December 24, 2010

San Diego Donations Going to Black Hat

Ferdinand's Familia Animal Rescue and the San Diego Animal Defense Team are gathering supplies for the Black Hat Humane Society in eastern Arizona, the amazing animal rescue group on the Navajo Reservation. Volunteers plan to deliver a van of supplies, departing  San Diego on Friday, January 14. It has been a brutal winter. Please help if you can.

We are inspired by the documentary Rez Dogs, which is available above for your viewing. It is a powerful story of what happens to animals on the vast reservation and how some people are stepping up to save them.

Please watch it and consider donating the following:

Canned dog food
Unopened (new) bags of kibble dog food
All size bedding for dogs (new)

Drop off points:
Downtown San Diego: San Diego Pet Supply, 1490 Island,  (619) 263-2211
Beach Areas: Send a message to for drop off location
East County: Call (619) 922-2926 for drop off location

We have been in touch with Black Hat and look forward to being able to give them some assistance.

All our relations,

December 16, 2010

It's True -- Pet Works is CLOSED

Presenting Pet Works with a HSUS request to cease selling puppies
on behalf of the Animal Defense Team.

The Pet Works store in Grossmont Shopping Center has now CLOSED! The Animal Defense Team was instrumental in the protests at Pet Works, first as the behind-the-scenes organizers of all protests held there from April 2009 to October 2009, then continuing weekly protests on Sundays. We were there for 48 weeks. On Black Friday, 2009, (the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year) the Animal Defense Team staged a street theater protest "The Dead Dog Spectacle" at Pet Works. We processed through the entire length of the shopping center and then staged a dog die-in in front of the store with caged participants wearing dog masks.
Three cheers to all of our great activists who have continued with us as we have taken the fight against puppy stores from Pet Works in La Mesa to California Pets in Carlsbad to Pups and Pets in Santee to Puparazzi in Mission Valley. Stay tuned!

Austin Texas City Council  Bans Retail Pet Sales

Published : Thursday, 16 Dec 2010, 12:29 PM CST
Chris Sadeghi

AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that would ban the retail sale of puppies and kittens while placing new requirements on local breeders.

Anyone selling a puppy or kitten will have to have the proper registration documents and also spay or neuter the animal before selling. Breeders can sell dog and cats that are not spayed or neutered only if they pay a $50 fee per animal.

The Austin Animal Advisory Commission asked for the ordinance in hopes of helping the City reach its goal of having a no-kill animal shelter.

“It is a good ordinance and will further the mission of no-kill,” said David Lundstedt, with the commission. “I am glad it passed.”

December 07, 2010


The largest group of stop puppy mill protesters in the history of San Diego gathered on Black Friday, November 26, 2010, to protest Puparazzi puppy store in the Mission Valley Westfield Malls Shopping Center.

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is also the kick-off for "puppy season," when puppy stores anticipate they will sell 50% of their annual inventory of pups. On Black Friday 2009, the SD Animal Defense Team staged a Dead Dog Spectacle -- a street theater production with dog masks and animal cages concluding with a die-in  -- at Pet Works puppy store in Grossmont Center Shopping Mall.

This year, led by the Animal Defense Team, activists from the Animal Protection and Rescue League, the Olympian High School Animal C.A.R.E. Club, the Sweetwater High School Animal C.A.R.E. Club and the community-at-large from all over Southern California protested in front of the mall on Mission Center Rd. 

They then formed a slow procession and paraded through the Mission Valley Mall to the Puparazzi store. Wearing bright yellow BAN PUPPY STORES badges and carrying banners and large signs, they lined the outside of the store windows and surrounded the store itself in the very heart of the mall, leaving only the legal space to allow door access.

The USDA disclosed in October that San Diego consumers purchased 763 puppies just from Missouri puppy mills in 2009. Of those, 116 were documented as being delivered to the Puparazzi store.

We are also delighted to notify you that the Pet Works store in Grossmont Shopping Center has announced it is closing. The Animal Defense Team has been instrumental in the protests at Pet Works, first as the behind-the-scenes organizers of all protests held
there from April 2009 to October 2009, then continuing weekly protests on Sundays for a total of 48 weekly protests at the Pet Works store. At that point, we chose to diversify our protests to include other puppy stores in San Diego County.

Three cheers to all of our great activists who have continued with us as we have taken the fight against puppy stores from Pet Works in La Mesa to California Pets in Carlsbad to Pups and Pets in Santee to Puparazzi in Mission Valley. Stay tuned!

And now for the best part -- the photos! Enjoy!

