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29 October 2009


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Mr. Parcell, who did have input on SB 250, needs to re-read this bill that Florez is trying to push through. "This bill would provide, in addition, that every dog owner shall secure a license for the dog, as required by state or local law, and that no personshall own, keep, or harbor, except as

specified, an unsterilized dog, as


Mr. Parcell and everyone else needs to read SB 250 in full for themselves and stop listening to those who just tell you what you wish to hear. (http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0201-0250/sb_250_bill_20090528_amended_sen_v95.pdf)

The rules for being allowed to keep an unaltered dog or cat are subjective to what those in the local government wish to occur. They will have the power to revoke the licensing at any time for any reason they deem against their subjective rules and keep all fees. If one is to reapply and again pay the fees they will have the power to deny the license, again keeping all the fees. If you have a license revoked or denied for any reason they deem "against the rules" then you will be forced to S/N all intact dogs and cats that you have. Again, how is that not considered to be "Mandatory" S/N?

If an unaltered, licensed dog happens to escape the yard then the animal control agency can sterilize the animal under this law without owner consent. All my pets are S/N but there have been times that I have had escapes due to a "City Maintenance" worker leaving the back gate to the yard open numerous times. My dogs now have lost access to half of the yard because that area has to be fenced off. No matter what precautions people do to prevent escapes, they do unfortunately happen, sometimes through no fault of the owners. They are then penalized by not only having their pet sterilized without consent but by paying bloated fines and fees to cover this. On top of all of this these pets will end up being re-vaccinated at the center which could lead to serious complications if there is an allergy. What if the escaped animal is a rescue and is not medically stable for S/N?


Interesting to note how Wayne makes the blanket statement that killing animals is a bad thing. That puts him out on the fringes of society. When he says things like this, it makes the Center for Consumer Freedom appear ... well, ... right.

Gina Spadafori

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. The CCF is vile, but their calling out of PETA's perverse pet-killing is of true value to the larger discussion among those of us who care about animals.

That doesn't make the CCF less vile an astroturf group, though, or less beholden to the industries who pay for it.


"When he says things like this, it makes the Center for Consumer Freedom appear … well, … right."

Really? I find that unlikely. :)

Christie Keith

Frances, I'm sure Wayne does feel that all killing of animals is wrong, but IN CONTEXT it was clear he was speaking about healthy and treatable shelter pets.

Mary Mary

I don’t see this divide between traditional and no-kill shelters anymore. Maddie’s Fund has been a leader in that area. But there are difficult personalities who cloak their antagonism in an ideological difference.

Audience: It might help if you could reach out and heal that divide, too. (Applause, laughter.)


Huh. I work closely with both kinds of shelters and I think more than personality problems the divide is driven by where the charity dollars go. People seem to love to write checks to the no kill shelters. When I first got into this years ago I was the same way. I thought no kill shelters were open door. Wrong, at least for the ones in my region.

I would love to see more transparency, such as how much the shelters spend per capita on the animals they admit. Annual budget vs. outcomes. Like the no kill conference entry said, run it more as a business, "sales goals" per quarter, pay bonuses to reward achievement.

Maybe someday.

Christie Keith

Just a typo -- he said 5000. I'll correct.


500 bison in Yellowstone?? not hardly. There have been a couple of years since the "hunt" started that twice that number have been killed. Even with that, the population of YNP bison has ranged in the 3000-4500 range for the last several years. The population is in no danger; just typical HSUS hyperbole.. or deliberate lie.

Gina Spadafori

Mr. Parcell and everyone else needs to read SB 250 in full for themselves and stop listening to those who just tell you what you wish to hear. (http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-.....en_v95.pdf)

Comment by Karen — October 29, 2009

Hi, new here?

You can search for "SB 250" or indeed "AB 1634" here and be busy reading for days. We are strongly opposed to mandatory spay-neuter, for many reasons.

That said, the Humane Society of the United States does NOT support SB 250. That is a fact. Stop listening to those who tell you what you wish to hear.

And it's "Pacelle," by the way.


Additional Question:

Mr. Parcell with all the tens of millions of dollars in donations that HSUS receives each year why is not more allocated to have free/low cost S/N clinics and Vet clinics for low income families that cannot afford the costs? If you can afford to spend millions of dollars each year in lobbying activities then I would think that you should be able to afford to fund these type clinics. After all isn't the goal of HSUS to have healthy happy pets in family homes rather than shelters?

Gina Spadafori

Oh, swell ... here come the parrots to share their prefab sound bites.


I am not a parrot. I was just trying to draw attention to the fact that HSUS spends millions of dollars each year on lobbying for bad laws instead of support the shelter animals that they claim to try to be helping. I do for a fact know of low income families that cannot afford to S/N there pets and therefore they continue to have litter after litter of puppies/kittens that die due to disease of end up in the shelters, many who are euthanized. I have personally paid for the S/N myself, which the families were grateful for.

Pardon me for the faux about HSUS support on SB 250. But Pacelle is indeed, by his own statement, friends with Florez. (...and our friend, Senator Dean Florez who is here tonight..." Can you truly say that he had absolutely no input on this bill? He has had input on other animal bills in the state of California is SB 250 any different. He made not have made an "official" stance of support but you cannot convince me that he does not have any input.

I am against mandatory S/N laws but do support efforts to assist those that "choose" to have their pets S/N but cannot afford to do this, especially in this economy. I do feel that Mandatory S/N laws infringe upon my rights as an American and taxpayer of this country.

H. Houlahan

That said, the Humane Society of the United States does NOT support SB 250. That is a fact. Stop listening to those who tell you what you wish to hear.

