Big news broke this summer when 84 Great Danes were seized from a New Hampshire woman’s mansion. She was charged with animal cruelty, and her trial starts next week. But whether she is found guilty or not, the “care” of the animals by the Humane Society of the United States is drawing scrutiny following several dog deaths.
In September the news broke that a third dog had died in the custody of HSUS. The dogs had at that point been held for over three-and-a-half months by HSUS at a secret location.
The defense and prosecution agreed to hire a veterinarian from Virginia to assess the care provided by HSUS. The vet works for an animal rescue organization and has testified for both the prosecution and the defense in previous cases. Her testimony is of note.
“I definitely think after looking at these dogs yesterday they would be better off rehomed,” Moffitt said in court. “They are stressed in that environment just with us walking through. I can just imagine volunteers walking through when it’s time for feeding or walking through to take these dogs to the vet.” […]
“I was only allowed to observe the dogs, not a hands-on examination,” said Moffitt, who said the dogs were held in a “storage unit-type building. I was kind of actually surprised. I’d walk in, and they would barely lift their heads up. They wouldn’t get off their little bed. You can just tell they are kind of depressed. Other ones are the exact opposite, where they started barking and pacing back and forth in a very small pen, maybe 5 feet by 10 feet, which is not very large for these very large-breed dogs.” […]
“It looked like the veterinarian who saw them the next day at the Humane Society just went ahead and vaccinated them,” said Moffitt. “To me that’s kind of neglect to not research to look and see that she (Fay) had medical records.”
She said over-vaccination is “frowned upon.”
An attorney representing the defendant believes HSUS raised $300,000 to $500,000 from fundraising on the seizure and “is exploiting the Great Danes, using them as props, cashing in on their misery,” according to a report. On top of that, HSUS has over $50 million sitting in Caribbean funds, according to its tax return. So it could be providing these dogs a Ritz Carlton experience if it was so inclined. At the very least, you’d think HSUS would be sparing no expense to keep the animals alive and in good condition. Yet two puppies were euthanized—HSUS says they had an “untreatable condition”—and a third dog was put down and the details are sketchy.
Is HSUS doing a good job? It’s difficult to say at this point. But the court proceedings in the coming weeks should reveal much about the two sides’ allegations. The defense is certainly going to put HSUS on trial.