Sandra Bullock finally speaks — kind of

Sandra Bullock supports animal protection and welfare, the reason D.E.L.T.A. Rescue reached out to her.

Oscar winner Sandra Bullock may be maintaining a low profile of  late in the wake of her recent domestic troubles, but she has responded to at least one organization — and it was not a news group.

Recognizing her longtime commitment to animal protection and welfare, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue sent Bullock an email on March 23 offering its support by wishing her well during these difficult times. “We just wanted to let her know that we were there for her as she has been for our animal population,” said a representative of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, an animal sanctuary located northeast of Los Angeles. “We simply encouraged her to stay strong and did not expect to receive a response.”

But Bullock did respond and did so immediately. “Thank you so much!” was Bullock’s reply to the email correspondence.

Earlier this year, when she and estranged husband Jesse James’ beloved pit bull, CinnaBun, went missing, friends of the then Oscar-nominee noted that she’d rather have their pet back than win an Oscar. Happily for Bullock, she got both! But there’s another reason pet lovers like D.E.L.T.A. Rescue show Bullock such devotion; she’s the mother of two special needs rescue pups, which she discussed recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Poppy, a Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix, has three legs, and Ruby the Chihuahua has just two legs (you can see them both at PetSugar). And while they might be missing a limb or two, it’s evident they’re not missing any love.

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is reported to be the largest care-for-life animal sanctuary of its type in the world. It was founded in 1979 by actor/conservationist/animal welfare activist Leo Grillo.

D.E.L.T.A. stands for Dedication & Everlasting Love To Animals.

Source: http://www.tonic.com/article/oscar-winner-sandra-bullock-is-a-big-winner-with-animal-lovers-too/

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Saving the Santa Clara River — on shot at a time

LOS ANGELES, CA — Environmentalists have long voiced concerns about Newhall Ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley. The proposed master planned community will include a massive community consisting of 20,000 new homes, shopping centers and industry.

The endangered Santa Clara River by Peter Goin/ANIMALS ON THE EDGE

Concerns have centered on how construction will have an impact on water resources in the region, wildlife habitat, the endangered Spineflower, and the Santa Clara River. Some consider the latter, which runs through the proposed development, to be Southern California’s last major wild river.

Developers of Newhall Ranch are currently awaiting approval of draft environmental impact reports for the first village in the community, Landmark Village, and the river corridor and high country areas.

Environmentalists are still making their voices heard.

Photographer Peter Goin, research associate Scott Hinton, and environmentalist/animal welfare activist Leo Grillo recently compiled a portfolio of photographs that show the Santa Clara River in its natural undeveloped state. They’re hoping the photos will serve to encourage developers and government officials to further limit Newhall Ranch’s encroachment on the river.

“We’ve made a portfolio of 60 photographs and produced large museum quality prints and seven or eight fine art panoramas,” said Peter Goin. “Regardless of what happens to the river, there’s a historical record. We want to get the photos into a historic archive to celebrate the river’s preservation…or not.”

Goin is a Regents & Foundation Professor of Art in photography and videography at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has authored numerous books and served as editor of “Arid Waters: Photographs From the Water in the West Project.”

He began conducting the photo survey three years ago. He and Scott Hinton have documented the landscape of the whole distance of the river and surrounding environment. They have also taken photos of some of the effects of construction.

Goin said his main interest is exploring the importance of rivers running through metropolitan areas and how to preserve riparian – a term that refers to the environment in and around water ways – open spaces.

“Part of the goal is to facilitate discussion and to add our voice to the choir that recognizes the importance of homes, community and the natural world,” said Goin. “I am first an educator; that’s how I use photography.”

Goin said what he finds most intriguing about the Santa Clara River is its wide breadth and length. He considers preserving the river in its natural state an “overwhelming opportunity” for people in neighboring communities to have a place to find refuge.

Broader project

“This work was not intended to be an anti-development project; it’s broader,” said Goin. “It’s designed to focus visual attention on the opportunity to preserve this river and create a truly functioning riparian habitat for people to enjoy.”

