More on Roseland’s Sizzle

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1993:

readers in the Pacific Northwest recognized a pattern in
our coverage last month of Joan Dahlberg-
Meisenholder and her semi-anonymous nationally dis-
tributed tabloid attack on animal shelters, Roselands
Sizzle. Issued from the Chicago suburbs in late sum-
mer, Sizzle categorically accused shelters of keeping
animals in squalid conditions, performing needless
mass euthanasia, and cremating them alive to cut costs.
She cited no specific cases and provided no documenta-
tion. At least 6,000 copies of Sizzle were sent to pet
stores from coast to coast. A second issue is reportedly
in production.

“Joan was very active in Oregon for many
years,” remembered Bobbie Michaels and Dana Entler
of the Portland group Committed to Animal Protection,
Education, and Rescue. “She was one of the people
responsible for outlawing the use of the decompression
chamber for euthanasia. However, her opinions and
methods also hurt our cause more than once. She
worked against our pet theft bill, which is now very
effective,” and which CAPER has used to convict at
least three people who stole animals for laboratory use.
“She also encouraged people to set strays loose rather
than turn them over to a shelter.”
Retired National Animal Control Association
president Mike Burgwyn remembered that at one point
Dahlberg-Meisenholder petitioned successfully to have
Portland residents vote on a proposal to abolish the city
animal shelter and instead turn the animal control con-
tract over to her. “She kept charging us with doing
cruel euthanasia and raking in contributions from the
public, and we were having to fight the thing with
money from our own pockets, because the city wasn’t
allowed to spend money on a ballot issue,” Burgwyn
said. “We won the vote, but it was close.”
In 1989 Dahlberg-Meisenholder published at
least one issue of a forerunner to Sizzle, called The Pet
Owners’ Tribune, also a thick tabloid attacking animal
shelters. The Tribune, however, did name various
Portland-area shelters, and did not carry paid advertis-
ing, whereas Sizzle carried numerous paid ads from
well-reputed companies, more than 80% of which sub-
sequently claimed to have been misled about the nature
of the publication and to have withdrawn their support.
In the Tribune, Dahlgren-Meisenholder identified her-
self as an animal rights activist, praised Roger Troen,
who was convicted of releasing animals taken from an
Oregon State University laboratory by the Animal
Liberation Front, and attacked pet stores. Sizzle
praised pet stores and blasted animal rights activism.
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