Tuesday, September 27, 2005

An update and a response from HSUS

Things are picking up more than ever. We finally found a list from thehorse.com to work from. These are people who called weeks ago and still haven’t had their pets rescued. This is a great list. We have basically 8 teams in the field and this is enough to cover the call-ins and to work from the list. Too many people makes things more difficult to organize. Yesterday, we found 6-8 pets alive. Some owners are coming to get them and some are going into foster homes until the owners get back on their feet.

Below is the response from HSUS from yesterday's post. The head of public relations called to talk to me for at length last night and told me that HSUS is committed to the long term. I hope this is true. I know my time is winding down here. That’s going to be really hard when I have to leave on Friday or Saturday, because I have animals in houses that I am going to have to trust others are going to care of them.

From HSUS:

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to some of the comments in Eric's blog. We're prepared to meet any criticism that's offered in a
rational manner.

I've been at Gonzales for two weeks, side by side with dozens of HSUS staff members deployed in Louisiana (with equivalent numbers of staff active in Mississippi and also now working in western Louisiana and east Texas).

Let me first acknowledge that the impact of this disaster exceeded our capacity to respond. We are not embarrassed to say this. We have trained hundreds of people who deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana through our Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) program, but we did not have the capacity to respond to a disaster of this magnitude. I would say our greatest shortcoming was our communications and database management. We stumbled on this, and it did hurt our effort. That said, we have thrown everything we could at the disaster and our people are working around the clock. We are learning some lessons the hard way, but we've never had to respond to a crisis of this order. I will mention that our staff -- who work in our regional offices, government affairs, companion animals, investigations, and many other sections -- put aside their regular duties and deployed to help, whether in the field or organizing at our headquarters office, and every one of these people is passionate about the cause and got involved in our response with a tremendous sense of responsibility and purpose. I'm proud of what we have done.

I want to reply to some of Eric's allegations and criticisms.

1) We may have stopped the flow of volunteers.
Fact: We have maintained our call for volunteers consistently for weeks. This was briefly interrupted by Rita, since the Lamar Dixon facility manager and the police instructed us very specifically to evacuate most of our people. We deployed only emergency personnel during the storm, and we also suspended rescue during the period when we were under the storm warning. We have been critical of people who did not prepare for the hurricane, and we felt it would not be proper and right for us to send people into a storm. That was our decision, and we'd make it again. We had 1,000 animals at the shelter to protect, and we focused our efforts on that task. The only other hindrance to our call for volunteers was the hostility of the Lamar Dixon management, and their constant hectoring that we had too many people at the site and that if we didn't turn things around, they'd lock the gates. Even in the face of that threat, we've been calling hundreds of people every day and urging deployment. We've contacted humane societies and animal control staff and asked them to respond.

2) "It's almost impossible to be a rescuer with HSUS."
Fact: This is really a wild exaggeration. Everybody who comes to the briefing at 5:30 a.m. can get out into the field if they agree to play by the rules and can function normally. We are sending teams out every morning, and we have called in animal control personnel from around the country who are core participants with the rescue operation. Of course, we'd like to have highly skilled people for certain elements of the effort, but we've tried to absorb all kinds of volunteers into the effort, and we'll continue to do so.

3) "They [HSUS] will only take critical animals."
Fact: In very specific areas, where people are allowed to return to evacuated areas of New Orleans, we are advising that rescuers only take the critical animals. Healthy looking animals can be fed, and the feeding documented, so we can get back to them in a week's time. This will allow us to focus on the animals that must be rescued in areas where residents are not coming back any time soon. Of the thousands of animals taken to the Gonzales facility, only a small portion have been critical, refuting in flesh and blood the claim that we've restricted the rescue only to animals in critical condition.

3) "HSUS is looking to wind down the Gonzales operation."
Fact: There is a measure of truth to this, but it's not by choice. The property managers want us out of there, and they have waged a campaign of harassment to drive us out. What's more, we operate under the incident command structure of the State Veterinarian's Office and meet with the state team every day. They have asked us to cease intake of animals by September 30th. We are beseeching them to let us continue for a longer period, and we are cautiously optimistic we'll persuade them to extend our rescue operations through Lamar Dixon.

In addition, we are working with the Louisiana SPCA to ready their new operations site. On Saturday, October 1, we expect that facility to be operational in Algiers (which is within New Orleans). Some days ago I spoke to Eric about getting a staging area near New Orleans, so presumably he'll be happy about this.

4) petfinder.com and 1-800-Humane-1

Fact: Petfinder is not "a way of acting like they have a plan for these animals." It's the software that was available when this disaster hit. We all wish that there was something better out there, ready for immediate use, but there wasn't. As crucial as the data management challenge was from the beginning, it was only one of a dozen serious and
urgent problems we faced.

