Court to HSUS: Why is this the so-called humane thing to do?

146 Pitbulls, including 19 pups still nursing from their dams, were killed on order of the court in Wilkes Co, NC in February 2009. Most of the dogs had been seized in connection with a dogfighting investigation conducted by local authorities in conjunction with the HSUS. The remaining pups were born after the seizure.

The two HSUS representatives whose testimony Judge Wilson relied upon to make the decision on what to do with the dogs were Amanda Arrington and Chris Schindler.

Although Best Friends had made an offer to the county to save the dogs, their representative was not advised of this hearing which took place immediately after the third defendant in the dogfighting case plead guilty:

Best Friends Animal Society, which operates one the nation’s largest animal sanctuaries, had contacted County Attorney Tony Triplett within days of the December raid. The group had offered to work with rescue agencies to place the dogs.

But when Judge Wilson asked yesterday if Best Friends had gotten involved at the last minute, Assistant District Attorney Fred Bauer told the judge that the group had called him last Thursday and Friday, and had called his boss, District Attorney Tom Horner, yesterday.

“That’s just totally misconstruing the contacts we had with the county attorney and the attempts we tried to have with the DA,” [Ledy] VanKavage [attorney for Best Friends] said.

She said she left a message for Bauer a month ago, on either Jan. 13 or 14, and had made at least three attempts to contact the DA’s office. “I left a message for Fred Bauer and he never returned my call,” she said.

After court yesterday, Bauer said he couldn’t recall if he’d gotten a message from Best Friends, but that he didn’t intend to mislead Wilson and would clear it up with the judge today if there was any misunderstanding.

The case had been set for trial next month. People working on rescuing the dogs thought they had more time.

VanKavage said that when she learned about yesterday’s ruling she called Wilkesboro attorney William Burke to seek an injunction against destroying the dogs. She said Burke reported that when he got to the courthouse shortly before it closed, the judge was gone and the order was already signed. She said that Burke told her he thought the dogs would be dead before he could get the request before the judge.


VanKavage said that Bauer misrepresented her side’s interest to the judge and it affected the proceeding.

“I think the judge wanted to hear our side of it and if we’d gotten some notice, we could have gotten into that courtroom, but the DA’s office chose to stonewall us and because of that, these puppies died,” she said.

After reviewing a transcript of the court testimony of the HSUS representatives, it does indeed appear that the case for saving the dogs was “misrepresented”:

MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: Amanda Arrington. I’m the North Carolina State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. And our concern is that the only offer of help has been from Best Friends, but they are not offering to take these dogs.

THE COURT: They are not offering to take the dogs?

MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: They are offering to assist. That is their language that they used. That means it would still be the county’s responsibility. And in their own words, it costs about $190,000 per dog to rehabilitate them.

THE COURT: $190,000 to rehabilitate a dog?


THE COURT: That’s what Best Friends says?


(Brief pause.)

THE COURT: Why is this the so-called humane thing to do?


THE COURT: Yes, ma’am.

MS. AMANDA ARRINGTON: For the dogs themselves, I think, because of the way that they were bred. I think it is an unrealistic expectation for us to ask these dogs that have been bred generations for fighting to become regular pets. And it’s an even bigger thing to ask people to take on that responsibility and the county to take on both the financial burden and the liability. You know, we could be a couple years down the road and one of these dogs could do something, and I think it ultimately could come back on the county of Wilkes.

To be clear, Best Friends had offered the following:

Best Friends is willing to send a certified applied behaviorist out to evaluate the dogs and puppies. Of those who do well, Best Friends will fund their sterilization and transportation to responsible rescue groups.

I interpret that to mean the county would not be left holding the bag financially or liability-wise. And I’m sure the attorney for Best Friends would have explained that to the judge had the group been made aware of the hearing to determine what to do with the dogs.

More testimony:

THE COURT: Sir, did you want to add something?

MR. CHRIS SCHINDLER: I’m Chris Schindler. I’m the Deputy Manager, Animal Fighting Law Enforcement, Humane society of the United States.

You can’t — you know, even the puppies, you know, as you have heard, have been displaying those you know, those tendencies to start fighting with each other, and that’s something you are going to see as they grow older. Most of these dogs, you won’t know their true capability until they are at least 18 months old. These guys don’t even test them for fighting purposes until they are 18 months old. So the likelihood of being able to hold these dogs until they are almost two years old to find out how dangerous they may be is unrealistic. I mean, housing them just for now has cost, you know, maybe more than $60,000, just to hold them until now, to this point. I mean, these dogs, they are not on the same level. You know, people speak about the Michael Vick dogs. Those dogs have not even been rehabilitated.

