HSUS Fails to Understand Concerns Regarding Missing AL Dogs

Background info:

HSUS Rescues 44 Dogs from AL Home – Where are they Now?


Tracking the Dogs “Rescued” by HSUS from AL


I received this comment from a reader who saw it posted on the FB page of the NC HSUS group in a discussion about the AL “hoarding” situation and HSUS “rescue”.  It appears to be from HSUS staffer Sarah Barnett:

Sarah Barnett Also […] to address the issue raised on YesBiscuit – we never had a press release on our website about this, we sent out a targeted release to the NC area, to encourage people to go and adopt from the shelter.

If Ms. Barnett – or anyone – got the impression that “the issue” I was raising on this case was about a website press release, please let me eviscerate that notion here and now.

The Issues:

HSUS went into Marshall Co, AL without involving the county’s sole ACO, took 44 dogs who appear to have been adequately cared for, labeled the owner a “hoarder”, and then engaged in what one commenter appropriately referred to as dog laundering.  The dogs were distributed to other southern states, who already face serious challenges themselves, without even attempting, so far as I know, to get the dogs into rescue in AL.

Further, HSUS refused to answer where they sent the dogs and it took a small army of volunteers (Thanks to all who have been helping!) to find that information out.  Of the dogs we’ve been able to track down, several are confirmed dead or suspected to be dead.  Again, we can’t get definitive answers in some cases.

In response to the many requests for information, HSUS staffers have been posting tidbits of info online describing the dogs as “unsocial, inbred, unvetted, unaltered and […] were in fact injuring and killing each other”.  If this information is accurate, it boggles the mind to think that HSUS took these dogs and sent 10 of them to Lincoln Co Animal Services – a gassing facility in NC – where they would be “walked every day by volunteers”.  HSUS then sent out a press release encouraging the public to adopt the dogs which, in their words, “had developed true pack behavior”.  HSUS further alleges that one of the dogs bit someone at the shelter and had to be killed.  Again, if accurate, this borders on criminal negligence to this layman’s mind.

To recap what the Web of Sleuth has learned to date:

44 dogs “rescued” by HSUS from a home in AL early this month

10 dogs sent to Lincoln Co Animal Services in NC – a gassing shelter with a high kill rate.  They killed 3 of the dogs shortly after arrival.  After the local paper published an expose on flagrant mismanagement at the facility, HSUS asked other NC groups to take the surviving dogs.  Four went to Humane Society of Charlotte including a pregnant bitch.  Three went to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg shelter.  Their kill rate is about 65%.  2 of the 3 are listed on Char-Meck’s site – Daisy (ID#A797513) and an unnamed male (A797514).  The 3rd dog remains unaccounted for.  (Searches for pets with ID #s A797512 or A797514 come up empty.)

10 dogs went to PAWS Atlanta, all remain in quarantine.

10 dogs went to the Nashville Humane Association.  I had a very brief phone conversation with a gal there yesterday and she said none of them are up for adoption but when they are, they’ll appear on the group’s website.  She said she doesn’t know where the other dogs went.

14 dogs remain unaccounted for, possibly with a rescue group in Nashville.

Anyone with info on the whereabouts of those dogs, please share.

If any of the original 44 are in need of assistance, I will gladly refer readers to the appropriate links.

Additional reading:

Humane Watch – December 27

KC Dog Blog – December 27

Pet Connection – December 27

Examiner – December 24

46 thoughts on “HSUS Fails to Understand Concerns Regarding Missing AL Dogs

  1. Sarah Barnett needs to take some spin lessons from her boss. A press release is a press release. Doesn’t matter if it’s released to a local or national audience.

    Keep holding those feet to the fire.

    1. It’s true that a press release is a press release, but an organization is not obligated to post every press release on its website. Regarding this press release, it only went to a small group, so they chose not to post it online. It never went “missing” from the website as HumaneWatch tried to argue because it was never posted there in the first place.

