Monday, March 16, 2009

The Long Arm of HSUS in NC

Although there was much coverage of the HSUS puppy mill raid and seizure of roughly 300 dogs in Wayne County, NC last month, a similar HSUS raid 3 weeks later in Lenoir County leaves some questions unanswered:
Rescuers have removed 50 dogs from a Lenoir County breeding facility after the owner was convinced that he had to shut it down.

A statement from The Humane Society of the United States said the dogs were living in substandard conditions in outdoor pens throughout the property.

Local officials inspected the property after receiving an anonymous complaint and found no evidence of intentional abuse, but the unidentified property owner voluntarily surrendered the animals.

The statement said the property owner signed a contract with local officials barring him from breeding any dogs in the future.

What I'm reading here is "anonymous complaint", "no evidence of intentional abuse", and I guess we are supposed to take the word of the HSUS regarding the "substandard conditions". And the owner was "convinced" to "voluntarily" surrender the dogs. Yes, I have questions.

In trying to find additional information, I came across this piece on WNCT but it was written by someone from the HSUS. In fact, all the articles I came across regarding this raid seemed to be taken from the HSUS statement. So does the HSUS raid NC "puppy mills" (what exactly is a "puppy mill" in legal terms?) and then report on their activities for the local news in NC now? At least they don't have their hand in legislating the rules dog owners of NC have to live by - oh wait a second:

"We will soon introduce legislation that will help to crack down on the cruel puppy mill industry in our state." [said Amanda Arrington, North Carolina state director for The HSUS.]
How soon is now?
North Carolina doesn't have a law regulating puppy mills – breeding facilities that mass produce puppies for sale. Legislation backed by Sen. Don Davis, D-Wayne, could be introduced next week, however.

Davis said the bill is still being drafted to make sure it is fair for reputable breeders, but the Humane Society of the United States, which organized Thursday's meeting, said the legislation could require oversight and a license for breeders with 20 or more adult females.

Here is a pdf of HOUSE DRH10581-RF-9. Excerpts from the House version:
  • "Commercial breeder" means any person who, during any 12-month period, maintains 15 or more adult female dogs for the primary purpose of the sale of their offspring as companion animals.
  • Prescribe the manner in which animals may be transported to and from registered or licensed premises.
  • Commercial breeders shall not breed female dogs less than 18 months or more than eight years of age and shall provide adequate veterinary care to the female adult dogs and their offspring. An adult female dog shall not be bred without an annual certification from a licensed veterinarian that the dog is in suitable health for breeding.
  • Commercial breeding operations shall be subject to inspection by duly appointed employees of the Department or by local animal control officers. In conducting such inspections, the Department employee or local animal control officer may inspect the records of the commercial breeder, the premises where animals are bred and maintained, and any animal used in the breeding program or their offspring. Denial of access to the commercial breeding operation shall be grounds for revocation of the commercial breeders license."
Senate Bill 460 (same bill) was introduced to the NC Senate earlier this month - pdf here.

This bill sounds alarmingly vague and intrusive. I most assuredly care about protecting dogs from cruelty but as in all things, we must respect the civil liberties we are entitled to as US citizens. We must not allow a so-called "Humane" Society to overly influence our local law enforcement agencies, our local free press and our state lawmakers. We the People are a compassionate, no kill nation of pet owners who neither need nor want a nanny state created by a fundraising group of direct-mailers. We are the real humane society.

Contact Senator Davis and let him know how you feel about this bill (current status: Referred to Commerce) and the apparent overreaching involvement of the HSUS in NC law enforcement, press, and lawmaking:

Senator Don Davis, NC Senate
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 525
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925



Barb said...

I wanna know how come the HSUS is a tax-exempt charitable organization (at least I think they are?) when basically ALL they do is write, promote, and lobby for anti-pet legislation.

Except when they're busy asking for donations to help care for dogs they want to kill, that is.

Do I sound bitter?

YesBiscuit! said...

HSUS is listed as 501(c)3: