Saturday, September 3, 2011

Operation: Halt #Snapperfest

By: Holise Cleveland III of

Corn flakes can be eaten with yogurt or milk.
Image via Wikipedia
My maternal grandparents were quite a couple. They had separate bedrooms, complete with their own televisions and TV trays. On occasion, they would chat and and/or argue. One morning, my grandmother went to my grandfather’s room and asked him what he wanted for breakfast. He chose corn flakes and they began to talk. It didn’t take long before the conversation turned into a heated argument. My grandmother stormed into the kitchen to prepare her husband’s breakfast. She returned to his room with a bowl of cereal and promptly stomped back to her room, slamming the door behind her. Seconds later, my grandfather bolted from his room. His eating utensil held high, he hollered, “How am I supposed to eat corn flakes with a damned fork?

If you are in or near Ohio County, Indiana and you are opposed to Snapperfest, you are not alone. There are others in your area who feel the same way and you may also want to engage in Operation: Halt #Snapperfest. Should you choose to accept them, here are the mission parameters.

Maintain a Low Profile: Do not publicly denounce Snapperfest or those who support it. Do not engage in online groups, pages or forums that express a desire to end Snapperfest. In fact, if you are not already doing so, you may want to comment on how Peta should just mind their own business.

Take Photographs and Videos: Cell phones are good for taking pictures and there are even camcorders out there that double as ink pens. Get the layout of the land: Campshore Campgrounds, Downtown Rising Sun, etc.

Gather Intel: Who does business with Camp WannaTortureTurtles? What businesses support Snapperfest? Obtain documents, photos and videos if possible.

Start a Roster: Who supports and attends Rising Sun’s Torturefest? It may be tricky to take photos without giving yourself away. That’s okay. Just about everyone has a picture on the web. Check Facebook, online newspaper archives, etc. A simple search for them on Google may deliver results. You can also scan photos from yearbooks. Mugshots would be a nice bonus, too. Please note: Some people are quietly opposed to Snapperfest. They may have only been along for a ride and not realized what was in store. They may have been under peer pressure. They may be one of you! So, make sure that your list is of people who participated in the event or express a lot of twisted enthusiasm for it.

Start a Blog: (Better yet, start multiple blogs.) This is where you display the results of your investigation. Many blogs, like WordPress, allow you to schedule your posts. Posts should be scheduled a day apart some time next summer. When the official date for Snapperfest is announced, you can always reschedule your posts so that they are made public a few weeks before the horrid circus. I highly recommend that you start composing your articles now so that if anything unfortunate were to happen, they will still be published. It’s also a good idea to schedule them so that they appear when you are at school, on the job or somewhere in public and away from your computer.

Start a Twitter Account under an assumed name. Blogs allow you to connect to Twitter. This way, when your article is published, its link will be broadcast on Twitter. Important: Make certain to include the hashtag #Snapperfest in the title of each post. Thousands of us worldwide will be watching for that tag. We will make sure that your info reaches the masses. You may also want to include “@Peta” in the titles. This will flag them as well and I am sure they would love to be updated on your expose’.
If any of you do not live in the area, you can also help. If you are planning a vacation or a trip through Indiana, may I recommend that you stay at Campshore Campground. Utilizing the above tactics, you can also participate in the mission for the brief time you are in Rising Sun, Indiana. You can also assist by copying this entire article and posting it to your own blog. The more copies that are out there, the easier it will be to find.
If you are a part of Camp WannaTortureAnimals and the host of Snapperfest and you are reading this (which I am sure that you are) please understand that I am in no way affiliated with PETA. I do support them in spirit, but I am just an average guy with a blog. I am one of the people and had you taken heed to PETA’s advice, I would not be writing this blog today. We, the people, now have no choice but to gum up the works of your torture machine. We, the people, have no choice but to reach into your comfort zone, your sanctuary, your shell and pull you out into the light of day against your will for all the world to see. We do so in the fashion by which you have so proudly displayed: with a complete and utter disregard for your feelings and rights. You really should have listened to PETA. Let’s see how much cheering you do when you find that we have put a fork in your corn flakes.

