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15 July 2009


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Gina Spadafori

I'm seeing change, too. Time will tell.


I am NOT a fan of the HSUS, or Mr. Pacelle.

However, as noted, that first photo made me cry like a baby pretty much on sight.

That is quite the visual statement - written statement be damned.

Thanks for including the pics with the article, Christie.. without them I think I would have been far more likely to dismiss this the way I dismiss most things that come from the AR nuts. In other words "what's the agenda?"

This does clearly show a shift. Here's hoping that it sticks... although it would be difficult for them to go back to their former position after showing their own people cuddling up to these "killers."

H. Houlahan

I would foster one of these dogs in a heartbeat.

But got our own thing going at the moment.


Compared to the worse-off half of the dogs in this case, fight-bust pibbles would be a piece of cake. They've been touched by human hands, for example. There's neglect, and then there's neglect.

We all do what we can.

Gina Spadafori

RHz ... you should know your local "humane society" has no connection to the Humane Society of the United States. You are welcome to think what you will about the policies and practices of the national organization (HSUS), but those have nothing to do with the decisions made by your local shelter. They're entirely separate entities.


I am not a fan of the HSUS because of their many practices - especially since the local group euthanized 32 cats and kittens last summer because they had ringworm!

However, this made my eyes sweat and my skin bump up with chills. I pray that this is the change we've been rallying for, and that the road keeps winding in our favor.


Disposition decisions will be case by case based the locale of the dogs. Some states will be harder to work with - Texas. Maybe Oklahoma. But HSMO has already committed to getting dogs into rescue and would not be soliciting help if they didn't believe this was going to work.

The pit bull community can access the dogs, but you don't have to be bust dog experienced to foster. Half of our Vick dogs were fostered by novices. Success is in the selection of the dogs and the willingness of the homes to follow basic common sense guidelines. For that matter, pit bull friendly shelters can (and some are already willing) to help absorb high functioning dogs into adoption programs.

Step up. Please. (general plea to all readers)


As I understand it, HSUS won't be making any decisions about the dogs.. it will be a judge based on evals. conducted by HS Missouri?

So we can hope... and expect, based on their new image... that at a minimum they won't be beating the public drum to kill dogs. Though based on recent press comments by Goodwin on another recent bust, they may assert that dogs need to be killed rather than being kenneled for life. Better tell the longterm Vick dogs at BF that their life isn't worth living.

Donna is right: it's up to the pit bull community to save the dogs, because HSUS won't. Of course, that's exactly the problem. It's a set up to fail the dogs.


Thank you Christie. We're relieved by the shift in messaging, to say the least.

But some point soon, we'll need to stop talking about the HSUS and instead, start asking ourselves, what are we going to DO with all these deserving dogs?

They're ours (collectively) to save. And everyone reading can sign up to be a foster home starting tomorrow. Yes, SF crew - that means you!


Our Pack

Thanks Christie for posting Leo's therapy video. He is an ambassador for the breed who shows exactly WHY these dogs deserve a chance. He just keeps showing the world.....



Beautifully written Christie, and you make some very strong points. I have never doubted that within HSUS (or for that matter PETA) there are people who genuinely care about the dogs first. I hope to believe.

But I don't agree that merely changing a "message" means that an organization is truly changing, especially one so media-savvy as HSUS.

When actions and money match words and moving photos, which are EASY, I WILL believe.

When 90% of the dogs (I don't presume that 100% are salvageable) are sent to knowledgeable rescuers for longterm care and/or placement and/or "rehab", ****with financial support from HSUS***, I WILL believe.

Oh, and when John Goodwin returns from re-education camp saying that fight busts dogs are just like any others and deserve the same chance, I WILL believe. Unless they fired his sorry a**, in which case I really WILL believe.


I'm sitting hear weeping with joy! I've got a copy of the Sport's Illistrated article on the Vick dogs on display in my office and it needs a companion...this'll do it!


You said,"I don’t know or care if it’s happening because the bean counters in the maw of the HSUS fundraising machine have simply realized that they can’t keep donations flowing in unless they change their tune, or because individuals within the organization genuinely care about animals and have applied pressure accordingly, or if the outrage of other animal organizations that HSUS wants to maintain good relationships with has penetrated the corporate wall — or a combination of all three." But you should care. Because change that happens only to protect their bottom line is no change at all. Don't be mistaken, once the $$ comes back, they will go back to their original reaction, that these dogs have no hope. And now they'll back it up with "years" of experience. How gullible.


