Saturday, August 15, 2009

Part 1 - Judie Mancuso vs. Scum

So little time, so much to blog. I've been wanting to do a post on hoarding, Indy, pits, "No Kill" but feel this particular issue/subject needs more attention. I think it has far reaching effects even though it is really a local issue in California. My hero, Judie Mancuso, has been fighting a real battle in Sacramento. She comes face to face with people that we all despise such as Bill Hemby of PetPac. Judie is lucky in one regard in that she has never come face to face with Nathan Winograd aka the Whino but he has had his nose stuck in there. The AB 1634 effort for mandatory spay/neuter was, unfortunately, watered down but it did pass. So Judie took another route to get the job accomplished with SB 250 and AB 241.

SB 250 is the Pet Responsibility Act requiring that a dog must be altered to get a license and roaming cats must be altered.

AB 241 is the Responsible Breeder Act that limits owners and breeders to a 50 maximum for unaltered pets. This is aimed at puppy mills.

Who could be against this legislation?

The answer is: the vast majority of opposition to animal friendly legislation comes from one group - underground animal breeders who fear that new legislation will affect their unscrupulous businesses.

These backyard breeders are joined by hunting groups, fur farmers and other people who make their living off the backs of our animal friends.

The leaders of these groups rely on the most outrageous arguments and claims. They do this in order to rile up animal breeders and animal profiteers, compelling them to call, fax and visit legislators to complain against the bills.

Here are the two primary arguments used by opponents:

Spay and neuter legislation is actually designed to eliminate dogs and cats forever. The supporters of spay and neuter legislation are radicals who do not want anyone to own pets.

Pet overpopulation is a myth. Dogs and cats killed in shelters are unadoptable, and therefore cannot find homes anyway. And, the reason pets are killed in shelters is not overpopulation... it is actually the fault of uncaring shelter directors, shelter workers and rescue groups who just don't try hard enough.

In Their Own Words

Here are some of the most vocal opponents of spay and neuter laws, and some others opposed to animal laws in general, in their own words.

William Hemby, founder of PetPAC, describing who he thinks is behind SCIL legislation:

"...across the United States you have some of these animal rights extremist groups like the Animal Liberation Front... it started years and years ago, if you remember, about throwing the blood on fur coats and all that jazz....

Well now... these people want to eliminate all dogs and cats in California, and so they want everybody else to conform to their society."

As far as I can tell, it was PetPAC's Mr. Hemby who first coined the phrase "Pet Extinction Act" to describe spay and neuter laws. The term has inflamed breeders and presumably increased donations to PetPAC.

PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), on pet overpopulation:

The claims of pet overpopulation are "without sound basis" and "intended to alarm the public about an overpopulation problem that does not even exist".

Regarding the enormous number of pets euthanized in shelters "it is unclear where the evidence for such statements comes from, or whether it even exists".

A quick note... PIJAC is the primary lobby group representing pet stores in California, and these quotes are taken from a letter submitted by JK Pedrotti, a Government relations firm representing PIJAC.

Clearly, it is in pet stores best interest to pretend there is no overpopulation problem. If PIJAC will not believe the shelter admission and euthanasia numbers submitted to the State by the shelters themselves, then they will never believe that we have a problem, no matter how many pets we kill each year.

We the People for Pets, an anti-pet legislation group:

Animal rights is a "staircase leading to pet extinction and total loss of pet owner rights", and spay and neuter laws are being pushed with tactics "used by the Nazi party to dehumanize their targets".

I can't really find words to address this lunatic fringe stuff...

Nathan Winograd, author and shelter consultant, on pet overpopulation:

"Shelter killing is not the result of pet overpopulation; it is the result of shelter managers who find killing easier than doing what is necessary to stop it."

Nathan states that shelter workers are "content to kill animals" while "hiding behind the myth of pet overpopulation".

I must take a moment to comment on this. I have spent much of the last four years meeting with shelter workers across California. I have seen their tears as they explain their anguish at having to put down healthy animals every day. I have seen the emotional toll, and I have seen their pain as they come to grips with the horrible task they are faced with every day, thanks to careless pregnancies and reckless overbreeding. You can watch interviews with many of these shelter workers at

The claim that it is the shelter workers who are to blame for the number of pets flowing into our shelters, rather than the irresponsible pet owners and breeders who fill those shelters with their careless actions, is callous, shallow thinking.

