Best Friends turns their back on NY – AGAIN

OreoSo 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.

Oreo, right before she was euthanizedHere 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.
Best Friends.
My hero’s.

Oreos-Law-the-Poster-BlogThe 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:

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?

WAR-HART2-13-10-1They 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?

oreo2Gregory 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.

oreoslawWhy? 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.
I did.
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:

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.
Choose LIFE and LIVES over alliances and politics.

There is still time to make it right.
Will you?

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.”

I say:

“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 44 Comments

44 Responses to “Best Friends turns their back on NY – AGAIN”

  1. Kellee Kilmer Says:

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. Never have I been more proud of someone for doing the right thing no matter the personal cost. That’s what true courage really is. I applaud you and your work and I hope the public rallies to help you with Elmsford. Please take comfort that Best Friends and the ASPCA are dead wrong. Oreo’s law is right. It’s simply the right thing to do.

  2. Devery Says:

    Hi Kerry — You probably don’t remember me, but we met at the No-Kill Conference last summer — I was there in part because of Oreo’s Law.

    “Gregory Castle told them there is only one thing left to agree on and then threatened them that they will only help the animals if they shut their mouths and never publicly criticize Best Friends.” Did Gregory Castle really directly make this ultimatum to Pets Alive? Or are you just worried that speaking out against Best Friends will cause them to sever ties with Pets Alive for good?

    I am so sorry you are in this position. I’m really disappointed in Best Friends too. Oreo’s Law is a no-brainer. And we are going to win it this time. Keep fighting the good fight and thank you for all that you do.


  3. Carol McNichol Says:

    You rock Kerry. We support you.

  4. Jeanne Modesitt Says:

    My heros are those people who speak the truth, no matter the cost.

  5. Support Pets Alive in Their Important Fight | Save Shelter Pets Says:

    […] especially when lives are on the line. Pets Alive, a no-kill sanctuary in upstate New York, is taking a stand against Best Friends, and by doing so, they’re going to lose crucial financial support from this powerful […]

  6. Mike Martino Says:

    You guys ( Kerry & Matt) needed a strong spine to get into this business in the first place. Now you have shown how true you are, to your principles.

  7. Lisa Lind Says:

    You go Kerry! Best Friends has gotten too big to remember how they can to be….

  8. Dina Dornseif Says:

    Very-VERY proud of you! I am so moved by your words.. You did the right thing. Oreo’s law is the right thing. They should all be ashamed of themselves for making you choose! I stand behind you 100% and posted this to my FB page. Keep your chin up- Doing the right thing has a way of working out in the end.

  9. Lisa Lind Says:

    Oops…should be “came” and not “can”…sorry!

  10. Carol Kramer Says:

    Kerry, thank you so much for this blog. I too have been a huge Best Friends supporter. In fact, that’s how I found Pets Alive. I thought there had to be some mistake regarding their position on Oreo’s Law. I thought they had to be right. But now I know that I was wrong. That Best Friends is wrong. Something has changed out there in Utah. Maybe some of the magic has left Angel Canyon. But the ideals are still in place at Pets Alive, and we’ve got to let all the NY Best Frienders know it’s time to transfer their money and energy from Kanab to Middletow and Elmsford.

  11. Tamara Rossberg Says:

    Thank you very much for writing this very enlightening blog. Its so disheartening when these types of organizations advocate one cause and then undermine it by supporting a contradictory cause…it destroys the original mission of the organization.
    I applaud your courage in speaking your truth especially with so much to lose. You have to be true to your self and your convictions…and as they say when one door closes a window opens. I wish you and your mission all the best….and thank you again for showing me the face of courage.

  12. Pai Says:

    I’m gutted over this, completely. I still have trouble believing this! Best Friends used to me my heroes, and I also was skeptical when Nathan said they had become rotten. But how else can someone interpret these new facts, besides concluding that BF has lost it’s way?

  13. Vickie Brown Says:

    I am crying as I read your blog. I am so sorry for what Best Friends is doing to your organization. I am so sad to see what they have become. I know how hard it must have been to write this blog, but you did the right thing. Being blackmailed by any organization to do what they want is disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves, but if they had no qualms in trying to force you to do what they wanted, I highly doubt you’ll ever hear a word of apology from Best Friends. Probably just some more rationalization for their bad behavior. I have posted your website on my Facebook page to help you with donations. I’m with No Kill Sonoma County. Keep us all posted.

