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21 December 2007


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I'm really not surprised if this is all true, and hope that the lawsuit goes against the LA folks and for the animals. Couldn't look at the more specific images because it makes me both sick to my stomach and incredibly angry to see what we "humans" do to these innocent animals entrusted to our care.

I have faith in Nathan Winograd! He is a good man who can make a difference for the animals.

Susan Fox

Go Nathan!!!


Supplementary references:




Remember last summer, Gina, when I emailed you that I had been hearing that there was some records doctoring there? That reports didn't match? That there was some tampering with the number of deaths recorded? [They had a goal to kill fewer and fewer.]

Nancy Campbell LVT

I am sickened, disgusted and heartsick. I can't stop sobbing. Those poor animals. So much misery in the world and those who have the power to alleviate some of it are the cause of more misery.

When I was young and naive' I thought the HSUS, ASPCA and organizations like them were angels. Over the last 10 years, I've learned the truth and I hate them. I hate them for their lies & deception, among other things.


Nadine L.

Hope this lawsuit serves as a bellweather. L.A. more than likely is not the only guilty shelter. I see a movement happening.


"Over the last 10 years, I’ve learned the truth and I hate them. I hate them for their lies & deception, among other things."

Nancy, would you like to clarify that in regards to the " . . . ASPCA and organizations like them"?


Straybaby for one thing, PETA is using the Vick dogs to raise money. They did NOTHING for the Vick dogs, and believe pit bulls should be exterminated. HSUS bases a good portion of its fundraising on its campaign against dogfighting. They did NOTHING to help the Vick pit bulls and have issued many howls that they should be killed.. and indeed their consistent advice to shelters is to kill pit bulls.

Of course, they also claim to support "no kill"... you can read Winograd's blog to get a sense of that incredible hypocrisy.




All I can say is 'its about time'. If these agencies are going to blatently flout compliance with the law and use tax payer dollars to do so, then I'm all for holding them accountable. and if it takes a lawsuit to make that happen, so be it.

The head of this animal control departmemt should be fired immediately and her defense should not be funded by more tax payer dollars. Incompetent staff needs to be replaced - there are plenty of people who would like a nice government job with decent pay and benefits.

It would cost a lot less time and money to keep the facility clean, hold the animals for the required period of time, scan the pets for identification chips, allow other shelters to take some of these animals than it is going to take to defend these lawsuits.

I hope some smart city attorney takes a look at those pictures, tags this case as a loser and enter into a consent decree ASAP. If the city gets a good shelter manager in there, things can turn around in no time.



I know about PETA and HSUS, what I'm asking is about the ASPCA and other orgs like them. Especially the ASPCA because of the way they were mentioned.

Concha Castaneda

ASPCA...Didn't the terriorman expose their mail order/fundraiser attempts at targeting the elderly last month? He was pretty thorough and exact. Like most of you...I have been misinformed "tricked" into believing these organizations were saving animals when in fact they are only about making money. Too bad the law can't just seize their bank accounts until they can prove they are not torturing and murdering dogs and cats. We may be living in times that call for drastic means to bring about the necessary changes.


No, that was the HSUS.

i really wish folks would check these orgs out BEFORE throwing them down. the ASPCA has a fully functioning shelter/hospital/behavior dept and HLE here in NYC. they DO save animals DAILY. they also have disaster programs, sister city programs, run S/N and shot clinics along with adoption events and are one of the founding partners in the city's no-kill movement. they recently expanded to be able to take in MORE homeless animals. they are an animal WELFARE org.

and for the record, they helped evaluate the Vick dogs and investigate the crime there. not sure if they asked for any donations regarding the situation though.


Concha Castaneda

If they are saving animals, they deserve our donations. If they are fund raising on the pretense of saving animals they deserve our scorn.


Straybaby, yes, ASPCA did help very much with the Vick pit bulls, has opposed BSL and has good positive info on pit bulls on their site.

They are certainly NOT in the class of pit bull haters HSUS and PETA.

