Haters, lies and what we’re not learning from our pets

May 28, 2009

If ever there were a case that a passle of wrongs don’t make a right, take a look at the kerfluffle over the report by an Atlanta TV station on the Humane Society of the United States.

The first wrong was the piece itself, which was pulled down after the HSUS cried foul over the contents. This triggered an Internet game of whack-a-mole, as the piece popped up seemingly everywhere, and when that seemed to abate, the transcript was floated around instead.

Mainly, the piece claimed the HSUS raised money under false pretenses, giving the impression that the advocacy group claims direct responsibility for shelter operations, which it does not and does not claim to. But that wasn’t good enough for the TV station, which reported:

Critics tell Channel 2 Action News reporter Amanda Rosseter that this isn’t just consumers misunderstanding who they are giving in to – but an organization actively misleading donors to get money.

“They do their marketing very well, that’s for sure,” said Trey Burley of PAWS Atlanta.

Critics say the national organization takes advantage of people who think they are giving to local shelters. DeKalb’s “PAWS” shelter says there is no regular funding help from the $100 million HSUS budget.

“I think that some of the folks who donate to the national organization may be under the false pretense that that money is going to a local cause,” said Burley.

This isn’t news. In fact, there’s a section in my book “Dogs For Dummies” (1994) that discusses the importance of direct donations to local shelters and rescue groups. When you give to the HSUS, you’re providing mostly for animal advocacy, lobbying for animal laws and investigations. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

Without even creasing my brow I can think of a dozen non-animal-related organizations that do the same. Lobbying, after all, is a stand-alone business, and I doubt many of the professional lobbyists in Washington or Sacramento spend much of their time involved with the management of the industry groups  or social interests they represent. (Pulitzer prize-winning reporter John Woestendiek of the OhMiDog blog takes apart the TV piece, here.)

What happened next was perhaps politically predictable but still sleazy: An effort to raise money for anti-forced spay-neuter lobbying efforts,  suggesting that the HSUS was not correcting the record but burying the truth by demanding the TV piece be pulled down.

The perpetrator? PetPac, which has been a tireless fighter against forced spay-neuter laws and the drive by spittle-spewing animal-rights haters to push reputable, ethical breeders into extinction through laws not only opposed  by reputable  breeders but also contrary to policy statements of  the ASPCA and the AVMA. The opposition to forced spay-neuter knows that this kind of legislation is racist and classist, kills more pets than it saves and inserts the government into a medical decision that’s not without negative consequences and that should be left to a pet’s owner, with advice from a veterinarian.

PetPac led the fight against the draconian AB 1634 last year in California, and is working against SB 250 this year. The latter was brought forward by the same folks behind the last bill, especially Judie Mancuso, who insists that all breeders are the same, and all are evil “greeders.”

The HSUS hasn’t taken a position on SB 250, please note. But that didn’t stop PetPac from smearing them anyway, to throw red meat to the rabid HSUS-haters among its own supporters.

In a series of e-mails to suporters (which includes me, by the way)  PetPac’s Bill Hemby questions the motives of HSUS in having the TV piece pulled down, suggesting some nefarious plot to bully the station into hiding the “truth.”

Mr. Hemby knows better. He’s decent guy and a reputable, compassionate and ethical breeder — I first talked to him when trying to find the owners of a pair of lost Borzoi who wandered down my street a few years ago.  But he has been around long enough to know that when a media organization has really got a tiger by the tail, they don’t back down, and sabre-rattling by the group that they’ve reported on is a badge of honor.

Pure politics, this spin, playing to the red state/blue state divide of pets, mortars fired across the scarred battlefield between two entrenched positions. Playing to and scaring the choirs, and it’s done all the time, by all kinds of special-interest groups on all sides of every imaginable issue.

But this sort of behavior, from the extremists in camps that often seem to hate each other more than they care about animals, is counter-productive.

I’ve called the HSUS out on many of their positions, especially with regards to forced spay-neuter (which they have in the past at least tacitly supported) and with what should be done with fight-bust dogs. I ripped them for raising money on the backs of the Vick dogs while their “experts” said the dogs all be destroyed as unredeemable (unredeemable, like Hector here). Not cool, nor is their current deal with Michael Vick himself.

But I believe that for reasons largely driven by changing internal ideology and partly driven by the continued need to tap the zeitgeist so as to keep on tapping wallets for donations, the HSUS is evolving on many of their positions. They’ve embraced trap, neuter and release of managed feral cat colonies, a 180-degree turn from a past position. They have a guide to choosing a reputable breeder that I honestly couldn’t have written much better myself. And they’re spot-on that concentrated animal feeding operations are cruel as well as environmentally unsustainable and a risk to our national health and security. Cheap eggs aren’t worth those kind of risks, folks, cruelty aside.

The agriculture and food industries doesn’t much like that last bit, which is why they have  outfits like the Center For Consumer Freedom out there attacking animal advocacy-groups and scaring the bejeebers out of many good breeders who are now convinced that if they don’t side with puppy-milling scum, they’ll be next to go — a point with some merit, if the Mancusos of the world have their way. (Just to show how complicated this all can get, the CCF has done spectacular work documenting through public records the shameful practices at PETA with regard to their handling of homeless pets in their “shelter.”)

I live on both sides of the great divide, and it’s my job to talk to people on both sides as well.

It’s long past time for the reasonable, animal-loving people of the world to quit allowing the 10 percent of nutjob true believers on the extremes of these issues to dictate the terms of engagement.

For all his good work, Bill Hemby was wrong in calling out the HSUS on this politically motivated crap, just as Judie Mancuso is wrong in lumping the work of compassionate, ethical and responsible breeders in with the careless, clueless breeders or with puppy-milling scum. I hasten to say, though, that it was Hemby’s first mistep, while Mancusco is the ATM of extremism, spitting out hate along with long-discredited “facts”  whenever anyone punches her buttons.

I will be on the side of PetPac when SB 250, the new Pet Extinction Act, comes to a floor vote in the California State Senate. And I am on the side of HSUS when it comes to investigations and legislation against puppy-milling scum. I am not one of those breeders who defends puppy-millers because of the slippery-slope argument: I believe we need to separate from these dirtbags because we care about what happens to animals in their “care.” I’m a reputable, ethical and compassionate breeder as well as a person who has run a breed rescue and is looking to raise foster litters in the future for shelters and rescue groups, just because I’ve discovered I’m damn good at it.

