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FIRST ON 3: Duplin County dog-fighting bust update

READ MORE: Duplin Co. Sheriff's Deputies raid suspected dog fighting facility
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4/15 UPDATE: We were able to talk with Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace this morning and he gave us an update on this story.

Wallace says his department got the original tip that Harry L. Hargrove was running a dog-fighting ring on his property. He says the department had never investigated something of this magnitude, so he called the Wilson County Sheriff's Department for advice - and they led him to the Atlanta Humane Society and to Norred and Associates, which is a private investigating firm in the Atlanta area.

He also says Hargrove had only lived in Duplin County the last year or so - and was shipping many of his dogs to other owners. He said he can't confirm what AHS reports - that Hargrove was running one of the Top 5 dog-fighting rings in the country.

He says he also doesn't know where the rescued dogs are, but that they're still in the care of the AHS.

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4/14 UPDATE: We wanted to follow-up on this story today, but have run up against some interesting roadblocks.

First, we checked in with the Atlanta Humane Society and the private investigators who helped initiate the raid to see where the dogs were and how they're doing. We were told that we could not see the dogs today, that they were at a secret location, and we were given very basic details as to their health. We were also told they were at that secret location so that others who fight dogs wouldn't steal them. We informed the Humane Society and the private investiagtors that video shot of the dogs inside a shelter would not tip anyone off to where they are - and that we would not disclose the location. They still refused to let us see the dogs.

We'll continue to follow this story - and let you know if we find out anything else.

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4/13 UPDATE: Nadine reports Sheriff's Deputies have arrested 76-year-old Harry Louis Hargrove. Representatives from the Atlanta Humane Society tell her Hargrove's been fighting dogs for 45 years and is one of the top five dog fighters in the country. So far, they have found more than 33 pit bull and pit bull mixes alive on the farm. They've also found some dead. No word on how many. They also found medication, weights and treadmills. All in all, investigators say raiding an operation like this costs the Atlanta Humane Society $100,000 dollars.

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The Duplin County Sheriff's Department is conducting a raid this morning on an alleged dog-fighting facility. The raid is expected to rescue 35-50 abused dogs and result in an arrest. Private investigators with Norred & Associates, an Atlanta-based security firm, are assisting in the rescue operation.

The raid is the result of confidential leads from a tip line sponsored by Norred & Associates. After verifying the initial lead, Norred investigators contacted the local law enforcement agency and together they conducted a joint investigation. As part of its pro-bono campaign to stop dog fighting, the Norred team has participated in 21 raids, resulting in 26 arrests and over 400 dogs rescued.

The Atlanta Humane Society has deployed their Humane Emergency Animal Rescue Team (HEART) and their fifth-wheel trailer to help evaluate and treat the dogs and transport them to an undisclosed location.

INFORMATION FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE WWAY NEWSCHANNEL 3 NEWSROOM. NADINE MAESER IS ALSO COVERING THIS STORY - AND WILL HAVE MORE DETAILS THIS AFTERNOON.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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dog fighting

They should seek the maximum penalty for ANYONE found even there at a dog fighting place. It is cruel and if they wanna see a fight let them fight each other and leave the dogs out of it. If I ever see people fighting dogs I ll snap.

i think the law needs to

i think the law needs to focus there time on drug dealers,rapist,s*** like that instead of someone fighting a dog or chicken
its been going on for hunderds of years read your history on the sport

great job! high five!

You think that because something has been going on for hundreds of years it should be allowed in modern society?

By your thinking, we should still have slavery, witch trials, public hangings, duels to the death and be ruled by hereditary kings?

"Read your history"?! Many of us have - but very few want to relive it.

Dealing With Dog Fight Ringleaders

Dip them in a vat of raw meat, and throw them in the ring with the dogs. Case closed! Anyone that cruel forfeits their right to live in my opinion and their life is worth infinitely less than the animals the abuse!