Reading the HSUS testimony in the case is helpful in clarifying what was actually said and what the group’s position was regarding the dogs. But for me, questions remain:

  • Did the judge get the whole story in this case?
  • Did the judge hear truthful testimony from the HSUS representatives?
  • Who actually killed the dogs and how was the killing funded?
  • Does HSUS honestly believe the Vick dogs have not been rehabilitated despite so much evidence to the contrary? And that it costs $190,000 to rehab a bust dog?
  • If HSUS does an about-face and adopts some sort of policy to save bust dogs (my two cents) at their Las Vegas hotel gathering this month, can we trust them to follow through on it?
  • Will HSUS use as many resources to save bust dogs in future as it has in past to get them killed?

To paraphrase the judge’s question to HSUS: Why is killing unevaluated bust dogs the so-called humane thing to do? My response: It never has been and never will be. We are a no kill nation of owners who care about pets. We are the real humane society. Join us.

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.


More must-read commentary:

Blue Dog State: HSUS on Pit Bulls: Better Off Dead

Caveat: Time for the HSUS to Hit the Showers

HSUS Understands Birds; Dogs, Not So Much

What’s the difference between fighting dogs and fighting birds seized by law enforcement? The HSUS is willing to let some of the seized birds live, based upon their age and gender.

The day after HSUS posted about the Wilkes County Pitbull seizure, they wrote about some birds seized in a cockfighting bust:

The birds’ journey to a Texas sanctuary was as unusual as it was fortunate. Fighting birds seized from raids, both hens and roosters, are typically euthanized because of the difficulty of finding proper placement.

Like fighting dogs, birds bred and raised for fighting are too aggressive to be placed with other animals or in a community. Sadly, such was the case with many of the birds seized in the Ramsey raid, and all of the full-grown fighting roosters were euthanized.

The females, chicks and juvenile males were saved with the help of rescue groups.

Obviously birds and dogs are not the same animals. So it is not necessarily appropriate to compare them as far as adoptability. In general terms, dogs have been domesticated to be companions and in some cases, provide services (such as herding livestock) to man for thousands of years. They are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend” due to their friendly and loyal disposition. Dogs are highly trainable, intelligent, adaptable and possess a strong desire to please – qualities which are used by trainers of formerly abused dogs in order to acclimate them to new lives as family pets. Dogs readily accept their human owner as their pack leader so long as the owner provides common sense training, discipline, and boundaries. None of these generalizations can be applied to birds used for fighting so to my mind, the dogs clearly have the advantage when weighing adoptability in these cases.

The HSUS takes a completely opposite stand however and is willing to let some of the seized birds live while recommending death for all the seized dogs – even the pups born after seizure, still nursing from their dams at the time the Wilkes Co case went to court. Rescue groups had offered assistance with the dogs and Best Friends specifically had offered to accept responsibility for the dogs, neuter them and evaluate them for possible adoption. The HSUS sent two representatives to court to make sure that didn’t happen. They lobbied for the deaths of all the dogs.

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding when it comes to HSUS and the disposition of seized fighting animals. How else could one explain the “rescued” animal treatment HSUS deemed appropriate for fighting cases reported just one day apart? If the HSUS does change their policy on bust dogs to mandate (not “recommend”) individual evaluations by a qualified trainer, I will welcome it. But you’ll have to excuse me if I call for the HSUS to stand aside as far as those evaluations go. Cos they don’t seem to look at dogs the way I do. You know, as pets. As family members. As sentient beings deserving of compassion and care – not death. Maybe HSUS would be good at evaluating seized birds, I don’t know. But clearly, they have no clue about bust dogs. Thankfully there are many people who do.

Open Thread for Vigil Held in Raleigh

I will add to this post today as I come across stories about last night’s vigil in Raleigh, NC in honor of the Wilkes Co dogs killed after HSUS lobbied for their deaths.

WNCT has a short vid and blurb, so does News 14.

ABC-11 has a longer vid and story on the memorial:

It all comes after 145 dogs, including 75 puppies, were seized from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County and euthanized last month.

It was a dogfighter’s breeding operation, so automatically the dogs and the puppies were destroyed.