“He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

“By being inattentive to the needs of others, inevitably we end up harming them.” ~ Dalai Lama

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Countdown to The Cove has Begun

We are less then 2 months away from, what could be, another bloody season in Taiji, Japan. 

Taiji is a small fishing village of the coast of Southeastern Japan. It was made famous in 2010 when the award-winning documentary "The Cove" exposed the truth about the tiny town. Every year, between September and March, a handful of "fishermen" from the town kill hundreds, if not thousands, of dolphins. For a in depth look at the Taiji dolphin drive, please read our post The Dolphins of Taiji.

 The online facebook community, Save Misty The Dolphin, has created an event to get everyone involved and ready to go, come September 1st. The event, Countdown to The Cove, is encouraging everyone to educate themselves and those around them about the horrific slaughter. Whether you are new to the dolphin movement, or have been around for years...Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours a day to commit to the cause, there is a way to get involved, to help the dolphins. Please take a stand! If needed, a dolphin would save your life without thinking...please do the same for them.

The Countdown has Begun!!!

  Video by Save Misty The Dolphin

Stand Up!!!!

Video by Eric of A Family Standing Up

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Story Of Ace and Deuce

 Our blog's main focus is the oceans, however it will from time to time have non-ocean related post. This is one of those times. I hope that you will take a few minutes and read this amazing story, that has changed so many lives.  It is a heart warming story and it shows that amazing things can happen if you just open your heart and work with others to achieve a common goal. No egos, No credit seekers, No fighting...just a group of people working to save the lives of two animals, because it was the right thing to do.

 In mid-May, I was on the phone with one of my dear friends catching up with each other. This is something we do often, late night chats that last for hours. Eric came in and said, "By the way, in a few weeks we are picking up some dogs at the Airport and driving them to New Mexico for Eric Adam.". I was not really shocked, but kinda caught off guard. I asked what he was talking about. Turns out, a complete random post on FaceBook by Eric Adam, turned into a huge turn of events for a cause that Eric and I had no idea about.

The story:

Ace and Deuce are Coon Hounds, they are 6 year old brothers, who were hunting dogs in West Virgina. About a year ago Deuce started to go blind, a few months later Ace started showing symptoms as well. When Ace showed signs of going blind their owner took them to the vet. The vet did an eye exam and told the man he thought the boys had Retinal Atrophy, a genetic disease that causes blindness.  The vet suggested the man see a specialist to get a better idea of what is going on. The owner did not take Ace and Deuce to a specialist, instead once both boys were pretty much blind, he took them to the Taylor County Animal Shelter, in Grafton WV. While dropping them off the man basically told Christine, a volunteer for the shelter, that the boys were great hunters but were no use to him blind, so they should be put to sleep. He left his two hunting dogs, that he had all of their lives, and who undoubtedly spent their lives doing what they could to please him, in the hands of the shelter to dispose of.

 Luckily for the boys, the people at the Taylor County Shelter are angels! They do their best to network their dogs and try to find them homes. Christine feel in love with the boys and put them all over the Internet trying to find them a home. People from all over got involved trying to find these boys a loving family. I wish I could list everyone involved, but there are so many, some that I am sure, I am unaware of. Ace and Deuce were running out of time. People were doing there best, but they were having a hard time getting these boys a home. Angelia, a animal investigator in Illinois was ready to take on the dogs working closely with her friend Indy. They were trying there best to work things out. Stacey, an animal lover and networker in Florida posted information about the boys non-stop. This got the attention of Eric Adam in Prescott, Arizona, who started trying to find a home for the boys in his area. The boys were set to be put down on April 18th. On the 17th, the fight was on and Angela decided to get the dogs out of the shelter and foster them. They contacted the shelter but it was after hours. They left several messages to NOT kill these dogs. They worried that it would be to late, and the shelter would not get the messages in time. Luckily, the shelter was reached the next morning, and the boys were saved. Indy called the shelter and was told he needed references to get the boys. He contacted  Virgina, with Sunrise Rescue Center to vouch for the boys, so that Angelia could foster them. References were given and the boys were no longer in danger. As plans were being made to get the boys to Illinois, Eric Adam in AZ, contacted a rescue group in his area, United Friends of Animals to help spread the word and find the boys a home.

