HSUS LOSES CHARITY STATUS WITH MAJOR WATCHDOG GROUPS

In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that drove CEO Wayne Pacelle out of the top job at Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the group has now lost its accreditation as a charity from several of the nation’s leading charity rating groups, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Charity Navigator.

Humanewatch.org is reporting that the BBB’s charity oversight arm, the Wise Giving Alliance (WGA), has revoked HSUS’ charity status, and Charity Navigator has downgraded its rating to 2 out of 4 stars, with a 1 for poor financial management at the animal rights organization. The news was also reported by several agriculture groups, including Michigan Farm News, Drovers Online, Dairy Herd Management, and Protect the Harvest.

Another oversight group, Animal Charity Evaluators, rescinded its recommendation of HSUS, saying that “ethical leadership and a healthy work environment are critical components of an effective charity.”

Since news of the sexual harassment scandal broke in January, HSUS has struggled to regain its footing. A March 23 story in the Washington Post reported that sexual harassment allegations are not new to HSUS. The woman who succeeded Pacelle as CEO, Kitty Block, was a young lawyer at HSUS twenty-three years ago, when she and a colleague sued her boss, David Wills, then the organization’s Vice President for Investigations, for sexual harassment. Wills was fired as a result of the complaints.

The Post story also reported that some of HSUS’ six-figure donors are outraged that HSUS funds have been used to pay legal settlements related to sexual harassment claims.   At least one of those donors, according to the report, is encouraging others to withhold financial support “until a full internal investigation has been completed and all current board members resign except those who voted to remove Pacelle.”

 

 

NGA RESPONDS TO HSUS PROPAGANDA IN KC STAR

The Kansas City Star has published NGA’s response to an HSUS attack on greyhound racing in Kansas published in the January 7 edition. The op-ed piece by HSUS legislative director Kelly Kultala opposed the re-authorization of greyhound racing in Kansas.

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland responded that Kultala’s column was misleading and made “outlandish claims” about greyhound racing. Here’s the full text of the letter as edited by the Star and published on January 25.

Racing dogs

A Jan. 8 op-ed made several misleading references to “subsidies” for racing greyhounds. (7A, “Dog racing not the answer for Kansas’ budget”). The money allocated to purses in Kansas, as in several other states, comes from special-purpose taxes imposed on gambling dollars and specifically dedicated to racing purses.

It also makes outlandish claims as to the operation of greyhound farms and kennels. It should be obvious that greyhounds must receive the best possible care to perform at maximum potential on the track.

Greyhound breeding farms and kennels are operated at, and held to, extremely high standards. We not only have to meet state and local regulations, but we also enforce our own rigorous standards through unannounced inspections. We ban violators for life.

It cites injury numbers that are absurdly inaccurate. The fact is that injuries occur in less than one-half of 1 percent of all racing starts nationwide, and the majority are minor enough to allow the greyhounds to return to racing in a matter of weeks.

Even when an injury prevents a return to racing, the greyhounds can transition seamlessly to life as a pampered family pet. In fact, more than 95 percent of all racing greyhounds are either placed in adoptive homes or returned to their owners as pets when they retire.

Studies show that reopening Kansas racing facilities would generate some 4,000 jobs, about $200 million in annual wages and $23 million in annual state and local revenue while piping much-needed money to ranchers, farmers, horse and dog breeders and the services they use and employ. It is a win-win situation for Kansas.

Our legislators should not let extreme animal-rights propaganda get in the way of bringing these huge benefits to the people of our state.

James Gartland

Executive Director

National Greyhound Association

Abilene, Kan.

 

 

AGC RESCINDS ONE OF TWO GAPY AWARDS

In light of new information received since the announcement of the 2017 Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year (GAPY) honors last week, the AGC Board of Directors has voted to rescind the award given to the Atlanta, Georgia group. The other GAPY award winner, Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program of New Brunswick, Canada, is not affected by the action.

