Topic: Animal Fighting

  • HSUS Sought Death Penalty for Dogs, Rehab for Vick

    Sad news: Earlier this month one of the Vicktory Dogs, Little Red, died a natural death at her home in Utah. Little Red’s passing comes 10 years after the bust of the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring, owned and operated by Michael Vick. This dog’s lease on life was made possible by caring advocates—despite the best efforts of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

    Both groups advocated that the dogs, like Little Red, be euthanized when they were initially seized. While this is nothing new for PETA, which kills the vast majority of dogs and cats in its animal shelter, it was troubling for the supposedly high-road HSUS. Even more troubling was that HSUS sent out fundraising material saying that they would “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.”

    Thankfully, actual humane and ethical groups stepped up and took care of the dogs’ rehabilitation and home placement. Many eventually led long, normal lives.

    But while Little Red was recovering at a sanctuary in Utah and eventually in her “forever home,” Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of HSUS, spent his time rehabilitating the world’s most famous dog killer’s image after receiving $50,000 from the Philadelphia Eagles following Vick’s release from prison in 2009. Ostensibly Vick and Pacelle were advocating against animal fighting, but effectively it provided public relations cover for Vick who was desperately trying to salvage what little time he had left playing football.

    If Pacelle and HSUS had spent less time helping Vick and more time helping the animals he tortured, maybe Philadelphia wouldn’t have seen a spike in dogfighting while Vick was playing for the Eagles.

    We’ll never know, but we do know that when it comes to animal vs. animal killer, HSUS sided with the latter.

    Posted on 04/25/2017 at 12:14 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Animal FightingFundraising Materials


  • Fake News or Fact? See Our USA Today Ad

    Today’s edition of USA Today has a challenge from us in it: Can you spot the fake news about the Humane Society of the United States? Here’s the ad (click here to view the whole ad):

    Here’s the answer: None of it is fake news. It’s all fact.

    If you’d like more information about these issues, here’s some further reading. But if you want a general look, view our “10 Things You Should Know About HSUS.”

    HSUS settles racketeering/bribery lawsuit for $11 million: Here, here, and here.

    HSUS only gives 1% of its money to local pet shelters: Here and here.

    HSUS shovels donor money into Caribbean funds: Here.

    HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle said Michael Vick, a convicted dogfighting kingpin, “would do a good job as a pet owner: Here, here, and here.

    Posted on 02/21/2017 at 3:45 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Animal FightingAnnouncementsPets


  • When Animal Rights Activists Attack

    Civil discourse begins to crumble when people who do not see eye-to-eye cease to civilly communicate with each other and resort to acts of aggression (see current Presidential election!). This notion was on full display last week, when several animal rights activists harassed families seeking one of the quintessential experiences in New York City: riding a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park.

    Leading this animal rights goon squad was Eddie Sullivan, a bulky activist who, like The Hulk, you apparently wouldn’t like when he’s angry. Sullivan, along with several other activists, have reportedly badgered and insulted tourists as they try to board the carriages, shouting insults like “typical f***ing ***hole tourists” in front of families with young children, as well as threatening to “make sure people won’t get into the carriage.”

    But things went further than just the typical verbal intimidation, as Mr. Sullivan is seen on video approaching one of the carriage drivers, yelling at him and then proceeding to shove him hard into the carriage knocking the 55-year-old man off balance and causing one woman to yell “I have a baby, do you mind.” Sullivan was later charged with misdemeanor assault.

    But families in New York City have not been the only victims of this verbal intimidation from animal rights groups.

    Another example of this verbal intimidation is the case of a young Spanish boy with cancer, who endured the hateful scorn of animal rights activists last week after he attended a charity bullfight. Currently undergoing chemotherapy and battling every day to fight his cancer, the young boy came home to a barrage of insults flung his way on social media, with one person even telling him to “just die already.”

    The rise of this venomous discourse by animal rights activists seems to be more than just rare vitriolic rhetoric uttered by a few bad actors, but more of a cultivated culture of protesting.

