Dr. Gary Karlin Michelson, Found Animals Foundation, Forbes billionaire, 20 Million Minds, Alya

Dr. Gary Karlin Michelson, Found Animals Foundation, Forbes billionaire, 20 Million Minds, Alya
Dr. Gary Karlin Michelson, Found Animals Foundation, Forbes billionaire, 20 Million Minds, Alya

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gary Michelson shut down by main animal groups in California. They rip his "White Paper" into iddy biddy pieces

Gary Michelson, White Paper, found animals foundation, crazy, Alya Michelson

I didn't fully realize the purpose of Gary Michelson's Found Animals Foundation's "White Paper." I did not realize that the purpose was to put Gary Michelson's pet projects, crazy ideas, personal friends and organization in charge of all animal legislation in California. The purpose of the white paper was to put forth a bill to force all public shelters in California to do what Gary Michelson wants. The main thing of course was TNR. Thank god the sane organizations won't let Gary Michelson's lobbyists buy off all the animal groups in the State. It should be noted that Gary Michelson gave a lot of money to LA County Animal Control yet they are one of the main groups against the White Paper. That's how strongly they feel. LA County and SEAACA are the two largest animal control agencies in the State. They both oppose this.


I always knew that his "White Paper" was just a well written bit of prose, fake research and his pet projects. I thought it was written just to give the cities, counties and state some ideas. The response to the White Paper is not that long. I'll post it in its entirety here. The pdf above is the original in original format.

The two main issues I have with the White Paper are TNR and having no hold period for "stray" cats. There is no research today that shows TNR lowers cat populations. All research shows it increases the population. If you lost your cat and there were no hold period, someone could adopt it the next day while you are still looking for it. You would never find your cat or get your cat back.

Okay,  this is where it gets strange. Nathan Winograd opposes this. He states "evil" Jennifer Fearing of HSUS is proposing this so people can sell your cats for profit to vivisectors. Seriously? Yes, here's the post,

Nathan Winograd, HSUS, Jennifer Fearing, AB 2343.

If these cats were so valuable, people would be picking them up off the street to sell them. We wouldn't have a ton of cats outside. These are strays found outdoors with no collar, tags or ID. Nathan Winograd gets crazier by the day. He's probably upset that he wasn't one of the stakeholders. This idea is not a good idea but not because of Nathan Winograd's reasoning. While I don't always agree with Jennifer Fearing, she is not "evil." Below is Nathan Winograd's letter.

Nathan posted this on his Facebook page today <eye roll>

"Will California shelter dogs and cats be sold for vivisection? If AB 2343 passes, the answer may be yes."

Along that line of thinking "Will a family of wild monkeys fly out of Nathan Winograd's ass? If AB 2343 passes, the answer may be yes."

I sent Nathan Winograd's post to HSUS. This is their official response to his nonsense.

"Thank you for contacting us with your questions about AB 2343 in California.

This legislation is the culmination of a two-year collaborative stakeholder process that sought to identify ways to improve outcomes for California’s homeless animals and reduce euthanasia of pets in shelters. An HSUS representative participated in this 17-member group which also included leaders from other national animal protection organizations, local California shelters (private and public), rescue groups, and veterinary and philanthropic experts. Following a seven-city listening tour and comprehensive comment period on a draft set of recommendations last fall, the stakeholder group released a final white paper in early March 2014. You can read that paper online at www.cashelteringreport.org.

AB 2343 first and foremost seeks a pathway to making California’s most important sheltering laws (known as “the Hayden Law”) less vulnerable to state budget woes. These laws requiring shelters to hold animals for longer time periods so they can be adopted or reunited with their families have been suspended for many years due to lack of state funds. By creating a new $10 million a year grant program, AB 2343 would help support local government efforts to save more animal lives. The HSUS believes this is important and beneficial toward achieving our goal – shared by the State of California – to end euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals.

