They exist in every community. They claim to be animal advocates but they are promoters of death. They cannot be swayed by logic, facts, or alternative points of view. They seek out that which fits their beliefs and reject everything else to the point of taking facts out of context—and in many cases, making up “facts”—to fit the story. The Naysayers are those who have a predetermined agenda of support for animal control, regardless of how many animals the local shelter kills or how otherwise dysfunctional the agency is.
What makes the Naysayer such an enigma is that they wear the mantle of animal lovers (e.g., they volunteer at their local animal control shelter, they support spay/neuter efforts), but they defend the status quo of killing regardless of how poor, neglectful, or abusive conditions are at the local shelter. In King County (WA), for example, Naysayers there defended the animal control shelter despite the existence of three reports—one from a 15-member citizens advisory committee, one I did, and one from a veterinary team at U.C. Davis—showing that conditions at King County Animal Control were “deplorable.” Despite the fact that Los Angeles County shelters allowed animals to languish and die because of poor care, Naysayers in that community support the shelter. Despite the fact that the San Bernardino County animal control facility did not want to hold a severely injured dog who was doused with gasoline and set on fire by a malicious owner so they subsequently returned the dog to the abuser pending the trial, Naysayers there continue to support that agency.
As a result of publicly proclaiming to be an animal welfare advocate, Enigmatic Naysayers confuse what should be a clear-cut issue for the media and the public and public officials, and as a result sow seeds of doubt and confusion about shelter reform efforts. They create the question: “If a spay/neuter advocate and shelter volunteer does not think reform is necessary, is it?” And they accomplish their goal by trying to paint reformers as extremists.
Washoe County (NV) also has one—Ardena Perry, who is trying to undermine the tremendous success which has occurred in that community under the Nevada Humane Society’s (NHS) No Kill initiative. The save rate in that community has climbed to 86% for cats while the dog save rate remains steady at an impressive 90% (YTD). On a per capita comparative basis, it puts Washoe County death rates at 1.8 dogs and cats per 1,000 human residents, very near if not the lowest in the entire nation.
In fact, a Washoe County community survey in January 2009 revealed that:
- 93% support the No Kill initiative;
- 95% gave the humane society positive ratings on adoption efforts and results; and,
- 93% say NHS has a good or great public image.
Open-ended public comments were overwhelmingly positive and coalesced around two major themes:
- “We believe NHS does an excellent job for the citizens of Washoe County.”
- “NHS does a great job of taking care of the animals in its care.”
But Ardena Perry is not applauding. Perry has been trying to sabotage the No Kill initiative since it was launched, despite the fact that the NHS has reduced Washoe County rates of killing by half, while doubling adoption rates.
Regularly attending County Commission meetings to disparage NHS, Perry lies to Commissioners about conditions at the shelter in order to undermine their support of the Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS)-NHS partnership. Her campaign is based on data distortion, misinformation, and outright falsehoods. But Perry’s depravity is not limited to pre-Commission meeting rants.
In 2007, NHS took Perry to court and was granted a restraining order by a Washoe County Judge after Perry adopted a dog under false pretenses and then killed the dog. As a result, Perry is forbidden by law from entering NHS or sending someone on her behalf to NHS.
The tragic facts are as follows:
Carie, a healthy and friendly dog, was drugged and then killed by Ardena Perry.
NHS had a sweet, six-year old German Shepherd named Carie available for adoption. She responded to commands and was a happy, friendly dog. However, Carie had limited vision. Perry had a history of obsessing on particular NHS dogs and when they got adopted, Perry would accuse NHS of hiding the dogs from her. On or about October 31, 2007, Perry sent NHS an e-mail which began:
It is 2 in the morn, the world is quiet, only my thoughts hold me from sleep. Taking a Note pad I start Scratching out these demons from the day:
It would turn out to be an ominous sign. Since Perry believes that dogs should be killed in shelters and she especially does not believe NHS should save dogs with what she considers “impediments,” such as the limited vision, Perry had a friend go in to adopt the dog on her behalf.
Perry then drugged the dog herself with human-prescription Librium, a controlled substance which is widely used by those with chronic anxiety and alcoholism withdrawal. She then took the dog to a veterinarian and had the dog killed.
The case was brought in the Justice Court of Reno. The court ruled that,
it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that the Adverse Party has committed and/or is committing or remains a threat to commit stalking, aggravated stalking, or harassment: [Ardena Perry is] PROHIBITED, either directly or through an agent, from contacting, intimidating, using, attempting to use, or threatening the use of physical force, or otherwise interfering in any way with the [Nevada Humane Society]:
Perry appears to be a protÃ©gÃ© and friend of Pat Dunaway, who has a dubious history of animal neglect and cruelty as well (they use similar language and share false claims). A pattern is starting to emerge that may help illuminate the psychological profile of the pro-killing Naysayer.
The questions that remain are:
- Where did she get the Librium, a drug used by prescription for chronic anxiety and alcohol withdrawal? Is it prescribed or is she using it without a prescription (we know she did this with Carie)?
- And, more importantly, why are some commissioners listening to her?
Why are officials in a community with one of the most successful shelters in the nation responding to the rants against that shelter by a woman with a history of drugging a dog, killing a defenseless dog, lying to adopt a dog in order to kill that dog, and who actually had a restraining order issued by a Washoe County court forbidding her from entering the facility which she attacks publicly? How can such a person be viewed to have any legitimacy whatsoever? And, finally, why are some commissioners allowing this shameless lying dog killer to disparage nation-best save rates, which should be a source of community pride?
Only they can answer those questions.
Update on Pat Dunaway:
Perry’s mentor is Pat Dunaway who I discuss at length in a blog here.
Dunaway, who lives in San Bernardino County, works with San Bernardino shelters and holds them up as model facilities. She began attacking me when I began working with the City of Rancho Cucamonga, in San Bernardino County, to wrestle control of the city’s animal shelter away from the County which ran it under contract. At the time, the County would intentionally kill animals rescue groups were en route to save, dogs were forced to drink out of algae-covered water bowls, and in one particular gruesome case, a shelter employee beat a puppy with a baton spewing blood all over the puppy’s cage and was not fired. In another case, the shelter returned a puppy which had been set on fire to its abuser pending trial because it did not want to take on the expense of holding the dog through judicial proceedings, even as rescue groups offered to provide that care at no cost to the county.
Although my contract with Rancho Cucamonga ended years ago, and I’ve not worked with them at all since 2006, today, their rate of lifesaving stands at 80%, or eight out of ten animals. By contrast, the San Bernardino County shelter kills six out of ten and the San Bernardino city shelter kills seven out of ten. These are all shelters in the very same county.
Read the 2008 article from the Press-Enterprise by clicking here to see conditions at a shelter Dunaway holds up as a model.
Also, click here for more information on the County shelter she supports and lauds.
Is it any wonder that Dunaway herself has been allegedly investigated for animal cruelty? And is it any wonder that Perry herself had a court-ordered restraining order against her after she drugged and had a dog killed?
Both Dunaway and Perry say they are against the “No Kill Equation” model of sheltering. What they are saying is that they oppose foster care, TNR, volunteers, comprehensive adoption programs, socialization, preventive medical care, medical and behavior rehabilitation, and pet retention programs. In other words, they are advocating for shelters to continue to kill animals needlessly and without restraint. That is patently unethical.