I will fight forced spay-neuter because it doesn’t work. I will fight for compassionate, reputable and ethical breeders. And I will fight to shut down puppy mills and their Internet and retail outlets.

If any of that bothers you, I bloody well don’t care. Because it’s not about politics and “winning” for me:

It’s about the animals.

Filed under: non-profits and charities,pets, connected — Gina Spadafori @ 9:37 am

71 Comments »

  1. Damn, Reality is so confusing sometimes.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 28, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  2. Ain’t it the truth.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  3. I know I’ve been grading papers too much this week because when I read the first sentence, all I could think was “Gina knows how to use the subjunctive! Horray for her!” Then I read the article, which is a wonderful piece of work — well balanced and well-written. Thank you for clearing out the rhetoric for us.

    Comment by Debbie — May 28, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  4. Waiting to hear something on the SB250 hearing today. Hoping we don’t have to deal with floor vote. Bah.

    Went from dropping my kids off at school to physical therapy for my neck to Lake County to pick up a rescue bulldog.

    Lake County calls get red alert status because it’s NOT a good place to be in the shelter system. The dog turned out to be only nominally a bulldog but sweet so home he came as he would have had zero chance in the shelter and the owner, elderly ill and abused, had to be out of her home ASAP for her own safety.

    Lake County’s MSN is working so so well…..http://saveourdogs.net/2009/05/16/lake-county-msn-worst-shelter-kill-stats-in-california/

    The thing is, if you are really about animal welfare (HSUS I’m talking to you) then look at the frigging evidence and OPPOSE MSN. Bad for everyone except the pet abolitionists who need those kill numbers to stay nice and high.

    Comment by JenniferJ — May 28, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  5. When I first watched the report I was waiting for something more substantive such as an actual mailing that had misled someone. But it wasn’t there.

    I used to send $5 to HSUS every so often so I could get their direct mail. Why? Because I do mailers for shelters and the ones HSUS wrote were great examples for me… in raising money for shelters. They were covered in puppies and kittens and talked about saving animals from the streets – very much the work that animal shelters do but not the work that HSUS did. That was kind of what I expected to see the reporter talking about.

    But I don’t get HSUS’ mail now so I have no idea what they are sending now. It’s been several years in fact.

    I do know that some people think if they send money to HSUS or ASPCA that they are helping animals in their community but I also know that a lot of people think that the shelter I work at is “owned” by the same organization as all of the other shelters they’ve ever seen and that has nothing to do with HSUS or ASPCA. It probably has more to do with the fact that every other type of “retail” business has multiple locations.

    Peeple r knot so smaht sumtimez… Would be nice if everyone researched exactly where their donated money goes and how it is used.

    Comment by Sue Cosby — May 28, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  6. I’m glad to see HSUS called on their bait and switch fundraising tactics, because that’s exactly what they did to me. There was a “Donate to help shelter the Vick dogs” button on their home page. Knowing how expensive it can be to care for large numbers of dogs, I donated $25.

    And shortly thereafter I received a “welcome to the club” membership packet. And not too long after THAT, I found out, probably here on Pet Connection, that HSUS doesn’t have any shelters.

    But the worst was finding out not long ago that at the same time I was making my donation, they were fighting as hard at they could to have the Vick dogs KILLED!

    We are not amused.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 28, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  7. The main points I took away from the HSUS report (now widely available around the net again) were:
    1. A donation to HSUS does not help animals in your local shelters. I’m glad to see that in the report because even though I was already aware of the fact, I know many people are not – especially when their local shelter is called the “Humane Society”. A piece on an Atlanta evening news program is going to reach a lot of folks and make them aware of where their donations go – more so than many alternate forms of media.

    2. The GA chapter of the HSUS meeting attended by the station focused mainly on “activist plans and lobbying” which the director confirmed as her main agenda. This is the first time I can recall seeing a MSM report confirming this. Since the HSUS is not a PAC but instead a 501(c) 3, I’m glad to see the report showing that, at least the GA HSUS chapter, operates more like a PAC. Again, good for people to know what their donations are supporting exactly.

    Comment by YesBiscuit! — May 28, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  8. Yes, Gina – you are DAMN good at puppy raisin’.

    In fact, you and Christie (and Heather H., along with a small number of locals) are what convinced me that a breeder is not a breeder is not a breeder – long after my cynicism had gotten the best of me.

    It’s my opinion that the infighting will stop when the extremism does. As long as there is someone willing to pull far left, there will be a need for someone willing to pull far right – and of course, someone to translate the middle ground sensibly.

    Progress is being made, I think. Time will tell though…

    Comment by Kim — May 28, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  9. If the HSUS and PETA along with the AR’s in this country have their way, they’ll eradicate pet ownership in this country as they say it’s tantamount to slavery. They want to make us all vegans as they are! If you don’t want your basic right to own a pet violated, I suggest contacting your state senator and asking him/her not to support MSN, BSL and numerical limitation legislation. Remind them that your dog/cat votes as I have! If we don’t wake up you will no longer have the freedom to own a dog or cat and the anti-dog/cat legislation that is rampant in this country is evidence of it. The AR people are so extreme they just want the puppies, kittens killed and Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS has stated he does not want to see another dog or cat born. America, please stand up and take a stand…Look at Calgary, Canada Animal Services where they have about a 5-6% euthanasia rate and they do not have MSN or other draconian laws. Please do your research and do something proactive if you are a dog/cat lover.

    Comment by Colleen — May 28, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  10. New here, Colleen? Thank you for so serving as so absolutely perfect an example of a person unable to think for yourself, relying on the scary bits of spin that you are fed. Happens on both sides, and don’t fool yourself that it doesn’t.

    If you have a few hours — or days, maybe — you might want to see what we wrote against AB 1634 last year.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  11. like reading fresh air – thanks for the dose of common sense written so masterfully -

    Comment by francis — May 28, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  12. We already ahve laws that could prevent any animal from abuse in this state regardless of how many or reproductive status.They are called animal cruelty laws. HSUS has NO authority or “police powers” to use.. at least not yet.. and still you ssee them always at ‘busts’ waiting like sharks to put it into print to do what.. help.. hell no.. to RAISE MONEY. That is their job.. that and faking it that they are a “charity” when they are really a lobbying organization. Their charity status should be pulled.
    I have not seen where the HSUS mission statement includes TRN in every corner of the country.. in fact I have not seen them support TRN at all.. can you let me know where you found this?
    Friends Don’t Let Friends Donate to the HSUS”
    a .. PETA?? no different that the HSUS. One in the same agenda… veganism.. no more pets

    Comment by bestuvall — May 28, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  13. If you have a few hours — or days, maybe…

    Opinions, we haz em!