  14. EmilyS Says:

    oh well, if you’re going to just outright lie, you can’t expect to have any credibility.

    ASPCA killed Oreo for HUMAN aggression.. uncontrollable, rage-based human aggression, which made her an unsuitable candidate for adoption at any time, and a dangerous animal to house in a “rescue”. No legitimate pit bull rescue offered to take her… there are far too many bombproof, rock solid pit bulls that get killed every day to waste resources on such a sad, damaged, miserable animal.

    And you all need to get into the real world… you can’t bash organizations (and the people behind them) with vicious hate-filled words like “murderer’ and expect them to give you money too.

    Disagreement is perfectly legitimate.. disgraceful, counter productive language is NOT. Do you have any idea how scorned Winograd is in the general sheltering world.. when he really should be a universal hero for his groundbreaking advocacy for a new way of thinking about shelters? It’s because his language drives people away.

    Decide what you want: to make progress. Or to make yourself out to be pure and noble heroes, and everyone else a villain.

  15. Nic Says:

    Hi Kerry,

    Thanks for speaking the truth. It takes a lot of courage and strength, especially when you have organizations as big as BF and ASPCA against you. Thanks for standing for the truth and not allowing yourself to be cowered. Yes, I used to worship at the altar of BF as well, but that has all changed and it is very distressing when you realize the truth. The sense of betrayal is as great as if you realized your spouse or best friend of many years was not the person you thought they were. BF has lost their way and gotten too big for their breeches. The public needs to know what is going on behind the scenes, so they know where to direct their money. A big refrain of the large organizations is that everyone needs to get along and keep their mouth shut. This is sort of the attitude Europe had with Hitler. No one dared to say anything and everyone turned a blind eye as he started invading countries. Well, that was not such a good plan, was it? The amount of times so called “rescues” put their egos, pettiness, spitefulness, vindictiveness, power, control, money etc, ahead of animals’ well being is shocking. It happens at small rescues, run by a few people, to the large national organizations. It is disgraceful and shameful and the worst part is that no one stands up and speaks the truth. We are all told to lie, as if that somehow will help the animals. Thanks for having the courage and integrity to speak the truth and do the right thing.

  16. Devery Says:


    If they pull out from helping with Elmsford, how much do you need to raise? Because it can be done without them, through Facebook, through all the real no-kill people out there — It can totally be done. If you set up a chip-in or whatever, I will direct as many people as I can to it. I’m 100% behind Pets Alive and 100% behind Oreo’s Law.

    Also: I commented before and it got deleted? I wasn’t questioning your integrity, just asking for clarification if that ultimatum was directly given or was it implied (and implied has been bad enough, look at what so many NYC rescues were threatened with w/ Hoffman and the Mayor’s Alliance etc. Direct or implied, Best Friends is in the wrong, and they were wrong last year. And again, I am so sorry that you guys are being penalized for doing THE RIGHT THING which is what everyone should be doing ANYWAY. Thank you so much for doing the right thing.

  17. kerry Says:

    Devery, no, I didn’t delete your post. I didn’t want to release it until I could also respond. (just released them both now)

    No one ever said “if you do this then we won’t do that”.
    What was said was that they were very proud of the work we have been doing and what we have accomplished. They would like to work with us and partner with us on Elmsford and help with that situation, but in the past we have had negative things to say about them and that doesn’t look good for a partnering organization. They wanted an assurance from us, in writing, that we would not do so again.

    I said I couldn’t agree to that. They never said that would result in them pulling out from helping us. They just said that they wanted to work with us, but they needed that.

    I said that we disagreed with some other things they had done and never spoke against them, but Oreo’s Law was too important and that if they came out against it again, we would have to speak out again.

    There was still a scheduled site visit to Elmsford. My fear is now this is not going to happen.

