw the phone at the fireplace mantle but we’ll chalk that up to cabin fever as I was homebound. Alone with a broken leg in a wheelchair. In Maine where there’s still snow in April. I actually broke my leg in a terrible snowstorm on wait for it………….April 1!

But all joking aside, why did I toss a phone in an isolated event rooted in frustration while others, like several of the gunmen who committed mass murders, kill people?  Why does someone like Luke Stribling  exhibit a frightening lack of control because his little 7 1/2 pound puppy tinkled on the floor? Such a loss of control that  he punched, kicked and slapped Julian and till he eventually killed him. The necropsy report indicates the severity of the puppy’s injuries and that they’d been going on for some time. He lived in virtual fear of his owner yet no one noticed? No one saw that Luke had anger management issues? Well that is other than Luke’s friends who told investigators AFTER Julian’s death that Luke punched and kicked the puppy for tinkle accidents.

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I Am Not A Bigot But I Love Bears…

I Am Not A Bigot But I Love Bears…

You’re probably wondering what the correlation is between bigotry and bears; I would be confused by the title as well. I follow a blog whose author has often espoused racial or ethnic opinions. On this topic we are polar opposites for I embrace ethnic diversity, one of the many things I miss being planted in the New England mountains when my roots are in NJ. I judge all people by how they present themselves; are they kind, honest, sincere? It doesn’t matter to me if they attend a synagogue, a mosque or practice Buddhism. I don’t care if they wear a yarmulke, chapel veil, kufi, burka or hijab. I’ve read many prejudicial comments made against Muslims based solely on their religion when in fact they have become a seemingly ubiquitous part of our national culture.

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Where this particular blogger and I agree however  is animal welfare and animal abuse. We believe in the preservation of life and humane treatment of animals who are sentient living beings. I was making an effort today to catch up on the many blog posts I’ve missed the past months as I’ve been involved with my German Shepherd; traveling to veterinary appointments and transitioning her medical journey from Facebook to WordPress.

I was making good progress, taking my time to truly connect with each blog entry and offer my thoughts. Then it happened. I moved on to the “controversial” blog and was rather offended by a response to a post the blog owner had written (in addition to his overt bigotry). As an animal lover, he had posted the tragic story of Pedals, a NJ black bear who was reportedly killed by a hunter during NJ’s first expanded  black bear hunt which allowed archery for the first time in decades.  The fact that the majority of bears were killed in the exact area where my roots are is extremely disturbing but I’ll refrain from expanding on my distain for both bear hunts and the methods allowed in many states. 

Pedals walked as a biped because of injuries to his two front paws with one paw even thought to be missing. He was an iconic presence in Northern NJ and had a huge Facebook following. Videos taken by residents who captured him ambulating in an upright position captivated viewers globally and many mainstream media outlets did extensive features on him. Yet a hunter, who had boasted for (3) years that he would “take out Pedals” appeared at a weigh station last week in Green Pond which is in Rockaway NJ with a dead bear that had upper limb/paw injuries that were consistent with those believed to have disabled Pedals. Furthermore, state biologists photographed the dead bear and will issue the photos to the public in the near future. Needless to say the thought of a hunter deliberately stalking and then killing a disabled bear who had never harmed a human in any way has disturbed thousands of people, even those who hunt. The administrator of Pedals Facebook page made this heart wrenching announcement on October 14. The Gothamist even wrote that  Pedals was assassinated.

Which takes me to how I became involved in the comment on the controversial blog’s post about Pedals. The commenter, well spoken and intelligent, thought the blog owner was straying from the “real issues” facing the white race by posting about the killing of a bear.

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I simply could not refrain from replying to the commenter as he was referring to my “home turf” plus his disturbing and overt prejudice. I haven’t gone back to see if my comment was even approved. As most people know, I respect one’s right to privacy and usually don’t reblog a post or write personal information about other people without their consent. Therefore I’ve chosen to copy and paste my response in it’s entirety (I purposely omitted a few personal details from my original response).

I take umbrage at your thoughts and allow me to tell you why. Although currently planted in New England, my roots are in the area of NJ where Pedals lived. Our world consists of many vile two legged creatures but Pedals was not one of them.  He was bipedal due to  injuries that he managed to rise above. Pedals was an icon, photographed and written about by media outlets across the globe. For a piece of human hubris to murder a disabled animal not out of kindness because the animal was suffering but for bragging rights makes this hunter no better than the unsavory elements that threaten to destroy our way of life. Our planet has coexisted with wildlife for thousands of years. The killing of an innocent disabled bear that has never harmed a human is senseless and tragic. The hunters identity will be revealed because men with tiny penises and huge egos always out themselves sooner or later. Or someone from the weigh station where he tagged and bagged will spill ~ never fails. It’s located in Rockaway ~ a community I know extremely well.

