PETA, HSUS Take Over Dallas


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Mar 14, 2008
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Dallas Ordinance Will Destroy Hobby
Dog Breeding, Trample Constitution

Radical Animal Rights Agenda Infiltrates Metro Area Government

The American Sporting Dog Alliance

DALLAS, TX – Texas may seem like the most unlikely of places for animal rights groups to infiltrate and take over local government. This state has the reputation for vigorous defense of property rights and the traditional relationships between animals and people.

However, the entire Dallas metropolitan areas has become a case study of how this can happen in the absence of vigilance, and how dog owners can pay a devastatingly high price when it does.

The City of Dallas is facing a series of animal control ordinances that will strip dog owners of all property rights to their animals, eliminate private breeding of purebred dogs, subject dog owners to unconstitutional searches and seizures and, in fact, impose the full animal rights dream agenda of the radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the only slightly less radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

People who are closely affiliated with PETA and HSUS have, quite literally, taken over both city and metro advisory councils. These extremists not only have written the ordinances, but they also will enforce them.

Dog owners in the City of Dallas face a city council vote on the ordinances, possibly within days, and every municipality within the metro area faces similar ordinances because of the actions and influence of the quasi-official Metroplex Animal Coalition, which is dominated by HSUS and PETA members and supporters, an investigation by The American Sporting Dog Alliance shows. No known representatives of dog owners groups or kennel clubs are listed as members of either the Metroplex or City of Dallas boards.

This group also has exported it’s agenda to other cities, such as Houston, where the animal control program now is administered by a former Dallas animal control board President, Kent Robertson, who has worked closely with HSUS and conducted training seminars for the radical group. In 2002, Robertson brought in a team of six officials from the HSUS national office to review Dallas animal control programs and make recommendations.

Robertson barely let the ink dry on his contract before he convinced city council to institute restrictive breeders licenses in Houston last year. The Associated Press reported that no one had applied for the required breeders’ permits three months after the ordinance took effect, and thus were running the risk of fines of up to $2,000 a day.

This time, Dallas dog owners are in the crosshairs and animal rights groups have won the support of Mayor Tom Leppert, Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Elba Garcia, and several members of City Council, according to a report of a closed-door “briefing” between animal activists and city officials by Metroplex Animal Coalition President Elaine Munch.

Munch is closely aligned with HSUS. In a description about how the Metroplex Complex was formed, she wrote: “We asked our regional office of HSUS and other national groups for help in identifying those to invite.”

Also, HSUS representative Lou Guyton is a member of the Metroplex Coalition Advisory Board, as is long-time PETA ally and award winner Robert “Skip” Trimble, an animal rights attorney who also is president of the City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission, chairman of the board of the PETA-like Texas Humane Legislative Network and a director of the radical fringe Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Another member of both the Dallas and Metroplex boards is Jonnie England, who was drafted recently by HSUS to judge that organization’s annual “Pets For Life” award.

Munch quoted Mayor Leppert as telling people at the briefing that he has a “sense of urgency” to pass the ordinances in 30-to-45 days. Councilwoman Pauline Medrana was quoted as calling the ordinances “fair, firm and comprehensive,” and Council Members Dave Neumann, Mitchell Rasansky and Ron Natinsky reportedly expressed their support.

“Almost all council members stressed being aggressive in getting the ordinances ready ASAP/with a sense of urgency,” Munch wrote of the briefing. “(…The ordinances) were received very well with no council members showing any opposition to these proposed

Trimble and Munch are key players in the animal rights takeover of the Dallas Metroplex. Both hold leadership positions on both the City and metro advisory boards, and both have close ties to radical animal rights groups that oppose the private ownership of animals.