Leo Grillo, president of an organization called Animals on the Edge and the one who encouraged Goin to do the photo survey, is an outspoken opponent of development on the Santa Clara. He presented copies of the photo portfolio to Los Angeles and Ventura county officials on March 2, 2010.

The Animals on the Edge website said the goal of the project is to take the images, together with new, additional photographic works, travel the U.S. in a museum exhibition and eventually compile the photos in a monographed book.

“This photographic survey is a visual reminder of another American treasure we cannot afford to ignore or lose,” said Grillo. “Future generations will be thankful that we all worked together during our lifetime to save this river.”

Newhall Land, developer and master planner of Newhall Ranch, has gone through a public process about the project for the past 15 years, said Marlee Lauffer, spokesperson for Newhall Land. The final EIR for the whole development was approved in 2004.

The company is currently implementing plans for specific components of Newhall Ranch. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing public comments on the river corridor and high country draft EIR and should make a decision by mid 2010.

The draft EIR for Landmark Village is still in a public comment period that is expected to end on Wednesday, March 17. Lauffer said the company expects it to go before the board of supervisors by summer. “The river is a very important focus,” said Lauffer, “and it will be kept in a largely natural state that preserves habitat and wildlife.”

That report said, among other environmental initiatives, developers plan to protect the river corridor by creating buffers of native upland habitat 100-200 feet wide to separate the river from the community.

Source: Eric Billingsley/San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Last chance to save Santa Clara River — 7 days left!

The driving force behind the extinction of rare species of plants and animals is man.

The Santa Clara River is the last major wild river in Southern California. It provides its neighboring cities with drinking water and it irrigates rich farmland as it meanders 116 miles from the San Gabriel Mountains near Acton to the Pacific Ocean at Oxnard, CA.

But it is a lethal combination of public apathy and corporate greed that could kill this preeminent ecosystem. Well over 38 endangered and threatened species inhabit the river, its watershed and tributaries.

The biodiversity of this vital ecosystem was 3 billion years in the making, and though its Environmental Impact Report has been rejected by Federal Agencies, Lennar Corporation’s Newhall Farming Company is determined to build a tract of cookie-cutter homes that would straddle the river between Interstate 5 and the Ventura County State Line near Santa Clarita.

But, officials say, the chosen alternative this behemoth developer decided to re-circulate on February 1, 2010, is inferior to its other available options, not conservation-minded and has the potential to have adverse impacts to an aquatic resource of national importance — the reason the Environmental Protection Agency rejected Lennar’s architectural blueprint of the future last Fall.

“Newhall’s Alternative 2 is the Proposed Project and would result in significant direct impacts to tributaries of the Santa Clara River,” EPA Director of Communities and Ecosystems Division IX Enrique Manzanilla stated in a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are concerned with the narrow purpose and need of the project to meet the basic objectives of the 2003 Newhall Ranch Specific Plan that was adopted by [the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors].”

If anything, the EPA prefers that the developer choose the kinder and more acceptable Alternative 7 instead.

Manzanilla also sent his concerns to a total of six other governmental agencies in a concerted effort to protect the fate of Santa Clara River and the communities it serves.

Meanwhile, world-renowned landscape photographer and University of Nevada Professor Peter Goin was commissioned by Animals on the Edge president and animal welfare activist Leo Grillo to take evidential photographs of the river. The images, in larger-than-life form, will soon travel the nation in a major museum exhibition.

Animals on the Edge has also appealed to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to help save the embattled river system. On March 2, miniature portfolios containing a total of 52 images were presented to each of the ten supervisors.

“This photographic survey is a visual reminder of another American treasure we cannot afford to ignore or lose,” said Grillo, who has invested the past fifteen years bringing this conservation project to fruition. “Future generations will be thankful that we all worked together during our lifetime to save this river, as our founding fathers charged us to do in the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution!”

With only one week remaining for the general public to join the fight to help save the Santa Clara River, Grillo is urging citizens to send letters and emails of opposition to the EPA’s Enrique Manzanilla.

Enrique Manzanilla, Director, Communities and Ecosystems Division IX, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. His email address is manzanilla.enrique@epa.gov.

