Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HSUS announces interim policy; Meeting planned

Score one for sanity, guys.  Best Friends called this bigger news out today: HSUS calls for a summit to discuss dogs from fighting busts.

February 23, 2009 : 8:44 PM ET

The Humane Society of the United States on February 23 issued an interim policy recommending all dogs be evaluated as individuals, and is calling a meeting of leading animal welfare organizations concerning dogs victimized by dog fighting.

Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer and president of the Humane Society of the United States, suggested the meeting of major stakeholders in Las Vegas to work through the associated issues. This meeting is in response to concerns expressed by Best Friends Animal Society in December 2008 regarding HSUS policies related to animals confiscated in dog-fighting busts.

Pacelle said the meeting, scheduled for April, will include the participation of national stakeholder organizations that deal with pit bulls. The meeting was in the planning stages before Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. ruled that 145 pit bulls, including approximately 70 puppies, confiscated from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County, North Carolina, would be euthanized without evaluation to determine suitability for placement.

The new interim policy announced by the HSUS, pending the outcome of the meeting, recommends that local law enforcement and animal control evaluate such dogs as individuals rather than as a category before any decision is made regarding their future.

“We expect government, corporations, and individuals to constantly re-evaluate how they deal with animal issues,” Pacelle said. “Likewise, we regularly review our own policies and procedures here at HSUS, and we think it is important to talk with professional colleagues in the movement to examine issues related to the disposition of fighting dogs.

“I am pleased to discuss these issues with personnel from Best Friends and other organizations interested in the welfare of pit bulls.”

Julie Castle, director of Community Programs and Services for Best Friends said, “There had been more than enough airing of feelings and outrage that the dogs were not evaluated prior to being summarily euthanized. It was time to hit the reset button on this in order to move things forward in a constructive way. Mr. Pacelle was open and receptive to what we had to say and we are looking forward to our meetings in April.”

Best Friends, through its campaign, “Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dogs,” is looking forward working cooperatively with HSUS, according to Castle.

The campaign is aimed in part at educating the public and the media about pit bulls in order to help save the breed’s reputation. “Our goal is to bring positive change to lives and image of pit bulls,” she said.

Written by Best Friends staff

Tim and myself will be participating in this April meeting. We look forward to representing the rescue community's views based on our ten years of experience with placing "fight bust dogs" into family homes and, believe me, we don't take this responsibility lightly. Bless every one of you for pushing this issue so hard right alongside the rest of us. 


Anonymous said...

Do you think this was really in the planning stages before the slaughter or did they get a huge amount of flak after the slaughter and did donations suddenly drop off?
Wait and see I guess.
Frankly I don`t trust them,not with the present Leadership.

Unknown said...

This is great news! And I was just feeling really down on the HSUS. Do you think PETA will be there to cause a ruckus?

Princess said...

GREAT NEWS!! Thanks for being a part of this, we know you'll both be a great asset to the meeting.

Brian Cluxton said...

I'm very skeptical of HSUS' goals here; most likely they are looking to shore up their millions in donations. However, I think it's fantastic(!) that you will be there and Best Friends will be there. At least we know some voices of sanity will be there.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donna & Tim -

While I'm sincerely pleased to know you'll be part of their conference, in no way does that make me want to let off on my vocal outrage over HSUS and their continued victimization of pit bulls.

I view their latest message as something as empty as our economy.

I will have faith in Badrap standing up for pit bulls but I will continue my anti-support of HSUS as I do not trust Pacelle or his current about face.

Tim said...

"Do you think this was really in the planning stages before the slaughter or did they get a huge amount of flak after the slaughter and did donations suddenly drop off?"

It definitely was, we've known about it for awhile, but I'm guessing the later may be true as well.

As for PETA, they will not be there, except for in the sense that they share HSUS's views.

Kari in Alaska said...

This makes me want to cry happy tears. I have heard rumors about this happening but to see it as an official statement will make me smile all day, if not week :)

Anonymous said...

Donna & Tim,

I think that is great news! If I needed a voice besides mine for my girl, I could think of no two better people than you two. I still will not support them until they prove they are on our team, but I will remain the eternal optimist that people like you and the good people at Best Friends have the ability to make a change. The changes I have noticed from people when they see Osa is already enough for me to know that you are getting the message out there. (Maybe a wierd thanks to that slime ball Michael Vick too?)

By the way, I can't get an e-mail to you because our new firewall is screwed up. What is the name of the park that you need us at this Sunday? I am scheduled to work Saturday, so I won't see you at CGC unless it is slow at work. I also have 2 more techs coming, which brings us to a total of 5, so we don't want to get lost.

Again, great news!!!


Leila said...

Regardless of whether or not it was 'in the works'. The fact that the dialogue is open and on a national stage is what is important.

