LETTERS [Oct. 1993]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1993:

Premarin vs. horses
Your articles on the connec-
tion between the production of
Premarin female estrogen therapy
drugs and the overbreeding and
slaughter of horses were shockers. I
thought that by now I was shockproof,
but I suppose I am not. Just when you
think you know the worst, there is
more. It is important that we not let
depression take over; we have to act.
I phoned my pharmacist and
learned that I was taking the “natural”
Premarin. I then spoke to you; you
gave me the names of three synthetic
substitutes; I phoned my doctor and I
switched to one of them, Estrace. The
office nurse was appalled when I
explained the reason for my switch. I
am sending her copies of your articles.
I’m sending copies to some organiza-
tions and individuals as well. If just
some of them take action, some hors-
es will be saved––thanks to you.

––Greta Marsh
Lanesboro, Massachusetts
World Wildlife Fund
An article in our local
paper about how a third of the alli-
gator farms in Florida and Louisiana
are likely to go bankrupt this year
because of declining sales says that,
“To save a species such as the
American alligator, society might
have to decide that killing is a good
idea,” and that, “environmentalists
agree” that the “best reason to save
something is money.” It then quotes
Ginete Hemley, director of the
wildlife trade monitoring program at
the World Wildlife Fund: “We tell
people, buy alligator if you can.
There’s little question in our minds
that controlled hunting and ranching
has helped provide incentives to
protect both the species and habitat
[of alligators]. This is a great
model…a success story.”
We have written to
Russell Train, president of the
World Wildlife Fund, asking if this
is the official WWF position––that
the only value of animals [and thus
their habitat] is monetary, a profit
by killing. And if so, will their
organization be changing its name
to World Captive Animal Fund or
World Animal Exploitation Fund,
to more accurately reflect this posin-
tion? Our membership will be inter-
ested in knowing. Possibly your
readers will be, too.
––Andi Sandstrom
Humane Education Network
Menlo Park, California
Hemley’s remarks do
indeed reflect the longtime position
of the World Wildlife Fund, whose
leadership has close associations
with trophy hunting, game ranch
ing, and captive bird shooting.
WWF (a.k.a. World Wide Fund for
Nature) International President
Prince Philip of England is himself
an extremely avid trophy hunter and
captive bird shooter. In 1987 Philip
and his sons Charles, Andrew, and
Edward killed 10,000 pigeons,
7,000 pheasants, 300 partridges,
and several hundred ducks, geese,
and rabbits during a six-week
Christmas holiday at a canned hunt
ing preserve. We have reported on
these matters many times.
AVMA & research
The American Veterin-
ary Medical Association is not
doing itself any good morally,
professionally, or economically
by unconditionally supporting the
use of animals in biomedical
research. While some limited use
of animals on a strictly humane
basis may be justified today, we
know that this is not the way
things are. Veterinarians should
speak out on this subject individu-
ally, if they so choose, not col-
lectively. That should be the poli-
cy of the Association.
AVMA members will
find as time goes on that the
anonymous cover of the
Association will not be enough to
shield them from their clients’
inquiries on this subject.
Do members have the
courage to speak out individually
on this matter––defending specific
instances of usless, questionable,
or trivial research? Or asserting
the insensitivity of animals? Or
rationalizing cruelty with wasted
funds and resources?
I expect a higher ethic of
the veterinary profession.
––Sam D. Calaby
Columbia, Maryland
There is an wide range
of opinion on this topic among
veterinarians, exemplified by the
symposium at the 1991 AVMA
annual meeting on Animal
Welfare and Alternatives to
Animals, sponsored by Proctor &
Gamble. (The proceedings
appeared in the March 1, 1992
issue of the Journal of the
AVMA.) The veterinary profes
sion is making noteworthy
progress in reducing its own use
of animals, as according to Tufts
School of Veterinary Medicine
dean Dr. Franklin Loew, just
10% of the typical veterinary
training curriculum involves the
use of live animals today, down
from 25% a decade ago.
Pound & shelter
In regard to your
national pound and shelter
roster, would you please
include Canada and make it
a North American roster?
This is sorely needed here,
too. Let me know if you
will do that and I’ll get
addresses for Manitoba.