LA-area Station Fire Probe: Full of Hot Air, Say Victims

ACTON, CA — “I am now asking Los Angeles County to appoint an independent investigator since this mishandling of the Station Fire may go all the way to the White House,” asserted actor/animal welfare activist Leo Grillo. “President Obama has to authorize the federal air attack and he had not yet done so at the time I was on the radio screaming for an air attack. This is an obvious cover up.” When the fire began to spread, Grillo and his staff moved animals residing at his threatened D.E.L.T.A. Rescue sanctuary posthaste to safer ground.

Pictured: The skeletal remains of a horse that was burned to death after the Station Fire outran it. Photo Courtesy: Leo Grillo

Others were not so lucky. Two firefighters plunged to their deaths. Nearly all of the indigenous wildlife in the area were incinerated. Horses were torched. What was once known as “Horse Country” is now a range of blackened twigs.

Since a clear morning sky favored a preemptive air assault, the Forest Service cleared itself by placing the blame for the monstrous fire on topography.

Concerned citizens still wonder why aircraft, including a tanker that can carry up to 21,000 gallons of retardant, was not deployed at the onset.

“The U.S. Forest Service never send in the Supertankers at the start of wildfires,” said retired aerospace security officer Ed Nemechek. “And pilots have said that there is no excuse — weather, terrain, etcetera — for not using Supertankers up front, which the U.S. Forest Service has never done, by policy. The Forest Service’s conclusion clearing itself of any wrongdoing is an obvious whitewash.”

“At the most critical moment in the Station Fire, there was no air attack for over five hours of daylight. This was a opportune time to exercise prevention,” said Grillo. “There was no wind, no smoke, no visible flames. Perfect time to douse the fire.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, whose district covers the northern chunk of greater Los Angeles, including Antelope Valley, also blasted the Forest Service’s final analysis. Antonovich labeled the Forest Service’s opinion that an early air assault would not have made a difference “a false assertion to justify their failure,” he said in a written statement.

“The bottom line on these major wildfires is that when the fires are burning, the Fire Industrial Complex is making money,” said Nemechek.

“Profits and power come first, public safety last, maybe never. And we must stop what amounts to deliberate domestic terrorism by fire for profit by our own public safety officials.”

Nemechek, who lives in Adelanto, says he and his family suffered the effects of smoke inhalation during the Station Fire.

Pictured: What's left of what was once known as "Horse Country." Photo Courtesy: Leo Grillo

Grillo, who cares for more than 1,500 previously unwanted animals at D.E.L.T.A. Rescue and Horse Rescue of America, has documented a visual survey of the Station Fire before it turned treacherous and through to its baleful aftermath. He said the dreadful image he captured of the frightened horse who tried to escape the Station Fire is representative of what happens when humans allow disasters to gain control.

“This beautiful, majestic animal tried to outrun the flames, apparently escaping from a burning ranch,” explained Grillo. “There are burned corrals up there [on Mount Gleason]. This horse’s body was actually cremated, which takes a full eight hours to do at a crematory. That’s how hot the fire was.

“I will never drop this issue until it is resolved correctly.”

NEW BOOK: “Animals on the Edge” is a Must-See

LOS ANGELES, CA — “The idea behind Animals on the Edge is not to shock people into action, which is why there are no images of decapitated gorillas, or de-horned rhinos,” said Chris Weston, one of the world’s leading wildlife photojournalists. “Such tactics, I have found, are limited in their effectiveness.  The purpose of the book is to educate people about the real problem facing our wildlife — poverty.  Animals and people don’t need pity, they need solutions and action.”

And so began a riveting conversation with Weston, a man of action who dangled 100 feet above ground in the canopy of ferocious jungles and endured for hours on end the effects of a suffocating heat index just to confirm one cold, hard fact — the planet is in an extinction crisis. “Animals on the Edge” is a visually-captivating story that is told through the expressive souls of those whose existence sits on a ticking time bomb.

Reporter: At age 40, you decided to leave your family behind and see the world like none other. How did they take the danger you faced?

Weston: It’s not so much the hazards of my job that my family finds hard to cope with but more the time I spend away from home.  My wife, I guess, has grown accustomed to it now and accepts that this is what I do. It’s harder on my [six-year-old] son, Josh.

animals on the edge gorillas

The driving force behind the gorilla's path to extinction is man.