November 18, 2010



Meet at the the SE corner of Camino de la Reina and Mission Center Rd.
Close to the Mission Valley trolley station.
If you are driving, park in the Target parking lot.
Leave plenty of time -- it's going to be busy!!!
Bring signs! Bring water! Bring friends and family!

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is also the beginning of puppy shopping season, when pet stores expect to sell about 50% of their puppies for the year. San Diego is joining with groups across the country who will be protesting against puppy stores and puppy mills on this day.

Tell Puparazzi to STOP SELLING PUPPIES! This is a cruel, inhumane industry which victimizes helpless companion animals for greed. 4 million puppies come out of puppy mills each year and are sold through pet stores and on the internet.

Westfield Malls! Stop Leasing to Puppy Stores!
Puppy Mills: America's Dirty Little Secret
Puparazzi -- Little Shop of Horrors
Puparazzi! Stop Selling Puppies!
Puparazzi! Go Humane or Close Your Doors!


Immediately following this protest, is the Fur Free Black Friday Protest , Fashion Valley,  on Friars Rd. outside Neiman Marcus. 12 Noon - 2 PM! 

November 13, 2010

Puppy Suppliers for Pups and Pets Store in Santee

List to be updated as we get information.

Crittersville Kennels Inc. USDA license # 47-B-56
Tanya Maddux
McCook, Nebraska
This kennel also sells to Pet Works in San Diego per

Brule Creek Kennel USDA license # 46-B-033
James and Cynthia Hayes
Akron, Iowa
As of 9/2008, this kennel had 104 breeding adults and 39 puppies. They supply puppies to pet stores from Wilmette, Illinois to Renton, WA to Petland in Beavercreek, Ohio to Irvine, CA, to San Diego including Pet Works and Pups and Pets ( Petland is a large chain that has been under media scrutiny and public protest for selling puppy mill puppies.
Brule Creek advertises they provide pet stores with Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Shih Tzus, Pugs, Shiba Inus, Cairn Terriers, Pomeranians, Dachschunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Cocker Spaniels, Italian Greyhounds, Cock-a-poos, Cavilier King Charles Spaniels, Boston Terriers, Llasa Apsos, Poodles, Papillons, Schipperkes.

Fox Creek Kennel # 47-A-0291
Tim and Marie Foxhoven
Crofton, Nebraska
This kennel also sells to Barkworks in LA, which is being protested for selling puppy mill pups, Petland (see above) and Pet Works in San Diego as well as Pups and Pets (per

English Bulldogs Country Heaven USDA # 43-A-5409
John and Judy Kleine
Williamstown, Missouri
We have filed for all records through the Freedom of Information Act.

Sashra and Vicki Collop #43-A-0307
Brashear, Missouri
This is a very large kennel -- 98 puppies, 213 adult breeding dogs as of their last report.

Clearwater Kennels Inc. USDA # 41-B-0190
Wanda Kretzman (formerly Wanda Duffee)
Cushing, Minnesota
This kennel also sells to Petland.
We have 16 printed pages of violations for this kennel for a period from July 2009 to September 2010. The neglect violations were disgusting -- moldy food administered by self feeder machines, sick dogs, 231 dogs with overgrown nails growing into the pads of their feet, dogs soiled and matted by their own waste, dogs with growths between their toes from the wire cages, inadequate vet care, inadequate housing facilities (the temp reached 104.5 degrees in indoor kennels housing 278 dogs),
moldy dog waste buildup inside and under cages housing 827 dogs that caused coughing and eye burning,  puppies being transported under 8 weeks of age, inadequate records, outdated vaccinations being used, dogs with declining body condition and bones of hips and spine prominent, primary enclosures too small.

November 05, 2010


Last Saturday's protest at the Pups and Pets store in Santee (50 Town Center Parkway) was a resounding success. Thanks to all of you who ignored the early morning rainy skies and showed up for a day of protesting in the sun! We were covered by 10 News San Diego and also reached thousands of people at the busiest intersection in Santee!

It was great to have members of the Olympian High School Animal CARE Club with us. We all look forward to joining forces often!

After 2 1/2 hours at the intersection, we moved into the store as a large group,
and documented every puppy for sale.

There were 25 puppies for sale in the store. Eleven were from Missouri, the puppy mill capital of the U.S.
  Although Prop. B just passed in this weeks' election in Missouri, it does not take effect for one year and even then, gives the dogs in the thousands of puppy mills there only minimal protection.