      1. If you get the chance, go ahead and READ THE POST you are commenting on. I don’t give a flying frell if the press release ever was posted on their website. I’m concerned with the dogs – some dead, others unaccounted for – that HSUS appears to have laundered here in the south.

  2. I will be the first to admit that I have not read all there is “out there” on this subject. I don’t venture to the FB often and have a presence there as a means to an end. I will also admit that I am often quick to anger when situations like this arise. I talked to Kevin Hooks. I’ve known him for years. It is amazing to me that he was not told about the dogs and knew nothing at all about them. It matters not that he has limited authority in the county. He is the – as in the only – ACO for the entire county and he knew nothing about these dogs.

    As someone who is actively involved in trying to put the wheels in motion to bring about change in this county, I have some tempered comments:

    There are people in Marshall County who are trying to band together to bring about change. Some are municipal officials. Some are rescuers. One is a student who plans to become a veterinarian. I was told by a police chief just yesterday that there are people in Marshall County who do want reform, who do want change. I’m not sure how that will ever be successful if the HSUS solution – at least as shown here – is to swoop in and relocate dogs without the public knowing about how they can help and the public understanding hoarding is, beyond what they see on a TV program. This could have been an opportunity to educate people and help them do the right thing. It’s not like the person hoarding/keeping/whatevering the dogs is the illegitimate half-sister of a public figure seeking protection from exposure.

    I am anxious to learn the fate of the dogs who are unaccounted for. And I am reminded why I do not support HSUS and likely never will.

    1. Wouldn’t it have been a great story if the owner needed help placing the dogs and the need was publicized and the local community stepped up to foster and adopt? I imagine Marshall Co is like most places – some responsible pet owners, some less so. But why not give them a chance to become involved in the needs of their community? This case could have served as a stepping stone to additional community involvement in caring for pets in need.

  3. All of your “additional reading” sources hated HSUS before this. How about some objectivity? Humanewatch’s smear campaign is bought and paid for by industries that exploit animals. Complaining about spin whilst aligning yourselves with the likes of David Martosko? Please.

    1. For the sake of argument, let’s just say I linked all my “additional reading” sources to Satan, m’kay? Would that change anything? The HSUS would still have laundered dogs, in some cases – laundered to death, sent them to a gassing facility, etc. My concerns stand, regardless of whether you hate Humane Watch or love them.

    2. I would welcome a post by someone from the HSUS who was involved with the seizure of the dogs setting forth the HSUS position. While I am not a fan, I am not hell bent on blaming every single thing done by the organization. I’d like to know who evaluated the dogs, which local officials or rescuers were apprised of the seizure, who helped transport the dogs, where they went, what their current status is, how much money was spent and what plans, if any, the HSUS has to 1) deal with similar situations like this in the future or 2) help this underserved county become more animal welfare friendly/oriented.

      Does the HSUS owe me this? Nope. They don’t get a dime from me. But if there are people out there who would like to explain what transpired in clear terms which would allow someone like me to understand what happened and why it was in the best interests of the dogs and the community, I would welcome that information. I have been wrong many times before and will be again. Please educate me.

  4. I checked in to get an update on this issue and couldn’t seem to get past the first sentence under “The Issues.” It jumped off the page at me:

    “HSUS went into Marshall Co, AL without involving the county’s sole ACO…”

    Like Brie said so well in her comment, this seems more than just a lost opportunity to educate or work with local people. This unilateral action – and the circumventing of local laws – smacks of criminal action. It certainly is unethical, at the least.

    This is similar to what happened in Marin County (California) recently with a struggling rescue group that simply needed help. As in this case, they were “invaded” by the glory-seeking HSUS and the local humane society, Marin Humane Society.

    This take-no-prisoner approach really concerns me. I wish Alabama’s attorney general would look into this matter – this case would be the “hook” to get them involved officially.

