Topic: Pets

  • Dog in HSUS “Care” Died of Painful Twisted Intestines

    Last week the trial began for a New Hampshire woman accused of animal cruelty. Over the summer, HSUS seized 84 Great Danes from her and has had custody of the animals in a secret location since while the criminal case against the woman has proceeded. However, three dogs have since died in HSUS custody, and the defense is probing into the circumstances.

    Here’s what a veterinarian testified:

    Barker asked defense witness Dr. Samantha Moffitt, a veterinarian practicing with Central Animal Referral & Emergency Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va. She said acute mesenteric volvulus is twisting of the netting of the small intestines. […]

    Moffit said the dog would be in a lot of pain and eventually go into shock and die. She said the dog would make its discomfort clear by being restless, moving around, and trying to vomit or vomiting. 

    “It’s not a dog that’s bright, alert and responsive,” said Moffitt.

    Moffitt testified that the report showed the dog had partially digested food in its stomach, and ingestion of a lot of food in one meal is associated with that condition.

    And here is HSUS’s response:

    “The Great Dane who passed away on Sept. 20, named Bonnie by her caregivers, left our veterinarians, staff and volunteers heartbroken, but we are also grateful she was under loving care and passed in a clean and enriched living environment. Two days before she died, Bonnie was seen by two veterinarians and showed no outward signs of illness. On the morning of her death, staff checked on Bonnie twice, and again she showed no signs of illness.”

    Putting aside the spin of HSUS’s statement, it doesn’t sound very believable. The condition is painful and the dog would have shown outward signs of distress. The veterinarian implies that the condition could have been caused by caretakers giving the dog too much food. HSUS raised over $100,000 following the seizure—one would think it could do better.

    There are still two more dogs that died, and we’re curious what the details are there. The woman on trial may or may not be found guilty, but based on the evidence for this dog, should HSUS be charged as well?

    Posted on 10/30/2017 at 9:58 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Courtroom DramaPets


  • Dogs Die in HSUS “Care” in New Hampshire

    Big news broke this summer when 84 Great Danes were seized from a New Hampshire woman’s mansion. She was charged with animal cruelty, and her trial starts next week. But whether she is found guilty or not, the “care” of the animals by the Humane Society of the United States is drawing scrutiny following several dog deaths.

    In September the news broke that a third dog had died in the custody of HSUS. The dogs had at that point been held for over three-and-a-half months by HSUS at a secret location.

    The defense and prosecution agreed to hire a veterinarian from Virginia to assess the care provided by HSUS. The vet works for an animal rescue organization and has testified for both the prosecution and the defense in previous cases. Her testimony is of note.

    “I definitely think after looking at these dogs yesterday they would be better off rehomed,” Moffitt said in court. “They are stressed in that environment just with us walking through. I can just imagine volunteers walking through when it’s time for feeding or walking through to take these dogs to the vet.” […]

    “I was only allowed to observe the dogs, not a hands-on examination,” said Moffitt, who said the dogs were held in a “storage unit-type building. I was kind of actually surprised. I’d walk in, and they would barely lift their heads up. They wouldn’t get off their little bed. You can just tell they are kind of depressed. Other ones are the exact opposite, where they started barking and pacing back and forth in a very small pen, maybe 5 feet by 10 feet, which is not very large for these very large-breed dogs.” […]

    “It looked like the veterinarian who saw them the next day at the Humane Society just went ahead and vaccinated them,” said Moffitt. “To me that’s kind of neglect to not research to look and see that she (Fay) had medical records.”

    She said over-vaccination is “frowned upon.”

    An attorney representing the defendant believes HSUS raised $300,000 to $500,000 from fundraising on the seizure and “is exploiting the Great Danes, using them as props, cashing in on their misery,” according to a report. On top of that, HSUS has over $50 million sitting in Caribbean funds, according to its tax return. So it could be providing these dogs a Ritz Carlton experience if it was so inclined. At the very least, you’d think HSUS would be sparing no expense to keep the animals alive and in good condition. Yet two puppies were euthanized—HSUS says they had an “untreatable condition”—and a third dog was put down and the details are sketchy.

