Tag: fund raising
Delegates of the American Veterinary Medical Association voted overwhelmingly last week to adopt a policy encouraging people to avoid feeding their dogs a raw meat diet.
They they went on to attend the AVMA’s four-day convention in San Diego, which featured a performance by Smash Mouth and a party on the USS Midway — all sponsored by, among others, makers of dry dog food.
A lot of people are finding that a little fishy.
An AVMA wrap-up of the meeting says the new policy — which it notes has “certainly been a controversial topic” — was approved last Thursday.
After discussion, the AVMA House of Delegates approved a slightly amended version of the proposed policy on feeding raw or undercooked animal-source protein diets to pets. Instead of using the words “never feed,” the proposed policy was amended to read “avoid feeding.”
(My mind sees no distinction between the two, other than the latter sounding slightly less bossy.)
While the AVMA has said scientific research is behind the decision, comments on the AVMA website criticize not just the soundness of the policy, but whether the sole reason for it relates to the funding the AVMA receives from big dog food companies, like Hills and Purina.
Said one commenter: “Please know that I will be having a discussion with my vet about membership in the AVMA, which is voluntary. I will make sure she knows that I have NO respect for an organization that bases it’s recommendations not on sound science (there have been NO studies on raw vs kibble diets from a canine health perspective), but on the all mighty dollar. So I’ll take my dollars to a vet that believes as I do, that the AVMA is not an organization to support.”
Another called the policy “nothing more than a Hail-Mary pass for a PFI desperate to hold onto their profits and using every bit of leverage they can to do so (how pathetic the AVMA allowed themselves to be so used). It will, I believe, make spreading the word about raw feeding more difficult in the short term… but the truth will prevail in the end.”
Another commenter, who likes capitalizing for emphasis, wrote: “Why don’t you just LOOK at who the ‘sponsors’ of the AVMA Convention are? On the FRONT PAGE of your ‘newsletter’ brief on the convention is a 1/8 PAGE ad from – who else? PURINA! You are all NOTHING more than PAID OFF CRIMINALS! I hope the Illinois State Attorney General and the IRS see fit to become involved. You are NOT a Non-Profit Organization, you are a SHILL for Big pet Food manufacturers (Purina and Hills in particular) … The AVMA has ZERO credibility and I will NOT patronize any vet who is a member. If that means I have to travel, then so be it.”
The final outcome of the vote was 90.9% in favor of the amended resolution, the AVMA said.
According to the AVMA website, all delegates in attendance were requested to disclose any potential conflicts of interest, such as connections to dog food companies, before the vote. The AVMA says that is standard procedure in such matters.
“Please keep in mind that this policy is NOT a ban on raw foods for pets,” the website notes, “and it is not a regulation that requires veterinarians (regardless of whether they’re AVMA members or not) to comply, or even agree with it.
“It’s not a debate on the healthiness of or risks associated with raw foods versus other commercial pet foods. Nor is it an attempt to force a ban or restrict pet owners’ rights to feed their pets how and what they want.”
What is it then, one might ask. To point to the risks of one type of dog food and ignore the dangers of another (like the risks of bloating and the nutritional lack of many a dry dog food) might be a good strategy for fundraising, but it’s not good policy when it comes to consumers and dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: american veterinary medical association, animals, association, avma, conflict of interest, consumers, convention, dog food, dogs, feeding, fund raising, house of delegates, influence, meat, non-profit, nonprofit, pets, pfi, policy, public-private, raw, raw diet, san diego, smash mouth, sponsors, undercooked, uss midway, veterinarians, veterinary
A recent CNN report raises questions about Operation Baghdad Pups, and the charity that oversees the program, SPCA International.
CNN, whose sister network presented a positive and heartwarming portrayal of the program last year, found that SPCA International spent nearly all $27 million it received in donations to raise more money through a direct mail company.
The report also said SPCA International “misrepresented” Baghdad Pups on its tax filings, and that it hired an officer for that program with a “questionable background.”