Our responsibility is to change perceptions AND help those around us see things in a different light. If the HSUS can do that, I'm pleased.

I do believe in the power of change. Sometimes, change just takes a while.

Walter said...

Great news! Fingers crossed.

Bethany said...

I'm really happy about this. I had seen their new statement of policy in the letter they sent me but I was unsure how long that policy was around.

If donations did drop off and that helps spur change--isn't that the point? Economic boycotts are meant to change behavior, not just punish old bad behavior.

Were I a pitbull, I'd be doing the happy butt wiggle right now. Instead it's a "close the office door and mini happy dance" in hopes that HSUS taking this up helps change the pit bull image even more.

Anonymous said...

What great news. Fingers & paws crossed.

Anonymous said...

This is great.
While I still don't trust HSUS any farther than I could throw them at least they are talking. Hopefully, they are willing to listen and learn.

Jon Low said...

While my initial reaction is "hallelujah", it quickly turns to anger. How many innocent dogs had to die with the HSUS's endorsement, how many expressions of outrage did it take, HOW MUCH MONEY had to be withheld from them for them to FINALLY flinch? And remember, that's ALL they've done, flinch. They haven't actually budged yet. So hold your cheers for now folks. Wait for the other foot to drop.

Anonymous said...

What good news - regardless of their motivation....and steps in the right direction are a good thing. I can say I know of at least two dozen people, just in my circle of friends, who wrote letters and had themselves removed from email and donation lists as a result of the NC issues - multiply that across the country and they may have gotten a big hit in the future pocket book!! Pit bull people ROCK! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm relieved to hear about this. Are you going to be at the No Kill Advocacy Conference in May?

Kirsten said...

That sounds like progress to me. I'm not too fussed about whether they arrived at that or were pressured/swayed by public opinion. I'm just pleased to see something that resembles a democratic process, and glad this thing is moving in the right direction finally... Very, very glad that the wider community is set to be infected with some *Tim and Donna common sense and compassion* to the benefit of pibbles everywhere.

Oh, fingers crossed for this. I think it bodes well. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical of HSUS's sincerity, but even forced change based on the loss of supporters could do some good. It's been an opportunity to educate - two of my coworkers belong to a group that is hosting an event where Pacelle will be speaking. Sent them a rant about HSUS's hypocrisy and why I will not be attending. My boyfriend's sister was visiting from Toronto. Grrrr to that city. Gave her a little presentation about Hector. ("This is Hector. He was one of Vick's dogs. We know that he was probably a fight dog because of these scars. Listen to what the therapy dog certifier said about him....") Got a couple of friends to withdraw support from HSUS. These things snowball - they tell friends, and those friends tell friends, etc. Pacelle and Goodwin seem too entrenched to change, but they won't be around forever. K.

Pit Bull Ambassador said...

Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting! I think they are reacting to all the flak that they took from all the the emails, calls, faxes and ect. I, myself bombarded them with pictures of my cgc game girl with the grandbabies and participating in parades and actually sitting next to other dogs without horting and snorting in a mad fit or trying to kill the other dog....
Tim and Donna.. go get em !!! and just smile at them while thinking to yourself what losers they really are!!!

Anonymous said...

Let me know if you need a little "muscle" on the trip to Nevada. I'm always looking for an excuse to go to Vegas and the off chance I'd run into John Goodwin in a dark alley would make it even more interesting :) Seriously, you guys continue to do incredible work and I'm in awe.

Donna said...

Your skepticism is well-earned, guys. So many people are feeling betrayed by HSUS for rejecting bust victims and that doesn't go away with one news release announcing a meeting.

But it's a good start in the right direction. You know we won't let this go until we're (collectively) satisfied that bust dogs' needs are met, and neither will Best Friends. I imagine change won't happen overnight ... it never does. And what a crazy coincidence that the meeting is taking place in Vegas -- the land of hedging your bets! Let's all hope that Lady Luck is on our side.

Simply Eva said...

Good news but so sad,,,too little, too late! I really got soured on the HSUS after the Wildside Kennels slaughter. As an average citizen I would now think twice before supporting the HSUS in any way. God bless you all at Bad Rap.

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

Oh thank goodness - lets hope they see the light. Hopefully those dogs will not have died in vain. But the fact is they did die, unnecessarily, and thats what makes me so, so sad.

Anonymous said...

Reading some Boards you have to wonder whether Pits have more to fear from their "friends" or their enemies.
I think there`s some hope with the obvious enemies,not so sure about their "friends".
Thank Dawg for you people,Our Pack and some others.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Donna and Tim........your continued pressure and dialogue with HSUS is greatly appreciated by all of us with our pitbull families! As you know, I too have written and withheld support from HSUS, and I will continue to do so until I see concrete evidence that they have changed their stance. Best regards from Big Cabin, OK