Congratulations on a super
––Nazen Merjian
Manitoba Animal Alliance
Winnipeg, Manitoba
It’s a deal. We
welcome any and all shelter
lists. We’ve already com
piled the most extensive
verified shelter list extant,
but we learn of more shel
ters that previous rosters
have missed (especially
small animal control facili
ties) every day.
Barbara Mills
In your Sept-
ember issue an item under
the heading “Animal
Collectors” refers to the
charges against Barbara
Mills for cruelty to the ani-
mals in her care. It reads in
part, “(she) was quickly
identified by mass media as
she described herself:
founder of the Greyhound
Rescue League of New
England and a longtime
officer in the New
Hampshire Animal Rights
League.” Someone was
misinformed in this situa-
tion. Ms. Mills is not and
never has been an officer in
the New Hampshire
Animal Rights League.
Not only is she not an offi-
cer; she isn’t even a mem-
ber, and never has been.
––Elinor Ware, President
New Hampshire Animal
Rights League, Inc
Northfield, N.H.
We noted that
“Numerous members of
NHARL and reputable
greyhound rescue groups
who helped rescue the
dozens of animals found on
Mills’ premises described
her as a little-known loner
and her Greyhound Rescue
League as a one-person
Declawing debate
I am angry that cats are
being euthanized and not adopted
due to Friends of Animals’ strong
condemnation of declawing.
[Editor’s note: FoA neutering
coupons state on them that they are
not honored if declawing is request
ed at the same time as the neutering
surgery.] I called FoA and heard
about all the calls it receives related
to post-declawing surgery problems.
I was dumbfounded. As a veterinar-
ian, I do not receive these calls and
believe me, ardent cat lovers would
not let these problems slide. I
would hear about it.
We encourage experimen-
tation with scratching posts and give
articles on the subject of declawing
alternatives, but sometimes to keep
the pet, it must be declawed. A few
years ago a writer for Cats or C a t
Fancy wrote that it was time to have
curtains and furniture in her life.
She was shocked at how well her
cats adapted. The guilt is lifted
from my clients’ shoulders when
they pick up their declawed cat two
days after surgery and find their pet
I requested documentation
of what I heard over the phone. I
was mailed none, just a brochure
with anecdotal evidence from a Dr.
Camuti. I have declawed over a
dozen cats for one of my employees
and they are all doing fine; this too
is anecdotal. If FoA is to propagate
its anti-declawing beliefs, I think it
would be better to do it scientifically.
Surveys and statistics should be pro-
duced. I would be glad to ask my
clients to participate, prospectively
or retroactively.
Yes, it is natural and com-
mendable to have indoor nailed cats.
All of my own cats have lived
indoors; none have been declawed.
But not all people are you or I, and I
can’t live with people believing that
declawing a cat is cruel and will lead
to chronic pain. To quote Catnip
volume 1, #3, a publication of the
Tufts University School of
Veterinary Medicine, “Anecdotal
stories abound about the negative
effects of declawing a cat. However,
current scientific research supports
the position that declawing does not
appear to result in longterm behav-
ioral problems in cats. Nor, accord-
ing to studies, does declawing seem
to diminish a cat’s ability to defend
itself to the degree previously
believed. But remember, while sci-
entific data provides information, it
does not address the issue of whether
you should have your cat declawed.
Thoughtfully examine your particu-
lar situation before making a deci-
––Richard Stein, DVM
Monticello, New York
FoA president replies:
I’m baffled over Dr. Stein’s
assertion that “cats are being eutha-
nized and not adopted” due to our
policy against declawing. Perhaps
he could be more specific so that I
could comment.
Please allow me to broad-
en the issue. People who easily
obtain pets sometimes just as easily
dispose of them. Reasons for dis-
posing of pets include owner apathy
and irresponsibility, lack of compat-
ibility, changes in owners’ econom-
ic or social situation, changes in
owner residence, and discovery of
health problems.
If you are telling me that
some cat owners would euthanize a
cat if the animal clawed furniture, I
would agree with you. People also
dump animals if they shed hair, or
deposit hairballs on the sofa.
Cats are beings in their
own right. They’re members of a
different species, conscious, sen-
tient, aware animals who have their
own habits, behaviors and personal-
ities. If a human can’t live with an
animal, then that person should not
acquire one.