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 28, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  14. Their policy statement on TNR is linked to in the piece. It took me three seconds with Teh Googles to find it.

    There’s also a piece in support of TNR in the current issue of their magazine.

    Again, my point is the HSUS is evolving thanks to changes in internal ideology and the necessary ability to keep in step with the animal-lovers who donate to it.

    I know blind hate is easier to embrace that finding common ground, but since I’m not one to sit in the echo chambers with ditto-heads on either side, I see things that true believers do not.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  15. What changing HSUS zeitgeist?

    Their supposedly new positions are nothing but hot hair. IRT to dogbust policy, YesBiscuit documents a new case almost every week where a word from HSUS (let alone any $$$) could help local rescuers, and the dogs. And while Winograd went somewhat off the charts in his latest rant against HSUS IRT their alliance with Michael Vick, his basic point is completely correct: Vick is a sociopath (I assume everyone has seen BadRap’s blog about his “swimming pool” where dogs were tortured) who can never be a credible voice for anything to do with animals. He should NOT be given any opportunity to redeem himself (and return to football, his only motivation) until he provides some real evidence that he has a clue about what his crimes consisted of.

    Pacelle’s completely cynical use of Vick to perpetuate HSUS’ latest scam is no better than Ingrid’s.. and I’m willing to bet he’ll back out as quickly as she did. Maybe he’ll even go in with her on funding that Vick “brain scan” she wanted.

    I generally applaud your reasonableness, Gina. But this is not a “he said/she said/they’re both equally wrong/right” situation. HSUS is NOT a friend to our cause, even if they take some positions with which “we” agree. Bill Hemby is not the moral or functional equivalent of Wayne Pacelle, who is an untrustworthy hypocrite, publicity monger and greedhead (and whose organization may indeed be committing both fraud and nonprofit tax code violations).

    Comment by EmilyS — May 28, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

  16. I’m seeing a future in a study for a peer-reviewed psych journal: “The Effect of Blind Hate on Reading Comprehension.”

    1) At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, you might want to consider the definition of “is,” as in, “is evolving.”

    2) It wasn’t the HSUS zeitgest I’m interested in. It’s the public’s. Clearly stated.

    3) While I’m sure Mr. Hemby would love to be as all-powerful as the folks who use H$U$ in all references believe Wayne Pacelle to be, I didn’t draw that correlation.

    Life isn’t black and white, but I sure know it’s intellectually easier to see things that way. I sometimes wish I were able to do so, but those are the limitations of all that dad-gum reasonableness.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  17. “Life isn’t black and white, but I sure know it’s intellectually easier to see things that way.”

    Not to mention emotionally.

    I used to know who the enemy was. Now it’s everyone and nobody.

    Comment by Mary Mary — May 28, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  18. Lookie what the Onion put up just now, just for me! Squeeeeeee!

    “Quickly! Hide behind self-righteousness! The ad hominem rejoinders—ready the ad hominem rejoinders! Watch out! Dodge the issue at hand! Question its character and keep moving haphazardly from one flawed point to the next!”

    :::snort::::

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  19. PETA and HSUS have betrayed the animals – I’ve read plenty by now not just Nathan Winograd – but the truth is out there somewhere – isn’t it? That said in my community there is a puppy mill bust going on right now – 371 eskimo mini dogs rescued from squalor – it’s been known to exist for at least 20 years – now the only ones who are rescuing is HSUS headed by Inga Gibson (west coast head) I think they are the only ones rescuing – but this community has been plagued by good ol’ boy do nothings for years – and more devious the local animal control supplies dogs and cats for experiments/research at Washington State University – so HSUS will be looking like heros in this locale -

    Comment by francis — May 28, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

  20. Gina, I honestly don’t know what the meaning of “is evolving” is.

    I take it that you believe that the fact of HSUS statements indicates evolution/movement in a positive direction. I don’t.

    Positive ACTION indicates movement. Until action happens, it’s appropriate skepticism to believe that HSUS statements only serve the purpose of getting people off their backs.

    It’s not “blind hatred” that causes people to mistrust HSUS’ intentions. Just experience with their history and past actions.

    Comment by EmilyS — May 28, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  21. I would like to amend my comment – the rescue of 371 mini eskimo dogs from a puppy mill has been a collaborative effort by HSUS, Spokanimal Rescue, Emergency Animal Rescue Service from United Animal Nations and the Humane evacuation Animal Rescue Team – according to the local paper The Tri-City Herald – this is one of the largest puppy mill busts in the nation -

    Comment by francis — May 28, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  22. oh yea, H$U$ will use the WA raid to rake in more funds and will leave town leaving the locals to foot the bill…just as they do every single time.

    So, Gina, explain in plain language… you agree with H$U$ making millions on these publicity opportunities and then leaving town to let the local agencies foot the bill? Do you think it is okay for them to flagrantly flaunt 501c3 rules to LOBBY for legislation against breeding, hunting, farming and any other animal use?

    Nothing in that piece by WSB-TV was false. They most certainly do mislead. I took a poll of just over 50 people at work and all but one of them thought the H$U$ was the umbrella organization for state Humane Societies… now just how do you think they got that impression?

    Comment by Ginger — May 28, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  23. When you start with “H$U$” you’ve already shown yourself too close-minded to understand what I wrote. Parroting the usual speaking points doesn’t change my impression.

    As for the confusion about local humane societies, do you have a problem with your co-workers calling your local SPCA “The ASPCA” as well? Or is your spittle-spewing reserved for the HSUS alone?

    The fact is that a great many people ridiculously believe Barack Obama is a sekrit Muslim (or “muslin,” as the forwarded e-mails more typically state). How they arrived at this conclusion is hardly the president’s fault. People believe all sorts of things for all sorts of cockamamie reasons, mostly having to do with not thinking about things much or accepting someone else’s view without thinking about it at all.

