Thursday, August 06, 2009

Another AR Outrage

In Philadelphia, from David Zincavage at Never Yet Melted.

He quotes from the Border Collie Bulletin Board:

"The local SPCA raided Wendy’s Willard’s kennel where she keeps her Murder Hollow Bassets on Monday night. They arrived with seven trucks and two police cars & informed her that one of her neighbours had complained about noise.

"Neither the neighbour nor the SPCA had previously complained to her, yet she has been there for 22 years.

"As it turns out, Philadelphia County had recently passed an ordinance where no more than 12 animals may be kept on any property. The Murder Hollow kennels contained 23 bassets, less than the requirement to obtain a (US) Department of Agriculture kennel licence, but the kennel is just inside the city limits.

"Under this law, the local SPCA have managed to acquire the power to seize people’s dogs without warning, by force and by night, and then to take them away to an unknown destination without any accountability.

"The police took 12 hounds and delivered them to an SPCA animal rescue “shelter” in Philadelphia. From there the hounds were dispersed amongst other “shelters”.

"Basset packs in the area have contacted a Mr. Little who runs the SPCA shelter, seeking to place the hounds before they are put down or neutered (thereby destroying 20 years of Murder Hollow’s breeding programme). After a week, Mr. Little has failed to respond to any of these contacts."

Read it all, especially the comments. This CAN happen to you, despite what some of my rural friends think. It makes me feel like moving to Mongolia-- or at least Catron County.


Anonymous said...

The nanny state is now the jackboot state.

These neighbors sound like total worms. You'd think they would complain to someone in person before calling in the authorities.

I wish we still had strong community values in this country, where people respected each other, and if there was a problem between neighbors, it was addressed as neighbors, not as self-centered jerks.

Jess said...

I read about a community in Alaska a few months ago where they have some kind of resolution that it's a mushing community and there will be dogs and noise and if those things offend you and you move there anyways, you can bloody well move back out again.

This whole Basset scenario sounds suspicious to me. What kind of law has no warning or period to correct the problem?

PBurns said...

I would go slowly with this story, as the facts are not fully presented.

This woman apparently did not care enough about her dogs to get a license. What? Why not? Was she not warned that she had a problem? I find that hard to believe!

There are, of course, zoning laws for a reason, and there have been for about 100 years now. There are time, place and manner laws for everything, and more than 12 dogs requiring a kennel license in Philadelphia does not strike me as the jack-boot of the state.

As to the disposition of the dogs, they cannot be placed without a court order or a release from the owner. They can, however, be kenneled until a judge ajudicates the matter.


Anonymous said...

I generally have issues with the government of any sort setting dog ownership limits. I think there should be one basic limit-- 0 starving dogs, abused dogs, or dogs suffering from neglect. These limits merely encourage people to keep their dogs underground.

And the waste from said dogs should be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. A puppy mill in Parkersburg, WV, was shut down, not because of kennel laws (which don't exist), but because its owners violated the Clean Water Act.

What about hoarders? Well, heck, that's why we need more social workers. Seriously.

Granted, Philly is not the best place to keep packs of scent hounds.

PA has very strict kennel licensing laws, which is one reason why we suddenly have puppy mills in West Virginia-- we have no kennel licensing laws. The worst dog law we have is that Wheeling banned Pit bulls. She is at fault for doing that.

Of course, she does have due process. But I think instead of taking them from her, she should be required to find a place for the dogs before they can be returned. But, of course, they are scent hounds and they are used for killing things, so I doubt that one can get much sympathy.

PBurns said...


If the owner of these dogs had their house up for sale, and said house was described in the sales advertisement as being" "Very Much Needed Restoration" what would you think the kennel might look like?

All I am saying, is that I urge caution. As a general rule, when you hear hoofbeats, assume horses not zebras. A LOT of people thought an intervention was needed here, for some reason, and as a general rule REALLY stupid stuff is done by individuals not groups. If a "bad bust" has gone on here, there will be plenty of time to shoot the living and desecrate the corpses in proper American fashion. I will bring tar, torch, and feathers myself. I have been in Philadelphia, however, and I did NOT see an over-eager enforcement arm when I was there last year. Quite the contrary.


Anonymous said...

Reply to P Burns:

I wouldn't be so sure about "due process" these days ... and yes, these people can do any damn thing they want, if the rest of the community is complacent enough to not take an active interest in the laws which are passed in their communities, or if we say, "go slow."