Over the last two decades,
we’ve interviewed veterinarians
about declawing and have repeated-
ly heard that a cat’s natural instinct
to scratch serves physical and psy-
chological needs. Scratching exer-
cises foot muscles and helps remove
the outer layer of nail that is routine-
ly shed. The rythmic action also
provides physiological comfort and
the contraction of the nails reassures
the animal of self-defense. A cat
needs its claws to establish footing
for walking, running, climbing, or
Surgical removal of a cat’s
claws inflicts physical suffering on
the animal, and the physiological
adjustment is also difficult. Some
declawed cats become biters. I can
attest to this, as I adopted a
declawed cat whose previous owner
explained that the operation made
the cat neurotic and fearful.
You’re assuming a tremen-
dous responsibility when you
deprive a cat of her defenses. From
that moment on, you are to blame
should she slip out an open door.
You are to blame should she be
attacked by dogs with no possible
way to escape up a tree and no possi-
ble way to defend herself. In our
analysis, it’s not worth it, and there
are other ways to preserve curtains
and furniture.
Cats need to scratch on
something. And cats need to be
trained to use a scratching post made
of board or log, covered with bark or
carpeting. Pet owners can also pur-
chase a pair of nail clippers to peri-
odically clip the ends of the claws.
Professional groomers also provide
this service.
Moreover, there’s a new
product called Soft Paws available
exclusively through SmartPractice, a
health care supply company located
in Phoenix, Arizona, which is
applied to a cat’s newly trimmed
claws, and is a safe and reversible
way to handle the cat’s need to sharp-
en her claws and climb.
Toby Wexler, DVM, of
Lafayette, Louisiana, says he
invented Soft Paws because he was
bothered by the painful recovery cats
experience after being declawed.
(For details and ordering informa-
tion, call SmartPractice at 1-800-
––Priscilla Feral, President
Friends of Animals
Norwalk, Connecticut
We’ll welcome additional
informed opinions, both about
declawing and the efficacy and
humaneness of Soft Paws.
Your July/August edi-
torial targeting animal collectors
really hit home. My organiza-
tion has seen many of these peo-
ple in the eight years we’ve been
sheltering felines. Even some of
our volunteers had no ability to
know when enough is enough.
One person in particular used to
argue with me constantly about
taking in more cats. When the
dangers of overcrowding were
explained to him over and over
again, he became bitter and
defensive. This went on for
some time while he worked for
us. Eventually he became abu-
sive, accusing me personally of
lying about the number of cats
we have had at the shelter and
insulting me with remarks about
how he believed I didn’t really
care for the animals at all, that
sheltering was just a business to
me. This man is no longer with
Just Cats; he has struck out on
his own.
I’m sure I’m not the
only person with a story like
this. I’ve written several articles
on the dangers of animal collect-
ing, and I’m offering to send
them to any shelter that would
like to use them in a newsletter;
just send a stamped, self-
addressed envelope. But expect
a few rebuttals from well-mean-
ing “Humaniacs.”
––Val Beatty, Director
Just Cats
POB 531
Mansfield, MA 02048
Dogs vs. cats
Isn’t it about time that a decision be made exactly where cats fit into
the animal world? If they are to receive the respect and care due to a com-
panion animal, then they should be licensed in the same way as dogs.
Alternatively they could be treated as wild animals, like rabbits, foxes, or
coyotes, being equally well equipped for survival.
Animal regulation departments all over the U.S. are being financial-
ly cut to the bone, yet have to spend as much time and effort on cat control as
on dogs. The National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta annually reports
more cases of rabies among felines than canines, yet there are those who
would return trapped wild cats to freedom.
Discrimination against dog owners is beyond belief. Cats can be
neutered at no charge––Animal Regulation provides a $20 voucher and the
humane society does the surgery for about that amount. For equally low-
income dog owners, no such luck. Unless vaccinations have been paid for
and $25 donated to Animal Regulation for a license, there is no help at all.
The net result is obvious in the boxes of free puppies offered outside grocery
stores and the endless cages of beautiful adult dogs handed in at pounds and
P.S.––Last month I wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE suggesting that
your great admiration for DVM Peggy Larson was difficult to understand, as
she has been instrumental in neutering 5,000 cats but no dogs. My letter was
not published.
