When it comes to the fight against puppy mills, money is no object and some pretty big players are apparently for sale. Big, as in the former head of one of the largest organizations that had been going to bat against puppy mills. As of last week, Ed Sayres, the former head of the ASPCA, has officially become the hired gun for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), a lobbying group that has backed puppy mills and fought against legislation to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs.
A statement on PIJAC's website outlines why they hired Sayres.
So, there's the question of the day - are they really that desperate or is this a really brilliant move on their part?
That is the multi-billion dollar question.
If you follow this blog, you know where I stand on PIJAC. Although the group allegedly represents pet businesses big and small, a lot of power within the group is held by two directors with massive ties to the puppy mill industry. Two of the largest players in the industry – Ryan Boyle of the Hunte Corporation, the largest broker of puppy mill dogs, and Joe Watson of Petland, the larger seller of puppy mill dogs.
As the puppy mill/pet store battle goes full force, PIJAC hasn't come out on the side of the majority of their members that don't sell puppy mill dogs...it's been firmly with those on the other side of the issue.
Now, they are bringing in a really big gun.
For the past several years, ASPCA has been working on legislation at all levels aimed at the puppy mill industry. Now, the head honcho from that era is gearing up to go to war against all the animal welfare groups that are butting heads with PIJAC, including the ASPCA.
If PIJAC thinks that this move will mend any fences...they are dead wrong.
When Sayres left the ASPCA last year, he was hardly on great terms. He had a hefty salary and was at odds with his own board on which legislative battles to pursue. Sayres was not well liked throughout much of the animal welfare community either. His move to PIJAC is truly a nightmare in the making for those battling puppy mills.
This is why.
Sayres knows his way around lobbying on all levels. His organization had a track record of getting some things done under his command.
He knows where the weaknesses are at for those fighting puppy mills and pet stores selling puppy mill dogs. After all, he was privy to enough strategy sessions to hear concerns and how they expected to fight those concerns at the ASPCA.
Since he's left the ASPCA, he has publicly taken a stance that supports puppy mills.
Yep, once he was up for a job as hired gun for the puppy mill industry, he started talking the talk using the jargon loved by PIJAC and others on that side of the issue.
I'm sure that all went through the minds of those in power at PIJAC before they offered Sayres the big job with a hefty salary. However, if PIJAC thinks that hiring Sayres will help them gain footing in the animal welfare community, they are dead wrong. He burned that bridge awhile ago.
What we do know is that PIJAC has some pretty deep pockets. But, it hasn't been the deep pockets of the ASPCA or HSUS that has given them the most trouble.
To date, around 60 communities in North America have outlawed the sale of commercially bred cats and dogs in pet stores (commercially bred meaning puppy mill dogs). PIJAC was furious when they never really were in the fight in Chicago and were quickly aced out of the Cook County legislation. Cook County is one of the few counties in the US to take the ban on the sale of puppy mill dogs countywide.
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