FORMER HSUS STAFFER BUSTED FOR ARMED ROBBERY

HumaneWatch.org, the watchdog organization that frequently calls out the extreme and sometimes questionable activities of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has reported the arrest of the former head of the animal rights organization’s “animal rescue” team after he allegedly robbed a Washington DC Subway restaurant twice in one week. Here’s the full story, as posted January 29 on the HumaneWatch blog.

It could soon be time to add a new name to the list of HSUS-linked criminals: Scotlund Haisley, who used to run HSUS’s animal rescue team. Haisley is alleged to have robbed a Washington, D.C. Subway restaurant twice in less than a week. If true, it’s quite a fall from a six-figure job to allegedly robbing a restaurant for $300.

Haisley has an extensive background in the animal rights movement. Notably, he held positions at PETA and HSUS, where he was the Director of Emergency Services. He later ran Animal Rescue Corps.

During his time with HSUS, Haisley appears to have been an adrenaline junkie and wannabe SWAT team member. Roughly ten years ago, Haisley was instrumental in helping HSUS execute a search warrant and seize 172 dogs. That warrant was later ruled to be illegal and HSUS faced a $5 million dollar lawsuit as a result.

Even worse, HSUS didn’t stick around to actually help the dogs. As we covered back then:

Less than one week after the raid, KELO-TV reported that HSUS had already packed its bags and left, leaving the local Second Chance Rescue folks to find volunteers to help care for the scores of dogs.

Second Chance Rescue’s director admits that 28 dogs died in the group’s care following their seizure. And while none of the dogs were sick when they were seized, many became ill after HSUS left town.

While working with HSUS, Haisley used some questionable tactics that earned him praise from the former HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle. As recounted by people who worked with him:

Graves and Schwartz explained to Cox that they were particularly concerned that Haisley had asked them to wear badges resembling those worn by law enforcement officers, and that this could expose them to legal liability.

“I want the scum to think we are law enforcement,” Graves said Haisley told them.

Graves and Schwartz then took their concern to then-Humane Society of the U.S. president Wayne Pacelle.

“I like the cowboy ways that Scotlund brings to the team,” Graves said Pacelle responded.

“Cowboy ways” is a colorful way to describe Haisley’s behavior. The surveillance footage of the robberies shows the suspect may have held a gun to a Subway employee’s head. That’s more like “outlaw ways.”

Another old Pacelle pal, David Wills, is awaiting trial on child sex charges. Wills is a former HSUS VP who was fired after he embezzled money from the organization. Given Pacelle’s associates and Pacelle’s own history—allegations of sexual harassment going back years—it’s worth wondering what other skeletons are in HSUS’s closet, and who in the leadership has knowledge of them.

 

FLORIDA NEWS OUTLET EXAMINES IMPACT OF RACING BAN

A National Public Radio affiliate in northern Florida may be the first media outlet in the state to take a closer look at the impact of the recently adopted greyhound racing ban on the families who breed and raise racing greyhounds. WUFT-FM aired the story, and posted it on the station’s website, on December 19.

Greyhound Ban Creates Uncertain Future For Greyhound Breeder
12/20/18, 8:31 AM
By Tobie Perkins

Deborah Elliot kisses her oldest greyhound, Ruffles. Ruffles is 14 and belonged to Elliot’s mother. (Photo courtesy of Katie Redmann)

Greyhounds of every shade of brindle, black, red and white play and bask under a winter sun at Deborah Elliot’s farm. Her 140 dogs run free.

It was her dogs that kept Elliot going after her mother died unexpectedly. She wakes up at 4 each morning to prepare their food, clean up after them, and let the dogs in and out of their kennels. Elliot greets each hound by name, even the ones that appear identical; Hansel and Gretel, Lucy, Ethel, Big Mac, Nugget, Muffin. Each time Elliot walks by, the dogs jump, eagerly wagging their tails. They all want just one moment with her.

Then there’s Ruffles, the grande dame of hounds. She’s a 14-year-old greyhound who, along with this farm, once belonged to Elliot’s mother. It’s dogs like Ruffles that animal rights activists accuse greyhound trainers of throwing away.

Greyhound racing has long been under scrutiny in Florida and, in November, activists were handed a victory at the polls. Nearly 70 percent of Floridians approved Amendment 13 which puts an end to greyhound racing in the state by the end of  2020. The constitutional revision is based on the “humane treatment of animals.”

Greyhounds are a regal breed of dogs that can run at 45 miles per hour. Betting on these fast dogs became a lucrative business in America, especially in sunny and warm Florida. It is one of six remaining states with active racing tracks and one of 11 where dog racing is still legal. Of the 17 operating racing tracks in
America, 11 are in the Sunshine State.