There is nothing to separate the mindset of Petal’s killer from the minds of sexual predators  who rape, videotape  and murder innocent children just so they can “brag”. Remember, I hail (and quite proudly) from NJ, a state that, following the rape and murder of (7) year old Megan Kanka on July 29,1994, enacted Megan’s Law on Oct. 31, 1994 in an unprecedented 89 days. There is nothing to separate him from the Muslims/Islamists/Whatever They’re Calling Themselves who use suicide bombs to kill scores of innocent lives believing their own deaths will entitle them to meet their 27 virgins. In contrast the cell type control of al-Qaeda allowed them to control  operations from afar where they remained safe and protected while those desperate to please did their bidding.

The BLM is really a leaderless movement that promotes an ideology of violence and  “Whitey owes me”and “Cops target me”.  Sadly, institutions like Georgetown only perpetuate BLM’s misguided beliefs by its announcement last month that descendants of slaves would receive “preferential treatment during the admission process”. I don’t know which is more dangerous, BLM which operates as a lone wolf fringe element in EveryTown USA or their predecessors, the Black Liberation Army (BLA) which by contrast was extremely organized. Many today still pay homage to JoAnn Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur thought by some to be the de facto leader living happily in Cuba where she has been protected and oft revered for her past. For what it’s worth, BLM idolizes her and often chant part of a letter she wrote called “To My People” while incarcerated after being found guilty for the execution style murder of  NJ State Trooper Werner Foerster on May 2, 1973  (she was in several prisons ). She escaped from the NJ Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in 1979.  Activists and followers of ALL skin colors hid this bank robber, attempted murderer, kidnapper, and finally cop killer for several years until Cuba granted her asylum in in the mid 80’s where she has lived freely for over three decades. Since living there, she has changed her name to Assata Shakur,  earned a graduate degree, written (5) books and become a celebrity ~ imagine that. Did I mention that she’s also the godmother and aunt of the late rapper Tupac Shakur? Fred Baker, 1933 ~ 2011, was a director,  producer and actor often associated with the subversive, underground filmmakers of the 1960s and 70s.  His last directing effort in 2008 was a biographical movie entitled, “Assata aka Joanne Chesimard,” whose premise was that she was falsely convicted. Chesimard  portrayed herself in the film. I checked before I wrote this post and the DVD is available on Amazon for $29.95.  Amazon is even kind enough to print a review:

Editorial Reviews

is about the black liberationist Assata Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, a charismatic young Black Panther in the 1960’s who was targeted by J. Edgar Hoover’s Cointelpro illegal murderous offensive to neutralize radical Black leaders. She was wounded in a police shootup on the N.J.Turnpike in 1973; falsely convicted of killing a NJ State Trooper; sentenced to Life in prison, she escaped miraculously to find exile and freedom in Castro’s Cuba…where she lives to this day. Her life story is told and revered by thousands of young followers world-wide who see in her a female Che Guevera, an heroic freedom fighter for equality and an end to racial oppression and injustice for all people.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com’s standard return policy will apply.

 Some of her most blatant lies can be read here; see the fuel that helps fire the BLM decades later. Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police had strong feeling about Chesimard and Cuba even prior to the start of Obama’s intervention to restore diplomacy.

A convicted murderer is being harbored by a country our President is normalizing  diplomatic relations with for the first time in over 50 years.  Let’s ignore her crimes in the US and reward her for escaping to a foreign country by selling her books on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com ($12.92 on both sites). Let’s not forget that the US granted asylum to thousands of balseros until the mid 90’s when Clinton instituted some “policy change”. I will forever applaud NJ Gov. Chris Christie for his loud demands (ignored of course) that our administration demand Chesimard’s  return. Yet I don’t  blame an entire race or culture for these atrocious acts but rather an element within a culture. I have news for you;  many horrific crimes against man have been committed by whites. Perhaps you’ve heard of Adolph Hitler? Should society harbor a hatred of all Germans because of the warped actions of one who through charisma and intimidation had many followers? The  problem  with  most  like you is  that  you employ selective memory,  that is  often  never with a contextual  basis.  As to Chesimard?

We’re waiting for her.

My one lingering question on Chesimard is why a covert operation like the Mossad’s “Wrath of God” assassination team never took her out…

We share our world with despicable humans yet we cannot allow our disgust for them and their abhorrent actions to harden our hearts to the amazing beauty that Mother Earth still offers. Morning dew on a leaf, rabbits darting out from a shrub, deer  running in a field. A lone flower blooming in a dry and trash strewn city lot. The innocent laughter of a baby or the blush of a teen when they develop their first crush. If we focus all our energy on the horror, we lose some of our own humanity and I for one refuse to allow the despots of this world to take that from me. And that my friend is why we mourn the loss of an innocent animal,  a disabled bear who brought smiles to the faces of people all over the world as they watched his videos.

Video of Pedals June 21, 2016 (courtesy of NJ.com)

Video of Pedals 2015  (courtesy of John Sand)      

Video of Pedals Sept. 28, 2015 (courtesy of Inna Rabinovich)

Video of Pedals June 22, 2016  (courtesy of Shattered Paradigm)

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And lest anyone forget ~ Trooper Werner Foerster

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NJ State Trooper, husband and father

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