HSUS on the AL Dogs Left at Nashville Humane

The other day I was on Twitter when Sarah from HSUS replied to one of my tweets about the AL 44. This is the first time I’ve had anyone from HSUS respond to my queries on the dogs so I was hopeful I could get a clarification on where the 10 dogs are that HSUS left at Nashville Humane – or at least find out if those dogs are still alive. This is the conversation as it happened.  I tried to put the tweets in some sort of coherent order.  You can click to embiggen.
This was the end of the exchange.  Sarah made no reply and in fact, as of this post, hasn’t returned to her Twitter account.  Honestly, my hope that these dogs are alive is fading.  I haven’t wanted to fully accept that possibility but it’s hard for me to think of any reasonable alternative explanations.  I put in an open records request today to Nashville Humane and the executive director advised me she had forwarded my request to their legal counsel.  I will let you know what happens.

33 thoughts on “HSUS on the AL Dogs Left at Nashville Humane

  1. It’s a tricky situation … yea right.
    Makes you wonder how much money the family gave to them vs who are they related to?

    well, makes me wonder anyway.

  2. I must be a little slow on the uptake: am I the only one who is confused as to why the HSUS is asking a blogger where the dogs they “saved” have disappeared to?

    In all respect to your hard work Shirley, it does seem to me like the conversation should be reversed – shouldn’t they be the ones supplying the answers?

    1. I probably should clarify for those who don’t use Twitter (I can’t imagine!) – the tweets that start out with “@yesbiscuit” are replies from HSUS to me. The tweets that begin with “@SarahHSUS” are from me to HSUS.

      1. Thank you for clarifying the Twitter thing. I was following along, and then got lost. Not all of us are into Twitter and have that much to inform the world of. :) No one cares that I just ate a hard-boiled egg. :)

    1. Something like that. Also should mention that I stand by my numbers as accurate. Each number came from directly from the shelter/rescue involved and while it’s possible an error could have been made, I think it’s unlikely. If any of the rescues involved see an error in their numbers and want it corrected, just let me know and I will gladly make the correction.

  3. I wish you luck on getting the open records request. A shelter I know of broke the law by not releasing their records but the people asking didn’t have the money to take them to court to make them. Sad. Hope the same doesn’t happen here.

  4. You are a pit bull.

    I think they have no idea with whom they are dealing.

    This would be funny if the stonewalling wasn’t about the summary killing of 10-13 “rescued” dogs.

  5. She’s so deliberately obtuse. I suspect it’s because all those dogs are dead. Why else give the runaround?

  6. Ohhh….you’re being forwarded to LEGAL counsel, that’s always fun! (How to stonewall 201, because obviously you’ve graduated from the 101 class already.)
    You go girl. I’m thinking you’re a cross between a pitbull and a border collie. I can tell that your eye never leaves the mark, no matter what they try to flush out of the bushes around you.
    But good on you, SaraHSUS checked and you’ve got it right, although your numbers might not be exact…(it’s a secret, and she couldn’t possible actually TELL you how her records are different.)
    Yup, I’m sorry, I’m thinking the 13 unaccounted for dogs are likely dead. Nashville doesn’t want to tell you that because, well, they’d rather be known for rescuing them, not killing them. Will it make them look better or worse to discover the truth next month, or next year as opposed to last month or last year?! Six of one, half dozen of the other I suppose. They lose either way. They’ve already lost. Well, except for all those people who send them money every month to *save* those dogs in cages on TV.

    1. Typical – whenevere I deal with HSUS those are the SAME kind of answers I receive…the run around the question refer you back to those who referred you to them. Sadly, everytime this has been the case with me the animal(s) in question are dead and they just don’t want to tell anyone. They will wait until the hoopla of this has died down considerably before they will release some small, obscure statement – if anything. I’m beginning to think their “media manager” is code term for “let me help you chase your tail in circles”…

  7. Bless you, Shirley. I’m glad you are the type of person who does not give up. Are non-profits required to reply to open records requests the same as government-funded entities?

    1. Oops. Sorry. I see a comment to an earlier post mentions that this organization did get a government grant of some sort, which maybe does make them subject to the open records law. I’ll shut up now!

  8. Don’t give up! Thanks for caring enough about these dogs to pursue this. It’s clear that neither the HSUS nor some of the “shelters” give a damn about anything other than CYA.