  18. kerry Says:

    Emily, that isn’t what all our inside sources advised. They said Oreo didn’t like other dogs, but that she was just fine with almost everyone, EXCEPT one of the behaviorist whom she seemed to hate. They said that three staffers regularly interacted with her and she was a doll with them and that a volunteer also handled her, and indeed the VET advised that she was no issue with her either. So that isn’t true that she was terribly aggressive. She may have had SOME aggression issues, but again, it doesn’t matter. Look at our website. Cam, Leo, Rem, Lincoln, etc all have human aggression issues. Three dogs placed this year ALSO at one time, had severe human aggression issues. All are in homes, or have AT LEAST twenty people (staff and volunteers) here that can walk them, take them for ice cream, or for overnights.

    You’re missing the point.
    Oreo had ANOTHER option.
    She didn’t have to die.

    THAT’S the point you’re missing.

    And don’t give me that tired spiel about liability.
    The liability goes with the RECEIVING shelter. Once we took Oreo we would be responsible for her and liable for issues, not the ASPCA.

  19. Ben S. Says:

    I am confused about something, you said that over 16,000 animals have died because Oreo’s law didn’t pass. Are you saying that rescues in New York could have taken in 16,000 more animals than they did? If so, shame on them. There are plenty of animals constantly in need that they could have taken, even if their local shelter wouldn’t hand animals over. They should just take animals directly from the public if they have open space and homes to place animals in. If they have the space, its not hard to fill.

  20. Pai Says:

    Emily, you’re not addressing the fact that THIS BILL, which is the point of contention, is something that anyone organization which truly cares about saving shelter animals could oppose in good conscience. Forget Oreo for the moment, and explain to us all why BF is justified in refusing to support this bill, if it’s for any reason other than self-interest for the sake of money?

    And why, if there is no other reason, people are supposed to be okay with that?

  21. Pai Says:

    That should read *could NOT oppose*.

  22. Denise Says:

    I could not have said it be myself Kerry.

  23. kerry Says:

    Ben, 16,000 animals from euthanasia lists. Every rescue usually will take as many animals as they can, but if we pull from euthansia lists – dogs that are definitely going to die with no other options available at that point then we save that life. If we pull other healthy, adoptable dogs – we may be shooting ourselves in the foot because those dogs could possibly have been adopted THERE and we could have saved a life from death instead. Of course we continue to save lives but are these lives ones that needed saving in all cases? We KNOW the ones on euthanasia lists DO need saving. Instead we may take a dog that an adopter could have walked in that day to take home and bounce him to another shelter and spend more weeks advertising and placing him. So why not let us take dogs from euth lists and they adopt ones that are highly adoptable? This way it is win-win? Does that help make sense?

  24. Devery Says:

    Kerry: Thanks so much for your frank clarification. That is really unacceptable on their part. I mean, they could even issue a statement saying that they and you have disagreeing views, but that in the spirit of HELPING ANIMALS which is what we are all supposed to be about, you have joined forces on the project, etc. Just like PA and BF did with the amazing beagle rescue. [Putting aside that there is no logical reason whatsoever to be opposed to Oreo’s Law if you are an animal advocacy agency or rescue… UGH!”

    Emily: All animals have a right to live and should be given a chance at life. Even the “sad, damaged, miserable animal[s]” as you have [according to multiple sources, falsely] depicted Oreo to be. [Many dogs that Best Friends has rescued would fall into this category as well] If you, Emily, can’t be bothered helping difficult cases, or don’t feel that that is the most effective use of YOUR resources, that’s totally legitimate, but then get out of the way of people who DO want to help them and are willing to accept the liability for helping them. And newsflash — those “bombproof, rock solid pit bulls that get killed every day”? FAR FEWER of them would have been killed this past year if Oreo’s Law had passed! Look at the URGENT ACC lists now and the number of “NO CONCERNS” that get put down every single day, even with money pledged for them. As Pai says upthread, there is absolutely no good reason to oppose Oreo’s Law; only political ones that are costing animals their lives. And if simply speaking the truth about what is happening in sectors of the sheltering world gets you “banned,” then the sheltering world culture needs to change.

  25. Lynn Says:

    I’d say this is proof that both these organizations are straightforward AR groups.

    If you kill them, they will be protected. You can’t abuse a dead animal.

    And to AR activists, animal ownership = animal abuse.

    Let’s spread the word to stop supporting them, and start supporting the animals!