    Why? Because I have followed the career of a kind and compassionate man named Scotlund Haisley. He got sucked into the HSUS from his career post as shelter director at Washington Animal Rescue League. His sucess led to his becoming the director of emergency services for HSUS.

    There is a combat-like mentality between Pacelle, Goodwin and whoever enters that arena. They do not “work with” groups in trouble. They invade! Lawsuits and firings are the indicator of their practices. I’m all for stepping in when problems arise, but I also believe in some courtesy and working with people.

    Scotlund has now been marginalized and one can only speculate why his recent tenure as president at In Defense of Animals (IDA) lasted only a couple months. I think the HSUS “media whore” mentality knocked even Scotlund Haisley off center.

    I’m hoping Kevin Hooks and other officials open to finding solutions will look beyond this damage done by Crusader Rabbit and his International Police Force (Wayne Pacelle and HSUS).

    1. Our attorney general has stated (to an individual other than myself) that our state law requiring counties to have shelters is unenforceable. I don’t see him doing anything, to be quite honest.

      As for Kevin, I doubt he sees this as damage having been done in an “ignorance is bliss” kinda way. As the token ACO, he is pulled from place to place like a piece of taffy and for all I know, is glad he was not involved. Let’s be real – there is no shelter so where would he have taken the dogs anyway, if in fact they were abused and neglected by a hoarder?

      1. Had he been called, the ACO, as a law enforcement officer, would have an obligation to protect a citizen’s civil rights, as well as enforcing the law. He can’t do that if he’s not called.

    2. Thomas, please don’t talk rubbish. when I saw Scutland Haisley’s pic of choice on Facebook – the one where he’s kicking in a door – I knew all I needed to know about him. (the photo is easily located via Google image search)

      (apologies for threadjack)

  5. Hi. Satan here.

    We don’t “hate” the HSUS at PetConnection.com. We point out when they’re doing things right, and we point out when they’re doing things wrong. We have interviewed and offered blog space to their staffers, and we have even helped place foster dogs for their staffers.

    We do not allow people to trash the HSUS without backing up their claims with FACTS, and we ban people from our blog who can’t do anything but sputter hate about the “H$U$.”

    As for HumaneWatch, when we mention their release of the PETA “shelter” kill figures — which are PUBLIC RECORD, by the way — we also mention that HumaneWatch is a front group for industry.

    I don’t “hate” the HSUS, but I think they need to change some of the things they do. They may disagree, and our relationship may at times be contentious as a result, but it’s not my job to be friends with the organizations I cover.

    1. what relevance does it have to mention that HW is a “front group” for industry? It would be relevant if you connected the dots between HW and something they have published about the HSUS that is untrue .. but so far.. that has not happened. Looks like the “front group” has done exactly what you claim.. backed up everything with facts..Humane Watch deals with HSUS only .. not with PETA and as you say.. we don’t have to like the total package HW or HSUS but when they print fact instead of fiction they must be considered.
      On the topic.. what a perfect opportunity for HSUS to stand up and say what really happened instead of removing press releases.. and then spinning the rest to blame the dogs for their own demise.. ( one bit a volunteer???) by calling them unsocailsed, unalterd, un un un .. as if they could do anything about their own circumstances.
      Man Up HSUS

  6. Satan’s message would have more credibility if he didn’t lie at every turn. The Center for Consumer Freedom is no longer allowed on YouTube for that very reason. Veterinarian Dr. Khuly requested that Humanewatch make some corrections, they refused, and she now speaks out against them. A reporter at WSB-TV no longer works in journalism after a news piece aired featuring “information” from David Martosko. CCF has more than their share of defamation lawsuits.

    Go ahead and keep using Humanewatch as a reference point. Good luck with that.

    And, oh yes, I’m sure Peta kills animals just for the fun of it because there no such thing as a sick, suffering or unadoptable animal.

    1. I’m not going to have this thread hijacked. If you know the whereabouts of the unaccounted for dogs or have an opinion on the case, please share. Do not attempt to continue in this vein.