    As for animal “use,” I eat meat and so do my cats and dogs, but I have long been on the record against concentrated animal feeding operations and many, many facets of post-World War II agriculture practice. CAFOs are cruel to animals and workers, environmentally unsustainable and a threat to our national health and security. Just because you’re a massive agri-corp doesn’t mean you get to screw with MY food supply. Or rather, you shouldn’t have the toothless FDA and USDA making sure you’re allowed to.

    The HSUS (as linked to above) has a darn good guide to choosing a reputable, ethical and compassionate breeder. I’m currently one of those breeders, and I still point most people to a rescue or shelter first, just as the HSUS does. What I would do with puppy-milling scum (or Michael Vick, for that matter) is far more severe than what the HSUS has advocated. When good, caring breeders count puppy-milling scum among their ranks because “it’s us (all breeders) or them (the AR forces of pet extinction),” they hand the ammunition to the Judie Mancusos of the world so they can say, “a breeder is a breeder is a breeder” — and even they all admit it!”

    If you want to sell out hundreds of thousands of dogs in puppy mills, that’s your business. But frankly, it has me questioning your compassion and your love of animals. Fortunately, the uprising against the AKC’s plan to get in bed with Petland — a plan the group dropped because of the screaming outrage of reputable breeders — shows that I am not alone in despising the casual, greed-headed cruelty of puppy-millers.

    Finally, I am not against ethical, responsible hunting — and I know the HSUS is, but so what? I don’t have to agree with everything they do to believe there’s usefulness in sitting down and discussing common ground — and there’s lots and lots of such ground to discuss.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  24. Kind of hard to have “common ground” with an organization that wants to put you out of business I would say. That is like saying Israel should find “common ground” with Iran when Iran wants to wipe them off the map.

    I just read a news story on the dogs in WI seized from a shelter a week or so ago.. they are said to be doing well, and, the reporter mentioned that H$U$ was “helping” care for them. And yet in the very next breath they are saying how they need donations for supplies and food. H$U$ has millions and millions.. so why aren’t they helping with supplies and food? Because they don’t. They spend their money on lobbying instead.

    Comment by Ginger — May 28, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  25. Cough up some citations or go back to your echo chamber.

    I can find out in half a day how much money the HSUS has spent to put boots on the ground in various rescue operations. What they spent is a matter of public record, accessible through their IRS filings. Have you read them? Or would you rather just repeat what you heard? Criticize them for what they ACTUALLY do — as I have — not what you’ve heard that they do.

    If you want to believe that the HSUS is PETA, then go right ahead. Don’t let pesky little facts get in your way.

    Iran vs. Israel? Oh please: You are so close to Godwin’s Law, you can see the nose hairs.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  26. The trouble is that they are a chaitable organization per IRS and therefore get out of paying taxes. When in reality they are a lobbyist political organization and should have to pay taxes. The other part that is bad is that the people who understand even that HSUS pushes legislation, not assistance to animals don’t understand that the legislation is anti animal-ownership, anti animal-use, and threatens to remove all animals, including dogs and cats, from our ownership. They don’t have to get outright bans passed if they make it so difficult and risky to own animals that no one will want to. Responsible breeders are very threatened by the HSUS. What happens when we lose them?

    Comment by Mary — May 28, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  27. Gina, I am struck by the similarity in tone of your post with something that a pro-hunting blogger stated just the other day over here, where after identifying areas of agreement and disagreement, she wrote: “I think the single most dangerous trend in American discourse today is our tendency to isolate ourselves among like-minded people. It foments incivility, and it makes us very easy to manipulate (e.g., the legions of hunters who take the NRA’s alerts about the dire threats to gun owners as gospel because they don’t know anyone who would ever tell them differently).”

    We appreciate that the PetConnection blog seeks to distinguish itself from so many internet forums (especially Twitter, I’m learning), where there is a tendency to resort to knee-jerk stereotypes, repeating of old lies and falsehoods, and oversimplified and unnuanced caricatures, rather than having an honest discussion or even debate. I appreciate the attempt here to call that out.

    So in the interest of feeling “safe” to disagree, let me say that from my vantage point inside The HSUS I don’t agree with the subtext that we form *any* of our positions on the basis of what will generate donations. Rather — and this might scare some of you to consider — we engage in a regular, thoughtful, ever-evolving dialogue as we aim to develop and pursue what we believe to be the most effective strategies for reducing animal suffering. We don’t even always agree – but ours is a culture that believes that an airing of perspectives and regular review of the data is healthy. We owe it to the animals and our supporters to listen, to be reflective and to be as flexible as we can as situations evolve and more information comes to pass. That’s really how it goes down, folks. Not titillating, I realize, but it’s the truth. I couldn’t work here otherwise.

    Second, while I’m grateful that you recognize that we are heavily (and unapologetically) engaged with “animal advocacy, lobbying for animal laws and investigations,” The HSUS is very much engaged in hands-on, direct care of animals, cruelty busts, in-the-field rescues, and training and education. In fact, Wayne’s blog today describes some of these activities — reporting on our role in a huge puppy mill bust in Washington this week and pointing out that in 2008 we engaged in “more than 40 deployments—one every nine days.”

    No one’s perfect, and I don’t always get my way, but I’m damned proud to work for The HSUS. And we’re here to engage.

    Comment by Jennifer Fearing — May 28, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  28. Mary, I got no beef with you on the tax thing. I think churches should pay taxes as well as charities — all of them!

    As for the HSUS working to eliminate pet ownership … I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but … these positions are evolving within the organization for the reasons I have stated I don’t know how many times at this point.

    As for the HSUS working to eliminate animal “use,” again, unless you embrace the slippery slope theory that anything that addresses blatant cruelty will end up outlawing “use” entirely, there’s nothing in the organization’s recent history to support your claim.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  29. Interesting side note: The AKC AND the HSUS both sent me e-mails noting their support in overturning breed-specific legislation in Denver.

    I say, hooray, and if working together gets it done, double hooray.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  30. I am SO glad to have popped in here today after not visiting for several weeks, particularly after reading the forwarded report in question on one of my breed boards last night.

    It does my old heart good to see that there are rational and thinking dog people out there, Gina — people who aren’t willing to just jump on the ol’ “tar and feather” bandwagon without doing their homework and verifying the details on what they are forwarding first. (That piece was so one-sided and full of holes it’s no surprise it was pulled as soon as the editors woke up from their respective naps.)

