So we were able to get Oreo’s Law put forth again to the Agricultural Committee (Thank you Micah Kellner).
This is just the first step of getting this bill passed.
Truly none of us felt it would be a problem, initially, to get it through this first committee. It was later we thought we’d have the true battle. But we underestimated the ASPCA – they have done this before, we were neophytes. They recognized that the best way to make sure it never saw the light of day was to influence the first committee to can it…and they did. They didn’t actually shut it down, they were just able to get it “tabled”, which meant that months ago they just all agreed NOT to vote on it until next session.
So in that time, we estimate that 16,629 number of animals have died in New York Shelters as a result.
Well here we are again.
It’s been presented back into committee, and immediately Best Friends has come out against it.
We EXPECT the ASPCA to come out against it. After all, the very name “Oreo’s Law” is forever a blight on their organization. For those of you that have lived in a cave the last year, Oreo was a dog that suffered abuse every day of her life. She was finally tossed from a six story building and she miraculously survived. She had broken bones and a broken spirit, but with care and surgery she survived. A true Miracle Dog. But she didn’t like other dogs and so the ASPCA deemed her unadoptable and they killed her. They murdered her even though Pets Alive stepped up and agreed to take her here.
I mean here is a dog that was in pain, multiple surgeries, in a strange and scary place, and we said let’s give her some time in a sanctuary with some peace and they said something like “nah, we know best, we’re gonna murder her”. And they did. (I don’t think that the word “euthanasia” should ever be allowed to be applied in cases like this). Even though we have a track record of saving and rehabbing HUNDREDS of dogs much, much, much, worse than ones with a little dog aggression.
But here is the good part of Oreo’s death if there is such a thing. The community was UP IN ARMS and OUTRAGED.
Here was a dog – a true MIRACLE – that had known nothing but abuse her entire life and survived the “un-survivable” and the ASPCA, the group we give our money to to “speak for the animals” and to protect them – they decided to kill her even when there was another option.
So people were outraged and they demanded something be done and so Oreo’s Law was birthed. And Oreo’s Law says that if a rescue that is a 501(c)3 and has no past record of any sort of animal charges against them, that if they step up and can help by taking a dog from a euthanasia list of a shelter (we still have to pay that shelters adoption fees!), then they should be allowed to do so.
If we had this, then Oreo would probably be in a loving home right now being pampered and shown love for the first time in her life. Instead she is dead, and in a landfill because the ASPCA decided that even though they raised a ton of money from her “miracle story”, that she wasn’t worth giving more than a couple of months of time to.
So enter Oreo’s Law.
Enter the ASPCA crushing it and lobbying against it – as expected – (we did offer to change the name if they would support it) and then enter Best Friends – the champions of no kill, the group that pretty much, in my mind, started the entire no-kill movement. They decide that we can’t win against the ASPCA. They tell us that they are starting a huge fund raising campaign in NY this year and they will be raising money here, and they can’t do it without the ASPCA’s support and backing. And they won’t support Oreo’s Law because they say that going against the ASPCA would be political suicide.
I am not telling you that I SUSPECT this. I am not telling you that I think this is what happened, I am telling you that they SAID this on the phone with me, and Nathan and others.
It was devestating.
The people we modeled the entire Pets Alive organization after, the people that saved our ass when the previous director and founder of Pets Alive got brain cancer, made terrible decisions down here, put animals in danger and then she died leaving no plan in place for any of them. When we came here and saw what had happened we called Best Friends, and they came and helped and put us on our feet. My heroes. I read their magazine cover to cover. I cry happy tears when animals I know were adopted there, and I went out there many times to visit and work at their amazing facility in Utah. I know many of the founders and consider many of the staff my friends. I want to be clear – I LOVED this organization with EVERY breath. LOVED THEM. BELIEVED IN THEM.
I was dumbfounded. How could BF not support this. I couldn’t believe it. We wrote a few blogs about it. You can read them here:
They betrayed us.
They betrayed the animals.
They chose political alignments over animals lives.
I still can not believe it.
As I write this, I sit and I say this can’t be true. IT CAN’T BE. I love that organization. I LOVE them. Please this can not be true. Please.
But it is.
As shocking as it is, they have lost their way.
They choose politics now over lives.
They have become one of the big names.
The big players.
And they lost their mission.
