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Donors and taxpayers demand reasonable reporting requirements for shelter intake vs. adoptions vs. euthanasia & HSUS accountability for legislation based on unfounded statistics.




HSUS & Shelter Accountability

by Nancy Glick


I'm a small breeder, very concerned with the increase of animal control seizures based on numbers rather than actual animal abuse. It should not be the number of animals owned but the owner's ability to care for the number they own.


Coercive legislation is pushed - and passed based on unreliable information. These are my suggestions to move back animal welfare and away from the animal rights trend behind these laws. In reading new bills, I note the following over and over: "shelters, rescues, and veterinarians are exempted from..."


In addition, animal rights groups, animal control and government accounting agencies can use inflated numbers for shelter euthanasia and costs because there is virtually no accountability! It is imperative that our legislators have and use factual numbers and audits when debating legislation. Before another restrictive owner law is passed, I believe shelters should be required to report for public and legislative scrutiny basic information broken down by species and categories as follows:


1. Number of feral cats or stray dogs euthanized

2. Number of adoptable animals euthanized

3. Number of cats and dogs euthanized due to illness, age or behavioral issues

4. Number of cats and dogs turned in by owners specifically to be euthanized

5. Number of dogs and cats adopted out

6. Number of dogs and cats returned and the reason

7. Number of pets seized from owners and any charges filed

8. If animals were seized but no charges were filed, why not?


It's called accountability. Anyone who breeds or shows purebred dogs knows we have to keep detailed ownership, sales, health, and show records, etc. WE have to take unfunded time out of our lives to account for everything that has to do with our animals and many, if not all, of us do it using software made specifically for running a kennel or cattery but we maintain hard copy of everything as well. If we have to make such records available for inspectors and government entities, and under bills currently being pushed, even to customers, shouldn’t shelters and rescues be required to do the same?


Is it because holding these "exempt" entities accountable to the taxpaying public would show that breeders are NOT responsible for filling shelters or for the number of animals euthanized every year? Shelters, Rescues, and even HSUS could use the same type of software programs we use, with fields for recording whether the animal was adopted out, returned, seized, or euthanized and why.


Since most shelters give each animal a number and are so big on micro chipping, every pet adopted out or transferred could be accounted for by micro chip. That number should be recorded if the dog or cat is transferred from one shelter to another. THAT requirement would end skewing numbers as a means to push laws that are intended to end breeding. Because it's public information, it would be easy to point legislators, funding groups, and statisticians to the facts rather than numbers made up by HSUS or some shelters.


If animal rights groups and shelters can push laws forcing breeders, who in fact are privately owned businesses, to account for every hair on their animals, it is reasonable to ask it of public service, taxpayer and donation-funded animal businesses.


And there is another form of record-keeping that should be mandated. Why not ask that when HSUS comes into any state to "help" with raids, HSUS is REQUIRED to turn over all donations collected on behalf of the seized animals to the shelters caring for them? That way the money collected to care for the seized dogs and cats goes to the purpose intended by the donors and can’t be used to fill the coffers of HSUS or any other animal rights legislative force.


Shelters-animal control (they seem synonymous today) should minimally allow kennels 2 weeks to comply with minor infractions, 30 days to comply with more serious infractions, and 60 days to comply with major infractions such as housing repairs that require funds and decent weather to complete? Why not pass a local law or ordinance that prevents shelters from seizing animals not in immediate danger of their lives? Conversely, shelters-animal control should ask for and obtain proof that animals that appear ill or injured are under the care of a vet. If owners are complying with veterinary care, such animals can not and should not be removed from the home environment which further stresses them. It is basic logic: if the animal is under a vet’s care, the state, county, or city has no right to remove it.


Fines should be levied only if the above requirements are not met in the time frame allowed. Why not $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1000 and possible confiscation of animals under a third offense? If a third offense occurs, the owner has demonstrated no intention of correcting infractions and should have their license pulled permanently. We should be mindful that every citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty and to my knowledge, there is no provision under law that allows the equivalent of confiscating a person’s car for reckless driving or seizing their bank account prior to conviction of larceny, etc.


No jurisdiction should be allowed to charge intact dog fees on top of the kennel license fee. Those fees would be adequate to pay for annual inspections on small kennels and bi-annual on larger ones. The city or county doesn’t need to profit from raiding or over-taxing breeders, private or commercial.


If laws are instituted to require accountability from animal rights/welfare agencies and animal control divisions, shelter costs would go down, allowing voluntary low cost or free spay and neuter of pets for lower income people and TNR programs. The number of kennel raids would drop dramatically (saving the state thousands of dollars in un-recoupable cost of care) and it would put a hell of a dent in the HSUS coffers.


Owners and breeders should be able to turn to local agencies if they become overwhelmed due to health or financial emergencies. No citizen should have to live in fear of losing their children, pets, livelihood or freedom without being found guilty of a crime. The illegal fines, charges, and abuses against PEOPLE have become all too common, perpetuated by greed or overzealous animal agencies. It has to stop.


If A/C or HSUS is going to accuse people of neglect, starvation, etc., they should have to provide pictures showing those conditions along with a veterinary statement by a LOCAL vet who is not connected to either party involved in the charge. Animals must be identifiable by individual pictures taken on premises and/or surroundings that provide proof of care and conditions. Pictures from old raids on other kennels could not be used as they have been on occasion. The owner should be in each and every picture provided to a judge for warrant and with digital cameras, it's easy to require cameras to date and time stamp the pictures. It could also be required that the pictures be uploaded directly from the camera in front of the judge. There are lots of ways to insure the honesty of HSUS and AC. NO pictures with the owner in them can be used in newspaper or TV articles without the consent of the owner.


If they are going to make us fight against coercive legislation, it's time we require rules for animal control and animal rights groups. Honesty and accountability could literally be the key to putting them out of business. EST 1998 ©   10021110



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