Our Voice

After DogsInDanger Director's comments on the Today show, naming PACCA for their decision not to join the site, controversy erupted. Here is what we said.. "One shelter, PACCA, in Philadelphia, has refused to participate. They claim that it's too cumbersome and it doesn't really fit their model." NBC10's (Philadelphia station) story on the news that night set the stage for Ms. Tara Derby, Executive Director of PACCA, to go public blasting DogsInDanger. Her claims that DogsInDanger asked PACCA to "just pick some fictitious date and keep pushing it out, thus not telling the truth," was immediately denied publicly by DogsInDanger.

Now hold on there Derby! There is a big difference between estimate and fabricate. We never asked anyone to create fictitious dates to manipulate the public. In a conference call with PACCA's Director of Development, we told her that to use the site a shelter must be able to estimate euthanasia dates, which could be adjusted if needed. If the dogs are dying, and we all agree that dogs are dying at PACCA, surely there is some methodology for selecting those dogs. PACCA stated in writing that “when a dog is in imminent danger of death they send out mass emails to try to preserve that dog’s life”, well when you’re starting to send those emails why not just post the dog on DogsInDanger too, it’s another tool, it’s free and it takes seconds!

We realize that a euthanasia date sometimes needs to be revised due to changing factors, such as adoption interest in the dog, unexpected influx of new dogs, sudden behavior or health problems, etc. Just for these situations, DogsInDanger allows the shelter to revise the euthanasia date, shortening or lengthening the amount of time, if needed. We were told by PACCA that this would be too emotional and too manual.

We don't mind of being accused of intentionally naming the shelter for its refusal to participate, but we did not misrepresent them in our statement, nor did we ever ask PACCA to lie or falsify information to manipulate the public. That is absolutely false and could be considered libelous. We offered to try to find a way to work with PACCA, explaining that the date is built into the system, by design. We were willing to compromise to find a solution, they were not. After initially expressing wholehearted support for the site, PACCA ultimately refused to participate unless we removed the euthanasia date from the site. We told them that we wanted to find a way to work with them, and we want to be able to help the dogs at PACCA too, but we could not do what they insist. We had to find another way to reach a mutually acceptable solution. The date is the only means DogsInDanger has to give the public a real idea of how much time a dog has left.

In her statement, Derby went on to actually state that DogsInDanger is encouraging dog euthanasia since if a date is set, then the dog must die. She accuses the site of "select[ing] dogs for death that don't need to be killed". What!? The number of dogs killed in shelters is a reality that DogsInDanger did not create. We just put a face to it. Hundreds of shelters across the country voluntarily list their dogs on DogsInDanger. It is absurd to suggest that a shelter would kill a dog when it did not need to, just because it had assigned a date in a computer.

Why did we press the issue? Because there are 4 million dogs a year dying in shelters, some of them at PACCA, that's why. DogsInDanger is a free tool to help reduce the number of dogs killed. PACCA closed the door on us unless we agreed to take away the very core concept of the site. We were willing to compromise, but we will not take away the heart of the site which would in essence make DogsInDanger no different than any other pet adoption site. They wanted us to remove the date and use the word "urgent" instead. Anyone in sheltering and rescue knows that the word "urgent" is a very overused term. To some it means one week, to others one month, and some dogs in no kill shelters that are deteriorating can be considered "urgent." A designation of "urgent" does not give the public any idea how much time a dog has left.

We're not asking them to change their policies. We asked them to try to find a way for their organization and our website to work together for the benefit of the dogs. Let's not lose sight of something here... this is not about the people, it's about the dogs.

Following this, PACCA supporters took to the blogs posting vicious personal attacks, and untruths against DogsInDanger co-founder Alex Aliksanyan and his family...of course always under pseudonyms. They have tried in every way they can to discredit, disparage and destroy this organization because of our one line statement of why they refused to participate. Derby then started sending out emails accusing DogsInDanger of "lying" and "misrepresentation". We don't know who their legal advisor is, but they might want to seek new counsel.

By the way, we thought that we should also mention that Derby herself has never talked to us. We reached out to PACCA by phone in the hopes of finding a compromise resolution that would allow us to help the dogs. In response to that we received an email stating that PACCA's position has not changed and they would not be participating in the website.

DogsInDanger refused to get down in the mud, never posting any insulting or derogatory comments about PACCA or Derby. Now both parties have served each other with cease and desist requests. All this stupidity does nothing to help the unfortunate dogs that will die at PACCA, never having a chance at life through our lifeline...that's all we care about. Wish they felt the same way.

Do the research, check the blogs, make up your own mind.