    As I stated in response to last night’s frantic posting (and as you commented here), it’s absolutely no news that people confuse HSUS with any other organization with the words “humane society” in its name. That’s been going on for years and years. (The fact that, just as there is no one single definition for “breeder,” there is no one definition of “humane society” doesn’t help.)

    Obviously, some people just don’t want to be bothered to fill their heads with too many details that might make matters more clear.

    I posted this link to illustrate the fact that HSUS is, and has, for many years, pretty up front about who is who:
    http://www.hsus.org/pets/animal_shelters/what_the_hsus_does_for_shelters/

    The Onion article is surely some amazing timing. Thank you for posting it here! I needed a good laugh.

    Could you please e-mail me an address to which I can send you an interesting article I found? (I promise not to spam you, just want to be sure you’ve seen this one and don’t think it’s appropriate to post the details here.)

    Keep up the good work!
    Jewel in Tucson

    Comment by stellaluna — May 28, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

  31. More common ground: I bet we can agree that Sharon Osbourne’s recent addition of a 1-pound (yes, 16-ounce!) Pomeranian is very, very sad.

    Someone please pass the brain bleach so I can get this family out of my head.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

  32. Gina, I just loved that “Onion” article.

    We must not let logic get the upper hand, and we must drown it out with all of our voices, runaway from it, and protect our children from it.

    That is the sense I got from reading said article, and the methods seem to be working.

    I might never have to be logical again–praise the world and all the nonsense in it!

    Thanks for making my day. (I don’t think the article was written exclusively for you–but maybe for just you and me, huh?). hahahahahaha–can’t stop laughin’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Colorado Transplant — May 28, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  33. Wow Gina. I’m kind of shocked seeing this column from you. I watched the broadcast you’re referring to so I’m wondering what the issue you have with it might be? Specifically, what part of the broadcast did you have a problem with because I don’t recall seeing anything that was not true. When you ask 100 people on the street and 96 of them think the HSUS is affiliated with their local shelter, I’m guessing there’s been a bit of an attempt by the organization in question to hoodwink the public. One can be against puppymills without being an HSUS defender.

    Comment by Lisa — May 28, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  34. One of the many errors in the WSB story, which has been repeated by some commenters here, is that HSUS is solely a lobbying group. HSUS in fact spends less than 5% of its annual expenditures on lobbying, and it is reckless for people to claim otherwise since the group’s IRS filings are easily and publicly available on its web site (http://www.humanesociety.org). While HSUS is effective in lobbying at the state and federal level to protect animals from cruelty and abuse, it is also effective in other areas such as hands-on care and services, emergency response, working with law enforcement, corporate policy reforms, education and awareness, and others.

    Comment by Mike Markarian — May 28, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  35. Lisa, if you took the time to actually READ what I wrote, you might understand it.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 28, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

  36. HSUS has a separate lobbying/legislative arm:

    http://www.fund.org/about_us/

    My understanding is that the donor streams can’t mingle… that donations made to HSUS can’t be funneled to the Fund. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong — this is, after all, the Internet. ;)

    Comment by Christie Keith — May 28, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

  37. Oh Gina, if you get some brain bleach, save some for me!

    I had a shocked AZ bulldogger call me because Ozzie wanted to buy a puppy.

    He had just run over the last bulldog with his ATV.

    Comment by JenniferJ — May 28, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

  38. Serious Fail.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 28, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  39. Ozzie has enough cerebellar function left to operate an ATV?

    Comment by H. Houlahan — May 28, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

  40. Apparently not well!

    Comment by JenniferJ — May 28, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

  41. To be fair, this was about 5 years ago.

    But I think Ozzie’s “damage” all predates that by a large margin!

    Comment by JenniferJ — May 28, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  42. Comment by Mike Markarian — May 28, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

    The story says something along the lines of the GA director of HSUS agrees that legislation/lobbying is her group’s main focus and she gets her funds from Wash. DC. Are you calling her “reckless”?

    Comment by YesBiscuit! — May 29, 2009 @ 4:21 am

  43. I normally agree with you Gina, but in this case I just can’t.

    I can’t agree because there is no reasonable explanation to WSB-TV pulling down the story other than legal threats.

    I can’t agree because I am very tech-savvy & I watched the HSUS monitoring of my site skyrocket during the unfolding WSB-TV story. I have seen first hand how HSUS is scouring the internet systematically inspecting every page in my website, using a variety of test searches to see what will lead them (and the public) to my articles, and inspecting anti-HSUS Facebook pages. This also supports the idea that they have been scouring the internet for copies of the video and transcript.

    It is also interesting to see Mike Markarian’s comment about the ‘recklessness’ of claiming HSUS is solely a lobbying group. I don’t think that anyone can claim the HSUS is ‘solely’ a lobbying group, but its is reasonable to claim that HSUS is ‘primarily’ involved in lobbying and political activity since this was agreed to by the GA State HSUS Director. It is important to understand that the IRS definition of Lobbying/Political activity considers the involvement of BOTH paid and volunteer activity. The ‘less than 5%’ spent on lobbying does not factor in volunteer activity and is STILL greater than the grants to shelters and rescues.

    Comment by Erica Saunders — May 29, 2009 @ 5:43 am

  44. More on the Atlanta TV piece on Ohmidog, here. As a Pulitzer-winning reporter, John Woestendiek is in a pretty good position to explain what’s good journalism and what’s not, I’d say.

    Confusing to some given the existence of entities such as Fox News, but “good journalism” isn’t about confirming what you already believe to be true despite evidence to the contrary.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 7:13 am

  45. Glad to see Jennifer F the HSUS rep here, where Gina provides opportunity for discussion even with those who disagree with her. Tough it would have been nice if she had actually addressed the issues raised (I’m still waiting to learn what actions HSUS has taken to implement the new “fight bust dogs deserve saving” policy.) Maybe she could ask Wayne to “engage” with HSUS critics on his blog.

    Comment by EmilyS — May 29, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  46. Yes Mike, I’ve seen the tax returns and am well aware of how much they “officially” spend on lobbying. They also have about 10 other related subsidiaries. Is that really necessary or are they running some kind of Enron-type accounting? Also, the junk email they send to people that mistakenly sign up for their “newsletters” often contains requests to support a bill, call your representative, etc. These requests also appear on their website. That costs almost nothing. Do you consider that lobbying? I sure as heck do. As a sidenote, the organization spends less than 5% on direct care for animals also.