But like most of the large organizations, they are being pushed into "guardian" rather than "owner" thinking. And in their own shelter operation, they seem to place excessive creedence on "temperament tests". I'm not sure their record on placing pit bulls is incredibly positive, but then neither are most large urban shelters.

I agree, it's very important to investigate any organization before donating. I've made more than one mistake myself...


"But like most of the large organizations, they are being pushed into “guardian” rather than “owner” thinking."

hmmm, seems to me that they had backed off that more in the last few years. i looked a while back and could find very little reference to guardianship on their site. i think when they changed directors they went more for the welfare push vs rights.

"they seem to place excessive creedence on “temperament tests”."

yes they do. they temp test all of their animals. ones that are shown to have areas that need work, are worked with. i used to go in a couple days a week to help out. they all have cards that you can read and see what areas they are being worked with. some go into office fosters, others get sessions a couple times a week. mainly, they make sure everyone (humans) are aware of the particular steps that are being taken so everyone's on the same page to help the animals.

"I’m not sure their record on placing pit bulls is incredibly positive, but then neither are most large urban shelters."

i'd say they have a pretty decent record. they get a large number of pits. they, like all the others intakes, are evaluated, taught basic manners etc. they have a good screening process for homes etc. when i would go in, we did training and/or agility for an hour and it was mostly young pits.

the ASPCA has a low euth rate. it is the last option. dogs that need more work or need to be out of the shelter environment are found placement with foster, sanctuaries/other rescues etc. unless things have changed drastically, they give the animals every chance. and keep in mind, they also take care of the Humane Law cases. those animals get every chance also. and so do the red listed animals from the city shelter they pull.

now, they aren't perfect, but they are a far cry from being lumped in with animal rights orgs.


Check out this interview with the temperment tester Victoria Wells. http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=cruelty_ap_transcript_wells

I think you'll see that they spend a lot of time working with animals that have temperment issues inlcuding pit bulls.

I've noticed in the years that I've watched Animal Cops on Animal Planet that they have put a lot more emphasis in recent years on rehabilitation of hard to place animals including shy, older and handicapped animals.

I think Nathan Winograd's issue with them is that were part of some accords a number of years back (along with humane society and others) that supported the status quo of killing for space, etc.

I think the ASPCA has made real efforts to move in the right direction and I do wish he'd give credit where credit is due. I personally don't think its appropriate to lump them in the PETA and Human Society.


Victoria is who i would go in and work with. she also came to another shelter in my 'hood on her free time and helped with the dogs. the behavior dept is just that. a behavior dept. the evals are not just for problems though, they also help in placing the pets in the right homes.

i didn't realize NW had an issue with them. lol!~ makes a bit more sense now. ASPCA had the city contract years ago, but gave it up as it didn't fit with their mission. the NYCACC has had it since. that place was a real piece of work until the city went no-kill (thanks to Bloomberg!)and they brought new management in.


Temperament testing can be problematic when it is used as the justification to kill a lot of dogs. I think that's probably the biggest issue a lot of folks have with it.


yes, the city shelter used it for that reason. and used it VERY poorly i might add. personal experience there. it was heartbreaking. but again, new management is in place and doing much better from what i can tell.


I think Winograd's other objection is that the ASPCA program Mission Orange says that they can get a shelter to an 75%+ save rate which is not as high as his results.


Is this bad? I'm not sure. If your kill rate is 90%, then 75% is certainly better. And a number of the ASPCA's partner cities have reached comparable numbers to Winograd's No Kill statistics.