Nathan is now selling books directly to breeders via a book tour with PetPAC, who advertise "Tour Dates" for him on the PetPAC website. And incredibly, he is now involved with radical underground breeder publications like The Animal Herald, a newsletter based partially on the idea that spay and neuter laws are "akin to genocide of dogs". The founder of this publication, cat breeder Diane Amble, appears to devote a lot of time trying to find ways to use the term "terrorist" in conjunction with the term "animal rights". This image is a capture from the latest edition of The Animal Herald... you can see a cartoon of Senator Florez, Assemblymember Nava and myself, dressed as "angels of death" for trying to pass animal protection laws. Nathan Winograd's contribution to this classy publication begins directly under the cartoon.

Ironically, or conveniently, pet breeders have become the biggest cheerleaders for Mr. Winograd, and they are often seen at the Capitol with a copy of Nathan's book clutched as their bible. Nathan has given backyard breeders an 'out' for a problem they directly contribute to, while blaming those who have to clean up the mess.

Gina Spadafori, (former) regular contributor to AKC (American Kennel Club) Publications:

Pet breeders must "realize that we’re all in this together, pet-owners against the forces of pet extinction".

Gina is a columnist and author of pet books. Shame on her for constantly pushing the bogus claim that pet owners are against spay and neuter legislation. The truth is that tens of thousands of pet owners have written and called in support of the bills. Those "pet owners" who come out against these bills consistently turn out to be people only looking out for their own self-interest (the "Me Me Me" crowd).

In fact, according to a 2008 poll by the well respected firm Zogby International, "California voters are strongly in support of a law that would enforce the spaying and neutering of pets." The Zogby poll found that 66% of California voters supported spay and neuter laws, and that after learning more about the laws, a full 80% of the voters supported them. The Zogby poll conclusion? Pet owners overwhelmingly support spay and neuter laws to reduce shelter euthanasia.

From the scarier side of the breeder community... some breeders refer to violence as a possible answer to what they perceive as an intrusive government in league with animal rights "wackos":

Walt Hutchens, Timbreblue Whippets breeder in southwestern Virginia:

"We need to win as rapidly as possible, hopefully before there is any significant violence. The effect of violence on our chances of victory cannot be predicted." In general Mr. Hutchens seems to oppose violence, but he also slyly notes "By making the AR wars 'interesting,' it will lead to much more media interest".

Joe Overlease, Cocker Spaniel breeder from Missouri who ships dogs nationwide:

"Every Breeder I know is armed to the teeth as well, hot lead is a good motivator even for the most sincere AR wacko... Welcome to Fort Cocker".

Walt Hutchens' writings appear on the website, which is devoted to keeping exotic animal ownership legal and unregulated.

California Farm Bureau Federation writing about SB 250:

"Not all counties have provisions for intact [differential] licenses, and the amendments do not seem to allow dog owners to obtain an intact license if their cities or counties do not have them. This would force... dog owners residing in these counties to sterilize their dogs."

This statement from the Farm Bureau is completely wrong, and is one of the many scare tactics being used by opponents of animal legislation. In fact, statewide law for differential licenses have been in existence since 1973 (Food and Ag code 30804.5).

"Farm Bureau is also concerned about the potential for... actions taken against our members who may leave their dogs in the back of a pickup truck."

This is another example of outlandish hyperbole meant to scare Legislators. There is no provision in SB 250 that would allow animal control to seize a dog, and in the several California communities where similar laws are already in place, these hypothetical events do not occur.

Save Our Dogs, an anti-spay and neuter legislation group:

"...are the supporters trying hide the fact that the real goal of the bill is to eliminate all cats and dogs?"

The Save Our Dogs website, registered to someone in Oregon, also provides misleading graphs for download. The site consistently tries to influence opinion by presenting only part of the available data. In my opinion, this group was formed solely to provide misinformation about spay and neuter laws.

John Yates, American Sporting Dog Alliance (in Pennsylvania), on spay and neuter laws:

"Such is the murderous intent of [this]... movement, which seeks to gradually eliminate animals from American life. Its immediate goal is to force people to sterilize or euthanize as many dogs and cats as possible, and SB 250 was written for this reason."

