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PetPAC's "star witness" against spay and neuter legislation is in trouble.

Bill Hemby, Chairman of PetPAC and a chief opponent of common sense spay & neuter laws, has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Justice, as part of a nationwide sweep called "Operation False Charity."

The complaint alleges that Mr. Hemby, serving as Director and in various positions of authority in the charity organization LEAP (Law Enforcement Apprenticeship Program Foundation) from 2004 to the present, along with the program's other directors, falsely promised contributors that their donations would be used to operate an apprenticeship program for at-risk youth.

According to the complaint, the program was never operated and no students were ever enrolled in it. The donations were instead used to pay for non-charity related purposes, including the personal expenses of the charity's directors.

The lawsuit against Mr. Hemby and LEAP is one of eight lawsuits filed by Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. against "charities that 'shamelessly exploited' people's generosity and squandered millions of dollars of donations intended to help police, firefighters and veterans", according to the news release from the Attorney General's office.

Among the charges that the State of California makes directly against Mr. Hemby:

FILING AND DISTRIBUTING FALSE AND INCOMPLETE RECORDS

This cause of action claims that non-program expenditures were not properly disclosed, including one year where out of $372,623 in revenue, only $5,615 was spent on program services (less than 2%).

BREACH OF CHARITABLE TRUST

This cause of action claims that money was solicited for charitable programs that were never even put in place.

UNLAWFUL BUSINESS ACTS OR PRACTICES
This cause of action claims the defendents (Mr. Hemby and LEAP), from 2001 to 2008, were "making false, deceptive, and misleading statements to donors to induce them to make charitable contributions" and "misrepresented how charitable donations would be used."

Bill Hemby and the COPS connection.

In the same Operation False Charity sweep, the State of California has sued the charity group COPS, where Mr. Hemby is currently the Director of Governmental Affairs. Ironically, the COPS website still contains a link to an interview described as "in this podcast, one of COPS founding members, Bill Hemby, discusses how LEAP, the Law Enforcement Apprenticeship Program, helps at-risk youth seek careers in law enforcement." The actual podcast has been taken off the site.

SCIL has been warning about the fundraising tricks used by the COPS group since 2007, when COPS first came out against our spay and neuter legislation. The COPS area on our website www.PetPACNonsense.com details some of the tricks that the group uses to bring in donations. According to the DOJ lawsuit, donations to COPS in 2006 totaled $11.4 million.

What does this mean for Bill Hemby and PetPAC?

The State of California is requesting judgment against Mr. Hemby and the other LEAP defendants in the form of numerous damages and civil penalties, and a permanent injunction prohibiting Mr. Hemby from controlling or directing the operations of any California nonprofit public benefit corporation.

If the State is successful in their lawsuit, Mr. Hemby will presumably be required to either dissolve PetPAC or remove himself from association with the group, since he is currently Chairman of the group, and their sole lobbyist according to the California Secretary of State website. According to the DOJ website, donations to PetPAC in the 2007 fiscal year totaled $424,648.00.

What does this mean for spay and neuter legislation?

For years, we have been warning about the dangers of sending money to, or receiving information from, the special interest groups and individuals opposed to spay and neuter legislation. They consistently misrepresent the spay and neuter issue for their own personal or financial gain, while misrepresenting themselves as "responsible pet owners" instead of revealing who they really are. The fact that the primary mouthpiece for the opposition, Bill Hemby, is now being sued by the State of California is not a surprise. In hearing after hearing, we have seen Mr. Hemby misrepresent SB 250, and have come to expect that any information from PetPAC is not to be trusted.

In fact, we have come to expect that information from any breeder or animal industry group opposed to spay & neuter legislation is not to be trusted.

It is ironic that, at the same time Mr. Hemby and these groups have been increasing their distribution of phony charts and spreadsheets pretending that spay and neuter legislation does not work, the actual communities where these laws are in effect keep telling just the opposite story.

In fact, take a look at the following:

  • Mr. Hemby and breeder groups have been distributing information and misleading graphs that claim spay and neuter legislation does not work in Santa Cruz. But according to Santa Cruz, the law has "resulted in a 64% drop in shelter impounds"! You can read the story directly from the Santa Cruz SPCA here.
     
  • Mr. Hemby and breeder groups have been distributing information that claims spay and neuter legislation does not work in Lake County, CA. But, according to the Director of Lake County Animal Care & Control, "Since enacting the ordinance our numbers have gone down steadily each year. Our spay & neuter ordinance works! We have no increased cost related to the ordinance, in fact it has saved us money..."
     
  • Mr. Hemby and breeder groups have been distributing false information that claims spay and neuter legislation does not work anywhere it is implemented. But in New York City, where a law nearly identical to SB 250 was passed in 2000, the results have been stellar. A recent letter from the Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals states "we have experienced a steady decrease in the euthanasia rate over the past five years due to this legislation." You can read their letter here.
     

Further reading.

If you want to learn more about Operation False Charity and the State of California's lawsuits against deceptive charities, please click here to read the Attorney General's press release.

If you want to read the actual lawsuit against Mr. Hemby and LEAP, please click here.

If you want to read the actual lawsuit against COPS, please click here.


 

May, 2009: Backyard breeders are busy opening up emails today. The anti-pet-legislation group "PetPAC", started by dog breeder William Hemby, continues to sent out emails begging for money on the backs of California's shelter animals.

To the unfamiliar, this is how the PetPAC appears to operate: send out repeated emails about pet related issues that will inflame animal breeders. When donations come in, the Chairman of PetPAC (Mr. Hemby) then pays the PetPAC lobbyist... Mr. Hemby.