Let me tell you that Michael Mountain – their PAST CEO – DID support Oreo’s Law. HE IS TRUE to his heart and to his mission. He is truly what the animal movement should be about. You can read his letter and many other letters of support here: http://petsalive.com/oreo.html
Because even after they trashed Oreo’s Law, and as a result it was defeated in committee (or “tabled”), we still worked with Best Friends. We did the Beagle Rescue with them. We still support many of the things they do. They still do great things. They helped us save all those beagles (they footed the entire bill) they recently saved 200 dogs in a situation in Arkansas (we took 8 of those dogs here), and their outreach in helping people with dogs and cats is amazing.
They do a great number of mass rescues and their Help Desk helps countless others place animals and get help for animals that need it. Of course they raise money too from these ventures, although I do not hold that against them – it would be stupid to spend thousands of dollars and NOT publicize and get PR for what you are doing and not try to get the money out of that publicity. Let’s face it, they aren’t stupid and I don’t begrudge them that. EVERY rescue or shelter will highly publicize the good that they do in the hopes of support from the community. We NEED it to continue our missions, so as I said, they do many great things, but of course they also raise a lot of money from them as well.
But once again, Oreo’s law is put forth and they refuse to support it.
But here are the disconnects. They supported the Delaware law which was MUCH, MUCH tougher. The Delaware law wouldn’t even allow a shelter to euthanize an animal if it had an empty available FOSTER home, an empty kennel, or ANY other option – wow! How awesome is THAT law!!?? We have tons of shelters here killing animals before the weekend “in case” lots of animals come in. What if none do? You just killed dozens of animals for no reason. So in Delaware, this comes out and Best Friends supported it!!! They issued a statement and congratulated Delaware animal lovers and publicly supported the law. So what is the difference?
They SAY (and this is NOT true) that Delaware had a provision that the shelter could inspect the rescue group and Oreo’s Law does not. They said that was what the difference was. HELLO! HELLO! PAY ATTENTION NOW. Oreo’s Law was rewritten to appease Best Friends on this issue – they told us if we rewrote it to include this issue they would support it! THEY PROMISED US! SO WE DID! Oreo’s law gives shelters the ability to inspect the rescue group when they have reason to suspect that the animal might be put in harm’s way. Yet THEY claim that “the language has not changed since last year…” Not true.
So did they not BOTHER to read it because they don’t care? Did they not bother to read it because they don’t want to have to support it because it puts them at odds with the ASPCA? Or did they read it, know this and put forth misinformation to make themselves look not so heinous and let you, the readers, read their statement and say “Oh! Well, that makes sense”. Well I am telling you that they are either IGNORANT, or they are LYING.
They told us they would support it if we changed the wording. We did. They lied. They say that the wording is the same. It is NOT.
Then they said that they do not get involved in any legislative issues, that they always stay “neutral”. But, um…hello… by NOT supporting it they aren’t “neutral” and they DID support Delaware. So Best Friends, why the spin? Why the lies? What are you doing and WHY, WHY, WHY? Do you care that animals are killed every day as a result of this? Almost 17,000 since Oreo’s Law was tabled. Part of those deaths, rest with you.
OK so let’s move on. They keep spinning it. Here is yet ANOTHER reason they gave for not supporting it. “Rescuers can be hoarders”.
But if that is true, then why support the Delaware law? Delaware Rescues are NOT hoarders, but NY rescuers ARE hoarders?
And wait, just last week The CEO of Best Friends wrote a whole blog trashing PETA because PETA says that no kill organizations are just hoarders in disguise and he trashed that comment (RIGHTFULLY SO) and said that rescuers and no kill organizations are NOT hoarders and that “hoarding is a mental disability that may be linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Animal hoarders are no friends of no-kill, and Best Friends and others in the no-kill movement have led the way in exposing and bringing hoarders to justice.” Hmm.
Also what is the percentage of hoarders that are rescuers? I know hundreds of rescues. Truly HUNDREDS. There are a few I’m not crazy about. True. But the percentage of them that are hoarders? Out of the HUNDREDS I know? Ummm. None.
