Thursday, August 28, 2008

Busting Dogfighters for Profit:
Pit Bull Owners Guilty from the Get-go
"Lucrative" dogfight busts
Check out In the Line of Duty, dog lovers.
Since when does enforcing the law, fairly and without bias, create a revenue stream for local police departments? Local police departments trained by the Humane Society of the United States?
Profiting off pit bull owners
See how just one dogfight bust can be lucrative for your department
That's the pitch from video producer Ron Barber. Barber is peddling training material for police officers titled "Dogfighting: What every cop needs to know." And you'll never guess who's promoting it: The Humane Society of the United States
Personnel from both HSUS and the ASPCA appear in the video.
Naturally, the tape includes HSUS's bogus "warning signs of dogfighting" -- treadmills, multiple dogs, veterinary supplies and diet supplements. The "experts" cited by "Line of Fire" also wanted Michael Vick's dogs dead. When Vick was arrested and his dogs were seized, HSUS's Ann Chenowyth claimed that "dogs that come from generations of fighting dogs are too aggressive to put back into the community."
Or, using HSUS-think: Kill all pit bulls. All of them.
HSUS just trained 260 Chicago-area police officers on things like how to spot dogfighting this spring.
Comforting thought, isn't it? The Real Deal: Asset Forfeiture
It's not every day that groups like the American Civil Liberties Association, the California Public Defender's Association, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety rush to defend the rights of alleged dogfighters.
But that's exactly what they did during the debate and ultimate defeat of CA SB 1775, an asset forfeiture proposal aimed specifically at dogfighting prosecutions in California.
The ASPCA, a private, New York corporation with no law enforcement function outside of New York City, strongly supported SB 1775.
So did HSUS. Which has no law enforcement authority whatsoever.
Why? Because SB 1775 was potentially a huge money-maker. Private corporations, like the ASPCA and the HSUS, were set up to share the asset forfeiture plunder under the proposal.
Jingle, jangle of ill gotten gains
Asset forfeiture laws vary from state to state and there are differences between civil forfeitures and criminal forfeitures.
But when Line of Duty asserts that dogfighting busts are lucrative, the message is clear. There's money to be made by prosecuting pit bull owners on dogfighting allegations. Line of Duty thinks they're easy targets.
And they may be right.
With the incentive of asset forfeiture in the mix, local police departments determine which allegations to pursue based on perceived profitability. Confused, frightened, naive dog owners are unlikely to put up a lot of expensive resistance. They rarely even have a lawyer.
And there are very few lawyers versed in animal law from the defendants perspective.
Presumption of Guilt
How to prove a negative? How does anyone "prove" they're not guilty of a crime?
Its ironic in a country with a legal system built on the presumption of innocence, but pit bull owners already have two strikes against them: they own pit bulls. They're already social pariahs. Almost every pit bull owner has something from HSUS's list in their home. Most dog owners do.
Knock, knock. Who's there?
When your neighbor reports all your "suspicious activities", and HSUS, the local SPCA and maybe even the county sheriff -- fresh from attending an HSUS anti-dogfighting seminar -- suddenly show up at your door, you could be in for a really unpleasant experience.
Officers who attend HSUS training programs, or visit websites like "How Stuff Works," or who have seen videos like Line of Duty's, have been taught that people with springpoles, multiple pit bulls, pedigrees showing "champion" dogs, etc., are criminal dogfighters.
HSUS is striving to lower the standards for "evidence of a crime" to a ridiculous level.
No Project Innocence for pit bull owners.
Like any caring dog owner, and especially any caring pit bull owner, I can't stand dogfighting.
But I'm worried about the rest of us.
There is no Fair Defense Campaign for pit bull owners.
No ACLU position paper on prosecutions incited by money-maddened private corporations like HSUS and its toadies. Dude. Who stole my country?
I believe in the concept of innocence until proven guilty. I believe in the right to a fair trial, and competent legal representation. I believe in the rule of law.
Pit bull owners, and animal owners of all kinds, are in trouble. Access to competent legal representation may be fundamental concept in the United States judicial system, but its NOT a reality.
We've got a problem. Let's see what we can do about it.
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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