Yet Florez is "Humane Legislator of the Year?"

Sounds like an endorsement to me.

Gina, have you suddenly gone soft on smarmy shills named Wayne?

mary frances

If I had been in the audiennce I would have asked Mr. Pacelle if he would have a town meeting with Nathan Winograd - what is needed, in my opinion, is a real debate between these two and more - ie, Ingrid Newkirk, ASPCA - Sayles, all the leaders....meantime, I will help an animal one at a time on my own...no money from me to the shills of the big animal organizations that's for sure....

Gina Spadafori

No, but I am actually listening to what has changed in what they're saying ... and doing. The HSUS was a co-sponsor of AB 1634. The HSUS went neutral on SB 250. That's a pretty freakin' big institutional shift.

I have also written that I think the new-found enthusiasm of the HSUS for no-kill is driven in some measure by the fact that the organization recognizes its fund-raising potential.

Time will tell how it all shakes out.

Also interesting: I'll let Christie confirm for you what she just told me: That Wayne Pacelle last night at a public meeting said that he recognizes the need for good breeders.

This, to an audience that assumed (see live-blog) that EVERYONE THERE was against animal breeding.

Everyone, apparently, except Christie and Wayne Pacelle.

And no, he would NOT have said that even two years ago.

Gina Spadafori

As for the politics of the Florez situation: He carried other bills for them. And he's running for statewide office. They want him to keep smiling when they're around.

Hey, in THIS town it's a miracle that a politician gets just a plaque, not ... well ... this.

Christie Keith

Yes, he said that even now, shelters cannot fill the demand for pets in American homes, and that will be even more true as we reduce the numbers of pets in shelters. He said we will always need breeding.

It was in the context of being asked about breeding guide dogs, so he could have completely avoided this issue and just responded about the HSUS policy on service animals. Instead, he brought up that he thinks there will always need to be breeders to fill the demand *for pets*.

I believe many individuals at HSUS want to ally with breeders who love their dogs. I think they have just been on opposite sides for so long that they really don't have the faintest idea how to talk to us without pissing us off, and we have such a huge burden of mistrust that we parse every word they utter for bad intent. The fact that they support so many laws that will hurt us makes it easy to believe that they're out to get us, but the fact is, MANY people in the animal welfare community really don't understand the world of the dog fancier/breeder. They don't understand our culture, our language, or how we spend our spare time. They truly have NO IDEA just what troubles us about these laws, that to them as outsiders seem perfectly reasonable.

Does it help us or help animals to preserve that cultural divide? No.

However, I also believe that words are cheap, and humane organizations that want us to support them need to undo the damage of the past and earn our trust.

I, like Gina, found HSUS' non-support of SB250 -- a bill sponsored by the very man they named "Humane Legislator of the Year" and who they call their good friend -- a very big indicator that they are, as an organization, genuinely re-examining their official position on things like MSN and breeding.

I saw the same thing at Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference last weekend. Best Friends has long been a strident anti-breeding group, but one of the co-founders contradicted a panelist right on stage, and said that good breeders are as fanatical about the well-being of their dogs and cats as any rescue group is. And one of their featured speakers, Bill Bruce from Canada, spoke very highly of his experience with breeders, that they always take their dogs back if they come into the shelter system, and will even send him plane fare if they need to be shipped back.

Of course we need to be skeptical, but I'm telling you, things are changing. And however much HSUS is not my type of organization -- I recognize the need for lobbying, legislation and litigation, but it's not where I would want to give my time or money -- and however much Best Friends still has people on its staff who are blindly anti-breeder, STILL AND ALL... things are changing. Messages are changing.

We are right to be skeptical and cautious, but if we continue to bash these groups based not on what they say and do today but what they have said and done in the past, we're acting like no one and nothing ever changes. That's not true. Everything changes.

mary frances

Everything does change I agree to that - but I still want a debate between the leaders - I want to see and hear the issues discussed openly - with Nathan Winograd he knows the territory like no other that I have ever read or known about - I think Wayne Pacelle, Ingrid Newkirk, Ed Sayles - the shills for dollars got some explaining to do.....ALDF too.

Gina Spadafori

Also interesting: I’ll let Christie confirm for you what she just told me: That Wayne Pacelle last night at a public meeting said that he recognizes the need for good breeders.

This, to an audience that assumed (see live-blog) that EVERYONE THERE was against animal breeding.

Everyone, apparently, except Christie and Wayne Pacelle.

And no, he would NOT have said that even two years ago.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — October 29, 2009

Correction, as pointed out to me in an e-mail:

HSUS California director Jennifer Fearing is also not anti-breeder. In fact, she helped me socialize the litter I raised last spring. You wouldn't think going over to someone's house and playing with puppies would be controversial, but she took some heat for it nonetheless from the "a breeder is a breeder and all are scum" elements of the animal advocacy folks.

Even as *I* was called a dupe for participating in puppy-mill protests.

There is common ground, and there are also those of us who are working to put our feet solidly on that ground to help animals -- even if that draws the ire of people who can't do anything but howl to the longstanding and unhelpful dogma of both sides.

mary frances

Breeders are not the issue - ending the killing at animal control facilities is the issue - and to that end why aren't the biggies doing more to end the killing at animal control facilities - Winograd has eloquently, diligently thrown down the gauntlet and Mr. Pacelle avoids the issue....stop the killing and use the steps to do so....but it's not even being discussed let alone being done....

mary frances

Would love a discussion on this as well - full disclosure on what's really going on (likely naive on this ever happening) - I used to donate to all the big groups - would never contribute now because there is no trust - it's sad.

