Animal Rights

Bob Barker Is Coming After Miami Seaquarium The Same Way He Went After Happy Gilmore

What’s News With This Story: 

–Bob Barker, the tv icon and former longtime host of “The Price Is Right” participated in a PETA video released yesterday. 

-In the video Barker asks Miami Seaquarium to release the orca Loilta from captivity. 

Loilta has lived at the Seaquarium since being caught in 1970. She was brought from the waters near Puget Sound, Washington.  

–Her release has been the subject of activist activity for decades


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How A Phone Call Changed The Life Of A Miami Dog Groomer (And Thousands Of Animals) Forever

By Ana Cedeno

We live in a time where altruism can be seen as somewhat subjective. You can’t be nice to strangers, because they could rob you, some would negatively say.

Trusting people, or rather being naive about it can make you seem stupid in the eyes of many, if not an easy target, and no good deed goes unrewarded has turned into no good deed goes unpunished.

But Regina Nicole Vlasek has decided to live her life in a more hopeful manner.

Vlasek is the president and founding partner of the Saving Sage Rescue organization.

A no kill animal shelter located in the northern Miami suburb of Miami Shores, Saving Sage’s story began from a single act of kindness.

The story began with a phone call in 2012.

At the time, Vlazek was working as an animal groomer and while she and her friends often rescued animals who were abandoned at her salon, they were far from a legit non-profit.

But then, the call came.

“A client Judy Sanchez reached out to me about the dog sighting situation” Vlasek said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “A bunch of dogs were picked up by animal rescue and a little dog was left behind.”

Vlasek and Sanchez raced to where the dog had been sighted intending to make sure he was safe and to find a place for him.

“We made a big scene. We stopped traffic to get the dog,” Vlasek recalled.

Regina Nicole Vlasek, the founder of Saving Sage. Photo Credit: Facebook.

Regina Nicole Vlasek, the founder of Saving Sage. Photo Credit: Facebook.

Despite their best efforts they couldn’t plan or prevent what would happen next.

The dog was startled by some nearby children.

Skittish and still not used to people, the dog ran from under the house she was hiding in and into a car.

“The dog had very bad injuries,” Vlasek said. “There were pictures of this dog being picked up on the stretcher. Channel 7 [WSVN] picked up the story and it was on the news.”

It was while they had the dog-who they later named Sage on the stretcher that they noticed she was lactating.

They sent Sanchez’s child to check under the house and they found seven puppies.

In her efforts to help Sage and her puppies Vlasek and Sanchez contacted Karina Goldenberg who was at the time affiliated with another animal rescue organization named A Way For Strays.

Vlasek also contacted Dr. Michael Zender, a veterinarian she knew from her days as a groomer.

Both Goldenberg and Zender donated money and medical supplies respectively to ensure that Sage and her puppies made it through.

It was that tight-knit group that started Saving Sage.

“It grew from there,” Vlasek said as she explained how Saving Sage went on to become much more than just saving Sage and her puppies. “We went from being girls who just kind of liked helping to meeting this girl who was part of the organization and it grew from there.”

Saving Sage took off as a full-fledged animal rescue and in their first year alone rescued 198 animals.

In their second year they went over double that number.

Sage and her puppies also found a good home.

The organization doesn’t limit itself to just dogs.

As Vlasek explained, on any given day dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and snakes all could drop by the office.

They’ve also started a program called The All About Animals Class, in which they teach children the importance of spaying and neutering their pets, as well as the often forgotten lesson that a pet is not a toy.

“We can’t just condemn people for not knowing any better,” Vlasek said. “We have to teach them and make a difference. People can go on and on to say that this is wrong but does anyone try to understand? It’s having patience and teaching children from an early age.”

Although they are branching out into educating the public, Vlasek says the purpose of Saving Sage remains as always, to save animals that are out in the streets.

“Even with animal control and the humane organization, the number of stray animals is so overwhelming, any one organization would have a hard time,” Vlasek said.

It isn’t a placid life to be sure and not one, Vlasek ever saw herself having when she answered that fateful phone call in 2012.