  7. I see we have Pam Duggan’s serial misrepresentation engine back again. I just e-mailed David Martosko what she wrote and here’s his reply: “She’s wrong on every single sentence in the long paragraph above. That’s a zero-percent accuracy record. It’s all incorrect.”

    Maybe Ms. Duggan is the one who needs a lesson in defamation — or at lesat a lesson in how to e-mail someone for confirmation before publishing accusations. (You can reach him at info@humanewatch.org)

    HumaneWatch has a document library to back up what they write. Can the people who talk smack about HumaneWatch do the same. Not opinions, not something they heard from someone at a vegan potluck. Facts. Where are they, Pam?

  8. I am baffled that the HSUS does these kinds of things – I want to know who you can depend on for agebies helping the animals? I am extremely upset that all along Wayne P has supposed to be an advocate for animals and I hear these types of issues. Isn’t he the same person that said all of Michael Vick’s dogs should be put down?

  9. Has anyone checked with WARL (Washington Animal Rescue League)? HSUS often brings back a handful of dogs from seizures and deposits them there. It’s right on their way “home”, so to speak.


  10. This, in my opinion has become common place with the HSUS. They campaign for money to “save” these dogs and then send them to a kill shelter. Please disregard Pam’s comments as she is obviously just another HSUS person trying to spread misinformation. (i mean why would they ban all people who dont agree with them, or ask too many questions and let her post on there calling everyone Dumbasses(by the way they have posting rules covering profanity) I personally posted a link about this on HSUS website and was banned for it.(not even allowed to comment on their other links either) HSUS is just a money making machine where animal welfare has become secondary to how much money they can make off of these animals. They take credit for saving Vicks dogs too but if you do the research like i did you will find that the dogs were taken by Best Friends and another private rescue and not the HSUS at all. They collect money from people who have no idea what they are upto and then ban you from their site for trying to have an opinion. The HSUS wants your money, not your opinion. They spend way to much time trying to spin things to make themselves look good and not enough time doing good. Another so called Non-profit that wants your money but doesn’t want you to know how its spent.

  11. “HSUS went into Marshall Co, AL without involving the county’s sole ACO…”

    This is so alarming on so many levels – Someone please explain to me how the HSUS can come into a state, county, township, enter private property and seize and remove dogs? At the very least there should have been a Warrant issued and police involved certainly if the only ACO was not with the HSUS when they entered the property what law office with powervers to search and seize was? Did the person willingly hand over, or sign over their dogs? or were the dogs in fact seized and removed? On what grounds? if there were grounds for cruelty or negligence, wouldn’t these dogs have to be retained until the court case was finalized and a ruling made by the courts???

    Please don’t tell me that the HSUS has the power to act indepentantly, tresspass on personal property, remove dogs with without any grounds and with out photos to back up the allegations of cruelty and negigence, and then disseminate these dogs where ever they please with no oversight or responsiblity or for God’s sake ACCOUNTABILITY??

    How is this legal? at any point? How can any organization be allowed this much power over a persons personal property, I am still realing that the ACO was not involved and if he was not involved I seriously doubt the local police was there either and if no ACO and no Police there damn sure was no warrant – so this was Criminal Tresspass, Dognapping and Theft! HSUS needs to be held accountable for this criminal act!