 As plans of transport were being made to get the boys from WV to IL, Angelia became very ill. She would not be able to foster the boys. At this point Indy, who already has many rescues, stepped in and agreed the boys would stay with him. The boys were driven to Zanesville OH, were Indy met them and drove them back to his place in IL. By this time David and Diane, two pilots with Pilots and Paws had agreed to meet Indy in Arkansas, and fly the boys to Dallas, on the journey to AZ. All that was needed now, was someone in Dallas to get the boys to Eric Adam, and a foster home when they get there.

 This of course is were we came in, we have been friends with Eric Adam on Facebook for some time. Oddly, we had missed any of his post about the boys. But one night after posting a video of the full moon in AZ., Eric posted a comment on Eric Adam's video, stating the Moon in Dallas looked pretty amazing as well. At this point Eric Adam, who did not know we were in Dallas, asked Eric if we could help out. Of course Eric said yes, and it was set. Indy would drive the boys to AR, where David and Diane would load them in their plane and fly them to Dallas. We would pick them up at the airport, they would stay the night and we would drive them to Mew Mexico, where we would met Eric Adam, who would then drive them back to AZ, to a foster home he had found. The plan was set. The boys had there second chance at a new life.

  I will never forget the feeling I had while at the airport waiting for the boys. I was so excited to met these guys, and so honored that we were able to be part of this amazing story. We waited and waited, and then from the distance saw this little plane coming in for landing. The plane rolled in front of us, and turned to park. We figured this was our plane, but it was confirmed when though one of the tiny windows, we saw a tail wagging. We both laughed, the boys were safe in Dallas. Eric rushed out to meet David and Diane, and the boys, as I hung back to get a few pics. I remember seeing the boys, and tears came to my eyes. What amazing souls, do they even know what almost happened to them, and how many people fought to save them? Linden and I walked up to met them and we posed for some pictures. It was then and there something changed. I remember Diane saying how amazing the boys were, and I said we would take them in a heartbeat if we could. While taking pictures she commented about how they just seem to fit us. And in my mind, I agreed. We walked with David and Diane to the car and loaded the boys up. They said their good byes, and I just wanted to cry. As we were pulling out, I happened to look back and was surprised to see David and Diane still standing there watching us leave. (Grrr, the emotions are flooding back) It hit Eric and I, this was something special.

 We got the boys back to our place and I didn't know what to expect. I knew these guys had been outside dogs all their lives. How were they going to handle being inside, even for a night? Would Linden drive them crazy? As we settled in, I was simple amazed. They took to Linden right away. They followed him around, and while outside if they lost his scent they would get upset, until they found him. They came up and gave us lots of love, but the thing that got me the most, was when Ace jumped up on the couch and passed out, to the point of snoring...loud! They stole our hearts and we struggled with the thought of letting them go.

 Late that evening a phone called was made to Eric Adam, who was already in New Mexico. Eric asked him questions about where the boys were going, and stressed how much we cared for them. It was decided by the end of the conversation....the boys journey to find a home was over. The boys from WV, who traveled to OH, to get to IL, then to AR, to get to Dallas, Texas was done traveling.

 The boys have touched the hearts of people all over, those they have met and those they haven't. This journey was never about finding love, because they are loved by so many. In this journey, the boys brought people together from all over, and we have been forever connected, because of them. Everyone involved is considered family to us now. Eric and I are forever grateful to them all. This is a case that was written in the stars. It was way bigger then us all. A case of multiple selfless acts for the sake of two amazing souls, that deserved a second chance at life.

