Best Friends: Disaster Profiteers

This is one of those I really don’t want to write.

Hurricane Katrina was probably more than anything what promoted Best Friends from a regional to a national player in animal welfare. Their response to the disaster was forceful – indeed, entire books have been written about the response. They committed overwhelming time, manpower and funding to the rescue and saved thousands of animals, some of whom I would later have the pleasure of caring for as a sanctuary employee.

Although Katrina made their name, it also very nearly broke them. Their sanctuary was packed full to bursting with animals, their coffers depleted, their staff pushed to their physical and emotional limits. Even when I joined the staff, in 2008, the repercussions of Katrina were felt throughout the organization as management was obviously reluctant to commit resources to mass rescue situations and the Disaster Response Team went through multiple managers and reorganizations – in its current form, I believe it is an ad hoc team drawn from available staff without a dedicated manager.

So too it must have burned Best Friends to see the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) take more credit than they deserved in the aftermath of Katrina and walk away with a massive profit, after raising $34 million and reportedly spending only $18 million on Katrina-related activities.

Fast-forward a few years and Best Friends has opened a regional office here in New York City. It’s been quite the source of speculation in New York City as to what this office actually does. Here’s the claim of Best Friends on one of their websites:

By “grassroots local programs” they evidently mean the handful of single day events that take place in and around New York City throughout the year: the Super Adoption(s), Strut Your Mutt, a Pit Bull Day, and assisting with the occasional Pup My Ride transport going to NY area shelters (although those rescues are not coordinated by the NY office). This does not seem to me to be enough to justify a full-time presence in New York City, and I have in fact asked highly placed Best Friends staff what the function of the New York office is on a day-to-day basis. No one seems to know, exactly. While the events they promote benefit and fundraise for local rescues, producing them is not an entirely altruistic effort for Best Friends: they get their name, logo and mission in the media, in promotion, and into the hands of animal lovers in the New York City region.

And with all that attention, it would be easy for the animal lovers of New York City to conclude that Best Friends does more here in New York than they actually do. I can easily tell you what they do not do: I attend most of the animal related local legislative hearings in New York, and you won’t find Best Friends staff there. You won’t find them testifying before committees of the NY City Council about local animal related issues. You won’t find them lobbying the New York State Legislature on behalf of animals. You won’t find them doing day to day rescue work. And you won’t find them engaged in efforts to reform the notoriously abusive New York City Animal Care and Control system, the local pound. Indeed, when the kill lists of the last few months hit historic levels of 75 animals or more per night, nary a peep was heard from Best Friends. Nary a finger was lifted in the New York office.

Still, I’ve largely held my tongue until now. They were at least helping local groups attract adoptions and donations, even if they got something in return that helped their organization grow in size and influence (and donations) without any of that messy day-to-day practical stuff.

Then Sandy came.

Best Friends knew Sandy would be a big one. On October 29, they ran an article about the storm’s historic impact, advising the people in the affected areas how to best prepare their pets. And immediately after the storm, they sprang into action, sending out a fundraising email that promised swift response to the storm’s wrath. They put a giant graphic on their homepage advertising their response and posted a news story promising regular updates – and again, asking for money.

On Nov 1st, 3 days after the storm, we discovered Best Friends’ response to the largest hurricane in East Coast history: they sent two staffers and a truck. They appear to have driven that truck to the East Coast from the Best Friends home office in Utah, which would account for the long delay in response time. The choice to have them drive a vehicle here was a very curious one – it slowed their response time greatly and vehicles are in plentiful supply here in the northeast. Climate controlled box trucks are a very simple thing to rent around here – or for a more flexible and maneuverable option, multiple cargo vans. UHauls are not hard to find in the area.

I want to make it clear that the two staff members Best Friends sent are among the best there are. Their skill and commitment is not in question, not in the slightest. But by the time they arrived, other major animal organizations had boots on the ground for days. Massive investments, multiple rescue teams, vet teams, food distribution trucks, vehicles, fully staffed temporary rescue centers – the sort of massive response one would expect for an epic natural disaster. One of the other national organizations had a food distribution and vet care center set up in Staten Island before FEMA had even established a presence there. Best Friends sent two people to Bergen County, New Jersey.

