Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dragnet! HSUS Launches Sweeping Media Campaign Pet lover, or dogfighter? Only your neighbors know for sure. No prisoners in this media war Armed with a new bullshit litmus test, courtesy of "animal protection" racketeers, television viewers across the United States will be mobilized in the heightening media war against pit bull owners. Its not your imagination. They ARE coming to take your dogs. Not your mama's ASPCA First the ASPCA's massive email marketing piece goes out. It links to a breathless "news alert" -- known in the biz as a teaser -- on the ASPCA website. As readers of The Pit Bull Owner's Survival Guide understand, the ASPCA functions in cooperation and coordination with HSUS, PETA, and Best Friends in an integrated war against pit bulls and their owners. By opposing animal ownership, and aligning itself with PETA, HSUS and others groups seeking to change laws covering the property rights of animal owners, the ASPCA betrays the very dogs it claims it protects. The last--best--defense pit bull owners have is the simple fact that their dogs belong to them and cannot easily be taken away. Its that basic. And the ASPCA opposes it. Must-See TV: Thrills, chills and Michael Vick The ASPCA's promo hypes media partner Animal Planet's re-packaging of last year's Michael Vick media extravaganza. Promising to "expose the hidden world of dogfighting" and issuing warnings about "underground dog fighting videos" that require viewer discretion, the ASPCA ensures that TV viewers will stay nailed to their seats. Then the ASPCA links to . . . The Discovery Channel's Animal Planet page, where website visitors can find out "How Stuff Works." Lies, myths and threats served up by the ASPCA Turns out the "stuff" is on dogfighting. Sort of. Among the "facts" presented. . .

**Dogfighting is on the rise, specifically in North Carolina and Virginia.

**Convicted terrorist John Goodwin, now employed by HSUS, maintains a database of 20,000 suspected dogfighters. **The words "champion" and "grand champion" are illicit dogfighting codes.

    **Staffordshire Bull Terriers are commonly used as fighting dogs. **Neighbors should be on the alert for dogfighting activities in their communities and watch for. . .
    **Signs of dogfighting, including: more than one "pit bull", use of tethers, treadmills [sorry 'bout that, Cesar], veterinary supplies and vitamins, "cages" and frequent visitors accompanied by dogs.

    HSUS vigilantes cast the drag net really, really wide

    How many innocent households include more than one dog, left over veterinary medications, exercise equipment, etc.? How many will wind up in John Goodwin's database? How many will be targeted for raids, impoundments, and harassment? Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

    Taking its campaign direct to the consumer, Animal Planet visited key "pit bull" internet forums to hype the show, and even offered free, digital banners.

    That way unwitting pit bull owners can participate in the destruction of the dogs they love by advertising Animal Witness everywhere they go on the 'net.

    How sick is that?

    And how media savvy on the part of Animal Planet and its partners. Neighborly bounty hunters: 5000 good reasons to drop a dime HSUS offers $5,000 for information leading to dogfighting convictions. Malicious "tips" targeting innocent victims will still land dog owners in John Goodwin's database. Count on it.

    All roads lead to HSUS.

    The source material for all of the above? APSCA's partner, the Humane Society of the United States. Best Friends and PETA are in perfect alignment.

    That, dear reader, is a well executed media plan: Dominance. Control. Saturation.

    Presumption of innocence? Equal protection? Due process? Fuhgeddaboutit.

    HSUS has championed the steady erosion of civil rights for pit bull owners in a world where simply transporting dogs in crates (like to a dogshow? hello?) may be used as evidence of dogfighting.

    The American Civil Liberties Union balked at California proposal SB 1775 because the civil forfeiture of private property would elevate punishment for dogfighting to a level not accorded crimes against humans, including murder.

    SB 1775 was backed by--you guessed it--the Humane Society of the United States. Looking down the barrel of the gun Pit bull owners, get ready. Cause its coming.. The ASPCA's "Animal Witness" kick off is the tip of the iceberg. We're about to be blitzed by a multi-million dollar media campaign. Using the "dogfighting crisis" as cover, HSUS and its allies are poised to launch a new assault on dog ownership. The cannon fodder will be pit bulls and their owners.

    Dogfighting is a pretext

    HSUS and its cohorts are working steadily to make denial of basic civil rights acceptable when the accusation is "dogfighting" and other animal-related crimes.

    The presumption of innocence counts for nothing to vigilantes.