Here in my state, the State AG's office in conert with the State HSUS Director and a State Representative collaborated on a "tax raid" 350 miles from the State Reps district. A court order signed by a County Judge 150 miles from the commercial breeders home issued a search and seize order which mandated that the dogs seized be held until disposition was ordered by the court. In apparent ignorance (or defiance) of that order, the State AG SOLD THE DOGS TO HSUS FOR $300.00 within 24 hours of the raid. This was a total of over 200 dogs, and please bear in mind there was no issue of neglect, cruelty, etc., the dogs were seized as collateral in a delinquent tax case. The dogs have been dispersed to humane societies in at least four states and as far as we're aware, have been sold. There were nursing bitches with new born puppies included in this raid, and those babies were carried around like so much baggage - clumped together in huge, rough gloved hands, and stretched out t-shirt hems ... little tiny things with eyes and ears still closed - some of them new born. We don't know if any of them survived the raid - they never showed them with their mothers - they apparently just carried them off alone.

So please, whoever said, "go slow" forget it ... don't go slow - this is happening everyday ... dogs are seized in bogus raids, "authorized" by HSUS generated ordinances and codes and the owners never see their animals again. Unless there is a major outcry from the hunting hound community in this country, we'll never know what happens to these Bassett Hounds, much less see them again.

Be afraid, be very afraid ...

And whoever is going to outer Mongolia, would you let me ride as far as Kyrgyzstan? A Beagler friend of mine is just looking for a hole that he and his dogs can hide in ... I understand how he feels.

PBurns said...

Nah. I am NOT afraid. No GOOD American is, ever.

This is the Land of the Free and Home of the BRAVE. It's not the land of the paranoid, the anonymous, or the scofflaw.

America is, however, also a nation of laws and not men. Look at the Statue of Liberty. In the harbor in NY is a lady, and that lady holds a book which represents the rule of law. We can oppose laws (the country was founded on that notion), but before we do that let's at least get the facts straight, eh?

And here's a FACT: the 12-dog limit in Philadelphia is NOT new. In fact, it is very old. See in which a case was decided back in 1990, with the citation going back to 1988. So, in fact, the 12-dog limit in Philadelphia (Section 1. Pursuant to Section 10-103(8) of The Philadelphia Code) goes back more than 20 years.

So much for that weak nail. Like I said, Go Slow: the facts here are not yet known.

As for teh seizing of property to pay off debts, how about this bright idea: Pay your debts. Just as real men and women have real names and are not afraid to use them, so too do honest men and women pay their debts and settle their accounts (over time if they have to). It's the John Wayne way. It's the American way. It's the rule of law. Not always convenient, of course, but fair enough and not too complex.


PBurns said...

So now we know.

See >>

The owner ignored notices, did not house the dogs properly, kept a filthy kennel, did not give the dogs proper veterinary care, and was violating a 25-year old law on the number of dogs to be kept.

The dogs taken were place in foster care until a responsible person will step forward to claim them -- they have not been killed, sold, or given away.

The dogs taken were voluntarily relenquished by the person who was housing them in very bad conditions.

The Philadelphia SPCA is working with the woman (who no doubt has fallen on hard times) to clean things up and they are giving her time to set things right.

Bottom Line: If this is a case of animal rights lunatics over-reaching, then I think the nation is safe for another night.

And, for the record, as most people know, I HATE the PETA and AR lunatics. That said, the SPCA's mostly get it right. And this, my friends, is a case example of that.


Anonymous said...

To Mr Burns -

Now that I've been classified as a "not good American" I'm gonna try my very best to improve. Have you written a book or anything where-by I can improve my sense of patriotism and citizenship? I want to live in your America, where is it?

Steve Bodio said...

Patrick: re individuals.

When Libby was in Bozeman an INDIVIDUAL woman who disapproved of Libby's keeping company with a hunter (really) got the town to go after our then third dog, as no one could keep three without all neighbors' permission. The town actually told us to put down one, our choice.

A law firm took us on pro bono, thank God. We won, but the bill, to the town, was $27,000. The town then appealed to the Montana State Supreme Court, who fund again in our favor, costing thousands more. At the time Libby couldn't leave and we couldn't have afforded it.

One of the low points was the neighbor's husband's perjuring herself by saying in court that my Goshawk's screaming was keeping him awke. I was able to prove that his hearing was remarkable; the Gos had been in NM for 6 months.

After it all one of the city councilmen told me: "You beat us on dogs. Now we are coming after your hawk. And if you beat us on that we'll come after your pigeons."

Now in Bozeman you must have all neighbors' permission for ANYTHING. I believe the regs say "if your neighbor has a problem you have a problem". As the feed store owner sadly told me: "This used to be Montana".

I see no reason NOT to fear such monstrous violations of freedom, unless perhaps you have millions to fight them. That is why I consider bureaucrat free zones like Mongolia, Kazakhstan (yes), Wyoming (outside of Jackson perhaps) and Catron county (guns mandatory, no other bureaucracy wanted). You are not paranoid when they are after you.

This should probably be a post.

Anonymous said...