    Yes, Gina. I’m capable of reading your column and am also capable of understanding it. The only issue you seem to have a problem with from the broadcast is the section stating the HSUS misleads the public. Several people have already posted about the percentage of the public that thinks HSUS is affiliated with their local shelter. When you call yourself the HUMANE SOCIETY of the United States and send out mass mailings with cute puppy/kitten stickers and say you’re “saving the animals” do you REALLY think it’s the public that’s being stupid? If the figures indicated less than 10% of the public believed HSUS was affiliated with local shelters you might have a point. Sadly, that is not the case. If you talk to 100 people on the street the VAST majority of them have been duped by HSUS’s very name and advertising. Just because 12 other organizations do it too does not make it right (though I’m struggling to come up with 12 who mislead the public to the extent this organization does….) Nathan Winograd is exactly right about this organization. Sadly, you seem to have been taken in by the lies Pacelle tells instead of thinking for yourself. If so, I’ll just go back to reading Kim and Christie’s columns.

    Comment by Lisa — May 29, 2009 @ 7:49 am

  47. Honestly, Emily, my bad.

    Wayne Pacelle long ago agreed to our request to sit down for an extended interview, the full transcript of which we would make available.

    With my dad’s illness and death, and a lot of other stuff … I haven’t followed through. I need to, and I will drop him a note this weekend.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 7:50 am

  48. Lisa, repeating the same points doesn’t make them any stronger. As for what you read or don’t read, that’s entirely up to you. It’s always easier and more comforting to take in only those bits of information that reinforce your world view, facts be damned.

    In my line of work, I frankly don’t have that luxury.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  49. Sorry Gina, but I didn’t come into this with a “world view”. I looked at the facts and that’s what the facts told me. I see you still are not pointing out exactly what it is you disagree with me about. Strange….

    You might want to let your “Pulitzer-prize” winning friend know that he’s posted a column with a misspelled word also…

    Comment by Lisa — May 29, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  50. :::shrug::::

    I’m sure you never made a typo or misspelled anything.

    That’s why newspapers have editors, by the way. Reporting is one job. Editing and proofing is another.

    You still haven’t understood the point I’m making in the blog post above. I’m done suggesting you try. I have pigs I need to teach to sing now, thanks.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 8:16 am

  51. Lisa isn’t interested in finding common ground and solving problems. She wants to win. Which appears to be everyone else caving in, checking their brains at the door and accepting everything she says at face value because….she said it.

    Snark, nitpicking and sarcasm are certainly great ways to win people over to your point of view. Not.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 8:51 am

  52. Snark, nitpicking and sarcasm are certainly great ways to win people over to your point of view. Not.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009

    But they’re all I have! :::sob::::

    :)

    Off to pick up my mom at the vet’s … er, I mean doctor’s!

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  53. HSUS is, of course, free to advertise, lobby and otherwise do as they like – but the number of people who donate to the group *thinking* that their money is going directly to help shelter is VAST.

    Most of HSUS’ advertising copy consists of vague, but urgent, pleas to ‘help the animals’. Well-intentioned people who are, unfortunately too busy, lazy or ignorant, to check into where their donations will *really* go donate millions of dollars.

    My next door neighbor is a classic case. Small-town business owner, born on the farm next door, avid hunter and fisherman, horsewoman, dog and cat owner, carnivore. She recently signed up for a Bank of America HSUS checking account thinking it would help support our local shelter. She was both horrified and enraged when, after getting one of her HSUS checks in payment for shared spring maintence, I explained her that none of this money would go to the Goodhue County Humane Society. When I went on to send her to pages on the HSUS website that published positions on bowhunting, dove hunting, meat eating and more she went straight to the bank and closed the account.

    Yes, she absolutely should have done her homework – but, IMO HSUS *does* knowingly take advantage of the vagueness of their name and, in fact, capitalizes on it (pun intended) by issueing lots of vague “help the poor animals” ads. This does not make them any more evil than either of our major politcal parties or most of corporate America – but I still see their pitch as being evasive to the point of deceit.

    Comment by Janeen — May 29, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  54. I agree. And if they really want to have credibility over the long haul and are willing to “evolve”, then they need to evolve a more honest way of soliciting donations. If they can’t say upfront what the money will actually be used for…….

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  55. I’ve asked you to clarify your position regarding the broadcast several times as have other posters on this thread. You for some reason refuse to do so. Instead you offer ad hominems directed at me and others instead of answering the question. Somehow other pet writers like Susan Fox show up to do the same. Susan did however admit that HSUS is somewhat deceptive in their practices so I do give you credit for that Susan. We also have Jennifer Fearing, the HSUS’s economist and Sacramento lobbyist as well as Mark Markarian, executive vice president of the HSUS and president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund (one of those numerous HSUS “subsidiaries”) in this thread. From the HSLF site, the HSLF’s mission is as follows: “The HSLF is a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which seeks to pass humane laws. As a 501(c)(4), HSLF also engages in political activity and works to elect humane lawmakers.” I’m sure Mark can tell us what percentage of the HSLF’s budget is spent on lobbying…. It might be kind of interesting if an excellent tax accountant reviewed the paperwork of the HSUS and all of its subsidiaries as pertains to where their money comes from and where it goes. Strangely enough I just can’t seem to find the HSLF tax return on the website.

    You asked a poster about the misleading nature of the name ASPCA. ASPCA is the acronym for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If you look at their tax return their name pretty much indicates what they do: http://www.aspca.org/about-us/legal-information/form-990-doc.pdf . The acronym for HSUS stands for Humane Society of the United States. I’m sure you’ve seen their tax return before. Their name does NOT indicate what they do. And hmmm….at this site we’ve got some free advertising from the HSUS for the HSLF’s fundraising events…http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/pressrel/party_animal_host_farm.html

    Comment by Lisa — May 29, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  56. Lisa, I haven’t responded to your demands because not only are you off-point, so much so that if this were a hunt test I’d be whistling you in from the next field because you can’t find the bird to save your life … but also because the answer was in the original post, which you still either haven’t read or cannot understand.