Two immediate thoughts:
One, in an ideal world, which of course we’re not in, it would have been nice of CNN, or even its less probing sister network, HLN, to do its digging before tugging at our heartstrings to the extent we cough up money.
Two, with animal charities becoming big business, where should the line be drawn when it comes to how much of the money they rake in actually goes to helping animals?
A charity needs to spend money to raise money, of course, but Bob Ottenhoff, president of the charity watchdog group GuideStar, told CNN that the SPCA International’s tax records raise “a number of red flags.”
“No. 1, there is an enormous amount of money going into fund-raising,” Ottenhoff said. “It’s not unusual for a nonprofit to fund-raise. In fact they need to fund-raise. But this organization has an enormous amount of fund-raising costs, certainly relative to the amount of money being spent.”
Of the $14 million raised in 2010, SPCA International reported it spent about $60,000, less than 0.5%, on cash grants to animal shelters across the United States. About $450,000 — about 3% of the total raised in 2010 — went to bring back animals from Iraq and Afghanistan as part of its “Baghdad Pups” program.
The CNN report seems to make much of the fact that most of those animals weren’t actual members of the armed services — but, from our coverage of the organization, it never seemed to making the claim that they were.
Baghdad Pups is a program that “helps U.S. troops safely transport home the companion animals they befriend in the war zone,” it states on the website.
As CNN put it, “the charity admitted that only 26 of the nearly 500 animals transported to the United States from Iraq and Afghanistan were actually service animals. The rest were stray animals … And those 26 service animals were not attached to military K-9 units but belonged to Reed Inc., a private contractor that built roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
While dogs abandoned by contracting companies have been a concern of the program, stray animals, as I understood it, were what the program was all about — seeing that, in cases where they bonded with soldiers, they had a chance to come home with them.
While the CNN report may have been barking up the wrong tree in that regard, it was on the money in other ways — namely, in looking at what happens to the money.
SPCA International funneled nearly all the donations to Quadriga Art, one of the world’s largest direct-mail providers to charities and nonprofits. The payments to Quadriga Art and its affiliated company, Brickmill Marketing Services, were for publicizing the organization and helping it raise more funds.
It is the same company hired by two veterans charities that spent tens of millions of dollars for its services, triggering a Senate investigation last month. One of the charities,Washington-based Disabled Veterans National Foundation, collected nearly $56 million in donations over the past three years yet paid Quadriga Art more than $60 million in fees, raising questions about whether it should retain its tax-exempt status.
SPCA International is still $8 million in debt to Quadriga Art, according to a spokeswoman for the direct-mail firm.
Lat week’s CNN report also brought up previous problems Operation Baghdad spokeswoman Terri Crisp encountered while working on behalf of animals.
Crisp, who appeared on CNN’s sister network, HLN, last year with two dogs rescued from Iraq, is the former head of a California-based animal rescue charity called Noah’s Wish. It took in $8 million in contributions to support its work “rescuing and caring for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.” An investigation by the California attorney general was looking into whether that money was being used for that purpose when a settlement was reached in 2007.
Crisp, while not admitting to any wrongdoing, agreed to return $4 million in donations, and to not ”serve as an officer, director or trustee or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director or trustee, with any non-profit organization” for five years.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghanistan, animal welfare, animals, armed service, baghdad, bringing, charities, cnn, contractors, direct mail, dogs, finances, fund raising, fundraising, guide star, hln, home, investigation, iraq, K-9, k9, noahs wish, non profits, nonprofits, operation baghdad pups, organizations, pets, pups, quadriga art, reed inc, rehoming, report, rescue, saving, shelter, soldiers, spca international, stray, strays, terri crisp, troops
A Manhattan man says he is going broke trying to regain custody of his puggle. He says he has spent $60,000 so far. Now he wants your help.
Craig Dershowitz says he considers Knuckles his son, and that’s why he’s hoping to raise another $20,000 over the Internet to continue his legal fight.
“I’ve pretty much gone through my life savings,” the 34-year-old gallery employee said. “It’s worth it.”
