Best Friends Calls Out ASPCA

Francis Battista of BFAS does the right thing:

Instead of cooking up fevered fantasies about an Al-Qaeda-like no-kill operation that is on the loose and may be coming to a community near you, one would hope that the ASPCA would be rattling the cages of local SPCAs and shelters and using their considerable influence in those circles to get such organizations to address the actual cause of public unrest, which is not an extremist agenda, but the killing of healthy, treatable pets.

Will HSUS address ASPCA’s shameful attempt to strategically smear no kill advocates?  Because silence sends a message too.

34 thoughts on “Best Friends Calls Out ASPCA

  1. If you follow Urgent Part 2 at all (I can’t anymore because I need to be able to sleep at night) you will get some good information on who the ASPCA really is. Just sad that, with their deep pockets and influence, that they can’t help the animals they purport to care about.

  2. Well, this whole incident has made it clear to me that I have to revise my donation strategy immediately! While I will be sad (for the animals) to remove myself from the ASPCA’s Guardian Angels list, I now realize that doubling my donations to Best Friends will go much further towards helping to achieve our extremis, oops, I mean, our goal of a No-Kill Nation!

    Thank you, Shirley, for bringing this to my attention. I’m going to post it on my Google+ Stream as well.

    1. Lorraine Martinez – would you consider keeping your donation more local (unless you actually live in Kanab, Utah)? I’d bet that a shelter in your town is in need of $ – or your time – and has a way smaller fundraising budget and media presence – and could make good use of the help. And since it’s much closer to you, a trip to that shelter will let you actually see what impact your money or time is having.

    2. Lorraine: I reiterate that good sense motion: keep your money in LOCAL shelters and small rescue, who really need it because most people in this country send their dollars to the BIG organizations. BTW, it should be noted, if I am not mistaken, that Best Friends was part of the vanguard in stopping Oreo’s Law and now in stalling the NYS CAPA. Just food for thought. BF is not always on the animals’ side either.

  3. I have a pup from a no kill shelter here right now. She is a disaster. Without going into detail this is one of the worst handled shelter & placements I have ever seen. The treehugger shelters (sorry about that, I’m really angry at the monent) won’t let decent trainers in, they are not proactive in making it easier on the family getting the dog. The staff is passing out treats like mad and not actually doing any decent training to make the dog moldable. This is what I see as the biggest hurdle in no kill. Lots of healthy adoptable animals with lots of baggage and a staff that thinks “love is enough” and places a never been outside in her life unhousetrained no bite restraint large breed young pup with an not so healthy couple in their mid 70s. I am livid.

    I’ll have her with me for 3 weeks or so doing all the stuff a decent training staff could have done at the shelter to the tune of my mortgage payment. Those who could not afford a trainer like me have probably already started the pass the puppy stuff.

    The shelters are not doing enough to prepare the dogs for their next homes. It doesn’t take much except a realistic results oriented in house training program that is run by someone who actually knows what they are doing. In this area I have to agree with the snark that was dished.

    (Sorry for the rant, I am so sick of cleaning up after other people)

    1. That is a shelter problem, not a no-kill problem. I doubt that a kill shelter would have taken the time to train the puppy so the couple would be in the same boat had they gone to a kill shelter and gotten her there. My local no-kill rescue does a great job of training the animals and matching the right people with the right pet. Like any organization there will be bad apples but don’t let this one spoil you on the rest.


