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Aug 11, 2009

Below is a copy/paste of an excellent/entire article - MUST READ - and info re: upcoming PBS ground-breaking documentary re: Animal Rights, Animal Rescue, No-Kill and Shelter "politics" called "Fifteen Legs." Check it out!!!

Nathan J. Winograd
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
 
One of the dogs saved from Michael Vick
After almost twenty years working in the humane movement and several years as a criminal prosecutor, I have seen, read about, and experienced many unexpected and heartbreaking moments of animals being harmed. The conduct of Michael Vick ranks at the very top. And last week, the Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) added insult to injury by reinstating Vick into the NFL. But the Humane Society of the United States (HSU is asking us to give Vick what he refused to give the dogs he abused and killed: a second chance. Based on what we know now, we should not do this.
 
There is a difference between sincere remorse and being used. If Michael Vick was sincere, this wouldn’t be about getting back into the NFL. This wouldn’t be about barring the public, keeping the media out, and blocking the windows. This wouldn’t be about meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or hiring “handlers” and public relations consultants. Michael Vick would be talking to anyone who would listen that he is truly sorry and will make it right. But, most importantly, he would be talking to federal investigators. And while the victims of his crimes—the dogs he tortured and killed—can never be brought back; while they can no longer think and feel and run and play and eat and sleep and bark and love and be loved; while their only life has been taken from them; while it is over, because they are gone, forever; there are dogs being killed and torn apart to this very day and Michael Vick has the power to stop it.

Michael Vick has the information which can deal a crushing blow to dog fighters and dog fighting in the United States. He can make a profound impact on the lives of dogs being abused and tortured today. In fact, there could be a dozen arrests and closures of dog fighting rings by now thanks to the information he could potentially provide to HSUS and federal investigators. He knows who the dog fighters are. He knows where the dog fights are held. He knows where they are getting the dogs. He knows where they are getting the animals used as “bait.” He knows where they live. He knows where they keep the dogs. He knows where they buy and keep the instruments of torture. He can stop it. A person as deeply involved in the U.S. dog fighting racket as Vick could implicate many other dog fighters and provide valuable information that could shut them down.

This is the commitment HSUS should have extracted from Michael Vick. Once the investigations were complete, once the arrests were made, once Michael Vick testified against them in court, once they were convicted, once the dogs being tortured were rescued, once the whole bloody enterprise was shut down, then and only then, should anyone listen to talk of remorse.
 
At the same time, HSUS would have been getting ready to do its part by using the money it raised and raises off its association with Michael Vick to build kennels across the country specifically for victims of dog fighting and all the dogs to be rescued from their campaign of dog fighting eradication, as is their job and so that local shelters aren’t left to do it alone. Those kennels would be staffed with HSUS employees whose jobs would not only be care, feeding, socialization and, for those dogs who need it, rehabilitation, but ultimately, it would include rescue transfer, adoption, and, if necessary, lifetime sanctuary care.

That is what I hope is happening behind the scenes. And that is what I hope they will announce: the simultaneous arrests of dog fighters all over the country thanks to information supplied by Michael Vick and an announcement by HSUS of the kennels they have been constructing to get ready in response, so none of the rescued dogs will be killed, as HSUS recommended for all of Vick’s victims.

But without any evidence of this—and given HSUS’ history of killing victims of dog fighting and defending poorly performing and abusive animal shelters; and given Vick’s sadistic history and history of lying to federal investigators—it would be naïve and irresponsible to believe that is what is going on.
 
I hope HSUS and Michael Vick prove me wrong. I hope they make the startling announcement. I hope we get to watch videos of federal agents busting operations thanks to information supplied by Vick. I hope they show the kennels HSUS has constructed to save those dogs. I promise this if they do: if they commit to saving all the rescued dogs, if things turn out to be what they should be, it won’t “erase” what Vick did, but no one will cheer louder than me.
 