  9. Sarah sounds like one of those “help bots” you get when asking a site for help. I wish her a lot of luck as emerging media manager, she just stepped into the ring with The Champ, Shirley! YOU GO GIRL, we’re right here standing beside you…they will regret the day they ever did this to the AL44. I promise.

  10. I have to call the Nashville Humane Society as a follow up to the recent case where there were the 97 dogs & 1 cat that had been recently removed – they told me to call back in a week for a status update on the cat. I’ll try to see if I can find out anything about the 10 dogs. Don’t know if I can get any further than you but I will try and let you know what I find out. (Wish me luck folks – hopefully we’ll have good news about the cats – and they’ll give me SOME information on the dogs….)

      1. I’m not sure about the dogs – at the time that I called I was most concerned about the cat because there was hardly ANY mention of the cat and so much focus on the dogs. Although I did go back through your blog and it has the Nashville Humane Association listed as on of the places that has some of the dogs. Did you need me to ask anything about them as well?

      2. No I feel confident the Cavaliers and Maltese and other high value dogs will get adopted out. I’m not worried about anyone killing them.

  11. Anyone know whether the TN open records law provides for attorneys’ fees if the agency doesn’t comply?

    I’m thinking a nice letter from your “counsel” on letterhead with a threat to retain local counsel if necessary might get their legal counsel’s attention. The point not being to obtain money, but to make them worry that they might be required to pay it.

  12. i’m convinced they are dead
    We used to use the ‘animal is no longer here’ language for any animal that had left the shelter- either through adoption, euthanasia, rescue, etc (that way it wasn’t obvious when they were euthanized if you used the language for ALL outcomes).
    honestly, it was always easier to just tell the damn truth in the long run

    1. IF – and I have that in caps since we have no confirmation at this time – they killed all the dogs, IMO their options at this time would be:

      1. Come clean with the records telling what happened and why. In other words, give their side of the story.

      2. Carry on with the attempted cover up even though it gives the appearance that not only are they dog killers, but also they are ashamed of themselves and willing to conduct a ridiculous cover up scheme to try and avoid having to answer for their actions.

      IF they did not kill the dogs but rather adopted them out or transferred them elsewhere for adoption, the only sensible option to my mind is option 1. Produce the records.

  13. Ran across another interesting document:


    is a report titled, Animal Shelters in Tennessee, prepared by the Offices of Research and Education Accountability, Comptroller of the Treasury John G. Morgan, dated May 2008.

    Appendix 2 on page 21 of the document is a list of certified animal control agencies as of December 17, 2007, which lists Nashville Humane Association as a certified animal control agency in Davidson County.

    Appendix 3 is CTAS Recordkeeping guidelines.

    Further reinforcing my belief that the Nashville Humane Association is subject to your records request.

      1. That’s very helpful too.
        Most of the attorneys on the planet are very reasonable people, and I would think counsel for Nashville Humane is too. We may never need any of this documentation, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure you have adequate backup information to support your position.
        Here’s one more tidbit I came across:
        from: http://givingmatters.guidestar.org/NonprofitProfile.aspx?OrgId=1876
        (Updated 2-7-11) Collaborations
        The Nashville Humane Association was successful in obtaining a PetSmart grant to address animal care and safety issues in the 2 high risk zip codes for problems with dog running at large, dog bites, unwanted puppies/kittens, vicious/dangerous dogs and cruelty or neglect complaints. The Metro Public Health Department who oversees Metro Animal Care and Control also obtained a stimulus grant to work with us on these problem areas. United Partnership for Animal Welfare will also provide volunteers in areas of support to the overall collaboration. It is the only such collaboration in the country and if successful will provide a template for other communities.

        As I recall, some of the case law in this area of open records makes reference to nonprofits performing functions normally handled by government entities. This collaboration by Nashville Humane with Metro Public Health Department would seem to me to fall into that category.

  14. A friend referred me to your blog. I live in Tennessee. I contacted Nashville Humane saying I was interesting in adopting one of these 10 dogs. The shelter responded that all “20” of the dogs they received had been adopted. I don’t want to post any more specifics in case I need to make further contact with them, but that is what I was told. I’m not sure if the number discrepancy was a typo, a misunderstanding or a lie.

    1. Thanks Kelly for the info. The number discrepancy aside, I am simply dumbfounded as to the reply that all the dogs were adopted. I mean, why the elaborate runaround from both HSUS and Nashville Humane if the outcome was that all the dogs were adopted? It makes no sense to me. I look forward to verifying this when Nashville Humane responds to the open records request I made a couple weeks ago.

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