      1. Absolutely Daniela, well said, I couldn’t agree with you more. Cyn, I’m not sure I understand the bias you clearly have against shelters who don’t believe in killing healthy animals. In my experience the kill shelters are so flat out killing that they often can’t even find the time to remove the animals from their cages before they hose them out (the closest they come to cleaning), let alone walking or training them! Surely anyone in their right mind knows if they adopt a puppy they’re going to be in for some work? I have trouble believing the shelter had no other more mature, already trained and lower maintenance dogs that they would have liked to rehome, as older animals are notoriously more difficult to find homes for. Sounds to me like your elderly couple were likely after a puppy, or even specifically requested this puppy. Should the shelter have said, “nah sorry you’re old, we don’t think you can cope with a puppy, either take one that’s already trained or bugger off”? At least the puppy is alive thanks to the “tree huggers”, the cold blooded fascist murderers would likely have just killed him and tossed him in the trash. As for not letting decent trainers in, I doubt the tree huggers would turn away any decent trainer who was willing to donate their time and services, unless that trainer was pro kill and thought that shelters who didn’t kill healthy animals were tree huggers of course! Sorry for the rant but I’m sick of scrambling trying to save sweet, healthy and totally adoptable animals from being gassed and poisoned to death because there aren’t enough tree huggers out there who think they’re better off alive than dead.

      2. Wow did you all miss my point. I do not have a bias against no kill shelters. I just don’t like to see them held up as doing all they can when they don’t.

        There is no pet overpopulation problem here. In this county we have 4 no kill shelters and one kill (animal control). The no kills cherry pick the kill shelter as do rescue groups. They also import animals from outside the area, even hand raise baby squirrels fgs. The are never full. The kill shelter does euth animals, but it’s not MAS by any means.

        I am a professional dog trainer, have been for more than 25 years. I see inappropriate placements all the time. Yes, the elderly couple should have been strongly counseled on the difficulties of a young puppy, especially after losing an elderly dog. People’s dead dogs attain sainthood and people simply do not remember the work that goes into housetraining and civilizing a dog. This sets them up for failure and the process starts of “pass the puppy” from home to home to end up in a shelter again.

        Evaluations are done for aggression, which really can’t be done on a depressed dog unless it’s truly a man eater. These shelters don’t even age test puppies, taking the word of the drop off owner if the pups are weaned. So a good portion of them not only have no idea about housetraining, they have no bite restraint or any sort of socialization to other dogs or people or the world in general. But by goD, they are sure spayed or neutered at under 8 weeks.

        Volunteer trainers are all well and good, but that is where the lower competence comes in. Trainers have to eat and feed families, too, you know. I train because I love the dogs and cats I work with, but bottom line I train to feed my family. So lets not go down that road. Paying someone to set up a decent basic obedience, civilization and housetraining program that could be implemented by volunteers supervised by someone who knows what they are doing is a valid idea.

        Instead what I consistently see is quickly placed adoptables sold to ignorant people along with a handful of pamphlets of bad advice. Which sets the dog up for multiple rehomings or a return to the shelter when the cute wears off. So great, the no kills don’t kill. Good. But that is only the beginning of successfully placing dogs and cats in homes prepared and qualified to keep them.

    2. Would you similarly agree that no parents should send their children to football camp because they are run by pedophiles who will all cover for one another? Cos that sounds “extremist” to me.

      1. Shirley please, that is apples and oranges. But you bet I would thoroughly research anyplace I was sending my child, and that my child was well trained enough to know when to say NO.

        What on earth does that have to do with beatifying no kill shelters simply because they are no kill?

      2. No one is beatifying no kill shelters simply b/c they are no kill. What happened was that ASPCA characterized no kill activists as extremists with an agenda to get “puppet regimes” installed at kill shelters. You commented that you agreed with that to some extent. My response was apples to apples – you can’t paint a large, diverse group with the broad brush of extremism.

      3. Shirley, I believe you are mistaken in your statement “You commented that you agreed with that to some extent”. Please do a cut and paste to point out what I said that gave you that impression, because I did not say that.

        Perhaps I am jaded because I have lived in a county for a long long time that turned their kill shelter around in a good way, but the no kills have a long way to go.

      4. “In this area I have to agree with the snark that was dished.”

        Since the post was about the ASPCA’s attempt to smear no kill advocates as “extremists”, I interpreted your comment to mean you agreed with the ASPCA to some degree. Apparently others interpreted your comment similarly. If you intended another meaning, please clarify.

