|A Collection of Articles About Animal Humane Society in Minnesota|
Below is a collection of articles published by Animal Ark about the Animal Humane Society (AHS) in Minnesota over the years. It is worth pointing out that nearly all of these articles represent complaints brought to Animal Ark by third parties about the AHS. Also, in nearly every case, the complaints involved the illegal or unnecessary killing of one or more animals by AHS. Others involve AHS breaking other laws related to the care impoundment or disposition of animals or animal remains.
When Animal Ark receives a complaint that we consider to be of a serious nature, whether the complaint be against another animal shelter or a municipality (like this and this), we follow the same protocol. First, we try to validate the basic facts of the case. If they appear to be substantiated, we then contact the agency against which the complaint has been made in an effort to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved, we will then take some sort of action, which can involve a variety of things, including notifying the government body or bodies responsible for enforcing the laws associated with the complaint. We may also contact the press, write articles, or contact attorneys that may be able to help bring the issue to resolution.
Over the years, the volume and severity of the complaints brought to us about the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota have been remarkable. Currently, there are ongoing and active criminal complaints that have been filed with each of the agencies listed on the right side of this page. Though the volume of articles written and presented below is remarkable, it is important to note that Animal Ark has not yet written or published articles about all of the complaints currently in progress against AHS.
Animal Ark does not bring these issues forward lightly or casually. However, we believe that resolving them is important because the animals of Minnesota and the people who care for them deserve far better than they are currently getting from Minnesota's wealthiest animal charity.
Fear-Mongering to Promote a Killing Agenda
In Part 1 of this series I talked about a tiny group of people (and, it really is a tiny group of people) who are going to extraordinary lengths to try to discredit the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA), which is widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of animal welfare legislation in the USA. It has been the law of the land in California (where it was called the Hayden Act) for more than a decade. It passed the Delaware Legisla . . .
Apologists for Killing Grow Increasingly Desperate
By any measure, the outcomes at the Kent County SPCA (KCSPCA) in Delaware are looking better each year since 2010. Here is some actual data from the organization's own reports that are published on their web site. (note: the first number column is dogs and the second is cats) 2010 Euthanasia Statistics Total lives lost in 2010: 6,412 2011 Euthanasia Statistics Total lives lost in 2011: 5,386 2012 Euthanasia Statistics Total lives lost in 2012: 2 . . .
Humane Society Admits to Illegally Dumping Animal Remains
Imagine your family taking your dog for a walk. You are in heavily populated suburb and looking for someplace to walk away from cars and other dangers and distractions. So, you head to the nearby railroad tracks. The path you walk takes you past the back parking lot of the local humane society. As you near the Humane Society property, you stumbled upon a grizzly scene: piles of what appear to be the cremated remains of dead animals. Within the . . .
Message to Humane Society: Show Us the Animals
It has been several months since the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota put themselves at the center of a growing controversy that has been causing an increasing number of Minnesotans to question the credibility of the organization on a number of issues related to its mission and operations. Late in 2011, AHS produced a glossy mailing designed to oppose urgently needed animal shelter reform legislation that had been introduced at the Minnesota L . . .
Washington County Court: Humane Society Violated State Law When Killing Cat
On Thursday, March 22 Animal Ark and the Estate of Mary Ray, deceased appeared in Washington County Court. On the other side of the Court were the City of Woodbury and the Animal Humane Society. They were trying to defend the wrongful killing of Mary Ray's pet cat, Jimmy. On December 7, Ray was found dead in her home by Woodbury Police. Jimmy was then seized and taken to the Animal Humane Society shelter in Woodbury. Minnesota State law requires . . .
Documents Prove Humane Society Lied About Illegal Killing of "Healthy" Cat
When Animal Humane Society Chief Operating Officer Ray Aboyan testified before the Woodbury City Council about how his organization had killed Jimmie, the beloved pet of deceased Woodbury resident Mary Ray, he provided a good deal of false information. Jimmie was seized from Ray's home on December 7, 2012 after Woodbury police entered Ray's home and found her dead. With no one in the house to provide proper care for Jimmie, seizing her (Jimmie w . . .
