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« Callous | Main | Friday Talkback: Big Black Dog Syndrome: Truth or Urban Legend? »

June 30, 2010

Comments

NoKillHouston

I was incredibly stunned when I learned that BF had not supported Oreo’s Law and I kept waiting for some kind of explanation that would make sense. But, the statements I’ve read seem to contradict each other and most just don’t seem logical to me. And, it is irritating that they are blaming everyone else for their problems right now…. Winograd, Micah Kellner, Animal Ark, Mike Fry, PetsAlive…..

I’m not at insider either but I’ve heard enough from the people who are on the inside to know that Best Friends’ “neutrality” had a lot, if not everything, to do with opening an office in New York. They know that NY is a wealthy city and they don’t think they can open an office, and rake in some of that money, without the support of the ASPCA and NYC Mayor’s Alliance. So of course, they are not going to do something that makes it look like they chose a “side” opposite of the ASPCA.

I used to love Best Friends too. Over a number of years, I’ve donated to them and sponsored various animals there; I’ve gone to their conference; I'm on their email list; I get their magazine; I’m on their “network” and I’ve even advertised in their magazine…. I have friends who go to the sanctuary every year and tell me how great it is, or was….. some have noticed definite, unsettling changes there as well. No doubt that, in the past, BF has done some amazing things for animals, but they seem to want to rest on their laurels forever and you just can’t do that. You have to keep fighting for animals. Every battle that would save more animals should be fought regardless of who the other supporters/detractors are or if they are “fighting” amongst themselves. It should be fought regardless of our friends’ opinions.

Oreo’s law was/is so desperately needed in every state, that to not support it and even try to sabotage it (I do believe Mike Fry when he said BF tried to persuade him to withdraw Animal Ark’s support), is just unconscionable to me. BF should just admit that they screwed up in a very big way, and try to regain some self-respect. I would certainly respect them more if they would just admit this and stop blaming others.

I agree it would be wonderful if everyone collaborated, unfortunately that is not always realistic. Collaboration or not, we should each still pursue the goal of no healthy or treatable pet killed in a shelter. It also would be great if we all really did all want the same thing, but the sad fact is that we do not want the same things. If we did, shelters would not still be killing 3-4 million pets annually 15 years after Avanzino figured out how to stop it. All movements to gain justice or basic rights, such as the right to live, have been born out of struggle and yes, “divisiveness”. Those willing to take the bullet and be seen as divisive are the ones that will take this movement where it needs to be… to a place where it is unthinkable for shelters to kill healthy and treatable pets.

Nathan posted a link to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham jail” in one of his blogs. I realize it is a different topic, but the parallels to what is going on within the no kill movement are remarkable. It’s long but very worth the read.
http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

MichelleD

Oh, you should provide Laura Allen's links to why she opposed Oreo's Law but supported the puppy mill legislation. Its obivous that she was picking and choosing what she supported based on something other than legislative analysis.

Its becoming obvious that many people want to make sure we continue to have a homeless pet population for their own self-preservation.

EmilyS

of course when people say "Its becoming obvious that many people want to make sure we continue to have a homeless pet population for their own self-preservation." apparently referring to the organizations that for a variety of reasons, opposed the law under discussion, they are demonstrating why any future efforts will fail.

Because when it's not enough to disagree, over tactics or over content, but you must attribute bad faith and illegitimate motives to your opponent, then you are saying more about yourself than about your opponents.

And here's your reality: no one can discuss/bargain/negotiate with people whose motives you distrust. So who do Mike Fry, Winograd and the other supporters think they're going to talk to, and who will be willing to talk to them? Or maybe they are under the delusion that they can bypass the other players and have direct exclusive dealings with the legislators.

THAT attitude is what has, and will, turn what should be a productive effort to meet mutual goals. into a mere power struggle. Does Ed Sayres have more power with the legislature than Mike Fry. Does Gregory Castle have more power than Nathan Winograd.

And BTW: So now everyone, from Glenn Beck to Winograd, wants to "own" Dr. King? I find it weird, creepy and inappropriate.

Diane C.

Thank you, Brent. You've given voice to my disconnected thoughts and the feelings of dissonance I felt when reading BFAS's statements. Not all, but most.