    Is HSUS doing a good job? It’s difficult to say at this point. But the court proceedings in the coming weeks should reveal much about the two sides’ allegations. The defense is certainly going to put HSUS on trial.

    Posted on 10/10/2017 at 9:56 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: News SummariesPets


  • HSUS Raises Money Off of Nonexistent “Puppy Mill”

    The Humane Society of the United States has a history of exploiting situations for financial gain. In 2007, following the arrest of Michael Vick on dogfighting-related charges, HSUS raised money on the promise to care for the dogs seized—while simultaneously HSUS was advocating for authorities to kill the dogs instead of attempting to rehabilitate them (as other groups have since done). Recently, we saw HSUS kick into full gear fundraising off of a supposed “puppy mill” raid in Georgia.

    The only problem? There was no “puppy mill.”

    Here’s the original headline of HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s blog announcing the raid and begging for money, according to Google’s cache:

    Since then, HSUS has quietly removed this post, and the rest of HSUS’s website appears to be scrubbed of anything describing this situation as a puppy mill or animal abuse.

    Instead, HSUS now claims that there was a situation of “neglect.” But there’s more. According to local news, the owner willingly surrendered the animals and doesn’t appear likely to be charged with animal abuse (but perhaps neglect). The owner may be allowed to keep some animals if appropriate care can be provided.

    That context is a bit different from the cries of “massive puppy mill” that HSUS used to solicit donations. Did HSUS refund the money obtained under those pretenses? (We doubt it.)

    And helping out with the situation are a number of local humane groups, such as the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (not affiliated with HSUS), Cornerstone Animal Hospital, Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement, PAWS Bryson City, that were providing care for the animals.

    So what’s HSUS doing? It sent a media team to do video and pictures for its fundraising, that much is clear. But there are a lot of local volunteers offering a hand around the clock. HSUS raises millions a year and is sitting on so much money that it can afford to stick $50 million into offshore funds in the Caribbean. It doesn’t need any money.

    Instead of letting HSUS hoard money in the aftermath of this incident, give to one of the local groups if you’re so inclined.

    Posted on 04/27/2017 at 3:02 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Pets


  • Louis C.K. Riffs on HSUS Ads, Buying a Puppy

    Should you buy a dog, or adopt one? The choice is personal. And in a new special on Netflix, comedian Louis C.K. offers his opinion in a story about the time he got a dog for his kids.

    Getting a dog has become tainted by political correctness. Groups like HSUS have stigmatized buying a dog—“adopt, don’t shop”—and have pushed legislation to prohibit consumers from purchasing a dog that comes from a breeder, despite acknowledging that not all breeders are substandard (according to HSUS standards). If you ask us, all dogs want a loving home, no matter where they’re from.

    Louis C.K. doesn’t just offer his thoughts on buying vs. adopting, he also takes on the tear-jerking ads you see from HSUS and the ASPCA. View the 4-minute clip below. (There’s some adult language, as you would expect.)

    Posted on 04/11/2017 at 12:36 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Pets


  • 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


  • Did HSUS Let Dogs Suffer in China?

    We’ve always suspected that HSUS’s work in China fighting the dog meat trade had a hidden dark side. While a worthy cause, the fact that it occurs half a globe away means that it’s a situation that could be ripe for abuse. Given HSUS’s history of attorney general investigations, paying $11 million to settle a fraud suit, and using high-profile events to pocket donations, we were skeptical that everything was as clean as a preacher’s sheets.

    And we were wise to be distrustful.

    A Nov. 29 piece written by Martyn Stewart, “Activism Gone Bad,” alleges HSUS’s international arm let dogs suffer. The whole piece is worth a read. Essentially, it goes into the interaction between two efforts in China to rescue dogs, one by California-based activist Marc Ching, and another by Humane Society International. The article outlines some tension concerning the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

    Here’s the part about HSI, for whom Peter Li is a consultant:

    The heat in Yulin was sweltering. Many of these dogs were emaciated and undernourished. Even the ones I saw the day before at the slaughterhouse were pretty lifeless. What Marc was about to tell me turned my stomach.

