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Animal Welfare Con Artists and The Damage They Do

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

In our last two blog posts, we discussed some of the con artists that operate in the field of animal welfare. In our most recent writing, we talked about PETA, and how, after stealing and killing a family's pet Chihuahua, they had the audacity to argue in court that their behavior was not outrageous and that the dog was worthless. As shocking as that may be, it was not an isolated case for the so-called animal rights organization that may be more aptly referred to as a pet slaughter house. The same day PETA stole and killed the Chihuahua named Maya, they also took and killed several other dogs from the same neighborhood. And, they have been doing things like that for a very long time. While operating a death camp, PETA has conned the American public out of millions of dollars annually under the guise of fighting for animals that have no voice.

In the world of animal welfare con artists, PETA might be one of the worst, but they are by no means alone. In fact, it could be easily argued that a large percentage of America's animal shelters have been operating in a similar fashion for a couple of hundred years. They profess to exist to shelter and protect animals (hence why they are called "animal shelters"), yet have been killing millions of healthy and treatable pets every year, while refusing to do the things that would save them. There is, unfortunately, an entire category of con artist made up of organizations that actively take in and kill healthy pets while pretending to be the saviors of those same animals. But, the conning of animal lovers does not stop there. There is another category of people and organizations that defend the killing and conning.

We also recently wrote about a keyboard advocate and blogger named Susan Houser who consistently defends poorly performing animal shelters while criticizing No Kill advocates, all the while claiming to be a No Kill advocate herself. Since we wrote the last piece about her, she has been at it again. This time she inserted herself into a fight that has broken out in Moore County, North Carolina after they hired a new shelter director, who promptly locked all of the volunteers out of the building, with some County officials comparing volunteers to ISIS and threatening to "get out of the animal sheltering business" entirely.

In this fight, whose side do you believe an animal advocate would take - the side of the County that is shutting volunteers out of the shelter, even though the shelter has an abysmal save rate of 44% for cats and 77% for dogs, or the side of the volunteers who are observing failures and working to improve operations? If you have ever followed Houser's blog, you will not be surprised to learn that she puts the blame for the fight on No Kill advocates. She even went so far as to describe the comparison between volunteers and ISIS as "very plain language." Note: she did NOT call it ridiculous, absurd, outrageous, melodramatic, egregious, or any number of other things it should have been called. No. She called it "very plain language."

Like an enabling co-dependent spouse of a child abuser she says the advocates are responsible if the County closes the shelter because of their complaining. It is like she is saying, "You see, Billy, if you just keep your head down and your mouth shut, Mommy won't have to beat you any more."

In writing these things, Houser gives her tacit approval of Moore County officials continuing their poor performance and abusive behavior. The New Jersey Animal Observer addressed Houser's recent blog very well in this Facebook post. They wrote:

"This blogger's attempt to defend poorly performing municipal shelters and attack no kill advocates makes no sense in the real world. Local governments serve the people who elect them and should implement policies their voters want unless those things would violate the US Constitution."

Very well-said.

And, speaking of New Jersey, another on our list of "great pretenders", an organization called Target Zero (previously called Target Zero Institute, and previously called First Coast No More Homeless Pets), reportedly wrote on Facebook that Cory Booker should "reduce the ridiculously long stray hold in New Jersey."

Beyond a doubt, shortening the period shelters must hold stray pets harms animals, at least according to a growing number of lost and found pet experts. Yet, here is an agency professing to be working toward No Kill (or "Zero" kill, in their lexicon) that is working to make it easier for shelters to kill animals faster. Naturally, that is not how they sell their position. What they do say is, at best, a lie of omission. They, and some of their "partners" have advocated shortened stray hold periods by claiming that animal shelters should not have to wait so long before adopting pets into new homes. They fail to say that these shortened periods also allow shelters to kill animals faster, and give families less time to try to find their lost pets, which are critical factors to leave out of an important discussion such as that.

That was a tactic we first saw deployed by Best Friends Animal Society when they successfully lobbied for shortened stray hold periods in Wisconsin. Animal advocates nationally chastised them for this effort and since then Best Friends has been relatively quiet on this topic. Now, all of a sudden, Target Zero (or Target Zero Institute, or First Coast No More Homeless Pets) is using the same argument in another state. It is worth pointing out that Target Zero is run by the former head of animal control in Miami-Dade County, where she never managed to save more than 50% of the animals in her care. In light of that, it is a bit confusing why an agency like Best Friends would "partner" and share such damaging language with an agency like First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Target Zero, or whatever they happen to be calling themselves today. That is a question we will explore in more detail in our next installment of The Latest Cons. Stay tuned.

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