Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HSUS and Best Friends to discuss dogfighting policies

Hurray! Here's to something good coming out of this. Sure would love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting.

From A Meeting of the Minds:

The Humane Society of the United States on February 23 issued an interim policy recommending all dogs be evaluated as individuals, and is calling a meeting of leading animal welfare organizations concerning dogs victimized by dog fighting.
Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer and president of the Humane Society of the United States, suggested the meeting of major stakeholders in Las Vegas to work through the associated issues. This meeting is in response to concerns expressed by Best Friends Animal Society in December 2008 regarding HSUS policies related to animals confiscated in dog-fighting busts.

Pacelle said the meeting, scheduled for April, will include the participation of national stakeholder organizations that deal with pit bulls. The meeting was in the planning stages before Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. ruled that 145 pit bulls, including approximately 70 puppies, confiscated from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County, North Carolina, would be euthanized without evaluation to determine suitability for placement.

Read the rest here.

Also, buried in the comments section is this post by Ed Fritz, Campaign Manager of the Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog campaign at Best Friends. I've copied his whole post below because I don't know how else to link to it directly and it's sure to get lost once all the comments start piling in over there on the BFAS site.

Hey everyone,

My name is Ed Fritz and I am the Campaign Manager of the Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog campaign here at Best Friends. I wanted to inject a little personal perspective here. I have been directly involved in this issue and have been following along some of the email and internet conversations. I completely understand many of the frustrations expressed both positive and negative. It was pretty clear from early on in our involvement that there were two obstacles that were going to be difficult to overcome. One, of course, was this old policy position of HSUS. The other, which we are still working on, is the State law in North Carolina.

HSUS has been held accountable. They could have made different choices. I was angry at some of those statements, news reports and pretty distressed at this policy. That said, they have also done, and will continue to do a lot to stop dog fighting, including leading the investigation and bust on Mr. Faron in the first place. This policy is the last piece of the puzzle to really get to where we need to be as a nation and a movement on this issue. This change is HUGE! Those of you that have been advocates of pit bulls are well aware that some of these policies are 20+ years old, and think how far we’ve come for the dogs! I know it may be difficult, but I think it is important that if we have any faith in the philosophy that the dogs have much to teach that I say that we only really learn if we apply those lessons. HSUS opened itself up to changing a policy that has been a part of its organization culture for decades. It is upon us to encourage and celebrate success here. I have seen dozens of dogs come from abusive and neglectful situations created by people. They are the most forgiving and kind critter I know.

This situation was hard for me and the folks here as we did everything we could to save the dogs in North Carolina. It is always hard for all of us that have dedicated so much of ourselves to be the voice for the animals. We need to appreciate the positive moments like this one. This is sustainable change. The conversation is open and more lives will be saved as a result of it.

There is much work ahead of us. North Carolina is not the only state that needs to revisit their animal laws. We still have breed discriminatory ordinances and laws popping up on nearly a daily basis. There are still countless numbers of dogs on the ends of chains. As HSUS moves to recommending to shelters to treat the dogs as individuals, those shelters are going to need support and resources and help from each and everyone one of us.


Pit bull NM said...

I must say that I am not so convinced. This isn't an emergency meeting made just to deal with this issue, but rather one more issue to be discussed at the HSUS Expo in Las Vegas.

Hell, in the letter, it states that the HSUS is responding to BF's concerns...they didn't even acknowledge the outrage from their own supporters and the rest of the animal advocates - yowzers!

As for the new policy, there is way too much weasel wording for taste: "interim policy...pending the outcome." It's nothing more than a new policy complete with an built-in "back out clause."

Certainly, I hope everyone with a bone to pick with these issues will write the HSUS and express their concerns...but I am not convinced.

Hope I'm wrong.

(dig your blog, btw.)

Fred said...

Pit bull NM, thanks for commenting.

This may just be a ploy on the part of HSUS to appear inclusive in their decision making process but I still hold out hope if only because organizations like BFAS and BAD RAP hold out hope for this.

It looks like it's a step in the right direction, albeit a timid one.