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Pit Bull Owner's Survival Guide: Strong medicine. Dog owners need it. Make no mistake, they ARE coming to take your dog. Breed specific laws are on the rise. In smalltown USA and in cities like New York and Chicago, pit bull owners and their dogs are marginalized, stereotyped and discriminated against. When legislators fail to deliver an outright ban, they can always try to get in through the backdoor with "humane" breed specific mandatory spay neuter laws, or anti-tethering ordinances aimed at the owners of pit bulls. It all comes down to the same thing: dead dogs, and grieving families. Media war, with pit bull owners in the trenches The Pit Bull Owner's Survival Guide presents the author's clear-headed analysis of a key fact: this is a media war. Justice, facts, humanity, the U. S. Constitution, and all the other niceties of daily life in a democracy mean next to nothing when pit bull hysteria hits. The proponents of breed specific laws have millions -- millions -- of dollars to invest in PR campaigns. And guess what? They spend their money well. Ever wonder how Gavin Newsom (then mayor of San Francisco and prime architect of San Fran's surgical sterilization requirement for "pit bulls"), CNN anchor Paula Zahn, and NYC Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. all sound just like HSUS president Wayne Pacelle when it comes to "pit bulls"? Read The Pit Bull Owner's Survival Guide for the explanation to this phenomenon and many more. Pit bull owners don't deserve civil rights Warrantless search and seizure. Due process violations. No equal protection under the law. Barbara Haywood lays it out for her readers in black and white: pit bull owners have been so successfully marginalized as drug-dealing, gang-banging, dog-fighting thugs that its easy to strip us of our civil rights. We're the lowest hanging fruit. Its like taking candy from babies for whackjobs like Denver's Kory Nelson. Anybody who shoots a pit bull running loose is justified -- Cory Nelson, Denver city attorney, San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, June 27, 2005 And get ready, owners of other dog breeds. You're next. Unkindest cut of all: animal protection groups are in it up to their eyeballs The Pit Bull Owner's Survival Guide answers this question for its readers: Which animal rights organization supports breed specific legislation? a. PETA b. HSUS c. ASPCA d. Best Friends e. all of the above Protect yourself. Save your dog's life. Because no one else will. The Pit Bull Owner's Survival Guide not only tells the story of how we got rammed between a rock and a hard place. The book gives us the tools to get ourselves out again. (More about the Survival Guide tools in Part II of this review. ) The book is a practical, step-by-step "how-to" guide that no pit bull owner should be without. Because its not your imagination. They ARE coming to take your dog.

    Saturday, August 02, 2008

    Dogfight Slush Funds for "Humane" Vigilantes:

    HSUS, Best Friends and the ASPCA set to cash in on court ordered forfeitures

    The latest scheme in creative funding for humane societies -- which are private corporations controlled and directed by their own boards of directors, not open to public scrutiny -- will take funds from the public sector and put it into the pockets of non-governmental agencies with no specifics on how it is to be used.

    Once again, that's public funds. Private sector. No strings attached.

    Spoils of war: everyone at the table gets a piece of the pie

    Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) introduced California SB 1775 earlier this year. His bill would have allowed authorities to seize and dispose of property used in dogfighting-related crimes. In addition to any other penalties imposed by the courts, "promoting dogfighting" could lead to the forfeiture of a home under the proposal.

    Under the bill, proceeds from the forfeitures were to be shared with "local nonprofit organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code whose primary activities include ongoing rescue, foster, or other care of animals that are the victims of dogfighting."

    In other words, humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the agencies that typically investigate dogfighting allegations, would now have a financial incentive to act.

    Opposition from the left-wing liberals! Democrats, take note!

    The ACLU, the California Public Defenders Union, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and others drew their line in the sand.