PETA awarded Trimble its 2001 “Activist Award” for his work on Texas animal rights issues, and he also was honored by HSUS in 1997 with a “Legislative Achievement Award” and by a New Mexico group in 2000 for “lifelong commitment to animal rights.”
In a published article, Trimble described himself as a former “animal abuser,” and his description says a lot about what he now thinks is abuse. “I’m a former animal abuser,” Trimble says. “I used to own racehorses, raise roping steers, hunt and eat meat.”
Now, Trimble describes himself as a vegan vegetarian, deplores traditional farming and ranching, and echoes the animal rights agenda of opposition to breeding animals, hunting, rodeos and competing with horses.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance believes that only a handful of Dallas residents would agree with Trimble’s idea of animal abuse, and that a large majority would describe his views as radical fringe - if not fruitcake fringe! We urge City Council to reject these views and uphold the values and beliefs of the large majority of Dallas residents. No state has fought harder than Texas to protect the rights of individuals from unwarranted intrusion by government, beginning with the Alamo and continuing into the modern era.
As an attorney, Trimble has developed a specialty of using the law as a tool to advance the animal rights agenda, and is credited with playing the major role and banning the slaughter of horses in Texas. In one case, his work bolstered PETA in shutting down a Texas primate sanctuary. Trimble was with the police on the raid, and the effort received direct praise from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk on the organization’s website. Trimble also is capitalizing on the Michael Vicks dog fighting scandal, and has been quoted as saying that it is a major problem in Dallas. Dog fighting is a major animal rights battle cry that HSUS is using as a false justification for new laws against dog owners, almost none of whom have ever been involved with this crime in any way.
Munch has close ties to HSUS through the Metroplex and city animal control boards. HSUS has nothing to do with local Humane Societies, which help animals. Instead, HSUS is a national political action and lobbying group for animal rights issues.
Wayne Pacelle, the head of HSUS, has been quoted extensively about his radical views on animal rights that oppose eating meat, pet ownership and hunting.
He wrote: “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding ...One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”

Pacelle also said, “I don’t have a hands-on fondness for animals…To this day I don’t feel bonded to any non-human animal. I like them and I pet them and I’m kind to them, but there’s no special bond between me and other animals… In fact, I don’t want to see another dog or cat born.”
The Metroplex board also is endorsed by a wide range of animal rights groups, including the radical Animal Connection of Texas and a Buddhist group called Ahimsa. Both of these groups advocate vegan vegetarianism.
Trimble also works to end the breeding of dogs through his leadership role in the Texas Humane Legislation Network.
On its website, Trimble’s group attacks dog breeders: “Do not buy from breeders. No matter how caring they appear to be about the animals they are selling, they are still contributing to the overpopulation crisis. At least 25 percent of dogs entering shelters are full-bred dogs.”
Another quote: " ‘Don't breed or buy while animals in shelters die’ is a bumper sticker slogan worth taking to heart.”

What’s The Problem?

Proposed solutions such as the Dallas animal ordinance presume that there is a problem to solve.

City officials have been quoted extensively as saying that Dallas has a severe problem with “pet overpopulation.” What does that mean?

"We have to do something,” Acting Shelter Director Willie McDaniel said. He described an epidemic of stray dogs running loose in low-income neighborhoods, and also complaints by people who don’t like their neighbors’ dogs.

McDaniel then went on to bemoan the fact that Dallas’ free spay and neuter program isn’t working, and that tougher laws are needed to force people to sterilize their pets.

The answer, in the eyes of McDaniel, is to eliminate the private breeding of dogs that are owned by the people who do not cause the problems. People who breed dogs for show, hunting or competition are very selective, do not allow indiscriminate matings, and confine their dogs so that they cannot get bred accidentally.

Several newspaper articles say that Dallas has very poor compliance with required dog licensing rules, and Animal Control almost never prosecutes people who violate a strict “leash law” by allowing their pets to run loose. It also is reported that very little effort has been given to promote the free spay and neuter clinics.

Thus, it would appear that City Council has done little to try to solve the problem by means that are available now, are pressing for new laws when they refuse to enforce the current ones, and are targeting the wrong people with the new laws. In doing so, they have been led by the nose into embracing the animal rights groups’ agenda to take a giant leap toward eliminating responsible breeding and private ownership of all animals.

Shelter statistics for Dallas are hard to find, as they are combined with Plano and Fort Worth in data published by the state.

A Dallas Morning News Article from 2006 said 28,686 dogs and cats were impounded in 2004. The article did not separate dogs from cats in the data. In 1994, 10 years earlier, 38,294 dogs and cats reportedly were impounded.

Those figures indicate that there has been a 25-percent improvement in the situation during that 10-year-long period.

The improvement continues at an even more rapid rate. The most recent statistics show that 26,979 dogs and cats entered the city shelter in FY 2006-07. That is a 6-percent reduction in the most recent two years.

Trimble’s legislative advocacy group maintains that 25-percent of the dogs entering the animal shelter are “full-bred” animals – that is, dogs that resemble a recognized breed of dog and may or may not be purebreds. That figure is standard HSUS rhetoric.

What HSUS doesn’t say is that about 20-percent of dogs entering shelters are brought by their owners specifically for euthanasia because of old age, severe illness or debilitating injuries. They also don’t say that dogs of the “pit bull” breeds and crosses comprise between 25-percent and 70-percent of shelter admissions nationwide, with large cities like Dallas tending to be on the high end of the scale.