AHS COO Admits - kind of - that AHS Violated State Law When They Killed Jimmy
Since December a controversy has been brewing over the killing of a cat found in a Woodbury home with its deceased owner, Mary Ray. When Woodbury Police found Ray’s cat, Jimmy, in her home, he had been without food or water for several days. Even more troubling, the cat was diabetic and had been without his needed insulin. Woodbury police did the right thing by taking Jimmy from Mary’s home and bringing him to the designated impound center for . . .
Animal Ark's Talking Points for Woodbury City Council Meeting Published
In advance of the January 11, 2012 Woodbury City Council meeting, Animal Ark's Executive Director, Mike Fry, is publishing the talking points he is expected to present to the Council during the "Open Forum" portion of the meeting. He will be speaking about a developing controversy over the unnecessary killing of a cat named Jimmy that had been owned by Woodbury resident Mary Ray, who was found dead in her home on December 7, 2011. Following Ray' . . .
The Moral Question Remains
Animal advocates got an interesting holiday gift this year. On Christmas Eve, the January 2012 edition of Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine began arriving in homes. It features a captivating article by Tad Simons that is sure to help change the discussion about animal sheltering in Minnesota. In the article, Simons dives deep into animal shelters in Minnesota, and comes up with material that is likely to surprise many Minnesota animal lovers. Images . . .
Humane Society to Jimmy's Dead Owner: It is YOUR fault we killed your cat
Inside the home of the late Mary Ray, things are strangely quiet. The occasional hum of the refrigerator is all you hear. The raccoons that used to come to her deck each night are nowhere to be found, there is no one home to feed them any more. In the living room, the only sign of life is a giant bamboo tree, one of many plants Mary tended meticulously during her many long years living in the Woodbury home. Looking around the house, there are si . . .
Humane Society Holds Remains of Dead Cat Hostage
Dear Woodbury Officials, Today, administrators for the estate of Mary Ray, Animal Ark and immediate members of Ms. Ray's family met at her home in Woodbury to begin the painful and painstaking process of dealing with all of the issues of Mary's estate. When meeting with Ms. Ray's family, it was clear that the family members we met with had no idea Jimmy (Ms. Ray's cat) was going to be killed at the Animal Humane Society (more on that here.). O . . .
Following Needless Killing of Pet Cat, Animal Ark Asks City of Woodbury to Bring Contracted Impound Center into Compliance with Law
Dear Woodbury Officials, I am writing regarding a serious issue that recently occurred resulting in the unnecessary, and likely illegal, killing of a cat that was removed from the home of Woodbury resident Mary Ray, who resided at 6890 Sherwood Road. Ms. Ray’s pet cat was taken from her home by the Woodbury Police shortly following her recent death and brought to the Animal Humane Society shelter in Woodbury. Prior to her death, Mary had made a . . .
As Minnesota Animals Die, More Animals are Imported from Other States
It has been a growing controversy for several years - Minnesota's largest animal shelter system imports lots of animals, while killing thousands themselves, and while ignoring requests for help from shelters right in their own back yard. Naturally, I am talking about the Animal Humane Society, and their habit of "rescuing" dogs from Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, and a wide range of other locations. At the same time they are doing this, they . . .
An Open Set of Questions for the Animal Humane Society Board of Directors and Management Team
In the middle of a potential PR nightmare for Animal Humane Society that is currently unfolding on the Internet, including the Animal Humane Society's own Facebook Page, I wondered whether the Animal Humane Society Board of Directors was aware of what was taking place. So, I decided to send a message to your management email address, and to the email addresses for the AHS Board members that I have, to ensure you were made aware of it. What is ta . . .
AHS Solution to PR Problems: Hire a PR Firm, Move the Problem, Play Hero
Updated October 24, 2011 - Scroll to the bottom to go right to the update Problem: If you ran a multi-million-dollar "animal shelter" that had recently suffered a series of major PR nightmares due to needless killing at your facilities (like this, and this, and this, and this, and this,
and this) what would you do? Solution: If you are like many people, you might do some soul-searching, rethink your past strategies, and then re-work your opera . . .
