September 2010 Blog Home November 2010


22 posts from October 2010


October 30, 2010

"Hot in Kansas City” – And the Rest of Missouri

Today, Betty White left a warm and positive phone message (listen here) with about a half million Missouri women voters in support of Prop B—a different kind of robocall, given that this campaign tool is so often used to convey harsh and dishonest information about a candidate or issue campaign on the eve of an election. The legendary actress and life-long animal advocate, who at 88 seems at the top of her game, said "We need to deal with the state's terrible puppy mill problem. " She added, “Prop B will set common-sense standards for the care of dogs—adequate food, veterinary care, and exercise.”

Betty White recorded a phone message in support of Prop B in Missouri
david_shankbone/Creative Commons
Listen to Betty White's message for Prop B.

It’s about the dogs, and nothing else. Anyone who takes the time to read Prop B will see that it mentions just one species: Canis lupus familiaris, or the domesticated dog.

There is no other species mentioned. There’s no pig, chicken, cow, or deer to be seen in Prop B.

Yet the Missouri Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups have lined up with the puppy mill industry and mounted a major statewide campaign against Prop B, arguing that Prop B will be the demise of agriculture in Missouri.

It’s déjà vu. In 1998, The HSUS backed a ballot initiative in the state to ban the barbaric practice of cockfighting—taking the measure to the people because state lawmakers would not do the job themselves, just as they punted on handling the state’s notorious puppy mill problem. The Missouri Farm Bureau and the same cast of characters mounted a smear campaign arguing that the anti-cockfighting law would also ban all hunting and animal agriculture. Of course, after Missouri voters passed the anti-cockfighting law, it’s been interpreted to do one thing and one thing only: ban cockfighting. And in terms of the Farm Bureau’s corollary argument—first it’s cockfighting, and then it will be all other uses of animals—that proved false, too. There has not been one bill or ballot measure advanced to ban hunting or animal agriculture in the state in the succeeding years. In short, the record of activity over more than a decade has settled the question of the truthfulness of their claims.

It’s the same thing with Prop B. Their false claims are undercut by a simple reading of the statute. And time will prove that there is no grand scheme—achieved apparently through some sort of political alchemy—to transform Prop B into anything more than a set of responsible standards to improve the lives of dogs on large-scale commercial breeding operations.

The Farm Bureau and its allies can fabricate quotes, or take them out of context from a handful of animal advocates. The First Amendment allows them enormous latitude to say just about anything they want. But because they put something on a pamphlet or in a letter to the editor, or utter these phrases out loud at a pep rally or press conference, that does not mean there’s any truth behind the words they string together. In seeing their campaign of distortion, I am left to wonder, do these otherwise upstanding members of their community have no filters in terms of their outright misrepresentations?

October 29, 2010

Four Votes for Animals, Four Final Days to Spread the Word

With just four days until the election, we’re in a last push with coalition partners to spread our critical message to voters in Arizona, California, Missouri and North Dakota about important statewide citizen’s initiatives on the ballot. Every one of these races is competitive, so nothing can be taken for granted.

We’re calling on you to help spread the word—this weekend, please share this blog or the relevant links below with everyone you know in these four states, encouraging them to vote. Many voters remain undecided, so just a little of your time now can have a major impact in helping the animals on Tuesday.

Get out the vote with our Prop 109 eCards

Get out the vote with our Prop B eCards
Get out the vote with our Prop 109 and Prop B eCards.

Arizona: NO! on Prop 109
Prop 109 is a power grab by politicians and special interests who want to strip away voting rights in Arizona and deny the people an opportunity to advance some animal protection ballot initiatives. This measure would hand all power over wildlife policy to state lawmakers, who are generally too beholden to the NRA. Prop 109 is so broadly written it could even repeal previous voter-approved measures such as the 1994 ballot initiative that banned steel-jawed leghold traps and other cruel traps on public lands. For more information, visit NoOn109.com. And be sure to send one of our Prop 109 eCards to any friends and family in Arizona.

California: YES! on Prop 21
Prop 21 would protect parks and wildlife by creating a stable and adequate source of funding to maintain state parks and beaches, and promote wildlife conservation and habitat protection. For more information, visit YesForStateParks.com. Or share a Prop 21 eCard with California voters.

Missouri: YES! on Prop B
Missouri is the puppy mill capital of America.  In these mills, dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. Prop B will stop puppy mill abuses in Missouri by establishing common sense standards for the proper care of dogs, giving thousands of suffering dogs a better life. For more information, visit YesonPropB.com. Please also send a Prop B eCard to anyone you know in Missouri.