Brent

So should we always just yield to people who have more legislative power if they disagree with our point of view? Sure seems like a scary scenerio given which organization (completely uninivolved with this discussion) has the most legislative power.

Anthony

I never believe in conspiracies for two reasons. 1) People are too selfish to keep the secret and 2) people are too dumb to pull it off. I do believe that one person can manipulate others to accomplish things, but I never believe in an over-arching conspiracy. If there's one thing people in the animal world can agree on, it's that everyone else is wrong. I have never found a person or group that completely represents me, so I often find myself doing my own thing. I think both sides in this have merit. Some people don't understand politics. If you ever really want to get things done, you have to play the game. The opportunities to affect change from a truly grassroots platform, and be able to bypass all the bullshit and compromise that comes with politics is a truly rare one. If Best Friends wants to get big enough to really matter, they are just going to have to play those games. We just have to hope that if they do manage to get that big they can maintain a balance between the ideals that got them started and the political know-how that got them big. It sucks but it's the way it is until it changes. Using the same "don't kill them to save them" argument Best Friends is going to have to lose a few battles to win the war. I'm not willing to convict them based on one incident against the preponderance of their past work. If their overall body of work comes to reflect a direction I can no longer support, then I think it would be reasonable to have a stronger reaction at that point. Although idealistic at times, I think the No Kill Movement has a lot to offer the evolving world of animal care and control. Personally I would love to see it's goals adopted more and more around the country. Sometimes it's a little negative for me though. Things are more often changed from the inside-out than the other way around. The rich and powerful have set the system up the way they have. You can bitch and moan about it and piss into the wind, or you can figure out the rules and learn to make them work for you. So I think both sides have merit and both have points. It's not the end of the world. Maybe if they just accept where they disagree, they can work more effectively towards the goals they do agree on. They are different organizations - if they saw eye to eye on everything they would be the same orgs.

Anthony

And I second Emily. No more Hitler/Holocaust/Dr.King/Civil Rights references. Not appropriate.

MaybeSomeday

I haven't finished reading the article but there are 2 big errors in it so far. First, the POS who threw Oreo off was convicted, but only got 6 months probation and was required to do some training programming. Second, the ASPCA DOES NOT do the animal control for NYC. Animal Care & Control of NY is contracted by the Dept. of Health to do animal control. The ASPCA does the law enforcement and most of the cruelty case actually end up at the ACC. Cases that never get prosecuted. Animals that end up with no justice, only being put down silently while the ASPCA rakes in millions just a few blocks away.

mary frances

Thank you as always for your sorting of these complicated matters - I'm really hoping Best Friends will come around and support Oreo's Law...seems like it might could happen....or am I dreaming (just my own dream....not any inappropriate MLK reference)

MichelleD

Emily, The fact that you pick EVERY instance to rail against NW leaves anything you have to say about this situation mute.

Best Friends track record? Remember their "dangerous dogs" article and their conference in CO on 'vicous breeds? OH, how quickly everyone has forgotten since they made amends with the Vick dogs. The fact of the matter BF got their bell rung just like H$U$ for their stance on pit bulls.

'm not saying we throw the baby out with the bathwater but they screwed up. And I'm not so sure their calculation to loose this battle is going to be worth it.

Larn919

References to Hitler/Holocaust/Dr.King/Civil Rights may be "inappropriate" only to those who believe that animals are not deserving of the basic humanity endowed to people. Many of us DO believe these same rights to decency belong to animals. I had no problem with Dr. Kavorkian, and I don't have a problem with putting down an animal who's health is irremediable. But there is absolutely no difference between the dirt bag who attempted to kill the dog by throwing him off the roof and the ASPCA who succeeded. Poor Oreo got a bad break on both ends. He is the epitomic symbol of our failure, as well as our aspiration.

Kerry

Beautifully done.

John

I am staggered. A phenomenal analysis.

I think any effort to make the discussion of the law about hoarders is somewhat disingenuous, as a committed hoarder will never have a problem overwhelming themselves with or without access laws. It's pretty much entirely beside the point. I can fill a singlewide today by cruising Craigslist, picking up a stack of newspaper classifieds, sending a van out to some economically disadvantaged areas of the country, or even sticking a sign on my front lawn that says "Drop Kittens Here". No 501c3 required, and for the most part not even an ID.