Reporter : What was going on in the Congo when you froze that moment-in-time tableau of a gorilla mom with her toddler?

Weston: Their attention was attracted by an unnerving sound in the forest. Looking at their response through the viewfinder, I imagined how, living in a forest so close to man, they must live their lives in constant anxiety of what is round the corner.

Reporter: What has this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taught you about the value of life?

Weston: I’ve spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe, a country that has suffered harrowing hardship. At times, supermarket shelves were literally empty, there was no food, no petrol, oil or gas…nothing. However, Zimbabweans have a saying, “We’ll make a plan.” If something can’t be done one way they simply find another means…those things we take for granted.

Reporter: How has this assignment changed you as a human being?

Weston: When I was in Nepal, I interviewed a convicted poacher. He told me how the first thing he did when he woke each morning was check to see which of his children had survived through the night and how he turned to poaching the day his 18-month old son [died]. Every evening I read [Josh] a story before kissing him goodnight and when I wake, I go into his room to kiss him good morning. Not once in those six years have I ever wondered, when I enter [Josh’s] room, whether he’s alive or dead.

Reporter: Many of the images of the endangered animals you captured appear to mirror human faces, human hands. Human emotion.  Did you see that, too, prior to triggering the shutter?

Weston: When photographing mammals, my main aim is to try and capture the personality and character of an individual subject. Researching and learning about animal behaviour and spending time with animals in the field, I have discovered that we are not so different, that we share many characteristics with animals. I seek out these common mannerisms and attempt to include them in my work.

Some villagers thought Weston was out of his mind during his mission to capture images of mammals living on the brink of extinction. Weston is hailed by many as being one of the best and more daring photojournalists in the world.

Reporter: What was the most difficult image to document?

Weston: Surprisingly, the hardest image to capture was of the wild Asiatic buffalo in Nepal. They are intensely shy and nervous creatures and wouldn’t let me within 300 yards before running into the far distance. In the end, I had to employ several local villagers to help herd the buffalo into an area where I had set up a hidden hide. It was dangerous work and several of the villagers quit partway through the assignment, citing me as “a mad Englishman.”

Reporter: Prior to this assignment, did you ever consider conservation a luxury like many of those you’ve interviewed?

Weston: A few years back, I went through a period where I didn’t earn much money and living was tight. I stopped eating out so often and didn’t have a holiday for a couple of years. I drove less, walked more and turned the heating on later than I normally would. To save money, I also gave less to the charities I supported. Although I didn’t think of it as such at the time, yes, back then conservation was a luxury. During the financial crisis and great recession of 2008, worldwide charitable contributions dropped by over half-a-billion dollars. At times of financial hardship, many things we take for granted in better times become luxuries.

chris westonboat

"Leo Grillo helped bring ANIMALS ON THE EDGE to life," said acclaimed photojournalist Chris Weston.

Reporter: How has animal welfare activist Leo Grillo helped your efforts?

Weston: About three years ago, I got an e-mail from Leo inviting me to travel to California to photograph the animals at his DELTA Rescue sanctuary, after he had discovered a book I’d written about wildlife photography. During the two weeks I was there, we spent many evening hours talking about our two shared passions – photography and animals.

Grillo: When I saw Chris’ work, I saw something I had never seen in wildlife photography – short lenses and closeup field work. Mostly, guys use super long lenses and stay way back. But Chris gets right in there so you get the animals’ environment as well as their place in it.

Weston: For many reasons, Animals on the Edge would have remained a notion without Leo. When we first talked about the project, it was no more than an idea. Leo helped bring it to life. Not only did he facilitate the book’s production, he provided encouragement along the way and was a constant inspiration to make the book the best it could be. Although it is my name that appears on the cover, we did it together.

Reporter: Who actually came up with the title, Animals on the Edge?

Grillo: Chris did that. We spoke about actually doing something to save individual animals, not just whining about losing a species. I proposed the project as a program for our non-profit educational organization, LIVING EARTH PRODUCTIONS. As ANIMALS ON THE EDGE grew, it took on its own life. Chris’ photos will be given as gifts to our non-profit through its Web site.