Jennifer Fearing

I hate to break it to you, Geraldine, but you and your pals had nothing to do with that.


Jennifer, I would love to hear your side on why HSUS went neutral on MSN.

Geraldine Clarke

I did not state that the HSUS donation to Mancuso was after they went neutral, Gina. I was merely pointing out two of the very many facts that show that HSUS has been working very hard for MSN since Pacelle took over the organization. The "change" in their position only occurred after they were dealt two stunning defeats in CA which mobilized dog breeders against them who then began educating the public about what donations to HSUS are really used for. Pacelle can claim that "nowhere on (their) website do they say they (run shelters)" but their fund-raising pamphlets give EXACTLY that impression. Ask people on the street where the HSUS money goes to, as I have, and over 90% will tell you that it goes for direct help to all those sad-faced dogs and cats in the HSUS ads. (And, as to his statement that "they do help shelters who do this vital work", HSUS charges almost all shelters for that "help".)

I know many people (including me) who used to donate to HSUS who now find much better places to send our money. I'm sure that this is beginning to affect Pacelle's bottom line. Pacelle's not dumb, quite the contrary, but a man that passionately devoted to a cause (the "animal rights" agenda) will not change his mind on a vital part of it overnight. However, HSUS's policies in the last decade have shown that, as an organization, they've found that working incrementally will produce the greatest results for them in the long run. (Look at what HSUS said in Maine compared to what they said the very next day in Los Angeles when L.A.'s MSN law was passed and compare it to what they said a year later in Maine. Small step by small step....)

Pacelle has backed off from pushing MSN but I see absolutely no reason to believe that he won't be back with more bad laws. "Neutral" means that they are biding their time (and maybe got smart.)

And I and others with me are not wasting our time on hate. We ARE accomplishing things. One of the things we've accomplished is that Pacelle can no longer publicly push for MSN. That's a very big accomplishment.

Jennifer Fearing

It's not clear to me why a pet-lover would object to the passage of a law affecting dairy cows in California, particularly when the dairy industry itself did not object. The CA Farm Bureau and the CA Cattlemen's Association joined with the HSUS, the ASPCA and the CA Veterinary Medical Association in support of the ban on tail docking of cows, which will take effect on Jan 1, 2010. The state's leading dairy veterinarian, who is responsible for shepherding through the AVMA's and the Bovine Practioners Association position statements against the tail docking of cows, testified in support of the bill at the Capitol and wrote to the Governor to request his enactment.

Tail docking of cows does persist in California, even after UC Davis scientists, veterinarians and the industry began discouraging the practice several years ago. From a Feb 2009 survey of central valley dairies: "89.3% (n=103) of the dairies are not docking tails and 86.2% (n=257,242) of the cows are in dairy operations where tail docking is not practiced." Extrapolated to the 1.8 million cows in production in California at any one time, that's upwards of a quarter million animals per rotation who would continue to undergo this practice if not curtailed.

Furthermore, tail docking of cows continues to be more prevalent in other states. When the nation's largest dairy state bans a cruel and unnecessary practice, it sends a strong message to others which will hopefully lead to broad curtailment of it.

mary frances

Thank you Geraldine Clarke - exactly that's what the large animal groups are doing - they demonize for dollars - gasp horror the non issue of tail-docking...wtf...people in the country are stressed and don't have the time to examine issues...HSUS plays on that element as well I do believe....cancer is a disease named after the crab....the legs or the tentacles grow and spread from the center or core primary tumor....animal control is the core primary cancer or the tumor that needs to be cut out...then the tentacles (that is mandatory s/n, pet limits, attacks on ethical breeders, breed bans etc) will all dry up...pfft.

Gina Spadafori

Geraldine, you're wrong. The donation to Mancuso's group for mandatory spay-neuter was BEFORE the HSUS went neutral on the issue. They were in support of forced spay-neuter before, but they stayed NEUTRAL on the issue during the current session because they are re-evaluating their policy.

The HSUS lobbyists in CA took a lot of heat from animal-rights activists for not getting on board with SB 250, and they deserve credit for doing do. The easy path for the HSUS would have been to sign on, and they DID NOT.

SB 250 wasn't their bill. It was Mancuso's. The HSUS is not shy about bringing forward legislation on their own, as any look at the legislative agenda will testify.

You can paint horns on Pacelle, and you can spell the HSUS with dollar signs. You can hate, hate, hate and not accomplish a darn thing, which is exactly what you're doing. That's what Judie Mancuso does, too. Neither side listening to the other and nothing but hate.

But you are NOT going to spread misinformation in my house. The HSUS did NOT support SB 250. Not officially and not unofficially.

Click, treat for the HSUS this time.

Geraldine Clarke

First of all, thank you Christine for the heroic effort of transcribing the meeting.

Yes, HSUS did not support SB250 in public but they quietly donated heavily to Judie Mancuso's organization whose sole purpose as far as I can tell is to try to foist MSN on this state. HSUS was also singled out for praise by the L.A. City Council for being the biggest factor behind getting their horrible MSN law passed, a law which has caused the euthanasia numbers to soar there.

I learned long ago in the AB2110 fight that Pacelle is not a truth-teller when we watched him make up "facts" while testifying at that hearing, "facts" we were easily able to refute by letters we had gathered from the Fish and Game Departments of all 50 states. I am of the opinion that Pacelle has decided that taking on breeders head on is too much of hot potato right now with his losses with AB2110 (which he thought would be an absolute slam-dunk to pass) and AB1634. Call me cynical but I have no doubt that he will be behind further egreious legislation directed at breeders.