Working with others, The HSUS tried hard to improve this existing software to make available a comprehensive, user-friendly database that would achieve multiple goals: that all animals rescued be identified according to the location from which they were retrieved; that their immediate location, condition, treatment and other factors critical to their immediate and long-term care be recorded; that their movements from the temporary emergency shelter at Lamar Dixon to locations around the country be tracked; and, most critically, that they can be reunited with their owners as promptly as possible.

The reality of the situation is that no single database or software system that could accomplish all of these goals existed prior to August 29, and the process of developing, testing, improving and utilizing such a system has been compressed into a short timeframe in the midst of an emergency. That process continues right now, involving not only The HSUS, but also the ASPCA, Petfinder.com, and others. We expect that petfinder.com will be much more user-friendly for the public within days.

In the absence of an existing database system sufficient to meet all of the competing demands, the HSUS and all other animal organizations involved in the animal search, rescue, care and treatment effort did rely on paper forms. That was often -- and in some cases continues to be -- the most practical and efficient way to record information on the large numbers of animals treated. Information from more than a thousand intake forms has since been uploaded to the petfinder.com database, by a corps of HSUS staffers working around the clock. Information about the transfer of animals to other shelters, again recorded in paper form because of the exigencies of the situation, are in the process of being included in Petfinder. HSUS staff and volunteers are double-checking the location of animals transported to other agencies and the national organizations are actively encouraging receiving shelters and agencies nationwide to promptly and accurately update Petfinder with information about animals in their temporary care.

The process is not perfect; everyone at The HSUS wishes it was. However, suggestions that it should be perfect are simply unrealistic and reflect a poor understanding of the complexities and demands involved. Nonetheless, we believe the system is improving, has already assisted owners to reunite with their pets, and will continue to do so.

With regard to people who called the HSUS's number (or that of other animal protection organizations) for help in rescuing their pets, all of the information provided by each caller was recorded and the information transmitted to rescue teams in the field. We certainly wish that we had the resources or even the physical ability to respond to each request immediately upon receiving the call. For reasons that are apparent to anyone viewing the situation on the ground in an objective fashion, that has not been possible -- although efforts are continuing to reach every address where an animal was reported to have been left behind or is otherwise in need. All rescue teams involved did and continue to work to rescue the greatest number of animals possible.

I am not personally aware of any individual who was told by The HSUS that their animals had been rescued but later found that was not true. Our policy has been, since the inception of our emergency call center, whether the call was handled by HSUS staff, volunteers or contractors, to candidly advise callers that neither The HSUS nor any other organization is in a position to guarantee the rescue of their pets and
that they should explore all other options to accomplish that goal.

5) "HSUS has taken on a strategy that we feel will allow thousands of animals to starve in their houses."

There's no single strategy that should be at work in a disaster like this. In some cases, we are proceeding with a straight rescue plan: get into a house, capture the animals, and transport them back to our staging area so they can receive medical care and shelter. In other cases, especially in areas where residents are scheduled to return and where the animals look healthy, we are feeding and watering and keeping the animals in place. There, they can survive, and not be subjected to the stress of capture and transport. We then make note of the feeding and revisit the site and feed the animals again or pick them up, depending upon an assessment of their condition. The idea of feeding and watering also was more attractive when our staging area was nearly full of animals, and we had to make a judgment on which animals to bring back. But we won't let any animal starve to death or subsist indefinitely without rescue or the return of somebody to a given house. Going forward, we'll revisit every one of those situations, and we'll bring out more animals as necessary.

6) "I hear this list is over 20k and could be much larger."

Fact: The list of rescue requests has not topped 5,000. There were duplications eliminated when we got to work on the database and that's my best estimate for what we received. But from the day our people hit the ground, there were other lists in circulation, and we lost no time in acting to save animals identified for rescue. Every truck coming back from New Orleans to Gonzales was full of animals, and the job was getting done.

Here's the bottom line:

1) We will get through every address for a trapped animal provided by any group active in relief and rescue efforts.
2) We have already been involved in the rescue of more than 7,000 animals. There have been nearly 500 reunions of animals with the families that love them.
3) We have transported thousands of animals to local humane societies and other safe areas, including to a major prison in Louisiana, where the animals are getting exceptional care.
4) We are committed to helping to rebuild the shelters throughout the Gulf States region.
5) We will learn every lesson from this disaster and be stronger and better the next time a response is required.
6) We have worked with members of Congress to initiate legislation to mandate that government authorities incorporate animals into their disaster plans, and we will press this case until we get a positive outcome. No non-profit organization should be saddled with the responsibility to save all of the animals in a disaster. It's just too big a job. We don't tell or expect the Red Cross to go out and save all of the people, but to help the government in its efforts. The same should apply for animals, who are threatened by the millions when a disaster strikes in a large area.


Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 452-1100
Fax (301) 258-3077
wpacelle@hsus.org

61 Comments:

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

some clarification would be helpful, Eric...
1) you have 8 teams in the field and rescued 6-8 dogs yesterday? With other "small" groups bringing in 60+ dogs? On the same days?
2) How are you using spotlights with a curfew?
3) Your blog talks initially about rebuilding the shelter....then rescuing....then camping out waiting for hsus people?
Even though you are leaving, it sure would be helpful to understand this, particularly for the people who have donated to you...and, no, I am not one of those
Just trying to make sense of all this....

 
At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an absolutely arrogant and insulting statement to all of the thousands of individuals and hundreds (if not thousands) of non-profits around the country who have worked diligently for the animals needing assistance in the wake of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina!

HSUS President, Wayne Pacelle states:
"No non-profit organization should be saddled with the responsibility to save all of the animals in a disaster. It's just too big a job. We don't tell or expect the Red Cross to go out and save all of the people, but to help the government in its efforts. The same should apply for animals, who are threatened by the millions when a disaster strikes in a large area."

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 452-1100
Fax (301) 258-3077
wpacelle@hsus.org

I've had multiple e-mails forwarded to me of individuals' firsthand negative accounts re:
1) Rescuers having paperwork in to rescue certain dogs,only to have the dogs stolen before they could get clearance to rescue them
2)Owners being told their dog is at Lamar-Dixon, only to find that within hours the dog has been shipped off to places unknown.
3) Multiple accountings of dogs sitting in feces and urine and dogsvery frequently not getting out of their crates for 24 to 48+ hours 4) "Parvo stalls being in the middle of everything ... people in and out of them constantly, and going directly in stalls w/ 'healthy' dogs."

I have not heard of these issues happening with many of the other non-profit organizations who have been in the trenches since Day 1
(such as Noah's Wish).

I am one who listens to both sides of issues; but it seems quite telling that each and every negative e-mail I have been sent containing firsthand information is regarding HSUS and the happenings at the Lamar-Dixon
Shelter in Gonzales, LA.

 
At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, shut your whining trap.

No organization can save 100%. It's statistically impossible.

It's not insulting or arrogant, it's reality. You're the insult to intelligent life elsewhere by insisting it can be otherwise.

If you really want to help, get some emergency animal rescue training and be part of solution next time instead of whining on message boards.

People like you disgust me. Eric has done nothing but slander HSUS for days now, even though they are operating under hellish, unprecedented conditions. They are kind enough to give a response even though Eric blackmails them with an ad that will cost at the minimum $123,000, which is a far bigger waste of money than anything HSUS has been accused of. I wish they had let Eric put his accusations in newsprint so they can sue his and the headcases at nola.com's collective asses off, but they were nice enough to respond perhaps realizing that even a slamdunk lawsuit would waste money and time. And then they even apologized for not being perfect.

What do you want them to do?! It seems only Jesus himself holding back Katrina and Rita with one hand while scooping up all the animals with another would satisfy you miserable slanderers.

No, the system isn't perfect but that's because people aren't perfect. The only thing perfect here was the storm, and that's why everything is such a goddamned mess.

I've read e-mail from rescuers who had a less than perfect experience and that's because:
1) they had a God complex and wanted to do things their way instead of following the system that ensured that all animals received equal care
2) they fell in love with a certain animal and couldn't take it with them so they are taking out their emotional deficiences by spreading rumor
3) they love animals but have zero comprehension of what being in a disaster area means, and just couldn't cope

I've also seen plenty of e-mails from rescuers who said the system worked, appreciated what was being done, and are going back for more because they can hack it.

The more you people bitch about HSUS, the more money I'm gonna give them. Your bullying has tipped me into their column.

No, I don't work for HSUS I never donated to them before Katrina. But the more I see them operate, especially in the face of such stupid slander, the more I like them.

(Oh, and people have been spreading rumors about ASPCA and Best Friends as well - they let anuimals die, they are mass euthanizing animals, they don't have vets, they are mean to their rescuers, etc. etc. etc. If you haven't seen them slammed, you either just have a mad on for HSUS or you're blind. Or a combo.

Meanwhile, Eric himself has been the recipient of a less than flattering first hand account, so careful using that as your reasoning.)

The more I see idiots like you on this blog and at nola.com, the more I pity you. I'd say wake up and smell the coffee, but I'm not sure you even have synapses that fire any more.

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Doug Gross said...