  26. Honor Says:

    I have been waiting for someone to comment who could articulate my view on this for me–I get too verbose and off the point.
    I think I have to agree with post #24 (Devery) for the most part.
    I do think Kerry’s blog speaks to the issue extremely well. I think that many of the responses point out very well that Best Friends current attitude towars this bill is wrong. THEY need to go back to their roots and not keep down those who are trying very hard to improve rescue through legislation.
    And Emily S: I know a whole lot of people who are capable of rage-based human aggression who I wouldn’t want to put down BEFORE they committed an act of aggression (and quite frankly–wouldn’t put down after such an act either). I’m rather against killing, across the board.

  27. Mary Says:

    I had just proposed an idea of creating an organization of organizations so that when any particular organization within the union ran into a problem that needed the support of the whole union it would be strong in numbers…of course all groups would have to meet a certain criteria and a strict NO KILL policy would have to be one of them…you have given a perfect example of a group that I would nominate for membership in such a union…if this were in existance right now you wouldn’t have to worry about having to speak out against any independent organization…along with this idea I never viewed PETA or the ASPCA and some other “too big for their britches” “heart hardened” organizations as being allowed in such a union…so you had me on your side from the beginning…all you did was intensify an already strong dislike for both…ALL MONEY AND POLITICS…it’s even rampid in our government against the people…and animal laws for the most part are designed to protect the abusers and murderers…such laws should be made strictly by a separate government designed to protect the animals…let regular government deal with the rest…I wish you all the best Kerry

  28. Brie Says:

    I was heartbroken last year when OL was put on ice in the wake of what can best be described as “non-support” by Best Friends. I was told by a staunch opponent of the law, who was a fairly major player in my estimation, that it was “bad legislation” which needed some major work before really being moved through the legislative process. There was a lot of finger-pointing and name calling, at least from what I observed from my seat on the sidelines. I told this person that people like me could care less about how the experts get there, but that my expectation was that next time around (meaning this time), the big players would get behind a closed door and work it out. I said that I didn’t care if they called each other names and pulled each other’s hair (ala a recess yard 3d grade brawl) but that we expect them to do what’s right for the animals, checking politics at the door.

    I see that this has not happened and that the battle lines have been drawn quite early. Can someone say, “amendment”? Please? As far as I can tell from my same seat on the sidelines, the hoops have been jumped through. The concessions have been made. So how is it that the language of the proposed bill is still not good enough? Do we really think the Hoarder’s Union is gaining membership, ready to pounce if the legislation passes? I know the “H” word has not been used as the basis for opposition this time, but it’s pretty clear to me that’s the inference. The argument becomes, “we can’t possibly let them get into the hands of people with ulterior motives so it is better to kill them.” I never met Oreo. But I know that life at Pets Alive, being cared for by people I know in a nurturing environment, is what she deserved from all of us.

    I guess I expected more of an organization which has done so much good, and still does in many ways. I knew a day would come when sides would be taken on this issue. I’m just incredibly disappointed that money and political pressure now rule the day and the lives of individual animals are of secondary importance.

    If someone from Best Friends disputes the basis for their position as posted here on on Nathan Winograd’s blog, or can explain it in a way which does not equate to bowing to political pressure, I’m sure we’d all be interested in hearing that explanation.

  29. Rochelle Fraser Says:

    This is incredibly disheartening to listen to all the “no-kill” hoopla! You are only hearing one side of the story people! I have been a long time supporter and volunteer of Best Friends. Have sny of you ever been to Kanab and actually see the amazing things that go on there?? I was part of the whole First ever Super Adoption in New York. I have never seen a more organized event take place than that. The money that was spent on this event was huge but guess how much of it Best Friends took $0 all the money generated went back to the rescue groups! I went to Katrina with BF! OMG talk about amazing! Not one animal was left behind! Not one Pitbull was left behind!! You are upset over this one issue, and it is huge but don’t you think it might be political suicide for BF as well? I agree with you that BF has a certain way of doing things, but it needs to be that way! Don’t you think they have been around long enough to know what workes and doesn’t? They were the first grass rootes organization to start the
    humane movement! BF just started two major fundraising campaigns in NY and look at the problems they sre already facing with New York rescue groups! Come on, we are all on the same side, can’t we get a long?