English Bulldogs from Missouri

Toy Austalian Shepherd from Iowa and Shih Tzu not identified by USDA #

Golden Retriever farmed in South Dakota

Boston Terriers -- Misssouri and Kansas (USDAs not identified)

Maltese and Yorkie Poo --  USDA #s not listed

We are now in the process of investigating the breeders and brokers used by Pups and Pets through the Freedom of Information Act and other sources.  Our preliminary investigation has turned up some shocking information which also relates to some of the other puppy stores in the San Diego area. We have decided that in the best interest of these dogs being sold, we will be publicizing this data on our website as it becomes available.  PLEASE CHECK BACK AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

November 01, 2010

10 News: San Diego Pet Stores Selling Puppy Mill Dogs!

Humane Society Of United States Says Californians

Bought Nearly 9,000 Puppies From Missouri Mills In 2009
POSTED: 4:46 pm PDT October 15, 2010
UPDATED: 7:08 pm PDT October 15, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- The Humane Society of the United States said California residents bought nearly 9,000 puppies from the puppy mill capitol of the U.S. last year.

According to state-issued health certificates sent to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, nearly 9,000 puppies were shipped from Missouri brokers and breeders between January 2009 and December 2009 to California. They were shipped to pet stores or directly to pet owners responding to Internet or newspaper advertisements. A conservative estimate of the retail value of these dogs approaches $9 million.

The data suggests two-thirds of the puppies were shipped to Southern California, with 763 puppies ending up in San Diego County.

"Despite our reputation as a pet-loving culture, the evidence is in that Californians don't yet understand the perils of buying puppies online or at pet stores. California consumers continue to provide dollars that help drive Missouri's factory-style production of man's best friend; in fact, many are supporting some of the most deplorable facilities in the state," said the HSUS' California Senior State Director Jennifer Fearing, who led the analysis. "It's easy to fall in love with an adorable puppy displayed online or at the mall, but behind the cuteness is cruelty no pet lover could support."

Missouri puppy mill dogs were purchased by:

number     pet store or person
309          California Pets 200 E. Via Rancho Parkway #363 Escondido CA 92025 SAN DIEGO
130          California Pets II 2525 El Camino Real, Ste 264 Carlsbad CA 92008 SAN DIEGO
116          Puparazzi 1640 Camino Del Rio N, #216 A San Diego CA 92108 SAN DIEGO
100          Danna Messick 1671 Burris Dr El Cajon CA 92019 SAN DIEGO
37            Critters & Pets 1530 Indian Summer Ct San Marcos CA 92069 SAN DIEGO
31            Todd Howard 1318 Via Encinos Dr. Fallbrook CA 92028 SAN DIEGO
26            Pet Works 5500 Glassmore Center SK 257 La Mesa CA 91942 SAN DIEGO
12            Gene Schoente (or Schoenle) 28421 Sage Glen Trail Escondido CA 92026 SAN DIEGO
 2             Puppy Time 513 Parkway Plaza El Cajon CA 92020 SAN DIEGO

ADT: Corrections to the above article -- Pet Works is located in Grossmont Shopping Center at 5500 Grossmont Center Dr. The Puppy time store in El Cajon has closed and has reopened as Pups and Pets at 50 Town Center Parkway, Santee.  As of October 30, 2010, the Pups and Pets store had 11 puppies for sale from Missouri.

The above statistics from the HSUS and Channel 10 News only count dogs brought in from Missouri puppy mills, not the total numbers of dogs purchased from dog factory farms by each pet store. The Animal Defense Team has protested at California Pets, Puparazzi,, Pups and Pets  and at Pet Works dozens of times in 2009.

Who is next?

Missouri's "Dirty Dozen": The Humane Society of the United States

Some of the Worst Puppy Mills in America : The Humane Society of the United States
Wondering what you really find at Missouri's commercial dog kennels??? The Humane Society knows.

October 24, 2010

Pups and Pets Protest

WHEN: Saturday October 30, Noon - 3 PM

Come at noon and stay as long as you can
Rain or shine!!!
Bring signs, water, enthusiasm!

WHERE: PUPS and PETS Puppy Store
50 Town Center Parkway Santee, CA

Meet at the corner of Town Center Pkwy and
Mission Gorge across the street from Costco

Directions from San Diego: Take 8 East to 125 North/Go right on Mission Gorge/Left on Town Center Parkway (or Olive)/Left into first driveway/Left again towards Chase Bank

Directions from North County: Take 15 South or 805 South or 5 South/To 52 East/Go left on Mission Gorge/Left on Town Center Parkway (or Olive)/Left into first driveway/Left again towards Chase Bank

This is one of several pet stores in San Diego that sells puppies.      These puppies are shipped in from puppy mills and sold to the        unsuspecting public. See the Channel 10 news report below on Missouri puppy mills and their local impact.

