Here is what I said to the judiciary committe on SB303A:
Good afternoon Chair and members of the committee.
My name is Roland Sonnenburg and I run a successful studio animal training business and have trained animals for hundreds of films, television shows and commercials. I have degrees in philosophy and physics with graduate work in animal science. I am a published author on animal ethics, care, and training, and have provided consultation and expert advice to National Geographic, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Disney Company, and countless vets, trainers, and owners.
In candor, most of us here today are not objecting to SB303A per se. We are objecting to a larger picture of which SB303 is only a very small piece. Two sessions ago, OHS sought police officer status for its humane agents. That bill failed because OHS agents were not trained to the same level. Now, by passing SB303, OHS will ensure that their agents are trained to the same standards, so next session they can rationally attempt to achieve police status. Down the hall they are already pushing another bill that will grant them the power to obtain search warrants. These are each incremental steps toward completing their original objective of having full police powers. I am deeply appreciative of the important work humane officers do. I have donated my time and money to help OHS, and absolutely believe they should be empowered to educate and investigate and assist animals in need, but when it comes to obtaining warrants, seizing animals, or making arrests, these are actions that must only be undertaken by genuine law enforcement personnel.
There are two important reasons why OHS should not have a private police force:
First, while there may have been a time when humane officers were innocent and caring individuals with no agenda other than helping animals, that is not the case today. The humane society sells dogs and cats. They call it adopting or placing, but the simple fact remains that they take in a great deal of money each year in exchange for the animals they sell. This creates a conflict of interest with them having the power to go into people’s homes and seize their dogs. We have broad reaching, vague, and subjective laws like, “every dog must have continuous access to adequate exercise.” This means that any time a humane society wants to seize a particular group of dogs, they can simply assert that the dogs did not have continuous access to the outdoors. Time after time people have claimed that they were providing excellent care to their dogs, yet the Humane Society seized their dogs asserting neglect, and a few days later these same dogs are being sold and they are not underweight and appear to have been well treated and socialized. Of course the Humane Society kills the less cute ones and the entire event is publicized to generate sympathy and donations. Many times Humane Officers starkly threaten people with criminal charges if they do not turn over their dogs and the terrified people relinquish their property under duress. This is nothing more than extortion and neither our governor nor the DPSST should sanction such behavior. Every serious animal lover has at least one friend who has been targeted by humane agents and lost their animals and had their lives ruined. In many cases they are later vindicated in court, but it is too late and their animals are gone. OHS may claim that they do not behave this way, while many private owners will claim they do. But it genuinely does not matter. What matters is that no private group should have the power to get a warrant, enter someone’s home, seize the person’s property, and sell that property. Not only have you created a private police force, but also that force has a financial incentive that is directly contrary to impartiality. It is not possible for Humane Societies to simultaneously generate revenue by selling dogs and have officers empowered with deciding whose dogs will be seized.
The second issue is that while Oregon Humane is not officially associated with any Animal Rights organization, the private individuals who work for OHS are often committed to the Animal Rights ideal. Just a few moments ago, the director of OHS went out into the hall to confer with the Oregon director of HSUS. You must understand that the animal rights movement believes NO animal should EVER be captive, and they have stated over and over again that they are willing to infiltrate, lie, terrorize, burn and even kill in order to achieve their goal.
Many people who would like to be here today were afraid that if they speak publicly the people you want to give more power to will target them and seize or kill their animals and terrorize them.
You must understand that these people are not interested in helping animals—they are committed to animal RIGHTS. Rather than try to tell you who these people are that we do not want in our homes, let me simply share with you a few words from the presidents and leaders of HSUS, PETA, ADL, and other AR groups:
1. …. going onto their farms, releasing their animals and burning the place to the ground, that’s morally justifiable, in our opinion…—–Dr. Jerry Vlasak, Animal Defense League
2. Arson, property destruction, lying, burglary and theft are ‘acceptable crimes’ when used for the animal cause.—–Alex Pacheco, PETA
3. Animal liberation…is a war! It is an all-out bloody war….—–Robin Webb, Animal Liberation Front
4. I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many … I think for 5, 10, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.—–Dr. Jerry Vlasak, Animal Defense League
5. If killing is the only way to stop them, then I say killing them would certainly be justified.—–Dr. Jerry Vlasak, Animal Defense League
6. In a war you have to take up arms and people will get killed, and I can support that kind of action….—–Tim Daley, British Animal Liberation Front
7. I don’t want to see another dog or cat born—–Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President
8. I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself….I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.—–Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA
9. I will be overjoyed when the first scientist is killed by a liberation activist.—–Vivien Smith, Animal Liberation Front
10. Breeders must be eliminated….If you know of a breeder in the area, whether commercial or private, legal or illegal, let us know and we will post their name, location, phone number—–Animal Defense League
11. ….keep your doggie or kitty friends away from mommy; she’s an animal killer!—–PETA comic book
12. Businesses are terrified. They have no idea what I’m going to do next.—–Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA
13. Hit them in their personal lives, visit their homes… strike hard and fast and retreat in anonymity. Craig Rosenbraugh
14. I don’t approve of the use of animals for any purpose that involves touching them—–Dr. Neal Barnard
15. The children are enjoying a lifestyle built on the blood and abuse of innocent animals….They are a justifiable target for protest.—–Robin Webb, Animal Liberation Front
16. We will break the law and destroy property until we win.—–Dr. Steven Best
17. We have a 100 per cent success rate. Whoever we choose to target is finished.—–Heather James
I know this sounds maniacal, but that is the point—these are not my words, they are the words of the leaders of a movement with millions of members and annual budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This is not conspiracy theory paranoia. Last month the FBI stated, “Animal rights pose a significant domestic terror threat. To date, extremists have been responsible for more than 1,800 criminal acts and more than $110 million in damages. Currently, we are investigating approximately 170 such extremist incidents across the country,” and their members have been regularly committed of felonies in furtherance of their belief that no animal should ever be captive. Oregon must protect its citizens from these people, not give them police powers and invite them into our homes. The only people who should have such access are police and sheriffs who are accountable to the public, enforce all laws equally, and are not motivated by the above agenda.