If you visited this site this summer, you probably noticed that we were running a sweepstakes to win a trip to the Cayman Islands to follow the Humane Society of the United States’ money. HSUS, you see, sent $26 million of donor money to the Caribbean, according to its most recent tax return. Much of that money is in Cayman and Bermuda funds.
Meanwhile, HSUS only gives 1% of its budget to local cat and dog shelters. In other words, HSUS supports tax shelters over pet shelters.
So who’s the lucky winner of the sweepstakes who gets to follow HSUS’s money to the Caymans? That would be Meghan W., who lives in Pittsburgh and is a leader at the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh. Meghan agreed to a short interview.
How long have you been involved with animals?
I’ve had animals my entire life. We got out first show-quality Weimaraner from a local, reputable breeder when I was 7, and by the age of 9 I was in the ring with the adults. What began as hobby for our family somehow morphed into a lifestyle.
Cat person or dog person?
While I love all animals, I have to say dogs! I can’t imagine my life without them!
What pets do you currently have?
Right now, we have a 5 year old Weimaraner named Mac (Ch SmokeyCity the Real McCoy) and a 2 year old Boxer named Moses (Raypat’s Keeper of the Covenant). Both are great family dogs and love my two kids almost as much as the kids love them! I co-own several other dogs (Weimaraners) with their co-breeders, which is where they reside.
Are you involved with any local animal welfare groups or animal rescue? If so, how?
I currently hold the positions of Vice-President and Secretary for the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh (WAGP), a Pittsburgh-based, breed-specific satellite club of the Weimaraner Club of America. I have been a member of WAGP for over 20 years and have held various Board and Officer positions. WAGP is currently partnered with the Tri-State Weim Rescue (TSWR), based in NJ, to help rescue purebred Weimaraners and educate the public on responsible dog ownership. WAGP occasionally hosts fundraisers benefitting TSWR. We also have members of WAGP that aide in the transporting, fostering and placing of rescue Weimaraners, most often in Western Pennsylvania.
Introduce us to the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh. What kind of events does the group do?
The Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh is a local specialty club of the Weimaraner Club of America. WAGP was founded in 1963 to encourage and promote the breeding of purebred Weimaraners and to do everything possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection. We continue to do so by protecting and advancing the interests of the breed by encouraging sportsmanlike competition at dog shows, field trials and obedience trials. WAGP hosts two specialty dog shows annually, hosts bi-monthly meetings, and assists Tri-State Weim Rescue in any way that we can.
What’s your opinion of HSUS generally?
In a word: poor. I find it despicable that any money given by well-intentioned donors would go to anything but the care of animals.
What’s your opinion about HSUS putting $26 million into the Caribbean?
Actions speak louder than words! If the HSUS has an extra $26 million to send to the Caribbean, then I’d assume all animals have been cared for…we all know that is not the case, so it makes me mad that innocent people are duped into donating to an organization that doesn’t actually do what they allege to.
In your area, are resources tight for many local animal rescues and shelters?
Our area is no different than the rest of the country; true non-profits struggle to stay afloat when the economy is suffering. It’s not just monetary donations that are needed, many shelters request food donations locally and I know that approved foster homes are hard to come by as well.
Do you have an opinion on “give local” v. “give national” when it comes to animal welfare groups?
Personally, I always recommend to give locally when asked. There is something reassuring about being able to stop by your local shelter and physically hand over your donation. The few exceptions I make for this in my life are when I know my donation(s) will be going to a national, breed-specific rescue or health organization.