But I think Winograd's point is to change the mindset of the shelter immediately to a strict NO KILL 90%+ save rate. Once everyone buys into the concept that no animal is killed for any other reason but because its suffering or it truly vicious, then shelters and communities will innovate to get to that goal. Set the goal lower, and some organizations will feel that 75% is 'good enough.' He's probably right on this point.


the problem, it seems to me, is here:

"But I think Winograd’s point is to change the mindset of the shelter immediately to a strict NO KILL 90%+ save rate."

if we had done that the first year, i seriously don't know where you would put all the animals! the "mindset" can be there, but the reality of the situation is resources aren't. the step program is more in the reality. so saying they want the numbers changed by 10% first year and 75% 3rd year is a bit more reality based. the general "mindset" of workers tends to change when they see no-kill go into action, and yes, they do try and save any and all that's possible. going from a 90% kill rate to 75% (even a 50% one in some areas like LA, CA) in 3 yrs would be quite a good result just about anywhere. we haven't succeeded yet, but it's not for lack of trying. i really don't see a problem with tackling the situation with goals. the end goal is basically the same, but having achievable goals is important. being successful along the path to no-kill is a great way to get more support for the effort. surpassing goals is even better! and brings in the funding ;) and once you save 75%, 90 is so attainable, imo. the people working to change aren't gonna stop. at least here they aren't. there's too much passion for the 'cause' involved.i certainly can't see how throwing negatives out towards others efforts is going to help. crikey, we could be holding the 2000 status here (ugly numbers), instead, we aren't.

what i found interesting about the link is, they say they joined the Mayor's Alliance in 2005. it's a tad misleading as they have been involved since the beginning. they were one of the 5 charter/founding/whatever they called them shelters. and it was hands on participation. i have the pictures to prove it, lol!~ :)

ok, i swear i'm off the ASPCA soapbox now, lol!~ :) i just have a prob with them being diminished/bashed as they do a lot of good. again, not perfect, but who is?

hopefully, something good will happen in LA. i know many there had high hopes when the city started working towards no-kill.


thanks for the info on ASPCA, straybaby.. I am truly glad to hear your perspective.

and not a comment about ASPCA, but the notion that shelters have to "get up to" a save rate of 75% really says it all about the horrific state our shelters are in, and why Winograd's message and vision are striking so powerfully with us (though I STILL hate the "term" no kill...)

But yes of course, 75% is miles better than 50%


The one thing that Winograd is so right about is that change comes from the top. If the county or city shelter manager is a political appointee or low paid do-nothing, you can bet that that shelter won't be very successful in placing animals.

Replace that manager with someone who believes in the real mission of a shelter and change will come. What's sad is that without the public really keeping the hot coals under the politicos feet, things can be reversed just as quick.

At his lecture, Winograd told of one shelter which replaced a bad manager (with all the usual signs - killing for space with empty cages, filty conditions, sick animals, etc), with someone who wanted to make the shelter No KIll.

Unfortunately, the new manager got fired. Why? Because the employees were complaining that they had to WORK TOO HARD. Do you wanna bet that some of those employees included a relative of the mayor, the city comptroller's good-for-nothing brother in law, etc?

I think the key is for the public to keep the pressure up - but this can be very difficult in a small town. On either this blog or Itchmo there was a story about a volunteer that blew the whistle on a municipal shelter that was a house of horrors. While some locals supported her, she was fired from her job, received threats, etc.

That's why I also think its really important for people like us to write to these towns. The town may say its none of our business, but I really believe that putting the spotlight on these practices and exposing them to the wider world can have a profound effect. And we can take the heat, right?


You betcha'!!!


2CatMom: You're right. That is the Rushville, IN shelter case. Probably a typical (sadly) small town shelter, run-down, lacking basic equipment (like a stethoscope and weigh-scale), and a 93% kill rate. The assistant ACO blew the whistle on the ACO's botched euthanizations and rescued a surviving puppy from the cooler. The pup was sent to rescue and received veterinary treatment.

The assistant ACO has been reinstated, and a new ACO is being appointed when the new mayor takes over in January. (He's a political appointee once again, and is known for keeping his two dogs chained in the yard. Maybe we can send Tammy over for some more civil disobedience...)

Indy Humane intervened in this case and took the remaining animals when the shelter was locked down during the investigation. Their kill rate is something like 40% but that's still way better than 93%. They've offered to work with the shelter in the new year to implement new procedures. (Apparently the incoming mayor is asking why the Rushville shelter needs a computer...).