    Simply owning more than one dog is enough to makes you suspicious and vulnerable when dogfighting hysteria hits. The millions of dollars lavished on this media campaign makes it inevitable. Get yourself a Survival Guide, and prepare. If you don't have a copy yet, you can Buy Now


    Caveat said...

    Then people ask "Why do they have to keep running those super special HSUS underground dog-fighting films all the time?"

    Gee, let me think about that..gosh, I'm stumped.

    Sigh...we really have to win this.

    Caveat said...

    Sorry for the double comment, but -

    Did I just read (with all those credits to the HSUS) that fighters get their dogs from shelters?

    That AmStaffs are suddendly used as fighting dogs? And Staffords?

    What happened to the game dogs, so carefully bred and raised?

    Shelters? AmStaffs? Bulldogs?

    And why are they showing an old picture of Ovcharkas fighting in Afghanistan?

    Man, this is some scary propaganda that's going on.

    BlueDogState said...

    "Man, this is some scary propaganda that's going on."

    Yup. And think about the kind of money that's behind it. Any idea what it costs to put together this kind of misinformation, package it up all pretty, and put it out there for people to swallow?

    EmilyS said...

    Well, the ANIMAL WITNESS show on Animal Planet last night barely mentioned ASPCA, which actually played a huge positive role in saving the Vick dogs. While it gave grotesque amounts of time to HSUS and PETA which called for the dogs to be killed.

    It also featured lots of dogfighting footage and discussion of the Cajun rules. I always wonder about the fascination of the AR types with looking at dogfighting ...

    Brent said...

    I agree with you on PETA/HSUS. I really wish they had taken the opportunity to at least mention that both organizations said that all the dogs should be killed.

    With all due respect to the ASPCA, without them, Bad Rap would never have been able to save those dogs. I'm not buying that the ASPCA is in cahoots with HSUS/PETA. They aren't perfect by any means, but they're not out to end pet ownership. Overall, I've found the ASPCA to be of way more help than harm in these matters (aside from their hiring of Randall Lockwood, which I don't understand).

    I thought the footage was gratuitous. And I have no idea why they would go so deep into talking about the Cajun rules and describing exactly how to stage a dog fight. That's really bizarre...

    BlueDogState said...

    Brent wrote:

    . . .[The ASPCA isn't] perfect by any means, but they're not out to end pet ownership. Overall, I've found the ASPCA to be of way more help than harm in these matters (aside from their hiring of Randall Lockwood, which I don't understand).

    I thought the footage was gratuitous.

    Brent, the ASPCA opposes use of the term "owner" and made a global change to the term "guardian."

    You cannot support guardianship as a concept and support pet ownership at the same time. The ASPCA is good at downplaying the importance and legal impact of their policies -- but don't be fooled by all the cute pit bull photos.

    Any organization that would employ Randall Lockwood (as you point out), is no friend to our dogs.

    The dog snuff film footage, etc., was completely totally gratuitous --you're right. But horror is an excellent marketing tool, if handled wisely. People will be that much more motivated to drop a dime on their neighbors, won't they?

    Connect the dots, my friend.

    Brent said...

    Our local legal person from the ASPCA has been nothing short of being an exceptional partner with us.

    I don't recall that they made the change from owner to guardian...It was my understanding that they used the same approach as they used in the Denver lawsuit claiming pets to be "more than property" -- meaning that while owned, they have a stronger bond to us than, say, our furniture.

    Either way, I've found the ASPCA to be far more helpful in fighting against MSN and BSL in our areas than any other organization. Again, I don't think they're perfect, but they are a far cry from the HSUS/PETA folks.

    At the end of the day, we will do ourselves no favors if we run the names of every respectable organization out there into the ground and leave no credible spokesmen on behalf of the dogs. We won't have much success if it's just you, me and Caveat fighting this.

    As an animal welfare group, we've done a really great job of tearing the hell out of each other while the AR folks have been building momentum. At some point, we're going to have to cast aside some of the minor differences for the greater good.

    That doesn't mean teaming up with HSUS, but I've got a lot bigger fish to fry before my differences with the ASPCA, and even Best Friends for that matter, becomes worth fighting over...

    BlueDogState said...

    There's a link embedded in the blog that will take you to the ASPCA's rejection of pet ownership. Take a look at the ASPCA website. There is no mention of pet owners. Pet parents, pet guardians, pet friends. . .no owners.