    Recently animal rights groups met for the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles. This conference featured a significant list of speakers including a number of HSUS staffers such as Paul Shapiro (Vice President), as well as members of the Humane League and SHAC.

    At this conference, several activists began to set the framework for how to get their message out, utilizing more drastic methods.

    With suggestions that would make famous radical organizer Saul Alinsky proud, one by one speakers at the conference began to advocate radical methods to shutting down opposition.

    Coman-Hidy of The Humane League advocated, “When it is time to launch the campaign, find a vulnerable target, prepare everything for at least a few weeks and then assemble an overwhelming force to utilize from day one. The crueler it is, the quicker the fight is over.”

    Another activist Zach Groff of Direct Action Everywhere, suggested “All of these events [agricultural fairs, eating contests, political rallies] need to be interrupted and shut down.” – Zach Groff of Direct Action Everywhere (a group that has seen run-ins with the Secret Service)

    These suggestions proved to be great crowd-pleasers and seemed to really strike a chord with many of the attendees. But for organizations in attendance, like HSUS who have suggested that they are “seeking a humane world” for animals and humans, it is truly troubling to see them rub elbows with those who paint a dangerous future for civil discourse.

    Ultimately, many of the campaigns run by HSUS, PETA, and other activists tar other people with labels as animal abusers. In some specific circumstances it’s appropriate, such as for the uncovering of a dogfighting ring. But in other circumstances it isn’t, and a broad brush is used to, for example, claim that farmers broadly abuse animals, even when the facts don’t back that up. This kind of rhetoric is not only toxic, but it is incendiary. Is it any surprise that some people hear inflammatory rhetoric and react with such a venomous attitude towards others?

    With a continued insistence on shutting down the opposition by aggressive means, it’s not shocking when animal rights activists take a more radical approach to those they disagree with.


    Posted on 10/20/2016 at 12:30 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Animal AgricultureAnimal FightingHorsesMeat


  • HSUS Can’t Dodge Slimy Vick History

    A new documentary, The Champions, chronicling the lives of pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring, is receiving high praise this summer, from critics at festivals to folks at home on Netflix. The film focuses on the dogs and the animal groups that never gave up on them—even after bigger and richer groups did. The documentary’s website provides the following summary:

    “All odds were stacked against the pit bulls rescued from NFL star quarterback Michael Vick’s notorious dogfighting ring. Forced to fight for their lives, they were considered so dangerous both PETA and the Humane Society of the United States wanted them euthanized.  But no one could have predicted how the dogs would change the lives of those who risked everything to save them.”

    Interesting. The two best-known animal protection groups, with “Ethical” and “Humane” in their names, wanted the dogs dead.

    We can’t be that surprised about PETA because it kills healthy animals all the time. No controversy there. HSUS’s case, however, is worth revisiting since people seem to seldom remember how slimy it can be.

    For those who don’t remember, Michael Vick and friends were indicted in July 2007 on charges related to an interstate dog fighting operation. HSUS pounced on the high-profile event for fundraising, asking for money “to help The Humane Society of the United States care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.” Here’s a screenshot:


    Yet less than two weeks later, The New York Times reported the dogs were being sheltered by the government. HSUS never had them, which means their promise— “Your gift will be put to use right away to care for these dogs” – was an unabashed abuse of animal misery and human compassion.

    (In retrospect, it’s easy to see HSUS’s history of exploiting disasters and the people who just want to help animals. Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2013, or Oklahoma’s tornado in 2013, etc.)

    Not only did The New York Times expose the scam, but reported the deadly change of plans. Rather than “care for these dogs,” CEO Wayne Pacelle admitted, “we have recommended to them [government authorities], and believe, they will be eventually put down.”

    Let’s recap: HSUS never had Vick’s dogs, but manipulated people who wanted to help by promising to put donations toward helping the dogs. Instead, HSUS pushed to put the dogs down. Perhaps it’s no wonder that The Bleacher Report states in its own new documentary about Vick, released this week, that HSUS declined to participate in the film “despite repeated requests.”