I hope that this story has moved you enough to understand that anything is possible, if you just put your ego's aside and the cause first. This story involves so many people, individuals and groups, and at no point did anyone try to take center stage. At know point was any ones person role or involvement put ahead of an other's. The boys had the stage, and the spotlight has stayed on them. THIS is how you get things done. THIS is how you save a life! I would also ask that if you are able, please think about adopting or fostering a dog. There are so many amazing babies out there that just need a chance. If you can not adopt or foster, please think about contacting your nearest shelter or animal rescue and see what you can do to help. These groups work non-stop to save the lives of thousands upon thousands of dogs, they can use all the help they can get.

 Right now there is an official video of this story being made, by Eric Adam. I made a video myself, not to take away from the other video, but to tell the boys story as their "Mommy and Daddy" see it. The song selected is one that fits them, and the story. I hope you enjoy it.

NOTE: the movie clips in this video are not of Ace and Deuce. We (Eric and Chasity) in NO WAY, approve of coon hunting, but the fact is Ace and Deuce were coon hunters, the clips were added to tell the story. The pictures in the video, however, are the amazing Ace and Deuce. These are pictures from Indy dropping them of in AR and the plane ride to Dallas (Provided by David and Diane), and some of us picking them up from the airport and their new life. The Pictures of the shelter (provided by Christine) is the actual shelter Ace and Deuce lived. In Fact they stayed in runs T1 and T2, highlighted in the video.

We have made Ace and Deuce a page on Facebook. If you would like to follow their story, and also network to help other dogs in need, please like us!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Walk on the Beach Part 5 To Sum it Up

Mississippi Coast Line Waveland to Biloxi

 While in Mississippi, we spent four days on the beaches. We had wanted to spend more time, but due to things we could not control, 4 days was all we had. As said before, we know that every day is a new day on the beaches. One day it could look perfect and the next the tides could bring up all kinds of junk. Some might have said we should have covered the same beach every day we went out. But we had something in mind when we started and we wanted to cover all beaches from Waveland to Gulfport.

  What we wanted to see was if there a difference between the beaches in different cities. Are some cities taking better care of their beaches? Was there a difference in the beaches as you moved from East to West? What we found was interesting, at least on the days we observed things.  I want to note here that we have many friends that walk these beaches daily. They have found very bad conditions is areas we found good. I can not stress enough at how this areas change from day to day, or even by the minute!
  We are not scientist or experts. While on these beaches we did not take water or sand samples. We did not test the tar balls or mats. Everything we did was purely visual. But, with this being said, we feel that it does not take a scientist to get a grasp of whats going on at these beaches. All you need is a brain and some common sense.

One of the things we wanted to see was what the beaches were like from one end to the other. Did they appear to get better, worse, or stay the same through out. From what we saw on the days we went, there was a clear difference going east to west. In Gulfport where we started the beaches were awful. Lots of dead animals and a ton of tar, in the form of huge tar balls and tar mats. As we moved west things changed. The tar balls got smaller and there were fewer, till there were none to be found. Note that this is can not be labeled as exact science. Giving that we did not walk this area (from gulfport to waveland) everyday  for many days. This is just something we noted. The fact that we saw beach crews out on a number of occasions on different beaches could explain why fewer tar balls were found in certain places. What it does not explain is why the tar balls in Gulfport were much bigger then those found closer to Pass Christian. Could there be a bigger build up of Tar in the Gulfport area?

We also wanted to see how different cities were taking care of their beaches. If we had to label one beach the best, Waveland would clearly win and Gulfport would be the worst. Again, this is only judging on what we saw in the days we observed. It was clear that Waveland "seemed" to be doing the most work at cleaning the beaches, cleaning up both animals and tar. It was also clear that there was little to no clean up from Gulfport to Long Beach. In the cities of Long Beach and Pass Christian it appeared that there idea of cleaning was get the tar off the beaches, and throwing all the dead animals in the sand to be covered by blowing sand. 

 Most of the dead animals found on the beaches where catfish and rays, bottom feeders. This added with the presents of Tar, makes one wonder why the died. We recognized that some of these had clearly died at the hands of fishermen, but what about the rest. Common sense and the knowledge of the food chain would make one come to the conclusion that its the tar. With Tar on the gulf floor small organisms and bottom feeders would clearly consume  it. Of course, this Tar is also mixed with Corexit, the dispersant used to make the oil fall to the bottom of the gulf floor. With the small organisms and bottom feeders consuming this, it would the spread to the rest of the food chain, as they are consumed. Again, this is not science, its common sense. Anyone who can not see this, well, I don't know what else to say to you. It is basic science and common sense.