It soon became clear as the flailing continued in the Facebook group of Best Friends New York City (which you’ll note they include as a major contribution to their efforts in their published news stories) that this meager response in conjunction with national fundraising was all they were prepared to offer in the home of their satellite office. It was suggested there that they offer grants to some of the local rescues who were doing boots on the ground in New York City, and they enacted that the next day.

By November 4th Best Friends had heard a lot from their NYC supporters begging them to help the animals of the shelters of New York City, and in yet another national fundraising email they promised to do just that. This email boasted a lot about “organizing” and “gathering” but spoke little of the accomplishments of the 2-man ground team. A new news story that day promised assistance to the shelter animals of New York City in the coming days. Again, strangely, they didn’t feel the need to hurry but promised that a special “Emergency Response vehicle” was on the way, presumably from Utah. Much of this news story once again speaks of their work to “organize”, “coordinate”, “assist”, and “deliver” – things one can do by phone and certainly nothing that would require a nationwide fundraising campaign. At this time they also, in their Facebook group, solicited the participation of volunteers to help them transport animals out of New York City.

That plan appears to have fallen apart at some point.

On November 7th Best Friends could finally speak of some practical accomplishments, taking 41 cats and 10 dogs from the Town of Hempstead animal shelter to partners in the Northeast. Although they claim that their planned pull from the New York City animal shelters has been delayed due to “technicalities related to moving their animals across state lines”, I doubt that highly, especially because moving animals across state lines is in no way necessary. Only the coastal areas of NY have been affected, and NY is a pretty big state. Surely with their local office Best Friends must have made contacts to enable animal placement in-state. They can’t have been playing Minesweeper the entire time. The more likely explanation is that they were unable to navigate the considerably complex issues of pulling animals from New York City Animal Care and Control. Ironically, rescue access legislation which they once actively opposed and now support by lip service if not much practical effort would have paved the way for them to actually rescue some animals in the city where their office is based.

Tonight the New York City shelters released their first kill lists since the storm; they had been suspended in the immediate period after the hurricane. Best Friends is simply too late. At the time of this writing, 11 days after the storm, there is no indication that the New York City office has been able to save a single animal from New York City, either from the shelter or in the field.

Watching the Best Friends response over the past week and a half has been watching a giant flail. Disorganization, incompetence, a total lack of planning, of contacts, of resources. One of the bright spots has been the volunteers of Best Friends, who stepped up where their organization would not and organized supply drives on their own, which Best Friends generously loaned the support of their Facebook group to.

But in the end, even with all their available resources, with nationwide fundraising emails, with heart-wrenching Sandy graphics plastered all over their website with appeals to donate, the Best Friends response to the largest natural disaster in the history of the northeast United States was 2 additional staff members and a truck, later adding a grant program in apparent response to public pressure.

If you open up an office in NYC and use it to raise funds and increase your national profile, you’d damn well better be ready to give back to NYC when an emergency hits. When HSUS raised $34 million for Katrina operations and walked away having spent only $18 million they were the subject of an investigation by the Louisiana Attorney General – an investigation that was later dropped under mysterious circumstances. New York’s Attorney General has been much quicker and more aggressive about looking into Sandy related offenses.

I do hope it does not take Best Friends too much longer to do right by the animals of New York City and perhaps engage in some soul searching about what exactly their New York office should be doing on the 356 or so days in the year when they’re not running an event. At this point, after 11 days of aggressive fundraising and minimal response expenditure for a major disaster, I’ll say this:

They certainly have the money.

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  • So….does this mean I SHOULD NOT take the animals they are flying out to me from the disaster zones?

    • Don’t punish an animal for the stupidity of an organization.

