Putting the Pieces Together in Texas
My legs are tired from trekking thru THIS Texas web. I thought I'd rest a bit and report back. Where to begin...Where to begin? There is so much ground to cover in this big ole state.
Let's go back to the center of this tangle - to Skip Trimble, the outspoken attorney/activist. He is closely affiliated with a host of organizations, councils and coalitions but is best known as spokesman for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). Their home office is in Austin and they have nine chapter offices around the state.
Trimble is a very active member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund out of California and has yet another set of hats he has worn with that group. Those people give me the creeps. Skippy has held, and still holds, positions with many other animal-based organizations and commissions and so he has an extensive network of people to work with in Texas as well as in other states. In 2005, he was even a member of the Dallas Real Estate Task Force for the city government.
Is there anything animal related in Texas that Trimble hasn't had an impact on? For one example, the Dallas Fort Worth PetNet is used to help find lost and found pets through internet postings, emails, Neighborhood Associations, etc. The program partners with other organizations and municipalities to share data of “stray” animals coming into the shelters. All this is done through the Community Relations Department.
PetNet has evolved over the years since 1988 when it began. It has now entered the computer age and in 2007, the SPCA of Texas decided to take it even further and began a program called E-Pole. E-Pole allows people without access to the internet to provide information via the phone, which will then be put on the web. This program is currently being funded by none other than Robert L. “Skip” Trimble. By the way, he and his wife, Mary, just happen to own 6 dogs and three cats which are all rescues.
Mary Mitchell Trimble is also quite the animal activist and holds a position on the Board of Directors of Born Free and the API (Animal Protection Institute) which have merged. This group is focused on taking away the Constitutional rights of those who own domesticated exotic animals. BF & API have an extensive grassroots system which they use to lobby the local, state and federal levels. They support various litigation campaigns and draft model "canned" legislation, which is available to legislators via databases such as the Council of State Governments or the General Code Advantage.
Mrs. Trimble also sits on the Advisory Board of Operation Kindness, based in Carrolton, Texas, where she networks with fellow members and officers which include Lou Guyton of HSUS and Elaine Munch. Lou is the Director of the HSUS SW Regional Office's Spay Neuter Clinic and Animal Wellness Center. She is also member of the Metroplex Coalition Advisory Board; the Humane Society of Greater Dallas; the Humane Society of Dallas County and the S.P.C.A of Texas - [the former employer of ACO Dave Garcia, who was the subject of several in depth exposes regarding the unethical methods he used to obtain animals for the shelter.] Munch is a former board member of the Garland Humane Society (now HSGD), the Irving Humane Society (now DFW Humane Society) and the Weimaraner Rescue of North Texas.
And as if that isn't interesting enough, I ran across information that "Skippy" has received awards from both PeTA and HSUS for his work, even though he enjoys hunting and fishing and owns a $5 million dollar ranch where he keeps cattle, horses and other animals. I guess they follow the old "Do as I Say and Not as I Do" do mindset to the extreme!
True to form, he appeared in a November 2008 Pre-Election interview on Vegan World Radio along with Nancy Perry (HSUS VP and Government Affairs advisor), Gene Bauer of the Farm Sanctuarywww.farmsanctuary.org and Brian Cates - the President of the Houston chapter of THLN.
These people and others of their ilk push for more and more restrictive laws. The problem is not a lack of laws, but lack of qualified personnel to enforce them. The job generally doesn't pay well, can be dangerous, depressing and unrewarding. Few people want to be the dog catcher - no matter how dressed up they make the title. It's unfortunate that more experienced people in animal husbandry don't take up some of these jobs. The animals would certainly appreciate it if somebody truly cared about their welfare, rather than their worth. Animal Control departments need more knowledgeable and experienced hands-on workers and less AR Kool Aid drinkers and AR "brown shirts."
HSUS and PeTA have millions of dollars in their war chests that could help both people and animals, but still they push, and often pass, more laws. What most people fail to realize is that the ultimate goal behind the AR's efforts is the eventual end of all animal ownership. Period. Many of the people doing the dirty work for the biggies like HSUS/PeTA/API/ALDF don't even understand this. PeTA and HSUS don't mind funding mandatory spay/neuter programs, and even the old shelter gas chambers, because taking care of the animals we already have is not what they are about.