  30. kathi Says:

    BF can’t dispute their postiion, they will as always white wash everything and blame everyone else. I used to support them, no more there is to much poltics going on at BF and their core beliefs have long been shoved to the background and it is now politics as usual and too hell with the animals. Once in a while things that happen at BF surface and they scramble to make excuses and blame everything and anything to make the powers that be look good.
    I am proud that Pet’s Alive has taken the stand they have and I sincerely hope people will do their best to support them in all of their endeavors. At last people who are honest and truly care about animals and their welfare. If I lived in NY I would be volunteering every opportunity to help.
    Pet’s Alive you are the best!!!!

  31. Paula Says:

    I just donated $100 to Pets Alive. I will not be renewing my Best Friends membership this year.

    ’nuff said.

  32. Honor Says:

    Can Pets Alive please post again the list of legislators to contact to push this bill through? I’m guessing between last years’ push and this years’ there will have been many more people following the Pets Alive twitter and facebook feeds and even though many are out of state they may all have family/friends/contacts in NYS. I found the information last year very helpful when trying to organize letters and emails to legislators on the committee who were trying/or not trying to move this out of committee. Also, I would strongly suggest that folks actually send a snail mail (I HATE that term) message to the members…I think they may put more weight on actual paper letters…takes a bit more effort to get them out by constituents than an email. Costs the stamp too! I got a letter back from each letter I sent (though, to be fair, I got a form email back for most of the emails I sent too).

  33. Kuma's Mom Says:

    If Kuma and I can help in any way please let us know. How many shelters other that PA would have killed my baby for breed discrimination or blindness? As you all know he is the sweetest boy around. Keep us up-to-date on Elmsford. If we have to we can tighten our belts.

  34. Erin Says:

    Glad you wrote this, I had no idea. You guys do owe your operation to Best Friends, but I understand (as much as I can without being directly involved) that you had to speak out against them on this. You guys can still work together for good, if they will have it. Use them for your good as they have used you for thier good (advertising over saving pets alive). Personally, I don’t know if I could keep my mouth shut, and if you needed to say it, you needed to say it. I for one, am very glad you took the correct path on this. And, as I’ve said before, I appreciate you guys very much taking in cats. I wish I lived closer, but hey, I might lose my job and then I probably will, hah. I will senf you guys some money. I say do what Best Friends does (w.o compromising principles, if at all possible!) and then become the biggest no kill in the nation. Then when they need YOUR help, you can ask them if they changed their mind on the laws. Just curious- what does North Shore think of this???
    Glad I haven’t sent them any money. It’s funny how people can differ in their ideas of what no kill means. It’s pretty simple to me.

  35. Erin Says:

    one more thing– get the word out in BF’s hometown about who the true no kill is… If I could afford to, I would. Blessed with a very big mouth, I was. :)

  36. Gina Moore Says:


    This is so sad to read. I don’t know if you will remember me but I met you in the summer of 2008. I am a native of New York (Hudson Valley) and now live in Michigan and was visiting and had to see your shelter. You are one of the few people with integrity who puts the animals first. A person after my own heart. Keep doing what you know is right regardless of who else chooses not to stand with you.
    Gina Moore

  37. ~j~ Says:

    Kerry ~ God bless you for taking a stand for what is right & putting the animals first, as they should be, w/ALL rescues, shelters, sanctuaries, & even Vets & Animal Hospitals, where sadly, $ takes precedent over care, too many times. I am shocked & sickened, that BF would turn their back on such a wonderful law & rescue, such as yours. I am truly disillusioned w/them. I traveled this beautiful country 20 yrs. ago & visited them. So impressed to tears I was, by the enormity of their work to save animals. I have told everyone I know about them since then. I even have them in my will. Not that they know it. BUT NOW…NO WAY! I have yet to do my taxes & I’m glad, b/c when I see my financial adviser to have them done, I am changing my will to now have it given to you, instead, as I believe ALL BF supporters who see the WRONG in this, needs to do. The $ loss will speak louder to them than any words. I also stopped support to the ASPCA, b/c of all the ‘backdoor’ tactics that goes on w/them. So much $, yet spent on PEOPLE’s incomes & waste, over the Animals they are supposed to be helping & protecting. It may not be as much as I’d like, b/c I have had a rough past few years, but I don’t always expect it to be like this. I am also now going to make sure I tell everyone about you, even more than I have since I stumbled upon your site by ‘accident’ around a year ago or so. I am originally from the Albany area & I have told people about you & have said how I’d love to visit you there & even wished I lived closer, to be a part of your wonderful sanctuary/rescue.