    Not to mention, if the HSUS changed their fund-raising tomorrow, the H$U$ haters would just move on to something else. It’s not the fund-raising that’s the issue with the haters, it’s the “sekrit AR agenda to take all our pets.” Which the HSUS doesn’t have, although they have other companion animal policies that I do not currently agree with, some of which are evolving even now.

    I happen to agree that the HSUS benefits from and in fact encourages the impression that they are the “home office” for every Humane Society. Is this unethical? It’s certainly questionable, less than transparent and likely unethical. And I disagree with these tactics, which is why in “Dog For Dummies” in 1994 I made a point of including information that one should give to local shelters directly, if that’s where one wants the money to go. Again, this is not news.

    That said, their fund-raising on the Vick dogs while they were recommending they all be killed was, in fact, skankier than hell. Also mentioned in the original piece.

    But you continue to miss the points, which are:

    1) “… for reasons largely driven by changing internal ideology and partly driven by the continued need to tap the zeitgeist so as to keep on tapping wallets for donations, the HSUS is evolving on many of their positions.”

    and

    2) “It’s long past time for the reasonable, animal-loving people of the world to quit allowing the 10 percent of nutjob true believers on the extremes of these issues to dictate the terms of engagement.”

    I hope that helps you.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  57. I gotta say, though, that all the H$U$ hate in comments and e-mail reminds me of one aspect of the fight against AB 1634, forced spay-neuter, or, as I think of such proposals, Pet Extinction Acts.

    During that fight, I went to a lot of public meetings. And the reputable, compassionate and ethical breeders would come prepared. We’d show that the claims for Santa Cruz County were a lie, that forced spay-neuter leads to more dead pets in shelters, that spay-neuter are not benign surgeries and so must be decided on an individual basis and so on.

    We’d get through all that quite reasonably, and there would always be one really nice, well-meaning person getting more and more agitated. And when we were done, she’d argue her case: “Animals are dying! We have to stop the killing! This is the only way!” One lady delivered this “argument” and then burst into tears.

    WTF? Classic cognitive dissonance, every time, and boy, do you HSUS haters have it, too.

    But hey … more common ground!

    Everyone, out of the echo chambers and come to the table.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  58. Lisa, where in the world did you get the idea that I’m “a pet writer” who “showed up? Oh, you “just” assumed?

    I “admit” nothing. I was merely agreeing with Janeen based on my personal experience with HSUS, which amounts to a statistically valid sample of….one. But thanks for the “credit”. It means so much to me to know that you approve.

    You are so caught up in your own assumptions, misconceptions and biases that your interpretation of what is going on on this blog is laughable. None of us owe you any explanation whatsoever. I suggest that you go tell it to a mammal who cares.

    Troll alert?

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  59. Sorry, Susan – but no one is EVER gonna top the accusation levelled against me by a defensive poster that I must be a representative of a pet food company!

    http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/05/14/wanna-help-veterinarians-do-better-for-cat/#comment-445130

    (I’m STILL cleaning little bits of spew out from between my keyboard keys after THAT one! LOL!)

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — May 29, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  60. Oh, I remember that one! My favorite line was “We can prove what we are saying, we just choose not to do so…”

    Of course, being mistaken for a pet writer isn’t exactly a BAD thing, is it ;0)

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  61. Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

    Of course, being mistaken for a pet writer isn’t exactly a BAD thing, is it ;0)

    Hmmmm . . . . I dunno . . . . . let’s ask Gina . . . . . . . . .

    VEG!

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — May 29, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  62. Easier being a sportswriter, most days.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

  63. Sorry for assuming Susan. There IS a Susan Fox who is a pet writer. Just assumed you were that person. My apologies.

    Gina, thank you for clarifying your points of contention. However, these issues that you have a problem with weren’t a part of the broadcast that you objected to in the first place by writing a column with the word “lies” in the title. What exactly was the issue you had with the broadcast? If you’re attempting to say these issues that you mentioned should have been made a part of the broadcast I could see your point. However, if you’re attempting to say that some part of this broadcast was a lie then I’m sorry, but I still can’t see where you came up with that line of thought. And again….more of the ad hominems from you…..

    Comment by Lisa — May 29, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  64. I’m sorry, too, that you still can’t see the point. I concede my inability to explain it to you.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 29, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  65. >> Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

    Sorry, Susan – but no one is EVER gonna top the accusation levelled against me by a defensive poster that I must be a representative of a pet food company!<<

    Try being someone who is both a long-time shelter worker, and has been involved in showing purebred dogs for more than 30 years. I’ve been accused of just about everything. (I’ve even been called “Satan Incarnate” for refusing to take an extreme position on these things. Seriously.)

    I’ve also been refused membership to a multi-breed Yahoo rescue group specifically because I work in a shelter — even though I explained that I have worked with rescue groups ever since I got into dogs in the 70s, and I wanted to offer my help as a liaison between rescuers and other shelters.

    The fun never stops.

    Comment by stellaluna — May 29, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  66. I remember when I first got involved in rescue about five years ago and was cruising teh interwebs to familiarize myself with it all, I came upon a site that made it clear I was missing some information.

    It was a rescue that specialized in herding breeds and the first listing on the adoptable page was a dog that was dead, supposedly (I say that because I know not to take stuff on the web at face value) because the breeder wouldn’t take it back. The rhetoric was pretty over the top.

    That site was also the first time I encountered the idea that getting a dog from a breeder was BAD and from a shelter/rescue was GOOD. There was a whiff of almost frantic desperation. And I wasn’t sure what to think, being new to it all and never having had a dog.

    I see now that that site (which I just visited and which has really toned down the anger) represented a beleaguered state of mind that can understandably lash out because of the pain and abuse they deal with.

    Unfortunately, getting involved in blame stops any attempt to find common ground, which I believe is one of the drums that Gina keeps beating. No one is going to agree with everything another organization does and some are beyond the pale, but where people can work together for the animals, that’s a good thing.

    One of the really valuable things for me about this blog is the on-going education that I’ve gotten from the regular gang and a lot of the visitors about the world of pets, and animal welfare/rescue. Anyone who comes here with an open mind and in a spirit of inquiry will find it very rewarding place to hang out.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 29, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  67. Gina,
    Your numerous comments in this thread implying that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is ignorant have caused me to lose all respect for you. I doubt whether you care but I’ll state it anyway. Perhaps you’re having a bad day and are taking it out on others. Who knows? It’s as easy to defend your position as it is to resort to an ad hominem. In case you’re unaware of what that is, here’s the definition: an ad hominem consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject. Ad hominem argument consists of criticizing or attacking the person who proposed the argument (personal attack) in an attempt to discredit the argument. It is also used when an opponent is unable to find fault with an argument, yet for various reasons, the opponent disagrees with it.