 It is very important to know why these animals are dying. BP, NOAA, and our Government will not tell us. Why? We know that these area's depend on tourist. But there comes a time when one has to ask if bringing tourist to an area is worth the risk. It is clear, to us, that these areas are more concerned with making money from tourism then they care about the health of their residents and those tourist. Everyday we saw people of all ages scattered along the beaches and in the water. We witnessed people laying feet away from dead animals. People (including babies) in the water were the beaches were filled with tar balls. People fishing along the piers. It was just unbelievable. To be honest (and I know this is harsh) there is just no reason for this amount of stupid. At some point you would think people would realize that at the end of the day, regardless of what is killing all the dolphins, turtles, and other sea life...the fact is they are dying! They are dying, washing up on the beach, and then being left there by these cities to rot. This in itself is hazardous. These rotting animals can spread disease. Some barefoot beach goer could step on the rotting remains, and maybe even have a bone go through their foot. And lets not forget, how you would feel laying down on the beach to only realize there is a dead dog next to you! Why are these animals being left on the beaches?

 It is in our opinion that the beaches of Mississippi are not only unsafe, they are hazardous to ones health.  We will not, now and maybe even ever, go to these beaches for recreational reasons or allow Linden to step foot on them. Since we are not scientist we can not prove that the seafood from the gulf is harmful. We would think that the fact that hundreds of Dolphins and sea turtles, and thousands of other sea life are washing ashore, it would be in ones best interest to stay away from it. We know that the government is saying it is safe, and maybe it is. But with the amount of dead animals and the unbelievable amount of sick people in the area, it is more then enough for us to question it! Do NOT eat anything out of the gulf! Do NOT swim in the Gulf! And if you go to the beach be VERY careful!

With all that being said, this does NOT mean you have to stay away from the Mississippi gulf all together! There are plenty of things you can do in these cities without going to the beaches. From Waveland to Biloxi there is more to the area then the beaches. From historical sites like Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis home to Art and Children's museums, amazing spas to award winning golf courses, amazing dining (non-seafood) to great nightlife to Casino galore! There are tons of things to do in this area. There is more to Mississippi then the beaches.

 I would like to address one more thing here. Eric grew up on these beaches. He has and always will consider Mississippi his home, even though he has not lived there for many years. It is not easy for him to see his home in this state. There has been several people accuse him of "Not caring" about Mississippi anymore. They have made it seem as if he really cared he would not be doing or saying these sort of things. That he wold know how important tourism is for the area, and we would never try to harm that. I find this completely ridiculous. Why would he bother spreading awareness on this matter if he didn't care?  The truth is, Eric is deeply concerned for his family, his friends, and all the people of the gulf coast. He fears for their safety. To him the safety of the people on the coast is far more important then the money from tourist. Anyone who would ever question his love for Mississippi or think he would EVER put money over life, obviously does not know him at all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Walk on the Beach Part 4

On May 11th, Eric went out on his own to check out the beaches of Waveland, Bay Saint Louis, and the Bay. We had drove this area many times while in Ms. and saw many clean up crews working up and down these beaches often. We did not expect to find much in the area, and we were right. Eric covered the beaches and alot of the Bay. Of course, much of the bay is marsh, so not all of it was covered.

The beaches were clean of tar and very few dead animals. Eric was amazed at how great they looked. While out, he ran into a worker of the Ms Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). They talked for a bit about what MDEQ's role is and how things were going on the beaches. The man said that MDEQ was taking samples of water, sand, and animals (excluding dolphins and turtles) that washed ashore. He said that they are still finding tar balls, and are trying to keep them cleaned. The man said that they were monitoring the situation and BP. Of course, Eric knew that this was probably what MDEQ wants people to think, and knew that the man could have said anything, but it didn't make it fact. But what was clear to Eric, was on this day, the beaches looked great, everything "looked" normal. Except still no Pelicans.

