Articles ASPCA

An Avalanche of Bad News for Abused Dogs

ASPCA kills again; Then allegedly returns neglected dog to home; Some rescued Colorado dogs may be destined for death.

Ed Sayres, the President of the ASPCA, killed Oreo & Max despite offers to save them. He once told USA Today that killing is the moral equivalent of not killing: “There is no room for No Kill as morally superior.”

As much of the nation endures one of the worst winter storms in history, the past few days have also brought an avalanche of bad news for abused dogs, who face additional betrayal at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them.

Just a few short weeks ago, Ed Sayres, the beleaguered president of the ASPCA, ordered the killing of the abused dog Oreo, despite the offer of a rescue group to save her life. The unnecessary killing of Oreo, who survived being thrown off of a sixth floor Brooklyn rooftop, but could not survive the “rescue” by the ASPCA, sparked national outrage and led to the introduction of “Oreo’s Law,” pending New York State legislation which would make it illegal for shelters like the ASPCA to kill animals when bona fide rescue groups are willing to save their lives.

Some groups have questioned the need for Oreo’s Law, but any debate as to the pressing need for such legislation should be put to rest once and for all because Sayres has done it again. Mariah’s Promise, a No Kill shelter and sanctuary in Colorado, offered to save Max, a Pit Bull-type dog the ASPCA was determined to kill. Like Oreo, the ASPCA deemed Max “aggressive.” Mariah’s Promise has rescued dogs like Max from shelters in New York City in the past. Last Thanksgiving, they saved a dog deemed vicious from animal control in the City. According to Toni Phillips, the director of Mariah’s Promise, that dog is now a favorite at the sanctuary.

Ed Sayres was personally informed by the representative from Mariah’s Promise that a space was available for Max in the Colorado sanctuary, and that transport of the dog to Colorado had already been arranged. The Behavior Department at the ASPCA was also informed of this fact. Despite this, the ASPCA killed Max anyway.

Mariah’s Promise is a well known sanctuary in Colorado and has saved over 500 Pit Bull-type dogs at danger of being killed from places like Denver, where regressive bans result in mass killing of dogs deemed Pit Bulls, including healthy, friendly puppies. It is also currently caring for nine of the 100 “sled dogs” rescued from an abusive home in Colorado, a case that has made national headlines.

While some of the Colorado dogs have gone to killing shelters, such as Pikes Peak Humane Society and Denver Dumb Friends League, only Mariah’s Promise has ensured that none of the dogs will be killed. Pikes Peak Humane Society has stated that only four of the 10 dogs it received “will likely make a full recovery” and “time will only tell for the rest.” Given that Pikes Peak is a killing shelter (over 9,000 in 2008) and has dubbed itself a “no suffering” shelter, a euphemism for killing designed to respond to the public’s demand for No Kill solutions, it is not clear what this means.

Blind and malnourished, this dog is one of 100 seized from an abusive home. He is being rehabilitated by Mariah’s Promise.

Mariah’s Promise indicates that all nine of the dogs it received—though severely malnourished, including one blind dog—will be saved. “They need medical care which they will get, and all of them will be nursed back to health.” These are the types of assurances the dogs deserve and animal lovers should expect from every agency who took in these abused dogs. If they refuse to save them, Mariah’s Promise has also offered to take the others. It is not clear whether the other shelters will take them up on the offer, if they refuse to save the dogs themselves.

At the same time that Sayres killed both Oreo and Max, despite offers to save them by No Kill sanctuaries, there are also reports being circulated that the ASPCA has returned a dog named “Justice” to his “owners” despite the fact that the dog clearly showed signs of neglect. Justice was “underweight, suffering from extreme mange and has bite marks on his neck.” Justice is a chained dog, living outdoors, with little to no fur. The weather in the area will dip into the teens this week. (I am still trying confirm specific facts about this case.)

Enough is enough. Not only is it time to stop Ed Sayres before he kills again, it is time for all groups who claim to speak on behalf of animals to support Oreo’s Law. And we need these laws, not just in New York, but in Colorado and all over the country.

Learn more about Justice by clicking here.

You can make a donation to Mariah’s Promise by clicking here.

You can help pass Oreo’s Law by clicking here.