The interstate dog-fighting raids this week were a huge story that received lots of media attention, and rightfully so. Training dogs to tear each other apart as a gambling sport is something that I find incomprehensible, especially in light of the so-called fighting breeds possessing such drive to please their owners.
The coordination and execution of the raid is such an admirable feat, it makes me wonder why HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle feels it is necessary to inflate the numbers on raid? According to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation, the raids seized at least 450 dogs and spanned 8 states. (Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas) However, according to the FBI/Department of Justice press release, approximately 350 dogs were siezed and the raids spanned 5 states. (Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, and Oklahoma) Where did the other 3 states and 100 dogs reported by the HSUS come from? The HSUS article and the FBI/DOJ press release were released on the same day, so it cannot be explained by subsequent changes in the case.
Sadly & predictably, Wayne Pacelle has already begun making pessimistic comments regarding the future of these seized dogs to the media. As quoted in St. Louis Today, “It’s just unclear what will happen,” said Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the United States. “I think it’s pretty certain that a lot of those dogs will not pass a behavioral test” Yet, Wayne Pacelle has made such comments before.
In 2007, he made the following statements to the NY Times regarding Michael Vick’s dogs, “Officials from our organization have examined some of these dogs and, generally speaking, they are some of the most aggressively trained pit bullsin the country,” Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Hundreds of thousands of less-violent pit bulls, who are better candidates to be rehabilitated, are being put down. The fate of these dogs will be up to the government, but we have recommended to them, and believe, they will be eventually put down.” Pacelle said the Humane Society normally advocated that fighting dogs be put down shortly after being seized.” Yet the reality was that only 1 of the Michael Vick dogs was euthanized due to aggressive temperament. (Ah yes, and HSUS was not the agency involved in the dogs assessments)
In 2008, Amanda Arrington HSUS North Carolina Lobbyist (sorry, State Director) and Chris Schindler HSUS Deputy Manager, Animal Fighting Law Enforcement (who isn’t a law enforcement officer) testified in court to ensure the euthanizing of the Wildside Kennel pit bulls including 60 puppies, some only weeks old with statements like “You know, people speak about the Michael Vick dogs. Those dogs have not even been rehabilitated.” (Those would be the “most aggressively trained pit bulls in the country” where only 1 required euthanasia for aggressive temperament)
Now we have dogs that don’t exist, in states that weren’t raided, that Wayne Pacelle is hinting will/should be euthanized for behavioral issues? I am confused, very very confused.
Update 1, I received the following comment this morning on AR-HR.com from Sarah Barnett of the HSUS:
Hi, I am an HSUS Employee and this is the statement from the HSUS; With so many different organizations and local, state and federal agencies coming together for last week’s historic rescues there is understandably varying information on the details of the rescued. Raids began as early as 5 Am last Wednesday, and carried on into the early morning hours – therefore stories were updated into the next day. Stories on the Humane Society of Missouri and ASPCA websites reflect that seven or eight states were involved (HSMO has not included NE in their story, although dogs were rescued there as well) and approximately 450 dogs were rescued. These facts are also reflected on many news stories published throughout the country. There was absolutely no inflation of last week’s momentous rescues – unfortunately the cruel animal fighting industry is widespread enough to keep us all busy fighting it for some time to come.
Update 2, My email reponse to Sarah Barnett of the HSUS:
Thank you for the HSUS position statement with respect to the AR-HR.com article on the recent Dog Fighting raids.
Could you please clarify your position and department within the Humane Society of the United States? I would also request that you clarify the source of your authority to speak on behalf of HSUS.
Please confirm that it is the official HSUS position that the data within FBI/DOJ releases on the dogfighting related raids, which were published on the same date as the HSUS release (July 9), are not accurate
Thank you for taking the time to contact AR-HR.com
Update 3, Response from Sarah Barnett of the HSUS:
Thanks for your response – I work as the emerging media manager for the online communications department for the HSUS, and what we were stating in the comment I posted was that with new information coming in every minute during these amazing rescues, the numbers were increasing as more raids occurred.
Emerging Media Manager, Online Communications
Update 4, Summary of HSUS response
I must point out 2 problems with the final HSUS response on this matter.
- Both articles were released on the same day (July 9) on approximately the same timeline. Therefore it seems unlikely that the HSUS would be in possession of more up-to-date data than the FBI.
- Ms. Barnett did NOT make any attempt to confirm that the official HSUS position is that the FBI data is incorrect.
My personal opinion is ‘shenanigans’ but I leave this up to you as the reader to decide for yourself.