Thanks

I do appreciate your comments regarding 2nd guessing the Humane Society. I guess I just assumed I could trust them. And thanks to WWAY for following up on the story. I would like to know what happens to these poor dogs. I own two pits who are the sweetest girls I have ever had. It breaks my heart to see them mistreated in this way. Please continue to try to find them and make everyone involved own up to their practices.

Your second Update

raises some very good points.

At the top of the list. How could the Sheriff, whom I believe is former FBI, or his Department not have been aware of something like this.

I own a small farm in Duplin County; get away from Wallace, there are no big towns. These's no concentration of populace.

How could the Sheriff appear on the news and express such dismay and disbelief?

With the number of dogs referenced, the gentleman had to be buying dog food in large quantities.

There had to be other indicators.

Dogs bark; that many dogs would raise a loud cry.

When I'm over in Duplin County, I can hear the cows from the pasture down the road. I hear the children up the road. I can even hear I-40 traffic when it is crowded.

Something smells here; and it's not dog doo-doo.

Maybe Raleigh needs to get a couple of SBI investigators down here to get to the bottom of this.

@surfcitytom - huh?

This criminal was a recent arrival and was caught him with only 33 dogs. That is definitely too many for a sane 'dog-lover,' but many other dogfighting busts net hundreds of dogs and dog corpses - this guy was just getting started, and they already caught him.

The system actually worked in this case, but you seem like you'd only be satisfied by psychic LEOs arresting this criminal before any crime was committed - the kind of system fascists and dictators dream of.

And as for his purchases and noises, what country do you live in? Are you advocating that the government start monitoring legal purchases and conducting surveillance of private property - effectively presuming that everyone is guilty until proven innocent?

I am thankful you are not a LEO or politician or a person of any authority.

The system isn't perfect, but it works. What you are advocating is much closer to Soviet- or Chinese-style totalitarianism.

For those of you that think

For those of you that think he wasn't running a dog fighting ring, here's some food for thought...who in the hell keeps 33 dogs as pets? And why would a "dog lover" let them lie around on the property after they die? Most of these dogs probably will be put to sleep which is very sad but the alternative is for them to be thrown into a "ring" to eat each other alive for "sport" and cold, hard cash. So let's pick the lesser of two evils, shall we? Be responsible and help control the pet population...spay or neuter!!!!

"Suspected dog fighting"

How many of those 400 dogs rescued by the Norred & Associates team have been euphemized? You people write "rescue" when you should be writing "MASS MURDER". Is the public going to be informed of this? The Norred & Associates teams are a lot like Nazi's in my opinion. In fact that's what they should call themselves, Nazi’s and Associates! And what happen to we’re presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty! The man is 76 years old. He fought dogs when? In his youth!?! It was legal at one time, remember? People should really educate themselves prior to believing what is written and what is heard. Do research. This is the extermination of a breed of dog that for some reason is seen as a class of enemies of the United States. I don’t know if this man is innocent or guilty, but “IF” he is innocent then what? He can’t have his dogs back because they’ve been KILLED and he is expected to PAY for the kennel costs to house the dogs that were TAKEN from his property! Not including the attorney and court costs. This American is screwed. He loses either way. If his body isn’t put in prison his heart will be, because I guarantee he loves every one of them dogs and now he’ll NEVER hold them again.

"suspected dog fighting"

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! ARE YOU NUTS!! This man has been torturing (that's what dog fighting is pure torture!!!!) for 42 years & have the nerve to say he will never hold those dogs again!!! Who allows this to go on on their property even if they weren't his!! Finding DEAD DOGS AROUND THE PROPERTY!! Dog fighting instraments, objects, tredmills, first aid kits, needles, sterroids, a pit, bait dogs (animals) etc... having 33 dogs chainned, caged whatever!! Unless you are a rescue what the hell would you do with 33 dogs NOT INCLUDING ALL THE DEAD ONES FOUND ON THE PROPERTY!!! You have no idea what you are saying!! Pit bulls are not the ememies of america!!!! THEY ARE VICTIMS!!! NOT CRIMINALS!!!!! If anyone needs education it you!! Just in case you need to know the facts, DOG FIGHTING IS ILLEGAL!!!!!! I don't care if he did it in his youth!! That is 45 years of TORMENT!!!! How many thousands of dogs went thru this torture & you also have the nerve to call Norred & Associates mass murders!!! What the heck do you call it what he did for 45 years!!