Interesting that there was a comment or two in the local paper that HSI killed a lot of animals and did they want Rushville's impounded pets going over there.

Martha Boden, at Indy Humane, thinks Nathan is a bit black-and-white, but admits that the HSI kill rate could be brought down.

More on the Rushville case:



Oh and 2CatMom is right:

"That’s why I also think its really important for people like us to write to these towns. The town may say its none of our business, but I really believe that putting the spotlight on these practices and exposing them to the wider world can have a profound effect. And we can take the heat, right?"


"(Apparently the incoming mayor is asking why the Rushville shelter needs a computer…)."



The saddest thing is that there is an automatic reaction within most of the towns to circle the wagons no matter how bad the deed is. I've taken considerable heat over on Itchmo over an incident in a Texas school where a racoon was stomped to death.

Since it appears that most of the town bloggers are kids, its hard to know what's really going on but only one person from the town has said what happened was wrong with no if, ands or buts (but the animal was going to die anyway...but haven't you ever made a mistake).

The town's bloggers seem a lot more concerned about the town's image, the damaged self-esteem of the poor racoon murderers, outsiders not minding their own business, wishing death and destruction and those who don't want this covered up, etc.

And don't you know that these kids' parents would be the first ones to complain about falling moral standards due to the behavior of us outsiders. (One of the kids said that I must be one of Those Liberals that support abortion and gay marriage, LOL. Hey, got me there kid, at least partly). If standards are falling, they might want to take a look in the mirror first.

But no matter, I'm keeping a watch on the local papers. If need be I will send additional polite emails to the mayor and school superintendant. And yes, I sign those with my real name.


Here's an article about it:



Action on the part of local citizens is what is needed to hold a mirror to shelter performance. Unless there is a genuine and compassionate director, the agency will not operate with any moral compass. Especially dangerous is leadership that pretends to be compassionate, fooling those not close to the issue.

Re: the Rushville shelter...

What is the point of tranfering animals from one kill shelter to another?

The "Humane" Society of Indianapolis' (HSI) offer to help the Rushville shelter by taking its dogs has all the appearance of opportunistic PR.

A group of local citizens in Indianapolis formed a group "move to ACT" (mtA)www.movetoact.org to encourage accountability of the sheltering industry in their community -especially holding a mirror to the HSI performance after dialogue with directors failed to result in improved policies.

15,000 animals are killed annually in Indianapolis.

Among the many misadventures of the HSI (that can be viewed here http://www.movetoact.org/objective2.html)are: ... rewards its director a salary >$110K/yr shortly after tapping a public charitable trust for animals by crying to the probate court "...we're running out of money" to pay for deficit spending, killed over a hundred asymptomatic cats with the excuse of the presence of panleukopenia - describing the action using the euphemism "depopulation," does not work liberally with rescue groups, refuses to allow the public access to the kennels when looking for their lost pet, killed a dog tagged with owner name and phone number after refusing him access to their kennel which housed his dog.

With the same frustration as in LA the owner of that dog lost dog killed by HSI has filed a RICO (Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Action)lawsuit against the agency. The agency has a long history of similar misadventures.

Especially telling is that the HSI director, Ms Boden, and staff were a "no show" when Nathan Winograd visited Indianapolis in October.

In every community where policies and practices of the local animal sheltering agency endorse killing animals for population control, are shutting out the public, not liberally working with rescue groups, people will continue to see this perpetual and dismal behavior unless they move to act as are the people in L.A. and Indianapolis.

Thank you for bringing this story of people taking action who are tired of the status quo performance of blatant neglect and killing of animals because they refuse investigate to do otherwise.


Warren, I was on the fence on the HSI offer of help precisely because it looked opportunistic and the perspective on the MoveToAct site was downright depressing.

Looking at the half-full glass, their well-paid director apparently was the one that picked up the phone to Mayor Bridges in Rushville and suggested a bail-out and an opportunity to bring down the obscene kill rate. Why Bridges had rejected offers by other shelters during the lockdown is beyond me, although maybe the others were not high-profile enough to give him his Lasting Legacy.

