Monday, July 05, 2010

Oreo's Law Smackdown

Winograd vs. ASPCA vs. Best Friends vs. Pets Alive vs. Animal Law Coalition vs. Mayor's Alliance vs. . . . 

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. . .

Winograd:  "God History will absolve is on our side"

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.

Oh, my. 

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?

- - - - -

CommentsSomething is going on with Blogger, and some comments are not posting.  They are not lost, and hopefully the dancing chimpanzees will fix the problem any minute now.  Until that happens, missing comments will be posted here--within the blog text itself.


EmilyS said...

today, Matt doesn't mind being featured in a front page Best Friends story about the beagle "rescue"

guess they're still BFFs!

BlueDogState said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BlueDogState said...


Let's see what happens when BFAS asks for their $30,000, and their 100 kennel runs, back.

(ref: Alice Gonce, BFAS Senior Mgr

That might put a damper on the bff stuff.

How's Pets Alive going to pay back the $30 thousand?

Anonymous said...

You know, I have to be honest. I've given up on trying to explain to you idiots what is going on.

This blog offers the most slanted pile of half truths and distortions I have ever seen. Shrug. Typical.

And Emily. I've followed your slobbering apoligia for Best Friends around the Internet.

Look...we all make mistakes. Luckily we have people like Blue Dog and you to sit on your fat @sses and blow them out of proportion.

Best Friends screwed up on Oreo's Law. True to my word, I made the first donation to the PAC. We also facilitated 10,000 emails to the legislators from ordinary, normal animal lovers. Where is the mention of that?

Just because BF was on the wrong side of this (they will be on the right side next time around) doesn't mean we don't jump at an opportunity to save animals when they offer it.

My offer still goes, and I'll extend it to you Emily. Get off your butts and come out to Pets Alive. See it, experience it and see if you can then make the mischaracterizations you continue to make.

Honestly I couldn't care less what you say about me, but don't impugn the good works of Pets Alive and our supporters and affiliates.

Maybe you should put down your keyboard weapons and help us.

And as far as fundraising goes, I wish I had this magical stash you keep telling me I'm raising. And it doesn't go for my salary anyway, becaused I work for free.

And yes, I live in Connecticut. So do about 6 million other people. What of it?


BlueDogState said...

Good to know you had the time to set up your PAC, Matt.

Did you manage to file the IRS form 990's with the Charities Bureau yet? The ones Pets Alive has neglected to file since tax year 2003, risking Pets Alive's tax exempt status ?

As a tax exempt NFP taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (although without 990's, no one really knows how much PA takes in), and as a board member, you are responsible for taking care of that little chore and the people of the State of New York have a right to the information.

So how 'bout it? If you've got time to set up a PAC, don't you have time to comply with state law regarding tax filings?

BlueDogState said...


Let's see what happens when BFAS asks for their $30,000, and their 100 kennel runs, back. (ref: Alice Gonce, BFAS Senior Mgr

That might put a damper on the bff stuff.

How's Pets Alive going to pay back the $30 thousand?

Heather Houlahan said...

I've been thinking demolition derby, but okay, smackdown works for me.

I have been utterly unable to trace the fault lines in this melee.

But I'm pretty sure that the collected lobbying and PR $$ spent by all of these "animal charities" -- not to mention the time wasted -- could have saved a whole lot of animals in the past six months.

IF that was what these 501(c)3's were actually about.

Well, in some cases it might be a net benefit to animal welfare that these bozos are distracted by the fisticuffs. Alas, they have a large and not-terribly-critical audience, and are thereby increasing their notoriety, which I'm afraid is what has replaced credibility in public discourse nowadays.

This has not made it easier to have a thoughtful and intelligent conversation about appropriate euthanasia criteria in public shelters and nonprofit rescues, relationships between rescues and shelters, and public accountability for *all* of a shelter's practices.

Heather Houlahan said...

Yeah, umm ...

That link about the beagles from EmilyS?


I appear to be looking at perfectly normal kennel-raised dogs -- like the majority of laboratory beagles.

Playing with children the same day they are turned over by the lab does NOT jibe with stories of isolation and neglect.

Believe me, I have been there with truly unsocialized dogs from genuine cruelty cases.