The word is

The word is euthanized.

There is no reason for anyone to have that many dogs, nor dead dogs lying around on the property. Dogs that were injured. Dogs that needed to be put down due to aggression.

Norred and Associates is a good group. They've done a lot to prevent the cruelty of dog fighting in GA.

Have you ever noticed that

Have you ever noticed that all WWAY wants to do is stick a camera or microphone in someones face? Stir some Crap and make it stink more? You are more interested in getting a camera to those dogs regardless of what the investigaters tell you so that you can put pictures of some malnurished dogs on TV and tickle the hearts of some bleeding liberals, than you are allowing the investigation to continue. I bet you won't show pictures of the healthy ones. You will just try to frame this man as a man that had all malnurished dogs. WWAY, get a LIFE. That's why I watch WECT 6. You worked hard to push RC Soles out of office and now see how much money we get to this area. It's all about WWAY selling a story. You make sure that you tell that the Sheriff would talk to you...blah-blah-blah He has a job to do and it's not cater to your camera and microphone at your convience. Get a LIFE.

YES!

AGREED 100 PERCENT

A Crime was committed... Thank you WWAY.

Perhaps you should stop blaming WWAY for finding a story that is extremely pertinent, and thank them for getting a sick individual off the street. The fact that you made this about a news station wanting to get a story and somehow included the word, "liberal", into your post gives you zero credibility. Someone who manipulates and trains an innocent animal or animals to fight and then kills these animals clearly has mental problems and needs serious attention. Not only that, but to be that sick in the mind, studies overwhelmingly show that people who abuse animals more than likely have the same habits demonstrated towards humans; occasionally leading to murder. The fact that you would blame a sick man who tortured and killed dogs on a news station and use a political reference almost makes me wonder if we should not suspect YOU for having something to do with this crime. Hands down, this is not a controversial issue as to if it's right or wrong to kill dogs... it's plain wrong. This has nothing to do with WWAY manipulating a story or have anything to do with being liberal. Either you are a close friend of Mr. Soles, or you also like to abuse animals.... you, my friend, are the sick individual in this story.

It's people like you who are

It's people like you who are always making ridiculous assumptions about others...(Just like WWAY always wanting to frame someone) who make others just ......sick of your existence. Matt....get a life. What are you, the historian researcher for WWAY? You probably live in Wilmington, hang out with the assistant AD from UNCW, moved here from San Fransico and are hoping to legalize gay marriage at Hugh McRae Park. And by the way, I have a 60 acre farm of animals with dogs, chickens, cattle, soybeans and tobacco and I don't support fighting animals. You close minded individuals look to seek and destroy rather than seeing the big picture. You're begging movie markets to come to Wilmington to help the economy, but you run off a senator who has brought tax money back to this area. See if it happens anymore.

Typical response...

There's no point to have a rationale discussion with you. Reason being, when individuals like yourself start making false accusations about someone that you feel to be deragatory, or when you begin to discuss other issues while ignoring the main one at hand, you show your igorance and close mindedness.

Let's hope

he gets subjected to the same media attention as was Michael Vick.

If this guy was one of the top 5 in the country, and had been fighting dogs for over 40 years, one must wonder why it took so long?

There's more to this then is being discussed. It runs deeper through the county.

Dogfighting arrests

I feel sorry for the dogs that have been barely living, and frequently dying, for decades at Hargrove's whims. Though he is unlikely to serve the time he deserves, it's high time his operation was shut down.

Dogfighting may not seem like a big deal to many people, especially in rural enclaves where folks keep to themselves, distrust the government, and turn a blind eye to crimes against "lesser" animals. It's just a way of life, they say. "It don't hurt nobody."