    Peter Li told Marc that if he didn’t make a statement on the his foundation social media page stating that HSI was helping Ching’s organization save dogs, Li would have the dogs they’d bargained for put back in the slaughterhouse (obviously Li must have had some deal with these people, too). Li told Ching that he had one hour to post the statement or the dogs would go back as promised. Marc told me he was forced to do what Li asked for the sake of the dogs’ lives.

    Li then loaded an estimated 140 dogs into a truck and transported them 35 hours north of Yulin without any water, shelter, or food. When Marc found out he told Li to turn back and leave the dogs with him so he could put them in his shelter in Nanning rather than allow them to endure such a deadly journey. Li basically told Ching that the dogs would survive on adrenaline and if they die they die. Many of those dogs did perish. (PLEASE LISTEN TO THE AUDIO BELOW IN MARC’S OWN WORDS)

    Marc told me this information was off the record but I have insisted that this be told for the sake of the animals and donors. I wrote to HSI in July, asking them to make a statement, but to this day they have ignored me.

    The story seems to have struck a nerve, as Peter Li posted an official response from HSI to his Facebook page three days later saying in June Ching had “approached HSI’s team to ask us to take an additional 100 dogs. However, while HSI was providing post-rescue care for the first batch of dogs, HSI was attacked on social media because we had refused to help with the dogs Marc had purchased.” […] In addition, the Chinese advocates who had helped in the rescue of the first 120 dogs were not available to help with the additional 100 dogs. Therefore, HSI was not in a position to help with the second batch of dogs.”

    Wait, what? Why wouldn’t HSUS/HSI help care for 100 dogs?

    Consider this: Marc Ching’s foundation brought in $118,000 in revenue in 2015, according to Guidestar. That same year, HSUS brought in 1,000 times more money. And yet HSI is admitting it wouldn’t care for 100 dogs. Is that really such a hard lift when you’re a wealthy group with local partners? We can’t imagine so.

    Consider also: How much money has HSI/HSUS raised to help stop the dog meat trade in China? We don’t know, but with all of the publicity HSUS gets around the issue, it must be in the millions. On top of that, HSUS put over $150 million into offshore Caribbean funds between 2012 and 2015. It has no shortage of cash to help animals—if it wants to.

    For HSUS to turn its back on dogs in China is a regrettable betrayal of its mission.

    And Ching looks terrible as well. On Nov. 26, the Daily Mail broke a story that “Ching’s high-profile operation deteriorated into farce, and ended with hundreds of dogs suffering slow and excruciatingly painful deaths within days of being rescued.”

    It appears that there are two troubled operations. Given the seriousness of the allegations, HSUS should make a full accounting of all of its fundraising related to China and all of its expenditures and activities. Any honest and transparent leadership would.

    Posted on 01/23/2017 at 3:15 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & MoneyPets


  • “Fake News” Rolling Stone Publishes HSUS Propaganda


    What do you get when you combine a former spokesman for animal rights terrorists and a former drug user? You get this week’s Rolling Stone article on dog breeding.

    The article, published online Monday, is being heavily touted by HSUS and its notorious CEO Wayne Pacelle. The article appears to be laying the groundwork for a lobbying campaign in North Carolina. In fact, Rolling Stone is a fitting place for HSUS propaganda. You may have seen Rolling Stone in the news recently as the loser of a defamation lawsuit involving a false story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia. Rolling Stone has retracted the story, and, with the reporter, is now on the hook to pay $3 million in damages to a university dean who was defamed. To use post-election lingo, it now appears that Rolling Stone is vying for the title of Fake News Central.

    And perhaps there’s no more fitting author here than Paul Solotaroff. Solotaroff has a history of being chummy with HSUS, writing suck-up pieces for Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal, calling Pacelle the “film-star-handsome president and CEO of the Humane Society.” In writing this latest piece, Solotaroff turned for help to HSUS employee John Goodwin—a former spokesman for the FBI-designated domestic terrorist group Animal Liberation Front. Solotaroff, meanwhile, has his own checkered past, having admitted to using hard drugs. Solotaroff has been condemned by Village Voice—where he once worked—as a “charlatan” who “engaged in an array of misleading, dishonest, and unethical behavior. So appropriate for someone flacking for Pacelle.

    So what’s wrong with the article itself? Let’s dig in.

