MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Purebred Breeders is seeking an award of its attorneys’ fees and costs from plaintiffs and the Humane Society of the United States in Case Number: 11-38180 CA02 after a Circuit Court judge in Miami-Dade County last month dismissed the activist sponsored lawsuit against Purebred Breeders, a family-owned Florida business that connects well-raised puppies with loving families hoping to find a new addition to their home. Purebred Breeders is committed to donating a portion of any attorney’s fees awarded by the court to local shelters around the country. This is in an effort to help replace a portion of the millions of dollars lost by these organizations from HSUS’s fundraising activities as referenced by members of Congress described below.
“HSUS is well-known for coordinating purported legal claims for publicity against responsible organizations and individuals. The Humane Society of the United States raises funds for its lawsuits and lobbying activities while leading the public to believe that the donations are supporting local shelters.”
The court determined last month that the plaintiffs and the Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”), which sponsored the lawsuit against Purebred Breeders, completely failed to justify their allegations. This motion for attorney’s fees and costs has been filed by Purebred Breeders as a result of the efforts of the Humane Society of the United States in bringing the lawsuit in an effort to influence the public against purchasing pets. Purebred Breeders’ advisor, Brent Gattis, former Deputy Chief of Staff for the House Committee on Agriculture, states that “HSUS is well-known for coordinating purported legal claims for publicity against responsible organizations and individuals. The Humane Society of the United States raises funds for its lawsuits and lobbying activities while leading the public to believe that the donations are supporting local shelters."
Currently, the HSUS is being investigated by the IRS for tax fraud [Case File Number 29-92012] and six members of Congress joined the call for the IRS to act when they filed a letter with the Office of Inspector General Eric Thorson last year. In this letter the members of Congress wrote "HSUS continually seeks donations through advertisements that claim the money will be used to help neglected or abused animals. The commercials deliberately lead the public to believe direct aid to animals is the main activity of the organization, as does the misleading similarity between the name of HSUS and the hundreds of local hands-on animal sheltering humane societies across America, which are wholly unaffiliated with HSUS and receive zero funding from it.” Mr. Gattis added “Purebred Breeders experience in defending itself against legal claims is typical of the attacks other animal organizations and individuals have endured at the hands of HSUS’s large stable of attorneys. HSUS’s strategy against legitimate entities is this: force them to defend themselves in protracted legal battles over meritless claims, while also creating a false public perception of the group being attacked.”
According to its own 2011 tax return, HSUS received donations of $122 million for the year and used $38 million or 31% on salaries, compensation, and employee benefits with 19 individuals listed as receiving compensation between $100,000 and $300,000. Additionally, $50 million or 41% of donations received were spent on marketing and advertising, fundraising, and educational materials while only $6.7 million was actually reported as being given or granted to animal organizations. However, a further look by Humanewatch.org into these organizational grants made by HSUS found that little more than $300,000 of the $6.7 million found its way to “hands on pet shelters” where the organization was involved with the “daily care, adoption, and/or rehabilitation of dogs, cats, rabbits and horses.” The $300,000 granted by HSUS during 2011 represented less than ½ of 1 percent (.5%) of the $122 million in donations received by HSUS during the year.
Purebred Breeders has joined other animal professionals in pushing back against HSUS’s agenda. A ten-year legal battle on a lawsuit brought by the HSUS activist group against Feld Entertainment, owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, was ultimately dismissed. Feld has brought a Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations claim against the activist group [Case Number: 07-1532 (EGS)] based on information uncovered during the HSUS lawsuit. Feld Entertainment has alleged that HSUS engaged in an elaborate racketeering and conspiracy scheme involving at least one paid witness, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and malicious prosecution. HSUS in-house senior attorney, Kimberly Ockene, who filed the legal complaint against Purebred Breeders, and HSUS SVP of Animal Protection Litigation, Jonathan Lovvorn, have both been named individually in the Feld RICO case. HSUS, Lovvorn and Ockene filed motions to dismiss the claims. These motions have been largely denied by the court and the case is moving forward against them.