Now the humane society is pushing for a new policy. They are calling for all seized fighting dogs to be examined as individuals and not as a collective lot.

Oh, um vomit. If by “the humane society”, you mean The Humane Society of the US, let’s be clear: Many people and groups wanted to save these dogs. HSUS wanted them killed. HSUS succeeded and then couldn’t understand why people didn’t think that was swell and might not keep writing checks to a group who goes to court to make sure “rescued” bust dogs die. Now they’re saying they may change their ways. We’ll see.

NBC-17 brings the stupid:

Those who are pushing for a change in the law say it’s outdated and lacks compassion.

But others say, once a dog’s been trained to kill it’s really difficult to rehabilitate it.

Linda Labonte is one of those people. After breeding and training dogs for over two decades, she knows the difference between violent aggression and just plain acting out. And she says the average Pit Bull bred for dog fighting is almost impossible to rehabilitate.

Or not.

Brought up from the comments, video tribute to the dogs on YouTube.

Another video posted to YouTube by Best Friends and an article on their website.

Vigil for Wilkes Co Dogs in Raleigh on March 4

Ask not for whom the bell tolls HSUS:

Organizers of Wednesday’s candlelight vigil hope lawmakers will enact change to guarantee dogs seized from dog-fighting operations will have the opportunity to be individually evaluated, rather than being automatically deemed ‘dangerous’ and destroyed.

The vigil will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at Bicentennial Mall, 16 W. Jones St., in Raleigh, near the North Carolina General Assembly.
As a bell is rung 145 times –once for each of the Wildside Kennel dogs euthanized solely because they were seized from a dog-fighter’s breeding operation – a collar will be placed in a circle.

The dogs were put to death without individual evaluations after the judge heard testimony from two representatives from the HSUS urging that all the seized dogs, including 19 pups still nursing from their dams, be killed.

Bright Light in a Dark Place

Best Friends has a post up about Shelia Carlisle, one of the volunteers who cared for the Wilkes Co dogs.  She and her fellow vols did the best they could for those dogs, knowing there was little chance they’d be allowed to live, even if they survived the terrible conditions at the “undisclosed location” (warehouse) where they were hidden away.  Shelia gives us a glimpse into those conditions, the individual personalities of the dogs and the heartbreak of having them all killed:

The dogs were taken to an undisclosed location at the beginning of December and held for months as evidence in a warehouse. 

During this time dozens of puppies were born and Shelia and her colleagues helped care for all the dogs including the precious pups.

From the diseases spread from being in cramped, damp and dark accommodations to the fact that they were pit bulls from a known dog fighting breeder; the chances were slim that any of the animals would ever be able to live a happy life with a family that loved them. This reality did not deter Shelia and the others from their mission of giving them the love and support that they deserved.


It was a daunting task, as puppies were being born, they were quickly getting sick and some were dying even though they had the care of three different veterinarians. Shelia and three other people worked diligently to get the puppies as much individual attention and nurturing as possible . They were taking puppies to foster homes, while the other dogs at the warehouse were not allowed to leave the building. The dogs were not going outside – so much of the day consisted of cleaning and changing bedding and arranging the dog kennels to help alleviate as much stress as possible. 

“The protocol for handling the puppies was extremely inadequate: there was almost no natural light, no whelping boxes, and it was cold and damp. We had kerosene space heaters, but they would run out of fuel in the middle of the night. We were doing everything we could to make them comfortable, but it was so hard. We were cleaning constantly.”

There was Angel, a favorite of one of the hired handlers/security staff. Angel would sit with her paws up and rest her chin on them. She was so well behaved, she was just a sweet dog. 

As Shelia recounted the individual personalities of the dogs she started to choke up. The individual dogs have touched her heart in a way that the authorities never took the time to understand. 

“Once they learned to trust us they quickly came around, it was obvious these were good dogs. You could pick up a young dog or puppy and he would put his paws around your neck and would love to be held and hugged.”


“Knowing now that pit bull dogs are seized from dog fighters only with the intention of killing those dogs without even giving a single one of them a chance, sickens me.” Shelia sadly related. “The dogs are the victims and should be saved…not doomed.”