      • I do not see BFAS as being stupid. John Sibley was the one who originally asked for help for BFAS….so I responded, knowing that he used to work for them and accepted it as legit. It makes me beyond sad that I stepped up to the plate and am now getting hit in the head by the very person who posted a call for help?

        This sounds like a personal vendetta for the “Oreo” situation and a more of a personal opinion. I understand. I hate what happened to Oreo and the political agenda of the shelters who were involved. Let’s try to move beyond the personal feelings and help the animals…okay?

        • You’re not getting hit in the head. I’m glad you’re taking in animals. But BF is getting rich off of your generosity, because it saves them a ton of money.

          • I have not been given any details yet. All I can take right now is 13 cats, as I’ve recently taken in an additional 25 from another area in need. Added to my own residents…I’m beyond capacity. Wish I could do more…but again…there is no funding. I do all of this on my own and barely make it on minimum wage right now.

            The animals had heat and food last winter, but I had to go without. It was tough getting through. This year will be worse. I will definitely ask for any help they can give, even if it’s some bags of cat food….

            Waiting on the details….I’ll let you know.

            • Did you ever ask Best Friends for a micro grant, for the cats you were taking in from Sandy? As he said, a portion of the monies they raised doing fundraising for “their rescue efforts” for Sandy? Stop playing martyr. If this was coordinated through BF, they should be renumerating you and giving you supplies (litter, food, other supplies), too. I hope you come back and update us on what happened with you and BF.

              • 13 cats are arriving on Monday, through Pets LLC transport, but are only going as far as Denver, CO. We are getting snow in Montana, and although I’m supposed to meet up with them for pickup…it’s going to be nearly impossible (and very dangerous) for me to drive that far in these conditions. I’m going to contact the transporters tomorrow and see if they can drive a little farther north to help out. Not sure how we’ll work it out.
                Safety first….

                No word on the mirco grants yet. They are “discussing” what we can do.
                Does not look promising. Very little support on my “chip in” on facebook.

                I’m beginning to regret my offer to help….
                (not just for the lack of help….but the cruel comments from people and overall meanness because I take in cats and not dogs.) People are just not friendly about it. Stigma attached to cat rescues.

    • Hey, there’s an interesting tidbit: how many? I’m curious because, well, there are a hell of a lot of rescues here in the Northeast, and with the sort of money and influence they have one would think that they could open a few doors in the area. The animals from this weekend’s rumored NYCACC pull went to a boarding kennel in Westchester – very curious! Why is it that none of those rescues they give money to for Strut Your Mutt will help ’em out?

      But given that those relationships seem to be fairly nonexistent, perhaps they have no local options. It’s a very curious situation.

      • I’m only taking in what I can personally fit. HSUS provided temp cages and BFAS is paying to transport them and delivering the animals to me. The rest comes from my pocket. (and my minimum wage job) I am not 501(c)3 yet, so I cannot receive any help.

        If there are rescues in NYC that can take the animals instead…please do. I don’t have the money, but am trying to help with what I can. I get ZERO funds from anyone. I pay for all of my rescues and care of them out of my pocket and am going into debt doing so.

        I don’t know why the shelters in NYC won’t take these animals. Most will not take feral cats. I do. Even “no-kill” shelters don’t take ferals. They turn them away. I do not. I’m just trying to help. I volunteered my services because you (John) posted the BFAS call for help…..and I called. Why are you now so angry at their efforts? Trying to understand…..

        It’s not about money for me….obviously…because I don’t have any, so no one is competing for it. I rescue. I don’t fund-raise. I work 115 hrs a week at times…just to pay the bills and go further into debt because of my rescues. It’s too late to back out now. I’ve committed to taking them. I will do as promised.

    • Can you be more specific? What do you mean? Are you saying BF arranged to fly animals to you? Where are you?

      • BF was going to fly the cats to me, but it became too complicated. Airlines rules…only two at a time and very few flights to Montana to do it this way.
        Pets LLC is now driving them out…

  • db

    It sounds like they are going the way of the H$U$ and ASPCA – and other big name animal welfare groups that you know, aren’t for the animals. Sorry to hear that because I thought Best Friends was one of the good guys who really cares about the animals first. This makes me very sad, but in no way surprises me.
    And, John, I appreciate that you will tell the truth.

