Tuesday, December 8, 2009

HSUS fund-raising pitch raises hackles

~better than i could have ever worded it...

By Gina Spadafori
December 4, 2009

Shameless. And shameful. Those are perhaps the most polite words that have landed in the PetConnection e-mail queue since the HSUS sent out this fund-raising pitch:

This is Faye. She survived because of you.

I’ll never forget Faye’s story. I bet you won’t, either.

Our team met her in Missouri, when The Humane Society of the United States helped rescue hundreds of animals from the horrors of dogfighting. She’d been wounded badly in a fight, and a dogfighter had mercilessly cut off her lips. She was in tough shape, but we found her in the nick of time.

Watch our moving video to see Faye’s happy ending — then become a Humane Hero with your monthly donation to our 2010 Animal Survivors Fund.

Faye’s a lucky survivor: She now sleeps in a warm bed in a safe place. To help save thousands of animals just like her in the new year, we’re doing something we’ve never done before, and it’s BIG: We’re hoping to raise a million dollars online by December 31 for our 2010 Animal Survivors Fund.

It’s ambitious — but so are our plans for saving animals next year. We’ll not only continue to help bust dogfighting rings, but we’ll also take on the individuals and industries that profit from animal suffering — from people who club baby seals to death, to those who confine animals in factory farms, to those who abuse dogs in puppy mills.

Your gift of $20.10 a month for 2010 — just 66 cents a day — can help thousands of animals like Faye not just survive, but thrive in the new year. Click here to watch Faye’s video and make your tax-deductible monthly donation today. Thank you for everything you do for animals.

John Goodwin
Manager, Animal Fighting Campaign
The Humane Society of the United States

Problem? The HSUS hasn’t given one thin dime to help Fay (not Faye), according to her foster mom, who noted in the comments yesterday:

I am rather sad that HSUS has chosen to use Fay (not Faye)in their fund drive. Fay has never received a dime from HSUS. How do I know? Because I am the one that is fostering Fay. Fay is currently going through expensive surgeries to recreate medically need lips so her teeth do not fall out, her jaw bone stops deterioating, and she can live a normal life. HSUS never contacted us regarding Fay. In the video John states she is in a loving home…really…thanks for the compliment but Fay is LOOKING for her forever home.

BADRAP’s Donna Reynolds wasn’t quite so kind, noting acerbically that, “fight bust victims have become hot commodities. Who knew?”

The HSUS knew. One figures they had a little pow-wow — lawyers, fund-raisers and accountants — and then did the math, figuring any howls of protest would be more than offset by the sight of a dog with her lips cut off by a dogfighter, and the number of people who’d click on that link and give, give, give.

We’ve cut the HSUS a lot of slack here, justifiably so, and even noted what seems to be a change in the internal culture of the place and policies that seem to be shifting as a result. Some of this seems to be ideology — a move more to honest-to-goodness animal advocacy and away from the policies of the unapologetic animal-rights killersangels of death at PETA. The HSUS has made 180 degree turns in its policies on no-kill communities, on trap-neuter-release of feral cats, and on the rehoming of fight-bust dogs. They’ve even backed off their enthusiasm for forced spay-neuter — recognizing a difference between reputable, ethical breeders and puppy-milling scum – although we’ve yet to see the formal policy change said to be in the works last summer.

But no doubt the change is also driven by the realities of a changing attitude among animal lovers: That no-kill communities are the wave of the future, that exterminating community cats isn’t kinder than trap-neuter-release and colony management – and that fight-bust dogs “saved” by humane groups are not deserving of the needle just because they were once owned by twisted sociopaths like Michael Vick.

Oh yes, Michael Vick. The HSUS could simply have not handled that particular hot potato worse. As with Fay, they fund-raised on the backs of dogs they didn’t have and weren’t helping. In the Vick case, they advocated for the deaths of the seized dogs, in keeping with their long-held policy that fight-bust dogs were too mentally unstable, too potentially dangerous to ever be trustworthy members of human society.

And then, they watched, no doubt in wide-eyed amazement, as BADRAP and other groups took Vick’s dogs and proved everyone wrong. The HSUS surely yearned for the warm, basking glow other groups enjoyed when Sports Illustrated put out a cover story on the saved dogs. Oh, such missed opportunities!

Did they figure that if the dogs could be a generator of positive publicity — and donations — that Michael Vick could be, too? It’s hard to imagine any other motive for laundering the dirtbag, cleaning him up and making him acceptable to the NFL and at least one morally-challenged franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles. The HSUS trots him out at regular intervals, to mumble half-hearted “don’t get caughtdon’t be like me” talks to at-risk youngsters who learn more by meeting his victims than the sociopath himself.

No, the HSUS doesn’t get the Vick thing, even though everyone and her sister has tried to clue them in. And they apparently don’t get that it’s downright sleazy to fund-raise on the backs of fight-bust dogs the organization isn’t actually helping. Not even with the vague promise of possibly helping others in the future.

I suppose we should be pleased that the HSUS is no longer raising money on one side of the office while advocating the needle on the other.

But it’s not enough.

Having thrown themselves into this situation, the HSUS should use the money it already has to pick up every penny of the cost of Fay’s medical and mental rehabilitation. That’s right, every damn penny. And every penny of the cost of the other dogs seized with her.

Going forward, HSUS leadership — hello Mr. Pacelle — needs to shake up the fund-raising staff, and stop misleading people.