As of October 14 this store was advertising a giant puppy sale with the following breeds for sale:                                                            
Pekingese m Chihuahua f Dorkie m (dach/yorkie) Jack Russell Terr f Puggle m Pug m Puggle m Mini Dachshund m/f BeaBull (Beagle/ Eng Bulldog) f/f Toy Aust Shep m ShihTzu fMaltese f Yorkie/Poo m Mini Schnauzer 2f s/pSchnoodle m s/p Golden Retriever m/f English Bulldog m r/w English Bulldog f r/w English Bulldog f/f/f Beagle m/f French Bulldog m/f Brittany Spaniel m/f Cockapoo m/f Yorkshire Terrier m/f Tiny!Shiba Inu m creamShiba Inu f b/t

What is a Puppy Mill?

The term is used by Humane Societies, the ASPCA and the community to indicate USDA kennels that commercially raise wholesale dogs with profit instead of the welfare of the animals as their primary objective. The dogs are farmed as a cash crop.

Animal Planet says it's now a one billion dollar industry with brokers, breeders and pet stores getting rich off of the unbelievable suffering of the dogs in the breeding mills. Under the USDA standard of care, the breeding dogs -- the mothers of the puppies -- NEVER get out of their cages, are housed in wire crates, often stacked so that the dogs on the bottom tier live in terrible stench and filth with no human contact, and receive only enough food and water to be kept alive. YES THIS IS LEGAL, BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT HUMANE.

Help Us Stop the Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs
in San Diego.
Ban   Puppy   Stores!

October 22, 2010

SD Humane Society Receives $53,000 Donation From Purina/Ralphs

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Purina and Ralphs, a division of Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR - News), announced today that the San Diego Humane Society created the "Top Pet Tale" in the third-annual "Tales for the Pet Lover's Heart" campaign. The San Diego Humane Society received a $53,000 donation during a special presentation hosted by campaign spokesperson and animal lover, Trista Sutter, from ABC's "The Bachelorette." Seventeen additional animal welfare organizations across the country will also receive a donation as part of the campaign, which celebrates the unique bond between people and their pets.
"Purina and Ralphs are pleased to recognize San Diego Humane Society's ongoing efforts to make a difference for homeless pets and its mission of responsible pet care and humane education," said Brendan McKelvey, manager, shopper marketing, Purina. "Through the 'Tales for the Pet Lover's Heart' campaign, we were proud to help bring the unique pet tales of 18 animal welfare organizations to life."

San Diego Humane Society demonstrated its commitment to the community and its animals by sharing a tale from the animals' perspective. The video tale showcased the unique paw prints – both big and small – the organization has left on those it has helped for more than 130 years.

"The pet tales told through each video were amazing and it was a joy to see the special bond each organization has with its animals," said Sutter. "It's an honor to celebrate the story of the San Diego Humane Society with Purina and Ralphs."

"On behalf of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, I would like to offer our sincerest thanks to Purina and Kroger for providing the opportunity which allowed us to showcase the heart and soul of our organization through the 'Tales of the Pet Lover's Heart' contest," said Dr. Mark Goldstein, president of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. "This very generous gift will allow us to continue our good work on behalf of the people and animals we serve."

October 21, 2010

Specific Demands for Humane Society Policy Changes Made in Letter Sent by 15 Former Board Members

The San Diego Animal Defense Team supports the specific requests for SDHS policy changes made in this letter. If you also believe changes at the Humane Society are needed,  please let the current Board know your opinion.  Only public outcry can end animal suffering and overpopulation in San Diego County.
The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines St. San Diego, CA 92110

Names and positions of current Board Members are listed below.


To: Board of Trustees-San Diego Humane Society and SPCA October 5, 2010

Fred Baranowski/Chairperson, David Hickey/Finance Chair, Diane Gilabert/Board Governance Chair, Beverly Oster Ornelas/ Secretary, Sandy Arledge, Allen Blackmore, Robert Brown, George Coles, Lee Collins, Susan Davis, Dana DiFerdinando, Diane Glow, Eve Godfrey, Alyce Lynn, Dave Mason, Patrick Mead, David Mittleman, John Parker, Anne Perry, David Sear:


In 2000, the San Diego Humane Society in collaboration with the City of San Diego and the Department of Animal Services, published a capital campaign brochure and distributed it to the public to solicit funds to build a new animal welfare complex. The county Board of Supervisors called for San Diego to stop killing treatable and adoptable pets by 2005. Recognizing that it was a “community obligation” the brochure called for “a significant degree of cooperation and creativity among the County’s public and private animal shelters and humane societies, veterinarians, rescue groups, animal breeders and animal advocates.” The brochure advocated a reduction in the number of unaltered domestic pets by “comprehensible, affordable and accessible spay and neuter programs, increased adoptions, and community education towards responsible pet ownership.” In that brochure, the following statement was made to the public:

“The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and the San Diego County Department of Animal Control (the two largest animal welfare agencies in the county,) have enthusiastically accepted responsibility for helping to implement this policy.”