  • Best Farce’s days are numbered. “Money money money money money” is all they care about. They got in bed with Jane Hoffman and The Mayor’s Alliance and got what they deserved… a royal screwing. It’s time for people to stop drinking the Canyon Kool-Aid and break away from people who work for an animal organization who don’t even know the names of the animals in their care.

    • I certainly hope Best Friend’s days are not numbered considering all they do for animals at their sanctuary. They may not be perfect (show me an organization that is), but they do a lot of good.

      • They do and I would like to think that getting back to their sanctuary roots may redeem them should they eventually do so.

      • Yes, they do and that’s not in dispute. The issue at hand is their duplicity in raising money for victims of Hurricane Sandy and their inepitude or sheer laziness in coordinating efforts to utilize the money they specifically raised for it to help people and pets in acute states of emergency. And what little they did do, was actually on the backs of volunteers and other rescues, for which they took abundant credit. Raising all that money, and not using it for its’ intended purpose, is a real problem for me and for others who have or may contribute to them. Why do you think ASPCA, HSUS and now Best Friends, have lost so many longtime contributors (incl me)? Exactly because of things like this. I think they really need to do some deep introspection, because they are irreparably harming their once pristine reputation.

  • Lckirk

    I understand that after Katrina they needed to focus on their core mission — a world of no more homeless pets. I think the Katrina disaster response took time and resources away from their core mission. An organization can’t be all things to all people/animals, especially one the size of Best Friends. If there response to Sandy wasn’t a lot it’s because it wasn’t supposed to be. The local events they help plan and support are a very successful fundraising program for local animal rescues. And you don’t plan and produce events like that overnight. Bottom line Best F cares about the animals.

    • If their response wasn’t a lot, then why all the Sandy-specific fundraising? That’s a main issue raised here.

      • I’m not sure what their core mission is any more but it seems to involve a lot of fund raising and comforting platitudes about “a world of no more homeless pets”. If their response to Sandy wasn’t supposed to be a lot, then I guess they shouldn’t have done quite so much fundraising.

        There is something BF does better than any group in the US, and that is sanctuary. Unfortunately that does not seem to bring them the fame and fortune they seek as they attempt to remake themselves as “HSUS With A Happy Face”.

        Several people have now pointed this out and I feel the need to point out that operating as a “rainmaker” where you come in and fundraise for other rescues really isn’t a terribly good model in the long run. It can create a dependency for those rescues and discourage them from learning to fundraise for themselves.

  • DM

    I am a volunteer for Best Friends in NYC & I take issue with a lot of the things you have written here. In terms of events, Best Friends has for the past four years sponsored a Super Adoption over an entire weekend that has found more homes for animals then most of the small pop up events I have seen. The Pit bull day in the Bronx gives free food, vaccinations, spay/neuters, microchips, leash & collars to pets in those communities that would otherwise not have them, the Pup My Ride programs help animals from puppy mills on the east coast find forever homes & the Strut Your Mutt event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for rescues & shelters not only in the tri-state, but all across the country. As for the Hurricane food drive, this is not organized by volunteers but simply facilitated by us through Best Friends & we are currently helping many, many rescues & shelters get exactly the items they so desperately need. I don’t quite understand why you would feel the need to disparage an organization that is only trying to help the local rescues & shelters in the tri-state. It is because of Best Friends that I also became a volunteer at NYCACC. Please, save your disrespect & harsh words for organizations that harm animals, not for those like Best Friends that are trying to help change hearts & minds.

    • elizabethnyc888

      I think the point is that they present themselves as doing quite a bit more in NYC than they actually are. Frankly, their lobbying efforts in NYC against various pieces of legislature that would have HELPED animals have been so strange to me that I’ve been wondering what their purpose was at all.