    I am guessing at who your "local ASPCA legal person" is. You think the ASPCA opposes MSN? Here's Ledy VanKavage coaching someone on how to make it happen in Austin, TX. Note that she even has the balls to cite the San Francisco breed specific MSN law (SB 861)--the one that ended California's prohibition of BSL:

    December 23, 2005 : 11:30 PM
    Question from Amy:
    I have been working with the Austin, Texas Animal Advisory Commission
    on drafting a mandatory spay/ neuter ordinance. We have met with
    great resistance from the breeding community. Because of this
    resistance, Austin City Council is unwilling to sponsor the
    ordinance. How do you either enlist the support of breeders or
    overcome their opposition?

    Response from Ledy VanKavage, Esq.:
    It is simply a public safety issue and you need to get the city
    council to realize that. Most City Councils want to protect the
    public, especially since dangerous dogs are often in the news. So
    focus on the public safety aspects of what you want to achieve.
    Memorize these stats and make fact sheets to distribute to all the
    city councilmen- 70% of bite cases come from unaltered male dogs, 94%
    of all fatal bites involve unsterilized animals. Encouraging spaying
    & neutering is much more effective than banning breeds of dogs, which
    simply doesn't work. According to the book Dogs Bite, the bite cases
    in the United Kingdom have not gone down since they "banned" pit
    bulls in 1991.

    You could try a huge differential licensing for people who want to
    keep intact animals and have that money deposited into a targeted
    fund to provide spays & neuters for feral cats and the pets of
    disadvantaged folks. King County, Washington has had great results
    with their differential licensing program and their animal
    registrations have increased. St. Louis, Missouri also has an
    extremely high differential and their licenses have increased. You
    want to make sure a good percentage of the differential can only be
    used for spay/neuter/ vaccinate programs.

    Another alternative is to go with an approach like San Francisco is
    now using for some breeds. All must be spayed or neutered unless you
    can prove you are a 'valid' breeder, and have attended a dog show in
    a year, etc. . . .

    I don't see "teaming up" with someone capable of offering up SB 861 as an option to gullible dog owners.

    Brent said...

    Out of curiosity, when was that email from Ledy sent? I know that she waffled on MSN for awhile, but when I last spoke to her (which has been awhile at this point) she did not favor it...

    Caveat said...

    That's some good digging, BDS!

    Brent, You mean you don't think you, BDS, me and a few others can beat HSUS, BF, Peta and the rest of them?

    I'm shocked and insulted :>)

    I get where you're coming from and it's hard to know who to trust anymore - a degrees of evil thing - but this is from the APSCA website:

    "The campaign to change the term “owner” to “guardian” is intended to better reflect humans’ relationship with and responsibility toward companion animals, and to recognize animals as separate and unique entities deserving of protection and respect. By viewing animals as more than mere property, the focus shifts from the ownership interest in the animal to what is in the best interest of that individual animal.*

    To fully recognize this new relationship between humans and animals, laws must change accordingly. Converting “owner” to “guardian,” however, is more than semantics. It raises many important questions regarding society’s duty of care toward and use of animals. For example, can we continue to use animals in medical research and for human consumption and still consider ourselves their guardians? These practices certainly are not in the animals’ best interests, nor do they respect them as separate and unique entities capable of experiencing pain, fear and suffering."

    This was posted about a year after they put in an amicus brief in the Tellings case (Ohio)supporting ownership.

    I don't know what the answer is but I know that the big, fat organizations seem to change horses on a dime these days, that what they say isn't always what they do and that they are too big, too rich and too removed from reality to really speak for average animal owners like us.

    BlueDogState said...

    Caveat wrote--

    . . .what they say isn't always what they do. . .

    Exactly. This IS a media war -- whoever looks best -- whoever puts out the prettiest propaganda -- wins. Its all about positioning.

    VanKavage's quote is dated at the top, by the way. If you should happen to speak to her, Brent, ask her about California SB 1775 -- the recently failed forfeiture proposal that the ACLU and other civil rights-minded organizations fought tooth and nail.

    The ASPCA supported it:

    To repeat myself, we're not dealing with your mama's ASPCA. The ASPCA has joined the ranks of animal extremists -- no matter how hard they try to candy-coat things.

    icr said...

    Not surprising about the ASPCA. We're in a period when the radical leftist mentality continually advances and drives to the margins anything traditional or that only a brief time ago was considered simple common sense. BTW, this has nothing to with R's and D's, it's about the zeitgeist. The typical socialist of the Fifties would-if he arrived in contemporary N America or W Europe via a time machine-today be considered a hopeless reactionary, no matter what how "`progressive" his views on class and economics might be.