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


  • Kathryn Smith

    Bloat, or Torsion comes on QUICKLY, but the condition causes definite signs of IMMEDIATE distress — not the day or ‘hours’ before — I’d bet ‘they’ try to spin Genetics into this somehow – implying that the ‘breeding practices’ led to this condition —

    • Kathryn Bolin

      It just happens sometimes. They’ll definitely try to spin it as genetic and it’s true Danes are predisposed, but that’s why the caretakers should know about it . I’ve also known a lot of mixed breeds that bloated . It’s really just a big dog thing.

      • Liz Lufrano

        Bloat is not “just a big dog thing”… It occurs more often with larger breeds but it can happen to ANY sized dog. The “veterinarians” at the secret shelter did not recognize the symptoms and this raises questions as to their credentials as vets! HSUS should be charged with the THEFT of these dogs from their owner!!!

        • MisterCadet

          The HSUS “caretakers” are primarily inexperienced volunteers and their veterinarians are often vet students or vet techs. HSUS spends as little as possible on flesh and blood animals while sparing no expense for lobbying and VIP perks for the narcissist in chief.

        • GEORGE1948

          It got H$U$ [HSUS raised over $100,000 following the seizure] that is all they are interested in. It does not matter to them the lives of the seized animals or the human lives they destroyed. Their main concern is they made tons of money.

      • Teri Kahn

        It’s a deep-chested thing. Dogs with shallow or barrel rib cages tend to not bloat as much. And, I wonder if the caretakers are using tall feeders. Studies have shown they also contribute to bloat.

        • Deb Harlow

          I absolutely am not a fan nor supporter of H$U$ – I do rescue a large breed and have experienced bloat too many times (5 including one of my personal Akitas) and it Does come on Quickly, it has little precursor symptoms and none at all a day before. Although 3 of these were during the day, symptoms recognized and immediately rushed to a vet , only One — a young one of just a year old — survived. GDV/torsion resulting from Bloat is Devastating very frequently. My other two occurred during the night, and I can unfortunately say for a fact that while it might be uncommon, they do not all cry out loudly in pain.
          Even a broken clock is right twice a day — Beyond HSUS actually having these dogs and being ignorant of their diet and the statistics of bloat and breed tendencies, they may have done nothing wrong/missed nothing during an exam. Again, I stand Against HSUS – and want to inform people on bloat and torsion too.

  • Teri Kahn

    The ignorant caretakers fed large amounts of commercial kibble to dogs who were on a raw meat and bones diet. I believe Fay when she says she never had a dog bloat; that’s a benefit of the raw meat diet. But, HSUS and the local gestapo will never be found negligent at the local level.

  • GiftofGalway2015

    I agree with all the other comments. I own a breed that, like Great Danes, is prone to bloat, although as Teri says, it’s largely preventable by feeding raw. Still, even though I’ve fed raw for nearly 20 years, I don’t take it for granted and have read all I can about bloat (gastric torsion), so that line about checking the dog twice and seeing no sign of illness is bull****. Twice in how long? Bloat comes on VERY fast and has distinct signs and symptoms. That poor dog was in agony and died a horrible death. Not that HSUS would care. They know nothing about dogs or any other animal, but they know everything about money, that’s for sure.

  • Freedome-Lover

    Hey people – wake up!!! These are the same idiots that for $19 a month, will save a dog and you will get a picture. Yeah – one they’ve neglected and killed!!! They are NOT to be trusted – they are NOT sane – and they are NOT experts, to say the least, in animal care!!! The goal is the destruction of all domestic animals – the snipping of the ties that bind us to the animal world. They’re mean, selfish, and arrogant!!!!!! Better dead than with their loving owners!!! What horrible entities – they’re NOT human!

  • Kathryn Bolin

    Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of bloat experience, having owned standard poodles for 25 years . I’ve never been able to figure out who would bloat and who wouldn’t with the exact care and lifestyle. That said shelter vets and emloyees should definitely understand how to recognize and treat it .

    • MisterCadet

      HSUS doesn’t have any shelter vets assisting with their “secret location” makeshift shelter operations. HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter anywhere. It’s all about publicity and money and these emergency “rescues” are designed to perpetuate the myth that HSUS runs shelters all year long.