According to the Secretary of State's website, the money that was paid to PetPAC lobbyist Mr. Hemby was almost $70,000 for just a 6 month period (4). Nice work if you can get it... misrepresent animal legislation while trying to demonize those good souls who volunteer their time to make the world a better place for dogs and cats.

Mr. Hemby breeds "Morgandell Borzoi & Silken Windhounds" and lists dog litters on his website www.morgandellborzoi.com. He frequently confuses political groups working to reduce pet euthanasia in shelters with animal terrorists, saying that "animal rights extremist groups like the Animal Liberation Front"(5) are behind spay and neuter legislation, and that the volunteers working to save the lives of dogs and cats through legislation are actually "people [who]want to eliminate all dogs and cats in California"(5).

If you have donated to PetPAC and would like to attempt to receive your donations back, due either to PetPAC's misrepresentations or due to Mr. Hemby's financial practices, please visit www.PetPAC.net and fill out their contact form.

 
 
 
 

April, 2009: Kelley Moran, the PetPAC frontman who has accepted "management fees" of up to $300,000 for coordinating "voter information guides" in the past(2), has been caught red-handed in an embarrassing scandal related to California's Proposition 8.

According to the Bay Area Reporter:

Kelley Moran and Barry Wyatt are with Yes on Gay Marriage, an organization that, like others, seemed to come out of nowhere in recent weeks after the passage of Proposition 8, which eliminated same-sex marriage in California. Moran, who said that he married his same-sex partner of 16 years last summer, said last month that what sets his group apart is that it is leading the charge for a march on Washington.

But, Mr. Moran was found to be directly profiting from a slate mailer sent out supporting the restrictive, anti-gay Proposition 8 late last year. The article goes on:

The slate mailer carries the names of both the COPS Voter Guide and the California Vote by Mail voter guide, as well as the Yes on 8 logo. Records filed with the secretary of state show that Yes on 8 paid the COPS voter guide at least $25,000, as well as a total of at least $50,000 to the California Vote by Mail Voter Guide. ... Last year, according to data filed with the secretary of state's office, the COPS voter guide paid at least $245,000 to Moran and Associates, which Moran is president of, and at least $105,000 to Barry Wyatt Associates.

The hypocrisy of the men involved with PetPAC does not require further comment. When it comes to money, "anything goes" seems to be the motto.

If you wish to learn more details of how Mr. Moran operates, just Google "Kelley Moran Barry Wyatt".

 
 
 
 

Where do donations to PetPAC go?

PetPAC likes to claim that they are a "grassroots" organization, which implies that the group is volunteer based and working out of passion instead of working for profit. But the donors who send their money to this group may not realize where it really goes.

According to filings with the Secretary of State (4), Lobbyist Hemby took over $67,000 just for work in the second part of 2007.



PetPAC's leaders have a history of using donor's money to pay themselves oversized paychecks. Another representative of PetPAC, Kelley Moran, was paid a "management fee" of $300,000 by the PetPAC related group COPS in a previous year. (2)

Do PetPAC donors know where their money goes?

When PetPAC's Chairman started the group, he was doubling as the Director of Governmental Affairs for COPS, the group that was called out by the Sacramento Bee in 2006 as one of the top (or bottom) 10 groups in the state for using their private commercially fundraised money on the charities they collect money to support. COPS was revealed to use just 15.3% of that money on actual charity. Is PetPAC destined for a similar path?(3)

According to quantcast.com, over half of PetPAC's web site visitors earn less than $30,000 per year. How would these donors feel if they knew where their money was really going?

 
 


PetPAC's web site reinforces a central role of the organization - gathering money.

But the site doesn't inform visitors about what percentage of donations are used to compensate the "grassroots" leaders of PetPAC.

The main page of the PetPAC site entices visitors with misinformation about animal welfare groups, and pushes visitors repeatedly to send money.

Members who sign up to "learn more" receive emails with misleading talking points to use against reducing pet overpopulation, always concluded with further requests for funds.

 
 
 
 

Donating to pay PetPAC does not help the dogs and cats of California.

Please license your pets, spay and neuter your pets unless they are used for legal breeding, and join the thousands of responsible pet owners volunteering to provide a better future for California's pets.

 
 
 
 

For more information on backyard breeders and their favorite group PetPAC, visit:

 
 
 
 

1 - Although underground breeders, dog fighters, PetPAC, COPS and other groups share a common goal of defeating particular legislation, this in no way indicates the nature of their relationship, or that a relationship, formal or otherwise, exists between the groups.

This political parody site simulates design elements found on the site www.petpac.net and is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court has held that parody is a valid form of protected speech when directed at public officials and public figures.

2 - "The COPS slate took in $871,000 from candidates and causes in 2000 and paid Moran a management fee of $300,000, above and beyond expenses for printing and mailing." -(Sacramento Bee, June 20, 2002.)

3 - "Telemarketers employed by COPS solicit advertising. But they also appeal to individuals for funds, saying the money will help support the survivors of slain peace officers and fund public-safety programs for children.

The following 10 California-based charities benefited the least from private commercial fundraisers they used in 2004. The fundraisers used by these charities raised $100,000 or more...

Charity: California Organization of Police and Sheriffs
City: Ontario
Fundraiser: Civic Development Group LLC
Money Raised: $4,342,287
Money to Charity: $663,057
Percent: 15.3%
Source: California attorney general"

(Sacramento Bee, January 27, 2006)

4 - Information & screen captures downloaded from http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Lobbying/Employers/ in late March or early April, 2008.

5 - Radio interview with Mr. Hemby in 2007. Comments were a response to a question about new spay and neuter legislation.