Why We Need the Companion Animal Protection Act
One of the common misconceptions about animal shelters is that they are universally staffed by people who love animals. This myth frequently surfaces during the debate about no kill. "Everyone wants the same thing," people will say. Then, there is the companion to that phrase, "nobody WANTS to kill animals." The problem is: based on all of the evidence around us, those statements are false. The fact of the matter is that there are people who wor . . .
Best Friends Supports MN Companion Animal Protection Act
Sunday, October 16 was a busy day for Minnesota animal advocates interested in the seeing the Minnesota Companion Animal Protection Act become law. Throughout the week leading up to that day, there had been much chatter on the Internet about a mailing sent to donors and supporters of the Animal Humane Society opposing the proposed law. The mailing was filled with what many described as "lies, distortions or misinformation". The mailing included . . .
AHS Keeps Lying About MN CAPA
For those following the ongoing story about how the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota has been spreading false information about the proposed Companion Animal Protection Act, a bill that would save the lives of thousands of animals a year, here is an update: AHS has doubled down on their lies. They just put up a web page listing thir grievances with the bill... each of which has already been debunked. One of the complaints they have made is th . . .
More Untruths From AHS About MN CAPA
Click the Image Above to Read the Full Letter Yesterday, I published a response to a mailing sent by Animal Humane Society. Filled with misinformation, and some would argue out-and-out lies, the mailer has been raising eyebrows as well as the ire of animal advocates in Minnesota and beyond. The mailer was on the topic of the Minnesota Companion Animal Protection Act, a proposed law that, if it became law, would make the killing of healthy and s . . .
Humane Society Uses Make-Believe to Promote Killing
Who could argue the following does not sound like a tragic tale?: [ ] "Dixie is a fourteen-year-old spaniel mix at AHS with terminal cancer that won't be placed for adoption. A man from a nonprofit group we've never worked with wants to take Dixie. Because MNCAPA gives any group the right to claim our animals, we have no choice but to let Dixie go. Two months later, our humane investigators find Dixie sick and starving in a barn, along with 150 . . .
How the Twin Cities Will Become No Kill
Try this experiment: Go to Petfinder.com, enter one of the zipcodes that represents a central part of the Twin Cities Metro and then search for dogs within a 100 mile radius. The result should tell you approximately how many dogs are currently looking for homes in and around the Twin Cities Metro area. I just did this. Here is a summary of the results I got back: I found 2,120 dogs looking for homes on Petfinder in this area. While that sounds . . .
A Tale of Four Cities
Geographically, they are widely distributed. Demographically, they have little in common. Yet this strange collection of communities have something very much in common: The old-school "catch and kill" style animal shelters in them are experiencing tremendous upheaval, brought about by a growing and passionate group of no kill advocates. Perhaps more important is the fact that the dramatic shifts currently underway in Miami-Dade County, Florida; . . .
Help Make the Summer Safe for Homeless Pets
This year, it is a story that is all too common: On July 13 Animal Ark took in 7 cats that were abandoned in a single crate in a parking lot. That was just one of several large-scale abandonment cases we have seen so far this year. It is a trend that is making 2011 one of the most challenging summers in Animal Ark's history. People who follow Animal Ark are well aware that summer is our most challenging time of year. Donations usually drop off a . . .
It is Hard to Adopt a Dead Dog
I was inspired to write this after reading something posted at the No Kill Minnesota Facebook page. They were commenting on the following words posted on the Animal Folks MN web site: “For every unwanted animal in the U.S. to have a home, each man, woman and child would have to adopt 15 dogs and 45 cats each year.” (American Humane Association) There are not enough loving homes to adopt and care for all the abandoned pets in the United S . . .