Weston: Between Leo and me, we have created Animals on the Edge as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the U.S. and as a registered charity in the UK. Through these organizations, we plan to help realize the dreams for conservation that are brought to life in the book.

Reporter: Since Rwanda was your favorite place to visit, do you plan to go back?

Weston: I do plan to return to Rwanda both to support the amazing work they are doing there in protecting their population of mountain gorillas and also because I would love to document the Kwita Izina – Giving of Names – ceremony that is held each year, where the entire country comes together in a week-long festival culminating in the naming of that year’s new gorillas.

Reporter: That ambush by AK-47-wielding policemen in the Congo must have made your hair stand on end.

Weston: It all happened so quickly, I’m not sure I gave it that much thought. However, there is no doubt it was one of the scariest moments of my time in the field. The problem with people is, unlike animals, they can be very unpredictable and often act on irrational emotion, things an animal never does.

Reporter: At what point did you fear for your life?

Weston: I have never once, during this assignment or any other, felt that my life was in danger from an animal. Sure I can tell a few stories and ham them up for an audience but the reality is that few animals other than a polar bear see human beings as natural prey.  Most attacks on people are what are termed defensive attacks, where our actions – intentional or not – have caused an animal to respond in a certain way. If you never put a wild animal in a position where its only recourse is attack , then you’re unlikely to put yourself at risk.

Reporter: The ruthless killing of the dominate male orangutan in Sumatra blasted a powerful message. What was your feeling after this peaceful animal fell victim to 26 air gun pellets?

Weston: When a dying man kills an animal to survive, you can at least understand his actions. In this instance, there was no rhyme or reason to the orangutan’s death. When I returned home, it took me a few weeks to recover. It was the lowest moment of the whole assignment, my whole career, and the only point at which I felt like giving up. But then I made it my mission that the orangutan’s death wouldn’t be in vain; that the book and what resulted from it would be his epitaph.

Reporter: Which incident set the momentum for your personal moment of awakening?

Weston: I guess the true moment of enlightenment came several years ago when I met the Kenyan farmer Matunde, who opened my eyes to the problems poverty causes and how historical attitudes and approaches to conservation were unsuccessful and unsustainable. It was this meeting that set in motion the thoughts that underlie the book. Over the course of my travels for “Animals on the Edge,” there have been a number of encounters that have backed up those thoughts.

Reporter: Which single image has made an indelible impression on your psyche?

Weston: For me, the most iconic image in the book is of the [newborn] gorilla being cradled in its mother’s huge and powerful arm. More than any other, this image tells the story of what “Animals on the Edge” is all about…the protection of vulnerable wildlife. That I was the first human to see this gorilla baby was a particularly poignant moment and the way its mother revealed it to me was representative of a connection between man and animal that makes my job so fulfilling.

Reporter: This book has been so successful worldwide.  Is another one planned?

LEOANDLORES

Photojournalist Chris Weston teamed with animal rescue expert Leo Grillo to bring ANIMALS ON THE EDGE to life.

Weston: Leo and I are currently talking about the next book from “Animals on the Edge.” I would like to do something that focuses on the concept that all animals have an individual character and personality – something that will underline our belief that animals are people, too.

Weston is currently in Mexico attending a conference of the International League of Conservation Photographers, a group which believes that awe-inspiring photography is a powerful force for the environment, especially when used in conjunction with advice provided by scientists, politicians, religious leaders, policy makers and top animal welfare advocates, like Grillo. The group’s plan is to hopefully replace environmental indifference with a new culture of stewardship and passion.

Following the conference, Weston expects to squeeze in some time to sit down with an equally-busy Grillo in Los Angeles to discuss additional conservation solutions and plans of action. Grillo is a 30-year animal rescue expert and founder of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the largest care-for-life animal sanctuary in the world.

It’s about prevention rather than cure,” said Weston.

For further reading:

www.animalsontheedge.org

www.deltarescue.org

Editor’s Note: Chris Weston and Leo Grillo were interviewed by journalist Sharon Raiford Bush.