Doomed by the HSUS, to be precise.  Thank you to Shelia and the other volunteers who offered the dogs comfort amidst the misery.  The HSUS succeeded in their effort to have all the dogs, including 19 puppies still nursing from their dams, killed but they could not kill the integrity of compassionate volunteers who care about dogs.  There’s more of us than there are of them.  HSUS and its barbaric Pitbull policy of seize and destroy is not representative of the attitudes and beliefs of real dog lovers in this country.  We are the true humane society and we want every bust dog to receive a fair evaluation by a qualified individual – obviously that would exclude any involvement from the HSUS, who have gone on record repeatedly, and as recently as last week, stating that all bust dogs must die.  The HSUS has way too much Pitbull blood on their hands at this point to be considered part of the solution to the problem they created.  Time to get out of the way HSUS and allow our humane society to help Pitbulls in need. 

H/T to EmilyS for the link about Ms. Carlisle.

Recognition in Wilkes Co Case

In recognition of some who were involved in the Wilkes Co case…


From the Winston-Salem Journal:

John Goodwin, the manager of animal-fighting issues for The Humane Society of the United States, said yesterday that a judge will decide the fate of the dogs later. The Humane Society worked for three years on the investigation, in cooperation with Wilkes County Animal Control and the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.


Goodwin said that the dogs have been bred for fighting and it would very difficult and expensive to re-train the dogs, even the puppies, so that they could be adopted.

You can learn more about Goodwin at Blue Dog State but he is not one of the HSUS peeps who testified at the hearing to decide the Wilkes Co dogs’ fate. He did respond to inquiries from folks who were upset at the killings.

Winston-Salem Journal:

Wilson ordered the dogs destroyed yesterday after hearing from a prosecutor, the attorney for Wilkes County government, Wilkes County’s animal-control director and two representatives from The Humane Society of the U.S., who all called for the dogs be euthanized.

Amanda Arrington, N.C. director for The Humane Society of the U.S., and Chris Schindler, the agency’s deputy manager of animal-fighting law enforcement, both told the judge that these particular dogs have been bred for aggression. [emphasis added]

I wanted to check out the expertise these folks had on evaluating seized Pitbulls. I picked up a few bits of info from the HSUS, first on background:

Amanda Arrington is the North Carolina state director of The Humane Society United States. Prior to joining The HSUS in May 2008 she was an office manager.

Then a quote from Amanda Arrington:

“I am committed to making a difference for the animals.”

So in summary, in case you blinked, the first HSUS “expert” to explain to the judge why 146 dogs, including pups still nursing from their dams, needed to die joined the HSUS 10 months ago after leaving her office manager job. Congratulations, you have made “a difference for the animals”.

The HSUS on Chris Schindler:

Besides arresting illegal animal fighters and rescuing animals from cruel deaths in the fighting ring, Chris gained valuable insight into the motivations and mentality of dogfighters.

Apparently the phrase “rescuing animals from cruel deaths” means something different to HSUS than it does to me. Because killing unevaluated dogs, including puppies still nursing from their dams, which is what Schindler recommended to the judge, doesn’t seem like “rescuing” to me. Further, the HSUS contends that Schindler has insight into dogfighters – I’ll take them at their word on that one. But what about the dogs? Any valuable insight on the dogs about which he was providing the recommendation in court? Does kill-them-all fall under the “valuable insight” category?

Schindler teaches a course for law enforcement, animal control, etc on cruelty investigations. For a $50 – $75 fee, attendees can learn, among other things, about dogfighting cases and the “disposition of seized animals”. I assume that chapter is pretty short: K-I-L-L.


Sheila Carlisle of Morganton said she has been helping to care for the grown pit bulls and many puppies, and that the dogs are adorable.

“I’ve fallen in love with them,” she said. “I don’t want to cause anybody any problems with the court system, but I want these dogs saved.”

I have no idea if this person is a shelter volunteer or what – all I know is, I’m thankful these dogs had her to care for them in their final days in this world. Thank you.

And thank you to the rescue groups who tried to intervene on behalf of the dogs, including Best Friends.

And last but absolutely not least, thank you to all my fellow pajama bloggers who continue to shine a light on this dark secret of the “Humane” Society of the U.S. It’s because of you folks that I do believe we are a humane society and we can affect change for the better.

More HSUS Nonsense Regarding the Wilkes Co Dogs

The HSUS response (signed in brown ink) to the killing of the Wilkes County dogs, currently making the rounds online:

Thank you for contacting us regarding a county judge’s decision in North Carolina to euthanize fighting dogs seized from the property of notorious dogfighting kingpin Ed Faron. We understand your concern about the judge’s order to euthanize the dogs, and it is always a tragic outcome when healthy animals meet such a fate. But the blame lies with Mr. Faron, and not with county officials or The Humane Society of the United States. While we may not endorse every action of the county, we are grateful to them for working with The HSUS to bust a man who is responsible for an enormous amount of cruelty to dogs, and to bring him to justice.