But it does. I'm not some "doghugger" who cares more about dogs than people. I don't agree with the "guardian" movement, or support PETA. I support dog ownership, and for people to be left alone to live as they choose--as long as they are law-abiding.

Abusing animals in the name of "sport" is not abiding by the law. It is not humane. It is bloodlust, and it is wrong. It inures its perpetrators to the effects of violence. It teaches their children that animals--bred for centuries to live with us--are ours to abuse and dump when they are no longer useful.

In some folks' eyes, it may seem minor, compared to all the troubles in the world today. I'm glad the more enlightened among us do not share that view.

The minimum puishment that

The minimum puishment that Mr. Hargrove should get is the same that Michael Vick received. If not it will be an injustice to the American people. And where the hell was PETA when all of this occured??????? They are still worried about Michael Vick!!!!!

JUSTICE

Now that we have this guy lets see if he gets more time than Vick got....then we will know whether money talks or not!!!! Don't get me wrong....I own a sweet beautiful pit since she was born and there is not an aggressive bone in her body cuz the way she was raised. It isn't the dogs fault..stop letting the abuser go and people with money like Vick

"Investigators say raiding

"Investigators say raiding an operation like this costs the Atlanta Humane Society $100,000 dollars"

I believe there are a lot of bigger problems in the world today than dog fighting.
Where does this money come from?
Why waist the money?
To help the animals?
Every dog seized will be killed!
Now what have you achieved with that $100,000?
Take that money and use it more wisely.

dog fighting

good work but who in the world is going to want those nasty dogs

let's not forget that the

let's not forget that the last 76 year old man they swooped in on like this and sucked up a TON of donation money for while "raiding" (and roughed up his wife) was found NOT GUILTY after they killed all his dogs!!!

you all that are cheering are really the sick f'ers that are wanting to lock up old men for hurting a dog 40 something years ago.

and by the way, all this anonymous collect-a-bunch-of-money tip stuff is un-American and a witch hunt with crackhead losers turning in anything on anyone and the cops claiming that is "probable cause" to fish around on innuendo and suspicion and hope they find something. very mccarthy-esque.

97% of americans eats meat, which is KILLING animals you know right? and yet so many love to get crazed about 'putting people in rings' and 'lock em up who cares about civil rights', advocating doing to people just what they are complaining may have been done to an animal. HYPOCRITES on so many levels.

Leave the old man alone!

Give me a break...are you

Give me a break...are you really serious??? Dead dogs were found on the property and you think this sick person 'loves' his dogs??? Get a life!

Dogs get old and die. I

Dogs get old and die. I buried one because I had to put him asleep. They never said how the dogs died? You assume he killed them. Do not make assumptions...oh you know the rest!!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! THANK

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! From the bottom of my heart please dont stop bustin these sick people!!!!!!!

Don't Stop

I feel the same way. Also - a HUGE thanks to those who reported the suspected activity. If you don't know what kind of things to look for, look it up online. You never know - you might be living down the road from a dog fighting operation and not even know it! Kudos to all involved in busting this low life!

You should do a little more

You should do a little more research on the subject before you start making comments. The media only tells you what they want you to know.

old man

YOU ARE A JOKE. AN ANONYMOUS CALL LED TO THE ARREST OF AN OLD MAN WHO HAS PROBABLY HAD THESE DOGS IN THE BACK WOODS FOR 60 YEARS. NOW THE MEDIA WILL VILLIFY HIM AND TURN AN OLD COUNTRY BOY IN TO A BIG TIME CRIMINAL. THIS IS A JOKE AND A TRAVESTY TO THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.THESE DOGS LOOK FAT AND WELL FED. THE HUMANE SOCIETY WILL "RESCUE" THEM, AND ALL THEY WILL DO IS KILL THEM. WHEN ARE ANY OF YOU GOING TO WAKE UP AND SEE ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS KILL THE DOGS.THESE PEOPLE HAVE A PERSONAL BLOOD LUST AGAINST THE AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER. IF THERE WAS ANYTHING EVEN REMOTELY HUMANE ABOUT THEM THEY WOULD NOT KILL THE ANIMALS.THE DIRECTOR OF H.S.U..S. WOULD NOT LIVE IN A 3 MILLION DOLLAR HOME AND ACTUAL MONEY WOULD MAKE ITS WAY TO HELPING ANIMALS INSTEAD OF JUST KILLING THEM. CHECK OUT JOE WOODALL ON YOUTUBE. HE HAD THE PRESENCE OF MIND TO DOCUMENT THE HOLOCAUST ON THE WEB..CHECKIT OUT ON YOUTUBE..A PRIVATE COMPANY PLAYING POLICEMAN..WHAT A JOKE..