Hollywood Roundup Pushes Tax Relief for Pet Owners, Congress Considers

LOS ANGELES, CA (10/07/09) – If pet-loving actors and related consumers have their way, they will be able to deduct as much as $3,500 from their 2010 tax returns for pet care expenses. The idea of a pet tax-exempt initiative was conceived and generated by actor/animal welfare activist Leo Grillo, who has been on a 30-year odyssey rescuing and tending to domesticated animals abandoned in the wilderness.  

Leo Grillo is a world-renowned expert in animal rescue.

Leo Grillo is a world-renowned expert in animal rescue.

Grillo is best known for founding D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the largest animal sanctuary of its type in the world. It is a 150-acre mountaintop refuge where more than 1,500 animals are cared for on a daily basis by a staff of seventy. Grillo said an amendment to the 1986 Internal Revenue Code will help accelerate the nation’s economic recovery and improve the aggregate condition of America’s body and mind.  

Our nation is mentally, emotionally and financially sick,” said Grillo. “We might be listening to the urgent needs of the lonely, the elderly and those afflicted by personal tragedy, but we’re not moving fast enough to help center their expectations and turn the tide for them.”

 Grillo’s stout-hearted movement to push for pet tax-exempt status falls on the heels of alarming data. A 2008 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care survey revealed that nearly 600,000 Americans were treated for self-inflicted injuries between the pre-and-recessionary years of 2006 and 2008. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 30,000 Americans each year turn to suicide as their means to an end.  

In addition to medical intervention by physical and mental health care authorities, some animal welfare activists, veterinarians, politicians and medical care professionals are of the collective opinion that if more humans could afford the cost of owning a pet, the effect would perhaps have a positive impact on America’s tattered state of mind.  

People are depressed,” Grillo said. “Pets help them to live and are sometimes the only beings that show these people love. So [H.R. 3501] makes pets a necessary part of their lives, not a frivolous commodity. People who live happily and are productive are good for the economy and the country. Therefore, this bill not only saves pets, it saves people.” 

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is located near Glendale, California – a state where more than 2.2 million residents are out of work. A few weeks before Grillo’s bill was introduced, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed and our credit is dried up.” But it is not political hand-wringing taxpayers want to see, said Grillo, as the number of families suffering from both want and need continues to escalate.

DAVI WITH STELLA

Robert Davi is best known for his outstanding work in such movie greats as "Licence to Kill," "Die Hard" and Predator 2." He is currently filming "The Irishman" in Detroit, MI. He is shown with his dog, Stella.

So Grillo shared his proposal with fellow actor Robert Davi, who admits spending a minimum of $4,800 each year caring for his four dogs and cat. “And that’s if there are no medical emergencies,” Davi said.  

Davi is best known for his strong character roles in a number of popular feature films. He is currently working on a movie set in Detroit, MI, a sprawling metropolis slammed to its knees by the collapse of its auto-making industry and a 28.9% unemployment rate.  

A pet tax-exemption will also encourage owners to take better care of their animals, said Grillo. “Pet owners will have more discretionary income from which to do that, and we think there will be a demand for pets since they will be more affordable,” he added.  

The New York headquarters of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agrees. “Pet care can be expensive,” said Emily Brand, ASPCA’s national spokesperson. “And in these trying economic times, families all over the country have been forced to give up their pets because of financial hardship.” Most owners spend an average of $800 each year caring for their pets. 

Brand believes if owners are able to receive tax relief, “more pets [will] get to remain in their loving homes and [not] wind up on the streets or in the already overburdened shelter system,” she said. ASPCA celebrates Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month each October for good reason.  

According to latest statistics, more than $2 billion is spent annually by local governments to house and ultimately destroy up to 10 million discarded, yet adoptable, dogs and cats due to a shortage of homes. The Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science estimates that animals with a registered pedigree account for 30% of all animals in shelters. The Doris Day Animal League reports the number of abandoned animals has ascended into the millions nationwide. 

In response to Grillo’s quest to help improve the economic standing of an instable and troubled nation, Davi presented Grillo’s proposition to Thaddeus McCotter, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan’s 11th District. McCotter introduced Grillo’s plan of action, which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 111th Congress.  