These two categories of dogs account for almost all of the “full-bred” or purebred dogs entering shelters, nationwide statistics show.

Moreover, national research of the major reasons for pet abandonment rank too many dogs or puppies sixth and 10th on the list of major causes. The biggest reasons are social factors, such as landlord issues, moves for job changes and divorce. Thus, the research shows, any effort toward forced population control would have a minimal impact on the problem, because most of the abandoned pets are wanted by their owners.

The Shotgun “Solution”

The animal rights groups are asking City Council to make a logic-defying leap with the proposed new ordinances.

While there is not one shred of evidence that hobby breeders contribute to the problem in any significant way, the ordinances target them for the elimination of activities that are done responsibly, involve hundreds if not thousands of law-abiding and conscientious Dallas residents, and play a large role in the city’s economy.

Pets are a multi-million-dollar business in Dallas, and hobby breeders play a major role in purchasing veterinary services, food for their animals, supplies, equipment, fencing, building materials, advertising, business services and sporting goods at hundreds of businesses in the city. Hundreds of jobs are directly and indirectly at risk from these ordinances.

Here is how the ordinance targets those innocent and responsible people who also are the geese that lay a golden egg for Dallas’ economy:

· A person or family would be prohibited from keeping more than six dogs, cats, or a combination of dogs and cats.

· All dogs and cats must be spayed or neutered at four months of age, or the owner will face confiscation of the animal and fines of up to $2,000 a day. This requirement flies in the face of much modern veterinary science research, and also exposes the city to devastating lawsuits (see below).

· This provision would effectively outlaw dog shows and other canine events in the City of Dallas, because anyone who lives outside of the city would be subject to citations and stiff fines, and would risk having their dogs confiscated and subjected to forced sterilization if they are not spayed or neutered. This would have a major negative economic impact on Dallas businesses.

· There are some provisions for obtaining a breeding permit, but McDaniel and other city officials have been quoted as saying that breeders’ permits will not be issued in residentially zoned areas, where most people who raise dogs live. It’s a classic “Catch 22.” People can get a breeder’s permit in theory, but not in practice.

· In the unlikely possibility that someone does not live in a residential area, breeders’ permits are available at the cost of $500 per year for each dog or cat, but only if the owner and animal qualify. All other animals must be spayed or neutered. To qualify, the animal’s owner must be a member of an approved club for the breed of dog or cat.

· Breeders’ permits are available only for dogs that are registered with a registry that meets the city’s approval. To be approved, the registry must convince city officials that it “maintains and enforces a code of ethics for dog and cat breeding that includes restrictions from breeding of dogs and cats with genetic defects and life threatening health problems that commonly threaten the breed.” This also is a “Catch 22,” as this would be unenforceable by a registry in the absence of personal inspections, discussing it with the dog’s veterinarian, and mandating prohibitively expensive genetic tests (thousands of dollars for some tests) that are not available for many conditions. No registry would meet this standard. Thus, no registry could qualify.

· Anyone who owns a dog would be subject to unannounced inspections of his or her home and property by animal control officers to assure compliance with the ordinance. A search warrant would not be required, and probable cause would not have to be established. This is in direct violation of protections contained in the Bill of Rights of the both Texas and U.S. Constitutions.

· If anyone is found with a dog that is not spayed or neutered, animal control officers are empowered to seize and impound the animal. To get the animal back, an owner would have to either obtain a breeding permit of sterilize the dog. Dogs that are not reclaimed under this provision become city property, and can be adopted or euthanized.

· Tethering is banned except for short periods, and all kennels used to house dogs must be a minimum of 150 square feet. That size limitation makes sense for a large dog, but is absurd for a Chihuahua.

· Several other provisions would stringently regulate dangerous dog, animals used for research, circuses and other performance events. Possession of certain kinds of animals is prohibited or severely restricted.

· Fines of up to $2,000 for each day of noncompliance are provided, with higher fines for repeat offenders.

It is clear that the intention of the writers of this ordinance has nothing at all to do with reducing the number of stray dogs in poor neighborhoods of Dallas. It is a naked attempt to deny people the right to raise and breed dogs, and clearly is part of the animal rights plan to eliminate dogs from the lives of people. Sterilize now and, as Wayne Pacelle of HSUS said, “one generation and out.”

It must be emphasized that hobby breeders play a vital role in helping people to obtain companion animals that will be an intergal part of their family for more than a decade. Dedicated hobby breeders work hard to improve temperament, genetic health, beauty and utility in the various breeds of dogs, and offer an important alternative to shelter and rescue dogs whose health background, history, disposition and genetic backgrounds are unknown.

