I don't know if the couple people who read this blog know about this - but there is a horrible crisis in the no kill movement right now - there is a huge fight going on between Nathan Winograd and his supporters and the people who run Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - and basically the whole humane community is shaking their heads - and I wonder if there's anybody other than me who just can't figure out quite what's going on and who is right and what the future holds and what this all means for the no kill movement.
It all began with a dog named Oreo in New York - who was a dog with some issues that was at (I believe) an ASPCA - and was scheduled to be killed, but a no kill sanctuary was willing to take him - even with his issues - but the head of the ASPCA Ed Sayres authorized his killing anyway - so he was dead. I remembered when it happened - the twitter posts were going like crazy and Facebook was wild.
And from that - "Oreo's Law" was born. It was based on California's "Hayden's Law" - which makes it illegal for shelters to not allow rescues to pull dogs that are on kill lists. It's worked great in California - tens of thousands of dogs lives have been saved.
I know here in Nova Scotia - we had that same problem here in 2008 with some Celtic Pets dogs - they were called the "Celtic Pets 6" if you remember - the former regime of the NS SPCA - who are now gone (and everyday the HEAVENS REJOICE!!) - killed dogs who local rescues had foster homes for - but the SPCA killed them anyway. We could use a law like that here too - especially since the HRM put the pound contract into private hands that don't have to publish any statistics or work with rescues at all anymore. But I digress.
Nathan Winograd and the No Kill Advocacy Centre were the main proponents of the bill in New York and all we've seemed to have heard from Nathan since January were emails and blogs about "Oreo's Law" - which is okay - because legislation is one of the major ways that we will achieve a no kill world.
But in the last couple of weeks - the bill didn't become a law - so all hell has broken loose, and it turns out that Best Friends Animal Society didn't support the bill - and Nathan says that in fact Best Friends worked against it - and supports people and organizations that are against what we should all be working towards.
It just makes me think of the idea that the people who run the puppy mills and and all the evil things that we actually SHOULD be fighting and ganging up against are all having dinner together and having a really good laugh together - because we will never achieve anything until we stop eating each other alive.
I LOVE Nathan Winograd. I have loved Nathan Winograd since I first started reading his stuff in early 2004, but I don't understand how he can completely dismiss entire organizations because of the people who run them - like he does with the ASPCA and Ed Sayres. Surely there must be some good that the organization does somewhere in the United States in spite of what that one man does.
I'm not going to say anything about the HSUS or PETA, because those are different - neither of those organizations has actual shelters, so they aren't the same things - and I am a proponent of giving your money to local shelters - so they aren't the same. And their leaders are quite indicative of the organizations as a whole I think (in my opinion anyway).
I'll forward you on to some other people's blog posts in the last few days to give you an idea of what's being said about the story - they are all long posts because we are really at a cross-roads currently in the humane movement - this is really so huge it's mind boggling - I can't tell you how huge this is. There's no words for it - that's why I'm stumbling at saying anything about it, truthfully.
First off - here's a link to a positive article about the death of Oreo, and all the "positive things" that the ASPCA tried to do to save Oreo, and a 2nd one too, for good measure.
Since "Oreo's Law" has been defeated in New York State Nathan Winograd has written several articles - he's written a couple blog posts - one called "The Best Friends “Spin” Machine Goes Into Overdrive" where he focuses on why Best Friends really doesn't seem to be the organization that we all seem to want it to be, and "Where Have You Gone Best Friends?" which he wrote a couple days earlier - when he talked about why he thought the bill failed and he talks about the evil of Ed Sayres - and also about Jane Hoffman - a woman who's big in New York City, who we hear about in other articles - who it turns out would be made completely powerless if Oreo's Law would have been passed - and as luck would have it - is also a good friend of Best Friends and is a featured speaker at this year's Best Friends Conference.
Perhaps the best article that Nathan has written since the loss is called "Power to the People" on Examiner.com - that is a must read - and please read it! It took me like an hour and half to find tonight after having read it last night, and then I couldn't find it again on the internet tonight!
The rescue that started it all was a rescue called "Pets Alive" - they were the ones willing to take Oreo - and they are staffed by a lot of former Best Friends staff it seems, so the fact that Best Friends didn't support the bill has made everything even nastier - and the blog posts from that sanctuary are showing it - there are 2 blog posts that I've seen that have a very large wow factor - one titled "Being the change" - where they totally call out Best Friends, and then a more recent post called "Paying it forward" where they just totally lose it and say things like - "We all know each others secrets, don’t we? Secrets that are better left between us, yes?"
This is a blog post from an amazing sanctuary talking about another amazing sanctuary. Things are getting very bad in the no-kill world down in the United States right now.
Even a staffer at Best Friends - John Sibley - has given his opinion on the controversy on his blog.
You'll find Best Friends statement about the bill on their Facebook page here - and on their website
Michael Mountain, former president of Best Friends posted a statement in an article on Examiner.com that you can read here.
One question I have at the end of all of this is - I didn't hear whether or not Maddie's Fund was in support of Oreo's Law - and whether Richard Avanzino gave his public support for the bill. If that organization and Richard Avanzino didn't come out in support and do publicity for the bill - why are they not being crucified like Best Friends is right now? Is it because Mr. Avanzino is a close friend of Nathan Winograd? I'm just asking. That's just me asking - I haven't seen that organization's name anywhere during all of this - but that's a very powerful organization who's name could have also helped the cause a lot - but I personally didn't see it anywhere. And if not, why not?
And at any point in a cause - inclusion is needed, not division. I hope this war can be ended down there. I hope all of this isn't because Best Friends Animal Society is actually becoming a bad organization like a lot of people say it is. I really hope it isn't, because it used to be a great organization and cause and I've personally given them a lot of money and time. And they've done a lot of good and have a lot of capital and assets now - I hope it isn't all wasted.