Thank you for the recent e-mails; let's talk soon! Did you see any of
the program on Bob Dylan last night? (I know he doesn't impress Paul
too much.) It gelled with some stuff I had been boiling about
yesterday, and so after that program I wrote The Oily Dog Blues. (
http://www.oilydog.org -- BEWARE it is a sad picture albeit the dog is
still on its feet, in the picture, and no one (as usual) knows exactly
what happened to it afterwards except, we do know this: the journalists
who took the photo walked away.) So I am putting this song out on the
web in various places.

the water's going down today
there's workers walking by
and journalists are out there too
to profit while they spy
the work is cleaning oil
which has leaked and made a bog
and up to them comes begging
just a little oily dog

the working guys they give it pats
it was hoping for much more
it needs water, and it needs to get
this poison off its fur
the working men go on their way
helping doesn't cross their minds
but maybe there is hope because
the journalists are behind

they know it is a sorry sight -
the proof is not profound:
to take a touching picture
journalists laid down on the ground
shooting upwards for a portrait
of its paws and pleading face
with the blue sky in the background
several angles just in case

let's go back several weeks from here
back to some similar scenes -
here's a lady living on a bridge
in downtown New Orleans
living out there in the open
with her red dog by her side
she refused the no-pets transport
and, so far, she has not died

she refused the no-pets horror
now the camera's in her face
crouching with her dog there on the bridge
journalists' paychecks from her case
she refused the no-pets idiocy and
for this nightmare to end,
she just needs a ride from New Orleans
but not without her friend

the journalists moved along and
what came next we cannot know
if journalists had helped these two
they'd have certainly told us so
so here we are, another street
this time the dog's unowned:
he's made money for the journalists, now
they're leaving him alone

yes here we are, another street
the dog hopes they'll be kind
he's made money for the journalists, now
they're leaving him behind
they don't want oil on their shirts
nor on their camera straps
they only want the tear-jerk photos
falling in their laps

now when the waters rise all kinds
of people float their way -
and some float in, and some ride off,
and some are there for pay
and when the waters sink again
there's a simple rule of thumb
to tell between the helpers,
and the poison and the scum

for every picture taken
there's a Taker standing by:
with a mind not on survival and
with clothes and cameras dry
with food and transportation
and hired security
and a journalist's delusions about
journalistic purity

with the journalists' delusions
about what they need not do
with the journalists' delusions that
they're doing this For You
with the journalists' delusions
of professional states of Grace
and journalistic commentary while oil
and tears run down your face

Copyright 2005 by Doug Gross

 
At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our society is able to take in any reptiles/amphibians. We're located in Houston and can put together some transportation.
Wendy Browne
Gulf Coast Turtle & Tortoise Society
http://www.gctts.org
281-443-3383

 
At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mr. or Mrs. "Shut Your Whiney Trap" (or is that you, Wayne?)

You missed the whole point. Try again reading a little slower, and maybe your comprehension will improve this time.

HSUS' Wayne Pacelle made the statement, "No non-profit organization should be saddled
with the responsibility to save all of the animals in a disaster. It's just too big of a job."

I couldn't agree with that statement more, especially in the wake of a disaster this size.

The ignorant and insulting part is because Wayne "Full-Of-Himself" Pacelle is insinuating that HSUS is that organization while the fact of the matter is that thousands of non-profits and individuals from across the nation have contriubed to saving animals in the aftermath of this monstrous disaster. And you talk about people having a God complex!

Not one of the e-mails I received about dogs being stolen, owned dogs having been shipped out to places uknown, dogs not getting out of their cages for one to two days, lying in their own excrement, etc, had anything to do with "Eric." In fact, yesterday is the first time I saw this blog, or heard of Eric, for that matter. And I don't know who Nola.com is either.
I just find it hard to believe there is no truth to what I'm hearing when the information comes firsthand from various individeuals who have no affilation with each other and they are all coming away from Lamar-Dixon with very similar firsthand experiences.

And the standard should be such that animals aren't being stolen or sent to places unknown or aren't lying in their own excrement.

I'm sure there are a few people in the area in need of employment. If there's not enough volunteer help, HSUS could use some of the millions of dollars it has received in donations to hire individuals in the areas where it is falling short.

And as far as your suggestion I be part of the solution, I considered going to Louisiana, but in order to do that I would have to abandon my post locally where I work full-time on companion animal issues, and I am not willing to jeopardize the lives of animals in my community in order to save animals in another state. I feel greatly for these animals but can't justify leaving local animals in need just becaue they their story
isn't as sensationalistic.

With the millions of dogs and cats killed annually across the U.S.,
"disaster relief" is needed in just about every community in every state of this nation on a daily basis.

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I donated to HSUS and believed in them, UNTIL i started to hear the same thing from many down there. I dont believe the explanations given by HSUS, and I dont trust them. The HSUS is a scam, a fraud, and dishonest in thier fundraising. Unfortunatly, we dont have much to work with, and have to work together as best as possible.

Here is a link with surprising info on HSUS...I didnt know this stuff, and since finding out...I wouldnt donate to them again.

LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HSUS
http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/136

Also check them out here:
http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/

and here
http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm?headline=2482

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,

It saddens me that you are leaving, but you couldn't stay forever. YOU have done incredible work, focusing on nothing but the good of the animals. Thank you for EVERYTHING -- you will not be forgotten.