For more reading:
 
Riding on Vick's Bloodstained Coattails
 
Down the Rabbit Hole
 
In Bed with Monsters
 
No Kill Advocacy Center's Letter to NFL
 
Award Winning PBS Documentary
 
 
This month, PBS stations across the country will begin airing Fifteen Legs, an award winning documentary about saving the lives of animals from shelters that kill. The documentary tells the story of everyday heroes who go the extra mile (often thousands of miles) to save the lives of dogs and cats from killing shelters by driving them across the country into loving new homes.

The documentary is an indictment of the shelter killing system and a celebration of the indomitable spirit to do what is right. According to author and filmmaker Bonnie Silva,
Some people take issue with the term “kill-shelter” — asserting that this terminology unfairly indicts individuals who participate in the grim task of euthanizing completely adoptable animals. But even a softer term like “euthanizing shelter,” if it were to be used, cannot provide a thick enough gloss to conceal the disturbing, awful truth.
Animals who are euthanized or &ldquout to sleep” do not wake up, ever. Whether they are euthanized by lethal injection, gassed or destroyed by other unspeakable means, they are no longer with us when the process of euthanizing them is complete. They cease to drink, cry, bark, meow, play and feel. They are gone.
But often, all that stands between death and freedom is a ride. And Bill Maher, host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” is telling you that “The clock is ticking – so come aboard a railroad like no other, and hitch a ride to freedom alongside society’s most desperate, unwanted animals.”

For more information, to watch a clip, and for broadcast schedule, click here.
PAWS... For Some News
Do you have a passion for saving dogs? The Nevada Humane Society is looking a dog care manager to help fulfill their No Kill initiative. They are currently saving 93% of dogs and climbing.
For a copy of the job description, click here.
To apply, click here.
The No Kill Blog
Sadly, the large national groups have rallied around the decision by the NFL. HSUS has gone one step further and actually embraced Michael Vick. Read "Down the Rabbit Hole" by clicking here.

Twitter News & Tidbits
Follow me on twitter and stay up to date with No Kill news from around the country, including real time updates of new blog posts.
The Examiner
As the San Francisco Animal Shelter writer for examiner.com, I am writing about local and national news from a San Francisco Bay Area perspective. Read the articles by clicking here.
Stay Connected
♦ Read the new version of the award-winning book, expanded and updated for 2009, by clicking here.
♦ Read the blog, by clicking here.
♦ Follow on twitter, by clicking here.
♦ Listen weekly on Animal Wise Radio, by clicking here.
♦ Follow the work at the No Kill Advocacy Center, by clicking here.
♦ Subscribe to the No Kill Advocacy Center’s free e-newsletter, by clicking here.
♦ Attend a public seminar and/or booksigning, by clicking here.
♦ Stay up-to-date about upcoming books, by clicking here.
♦ Read local and national shelter news with a San Francisco Bay Area angle by clicking here.
Upcoming Appearances
♦ October 2-3, 2009,  National Summit, Gold Coast, Australia.
♦ October 23-25, 2009,  No More Homeless Pets Conference, Las Vegas NV.
A New Edition for the Most Acclaimed Book on Animal Shelters
Since its release in September 2007, Redemption has become the most critically acclaimed book ever written on its topic. The book has won five awards. It has been positively reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, The Bark Magazine, and over fifty newspapers nationwide. Not only has the book helped shift the national debate about killing, it is also playing a direct role in helping to transform communities.

The second edition includes a new foreword, an expanded discussion of the No Kill Equation (the formula for ending the killing of animals in shelters), and a new section on the need to legislate No Kill through shelter reform legislation, with a proposed model law.

The foreword covers changes in the movement since Redemption was first released in 2007, responds to critics of the book, and talks about further successes in the No Kill revolution.


Winner of USA Book News' Best Book (Animal/Pets), a Best Book Muse Medallion winner by the Cat Writers Association of America, a Best Book nominee by the Dog Writers Association of America, finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Publishing, and winner of a Silver Medal from the Independent Publishers Association, the book has been called "powerful and inspirational," "ground-breaking," and "a must read for anyone who cares about animals."