Until both of those things happen — and happen publicly, with a statement of wrong-doing and a pledge to animal-lovers going forward, I would encourage animal-lovers to give to the HSUS not one thin dime. Which is exactly the amount they have given to help Fay, their fund-raising poster dog.

Instead, from Gale, Fay’s foster mom:

If you really want to help Fay, please go to our website, http://www.muttsandstuff.com and click on the donate now button. If you want to help the other 35 dogs we took with their own health issues….please donate. We are a small group that can use the help.

I’ve long believed that any massive national group cannot be as effective as a small-community-based charity. This has not changed my view, and in fact has reinforced it. Think globally, give locally. Or rather: Think big, and give small — not small amounts, but to small groups that really do the job the big guys claim the credit for.

Update 3:47 p.m. PT: As noted in the comments, the HSUS has now said on Twitter that they will be picking up the tab for Fay (not Faye)’s surgery. The decision is the right one, and I’m glad they’ve stepped up. Now they just have to tell Mutts-n-Stuff to update their Web site, which as of a few minutes ago was still asking for help in paying for the dog’s care (home page at right, detail below).


Be very clear about this: Unlike the “H$U$” haters who routinely rag on the organization for not operating any shelters, I don’t have any problem with them raising money to be an advocacy group. None whatsoever. A powerful animal advocacy group is very much needed, as is an organization that can go in with trained teams to assist local groups when they’re faced with major fight bust, puppy-mill shut-down or a crisis like Hurricane Katrina.

But the HSUS has to be clear about its role and honest with its donors. In this case, they weren’t. I’m glad they’re jumping in now to help after they were called out, but their fund-raising pitches need to change going forward. If they aren’t going to help small rescue and shelters after the high-profile bust, they need to stop suggesting that they do.

Better yet: Give those little groups some money.

Share and Enjoy:
Filed under: Why is anyone still listening to PETA?, animal charities, animals: pets — Gina Spadafori @ 6:45 am
Comments (82)
The leopard doesn’t change its spots.

Comment by YesBiscuit — December 4, 2009 @ 8:46 am

preach it, sister!

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009 @ 8:53 am

Wow. Yeah, it’s amazing what a large advertising budget can do. I’ve read your stuff for years Gina at The Sunday Paper, good work.

Comment by Trey — December 4, 2009 @ 8:57 am

Thanks so much for this post. What a truly shameless and shameful campaign.

Comment by Sarah — December 4, 2009 @ 9:17 am

Slam dunk on this blog! Wooohoo! I also wanted to mention, that along with Mutts N Stuff (the keepers and carers of Fay), please consider donating to the other groups who ACTUALLY HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION and are caring for the dogs HSUS is trying to make money off of, including (but not limited to):

Our Pack, Inc ( http://www.ourpack.org )


New Hope Pit Bull Rescue ( http://www.nhpbr.org )

Comment by MaryH — December 4, 2009 @ 9:20 am

So, bloggers now have to reveal if they got a free mp3 player to review, but non profits can keep lying about their work to raise money? Hire telemarketers at an 80% commission?

Comment by Erich Riesenberg — December 4, 2009 @ 9:27 am

Good for you, Gina! Please keep educating the public.

Comment by Janet — December 4, 2009 @ 9:39 am

Thank you so much Gina for telling it like it is - shame on HSUS - what they are doing should be “criminal” - maybe it is - fund raising under false and downright misleading ads(not even half truths but lies) to turn an easy buck. I am simply appalled. Wish there was some way to sue them and make them help all the animals they falsely claim to be helping.

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 9:41 am

another way to help the small local groups is to donate to Pit Bull Rescue Central’s special fund: http://www.pbrc.net/scf.html

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009 @ 10:16 am

How unbelievable sleazy. I hope at least some people will see this and support Fay’s real foster mom instead of the pathetic liars that make HSUS.

Comment by Gini — December 4, 2009 @ 10:16 am

another link for info: http://www.hsmo.org/m_aboutus/.....gazine.pdf

This is the Humane Soc. of Mo (NO relation to HSUS) magazine report on the bust and rescue efforts. There’s a list of the organizations that participated on p. 13

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009 @ 10:31 am

I read the HSUS fundraising letter yesterday and felt such sorrow for that poor dog. I was fed up with HSUS fundraising tactics a while back.

This makes me sick. If they are going to beg money for specific animals, those animals, those funds should be spent on those specific animals. To do otherwise is fraud. Isn’t there some way to force them to do right by these animals?

Comment by Jan — December 4, 2009 @ 10:35 am

Finally the TRUTH! Thank you Gina!

Comment by jessiM — December 4, 2009 @ 10:36 am

In all fairness, it looks like HSMO gave this project their blessing by providing footage of the dog and an HSMO staffer for the fundraising video. It’s possible that their duo-intent was to raise money for HSMO, but of course things get -ahem - ‘shifted’ as they go through the various channels.

For the record, some of the lower level HSUS people worked hard not only to make sure dogs outside of the STL media blitz were not forgotten, but to secure a small* amount of financial assistance for the vetcare for some of the more hard luck cases we took in from this bust.

Upper (HSUS) management later vetoed our request for funds to cover expenses incurred with evaluating, organizing rescue efforts, travel and transport of the dogs to safe havens, citing the fact that they “didn’t want to set a precedent.” Maybe they’ve decided to change the precedent? If so, the rescue community needs to be notified in advance of a big precedent-changing fundraising campaign.

