It should be no surprise to readers of San Francisco's Dog Blog that the editors here take a critical eye to the SF SPCA. Over several years of observation, it has become apparent to us that the group no longer relies on science or ethics to guide its decisions about protecting animals in San Francisco, and instead tries to remake the world's events to be consistent with the group's philosophy and agenda. Imagine Orwell's Ministry of Truth--only focused exclusively on issues pertaining to San Francisco's cats, dogs, and wildlife--and you will begin to understand the danger the SF SPCA's activities pose to the well being of our animals.
A recent example of the SF SPCA's deceptive public relations deals with the negotiated rulemaking process at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is designed to reach consensus on pet management issues at the park. The SF SPCA recently issued a "message" by its "Acting President"--as noted previously here, SF SPCA President Daniel Crain was fired this summer--regarding this process; the message was reported on in January's Fetch the Paper, one of our favorite reads.
In his message, Acting President Richard E. Dirickson--a man who has never attended a single negotiated rulemaking meeting and, other than apparently being wealthy, has no qualifications to lead any humane organization--makes two alarming but false claims.
First, Mr. Dirickson claims that the SF SPCA "has been committed to the GGNRA negotiated rulemaking process from the beginning . . . ." Now, because the GGNRA plays such a large role in the lives of our dogs, we here at San Francisco's Dog Blog have taken a great interest in the negotiated rulemaking process and the SF SPCA's role in it. The fact is that the SF SPCA's primary representative in these negotiations, the group's only representative given a vote in this consensus based process, HAS NEVER ATTENDED A SINGLE NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING MEETING in the ten months that this process has been ongoing. Not one meeting. And therefore the SF SPCA has not cast a single vote on any issue of relevance to our dogs at the GGNRA.
War is Peace. Indifference is Commitment.
Second, and perhaps highlighting Mr. Dirickson's complete lack of qualifications for this job, Mr. Dirickson claims that publications describing how off-leash activities can lead to leash aggression in dogs are "totally without merit," and even disputes the studies' very existence, claiming that they were "anonymous" publications and only "allegedly published."
Well, perhaps if Mr. Dirickson had attended a negotiated rulemaking meeting--or as the big boss, at least required his voting representative to attend--he would have gotten his hands on these publications, because they were written by Trish King, the Marin Humane Society's Director of Behavior and Training. The Marin Humane Society also happens to be a member of the negotiated rulemaking team--but Marin Humane shows up and votes, while the SF SPCA sits on the sidelines.
But let's put aside for now Mr. Dirickson's and the SF SPCA's surprising failure to remain apraised of local, current, basic canine behavior research, and lets focus on the research's content. What did Ms. King publish that put her in Mr. Dirickson's doghouse?
Ms. King has stated repeatedly, most recently in an article published in the Marin Independent Journal on August 12, 2006, that a dog's experiences in off-leash dog play areas are often the cause of leash aggression in dogs:
Ms. King has published similar articles in the Marin Independent Journal before, as well as in publications by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. So why is it that the SF SPCA is attacking Ms. King, one of the Bay Area's most respected and widely published authors on dog behavior?
Because War is Peace. Indifference is Commitment. The SF SPCA has always been at war with Eurasia, it has never been at war with Eurasia.
That is, because the SF SPCA has built an ideology around dogs that is inconsistent with recent studies of dog behavior in off-leash dog parks, the group attacks the scientists and dog behavior experts that present the information, rather than letting down its ideological guard and trying to use this evidence to do right by our animals. Furthermore, the Marine Humane Society also happens to be the SF SPCA's fiercest local competitor for donations and funding--and may be wining the competition in areas where the SF SPCA's failings have become evident--which may be why Mr. Dirickson is trying to discredit Ms. King and by extension the group she works for.
So once again, the SF SPCA's ideological agenda attempts to cover up the oh-so-inconvenient facts, and in the process denigrates the lives of our dogs. We here at San Francisco's Dog Blog realize that it is unlikely the SF SPCA will ever return to reality given its recent leadership, but perhaps next time Mr. Dirickson will not deceptively label his statements as a "message" but as a"two-minute hate," which they truly are.