THANK YOU FOR WHAT

FOLKS THIS IS A RACKET!! DOGS ARE NOT RESUCUED THEY ARE SIMPLY PUT TO SLEEP, DEATH , YES OVER AND OVER AGAINN ALL THEY WANT IS THE PUBLICITY SO THEY CAN GET MORE DONATIONS FROM INNOCENT GULLABLE AMERICANS THAT THINK THEIR DONATIONS GO TO HELP ANIMALS

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone 202-452-1100 | Fax 202-258-3051 | Email wpacelle@hsus.org

Overview

Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.
HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.

Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle described some of his goals in 2004 for The Washington Post: “We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts … [and we’re] phasing out animals used in research. Hunting? I think you will see a steady decline in numbers.” More recently, in a June 2005 interview, Pacelle told Satya magazine that HSUS is working on “a guide to vegetarian eating, to really make the case for it.” A strict vegan himself, Pacelle added: “Reducing meat consumption can be a tremendous benefit to animals.”

Shortly after Pacelle joined HSUS in 1994, he told Animal People (an inside-the-movement watchdog newspaper) that his goal was to build “a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement.” And now, as the organization’s leader, he’s in a position to back up his rhetoric with action. In 2005 Pacelle announced the formation of a new “Animal Protection Litigation Section” within HSUS, dedicated to “the process of researching, preparing, and prosecuting animal protection lawsuits in state and federal court.”

HSUS’s current goals have little to do with animal shelters. The group has taken aim at the traditional morning meal of bacon and eggs with a tasteless “Breakfast of Cruelty” campaign. Its newspaper op-eds demand that consumers “help make this a more humane world [by] reducing our consumption of meat and egg products.” Since its inception, HSUS has tried to limit the choices of American consumers, opposing dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.

A True Multinational Corporation

HSUS is a multinational conglomerate with ten regional offices in the United States and a special Hollywood Office that promotes and monitors the media’s coverage of animal-rights issues. It includes a huge web of organizations, affiliates, and subsidiaries. Some are nonprofit, tax-exempt “charities,” while others are for-profit taxable corporations, which don’t have to divulge anything about their financial dealings.

This unusually complex structure means that HSUS can hide expenses where the public would never think to look. For instance, one HSUS-affiliated organization called the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust collected $21.1 million between 1998 and 2003. During the same period, it spent $15.7 million on fundraising expenses, most of which directly benefited HSUS. This arrangement allowed HSUS to bury millions in direct-mail and other fundraising costs in its affiliate’s budget, giving the public (and charity watchdog groups) the false impression that its own fundraising costs were relatively low.

Until 1995 HSUS also controlled the Humane Society of Canada (HSC), which Irwin had founded four years earlier. But Irwin, who claimed to live in Canada when he set up HSC, turned out to be ineligible to run a Canadian charity (He actually lived in Maryland). Irwin’s Canadian passport was ultimately revoked and he was replaced as HSC’s executive director.

The new leader later hauled HSUS into court to answer charges that Irwin had transferred over $1 million to HSUS from the Canadian group. HSUS claimed it was to pay for HSC’s fundraising, but didn’t provide the group with the required documentation to back up the expenses. In January 1997 a Canadian judge ordered HSUS to return the money, writing: “I cannot imagine a more glaring conflict of interest or a more egregious breach of fiduciary duty. It demonstrates an overweening arrogance of a type seldom seen.”