We are deeply indebted to the dog community that sees thru the hype and supports smaller orgs so we can make sure the dogs don’t get lost in the fuzz. Ten years ago, I never NEVER would’ve guessed that we’d be in a place where bust dogs were prompting turf wars and fancy fundraising blitzes.

Ha! It seriously tickles me.

Comment by Donna — December 4, 2009 @ 10:42 am

I guess the HSUS doesn’t have their own stories about helping dogs like Fay because they haven’t actually helped any dogs like Fay. Maybe that’s why they have to steal stories.

Comment by Gini — December 4, 2009 @ 10:58 am

I’d like to hear what Jennifer Fearing has to say about her employer regarding this?

Comment by Nathan Winograd — December 4, 2009 @ 11:22 am

I recall a time (about three years ago) when the lights of the television cameras were nowhere to be seen. People in the animal advocacy world had no idea who Michael Vick was and the largest no kill animal sanctuary in our country Best Friends Animal Society’s policy was to refuse refuge for Pit Bulls. This is a fact because I worked there. When I asked why this was the case, I was told by the former manager of “Dogs” that the reason was because it was to difficult to get pit bulls adopted and because they do not do well in the cold. Flash forward- Lights- Action- Camera = Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. I am thrilled that they stepped up to the plate to save the Vick dogs (whatever the reason) but saddened by the many who were turned away, left with no other option while the cameras WEREN’T rolling.

Sad but True

Comment by What About Best Friends? — December 4, 2009 @ 11:30 am

First and foremost, thank you Gina for educating people about this unethical attempt on the part of HSUS to collect money using the story and image of a dog I know and love named Fay. It upsets me that HSUS has the nerve to use her image to fundraise, but yet, if HSUS had its way, Fay and all dogs like her, would be euthanized. Go ahead people, educate yourselves and learn how HSUS feels about the APBT and other bully breeds.

Comment by Melissa — December 4, 2009 @ 11:34 am

[I]f HSUS had its way, Fay and all dogs like her, would be euthanized.

Comment by Melissa — December 4, 2009

Melissa, that’s not true. The issue is fund-raising. There is a huge disconnect between the program side at HSUS and the fund-raising side, and I’m calling them out on it.

What About Best Friends?, your charges would be much more credible if you attached your name to them. Just sayin’.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

Am I wrong in thinking that the HSUS doesn’t really help specific animals but just makes money off their plight? Millions and Millions?

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

Just sent this reply to their fundraising email.

Dear HSUS,

As I understand from this blog post at Pet Connection, http://www.petconnection.com/b.....s-hackles/ , you haven’t done a single thing to help the dog you’re using below to raise money.

That’s just… shameless.

I support your objectives, but I can’t support this kind of lie. Let me know when you issue an apology to the foster mom who IS saving Fay (not Faye) without a single dime of help from you. Better yet, the least you could do is pick up the bill. After all, you’re the ones making money off her plight.

Comment by LauraL — December 4, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

Why don’t they show their own videos of dogs they have in their possession they’re caring for like we do? Here’s Belind from the MO bust being greeted by my welcoming committee -

Or how about how the help these dogs regain their canine social skills?

Comment by Our Pack — December 4, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

To file a complaint with the IRS against a non-profit.


Comment by MichelleD — December 4, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

“If HSUS had its way, Fay and all dogs like her, would be euthanized. “

While not the issue at hand, until VERY recently this was their policy that was only changed due to public outcry. With out the public outcry I’m sure this would still be their policy.

Comment by MichelleD — December 4, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

“I’d like to hear what Jennifer Fearing has to say about her employer regarding this?”

Comment by Nathan Winograd — December 4, 2009 @ 11:22 am

Pass the popcorn. I can’t wait for her backpedaling, duck and cover spin on this, either!

Comment by Anne T — December 4, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

It would seem to me the people within the organization who need to be commenting would include Wayne Pacelle, John Goodwin or their national spokespeople. Jennifer Fearing is their top dog in California, and this is an issue coming out of their national office.

Jennifer Fearing and I talk regularly, as regular readers are aware. But I don’t expect her to comment on issues beyond California, which is her area of responsibility.

In other words, this heat doesn’t belong in her kitchen — it belongs in Wayne Pacelle’s.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

WHen will people stop listening or believing in HSUS or PETA for that matter - they all need to be criminally charged for the outrageous lies they tell and the NON help they give. People contribute so they can live in great homes and drive great cars and have great bank accounts while they feed off the backs of grassroots rescues who really care about the dogs. MOney is all they care about not the dogs. Five years ago they slammed us for workign with mill dogs - now look at them after the hard work of grassroots they go in take a few and claim they are the first to make a scene about it. They all need to be thwon out and the HSUS disbanded for it is nothing but a bunch of thieves staling funds that are needed to those that really do the work - and why not show dogs in their possession - I almsot laughed when I read that - do they have any? I know one of their old empoyees who was an exec there = the horror stories he tells makes one shiver in disgust

Comment by palena dorsey — December 4, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

While not the issue at hand, until VERY recently this was their policy that was only changed due to public outcry. With out the public outcry I’m sure this would still be their policy.

Comment by MichelleD — December 4, 2009

I’m hoping public outcry will likewise change some of their fund-raising tactics. But do know this: Some of the change at the HSUS isn’t just in response to external pressure: There are internal voices for change, as well.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

Actually they promise never to help Fay(e)-but the implication is they are helping her - but I imagine HSUS will take the moral(not) high ground - poor Fay(e) is their maimed Poster Child.