Pacelle is all about appearances. Take the tail-docking bill that HSUS was behind. That was a total non-issue. Dairy farmers no longer dock cows tails (as proven by a U.C. Davis survey) because not only does it not prevent mastitis as one study wrongly concluded but it does cause docked cows to produce less milk so no farmer in her right mind would ever dock a cow's tail without a valid medical reason. Yet HSUS and Pacelle claimed that tail-docking was a wide-spread practice in the CA dairy industry. The only reason for that bill was to further demonize farmers and to make HSUS look like a good guy. I wonder how many animals of low-income people could have been neutered with the money HSUS spent on getting that unnecessary law enacted?

mary frances

I meant to say dog and cat breeders are not a problem - if animal control did not kill the millions they kill each year then the argument that it's the breeders fault in any way would not even enter the equation - the can of worms that is puppymillers.... these are criminals committing acts of cruelty - other lines of discussion seem to be purposely addressed to avoid committing to the cure which of course is to stop the killing. Lots of muddy-ing of the waters....

BestDog Mom

seriously???? it doesn't seem to be one or two people at hsus who "aren't anti-breeder"...it seems to be the ORGANIZATION ITSELF. Look at their website...hsus started talking about good breeders years ago - and they got a bottom-beating from loads of AR folks but they stood firm.

this stuff has been happening for years there - where has everyone BEEN??????

Christie Keith

She didn't say at HSUS, she said IN THE ROOM.

Gina Spadafori

So Christie, the HSUS has changed, has it? They didn’t openly support SB250, so they must have changed?

Comment by George Baumann — October 30, 2009

Well, George, this is a first. I have never in the 15 years I've known Christie seen her accused of a lack of skepticism if not downright naivete.

The propwash from the black helicopters must really be getting to you, because you've missed the obvious: Christie is a sekrit animal-rights mole.

Consider: She has but one spayed dog, a purebred she puts coats on to disguise so she can pass the dog off as some kind of greyhound mix rescue.

Consider: She buys meat from a raw food co-op that buys direct from small family farms that practice humane, sustainable agriculture -- and not just to feed her dog but also herself. This undermines the corporate agriculture system of high-efficiency concentrated animal feeding operations, and everyone knows that co-op = commie.

Consider: She lives in San Francisco. That in itself is reason to suspect.

Consider: This woman has gone so far as to "serve" as president of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America, and may even still be on their board. Wow. Infiltration at the highest levels, and is it any surprise that Deerhounds are rare? Some may assume that's because their breeders are good ones and the dogs are as big as a SmartCar, but maybe it's that the breed club moles are working towards extinction, one breed at a time? Quick, let's get some Deerhounds in a hit movie and then into the puppy mills! We gotta save the breed.

Consider: She actually engaged in conversation with Wayne Pacelle, who is, of course, the devil. She asked him direct questions about breeding, and got him on the record as saying that he recognizes there will always be a need for it, a statement he later made to a room full of people most in favor of forced spay-neuter.

Hmmmm ... now that I think of it, there's another way to look at her meeting with the devil:

She's a witch.

If that picture hadn't come to light on today of all days ... well, I never would have believed it.

Seriously ... take your paranoia back to your echo-chamber e-mail list. I am not willing to accept puppy-milling scum as people "on our side."

There is a third way that is neither Judie Mancuso's "greeder-hate" nor Patti Strand's "we must have puppy-mills for the ignorant masses" -- and we're interested in finding it.

Let "trust, but verify" be the watchwords on both sides going forward, for those of us who really do care not about winning but about change.

George Baumann

So Christie, the HSUS has changed, has it? They didn’t openly support SB250, so they must have changed? They must have disavowed their terrorist roots in PETA, ALF and Sea Shepherds? They must have decided that it is OK after all to fish, hunt, farm and keep pets?

Maybe there is no longer an edict of strict veganism at HSUS headquarters? Gosh what an amazing turn of events. We can’t judge this group by what their leaders said in the past, only by what they do now? OK. They very recently urged that the Vick’s dogs be killed, even as they collected millions in donations for these dogs that they never had in their possession. That is pretty compelling evidence of malice, hypocrisy and just plain EVIL. They collected tens of millions in Katrina donations that is remains unaccounted for. The HSUS urges killing at every turn and squelches no-kill initiatives, yet they give lip service in their town hall meetings to no-kill? And people are swilling down that Kool Aid?? But particularly you, Christie, I am so disappointed that you seem to believe that these animal rights fanatics could ever have the capacity to so completely change their agenda.

How’s this, Christie, for some current quotes….these just from the leader and not the others in his group of extremists:

“It’s really about human behavior and less about the animals. Animals for the most part just need to be left alone.” Wayne Pacelle, LA Times interview July 2008.

“We want Americans to eat fewer animals” Wayne Pacelle DVM magazine, January 1, 2008 .

“If we believe in evolution, then we believe that humans come from other animals and that the differences between us and them are differences of degree, and not kind.” Wayne Pacelle, Washington Post, August 9, 2004

More carefully worded to avoid criticism, but it’s “same old same old”, the life of an ant and a child being equal and all; and I feel quite confident that they STILL have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. And hunting and fishing? Fuggedaboudit.

Their philosophy remains that animals living in the wild is acceptable, but that maintenance of domestic animals equates to cruelty. Despite their political backpedalling and maneuvering, they cannot and will not change their basic nature.

Evolution just doesn’t work that way.

I bet few people realize that less than 4% of the HSUS' vast coffers actually go to take care of animals...ANY animals. The other 96.4% of their income goes to political campaigns. And of course, there is the salaries of their executives in excess of $200,000 per year. How do they get away with their status as a tax-exempt charity??