The bill was cited as the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. It is designed to change for the better the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by allowing a deduction for pet care expenses. McCotter is asking Congress to deliberate on foremost documented facts which show that 63% of all United States households own a pet and that the human-animal bond has been proven to have therapeutic impact upon the emotional and physical well-being of humans.  

Pet care expenses include the cost of food, veterinary care and pet insurance. A qualified pet is defined as one that is legally owned, domesticated and alive. Those pets possessed by owners for the intention of research or utilized for a trade or business are excluded.  

Grillo’s bill was introduced in the House by McCotter on July 31, 2009. 

McCotter believes that a modification to the IRS Code of 1986 will be a simple procedure. He wants the subdivision which relates to additional itemized deductions for individuals altered by re-designating an existing section and inserting a new one. 

Grillo hopes the bill will inspire pet owners who have fallen on difficult economic times to start seeking routine wellness checks, emergency attention and follow-up care for their animals.  

As much as eighty percent of them never go to the vet, not once in their lifetime,” said Grillo. “This way, owners will have more discretionary income to take better care of their pets. And we think there will be a demand for pets since they will be more affordable.” 

Grillo said he is pleased that Rep. McCotter was the one Davi chose to walk in the legislative measure. “Thaddeus [McCotter] is not the typical politician. He has integrity,” Grillo said. “He has stayed with our ideas, even though there are easier political ways to get something passed and look good to pet owners. Instead, he is with us to get the whole thing passed.”  

Grillo added that he is not astonished that the number of Americans supporting H.R. 3501 has entered into the millions within just a few weeks.  I do not understand how there could be even one animal organization that is not on our bandwagon on this one, supporting us in our efforts, despite real world competition between us. This one is purely for the animals,” Grillo said. Grillo and Davi co-starred in the feature film Magic. Grillo also starred in the movie Zyzzyx Rd, opposite Katherine Heigl.

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue operates two state-of-the-art hospitals at its private sanctuary, which is also home to Horse Rescue of America – a successful operation Grillo founded as well. Grillo is a world-renowned expert in animal rescue.

Additional Reading: 

 

 

 

Celebrity Community Leader Calls for Federal Probe into Deady LA-area Fire

When the Fire Captain warned me that the fire would make a run at us in a few hours…I knew this would be a fight to the death,” says Leo Grillo, regarding the day two firefighters were killed. Now those living in the devastated area face an extremely dangerous health risk, stemming from the fire.

ACTON, CA (09/28/09) — While detectives continue to build a murder case against the culprit who set the massive wildfire that killed two firefighters, a prominent community leader today is calling for a full-scale, federal investigation into circumstances surrounding the deaths of Los Angeles County Fire Captain Tedmund Hall and Specialist Arnaldo Quinones. The pair died August 30 after their vehicle plunged some 800 feet down a steep mountain road in the Angeles National Forest. The men helped rescue dozens of inmate firefighters held captive at their campsite by roaring flames. But according to Leo Grillo, it was a situation that never should have happened. The actor and animal welfare activist says he should know because not only was he there, he bore witness to a critical error in judgment. 

Leo Grillo, a world-renowned animal rescuer. He is the founder and president of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the largest animal sanctuary of its type in the world.

Leo Grillo is a world-renowned animal rescuer. He is the founder and president of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the largest animal sanctuary of its type in the world.

“Firefighters know the truth, but they can’t tell you directly or they will lose their jobs,” says Grillo, whose position on this ill-fated day was to safeguard not only his family, but the largest animal shelter of its type in the world. They were both in harm’s way and bracing for what would eventually result in the largest wildfire in the history of Los Angeles County. For decades, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue has served as a sanctuary, or refuge, for more than 1,500 previously abandoned and abused animals. It is also home of Horse Rescue of America. So Grillo would get no sleep. Especially not this night. “I heard the radio traffic. And I talked to disgusted fire supervisors all night long,” Grillo adds. 

After being alerted that the Station wildfire – which began in the La Cañada area — was bearing down on his safety haven, Grillo says he rounded up all his workers and security force. Like a circle of covered wagons in the darkness of night, staff members used their private vehicles to corral the sanctuary. They then flooded the area with high beams to herd the animals to safer territory. With a well-equipped firetruck and hoses at the ready, Grillo and his firefighting team prepared for war as a small army of orange flames advanced across the mountain. 