Crab having a snack

This shark was found in the Bay. No idea how it died, but its jaw and dorsal fin was cut out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Walk on the Beach Part 3

On May 10th, I set out to Pass Christian to check out the last part of the beach in that area. I did not go out till about 5pm and ended at dark. The area covered was from the Pass Christian Harbor to about the end of the beach. I didn't get to cover the whole beach due to the sun going down.  But what I saw was more then enough for one day.

This section of beach was tar free. I didn't see one sign of tar or the odd brown foam. There was even a lack of the black debris stuff that we found on the other beaches covered. But what I did find was death. This was probably the worst case of death along all the other beaches. 3 different turtles, a blow fish, many rays, a horseshoe crab, was overwhelming. This was a very short section of the beach, and the amount of animals were unbelievable.  Another interesting thing was all the shells. Of course its normal to find shells on the beach, but the amount on this stretch of the beach was odd. In the days before this, we had covered over 10 miles of beach, and we saw very few shells, yet this part of the beach they were piled up everywhere. I'm only pointing this out as it seemed abnormal to me, and Eric and his father, who have both spent a lot of time on this section of beach, agreed with me.   Again no pelicans, not one!

I want to talk about the Sea Turtles for a second. You will notice that the sea turtles are spray painted. IMMS is doing this to mark the ones they have counted. When a sea turtle is found they come out, spray paint it and then leave it there. They are not taking samples from these turtles. I want to say, that in my opinion this is about the worst tracking system I have ever heard. I do not understand how they could be sure that they are getting the correct count by spraying them and leaving them. I also do not understand why they are not taking the remains back to IMMS for proper disposal. But then, nothing IMMS does surprises me these days.

Very large whole fish

There is a turtle, 4 fish, a flounder, and a ray here.

As I walked up on this, I thought it was a ball.

Poor turtle

I have NO idea what this is. Maybe a sea slug?

It was very small. It only caught my eye because of the brightness of the yellow.

Miss the other post in this 5 part series?

Walk on the Beach Part 1
Walk on the Beach Part 2

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Walk On the Beach Part 2

On May 9th, Eric and I hit the beach again. It had been days since our first trip out. This time we covered the beach from Long Beach harbor to Pass Christian Harbor. We knew that the beaches changed from day to day but our goal was to cover all beaches from Waveland to Gulfport. We wanted to see the conditions of all the beaches and see if we could see a difference in any of them. Although we were in Mississippi for 2 weeks, the amount of time were able to go out was limited, so we wanted to make the most of our time. This was a very long walk. The surf was very rough this day.

As we started out it was clear that clean up crews had been out that morning. But it was clear they were not cleaning up dead animals! On this stretch of the beach the tar balls were smaller and there were fewer of them. But there was not a shortage of dead animals. There were tons of fresh washed up fish along the beach. Everything from fish heads to whole fish. We came to the conclusion that some of the fish washing up were fish that had been caught. The fish heads we found had clearly been severed and thrown into the water. We also found catfish that appeared to have been caught filleted and the remains tossed into the water. We found a whole fish with a hook and line in its mouth as well. It is clear that some of these fish are victims of fishing, however it was also clear that most were not. There were lots of dead whole fish, rays, birds, and our first turtle. It was clear the turtle had been there for a long time. We saw lots of Sea birds, but still no pelicans. Where are the pelicans? I have never been to this area and not seen pelicans.

Tar Balls mixed in the sand

Fresh Tar Balls

Tar balls along the beach


Very  large  Fish head

Bag of Tar balls left in the sand

Brown sea foam

This fish had no visible wounds, but appeared to have internal injuries

Large Catfish

We saw about 40 live Rays off the beach

This poor guy had a broken wing. I was said to find out there was no rescue groups for injured gulls.

Small Tar balls down the beach

Normal? We saw 3 in the area.

Dead bird

Someone place a cross on the beach.

Fish with a hook and line in its mouth

RIP Turtle

HUGE fish!

If you missed Part 1 of this series you can find it here.