––Elisabeth Arvin, Ojai, California
There is increasing agreement among the animal care and rescue
community that cats should be licensed, but since many cats shed collars as
readily as hair, tattooing is a relatively slow procedure, and microchip
implant identification codes have not been standardized, the means of identi
fying cats who have and haven’t been licensed has proved a significant obsta
cle. Advances in microchip technology may provide the answer soon.
The ability of cats to survive as fully wild animals is the subject of
intense debate, which filled much of four of our first ten issues. Some obvi
ously can, at least for a time; most can’t.
All neuter/release programs that we’re aware of require rabies vac
cination as a precondition of release, and for that matter, all veterinarians
we’re aware of give the vaccination at the time of neutering.
While shelter receipts of dogs and cats are approximately equal,
the homeless cat population is estimated to exceed the homeless dog popula
tion at any given time by anywhere from 26-to-1 to 35-to-1.
Dr. Larson’s neutering project concentrates on cats because as our
profile of her explains, that’s what’s acceptable to her fellow Vermont veteri
narians, and that’s where the need is greatest. She and her partner Dr.
Roger Prior also neuter all dogs adopted from the Burlington city animal
We publish as many letters as we can, but unfortunately space
doesn’t permit publishing them all. Our first priority goes to letters present
ing new factual data or disputing facts already reported here. The sooner a
letter of response to an article is received, the more likely it is to appear.
This is an open letter to thank all of the groups
and individuals from all over the world who helped us in
our campaign to close down the diving mules act at
Atlantic City’s Steel Pier: among them, the
International Society for Animal Rights, Friends of
Animals, Humane Society of the U.S., People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals, ARK II, the Atlantic
County SPCA, the Humane Society of Atlantic County,
People Against Cruelty to Animals in New York state,
Louisiana Advocates for Animals, and the Pet Finders
Animal Welfare Society in Oklahoma.
This campaign was a perfect example of how
national and grassroots groups can work together to
most successfully combat animal abuse. The national
groups are the stars, with money, clout, and name
recognition, while the state and local organizations pro-
vide the foot soldiers.
It grieves us to bring to light the incident that
happened at the culmination of this campaign, as in the
past we have never concerned ourselves with who got
the credit for a victory, believing that the only thing that
mattered was the animals. We still believe this, but we
have realized that this incident, and others like it, hurt
the movement, so we have decided to speak out in the
hopes that such tactics will be stopped in the future.
A news conference was held at which a well-
known representative of a national group stood shoul-
der-to-shoulder with Donald Trump (owner of the Steel
Pier), calling Trump a “hero,” while those who had
organized and executed the campaign stood on the side-
lines. Although many groups had been involved, this
representative mentioned none but his own.
How does this grandstanding hurt the move-
ment? For one thing, the recession has caused many
animal rights groups to close their doors, unable to stay
afloat during these difficult financial times. NJARA,
too, is fighting for its very survival. We don’t have the
money for mass mailings or advertisements; we can’t
even afford to be listed in all of the state’s telephone
directories. We have to rely on the media to get our
name out to the pool of potential volunteers who are out
there but have never heard of us. Unfortunately, when
we take on a campaign that the media is interested in, a
national group steps in and steals the scene.
We are well aware that bashing other groups
is not the best use of our time, and it has always been
our policy to refrain from doing so. We have worked
and will continue to work with national groups whenev-
er it is in the best interests of the animals. However, we
believe that it would be wrong not to point out the harm
done by groups that lose no opportunity to grab the spot-
light. Sharing the credit would only make us all
––Anne Crimaudo
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance
Englishtown, New Jersey
In your September issue, you state that
Friends of Animals was created from a break away from
the American SPCA and American Humane
Association. In 1957, when Alice Herrington organized
FoA, it was a break away from the Gotham Cat Club in
New York City. The Humane Committee of New
Jersey, whose slogan was “ABC = Animal Birth
Control,” and I suggested the format. In 1957 Friends
of Animals was solely a neutering organization.
––Ruth V. Hogan
St. Petersburg, Florida
Purebreds vs. mutts
Margaret Anne Cleek’s September guest
column “Don’t call me a pimp” claims, “Purebreds
give assurance of type and temperament….random-
bred dogs may have inherited a predisposition toward
dangerous or undesireable behavior.”