“To help save thousands of animals like Faye, we’re hoping to raise $1 million dollars online by December 31 for our 2010 Animal Survivors Fund.” From the HSUS website.

I’d like to know how this Animal Survivors Fund is used to help like animals - ex-fighting dogs recover from maiming? Where are they sending their millions to help these dogs?

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

I posted this question on the HSUS dedicated Wayane Pacells - A Human Nation typead site but it is being held for moderation and may never appear.

Are you financially supporting Fay(e)’s surgeries or recovery through her Foster Mom? Please tell me (us) how this “Animal Survivors Fund” is going to be distributed to help like animals - list the organizations that will benefit as I find no information on your web site. Thank you.

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

If this tweet(http://twitter.com/HumaneSociety/status/6350817375) is to be believed, they will be paying for the lip surgery.

Comment by Dodo — December 4, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

That was posted an hour ago. Good to know, though!

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

Why is Muttsandstuff saying they need…

“Fay needs your help. We are trying to raise money to correct the damage done to this girl. Fay is a sweet girl who is a victim of dog fighting.
Our goal is $5,000 and so far we are at the 1,500 mark.”

if the HSUS is paying for her surgery (and she has had one already) then why this request on their web site?

I donated today to Muttsandstuff and now I am a bit confused as to what is going on……? But I am glad money is being raised to help her and I don’t understand why HSUS is not more up front about the good help they are giving Fay if in fact they are doing so. Now that would be a great story, before and after photos not just a tweet line.

I am very moved by Fay’s story and need - the poor sweet girl.

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

I received this e-mail from HSUS - from the comment question I put up:

Hi Linda,
We’ve gotten so many emails about Fay, that I’m helping in responding to them as well.
The short answer on Fay specifically is yes, we will be paying for her surgery, and are in touch with her foster mom Gale. We are really grateful to Gale, who is dedicated pit bull rehabber and the founder of a Missouri rescue group. (She also sent word that Fay’s name is spelled without an “e” so we are fixing that!)

The idea of the survivors fund, is to sustain and to expand our efforts to transform animal victims from sufferers into survivors. This work unites us with our 11.5 million supporters, with legions of volunteers, with scores of animal welfare groups, and with kind-hearted Americans across the country. So far in 2009, The Humane Society of the United States has rescued, or assisted in the rescue, of more than 9,700 animals – and spared them the suffering of animal fighting, the neglect of hoarding situations, the endless miseries of puppy mills, and other rank cruelties.

As occurred in Missouri in the raids that gave Fay a second chance, we respond at the request of local humane organizations or law enforcement agencies across the nation – bringing skill, animal handling know-how, specialized equipment, veterinarians, investigative and evidence experts and other staff. We are hugely proud of the emergency response work we undertake, and it is important to note that we do not charge for these services. These are paid for by the support of our members who expect us to work tirelessly to end cruelty. Some of the rescues we lead simply could not happen without us because they would outstrip the capacity of local agencies.

In those intervals when we are not engaged in hands-on rescue, we are assisting local agencies in building their emergency animal-rescue skills and capacity. Our work does not stop there. We maintain national tip lines so that Americans can report suspected animal fighting and puppy mill crimes. We offer rewards in the worst abuse cases to bring the guilty to justice. We assist in the training of law enforcement officers and civic leaders.

We are excited to tell our supporters and the public about this vital work — and the happy endings that can come from it. Stories like Fay’s both educate and energize our supporters and those of our partners, in Fay’s case The Humane Society of Missouri. The same will be true of other survivor stories that we will be telling in the days ahead.

Survivors like Fay symbolize the very reason for our nonstop efforts to strengthen laws against animal fighting and cruelty. In fact, Faye’s rescue would not have happened if it weren’t for the laws we had worked so hard to get passed over the years making dogfighting a serious federal crime.

Fay is a particularly remarkable dog among the thousands we help rescue every year. Because of her special needs, and the fact that she has touched so many lives – from those special souls who have cared for her along the way, to those who have never met her but have been so touched by her story — The HSUS will pay $5,000 to cover Faye’s veterinary expenses. And a special thanks to Gale, who has cared for Fay and will continue to do so. The Mutts and Stuff rescue website is http://www.muttsandstuff.com/detail.php?aid=620 incase you are interested in checking it out as well.


Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

I think this is called locking the barn door after the horse got out. When Gale emails PetConnection that she has the check from HSUS in hand, then I will believe this PR nonsense. Pass the popcorn, please.

Comment by Anne T — December 4, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

I wish for Fay’s sake the present position of HSUS has some substance and is more than hot air damage control. This organization (HSUS) truly is accountable and their fund raising reputation is at stake.

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 4, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

Sarah can bail pretty darn fast. It would be nice if that response sounded more like a real human had written it rather than one of their PR flacks.
Gag me with a Milkbone.

Comment by Susan Fox — December 4, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

HSUS needs to do more than just be honest with their donors. The need to change some of their policies and the actions that result from their policies. While there’s some tiny indication that they may have changed their views on MSN, they need to make that clear and public. They must not only stop supporting new MSN legislation they must actively oppose it. Further they must help to overturn the MSN legislation they have already helped pass. They are partly responsible for the mess MSN laws have created. They need to help clean up. Until then, I will not believe anything they say or support them in any way.