    The piece hinges on a raid conducted by law enforcement and HSUS on a woman in North Carolina who was allegedly running a puppy mill.

    The connection? HSUS is pushing legislation that would ban the sale of pets at pet stores if those pets come from a breeder—even if the breeder runs the equivalent of a Ritz Carlton for dogs. But these laws exempt pets that come from shelters and rescues. HSUS’s entire media strategy, including the Rolling Stone piece, relies on the false dichotomy “breeder bad, shelter good.”

    But here’s the catch: The dogs in North Carolina appear to have come from a shelter. The woman raided in September had operated an animal shelter that had had its license revoked in 2015. Incredibly, this fact isn’t mentioned in the story.

    What’s more, dog breeders are already regulated under federal animal welfare laws (hobby breeders with a couple of animals are exempted). And in many states, there are “lemon laws” for pets. So there are standards for commercial breeders that are enforceable.

    But there appear to be fewer standards for operating a “shelter” or “rescue.” Michigan State University’s Animal Law site notes, “There are no national laws regulating pet rescues or foster care homes. Also, very few states define these terms in their statewide legislation.” Other regulations “may” apply—or may not. “Although there are few laws that directly regulate rescue and foster care groups, there are a small handful of laws that do. However, even with the laws in place, often there is a lack of enforcement,” the site continues.

    In the case of this North Carolina shelter, state inspectors had found problems since 2013. At the time its license was revoked in April 2015, the “shelter” had 55 dogs and 7 cats. At the time of the raid in September, authorities seized 105 dogs and 20 cats.

    So at least in North Carolina, there are some regulations of shelters. But this raises several questions:

    1)      If state authorities revoked the animal shelter’s license, why did they wait a year and a half before seizing the animals?

    2)     Would HSUS’s lobbying for pet store bans have helped prevent this situation from occurring?

    3)     Would HSUS’s lobbying for state regulations on (already federally regulated) breeders have helped here?

    The answers to 2 and 3 seem clear to us: No. The Rolling Stone article noted that the North Carolina shelter operator “supported herself for years on the profits from her kennel.”

    What seems most productive would be to address the first question, perhaps through enforcing existing laws better. Yet in Solotaroff’s article, HSUS rattles on about increasing regulations on already regulated breeders.

    Further, in the bigger picture, how many shelters or rescues are out there, unregulated or loosely regulated, that are not treating animals humanely? Do these animals even matter to HSUS, or are they more concerned with the breeders who are in the business of providing pets? One clue is Pacelle’s admission that “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.”

    Everybody is in agreement that animals should be treated well. But HSUS is (once again) seemingly more concerned with politics than with logical policy. And stories like Solotaroff’s are part of the weak stable of Pacelle sycophants who are on the edge of real journalism.

    After the UVA fiasco, Rolling Stone should be doing better.

    Posted on 01/05/2017 at 6:07 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Pets


  • The “Humane Society of the U.S.” Hardly Cares for Any Animals in America

    sad-dogThe Humane Society of the United States, like an unfortunate number of large, bloated charities, wastes a lot of money that could be used for good. But the real crime might be in how the organization concocts talking points that make it seem otherwise. In fact, it appears that much of HSUS’s “hands-on care” consists of merely snipping street dogs’ testicles in foreign countries, to put it bluntly.

    HSUS does not run a single pet shelter despite its name. Its CEO gets a sizeable $450,000 compensation package; the group has shoveled $150 million into offshore funds since 2012; and it has gotten “D” and “C” grades from the respected evaluator CharityWatch for high overhead.

    HSUS tries to deflect this criticism by claiming it cares for a lot of animals. We’ve debunked this talking point time and again over the years, but this year HSUS is now claiming it has cared for 300,000 animals—three times the number it claimed just two years ago.

    HSUS provides no formal accounting of this figure, so that’s the first hint that this figure is preposterous. But from the organization’s website we’ve been able to tease out some specific programs in the United States:

    South Florida Wildlife Center: 12,000 animals

    Black Beauty Ranch: “hundreds”

    Pets for Life: 14,000

    Which leaves about 283,000 missing. Where are they? Most of those appear to be street dogs that are sterilized in India, Bhutan, and other developing countries. HSUS signed a two-year agreement in 2015 to sterilize or vaccinate 400,000 dogs in India. And HSUS isn’t doing this for free—local governments are compensating them. HSUS even canceled an agreement with one Indian locality last year because it felt it wasn’t being paid enough. This, from an already wealthy charity, mind you.

