December 31, 2009
Testimonials from Friends in the Field, 2009
For years, The HSUS has helped animals, local shelters, and communities
For more than half a century, The Humane Society of the United States has been the nation's most important advocate for local humane societies. From extensive training to disaster and financial assistance, our organization works every day to help shelters help animals.
And when the need to shelter animals who are victims of disasters or large-scale cruelties such as puppy mills, horse slaughter trade, or factory farming falls outside the scope of local humane societies, we fulfill a special role here, too.
Together with our partner, The Fund for Animals, we provide sanctuary and direct care to thousands of creatures, big and small—making the duo among the largest and most diverse sanctuary operators in the United States.
Here's what some of the animal rescue groups, shelters, and other organizations had to say about their experiences working with The HSUS in 2009 and earlier.
Brian Shapiro, executive director of the Ulster County SPCA, following Humane Society International's assistance in rescuing nearly 100 neglected sled dogs in Quebec (November 2009)
(Editor's note: Quote courtesy of www.midhudsonnews.com.)
"These dogs lived their whole lives on chains in crude and dangerous conditions without proper food, water and shelter," said Shapiro. "Our agency is honored to be working with the Humane Society and we are excited about giving these beautiful dogs the chance for a new life here in Ulster County. The Humane Society has always helped our shelter in times of need and we are pleased to do the same."
Kristina Bowman, volunteer during The HSUS's rescue of more than 500 dogs from a Texas puppy mill (August 2009)
"I cannot adequately express into words how grateful I am that you let me be part of your "team" this past week! You said it would be a life-changing experience and it truly was! I was both deeply humbled and extremely honored to be there. Your team is amazing and I truly hope that I can join you all again for many more rescues. You will always have my total respect, admiration and loyalty!"
Betty McDonough, past member of the Board of Trustees of Augusta Regional SPCA and a dedicated volunteer, after The HSUS and local authorities removed almost 100 dogs from deplorable conditions at "Oak Leaf Kennel" in Stuarts Draft, Va. (August 2009)
(Editor's note: Quote courtesy of www.newsleader.com.)
"It just brought tears to my eyes to see the public come in and save these adorable dogs. ... Our shelter staff worked until 4 a.m. Saturday preparing for the pickup of these 99 dogs who were matted with dried feces. Saturday began the removal of the dogs to various shelters. Special thanks to the Humane Society of the United States. They came in and helped so much with the organization of what dogs went to which shelter."
David Betournay, president of the New England Federation of Humane Societies
The Humane Society of the United States has long been an organizational supporter of the New England Federation of Humane Societies (New England Fed). ... In support of [the group's] mission, through the years The HSUS has provided liaisons who have served as advisors and board members, speakers for our conferences and events, and been both regular sponsors and vendors helping to provide funds that make our events possible. They have also been donors of raffle items and a general resource for spreading the word about the Federation's events and we appreciate their support."
Oahu SPCA co-founder Jennifer Kishimori, following the rescue of more than 400 animals from a suspected hoarding situation at a West Oahu, Hawaii, property (July 2009)
"The HSUS has the national expertise and resources to support local rescue operations such as this. It was a natural alliance to ensure the success of this project."
Beth Lockwood of SPCA Tampa Bay
"SPCA Tampa Bay Began a long-lasting partnership with HSUS in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. After that, through the assistance of our southeast director, we established our local Disaster Animal Response Team. Most recently, we assisted with four hurricanes that hit our state in 2004: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Without the support of HSUS, recovery for the animals would have been much slower. They assisted with staff and resources.
"Because of the experience we gained being in Florida, we were called on to help with Katrina and were honored to assist. Working with HSUS over the years has been a rewarding journey, not only for the SPCA but for our community as well. We are now assisting with puppy mills and man-made disasters. SPCA Tampa Bay staff, volunteers, and residents of our community assisted with time, money, and donated goods to help rescued dogs get a new lease on life. Thank you for letting us be part of the solution!"