Unbelievable. The delusions held by some of these people are downright ridiculous.

Last, but not least.

No overview of spay and neuter law opponents would be complete without mentioning the Oregon group National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA). This group is front and center when it comes to opposing legislation that helps any type of animal, whether it is spay & neuter laws, curbs on puppy mills, or restrictions on animal cruelty.

Who are they? According to SourceWatch, who featured NAIA in their “FRONT GROUPS” project, “The NAIA is a front group and industry funded lobbying organization for animal commerce and agriculture based in Portland, Oregon. Agendas include financial interests, legislation and public perception related to farm animal agribusiness, commercial breeding, hunting, fishing, trapping, fur ranching, animal testing, horse slaughter, rodeos, circuses and entertainment.”

All these people coming out against one woman who could be blown away with a wisp of wind. Judie has balls, really big balls, no neutering for this woman.

Last week Judie sent out an email with this information on it and she has been catching hell ever since. But she not only can dish it out, she can take it.


Anonymous said...

Joe Overlease runs a Missouri puppy mill lobbying organization, Missouri Pet Breeders Association. He is a COMMERCIAL breeder (the term AKC uses to describe puppy mills.) He has a puppy breeding corporation. He ships dogs en masse nationwide to be sold in pet stores or direct to consumer from his puppy factory.

Bill Hemby is also an AKC breeder

Gina Spadafori is an AKC breeder

Walt Hutchens and his wife sell dogs online. AKC breeders. Check Virginia records, and you will find no business license, tax id number, etc for their operation. Walt Hutchens and his wife Sharon lobbied WITH puppy mill lobbyists to try to oppose puppy mill regulations in Virginia (they lost.) The Hutchenses actually sat there right with the puppy mill lobbyists defending things like breeders killing their unwanted dogs inhumanely, no vet.

Walt is elderly and retired, and has nothing else to do with his sad life but lobby for the puppy mills and other abuse industries. He spends all day, every day doing this. Fanatic, getting worse as time passes.

Anonymous said...

John Yates owns and runs a hunting dog puppy mill. Identified online for quite some time as a puppy mill breeder.

Anonymous said...

The founder of NAIA, Patti Strand, is an AKC board member who is on their puppy mill committee, a committee that seeks out and solicits registration business with the puppy mills.

The AKC makes most of its money from puppy mill registrations.

See the number one common denominator among all these breeder lobbyists?

The AKC.

The AKC IS a puppy mill lobbying organization now, because that's where its money comes from. Without puppy mill money, the AKC would be bankrupt.

And every AKC breeder who participates in any AKC event or supports it in any way feeds off that puppy mill blood money.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Honesty Helps said...

Abagale, welcome to the blog. I see that you do rescue. I hope you get some good from this and use some of the tools provided to fight for your causes.

Anonymous said...

Next time maybe Judie will come up with a more reasonable set of rules. SB 250 was full of overreaching restrictions. There is NO reason why we cannot arrive at a mutually acceptable law which accomplishes the desired result. Next time.

HonestyHelps said...

Anon, I think it was watered down trying to satisfy everyone and it forgot about satisfying the true need of the animals. If anything it needs more restrictions in my opinion. Particularly on breeders. What's the use of mandatory spay/neuter if the damn breeders are allowed free rein to continue their tax free incomes.

Anonymous said...

My name is Joe Overlease
The person who wrote this is mis informed. Hense the Anonymous listing

We are a breeding facility and we specialize in raising Cocker Spaniels only. Our money goes towards animal research IE: genetic health disorders... We are not a Puppy Mill.

We do not ship puppies to pet stores. We provide a taxi service to the airport for puppies. Often people have to work and cannot send or pick up their dogs.

We have several Show Champions and are considered to be one of the best breeders of Cocker Spaniels in the world. Our clients come from Europe, Japan, South Africa, China just to name a few.

If you are going to trash someone's good name and reputation please list your name so we can file a damages suit against you.

HonestyHelps said...

Overlease, you can put all the fancy descriptive words on yourself if you want, but it doesn't change the fact that you are scum in my book. You're in Missouri, aren't you? Puppy mill capital of the world is it not? I stand by my posts and my comments.