“We are disheartened and shocked that HSUS, a leader in the animal welfare community, would testify in court for the automatic destruction of puppies and dogs, who had not been given the opportunity to be evaluated as individuals, based on this policy. The Michael Vick dogs have proven how antiquated this approach is,” said Ledy VanKavage, an attorney with Best Friends Animal Society.
In 2006 HSUS advocated that all of the dogs from the Michael Vick dog fighting case be put down for the same reasons they used when recommending the killing of the Wilkes County pit bulls. In that case a federal court appointed a Special Master to oversee the evaluation of Vick’s dogs, all of which were adults. Many of the Vick dogs are now in adoptive homes, and at least two of the so-called “aggressive fighting dogs” are therapy dogs that visit hospitals to cheer up ailing patients.
“The coalition members and their supporters are urging HSUS to revaluate this policy and apply a more progressive approach that reflects the lessons learned by the animal welfare groups in the coalition, as well as other organizations that work directly with dogs,” VanKavage said.