Comment by Grahund — December 4, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

oh I’m sure HSUS will come up with the $5k and it’s certainly better than nothing. If anyone believes they would have done this without the public uproar… well as they say, I have a bridge…

And that still leaves the care for hundreds of other dogs from this bust solely on the shoulders, and purses, of small local groups.

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

And also: considering MnS is a small organization and hasn’t seen one dime from HSUS, it’s perfectly proper for them still to have requests for help up on their website, so I’m baffled that some people are jumping on their case for not changing it yet. Whereas some are cutting HSUS a degree of slack they have no-way earned. I don’t see any changes in Pacelle’s blog on this subject, and he’s certainly got staff members who could do it in an instance. And when I hear about a new email from HSUS correcting their previous one which deliberately, and falsely, gives the impression that it was involved in the care for these dogs, then I’ll believe this is some kind of change. Which of course it isn’t, it’s just a cheap way to cover their butts and calm the bloggers (who aren’t their supporters, anyway). They’re not raising money to help for the care of dogs, but for more publicity grabbing stunts which “rescue” some animals only to dump them on local groups to care for. They aren’t going to change their fundraising pitches. They don’t even understand why this email was so egregiously bad.

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

You miss my point, Emily, which is that the HSUS Twitter announcement came AFTER all the criticism of their fund-raising pitch. The HSUS didn’t acknowledge a problem with that pitch, and they sure aren’t saying that they screwed up — although their actions suggest they now think so, too.

THAT’S why I pointed to the MnS Web site, to point out that the HSUS decision to help with Fay (not Faye) is apparently news to the people who actually HAVE BEEN helping her.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

NESR is facing some rather daunting vet bills for Operation New Beginnings dogs who are in foster — some of whom haven’t been adopted in part because of their need for expensive orthopedic surgery, some of it directly related to their abuse.

“Rescue” is not rolling in with trucks and catch-poles and teevee cameras and removing animals. That’s a seizure. It’s a law enforcement action, and the animals are evidence.

Rescue is the months and years of hard work every single day, after the cameras leave, to rehabilitate every animal and give him a normal life. Rescue is the entire process of making the animal whole and giving him a normal life.

HSUS was right there on seizure day.

They did provide one transport of ten dogs to Missouri.


HSUS, how about showing some love for Copper and Charlie and Tracker and …

Or is the fundraising largesse only for fight bust dogs who are currently leading the headlines?

Comment by H. Houlahan — December 4, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

I do not know who Donna is but she is wrong. That is NOT footage by HSMo, it was not blessed by HSMo and please get your facts correct before stating falsehoods. The footage by HSUS, not HSMo. As you remember, HSUS was showing pictures of the dogs BEFORE the dogs were released.

Excuse me, but I have not received one dime from HSUS. So yes, I am still fundraising for Fay until I actually see money. Besides, her two surgeries cost 5,000. We have more surgery to go. I guess you all know something that I do not.

Besides, who is going to foot the bill for the babesia dogs? Heartworm treatment? Hip repair that Our Pack will have to foot the bill? I believe that Our Pack, New Hope Pit Bull Rescue and many other wonderful groups would love to have assistance too while helping the bust dogs.

Please keep in mind I just talked to HSUS at work today and I am not changing my website while at work because of a promise of money. Sigh. Please at least let me have money in hand before I make that type of change. All of the donations go to the dogs. We do not have paid staff like HSUS, HSMO or Bad Rap or other organizations. We are all volunteers and try to do the best we can for the dogs. It is about the dogs and our mission is to give each dog from the bust we take the best care possible. Is this a crime?.

Comment by Gale — December 4, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

“All of the donations go to the dogs.”

HEAR, HEAR, Gale! Bravo.

Comment by Glenye Oakford — December 4, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

ok Gina, I did miss your point, because it sounded like you were criticizing MnS for not moving fast enough as opposed to criticizing HSUS for not informing MnS first.

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

ok Gina, I did miss your point, because it sounded like you were criticizing MnS for not moving fast enough as opposed to criticizing HSUS for not informing MnS first.

Comment by EmilyS — December 4, 2009

I was pointing out that the HSUS was engaged in some rather hasty ass-covering, and I was grabbing the screen shots before they stopped tripping over their pants.

Gale … please keep us posted. :)

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

I would say, cynic that I am—wait for the check to clear. Talk is cheap.

Snoopys Friend, Muttsandstuff is asking for donations for dogs they are actually taking care of, and have actually already spent a lot of money on. HSUS has been doing a lot of fundraising on the backs of these dogs, and in particular Fay (and didn’t even get her name right), and is only now promising to cough up $5000.00. I don’t know why you would expect Muttsandstuff to stop asking for donations for Fay and the rest of the dogs at all—much less do so before they even have the HSUS money in hand.

Comment by Lis — December 4, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

I’m with you Lis. Good Luck Gale and Fay. I’m with a group with our own recent local collection of fight-bust dogs and their potential medical bills are staggering. We have asked for help from the big names…and got nothing. Our local HS has been AMAZING and overwhelming in their care and work with these dogs for hte last several months…but they got no special funding either. Think Global give local…and make sure you choose rescues and non-profits you can trust to use the money for what you meant it for. We don’t pay our people either, it’s a labor of love with few tangible rewards. But seeing a dog you have sweated cried and laughed over going out and being successful in a forever home keeps us slogging through.

Comment by Juli — December 4, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

Does anyone here believe HSUS would be putting up a single damn penny for this dog if they hadn’t been caught in a lie?