According to HSUS News, vol. 38, #3, “A
recently passed California law supported by the
American Kennel Club requires that breeders selling
dogs with registration papers post a sign that reads,
‘Breed or pedigree registration does not assure a
healthy dog, nor does it guarantee the quality of the
breeding conditions or the quality of the dog.”
Clearly, purchasing a purebred animal is no assurance
of the animal’s appearance or disposition.
As an animal health technician, it has been
my experience that it is the purebred who growls and
attempts to bite time and time again in the clinic set-
ting, while the random-bred animals are consistently
friendly and warm.
No matter what excuse a person maintains
to breed, the bottom line remains that it is simply
unethical to breed a cat or dog no matter how ‘respon-
sible’ you may be, while millions of healthy, wonder-
ful animals are destroyed for lack of a quality home.
––Susan Rattenbury
Phoenix, Oregon
The overpopulation/killing crisis of cats and
dogs is complicated and many-faceted, made even
more so by the amount of players and internal dis-
agreements. But the bottom line is really very simple:
the devaluation of cats and dogs caused by too many
being born. We will never come close to solving this
problem unless all participants accept responsibility
for their own actions in this tragedy. And almost
everyone who has anything at all to do with compan-
ion animals must share in the responsibility to some
degree. Pointing the finger at others while denying
any part in this problem, as Margaret Anne Cleek
does in “Don’t call me a pimp,” is the typical argu-
ment for breeding and does nothing to provide sugges-
tions toward a solution. Even if a breeder produces
genetically sound animals with only one litter a year,
it is beside the point. Breeders are obviously not
going to extol the virtues of non-purebreds when to do
so would undermine their position and livelihood, but
their elitist put-down of mixed breeds ultimately
impacts on the devaluation of all animals.
Sacrifice and unselfishness are the key
words here toward a solution––what is best for the
animals, not whether a breeder’s rights are being
encroached upon. If breeders cared for all cats and
dogs, as they claim, they would either cut back or
stop breeding to create a market for the animals who
are being killed in shelters.
Inextricably tied into this is that breeders
have done an excellent job at promoting their animals,
as have pet shops, while shelters in general have done
a poor job and would do well to take marketing
lessons from those who have been successful. And
yet, when a local New York shelter did just that with
a promotion at Lord & Taylor showing shelter ani-
mals in their windows, they drew a lot of criticism.
Shelters beg for breeder put-downs by con-
tinuing to refer to their animals as “unwanted.” And
as long as this continues, it is no mystery why the
adoption rate remains low. Why would anyone want
something that was unwanted? The unspoken mes-
sage here is that shelter animals must have a problem,
otherwise why would they have been given up?
––Elizabeth Forel
New York, New York
AVMA answers to vets, not lobbying
I have a correction to note re your news item on the
American Veterinary Medical Association’s new position statement
on the steel-jaw leghold trap (9/93, page 15). The position state-
ment is accurately cited. However, I question the statement that
our new position has resulted from “years of lobbying by George
Clements of the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing
Animals.” To my knowledge, we received no communication
from Mr. Clements prior to the adoption of the position statement.
Further, the news item states that “the words ‘steel-jaw’ were
reportedly added under pressure from the National Trappers
Association.” Again, this is, to my knowledge, untrue. The NTA
offered no input on the position statement.
While supporters and opponents of trapping outside the
veterinary profession are certainly interested in the AVMA’s posi-
tion on this issue, our position statements on this and other issues
are formulated to best represent the views of the majority of our
54,000 member veterinarians, not necessarily those of outside
––John R. Boyce, DVM, PhD.
Assistant Director, Division of Scientific Activities
American Veterinary Medical Association
Schaumburg, Illinois
Hunting in Ontario
In survey of 500,000 people done in 1986 by the
Federation of Ontario Naturalists, 99% voted to abolish hunting in
our provincial parks. Today, 68 provincial parks permit hunting.
Yet you can pick up a brochure from the parks ministry and find
that the word “hunting” is not used. Instead, hunting is referred to
as “outdoor recreation” or “cultural heritage recreatio.,” Hunting
areas in our parks are called “recreation utilization zones.” When
you visit the Ministry of Natural Resources Information Center at
Queens Park, you will see no evidence that hunting even exists.
