Friday, February 20, 2009

The Wilkesboro dogs will not have died in vain

The dog internet is spinning today about the Humane Society of the United States being the cause for the death of the dogs in the Wildside kennels dog fighting case. Best Friends Animal Society have put out a press release urging HSUS to re-evalutate their policies about dog-fighting and killing dogs automatically that come out of those situations based on the success that everyone has seen with the Vick Dogs.

They've formed a coalition with several other high profile groups to speak out against what the HSUS has done and to not let this atrocity (hopefully) happen again. Hopefully these groups together will be more powerful than the largest - what Best Friends is now calling "Humane(?) Society" in the United States. That is pretty sad.

This is their press release -

Humane(?) Society
February 19, 2009 : 6:34 PM ET

The court-ordered destruction of 145 dogs, including about 75 puppies, who were seized from a fighting-dog breeding operation in December, was based on the faulty assumption that all dogs seized in dog-fighting-related busts should be deemed dangerous – and consequently euthanized.

The decision to kill the dogs was supported by the largest animal-welfare organization in the country, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). According to the Winston-Salem Journal, representatives of HSUS testified in Wilkes County Superior Court that the dogs had to be destroyed because they had been “bred for generations to be aggressive.”

HSUS reasserted its outdated policy, written more than 20 years ago: “Any dog who has been specifically bred or conditioned for fighting, or for which there is evidence that the dog has been used for fighting should not be placed for adoption by an animal shelter but humanely euthanized as soon as legally possible.”

A coalition of animal welfare organizations, led by Best Friends Animal Society, offered resources to the county to evaluate, spay/neuter, and find homes for qualified dogs. These animal welfare organizations, which have extensive experience with rescued fighting dogs, urged Wilkes County to accept their offer of support for an alternative to killing, such as the rehabilitation approach used in the Michael Vick case. The coalition includes BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls), Animal Farm Foundation, Villa Lobos Rescue Center, Downtown Dog Rescue, The Sula Foundation and Our Pack.

Ledy VanKavage, an attorney with Best Friends Animal Society, said, “We are disheartened and shocked that HSUS, a leader in the animal welfare community, would testify in court for the automatic destruction of puppies and dogs who had not been given the opportunity to be evaluated as individuals, based on [HSUS’s] policy. The Michael Vick dogs have proven how antiquated this approach is.”

In 2006, HSUS advocated that all the dogs from the Michael Vick dog-fighting case be put down, for the same reasons they used when recommending the killing of the Wilkes County pit bulls. In the Vick case, a federal court appointed a “special master” to oversee the evaluation of Vick’s dogs, all of whom were adults. Many of the Vick dogs are now in adoptive homes, and at least two of the so-called “aggressive fighting dogs” are therapy dogs who visit hospitals to cheer up ailing patients.

“The coalition members and their supporters are urging HSUS to re-evaluate this policy and apply a more progressive approach that reflects the lessons learned by the animal welfare groups in the coalition, as well as other organizations that work directly with dogs,” VanKavage said.

Written by Barbara Williamson Photos by Gary Kalpakoff

As part of Best Friends’ 25th anniversary in 2009, our goal is to double our membership, so we can double our efforts to bring about a time when all companion animals have a forever home. What can you do to help? Give the Gift of a Best Friends membership to family and friends.

Coalition Contacts

Best Friends Animal Society Barbara Williamson, (435) 689-0200 (cell) or John Polis, (435) 644-2001, ext. 4858, or

Animal Farm Foundation Stacey Coleman, (845) 868-7559 or

BAD RAP Donna Reynolds, (510) 441-6461 or

Downtown Dog Rescue Lori Weise, (213) 448-9961 or

Our Pack Marthina McClay, (408) 460-4244 or

The Sula Foundation Ken Foster, (504) 613-7370 or

Villa Lobos Rescue Center Tia Maria Torres, (661) 268-0555 or

1 comment:

  1. On a similar vein do you think the same uproar would have occurred if Barton's dogs he killed in NB were "Pit Bulls"?RG