Christie Keith

You know, for the sake of others reading this rather than George, who I believe has his mind made up, I will state that I have no idea what's inside Wayne Pacelle's head, nor that of anyone else in HSUS.

What I'm examining is institutional messaging, and the effect of changes in that messaging, including what look like minor changes of wording and policy, on the overall terrain of this discussion.

My guess, and it's only a guess, is that Wayne Pacelle personally wants a world in which all animals are wild and people don't eat them, farm them, hunt them, fish them or do anything other than let them be.

He's entitled to want that. (I would post the list of what I want, but it would be awfully long so I shall spare you all. ;)

HSUS is what it is. I have criticized them many times, and I'll do it again, but I do it on the basis of issues and I tailor my criticism to their current positions and policies, not things they did 20 years ago.

Of course anyone looking at HSUS as an organization needs to look at where they came from. It would be idiotic not to, and neither Gina nor I are idiots. But if you continue to lob criticism at them based on positions they claim to have changed, it undermines your argument and credibility.

When HSUS changes a position, I might praise them to the skies for it without believing that Wayne Pacelle or whoever was in charge of that change had a change of heart or mind. It doesn't matter that much to me how genuine the change is, as long as it becomes part of the institutional message and shifts the discourse on the topic (assuming it's a change of which I approve).

Changing institutional messaging is not all that's necessary for social change, but it's a part of the movement towards change, and it's the part of the picture that I, as a journalist and columnist in the animal world, deal with.

I really am tired of people taking every single examination of HSUS' policies and running with it to the end of the universe. I certainly don't, good or bad.

Christie Keith

Coincidentally, (?) just this week, Beau Archer, outreach coordinator of The HSUS’s Stop Puppy Mills campaign, is contacting AKC parent clubs to solicit their support in drawing up guidelines for “responsible breeders.” This effort appears to be based on the breed clubs’ published codes of ethics. Pretty scary stuff.

Yeah, wow, terrifying.

This is the very definition of "black helicopter."

Gina Spadafori

There are already abundant FDA rules and regulations for commercial breeders, as well as laws requiring humane animal treatment, in every state.

Comment by George Baumann — November 1, 2009

No, there are not. Puppy mills are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

As for the rest: Blah blah black helicopters blah blah.

Back to your echo chamber. Making your point once is fine. Making it twice and heading for more verses of the same song... you're done here.

Mary Mary


Are you a breeder? How many intact animals do you have?

I understand that this is none of my business so if you don't answer, fine.

I'm just curious. Something about the way you write sounds very familiar to me.

George Baumann

Ah, the infamous "puppy mills." Don't forget the "backyard breeders", too. And the "hoarders." HSUS says, we need to rescue the animals from all these bad people. (CA AB 241) and prevent them from owning animals ever again(CA AB 243)!

These perjorative phrases ("miller" "BYB" "hoarder") were invented by AR fanatics to paint all dog fanciers/breeders with the same broad brush. Everyone who breeds dogs can somehow be compartmentalized into one of these categories. These slurs collectively CAN and WILL be used against ALL BREEDERS.....sooner rather than later.

Everyone has their own unique defintion of what these terms mean, and no two people will agree. Generally, they all mean, "those other people" and "anyone besides ME".

There are pushes by HSUS to define "puppy mills" solely based on the number of owned intact animals, as we saw with AB 241 (THANK YOU GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER for your sensible veto of this absurd HSUS-backed bill.) Unfortunately, several states have already approved HSUS sponsored number-based limit bills. Eventually, those numbers limits will be so low as to eliminate any effective intentional breeding program.

Genetic diversity requires large gene pools, not sparse numbers. Numbers limits also mean that retired dogs must be placed, or undergo forced speuter.

An abuser will abuse, whether that person owns one animal or fifty. Whether he breeds, or owns a speutered pet or two.

There are already abundant FDA rules and regulations for commercial breeders, as well as laws requiring humane animal treatment, in every state. Those who are substandard can and should be prosecuted.

There aren't enough laws on heaven and earth to effectively prevent all incidents of murder, rape, theft, and yes, animal abuse. Where is the outcry for more laws to prevent spousal abuse? Child abuse? Most thinking people realize that, unfortunately, without effective basic education and social support, more punitive laws won't solve any of these problems.

Coincidentally, (?) just this week, Beau Archer, outreach coordinator of The HSUS's Stop Puppy Mills campaign, is contacting AKC parent clubs to solicit their support in drawing up guidelines for "responsible breeders." This effort appears to be based on the breed clubs' published codes of ethics. Pretty scary stuff.

AKC is the first to admit that COE's are GUIDELINES that are not enforceable, nor meant to be enforceable. Also most COE's include a proscription against crossbreeding. That's an AKC "purity" rule, not always advisable for maintaining healthy gene pools.

Draconian breeding restrictions should not be based on narrow definitions of "responsible" breeders." And guidelines solicited by by those who abhor breeders! If it weren't so frightening, I'd laugh.

Divide and conquer. It's been working pretty well so far. But not for long.....

Gina Spadafori

As Christie wrote, she wasn't writing for you. And neither was I. Your mind is made up.

Mine, however, is open, for the reasons Christie articulated: I don't actually care what Wayne Pacelle believes in his heart. I care what his organization is doing.

I don't agree with it all, and damn straight they bungled everything to do with the Vick episode, starting with raising money for dogs they wanted dead and continuing with assisting a man who enjoyed watching animals suffer to get his NFL paycheck back.

On puppy mills, though, the HSUS is on the side of the angels. And the AKC is not. Period.

