Saturday, March 6, 2010

Brooklyn dog lovers say "Pass Oreo's Law!"

another OLTF member educating the public about Oreo's Law

After an insanely hellish and unusually long week of work I plopped down in my bed early on Friday night and begrudgingly set my alarm for 6am. I moaned. I sighed. I frowned and scowled. I was very dramatic about the whole thing. Waking up at 6 in the morning is torture to an old man like myself.

"Why did I agree to do this?" I whined to my fiance, then, after a pause, "Yeah, I know, it's for the animals."

6am hit and I shot out of bed, filled with excited enthusiastic energy, happy to be headed to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to spread word of Oreo's Law to folks attending the Fido off-leash "Coffee Bark" event.

I have never had a better day leafletting. Ever. It was like a dream: imagine passing out fliers and every single person wants one and is honestly interested in what you have to say. Incredible.

Really though, what better place to spread information about a law that would help countless shelter animals than at an event drawing an enormous group of dog lovers together to hang out on a beautiful day with their awesome dogs?

Everyone I approached was receptive and listened to the story of Oreo being flung from a 6 story rooftop and the ASPCA's "rescue" and mishandling of the situation which ultimately ended with the ASPCA killing Oreo even when a sanctuary that deals with troubled dogs offered to take her, further rehabilitate her, and even give her sanctuary for life if needed.

With four of us from Oreo's Law Task Force there on a mission to spread the word, over 300 fliers were distributed and nearly every single person spoken to promised they would be calling their legislators to ask they support this important law.

Thanks Fido for having these off-leash events - it was so much fun to hang out with so many awesome dogs. Belly rubs, head scratches and sloppy, slobbery kisses were abundant and welcomed.

Do you live in New York State? Go here to quickly look up your assembly member and NY State Senator - give their offices a call and let their assistants (or voicemails) know that you're a constituent and you want them to support Oreo's Law.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WAR & HART Team Up for "Speak Out for Shelter Animals" Event at Hunter College

On the eve of February 14, 2010, Pet Theft Awareness Day, activists and other compassionate New Yorkers gathered at an event co-sponsored by the group HART (Hunter Animal Rights Team) and WAR (Win Animal Rights).

The program began with a presentation on the subject of pet theft and the on-going fine work of Last Chance for Animals, a group based in Los Angeles, with a long and successful history of dealing with companion animal issues.

After a short talk by Camille Hankins, the film "Dealing Dogs" was screened and a short Q & A followed. Hankins encouraged audience members to visit the Last Chance for Animals website to purchase copies of Dealing Dogs and other useful tools.

Next, presentations were made by various individuals about WAR's Justice for Oreo Campaign to reform the ASPCA, Oreo's Law and the sentencing of Oreo's first abuser, Fabian Henderson.

Discussion of Nathan Winograd's work with No Kill Solutions and videos about the work of Best Friends, DogTown: the Vicktory Dogs (pit bulls seized from Michael Vick) and Pets Alive Sanctuary were shown. This was followed by a general discussion of what a No Kill sanctuary is and how the ASPCA, which calls itself No Kill, is really deluding the public.

Following the program, the audience was welcomed to help themselves to a table full of vegan snacks and treats.

Our thanks to Chris DeRose and Last Chance for Animals for providing Dealing Dogs and their history of inspirational work, HART for arranging for and setting up the space, Louise, Donny and Teresa for all of the delicious food, Danielle & Maggie for the yummy cookies and Adam for the Raw Revolution bars.

For more pictures, see:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Version of Oreo's Law is Good News for Animals but Needs Help From the Public Before it's Law

Yesterday morning I had an email exchange with NYS Assembly Member Micah Kellner and he alerted me to the fact that the new version of Oreo’s Law would be better news for the animals and rescuers and bad news for our critics and opponents.

Please see here for the revised law:

I would also like to add that Assemblyman Kellner is very approachable (as approachable as one can be through email), very friendly and open. For one who is somewhat jaded by the political system, this was a most refreshing and welcome change.

He has said he is really trying to push this legislation through, and on the new law he states:

The amended version of Oreo's Law is online. The new bill will increase access to rescuers while severely diminishing our opponents' arguments against the legislation.