    In fact, SB 1775 was strongly opposed by many civil liberties-minded groups. Concerns were voiced because, for example, "promoting dogfighting" wasn't sufficiently well-defined.

    The ACLU also argued that the California legislature approaches asset forfeiture with great caution, and does not allow it in cases of murder, mayhem and kidnap -- all crimes against humans.

    So why propose asset seizure for dogfighting crimes? Huh?

    But here's a better question: Who stands to benefit?

    Going for the honking BIG BUCK$: The Usual Suspects

    Predictably, the Humane Society of the United States loved SB 1775, calling it "another important tool for law enforcement to crack down on organized crime which thrives on the profits that dogfighting generates." The ASPCA liked it, too, formally listing itself as a supporter.

    SB 1775 was generously greased with plenty of anti-dogfighting rhetoric. As if anyone, anywhere, was arguing that dogfighting is a good thing.

    Senator Calderon added:

    What makes this measure different from past forfeiture measures this committee has seen is that the proceeds go to animal welfare organizations who rescue and rehabilitate fighting dogs."


    Profits from asset seizure with no muss, no fuss. No oversight.

    Why make things complicated, right? Senator Calderon didn't see a need to attach strings. The proceeds were to be handed over to private corporations to do whatever the hell they want with them.

    Call it a humaniac slushie.

    First, create an emergency. Then milk the solution for all its worth.

    Some things never change.
    HSUS & Co. have been stuffing their pockets for decades by marketing the dogfighting "crisis" and their various remedies -- most involving the surgical removal of pit bull reproductive organs.


    And, surprise, surprise, the problem just gets worse! The dogfighting crisis was old news back in 1991 when Vicki Hearne challenged HSUS on their self-serving promotion of the "emergency" when she published Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog.

    Nathan Winograd calls it "Stoking the Fires of Hate: How the Animal Protection Movement is Failing Pit Bulls." Remember when HSUS demanded the deaths of Michael Vick's dogs ?

    The fate of "pit bulls" is a mere detail. HSUS isn't interested in ending dogfighting. HSUS is interested in ending dogs. And raising funds, of course.

    The good news is that Calderon's SB 1775 failed in committee in April, 2008.

    The bad news is that SB 1775 was just the beginning.

    Best Friends Animal Society and Seizing Assets for Fun and Profit

    In September, 2007, Russ Mead -- Best Friends' general counsel and chief papa bear of that wildly incoherent animal extremist group -- participated in a conference on "dangerous dogs" and breed specific legislation at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

    Mead's portion of the event, captured in this podcast (which also includes a staggering amount of misinformation on dogs, dog bites and dangerous dogs, and begins with a presentation by Karen Breslin -- but that's another blog) includes a list of what Best Friends Animal Society advocates.

    Forfeiture laws. I love this!

    You're a dogfighter? We go to your house. We take your house.

    They've been doing that for drug dealers for a long time, right?

    [in response to a question from the audience asking if the forfeiture laws for drug-related crimes deters drug crimes]

    I'm not saying [forfeiture laws for drug crimes] reduce drugs as a crime, but it certainly puts money in the coffers for enforcement.

    Its no wonder that Mr. Mead stumbled a bit. The "war on drugs" -- kinda like the war on dogfighting -- doesn't look like its going to be over any time soon. And the role asset forfeiture plays in the drug war is increasingly problematic.

    Some say that because of the resulting windfall, state and local law enforcement has become as addicted to forfeiture as an addict is to drugs--making property seizure no longer a means to an end, but an end in itself.

    Following Mead's logic, it doesn't matter if the proposed forfeiture law for dogfighting crimes deters dogfighting. He wants the cash.

    Follow the money -- always

    The push for forfeiture laws isn't about stopping dogfighting. It isn't about saving pit bulls.

    Its about money and its about positioning.

    Proposals like SB 1775 will take public funds to fill the coffers of private corporations, like the Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society.

    And they are going to execute on their privately-developed strategic plans. Saving pit bulls from dogfighters is for the cameras. And the generous donors, naturally.