      1. We had a hoarding situation in our neck of the woods. HSUS sent up a “team”…it was fascinating to watch them negotiate. The owner relinquished a lot of dogs. He didn’t relinquish all of them, and he refused to relinquish a couple of dogs that the HSUS volunteers wanted (cute puppies).
        The intervention was to help this hoarder. He’s an older fellow and he doesn’t believe in euthanasia, but he couldn’t afford to spay or neuter all his dogs. His dogs (he had 400 of them) kept breeding and he realized that the puppies might out live him. So he agreed to a spay-neuter clinic. HSUS brought up volunteers to alter every animal. (Some already were, but not all!)
        HSUS bartered feed and bedding to get him to relinquish more and more dogs. He gave up about 200 animals. Many were euthanized. (Some needed to be, they were sick or old or dangerous.) HSUS left town and local volunteers were left feeding and caring for more than 60 dogs. For MONTHS. Winter came, it got cold, it wasn’t fun to volunteer anymore.
        The hoarder offered to take back every single dog. Local Animal Control euthanized most of them. It was sad and ugly and gross.
        I don’t know what the “right” thing is…but I appreciate the conversation.
        I’ve been involved in “rescue” for a while, and I keep track of the individual animals. Most “busts” have the common feature of being a big secret. It’s dog laundering and I’d like to make it illegal.
        Thank you.

  12. According to the original non – press release I believe, HSUS was called in by a family member. Perhaps this family member is the reason the dogs were secreted out of Alabama and away, too.

  13. Have you considered the possibility that the HSUS is not saying where the rest of the dogs went so that the blogosphere doesn’t start attacking another shelter? Judging from how you all are writing about the shelters they did name, if I were a shelter that took some of the dogs, I would not want to be named either.

    1. No one has said a critical word about PAWS Atlanta, a no-kill shelter (their website states they don’t kill for space) that appears to be doing right by the dogs they took in from this pseudo-seizure. I trust they’ll do their best to rehabilitate and find good homes for them. I’m assuming they took some adults and older puppies and not just very young puppies, so some effort and expense will be involved to get the dogs ready for adoption. Trust is the operative word here–since HSUS seems to be on a mission to betray the public trust.

      1. The problem is, when there is a large seizure of animals, there are not enough no kill shelters to help place all of them. Most no kill shelters are usually full, or can only take a few. When there are lots more no kill shelters that actually have space, it might be viable to send animals from large hoarding situations exclusively to them. Until then, agencies like the HSUS may have to work with whoever steps up.

      2. Well I guess that tears it. We’re just going to have to stop the killing of healthy & treatable pets at every shelter in the country.

    2. Why, with all of the resources at HSUS’ disposal, must they dump them *anywhere* so quickly? They bilk people for $$ in the name of saving animals, yet they simply do the yanking and then deposit them elsewhere to be cared-for (presumably).

      Secondly, HSUS has been incredibly vocal and critical against shelters that use gas chambers to euthanize animals, yet they deposit 10 dogs in one?

  14. so if my cousin calls HSUS from Alaska and says I have too many dogs in Alabama the HSUS will mosey on over and get a release signed.. and of course they would never threaten me or say I might be charged with a crime.might be taken to jail.. or worse… never call local AC.. and they take all of my dogs and disseminate them to places where they canbe (and were) killed? Heck that sounds downright Un American.. and yet it happens all of the time with HSUS.
    If I were a shelter with these dogs I would be shouting it to the rooftops.. WE HAVE THESE DOGS.. WE NEED MONEY TO CARE FOR THEM.. Please send it to us directly and by pass the HSUS who have oh so kindly dumped them on us..
    It is pathetic that the owner of the dogs could not be helped instead of tortured by the removal of her pets. It is always that way with the HSUS.. hit and run.. where is the HELP for people in tough situations? It does not appear by the pictures that any of these dogs were in “dire straights” so why not feed them, vet them and gradually place them right from the owners HOME..if possible. So many people have had pets taken in a fever pitch by the HSUS.
    People need help .. not threats.. called “sheltering in place” until an adequate solution for man and beast can be found. I do wish HSUS would stop with the “begthons” and get down to the real business of helping humans and pets. oh and pigs will fly

    1. Although your sheltering in place idea sounds like a good one Alice, remember that these dogs were killing each other, per HSUS. So although they don’t have scarred muzzles and beat up ears like we see so often in dogs who have been involved in dogfights, I guess we’re just supposed to take HSUS’s word on that.