Available wherever books are sold. For more information, click here.


http://www.nathanwinograd.com/

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Posted: Aug 11, 2009 11:42pm
Jul 27, 2009

Please cross-post, and otherwise share this crucial animal-rights article regarding animal-cruelty Monster Michael Vick's being allowed back into the USA's National Football League [NFL] to play pro ball - and the role of the national head of the USA "Humane" Society, Wayne Pacelle. (Link and author citation: Nathan Winograd blog re: No-Kill Movement)

The TRUTH must be TOLD! -- Alice Winfree Bowron

http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1692

The "Humane" Society's head may have helped INhumane Vick get back with NFL.

And the Monster Went Free…
July 27, 2009 by Nathan J. Winograd

The most notorious animal abuser of our time was just given what he wanted most by being reinstated in the National Football League. I have to wonder how much he pleaded for mercy and empathy, even as the dogs he abused and killed received none from him. But most of all, I have to wonder how much Michael Vick played up his association with Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States in his meetings with the Commissioner and others who held his fate in their hands. How he is now an HSUS spokesman. How the nation’s largest animal protection organization is now in his corner. How they forgave him, so why shouldn’t the NFL?
I’ll say it again:
Over the years, Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, has shown how little he appears to care for animals. Time and time again, he has taken positions that are the antithesis of what you would expect from the head of the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Time and time again, he has sided with regressive and even cruel animal shelter directors, championed the killing of dogs and cats, and worked to hinder the progress of the No Kill movement.
From Tangipahoa Parish, LA where he legitimized the unnecessary mass slaughter of shelter animals to Wilkes County, NC where he embraced the mass slaughter of dogs. From San Francisco, CA where he fought shelter reform legislation which would have saved lives to the post-Katrina Gulf Coast, where he claimed “Mission Accomplished” and left with tens of millions in HSUS bank accounts which belonged to the animals who continued to suffer. From legitimizing a round up and kill campaign for cats in Randolph, IA to fear mongering over the bird flu by telling people not to help, feed, or touch stray cats but to call animal control when they see them, agencies with a history of mass slaughter,  even as the World Health Organization was telling people cats posed no risk. From New Orleans, LA after Hurricane Gustav where he fundraised off the largest evacuation of animals in U.S. history conducted by a rescue group by falsely claiming it was an HSUS effort, to Virginia where he demanded that the Vick dogs be killed only to fundraise off of them by telling donors that they were caring for them, when they were not.
Given a history of anti-animal positions he has taken, it would seem unlikely that Pacelle could choose to do anything that would still have the power to shock us. But I must admit that Pacelle stunned me with how truly low and vile he has sunk with his latest scandal: helping Michael Vick—the most notorious animal abuser of our time—reform his image.
On hearing the news of Pacelle’s embrace of Vick, Bad Rap, one of the groups who helped care for Vick’s victims, responded:
I just can’t get myself away from the swimming pool in Vick’s yard. I first learned about it while riding in the back seat of a federal agent’s car that sweltering Tuesday back in Sept 07. The agent was assigned with escorting us to the various Virginia shelters so we could evaluate “the evidence” otherwise known as 49 pit bulls – now known as cherished family pets: Hector, Uba, Jhumpa, Georgia, Sweet Jasmine and the rest. I’m not sure if sharing insider information with us was kosher, but you know how driving down long country roads can get you talking. I imagine she just needed to get some things off her chest. She said she was having trouble sleeping since the day they exhumed the bodies on the Moonlight Road property. She said that when she watched the investigators uncover the shallow graves, she was compelled to want to climb in and pick up the decomposing dogs and comfort and cradle them. She knew that was crazy talk, and she was grappling with trying to understand such a surprising impulse.
Her candor set the tone for this entire saga. Everyone we worked with was deeply affected by the case. The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. Most of Vick’s dogs were small – 40lbs or so – so tossing them in would’ve been fast and easy work for thick athlete arms. We don’t know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.
I wear some pretty thick skin during our work with dogs, but I can’t shake my minds-eye image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water … screaming in pain and terror … brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get a hold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I’ll be looking for ways to pull that dog out for the rest of my life.
So that’s where I’m at. A second chance for Vick? An HSUS sponsored spokesman for ending torture? In my mind’s eye Vick is still in the shadows at the side of that pool. As many times as this scene plays out my head, he hasn’t yet moved towards that dog to pull him out. Not there yet.
Even PETA, a butcher of a different sort, finally got it right:
To clarify misleading stories regarding PETA and Michael Vick, PETA withdrew its offer to do a TV spot with Michael Vick last winter when a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Vick’s dog fighting activities revealed that he enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart. PETA believes that this revelation, along with other factors in the report, fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD), and we called on Vick to have a brain scan to help confirm this. People diagnosed with APD are commonly referred to as &ldquosychopaths.” They are usually male, prone to lying and manipulation, often take pleasure in cruelty, and cannot feel genuine remorse, which frequently leads to recidivism. PETA had previously been in talks with Vick’s management, public relations, and legal teams about shooting a public service announcement to help combat dog fighting, upon Vick’s release from prison. In December, after consulting with psychiatrists, PETA withdrew the offer for the TV spot, and in January, we called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a brain scan and full psychological evaluation before any decisions were made about the future of his football career.