I hope there are more than a handful of people in Rushville who are looking at HSI's kill rate and thinking maybe they don't want to send their animals over there.

Someone here, or maybe it is in Redemption, said that a no-kill shelter really needs a no-kill community, so kudos to the assistant ACO, volunteers and supporters that are now demanding reform for the Rushville shelter.



One agency can create a significant obstruction in a community from becoming No Kill, and in any community it is the agency (or agencies) that are at the cross road of thousands of animals. The reasons for an agency to be obstructive are well reviewed in Winograd's REDEMPTION, not the least of which is satisfying the thirst for power and control. What more calculated punishment to the animal welfare community rescue groups and the future animals they save than to wield the power over life and death of animals by refusing to embrace the programs and services that No Kill demands to be successful. What's more important for the director of the HSI (and other shelter directors) besides damage control and image is "branding" (its name) and "development" (ie fund raising). In private industry "development" is about achieving excellence and this is what the Winograd paradigm has proven to work.

Yes, kudos is in order to the ACO and supporters in Rushville and elsewhere who are saying "enough is enough."

It is not a matter of IF No Kill will be realized in Indianapolis, or any other community, it is a matter of WHEN - because the collective conscience will not tolerate the satus quo pathology of killing animals for population control.

The folks in LA, Rushville, Indianapolis and elsewhere are not intimidated by slick PR and political manipulations to avoid accountability for their agenda. Animals who come to these shelters (that are NOT safe havens) deserve no less than regime change, and that is the prerequisite in any community animal shelter for an adoptable animal to have the chance to get our alive.


I read somewhere that "Redemption" is a "you won't be able to put it down" kind of book. Whoever wrote that was right.

I am so horribly ashamed of myself for believing the old [but still practiced] shelter mentality of LES. [And if you don't know what that is, you DEFINITELY need to read REDEMPTION.] All these decades and I never challenged the practices in the shelters. Like a sheep, I just followed them in their faulty thinking.

Winograd's solution is so damned simple. And it's been there all this time. I am truly, TRULY sick at heart for having believed for so long that the old methodology was the only method. Even worse, I'm heartsick that I never challenged anyone when it was obvious their practices weren't working. Think of all the animals killed in the meantime.

But it's never too late to change and he can count me among his avid supporters. Furthermore, any charity that doesn't support completely Winograd's solution is off my donation list. And boy there are several of them - very prominent animal "welfare" and "rights" organizations.


The first chapter of Redemption had me in tears. By the time I got to the third chapter, I was angry. Like Lynn, I assumed there was actual sheltering going on in more of these places.

After reading about HSI's record on MoveToAct, I did a quick comparison with our agencies here in Toronto, Canada. Our Toronto Humane Society, whose intake is at least that of HSI, appears to have paid attention to the SFSPCA experience. It used to have the city contract for pound services. Toronto Animal Services (name changed from Animal Control) is the contracted pound. In 2005, with 50% more animals admitted by the THS than by TAS, the THS adopted out 75% of the total, while euthanizing 9%. TAS adopted out 25%, euthanizing 51%.

TAS licenses the city's pets under dire threat that unlicensed pets can be seized. It's a city tax grab, and I shudder to think one of my licensed, microchipped animals might become lost and end up in their kill shelter.

I liked Avanzino's suggestion that SFSPCA take in any animals that the city pound was planning to euthanize, with a guarantee to move out all of the healthy ones. If we tried that here, it would give thousands of animals a reprieve.

Warren, you are right about agencies creating significant obstructions, and the politics and jockeying for funding getting in the way of animal welfare.

It's literally a dogfight here, with the wealthy, passionate and aggressive THS, its unionized employees vs. the volunteers, the plodding TAS whose service record is dismal, and the antiquated Ontario SPCA which oversees the province's inspectors.

I wish we could clone Winograd and Avanzino.


Let's just clone Winograd.

Avanzino only goes so far, which isn't enough.

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