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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Dogfight Slush Funds for "Humane" Vigilantes:

HSUS, Best Friends and the ASPCA set to cash in on court ordered forfeitures

The latest scheme in creative funding for humane societies -- which are private corporations controlled and directed by their own boards of directors, not open to public scrutiny -- will take funds from the public sector and put it into the pockets of non-governmental agencies with no specifics on how it is to be used.

Once again, that's public funds. Private sector. No strings attached.

Spoils of war: everyone at the table gets a piece of the pie

Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) introduced California SB 1775 earlier this year. His bill would have allowed authorities to seize and dispose of property used in dogfighting-related crimes. In addition to any other penalties imposed by the courts, "promoting dogfighting" could lead to the forfeiture of a home under the proposal.

Under the bill, proceeds from the forfeitures were to be shared with "local nonprofit organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code whose primary activities include ongoing rescue, foster, or other care of animals that are the victims of dogfighting."

In other words, humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the agencies that typically investigate dogfighting allegations, would now have a financial incentive to act.

Opposition from the left-wing liberals! Democrats, take note!

The ACLU, the California Public Defenders Union, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and others drew their line in the sand.

In fact, SB 1775 was strongly opposed by many civil liberties-minded groups. Concerns were voiced because, for example, "promoting dogfighting" wasn't sufficiently well-defined.

The ACLU also argued that the California legislature approaches asset forfeiture with great caution, and does not allow it in cases of murder, mayhem and kidnap -- all crimes against humans.

So why propose asset seizure for dogfighting crimes? Huh?

But here's a better question: Who stands to benefit?

Going for the honking BIG BUCK$: The Usual Suspects

Predictably, the Humane Society of the United States loved SB 1775, calling it "another important tool for law enforcement to crack down on organized crime which thrives on the profits that dogfighting generates." The ASPCA liked it, too, formally listing itself as a supporter.

SB 1775 was generously greased with plenty of anti-dogfighting rhetoric. As if anyone, anywhere, was arguing that dogfighting is a good thing.

Senator Calderon added:

What makes this measure different from past forfeiture measures this committee has seen is that the proceeds go to animal welfare organizations who rescue and rehabilitate fighting dogs."


Profits from asset seizure with no muss, no fuss. No oversight.

Why make things complicated, right? Senator Calderon didn't see a need to attach strings. The proceeds were to be handed over to private corporations to do whatever the hell they want with them.

Call it a humaniac slushie.

First, create an emergency. Then milk the solution for all its worth.

Some things never change.
HSUS & Co. have been stuffing their pockets for decades by marketing the dogfighting "crisis" and their various remedies -- most involving the surgical removal of pit bull reproductive organs.


And, surprise, surprise, the problem just gets worse! The dogfighting crisis was old news back in 1991 when Vicki Hearne challenged HSUS on their self-serving promotion of the "emergency" when she published Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog.

Nathan Winograd calls it "Stoking the Fires of Hate: How the Animal Protection Movement is Failing Pit Bulls." Remember when HSUS demanded the deaths of Michael Vick's dogs ?

The fate of "pit bulls" is a mere detail. HSUS isn't interested in ending dogfighting. HSUS is interested in ending dogs. And raising funds, of course.

The good news is that Calderon's SB 1775 failed in committee in April, 2008.

The bad news is that SB 1775 was just the beginning.

Best Friends Animal Society and Seizing Assets for Fun and Profit

In September, 2007, Russ Mead -- Best Friends' general counsel and chief papa bear of that wildly incoherent animal extremist group -- participated in a conference on "dangerous dogs" and breed specific legislation at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Mead's portion of the event, captured in this podcast (which also includes a staggering amount of misinformation on dogs, dog bites and dangerous dogs, and begins with a presentation by Karen Breslin -- but that's another blog) includes a list of what Best Friends Animal Society advocates.

Forfeiture laws. I love this!

You're a dogfighter? We go to your house. We take your house.

They've been doing that for drug dealers for a long time, right?

[in response to a question from the audience asking if the forfeiture laws for drug-related crimes deters drug crimes]

I'm not saying [forfeiture laws for drug crimes] reduce drugs as a crime, but it certainly puts money in the coffers for enforcement.

Its no wonder that Mr. Mead stumbled a bit. The "war on drugs" -- kinda like the war on dogfighting -- doesn't look like its going to be over any time soon. And the role asset forfeiture plays in the drug war is increasingly problematic.

Some say that because of the resulting windfall, state and local law enforcement has become as addicted to forfeiture as an addict is to drugs--making property seizure no longer a means to an end, but an end in itself.

Following Mead's logic, it doesn't matter if the proposed forfeiture law for dogfighting crimes deters dogfighting. He wants the cash.

Follow the money -- always

The push for forfeiture laws isn't about stopping dogfighting. It isn't about saving pit bulls.

Its about money and it's about positioning.

Proposals like SB 1775 will take public funds to fill the coffers of private corporations, like the Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society.

And they are going to execute on their privately-developed strategic plans. Saving pit bulls from dogfighters is for the cameras. And the generous donors, naturally.

posted by BlueDogState