Bear Witness to the Ugly Truth

Although officials from the Town of Hempstead claim the video is several years old, it doesn’t matter: the person heard chanting in the video and holding up a middle finger to the camera, the  then-supervisor,  is now the facility director. Watch the video. Watch lazy and inept animal control officers laughing, making obscene gestures, and goofing off. Then watch as a very frightened cat is brought into the room, hung from the neck with a catchpole (which should NEVER be used on cats) and while he struggles to escape, listen  to their  chants of  “kill the kitty, kill the kitty.”

Rescuers and animal advocates  are trying to reform the Town of Hempstead pound. Despite a $7.5 million dollar budget and an intake less than 3,500 animals every year, the shelter is a den of neglect, abuse, and needless killing. I reached out to the Town supervisor. I reached out to each and every commissioner on the Town Board. I even followed up by telephone. [You can read my letter, on behalf of the No Kill Advocacy Center, by clicking here.] But instead of embracing innovative, life-affirming policies, instead of firing those responsible for the neglect, abuse, and killing, instead of replacing a cruel 19th century model of animal control with one befitting the values of Americans in the 21st, they have circled the wagons and given a green light to further abuse. They have also ended their relationship with rescuers trying to save animals scheduled to be killed.

This is in New York State, where if Oreo’s Law had passed, the shelter would no longer be able to “kill the kitty, kill the kitty” if a rescue group offered to save him. But Oreo’s Law is not in place. It was killed by the ASPCA. It was killed by Jane Hoffman of the Maddie’s-funded Mayor’s Alliance of New York City. It was killed by Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition. It was killed by Best Friends Animal Society. And it was killed by the silence of the Humane Society of the United States.

And so they can continue to chant “kill the kitty, kill the kitty” while rescue groups are turned away; betrayed by those who were supposed to be the animals’ protectors. Betrayed by the sick and twisted shelter staff who neglect and abuse animals in their care, and chant with sadistic joy at the traumatizing and then brutal killing of a helpless creature fighting a losing battle for his life.

Watch the video and do not look away. Because the killing is being done in your name and it is being paid for with your tax dollars. This is YOUR animal shelter; the one that blames YOU for the killing. And they will keep on neglecting and abusing animals in their care. They will keep killing them needlessly. Until we fight back and force them to stop. Until we become political, waging campaigns to end the tyranny of heartless bureaucrats who sit on the Town Board or City Council and remove them from office. Until we legislate shelter reform, removing the discretion that allows shelter directors to kill animals needlessly. Until we stand up not just to our enemies, but to our so-called “friends” who either side with them or fight our efforts to reform such.

Watch the video. And remember it next time anyone who speaks the truth about our ugly, dysfunction, broken, and cruel animal “shelter” system is called “crazy” by the ASPCA, “shrill” by HSUS, “divisive” by Best Friends Animal Society, and accused of “bash and trash” by Maddie’s Fund. Remember it the next time the ASPCA says “we don’t need a law because we already have rescues access in New York State;” the next time HSUS says we do not need to regulate shelters because we all want the same things; the next time Maddie’s Fund holds Jane Hoffman of the NYC Mayor’s Alliance (who along with Ed Sayres was the primary architect of the defeat of Oreo’s Law last year) up as a lodestar of the movement; the next time Best Friends says we need to give shelters more discretion not to work with rescuers who they say are the ones who can’t be trusted.

Remember this the next time you get a glossy “shut up and give us money” mailer from any of the large, national groups who would dare stand in the way of our trying to end this kind of cruel, sadistic killing in our nation’s pounds.

YesBiscuit has the backstory by clicking here.

Update: According to the local newspaper, the director has since been “reassigned” out of animal control. While that is welcome news, it does not mean the animals are now safe. Nor does it negate the need for Oreo’s Law and other legislative reform. Animals deserve protection regardless of who is running the pound. We need to remove the discretion that allows pound directors to avoid doing what is in the best interest of animals and kill them needlessly. Learn more by clicking here.