Articles ASPCA

‘Shop, Don’t Adopt,’ says Former ASPCA CEO

Paid $5,000 per month to shill for Petland which runs pet stores that sell commercially bred puppies, former ASPCA CEO Ed Sayres argues that people should ‘shop, not adopt,’ that pet stores protect public safety, that shelter dogs are a threat, and that pit bulls are a bigger danger to Americans than jihadi terrorists.


Former ASPCA CEO visiting a dog breeder as a consultant with the commercial breeding industry. The only difference now and when he was working at the ASPCA is that he no longer has to pretend to love animals.

In 2009, then-ASPCA President Ed Sayres ordered the killing of Oreo, an abused dog, despite the fact that a No Kill shelter offered to save her. Oreo had been thrown off a sixth floor Brooklyn rooftop. Neighbors told officers they often heard what sounded like the dog being beaten.

After the ASPCA killed her, dog lovers worked to make sure it would never happen again. They succeeded in getting legislation introduced to make it illegal for shelters like the ASPCA to kill animals when qualified rescue groups were willing to save them. Given the killing of Oreo, no one was surprised that Sayres devoted the wealth and power of the ASPCA to kill the bill, which he did. What was surprising to many was who helped him.

The ASPCA Board of Directors, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, and other groups, aware of his betrayal of Oreo (and others), none-the-less defended him. They also opposed Oreo’s Law and, in the case of Gregory Castle and Francis Battista of Best Friends, helped him defeat it.  Over 150,000 animals who would have been saved had the law passed have been killed instead.

Sayres defended his decision to kill Oreo by claiming she was aggressive, but he refused to release the videotaped evidence and a photo released the day she was killed shows none. It turns out that Oreo was probably killed simply because she was a “pit bull.” Sayres, it seems, believes that pit bulls are dangerous.

Now a spokesman for the commercial breeding industry, Sayres has recently been hired by Petland  in their lawsuit against Grove City, OH after it enacted a ban on the commercial sale of purposely bred dogs and cats. Pet stores are only permitted to partner with shelters and rescue groups.

Sayres argued to the court that pet stores protect public safety by offering “safe” dogs for purchase. Shelter dogs, he wrote, are filled with little more than pit bulls and pit bulls are dangerous. It’s “possible” that you can adopt some pit bulls and be safe, he wrote, but only if you have experience with the breed. Even then, however, Sayres suggests they are particularly and peculiarly dangerous.

And who does Sayres cite for this proposition? Merritt Clifton, the man a Huffington Post writer called the “academic imposter behind the pit bull hysteria.”  Sayres’ affidavit is filled with hyperbolic scare tactics, including the claim that pit bulls are a bigger threat to the lives of Americans than “jihadi terrorists” and “far-right malitia member[s].”  

Not surprisingly, he also testified that “there is no connection between [puppy mills:] and retail pet stores,” despite copious evidence to the contrary.

A copy of his affidavit is available by clicking here.

Learn more about “Frankenstein’s Monster” by clicking here.


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