AGC ANNOUNCES 2017 GAPY AWARD WINNERS

The American Greyhound Council (AGC) has recognized two outstanding greyhound adoption programs as the 2017 Greyhound Adoption Programs of the Year (GAPY). They are Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta, located in Stone Mountain, Georgia; and Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program (MGAP), located in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta Founder Carl Viener said he got into greyhound adoption by accident. In 1980, he found a stray Italian greyhound and couldn’t locate its owner, so he began visiting Victoryland in Alabama to learn more about greyhounds. He fell in love with the breed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Viener said he and his small brigade of volunteers typically place 90-100 greyhounds a year, and have adopted out over 6,000 greyhounds since the organization was founded. The group is based out of a kennel facility at Viener’s home, and the dogs are housed there until they are moved to their forever homes.

Most of the greyhounds placed through the Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta program come from Jacksonville and other Florida tracks, according to Carl. The majority are placed in adoptive homes within a 100-mile radius of Stone Mountain so that volunteers can provide support and assistance to the new owners.

When he learned that Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta was one of the two GAPY Award winners for this year, Viener said, “I’ve been waiting for years for this. I’ve seen the greyhound racing industry evolve over the past 20 years, and I’ve seen how committed they are to greyhound adoption.”

More than sixteen hundred miles north of Stone Mountain, Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program Founder Deb Levasseur and her volunteers place over 100 greyhounds a year throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.

Levasseur, a Certified Canine Behavior Therapist, founded MGAP in 2003 because she and other local greyhound adopters recognized the need for an adoption group in the area. Her expertise in canine behavior has informed the approach that MGAP takes in preparing greyhounds for life as pampered and beloved family pets.

MGAP utilizes a system of foster homes and positive behavior training for greyhounds entering the adoption system to help ease their transition from the track to home life. Levasseur said this process helps ensure that every greyhound is placed in a home that’s a good fit for the dog’s unique disposition and temperament. The dogs learn how to live with children and other animals, climb stairs, and cope with family life.

Deb said she is especially proud of MGAP’s online training program. After prospective greyhound owners complete a screening interview to qualify for adoption, they receive free access to a comprehensive online training course that covers virtually everything they need to know about building a successful relationship with their new pet.

“It’s so important for new greyhound owners to know what to expect,” Deb noted. “We cover everything from the basics of feeding, nutrition and grooming to more advanced things like house and yard training, setting boundaries, and helping your greyhound avoid separation anxiety.”

“We’re really thrilled to receive this award,” said Levasseur. “It’s very special to get honored for doing something you love to do. And the donation will be greatly appreciated too!”

Each of the GAPY award-winning organizations will receive a donation of $1,000, and a plaque for permanent display.

AGC President Bill Lee paid tribute to the award winners and added that every adoption group makes an important contribution.

“This year’s winners are both exceptional, but every group nominated had a great story to tell,” Lee said. “And for every group that gets nominated, there are dozens more who haven’t yet been nominated but continue to do the great work of greyhound adoption, day in and day out. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

 

 

 

NO MORE GREYHOUNDS TO BLOOD BANKS, NGA SAYS

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) has issued a new policy that, effective immediately, outlines the organization’s parameters and guidance with regard to the use of NGA registered greyhounds for the purpose of blood donation. NGA Executive Director, Jim Gartland said that the policy is long overdue.

“Although this policy has been drafted and adopted based on recent events, it has been a long time coming and we intend to fully see it through going forward,” he said.

Members of the NGA and associated adoption groups will be expected to comply with the policy and will be held accountable for any breach of its rules.

* * * * * * * * * *

 NGA Blood Donor Policy for NGA Members

The NGA Board mandates that members refrain from direct involvement with, or directly supplying animals to, animal blood donation facilities and animal blood donor colonies.  NGA members found in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action by the Board up to and including termination of membership.

If an NGA member would like their greyhound to be considered for use as a blood donor, this can be done through pre-approved adoption programs affiliated with legitimate, sanctioned blood banks, a list of which can be obtained through the NGA.

NGA Blood Donor Policy for Adoption Programs

Any greyhound adoption program must be pre-approved by the NGA to use greyhounds for the purpose of blood donation prior to adoption and can only be done in conjunction with legitimate, sanctioned blood banks.

The adoption program must establish a written, contractual relationship in which the adoption program and the blood bank agree that any greyhound used for blood donation will only be used for a limited period of time, not more than 18 months and not to exceed the 7th birthday of the greyhound. The greyhound adoption program and the blood bank must agree that all documentation relating to the blood donor, including blood draw information, is available for inspection by the greyhound adoption program or a representative of the NGA at any time.