According to the New York Post, Dershowitz claims in papers filed earlier this year in Manhattan Supreme Court that his ex-girlfriend Sarah Brega “took unilateral control of Knuckles and kidnapped him” after they broke up.
Brega responds that Dershowitz gave her the dog as a gift, and that Knuckles is enjoying life in California.
“Knuckles lives a happy and healthy life in California with me, where he has ample room to play, and lives in close proximity to a beach for off-leash dog-park outings,” Brega said in court papers.
Dershowitz responds that Knuckles “hates water … He’ll be happy wherever he is — especially if he’s with his dad and the friends he grew up with.”
Dershowitz said he left Knuckles with Brega while looking for a new place after their breakup. She was supposed to return him when he found one, he says.
Brega, a wardrobe stylist, was initially ordered to return the dog, but she then retained her own lawyer to represent her in a case that involves courts in New York and California.
Dershowitz said he believes she’s trying to run up his legal bills. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to keep it going,” he said.
So he started a webpage to raise money for the fight, with his artist friends contributing “perks” for large contributors, like portraits of Knux, “Free Knux” t-shirts and, for $250, a chance to play fetch with Knuckles, once he’s back in New York.
The Post reports his campaign is off to a slow start — with only $85 being donated in the first week.
(Photo of Knuckles by Craig Dershowitz)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, battle, beagle, behavior, boyfriend, california, courts, craig dershowitz, custody, dogs, ex, fight, fund raising, fundraising, funds, girlfriend, internet, knuckles, lawyers, legal, mix, money, new york, pets, pug, puggle, relationships, sarah brega
What happens when your seeing-eye dog’s eyes stop seeing?
Michael Nelson is in the process of finding out. His guide dog Molly has cataracts, and trading her in for a new model — in his opinion, at this point — is out of the question.
As columnist Scott Sexton explained in Sunday’s Winston-Salem Journal, Mike and Molly have a relationship that runs deeper than guided and guider — the yellow Lab, in addition to helping him get around for the last 10 years, has become his roommate and best friend.
A few months ago, while visiting with friends at Green Street United Methodist Church, someone pointed out to Mike that Molly appeared to have cataracts.
Mike, whose income is limited to a disability check, wasn’t sure where to turn. When news about the predicament spread, his friends at the YMCA, where he goes regularly to exercise while Molly patiently waits, got together and opened a bank fund in hopes of raising enough to cover the cost of Molly’s surgery.
Donations to it included proceeds from an elementary school art sale, and more from friends he has met in church and on outings with his dog at Hanes Park. The largest came from an unidentified man in California, who heard of the situation from a friend and sent a check.
Enough has been accumulated to cover the surgery and Molly’s other vet bills.
Her latest examination determined that, while she has cataracts, they’re not yet to the point of requiring surgery. She will need the operation eventually, though — and Mike is thankful he’ll now be able to afford it.
“It makes you feel really good to know there are people out there with that kind of heart,” Nelson said. “There is so much bad out there, so much ignorance about being visually impaired.”
Mike says that, over the years, he and Molly have run into their share of merchants who ask them to leave their shops. “Having people come to my assistance and Molly’s assistance has restored some of the confidence I’d lost in people. I’m truly thankful.”
Mike, now 51, moved to Winston-Salem from Virginia in the 1970s to attend Piedmont Bible College. He worked at the YMCA as a student, and up until 1991.
He went blind in 1998 as a result of what doctors would diagnose as polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), a rare auto-immune disease that weakens blood vessels and arteries. “It happened without any warning,” he said. “I just woke up and I was blind.”
Mike got Molly from The Seeing Eye organization, the oldest existing guide-dog school in the world, based in Morristown, N.J. Two earlier dogs they’d supplied didn’t work out — the first had allergies and the second wasn’t up to the task. The third time, though, was a charm. Molly had the skills, and the two had an instant connection.
Molly has the run of his apartment and an impressive collection of dog toys — though she prefers toilet tissue rolls. Nelson regularly takes her to Hanes Park, where romps with other dogs.