When the public generously donated a total of $21 million dollars to build this animal welfare complex, they did so to help end unnecessary euthanasia county-wide by 2005. The SDHS has lost sight of the responsibility it accepted, and instead of achieving the purpose for which the funds were donated, its animal intake and adoption numbers have gone down and its euthanasia numbers have gone up since the Campaign was inaugurated. Incredibly, the amount of money donated to the SDHS annually has nearly tripled.

It is YOUR responsibility as a member of the Board of Trustees, to set the SDHS’s strategic objectives, and it is the responsibility of the staff to achieve those objectives. It is time the Board took back its authority and to that end, we ask that the following steps be implemented to re-focus the San Diego Humane Society on the responsibility it accepted for leading the way to ending the killing of homeless animals in San Diego County:

Towards ending the Euthanasia of Treatable animals in the County:

1) Hire a president who will lead the SDHS toward meeting the objectives set forth in the Gaines Street brochure;

2) Within six months implement low-cost and no cost spay- neuter clinics, and make the service available to the public and rescue groups;

3) Modify the behavior assessments policy (B.A.) such that B.A.s will only be performed on animals with a reported history of aggression or breeds of dogs that have a reputation for aggression;

4) Make adoptions and low-cost or free spay-neuter services a priority and market the animals by placing all adoptable animals in view of the public, expediting the time from intake to adoption. Set policy goals for the increase in the number of animals adopted and hold staff accountable to the Board for meeting those goals.

5) Work with the many rescue groups in the county. Share resources with and encourage relationships with rescue groups;

6) Increase the Annual Live Release rate to above 90% of intake as soon as possible

This ground-swell of discontent by the public did not originate from our first letter. Instead, it was this ground-swell that was the catalyst for that letter and the response from rescue groups and animal welfare organizations county-wide. These are the people who have encountered true resistance from the San Diego Humane Society when it comes time to saving and servicing (e.g. spay and neuter) the pets in this community. Now we write because of YOUR failure to respond to them.

“Business as usual” is no longer an option. It is time for YOU, the trustees of the animals, the public trust and the public’s funds, to be accountable for the mission of ending animal suffering and ending pet overpopulation in San Diego County.

Signed (In alphabetical order): FORMER BOARD AND ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS:

Marilyn Anderson

Mark Collins

Elizabeth Davidson

Ron Goldman

Michelle Graham

Leslie Gregory

Betsy Hillyer

Suzanne Koch

Bonnie Kutch

Linda LeBeau

Michael Luther

Jeff Lyle

Gail McDonnell

Nancy Vaughan

Lori Walton

Rift at San Diego Humane Society is Widening

Shelter’s behavior assessment a flash point for former board members
By Jeff Ristine • San Diego Union-Tribune
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Lilo is a golden-coated, 7-year-old mixed-breed relinquished to the San Diego Humane Society after neighbors complained she barked too much; Mason is a strapping American bulldog-mastiff mix picked up as a stray in North County and limping from a leg injury.
Separately, they’re being put through the paces of a behavior evaluation at the Humane Society’s Linda Vista campus, a 15-minute exam that uses a doll, a fake hand, a real cat and other instruments to assess the dogs’ temperament and sociability.

Used to determine what kind of adoption setting — if any — is appropriate for the animals, the test has become a flash point between critics who say it rationalizes euthanasia at the privately supported Humane Society and defenders who regard the evaluation as an essential and proven tool to protect public safety.

The test is a major issue in a growing rift among Humane Society supporters, as 17 former board members wrote a letter to the society this month questioning the agency’s policies and asking that the test be waived for docile breeds and animals with no history of aggression. The society says such lowered vigilance would put the public at risk.

The group of dissident former board members has grown from 11 last month. They are primarily concerned that the society is not living up to a promise — made during fundraising for its new shelter — to end euthanasia of treatable or adoptable pets in the county by 2005. The society now disavows that promise as a broader goal set by others. The former board members say it can be achieved with steps such as spay-and-neuter programs and easing the behavior assessment policies.