Tim Rickey, director of Animal Cruelty Task Force at the Humane Society of Missouri, after The HSUS assisted in the rescue of nearly 500 dogs in an historic multi-state dogfighting raid (July 2009)
"I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the past four months. This has been an exhausting time for myself and many others at the Humane Society of Missouri but it has also been the most rewarding four months of my 20-year career. We ended up with nearly 560 dogs that have been freed from the chains and rescued from this industry of torture. My partnership with HSUS developed at the beginning of this case by chance, but I have to believe it was for this reason. Over the course of a year and a half, I worked this case with the knowledge that it would be a monumental case unlike anything we had ever done before and I knew that it would require an army of dedicated and professional animal welfare partners.
"The HSUS' contribution to this rescue and sheltering effort is immeasurable. Without your commitment to provide rescue personnel, transport vehicles, equipment and sheltering volunteers I could not have embarked on this journey and we would never have saved nearly 600 dogs from a life of torment and torture. I want you to know that your commitment to this effort is sincerely appreciated by me and all of the members of the Animal Cruelty Task Force."
Lt. Joe Lusignan of Benton County, Washington, after The HSUS assisted in rescuing about 400 dogs at a Washington puppy mill (May 2009)
(Editor's note: Quote courtesy of the Tacoma News Tribune.)
"It took a national organization ... that had the people trained and ready to go on a moment's notice," said Lt. Joe Lusignan with Benton County. "The logistics of coordination all the individual assets would have been overwhelming for us." The Humane Society of the United States and the other various groups that were called were already organized, trained and certified.
"We just had to back up and say, "Tell us what you need.' We needed a well-constructed organization that had the manpower in place to be able to coordinate the operation," Lusignan said. "It was much too big of a job for the local Humane Society to do and much too big of a job for us to do."
Sheriff Larry D. Taylor, following the rescue of nearly 400 dogs from a Washington State puppy mill (May 2009)
"Thank you for everything. It is difficult for me to put into words the emotional praise that I have for all of the staff that has come to our community to help. … We did not have the resources or expertise to even begin to handle this case. Your personnel totally impressed all of my staff and the prosecutor's office by demonstrating the highest level of professionalism, knowledge and expertise, and true compassion to these abused dogs.
"After more than 32 years of law enforcement, this will be one of those cases that will continue to touch my heart for my entire life. These dogs and puppies are so cute and to see them in the deplorable conditions that they had lived in, broke my heart. We as a community and all of these dogs are blessed by the staff from The Humane Society of the United States and the other organizations that they brought as well as our local veterinarians. God bless all of you and thank you so much."
Morrill County Sheriff John Edens, Morrill County, Neb., following the rescue of nearly 200 neglected horses from a ranch in Alliance (April 2009)
"It would have been hard to do everything we did without them," Edens told the Omaha World-Herald about The HSUS.
(Editor's note: We honored Edens for his horse rescue work with a Humane Law Enforcement Award on Sept. 25. Edens said, "I'm just doing my job ... I don't really think I deserve anything special for it." Read the full article here »)
Danni Armstrong, volunteer coordinator at Osan Air Base's veterinary treatment facility in South Korea
Armstrong, a certified veterinary assistant, had been working with shelters, rescue groups, and kennels since 1989 in places where her husband was stationed. But even so, she needed help, so she contacted The HSUS in 2007. "I've always been the little volunteer—'I'm just here to help'—but I was given the whole program to take over and I wanted to do it right," she says, "and the people at The Humane Society are the experts."
She was put in touch with The HSUS's Stephanie Shain, who sent her books, copies of the organization's Animal Sheltering magazine, and lists of online resources. The pair soon began exchanging countless e-mails. "For her to stop what she was doing just to help me get going on my program was amazing," says Armstrong.
