Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Humane Society and pit bulls

Yesterday a judge in North Carolina ordered 127 pit bulls (nearly half were puppies) euthanized after hearing testimony from two representatives of the Humane Society of the United States. On hearing this, a logical person might assume that the Humane Society was urging them to evaluate the dogs before making any decision. Yet the opposite is true; the Humane Society was once again suggesting that these dogs should be put down without evaluation--that there was no way they could be redeemed. The Humane Society also campaigned for the euthanization for Micheal Vick's dogs without evaluation--while at the same time running a fundraiser on their website suggesting that money would be used for the dogs' care. All but two of Vick's dogs were saved, and most are now celebrities, featured on TV shows, in Sports Illustrated, etc.

Why would they take this stand, which seems at odds with their normally extreme support of animals in even the most unlikely cases? I'm guessing it has to do with their efforts to end animal fighting--legislation would be easier to pass if people believe that the damage done to the animals cannot be reversed. Or, perhaps even more cynically, they haven't figured out a way to make money off of pit bulls, so they aren't interested in promoting them. (They do have huge success raising money on the puppy mill issue, which actually only affects 8% of the dog population, while pit bulls make up perhaps 20%).

I put a call in to their media rep this morning, and asked for a statement on exactly what their position is regarding pit bulls. I haven't heard anything yet, but it'll certainly make an interesting story.

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