HSUS Backs Down in Indianapolis
As I reported earlier, the ink was barely dry on their Las Vegas agreement not to automatically seek the deaths of Pit Bulls following the Wilkes County massacre debacle, when HSUS was discovered to be supporting Breed Specific/Discriminatory Legislation in Indianapolis which would have meant a death sentence for some Indianapolis Pit Bulls. Every animal welfare agency in Indianapolis has come out against the legislation, including the Mayor who oversees the City’s animal control shelter. In fact, the Mayor’s campaign for election included an anti-BSL platform.
HSUS staff has been involved in Indianapolis working on an ordinance labeling all “Pit Bull-type dogs” as “potentially dangerous dogs” requiring registration and a permit, mandatory sterilization, a million dollar insurance policy, signage posted at each door in the home saying that a “potentially dangerous dog” lives on the premises, and other restrictions. But because of initial opposition, there is talk of dropping some of the more inflammatory language about Pit Bulls by changing the name “potentially dangerous dogs” to “at risk dogs,” as if that would make a difference to whether they live or die, and dropping the insurance requirement. The bulk of the proposed law, however, remains on track.
When challenged, HSUS denied it is supporting it claiming they are just offering “input” on the legislation, but the ordinance’s author has been referring critics to HSUS in an effort to win their support. And HSUS has been citing a similar Little Rock, AR ordinance as a successful model. In fact, Little Rock officials have also been offering input into the Indianapolis law, and suggested that this could be considered a first step toward an outright ban.
In Little Rock, animal control officers have been going door-to-door confiscating Pit Bulls who aren’t registered and, according to KC Dog Blog, media reports show many smiling, tail wagging dogs (which are now “potentially dangerous dogs” under the law) being taken away, perhaps to their death. In response, HSUS commended enforcement officials in Little Rock for doing so, calling their efforts “meaningful.”
The director of the Humane Society of Indianapolis sent a scathing e-mail to Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of HSUS, demanding that he back off. In it, he stated:
I speak for a highly organized and focused animal welfare community in Indianapolis when I say we had this proposal and any type of BSL off the radar screen with local legislators. Even the Mayor’s office issued a statement opposing any sort of BSL. Now that HSUS seems to be involved in this, we have a much more difficult time making sure this does not pass. It will now take many more hours of work.
Additionally, if Councilor Speedy does have any backing from HSUS, you organization will be completely at odds with the entire animal welfare community in Indianapolis. In all of my dreams, I never thought I would face the prospect of fighting HSUS to protect dogs and dog owners in our community.
So I ask:
- Does HSUS support any kind of legislation like this? If so, please tell me why on earth you would.
- Does HSUS NOT support this type of legislation? If so, I respectfully insist on a statement to that regard to me within 24 hours before we issue our opposition statement to the City County Council.
- Exactly why is [HSUS’ Arkansas representative] involved in matters in Indiana? Our issues are much different that the issues Little Rock faced. Would someone tell her to stay in Arkansas?
- It our collective position here that this ordinance be stopped and NOT re-written. It is a knee-jerk reaction that has not involved any expertise from the animal welfare leadership.
As ususal, Indianpolis advocates are reporting that HSUS backed down by “clarifying” its position. They recently announced that,
In response to pressure from animal welfare advocates in Indianapolis, HSUS has withdrawn from the legislation process here. Apparently [the bill’s author] has sent a rather angry letter to the city-county council about “us” having “strong-armed” the HSUS out of the process.
Does Pacelle ever learn? Ever?
Arizona Shelter Reform Legislation Introduced
An Arizona Senator has introduced legislation to help give animals in shelters a new chance at life. According to the bill’s author, he wanted to “create a statewide policy of no-kill animal shelters and county pounds, and prohibit the [killing] of animals that can be adopted into suitable homes.”
The Senator further stated that,
This is not a partisan issue, and killing is not the solution. With a little bit of effort and a lot of compassion, we can provide safe havens for lost or hurt animals, make spaying and neutering as affordable as possible and send more of [these] creatures to a loving home instead of an untimely death.
Read his editorial by clicking here.
Read the No Kill Advocacy Center’s letter to the Senator praising his effort and asking for amendments to make his proposed bill even stronger by clicking here.
Note to Wayne Pacelle and HSUS: Stay out of it. You’ll support the wrong side, you’ll condemn animals to death in deference to your regressive animal control cronies, we’ll challenge you publicly, you’ll back off by “clarifying” you position and promise to change, and then you’ll claim you’ve always supported the progressive policy. Let’s just skip the entire dance this time ok?
The No Kill Revolution Continues
Four cities in Alameda County (CA) are saving 93% of all animals entering their shelters. Two communities in Indiana have crossed the 90% threshold, and Tompkins County entered its seventh year saving out 90%. Meanwhile Reno is also saving 90% of dogs for the third year in a row, while the cat save rate is moving up toward that threshold – at 86%. The No Kill revolution continues:
Help me spread the message to other communities. I’ve already sent out hundreds of free copies of Redemption to animal control directors and city council members all over the U.S. I’ve also made the same offer to leaders of animal rights organizations. Shelter directors, city council members and other elected officials, staff reporters at newspapers, and directors of animal rights organizations just need to request a copy on their official stationary by April 30 and they’ll get a free copy of Redemption.
Click here for more information.
No Kill Conference Update
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Join today at http://thenokillnation.ning.com