Download our full 2014 year in review mailer HERE.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
2014 was another banner year in SHARK’s fight against animal abuse. We’ve scored significant victories that have saved many lives. SHARK investigators traveled across our country from New Jersey to California exposing horrific acts of animal cruelty and shaking the foundations where animal abusers skulk.
Thousands of lives spared as the Philadelphia Gun Club attendance plunges and shoots cancelled!
SHARK’s efforts against the notorious Philadelphia Gun Club (PGC) have been incredibly successful. Attendance dropped significantly, and by the end of the club’s 2013-2014 shooting season, shoots were being cancelled. There were at times more employees then shooters. Events that used to last all day, were down to just a couple hours.
That means tens of thousands of pigeons were not shot, wounded, abandoned or drowned in the freezing water of the Delaware River that borders the club property.
The PGC, angry at our efforts, struck back. They stole our protest signs, giving them back only after forced to by the Bensalem Police. The PGC’s head of security, a retired Bensalem police officer, physically assaulted me. Still the police would not file charges. We didn’t back down. We filmed as the police watched club members leave the club and pull onto city streets with their license plates covered, which is illegal. The police did nothing.
Then the PGC and seven of its members sued SHARK and five of our investigators in both state and federal court. The lawsuits are meritless - nuisance suits - and we will win it, but our defense is costing tens of thousands of dollars.
This is the unfortunate reality of how the system works; the wealthy members of the PGC can make false statements and try to bury us in legal fees and we have no choice but to defend ourselves and the work we do saving the victims of the PGC’s brutal blood lust.
A pigeon SHARK rescued at a shoot at the PGC. She had been shot in the chest and then landed on the shoreline of the Delaware River
If they thought their frivolous lawsuits would intimidate us, they were wrong. The traditional opening day of the PGC’s shooting season has for years been the second Saturday in November. On that day this year, November 8, 2014, SHARK was out in full force with our Angel - a remote controlled aircraft, a boat in the river, and investigators ready to rescue survivors and document cruelty. A reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper was there with us and wrote an excellent article about how the pigeon shooters blinked and did not show up to kill any birds that day.
This is what makes SHARK different from many other organizations; we do not give in to fear. We defied the PGC, and by doing so, showed that we will never back down from doing what is right.
This is a very important point to bring up. SHARK is the ONLY animal protection organization to be sued by the pigeon shooters. Why only SHARK? Because SHARK is the only organization that the pigeon shooters actually fear.
Ducks Unlimited Cruel Pigeon Shoot Cancelled!
In March of 2014, SHARK discovered that Ducks Unlimited, a nationwide pro-hunting organization, was going to hold a 2,000 bird live pigeon shoot as a fundraiser. This barbaric event was called a “phigeon shoot,” as some of the pigeons used were impaled with pheasant feathers, because the organizers thought that was a good “sales tool.”
A SHARK YouTube video exposed this horror and called on Ducks Unlimited to cancel the event. Within 24 hours, we received notice from Ducks Unlimited that they would change the event from a live pigeon shoot to a sporting clay shoot!
Think about how big this is. For 20 years Ducks Unlimited held these shoots, but once SHARK got involved, we stopped them cold. That’s not just 2,000 lives saved in 2014, but moving forward, tens of thousands of animals will be spared a cruel death.
Massive Labor Day efforts in Pennsylvania against pigeon shoots
This past Labor Day weekend, the Wing Pointe canned hunt club in Berks County, PA, held a two-day long pigeon shoot. SHARK held three days of protests and educational outreach, as well as having a team at the shoot itself.
One of our protests was against pigeon shooter Adolph Antanavage, who was recently appointed to be a judge in Berks County. This is an outrage, especially as SHARK has recorded Antanavage shooting pigeons in front of a Confederate flag proudly waving at Wing Pointe.
SHARK protested outside the Berks County Courthouse, where Antanavage holds court. Multiple media outlets were there, including columnist Paul Carpenter, who wrote an excellent article against Antanavage. All of this brought even more attention to the issue of pigeon shooting.