Here's a quick rundown on how one would use the new provisions in Oreo's Law - for grins I'm going to use the ASPCA as the example in every case: (Visit here for the full revised legislation:

If you ran a 501(c)(3) rescue group, organization, adoption service, or sanctuary, you would be able to request, say, the ASPCA's kill list. When animals pop up on the kill list, the ASPCA has the legal requirement to let the rescue know by a posting of the animal's ID # right from the ASPCA's website, then must also either call, email, fax, or text message to the rescue to directly bring to their attention that an animal is about to die.

Right up until the euthanasia (killing of the animal), the rescue can call it off and pull that animal. They then have 3 total days (2 days plus the full day of the notification) to find a home, foster, etc for the animal.

The ASPCA doesn't have any legal right to charge the rescue any more than for a standard adoption, and spay/neuter fees equal to other adoptions.

Animals that can't be adopted out: 1) animals exhibiting signs of rabies, 2.) any animal determined dangerous by a court of law pursuant to provisions of sec 121 of this chapter and 3.) don't expect to pull animals if you or an executive in your nonprofit, or a board member has been found guilty of any animal cruelty, abuse, neglect, or dogfighting. Your rescue can't pull animals if you're under investigation for any of those things, with charges filed, until those charges are dropped or cleared.

And, upon adoption, rescuers assume all responsibility and liability from that point forward. Of course this doesn't include any damage or harm that happened prior to adoption, or any damage or harm that happens due to omissions or misfacts by someone unrelated from the rescue.

There's no two ways about it: Oreo's Law is good news for shelter animals.

** NYS residents please visit and contact your representative in NYS Senate and your Member of Assembly - ask them to support Oreo's Law and tell them why it makes so much sense.

** Out of State residents please visit and - let them both know how much of a winner you think Oreo's Law is, and ask them to really push for this lifesaving legislation.

Call and write today!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Get the Oreo's Law Poster here and hang in your school or office.

Download Oreo's Poster here:

Tomorrow: Sentencing for Fabian Henderson (Oreo's Abuser) - URGENT ACTION NEEDED

Tomorrow is sentencing day for Fabian Henderson, the Brooklyn "man" who beat and then threw Oreo off the roof of the six story Red Hook housing project. The heartless act happened on June 18th. Although true justice can never be served we can call and demand that Fabian Henderson is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Please take a few moments to call the judge and the prosecuting Assistant District Attorney.

Defendant: Fabian Henderson Case #: 06995-2009
Charge: Felony Animal Cruelty

Judge : Hon. Dineen Riviezzo (new Judge, replaced Judge Mullen)
Phone: 1-347-296-1446 (direct line to the Judge's chambers - please be polite when calling)

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lisa Berk from the Trial Bureau Blue Zone. Deputy District Attorney Carol Moran is Chief of the Animal Crimes Unit. Jeffery Levitt is Chief of the Trial Bureau Blue Zone. They can be reached at:

Kings County District Attorney's Office 1-718-250-2000 (if you call you will have to select #1 for English, then #0 to get to an operator at which point you can ask to be put through to ADA Lisa Berk)

EDIT 2.11.10: Fabian Henderson's sentencing has been postponed until February 18th. He remains in jail. Please continue to call the numbers above and ask that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.EDIT 2.18.10: Fabian Henderson's sentencing has been postponed until tomorrow February 19th. He remains in jail. Please continue to call the numbers above and ask that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

New York City Candlelight Vigil for Oreo and Oreo's Law/No-Kill Speaking Event!

Candlelight Vigil for Oreo at the ASPCA and Speak out for Shelter Animals Night at Hunter College - joint effort from WAR (Win Animal Rights) and HART (Hunter Animal Rights Team):

New York City - Here's a chance to get involved in the No-Kill movement and the drive to pass Oreo's Law!

This is a great opportunity for cat and dog lovers to work side by side with animal rights activists, animal welfare advocates, rescue groups and individuals of all types who want to see an end to the killing of healthy animals at New York state shelters. Please come to the vigil and/or the speaking event!

From WAR (Win Animal Rights)

****Cross Post Freely & Widely****

Justice for Oreo 2-13-10

Candlelight Vigil at 4pm & Speak Out for Shelter Animals at 7pm

On Saturday, February 13, 2010, New York activists will hold a candlelight vigil at the ASPCA to commemorate the 90th day since Oreo was killed by her "rescuers". Join us as we raise a candle and a fist to remember and honor Oreo. Following the candlelight vigil, we will reconvene at Hunter College where we will hold a panel discussion, including video presentations, on what we can do to stop the killing of animals at New York's shelters.