No organization has done more to attack and harm the dogfighting industry than The HSUS. We’ve probably invested more in combating dogfighting than all other humane groups combined, and to great effect. We are principally responsible for the strong state and federal laws that make the practice a felony and ban possession and sale of fighting animals, and we have trained thousands of law enforcement personnel on investigating and raiding fighting operations. What’s more, it is our training, investigations, and rewards programs that are resulting in the arrest of countless dogfighters and the seizure of thousands of fighting dogs (which are, according to the dogfighters, an asset they lose upon seizure).

We are involved in dogfighting busts on almost a weekly basis, and the handling of Mr. Faron’s dogs raises the same questions that confound us constantly. With approximately 600,000 pit bulls killed in shelters each year, why should fighting dogs, which obviously require more resources to manage and which pose an obvious threat to other animals, get placed in favor of other equally deserving pit bulls and other breeds slated for euthanasia? In a local jurisdiction that has perhaps hundreds of other pit bulls waiting for loving homes, why not save them in favor of fighting dogs that will cost far more to handle on a per dog basis? How do we solve the larger pit bull problem in the nation, since we have an epidemic of dogfighters and others breeding them for aggression and for uses other than as companions?

We conducted a long-term investigation that led to the arrest of Mr. Faron and the seizure of his fighting dogs. He is considered one of the “Godfathers” of dogfighting, and it was our goal to put him out of business, just as it is our goal to target other industry leaders, in order to prevent thousands of dogs for use in fighting pits. Had it not been for our investigation, most of his dogs would have suffered immensely in a fighting pit in the weeks and months ahead. And who knows how many other dogs he would have bred to face this same fate.

It is now an HSUS policy to recommend an evaluation of all fighting dogs. In this case, The HSUS offered to pay for an additional professional evaluator to assess the dogs, even though we were skeptical that these dogs could be safely rehabilitated. The county did not take us up on that offer. Without an affirmative professional evaluation to indicate that the dogs could be safely placed in a new setting, we could not recommend adoption of these dogs who had been bred for generations for their instinct to kill.

While separate evaluations were not done, it is safe to say Faron’s dogs have been bred to produce animals with an unstoppable desire to fight, even in the face of extreme pain and fear. Professional dogfighters typically “cull” the dogs that don’t exhibit gameness or aggression, and only keep and breed the ones that exhibit the desired traits. For proof of that, we can refer to Faron himself, from his book about dogfighting:

“His face had only just healed from that fight with the Wreckers’ dog and he got his nose chewed half off again, that night.”

“The gamest dog I ever saw in my life was King David. At ten minutes, his right leg was broken. At twenty-three minutes, his left leg was broken. At thirty-seven he scratched on stumps, and at forty-eight minutes when he scratched he scratched down one wall and down the other ….until he got to Beau again.””

“ I mean, he broke muzzles, crushed skulls- we saw him bite dogs in the chest and their chest would literally collapse. That was Beau…”

Game-bred dogs pose a risk to other dogs not just because of training, but more importantly because of breeding for aggressive characteristics. Even no-kill shelters typically recommend euthanasia of obviously dangerous dogs.

These fighting dogs do not compare with the dogs from amateur “street fighters,” who typically take any, random pit bull and try and force them to fight. If pit bulls have not been bred for generations to have a “fight crazy” instinct, even if they have been exposed to dogfighting, they have a chance of being rehabilitated. This is why a substantial number of Michael Vick’s dogs were candidates for rehabilitation, after the court ordered Vick to pay $1 million as a set-aside to provide care and retraining for the dogs.

Once game-bred dogs are confiscated from a fighting situation, there are very few good options. There are no sanctuaries that exist for the thousands of game-bred dogs confiscated each year, and as a nation, there are hundreds of thousands of pit bulls awaiting adoptions in shelters every year. The resources that would be required to confine or rehabilitate fighting dogs could save many more dogs in shelters every year. So, in that sense, it is not a zero-sum game when it comes to euthanasia; it is a negative-sum game, and an inordinate focus on these few pit bulls would result in more euthanasia of other dogs. And if you impose upon rural counties – where most fighting busts occur – the burden of long-term holding of fighting pit bulls, then they may decline to intervene in criminal fighting cases, allowing the dogfighters to continue to operate.

