Companion Animal Protection Society is a pet welfare organization based in Massachusetts with affiliate offices in other parts of the country. Founded by President Deborah Howard in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills through legislation and investigations of cruelty. They have been involved in the establishment of a handful of city and county ordinances prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats, and in some cases other animals, and the investigation and ultimate prosecution of cruelty of puppy mill breeders perpetuated towards dogs- the most notable case being Kathy Jo Bauk, a Minnesota breeder.
Now the President Deborah Howard and the West Coast Director Carole Raphaelle Davis appear to be setting their sites on other national pet welfare groups including Best Friends Animal Society, PETA, ASPCA and HSUS, questioning their motives, finances and a host of other questionable comments about integrity and ethics.
It all took place with an article on an online magazine written by Carole Raphaelle
Davis lambasting Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles for refusing admittance to a senior dog at the adoption center Best Friends is under contract with to manage for the city. Best Friends directed the dog instead to a city shelter as it is required to do by their contract with the city.
In this article Davis states, “The position of those critical of the city’s fiscal entanglement with the private charity is that Best Friends, a private rescue organization which collects $50 million tax free per year in donations and has off-shore accounts in the Virgin Islands, should be audited by the city comptroller and the IRS, should not be subsidized with public funds, and if it is to be in business with the city, it should be obligated to become an open admissions shelter as opposed to being allowed to “cherry-pick adoptable animals for their facility while outsourcing euthanasia to city shelters.”
Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles is not a shelter per se. They are strictly an adoption center for the six Los Angeles city shelters, and only take animals from those six shelters. Period. They do not take ANY animals in from the public. According to Francis Battista, cofounder of Best Friends Animals Society, the reason they are only pulling animals from the LA shelters is to “dramatically reduce the number of adoptable pets in the shelters saving them from euthanasia”. To most people this would seem to be a good thing, but CAPS is using the incident of Best Friends turning away a surrendered dog to inflame resentment in the minds of the people of the LA rescue community who also pull dogs out of the shelters and now accuse Best Friends of dumping the animal in their laps.
Davis continues, ” Best Friends should be saving many more animals given its extraordinary wealth and its slogan “SAVE THEM ALL™,” which, by the way, is trademarked so that no one else can say “save them all” even while Best Friends is not “saving them all.””
Commenting on the blog, Deborah Howard, President of CAPS said the following:
“Why is their contract with the city mandate that they can’t do intake? They didn’t have to agree to these terms. With all the funding they get and the land they own in Utah, they could easily build a center for senior dogs, just as they built a state of the art “green” puppy center in order to attract wealthy donors. This totally unnecessary center, so fancy that it could house human infants, was funded, in part, by the Pedigree Foundation (Purina – which does cruel nutritional testing on animals), Val Diker, a wealthy socialite from NYC who breeds Dachsunds for Westminster and the show circuit, and CR Bard Foundation (the foundation for the medical products company that tests on animals). Why are Best Friends and PETA opening offices in large cities like L.A. and NYC? It isn’t really because they want to do much work in these cities. It is because they want to bed close to the wealth and celebrities. Why aren’t they and other large nonprofits, such as ASPCA (with its obscene wealth from its sappy commercials and just one shelter with few animals) and HSUS, helping the poor shelters in the South that routinely kill litters of puppies and kittens and use gas and heartstick? What are ASPCA and BF doing in NYC while the horrific Animal Care and Control kills animals every single day, including kittens as young as a week.”
Ms. Howard evidently blames the financial woes of her own organization on Best Friends Animal Society:
“CAPS had a major donor who stopped giving us grants because she was brainwashed by Best Friend’s slick marketing tactics and fancy magazine (I think I’ll forward this article to her). They also need to stop taking credit for the hard work of small national nonprofits like CAPS. Carole Davis and CAPS provided the investigative evidence for the Los Angeles ordinance banning the retail sale of pet shop puppies, kittens and rabbits. She also proposed the ordinance to the city council member who decided to sponsor it. While Best Friends may have joined in later. they did not initiate the ordinance nor investigate all the pet shops in Los Angeles and the mills that supplied them.” According to IRS records for 2011, CAPS was in the red by over 100,000 dollars
and goes on to say
“This is not just another rescue. This is one of the largest national nonprofits in the country. That is why they changed their name to Society from Sanctuary. They sucked people in with all the animals they have warehoused in UT and then decided they wanted to be like HSUS and ASPCA.”
Davis went on to say
“people should give to small rescues who are doing the lion’s share of the work that BF takes credit for. Sounds like you could use some funds. Ask. Rescuers don’t need messages, they need help with vet care and boarding and paid fosters, not private planes and celebrity parties. Wake up.”
These types of comments could be simply chalked up to notorious blog chatter, except that they are coming from otherwise respected, professional members of the pet welfare movement and the president and west coast director of said organization, and they offer no apologies for it. I think this is disgraceful. Companion Animal Protection Society should clean house.
Pet welfare groups should be working together instead of trying to publically disgrace one another, no matter what they disagree on. As far as I am concerned, the validity of the offensive claims does not matter. The public does not have any interest in hearing about the internal wars of the pet welfare community. The animals certainly do not benefit from this type of petty behavior. It certainly does nothing to advance the cause. And for an organization to publically declare that people should not support another national organization and that people volunteering for them should go elsewhere is just despicable.
Companion Animal Protection Society has done some great work and has some wonderful accomplishments. I think they should stick to doing that and keep their feuds to themselves. I hope other people will encourage them to do so as well.