Hobby breeders do not contribute to the problem. Indeed, they are the most important element in the solution. In this regard, too, the proposed Dallas ordinances are wholly counterproductive. Hobby breeders and other people who own purebred dogs are not responsible for people who allow mixed-breed dogs to roam the streets and breed indiscriminately. There is utterly no justification for restricting or eliminating hobby breeding. Indeed, there are many excellent and proven reasons why it should be strongly encouraged!

But Lawyers Will Love It

If City Council approves these ordinance revisions, one thing is certain. The City of Dallas will become embroiled in a nonstop series of lawsuits by dog owners who can claim damages if their pet is diagnosed with one of the many serious and sometimes fatal medical conditions that have been linked by recent research to spaying and neutering, especially at a young age.

They also will have to face legal challenges based on the Texas property law, and for violations of due process and search and seizure protections enshrined in the Texas and U.S. Constitutions.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has long advocated spaying and neutering of dogs, and continues to do so, under the belief that the benefits outweigh the risks. However, recent research has led many individual veterinarians to seriously question this premise, and a majority of the most recent research indicates that there are substantial risks involved with sterilization. This has the strong potential to become a major liability issue for City of Dallas taxpayers.

A 2007 analysis of the research by Dr. Larry Katz of Rutgers University concluded:

“Tradition holds that the benefits of (sterilization) at an early age outweigh the risks. Often, tradition holds sway in the decision-making process even after countervailing evidence has accumulated. Ms (Laura) Sanborn has reviewed the veterinary medical literature in an exhaustive and scholarly treatise, attempting to unravel the complexities of the subject. More than 50 peer-reviewed papers were examined to assess the health impacts of spay / neuter in female and male dogs, respectively. One cannot ignore the findings of increased risk from osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism, and other less frequently occurring diseases associated with neutering male dogs. It would be irresponsible of the veterinary profession and the pet owning community to fail to weigh the relative costs and benefits of neutering on the animal’s health and well-being. The decision for females may be more complex, further emphasizing the need for individualized veterinary medical decisions, not standard operating procedures for all patients.”

Sanborn’s review of the research concluded:

The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases.

On the positive side, neutering male dogs
· eliminates the small risk of dying from testicular cancer
· reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders
· reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
· may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive).

On the negative side, neutering male dogs
· if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis.
· increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6
· triples the risk of hypothyroidism
· increases the risk of progressive geriatric cognitive impairment
· triples the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
· quadruples the small risk of prostate cancer
· doubles the small risk of urinary tract cancers
· increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
· increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations.

For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may exceed the associated health problems in some (not all) cases. On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the female dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds.

On the positive side, spaying female dogs
· if done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumors in female dogs
· nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
· reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
· removes the very small risk from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors

On the negative side, spaying female dogs
· if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis
· increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of greater than five; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
· triples the risk of hypothyroidism
· increases the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
· causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 4-20% of female dogs
· increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4
· increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs spayed before puberty
· doubles the small risk of urinary tract tumors
· increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
· increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations

Sanborn concluded: “One thing is clear – much of the spay/neuter information that is available to the public is unbalanced and contains claims that are exaggerated or unsupported by evidence. Rather than helping to educate pet owners, much of it has contributed to common misunderstandings about the health risks and benefits.”

It is ASDA’s opinion that these research findings cast enough doubt on the practice of universal sterilization to make it inadvisable if not reckless for any level of government to mandate spaying or neutering at this point in time.

Moreover, such a mandate would expose any governing body to substantial legal and financial liability if individual pet owners successfully claim damages based on current or future research.

Other Legal Concerns

There will be many grounds to take the City of Dallas to court if this ordinance is approved.

Many will be based on the simple fact that similar ordinances have proven to be completely counterproductive in several cities around the country, including San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio’s rates of shelter admissions doubled in the year following enactment of a similar ordinance, as did euthanasia rates. Thus, any lawsuit would begin on very solid legal ground: The city should have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would be no possibility that these kinds of ordinances would solve the problem, and to ignore that evidence is reckless and negligent.

The jury is in on several communities that have tried this approach, and the verdict is unanimous: They failed miserably.

We have examined Dallas zoning codes, and can see nothing that would prohibit hobby breeding of dogs. The zoning code clearly permits residents of residentially zoned areas to make occasional sales of personal property, as long as it does not constitute a business.

Thus, there is no legal basis for denying breeding permits in residential areas.

Under Section 42.002(a)(11) of the Texas Property Code, a state law defining property rights, government is expressly prohibited from seizing “household pets” for any reason, including actions of eminent domain and bankruptcy.