Unfortunately, because the community of ethical, responsible breeders is too afraid to work with an organization that's not going away, we get legislation that has intended (from an animal-rights perspective) and unintended (from a sheer ignorance perspective) outcomes that are devastating to the future of pets in this country.

We need to fight when we have to, and step up and demand to be recognized as stakeholders in addressing problems otherwise.

Jennifer Fearing has brokered legislation that was accepted by the dairy industry. What makes you think she won't try or isn't capable of doing the same to protect reputable, ethical breeders while putting puppy-milling scum out of business?

There are a lot of animal-lovers who are no longer interested in extremists on either side. Count me among them.


well, I'm prepared to believe that Pacelle can tell which way the wind is blowing, so we see some new words and some imitations of action.

But here's the thing: many of us here have excoriated Vick for insincerity because he's never truly accepted blame for his cruelty, mentioned or apologized to the dogs. We don't believe that he's any kind of role model for kids, who can undoubtedly see right through him (and how many of those "speaking before kids" things has he actually done???).

Pacelle (along with his minion dogkiller John Goodwin) is responsible for many more pit bull deaths than Vick, or indeed most of the scum dogfighters in the US through the HSUS "kill the dogfighting victims" policy promoted and disseminated through the years. Though of course Pacelle's personal hands are clean; he's so much nicer than Vick....

Has Pacelle or any of his staff actually admitted they were wrong, and made an apology to the dogs?

No, no more than Vick, and never will.

The HSUS participation in the new "give the victims a chance" policy does not come from the heart anymore than Vick's statements do. They are as opportunistic.. and can be as short lived.. as his.

Pacelle and Vick truly are a pair of cruel hypocrites. But in the animal welfare/rights world, it's Pacelle who has power and influence. Vick is a sideshow.

Pacelle is the President and CEO-- the public face of HSUS.. what he thinks and believes in his heart DOES matter.

When the HSUS board gets rid of him, and fires Godwin, then the organization may change for real. Right now, it's about PR.

George Baumann

Ms. Gina, when you can't answer the salient points that I have raised, you resort to use of sarcasm and ridicule. Yes, I am quite familiar with Ms. Keith and her credentials.

"Trust but verify"..... great idea! The Louisiana Attorney General spent 18 months investigating HSUS Katrina donations. HSUS deceptively raised over $34 million dollars in the Katrina disaster by appealing to the public's love for their pets; yet they could only account for expenditures of around $7 million. VERIFIED by the attorney general.

The Vick fiasco....HSUS raised MILLIONS to supposedly care for dogs they NEVER had possession of, and then Wayne urged the judge to KILL the Vick's dogs. The pinnacle of deception and hypocrisy!! Luckily the judge didn't listen to the HSUS president. And Wayne had the gall to compare Kathleen McGarr, a proponent of No-Kill policies in San Francisco, to an animal torturer/murderer like Vick!

Wayne and his HSUS group have lobbied to block implementation of "no-kill" wherever it is presented. HSUS actually urges shelters to KILL animals once they have been there for 72 hrs.

Shelters and rescues have to grub for donations, while the HSUS rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Tax-exempt! Yet most of the HSUS funds go toward efforts to repress animal ownership. Wayne himself makes over $230,000 per year (this info is a few years old, so probably that salary is much higher now).

HSUS brags that they save dogs via their dog raids and in disasters. This is a HUGE deceptive media marketing ploy. The animals are left behind in local shelters while the HSUS collects the money. HSUS purposely PREYS on the EMOTIONS OF THOSE who feel sorry for shelter animals and those without homes. They intentionally mislead and persuade these emotional people to DONATE TO HSUS in the mistaken belief that HSUS tries to save dogs and cats.

As for SB 250, time will reveal the behind-the-scenes support given SCIL by HSUS, and the HSUS contributions to politicians who supported this bill. We've already seen their selection for "'humane' legislator of the year". Wake up and smell the coffee, toots.

Yes, Christie, I will continue to lob criticism at the HSUS, not simply because they alter their official position to say whatever is politically expedient, but because they use deception and fraud to advance their underlying animal rights agenda..... the complete separation of humans from animals. Hypocrites!! This is their version of "protection"...severing the human-animal bond.

Assess the facts, evaluate them, then arrive at a logical conclusion. Don't trust the HSUS, they are verified hypocrites, thieves and liars.

Feel free to take that information and run to the end of the universe with it.


Jennifer Fearing has brokered legislation that was accepted by the dairy industry. What makes you think she won’t try or isn’t capable of doing the same to protect reputable, ethical breeders while putting puppy-milling scum out of business?

The way I heard the story is that the Assembly Ag Committee forced amendments to be inserted into the cattle tail docking bill that the dairy industry had been requesting. I heard that Sen. Florez and the sponsors of the bill would have been just as happy if the bill had passed despite stakeholder opposition.

If so, that would be consistent with Sen. Florez's attitude toward the opposition to his SB 250 mandatory spay/neuter bill, something that I have first hand knowledge about.

Sen. Florez promised Sen. Wolk in public Senate committee testimony in April that he would work with opponents to fix that bill, but he then spent 4 months ignoring all attempts by the opposition to engage in any dialogue. One of the other democratic state senators had to intervene in order to get Sen. Florez's office to even respond. Even then, his office tersely rejected opposition concerns.

I am amazed that such an arrogant and close-minded person could have been designated "legislator of the year" for anything. I have enough experience with the offices of other CA state legislators to know that this is not the norm.