      5. Given the context and the apparent categorization of the document linked by the ASPCA as ‘snark,’ I also interpreted the comment as at least partial agreement with the portrayal of no-kill advocates as ‘extremists.’

        However, I also saw it as largely irrelevant, since the original post was not about inappropriate or poorly judged placements by shelters or animal control facilities … or, for that matter, whether or not ‘treehuggers’ overindulge shelter dogs.

        Treehuggers. Cripes.

    3. Ironic that you just described the two high kill shelters my dogs came from. I spent MONTHS fixing their behavior and training problems.

    4. Cyn, thanks for posting. I hear you. I currently have 13 foster dogs available for adoption. Most are old farts that nobody wants. I have two yearlings left. (Came in as a group of five when they were about 14 weeks old.) They were wild and shy, but are now friendly and happy—if not exactly easy to handle.
      And yes, some would say I have not done enough. They are not house trained. I have raised them as sled dogs. That is what I do. They are high-drive active dogs that would run amok if left unattended in my house.
      EVERYONE can always do better! But death trumps everything if you ask me. There is simply no fix for death. I know some who say that my old dogs would be better off dead. And, sometimes, I worry that I should agree with them. But as the responsible human in their lives, it is my job and my responsibility to make that choice. (I’ve been teetering on the decision as the weather gets colder and the snow gets deeper and their lives get harder.)
      I’d love to adopt these two yearlings out to somebody with more time, drive, energy and enthusiasm. These are great young dogs that could be delightful companions as well as working friends.
      I can’t afford to put gas in my vehicle and buy kibble for the dogs I have. There is no way that I am going to budget for a trainer! (I’m supposed to be doing that…)
      I could have 50 more dogs by the end of the week if I just said yes. There are WAY more animals needing homes and training than there are trainers and foster homes available to take them. Our broken shelter system says these dogs should die…I disagree. Life is better. Imperfect, but with hope for improvement.
      You’re right. I don’t do enough to prepare my foster dogs for their next home. Would you rather they were dead? Or given away intact to somebody else where they would procreate and add MORE unwanted/untrained animals to our community?!
      Rant all you want. I’ve got poop to scoop.
      p.s. I don’t have time to hug the dogs, let alone the trees.

    5. Wow. Cyn, do you REALLY think that every no-kill shelter is a carbon copy of the one you’re slamming? And do you ACTUALLY think that a kill shelter would have been a better place for that puppy to have been in before it – maybe – was adopted?

      While I understand burn-out quite well, you obviously need to take a break from training shelter dogs. I’d advise you to tell potential clients that unless they have a dog that’s been perfectly socialized before its brought to you, that you don’t want to work with such impossible dogs. I certainly hope you’re not taking your anger out on that puppy – I mean, the dogs I’ve seen come out of board-and-train places are suspiciously handshy and cower at loud voices, so I’m thinking you must be as scary a trainer as all the ones around where I live.

  4. I understand about placing animals in the best possible situation for both the animal and the humans. I also understand that you are doing some of the training for those who need it. Have you volunteered to do training for those no-kills so the volunteers (who had good hearts, but maybe no training or experience) will be able to do a better job?

    It’s easy to criticize, but to look at what’s not working and see it as an opportunity to change things for the better is a much better option, imho.

    Thanks for your perspective. As a volunteer adoption counselor, I know a bit of what you refer to. And I had a foster puppy, very fearful, who was adopted to a family with a toddler. The pup bit the toddler (undoubtedly, it was more out of fear than aggression) and was killed. She never should have gone to that family! (And I was neither involved nor aware of the adoption family.)

    We all have a lot to learn and a ways to go, but we’re all in this together.

    1. Besides having no-kill shelters which would be a step in the right direction . To solve the problem of all this shelter business from being so overwhelming is for:
      1.puppy mills to be shut down nation wide
      2. back yard breeders to be stopped by large fines and jail time or community service.nation wide
      3. More restriction on legal breeders Nation wide
      4. Have a animal abuse registration so these sweet animals don’t get stuck with bad people.Nation wide
      Alot of people want to make money off these animals but don’t want to help them in their time of need.Or take the time to make the changes.