North Dakota: YES! on Measure 2
Measure 2 will stop the trophy shooting of captive animals trapped behind fences—an inhumane and unsportsmanlike practice opposed by hunters and non-hunters alike. These “canned hunting” operations offer wealthy customers the opportunity to kill tame, captive animals for guaranteed trophies. For more information, visit NorthDakotaFairChase.com.

If you want to contribute, funds are most needed in Missouri, and you can make an online donation if you want to help with last second advertising and phone calling.

Paid for by The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, President, 2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

October 28, 2010

Federal Audit Finds Rampant Abuses of Show Horses; Agency Reform Promised

For years The HSUS has called on the USDA to meet its responsibilities and deal with significant and ongoing abuses of horses at the hands of horse show exhibitors. The USDA’s Horse Protection Program is meant to protect these wonderful animals, ensuring that Tennessee Walking Horses are not subjected to the abusive practice of “soring”—the intentional infliction of pain to a horse's legs or hooves in order to force an artificial, exaggerated gait.

Today, the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the law enforcement arm of the agency, released an audit echoing what we’ve said all along. And good news, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the agency of the USDA charged with enforcing the program, has agreed to take stronger steps for the benefit of horses.

Extreme equipment used to train Tennessee Walking Horses
Michelle Riley/The HSUS
Extreme equipment used to train Tennessee Walking Horses.

The Office of Inspector General—which in May issued a damning report about the appalling lack of enforcement of inhumane large-scale commercial dog breeding operations—found that the present government program for inspecting horses for soring “is not adequate to ensure that these animals are not being abused.”  This is exactly what The HSUS also has documented.

Currently, in a system rife with conflicts of interest, horse show industry groups are certified by the USDA to hire, train and license inspectors who are responsible for examining horses at shows for illegal soring. That’s right, industry self-regulation.

Well it hasn’t worked. The OIG acknowledged that such inspectors are supposed to safeguard the welfare of horses while representing an industry too often hostile to enforcement. Further, the audit found inadequate USDA resources to manage oversight. Among the report’s findings (DQP here stands for designated qualified persons, the inspectors hired by horse industry organizations):

  • DQPs have clear conflicts of interest, and do not always inspect horses according to the requirements of the Horse Protection Act.  They realize that by excluding horses from a show, they are not likely to please their employers—who are interested in putting on a profitable show.
  • Some DQPs—when they did issue a ticket—would issue it not to the exhibitor responsible for abusing the horse, but to almost anyone else, including stable hands working for the exhibitor, so the responsible person could avoid receiving a penalty.
  • DQPs working independently issued few tickets; they were much more likely to issue violations when they were being observed by an APHIS employee. From 2005 to 2008, APHIS veterinarians were present at only 6 percent of all shows, yet DQPs issued 49 percent of all violations at these shows.
  • Many in the horse show industry do not regard the abuse of horses as a serious problem, and resent USDA performing inspections. The practice of soring has been ingrained as an acceptable practice in the industry for decades.
  • APHIS employees were subjected to intimidation and attempts to prevent them from inspecting horses. Due to this hostile environment, APHIS employees routinely bring armed security or the police with them when they visit shows.
  • APHIS inspection teams at horse-related events cannot ensure that individuals suspended from participating in horse shows due to violations are not participating.

So, the OIG recommended—and APHIS agreed—to abolish this industry inspection program. Instead, APHIS will take a more direct role in licensing and oversight of inspectors, and mandate across-the-board penalties for violators.

While the details of the implementation will be critical to success and are worthy of our input, the proposed remedies are in sync with a regulatory petition filed by The HSUS and others back in August. We appreciate the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on animal welfare enforcement issues, and his department’s agreement with the OIG’s recommendations.

We will provide our input to the USDA every step of the way as it works to implement reforms. This audit and the subsequent positive reaction by regulators could mean an important step forward in protecting horses from needless and unconscionable cruelty.

October 27, 2010

Treating Dogs Like Garbage: Illegal Disposal Revealed at Missouri Puppy Mills

With the battle over Prop B in Missouri in its final week, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs today released a follow-up report to its Oct. 5 exposé on 12 of the worst licensed puppy mills in the state—a “Dirty Dozen” review that leaves no doubt that Missouri is in fact the “puppy mill capital of America.” This latest set of findings—released at press events today in four cities—zeroes in on the widespread and illegal dumping of dead dogs, sometimes buried or burned in mass graves, by Missouri puppy mills and the middlemen who profit from their sale.