There are tough choices to be made, and the only morally clear act is to attack the dogfighters where they live. We are the only national organization that has an entire unit devoted to this work on a national scale. That’s what we’ll continue to do.

A few points:

1.We understand your concern about the judge’s order to euthanize the dogs, and it is always a tragic outcome when healthy animals meet such a fate. But the blame lies with Mr. Faron, and not with county officials or The Humane Society of the United States.

*sounds buzzer* Mr. Faron did not advocate for the killing of the seized dogs – the HSUS did. Their testimony led to the judge’s ruling.

According to a ruling Monday by Judge Ed Wilson Jr. of Superior Court, state law defines dogs as dangerous if they are involved in a dog-fighting operation, and a county ordinance requires that dangerous dogs be destroyed.

The raid was the result of a three-year investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, in cooperation with Wilkes County Animal Control and the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. Representatives of the Humane Society told the judge that the dogs should be destroyed, because they had been bred for generations to be aggressive.


Judge Ed Wilson entered the order after hearing arguments from Wilkes County officials, from the prosecutor and from The Humane Society of the U.S. that the dogs are dangerous and would pose a risk if adopted into homes.

Therefore, I’ll assign blame for the destruction of those dogs as I see fit – at the feet of the HSUS.

2.With approximately 600,000 pit bulls killed in shelters each year, why should fighting dogs, which obviously require more resources to manage and which pose an obvious threat to other animals, get placed in favor of other equally deserving pit bulls and other breeds slated for euthanasia?

*raises hand and waves violently* [I SO know this one! I hope he calls on me.] No one is placing any dogs “in favor of” any other dogs and why is it the HSUS gets to decide who’s more or less worthy of a chance at life in bust dog cases? I know this message is not getting through to you HSUS, but not everyone agrees with your assertions as stated above. Some people in fact, think it’s malarkey. If YOU feel a bust dog is not a good match for YOU, then don’t adopt one. But by the same token, don’t advocate to get them all killed before someone else, who might feel differently than you about bust dogs, has a chance to rescue them. If there is the desire out there among rescue groups to save these dogs, what business is it of yours how those rescue groups spend their resources? Perhaps you are concerned that you will be proven wrong again, like you were about the Vick dogs. Speaking of which –

3.While separate evaluations were not done, it is safe to say Faron’s dogs have been bred to produce animals with an unstoppable desire to fight, even in the face of extreme pain and fear. Professional dogfighters typically “cull” the dogs that don’t exhibit gameness or aggression, and only keep and breed the ones that exhibit the desired traits.

This is the same argument used by HSUS when advocating for the killing of the Vick dogs:

Pacelle said, “If the current set of facts is not disputed, that they were killing off the less aggressive animals and keeping alive the best, most aggressive fighters, then it does not make sense to keep these animals alive.”

And that argument turned out to be wrong. And incorrect. And really quite off.

4.There are tough choices to be made, and the only morally clear act is to attack the dogfighters where they live. We are the only national organization that has an entire unit devoted to this work on a national scale. That’s what we’ll continue to do.

Fine. Bring it. You keep seizing Pitbulls and advocating for their destruction and we’ll keep the spotlight on your hypocrisy machine. It’s the only “morally clear act”.

"These dogs would most certainly kill any other dog they could get to."

Here’s John Goodwin’s (HSUS ‘dogfighting czar’ *blech*) response to the Wilkes County Pitbull killings.  It’s being posted around the net as pet lovers are still reeling from the events of yesterday:

Those particular fighting dogs in Wilkes County, NC were very, very different than the Vick dogs. Whereas Michael Vick was a pro football player that fought dogs as a hobby, the breeder of these dogs was a globally recognized professional dogfighter. Vick was not a good breeder, and he lost most of his fights. His dogs were a poor representation of true fighting dogs. With the Wilkes County dogs, even the puppies as young as 8 weeks of age where attacking each other and drawing blood. We had to buy new cages to separate litters of young pups.

With the Vick dogs it cost nearly $1 million to “rehab” 49 dogs, and still half of them are in solitary kennel runs, unable to socialize with other dogs. In this case there were 127 dogs, and they are far more aggressive than the Vick dogs. 

The “misleading claims” have come from a couple of individuals that never saw these dogs, and choose to throw stones on the internet. I saw these dogs, and in fact handled many of them while they were being evaluated. These dogs would most certainly kill any other dog they could get to. 

