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February 17, 2011

Talk Back: Celebrating Shelter Pets, Investigating Cruelty

HSUS' Heather Sullivan with her shelter dog Pepper
Michelle Riley/The HSUS

This week, I wrote about two different programs of The HSUS that embody our mission statement: celebrating animals and confronting cruelty.

The Shelter Pet Project, a national campaign we launched with the Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund, promotes adopting animals from local shelters and rescue groups. You can help us spread the word about shelter pet adoption by liking the Shelter Pet Project on Facebook.

Many of you wrote in about your own vivid experiences in adopting a homeless animal:

There's no doubt the next animal we bring into our home will be from a shelter! We have a cat that my daughter rescued from two young boys that were putting her into a pillow case and now she is our pride and joy! I cannot fathom what would have happened to her if my daughter didn't bring her home to us. It saddens me that there are soooo many still euthanized, that number is astronomical! So yes, let's all give love to our shelter animals and bring them home! —Karen

We just adopted China, a 7-year-old beagle/yellow Lab cross that was found as a stray in January from a local humane society. She is absolutely awesome. It is great not having to train a puppy again. —Jeanette

I adopted a dog who had been rescued from a puppy mill after spending five years in that puppy mill. He had been traumatized and was very withdrawn at first, because of his past five years of abuse. He is now a happy 8-year-old dog who is the light of my life. —Loretta

For anyone contemplating adding a member to your family, please consider this alternative — adoption is so rewarding to yourself and the life you save. —Mari

In response to our most recent undercover cockfighting investigations in Texas, along with other investigations, you wrote about why this function of unearthing cruelty is so important:

I am so thankful for the work of these undercover investigators. What amazing and heroic individuals they are! To be willing to witness such cruelty and risk their own safety in order to document and share (and provide proof) of these atrocities is something I'm not certain I could stomach. Thank God for their strength and courage...please pass my thanks along to them all! —Cari

The sad thing about cockfighting is that many people probably don't feel the same way about it as they do about dogfighting. After all, we keep dogs as pets, while many people eat chickens, right? Yet chickens are greatly misunderstood. They have been shown to be very intelligent and social, and possess a wide range of emotions, just as other birds and mammals do. They hurt just as much when cut, yet are forced to defend themselves to the death for mindless "entertainment." Forcing any innocent being to face the horrors of the arena is simply evil, and any laws regarding dogfighting should be just as strong against cockfighting or any other blood sport. They are all equally cruel.  —David

It truly takes a special kind of person to be an investigator. Without them, animals would suffer without a voice. They make it possible for the rest of us to mobilize, to educate, and to make a difference. They are truly a rare breed, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. — Lisa

I am very proud to be a member of the Humane Society, and I encourage others to join, get involved. Thank you for your tireless efforts and courage in confronting cruelty to animals and people. Keep up the good work! Together compassion will be mainstream and the norm, rather than the exception. — Erin

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