Yes! on Prop B

We have long known that mills impose unrelieved and extreme confinement on dogs in small, often overcrowded and squalid wire cages. We also know that the dogs never get a glimpse or even a sniff of a licensed veterinarian, and are essentially left on their own when their health fails them. And they are also often left to suffer the harsh effects of the elements—confined in outside cages that hardly shelter them from the fierce winds of winter or the unrelenting heat of summer. Now, we have unearthed yet another ugly side of a system rife with cruelty from cradle to grave—the huge number of dogs who die before they can even be shipped to a pet store.

The report examines state and federal documents, including graphic photographs from public agencies and the Humane Society of Missouri, that reveal large numbers of dead dogs and illegal disposal of their bodies. In terms of volume, it appears that nobody beats the Hunte Corporation, the largest broker of puppy mill dogs in the nation. According to reports, Hunte may have illegally disposed of hundreds of pounds of dead dogs each month, and that could amount to more than 1,000 dogs a year from this one facility. Here’s the full report and some troubling images.

It’s yet another body of evidence that Prop B is the right policy reform for Missouri, and that the puppy mill industry has lost any semblance of decency in its treatment of animals. A correction is long overdue, and if the good people of Missouri see the issue clearly, there will be a moral and political reckoning for this cruelest of industries on Tuesday.

September 2009 raid revealed this dead dog on a pile of trash at a Rolla, Mo. puppy mill   Evidence at the scene of this mass grave near Lebanon, Mo. suggested the dogs were connected with a local mill
A September 2009 raid revealed this dead dog on a pile of trash at a Rolla, Mo. puppy mill. Humane Society of Missouri      Evidence at the scene of this mass grave near Lebanon, Mo. suggested the dogs were connected with a local mill. Missouri Department of Natural Resources

October 26, 2010

It's Wild to Allow Dangerous Exotic Animals as Pets

I wish every lawmaker and statewide official in Ohio could have attended the press conference we conducted today at the Statehouse in Columbus.  The collective comments of the speakers provided a devastating case about the utter irrationality and danger of allowing private citizens to keep dangerous exotic animals, such as African lions and chimpanzees, as pets.

184x265_bear_black_sxc
Paul Flores/SXC

You could hear a pin drop when Deirdre Herbert spoke. She made her first public appearance on the issue since her son, Brent Kandra, was mauled and killed by a bear two months ago in a suburb outside of Cleveland. The bear who killed Brent was one of more than a dozen large, powerful predators owned and kept by notorious animal dealer and exhibitor Sam Mazzola. Deirdre is a remarkable and determined woman—Erin Brockovich comes to mind—and she’s determined not to see another mother lose a child for such a senseless reason. That’s why she spoke out today.

Also with me at the press conference were Tim Harrison and Mike Webber. Mike is the director of a new film, "The Elephant in the Living Room," which takes a broad look at the phenomenon of private ownership of predators as pets. The film is set, for the most part, in Ohio and Tim is featured in the film. He’s just as good in person as he is on the big screen. He’s a former policeman and firefighter, and he’s been the first responder on dozens of cases involving dangerous situations, including escapes of lions and tigers, between captive wild animals and people. Now he devotes an enormous amount of time, as an animal welfare advocate, to help exotic animals and to give people who acquire these animals for the wrong reasons a way out.

When The HSUS negotiated a landmark animal welfare agreement in Ohio on June 30, we insisted on a provision to ban the ownership for use as pets of newly acquired big cats, bears, primates, large constricting and venomous snakes, and alligators and crocodiles. I am glad we did. Brent tragically lost his life after the agreement was reached, and as I listened to Deirdre, I wondered that if we had foresighted politicians in Ohio years before—public officials who could see that there was a gap in the law and that something needed to be done—this young man could still be with us today.

October 25, 2010

Relief for Abused Calves: Remembering An Investigation and Those Behind It

This Saturday, Oct. 30, it will be one year since The HSUS’s investigation into the Bushway calf slaughter plant shuttered this Grand Isle, Vt. facility where so many baby cows suffered cruelty that can only be believed if one sees it on our video—extreme electrical shocks, kicking, dragging, and even, heaven help us, calves being skinned alive.

