But that is not all of what HSSBV is doing here. They are taking what many witnesses believe are adoptable, healthy animals and killing them - possibly free of charge - on behalf of other shelters that want to maintain their "no-kill" good image. They are doing it after-hours in sort of a clandestine operation, trucking in these animals through the back entrance for the sole purpose of killing them. This should rub you the wrong way on multiple levels. 1) HSSBV should not be in the business of killing other shelters' animals, not even if they are unhealthy. 2) Other shelters and rescue agencies should not be in the business of taking animals they won't/can't adopt to another agency for death. If you cannot adopt out 95-98% of the animals in your care, don't call yourself a no-kill shelter and be honest about your kill rates. I'm not sure if HSSBV offers these rescue agencies a free deal, like they do with the public, or if the other agencies have to pay. It's wrong, either way.
Yes, there is the ultimate rub - we just shouldn't be killing these animals, period.
Now, let me make this clear. HSSBV is not dishonest with their mission. They are *not* a traditional shelter. They offer spay/neuter services, vaccine clinics, cruelty investigations and impounds, and a free euthanasia service for the public. They do a lot of humane education in schools, which is slightly creepy considering the 10,000 animals they kill (a humane society does not involve the indiscriminate killing of seemingly adoptable animals). So I don't think the criticism about what HSSBV markets themselves as is valid - they make no claims to have adoptable animals nor do they claim to rescue animals and place them. Like I always say, do your due diligence when you decide where to donate money...one cursory glance at their website makes it clear they aren't adopting animals out.
But there are a few things I want to know:
1) Did any agency have to pay to kill these animals? HSSBV should not profit off of the death of puppies and healthy dogs.
2) Did the agencies that used HSSBV's secret service report those animals as "placed off site" or "killed"? Every single shelter or rescue facility that used HSSBV's kill service should include those dead animals in their kill rates.
3) Did HSSBV keep track of the age, sex, type and physical and behavioral disposition of the animals they killed or was it a free-for-all kill-fest? I want to know how old these animals were (some witnesses claim a lot of puppies were killed). I want to know if they were physically healthy or truly at death's door. I want to know if they were all Pit Bulls, big black dogs or the types of dogs traditional shelters usually kill. I want to know more about these animals, because at the very least, they deserve a small acknowledgment that, hey, they were once alive and they mattered.
I'm a little appalled Last Chance for Animals (LCA) sees nothing wrong with the practice. I've worked with folks from LCA on legislative issues and find it a little surprising they'd take this stance...far enough to ask that their investigative video be removed from youtube so as not to further malign HSSBV.
And then there is Sue Dawson, former president, supposedly current secretary of the HSSBV board who has this to say:
Dawson defended the need for keeping potential stray animals off the street.I mean, I guess I see her point. Killing an animal certainly eliminates their stray potential, what with them being dead and all. It just seems a little callous to argue that "rescuing" animals means killing them. Let's at least try some reasonable efforts at, you know, placing them first.
"I would like to think we are all in this because we have a deep concern for animal welfare," she said. Rescuing an animal "means a lot of things to a lot of people. It means getting an animal out of a bad situation. That can take many forms."
Call me crazy, but I'd rather a dog or cat live out their lives than end up dead in the back of a building. I'm probably not going out on a limb here - I think the dog or cat wants to live too.