Monday, April 20, 2009

Animal groups summit to improve treatment of dogs seized in dog fighting raids

From the San Francisco Examiner online:

April 18, 8:43 PM

Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

Several animal welfare groups, including Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States, met in Las Vegas on April 8th to address the need for humane ways to deal with dogs confiscated from dog fighting operations. The summit convened in response to cruelty investigations associated with expanded HSUS led crackdowns on dog fighting rings. Following the Wilkes County, North Carolina bust last December, 127 dogs, including nursing puppies, were declared a public threat in court by the HSUS according to Nathan J. Winograd, national director of the No Kill Advocacy Center. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the HSUS, admitted they were summarily killed without given a chance for evaluation to see if they could be rehabilitated reports Winograd, author of Redemption, acclaimed book on animal shelters and the “No Kill” movement. The dogs have been doubly victimized by being subject to violent living conditions of the dog fighting industry and killed by virtue of being confiscated from these rackets.

Over the years, numerous incidents have betrayed the HSUS’ propensity toward going back on its word and killing animals according to Winograd. Best Friends was instrumental in pushing for positive changes in HSUS policy.

New protocols that came of the summit include:
• The HSUS recommends all dogs be evaluated to measure adoptability. Dogs determined adoptable will be available to suitable adopters and rescue organizations. The HSUS law enforcement training manual will be updated to reflect these changes.
• Dogs will be regarded as individuals and the ultimate victims of organized crime. Law enforcement and animal control agencies will be supported in their decisions regarding the disposal of dogs determined unsuitable for adoption and when adopters and rescue organizations are unable to accept adoptable dogs within a reasonable period.
• Participating groups, Best Friends Animal Society, HSUS, ASPCA, BAD RAP, Maddie’s Fund, National Animal Control Association, Nevada Humane Society and Spartanburg Humane Society, formed a coalition to coordinate in assisting dogs seized in dog fighting syndicate raids and develop procedures for the provision of housing and evaluation of dogs and screening of potential adopters.

Let’s hope the coalition ensures HSUS follow through on the changes and keeps HSUS true to its word.

Best Friends Animal Society works with shelter and rescue groups across the country to promote animal welfare through legislation.

The No Kill Advocacy Center is the nation’s first organization dedicated to promoting a No Kill nation. It is made up of people who have created and worked in No Kill communities thus proving it possible and viable.

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