“I never dreamed that it would turn into something like this,” Vlasek said. “Sometimes I want my old life back when the phone doesn’t ring all the time, but it’s something I can some day look back and be proud of.”

While it isn’t always easy, Vlasek said that it is rewarding.

“We’ve saved dogs that were days away from being put to sleep and we get pictures,” Vlasek said. “[We] develop friendships from the people who adopt them. It will inspire people to get involved and it spreads and I think it feels awesome to be able to express this. Everyone has their own battle, this is the one that I choose.”
Saving Sage is located at 212 NE 98th St in Miami Shores, FL, 33138.

for information on volunteering, fostering, or adopting, visit their webpage at

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Saving Sage Animal Rescue

The Shooting Of Harambe Has Opened Up A New Culture War In America

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days or so, you’ve probably heard folks be shocked and upset at the death of Harambe, a silverback Gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo who was shot and killed after a 4-year-old boy fell into the enclosure there on May 30. 

As the days continue to progress, the individual pieces of the story are becoming clearer, which is helping to lift the mask on how dangerous the situation was for the child.

According to an article written in the Huffington Post Canada, Greg Tarry, associate director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), made several notes about how the gorilla was a threat to the life of the child.

“Even when it was standing over the child in the water, that’s generally kind of a dominance thing,” Tarry said in the article. “He was jerking that child around like a rag doll.”

The move which took Harambe’s life was considered a tragic necessity by many zoological experts, since the gorilla was showing signs of aggression towards the boy.

Multiple sources, including the director of the Cincinnati Zoo Thane Maynard defended the use of the gun instead of a tranquilizer.

He stated, “Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes, and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get much worse.”

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Regardless of the quotes from several experts discussing why shooting the animal was a tragic but needed necessity, many commenters and social media keyboard warriors believe that the life of the child whose life was in danger was less important than the life of the gorilla, as noted in multiple examples across plentiful social media sites.

According to multiple accounts and an article written on The Daily Banter, reactions included the likes of “responses to this tragedy range from cries of “the parents should have been the ones shot,” to, “another innocent beautiful animal has been… killed as a result of awful parenting,” to, “kids are a dime a dozen, there’s millions of them, he’d be one less moron in the gene pool, the gorillas are the endangered species here not brats,” to “open season with $1000 a bounty on those too stupid to live!” to “it’s the stupid cunt who didn’t notice her child wasn’t there,” to, delightfully, “eugenics comes to mind.”

The same article summarized it best when it said “An undulating online army of angry idiots, righteous in their absolute moral authority and bolstered by the warmth of all those Facebook likes and shares, raining fire down on a person or people they know literally nothing at all about involved in a situation about which they simply don’t have all the facts yet.”

While the shooting and the death of an innocent, endangered animal is certainly nothing to celebrate and something to be rightly mourned, doing what had to be done to save a fellow human being is nothing to make jokes at, or to chastise because the process would have taken the death of an animal.

It’s becoming apparent that there is a chance that this is becoming a cultural war in between those who value animal lives over the lives of humans, and vice versa.

It’s becoming increasingly scary to see those who would, time and time again, put the lives and safety of humans on the backburner to save the life of an animal.

Defending animals and their livelihoods, especially if they are endangered species is something that is duly important, and something that more people should become involved in.

But in rare and tragic situations like these, wishing death and vitriol against parents and people who most likely feel the weight of the world on their shoulders does not show the compassion that you want to emit, and it does not show the peace that animal activists and humans alike want to see in the world.

While we should take every step necessary in order to ensure that situations like the ones that happened in Cincinnati do not happen again, we should also be aware that in the event that something like this does happen again, we should realize and acknowledge that the zookeepers and the people that if the situation calls for it end the life of the animal have known the animal for much longer than a bunch of keyboard warriors and desk chair activists, and it must pain them to bring the end to an animal that they’ve known for years, but they also have a duty to save a member of our own species, a human child who is just as unrepeatable and irreplaceable as a beloved animal.

This was not a case of willful, premeditated killing. It was a necessity to save a life.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jere Keys/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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