You otter know . . .

If you flush your cat’s feces down the toilet or dispose of it in other ways that allow it to seep into the water supply, you might have a hand in killing an adorable otter.

California has a sea otter population of about 2,500. But an unusual number of adults in their prime breeding years have been dying.

Recent research shows that a parasite in cat feces is one of the primary killers of sea otters. The parasite, toxoplasma gondii, may find its way to the ocean – and to sea otters – when cat feces are flushed. Between 1998 and 2004, 52 percent of dead sea otters found on the beach along the California coast were infected by the parasite.

It’s also good to note that many “clumping” cat litter products may claim that flushing the clumps is safe for your septic system but this doesn’t mean that the its safe for the otters.

Introduced in 2006, Assemblyman Dave Jones’ Bill 2485 has a requirement that cat litter sold in California contain a statement to discourage flushing the litter down the toilet. So it’s easy — put it in the trash!

Citations: Sacramento Bee, 4/2/2006 and Press Release from Assemblymember Dave Jones, 9th Assembly District.

Free goes free

After several years of appeals, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned Jeffrey “Free” Luers 23 year 8 month prison sentence for involvement in setting fire to 3 SUVs in Eugene, Oregon during a protest against global warming. The February, 2007 court ruling means that Free will be re-sentenced and will get as much as 15 years taken off his sentence! His re-sentencing date had not been set as of press date. He needs solidarity and financial help to get the most time taken off his sentence and to pay for the victorious appeal.

Free, 29, has written extensively from prison since he was sentenced in 2001. His sentence was one of the harshest ever given in a case of eco-sabotage. No one was injured in the 2000 fire, and the 3 SUVs were later repaired and resold. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court improperly sentenced Free to separate prison terms for a number of separate criminal charges that all related to the same actual act.

Write letters of support to Free: Jeffrey Luers, #13797671, Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP), 2605 State Street, Salem, OR 97310. Or send donations to: Free’s Legal Defense Fund, POB 3, Eugene, OR 97440,