Michael E. Picente, director of the Breckinridge County Animal Shelter, after The HSUS assisted in the rescue of more than 125 dogs at an Adair County hoarding situation in Kentucky (March 2009)
"I would like to express my feeling towards this entire operation. It was both educational and inspiring. It was an absolute honor to work around such truly professional people. It will be my goal for as long as I am an ACO to strive to achieve such professionalism. If you ever have another operation in or around this area, I would be more than willing to make myself available to assist in any way that I can. I would consider it an honor. Please thank the people behind the scene. There are always logistical personnel who never seem to get recognized. My appreciation to and for HSUS will no doubt be everlasting. I will continually keep HSUS in my prayers. Keep up the good work!"
Sara Pizano, DVM, director of Miami-Dade Animal Services
"In 2004, County Manager George Burgess requested an evaluation of Miami Dade Animal Services by HSUS. The result was a 200+ page report with more than 570 recommendations that included creating an independent department and hiring a new director. Of course, I am in support of the ASC program [now called The HSUS Shelter Services Program] since I was hired as a result of the report! Back then, as a new director, the report served as a great tool I used to begin overhauling the department.
In four years we have increased adoptions more than 250 percent, created a formal rescue program with more than 50 groups, drastically decreased the infectious disease rate and welcomed back volunteers who last year donated 11,000 hours. This year we will save more animals than ever before and are grateful for the framework the HSUS evaluation provided to improve the shelter."
Michael W. Duffey, animal cruelty investigator with The Humane Society of Southern Arizona and co-chairman of The Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona
"As the co-chairman of the Animal Cruelty Task force of Southern Arizona, I am willing to advise anyone, that the continued support of The HSUS is directly responsible for our continued success in the ongoing struggle with investigation and prosecution of animal crimes in Arizona. The HSUS representative for Arizona has also been personally involved with seeking changes to Arizona statutory laws that facilitate successful prosecution of animal cruelty suspects, and increase the quality of life for all the animal victims.
"It is the actions of the HSUS that have allowed the very many rural communities throughout Arizona to receive the assistance they have needed to train and educate the various animal control agencies, which has made a significant difference in all animals' lives."
Matt Aresco, conservation director of Nokuse Plantation, a 48,000-acre private conservation initiative in the Florida panhandle (2009)
"When Florida's wildlife agency was allowing gopher tortoises—now officially a threatened species in the state—to be buried alive on construction sites by the tens of thousands, The Humane Society of the United States stepped in to help end the practice. The HSUS's involvement has also been instrumental in saving 1,800 tortoises from a slow, horrible death. For years, we've worked with The HSUS to reach out to developers who hold grandfathered burial permits and convince them to allow hundreds of gopher tortoises each year to be safely, humanely relocated to permanently protected lands. The HSUS' collaboration not only with environmental groups, but with members of the development industry as well, continues to be a life-saving force for these beleaguered reptiles, and we couldn't have done it without them."
Lisa Blenden, who works with feral cats in Texas
"For most people, spring is a time of joy. Unfortunately, I have dreaded the warm air, the budding trees, and blooming flowers each season for 16 years, as it will bring an untold number of additions to my feral colony of cats. Throughout the years I have struggled to control the ever-growing population, failing each time due to a lack of funds, an adequate number of humane traps, or a lack of availability for unscheduled surgeries at my local clinics.
"However, this spring will be different. Thanks to the Doris Day Animal Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States for their grants distributed by the Waco Animal Birth Control Clinic and the Heart of Texas Feral Friends Society, my colony appears to have been completely neutralized. I cannot thank enough those who have contributed their time and funds to give such a beautiful gift to my beloved four-legged, furry friends. We will always be grateful and thankful to have received such kindness."