It is very sad that people are also missing the bigger story, that our work has shut down one of the top breeders of fighting dogs in the United States. Dogfighters are seeing their hero’s go to prison. This is having an effect, and many dogfighters are leaving that world behind as they recognize the cost of doing business is too great. HSUS is the only organization in the United States that has an entire campaign that works full time on animal fighting issues. 

I support pit bull rescue, but there has to be a group that goes farther and hits at the root of the problem. That is what we are doing by putting leaders in the dogfighting criminal underworld out of business. 

Lastly, Wilkes County euthanizes 3,000 healthy, adoptable animals a year simply because there are not enough good homes opening their doors to these needy animals. I find it disturbing that the groups clamoring for media attention over these 127 dogs raise no fuss, and offer no assistance, for the other 3,000 dogs put down in that county each year. 


John Goodwin
Manager, Animal Fighting Issues
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037

I’m apparently one of those “couple of individuals” making “misleading claims” and throwing stones on the internet.  Boo hoo, doncha just hate that Freedom of Speech thingy?  While I take issue with like, every single sentence in this letter, I’m going to focus on this one part:

I support pit bull rescue, but there has to be a group that goes farther and hits at the root of the problem. 

Number One:  With ‘supporters’ like you, pitbull rescue don’t need no enemies, you know what I’m saying?  Could you go ‘support’ something else please?  Preferably something already dead.  Number Two:  HSUS is the ‘group that goes farther’?  Really?  HSUS is the group that advocates for killing all bust dogs without individual evaluations by qualified behaviorists.  Is that getting to ‘the root of the problem’?  To me, that’s just compounding the problem by misleading the public and killing unevaluated dogs.  Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.  

For more “couple of individuals” and their “misleading claims”, visit Lassie, Get Help

Wilkes County NC Kills Puppies, Adult Dogs

From the Winston-Salem Journal:

Wilkes County Animal Control began this morning to euthanize more than 127 pit bulls associated with Wildside Kennels, an operation that bred fighting dogs, according to county officials. The county was carrying out a judge’s order from Monday.
The dogs should all be euthanized by the end of today, county officials said. The exact number of dogs is still unclear because several litters of puppies had been born since the raid.

Barring an unexpected about-face by Wilkes Co, I’m assuming all the dogs are dead now. I’m assuming they killed all the adult dogs, who had no known history of biting, without so much as one evaluation by a qualified behaviorist. I’m assuming all the baby puppies, born in the past couple months, were taken from their dams, and killed. And I’m assuming all the bigger pups, who were seized in the original raid, who never got to grow into their big paws or figure out their floppy ears or have someone tell them to sit their waggy butt down if they want a cookie – I’m assuming they’ve all been killed too.

Since I’m speculating, I’ll go ahead and guess that the HSUS folks are clinking their glasses tonight as they celebrate their latest success – this one currently being exhibited at the Wilkes County landfill. Humane FAIL.

Added:  Bringing up from the comment by EmilyS:  So apparently 19 of the dogs killed were newborn pups, still nursing from their dams.  At least now we have a number.

Action Alert for Seized Dogs in Wilkes County, NC

Ok this is admittedly a Hail Mary with no timeouts left and 6 seconds on the clock but hey, what the heck. Sometimes those things actually work! If you have been following the case of the Wilkes County Pitbulls on this blog, you know I’ve been asking you to write letters requesting authorities to consider turning the dogs over to rescue groups. Well now that a judge has ordered all seized dogs and pups killed, the need for action is urgent. The dogs may already be dead, I don’t know and haven’t been able to find out, but just in case they aren’t, please fax or phone the contacts below and voice your concern for the dogs. Remind authorities that Best Friends and others have offered to accept responsibility for the dogs and that they have a proven track record with bust dogs. Remind them that the state of NC allows for the adoption of dogs seized in fight cases. Let them know you’ve been following this case and you are hoping to hear an update about the dogs. Be polite and respectful. Do it now.

Wilkes County Board of Commissioners
110 North Street
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
Phone: 336-651-7346

Wilkes County Attorney Tony Triplett
Vannoy, Colvard, Triplett & Vannoy
922 C Street
P.O. Box 1388
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
Phone: 336-667-7201
Fax: 336-838-7250

District Attorney Fred Bauer
500 Courthouse Drive Suite 2022
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
Phone: 336-667-6361 or 667-2994