Today marks the 11-year anniversary of the ASPCA’s killing of Oreo, an abused dog, who a No Kill sanctuary offered to save. Oreo was a one-year-old dog who was thrown off the roof of a six-floor Brooklyn apartment building in 2009. She suffered two broken legs and a fractured rib. Several of the neighbors in the building reported having heard the sound of her being beaten. The ASPCA nursed her back to health and arrested the perpetrator. They also dubbed her the “miracle dog” and fundraised off her plight, reportedly raising millions. But the miracle was short lived.
According to the ASPCA, when Oreo recovered from her injuries, she started to show signs of aggression. After the money was counted and safely deposited into ASPCA bank accounts, the ASPCA made the decision to kill her.
If it was true that Oreo was still traumatized and untrusting, who could blame her? She needed time. Although the ASPCA could have cared for Oreo as long as it took to get her to trust again, they refused. But others came forward to offer what the ASPCA would not: time and space to learn that not all humans are abusers. A No Kill sanctuary near the ASPCA which specializes in rehabilitating aggressive dogs (and, if that proves impossible, safely caring for them for the rest of their lives), contacted the ASPCA to ask if they could assume responsibility for Oreo. They made numerous telephone calls and sent numerous emails. They were ignored, hung-up on and lied to. Two volunteers of the group even went to the ASPCA but were escorted out after the ASPCA refused to meet with them.
On a cold, Friday morning on November 13, Oreo was killed; not by her abuser, but by those whose mission it was to protect her. The kennel that the sanctuary readied in anticipation of her arrival lay empty and unused that day, filled with a soft bed, a pool of water and several toys for her to play with. Instead, Oreo’s body was discarded in a landfill.
After Oreo was killed, “Oreo’s Law” was introduced in New York which would have made it illegal for shelters, including the ASPCA, to kill animals who rescue groups were willing to save. It was estimated that if the law passed, roughly 25,000 animals a year would be saved.
The ASPCA made it its mission to ensure that they would not be and succeeded in killing the law every year it was introduced. They continue to fight shelter reform laws to empower rescuers to this very day. Because of them, an estimated 275,000 other animals have since been killed despite qualified rescue groups ready, willing, and able to save them.
Instead of enjoying the second chances and loving new homes rescue groups would have guaranteed them, they are dead, their bodies rotting in New York State landfills.
Oreo would have been 12 years old today; in the twilight of a very long and loved life.
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