She consorts with humans, too, despite it being discouraged by guide dog experts. ”Molly is so good with people, so friendly,” he said, that it can’t be avoided.
All of which simply proves — at least in the case of Mike and Molly — that even dogs raised to serve as eyes have a way of getting into the heart.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assistance, best friend, blind, blindness, bond, cataracts, connection, dogs, fund raising, green street united methodist church, guide dog, guiding, hanes park, help, labrador, losing sight, michael and molly, michael nelson, mike and molly, molly, north carolina, pets, polyarteritis nodosa, seeing eye dog, service, sight, support, surgery, the seeing eye, veterinarian, veterinary, winston-salem, ymca
This could get ugly, if it hasn’t already.
This week, a newly formed national organization called The Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) began making itself known, with full-page ads in national newspapers aimed at discouraging people from contributing to the Humane Society of the United States.
The new organization’s point: HSUS, despite public service ads that seem to indicate it helps dogs and cats in shelters, provides little direct funding to local shelters, which need help more than ever.
While polls show 71 percent of Americans believe HSUS is affiliated, represents or helps fund local humane societies, HSSP says “the reality is that just 1 percent of HSUS’s $126 million budget goes to needy hands-on pet shelters.”
“The Humane Society of the United States continues to fundraise on the perception that they give millions of dollars every year to local pet shelters with misleading advertising campaigns. Unfortunately for the dogs and cats in our local pet shelters, that is not the case,” said Diana Culp, HSSP co-director. (Culp is a former director of education for HSUS and former supervisor of animal control in Frederick County, Maryland.)
HSSP, while noting on its website that it doesn’t contribute directly to shelters, either, does provide a database enabling visitors to obtain all the information they need to donate to local shelters.
However philanthropic that may be, and whether or not you agree with HSSP that HSUS is misleading the public in its fundraising approach, HSSP may not be the angelic organization it makes itself out to be.
For one thing, it has ties to Richard Berman, who, through his Center for Consumer Freedom, has been a long-time, highly vocal critic of HSUS. Berman has raised millions from industries that, at least in the view of HSUS, are cruel and abusive to animals.
In response to the HSSP ads — they’ve appeared this week in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and New York Times – HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle fired back earlier this week.
On his blog, A Humane Nation, Pacelle, called Berman a “king of charity fraud,” and went so far as to show a photo of Berman’s mansion in McLean, Virginia.
“He sets up phony front groups to do the dirty work of bad actors in industry. He takes their money and then takes on their critics. He runs ‘charitable’ organizations, like the Center for Consumer Freedom (which fights The HSUS), the American Beverage Institute (which fights Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and the Center for Union Facts (which attacks public employees and unions), yet his groups don’t feed one animal, shelter one homeless person, or provide any other tangible social service.
“They are charitable organizations in name only, and Berman and his for-profit public relations company pocket a large share or even a majority of the total revenue. It’s a personal enrichment scam of the highest order, and he’s the architect of the con job. He’s got the mansion in McLean, Va., and the Bentley in the driveway as the spoils, with his accountant wife standing by to tally the profits.”
Pacelle said the HSUS has never presented itself as an umbrella agency that funds local shelters, and he points out that HSUS television ads include a small-print disclaimer: “Local humane societies are independent from HSUS.”
While the HSSP ad states that HSUS gave just 1 percent of the $131 million in donations it received last year to local shelters, Pacelle says that figure doesn’t include the campaigns HSUS has conducted nationally and globally to fight such things as puppy mills, dogfighting, animal cruelty laws and pet overpopulation.
Pacelle says about 20 percent of the Humane Society’s efforts involve companion animal issues, and that, in the last five years, HSUS has given more than $43 million in grants to other animal organizations.
Berman, while not listed as an official of HSSP, has been hired to do its public relations work and to help bring HSSP “to fruition,” said HSSP Co-Director Jeffrey Douglas.