In the behavioral assessment of Lilo, she is a model dog, looking up at her handler with soft eyes, licking her lips during a hug, showing only mild annoyance when the fake hand touches her muzzle while she’s eating. Nothing bothers her.

Mason is more of a handful, tugging on his leash and jumping on the handler. He resists repeated efforts to examine his teeth. Mason blocks the hand while eating and jumps at the doll, being held like a baby. He lunges toward Fely, the black-and-white test cat.

Their behaviors differed, but both dogs proved themselves suitable to be offered to the public.
“I would consider (Lilo) for a novice owner,” said Renee Harris, senior vice president for animal services at the Humane Society, who oversees the behavior assessment program. Mason’s high excitability, Harris said, warrants at least a caution to potential owners with small children.

Detractors, however, tell stories of dogs rescued from euthanasia and then successfully placed in a loving home after reportedly getting poor marks in their evaluations.

Sheila O’Leary fostered and later adopted a 2-year-old wire-haired terrier mix that was deemed unadoptable after it growled at the rubber hand during a test. She is appalled that her dog, who behaves so well with her grandchildren, was so close to dying.

“He was going to be put down because he was food aggressive, but he was skinny,” O’Leary said. “If I was skin and bones I would be food aggressive, too. I gave him some food, put my hand in the bowl and he didn’t do anything. He is just a joy.”

Nan Arthur, a San Diego dog trainer and animal behavior consultant, said the typical three or four days at the shelter before a dog is tested isn’t enough to ensure a low-stress evaluation. “Some of these tests can push a dog into things that they normally wouldn’t do,” Arthur said.

The assessments Lilo and Mason passed are a modified version of a temperament test called Assess-a-Pet, developed 17 years ago in New York and now one of two internationally recognized assessment systems.

The tests are conducted in a room about 20 by 15 feet at the society’s Gaines Street headquarters, outfitted with framed photographs, an artificial ficus and a sign reading “The Pursuit of Happiness.” The tests are fully visible through a window to visitors strolling through the dog and cat showrooms.

Three shelter employees conduct each test: a handler, a “stranger” who comes in and interacts with the dog, and an observer taking notes.

In 22 steps, some lasting only seconds, the dogs are assessed for their reaction to affection, toys and minor annoyances. They’ll look for signs of “resource guarding” that can be a behavioral red flag.

Kelley Bollen, an animal-behavior consultant who studied more than 2,000 dogs for a project at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Assess-a-Pet does identify dogs likely to show aggression.

“It really allows you to get to know the animal very well and screen out animals with aggressive tendencies,” Bollen said. It shows how dogs respond to “normal interactions with humans — things that will occur in the home,” she said.

Dogs that score low in sociability wouldn’t be appropriate for a home with small kids, she said, because “they can’t tolerate things children do to them.” Watching dogs’ reaction to hugging, for instance, is important because dogs tend to perceive it as a form of restraint, she said.

Critics of the test include some former volunteers and employees of the Humane Society along with members of rescue groups who say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to learn of dogs that may be facing euthanasia.

Teresa Baltao, co-founder of Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, said her group got word of an 8-week-old named Cannonball at the Humane Society’s Oceanside campus that was said to have failed its behavior test in April “because he was too aggressive and because he likes to bite.”

The group did its own evaluation, accepted the dog and put it in a home where it has exhibited no behavior problems, Baltao said.

“How do you flunk an 8-week-old puppy?” she asked, saying the dog may only have wanted to play and calling the temperament test “unrealistic.”

The Humane Society’s Harris said that in practice, Assess-a-Pet doesn’t work on a pass/fail basis. “We categorize them,” she said, sometimes working for weeks to modify inappropriate behavior to see if the dog can be made suitable for adoption.
Mark Goldstein, president of the San Diego Humane Society, said the organization cares as much as its critics do about animal welfare. He added, however, “We are responsible for putting animals back into the community … We look at it through the eyes of the public.”

Dawn Danielson, director of the San Diego County Department of Animal Services, said she introduced a standardized behavior-evaluation system similar to Assess-a-Pet in 2002 but scrapped it three years later. Rescue groups were reporting good results with dogs that had done poorly in the evaluations, and Danielson said she decided they were “more of a snapshot in time” than a way of predicting future behavior.

Now the staff at the shelter, which is adjacent to the Humane Society’s facility on Gaines, and volunteers who walk the dogs share their observations with prospective adoption families. Dogs that don’t fare well are offered up to rescue groups.

