Will 91 Counts of Animal Cruelty Be Tossed Thanks to HSUS?

MalamutesIn 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.”

Posted on 03/25/2014 at 12:14 pm by Humane Watch Team.

Topics: Main


  • TomKi

    The writer presents this as if Chilinski is a “real animal abuser” who might get off on a technicality, and there is no reliable evidence to support that idea. The evidence that indicates that Chilinski might be guilty of any animal abuse or neglect is very unreliable and comes from the same group that exploits it.

    • Barbara Hoffmann

      Thank you!!! Their seizure of his animals and the rest of what they have done to him should be condemned…

  • TomKi

    The first sentence needs to be corrected. “In 2011 in Montana, local law enforcement seized
    150-plus malamutes that were neglected and charged the owner with 91
    counts of animal cruelty.” It should say that they seized the animals and alleged or claimed that they were neglected. Saying that they “were neglected” presumes a fact that should not be considered a fact even after a conviction. The term “neglect” is too ambiguous, too. If there was neglect, and it was proven, the writer should state a specific act or omission that was proven. The use of that sentence set off all of the protest here, and rightly so. It makes a poorly supported claim against the owner of the animals, presumes a “fact” that it is better to refrain from presuming in an article such as this.

    It is much more accurate to state that law enforcement and the HSUS alleged or claimed neglect.

    The term “neglected dog” is unusable. It could mean anything. The animal might be a walking skeleton or, ask the cats, we might have set dinner out half an hour late. It could mean matted hair. It could mean that the nails need trimmed. It’s easy to get a wrongful conviction in formal court proceedings or in the press because the term can mean anything.

    • Barbara Hoffmann

      Sadly this could hurt his appeal…the whole post should be re-written

    • TomKi

      I thank the author for the edit. It’s a common mistake to say it that way.

  • Fred Lulling

    The whole problem is, they now put “neglect” right up there with intentional cruelty and torture of animals. If you “neglect” to keep the dog’s food bowl full at all times, you are just as bad as somebody like Vick -although you get 30 years and he gets more publicity. Going after deliberate animal abuse is great and admirable. But seizing a group of animals and tossing the owner in jail, over some overlooked algae in a possibly unused water tank, is going way too far. The animals that get seized then are cared for far worse than before the raid, but that gets overlooked, because after all, they’ve been “rescued.” This whole thing is so lopsided, it’d be comical if it were not altogether true and tragic. Then, when there’s a raid that may possibly garner national publicity, of course HSUS steps in, giving their help, whether it’s needed or not. They’ll come on like gangbusters, help smash down doors and whatever it takes., then they go home, leaving the local shelters to foot the bills and house all the animals. And when HSUS leaves, they certainly don’t hand the local shelter a check to help pay those expenses. They cash in on the publicity, and leave the public thinking they financed everything… In the end, whether jailed or not, the animal owner, breeder, farmer, or whatever, loses their entire investment in the animals, probably has to pay the “housing” costs, and is ostracized from then on as an “abuser,” whether convicted or not.

    If somebody like Mike can get their conviction overturned because of HSUS sticking their nose into it, more power to him. Someday, maybe they’ll learn to keep their nose out of cases they have nothing to do with. They need to stick to the lobbying they are so good at.

    • TomKi

      Too much verbal trickery involved in justifying charges of neglect at all, and judges let them get away with it. Jean Cyhanick was convicted even though the dogs were under a veterinarian’s care at that time and she followed his recommendations, for “bad teeth.”

  • TomKi

    These days we need clear support for anyone who is affected by these raids, and the raids themselves should be abolished, absolutely abolished.

    • Jane

      It is about time that these “THUGS” are exposed. and I agree 100%, no
      food/water 100% of the time, not 100% clean or groomed, toenails long, tarter on
      teeth, not 100% house pet, not 100% running up to strangers is NOT abuse, but is
      claimed as such by these “NUTS”