 
At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many aspects to this disaster. My bottom line is, I wish that HSUS had spent more time, effort and money (including my donations) trying to reach animals trapped in homes within the first week or two after the hurricane. HSUS also should have directed pet owners who called the hotline to "real" rescue groups when they realized they could not handle all the calls. Intead, HSUS spent too much time and money lobbying for government help and new laws, giving interviews, and turning down offers of help from volunteers and independent rescuers. I also wonder if all their actual rescues were taken off the streets instead of from homes. HSUS also spent too much time in air-conditioned trailers while volunteers and animals were suffering in the heat. (That is really poor leadership.) Now many of those pets reported left in homes are dead, because the lead humane agency waited too long to try to reach them.

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris ... while you are at http://www.activistcash.com to LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HSUS make sure you also read what this site has to say about PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Greenpeace, SHAC, United Poultry Concerns, etc.

I tell you, these animal people are all crooks. Who cares about animals anyway, right?

 
At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric - There is an accountability issue. Folks sent hard-earned cash hoping to help because there were "thousands" that could be rescued every day. Exactly how many cats and dogs were saved since the spotlights were initiated? If there were only 6-8 yesterday, why not an accurate count?

Secondly, why ask people to come or donate money for spotlights if you were leaving so shortly?

Forget the HSUS -if we want to read their dribble, we can go to their website. And forget Ashley, the jealous, homeless lady and her comments. Hopefully none of the comments made about you, or the discouragement you've met with the HSUS were enough to make you lose your resolve.

If you leave, then we will know that we were taken by you as much as by the HSUS and other organizations we supported to try and help. I don't know about anyone else, but if this continues to be an anti-HSUS blog and Eric really does leave, I will just continue to support Pasados. Great poem though!

 
At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that we need clarification on the number of animals that were rescued. We sent hard-earned dollars because there were "thousands" that could be saved. We also were asked, are you coming and than came through and provided the spotlights. Now you are leaving?

If this is because of Ashley's comments about you or discouragement with the HSUS organization, then you should realize that no one cares about Ashley and if we wanted to read HSUS dribble, we would go to their website.

What we do want to know is why you are leaving? It appears that our efforts with you had no more impact than the money sent to HSUS. If that remains the case, I will continue providing support to Pasados since they are getting good results and are not giving up. Great poem though.

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Activist.com person,
You're not serious, right? They are part of the Consumer Freedom thing and those folks are fricking restaurant people who have it out for animal groups in general.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

We also offer valuable information about hundreds of deep-pocketed foundations, activist celebrities, and other key players in the movement to control what you eat and drink. To stay in the loop, bookmark ActivistCash.com today and join our e-mail list.

These links are hardly the truth about anything, much less HSUS or any other Consumer Freedom groups identified as "animal scam" groups.

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Randy N. Warner said...

Failures of the animal related efforts of Katrina

PLEASE SAVE THE POOR KATRINA ANIMALS FROM THE HORRIFIC POLITICS OF THE HSUS

Contact Info: Randy N. Warner
President 21st Century CARES
21stcares@citlink.net
928-767-4895

I've recieved over 130 emails from those volunteers who are screaming about the HSUS!!! They are not overwhelmed, but positioning themselves for YOU, THE MEDIA in hopes of being awarded the governments contract to become the official rescue organization in disaster efforts.

According to reliable sources, they have recieved over $100 million just for Katrina, yet are turning dog food away even though thousands are starving, refusing animals being brought in, although much space is still empty and even arresting those volunteers who are not wearing their tshirts all while abusing the volunteers who are out in the trenches actually doing the work for free.

I must say that the world is a better place with, than without these groups, but to whom much is given, much is expected and they have fallen WAY too short over time and must looked into.

With the growing level of politics within the larger national animal groups damaging countless delicate egos within the ranks, they view themselves as competitors for the all mighty dollar. With Americans spending nearly $40 billion over the past 20 years on animal protection issues, it's clear that money is not going to resolve these issues or we would have been finished with saving animals a decade ago.

This nation's major animal organizations have good intentions, but are drowning in a quagmire of competition between themselves for the eve popular publicity in major newspapers as they crave the almighty dollar more than they crave success. Maybe the executives equate the two. Of course it takes a large sum of money to try and bring resolve to so many issues, but for the past 25 years, it's clear that the $20,000,000,000 ($20 Billion) we've thrown their way has not brought a conclusion to the main problems of pet overpopulation, animal abuse and neglect. These two award winning articles can sum up the problems. www.21stcenturycares.org/trust.htm
and

www.21stcenturycares.org/whatshsus.htm

The reasons for the abundance of shortcomings and lack of 'real' achievements are many. In my recent book www.21stcenturycares.org/lookwithin.htm I show the ten main reasons why we will not likely ever solve these problems UNLESS everyone will stop thinking that THEY have the only solution and to begin working together in many ways. I discuss a few of the situations I've experienced in my 22 years of doing rescue work as well as the ten years I've provided humane education to over 5,000 young people in 11 states.