  5. I’m glad Francis spoke up as one of the founding members of Best Friends. I had occasion to speak with him by phone after Michael Mountain left the organization and while I have since taken issue with some of the positions taken by Best Friends as an organization, I am glad for this one.

    How in the name of good sense can someone who advocates for shelters to stop needless killing be deemed an extremist? I’ve been called that and worse and it sure doesn’t help to have the ASPCA add fuel to the fire.

    It has been said before and it bears repeating:

    Both the HSUS and the ASPCA take in millions upon millions on the backs (and hearts) of the anmial loving American public. How much of that money is truly being used to reform our broken shelter system? None as far as I can tell. I guess they protect their own form of status quo. If you reform the very systems which require you to exist in the first place, then you quickly become either obsolete or just less relevant. If you fail to use all that money to address why you exist in the first place, you can ensure your job security. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

    I know that these groups do some good on some level and I know there are people with huge hearts on the payroll. I also know, however, that these groups have it within their power to change the culture which says killing is ok and it is merciful and it is a public service performed for irresponsible taxpayers. No Kill groups can only do so much. Best Friends can only do so much. Take some of that money spent on marketing, lobbying and salaries and use it for the very beings you claim to represent.

  6. “Where’s Kapone?”

    “Where’s Ace?”

    People are unsure if Ace is alive or dead. The shelter may have tried to convince Ace’s owner that another dog in the pound was hers.

    “Everyone is concerned if Ace is alive. While we do not know for sure, we do know that we have to hold out hope and continue to work together to accomplish our goal so we can move on to the next steps. I believe he is alive, just for the record! The next steps are to make change and re-open the lines of communication with DAC so rescues can help, along with working on expanding community outreach and helping the dogs of Detroit and the Metro area. This fight has just begun! We can’t lose momentum after this immediate concern is resolved!”!/pages/Save-Ace/270120956356507?sk=wall

    “Detroit’s latest hero: Ace the Pit Bull. Will the City of Detroit kill him?” …or will they allow him to be transfered to a rescue? .

  7. It sure makes me wonder if it is another power struggle going on. And damned it all, the poor dogs are the ones that loose. The animal control people just don’t like it when they are told they can’t kill a dog.

  8. Bye the way, Ace had until Friday didn’t he? So that makes it even more evident to me. They just showed all of us didn’t they!

  9. I’m a little confused as my county shelter is Spca is a no-kill shelter. I live in Wyoming County NY. Isn’t Spca part of Aspca?
    I am also fostering a little Pitt mix from Mahatten shelter. she was to be put down and I managed to get her pulled out just in time. She is doing very well and am glad I made the decision to take on the responsibilty.

    1. Just FYI, this is also true of local Humane Societies – each is an independent entity, and not affiliated with or in any way supported by the HSUS.

  10. Earlier today the judge who issued the earlier injunction to DDR issued a second injunction specifically barring dac was executing ace and appointing the Lexus projects general council (Richard) as aces guardian. The Lexus projects attorneys (local attorneys in Michigan) have been in touch with ddrs attorney and we are working together to obtain justice for ace for this despicable act.

  11. Thanks to YesBiscuit and Eucritta for pointing out that neither the ASPCA nor the HSUS are parent organizations for your local SPCA or HS. It is so important to donate locally if you want to help animals in your area; a vanishingly small amount of the money donated to those larger organizations trickles down to your local groups. On the other hand, I also support Best Friends since they take in special needs animals from shelters and rescues all over the country (and even some from other countries). Most local shelters or rescues simply aren’t in a position to handle animals with severe health or behavioral issues, and Best Friends is one of the few organizations that will take care of those types of special needs animals (although they don’t have the space to take every animal they are asked to take). While I haven’t agreed with the position taken by Best Friends on every issue, I do know that they provide exceptional care every single day to hundreds, if not thousands, of animals that would not have survived otherwise. I volunteer there regularly so I’ve seen it for myself.

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