From Animal Welfare to Animal Rights

There is an enormous difference between animal “welfare” organizations, which work for the humane treatment of animals, and animal “rights” organizations, which aim to completely end the use and ownership of animals. The former have been around for centuries; the latter emerged in the 1980s, with the rise of the radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The Humane Society of the United States began as an animal welfare organization. Originally called the National Humane Society, it was established in 1954 as a spin-off of the American Humane Association (AHA). Its founders wanted a slightly more radical group -- the AHA did not oppose sport hunting or the use of shelter animals for biomedical research.

In 1980, HSUS officially began to change its focus from animal welfare to animal rights. After a vote was taken at the group’s San Francisco national conference, it was formally resolved that HSUS would “pursue on all fronts … the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of all animals … within the full range of American life and culture.”

In Animal Rights and Human Obligations, the published proceedings of this conference, HSUS stated unequivocally that “there is no rational basis for maintaining a moral distinction between the treatment of humans and other animals.” It’s no surprise, then, that a 2003 HSUS fundraising mailer boasted that the group has been working toward “putting an end to killing animals for nearly half a century.”

In 1986 John McArdle, then HSUS’s Director of Laboratory Animal Welfare, told Washingtonian magazine that HSUS was “definitely shifting in the direction of animal rights faster than anyone would realize from our literature.”

The group completed its animal-rights transformation during the 1990s, changing its personnel in the process. HSUS assimilated dozens of staffers from PETA and other animal-rights groups, even employing John “J.P.” Goodwin, a former Animal Liberation Front member and spokesman with a lengthy arrest record and a history of promoting arson to accomplish animal liberation.

The change brought more money and media attention. Hoyt explained the shift in 1991, telling National Journal, “PETA successfully stole the spotlight … Groups like ours that have plugged along with a larger staff, a larger constituency … have been ignored.” Hoyt agreed that PETA’s net effect within the animal-rights movement was to spur more moderate groups to take tougher stances in order to attract donations from the public. “Maybe.” Hoyt mused, “the time has come to say, ‘Since we haven’t been successful in getting half a loaf, let’s go for the whole thing.’”

HSUS leaders have even expressed their desire to put an end to the lifesaving biomedical research that requires the use of animals. As early as 1988 the group’s mailings demanded that the U.S. government “eliminate altogether the use of animals as research subjects.” In 1986 Washingtonian asked then-HSUS Vice-President for Laboratory Animals John McArdle about his opinion that brain-dead humans should be substituted for animals in medical research. “It may take people a while to get used to the idea,” McArdle said, “but once they do the savings in animal lives will be substantial.”

McArdle realized then what HSUS understands today -- that an uncompromising, vegetarian-only, anti-medical-progress philosophy has limited appeal. At the 1984 HSUS convention, he gave his group’s members specific instructions on how to frame the issue most effectively. “Avoid the words ‘animal rights’ and ‘antivivisection’,” McArdle said. “They are too strange for the public. Never appear to be opposed to animal research. Claim that your only concern is the source of animals.”

In a 1993 letter published by the American Society for Microbiology, Dr. Patrick Cleveland of the University of California San Diego spelled out HSUS’s place in the animal-rights pantheon. "What separates the HSUS from other animal rights groups,” Cleveland wrote, “is not their philosophy of animal rights and goal of abolishing the use of animals in research, but the tactics and timetable for that abolition.” Cleveland likened it to the difference between a mugger and a con man. “They each will rob you — they use different tactics, have different timetables, but the result is the same. The con man may even criticize the mugger for using confrontational tactics and giving all thieves a bad name, but your money is still taken.”

Targeting Meat and Dairy

In 2004 HSUS promoted long-time vice president Wayne Pacelle to the position of President. Along with Pacelle’s passionate style and his experience navigating the halls of Congress, HSUS got its first strictly vegan leader.