Thanks, Gina!

Comment by LauraL — December 4, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

KCDogBlog, too. Actually, B wrote about it yesterday, but I didn’t notice until I’d posted this morning.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 4, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

Thank you everyone for your support and understanding of the situation. We are a small group and we try very hard to make a difference for pit bulls and right now my focus in on the bust dogs.

I have spent every weekend at the secret location since July. I feel lucky to have met wonderful volunteers from organizations across our nation who came to help our Missouri/Illinois dogs. I feel lucky to have met such wonderful dogs and been deeply touched by the resilience of this wonderful breed after suffering such horrors by mankind.

I met several very special dogs that took away my breath, cried seeing the horrors they went through, and then there was Fay. I see she has also captured the heart of people across the US who met her through the internet. My intentions are pure and my goal is to give Fay the vet care she needs and eventually find her her forever home.

Comment by Gale — December 4, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

I’m normally pretty good at math, but I have to admit that, I’m pretty much stumped by this one: $20.10 (66 cents a day, as they say) will help “thousands of animals like Faye not just survive, but thrive in the new year”. Now, I know that kind of financial magic just isn’t possible, so they must mean that the $1M goal will help “thousands of animals like Faye…” Fay needs $5000 in surgery alone, not counting other expenses like food, toys, training, etc. When I divide $1M by $5000, I get 200, not “thousands”. Maybe these “thousands” aren’t as badly injured as her, and are therefore less costly to save and not glamorous enough for a snazzy fundraiser, but I’m still left wondering where and who they are. I’m also left thinking that HSUS owes MnS a good bit more than five grand.

Comment by Valerie — December 4, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

Ok, so H$U$ pays $5,000 for Fay. Are they going to return all donations after five grand? That’s not gonna happen. So where is the rest of the money going that Fay raised for them?

Comment by Paula — December 4, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

Gina, your point was well taken in consideration and I did update our site. My apologies for not staying on top of things but wow…its been one heck of a rollercoaster ride.

Gina, I agree, that HSUS was very helpful in assisting HSMO with the bust of over 400 dogs. What an undertaking and to see to organization joining for one common cause was awesome. HSUS also assisted in the first four weeks helping HSMO to take care of the dogs, setting up the temporary shelter, and afterward, their volunteers came on their own time and helped care for the dogs.

Sad regarding the Fay issue. I will never know the true reason behind the fundraiser but I do know how I felt. I was sad, angry, and just beside myself. I give credit to HSUS for contacting me today to work out an agreement.

Lets leave this on a positive and hope one day we can all work together to save the animals. They need us to change our species so they are no longer abused.

Comment by Gale — December 4, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

Had a nice Twitter convo w/ @SarahHSUS - they’re not ready to admit they should’ve been in touch before now (Fay was rescued in July), but say they apologized to Gale today and will be in touch to cover costs for her surgeries. So, good.

Comment by LauraL — December 4, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

HSUS did apologize to me by three different people. I look upon that as a positive step for change and encouragement that HSUS is stepping the the right direction. We will always have differences with large organizations and the bloggers will be their watch dogs.

Thanks everyone for watching out for Fay.

Comment by gale — December 5, 2009 @ 6:54 am

If they had not been caught out on their lies, Fay would not be getting help. This is still a sleazy organization based on lies and double-talk. They may ‘say’ they don’t advocate mandatory spay/neuter, but that is still required for their agenda to remove our pets from our ownership and use. I don’t believe anything they say. Wonder how much money they ALREADY made on their plea. I would bet it is much more than what poor Fay needs. They cannot be trusted. Maybe if we challenged them more often, the animals might get real help.

Comment by Mary — December 5, 2009 @ 7:37 am

They may ‘say’ they don’t advocate mandatory spay/neuter, but that is still required for their agenda to remove our pets from our ownership and use.

Comment by Mary — December 5, 2009

And your proof of this is?

The HSUS is NOT a supporter of current proposed legislation on forced spay-neuter in California. No matter what you’ve been told, it’s a matter of fact. The previous bill, they were a co-sponsor and a financial supporter of the primary group advocating for it. That’s a change of agenda.

They have changed position on countless policies in recent years, some of which are detailed in the above post. In fact, this disingenuous fund-raising piece on Fay (not Faye) is proof of one such change: They used to recommend fight-bust dogs all be killed. Period.

I don’t think the HSUS is “evil” and I don’t think they’re PETA. I know a lot of good people who work for them. But I do think they do a lot of things wrong, and their fund-raising is surely one of those things. That’s why they got called out.

I’m glad they’re now going to help with Fay’s expenses, but it’s not enough: They need to put their experts to work developing model programs to rehab and rehome fight bust and puppy-mill bust dogs. And then, they need to pony up the bucks to help local shelters implement these model programs.

They’ve been a long-time leader in establishing model programs for the shelter industry — programs that were revolutionary at a time when “pounds” routinely drowned, gassed or shot pets in their care.

These once-lauded improvements in the humane handling of pound animals are now institutionalized reality in the shelter industry, and as such are in the way of the building of no-kill communities. The HSUS is reluctantly realizing this, and changing course slowly.

I see the potential for more change, but the HSUS is a big organization, and big organizations change very slowly. They’re especially loathe to change things that work when it comes to generating income, which is why gaffes like this fund-raiser are still status quo.

But things have been changing, and will continue to change there. Of this, I have no doubt.