    • les

      Do you have a full time job that only requires you to work a few days of the year? Their super adoption events have been a joke. they plan them on the same days as other large animal events. they do not advertise enough, as they say they don’t have the money, and animals dies as a result. Best Friends kills tens of thousands of animals in NYC every year as they were against legislation that would have saved them.

      • Well, I can’t say animals die as a result. An adoption event that is not all it could be is still better than none at all. BF does not kill animals in NYC.

    • Here’s the issue with that: they maintain a full time staff for these few one day events, and the events benefit BF greatly. What have they done to stop the slaughter at NYCACC, for example?

      They do harm animals by fundraising in a market that they don’t really serve much. It gives the perception to the public that their efforts here go beyond a few one day events.

      So what financial support is BF providing for the hurricane drive? They’re not buying the items. They’re not storing them. They’re not transporting them. And yet they raise money on your backs by claiming your efforts as their own.

  • yep

    Did the thought ever cross your mind that perhaps the ACC is not cooperating with BF on these pulls and transports? The ACC seems to not cooperate on anything with anyone so this wouldn’t be a surprise.

    • Tara

      Of course ACC is not cooperating. That’s what they do.

      But, as John pointed out here ” Ironically, rescue access legislation which they once actively opposed
      and now support by lip service if not much practical effort would have
      paved the way for them to actually rescue some animals in the city where
      their office is based.” Best Friends CONTRIBUTED to the ACC’s ability to slam doors in the faces of rescues trying to saves lives at that facility.

      Its a tragedy they contributed to.

    • Very likely! However, all you would have to do is bring in a New Hope group to coordinate for you. Or maybe, in the years the NYC office has been here, they should have applied to BE a New Hope group… hmmm, that sure would have been useful.

  • DaisyDog

    If the organizations responsible for supporting this artical believe that by bashing and trying to discredit a great organization like Best Friends it will gain support for them I promise you it will not. How do I know you ask ? Well quite simply I will be going through and taking down every organizatiins name affiliated with this artical to make sure they never receive support from me, and I will be asking all my friends to do the same.

    • db

      This article is written by a man who is actively and directly involved with animal rescue in NYC. He, quite simply, wants these folks who are in the business of animal welfare to do what’s best for the animals. I don’t believe that he is doing anything but telling it like he sees it.
      Your response really surprises me. Even the best run organizations are not perfect and if you look beyond your blind loyalty, you will find that Best Friends is not perfect either. Sure, they do a lot of things right, but they have also failed to do other things that would have meant a better life for many animals. And they need to be called out on the times they failed animals, since that is what their public mission is all about. By not supporting legislation to improve the ability of rescues to pull from NYC ACC or even for owners to reclaim their lost pets and adopters to adopt new ones, they become part of the problem.
      So, take your money and donate it to the organization you feel meets your guidelines for “worthy”. But I stand by what John Sibley writes because he is in the trenches and knows what’s going on, not what he reads in the newspaper or in advertising meant to bring in yet more money. (And I have never met the writer, nor have I ever been involved in animal welfare in NYC. But I am involved in my own community and I know that the face of what we think happens and what actually happens are often very different.)

      • He is also a former employee of Best Friends (in Utah) before coming to NYC and possibly sees the NYC office as cometition for fundraising now, rather than a rescue and sanctuary. It seems more of a personal vendetta. I’ve always supported Pets Alive AND BFAS…equally, BFAS always thanks me for my donations. PA does not, and has never responded to my letters with offers of help. I run my own no-kill shelter and have to cease donating to shelters who are not grateful. This is not supposed to be a competition.

        I get ZERO funds from anyone and rescue out of a generous and giving heart…not “funds” or notariety. I hate this bickering. I’m feeling completely gutted about the whole situation.

        It was John Sibley who posted the rescue efforts of BFAS in the first place, and now I’m taking in rescues from the area. BFAS is paying to transport them. The rest comes from my own pocket. To ask people for help….and then to speak horribly of the efforts of the very people who are doing the ground work makes me sad.