Everything to Lose
When the Vick case occurred, the entire nation was horrified. The public’s outrage was unequivocal. This was the correct response, and a symbol of just how much people love dogs. But Pacelle, the leader of the nation’s largest animal protection group, is asking people to question that outrage and response. His actions threaten to paint a sympathetic portrait of Vick, despite Vick’s true one-dimensional nature as a sadist who takes pleasure in torturing and killing dogs.
Ultimately, the lesson this embrace of Vick imparts is that the brutal abuse, torture, and killing of dogs is forgivable. That they are only dogs. That the public’s response to the Vick horror was misplaced and overblown. In the end, Pacelle is helping Vick create a false image of himself as “reformed” so he can play in the National Football League again; to avoid the consequences of his actions by getting back the most important thing he cares about—even as he took away from many dogs the thing that mattered most to them: their very lives.
After the depths of Vick’s depravity were fully revealed, the punishment was swift and severe, as it should have been. He was banned from the NFL. He was convicted by the federal courts. He was sent to prison. He was bankrupted. He was despised by the American public. Now, Wayne Pacelle is asking us to sacrifice this precedent. After all, if the head of HSUS is willing to forgive, why shouldn’t the public and the NFL?
Are we really willing to lower the bar on how our society should react to such blatant animal cruelty in order to help a vicious animal killer? What could we possibly stand to gain that would be worth undoing that? Are we really that gullible that we believe Vick can actually influence people not to fight dogs? Are we really going to believe that a PSA or neighborhood talk is going to make people who enjoy watching dogs tear each other apart suddenly have a change of heart? Even if there were a small chance that this was so, without integrity, the “lesson” he is supposed to impart will fail. And it is no surprise that Pacelle can’t anticipate this because he himself appears to lack sincerity for the cause.
So we are left with the question of whether we are really going to accept a few meaningless PSAs and public appearances for an end to the permanent, righteous consequences that Vick must endure by remaining reviled as a monster; by never being reinstated in the NFL; by remaining bankrupt so he cannot afford to rebuild the “Bad Newz Kennels.”
Working to dissipate the righteous anger, working to remove the consequences of Vick’s actions, Pacelle is opening a new chapter to a story that already had the best of possible endings our movement could have hoped for: When Vick was caught torturing innocent animals for sadistic enjoyment, he received a permanent and lasting punishment. He lost his freedom, he lost his career, he lost his money, he lost his reputation, he lost virtually everything. That is exactly how the story should stay ended. And Pacelle’s actions threaten to undo it all.
Nothing to Gain
In the process, Pacelle is helping undermine that which we achieved—showing dog fighters the high cost of punishment; sending the message that dog fighting is unforgiveable and will be met with swift, complete, and permanent recrimination.
To embrace Pacelle’s position, we have to believe that Vick has become a repentant animal abuser who now wants to help dogs. To justify all that we stand to lose as a movement—all the dogs stand to lose—we have to believe that Vick holds the key to ending the scourge of dog fighting. It would be foolish and naïve to do so.
Vick could not care less about stopping or preventing dog fighting. Vick did not have a cathartic realization he was wrong. This isn’t some soul searching effort to make amends. He got caught, pure and simple. Even his guilty plea was not a sincere admission of guilt but a strategic decision (given the overwhelming evidence and a certain conviction) to avoid federal sentencing guidelines which would have locked him away for far longer if he did not plead guilty. And even while he was pleading guilty, he denied killing dogs. Had he not been caught, Vick would be torturing and killing dogs, and taking great amusement in it, to this very day. Our work is about protecting animals, not embracing their abusers. And because our movement stands to gain nothing by this association, Pacelle is asking us to sacrifice the former for the latter. And in so doing, he is undermining our movement. Tragically, it is not the first time.
Finding Our Voice
Through HSUS, Pacelle has:
*     Participated in the slaughter of some 150 dogs, including puppies, in Wilkes County;
*     Lobbied to stop No Kill legislation in San Francisco;
*     Lobbied to stop No Kill legislation in King County, WA;
*     Supported breed discriminatory legislation in Indianapolis, IN;
*     Told USA Today and Newsweek that killing in shelters is acceptable and that No Kill was warehousing;
*     Misled the public about an epidemic of dog bites to convey the view that trying to save Pit Bulls was irresponsible and put children at risk;
*     Told the court to kill Vick’s victims even as he was asking people to give HSUS money so he could “care” for them;
*     Left New Orleans with tens of millions given to HSUS for the victims of Hurricane Katrina even while those animals were still suffering;
*     Legitimized the slaughter of virtually every animal at Tangipahoa Parish animal control;
*     Told people not to adopt animals during the holidays, effectively accepting the deaths of 1,000,000 animals as the alternative;
*     Told the Randolph, IA community that he did not have a problem killing stray cats.