They are not "... completely embracing their new digs and seriously partying down as part of the Independence day celebration. With kids of all ages getting into their kennel runs, the rescuers and volunteers were curious about how the dogs would react. Normal socialization and play would not be part of their history.

"Well it was game on! Kids like Anna got down to their beagle friends’ level and the beagles were doing play bows and scurrying around their exercise pens, just loving having people and other beagles to play with."

So are they that pig-ignorant about dog behavior, or is this a calculated and cynical misrepresentation about these animals' lives, designed to deceive potential donors?

I have no problem with humane groups taking in a laboratory colony and rehoming them. Worthy enterprise. You save the dogs from convenience euphemasia and make docile, mostly unchallenging pets available to the public.

Why lie to make it more dramatic?

Does generating adopter pity-fantasies about a previous life of abuse improve life for the dogs after adoption?

Or does it just improve the fundraising returns?

EmilyS said...

wow Matt, I always love having my own personal Internet stalker! They're always a**h***s like you, who seem to have problems with women. Particularly women who dare to question your own personal awesomeness and the beyond-questioning purity of the Pets Alive cultists.

EmilyS said...

Heather: I have the same questions about those beagles. But then, even many of the Vick dogs didn't need much "rescuing" beyond getting them off of Vick's property (some had clearly been some kind of "pet" not used for fighting/breeding/abuse). They could have gone into new homes almost from day one, rather than languishing in protective custody.

When you find an animal charity that doesn't exaggerate the "pity" cases, let me know.

I'm sure you agree that Pets Alive would NEVER EVER have used Oreo for pity-fundraising, if that poor creature had the misfortune to end up in their custody. Right Matt?

Matt said...

Emily et al,

Actually we don't do PITY FUNDRAISING as you call it. You'll never see an envelope with a poor dog's picture on the front.

We save many dogs just like Oreo. The reason you don't know that is ... DUH.

And you got me all excited to see my picture on the BF website, but you meant Pets Alive when you said 'Matt doesn't mind being featured in a front page Best Friends story...' Damn.

And uh, whom did you expect? Someone who DIDN'T participate in the rescue?

And BlueDogState dude...BF won't ask for their $30,000 back. And they're going to take their fencing and store it in one of several places they have set up across the country for situations like this.

I'll keep trying, but I think I'm wasting my time. Keep up the aspersions.

Matt said...

Hey Blue Dog Dude,

As a matter of fact we did. It took us three years to put it all together but we made our filings and everyone is happy.

We also made no secret of all of this, even though you thought you'd found some type of amazing scoop.


If you want to see our latest 990, it's been posted on our web site for quite some time.

Maybe you can find some other molehills that your beacon of journalistic integrity can find to make mountains out of.

My time with crazy people has ended for the day so I have to get to my work.

Take care Blue Dog Dude.

EmilyS said...

no pity fundraising Matt? So I guess the feature on your front page inviting people to pay, oh excuse me, donate, money to name a poor abused beagle isn't pity fundraising...

gotcha! just like you're a participant in NY affairs who has a special interest/knowledge/love for all things NY.. except you live in Connecticut but what's wrong with that!

Matt lives in a morality of his own imagining.

Heather Houlahan said...

When you find an animal charity that doesn't exaggerate the "pity" cases, let me know.

If anything, our breed rescue downplays it a bit too much.

I'm sure many people thought there was overdramatization of the cruelty suffered by the Montana dogs, but the truth is, there are pictures I have not shown and stories that haven't been told, details that even my mind skips over because dwelling on them would lead to madness. The public doesn't know the half of it.

Because "pity object" is not a suitable career for any dog. I prefer "tough survivor looking for some help and ready to take on the world with you."

True of many of the rescues, not just that one big bolus of crime victims.

Serious potential adopters get the most complete and dispassionate account we can give them of the dog's prior experience. Need to Know basis.

I don't think we've ever discussed it publicly, but I don't think any of us would compromise a dog's inherent dignity by making him a boo-hoo, especially to raise money.

But I guess there's a reason we aren't a $1 million/year charity, much less a $30 million/year charity. I concede your point in principle, if not in fact. (We also file our taxes.)