    I’m sure we all do this every once in a while but you’ve used it against most of the people who disagree with your column. That’s sad and very unworthy of respect Gina. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know I will not be reading any of your columns in the future. While I share your belief the various individuals involved in the responsible ownership and breeding of animals need to find common ground (this does not include substandard breeders), that common ground cannot be found with HSUS whose past actions have shown they cannot be trusted. Yes, they are currently somewhat talking the talk. However, until they walk the walk there are many people, myself included, who will not trust them. Feel free to have the last word.

    Comment by Lisa — May 29, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  68. Most shelters and shelter workers are all about the animals, but need to remember to look outside their experiences from time to time to see how to make it better and remind themselves that not everyone is an obstacle or enemy it’s not “us against them”. For heavens sake USE the expertise of reputable breeders, owners, rescuers to make life easier.

    Most breed rescue volunteers are really all about the animals and need to remember that shelter workers sometimes see the absolute worst, in greater quantity and frequency than they do or will. Rescuers need to remember not to judge all shelters, or breeders, or owners based on the worst of them.

    Breeders need to remember that the experiences of rescuers and shelter workers may not include meeting the cream of the crop. Patience is needed, yes, but don’t APOLOGIZE for being GOOD at raising well socialized, healthy companions and standing behind them for life!

    And finally, please if you are a veterinarian, listen to the concerns and experiences of rescuers, shelters and breeders. It only takes a minute to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. Extremists and puppy millers deserve a deaf ear, the rest don’t. Nobody’s perfect!

    i am trying really really hard to remember these things today. My new rescue was adopted out from a county shelter 5 months ago. He was never heartworm tested at the shelter and today we find him to be positive. Nor microchipped. Shelter fail.

    pages of vet records show an ongoing obsession with possible allergies. Not one mention of his chronic, long term KCS or treatment for it. No mention of even a recommendation of a heartworm test. A brief mention that “rear soreness” was due to “podo-dermatitis”
    His arthritic, stiff stifle and near total cruciate tear is not even suggested as a possible cause. His walking dandruff was almost certainly made worse by the months of steroids given to reduce presumed allergies. Yep, I called to confirm that there was not more done or discussed. Vet fail.

    This dog, a bulldog/boxer or bulldog/american bulldog cross was bred on purpose. But there is to my knowledge no one rescuing these crosses reliably, nor have we found a responsible breeder to call on in these crosses. Breeder fail.

    And it’s pretty clear that he was well loved and trained at some point, but then spent a long time of deep neglect. adoptive owner did try to pursue care, then was forced to give him away due to foreclosure. The next owner had him just three weeks before a domestic violence arrest brought me in on Wed. So some owner fail, some economic fail, and some failing at basic human decency in the case of the son who beat up his 65 year old mother and forced her to give up an itchy, gimpy dog she loved to bits.

    And some personal fail as a rescue volunteer because, back in December the shelter called me on this dog but then told me he was not a bulldog and they would adopt him out. I should have insisted on a picture, I should have insisted my info be given to the adopter in case of problems. I will make a visit to the shelter sometime soon and once again give them info packets and all my contact info. I will inform them of his heartworm positive status and politely ask why no test? Why no chip?

    I will send a mild, friendly note on his eyes, heartworm, skin and knee to the veterinary clinic, in the hopes that they may consider looking beyond allergies and Hills z/d next time around.

    I will be positive, because I want to keep a dialog open. I will try to educate. I want to build bridges. I will NOT write the clinic and shelter with the thoughts I was thinking looking at x-rays and skin scrapes and tear test tape today. Nor when I got the results on his heartworm. It would make me feel better, briefly, but I’m just going to smile, thank heaven for all the great shelters, vets, owners, breeders and rescuers out there and maybe have a drink of something with some kick, after I feed my new project some chicken thighs to go with the new pharmacy I brought home today.

    Comment by JenniferJ — May 29, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

  69. Yerg! The filter just snarfed up my long post. It’s a bit of a rant but there was nothing naughty in there. :(

    Bad spam filter, bad!

    Comment by JenniferJ — May 29, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  70. Found and freed. Not sure why the spam filter snagged it.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — May 30, 2009 @ 6:27 am

  71. FYI-FWIW

    Lo and behold, what should arrive in my mailbox today but a donation request from HSUS, urging me to renew the membership I never knew I was signing up for when I donated money to “shelter the Vick dogs”.

    Besides the usual heartrending cover letter (highlights below), I have been provided with four “2009 Gift Coupons” as follows:

    1. The HSUS Emergency Shelter Funding Reply Form-
    “to help fund essential programs such as purchasing pet carriers, collars, leashes, food and water bowls, and to provide immediate shelter for animal displaced by floods, fires or other disasters, or wherever help is needed most”

    2.The HSUS Disaster Rescue Relief Reply Form- “to help fund essential programs such as buying animal handling equipment, enabling HSUS Disaster Rescue Teams to safely and humanely rescue animals in danger as a result of floods and other disasters, or wherever help is most needed”.

    3.The HSUS Emergency Medical Relief Reply Form-
    “to help fund essential programs such as paying for medical attention for an abused animal confiscated in a cruelty case, or where help is needed most”.

    4. The HSUS End Animal Suffering Reply Form-
    “Please use my gift where it is most needed to help save the animals from senseless pain, cruelty and abuse.”

    From the cover letter…

    “It’s so hard to believe….
    that over 4,000,000 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens die each year simply because no one loves them….”

    “Whatever level you’re able to renew (plus an additional $1.00 to help us offset increased operating costs, such as fuel, shelter and medical expenses….”

    “And please remember that we are doing all that we can to reach out to the public- especially children- to help them understand the need to protect all animals from suffering, abuse and exploitation.”

    Sincerely, Wayne Pacelle

    —-
    There’s that pesky word “shelter” again and I guess “protect all animals” doesn’t include pitbulls.

    Not a dime from me until they clean up their act.

    Comment by Susan Fox — May 30, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

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