    We bet if you put Pacelle on a trawler next to a pile of eels, it’d be tough to say who’s slimier.


    Posted on 07/18/2016 at 11:32 am by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Animal FightingFundraising & MoneyHistory


  • 10 Things You Should Know About HSUS

    If you’re visiting this site for the first time thanks to our ad in USA Today–welcome! Here’s the full list of things you should know about the so-called “Humane Society” of the United States, starting with the three in our ad. It’s a story of financial malfeasance and misrepresentation. But the local humane societies across America are not affiliated with HSUS. So, do your research, but please try to help your local shelter. Click on the links for more information.

    10 Things You Should Know About HSUS

    1. HSUS raises millions of dollars from American animal lovers through manipulative advertising. An analysis of HSUS’s TV fundraising determined that more than 85 percent of the animals shown were cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters while sucking money out of local communities.

    2. HSUS’s own donors and local shelters feel wronged. A poll of self-identified HSUS donors found 80 percent thought HSUS “misleads people” about their connections to pet shelters and 75 percent were less likely to support the group when they found out the truth. And according to a poll of animal shelters most agree that “HSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.”

    3. HSUS puts more into its pension plan and Caribbean hedge funds than it gives to pet shelters. Between 2012 and 2014, HSUS put over $50 million in Caribbean investments while also putting nearly $10 million into its pension plan.

    4. While it raises money with pictures of cats and dogs, HSUS has an anti-meat vegan agenda. Speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS’s then-vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS’s goal is to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” and that “we don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed.”

    5. In May 2014, HSUS was part of a $15.75 million settlement of a federal racketeering lawsuit. Feld Entertainment sued HSUS, two of its in-house lawyers, and others under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for bribery, obstruction of justice, fraud, and other torts. Court documents indicate that HSUS sent several checks as part of an alleged witness-payment scheme.

    6. HSUS’s senior management includes others who have voiced support for terroristic acts. HSUS chief policy officer Mike Markarian has written that “A perfect example of effective rebellion is an Animal Liberation Front raid on a laboratory.” HSUS food policy director Matt Prescott, meanwhile, has written that “I also believe in the actions of the ALF and other such groups.” (Prescott is a former PETA activist.)

    7. HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California meat processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.”

    8. HSUS receives poor charity-evaluation marks. CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) has issued several “D” ratings for HSUS in recent years over the group’s wasteful spending practices. Additionally, the 2013 Animal People News Watchdog Report discovered that HSUS spends 55 percent of its budget on overhead costs.

    9. HSUS’s CEO endorsed convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick getting another pet. After Vick got out of prison, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle told the press that he thought Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” This startling comment came after Vick’s new employer, the Philadelphia Eagle, made a $50,000 “grant” to HSUS.

    10. Given the massive size of its budget, HSUS does relatively little hands-on care for animals. While HSUS claims it “saves” more animals than any other animal protection group in the US, much of the “care” HSUS provides is in the form of spay-neuter assistance. In fact, local groups that operate on considerably slimmer budgets, such as the Houston SPCA, provide direct care to more animals than HSUS does.

    Posted on 01/26/2016 at 8:38 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Animal AgricultureAnimal FightingAnnouncementsFundraising & Money


  • Will HSUS Help This Alleged NFL Animal Abuser, Too?

    Michael Vick and HSUSEight years after Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring made national headlines, yet another player for the Atlanta Falcons has been arrested on felony animal cruelty charges. Prince Shembo, who had garnered controversy before even joining the team, was arrested last week for killing his then-girlfriend’s dog. Shembo allegedly kicked the dog, a Yorkshire terrier, repeatedly until it died of blunt force trauma.

    The Falcons have waived Shembo from the team, but perhaps he could serve as a future exercise in PR rehabilitation for the Humane Society of the United States. As some may recall, following his 21-month stint in federal prison, Michael Vick went on to become a poster boy for HSUS, with the organization more than happy to present Vick as a paragon of a good dog owner.

