Wayne Pacelle: Our Dizzying Array of Animal Care Programs

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Our Dizzying Array of Animal Care Programs

This week, The HSUS worked with law enforcement and both local and national groups in Chatham County, N.C. to rescue nearly 200 animals, most of them from a single mobile home. Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Stuart called it an “intervention,” and like too many cases we see, the situation got out of hand and way beyond the means of the person with the animals to handle them. We are working with our partners to provide care and relief to them.

It’s just one manifestation of the hugely diverse and high-impact direct-care work the HSUS and its affiliates conduct on an ongoing basis.

Our Dizzying Array of Animal Care Programs

Adam Parascandola and local activists carrying one of many dogs rescued after the truck taking them to slaughter was intercepted.

Since the June 22 Yulin dog meat festival – which I wrote about on the blog — members of China Animal Protection Power have rescued more than 1,000 dogs bound for slaughter in a series of dog truck interceptions on China’s highways involving days of tense negotiation with dog traders and police. Activists with CAPP say that all too often local police disregard the laws related to dog meat trade criminality. CAPP was set up with the help of Humane Society International  to coordinate dog rescues.

The most recent dog truck interceptions resulted in the rescue of 575 dogs – 379 in Tianjin following a two-day standoff between activists and the dog meat traders, and 195 in Qinhuangdao. The dogs endured appallingly over-crowded conditions, kept alive by CAPP volunteers providing life-saving shade and water while negotiating for their release. Both sets of dogs were eventually offloaded, but in neither case was the dog meat trader fined by local authorities despite breaching the law by not having required quarantine certificates. The 379 dogs rescued in Tianjin are now undergoing a compulsory 28-day quarantine period but their fate still hangs in the balance, with activists urging the authorities to release the dogs to their care once the quarantine period is over.

“These dogs belong in loving homes with caring families – in fact, many of them were family pets before they were stolen,” said Adam Parascandola, HSI’s director of animal protection and crisis response, who was on the ground to assist with both rescue operations.. “Our priority is to secure the safe future of these dogs so they can be cared for and then adopted or reunited with their families when possible. We will continue to work with Chinese activists to put an end to this cruel industry that a growing number of people in China don’t support.”

Our Dizzying Array of Animal Care Programs

One of the many street dogs helped by Humane Society International’s street dog program.

Meanwhile, this week, HSI announced that more than 11,000 dogs have been successfully sterilized and vaccinated since April 2013 by the Jamshedpur Communities Dog Population & Rabies Management Project, making a huge impact on greater Jamshedpur’s dog population and rabies management. Humane Society International and Animal Health Foundation launched this three-year project with support from the Jamshetji Tata Trust and JUSCO. “We’re well on our way to reaching goal of sterilizing and vaccinating 18,000 dogs in greater Jamshedpur,” said Andrew Rowan, my colleague and CEO of HSI. “Sterilizing this number of animals is no easy task but our dedicated team of veterinarians and animal welfare officers has stepped up to the challenge and has achieved wonderful results that will improve the welfare of both the street dogs and the people of Jamshedpur.”

And this is just one of so many street dog projects we are conducting in multiple nations throughout the world. We have a massive project in the India’s Haryana province, and programs in Puerto Rico, Bhutan, the Philippines, and so many places where this hands-on program is critical.

In the U.S. , we also maintain the largest network of animal care centers, including the nation’s largest wildlife rehabilitation center (the South Florida Wildlife Center) and the famous Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. We have rural veterinary teams that provide services on Native American reservations and our Pets for Life program provides services to thousands of animals and the people who care about them in underserved communities.

Our Dizzying Array of Animal Care Programs

A volunteer with The HSUS hold a baby gopher tortoise during a relocation. Julie Busch Branaman

We lost a great booster of our wildlife rescue operations this week. The HSUS and Gopher tortoises lost a good friend with the passing of Marion Clifton ( M.C.) Davis, a passionate visionary for protecting all habitat but especially his beloved long leaf pine forest. He founded the 50,000-acre Nokuse plantation, and its E.O. Wilson Biophilia Education Center to help restore habitat, and his work included helping the HSUS rescue and rehome more than 4,300 imperiled gopher tortoises and hundreds of frogs, snakes and other burrow sharing species from properties scheduled for development . MC’s legacy will live on via all the people he has helped protect these imperiled species.

There’s a lot of talk of climate-change deniers in the world. But then there’s a small universe of “HSUS direct-care deniers” – especially lawmakers aligned with factory farms, puppy mills, horse slaughter and captive hunts. They diminish the millions of dollars we give to other organizations (including donations made through the Sparrow Fund to help wildlife rehabbers and vets who come across animals in severe distress, you can see some of the stories of the animals helped by the fund here), but deny the significant of direct care work we conduct with our staff and volunteers even as the information exists right in front of them – a phenomenon I identified as the “backfire effect” in a recent blog.

The HSUS and its affiliates just happen to be able to carry off some of the most diverse and high-impact animal-care programs in the world, and also provide game-changing advocacy programs, shaping public opinion, the law and enforcement actions, and corporate policies in the U.S. and increasingly throughout the world. Our goal is to help millions and billions, but never to forget the one creature in need right now.

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