Looking back on the Bushway investigation and others that have pushed animal protection efforts forward, I’m grateful for many things, not the least of which is the loyal support we receive from you. Today, I’d like to pause for a moment to thank all of those who play a part in putting these heartbreaking cases together.

HSUS undercover investigation documents shocking abuse of veal calves
The HSUS

First, we have to thank the courageous whistleblower who alerted us to the cruelty at Bushway—Dr. Dean Wyatt, a government inspector who refused to give up on obtaining some measure of justice for the newborn male calves who were routinely mistreated before slaughter. Dr. Wyatt’s health suffered as he witnessed and tried to stop the beatings the calves took every time they arrived at Bushway. Much to our sorrow, Dr. Wyatt is now suffering from brain cancer and our hearts and thoughts are with him as he battles again—this time to save his own life.

I thank the investigator who looked into the face of cruelty every day for weeks and documented it. Who among us could stand to bear witness to these acts, knowing that such callousness must be documented in order to be believed by those who can stop it? I have heard over and over from people who say “I could never be an investigator,” and I have said it myself. It takes guts to work on a kill floor or in a factory farm, but our investigators make it through their tough times by knowing that The HSUS will be there to take their evidence and get something done with it.

The Bushway case is just one of many that involve numerous departments within the organization—our savvy Government Affairs staff, our tireless Cruelty and Campaigns workers, the attorneys on our incredible Animal Protection Litigation team, and our talented Video and Communications departments. They all played their parts not only in prompting the USDA and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to close down Bushway, but also in working toward a systemic solution to stop this sort of cruel treatment at slaughter plants—a petition with the USDA to close a loophole that had allowed calves too weak, sick, or injured to be “assisted” to their slaughter; Congressional hearings where Dr. Wyatt and I testified in March 2010; and dealings with the Vermont Attorney General’s office that resulted in cruelty charges filed against one of Bushway’s owners and one barn worker.

Our dedicated staff is, in large part, unknown to our members and to the general public, but they are here, working every day with determination and doing innovative work for the animals. Your continued and increased support will help us carry on.

October 22, 2010

Talk Back: "Secretariat" (Plus, Special Discount for Readers)

Before sharing your comments today, I wanted to welcome those new blog subscribers who joined during last week’s Humane Domain gift certificate giveaway. Congratulations to our three winners, who have been notified by email. For those of you who didn’t win but perhaps saw something you’d like to purchase at Humane Domain, I have a special discount code to offer exclusively to blog readers. Now through Nov. 7, if you enter the code 3HY8VP at checkout, you will save 15 percent on your order.

Now turning to your thoughts. My recent blog about the movie “Secretariat” prompted many of you to write. A Triple Crown winner and legend in horse racing, Secretariat spent many years as a sire following his success on the racetrack. But too many race horses don’t ever get a chance at retirement or a second career, instead being sold and slaughtered for human consumption abroad—a plight you are also clearly concerned about.

We loved this film! Great horse, great story. Fine job by Diane Lane. We also mourn the fate of horses who have provided their owners with money through winning races and then are discarded without compassion or love. It's really disgusting and horrible! —Minelle and Jon Paloff

Thank you for keeping the issue of horse slaughter at the forefront. To repay our faithful partners in such a way is unforgivable. Much of human civilization was built from the backs of the horse. Horse slaughter is a process that goes very wrong far too often, causing immense pain and suffering. There are many other options for unwanted horses that need to be made more readily available. —Leah Dyck
I was very upset to learn that many horses are sent to slaughter when they no longer can make money for their owners. We treat these poor creatures like land or material goods, and not like the wonderful creatures they are. —Ranay Peck
A timely and much needed blog on Thoroughbred horse industry practices in America. At Heaven Can Wait Equine Sanctuary for Healing and Learning in San Miguel, Calif. we home Pair O' Docs, a grandson of Secretariat who looks just like his granddad except for the white blaze. After a less than stellar racing career, Pair O' Docs was used as a pack horse in the mountains, fell down a cliff, landed in a tree, had to wait for the tree to break before he could be freed, and was pretty much a psych case for riding after that. He was fortunate to find his way to our forever sanctuary several years ago and has been a character and an ambassador for horse rescue ever since. The Thoroughbred racing industry has to cut down on the breeding of tens of thousands of these animals annually. These aren't machines; they're living, thinking beings who feel the same things we do. —Ramey Zamora

Continue reading "Talk Back: "Secretariat" (Plus, Special Discount for Readers)" »

October 21, 2010

A Number of Measures of Success

Some weeks ago The HSUS submitted its Form 990, a financial filing required by the Internal Revenue Service to ensure transparency, good governance, and accountability. Today, we’re posting it on our website, as we do every year after it is submitted to the federal government.