        • They’re not competition for fundraising at all, since they don’t do any rescue here in NYC (other than this one exception, I suppose). I do not view it as such. There are many great groups here in NYC, and although I work closely with one I support (and write about) others.

          I had hoped they would do the right thing. I had hope. I tracked their activites… and they didn’t. Simple as that. They’re not really doing the ground work here; they are fundraising for it but their efforts amount to a token. It’s a profit-seeking activity.

          One of the other “big name” orgs (who also has their flaws) announced plans today to distribute 2 MILLION pet meals. They’re still here, still doing the work. BF has, I believe, left town.

          • Understandable. I’m sad that I cannot donate to Pets Alive this year. I normally send my holiday and birthday wish donations to them. This year, I can only support my own efforts since losing my teaching job. Had to cut all of my donations.

            Taking in displaced animals to carry some of the burden is the best I can do for now….

            I want to stay hopeful that we’re all doing the right thing. BFAS volunteered to pay for transport and do the rest of the paperwork, etc, so I’m grateful for that. I was supposed to come to NYC, but had to cancel due to lack of funds. I’ll accept the help with transport for now…

            Thanks for helping out the the SI Ferals! I’ve been watching over them and hoping someone would get there when I could not. I appreciate that a lot!

            • I am from Cleveland and NY…which is why I wanted to help. My rescue work started out there…over 30 years ago. I have a few cats still with me from the area when I moved to Montana, I brought them with. My heart is on the East Coast….along with my entire family and friends. 😉

    • Best Friends has already lost the support of numerous long-time members, volunteers and patrons because of their hypocrisy and greed. My money now goes to other organizations. Please feel free to donate as you see fit.. just make sure no innocent animals were harmed in the process… aka OREO.

    • Artical? Shows the intellectual level we’re dealing with here.

    • les

      BF kills tens of thousands of animals in NYC every year. They protect killers everywhere. You support that? Dogs at the sanctuary die of bloat, something that is easily preventable. I am guessing you would have also supported Hitler. I would also suggest you get an education, as you clearly are illiterate .

      • That’s not remotely true, Les. BF does not kill animals in NYC. Bloat is NOT easily preventable and not even well understood, and they fight it all they can.

    • I believe I’ve provided ample evidence to support my point. And I can spell “article”.

  • dck133

    I think they might have read this post – last night I got an email (directed to all volunteers at BF – not me specifically) asking for transport help for 10 dogs and 30 cats from the NYCACC – 1/2 from Brooklyn and 1/2 from Manhatten. I hope this is the first of many transports.

    • Better late than never, huh?

    • gb

      They’ve been working on that since last week

  • Jennifer I

    I was at the national conference and they made it very clear that they are putting their focus back on their original mission (no-kill) as opposed to disasters. Although they didn’t mention disaster response was one of the things they were going to cut back on, I inferred it and am perfectly fine with that. It’s not why they were founded. So if they forward the money to others who are giving direct disaster response, once again that’s fine with me. The other theme of their conference is the constant sniping and bitching about each other, which this falls in the category of. Everyone does their part. Some do better and some don’t. The only people who TRULY disgust me is PETA but that’s because I’ve seen barrels and barrels of their dead animals. Their remote (location) offices are going to be a great idea and bring regions together to help each other. Bitching does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Even if you have a horrible kill shelter in your area, do something about it, don’t bitch. Make the animals lives better or start a “friends of group” to help or change the situation.

    • Well, that would be fine: then close the NYC office, stop fundraising here, and don’t crow about the disaster response they’re fundraising for but not doing. No problem. Don’t forget that grants were NOT a part of the initial response; they had to be pushed into that. We do have a horrible kill shelter here in NYC and BF has done nothing about it. I believe you’ll find I do plenty. 🙂

    • Wow, you really don’t know John Sibley, what he does for ACC/shelter animals, animal welfare, animal advocacy (such as this informed piece) and animal activism. You are clueless and it’s obvious. Did you even read it?

