Tantrums! Deceit! Megalomania!
And the needs of the People of the State of New York? Did anybody even ask?
Oreo's Law goes down in flames in Albany
In mid-June, despite a last ditch effort by Oreo's Law proponents across the country to push the bill forward, the New York State Assembly Committee on Agriculture wasted little time in moving to table the controversial proposal. Oreo's Law makes the transfer of shelter dogs or cats scheduled for euthanasia to any 501(c)3 that wants them mandatory and a matter of state law.
Tabling a young proposal is not unusual in New York, where successful bills typically spend six years in committee, under discussion and being refined, before passing into law. New York isn't California. It's not Utah, either.
Oreo's Law (A9449/S6412) was first introduced in the state legislature in January, 2010. It was amended four times in five weeks. Legislators might have wanted the ink to dry, maybe consult with their actual constituents, before making a decision. I dunno. It's just a thought.
Vengeance is Mine
Oreo's Law died in committee. The shit storm commenced the day before, with Pets Alive's co-Executive Director, Matt DeAngelis leading the charge:
Let’s show [New York legislators] that in the end the PEOPLE of New York decide the POLICIES of New York, not some power hungry elitists with our money spilling out of their pockets.
I, Matt DeAngelis, promise that should [Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair] Mr. Magee table this bill I will personally pour my own personal time, energy and money into ensuring he is defeated this November, WHEN HE IS UP FOR RE-ELECTION.
Oh, brother. So, it's okay for DeAngelis to pour his money into New York politics, but not for his opponents to do likewise?
Pets Alive's co-executive director says he speaks for the "PEOPLE of New York" . . .but he lives in Connecticut. DeAngelis doesn't want to live in New York, and legislators please note, he thinks the New York government is "insane."
Pets Alive is forming a Political Action Committee, which of course is a tool for influencing legislation and legislators based in large part on financial contributions, but Matt has a problem with "power hungry elitists" spending their money in a similar way?
This is all so confusing.
DeAngelis took a swing at Best Friends Animal Society, too. On June 29 the Connecticut resident blogged:
Best Friends never really understood New York and New Yorkers. This ain’t some rinky dink little town in Utah. If you want our money you need to actually get off the fence and take a stand. We’re tough and we’re smart. You don’t get a pass because you’re Best Friends, and you can’t spin your way out of your mistakes. We bent over backwards on Oreo’s Law to meet demands we thought were frankly, ridiculous. And then you reneged on your promise to support Oreo’s Law and went silent. You’re getting called on it now. If you want to keep spinning instead of doing the right thing and admitting your mistake and supporting the right side of this, you do so at your own peril. You might want to save the civility card for Best Friends Europe.
But four days later, Best Friends was Pets Alive's best friend in the whole wide world:
Thank you to Best Friends Animal Society for being our best friends. . .
It wasn't only Pets Alive and Matt DeAngelis venting their rage on the internet. All kinds of dirty laundry is still swinging in the breeze.
Soon after the bill was introduced in Albany, Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center in Oakland, California was deeply involved in negotiating its terms with the ASPCA and using Best Friends Animal Society of Utah as an intermediary. In his January letter to the Ed Sayres, Winograd makes a number of offers in an effort to garner their support for his proposal.
The ASPCA and Sayres apparently rejected them all.
After the bill was tabled in the state legislature, in a scathing and likely defamatory series of blogs Winograd calls Sayres . . .
a bad, small-minded and hard-hearted individual. . . .[who] has defended killing and killers throughout the nation, providing them political cover which allows them to remain in their positions and kill even more. . . . . Time and time again, [Sayres] has misappropriated donor funds given to save animals to promote their killing instead. . . .
Best Friends Animal Society didn't fair much better. Winograd blogs that. . .
Best Friends not only took an indefensible position of neutrality on Oreo’s Law, abandoning the rescue groups and animals who made them who they are, but also tried to get Animal Ark and Animal Wise Radio to withdraw their support for this lifesaving legislation . . . .Their contradictory responses have been a bitter disappointment. . .No self reflection. No thoughtfulness. No truth. All politics. . . .[Best Friends] lashed out, lied to cover their behinds, and in doing so, proved me right.
Micah Kellner: Whose elected official is he, anyway?
In the June 20 interview Oreo's Law sponsor Assemblyman Kellner did with AnimalWise Radio (interview begins at 1:09 mark), Kellner tells the tale of how his colleagues in the NYS legislature failed to "stand up for animals."
He describes how Nathan Winograd helped him draft the proposal, and how Deborah Bresch--the ASPCA's Albany lobbyist--lied to him about whether the ASPCA was secretly working to rally opposition. Kellner and the show's host discuss how Best Friends (of Utah) "aggressively" lobbied Animal Wise (of Minnesota) to withdraw their support.
Kellner lists Oreo's Law's biggest supporters as: the No Kill Advocacy Center (of California), Taimie Bryant (the UCLA animal rights law professor who wrote California's Hayden law), and "rescues from across the country."
No mention of his Manhattan constituency, by the way.
Kellner then goes on to explain that it isn't all bad news: he was able to block the ASPCA's access to funding from increased intact/neutered license fee differentials anticipated in NY City.
Worth noting: Maddies Fund contributed $24.4 million over the last five years to fund low cost spay-neuter efforts in NYC. The ASPCA apparently claims to perform an additional 30,000 surgeries there.
Like radio host Mike Fry comments, how much more money do they need? There are fewer than 30,000 licensed dogs in the City of New York, and with a neutering rate of roughly 80% among "responsible" dog owners, how much money does Kellner imagine an increased surcharge will raise?
The future of "No Kill": Special interests, PAC's and more backroom wheeling and dealing?
Enacting a law, any law, isn't a pretty process. But this is not normal.
Pets Alive's Matt DeAngelis feels the need to shut up those who dare voice concerns with a weird mix of defensiveness, bravado and ego-centric, testosterone-infused internet posts:
I’ve been following your defense of the ASPCA and Best Friends all over the place.
You are dangerous in that you are giving people half the facts, and are totally missing the point. . . .And we are going to get Oreo’s Law passed without the ASPCA and with or without Best Friends. The only thing that seems to be in the way are well-meaning but sadly misinformed people like you. . . .Before you even ASK me about my credentials, go through the Pets Alive website. I’d put my credentials up against anyone else in this fight.
Nathan Winograd made a terrible blunder in pushing Oreo's Law as hard as he did, and using Pets Alive to do it. And stuff like this:
Read Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Think of the animals being killed when you do rather than African Americans being denied civil rights.
Not helpful at all.
Sometimes, boys, ya just gotta step away from the computer.
Gone, baby. Gone.
I'm a pit bull owner. There is nothing I want more than for "pit bulls" and other healthy, happy dogs to survive their shelter experiences. I agree that shelter management, not their customers and definitely not the dogs themselves, is responsible for the slaughter.
But what we are witnessing is not democracy in action. It's a freaking carnival ride.
No one made a fact-based case for Oreo's Law.
No one knows what it would do, although the evidence is clear that 501(c)3 status doesn't have anything to do with the proper care and management of animals.
Instead, Oreo's Law proponents are trying to cram it down the throats of 19 million New Yorkers based on emotion and a single incident involving one, very troubled dog.
My faith in Winograd's judgment--and maybe his sanity--is gone. This isn't animal advocacy. It's ego and obstinacy.
Is this where "no kill" is headed?
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