The form provides just one view or perspective on the work of this complex and remarkable organization. As you would expect, the numbers in our Form 990 convey a great deal about the scope and magnitude of The HSUS and its work. However, for a full understanding of the depth and breadth of our programs, it’s also important to review our 2009 Annual Report, All Animals magazine, humanesociety.org, my blog, and news accounts of our work, together with our Form 990.

Our 2009 Form 990 is longer than ever, not least because there’s so much activity at The HSUS. We have the top professionals in the field of animal protection in our employ, and we believe that the support provided to us by donors is best used when we conduct the work ourselves. Still, we are proud to provide assistance to some other organizations in distress or to complement our work, although our purpose has never been as a pass-through granting agency.

Egg-laying hens in battery cage
Compassion Over Killing

Our adversaries in the fields of agribusiness, the fur trade, the trophy hunting lobby, the cockfighting world, and the puppy mill industry want to tie the hands of our extraordinary staff and de-fund The HSUS. They hate the fact that we work on big, systemic change, challenging institutionalized cruelty of almost every type. They don’t want us to file lawsuits against factory farms or puppy mills; they don’t want us to work with law enforcement to bust dogfighters or puppy millers; they don’t want us to lobby to ban the most extreme confinement methods on factory farms through ballot initiatives, they don’t want us to work with regulatory agencies in the United States or Europe to phase out animal testing, they don’t want us to pressure corporations to wring out animal cruelty from their supply chain, whether it is food or fur from factory farms; they don’t want us to do a thousand other things that we do every day to make the big changes for animals that are so desperately needed.

Those involved with animal abuse have something to hide, and they have skated by for too long, cloaking their mistreatment of animals in some high-minded rationalizations, and fully exercising their political connections to deflect change and stymie reform. They want a free pass, and the last thing they want to see on the horizon is a determined group as effective and savvy as The HSUS—one that confronts their misuse of power and their unrelenting cruelty to helpless animals.

These groups know that the public won’t stop supporting our work. So their latest gimmick is to say that we should be giving the bulk of the money we raise to local shelters, as if that’s the only legitimate way of spending animal welfare dollars. In truth these people don’t care about shelters, and they really just want to steer attention away from our confronting the primary causes that put animals in crisis. These detractors readily take a number or a quote out of context in order to paint their false pictures of The HSUS. They are always on the lookout for ways to demagogue, to magnify or shrink the numbers they like or dislike, or to make gross claims about one item or other.

One critic of The HSUS is a front group that manages to siphon off 92 percent of its donations for the benefit of a for-profit PR firm that enriches its founder. That’s according to that group’s Form 990, ironically enough. Readers of my blog will know who I’m talking about. These hirelings have no credibility, and never had it, existing only to attack groups that work in the public interest and drawing its funding from corporations that hide behind the phony organization with the civic-minded name.

A traditional measure of charitable performance has been the ratio of program to fundraising. On that score, The HSUS does very well indeed—with 76 percent of all funds going to program (the Better Business Bureau standard is 65 percent). This ratio is a strong indicator of organizational health and efficiency, but it is also, like the Form 990, insufficient in itself as a yardstick of the work of a nonprofit organization. These measures of performance and financial status must be framed within a broader evaluation of overall effectiveness and impact, one that draws on other portraits of our work.

From our perspective, the numbers that matter most are animals rescued from crisis and animals not harmed because we prevented cruelty in the first place. To get at this, one might look at the number of deployments to save animals in crisis, the number of animals housed at our animal-care facilities, or the effect of laws passed or the number of lawsuits won. Or one might look at how we influenced corporations to change their ways or how many millions of people we’ve educated through our television advertising, public lectures, materials, or videos on social media sites. Our annual report provides a compact picture of this work to protect all animals.

At the end of the day, The HSUS has no rival in the field of animal protection. That’s why our political opponents, when they are not taking swings at us, refer to us as the savviest and smartest of the organizations. From Wes Jamison, animal agribusiness spokesperson, in the Jan. 8 Meatingplace magazine: “HSUS is clearly the nine-million-pound gorilla. They are powerful, sophisticated and rich and they are good at what they do. They are good at building the agenda, good at framing issues; they know how to talk about issues, which is why they are effective.”