Danielson said the less formal system is working well and that “people seem to be happy with the dogs” from the county shelter. Nationally, however, the trend is toward more standardized testing.
“It’s tough,” Danielson said. “The jury is still out on who’s right.”

October 10, 2010

Puppy Mill Deaths -- Has the World Gone Crazy?

An Amish kennel owner was fined $300 after pleading guilty to 74 counts of inhumane destruction of dogs for using a makeshift gas chamber to euthanize animals with carbon monoxide.

The Seneca County Sheriff's Office charged 45-year-old David Yoder of Romulus after an SPCA worker came across a U.S. Department of Agriculture report from July. The report said Yoder euthanized 78 dogs and 15 puppies by putting several at a time into a wooden box and piping in exhaust from a gasoline engine.

Yoder pleaded guilty in Romulus Town Court on Friday. He'll have to pay a $205 state surcharge on top of the $300 fine.

Yoder told sheriff's investigators he believed his method of euthanizing dogs was humane. The USDA report said Yoder was told to have a veterinarian destroy unwanted dogs in the future.

October 09, 2010

Former SDHS Volunteers Saving Dogs From Being Killed

OCEANSIDE: Former Humane Society volunteers organize to save pets
Group says they save animals from being euthanized

By RAY HUARD - North County Times - Californian
Posted: Sunday, October 17, 2010 8:45 pm

Margaret Read, 73, of Oceanside, adopted Spanley from a rescue group called SPOT. The group found a home for Spanley after learning he was going to be euthanized by the San Diego Humane Society.
Ask Margaret Read about her dog, Spanley, and her voice comes alive with joy.

"Delightful," "smart" and "loving" are just a few of the words she uses to describe the labradoodle with the curly black hair who's taken to chasing a pink stuffed pig around her house and going for solo dips in her backyard pool. Labradoodles are a mix of Labrador retrievers and poodles.

"I'm a widow and I have a problem of too much quiet, but this dog makes me laugh." said Read, 75. "He's a wonderful family pet."

Just a few months ago, Read said Spanley was on death row at the San Diego Human Society, scheduled to be euthanized because the society deemed him too aggressive.

Spanley was saved by SPOT (Save Pets One at a Time), a group of former volunteers at the society's Oceanside shelter who say they didn't like what they saw when the San Diego Humane Society in January absorbed what had been the North County Humane Society.

Dogs that would have been put up for adoption by the Humane Society before the merger or given to rescue groups for adoption are being euthanized said Kris Nelson, a SPOT founder.

Humane officials say no healthy, treatable dog is euthanized and that they work with 40 "adoption partners" to find homes for the animals.

"We're absolutely dedicated to saving the lives of every healthy and treatable animal," said Renee Harris, Humane Society executive vice president of animal services.
The society uses criteria developed by a consortium of agencies dealing with animals in San Diego County and as established under state law, Harris said.

Nelson and some other former volunteers dispute how the Humane Society defines a healthy and treatable animal.

They also said that policy changes at the North County shelter since January make it difficult for rescue groups to step in and take animals that aren't up to the Humane Society's standards for adoption, or to even find out which animals are on the list to be euthanized.

In March, Nelson and a handful of other former Humane Society volunteers got together informally and began making almost daily trips to the Humane Society's Oceanside shelter, looking for dogs that might be in danger of being euthanized.

Their plan was to line up the dogs with rescue groups, who would place them in temporary foster homes until they could be adopted.

But Nelson said she and her colleagues were finding so many dogs so quickly that they couldn't find rescue groups fast enough to take care of them, so they started doing it themselves. "It turned out we began saving dogs," Nelson said.

SPOT was born, and this month it became a formal organization, applying for federal nonprofit status so people can make tax deductible donations to the organization.

"You can't have too many people saving animals," said Elaine Godzak, another founder of the group and a former volunteer at the defunct North County Humane Society.
"We're another link in the chain to help support animal welfare efforts in the county," Godzak said.

Since March, SPOT has saved 69 dogs, 60 of which had been scheduled to be euthanized by the Humane Society, said Alisa Trejo, a former volunteer of the year at the North County Humane Society.

On  Sunday, Oct. 24, the group will have its first fund-raiser --- a combination plant, rummage and bakery sale --- from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Discount Tire, 2281 El Camino Real in Oceanside.

"The dogs are great," said Trejo, who has four dogs of her own and is fostering a bulldog/boxer mixed breed dog which she said was scheduled to be euthanized because it was deemed too forward with other dogs.