“… HSSP is a product of the efforts of a group of individuals with deep ties to the animal welfare community and dedicated to improving the well-being of shelter animals across the country,” he added. “Who we hired as our PR firm should be immaterial to the project.”
As Pacelle sees it, though, Berman is its backbone: “Now, this Beltway con artist — who has probably spent as much time as anyone in recent years fighting against animal welfare — has formed a new supposed animal welfare charity … He’s the man behind the curtain … He’s reached a new level of fraud and deception.”
Pacelle said that between CCF and HSSP, Berman’s outfits have taken out 25 full page “attack” ads in national newspapers, at an estimated cost of $2 million.
Berman, meanwhile — whose full response to Pacelle’s comments can be found here — says HSSP has been welcomed “warmly” by the shelter community.
The question the HSSP ad raises is not entirely illegitimate: Are those heartstring-tugging HSUS ads, even with disclaimers, contributing to the misperception that the national organization helps foot the bill for all local shelters that call themself by that name?
But a question can also be asked of the HSSP: If you really care about animals, why not, instead of those full page ads, send that $2 million to animal shelters?
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ads, advertisements, animal cruelty, animals, attack, campaigns, causes, center for consumer freedom, charities, chicago tribune, con man, diana culp, dogs, donate, donations, fight, formed, full page ads, fund raising, funding, hssp, hsus, humane society for shelter pets, humane society of the united states, industries, jeffrey douglas, lobbyist, local, local shelters, logo, los angeles times, misleading, misperceptions, money, national, new york times, newly, non profits, perceptions, pets, politics, polls, psas, public, public service announcements, richard berman, shelters, wayne pacelle
It still only exists in artist renderings, but another step toward building a dog park in North Carolina’s Tanglewood Park will come this weekend, with a Saturday “Bark in the Park” festival aimed at raising money for the project.
The Humane Societies of Forsyth and Davie Counties are sponsoring the event — Saturday (Oct. 1) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Activities will include a Doggie Jog, a Blessing of the Animals, expert advice from local vets and professional trainers, a mobile doggie spa, agility demonstrations and contests.
Local adoption and rescue agencies will also be on hand with adoptable animals.
The proposed dog park will be located on 2.3 acres in the park’s northern end, near the intersection of Clemmons and Harper Roads.
The Forsyth CountyCommissioners voted to approve the park in July, but with the caveat that it be completed by 2012.
Plans for the park include separate large and small dog lots, an area for obedience classes, watering stations & pet waste valets, an area to hose off dogs, and some type of water feature so the dogs can cool off during the warmer weather, according to the Dog Park at Tanglewood website.
The group has raised about $20,000 of its $150,000 goal, and it continues to seek funds, services and materials from individuals and businesses.
One huge donation came from Vulcan Materials Company, which contributed $11,000 worth of construction materials.
The project also received proceeds from a recent ”Pups in the Park” night at Winston-Salem’s minor league baseball park, home of the Dash.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bark in the park, davie county, dog park, dog park at tanglewood, dog parks, dogs, donate, forsyth county, fund raising, humane society, north carolina, pets, project, tanglewood, winston-salem
DogFest, the Baltimore Humane Society’s biggest fundraising event of the year, kicks off Saturday morning at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley.
The day-long event starts with a 5K-9 Fun Run at 7:40 a.m. At 10 a.m., the gates open and the activities begin — and there are a ton of them.
DogFest will feature agility runs, dog contests, pet education, a sandy beach and pools for the dogs to play in and a puppy pumpkin patch, where dogs can pick their own pumpkins.
In addition to numerous dog rescue groups on hand, DogFest will also feature Equine Rescue groups that will be exhibiting horses for adoption and offering horseback riding for kids and adults.
Admission is $10, with children in strollers admitted free.
Here’s a partial schedule:
Posted by jwoestendiek October 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agility, baltimore, baltimore humane society, contests, demonstrations, dog, dog fest, dogfest, dogs, event, fund raising, fundraiser, horseback riding, horses, hunt valley, rescue, schedule, shawan downs, shelter