Begging the question of why a $1 million/year charity doesn't have a cash buffer for emergencies of <3% of its annual budget, and has to go to a charity for which $30,000 is only .1% of the budget.

Matt said...


You RUN A RESCUE and you take so much time to denigrate other rescues?

You should be ashamed of yourself.

And I'm curious about how many donations and grants you've turned down.

God, you guys are such amazing hypocrites and whining children. This is the reason the no-kill movement keeps losing traction.

BlueDogState said...

Heather writes:

Begging the question of why a $1 million/year charity doesn't have a cash buffer for emergencies of <3% of its annual budget, and has to go to a charity for which $30,000 is only .1% of the budget.

yeah. Or why, allegedly, it took the million-dollar-a-year charity three years to protect its tax exemption by filing returns due years ago.

Life's a bitch, but Pets Alive sure formed that PAC fast. ;-p

(And btw, I'm not interested in what Pets Live has up on its website. I'll get what I need from the NYS Charities Bureau, which as of April 15 hadn't heard from them in a very, very long time.)

Anonymous said...

God, you guys are pathetic.

Hey Heather, why is it that the National English Shepherd Rescue has no 990s on file at Guidestar?


And Blue Dog Dude, it may surprise you to find out that the Attorney General's office is SSSSSLLLLLLOOOOOWWWW in updating their website.

But like most extremists, you guys can't believe anything that doesn't fit your mold. So I won't waste any more breath.

What kind of annoys me is that I can't tell our supporters about you because you'll get more hits from the publicity then you ever have in your lifetimes.

So keep up the drumbeat of stupidity. We'll save animals.

EmilyS said...

well, Matt, the movement to decrease the number of animals killed in shelters is certainly NOT losing traction. What IS losing traction.. in part because of hysterical ranters like you and Winograd.. is the credibiity of "no kill". EVERY rescue/shelter in the US kills animals.. even when (in Heather's coinage) they prefer to euphemise them. So the very essence of the movement is a fraud.

If you all would stop demanding ideological purity and tactical lockstep, then you might gain more adherents to the REAL purpose, which is about saving animals and not about people bowing down to you.

Anonymous said...


Yeah, that's it. Nathan and I are trying to get everyone to bow to us. Sigh. You are truly insane. This past week was very enlightening for me.

Oreo's Law will save 25,000 a year. But this is about getting everyone to march in lockstep.

We will continue to save animals. You can continue to be insane.

And as far as your stalking comment is are neither intelligent nor interesting enough to stalk. Perhaps you should pitch in and try to save some animals.

BlueDogState said...

"Oreo's Law will save 25,000 a year."

Please provide the basis for this statement, Matt.

Thank you.

EmilyS said...

lol Matt.. do you actually read what you write? In your first comment here, you wrote you've been following me all over the Internet. I call that stalking. You'll follow me to anyplace I post on this subject and spew the same bile at me.

As for "Oreo's law" (which will never pass with that name), well it may save some animals (while consigning others to the hell holes of hoarders and crazy cat ladies). But it wouldn't have saved Oreo herself, god rest her troubled soul.

And if you claim that Pets Alive wouldn't have fund-raised the shit out of Oreo had she been so unfortunate to be sent to you, then I'll call you a liar.

Anonymous said...

I find this blog very informative. Especially since the recent rescue of the beagles by Pets Alive. I myself, a beagle lover was moved by the idea to name one of the beagles for a donation of $25, and as such did. That was days ago. Why does their website still offer people to pay $25 to name a beagle? I find it hard to believe that after one week they have not found 120 good hearted people to name these beagles. Especially since from what I understand, 30 of the beagles were passed onto another shelter who gave them names of past Americans. That leaves 90 beagles looking for names (some of which were named that day- Liberty and Freedom). I now question their honesty and would like proof that the name I chose was used. This seems like a great idea, fool kind hearted people to think they are doing something wonderful, and lie to them by getting more money. If they are being truthful, there should be an option that tells you how many beagles are left to name.

Just a thought...

Heather Houlahan said...

Hey Matt, thank you for stalking, but you need to get better at it. I don't "run" any rescue. We have a board. And many hands-on workers, of which I am only one. Not a one of us is paid, though everyone has a real job to attend to.

