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Statement on Louisville’s New Animal Services Director

The residents and animals of Louisville are fortunate to be gaining a strong leader in Justin Scally for its beleaguered Animal Services department.

Scally, who was employed by The Humane Society of the United States from 2009 to 2011, will assume his new responsibilities on August 8.

"Justin Scally’s skills, experience and dedication to helping animals will be a tremendous asset to our community. We are so fortunate to have him, and I applaud Mayor Greg Fischer and other city leaders for their choice,” said Pamela Rogers, HSUS Kentucky State Director.

In his two years at HSUS, Scally worked with law enforcement agencies, other humane organizations and volunteers to rescue thousands of animals in need. He headed the group’s Puppy Mill Task Force and served as the interim director of Disaster Services, working on a wide range of issues involving disaster preparedness, emergency pet sheltering, adoptions, investigations, and field response.

Opponents of Scally’s appointment in Louisville have attempted to mislead the public and elected officials about The HSUS in an effort to undermine Scally’s leadership of the troubled agency before it even begins.

Contrary to statements made in the media, The HSUS strongly supports the goal of no-kill, and is working hard across the country to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats. We are reducing pet overpopulation through our spay and neuter programs, preventing relinquishment of pets to shelters by keeping pets and families together, sponsoring the first national public service campaign to promote shelter pet adoption, and running other proven, live-saving programs. The HSUS’ president and CEO posted a blog entry in 2007 expressing The HSUS’s support for  no-kill policies, and the group has been on record on this issue a number of times over the last few years.

The HSUS’ policies on animal research have also been misrepresented. In May, HSUS called on the University of Kentucky to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act after several violations of the law’s minimal requirements for the humane treatment of animals used in research came to light. Far from being against medical research, The HSUS supports scientists who are working to refine experiments so they are done more humanely, reduce the number of animals used in tests, and develop non-animal alternatives which are often more cost effective and provide a pathway for 21st century science.

It was particularly concerning to see one local newspaper rely on comments from Rick Berman, a notorious millionaire Washington lobbyist in its original story on Scally’s appointment. Berman’s so-called “Center for Consumer Freedom” is a front group for corporations trying to thwart animal welfare, environmental and other public interest reforms masquerading as a legitimate non-profit organization. It is not a consumer protection organization, and it has no social welfare mission. CCF takes in boatloads of corporate cash, providing anonymity to companies and allowing them to get tax breaks through their “donations” to this phony nonprofit. They attack The HSUS, just like they attack Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other public interest groups that work to protect public health and safety.

The HSUS supports the work of animal shelters and rescue organizations, celebrates the human-animal bond, and provides direct care to more animals than any other animal welfare group in the nation. We cared for more than 100,000 animals in 2010 through our veterinary programs, animal rescues, and other hands-on work, and we spend more than $20 million annually supporting local animal shelters and running our own hands-on animal care programs. We provide training programs for shelters, host the nation's largest trade and educational show for shelter professionals, provide national shelter standards and support spay and neuter programs. We launched the first ever national advertising campaign to promote the adoption of shelter animals and help when natural disasters and cruelty cases overwhelm locally available resources. We also have major campaigns to combat animal cruelty, factory farming, dogfighting and cockfighting, Canada's notorious killing of baby seals and large-scale puppy mills. We make no apologies for our efforts to stop these terrible abuses.

Representatives of organizations that have worked with The HSUS have offered praise for our resources, professionalism, and dedication.

For more information on The HSUS, visit humanesociety.org.