These photos are wonderful. Like so many people, I have mixed feelings about the HSUS, but sometimes it's nice to get a reminder like this that even big organizations are made up of individual people who care.

Jennifer Fearing

I, too, was touched by the photos and hope for the best possible outcome for each dog.


One of the *many* "individuals within the organization that genuinely cares about animals."

Erica Saunders

I pray you are right and fear you are wrong all at the same time.

I won't call these dogs saved until we know how many make it past the evaluations and into homes, but I am glad to see them in better surroundings for now. I hope their situation improves even further.

Call me the optimistic pessimist (or is that the pessimistic optimist?)


To add to the fostering message,

even if you are not set up for larger dogs or even dogs, fostering ANY dog or cat helps.

It frees up space, it helps move pets out of the system. It frees up resources and time and energy that can be put into animals remaining in the shelter.

And the brown or black nondescript dog in a shelter run looks a whole lot more appealing to adopters when he or she has a name and is showcases in a foster home, instead of a run. Also, the dogs in foster care present an image of a pet, rather than a stray dog full of unknowns.

Same goes for cats.

Our breed rescue could not function without fosters. It's not very difficult, seriously! Take the plunge. :)

Gina Spadafori

You would certainly be wrong about the political changes.

On mandatory spay-neuter, for example, the HSUS was a sponsor of last year's bill in CA, AB 1634. They are not a sponsor of this year's version, SB 250. They have remained pointed neutral. That's change. We've been told they're re-evaluating their position on forced spay-neuter legislation, and will remain neutral until they have that done.

Time will tell.

Jana Carraway

Where are the photos of the volunteers who do this same job day in and day out? I do not trust HSUS and see any changes on their part as politically and money driven only. This changes my view of HSUS not at all.


>Compared to the worse-off half of the dogs in this case, fight-bust >pibbles would be a piece of cake. They’ve been touched by human >hands, for example.

Yes, and no. We'll see everything in this case. Many of the dogs that have* been handled will have also been fought. There will be brood bitches that've never heard a kind word or felt a friendly pat in their life, And their puppies who love other dogs but flatten to people. But there are always - always - the incredibly resilient individuals that defy their past, and these will (hopefully) be the dogs that receive the meager foster resources that do exist.

I love your optimism though. Piece of cake -- Make mine a big one!


Morgana, click on the first link that comes up on this search:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&q=on+being+a+change+maker&as_q=Karen+pryor&btnG=Search within results

(I'd post the direct URL, but this page doesn't seem to like it)


They don't change because they think they might have been in error. They change because it hurts their donations. They did a 360 last year on feral cat policy but have totally refused to acknowledge anything Alley Cat Allies has done instead they are trying to pretend they invented TNR and are the Flag Bearers for this movement.

They are fakes and false friends.

Gina Spadafori

Frankly, it doesn't matter WHY they changed. What matters is that they did, and if they will continue on the new trajectory.

Louie Sing

These dogs were exposed to violence and they ALL should be destroyed. I already heard a few news reports of so-called "rehabilitated dogs," pit bulls, that have attacked children. There is no way of telling if these dogs are "rehabilitated" since they CAN go postal even years of "being sweet". I seen what these dogs can do, and when they go bad-they truly snap and are no different than land sharks. They have literally scalped alive children. In most cases these dogs when they bite, do not stop at a single nip. They keep at it. That is why they are the dogs of choice for dog fighting. For the protection of children and the elderly and considering how serious and epidemic dog fighting is, it's a very serious mistake to "rehabilitate" these dogs. I know if I or one of my kids got attacked by one of these "rehabilitated dogs," I will go after the animal organizations that released them to the public and sue for millions of dollars. That is a promise. And you better believe it I will do just that.

Gina Spadafori

There is no way of telling if these dogs are “rehabilitated” since they CAN go postal even years of “being sweet”.

Comment by Louie Sing — July 19, 2009 @ 10:08 am

So, I'm thinking, could you. But I bet you're not advocating for the death penalty as a preventive measure in your case.

As for what you "heard," cough up the citations or don't let the door hit you in the tushy on your way out. And educate yourself: No matter what you "heard" or "seen," a pit bull is just a dog, not a super-powered killing machine.

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