AB 2343 also proposes to offer local shelters the flexibility to move animals through shelters rapidly, an option they could use effectively when shelters get crowded. The ideas for these policies are described in detail in the white paper, and The HSUS supports them because we think these options have the potential to help shelters save more lives.

As the white paper references to statewide data and peer reviewed research make clear, 3 percent of outdoor cats end up in California shelters each year, and of those, only 2 percent are ever reclaimed by owners. Cats are up to 13 times more likely to be returned to their owners by means other than the shelter. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the cats that arrive at California shelters don't leave alive. AB 2343 seeks to save more cats’ lives by making those without identification available for adoption or transfer more quickly. AB 2343 specifically protects cats with any form of identification from being released to transfer or adoption early and protects all cats from euthanasia prior to the expiration of the full holding period.

AB 2343 does not, as has been claimed, add “for-profit” to the definition in California law of a rescue group. That language is already in the state’s legal definition (at Food & Ag Code 31751.3(a) 2.). AB 2343 copies that definition (clarifying that non-profits are those with IRS standing) into other relevant sections of state law to ensure that rescue access is consistent. The term “for-profit” has been included in this definition for many years. We are not aware that this term has led to any harm to shelter animals, but would like to hear if that’s not the case. With many California cities adopting ordinances prohibiting the sale of cats and dogs in retail stores unless those animals come from shelters, some for-profit entities are now providing an important adoption option.

If you have other concerns about AB 2343, please don’t hesitate to contact us or the author’s office directly. Assemblymember Gatto is well known to appreciate constructive feedback from all interested parties."

When I read the White Paper I also noted that not all of their suggestions made no sense, were against current law and provided no funding source. I didn't say anything because I never thought they wanted it to be a bill and mandatory. Thank god these people spoke up. The groups who wrote this represent most of the biggest and oldest private and public animal shelters in California. Since this bill affects these government agencies I would think their opinion would carry more weight. Hopefully we can all work something out.


March 27, 2014 - A small group calling itself the California Shelter Policy Stakeholders Group (Stakeholders) has released a document they refer to as a “white paper” titled, “Charting a Path Forward: Reaching California’s policy to save all adoptable and treatable animals.” While the white paper suggests it is representative of all California shelters, humane societies, animal control agencies and nonprofit humane organizations, it is not. It suggests operational changes which may violate state law and will jeopardize the health and safety of lost, abandoned and sick animals. The document also asserts “best practices” which are in fact the opinions of this small group. The recommendations also fail to consider resources or the particularities of government fee recovery laws affecting county shelters. For these reasons, a large number of California animal welfare professionals - from both municipally funded and private charitable organizations - reject it as representative of the field and as a responsible foundation for future policy and action.

Additionally, the document is intended to support the introduction of legislation based on these policy preferences, and any proposed legislation arising from it will likely be based on erroneous presumptions and flawed conclusions.

While the “white paper” has copious footnotes and appendices, the extensive use of heart tugging anecdotes in the narrative instead of excerpts from peer reviewed studies takes the paper out of the realm of being an informative “white paper” and into the realm of being an emotion- based “advocacy document” to further an agenda that may or may not be supported by well researched facts. Several main themes of concern run throughout the document.

The Stakeholders Group is not representative. This small group is not representative of the majority of animal welfare agencies in California but rather, merely reflects the opinions of that small group. The Stakeholders members were pre-selected by founding members without soliciting a broad based nomination process from the animal sheltering professional community. While the recommendations would have the most impact on open admission shelters, the Stakeholders group only includes three public open admission animal control agency representatives, a handful of representatives from smaller nonprofit animal shelters (including limited admission shelters), and individuals with little direct experience and understanding of the complexities of animal sheltering.