There are no signs saying that hunting licenses are sold there. You
will have to overhear a hunter ask to buy a deer tag.
This is part of the MNR’s hidden agenda––a public rela-
tions strategy to keep the facts about hunting hidden. This plan was
written in a paper in 1975 called Report of the Task Force on
Recreational Hunting. The purpose of the secrecy as stated in the
report is “to promote less criticism of recreational hunting.”
The MNR probably employs more hunters than any other
organization in the province. One would be hard pressed to find an
MNR warden or biologist who is not a hunter. An estimated 50%
of the Ontario Provincial Police hunt, and an estimated 40% of the
RCMP, contrasted with just 6% of the general population.
According to the MNR annual report for 1990-1991, it
made $11 million selling licenses to hunt defenseless animals, but
spent close to $200 million on activities that promote hunting.
––Janice Wilson
Citizens Against Hunting
Hamilton, Ontario
National Humane Education Society responds
Your July/August article “Who’s in Charge at the
National Humane Education Society?” presents me as a somewhat
befuddled old dote who has no idea of what is occurring in either
the financial or operational aspects of NHES. Suffice it to say that
I am in charge at NHES, and am incensed. You have no knowl-
edge of the thinking of our board of directors, and it is apparent
from your article that you have little understanding of the structure
and operation of NHES. I am a person committed to this cause
and a volunteer. My daughter Virginia Dungan and other members
of our board have grown up in a culture that puts humane work and
caring ahead of most personal matters. We have in place a plan for
succession should I become incapacitated or die, and our board
shares the beliefs, aims, and concerns of NHES.
On June 25 at 11:13 a.m., I received a letter by fax from
you. This letter asked ten detailed questions about NHES, our
fundraising and charitable activities, and asked for a written
response by July 30. Apparently your trigger finger got itchy and
you simply could not wait for a response before your stipulated
deadline. Instead you went forth with the article and we received a
copy here in the office July 12. Coincidentally, William Kropp,
our executive director, had faxed a letter to you that very morning
indicating that we would like to know something about you and
your organization before addressing your request for information.
You are either misinformed or misrepresenting fact when
you state that one of your reporters was unsuccessful in repeated
attempts over a five-day period to contact me directly. I received
no telephone calls, no messages. There was simply no repeated
effort to talk to me directly.
NHES registers with the proper agency in every state. To
date we have had no difficulties from any of the states except for
providing clarifications or minor corrections from time to time. In
the 1992 New York financial report you cite, lines 7-10 clearly
show the amount of funds expended for programatic services.
Regarding the fees paid to Steve Cram and Associates of $512,909
in 1992, your article correctly notes that some of these fees result-
ed from costs associated with direct mail paid to Cram who in turn
paid vendors. All such payments are monitored and approved and I
am kept abreast of this process.
While you might choose to reallocate the $726,003
[spent in connection with fundraising mailings] from the program
services line of our financial report [to the line for public informa
tion activities in connection with fundraising, which was left
blank] that would simply be an activity to keep you occupied. IRS
and accounting standards allow for cost allocation in order to more
accurately and clearly reflect the sources and uses of funds gained
through multi-purpose mailings. These allocations are developed
through our management system in conjunction with our accoun-
tant and consultation with several different auditing firms.
NHES was audited by the IRS in 1992, and aside from a
few technical revisions related to preparation of forms, was found
in compliance and no citations or sanctions were levied. That the
National Charities Information Bureau did not agree with the cost
allocations published by NHES does not make our efforts wrong,
misleading, or in dispute. We will be most happy to discuss any
questions raised by any individual who has a legitimate need to
know and approaches us with reasonable attitude of inquiry.
Among your many misstatements of facts are those relat-
ed to salaries and the roles of staff. For instance Mr. Kropp is our
fulltime executive director and regularly spends 40-60 hours a week
on NHES activity. He receives a salary less than what he received
as a consultant in 1990. He is noted on tax forms as being available
“as needed,” but this is for his position as a non-voting board mem-
ber, holding the office of secretary. While Mr. Kropp is able to
earn performance bonuses totaling less than 6% of his annual salary
[$70,077 in 1992], these are not automatic nor unreasonable. He
receives no overtime and does not have health insurance, retire-
ment, nor an unlimited expense account. He is allowed the use of
one of the NHES vehicles as necessary.