For those who are sure that they wouldn't seize dogs and sell them the next day....

MS in Boise

Carrie in Texas said...

I sent the PSPCA an email today asking them about Strong Arm Tactics, Poor Stewardship, and Not being a Good Neighbor. If you have ever worked in cleaning a kennel, you quickly realize that 1 day's accumulation of dog poop constitute's unsanitary conditions.

To show up at NIGHT, with 7 police cars and force her to pick and choose which hounds to "relinquish custody" or they would confiscate ALL the hounds is a veritable strong arm tactic. The Spin Doctor (e.g. Public Relations person) can clean up the SPCA's mess with out us even getting to hear Ms. Wendy Williard side of the story. In my humble opinion, the PSPCA's version of the story is "sanitized offal."

Ms. Williard, it is certain, does not have the financial means of the SPCA, ergo, THE LAW is not on her side.

PBurns said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PBurns said...

Here's Hint Number One for Mr. or Ms. Anonymous: Stop being an anonymous coward. America has never been improved by people who will not put their real names and real addresses to what they say and sign.

As for Ms. Willard, she has a house worth almost half a million dollars. If she wants to fight the SPCA she has the resources to do so. Of course, she will lose for a simple reason: A lawyer cannot change the facts. House dogs in filth and grossly violate clear law that has been on the book for more than 25 years, and it will be a short day in court.

As for Bozeman, Steve, I cannot speak to Montana law, but it sounds like they have created real incentives for people to know their neighbors and bake them the occassional pie, especially if they have more than three dogs!

As you know (anyone our age knows this), feuds with neighbors can get ugly dozens of ways; they do not need a dog. An old truck, a fence, or a radio is enough ;) One more reason to get the hell outside of city limits, eh?

Where I live, by the way, there's a three dog rule, no exceptions and no matter how big your property is. Do I like the rule? Hell no. But it's there unless I can change it. Same as a lot of other laws we all have to live by.

As for your fourth dog, you did not have actually have to kill it, did you? Of course not. There are boarding kennels, to say nothing of friends who will take a dog for you if that needs to be be done. As you know, a LOT of bird dogs are kenneled all the time, as are many show dogs. They seem to survive it OK. I have no doubt Bozeman has a thriving kennel business with monthly and annual rates. Hell, that three-dog rule is almost a business plan for a kennel operator. Easier than writing!


Anonymous said...

I hunt with basset hounds (not this club) and know this woman and her hounds.

She has been there for many years and is very well known in the community. Her pack has won many awards in field trial competition and these hounds are extremely well cared for.

She is one of the "good guys".

Her kennel was never required to obtain a license - even under current state law. Her local ordinance changed recently and usually things like this are grandfathered. However, for whatever reason she was not aware of the change - she was required to obtain a letter from the health dept.

This is a very minor zoning violation usually taken care of by a letter and maybe a small fine.

The SPCA in this case is an animal rights (not welfare) group that recently was awarded a contract to conduct animal control activities for that locality.

PETA with a badge. This is the new fashion - to give animal rights groups law enforcement powers.

This SPCA targeted Murder Hollow Bassets specifically and with intent.

I must stress that these hounds are not abused. They are not chained. They exercise - exuberantly - year round and are well handled, loved, and cared for by a committed group of people who love hounds and hunting with basset hounds on foot. When the hounds grow old they go home with a club member and become house pets.

This woman and her club are innocent of any wrongdoing except a very minor zoning violation that did not merit a "raid". These are middle aged professionals who like to hunt with basset hounds - they are NOT Michael Vick or running a puppy mill.

Anonymous said...

If you were replying to me, PBurns, I am the "anonymous" poster who posted about knowing this club - not the one who posted a link.

Call me a coward all you want, but some sportsmen have learned to be discrete after receiving late night phone calls with death threats to our dogs.

You have no idea what these groups are like. Not until you have had to deal with them. What is truly frightening is that they have badges now, and local government often turns a blind eye.

I also know this SPCA and your characterization of them is inaccurate. This is not the first politically motivated "raid" they've done. The other one I know of and was disgusted by was a stable seizure of privately owned horses whose stable was razed right after the seizure. Philly wanted to the land for an urban renewal project and it was easier to accuse the owners of neglect than it was to use eminent domain. Cheaper, too. The owners were innocent but not wealthy enough to fight it.

Kennels are cleaned in the morning. This raid was done at night - of course there would be feces around.

If the conditions were bad enough to warrant seizure - why weren't all the dogs seized? The answer is because they just "got" her on what they knew would stick.

The kennel has been there for decades, and they gave her a few days to conform to an ordinance. There was no way she could have gotten her request through the health dept that quickly. She was set up for failure intentionally.

The SPCA makes it look like her refusal to deny entry without a warrant constitutes guilt.