And now this. This unconscionable, abhorrent, and vile embrace of a sadist who takes pleasure in the torture and killing of dogs.
This movement has been too forgiving of Pacelle. Time and time again he has acted in a way that is the antithesis of what the leader of an animal protection movement is supposed to do. Still, activists in this movement fail to condemn him, even as he now asks us to embrace the most notorious animal abuser of our time. To be equally forgiving of that monster, as we have been of him.
Can anyone imagine the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence embracing wife killer O.J. Simpson as a spokesman? Can anyone imagine the National Organization to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children embracing pedophile John Geoghan as a spokesman? Can anyone imagine the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network embracing rapist Josef Fritzl as a spokesman? It is unthinkable. And yet we in the animal movement, under Pacelle’s direction, are threatening to do this very thing, to having our movement embrace our version of Simpson, Geoghan, and Fritzl as a spokesman. It is beyond obscene. It is unthinkable.
When someone tells and shows us over and over who they are and what they stand for, we should believe them. No one can doubt that Vick is a monster. But sadly, despite the heartfelt pain expressed so eloquently about the dogs drowning in Vick’s backyard while he sadistically enjoyed himself, even Bad Rap, who deserves nothing less than unbridled accolades over their role in saving some of those poor dogs, refuses to see and condemn Pacelle for who and what he is. That is our movement’s own myopia. Just because Pacelle claims to value animals and he works for an organization with “humane” in its name doesn’t mean either is true. His actions time and again belie both claims. Which is why Bad Rap’s conclusion about Pacelle’s decision to embrace Vick as a spokesman that they are “not there yet” is not enough. None of us should ever be there. Ever.
If the dogs Vick tortured and Pacelle lobbied to have killed by the court could speak on their own behalf, their condemnation would be unequivocal. As they cannot, it is our solemn duty to do it on their behalf. And it is a trust we must not betray in deference to the power and position of those in our movement who abuse that power and betray our cause. As with any social justice movement, progress requires us to courageously defend what is right, even when doing so places us at odds with those in positions of power. We must put our allegiances to our ideals above allegiance to personalities and institutions. And this compels us to expose, reject, and condemn those in our midst who masquerade as leaders, such as Wayne Pacelle, but who use that power to willfully undermine our goals.
It is time for Pacelle to resign. It is time for him to leave us, and the animals, alone.

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Posted: Jul 27, 2009 2:57pm

 

 
 
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