Now that he's out of the shelter, the dog gets along fine with her other pets. Trejo said. "He's awesome. He just hangs out with everybody," Trejo said. "The dogs we've been pulling are pretty much mainstream dogs."

Harris of the Humane Society said she worries that some of the dogs taken by groups like SPOT may not be appropriate for adoption. She said Spanley, who had a different name before Read adopted him, was one.

Spanley was so aggressive that one family that got him through an ad on Craig's List turned him in to the Humane Society, Harris said.

"Based on the known aggression history in the home...we felt that he was a safety risk," Harris said, adding "we still have concerns that the dog is a safety risk."

Behavior Test Unique to SD Humane Society
This article was published in March but we think the content re: SDHS behavior tests is pertinent
Friday, March 05, 2010

San Diego Humane - Merger Raises Questions

The Coast News - Oceanside North County Humane and San Diego Humane merger raises questions and concerns.

The Coast News reports that 45 dogs evaluated and approved for adoption prior to the merger were transferred to the San Diego facility for re-evaluation and 5 of them were euthanized.

Laura Maloney (Senior Vice President of strategic initiatives and communication for the San Diego Humane Society) stated that out of 45 animals from the Oceanside site that were re-evaluated by San Diego Humane, five were euthanized because of concerns for the community. Behavior assessment proved the dogs to be a potential danger to people or a significant danger to animals.

The Coast News also reported that San Diego Humane and North County Humane use the same medical and behavior assessments for animals but comments from a reader stated that the two facilities did not use the same behavior or medical evaluations.

The SAFER test was used at North County Humane

Behavior assessment at San Diego Humane (Gaines Campus) is one of their own design.

Note: Maloney did not elaborate on what the potential danger would be to people or what species of animal (cats?) these dogs might be a significant danger to.

Here's a link to an excellent article about behavior testing in BARK Magazine: - Cached


San Diego: Dead Dogs Walking

Watch this and weep. Here are dogs who did not pass the San Diego Humane Society Behavior Test. They were rescued just before being euthanized and then...well, watch for yourself. Bravo to this wonderful group of rescuers in North County who know a good dog when they see one!

October 06, 2010


Sunday, October 3
In response to investigations by 10 News and the Union-Tribune newspaper as well as a letter sent to the SDHS by former members of the Board of Trustees, fifty people stood vigil for two hours outside the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. Protesters completely lined both sides of the driveway leading to the facility. We had media coverage on television channels CW 6, ABC 10 and KUSI 9(51). Our questions for the President, administrators and current Board of Trustees:

Why was euthanasia not ended by 2005 as promised?
(Millions of dollars were donated by the public with that goal as part of the fundraising)

Why are most of your animals not on public view?
(Adoptions seem unlikely if the public can't see the animals.)

Where is your low-cost spay and neuter program?
(Almost every other humane society in the U.S. offers these programs to the public.)

Why do your behavior tests sentence so many dogs to death?
(Which test is used that so many dogs are doomed to fail and yet if those same dogs are
saved by a rescue, they end up being adoptable and great family pets?)

Where do the millions of dollars in donations go?
(Does the public has a right to know exactly how their hard-earned money is spent?)

What are executives paid?
(Isn't it true the IRS requires non-profit groups to make their executive salaries public?)

Did SDHS donations pay for the sexual harassment/discrimination lawsuit?
(Is this an ethical use of donations?)

Note: The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA is an independent 501(c)(3) -- non-profit --organization and is NOT affiliated with any other organization, including the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA. That means there is no oversight by any umbrella organization and they only have to answer to you, the public who donates the money.
So... if you have questions or comments,
you can make them directly to:

Leadership Team of San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines St. San Diego, CA 92110

Mark Goldstein, D.V.M., CAWA, President

Renee Harris, Senior Vice President of Animal Services

Kelly Riseley, Chief Financial Officer

Shelly Stuart, CFRE, CAWA, Vice President of Development & Education

Kim Shannon, CAWA, Senior Vice President of Support Services

Board of Trustees
Chairperson Fred Baranowski
Chairperson - Finance Committee David Hickey
Chairperson - Board Governance & Nominating Committee Diane Gilabert
Secretary Beverly Oster Ornelas

Sandy Arledge; Allen Blackmore; Robert Brown, Ed.D; George Coles; Lee Collins; Susan Davis; Dana DiFerdinando; Diane Glow, Ed.D; Dave Mason; David Mittleman; Anne Perry; David Sear

Life Members
Dan McKinney, Vi McKinney, John Parker