The Animal Legal Defense Fund Doesn't Fight For Abused Animals at Cricket Hollow Animal Park (Zoo)
By Dominick Mezzapesa / Wildlife Planet
Let me start off with a note: The reason why going after the Cricket Hollow Zoo directly will not matter is because they simply don't care. The USDA found them in violation in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and with all the fines and editorials in Des Moines Register Newspaper along with many other sites condemning them, they have shown they could care less about negative publicity.
The only way to shut them down is for places like the ALDF to stop making settlement deals with this zoo that lets them remain open. ALDF needs to finish what it started!
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
170 East Cotati Avenue, Cotati CA 94931 USA
ALDF Mission Statement:The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) fights to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life.
ALDF files groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse; provides free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases; works to strengthen anti-cruelty statutes; encourages federal enforcement of existing animal protection laws; nurtures the future of animal law; and provides public education.
Wildlife Planet believes the ALDF have utterly failed their mission statement by leaving behind, not once, but twice, almost 300 helpless animals that will continue to endure a hellish life at hands of the owners of The Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester, Iowa Pamela and Tom Sellner.
I do not know the exact date to which the ALDF first became aware of the gruesome conditions that these three-hundred animals are subjugated to daily, but I do know for a fact that on March 4, 2014, ALDF warned the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Cricket Hollow Zoo of their plan to sue the zoo owners for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by “wounding, harming, and/or harassing” endangered animals like tigers, lemurs, and wolves at the zoo.
Having dealt with organizations that receive millions of dollars in donations, they are the equivalent of sloths when it comes to action against any human predator preying on helpless animals.
So it is more than safe to say the ALDF was aware of the atrocities taking place at The Cricket Hollow Zoo by late 2013... That's almost three years ago.
I know this first hand how each day can be a nightmare, and three years, a lifetime.
Growing up the man I loved, and looked up to, the man I called Dad, beat me everyday. He was a product of his times, and my heart and soul forgave him long ago. But as with these animals, a 7 year old is unable to change his daily fortune without a champion.
Unlike these helpless creatures, I and millions of other children grew up to become men and women who said "Enough." No longer would we accept our fate. So we fought back and change our destiny to what we wanted, not what others tried to determine for us.
The beatings I endured became routine, the pain dulled, and as a child lying in bed sobbing, battered from the nights punishment, I swore that I would never let any child, woman or animal suffer like this.
I would willingly sacrifice myself in order to protect anyone from harm and in the years that have passed, life has presented me with far too many opportunities to put that seven year olds promise to the test and I have never once failed in honoring his vow.
I became aware of the ALDF's failures less than 48 hours ago and I will not let these 300 animals suffer any longer, without doing everything possible to shut this place down.
The first question that I always ask myself is why? Why would a company do something that would seem out of character or an organization fail to adhere to their mission statement?
Talk to any Police Detective investigating a woman who had been murdered in her home and the first thing they will say is "The husband did it." Well, when it comes to organizations that take in donations and fail to honor their mission statement "It's always the money"
I care little for finances because my focus is on the protection of animals, but, I do look at the finances to make sure that if the need arises for Wildlife Planet to call out a company, I want to make sure they have the resources available.
If a company seems to be failing their mission statement, but is trying their best, only to have their efforts thwarted by a lack resources, then they should be commended for at least trying. Wildlife Planet as a rule, will do whatever we can to promote them in any way possible, and hopefully in some small way to help them achieve their goals.
In most cases I rely on Charity Navigator for most companies financial stability, they are an excellent source of truthful and verified information. They rate the finances of any larger Organization taking in donations, in essence they are our watchdog.
According to this non-profit company in the fiscal year of 2014, the last statement that Charity Navigator has listed for ALDF, The Animal Legal Defense Fund took in more than $14 million dollars in donations.
Charity Navigator rates organizations on a score of 0-100 over the past ten years ALDF has been given a score as low as 68 and as high as 92.
So why would the ALDF abandon their mission to protecting animals from the cruelty of man? I believe it was to protect their company's fundraising, which in recent years has made incredible leaps and bounds forward as far as revenue.
Their financial information tells me not only how much they took in, but more importantly in most cases provides a motive for a company failure to adhere to their mission statement.
For almost ten years the ALDF's total revenue (Donations, Grants, etc.) fluctuated between 3 and 5 Million dollars per year, but, then for unknown reasons, within the last three years ALDF's total revenue dramatically increased.