Featured will be information about the work of Nathan Winograd of No Kill Solutions, the model No Kill Sanctuary Best Friends in Kaneb, Utah and New York's own Pets Alive Sanctuary. It was Pets Alive that stepped forward and offered to give sanctuary to Oreo. They offered Oreo a home, a good life and the opportunity to work with compassionate experienced individuals who would help her to become a happy healthy dog again. Of course, you all know by now, that the ASPCA would not allow that happy ending to happen for Oreo. Instead they killed her.

Please join us at: Candlelight Vigil for Oreo at the ASPCA When: Saturday, February 13, 2010 @ 4:00 PM Where: 424 E. 92nd (off 1st Ave.)


Following the Oreo Candlelight Vigil Join Win Animal Rights & Hunter Animal Rights Team for:
Speak Out for Shelter Animals Night Saturday, February 13, 2010 @ 7:00 PM Where: Hunter College, Hunter West Bldg., Room 619 Featuring Speakers, Animal Rescue Reps & Videos

Please bring picture ID for admittance.

Vegan snacks will be served.

For a map of the Hunter College Campus, visit:

By Subway: Take the #6 train to the 68th Street Hunter College stop.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions feel free to contact us at:

Visit the WAR Calendar for future events:
Visit the WAR MySpace page:
Visit WAR on Facebook:

For more info contact Win Animal Rights at:
Call: 646.267.9934 or visit the WAR website at:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thoughts on the Killing of Oreo

People who care about animals are legitimately outraged at the cruel final betrayal of Oreo by an organization charged with rescuing victims of abuse and offering them better futures. We call dogs our best friends, but in the case of this one our friendship has proven itself to be fickle for the second time. People committed to animal liberation must ensure that the outrage over the killing of Oreo doesn’t end with this one dog. We must use this tragic opportunity to fight for recognition that killing health animals is no more “euthanasia” than the death penalty is a humane response to crime. Saying “we are all working towards the day when no animals will be killed in shelters” is a cop out. Animal organizations need to say that killing animals for any reason other than preventing acute suffering in terminal cases is murder, plain and simple -- not “some day, when we’ve cut populations through spaying and neutering” -- today, right now.

Once we start deciding that we are entitled to take animals’ lives, we embark on a slippery slope that butchers the logic of animal rights. We also cannot allow organizations that kill animals because they are “unadoptable” to call themselves “No Kill.” It’s a horrible abuse of language and undermines both the concept of “no kill” and “shelter.” The argument that “no kill shelters just defer the problem to kill shelters or allow animals to stay on the street” is absurd. No-kills aren’t asking the kill shelters to kill, and no one would make this argument about any other kind of shelter. No one would ever argue that battered women's shelters are allowing women to stay in abusive situations by not killing women who stay in them too long to make space for new ones. Applying a double standard like this is blatant speciesism.

And who are we to say that animals are better off dead than on the street? I’ve know a cat that vociferously chooses to live on the street and will run away any time he’s taken in. By what right do we have to say that death is preferable to his chosen living situation? We need to move beyond the
paternalistic speciesism of “animal protection” and start asking ourselves what it truly means to be in solidarity with the liberation of autonomous beings.

The bottom line is that every time a humane organization kills an animal, it diminishes the perceived value of an animal’s life and delegitimizes outrage over the killing of animals, forcing animal advocates to claim they are only against suffering and not killing to avoid being perceived as hypocrites. Compare the human rights movement to the so-called “humane movement.” Human rights groups protest, vigil, write letters and make calls against EVERY EXECUTION. And what this does, even if these are often futile efforts to stop executions is send the message that EVERY HUMAN LIFE MATTERS. In the
process they elevate and legitimate the cry for human rights everywhere and validate our innate sense of horror at the taking of life.

What message is sent about the value of animals’ lives when shelters treat them as disposable commodities? Think about the underlying message of the term “unadoptable.” It essentially reduces shelters to pet shops selling adoptions with unadoptable animals as the spoiled and damaged merchandise that they discard. And it tells us that we should look at shelter killing as at best tragic and unfortunate, but NOT as unacceptable -- because if it was unacceptable, the people who claim to defend animals WOULDN'T DO IT.

