By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 20, 2007 at 5:05 AM

A group of area humane societies makes what it has called its “final plea” Tuesday to the Medical College of Wisconsin for what it says are “60 dogs scheduled to be killed in the dog lab in seven days.”

The plea will be delivered at a noon press conference at the Wisconsin Humane Society, 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave. In attendance will be  Marnie Brown, Director, Washington County Humane Society,  Darcy Gustavson, Marketing & PR Director,  Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County, Holly Houston, Director, Elmbrook Humane Society and  Victoria Wellens, Director, Wisconsin Humane Society, Ozaukee Humane Society.

Monica Gates, Manager, Waupaca Humane Society, will not attend but has agreed to accept some of the dogs, according to Angela Speed of the Wisconsin Humane Society.

“We planned this press event in hopes that the Medical College will agree to surrender all 60 dogs so that they have the opportunity to be placed in homes where they can experience quality care and loving attention,” said Speed.  “The dogs only want to live their lives as companions to humans who respect them and treat them with kindness.”

Richard N. Katschke, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs at the Medical College of Wisconsin said that the dogs will be used in a three-day course that begins on Feb. 26.

“We hear from a lot of caring and compassionate people and we do listen to what they have to say because we like to think we are caring and compassionate people too and most of us are dog owners ourselves,” said Katschke. “It’s the ones on the fringes … it’s not just the dogs in this lab that they’re against, it’s the use of any kind of animals in any kind of research and that we can’t agree with.

“I think they’re going to say they’ve found homes for the 60 dogs and we think that’s great,” Katschke added. “What we really wish they could do is find homes for the 1,700 dogs every year that the Wisconsin Humane Society won’t accept.”

The Wisconsin Humane Society also announced in a press release that 11-year-old Savannah Lemke has launched a petition drive to show her opposition to the dog lab at the Medical College. The elementary schooler has so far collected 78 signatures, Speed said.

“The Medical College has an outstanding opportunity themselves -- to demonstrate compassion for life, educate their students about humility and medical ethics, and to lead this community on a path towards respect for man’s best friend,” said Speed. “The administration at MCW has six days to decide whether or not they will be responsible for killing 60 innocent dogs who would otherwise had a chance for a fulfilling life.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.