The blood bank must provide the adoption program, or any other named facility, all documented information on blood draws every six months. Prior to the donation period, the greyhound will be spayed or neutered, receive a full medical and dental exam and treatment and must obtain proof of clearance. This must be done by either the greyhound adoption program or the blood donation facility with the adoption program being responsible to forward this documentation to the NGA.

After the donation period, the greyhound will receive a full medical and dental exam and treatment with photographs and proof of clearance. This medical treatment must be done by either the greyhound adoption program or the blood donation facility with the adoption program being responsible to forward this documentation to the NGA.

The adoption program that makes the arrangement for the greyhound blood donor is then obligated to place the greyhound into an adoptive home after the donation period. All documentation regarding greyhound blood donors must be sent to the National Greyhound Association for review and filing. The adoption program is required to keep a copy of these files for seven (7) years and files must be available for inspection by designated NGA members at any time.

Any deficiency or violation in this policy by the adoption program may lead to termination from the program and/or from receiving NGA greyhounds for the purpose of adoption going forward. All adoption programs affiliated with blood donor programs must reapply for approval every two years.

BLOOD BANK GREYHOUNDS WARMLY WELCOMED BY ADOPTION GROUPS

A group of 151 greyhounds transferred out of a pet blood bank in Cherokee, Texas, have been warmly welcomed by adoption groups in Texas, Arizona and other southwest locations. The effort was jointly coordinated and funded by the Texas Greyhound Association (TGA), the National Greyhound Association (NGA) and the American Greyhound Council (AGC).

“We have been impressed with the overall excellent health and condition of these greyhounds,” said TGA President David Peck. “The dogs were checked by a veterinarian for tick-borne illnesses and any other health issues before their release, and the blood bank is providing those records to help adoption groups avoid unnecessary veterinary expense where possible.”

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland said that dozens of adoption groups from around the country volunteered to take blood bank greyhounds. Preference was given to groups within a relatively short travel distance to minimize transport time.

“It takes a lot of hands on deck to manage the relocation of so many greyhounds,” Gartland said. “Thanks to the hard work of the adoption community, the greyhound racing associations and the folks at the Pet Blood Bank, these dogs are on their way to loving homes, in good health and ready to begin their new lives as family pets. “

TEXAS GREYHOUND ASSOCIATION PROBES PET BLOOD BANK CONDITIONS

The Texas Greyhound Association (TGA) is investigating the care of retired racing greyhounds at a central Texas pet blood bank  in response to the release of a PeTA video that purports to show unhealthy greyhounds living in poor conditions at the facility.

The TGA has issued the following statement on the probe:

Although we are well aware of PeTA’s reputation for distorting the facts to raise money and get media coverage, the Texas Greyhound Association (TGA) takes any matters relating to greyhound welfare very seriously. We are currently investigating the allegations made against Pet Blood Bank Inc. A TGA representative visited the facility yesterday to conduct an initial inspection and found no signs of the serious neglect shown in the PeTA video. At the same time, a representative of the sheriff’s office arrived, and after inspecting the facility, indicated that he saw no evidence of seriously problematic conditions. The operator of the Pet Blood Bank advised us that he believed the video may have been taken several years ago when the facility was under previous ownership.
 
However, we are not yet satisfied. We are working with the sheriff’s department to arrange an independent veterinary inspection of the facility and the dogs housed there to get a  more in-depth understanding of the situation. Once we have completed that process and have all the facts, we will determine what further actions may be necessary.
The sheriff of San Saba County, where Cherokee, TX is located, also issued a statement after visiting the blood bank facility, according to a report on the website of KXXV-TV, the ABC affiliate in Central Texas. The statement read as follows:
“It has come to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office of a story on the internet that there is a business in our county that has animals (Greyhounds) that are being abused and neglected. A Deputy went to the reported location and met with the owner who gave him free and unlimited access to the facility. The Deputy could see that all animals had food, water, and shelter and could find no signs of abuse or neglect and the animals appeared to be healthy. Also on scene was an Inspector with the Texas Greyhound Association would also found the story to be baseless. The Deputy then tracked down the Veterinarian who has been on location to check the animals within the recent months and he had never observed anything that would cause concern. The Sheriff and his Deputies take very seriously reports of abuse or neglect of wildlife, domesticated livestock, domesticated pets. We will continue to investigate any reports we are made aware of.”