Realizing the billions of dollars this nation spends annually through taxes and donations, we can not possibly be proud of the flaring omission of successes we've achieved. Knowing that there are 3,000+ animal protection organizations just in America who annually log over one million volunteer man hours and that everyone's life has been positively affected by a dog or cat, I'm really surprised that nobody has yet to stand up and ask these very questions.

We must not lose perspective and shall choose those campaigns that will save more animals in the long run. the animals that exist today are a very tiny percentage of the animals who will be killed and tortured in the coming years, decades and millennia. Paying excessive attention to those who suffer today is actually condemning millions more to suffer the same fate. With the millions and billions of dollars spent to clean up the existing troubles, we've given nothing in time and effort to our tomorrows and all the animals that will be born in the future.

For a majority of these agencies, 90 ¢ on every $1 that comes in is spent on administration costs. Randy Warner, President of 21st Century Cares, says the only real solution is to educate our children for the future. Many groups lobby for social change through legislation. History has proven that conscience is a much greater tool than consequence. All we are asking is that EVERYONE join 'T.H.E. T.E.A.M.' (Today's Humane Education That Educates And Motivates)

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon about quitcher whining:

Thanks for that! It needed to be said. I saw a posting on BF about how terrible it was to have to leave behind the "healthy" animals and only feed/water and bring in the critical ones. Ya know what, this is life. This is triage and it's done all the time. Sure, you'd rather get them all but if they are OK, running around, fed and watered, resources are better spent AT THAT TIME on sick animals. Also, poster there was complaining they weren't trained to make that determination. Then GO HOME, you're a hinderance and not a help or stay in and clean cages or feed or do something else. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

 
At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randy Warner,
Where do I find your financials?

 
At 5:58 PM, Anonymous anne said...

Eric,

I am hoping you read this comment. You at this point in time have a chance to effect change within the animal community. Right now you have the ears of many people. It would be such an injustice to all the animals left to die if you do not step up to the plate right now and take a chance to make some positive changes with regards to the fate of animals in this country.

You have this opportunity right now. You will look back years from now and wish that you had stayed and stood your ground with the HSUS. There are many people who want change and do not have the voice that you have right now. Please rethink your decision to leave right now because it looks like you are running from criticism.Please stay courageous and do what you know is right. There are people willing to go with you all the way. Just let us knwo what to do.


Anne

 
At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne - I'm with you. I hope Eric hears this!

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger Pip & Hilding said...

So do I

Eric,

You are so important - and especially now.

I wish I could come help out...
I wish we could give you some peace of mind and nice rest now, so you could feel you have the strength to go on.

Thank you for all that you have done and are doing!

Kina
Stockholm, Sweden

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger Kitten Rescue - Hurricane Katrina Relief said...

In all fairness it seems to me that Eric is returning home because, like all of us, he has responsibilities that others cannot take care of forever.

I would have loved to stay for several months in Louisiana but (a) I wasn't being paid and (b) my cat sitter was.

We all have to pay our bills.

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You started this so now have the guts to stay and finish it. No one said it would be easy. You are going to face controversy but if you believe in something go for it.

 
At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the fairness to the animals.Who is being fair to them.

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Eric for everyting you have done for the animals! You have saved lives!

Marilyn

 
At 9:31 PM, Anonymous sm23 said...

None of the national groups were prepared for a disaster of this magnitude. The bickering and jockeying for position during the first days no doubt wasted precious time. But they all have contributed to the efforts. Could they do more? Maybe, probably. But consider for a moment, what would have happened if they didn't respond, if they didn't exist (back in the early 90's EARS was the only group active in disaster work). I think we should take a step back and be grateful to all of the rescue groups, big and small.

My opinion is that things are not always what they seem. Disasters are chaotic and mistakes are made, sometimes those mistakes are deadly. It's awful, and I've cried a lot over the thought of the plight of these animals.

With so much miscommunication and rampant rumors, we may never know the whole truth. I hope there will be accountability in the end. But even more, I hope there will be change, so next time we will be prepared. So, I read the accusations. but try to keep the larger picture in mind. I'm grateful to the "citizen" rescuers who have bravely stepped up to do this important work, but I'm also grateful to all of the national groups for their efforts.

 
At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Eric Rice said...

Been running advertising and marketing programs my entire life. Have the USA today ad down to 25k for quarter page to alert owners that they called a number to have pets rescued and they were not...

Come here and see what this is like, talk the hundreds of people who can't find pets at Gonzales, who got turned away when they drove across the country to help, talk to Jane Garrison herself when this is over, sit at home on your computer all you want. I was here. Eric Rice. PS. Sue me for a true ad saying that the list was never used?

They saved around 2,000 of 50,000 pets.

I have been easy on them compared to people like T Boone Pickesn group who begged to fly out and organize in a databse every single animal. I will have Elizabeth his top gun on all rescue ops post here...

 
At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Eric Rice said...