Throughout the night, Grillo says he spoke with a number of visiting, out-of-area firefighters who confessed to him their reasons the fire grew into an out-of-control monster, spreading in three different directions. Their answers were the same. “Very little air support,” Grillo says the firefighters repeated. But on the night prior, a fire had broken out in the wealthy seaside canyons of Rancho Palos Verdes, near the headquarters of the Trump National Golf Club. Aggressive nighttime air assaults at the onset of this blaze helped prevent the fire from causing widespread damage. “Yet on [the La Cañada] fire to save money, the county held off on air support,” Grillo charges. Though the flames tip-toeing from La Cañada had died by morning, a foreboding threat loomed.

With a flow of warm wind forecast for the day, Grillo says Los Angeles County should have ordered a preemptive air assault on what was identified as a mercurial area blanketed by hazardous dry brush and chaparral. “For hours, there was no air attack to easily extinguish the remaining threat,” recalls Grillo. “So I called the news radio to let the world know that we were sitting in the eye of a storm.” Thirty-two minutes after Grillo’s broadcast, a DC-10 air tanker flew overhead and dropped retardant. 

Clear skies over D.E.L.T.A. Rescue on Aug 30 favored a preemptive air assault. Photo Courtesy: Leo Grillo

Clear skies over D.E.L.T.A. Rescue on Aug 30 favored a preemptive air assault. Photo Courtesy: Leo Grillo

The four-hour delay was reportedly due to heavy smoke — an official statement Grillo charges is a fabrication. “There was no smoke or wind for hours as [documented] by my news photo,” disputes Grillo, who is an active member of the National Association of Press Photographers. 

When the fire turned treacherous, Grillo admits he feared for his life. “After the Fire Captain visited me and told me the fire would make a run at us in a few hours…I knew this would be a fight to the death,” recalls Grillo. He and ground crews stood by as the truck carrying Hall and Quinones was overtaken by a giant wall of burning mass. To date, the Station fire has blackened well over 240-square-miles of the Angeles National Forest. Scores of dwellings and invaluable properties were destroyed. 

Grillo hopes that a thorough federal investigation will result in the removal of the individual(s) responsible for withholding the air attack on this fire. “As long as these incompetents are in charge, we are not safe. Our firefighters are not safe,” he warns. 

Grillo adds that the front reason for calling for a federal investigation into the events that led up to the deaths of Hall and Quinones is “to [help] protect the lives of firefighters who put themselves on the line to defend against killer firestorms and who depend upon their superiors to protect them with air cover,” explains Grillo. 

The 2009 Station Fire near Acton, CA, was the largest in the history of Los Angeles County. Photo Courtesy: Mark Ralston AFP

The 2009 Station Fire near Acton, CA, was the largest in the history of Los Angeles County. Photo Courtesy: Mark Ralston AFP

According to latest statistics, more than 3,650 firefighters from as far away as Montana have fought the Station fire which carries an estimated cost of $78 million so far. Government data show that people were the blame for the 5,208 wildfires that occurred in Southern California in 2008. This is the only region in the United States to see a significant rise in the number of wildfires caused by humans. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist who sparked the blaze. Under California law, this figure is the maximum the chief executive can offer. 

Authorities report that several firefighters have been exposed to cyanide gas in two separate incidents as they were mopping up hot spots near Acton, where Grillo’s 150-acre sanctuary and his two state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals are located.  

Now those residing in or near the broad area of devastation face a serious health risk as pathogenic spores of the extremely dangerous coccidioides fungi continue to be unearthed. Coccidioidomycosis is an infectious, airborne disease that attacks the respiratory system of humans and animals alike. Typically known as valley fever, it is characterized by a high internal body temperature and various respiratory symptoms. If untreated and chronic, this disorder can become fatal by spreading to other organs of the body. Grillo and his medical staff are currently alerting those who live or work in the greater Acton area about this acute health hazard. People and animals with compromised immune systems are particularly in danger.  

We are testing it for now with at least one suspected case,” reports Dr. Gaylord Brown, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue’s chief veterinarian.