    I have personal experience taking in a Terrier mix from the NYC area, in ’03, that was considered ‘unadoptable’ b/c of his ‘personality issues’. He was beaten & abused most of his 10 years & was a biter, out of FEAR. He’d rarely even seen the outside world, from the dark, dank cellar he was kept in most of his pathetic life. Someone contacted me thru my post on Petfinder, (when one could post for what they sought) seeking a scruffy, ‘Benji’ type dog, telling me that she knew of someone in the NYC area that knew of one like that, that was taken from a home & he was about to be euthanized, b/c he was not a good pet candidate, despite weeks of them trying w/him. His precious face filled my screen. I called to say I would come get him (from Ma.)
    It was not exactly something that should have been done, but he was ‘pulled’ for me to take on. I have experience w/’challenging’ dogs, over the years. Long story short…after thousands spent in medical bills over a 22 month span, b/c he never had hardly any care since a pup (I even had to have him neutered, but it didn’t help much w/his aggression), & even more than that in time w/patience, love & care/training, ‘Raggs’ turned out to be quite a loving trooper. His physical woes were many, b/c he had so many broken & fractured bones that were never treated, he couldn’t even walk right, let alone jump up/down on anything. Steps were a huge challenge. I got him a muzzle he had to wear for months in public & at the vet. I groomed him, b/c no one else could. It was still a 2 person job, for months.

    All Raggs needed, was to learn that not everyone was going to beat him, starve him & leave him for months in a basement. It was a very slow go, but after he finally sat w/me on the couch after 7 Months, that was ‘our’ breakthru. He responded beautifully after that. Even my vet said how rare it was for a dog his age to respond as well as he did, after so much abuse. ALL animals respond to love. He came so far, & died of cancer waaay too soon, b/c he was still making such strides. He lived longer than any dog on record w/the kind of cancer he had. He was given a few weeks at best & lived 3 months! Good months too. He did try to attack the Vet who came to my home to put him down, however. lol A fighting spirit to the end!

    He wanted to live. Once he knew what it was like to have love, acceptance, feel safe & have a good home, he wanted to have it always. He slowly learned to trust. He never did learn how to play well w/toys, but he had gum disease & had lost some teeth b/c of it. Vet said it was painful for him to bite & play w/toys or anything hard. Didn’t stop him from biting a lot at first, however… lol The meds helped heal his gums, & ‘horrid’ breath, but he always had stomach & intestinal issues. Had a special soft diet to follow.

    I’d do it all again for Raggs. He taught me more than I was able to teach him, by far. I bonded w/Raggs in a way that I never did with another dog, b/c of all we went thru together. I take solace in knowing I gave him the best 22 mos of his too hard life here; on the beach, w/the wind in his face & that look I captured in a pic, of when he finally had love in his eyes for me. :)

    I now have a shelter dog (shaggy 😉 for almost 5 yrs. that I got @ 7, the day before she was to be put down. It was right before the year anniversary of Raggs death. I had to give love to another. Total opposite of Raggs. She’s filled w/such a gentle, loving spirit, we visit nursing homes. Everyone loves her & she’s won several blue ribbons @ fundraisers we have attended. The joke is: Raggs sent her to me! B/C that is the kind of dog I wanted when I got Raggs. LOL
    It amazes/sickens me what people do & what they ‘throw away’.
    She was very unkempt & had bad, double ear infections when I got her out of a CT. pound for $5.00, cash ‘n carry…no guarantees. Spent over $300.00 on her w/in the first week of having her, between the Vet & having her shaved to the skin. She is now a true beauty & the love of my life! :) Exactly what I needed after Raggs, to heal my broken heart.

    ALL dogs deserve to have what Raggs did, if someone, somewhere, is willing to give them a chance to.

    God bless the work you do & God bless Oreos Law to passage!

  38. Aubey Says:

    Hi guys; yet again, we’re still fighting for Oreo’s Law..

    I founded my own (super-tiny-right-now) rescue this past year in April (1-Up Rescue, NY1016 on PetFinder, still trying to figure out HOW and what I need to do to get 501(c)(3) status!!). We’re based out of Syracuse and so far it’s just me and 2-3 foster people; again, this rescue is less than a year old.. It’s horrible up here in Syracuse too; we had a dog with pups found chained outside constantly and the local CNYSPCA did a whole big spheil on the news; “Oh, call us if you find an animal in this condition!!! We’ll help you!”