Gina Brown, founder of Spring Hill Horse Rescue Inc. in N. Clarendon, VT (2009)
"I would like to thank HSUS for a wonderful job they are doing with the animal welfare issues. I would also like to thank them for all of the help they have given us over the past years—last year in particular. In December 2008, Spring Hill assisted in a hoarding case that resulted in more than 110 animals being seized. Spring Hill took in over 60 of those animals which was very overwhelming and taxing on its resources. We made an urgent phone call to Joanne Bourbeau of HSUS, and not only did she give some wonderful advice and donated a ton of grain and other supplies we needed to care for these animals, but she also spread the word throughout the community which resulted in many in-kind and monetary donations. HSUS has had a huge impact on the well-being of animals throughout the United States. They are very devoted to animals and supportive of shelters. They are truly the voice of the animals."
Cindy Wiemann, secretary/treasurer of the Georgia Animal Control Association
"The Humane Society of the United States has done so much for so many animals. Georgia would still have one of the weakest dogfighting laws in the nation if it was not for the hard work of The HSUS. They have provided training at a very low cost (barely enough for the printed material, and nothing for travel expense) to law enforcement and animal control to help recognize and prosecute dogfighting. The same is true for the disaster response training. Without The HSUS, many of the animal welfare laws (both state and federal) would still be on a 'wish list.' Training, selling and watching a dog ight would result in a slap on the hand.
"As an Animal Control Officer, I have assisted in several cases with The HSUS. I consider it an honor to assist and learn from some of the best-trained and educated animal welfare people in the nation. Each time I have worked with them, I have received valuable training. All The HSUS personnel I have known are very professional.
"National animal welfare groups and local rescue groups have different, but equally important, goals. Many of the animals taken from people for cruelty would never make it to the local shelter without good laws (and groups with money and power to persuade the legislators to pass them)."
Jerilee Zezula, D.V.M., retired assistant professor of Applied Animal Science, University of New Hampshire; campus coordinator for New England Animal Control/Humane Academy
"HSUS has been a hands-on supporter of Animal Care and Control professionals in New England for many years. HSUS has supported New England Animal Control Humane Academy since 1980 by providing professional speakers at no cost on a variety of topics. NEACHA has been very successful at keeping the tuition of the week-long academy reasonable to attract animal care professionals who could not otherwise attend. HSUS understands our goal and has worked with us.
"In addition, HSUS, through its regional office, has provided assistance and resources to area shelters, Animal Fighting Task Forces, and Humane Commissions throughout NE. Many small organizations and shelters have problems or limited resources to pull great ideas together. HSUS has used their resources and connections to help them on many occasions. While HSUS does not operate animal shelters, many of its employees and representatives have come up through the ranks and have worked at and directed animal shelters.
"I guess the best way I can describe the role of HSUS in New England is that it helps animal care professionals help themselves by providing guidance and resources. It has greatly contributed to the professionalism of the animal care and control fields!"
Douglas Radziewicz, executive director of the SPCA of Hancock County in Maine
"What has HSUS done for us at the SPCA of Hancock County? I feel that HSUS has done everything we have asked for or expected. We rely upon them for everything from Humane Education; a link for shelter news (i.e. reference for the advances in animal behavior, shelter and animal health, shelter medicine, volunteerism and so on) with their magazine and online info; a source for a gathering of related organizations and professionals with their Animal Care Expo; and lastly their work with the many other shelters and Maine Federation of Humane Societies. Having a regional/state representative work on behalf of shelters and the animals we care for is so valuable to the mission of each of our respective organizations. All of the above affect our work at the SPCA and work we do as an animal shelter. We consider HSUS a friend, a supporter and a truly professionally run organization."
Kelley Y. Durham, CAWA, executive director of Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, Ariz.
"HSUS offers to individual animal shelters what we could never do alone. Their centralized resources help us:
- Speak with a collective voice within our individual state legislatures
- Collect valuable research that guides our messaging and programming
- Gather together to collaborate and build relationships
- Attend a national conference full of the latest information, most informative speakers, and opportunities for networking
- Acquire education through their publications and university
- Tap experienced resources for disaster, cruelty rescues, and public relations
"Our shelter is a proud shelter partner member of HSUS. As a member, we don't look to them to give us handouts or cash any more than we do from our chamber of commerce. They provide tremendous value for our membership and are an international voice for animal welfare—speaking for all of us combined. Because of the efforts of HSUS, many individual shelters are in a much better position to accomplish our mission."