One of Pacelle’s first acts as HSUS’s new chief executive was to send a memo to all HSUS staffers articulating his vision for the future. HSUS’s new “campaigns section,” Pacelle wrote, “will focus on farm animals.” For Americans accustomed to eating meat, eggs, and dairy foods, the thought of an animal rights group with a budget three times the size of PETA’s targeting their food choices should be unsettling. And Pacelle has hired other high-profile, unapologetic meat and dairy “abolitionists” since taking over.

In 2005, former Compassion Over Killing (COK) president Miyun Park joined HSUS as a staffer in its new “farm animals and sustainable agriculture department.” Around the same time, HSUS hired COK's other co-founder, Paul Shapiro, as manager of its derogatorily named “Factory Farming Campaign.” COK’s former general counsel Carter Dillard shortly afterward, as did vegan doctor and mad-cow-disease scaremonger Michael Greger. Like Pacelle, these new HSUS hires are all self-described vegans. Their arrival in the world’s richest animal-rights group signals that HSUS is giving anti-meat campaigns a prominent place.

In October, just a few months before he became an HSUS staffer, Shapiro told the 2004 National Student Animal Rights Conference that “nothing is more important than promoting veganism.” And Shapiro noted during an August 2004 animal-rights seminar (hosted by United Poultry Concerns) that after just 10 weeks at the helm, Pacelle had “already implemented a ‘no animal products in the office’ policy ... You know, they're going to have actual farmed-animal campaigns now, where they're going to be trying to legislate against gestation crates and all this stuff.”

Americans who enjoy meat, cheese, eggs, and milk may soon come to regard HSUS as a new PETA, with an even broader reach. Shortly after taking office, Pacelle announced a merger with the $20 million Fund For Animals. The combined group estimated its 2005 budget at “over $95 million” and also announced the formation of a new “political organization,” which will “allow for a more substantial investment of resources in political and lobbying activities.”

Domestic Deception

It takes tens of millions of dollars to run campaigns against so many domestic targets, and HSUS consistently misleads Americans with its fundraising efforts by hinting that it’s a “humane society” in the more conventional sense of the term. Buried deep within HSUS’s website is a disclaimer noting that the group “is not affiliated with, nor is it a parent organization for, local humane societies, animal shelters, or animal care and control agencies. These are independent organizations … HSUS does not operate or have direct control over any animal shelter.”

For instance, a 2001 member recruitment mailing called those on the HSUS mailing list “true pet lovers,” referring to unspecified work on behalf of “dogs, puppies, cats, [and] kittens.” Another recruitment mailing from that year included “Thank You,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Get Well Soon” greeting cards featuring pets such as dogs, cats, and fish. The business reply envelope lists “7 Steps to a Happier Pet.”

A 2003 recruitment mailing also included those “Steps,” as well as free address labels with pastel pictures of dogs and cats. The fundraising letter subtly substituted the animal-rights term “companion animals” for “pets.”

“Our mission is to encourage adoption in your neighborhood and throughout the country,” reads another HSUS fundraising appeal. “Even though local shelters are trying their best to save lives, they are simply overwhelmed.” That last sentence, at least, is true. But don’t count on the multi-million-dollar conglomerate HSUS to do anything about it. HSUS doesn’t operate a single animal shelter and has no hands-on contact with stray or surplus animals.

In 1995 the Washington (DC) Humane Society almost closed its animal shelter due to a budget shortfall. HSUS, which is also based in Washington, DC, ultimately withdrew an offer to build and operate a DC shelter, at its own expense, to serve as a national model.

In exchange for running the shelter, HSUS wanted three to five acres of city land and tax-exempt status for all its real estate holdings in the District of Columbia. The DC government offered a long-term lease, but that wasn’t good enough. HSUS refused to proceed unless it would “own absolutely” the land. The district declined, and what might have become the only HSUS-funded animal shelter never materialized.

So what does HSUS do with the millions it raises using the furry faces of Fido and Fluffy? In 2002, the multi-million-dollar conglomerate gave less than $150,000 to hands-on humane societies and animal shelters.