    Yeah, then they give out my rescue’s phone number to the people who call. And I’m like “……I don’t have room for 4-8 cats a day and 2-3 dogs a day..” ..

    Last year this rescue was responsible for saving the lives of 16 cats and 1 dog. So far, we have another 3 cats all in transition, and 4 dogs coming in. The dogs, the poor babies.. They’re up in Fulton, kept outside. I’m looking desperately for foster homes here; these guys need just about everything; love, food, shelter, warmth.. Tied out non-stop in Fulton, and one is a Boxer/Bulldog/Hound mix.. NOBODY is fixed, we’re raising the funds right now to get them all done.. But we don’t dare contact the animal control, as I have BAD experiences with Fulton/Oswego County SPCA!

    I found a stray dog a few years ago, a shepherd/Pit mix.. I didn’t have the rescue back then but I did work for transporters and rescue railroads in my area.. I was working out an overnight location for the dog so we could get him scanned for a microchip (since he was a stray with no tags) and a Fulton PD officer showed up.. we asked him for help, and he got SO angry at my friend and I for bothering him on hos coffee break (we were just stopping through on a fishing trip!) that he nearly arrested me!! He THEN ripped the dog out of my HANDS and pulled him into his car, screaming at me “I’M TAKING THE DOG, IT’S GONNA SPEND THE NIGHT IN A SMALL CAGE IN THE OFFICE AND THEN GET PUT DOWN. ARE YOU *HAPPY NOW*?!?!” … I filed a complaint with Fulton PD, I called Oswego County where the dog was kept, and I gave my name and # to call when his time ran out. The day it did, I called to make arrangements to pull him from the shelter.. I told them I did rescue work, I told them I would get him a place to go.. I would pay all fees to get him out!

    Only to be informed when I called, they had euthanized him for ‘severe separation anxiety’.

    We need this law *YESTERDAY*. If 1-Up was founded back then, maybe I would have had more leeway to save this poor dog. You guys have my full support. If there’s *ANYTHING* myself or my foster girls can do to support and rally for this law, PLEASE let me know!!!

    1-Up Rescue, Syracuse, NY

  39. mari smet Says:

    So what if a dog doesn’t like other dogs, or a cat doesn’t like other cats! They’re animals — they’re honest and open and transparent — this is why i love them so much. You adopt these animals into homes where the people there know this and they have no other animals, which is what was done with Katie (the dog). Who knows what’s in the future — animals, like people, can change — these particular dogs and cats can meet another of its kind and slowly begin getting along — it’s been known to happen — to animals and people. As for Best Friends and other reputable organizations — PLEASE rethink what so many people are asking and demanding — ALL of us love and care for animals, whether they be dogs, cats, horses, etc. This should be at the forefront of every major decision that is made. Let us not be afraid of every little thing that may or may not happen — let’s do the best we can with what we have now, what we know now and choose to take a risk that favors life. PLEASE.

  40. Teresa Says:

    I am donating to Pets Alive as well, not only for what they do but for who they are.

  41. Kris Says:

    What a disappointment from Best Friends. I appreciate everything they’ve done for you guys but politics should never come before life. I completely support Oreo’s law and can relate to it. If it weren’t for Pets Alive, I wouldn’t have my little angel (Monkey, adopted as Pity) who was thrown from a 2nd story window. Oreo could have been somebody’s little angel, as well as so many other dogs that don’t get the chance to show that their lives MEAN SOMETHING. Good for you, Kerry, principles and character will always be the most important thing despite what society thinks you should do or what will keep the money flowing easily. Keep fighting the good fight, we’re with you.

  42. Jen Sanders Says:

    You should definitely not take any money from them anymore. You can’t stop at just writing about them – you have to make a statement if you really mean it.

    I know you think that if we take their money we can save more lives – but if you stand against them on one hand, then take their money on the other hand – you’re perpetuating a cause you don’t believe in.

  43. Laura Says:

    You have my support!! Seems to me, NY is all about politics and NOTHING else…oh, and how much money do i get for this….money and politics :((

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