Jr. Simmons of Wilkes County Animal Control, following the raid of "Wildside Kennels," an alleged dogfighting operation in McGrady, N.C. (December 2008)
"On behalf of all the animals confiscated in this case, for all those who tirelessly give of their time in this cause, and further for the influence this action will have on the owners, breeders and fighters of pit bulls, let me offer my sincerest thank you for your part in this project.
"To The Humane Society of the United States, Amanda and Chris, your dedication to the plight of these and other animals like them cannot be expressed in words. It often takes tunnel vision to stay through the ups and downs of projects such as this. Your compassionate determination in this and other related issues brings about the change necessary to the welfare of the animal community. Without you this could not have been possible. May God guide you as you continue your pursuit of justice.
"Nothing of this size comes together without the work of many agencies, extensive manpower, legal backing, time and patience. Because of the part you have played the operation has been a success, if for no other reason than that 127 animals and their offspring have been spared the horrible fate of fighting for their lives. That in itself would make this a worthy endeavor. But the message is being sent that this type of entertainment and profit organization will continue to be under the microscope, and efforts will not let up in the arrest and conviction of those involved in the world of dogfighting.
"It has been a pleasure working with you on this case for the invaluable resources and knowledge you have brought to the table."
Alanna Devine, acting executive director of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after Humane Society International/Canada assisted the CSPCA in the rescue of approximately 100 dogs in a puppy mill north of Montreal (December 2008)
"I just wanted to tell you what an honor it was to be able to work with you. As well, I wanted to tell you how much we, the CSPCA and the dogs (woof woof) appreciate all the time, effort, dedication and resources you have put into this. The CSPCA, as you know, could never have saved these dogs from a life of misery without your help and I will be eternally grateful for all that you have done. I wish there was some other way that I could express my gratitude but do know that every time I look at those incredible beings that we saved I am aware that it is thanks to you. We will miss you guys and hope we get the opportunity to work with you in the future."
Dr. Michael and Candice Staub, after The HSUS was called in to assist Indiana State Police with the rescue and care of more than 60 animals from a Fairbanks, Ind., puppy mill (October 2008)
"I just wanted to say thank you so very, very much. Words cannot express how grateful Mike and I are to you and the entire team. I wish that we could have had a chance to meet. It was an honor and privilege to meet each and every one of the team. Scotlund is an amazing man and very organized and professional. The rest of the team was wonderful as well. There just are really no words. Please let Scotlund know that we are available, if for any reason he would need us, we would come. We owe you all so much. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and God Bless."
Carrie Roe, president of the Parkersburg, W. Va. Humane Society, following what is believed to be the largest puppy mill raid in W. Va. history (August 2008)
"I am writing this without a clue as to what I am going to say that will be enough. Enough to tell each and every one of you how invaluable you were in saving 927 lives last week … Thank you first and foremost for sharing our love for innocent animals and for believing that our cause was worthy of your attention. I can't imagine doing any of this without you all!"
"Thank you for the hard work before and during to pull this together. Your commitment was amazing and your energy tireless. ... Thank you for showing us the way with incredible leadership every step of the way. There are countries that don't have the leadership that you all displayed. Everyone that I [talked to] that saw you all at work first-hand keeps commenting about how impressed they were with the "Operation." How amazing it was [that] so few could deal with so many. Thank you all for being so kind, patient, understanding and cheerful with our volunteers. Thank you for the compassion you showed for all of us, four-legged and two-legged alike. And lastly, thank you to each and every one of you for helping save and change the lives of these 927 dogs who are now safe, loved and starting new lives."
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