I also have no doubt that had a ruckus not been raised, Fay would never have seen one thin dime of the money.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 5, 2009 @ 8:30 am


HSUS is not going to change their fundraising pitch. They don’t have a clue why it’s wrong. They’re going to continue to defraud the public into believing that donations will go to the care of actual dogs.

I shudder at your comment, Gina: “They need to put their experts to work developing model programs to rehab and rehome fight bust and puppy-mill bust dogs.” GOD NO. Please keep them a zillion miles away from fightbust dogs. They have NO record of accomplishment with such dogs, and their recent history is to want to kill them (and they’ve never actually disavowed their past.. just disappeared it when they signed on to the new policy. Funny, we’re demanding more of Vick in the way of apology than we are from HSUS).

We already have several models, including BadRap, OurPack, Best Friends and of course the older rescuers like Villalobos and Spindletop who have been saving pit bulls for 15-20 years. At bottom, these dogs are no different from any other abused/badly socialized dogs. What they need is not HSUS but help for people willing to understand and treat them as the dogs they are.

I do however agree with this: “they need to pony up the bucks to help local shelters”.

HSUS OWES IT to the hundreds of innocent victims whose deaths they have advocated for to prove that they have changed. Prove the change first, with money they have already fraudulently raised.

Right now it looks like they’re going to get away with their current fraud for a measly $5k donation for the care for just one of hundreds of the Missouri bust dogs.

Comment by EmilyS — December 5, 2009 @ 8:49 am

Gina, your blog was seen by HSUS and they responded. The reason they contacted me regarding Fay and want to assist is because of you. Thank you from Fay Big wet toothy kisses coming your way

Comment by gale — December 5, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

They think Mandatory Spay/Neuter is not mandatory if they allow exemptions. Really, what chance does a person who just says I don’t WANT to put my dog under anesthesia and surgery have of getting that exemption? If you have to come up with an excuse for not having to do it, it is still MANDATORY!

Comment by Mary — December 5, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

Mary, that press release is dated July 30, 2008. More than a year old. HSUS did support the Chicago ordinance. They are not supporting the current MSN proposed legislation in California.

Their position has changed, not enough, but it has changed.

Comment by Lis — December 5, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

Well, two cheers for Gina Spadafori…she still thinks that HSUS ix capable of doing good deeds! She thinks there is a need for “animal advocacy” groups such as HSUS. She may think that it’s okay for HSUS top use professional fundraising groups that turn over as little as 10% to 20% of the monies raised to the group in whose name it was raised.

HSUS has now bee goaded into raising money to “send $5,000” to the group paying for Fay. If $10,000 is raised, or $100,000 or a %1,000,000 or more, will it all go to Mutts and Stuff, or only the $5,000 estimated to be needed for plastic surgery for Fay?

Comment by Sheila in NJ — December 5, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

We are against forced spay-neuter here, unequivocally so. (Search the blog if you don’t believe us.)

But that’s not the point. The point is that the HSUS has backed off its support of these measures. Lis is right: “Not supporting” is not the same as “opposed.” But it’s a start.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 5, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

She may think that it’s okay for HSUS top use professional fundraising groups that turn over as little as 10% to 20% of the monies raised to the group in whose name it was raised.

Comment by Sheila in NJ — December 5, 2009

She doesn’t. But thanks for asking.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 5, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

The HSUS has made a bad habit of taking credit for the hard work of smaller rescue groups. When I was in Oakland, I recall reading a San Francisco Chronicle article wherein Wayne Pacelle promoted his pro-Vick stance. He used a photo of Teddles, a Vick dog rescued and fostered by Bad Rap, with absolutely no mention of Bad Rap anywhere. I just figure out whose doing the real rescue work, and give my $$ to them. HSUS never gets a cent from me.

Comment by Kirsten — December 5, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

I find it interesting that Our Pack, Best Friends and other groups have Vick dogs…and only Bad Rap is mentioned. Please, other groups have done wonders with the Vick dogs. Leo and Ray are CGC….Leo is also a therapy dog. Please include these groups in future posts….it is not all about Bad Rap

Comment by gale — December 5, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

Why does it ALWAYS take a public outcry to make HSUS do the “right” thing? I do not believe for one minute that they are truly changing any of their philosophical viewpoints or how they want to do business. If they were sincere, then they would not continue to do this kind of crap over and over and over again, then saying, “Oh gee gosh, we REALLY MEANT to do the right thing, really, honest….” Yeah, right? They will never convince me that they don’t have as their ultimate goal the elimination of pets. They don’t show any remorse for anything unless someone calls them on the carpet. Sorry, they are no better than a two bit crook who is only sorry he got caught, not sorry for what he did.

Comment by dogsofcourse — December 5, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

Gale, we mention Our Pack and BF here all the time, as well as Bad Rap. Check out our pit bull category.

Comment by Christie Keith — December 6, 2009 @ 12:16 am

Ouch .. Ohh.. Ouch.. the words heard from Wayne Pacellis lips ( at least he has some) as he is FORCED to give up $5,000 of his coffers of gold to remedy his “Oh shi* caught again.. thought you little old ladies might not notice.”shameless campaign for dollars for deception campaign…
JP Goodwin as an “expert” on dog fighting bust dogs??? surely you cannot support this..he has called for the KILLING of thousands of dogs in his tenure at the HSUS and he has been listened to.. hence the KILLING of PUPPIES as young as six weeks old.. because the “expert” thought they might grow up to be “killers”.. that’s JP Goodwin folks… “expert on dog fighting for the HSUS
Friends Don’t Let Friends Donate a SINGLE DIME to the HSUS

Comment by bestuvall — December 6, 2009 @ 12:35 am

“For the record, some of the lower level HSUS people worked hard not only to make sure dogs outside of the STL media blitz were not forgotten, but to secure a small* amount of financial assistance for the vetcare for some of the more hard luck cases we took in from this bust.