Pledged Reforms at AHS Too Little and Too Late for Humphrey and Thousands Like Him
Photo: Humphrey at home before his unnecessary killing at Animal Humane Society An article from November 6, 2010 in the Minneapolis Star Tribune paints a shockingly grim picture of life for felines at Minnesota’s largest animal “shelter”. The sub-heading to the story reads, “Many cats brought to the Humane Society don’t have a chance at one life, let alone nine. Some changes are in the offing.” Celebration and Pessimism for Promises of Ref . . .
Summary of Legal Arguments in Humane Society Stray Cat Dispute
Legal arguments in the historical and ongoing illegal killing of stray animals at all five of the Animal Humane Society shelters in the Twin Cities area are documented in various correspondence between the attorneys involved in the situation. Two key documents describe the arguments on both side of the issue quite clearly. The first document is a letter written by Sarah Duniway of Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennet, representing AHS. In this let . . .
Animal Humane Society Agrees to Stop Illegally Killing Cats - Sometimes
January 8, 2009 - This is breaking news following up to a story Animal Ark reported about Animal Humane Society illegally killing stray animals brought to them, without holding them the 5-day period required by law. It also relates to serious discrepancies between Animal Humane Society public statements and actual realities at Animal Humane Society. (also see THIS dramatic example) What we have not reported is the fact that Animal Ark, in partn . . .
Chronology of the Animal Humane Society Stray Cat Craziness
Since Janelle Dixon took the helm of the Animal Humane Society, a controversy has been brewing in the animal welfare community in Minnesota. A detailed outline of the legal issues relating to this dispute is here. In short, Minnesota law defines a "stray" animal as any free-roaming domestic animal. This includes companion animals, livestock, and makes no exception for the socialization status or temperament of the animal. Fundamentally, stray an . . .
Cautious Optimism Concerning Larger No Kill Discussion
On Animal Wise Radio, Nathan Winograd once said, "Just before no kill advocates cross the finish line to success, the nay sayers will grab the flag and carry it across themselves." As usual, he appears to be right. My email in-box has been overflowing with questions about a Star Tribune story regarding a new coalition being created by the Animal Humane Society with plans to take up the No Kill cause. This news clearly marks a seismic shift in th . . .
Minnesota Taking Center Stage of the No Kill Debate
April 27, 2009 - As Minnesotans head off to Washington DC to attend and present at the No Kill Conference, being sponsored by the No Kill Advocacy Center and others, other national experts are asking questions about the goings on at animal shelters in Minnesota. A controversy is brewing. For at least a couple of decades animal welfare advocates in Minnesota have been questioning the policies and practices at the Animal Humane Society, an organiz . . .
St. Anthony Cats Page
On Tuesday, February 10, 130 cats were taken from a mobile home in St. Anthony, Minnesota. The couple who lived in the home reportedly surrendered the cats to the Animal Humane Society. Offers of help from other shelters and rescue organizations in Minnesota and elsewhere were ignored. AHS senior staff told members of the public and the media that the cats would be kept for 2 - 3 weeks in order to complete their medical and behavior evaluations. . . .
Who Offered What When in the Case of the St. Anthony Cats Killed at Animal Humane Society
Today, multiple news stories broke relating to the killing of 130 cats previously "rescued" by the Animal Humane Society from a mobile home in St. Anthony, Minnesota. Each of the stories told a different version of who offered what services to AHS and when they offered them. The Star Tribune, quoted J. Dixon, President of Animal Humane Society as saying the following: [ ] Dixon acknowledged that the Humane Society received three offers of help f . . .
Deaths of St. Anthony Cats Were as Unnecessary as They Were Predictable
I have to admit that I was not surprised today to learn that all of the cats, more than 130 in total, supposedly "rescued" from a mobile home in St. Anthony Minnesota by the Animal Humane Society, had been killed. I had, after all, predicted this would happen, even though the deaths were totally unnecessary. Even still, I was disappointed. The volume of response Animal Ark had received when we offered to care for the cats was overwhelming. Volun . . .