 

THERE’S STILL TIME–GAPY NOMINATIONS TO CLOSE OCTOBER 1

Nominations for the Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year (GAPY) Award will close October 1. So far, ten groups have been nominated, including:

  • It’s a Grey Area Adoption–Pearl River, LA
  • G.R.A.C.E. (Greyhound Retirement Adoption Care Education)–Belleville, MI
  • GEM (Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan)–Wayne, MI
  • Greyhound Rescue Society of TX–Dallas, TX
  • GST’s Sun State Greyhound Adoption–Hialeah, FL
  • Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption–La Habra Heights, FL
  • Greyhound Adoption Service–Salisbury, MA
  • Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program–Moncton, Alberta, Canada
  • Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption–Sturgeon City, Alberta, Canada
  • Adopt a Greyhound Atlanta–Stone Mountain, GA

Two outstanding greyhound programs will be recognized. Each will receive a $1,000 grant and a permanent plaque. Any individual or organization may nominate a candidate for the award. To be eligible, the nominated organization must have adopted out or facilitated the adoption of at least 36 greyhounds during the previous calendar year.

It is only necessary to nominate a group once; the number of nominations received for any given group is not a factor in making the award.

NGA ISSUES STATEMENT ON FLORIDA TRAINER SUSPENSION

The following statement was issued today by the National Greyhound Association (NGA):

There has been extensive news coverage in recent days of the suspension of a Florida greyhound trainer after several of his dogs tested positive for metabolites indicating exposure to an illegal substance. State regulators have suspended the trainer’s license pending an August hearing. An investigation is under way to determine the full facts of the situation. Until all the facts are known, it is important to let the state regulatory process move forward without prejudging the outcome.

Greyhound racing has its own process for addressing such situations. In addition to complying with all state and local laws, National Greyhound Association (NGA) members also must comply with rigorous association rules governing greyhound care. Any member who fails to do so may be banned from greyhound racing for life, and others prohibited from doing business with the violator. These tough penalties send a strong message that illegal or improper behavior will not be tolerated.

NGA rules, state laws and local racing regulations are designed to protect the health and welfare of racing greyhounds, and to preserve the integrity of the sport, while at the same time ensuring that those accused of crimes or violations receive the full due process to which they are entitled. Due process includes a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

As this investigation moves forward and coverage continues, we hope that members of the news media will rely on credible official sources for information, and disregard the hysterical clamoring of animal rights extremists that use such situations to generate publicity and raise funds to advance their anti-racing agenda.

ANNUAL GATHERING DRAWS GREYHOUNDS, OWNERS TO ABILENE

An impressive collection of greyhounds from all over the country, and their devoted owners, gathered in Abilene KS June 21-24 in support of greyhound adoption. Proceeds from the event were earmarked for Teddy Palmer’s Halfway Home Greyhound Adoption, in Tulsa, OK. Palmer is a past winner of the AGC’s Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year (GAPY) award, and a long-term leader in the greyhound adoption community.

Event coordinator Bec Maier said, “We strive to bridge adoption with the racing industry through education and promotion.” Maier described Halfway Home’s founder Teddy Palmer as a pioneer in the industry — one who has changed the way greyhound adoptions are handled.

“She forged what we now know as adoption groups,” Maier said. “She has currently moved 6,537 greyhounds. She has a small organization, but she is a little powerhouse–a keg of dynamite.”

This year’s event included tours of the Greyhound Hall of Fame, National Greyhound Association (NGA) offices, and several local farms, as well as education programs, featured speakers and other activities. One of the highlights of the program was a presentation by Rory Goree, a member of the Arizona Racing Commission and past president of Greyhound Pets of America.

            Award winner Rory Goree

According to reports, Goree wowed the crowd with his greyhound knowledge and stories. At the close of the gathering, former NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione presented him with a certificate of appreciation from the NGA and the American Greyhound Council (AGC), citing Rory’s many years of active involvement with greyhound adoption, and his dedicated efforts to build relationships between the racing industry and adoption groups for the benefit of retiring greyhounds.

Maier herself began adopting greyhounds 25 years ago. Since that time, she has had 51 greyhounds, with 16 currently enjoying life at her home.