Upper (HSUS) management later vetoed our request for funds to cover expenses incurred with evaluating, organizing rescue efforts, travel and transport of the dogs to safe havens, citing the fact that they “didn’t want to set a precedent.” precedent-changing fund raising campaign.”

I would rather STARVE than work for an organization like this…

Comment by bestuvall — December 6, 2009 @ 12:40 am

if you cannot stand your employers HEAT.. get out of their kitchen and thir paycheck….. if I sold Fords and they had a brake failure or some other wildly mismanaged agenda. should I say.. well I am only concerned with the Fords sold in California.. come on Gina.. let Fearing speak…if she has anything to say….

Comment by bestuvall — December 6, 2009 @ 12:53 am

I’m not stopping anyone from speaking, aside from the trolls.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 6, 2009 @ 7:36 am

undoubtedly one of the most shudder-inducing aspect of the HSUS pitch is the touting of Goodwin as a fight dog expert. Indeed, as bestuvall notes, Goodwin’s expertise is confined to demanding that they be killed. Has he ever trained, owned, rehabilitated a single pit bull?

We demanded apologies from Vick; we demanded that he understand the nature of his crime. When he refuses, we picket his place of business and call for boycotts.

Goodwin killed more dogs than Vick ever did (though not with his own hands… does that make him clean?) .. he owes them at least as much as Vick does.

HSUS is changing? How can it, when the SAME PEOPLE are running their programs.

Comment by EmilyS — December 6, 2009 @ 8:54 am

This is yet one more example of the HSUS using misleading advertising tactics. They could care less about the $5000 they’ll have to give up; they probably generated a thousand times that. They never do the right thing unless they are FORCED TO. Why should ANYONE support a group that has to be forced to do the right thing? Aren’t there enough other groups out there that do the right thing without having to be told what that is??

Comment by LisaS — December 6, 2009 @ 11:38 am

Nathan Winograd weighs in this matter on his blog: A must-read post.

Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 6, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

I was unaware of the depth of the fund-raising deceit practiced by the HSUS. I am appalled.

Until I see clear evidence of changed fund-raising policies - specifically, transparency into: who the money actually benefits, what activities the HSUS actually performed, and clear delineation between HSUS and local shelter and rescue organizations - the HSUS will not be getting any further funding from me.

Comment by A.C. — December 6, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

If the leopard of HSUS really wanted to change it’s spots and work to better the lives of the animals it alleges to rescue, it would make both Wayne Pacelle and J.P. Goodwin redundant as the Brits say. While the bloggers here may believe that the HSUS organization is undergoing a change from within, I see it only as camouflage. Whatever is expedient works if it defrays the outrage of the monkeys in the trees. I lie quietly in the leaf litter, blending in with my spots, and then they’ll forget I’m here along with my agenda.

Comment by Anne T — December 6, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

The HSUS should be paying for the “entire” cost to rehab Fay - if the HSUS is going to use Fay (and the other three dogs) in their fund raising campaign, then the HSUS is morally responsible to foot the entire rehab of this (these) dogs.

The practice by the HSUS of raising money with sad stories and sending out e-mails patting themselves on the back is not good enough - while they profit from Fay’s plight and do little to truly help that (those) poor dog(s).

If $5,000 help by HSUS to Gail will not cover Fay’s medical expenses - then the HSUS needs to offer more money - whatever it takes to make Fay better.

Comment by Snoopys Friend — December 7, 2009 @ 10:33 am

RE: #78 Comment by Anne T - “I lie quietly in the leaf litter, blending in with my spots, and then they’ll forget I’m here along with my agenda”

That says it all from my perspective…and thanks for the excellent reporting Gina.

Comment by mary frances — December 7, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

HSUS is evil, they lie and they are greedy. Can’t cut them any slack they claim they are representing the animal community. They do not speak for me !!! They do however cause me to use up much of my limited time trying to contradict their lies, greedy actions and their lobbying and legislatiion done in my name. They have over the years taken so much money from other animal concerns it is a sin. Them tryimg to steal from
Gale, Fay and Muttss-n-Suff is just business as usual for them they just got caught at it for once and called on the carpet. How dishonest of them. They do the same things with others work product as well.
They are a very un-forward thinking org but are very happy to co-op others efforts. Phissssssssssss !!!!

Comment by Mean HeadKitty — December 7, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

In 2008, HSUS ran a multi-state telemarketing campaign that grossed $1,950,521. Their for-profit fundraising consultant, which made the calls, kept 94.7% of those contributions (Source: Pennies for Charity 2009, NYS Attorney General). What utter contempt the HSUS has for its donors.
The evil Faye scam is even worse than it appears, since the ($1 million by the end of 2009) fundraising goal is just the beginning. JP Goodwin’s pitch seeks MONTHLY donations of $20.10. The letter went out to their entire e-mail list of well over a million people so the scheme will pour money into HSUS (and siphon off a fortune from the legitimate animal welfare community) indefinitely.

Comment by sara — December 8, 2009 @ 5:25 pm