Last year, greyhound racing generated $11 million dollars in state revenue, according to Jack Cory, a representative for the Florida Greyhound Association. But now, Amendment 13 could mean the end of an industry. From dog farms like
Elliot’s to the tracks, the racing ban threatens the livelihoods of the 3,000 direct and 10,000 indirect industry employees.

Those who pushed for the ban argue that greyhound racing amounts to nothing short of animal cruelty. The protection group GREY2K USA alleges dogs are kept in cages for up to 23 hours a day, drugged and forced to race in extreme conditions. The group says thousands of dogs are injured every year and that a dog dies every three days at a Florida racetrack.

“Change is hard, but our economy should not be built on cruelty to dogs,” said Christine Dorchak, president of GREY2K.

While animal welfare has become an increasingly hot political issue, some argue Amendment 13 was all about emotions winning out over the facts. John Parker, vice president of Greyhound Adopters for Racing, said Florida’s ban defies logic.

Parker adopted his first greyhound in 1994. Four months later, he adopted another. He loved the dogs so much that he launched the Southeastern Greyhound Adoption group, which finds new homes for 125 retired greyhounds every year.

At first, Parker assumed greyhound racing was cruel. At the time, he said, there wasn’t a lot of literature available and most of it was negative. But the more greyhounds he met, the more he was convinced that they were hardly neglected or abused.

Parker began visiting kennels and felt that the dogs were happy to be doing their jobs. He believes that interest groups have used heart-tugging PR strategies and advertisements to sway the public.

Even now, he said, there’s a lot of confusion about what will happen to the 3,700 greyhounds that race in Florida. There have been reports of dogs that will become homeless or be euthanized because of the demise of the racing business. But Parker said the opposite is true. He said as breeding operations slow down, his group is experiencing a shortage of dogs available for adoption, and Amendment 13 has already caused a spike in applications.

The transition will be expensive. Trainers and kennel operators use the money from racing to care for the dogs. But Parker said adoption groups will now have to step in. “It’s going to cost money,” he said. “But I’m confident the money will be there.”

There will be at least one more season of greyhound racing in 2019. Those in the racing industry are hoping the ban will be reversed. So is Elliot. But no matter what, Elliot hopes business will continue, as it has for 80 years.

She bred a litter just a week after the election. She will race them in Florida while she still can. But the future is uncertain. Elliot worries for her employees as times get tough. One lives on the property with her disabled husband; another is a mother of five.

“There are five full time people here that the state of Florida decided don’t need jobs,” she said. A former nurse, Elliot will most likely get a second job at a hospital to maintain the kennel.

Still, Elliot doesn’t blame voters. Their hearts are in the right place, she said. They want to help dogs. But she does blame welfare groups like GREY2K who play on emotions to gain votes and donations.

GREY2K’s Dorchak fired back that people at least have an option to find other jobs. The dogs, she said, have no choice in “suffering.”

But there is little evidence of suffering at Elliot’s farm. The dogs aren’t captive. They live outside once they are old enough. Until six months, they live in smaller runs in groups of two to four. After six months, they move to 650-foot runs. The dogs are trained to return to the front of the run by getting a homemade meatball each afternoon.

Elliot is aware of the allegations of drugging and other mistreatment. While she acknowledges that small amounts of testosterone are used as birth control, she says it has nothing to do with increasing racing ability. As a former nurse, she knows the harmful effects other drugs could have.

Racing dogs, she says, are an investment; trainers want a return on that investment, so they have no reason to harm the dogs. She said she would immediately remove her dogs if they were being mistreated by a trainer at
the track.

Many of the dogs are adopted once they are done racing, though some come back to live with her. She has placed a few personally; others have found homes through a trusted agency.

One of her former racers was adopted by an elderly couple – he acts as a caretaker, checking on them each day. Another is an emotional support dog for a Gulf War veteran.

But it can be hard for the dogs at times. At a farm like Elliot’s, they are never separated from their litter mates, and they roam free outside.  It can be hard to adjust to adoptive homes. And if they return to her,she spoils them. Like Ruffles.
“Whatever she wants, she gets,” Elliot says.

She takes stock of her farm, surrounded by the speedy hounds she has lovingly bred and raised. She has a litter that’s not yet six months old. She’s particularly proud of one of the puppies. His name is Chilly, a brindle who is a bit smaller than his brothers and sisters. He is the runt of the litter; she wasn’t sure he could make it.

But he had the heart,” she says, smiling as he leaps up at the fence. He might be Elliot’s best dog yet.