Rest in peace, Oreo. May your death be a turning point that forces the “animal protection movement” to wash off the blood on its hands and to stand instead in defense of the lives of ALL animals -- including the “unadoptable.”

How I Became a Soldier in the War Against Killing Animals in Shelters

I’ve been an animal rights activist for several years, and a vegan for longer. I became vegan when learning what farm animals go through, and after that it was on – I would fight any fight that had a chance of saving animals’ lives. I’ve worked against the fur industry. I’ve worked against vivisection in terrible laboratories. I’ve worked with vegan outreach programs. I’ve worked to abolish animal use in circuses.

In the short six years that I’ve been vegan, I’ve been around. Blisters on my feet from long days of protesting, hands sore from typing madly to reach more people about the issues that I hold so close to my heart.

Then I heard about Oreo.

Oreo was scheduled to die at the ASPCA, and when I heard about it she had but one day to live.

I knew all about Oreo’s story – the ASPCA was not shy about publicizing her incredible story of survival – thrown from a 6 story rooftop by that bastard Fabian Henderson, then “saved” by the ASPCA, who gave Oreo surgeries and fixed her wounds.

But then, a short few weeks after healing up physically, the unlicensed and unqualified behaviorist at the ASPCA, Victoria Wells, decided that Oreo was aggressive and unadoptable, so she signed off and ordered that Oreo be killed.

I heard about this story and thought to myself – had I been horribly abused my whole life and then thrown off a six story rooftop only to be “rescued” and given painful surgeries and kept in a cage in a separate room with other behaviorally challenged dogs would I not also be a tad untrusting after healing up? Would I not also growl a little when the same species that abused me my whole life tried to touch me?

Well, I can say that I would be a tad untrusting. I’m not the most forgiving person on the planet, and I’ve gone through some terrible abuse in my life – I can say with certainty that I, a human, would take a long time to get over that kind of abuse, pain and misery.

So I found out all these details and quickly got on the project of making protest signs calling for the saving of Oreo. The poor pup went through so much, so why should she die? My fiancĂ© and I worked into the morning, making signs for the next day, as the protest at the ASPCA was scheduled for early morning, when the A opened. Fliers were made by another activist, and we were set for a protest – a quiet one of course. No yelling or chanting at the ASPCA headquarters, as we wanted to be sure not to upset any animals.

The protest brought many activists who also cared about this issue, and during the protest we learned that Pets Alive, an animal sanctuary that specializes in troubled dogs, had offered to take Oreo to further rehabilitate her and give her sanctuary for life.

We thought we’d won. We really did. We thought “No way will the ASPCA turn down this offer – why would they go ahead and kill a dog when a sanctuary wants to give them life?”

The protest ended – we all went our separate ways, happy and satisfied, content that the ASPCA would send Oreo to live out her life in peace at Pets Alive. I went to work. Then I learned – Oreo was still going to die.

Phone calls, emails, phone calls, emails – the ASPCA was inundated with pleas to save Oreo.

We were told that Oreo had died. We cried, we mourned, we couldn’t believe what had happened.

Then we learned that she was scheduled to be killed later that day. We had already mourned her death and we felt betrayed that we would be given the wrong information on such an important issue.

Phone calls, emails, phone calls, emails – the ASPCA was again flooded with urgent begging to send Oreo to Pets Alive and give her life.

Oreo was killed at 3PM that day. I broke down and couldn’t believe that the ASPCA had done this. Why? Why?

We all had theories of why the ASPCA would kill Oreo rather than give her life, but coming up with those theories wouldn’t save lives – what we needed was a law that would make what happened to Oreo illegal.

The news was flooded with accounts of Oreo, the protests, and Oreo’s death. It really seemed like the whole world was watching and the whole world knew Ed Sayres and Victoria Wells’ dirty little secret.

Even now, as I write this blog entry, I feel myself getting emotional – I feel my eyes welling up and my head getting hot. I see Oreo’s little face in my mind and think “What could I have done differently – what more could I have done – to save that little girl from death?”

When she was killed I posted my thoughts to an animal rights listserv. My thoughts at the time are below.