2008 - $5.8 Million Dollars
2009 - $3.7 Million Dollars
2010 - $5.3 Million Dollars
2011 - $5.6 Million Dollars
2012 - $8.5 Million Dollars
2013 - $13.4 Million Dollars
I live pretty much by two rules:
The Golden Rule: Treat others how you wish to be treated
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
As an outsider looking into and with ALDF's failure to communicate and explain their reasoning for abandoning 300 animals, not once, but twice and using the kiss rule, the answer is simple.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund fell in love with their donations, so much so, they have now placed raising money above the legal defense of animals in need.
In today's world headlines means money, you can have the best intentions, my site for example, is devoted to animals and the protection from cruelty that we humans can inflict upon them. When the place of business I was employed at closed down, I decided to devote myself to this cause, for all my good intentions the site has not caught on as I had hoped, so the revenue I receive from Google ads provides my family with just enough to keep us out of poverty, but I refuse to give up.
It does seem on more than one occasion once a person or an organization becomes noticed, and they start to grab headlines, as the old saying "Money Changes People" and it is a truism that seems to happen more often than not, no matter if you are talking about a person or an organization.
A great example to me is PETA. They spent years building up a reputation promoting themselves as "The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" with flashy ads that showed naked stars, saying "I would rather go naked than wear fur" and it worked and the donations started pouring in to a tune of almost $100 Million Dollars.
But as always, money changes things and instead of working for the animals they started working for the donations. So they went off the rails and started pouring blood on themselves for a "Shock" value headline in newspapers and websites.
PETA figured out that "Headlines = $$$" and PETA's CEO Ingrid Newkirk needed those headlines so much she went and jumped the shark in a headline grabbing protest sat outside British retailer Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly store, had someone force a feeding tube down her throat in a display that P.T. Barnum would have been proud of.
I am assuming ALDF hasn't reached the PETA point in their organization, but it is evident that the have fully realized that headlines equals donations, now instead of fighting for all the Cricket Hollow Zoo animals subjected to their daily suffrage they found that one of big 5 would suffice to give them their much needed headline.
Please note: I care little about what they have done anywhere else in the world, they can produce talking points up their ass for all I care, I care about only what has transpired at Cricket Hollow Zoo.
The KISS rule means to me "If you saved 10,000 animals but left 1 alive, living in hell you failed" it doesn't get any simpler than that... ALDF left 300 behind in Iowa not once, but twice and there is no excuse or talking point that will change that fact.
In early 2014 they saved a few Tigers and lemurs and walked away patting themselves on their back as they read the headlines "ALDF Saves Tigers and Lemurs from Hellish Cricket Hollow Zoo"
Then in 2016 they were back for another publicity tour but this time the headlines read "ALDF Saves Lions from Hellish Cricket Hollow Zoo"
Now you can use the defense that they didn't know about the Lions in 2014 which of course would be wrong.
The knew of the cruelty inflicted upon the Lions by the very fact that on ALDF's own website in the story dated June 11, 2014 they go into great detail describing how they saved the Tigers and oh BTW showed a picture of the very Lion clearly looking malnutrition and defeated with flies on it's face. The lion pictured is the very same lion, they came back in 2016 to save and produce the most recent headlines.
Going to their Facebook page you'll see the headlines "ALDF Saves Lions From Cricket Hollow Zoo" the comments from caring people like you and I, that read "I am so happy you saved these poor animals, my donation is in the mail, thank you for doing such a wonderful job"
Imagine what the public response would have been if a more honest headline were written? "ALDF Makes deal with Cricket Hollow Zoo that allows ALDF to remove Lions but leaves 300 animals behind to suffer additional abuse as the ALDF agreement allows the Zoo to remain open"
Not hard to fathom their donations would not be arriving in the mail anytime soon.
So how many years will it take before the Bear, the gator or one of the other 300 animals left behind, will be headline worthy enough dollar wise, for the ALDF to say "Let's go back to Cricket Hollow Zoo and save that animal?"
My first action after I was convinced that ALDF failed in protecting ALL the abused animals at the Cricket Hollow Zoo was to contact ALDF and explain that within a very short period of time I will be alerting the millions of people who care about the suffrage of Animals and how ALDF did not even bother trying to close this zoo down.
ALDF as expected, did not contact me in any way, but with the speed of a cheetah chasing down it's prey, they were quick to scrub my comments from their Facebook page.
It never ceases to amaze me how fast an organization can move once they feel their donation money is at risk. But, I am not amazed that they did not contact me, that would mean I had a legitimate reason.
Rather than admit they should have done more they would rather risk that what I am saying is a ploy and I know for a fact that most company's feel people are too lazy, and too distracted by life to actually have any real commitment to any cause.
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