In 2011 in Montana, local law enforcement seized 150-plus malamutes that were (ed.: allegedly) neglected and charged the owner with 91 counts of animal cruelty. Following a trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 25 suspended.
That conviction could be overturned—courtesy of the alleged selfishness of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The defendant is appealing his conviction on the grounds that his 4th Amendment rights under the Constitution were violated. Why? Because the sheriff’s deputy allowed HSUS to help execute the warrant, and HSUS, while on the man’s property, used the occasion for private benefit. HSUS allegedly took photos and video that it used for promotional purposes.
We’re not lawyers, so we don’t know how strong his case is. But if it is true, it wouldn’t be the first time HSUS has put its own publicity interests ahead of the animals it claims to represent.
In Arizona, Tennessee, and other states, HSUS has lobbied against bills that would require evidence of animal cruelty to be turned over to law enforcement. Why would HSUS oppose helping law enforcement stop animal cruelty? HSUS and other groups have actually sat on footage for weeks or months because it allows them to prepare media/fundraising campaigns. Even The New York Times was critical of this.
In other words, animals aren’t necessarily the top priority at HSUS.
Now, before HSUS flaks make some claim that we’re “defending animal abusers,” that’s not the case here. A trial was held and he was found guilty in court. If anyone is helping him get off, it’s HSUS.
HSUS likes to say that animals can’t speak for themselves. That’s true. But if they could, they might tell HSUS “thanks, but no thanks.”