While the document states that it reached out to “one hundred eleven leaders from 63 animal care agencies (both public and nonprofit)”, the concerns relayed by these professionals are not reflected in the actual document; they may have been heard, but they were in fact dismissed. Following their “listening tour” only one recommended change was made between the draft document and the final product. Many animal welfare professionals, directing both public and nonprofit organizations (including several board members of the State Humane Association of California [SHAC] and the California Animal Control Directors Association [CACDA]), are deeply concerned their recommendations regarding professional sheltering and care for animals and the negative impacts on animal welfare, public safety, and environmental protection in California were ignored. This is especially troubling since the document professes to be inclusive and suggests having support from these organizations.

The term “best practices” is misused and inaccurate. A “best practice” is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. When implemented, a best practice reliably leads to a desired result. Many of the “best practices” suggested in the document do not contain enough information, measurement, scientific validity or historical experience to be called a best practice. The care of animals in California shelters is already regulated in many areas of state law. Recommending the use of vague “best practices” is unnecessary and unhelpful when they provide no real guidance. These recommendations are opinions, many of them debatable within the animal welfare field, and are neither accepted as best practices nor universally applicable.

Recommendations may conflict with state law. Several recommendations in the document directly conflict with multiple bodies of state law. The Stakeholders propose that agencies refuse to admit or seriously restrict the intake of animals, particularly cats. In fact, several sections of California law not cited by this group require local public agencies to accept animals. For example, Civil Code §1816 (a): “A public agency or shelter with whom an abandoned animal is deposited in the manner described in Section 1815 is bound to take charge of it, as provided in Section 597.1 of the Penal Code” and Penal Code §597.1: “any animal control officer shall take possession of the stray and abandoned animal . . .” This analysis is supported by the Commission on State Mandates’ Statement of Decision NO. CSM 98-TC-11 (2001) p. 11: “Accordingly, the requirement of Penal Code 597.1 to take possession of any stray or abandoned animal, imposes a state-mandated duty on local government agencies only.” Food &Agriculture §31754: “Owner relinquished animals are to be treated the same as strays.”

Additionally, the Stakeholders propose eliminating stray holding periods for cats for the purposes of immediate adoption or abandonment back into the community. This is almost certainly in contravention of current law regarding lost property and, for governmental shelters, it could legally be construed as a taking of property without due process. The policy of leaving healthy stray cats in the field with or without sterilization and vaccination and choosing not to accept owned cats is unconscionable. The goal should be to reduce intakes and euthanasia through humane education and by reducing procreation, not by leaving cats out of sight and out of mind. The Stakeholders’ approach appears to be to simply abandon these animals to their fate, thereby reducing euthanasia at animal shelters. This does not solve the problem; it merely pushes it out into the community for residents to struggle with and is in itself a violation of Penal Code §597s: “Every person who willfully abandons any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Further, closing the door to those in need is irresponsible to both the public and the animals. Refusing to admit these animals will result in more abandoned or neglected animals on the streets, jeopardizing public health and safety as well as native wildlife and habitat. Moreover, members of the public frequently seek assistance of animal shelters when they have no other options and depend upon these agencies to provide support and resources.

Financial issues for agencies and taxpayers. This document offers no realistic recommendations regarding funding for public agencies to improve outcomes for animals, and in fact conflicts with state law by suggesting methods that would result in counties impermissibly recovering fees in excess of their actual costs. Many recommendations can result in additional unfunded mandates imposed on local government, which will likely be vigorously challenged in the Legislature. If the intent of the document and subsequently proposed legislation is to achieve positive outcomes for California’s homeless dogs and cats, an appropriate funding mechanism must be established which supports programs to achieve the objectives desired.

In closing, the conclusions and recommendations included in the “white paper” are not realistic for professional animal welfare agencies or supportive to the animals in their care. The recommendations are vague and unsupported by research; may conflict with state law, due process and ownership rights; encourage animal shelters to abandon their moral and ethical duty to animals and the public; disregard predation on native wildlife caused by abandoned cats; and provide no new or feasible solutions for funding mechanisms to enhance animal welfare. This well- intentioned but naïve document is not embraced by a large number of animal welfare professionals, and readers are urged to consider the many negative implications that could result from implementing its recommendations.