    So there you go. When you give to the Humane Society of the United States, you’re probably not helping any animals in the US. Instead, you’re helping money-grubbing blowhards who act far more pious than they really are pad their salaries, pension plans, and Caribbean funds.

    The solution? Give to your local shelter directly. They’ll appreciate it—and they’ll be a lot more upfront about how they use your donation.

    Posted on 12/09/2016 at 2:24 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Annual ReportsHSUS PublicationsPets


  • Wayne Pacelle’s Revisionist History Begins a New Chapter

    HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle recently spoke at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. Speaking at an event entitled “Animal Welfare in America,” Pacelle fed the hungry attendees a healthy serving of vegan tripe as he continued his masterful evasion of his past/current radical views on the relationship between animals and humans. (Side note: Of all the meat substitutes, what vegans were crying for a tripe option?)

    In the interview, Pacelle harkens back to his childhood where he reminisces about always having a love for animals and feeling a sense of kinship with them. This charming anecdote may fit the whimsical narrative that he has crafted for himself with books like The Bond. But it seems like nothing more than a good work of fiction.

    During his tenure at Yale, Pacelle displayed a dismissiveness to the idea of having a bond with pets. He frequently boasted about his radical views on pets saying things such as “I don’t love animals or think they are cute” as well as “animals are no one’s property.” Pacelle even remarked in an interview in 1994 that he could envision a future without pets by stating, “If I had my personal view perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.” To the same interviewer, he also remarked:

    “I don’t have a hands-on fondness for animals. I did not grow up bonded to any particular nonhuman animal. I like them and I pet them and I’m kind to them, but there’s no special bond between me and other animals.” (Emphasis added.)

    So who should we believe: Past Pacelle, who had no incentive to lie, or current Pacelle, who has a carefully crafted public relations strategy? These statements not only put into question the idea that Pacelle is in favor of pets, but also the claims by Pacelle of “always” having an unshakeable bond with animals. As if Kansas needed more BS on its hands.

    Only time will tell if Pacelle will have to revise his own history again by changing the cover of his book The Bond from a child hugging his loyal companion to a child crying in a field as Mr. Pacelle heartlessly takes the poor boy’s loyal dog away.


    Posted on 10/04/2016 at 10:39 am by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Executive StaffPets


  • Did Cesar Millan Commit Animal Cruelty?

    Millan_TodayShowThe Internet has a new target of scorn, and this time it’s animal trainer and “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan. A recent episode of Millan’s show “Cesar 911” featured a French bulldog/terrier mix nipping a potbellied pig in the ear. Cue the outrage mafia, which is demanding that the show be canceled and he face criminal charges. A petition to get the show off-air has reportedly gathered 11,000 signatures.

    The dog in question was aggressive towards pigs and was being trained to become non-aggressive. Millan responded to the controversy by saying people are blowing this way out of proportion, and the dog’s owner has come to his defense. The dog, meanwhile, appears to have benefitted from the training, as seen in a subsequent clip of it with the pig in which the latter doesn’t appear distressed at all.

    Outrage mobs are notoriously self-righteous, and this is no exception. But, as an animal control officer notes, context is vital in any investigation of animal abuse. A short video clip may be misleading.

    Sound familiar? That’s exactly what happens when groups like the Humane Society of the United States try to mislead the public about farming practices. They might show a video—horror movie soundtrack optional—that makes something look bad.

    Maternity pens for pregnant pigs are a good example. A video can be manipulated to make it seem like the pigs are distressed—for example, by shooting film during feeding time, when the pigs are simply more excited. We’ve actually been to farms that use them. The pigs are quite content.

    What’s the lesson? Don’t rush to judgment. But in the age of 24/7 news and instant “hot takes” on social media, that’s easier said than done.

    Posted on 03/14/2016 at 4:40 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: PetsVideo