  • Robert

    Best Friends has gone downhill since Paul Berry was let go as CEO. Berry was the real deal, gutsy enough to criticize a certain national organization for both Katrina and Michael Vick profiteering. Since current CEO Gregory Castle has chosen to focus less on disasters – and end overseas assistance in general – there is no reason to fundraise so aggressively for Hurricane Sandy. Same with HSUS, which has a disclaimer on their Sandy pitch that states that donations will be used for this and future disasters (read: puppy mill, farm animal and dogfighting cases – and the general operating budget). The same loophole is what ended the AG Katrina investigation after 18 months. HSUS was prepared to go to court with that argument – and had a good chance of winning on the technicality. HSUS, Best Friends, and ASPCA are all about competing with one another for the biggest share of the pie, with the quickest, most aggressive one winning. HSUS is still number one but the others are catching up. All three groups should document exactly how much money was taken in and prove how they spent it. Loopholes should be challenged and exposed.

  • I haven’t noticed them making any strides in animal welfare or no kill even in their original home state of Utah, a state not renowned for it’s treatment of homeless pets.

    • Utah is I think 12 years into the 5 year plan for No More Homeless Pets. The goal is still elusive; the fundraising continues.

  • A few notes since the publication of this post:
    The head of BF’s NYC office hasn’t been heard from publicly since Nov 4. I would speculate that she has either been fired or has resigned. Again, this is strictly speculation on my part.

    This past weekend BF was soliciting volunteers to transport animals from NYCACC locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan to a boarding kennel in Westchester. Their goals were 5 dogs and 15 cats from each of the two locations, and volunteers were spotted in NYCACC facilities. It is unknown how many animals were pulled and transported by volunteer labor.

    BF first maintained that the reason for the delay was because they needed a special transport truck – that seems not to be true, evidently a passenger vehicle would do just fine. The next excuse was the difficulty of transporting out of state; now they’re being transported in-state – but why not to a rescue partner? Surely after having a NY office for years and after distributing money through Strut Your Mutt events there must be an associated rescue that would take in those animals – right?

    Now, knowing NYCACC’s operations well, I can tell you that sending in lots of volunteers with a lot of vehicles is going to aggravate the staff greatly and waste a lot of time. A much better option would be to use a cargo van to transport all animals at once. That, of course, would take money – or the one I offered about a week before writing all this, long before NYC started up the kill lists again. Always carrot before stick.

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  • I am continually amazed by people who don’t read the spirit of an opinion such as John’s and instead, take a component and attack it without regard to the overall message. I
    do not write as well as John, so I assume it is my poor writing skills when it happens to me.

    But this article and can wrapped up in the end if you read all the way through, “I do hope it does not take Best Friends too much longer to do right by the animals of New York City….”

    Yes, he is critical of the organization, and there are historical events that show that’s not as disruptive a view you may think. Like HSUS, ASPCA, and PETA that have some
    horrific policies and history, Best Friends appear to moving in their direction. I would like to see BF and all the others begging to embrace the ideas, proven practices and shelter
    reform that continues to improve shelters where acted upon.

    But in the end, John is asking BF to do the right thing, and then he can write the article of them stepping up. I don’t know him personally, but reading his blog I can see he saves lives with the resources at his disposal. I think asking the big NPOs that successfully
    raise money to do the same. Four organizations with fundraising offices in New York City—ASPCA, HSUS, Mayor’s Alliance, and Best Friends—take in over $320,000,000 per year. Their coffers grow much faster than the live release rate at shelters aligned with them. They are all at fault for the local homeless pets and regressive shelter practices if they are raising money for betterment of local homeless pets and failing with that kind of money. I have to agree with John that BF has not got long past the fork in the road that is leading them on the path of these other organizations. A path of folly that results in the death of thousands of pets locally, millions nationally.

    Turn around Best Friends and get back to the basic, saving lives with all the resources available to you. I will be the first to praise you and I believe John Sibley will as

    Good post, John, and never stop saving lives. And never stop keeping an eye on these organizations.