This state law clearly prohibits the City of Dallas from seizing any pet for any reason.

The Bill of Rights in the Texas Constitution clearly states: “The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches…,” and that a warrant shall be required in all cases. To obtain a warrant, probable cause of a legal violation must be shown.

The Bill of Rights also is equally clear that people must be properly compensated if any level of government seizes or destroys their property for any reason: “No person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made…”

Thus, under the Bill of Rights, it would appear that the City of Dallas would be required to compensate a dog owner for the fair market value of any dog that is seized or destroyed, as dogs are considered to be personal property under Texas law.

This issue of taking may extend farther, as a mandate to spay and neuter also would be a taking of the value of the property, since a dog could not be used to provide valuable stud services or raise valuable puppies. Simply put, a spayed or neutered dog is not worth as much money as a dog that is intact. The city thus would be taking the value of this dog, and would be required by law to provide the owner with fair compensation.

Lawyers truly would love this ordinance, all the way to the bank

Please Help Dallas Dog Owners

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is urging all of our members and supporters to offer assistance to Dallas dog owners in this vital fight to preserve their fundamental rights.

The proposed ordinances are slated to be discussed at a meeting of City Council’s Quality of Life Committee on Monday, April 28. The announcement did not state the time or place of this meeting, or if the public will be allowed to attend or participate. Trimble’s Texas Humane Legislation Network, a radical animal rights group, prepared and distributed the official announcement.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges all Dallas residents to contact City Council members (contact information is given below) prior to this meeting.

We are supporting the efforts of two Texas groups to fight these proposed ordinances: The Responsible Pet Owners’ Alliance ( and The Texas Kennel Club (contact Nancy Wright at

Dog owners have retained an attorney, Zandra Anderson, to represent them before City Council. Residents of Dallas should forward information to Ms. Wright or The American Sporting Dog Alliance, to be passed along to the attorney. She needs to know that you are a resident of Dallas, your profession, the kinds of dogs that you own, and the events in which you participate. This information will be submitted to City Council.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also urges dog owners who do not live in Dallas to offer their support to dog owners in that city. Please contact Ms. Wright and let her know how you can help, or contact us at, and we’ll pass on your information to the appropriate people.

We strongly suggest letters of protest to the Dallas Morning News as a letter to the editor, and also to each member of Dallas City Council. The American Sporting Dog Alliance has written to all of them, but it is vital that citizens respond vocally, too.

Here are their email addresses:

Dallas Morning News
Letters to the Editor

City of Dallas
1500 Marilla Street
Dallas, Texas 75201

Mayor Tom Leppert
Phone: (214) 670-4054
Fax: (214) 670-0646

City Manager Mary Suhm
Phone: (214) 670-3296
Fax: (214) 670-3946

Asst. City Manager David Brown
(supervises Animal Services)
Phone: (214) 670-3390
Fax: (214) 670-4965

Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Elba Garcia
Phone: (214) 670-4052
Fax: (214) 670-3409

Councilmember Pauline Medrano
Chairman: Quality of Life Committee
Phone: (214) 670-4048
Fax: (214) 670-5117

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway
Phone: (214) 670-0781
Fax: (214) 670-3409

Councilmember David Neumann
Member: Quality of Life Committee
Phone: (214) 670-0776
Fax: (214) 670-1833

Councilmember Vonciel Jones Hill
Vice-Chair: Quality of Life Committee
Phone: (214) 670-0777
Fax: (214) 670-5117

Councilmember Steve Salazar
Member: Quality of Life Committee
Phone: (214) 670-4199
Fax: (214) 670-5115

Councilmember Carolyn Davis
Quality of Life Committee
Phone: (214) 670-4689
Fax: (214) 670-5115

Councilmember Tennell Atkins
Phone: (214) 670-4066
Fax: (214) 670-5115

Councilmember Sheffield Kadane
Quality of Life Committee
Phone: (214) 670-4069
Fax: (214) 670-5115

Councilmember Jerry Allen
Phone: (214) 670-4068
Fax: (214) 670-5115

Councilmember Linda Koop
Phone: (214) 670-7817
Fax: (214) 670-5117

Councilmember Ron Natinsky
Phone: (214) 670-4067
Fax: (214) 670-5117

Councilmember Mitchell Rasansky
Phone: (214) 670-3816
Fax: (214) 670-5117

Councilmember Angela Hunt
Phone: (214) 670-5415
Fax: (214) 670-5117

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, hobby breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life. Please visit us on the web at

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our members, and maintain strict independence.


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