Anthony

Hitler/Holocaust/Dr King/Civil rights is not about dogs. If people in the dog circles ever want to reach outside of their own, and begin to connect with people who don't already agree with them, they need to at least understand how the non-dog enthusiasts see the world and relate to them. People who do horrible cruel things are simply bad people no matter what is on the receiving end. I can see the parallel there, especially considering violence to animals is often a gateway to violence to people. The difference is on the receiving end. While in one person's mind the dog's status is being raised to that of people by making the comparison, in other peoples' minds, the status of people is simply being lowered to that of dogs in that comparison. In fact many of the people such as the bigoted whites and the Nazis justified their positions by saying that the groups they were persecuting are no better than animals so why should they be treated like people? It is a very touchy subject and I think it closes minds that may not otherwise be closed when it is brought up. Of course anyone is entitled to think whatever. I love my dogs LIKE people, but I know they are dogs. Most of my clients who treat their dogs like people have messed up dogs. I simply don't agree with the comparison but respect that some people do.

MichelleD

http://www.aspca.org/news/national/07-01-10.html#1

Wait a minute - this happened WITHOUT Oreo's law! How could that be!? Oh yeah, see John's post.

Notice the fear mongering about "some of the cats had FIV" -- well that's probably how they ended up at this place because most rescues won't take them and shelters will kill them. Once again its "the most horrendous conditions I've ever seen" and yet none of the cats had to be euthanized and all 400 are super friendly.

EmilyS

yeah, Best Friends never does anything progressive to save animals.
They can never work with other organizations and they should be shunned and scorned.

http://www.safehumanechicago.org/Evidence-Dog-Program

EmilyS

forgot to add:
http://network.bestfriends.org/golocal/chicago/15623/news.aspx

Brent

Emily,

I'm not even sure who you're responding to. No one here is saying they should be shunned or scorned...

However, their statements are incongruent with their actual beliefs on many fronts...

mary frances

EmilyS - in my comment I'm holding onto hope things will work out with Best Friends for their future support of the Oreo's Law -
I would hope HSUS and the ASPCA would support it as well -

If they don't well they won't but there won't be confusion as to where everyone stands.

Brad Jensen

I'm curious, with all the thousand of letters and emails sent in support of Oreo's Law, how many were sent in opposition to it?

Jim

ES - Of course they can work with other orgs and of course they do a lot of good! It's especially easy for them to work with with Safe Humane Chicago... being that they are Safe Humane Chicago. They fund the program. That would be a case of buying into success - not that there's anything wrong with that, it's always nice for good programs to find funding.

It's also entirely beside the point.

Donna

I'm late on this, but it's not surprising that the bill was tabled. Creating a law this important is going to require the support of the ASPCA, and that just wasn't ever going to happen with the whole messy Oreo controversy attached by name.

Everyone needs to cool down, study what CA has learned from living with Hayden, get it together and write something with a new name that everyone can get behind.

Best Friends was wise to side step this one -- they know that any New York legislation needs the A's blessing if it's ever going to work. They're smart about that stuff and I give them credit for taking a step back and watching this thing die on the vine, especially knowing that they'd be heavily criticized for going neutral. They get my "You Got Balls" award.

Onward ho. A Hayden-like law will be in New York soon, with willing partners this time. And the animals will all benefit when that happens.

MichelleD

I don't think A would have supported it if the name was "Sayes is AWESOME!" bill.

Donna makes a good point. Quit donating to the ASPCA until they get it thru their thick skulls that they better get behind something and get it passed.

Susan

Others have pointed this out, but it's worth reiterating. The ASPCA does NOT handle animal control in NYC. That's the job of Animal Care & Control, which DOES allow other rescue organizations to pull animals placed on the euthanasia list as part of a "New Hope Partner" program of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's animals which is an umbrella group for 160 rescue organizations in the NY area. In fact, that's the ONLY reason ACC's euth numbers are down. The ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement Unit does make cruelty arrests in NYC, but it's also not part of Animal Care & Control. So, as a private charity and not the city's municipal shelter, while it would have been great if the ASPCA would have considered giving Oreo to another group, they were under no obligation to do so.

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