Worse, HSUS employees have complained to the press that their organization wastes its resources on fundraising expenses and high salaries for its chief executives. Robert Baker, an HSUS consultant and former chief investigator, told U.S. News & World Report: “The Humane Society should be worried about protecting animals from cruelty. It’s not doing that. The place is all about power and money.”

Influencing Communities

HSUS doesn’t save flesh-and-blood animals the way local “humane societies” do, but it does lobby heavily to change the laws of communities across the country. “HSUS was the financial clout that rammed Initiative 713, the anti-trapping measure, down our throats,” reports Rich Landers of the Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review. “I pleaded [with Wayne Pacelle, then HSUS’s government affairs VP] at least four times for examples of HSUS commitment in Washington [state] other than introducing costly anti-hunting and anti-wildlife management initiatives. He had no immediate answer but promised to send me the list of good things HSUS does in this state. That was six months ago, and I presume Pacelle is still searching.”

Like other national animal-rights groups, HSUS has learned that pouring huge sums of money into ballot initiative campaigns can give it results normal public relations and lobbying work never could. Along with other heavy hitters like the Fund for Animals and Farm Sanctuary, HSUS scored a big victory in Florida in 2002 when a ballot initiative passed that gave constitutional rights to pregnant pigs. HSUS donated at least $50,000 to the Florida PAC that managed the campaign.

Florida farmers were banned from using “gestation crates,” usually necessary to keep sows healthy during pregnancy and to prevent them from accidentally rolling over and crushing their newborn piglets. After this amendment passed, raising pigs became economically unsustainable, and farmers were forced to slaughter their animals rather than comply with the costly new constitutional requirements. Today, Florida is considering a taxpayer-funded bailout of its few pork farmers.

Animal-rights leaders plan to extend their “pregnant pigs” win to other states, and have organized similar campaigns in California and New Jersey. HSUS’s four-year Iowa campaign, misleadingly called “Care4Iowa,” has a stated goal of promoting the so-called “humane” methods of livestock production which universally result in greater costs for farmers and higher prices for consumers.

And HSUS won’t stop at initiatives aimed at livestock farmers and trappers. At the 1996 HSUS annual meeting, Wayne Pacelle announced that the ballot initiative would be used for all manner of legislation in the future, including “companion animal issues and laboratory animal issues.” Pacelle has personally been involved in at least 22 such campaigns, 17 of which HSUS scored as victories. These operations, he said, “pay dividends and serve as a training ground for activists.”

HSUS is also a part of the Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW) coalition, a slick Washington-based PR campaign to end the “inappropriate” use of antibiotics in livestock animals. This coalition, comprised largely of science-deprived environmental groups, claims to worry deeply about antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in people. KAW doesn’t, however, devote any attention to the rampant over-prescription of the drugs to humans.

Why doesn’t HSUS want animals to receive disease-preventing antibiotics? Raising livestock without antibiotics is much more difficult and costly, and the resulting meat, eggs, and dairy are considerably more expensive. It’s possible that the KAW coalition’s goals would give Americans an economic incentive to lean toward vegetarianism; HSUS would, of course, not object.

School Activism 101

Despite a radical animal-rights agenda similar to PETA’s, the Humane Society of the United States has gained entry to countless segments of polite society. One of the more worrisome consequences of this is the group’s relatively unfettered access to U.S. schools.

Through its National Association for Humane and Environmental Education, as well as a series of animal-rights-oriented publications, HSUS spreads animal-rights propaganda to schoolchildren as young as five.

One package, titled People and Animals -- A Humane Education Guide, suggests films and books for teachers to present to their students. In these recommended teaching tools, sport hunters are called “selective exterminators” and “drunken slobs” who participate in a “blood sport” and a “war on wildlife” with “maniacal attitudes toward killing.” Another teachers’ guide contains anti-circus stories in which animals are repeatedly depicted as overworked and abused.

At the same time, HSUS hypocritically complains that it is inappropriate for the federal government to distribute educational materials about the need for laboratory research animals, complaining: “These materials inappropriately target young people, who do not possess the cognitive ability to make meaningful decisions regarding highly controversial and complex issues.”

The “Humane” Web