990N, filed on time every year, asshat.

Thanks for conflating me with Blue Dog State, who is the person who actually has questioned your little tax issues. As everyone knows, all pushy bitches are the same person and may be shrieked at en masse.

I'm wondering why your question for me has to do with whether or not "I've" turned down money. I guess that might mean, has the small charity for which I volunteer turned down money?

I guess that reveals what's really important. Not, say, a thoughtful discussion about appropriate euthanasia policies for public shelters and nonprofits. Or appropriate rehab, screening, matching, and follow-up for adoptions. That would touch dangerously close to actually, you know, animals.

By way of answer, I have no idea. Not my department.

But I do like the "you take so much time to denigrate other rescues" comment.

What has the nonstop nine-month assault on the ASPCA been? The public slagging on Best Friends? Primal scream therapy?

Anonymous said...

Pets Alive keeps all those dogs in those outdoor chain link kennels 24/7/365

If I was adopting and told them I would keep the dog in that type of pen, 24/7/365, would I be approved to adopt?

Why is it ok to keep all those dogs like that?

BlueDogState said...

Anonymous writes:
Pets Alive keeps all those dogs in those outdoor chain link kennels 24/7/365

If I was adopting and told them I would keep the dog in that type of pen, 24/7/365, would I be approved to adopt?

You mean, Pets Alive doesn't practice what it preaches? Say it ain't so. . .

Anonymous said...

Why don't you all stop bickering, step away from your computers and go save some fucking animals.... I swear I despise animals rights activists more than people - it's like some dog pissing contest with all of them to see who does more for the animals!

Anonymous said...

'Oreo's Law will save 25,000 a year. But this is about getting everyone to march in lockstep.'
You already have hundreds warehoused at your 'facility' now, where will these 25,000 go?
Into an outdoor, chain link kennel like all those at Pets Alive?

Matt, you say to come to your place and see for ourselves.
I have been there, seen it, and was not in the least impressed by either the facility or the volunteers who [mis]handled my visit. You're just danged lucky no one got hurt, and that was thanks to my experience with dogs, not your volunteers who were no where in sight when the incident went down.
It's moments like that one, with two otherwise very mild mannered dogs, that tells me more aggressive/challenging animals would be poorly served by your organization.

Anonymous said...

Who's interested in how Pets Alive treats it's supporters? Take a look at the thread below from the Elmsford Animal Shelter facebook page, which is controlled by Kerry Clair (co-director of Pets Alive, second only to Matt DeAngelis, who you'll see later took over the posting under the name Elmsford Animal Shelter)
*note that some posts were deleted, whether by the posters themselves or by Kerry, I know not, though I'd imagine it's the latter.

After several hours of the absurdity on that thread, Kerry posted the link of it to her Pets Alive facebook page looking for support (which she got little of):!/PetsAlive/posts/135743183141092

It took her a while, but she then attempted some damage control on her blog:

The entire issue began as an argument over whether or not to adopt out black cats, but it quickly turned into Kerry telling supporters to more or less f**k off and take their donations/support elsewhere, yet in her blog she attempted (feebly) to cover the black-cats-on-halloween issue without actually doing damage control for having rudely sent away tons of supporters. She imagined that her decently-written blog about adoptions policies would quell the concerns of those following the issue, but it only quelled the worries of the mindless. Anyone with half a brain can see right through that crap, just like anyone with half a brain could see that the cats at the Elmsford location were very sick and dying, yet Pets Alive did nothing about it for months while the volunteers attempted to save the cats themselves.

Pets Alive has an inherent need to get the last word in (so be sure to view whatever nonsense they post after this) and they will try to rip up and send away anyone who disagrees with them or even questions them, no matter how politely the disagreement or question is worded or intended.

Anonymous said...

Matt was there when the place was a s**thole. He is as responsible as Sara was. He is also a liar.

They owe Best Friends big time for everything they did for the animals that MATT ALLOWED TO BE NEGLECTED.

Anonymous said...

Just heard that loser Matt "Dirtbag" Deangelis was fired from Pets Alive.

Anonymous said...

Why was Matt DeAngelis fired from Pets Alive? Anyone know?