Our detractors will have no quarter. If they’re involved in cruelty, or defending it, they can count on one thing. The HSUS will carry the fight to them, on behalf of animals and the people who care about them, with a relentless focus and determination.

October 20, 2010

Special Delivery: 1,800 Miles with 18 Rescued Dogs

No other animal protection organization in the country has done more to combat dogfighting than The Humane Society of the United States. We are the only animal protection group with a dedicated unit working to stop this despicable industry, and have helped to craft and pass a raft of federal and state laws to crack down on the practice, to train thousands of law enforcement personnel in investigating this crime, to establish tip-lines and reward programs to provide incentives and opportunities for individuals to sniff out the perpetrators, and, in the end, to ensure that animal abusers face the stern punishment that they richly deserve.

For more than a month, The HSUS’s animal fighting team has worked alongside the Jefferson County Humane Society in southeast Ohio to rescue 200 dogs from a suspected dogfighting operation—the largest single dogfighting yard that we’ve ever uncovered. All of the animals were surrendered to The HSUS and these creatures have been in the care of our staff and volunteers for these past few weeks.

Trey, one of 200 dogs rescued from a suspected dogfighting operation in Ohio
Sarah Barnett
Trey, relaxing in his foster home.

The HSUS supports the evaluation of every animal confiscated from a fighting operation. And we have been working closely with rescue organizations, foster programs, animal shelters and individuals across the country to evaluate all the dogs and find placement for more than 100 (so far). Eighteen of those dogs were driven by HSUS staff last week in an all-night journey along the East Coast, stopping in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine.

One of the dogs now in foster is “Trey,” a beautiful, 6- or 7-year-old red pit bull who was likely used for breeding fighting dogs. When we first met Trey, he was so scared he crawled on the ground to avoid humans, too fearful to even run away. Since then he has become increasingly open to affection and comfort. Only a few days after arriving at his foster home, we saw his tail wag for the first time—a huge victory for a dog who likely only knew pain and fear for the majority of his life.

There will be more to report about the dogs saved from this massive operation—but today we celebrate the successful outcome for Trey and the other 17 dogs on this most recent rescue mission. The groups receiving dogs include Animal Alliance of New Jersey, Second Chance Animal Shelter of Massachusetts, Kennebec Valley Humane Society and the Animal Welfare Society of Maine, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in the D.C. area, New Hope Pit Bull Rescue in South Carolina and the Moore Humane Society in North Carolina.

October 19, 2010

Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa Hits A Home Run Helping Animals

Tony La Russa has just concluded a new one-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, so he’ll be back next spring for his sixteenth year as manager of one of baseball’s best franchises. La Russa has won the World Series as a manager in both the National and American Leagues, and trails only the legendary Connie Mack and John McGraw as baseball’s all-time leader in managerial victories.

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa
Creative Commons / carolanross

If we’re talking about devotion to animals, though, La Russa is second to no one. He’s best in class, and he is proving it once more with his strong support for Proposition B in Missouri.

No one would blame La Russa if he went home at the end of the baseball season to relax for a few months, but the fact is, he puts in a lot of hours during the off-season with the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), the organization he founded with his wife Elaine in 1991. ARF’s mission: “to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion, and where children learn to care.”

For the animals that come through ARF, La Russa’s a hands-on advocate and a passionate one. In 2003, ARF opened a state-of-the-art facility in Walnut Creek, Calif., where the staff supplements basic veterinary and adoption services with pet therapy and visiting animals programs in the community. In 2009, ARF adopted out 1,147 dogs and 699 cats.

La Russa is a legend in Redbird Country, having guided St. Louis to more than 1,300 wins, seven division titles, two National League pennants, and the 2006 World Series Championship. Now he has gone to bat for the animals in one of the biggest matchups of 2010—the battle over Prop B.

La Russa appears in one of the campaign’s ads for Prop B, and he’s a great guy to have on our side, speaking up for dogs who can’t.

P.S. We also added another iconic name in the state of Missouri as an endorser. Yesterday, we announced that we’ve attracted the support of former Republican U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth, a former Missouri Attorney General and also a former Ambassador to the United Nations. We are so pleased to have him behind the campaign as well. To keep up with all the breaking news of the campaign, go to www.YesonPropB.com. Just two more weeks to the election, and we are working hard for every vote in the state.

Paid for by Missourians for the Protection of Dogs / YES! on Prop B, Judy Peil, Treasurer.