Legislation to ban pigeon shoots makes historic gains in Pennsylvania
SHARK’s years of work exposing pigeon shooting has made a dramatic impact in the effort to ban this abuse in Pennsylvania. When there is media coverage of pigeon shooting, they use SHARK’s photos and video, even when SHARK is not mentioned in the story. That’s how powerful our documentation is. We’ve also expanded our methods to include taking out television ads across the state. The 2014 bill to ban pigeon shoots passed the PA Senate by an overwhelming majority, the Governor said he would sign it, and it was poised to pass the PA House of Representatives. Three days before the historic vote in the House, the pigeon shooters poured $20,000 into the campaign coffers of important legislators. $3,000 went to House Majority Leader Mike Turzai. Turzai had previously promised he would let the bill be voted on, but at the last minute he refused to allow the bill to be voted on, effectively killing it. This was a vile act of clear and obvious corruption.
A frame from our TV ad against Mike Turzai
SHARK took out TV ads exposing Turzai’s corruption, and protested at his office. We know that the way to counter wealthy pigeon shooters, who will spend inordinate amounts of money to protect their pleasure killing, is through public pressure. That’s why we are now geared up for a brand new campaign fighting for legislation to begin as soon as the PA legislature returns in January.
United States Senator holds vicious and illegal live pigeon shoot as a political fundraiser
In the summer of 2014, SHARK received an anonymous tip that Jim Inhofe, the senior United States senator from Oklahoma, was to have a live pigeon shoot as part of his campaign fundraising event on September 5, 2014, in rural Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. 2,000 tame pigeons (many were banded) were hand-thrown into the air and shot at by armed men and woman who were at stations set up in a circular pattern around where the pigeons were thrown.
The Inhofe campaign was actively looking for animal rights activists, but one of our investigators infiltrated the fundraiser, and he was able to record acts of extreme animal cruelty. These included pigeons being kicked, wounded and bloody pigeons stumbling around spectators, and even an instance where a man picked up a wounded pigeon and threw her into the air so she could be shot again.
This was an unprecedented SHARK investigation that took on a sitting United States senator, the highest profile individual ever involved in pigeon shooting. As I said, SHARK wasn’t the only group to get the tip, but we were the only one to actually send someone to Oklahoma and expose the cruelty. That’s what makes SHARK different.
A wounded and bloody bird that landed near our investigator at the Inhofe pigeon shoot
Cruel “Barnyard Scramble” in Illinois
Animal "scrambles" are vicious events wherein chicks, ducklings, rabbits and other small animals literally run for their lives from stampeding hordes of children. In 2013, SHARK exposed a scramble in Martinsville, IL, and we went back again in 2014.
Thanks to public pressure from our 2013 operation, there were some changes. The animals were not given away as prizes, and there was somewhat less brutality. More needs to be done, so our job is not over, but perhaps this event is slowly headed in the right direction.
Church sponsored pig abuse in Wisconsin
In August of 2014, SHARK sent a team to what was called a “pig rassle” in Stephensville, Wisconsin. Incredibly, the event is held as a fundraiser for the St. Patrick Catholic Parish! In this spectacle, both adults and children violently abused pigs in a mud pit soaked with pig urine and feces. SHARK investigators video documented the cruelty. Next, we held a press conference in Green Bay, WI, to call out the Bishop of Green Bay for allowing such abuse.
This story has been reported nationwide, and our YouTube videos of the spectacle have received over 100,000 views! Hopefully the parish and the Catholic Church realizes that it is in their best interest to end this abuse. Time will tell, and our investigators will be ready in any case.
Left: A young boy holds a duck by the neck at the Martinsville “scramble.”Right: This pig was abused and had his leg injured at the “pig rassle” in Stephensville, Wisconsin
Horse tripping ban in Oregon Horse tripping ban in Oregon
In 2012, SHARK exposed the Big Loop Rodeo in Jordan Valley, Oregon, where horses were roped around the neck and legs, sending the terrified victim crashing to the ground head first. The video went viral, causing a wave of public outrage that lead to legislation to ban horse tripping.
In 2013, SHARK filmed more cruelty at the Big Loop Rodeo, and one of our investigators was violently arrested. I flew out to Oregon that night to get to the rodeo the next day. I was told I couldn’t film, so I left. Ten miles out of town, Malheur County Sheriff’s Deputies illegally pulled me over. A subsequent SHARK records request turned up a video taken by the deputy’s own dashboard camera, where they admitted that they were acting on behalf of the rodeo. We released that police video, and it became a major news story. Just one month after our efforts at the 2013 Big Loop Rodeo, the Oregon Legislature passed the horse tripping ban. A week after that, Governor John Kitzhaber signed it into law.