And if everyone is worried, REALLY, about hoarders? Then wait a second. The ASPCA brings in $80 million dollars a YEAR. They pay their CEO $500,000+ a year. Wouldn’t that be THEIR job? To track down “fake rescues” that are really “hoarding” and shut them down and help the animals? Wait. Isn’t that what the ASPCA is SUPPOSED to do? American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Isn’t that their job? So why are we worried about hoarders? We have an organization with $80 million buckaroos every single year at their disposal. Are you telling me they can’t hunt down, sniff out, or follow up on reports of hoarding in NY? Why would we need Oreo’s Law to do that, we already HAVE an organization that is charged with handling that, and we give them a TON of money to do it. Hey, ASPCA instead of wasting money fighting Oreo’s Law and instead of wasting money killing miracle dogs, how about you go hunt down some hoarders and shut them down, so good rescues can get on with their good work?
Gregory Castle goes on to say, in this blog, that “PETA believes that all pit bulls should be killed upon entering shelters, rather than be adopted by the public. Why? Because PETA believes that there is a chance that someone with bad intentions might adopt a pit from a shelter and use him/her for fighting or tie him/her out in the yard to serve as a macho guard dog”.
Gregory disagrees with this. But wait…are you all following me here? He disagrees with Oreo’s Law because say SOME dog, maybe 1% of dogs or cats might wind up with a hoarder or a bad person, we should not save the other 99%. So he disagrees with PETA when they say the exact same thing, yet he says this in his rebuttal of Oreo’s Law. Oh the hoarders will get the animals. The sky is falling!
Here is a news blast for you. Take a look at ANY newspaper classified section. Go to the front of ANY supermarket or Walmart store, go to your local Craigslist. See how easy it is to get FREE animals? Why in the world would hoarders go through the trouble of establishing a non-profit, getting a 501(c) 3, developing a rescue – JUST so they could get dogs from euthanasia lists in shelters in NY? I’m sorry but please, this is so absurd. It doesn’t hold any water.
Any how much of this has happened in California where there IS an Oreo’s Law? Have they seen an outbreak of hoarders saving dogs and cats from euthanasia? Um…no.
Has it happened in Delaware? Are there TONS of hoarders now? Umm..No.
So why is New York supposed to be different?
And let me tell you that by writing this email, I am committing suicide for my organization.
Read that again.
I am committing suicide for my organization.
Why? how? Because recently I asked Best Friends for help with our Elmsford location. We took over another shelter that was failing miserably. They had over 1000 animals there. They were all living in horrible little cages. We used the practices Best Friends taught us, and we went in and set things straight. We have a LONG, LONG way to go there, but no animals live in cages and 500+ have been adopted, placed with other organizations, and so forth. But we need help there. It is a huge nut to crack, and fix, and we could desperately use Best Friends resources and help. We might fail if they don’t help us. But I was warned. They would help us, but not if I did this. Spoke out against them again like this.
And as I write this, the blood in my veins goes cold, with fear over that threat. Without their help, Elmsford may have to close down. We can’t fail there, what would happen to all those animals? We CAN’T fail and we have such HUGE plans for the future for that place – to do mass rescues and really make an impact for animals.
But I would be no better than what they are doing if I chose my alliance with them, and what they can do for us, over the lives of animals.
Because that is what they did. They chose the alliance with the ASPCA over the lives of animals.
So don’t think I didn’t think long and hard before I wrote this.
It hurts me to write this, believe it or not, and it tremendously hurts my organization.
But if I choose to stay quiet, and I choose my relationship with them, over what is RIGHT, then I do exactly what I’m so disgusted with them about.
And there are other blogs about this as well, about the terrible disappointment we all feel in Best Friends:
- Nathan Winograd: “With Best Friends Like These….”
- and Yes Biscuit’s! Best Friends and Oreo’s Law Redux
So do as you will Best Friends.
Pull your proposed support from our Elmsford project.
I won’t hold that against you, but forever I will hold against you choosing the ASPCA over what is right.
Oreo’s Law is right.
You are wrong.
Choose LIFE and LIVES over alliances and politics.
There is still time to make it right.
At the end of Gregory Castle’s PETA blog it says this:
“PETA, please let go of the dock and get on-board the No More Homeless Pets boat. We’d love to have you with us.”
“Best Friends, please let go of your alliances and get on board to save lives again. We’d love to have you with us.”
Filed in Legislation, No-kill by kerry on Feb 11, 2011. There are 43 Comments