 

NGA ISSUES STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 13

The National Greyhound Association is deeply disappointed at the result of the Amendment 13 vote. Florida voters have been misled into supporting a measure that not only will cost thousands of jobs in the state, but one that opens the door for future campaigns to force the radical animal rights agenda on the people of Florida through the Constitutional Reform process. Individual family businesses that will be shut down as a result of this Amendment may choose to pursue legal remedies against the state; that is their right under the law.
Meanwhile, we will begin the sad process of working with the kennels, greyhound owners, Greyhound Pets of America, and all of our adoption partners, to ensure that all the greyhounds dislocated by the passage of Amendment 13 are properly accounted for and cared for as they transition to other tracks, into adoption programs, or back to their owners over the next two years. Unfortunately, the future is not as clear for the 13,000 Florida families who rely, directly and indirectly, on greyhound racing for their livelihood.

VOTE “NO” ON 13, SAYS FLORIDA TAXWATCH

Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, is urging Florida voters to reject Question 13 because the fate of greyhound racing should not be a Constitutional question. Here’s their position:

The constitution loses much of its significance as the foundational instrument of government when the process of constitutional amendment or revision is used as a substitute for legislation. Incorporating what is essentially a legislative matter into the constitution undercuts the legislative process and limits the areaof legislative responsibility and discretion. Once incorporated, it is extremely difficult to remove what is essentially a statutory provision from the constitution.

The contents of the Florida Constitution should be limited to matters that are essential or fundamental. Matters that are ordinarily handled through the legislative process, such as the banning of greyhound racing, should be excluded from the Constitution.

For these reasons, Florida TaxWatch recommends a NO vote on Amendment 13.”

 

GREYHOUND ADOPTER URGES “NO” VOTE ON 13

St. Petersburg Times correspondent and greyhound adopter Danielle Hauser says that Floridians should vote NO on Question 13 because it is based on misconceptions about how greyhounds are treated.

In her September 28 commentary, Hauser noted that she knew very little about racing greyhounds before she adopted one, so she bought into some of the misconceptions about them and their treatment. “Like most people, I was wrong,” she said.

Hauser pointed out that several local greyhound adoption groups, including Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions and Greyhound Pets of America-Tampa Bay, have joined a group of 83 adoption organizations statewide that have gone on record in opposition to Question 13.

“These are non-profit, volunteer-based groups that work lovingly and diligently to foster and find retired greyhounds their forever homes. These groups also aim to educate the public about the lives of greyhounds on and off the track,” she wrote.

Greyhounds are the professional athletes of the canine world, Hauser said, so kennel owners and trainers ensure that their dogs are well taken care of. “They are fed high quality food, have plenty of play time, exercise and human interaction,” she said. “They also are under constant medical supervision.”

In her commentary, Hauser also expressed concern that Question 13 fails to provide funding for re-homing of more than 8,000 greyhounds that would be displaced from Florida greyhound tracks if the measure passes.

She concluded by urging voters to go visit a greyhound at a “Meet and Greet” event or take a greyhound kennel tour. “See for yourself what greyhounds are really like,” she said. “Dogs don’t lie.”

 

 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: “VOTE NO ON 13”

Citing the “politicized” Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) and the “partisan underpinning” of its “disappointing results,” editors of the Tampa Bay Times are urging Floridians to vote NO on Question 13, the amendment to ban greyhound racing.

And they didn’t stop there. In a scathing indictment of the CRC’s work, the September 28 editorial called on voters to reject all but one of the 12 ballot questions, including Amendments 6-12, the half-dozen questions the CRC added to the ballot.

“The CRC squandered an opportunity that occurs only once every 20 years to propose meaningful reforms to the Constitution,” editors wrote. “Its amendments are a muddle of unrelated issues.”

The publication’s writers noted the lack of sound reasoning on why any of the proposals should be added to the Constitution. On greyhound racing, they were particularly blunt. “Whatever your view on dog racing, its disposition doesn’t belong in the Constitution. On Amendment 13, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting NO.”

 

 

AKC URGES MEMBERS TO VOTE “NO” ON QUESTION 13

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the leading national registry of purebred dogs, has taken a position opposed to Question 13, the Constitutional amendment to ban live greyhound racing in Florida.

The organization’s position is based on its policy regarding the use of dogs in sporting, working and competition activities. That policy reads as follows: “The AKC encourages and strongly supports the interaction and mutual enjoyment of owners and dogs in sporting activities such as hunting and field trials; in working circumstances such as herding, tracking, and pulling; and in competition events such as dog shows, obedience trials, agility trials, and other performance events and tests. The AKC believes that dogs should be properly cared for, humanely trained, and not pushed beyond reasonable limits for which they were bred.

 Accordingly, the American Kennel Club does not support proposed Florida Amendment 13.”

The AKC statement also notes that numerous greyhound enthusiast and animal welfare groups oppose the ban, including Greyhound Adopters for Racing and the National Animal Interest Alliance.

