Earlier this week, 13 chihuahuas were seized from an owner who was allegedly not taking proper care of them. Here's a link to the story:
After I surfed over to the KXAN link and looked at the three photos of the "abused, neglected" chihuahuas, I came away thinking WTF? Not a single one of them had any signs of abuse or neglect. No runny eyes or noses, no bald spots, nothing.
However, the Director of Development and Marketing lady over at Austin Humane Society, Amanda Ryan-Smith, is convinced that the chihuahuas' owner was underfeeding them. (Did anyone besides me notice her job title? Why is she running this show, instead of a cruelty investigator?) But the dog she's holding looks fine, if not slightly disgusted with the attention.
Certainly Amanda isn't underfeeding herself, but that's another matter. But she's latched on to a nearly fool-proof formula for getting some good cheap PR. Job security at its finest.
This is an excerpt from the PJ Boosinger blog. She's described it better than I could:
"Princess, for example, is very thin and underweight,” said Amanda Ryan-Smith, director of development and marketing at AHS [Austin Humane Society]. “She hasn't really gotten the nutrition that she needed when she was with her previous owners." Are you sure she's underweight? Are you really, really sure? I watched the video several times and looked at the 3 pictures on the photo tab. If those are the most underweight ones, them I'm thinking you might be wrong. They look just about right to me. Seems to be a new trend of accusing owners of underfeeding their animals and I think it's a bit suspect.
I'd bet the rent that the majority of these dogs will be up for adoption in a very short time. Certainly not time enough to recover from all of their alleged neglect. Any rescuer who takes in a genuinely neglected, underweight animal will tell you that the animal will need at least a month's care before being ready for adoption. Probably longer.
Certainly I'm not the only person who's noticed an increasing number of animal "rescues" hitting the 6:00 news. While I'm not saying that 100% of these seizures were unnecessary, I have no problems pointing out that a fair percentage were carried out for other reasons. Here are a few:
A city's animal control facility is under pressure for not preventing cruelty, so they choose a convenient victim.
The HSUS needs a new reason for a new donation drive (esp. since Charity Navigator just lowered their rating).
Personal vendettas. I never cease to be amazed at the hatred displayed between different rescue group volunteers.
An obsessive need for power, prestige and public recognition. Some members of the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission are a textbook example, but they're not the only ones.
Ignorance of the Fourth Amendment.
Anything I left out? Besides the fact that animal welfare is NOT a major factor in any of them?
For example, look at all those caring, dedicated souls raiding that Ft Worth Avenue address earlier this year. Their dedication - combined with a dimwit judge's decision to have every cat killed - ended up in 118 dead cats, even though many were obviously tame, healthy and adoptable. And not a single DFW-area rescue group* has admitted to being contacted by DAS and asked to help rehome these cats. Why not?
* I've asked around, but come up with no names. Please correct me if you know of a group who was contacted and asked to help rehome the Ft Worth Avenue cats.