These perjorative phrases (“miller” “BYB” “hoarder”) were invented by AR fanatics to paint all dog fanciers/breeders with the same broad brush. Everyone who breeds dogs can somehow be compartmentalized into one of these categories. These slurs collectively CAN and WILL be used against ALL BREEDERS…..sooner rather than later.

No, actually, the term "puppy mill" has been around for a long time, and wasn't invented by AR activists. And no, it's not an imprecise phrase that can be applied to anyone who breeds. It refers specifically to the factory farming of dogs. And no, "factory farming" isn't a squishy imprecise phrase, either.

Now, it IS true that it's hard to lay out clear, simple, idiot-proof guidelines for distinguishing between BYBs and responsible breeders. That's why most of us here would prefer to see animal cruelty and animal welfare laws enforced, rather than trying to legislate a solution to careless or unknowledgable BYBs.

There are pushes by HSUS to define “puppy mills” solely based on the number of owned intact animals, as we saw with AB 241 (THANK YOU GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER for your sensible veto of this absurd HSUS-backed bill.) Unfortunately, several states have already approved HSUS sponsored number-based limit bills. Eventually, those numbers limits will be so low as to eliminate any effective intentional breeding program.

Had you been reading at all attentively, you would have noticed that most of us here, including our hosts Christie and Gina, strongly opposed that legislation for exactly that reason among others. Plus, in a variety of other ways, it actually targeted small-scale breeders rather than mills.

Genetic diversity requires large gene pools, not sparse numbers.

Factory farming doesn't add to genetic diversity; it reduces it. The same "highly productive" individuals get used over and over and over again. And millers are actually much worse than show breeders about one of the principal alleged sins of show breeds: lots of very close inbreeding.

The better, more concerned BYBs, that do take good care of their dogs, care about health and temperament (even if they don't understand the importance of genetic screening), and try to place their puppies safely and appropriately (even if they don't have enough follow-up), OTOH, are a good potential source for preserving genetic diversity, perpetuating traits that aren't "bad" but are currently not desired in the fancy. (My neighbor's cocker spaniel, for instance, from a fairly careful BYB, is happy, friendly, stable, healthy, and, um, a little short for a cocker spaniel. I suspect, based on how well and how easily she learned what behavior her mom wants around birds and small animals, that she'd be a decent gundog for someone hunting for recreation, but not necessarily if you depended on that for supper in the pot.)

Numbers limits also mean that retired dogs must be placed, or undergo forced speuter.

Responsible breeders do often speuter their retired dogs, not always but often, and many retired dogs are placed, based on what's best for the individual dog and the breeder's own sense of how many dogs they can support and give individual attention to.

But I don't think too many people here support a legislated limit on the number of intact dogs. And the ones that do, the fact that they're here means they're at least willing to listen to the arguments against it.

Gina Spadafori

I am amazed that such an arrogant and close-minded person could have been designated “legislator of the year” for anything. I have enough experience with the offices of other CA state legislators to know that this is not the norm.

Comment by LauraS — November 1, 2009

I can't think of many I would, frankly, and on issues more wide-ranging than we're talking about here. The state is a pathetic mess, with the Legislature due a big share of the blame.

But the fact is SB 135 was not opposed by the dairy industry.

Would they have preferred to be left alone? Undoubtedly. But they didn't waste their political capital defending a cruel practice with no benefit for their operations.

An additional thought about the arrogance factor: This is why I'm not supporting legislation that's put forward without honest-to-God expert advice and stakeholder input. The way you and experts like CCI were treated is just plain wrong.

But it speaks to Christie's earlier post regarding the lamentable fact that progressive and moderate Democrats have come to believe that only animal welfare/animal rights organizations are in their fold.

In lobbying against AB 1634 and SB 250, I found myself met with raised eyebrows at the Capitol at the very thought that a person could be against mandatory spay-neuter AND be a lifelong progressive.

And yet, there I was.

As long as reputable, ethical breeders keep marginalizing themselves by siding with puppy-millers, it's hard to make a case that we care about animals. Even though I know we do.


Gina, I agree that it's been difficult for Democrats like ourselves who oppose animal bills to be taken seriously by Democratic legislators in Sac. But I disagree that the puppy mill issue is a significant factor. With respect to MSN, the puppy mill issue doesn't come up much. It's never come up any of the times I've visited legislators' offices in Sac.

More important is a lack of respect for subject matter experts and stakeholders among many in the legislature, particularly stakeholders/experts that legislators haven't already built relationships with or know from reputation. I saw this the first time I visited the offices of assembly members about MSN.

I represented California's largest K9 SAR org. With me was Paul Mundell, representing not only Canine Companions for Independence but also Assistance Dogs International, the umbrella org over most of the guide dog and service dog orgs across the state. Also with us were two CA police K9 officers, one of whom was the VP of Western States Police Canine Association, who was carrying opposition letters from America's two largest K9 law enforcement associations.

Now from the perspective of the working dog community, these organizations are hugely respected subject matter experts and very important stakeholders. But the people we talked to in the legislature had never heard of our organizations before, nor had they ever met us before. That matters a lot.

We made calm, polite, respectful, clearly communicated fact-based points about the harm AB 1634 would do to working dogs, to emergency response, to public safety, and to blind and disabled citizens of California. We talked to every office of the first committee that heard this bill -- which passed the bill on a party-line vote. I've been told often since by savvy insiders that facts and the public good don't have nearly as much to do with these votes as one would think. Ugh.