 

NGA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO DEFEAT QUESTION 13

In the wake of the Florida Supreme Court’s September 7 decision to put Question 13, a constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing, back on the November general election ballot, the National Greyhound Association (NGA) has launched a campaign to defeat the measure.

The NGA has enlisted the services of Strategic Digital Services (SDS) to assist in the campaign to defeat Question 13 in Florida.

The company, based in Tallahassee, was formed by Joe Clements and Matt Farrar, both of whom have extensive experience in Florida politics and campaigns as well as digital media marketing and advertising.

“After looking at several proposals and performing our due diligence, we selected SDS,” said NGA President Julia Ward. “We feel they are very well qualified and have the capabilities to accomplish the task at hand.”

Working together, the NGA and SDS will mount an aggressive and informative campaign of digital and media communications.

Wealthy out-of-state animal rights groups drove the effort to put Question 13, the greyhound racing measure, on the ballot. Under Florida law, passage of any constitutional amendment requires a 60 percent majority of votes cast.

“We won’t have the enormous budget of these huge animal rights groups,” said NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland, “but we are confident that our messages will reach and resonate with Florida voters.”

Gartland noted that Question 13, if passed, will cost as many as 13,000 jobs in Florida. Those displaced will include track and kennel workers, as well as hundreds of employees at the local companies who supply greyhound racing with goods and services.

“Putting thousands of Floridians out of work just to satisfy some extreme activist agenda doesn’t make much sense,” Gartland concluded.

PETA HYPES LIBERATING WILD ANIMALS…ON SNACK BOXES

The familiar “circus train” animal cracker box

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) is hyping the success of its recent effort to persuade Nabisco, the maker of Barnum’s Animal Crackers, to redesign the snack’s package by removing the circus cages that formerly appeared on the box. The radical animal rights group, famous for its pointless publicity stunts, hasn’t explained how the new package design will enhance the lives of elephants, lions or giraffes in the wild.

An August 21 story in the New York Post reported that Nabisco agreed to redesign the box “to keep this brand modern and contemporary.” PeTA’s pitch to Nabisco highlighted the “egregious cruelty” inherent in caging animals.

If anybody understands egregious cruelty, it’s PeTA. For the past several years, the organization’s gratuitous euthanasia of “rescued” cats and dogs has been a national scandal. Since 1998, PeTA has killed more than 36,000 pets that supposedly were being taken to PeTA-operated shelters for placement in adoptive homes. Instead, most of the animals were euthanized within 24 hours of being seized by PeTA employees.

The website “PetaKillsAnimals.com” reports one highly publicized incident in 2014, when PeTA staffers actually seized a pet chihuahua from a family’s backyard. The family  protested, only to learn that the dog already had been euthanized. The family sued PeTA, and the PeTA employees were charged with larceny.

It’s ironic that Nabisco would buy the “egregious cruelty” argument from an organization that has killed more animals over the past 20 years than any zoo or circus in existence. Somebody at Nabisco failed to do their homework. We wouldn’t be surprised if a few people quit buying Barnum’s Animal Crackers just to make that point.

The new “cage-free” box

 

 

 

 

NGA, FLORIDA TRACKS ORGANIZE ‘SEEING IS BELIEVING’ TOURS

Members of the public will have a unique opportunity to tour several Florida greyhound tracks and their on-site kennels under a program announced by the National Greyhound Association (NGA) today. The two-hour guided tours are free with advance registration.

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland said the tours are designed to promote transparency and educate the public about the care of greyhounds at the track, as well as stewardship of the breed.

“Tour guests will get an intimate understanding of the facilities, sleeping spaces, feeding, care and daily routine that racing greyhounds experience,” Gartland noted. “It’s a great opportunity for people to separate fact from fiction about the lives of these canine athletes.”

Gartland said one of the goals of the tour program is to show people the similarities between how racing greyhounds and family pets live their daily lives. “The tour guests will see that greyhounds eat, sleep, work and play in a way that correlates very closely to the world of our family pets,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why racers make such great pets when they retire.”

More than 95 percent of all racing greyhounds are either retired back to the farm or placed in adoptive homes when their racing careers end. Over the past three decades, more than 150,000 retired racers have transitioned into lives as beloved family pets. Greyhounds are known for their gentle, loving dispositions, and they are accustomed to being around people and other dogs, so they are well suited to life in homes with children and multiple pets.

Derby Lane, located in St. Petersburg, and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, located in West Palm Beach, are the first two tracks to open their doors under the NGA program. The Daytona Beach Kennel Club will also offer tours on dates soon to be announced. Derby Lane tours are available on selected Saturdays in September and October. Palm Beach Kennel Club tours are available on selected Thursdays in September and October.

A complete tour schedule and online registration is available at www.greyhoundkenneltours.com.