Of particular concern is the reference to my daughter
Virginia Dungan’s and her husband Earl Dungan’s salaries and their
benefits and pay increments. They are above the U.S. median for
paid animal shelter managers. So what? The use of NHES vehicles
is indeed provided to both Mr. and Mrs. Dungan as they could not
conduct NHES business without the autos. It is not unusual for
these vehicles to amass 200,000 miles before they are replaced. To
consider this a “significant fringe benefit” is ridiculous. You note
their compensation is within the normnal range for the type of work
they do and their tenure is long. However, you published grossly
inflated salary figures. What you do not note in Mrs. Dungan’s case
is that her tenure is almost lifelong and through many years of
essentially charitable service. Mr. Dungan’s compensation in no
way reflects the frequent 16-18 hours per day that he is involved in
NHES operations.
The cost of operating the Peace Plantation sanctuary in
Walton, New York is most reasonable for the standard of care pro-
vided. You wrongly cite the cost per day for each animal because
you discount the total operation of the NHES, and you do so by
using some organization as a comparable program while their iden-
tity remains anonymous.
The fact that I loaned NHES some money is my choice
and my right and that it was to “make ends meet” is somewhat pre-
sumptive on your part. It might just as well have been to allow us
to do some things that we could not have done otherwise.
The relationship between NHES and Steve Cram &
Associates is a successful one, developed through written legal
agreements with proper advice from counsel, and I anticipate it will
continue. Our fee structure with Steve Cram & Associates is pro-
prietary and confidential. I will tell you that it is a fee for creative
and management services, is reasonable, has not changed since our
initial relationship in 1986, and is not based in any way upon per-
centage of costs nor percentage of money raised.
Finally I note the matter spurring your inquiry and article
was an appeal citing the NHES annual fund drive in some particular
region. While this might create confusion on the part of some
donors, we have promptly responded to the few inquiries we have
had by indicating the number of members NHES acknowledges in
their particular area and clearly explain about our national structure.
We mailed some 700,000 such appeals and received fewer than 20
inquiries. Obviously someone was concerned that NHES was tak-
ing away from their own charitable base. I am sure we would all
agree that a certain amount of money is necessary to carry out any
efforts on behalf of the animals, and that is all NHES seeks.
––Anna C. Briggs, President,
National Humane Education Society
Leesburg, Virginia
The Editor replies:
Briggs’ letter was originally longer than the article it
answers. In editing, we’ve been careful to keep all the points of
factual debate. All italics are ours, inserted for clarification.
As the article explained in detail, it is difficult for the
donating public to have any knowledge of the structure and opera
tion of NHES when the declarations of income and expenses issued
for public inspection leave key lines blank, e.g. line 11 of the New
York report, while declaring expenditures for fundraising that
come to just a fraction of the actual fundraising costs acknowl
edged in the NHES tax returns and complete financial statements.
Our telephone bills verify that not one but two of us
attempted to contact Briggs for her comment many times during a
five-day period. We did make a typographical error (twice) in
stating the deadline for her response to our fax, which we only
discovered after Briggs wrote; we expected her response by July
3, not July 30, two days before our press date. Nonetheless, we
didn’t even receive the inquiry from her attorney, William Kropp,
until early August; Kropp’s inquiry was sent via regular mail, not
by fax; and contrary to the assertion that ANIMAL PEOPLE
was unknown to NHES, NHES has in fact had a paid subscription
since volume 1, #1, addressed to Kropp’s office.
The salaries we quoted for the Dungans are those
declared on IRS Form 990 for tax year 1991, and come to a com
bined total of $83,000. NHES vehicle expenses, not itemized,
came to $15,000 in 1991, but amounted to $99,000 in 1990.
NHES raised $2.3 million in 1991, or $2,968 for each of
the 750 animals at its no-kill shelters, which are virtually the only
part of NHES activity not directly tied to fundraising. NHES actu
ally spent $450 per animal on animal care. At least 52% of total
NHES revenue was spent in connection with further fundraising.
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