Somehow some of you got the idea we are more than we are. We are 10-20 people a day doing the best we can. When I ask for some spotlights I had no idea anyone would buy them.. They were not for me exactly. I took them to Gonzales and put them in the suppluy house for all 200 rescuers. City turned upside down day after Rita...totally unsafe for most people to be out after dark,...I see from the comments that some of you can't begin to imagine what it was like here....I don't hate the HSUS,in fact I am right now working under them with credentials they got me. I have been specific about my concerns. They did thing right as well. The animals were well cared for in my opinion.

Also Pasado is by far the most professional organization I have ever encountered. Going to that place was like going to the most organized and dedicated rescue team in the region...all animals tracked to a T, no bickering.

I am not an HSUS basher. I have asked about 3-4 specific issue. Wayne P seems like and ok guy and Jane had she been given free reign like she has now would have knocked the ball out of the park. Sje is mainly the reason this thing is still going...

Financials -- this started as friends and family and the directions were very clear on the site to donate directly to places unless you were a friend....I spent 15k+ so far and taken in about 5-7k. I am not done spending. I have an estimated 2-3,000 cell phone bill alone...ouch, ouch, ouch...I didn't even promote this blog...in fact I have been out of touch with most of what is going on because I do not have computer or internet. Funny how HSUS blew me off

You wait until the real and total story comesout from HSUS own people who are ready to tell all. People are pissed off and I mean incensed at all the fighting etc, the idea that nobody can find a pet, and on and on and on....Wait till you see the $$$ spent for animal saved...I bet it will be an amazing number...Later, Eric

 
At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the idiot whose reading comprehension skills verge on the negative and called me "Wayne" -ooooh, ain't you the witty one? No, not really -

You say:
The ignorant and insulting part is because Wayne "Full-Of-Himself" Pacelle is insinuating that HSUS is that organization while the fact of the matter is that thousands of non-profits and individuals from across the nation have contriubed to saving animals in the aftermath of this monstrous disaster. And you talk about people having a God complex!

Using intelligence and common sense, I respond:
The only reason HSUS said that no organization can save 100% is because mush-for-brains like you are holding them to that standard and then crying and whining when HSUS isn't perfect.

Read the whole statement again - although apparently you might have to sound the words out slowly and please have a dictionary handy for the words over two syllables - and these words junp out:

That process continues right now, involving not only The HSUS, but also the ASPCA, Petfinder.com, and others.

the HSUS and all other animal organizations involved in the animal search, rescue, care and treatment effort

He does acknowledge other groups, but he can only speak for the HSUS. Most sane people understand that it is a)impolite and b)potentially legally dangerous to speak on behalf of other organizations. In fact, if he did speak for the other organizations, then he could be accused of having a God Complex and being full of himself. But the above? 'Fraid not.

Bottom line, Mrs Pacelle does acknowledge that HSUS is not alone out there. It's in plain English - if you're having difficulty with it, local colleges often offer adult learner courses at reduced fees, you might want to check them out.

And to Randy N. Warner - nice try to get some of the money diverted into your own group, but no dice.

Try using some facts instead of made up sensationalist statistics such as "For a majority of these agencies, 90 ¢ on every $1 that comes in is spent on administration costs." That's pure and utter bullshit. You can go to http://www.give.org/ or http://www.charitynavigator.org/ or http://www.guidestar.org/ or http://www.charitywatch.org/ to get the REAL facts about charities.

Your charity, Mr. Warner, 21st Century Cares, is NOT listed anywhere.

I discount every other thing you say - it's obvious you wouldn't know a fact if it bit you in the ass.

Oh, and Eric Rice. Yes, slander is a legal offense.

And spending even $25,000 on an ad that IS slander because pet owners HAVE found their pets housed or formerly housed at Lamar Dixon, is an unconscionable waste of money. Do you realize that the median ANNUAL household income in New Orleans in 2004 was only about $31,369 according to the US Census Bureau? If your "friend" is all that wealthy, have him try to work on the poverty in that area instead of harassing organizations that, while not perfect, are actively trying to do some good.

And you're not a HSUS basher?! Did you even read what you wrote in your blog entry where you all but blackmailed them into wasting time on responding to your accusations?

Stand up and accept responsibility for your own words.

 
At 8:22 AM, Anonymous gina said...

Eric,
I agree with Anne from above. You're doing a fabulous job.

I wish people would just stop pointing fingers and arguing,which is a waste of time, and put thier time to good use. Your blog is one of the only places you can get daily info on what is going on, whether it's positive or negative. I would love to come and help but am pregnant and it's not safe. I would like to see you stay but realize life goes on and you must get back to your responsibilities at home. What is going to happen to all the dogs you are feeding at home and on the streets? Will they eventually be picked up?

Remember, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present. Do with it what you can and make it a great one.

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,
Have you tried using another dog to get the dog from underneath the house to come out? I adopted a rescue and the first day I had him he got loose and ran away. Everyone in my neighborhood helped search for him for hours. He was hiding in some deep bushes. When I walked by the bushes with my other dog, he came out to see him and that is how I found him. I'm sure you have already tried everything just thought I would mention this.