    Dog fighting is obviously a horrible crime, and we have covered HSUS’s relationship with Vick extensively, as well as the financial and public relations benefits both parties received from their mutual partnership.  But that’s probably why we won’t see an HSUS-Shembo partnership. Shembo was a fourth-round pick last year, whereas Vick was a megabucks quarterback. Without the potential of a windfall, it’s doubtful HSUS would be interested.

    Posted on 06/09/2015 at 10:50 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Animal FightingCelebrities


  • Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle Loves This Dogfighter

    Pacelle_DogOne of the problems with animal welfare policy—and public policy in general—is that demagogues on one side or another of a political issue make sleazy and unsupported attacks on the other. One of the scummier instances of this we’ve seen was during the 2012 election, when the lobbying arm of the misnamed Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) ran ads implying that Congressman Steve King of Iowa supported dogfighting.

    A number of TV stations refused to run the ads, recognizing this HSUS bile for what it was. Essentially, King had wondered about whether it was worth passing a federal anti-dogfighting law when dogfighting is already illegal in all 50 states. But a question about state-vs.-federal resources gave HSUS the opportunity it needed to nip at his heels, even though King publicly clarified that yes, he is against dogfighting like every other sane person.

    Unfortunately lies and rumors don’t die easily on the Internet, and last week a petition popped up slamming King for this (years-old) episode and closely tracking HSUS’s rhetoric. So far it has nearly 30,000 signatures.

    It’s a good opportunity, then, to remind the public that HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle has helped more dogfighters than Congressman Steve King (who, like most people, has helped zero).

    Pacelle developed a bro-mance with convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick following Vick’s release from prison. After Vick got out of the slammer, Pacelle and HSUS rehabilitated Vick’s public image. Vick controversially signed with the Philadelphia Eagles to resume his NFL career, and—coincidentally, perhaps—the Eagles gave a $50,000 grant to HSUS.

    If that’s not nauseating enough, Pacelle later told the media that Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” Vick has since gotten a dog.

    Disturbingly, there was also a significant increase in dogfighting in Pennsylvania following Vick’s hookup with Pacelle and HSUS. According to the Pennsylvania SPCA, in 2008, while Vick was still in prison, there were 237 investigations of animal fighting in the state. In 2010, there were 1,177—an increase of 400 percent. According to the Pennsylvania SPCA, this uptick in investigations included “an increase in actual dogfighting.”

    Pacelle’s alliance with a convicted dogfighter sure seems to have produced a lot of other Vick-tims. And as for the dogs Vick helped abuse? Pacelle recommended back in 2007, when Vick was indicted, that they be killed. Many or most are now rehabilitated and in caring homes.

    Wayne Pacelle likes to claim he speaks on behalf of animals. If the dogs could talk, they might tell Pacelle they don’t want him. It could be deadly.

    Posted on 05/28/2015 at 12:12 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Animal Fighting


  • Did Michael Vick Just Buy an Attack Dog? (Thanks, HSUS)

    The pet-loving world was shocked last fall when Michael Vick got a dog, just a few years after serving time in federal prison for his role as a dogfighting kingpin. While involved with dogfighting, Vick personally drowned, slammed, and hanged dogs to death, according to a USDA investigation.

    Now Vick has acquired a second dog, and it’s a Belgian Malinois, a breed that’s used by the military and police. TMZ reports that “Vick’s new dog is the WORST possible breed for a convicted dog killer … and that’s from the official organization that breeds the dog,” the American Belgian Malinois Club and Rescue. [Update 3/7/13: The ABMC contacted us and directed us to a statement disputing the TMZ report, which reads in part, “This article does not reflect the position of the AMBC. We are concerned about the image this article might portray to the public about our breed and our club.”]

    Fair question: Would any of this be happening if Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, had not endorsed Vick?

    Following Vick’s release from prison, Pacelle partnered with Vick, allowing the convicted felon to become an HSUS ambassador and go on a speaking tour, which helped rehabilitate Vick’s public image. It surely didn’t hurt that Pacelle’s group received a $50,000 “grant” from Vick’s employer, the Philadelphia Eagles. The outcome for animals is a bit more questionable.