      1. “bring out the dead.. bring out the dead”.. as was said so often in medieval times.and of course by Monty Python.sorry if I have a tough time believing that one. if they were “killing each other” there would be evidence of scarring , infection and many wounds and don’t think for a minute New York or otherwise that the HSUS would not have played that up from the get go. This MAY have not been a good scenario for sheltering in place.. but MANY MANY situations are conducive to this type of “rescue”.
        Ask yourself, these dogs had been there for a long time..would a couple of more days made any difference while the situation was assessed and help was brought in by LOCALS.. please don’t tell me that there were no local people who would have helped this situation..and perhaps there would have been no more dead dogs.. if there were any actual dead ones. HSUS did not mention any dead dogs until after the fact.. as my Daddy used to say.. “I was born at night but it wasn’t last night”

      2. Hey, I saw the photo. And those puppies looked like KILLER puppies to me–probably have a lot of scars under their fluffiness.
        No doubt the adults do, too. You know, once they get the taste of blood, there’s no stopping them. It takes HSUS in SWAT drag just to get things under control again.

  15. HSUS gets people it claims are “hoarders” et al. to surrender their dogs through intimidation, threats and the implication that it has authority to take actions it does not. Have I seen this personally? No. But I have read accounts to this effect. An awful lot of people don’t have any idea how much legal authority they do or don’t have. People let them onto their property when they have absolutely no obligation to do anything but slam the door in their faces. Based on the stories I have read, it would not surprise me in the slightest if HSUS stormtroopers were less than truthful when they descended on the doorsteps of their targets. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is to just say GO AWAY.

    1. Let’s say they didn’t do that.

      Didn’t threaten the dogs’ owner.

      Let’s say, instead, that the owner knew that she was overwhelmed, was having trouble feeding all those dogs (even the cheapest food for over 40 big dogs is a LOT of money, especially with growing puppies and pregnant bitches), couldn’t control their breeding, couldn’t afford to neuter them or get them vaccinated, or get them to a vet when they were sick or injured.

      But, as can happen in life, she was letting things slide, or paralyzed by not knowing where to start.

      And because there is no shelter in her county, she had no idea how to get help.

      Let’s say all of the above is true. In fact, I suspect that it is true. I even think it’s likely that some dogs were killed in fights. I’ve seen gang-up fights in which the dog at the bottom of the pile is critically injured — and would have died without vet care — and the other dogs haven’t got a scratch on them. This absolutely happens, especially in overcrowded conditions that have become unstable. (Where the term is not “pack” but rather “mob.” There’s no such thing as a socially functional 40-dog pack, even if all physical needs are met.) If you haven’t seen it, count yourself lucky. This kind of intraspecific aggression is situational, not inherent in the dogs.

      So let us “give them” all of the above.

      Does it make a difference?

      Someone who probably loved her pets and wants to do what is best for them (that describes most genuine hoarders, too, even if cognitive distortions get in the way of reality) was offered help.

      I’m sure that HSUS said something like “We will feed them and vaccinate them and get them neutered and find them all good homes.*

      After all, they are the humane society, they love animals, they clearly have a lot of money — why not believe them? Especially if they are offering to relieve you of your biggest worry — how to care for my pets? No intimidation required.

      Would the worst of conditions justify lying to a desperate person like that?

      I can guaranfriggintee you that they did not tell her “Sign them over to us, so that we now own them and can do as we please without any of the normal moral obligations that dog owners shoulder. We won’t care for them ourselves, but we will send them off to various overcrowded and impoverished dog pounds hundreds of miles away, where they will die frightened, unloved, and in pain, but where you can’t see them and we can’t be blamed.”

      I think that’s quite bad enough, thanks.

      * Perhaps on a beautiful farm where they can run and run and run?

    1. @Alice in LALA land Dear flipping Lord thank you for “as my Daddy used to say.. “I was born at night but it wasn’t last night.”

  16. Thanks for staying on them and forcing them to account for these dogs. There are a lot of things the HSUS should account for. I’m glad people are standing up and demanding answers.

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