In 2014 we sent a full team of investigators to ensure there was no violations. The “outsider” camera ban was still in place inside the rodeo arena, so we sent up our Hi-Pods which can raise our cameras 30 feet into the air, and we filmed the entire rodeo.
There was no horse tripping in 2014. This is an enormous victory for horses. The Big Loop Rodeo thought that they could get away with abusing horses, and that they could stop us from filming them. We proved them wrong.
Rodeo thugs assault female investigators at rodeo
SHARK was back at the cruel Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. There we caught rodeo thugs shocking horses, which Cheyenne claimed was banned after years of SHARK exposing them shocking horses. The video of the shocking caused an uproar, and even the local newspaper, which is very pro-rodeo, issued a scathing editorial against the deceit.
Rodeo supporters, however, were angered at being exposed. One rodeo supporter took out his rage against the two female SHARK investigators physically assaulting them as they were filming the rodeo. The rodeo management and police supposedly were unable to find the thug.
What SHARK does is not easy. We stand against very angry people who are prone to violence. We put ourselves at risk because if we aren’t there, the animal abuse will never be seen, and the suffering would never end.
California Rodeo in Salinas
The California Rodeo in Salinas, California is the biggest rodeo in the state. As in previous years, we documented and exposed animal cruelty at the rodeo. After the rodeo the Salinas Rodeo veterinarian once again underreported the number of animal injuries, which he is by law required to report.
A steer trampled at the California Rodeo Salinas
Macy’s pulls rodeo sponsorship
In the summer of 2013, SHARK began a campaign to stop Macy's from sponsoring the cruel California Rodeo Salinas. We are pleased to announce that Macy’s was not a sponsor of the 2014 rodeo!
Using the latest technology in unique and creative ways
When animal abusers hide their cruelty, we adapt, using new technology in creative ways to overcome these obstacles. When the Big Loop rodeo banned “outsiders” from using cameras in the stands, we used HiPods outside on public ground putting our cameras 30 feet into the air, above their fence, and filmed everything. One Pennsylvania pigeon shoot was visible from a nearby public park where we could legally view it, but it was more than a quarter of a mile away. We therefore purchased long-range camera lenses which brought the horror, and the faces of those who committed it, up close. When animal abusers hide behind trees, or literally behind massive walls, our remote controlled aircraft flies above them and exposes both animal cruelty and environmental crimes.
Public outreach through video
Collecting the video documentation is half the job. The other half is putting it in front of the world. To that end, when SHARK’s investigators are not in the field, they are processing and creating videos for the media, law enforcement, the Internet, and for television advertising, an area into which SHARK has recently expanded.
Our YouTube video channel has received more than 60,000,000 views. You read that right - more than 60,000,000!
SHARK was at the 2014 Animal Rights National Conference where we networked with other organizations and showed them the technology and tools we use to fight animal abuse.
SHARK is the best value you can get for your donation
SHARK is a small, talented, multi-tasking team that operates on a national/international scale. We spend literally hundreds of hours in the field recording abuse, create the public videos that are seen in the media and online, rescue animals, hold press conferences, challenge corrupt authorities at public meetings, protest, leaflet - whatever it takes. That alone makes SHARK one of the most cost effective and efficient organizations in this movement. GuideStar USA lists SHARK as a Gold Participant - a leading symbol of transparency and accountability, proving SHARK’s commitment to our mission.
Please support SHARK so we can save lives
In 2014, we continued our long-established pattern of extraordinary advancements, and can claim victories that have literally saved hundreds of thousands of lives. We’ve shared our resources and worked with other organizations who need our help. As you’ve read in this mailer, we’ve travelled to rural and distant areas in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Oregon, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, and California. We document where animals are being hurt and killed and bring that cruelty to the eyes of the world. As our history shows, this brings positive change. All of this is why an investment in SHARK is an investment in saving lives.
SHARK has racked up a number of extraordinary victories, but it hasn’t been easy and unfortunately, it’s been expensive. The grant that TV legend Bob Barker generously gave us six years ago is gone, and we desperately need your support if we are to continue our work.
My interest in this is purely for the animals, as I am, and have always been unpaid. I want to personally thank you for your previous support and hope that you will help us to save even more animals in 2015 and beyond.
Founder, President, SHARK
Click HERE to donate online, or please mail a check to:
SHARK • PO BOX 28 • GENEVA, IL 60134