I think this can be at least partially explained by a point that state treasurer Bill Lockyer made recently:

"There's too much junk," Democrat Lockyer told the committee members, raising his voice. "I'm sorry, but two-thirds of the bills I see come out of the Assembly, if they never saw the light of day, God bless it. . . . Just stop it! Just stop it! . . . Just say 'No.' "

Committee chairmen can't be counted on to weed out the hare-brained bills, Lockyer added, because "everyone's running for [Assembly] speaker. So every committee chairman is going to be too nice to whiners."


Gina Spadafori

I heard him say that on the radio and I thought I would crash the car since I took my hands off the wheel to applaud.

Can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm starting to believe a Constitutional convention is our only chance for change.

Geraldine Clarke

"But the fact is SB 135 was not opposed by the dairy industry."

It wasn't opposed by the dairy industry and the rest of us because NO DAIRY FARMER who reads industry literature docks cow's tails anymore. Yes, there was a time after a study was published which indicated that docking reduced the incidence of painful mastitis that convinced some farmers to dock in the belief that it would be best for the health and welfare of their cows. But that study was later proven false and another study proved that docking reduces milk production so, and I repeat myself, no dairy farmer in her right mind would EVER dock a cow's tail now without a medical reason for it.

The "statistics" that HSUS and Fearing spout are totally misleading. The U.C. Davis survey showed that docking is a non-issue. Yes, there are still some cows around with docked tails but any survey looking for cows docked AFTER the mastitis study was proven false and AFTER the reduction in milk production study was published and AFTER the dairy farmer was made aware of those facts will show that NO ONE who knows that information wants to dock tails anymore.

So why spend all this money and effort on a law in California? Yes, there are still farmers in the country who dock tails but I absolutely guarantee you that, if you make them aware that docking means less milk (and, therefore, less profit), they will stop doing it. That's easy and cheap to do - you just give them copies of the studies. And HSUS could enlist CA dairy farmers to tell farmers in other states why they have abandoned the practice rather than to promulgate a law that suggests that CA farmers support cruelty.

We don't need more laws. We just need more education. (On cow tail-docking and whole lot of other issues that HSUS spends most of its money to legislate about.) Educating unenlightened dairy farmers is MUCH cheaper in money and effort than passing legislation.

It is pathetic that the best argument that HSUS can come up with for passing expensive anti-docking legislation in California is: "...tail docking of cows continues to be more prevalent in other states. When the nation’s largest dairy state bans a cruel and unnecessary practice, it sends a strong message to others which will hopefully lead to broad curtailment of it."

So why did HSUS push SB135? There are two possible answers. Answer One: the HSUS planners are so addicted to their legislative agenda (that they crow about) that they wanted to spend a lot of money unnecessarily to pass a law where it was not needed instead of spending that money much, much more effectively to get the word out about those dairy studies in other states where people don't know about them. Answer Two: they wanted to demonize farmers. You decide.

(And, for what it's worth, I have spent at least 20 years of my life living where I had to pass dairy farms every day and I have never, ever seen a cow with a docked tail.)


Meanwhile legislators refused to listen respected experts like Laura and even less to "lay" persons who had a vested interest in seeing bills like AB 1634 and SB 250 killed. It was ( and still is) all about the power and the M-O-N-E-Y. The HSUS has plenty of both. All we have is our VOTES but in many cases this will be enough to see a new dawn in real animal protection in the future.

I am sick of legislators who stick their fingers in their ears and say "LALALA I can't hear you" until their coffers swell and limos pull up to take their "friends" to meetings and expensive dinners paid for either with our tax dollars or by the lobbyists who are courting the votes paying with the blood money donated by unsuspecting donors who think their money is being used to "save dogs and cats".

Lockyer has it right but we must go further. Lobbying and money changing hands for "votes" and "support" must stop. So I agree, as a lifelong liberal Democrat now leaning heavily toward being a Libertarian, I also call for a Constitutional convention.It cannot happen soon enough. In my world we would not need a new constitution but would actually enforce the one we have.

Geraldine Clarke

And I totally agree with you, Gina, on the need to educate Democrats that the radical "animal rights" agenda is not a liberal issue. My New Year's Resolution for the past three years has been to do just that. But we have decades of propaganda (and AR campaign financing) to overcome.

I'm a life-long-Democrat although I change my affiliation occasionally so I can send an angry letter to the CDC to let them know why I find some action of theirs totally reprehensible. I'm registered Green at the moment but I'll be changing back to Dem soon so I can vote against Florez in the primary. (And I will definitely vote for Lockyer if he ever runs for something I can vote for!)

There is so much entrenchment of political power that is just about power and not issues that, like you, I think a Constitutional Convention may be in order.


To those of you who are taking Pacelle at his word when he talks about being supportive of 'responsible' breeding and service animals:

In 2007 he attacked open field coursing in California, and when interviewed on an ABC affiliate, said very piously that he absolutely supported lure coursing, (as opposed to open field coursing), that it was wonderful exercise for the dogs, and so on and so forth. He waxed positively eloquent (in his slimy way) on the merits of lure coursing.

And the bill that he promptly supported (and was certainly written at least partially by H$U$) would have outlawed not only all hunting with dogs, but would have criminalized the ownership of lure coursing equipment and declared sighthounds to be dangerous dogs. This bill was not outright defeated, it was tabled, and you are sure to see it again, though not with so much fanfare as it had when introduced in 2007.

Pacelle isn't very respectful of the truth.

He wants to outlaw pet ownership, period. No exemptions. Not all at once, of course, or he wouldn't get any public support at all, but that's where he plans to go. He doesn't care how he gets there. He's not interested in animals, he's only interested in making his personal agenda global law. He's not all that unique; many if not most Animal Rights extremists, which Pacelle certainly is, are equally as unethical and immoral as he is.

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