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES Department of Animal Care and Control Marcia Mayeda, Director
COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE Department of Animal Services Robert Miller, Director
COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO Department of Public Health Division of Animal Care and Control Brian Cronin, Division Chief
COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA Department of Animal Services Jan Glick, Director
COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA Department of Animal Services Glenn Howell, Director
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO Department of Animal Services Dawn Danielson, Director
THE SPCA FOR MONTEREY COUNTY Gary Tiscornia, Executive Director
Department of Animal Care and Control Rebecca Katz, Director
SPCALA Madeline Bernstein, President
EAST BAY SPCA Allison Lindquist, Executive Director
TOWN OF TRUCKEE Police Department Dan Olsen, Support Services Manager
NAPA COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER Kristen Loomer, Animal Shelter Manager

Below was written by Aimee Gilbreath who headed the White Paper.

"As some of you are already aware, in the wake of Governor Brown’s proposal to repeal certain existing state laws affecting animal shelters in California owing to budget-related issues, a diverse statewide Stakeholders’ Group was formed to identify meaningful ways to realize California’s policy "that no adoptable or treatable animal should be euthanized if it can be adopted into a suitable home."

Individuals participating in the Stakeholders’ Group constitute a cross-section of animal welfare community organizations in California, including leaders of municipal shelters, rescue groups, private foundations, and local and national nonprofit organizations.

The Stakeholders’ Group has produced a draft white paper, “Charting a Path Forward: Achieving California’s policy to save all adoptable and treatable animals,” which is now available at www.cashelteringreport.org

This draft white paper reflects eighteen months’ worth of work by the Stakeholders’ Group, who have analyzed outcomes for animals in California shelters and developed some recommendations on the four overarching subjects of Intake Reduction, Cats, Budget, and Standards & Practices.

To solicit more feedback from the statewide animal welfare community, the Stakeholders’ Group has announced a California Listening Tour, where attendees can voice their opinions and provide input. The tour kicks off September 16, 2013, in Orange County, CA. The full list of currently scheduled listening sessions includes: <snip> dates."

Here is the White Paper.


These are the stakeholders for the White Paper.

Jon Cicirelli – Director, San Jose Animal Care and Services
Jennifer Scarlett, DVM – Co-President, San Francisco SPCA
Jennifer Fearing – California Senior State Director, The Humane Society of the United States
Aimee Gilbreath – Executive Director, Found Animals Foundation
Eric Anderson, DVM – Director, San Luis Obispo County Animal Services
Ryan Drabek – Director, Orange County Animal Care
Leilani Fratis – Chief Executive Officer, Placer SPCA and President, State Humane Association of California
Lisa Carter – Executive Director, Santa Cruz SPCA and Humane Society
Julie Johnson – Executive Director, Bakersfield SPCA
Erica Hughes, Esq. – Executive Director, State Humane Association of California
Melanie Sadek – Executive Director, Valley Humane Society
Kristen Staggs – Board Member, Butte Humane Society
Rich Avanzino, Esq. – President, Maddie’s Fund
Christi Metropole – Executive Director, Stray Cat Alliance
Sherri Franklin – Executive Director, Muttville
Jill Buckley, Esq. – Senior Director, ASPCA
Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM – Koret Shelter Medicine Program Director, UC Davis

The White Paper was physically authored and written by Caryn Ginsberg of Focused Visionary, Priority Ventures Group and author of book Animal Impact. She frequently speaks with Aimee Gilbreath at HSUS events. She gets paid to speak about animal issues and is a lobbyist/marketing/public relations firm for animals, vegetarians. She used to run Animal Strategies which is now gone. If you give her money, she will write what you like then lobby that to politicians, organizations, individuals, social media. This appears to be a paid-for paper with underlying marketing.

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