    Then, Pacelle took it a step farther in December 2010, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.”

    That was a shocking statement to make. A lot of people disagreed with that statement then and continue to do so. Vick getting a dog last fall ripped a scab off a wound, and his getting a second dog will be a slap in the face to many. But Vick has P.R. “cover” provided by Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States.

    Belgian Malinois, the breed of Vick’s new dog, are medium-sized but can be trained to pack a punch. A Malinois reportedly accompanied the SEAL team on its mission to take out Osama bin Laden. Here’s one training video:

    Obviously, the dogs have to be taught to do this. But given Vick’s résumé, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if dog lovers are a bit apprehensive about Vick’s new pup.

    Maybe Vick’s next acquisition will be a pit bull or a Rottweiler. But hey, HSUS president Wayne Pacelle has assured us that Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” So we should all just stop worrying and be quiet, right?

    Posted on 03/06/2013 at 11:06 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Animal Fighting


  • USA Today Ad: “Really??”


    If you're new to HumaneWatch–welcome! Use the navigation bar above to learn the facts about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is not your local animal shelter (many people don't know this).

    The above ad ran in USA Today on October 25, 2012. (Click to enlarge.)

    The ad questions the words of Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle, who said Vick "would do a good job as a pet owner" in 2010. Recently, Vick revealed that he has gotten a dog, and animal welfare advocates are outraged, with the memory of Vick's outrageous and cruel behavior seared in their minds.

    Why would Pacelle say such a thing? Did the $50,000 his organization received from Vick's employer help sway his opinion?

    Posted on 10/25/2012 at 5:23 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Animal FightingAnnouncements


  • HSUS Lobbying Arm Faces Blowback in Hawkeye State

    It’s election season, so it seems every YouTube video we click on has to be prefaced with a 30-second ad from one candidate or another. Plenty of them are positive, but there’s the usual slew of demagogic negative ads. And the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), the lobbying arm of the Humane Society of the U.S., has easily the sleaziest spot that we’ve seen thus far. It’s so bad that eight TV stations are refusing to run it.

    The ad targets Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for voting against legislation that would ban people from taking kids to animal fights, deeming him “King of Cruelty.” Michael Markarian, an HSUS executive who also runs HSLF, wrote that the ad is “meticulously sourced with information documenting King’s voting record and statements.” But a TV station owner points out that King is on the record opposing all forms of animal fighting—a fact that HSLF omitted from the ad entirely:

    A review of congressional records shows that King made it clear to his fellow members of Congress that he is opposed to all forms of dog fighting, but believes the issue is a state matter rather than a federal issue, [Citadel Communications President and COO Roy] Cole said. “The upshot is that this spot does not hold up to the light of day,” he added.

    Specifically, King said in Congress: “I, too, oppose any kind of animal fighting.” (Video at the link.) Cole also called the message of the ad “patently false,” while another TV station executive objected to the “sensational tone.”

    Kudos to them for insisting on truth in advertising. And while these Iowa TV stations are at it, they should make sure they’re not running HSUS fundraising ads, which are just as misleading and flimflam as this political ad.

    Politics is full of muckraking and fast-and-loose hyperbole, but HSLF’s ad is a new level of skullduggery. Whether you think animal cruelty should be dealt with on the state or federal level is up to you. But it’s ironic to see HSLF attacks given that HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle recently defended states’ rights to make their own agriculture regulations in attacking a Farm Bill amendment.

    So HSUS will apparently say anything to push its agenda. No surprise there. HSUS misleads and deceives Americans to raise money, and now its lobbying arm does so for attempted political gain. It’s hard to imagine a shadier group short of a Bernie Madoff scheme.

    We’re used to seeing PETA make ads so ridiculous that TV stations refuse to air them. Is it any surprise PETA’s wingnut allies at HSUS/HSLF have reached that level of sleaze?

    Posted on 09/26/2012 at 2:39 am by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Animal FightingGov't, Lobbying, Politics