Does that not concern you? That a law enforcement agency would give the public the idea this woman is guilty because she exercised her constitutional right to demand a warrant?

What some people do not realize is that animal rights groups throughout the country are making attempts to obtain law enforcement powers. They have no training in animal husbandry except that which is given by animal rights groups.

They are all allied with large animal rights groups like PETA (often obtaining free advice and lobbying services)
They send their people to the Animal Rights conference in DC every year.

All this is happening under your noses and it seems benign. Local governments are often eager to contract animal control out so they don't have to deal with it.

The state law was heavily lobbied for by AR groups - and the sporting lobby worked very hard to make sure hunting kennels were able to remain viable. That did not make the AR groups happy, and there is a goal of banning hunting with hounds.

There are only 13 of these clubs in the US. Now there is going to be 12.

This was a minor zoning violation that could have easily be solved administratively given enough time.

My point is - there was never any intent to do so. The intent was to destroy her, her reputation and her club. One down, only 12 more to go. Easier to do that than demand and outright ban.

Who is next?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Burns Said:

"Here's Hint Number One for Mr. or Ms. Anonymous: Stop being an anonymous coward. America has never been improved by people who will not put their real names and real addresses to what they say and sign."

First of all, Steve knows me, knows who and where and what I am, and last I looked it was his blog - if he objects to my "anonymous" posts I'm sure he'll tell me.

Your self-righteous arrogance is exactly one of the top ten problems with America today - you have no idea who I am, where I am or what I do ... you are simply operating on erroneous assumptions born of your self-satisfied opinion of yourself ... I've enjoyed your website and blog - earth dogs are an interest of mine and it would have never occurred to me to sit in judgment about any of your opinions, ideas, or beliefs, whether or not you put your name out there for the ARs to see. You no doubt have the resources to protect yourself and your dogs - many of us, in this fight up to our eyeballs, do not have the resources to save our dogs if someone bends the law and comes for them in big semis marked "HSUS Rescue" ... nor can we protect our incomes, homes and property if HSUS decides to go after our jobs, and believe me that happens as well.

You have no idea who I am, or what my life and commitments are - until you do have that information please focus on my opinions honestly given and put out here on Steve's blog ... as the saying goes, "Don't judge until you've walked a mile in my shoes." Perhaps you're an undercover mole for the Animal Rights Movement trying to flush out dissenters, hmmm?


Anonymous said...

A Fellow Anonymous Poster said"

"The state law was heavily lobbied for by AR groups - and the sporting lobby worked very hard to make sure hunting kennels were able to remain viable. That did not make the AR groups happy, and there is a goal of banning hunting with hounds."

You are absolutely right about that - and if I had time, I'd dig out Wayne Pacelle's quote about the American Animal Rights Movement "rejoicing" when the law against fox hunting was passed in Great Britain. We could also talk about the attack on sight hounds and open field coursing a few years ago in California ... that was the point at which an AR stooge cautioned about living next door to people who owned sight hounds because "those dogs are conditioned to chase and kill fast moving close to the ground objects - like children."

So yes, I do believe that the HSUS plan to eliminate hunting hounds played a large factor in the seizure of these Bassett Hounds - as the other Proudly Anonymous said, if they were living in conditions of filth and neglect why didn't "they" take all of them?

As to the disposition of the Hounds, court orders mean nothing - the Indiana case proves that. Those dogs were sold before there was a court order remanding them to the AG, or before there was any judgement as to the amount, if any, of taxes owed. The judge who is hearing the complaint made a lovely comment - "What happened to due process here?"

Wake up Mr. Burns - smell the coffee.

Anonymous said...

heres that quote...

“The entire animal rights movement in the United States reacted with unfettered glee at the Ban in England ...We view this act of parliament as one of the most important actions in the history of the animal rights movement. This will energise our efforts to stop hunting with hounds.” Wayne Pacelle, CEO, Humane Society of the US (HSUS), London Times, December 26, 2004

Sandy Fisher said...

"Humane Society Police Offiers" employed by PA SPCAs have Police Powers and are ONLY accountable to the organization that hired them.
No government body oversees the SPCA.
If the SPCA Board enjoys the publicity & donations the Seizures generate, the Board is unlikely to hold the HSPOs accountable for their UNCONSTITUTIONAL behavior.
Frequently judges and police aid the HSPO in their UNCONSTITUTIONAL endeavors.....
at least until the injured parties realize their Constitutional Rights have been violated and they file a lawsuit against the individual SPCA board members.
Lawsuits against the Board members cannot be defended by the spca's lawyer.
Civil Rights lawsuits - the injured party is entitled to lawyer fees.
CONTACT YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES, SENATORS and Governor & demand the HSPO aka private police be eliminated.

Sandy Fisher