Offers of Support Coming in to Animal Ark to Help with Rescued Felines at Animal Humane Society
When word got out that Animal Ark was offering assistance to Animal Humane Society to care for, socialize and train more than 100 cats rescued from a mobile home in St. Anthony, Minnesota, offers of support started coming in right away. "Some of the first people to call and offer support were some of the volunteers who helped with the cats rescued from Pahrump, Nevada," said Mary Salter, Operations Director at Animal Ark. "These volunteers under . . .
Animal Ark Asks Animal Humane Society to Consider Non-Lethal Options for Rescued Felines
The conditions described are unfortunately too common - large numbers of animal packed into unimaginable filth by someone likely suffering from a medical condition often referred to as animal hoarding. Generally considered to be a combination of obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia, animal hoarding most frequently involves felines, but has also been known to include dogs, rabbits, birds and even rodents. In some cases, animal hoarding . . .
Response from Janelle Dixon, President and CEO of the Animal Humane Society
April 17, 2008
The Animal Humane Society is committed to engaging and serving local communities of people and animals and providing comprehensive programs and services to compassionately serve all of the stages of an animal’s life. Because there has been a fair amount of discussion on this website, I want to provide you with accurate information about what’s happening at AHS and answers to the issues raised by Animal Ark. First, while there ar . . .
What No Kill Really Means
The "Spring 2007" issue of "Animal News", the newsletter for the newly merged Animal Humane Society, included an article by President and Interim CEO, Janelle Dixon titled "No Kill - What it Really Means". While many in the animal welfare community in Minnesota had hoped that changes at the humane society may come about due to that organization's recent restructuring, Dixon's article suggests that is not likely to happen any time soon. Even as . . .
Millennium Hotel, Luxury Accommodations for People and Pets
I have to be honest, I'm not much of a traveler. It's not that I don't like going places, I just hate being away from our pets. I was, therefore, delighted when the staff at the Millennium Hotel offered a group of us an overnight stay in downtown Minneapolis with our pets. It was the night before the Santa Paws fundraiser, coordinated by the hotel to raise money for Animal Ark. The staff at the hotel thought it might be fun for some of the A . . .
Attorney General Tells AHS to Report Statistics Accurately
On June 26, 2001 a complaint was filed with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office against the Animal Humane Society (AHS) in Golden Valley, Minnesota, one of the largest animal shelters in the country. The complaint alleged that AHS misrepresented their placement statistics in an effort to generate additional financial support from the community. Documents filed with the complaint demonstrated that AHS consistently reported placement statistic . . .
Gas Chamber & Spay/Neuter Key Issue for Rescue Groups
On December 3, 1997, the Animal Humane Society of Hennepin County (AHSHC) invited representatives of Minnesota's animal rescue leadership to their facility to dispel alleged misinformation being spread about their organization. Approximately 30 people attended the meeting which was led by Allen Stensrud, Executive Director of AHSHC. The meeting opened with a presentation by AHSHC staff of statistics summarizing the organization's activities. The . . .
|Tips for filing complaints against AHS:|
The following agencies have authority to oversee and enforce laws relating to the AHS operations, and are the proper authorities with which to direct complaints.
Minnesota Board of Animal Health
BAH licenses and inspects AHS to operate its 5 shelters. They are responsible for enforcement of laws related to the taking and holding of impounded animals. They are also responsible for overseeing and authorizing the interstate transport of animals into Minnesota.
Complaints related to these kinds of issues should be directed to them here.
Minnesota Attorney General
MN AG oversees issues related to consumer fraud, including misrepresentation of practices and policies. They are also charged with enforcement of State mandated impound holding periods. They are also responsible for assisting other State Boards with enforcement of laws that fall under the jurisdiction of those Boards.
Complaints can be filed with the MN AG's office here.
Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine
BVM is responsible for regulating the licensed practice of veterinary medicine, including taking action for the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine, including the sale of veterinary services by unlicensed individuals or agencies. Complaints related to the sale of veterinary services should be sent to them here.
In addition to the above-listed agencies, local municipalities have authority to enforce local impound contracts and operating licenses at each of the AHS shelters.