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Myriam said...

Eric, God Bless you, I never doubted the thruthfulness of your reports and the sincerity of your actions to rescue and save the animals. I hope you get to rescue the black lab and many more while you still there.

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Kate Danaher said...

Please be aware that these groups' only purpose is to discredit the animal rights movement and the credibility of other progressive social justice civil society organizations.

www.activistcash.com
www.consumerfreedom.com

Make love not war on animals (or the people that are trying to help them.)

kx

 
At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, I am just arriving home from Gulfport after trying for 2 days to get into NO. The checkpoints turned us away, Gonzales turned us away unless we signed up with the USHS. I have some info that I think you need to hear. I think I still have your phone number, and will call you whenever you you say- just let me know when to call.
jocook@direcway.com

 
At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first heard of this website and began to read the postings, I honestly thought it was a giant joke. It is absolutely inconceivable that people who truly care about animals would sit around gossiping like junior high school girls and disparaging people (under the protective cloak of anonymity, of course) who have dedicated their lives to animal protection. These “good people” would, instead, spend their time writing letters to their elected officials, both local and federal, requesting legislative changes so that a situation like the one in New Orleans never repeats itself. They would be raising funds and writing op-eds and collecting supplies and helping to reunite people with their lost loved animals.

Now I realize that some of you “Armchair Activists” are for real, and it is absolutely sickening. I would invite each of you who have, behind your computers, so boldly criticized the work of individuals - who have chosen to work full time on behalf of animals they will never meet, be thanked by or profit from - to convey how you have helped in the endeavor to save the animals suffering as a result of a disaster of enormous proportions, for which not even the city, state or federal government was prepared.

I’ve never personally met Mr. Pacelle, but I wonder what his “master, ulterior plan” might be in dedicating his entire adult life to working for the most influential animal welfare organization in the world. “Instead of going to Wall Street or some other corporation, upon graduation from college I’ll take a job where I work 20 hour days and fight huge industrial powers with endless financing to help pass legislation to save millions of animals from suffering. And, as a bonus, I’ll have a bunch people anonymously misquoting me and lying about what I’ve accomplished.”

It doesn’t take Freud to recognize that some of you have indeed met him and have a personal grudge (perhaps a disgruntled former employee or two?) or you’re just craving attention in a time when the attention should be on the animals whom Mr. Pacelle personally went down to help.

I very much look forward to the future “blog” where we can all converse about the unwanted and permanently abandoned animals we’ve PERSONALLY adopted from the shelters of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and comparing how we are can care for their special needs. In the meantime, consider what might happen if you chose to quit harming animals by contributing to gossip and dedicating yourselves to tearing good people down.

 
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At 7:31 PM, Anonymous AIM Victim Services said...

AIM Victim Services studies the human and animal response to trauma and works to ameliorate suffering in this area where there are gaps in services/ gaps in justice. We were in N.O., do know about the inner workings of the USHS and have the qualifications to speak. Before you throw around words like slander and character bashing you need to know the truth. Please find posted the pictures of the Beauregard massacre photographed on 9/17/05 by us and please find our account of Gonzales and being the first of the rescuers into St. Bernard Parish at www.howdyneighbor.com/JusticeDenied

Right now USHS,ASPCA etc.. would not possibly consider any type of slander, libel or defamation suit because truth is an absolute defense. Find out the truth about what has (and is) happening in this companion animal kill-pen.
Debra Dixon
AIM Victim Services

 
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At 6:58 PM, Anonymous Nancy said...

I support Eric. He gave up much of his own life to help the pets and people. He only expresssed his feelings about his experience with HSUS. This is still a free Country and he has a right as we all do. The expressed feelings Of the 200+ pet owners and volunters I have been dealing with are all basically the same. HSUS TOOK MONEY, PROUDLY TOUT THEIR SUCESS, HAVE ABOUT A 15% REUNITE RATE, AND CLOSED DOWN THEIR 1-800 HUMANE NUMBER BEFORE THANKSGIVING, I have gotten over 200 emails from pet owners and volunteers not to mention all the phone calls the past nearly 4 MONTHS. I have copies of postings from petfinder/harbor that state "your pet is in the system and being cared for" Now many of those pets are "lost". Maybe some of the millions HSUS got could have been spent on more paid employees doing what us volunteers have been doing for free. My experience with HSUS was so sad and horrible that I will never donate to them again. I don't want to take up too much space on this blog so I will just condense it to say, their excuses about how big a disaster it was can not justify what they have been doing ( or lack ) of the past nearly 4 months. I offered them many solutions through the whole 4 months and they ignored me as well as many of my volunteers and pet owners. Why one of the people at HSUS called one of my people a few days ago ( dec.2005) and said "I have good news, I found your dog, he is safe , " My person said Where? HSUS reply Lamar dixon. note to HSUS , its closed.

 
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