Spidey is seeing more and more illegal raids and seizures on well maintained sanctuaries and non-profit rescues. These are animals that HAVE been well taken care of. The owners are devastated and often cannot raise the funds to hire an attorney and fight "city hall." Before they can even begin to gather the resources to fight back, it is too late.
Their animals are sold (i.e. adopted out for a fee), transported, or many times simply auctioned off to the highest bidder. Sometimes the new owner will sell the cage and animal to make their own profit. The animals are taken from a stable, loving home and pawned off to strangers, who may or may not take proper care of them. This is cruel and inhumane.
Which brings us back to Skip Trimble, who was in the middle of the Primarily Primates fiasco that revolved around seven chimpanzees and two capuchin monkeys that retired to this San Antonio sanctuary when a research program at Ohio State University was shut down. PeTA butted in and decided the chimps should be transferred to Chimp Haven in Shreveport, LA. In the process, horses, ponies, birds and other animals were taken away from the Texas refuge. Trimble, as an ALDF board member was the attorney for the government- appointed receiver of the seized animals.
This happened fast and the people at Primarily Primates didn't have time to contest the action when the Chimp Haven vans showed up to cart their animals off. (Believe me, it has happened many times before and continues to happen.)
Trimble and the AR gang fought long and hard to shut down the Texas primate center. Why? PeTA claims they oppose animal research, but the seven chimps would have been sent to Chimp Haven in Louisiana only later to be returned to the former Ohio research program! They harass people just because they have the power and money to do so and it was never about the animals, really. They just let the chimps fall where they may as long as their followers send in money to "help them save the animals." In reality, the animals need to be saved from them!!
Primarily Primates fought the good fight and eventually won. (that's "Won" for Our Side) The executive director told the media that it took them over a half a year to clean up the mess left by the court appointed receiver who took over operations, temporarily.
One of the most well-funded organizations in Texas is the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) in Ft. Worth. In 2007, they listed assets of $9,256,721. So how much revenue does animal adoption bring in? According to their 2007 990, they made only $346,113 in adoption revenues! They made nearly twice that much on dividends and interest from securities, savings and cash investments and from sales of other assets. They claimed $818,856 in pledges receivable and $22,511 in monies from fundraisers. The bulk of their money ($5,819,643) is in securities, bonds, treasury notes and mutual funds.
Page three of their 990 reads, "Grants and allocations of $221,364 for "Cruelty Investigations to respond to all reports of animal cruelty in 19 counties in North Texas area. The investigations can lead to "Animal Rescues." AHA - it plainly states the true mission behind the investigations. Herein lies incentive to rustle up animals and with a $9 million dollar budget, they can certainly achieve that goal. See "Attachment 2" The Texas Humane Legislation "Worksheet to Calculate the Amount of An Appeal Bond and "Attachment 3" - Typical Housing and Care Costs."
The HSNT and many other such organizations routinely receive grant money from large Foundations such as the Animal Charities of America Federation and its Member Organizations or state and local Community Funds. The HSNT's most recently recorded donation from Animal Charities was for $102,611.
They received $27,929 from the Dallas United Way. The United Way makes it possible for military and federal employees to give to various charities of their choice through Combined Federal Campaigns, or CFCs. HSUS receives money this way, too. So do other animal rights groups.
In fact, Animal Charities of America, based in California, gives thousands of dollars each year to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Animal Protection Institute, the ASPCA, PeTA, PCRM, SNAP (Spay/Neuter Assistance Program), the United Animal Nations and the HSUS International's World Society for Protection of Animals to name just a few.
HSUS, in turn, donates thousands of dollars each year to groups such as the Animal Welfare Society, Best Friends Animal Society, Born Free, the Farm Sanctuary, Kittyco Cat Rescue, NAHEE (HSUS Education programs), an many more. Among those receiving HSUS money are the Harris County Veterinary Publications group in Houston, the Houston Humane Society, the Houston SPCA, the Humane Society of Fort Worth, Operation Kindness, PAWS in Dallas, SNAP of Houston, SPCA Texas, TACA, the Texas Veterinary Medical Program and of course, the Texas Humane Legislative Network.
Spidey's head is spinning. I need to climb out of this vortex and take a deep breath before I venture deeper.
Till next time . . . stay alert and be watchful. Take care, y'all.