The ASPCA Allows Dogs to Starve
December 14, 2012 by Nathan J. Winograd
Last year, the ASPCA had total revenues which were just shy of $150 million dollars. That not only made it the richest SPCA in the country, it is one of the richest 200 charities in the nation. Yet, it adopts out less animals than some rescue groups and small shelters. It fights progressive shelter reform legislation that would save lives. It defends corrupt shelters who neglect and then needlessly kill animals. It fights No Kill efforts nationwide. Rather than treat them, it sends animals, including kittens, to the local pound to be killed. Its animal hospital has a history of abuse. And now an expose by a local news station has uncovered that its humane law enforcement division is allowing abused animals to die all over New York City.
In the latest scandal, Channel 11 reports,
Dogs, cats and other animals are suffering and even dying needlessly all over New York City, and the culprit behind their hurt, according to PIX11 News sources, is the management of an organization that’s supposed to be helping animals.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported receiving $122 million in donations last year in its cause to prevent animal cruelty, but some whistleblowers told PIX11 News that the ASPCA is preventing its own animal cruelty investigators from doing their jobs.
The incompetence has had fatal consequences:
An HLE case file obtained by PIX11 News features some very disturbing images. They are about a half dozen photographs that a responding HLE investigator was required to take of a pit bull mix that was so severely emaciated and badly neglected that it died. The case file clearly points out in its narrative, “This case is 2 weeks old,” too long after the ASPCA received an anonymous complaint about the starved dog for HLE officers to step in and save the dog’s life…
That case is by no means isolated. PIX11 also obtained other case reports in which dogs were dead by the time investigators were finally given the case files for the called-in complaints. In one case, the investigator wasn’t able to respond to the complaint until seven days after it was called in. In another, the complaint wasn’t followed up for two-and-a-half months.
The ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh, a man of great conviction and a tireless fighter for animals. “Day after day,” Bergh once wrote,
I am in slaughterhouses; or lying in wait at midnight with a squad of police near some dog pit; through the filthy markets and about the rotten docks; out into the crowded and dangerous streets; lifting a fallen horse to his feet, and perhaps sending the driver before a magistrate; penetrating dark and unwholesome buildings where I inspect collars and saddles for raw flesh; then lecturing in public schools to children, and again to adult Societies. Thus my whole life is spent.
Yet, today’s ASPCA, with unlimited resources and unlimited staff, cannot even investigate cases a few simply cases of dogs being starved to death. Bergh once said that,
The chief obstacle to success of movements like this [is] that they almost invariably gravitate into questions of money or politics. Such questions are repudiated here completely… If I were paid a large salary… I should lose that enthusiasm which has been my strength and my safeguard.
In 2010, the ASPCA paid its president over half a million dollars—$555,824—in salary and other compensation. It is no surprise that it also has spent the better part of the last 50 years defending killing and fighting reform efforts that would expose, by example, how ineffective and waste that organization has become. By contrast, when Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA, he fitted it with what he called “the very plainest kind” of furniture. When the Governor of New York visited the ASPCA, he stumbled over a hole in the old carpet and said: “Mr. Bergh, buy yourself a better carpet and send the bill to me.” To which Bergh replied, “No, thank you, Governor. But send me the money, and I will put it to better use for the animals.”
Moreover, for the last 15 years, the shelters, rescue groups, feral cat caretakers and No Kill proponents who have tried to restore Bergh’s vision through the No Kill revolution have been opposed by those like current ASPCA CEO Ed Sayres, supported by a Board of Directors content to count the money, all of whom appear intent on squandering Bergh’s noble legacy.
Near the end of his life, Bergh often worried about the future of the ASPCA, stating, “I hate to think what will befall this Society when I am gone.” His worst nightmares have been realized. That the very organization Bergh founded to save animals is one of the primary roadblocks to saving them, that allows animals to be killed, defends their killing, and even allows them to starve to death despite the resources to stop it, would have hurt him very deeply.
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