After waking up at 5AM to protest the ASPCA in an attempt to save Oreo... after making signs all night and getting people activated on the internet... after getting our building's security to distribute the information... after finding out that THERE WAS A SANCTUARY WILLING TO TAKE OREO WHERE SHE COULD LIVE OUT A GOOD LIFE AND THE ASPCA KNEW ABOUT IT - I find out she's been executed.

I'm at my desk, trying to gather my thoughts and stop crying. I don't have cubicle walls to shield me as my eyes well up and the tears splatter on my desk.

It's just not fair that Oreo has been murdered. It reminds me of the Lucy tragedy, when that heartless puppy killer David Kahn decided to play executioner and rip a family apart, breaking a young boy's heart...

It's just too much like Lucy. Both Lucy and Oreo were good dogs who only wanted to roll in the dirt, eat, and play; Oreo had that chance - she had the chance to go live out her life at Pets Alive sanctuary where she would get head scratches and belly rubs, eat and play with other dogs, and have a great life. She had that chance for happiness and love and the ASPCA murdered her anyways.

I thought I wouldn't be able to compose words but as I type out my feelings I can feel my sadness turning into anger - anger at the way the world treats their fellow non-human earthlings - anger, which in short time will turn into resolve - resolve to do whatever I can as an aboveground activist to stop the senseless killing: on factory farms, fur farms, and laboratory death camps like Huntingdon Life Sciences.

I urge everyone reading this to turn their anger into action.

Until all are free, Matt

Luckily, legislation was introduced almost immediately after Oreo’s death, which would make killing a healthy animal in a shelter illegal if a rescue group or sanctuary offers to take them. Similar legislation has been in place in California for years and has been very successful.

Please join the fight to pass Oreo’s Law.

For Oreo we will fight,


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Which one is least likely to get out of a New York State shelter alive?

If you answered Pit Bull, you’re dead wrong.

Every day across the state, litters of puppies, kittens, and friendly and healthy adult animals are killed by town boards and shelter managers who refuse to allow local rescue organizations and sanctuaries to take animals out of their facilities.

The bill, which is to be introduced to the State Legislature seeks to limit the virtually unrestrained power of non humane shelter professionals, from Oneonta to Montauk, to kill animals and to heap hostile and vindictive treatment on the dedicated and hardworking rescue groups who wish to save them.

Too often, these bureaucrats are either too detached, lazy or incompetent to provide any real collaborative outreach with alternative rescue resources in their own communities.

Reputable groups everywhere must hold their breath as they witness the routine, inhumane treatment of homeless animals. Fear of reprisal or suspension from saving animals at their local kill shelters, even right here in NYC, have driven rescue groups and individuals from speaking out about horrific conditions that exist there. Oreo’s Law will change all this and save thousands.

In response to this tragedy, New York State Senator Thomas Duane and Assembly Member Micah Kellner introduced Oreo's Law, (A9449), a state wide bill that will grant legitimate animal protection organizations the right to request that healthy and treatable animals be transferred to their care when a shelter is planning on killing them.Recently, an abused dog named Oreo was killed by the ASPCA in New York City. An offer from Pets Alive, a nearby sanctuary, to guarantee Oreo’s rehabilitation and lifelong care was completely rejected.

Modeled after a successful. ten-year old California law, Oreo’s Law will help reform repressive shelter systems that operate as death rows with taxpayer money.

We need your help.

We can never bring Oreo back, but we can make sure this never happens again in any New York State shelter. Oreo's Law will save thousands of dogs and puppies, cats and kittens (including feral cats), rabbits, and pocket pets currently being killed in shelters despite rescue groups willingness to save and re home them.

That is why No Kill leaders like Nathan Winograd of the No Kill Advocacy Center, Michael Mountain, founder of Best Friends Animal Society, the nation's top animal law professors, and the nation's most successful shelter directors have endorsed Oreo's Law. Read more.

What can you do?

We need your letters, telephone calls, and e-mails now! The bill is sitting in the Agriculture Committee. Click here to email Agriculture Committee Chair William Magee and urge a “Yes” vote for Oreo’s Law.

Contact your local Assembly Member and Senator and urge them to co-sponsor or vote “YES” on Oreo’s Law. You can find out who they are in seconds by clicking here.

Look under Governors and State Legislators.

Make it Personal: Legislators respond more if the e-mails and letters are unique, rather than part of a mass mailing.

Start with "My name is __________ ____________ and I vote in your district.

Oreo's Law Task Force