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The California ‘White Paper’ – The Sell Out of California Shelters?

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The California Sheltering Report White Paper - what is it? Could it be a sales receipt?

Billed as shoring up the Hayden Act of 1998, a group has come out with a 'White Paper' of how to do this. The team included 'representatives of local government, non profit animal-sheltering organizations and rescue groups, veterinary professionals, animal protection experts and philanthropists, emphasis on the last one. However, it was announced in a meeting last week in Los Angeles by Aimee Gilbreath of Found Animals Foundation that the CVMA were invited but have chosen not to participate.

The philanthropists include or is limited to one Dr. Gary Michelson, founder of the Found Animals Foundation. This particular association calls into question the credibility of this group. You ask why, his bio makes him look like the most responsible pet owner and animal lover around. The answer isn't what you expect.

In an interview, Michelson was the proud owner of a 95 lb. specially bred pit bull, not an adopted pit bull from a shelter. Bred for weight pulling, it had to have come from a breeder. otherwise how would one know it was 'bred' for that event. The sad part is that this pit bull was not neutered. Responsible? I show 7 citations from just one area he has called home for his dogs running off leash.

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Let's delve a little further into the question of how deep are the pockets of this multi-billionaire in regards to this 'white paper'. In 2005 soon after winning the $1.35B settlement with Medtronic, Dr. Gary Michelson told LA Weekly writer, Robert Greene, that he would give all the money away, i.e. "There was nothing to do with that much money, the surgeon-inventor said, but to give it away. He set up the Medical Research Foundation (and Found Animals Foundation)."

Michelson went on to say in that article that his foundation is prepared to pay to have every pet in the City of LA fixed and tracked. That didn't happen. He is also responsible for bringing Ed Boks to LA as the head of their Animal Services. This proved to be a complete failure. How did he manage to do this? It seems this billionaire offered Villaraigosa, then Mayor, $10,000,000 if Villaraigosa would hire Ed Boks and bring No Kill to LA City.

Public records indicate that indeed money was offered in such a manner. This is from a sworn statement in Case Number: SC095697, David T. Loftus VS Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Et. Al., Filing Date: 10/18/2007, Case Type: Contractural Fraud (General Jurisdiction), Status: Dismissed. (This lawsuit was settled very quickly when this information came to light.)

"Michelson told Plaintiff that he had agreed to fund seven spay/neuter clinics and donate a million dollars to the City of Los Angeles as incentive for Ed Boks, a proponent of the "nokill" policy, to head the department of animal control. Plaintiff advised Michelson that a million dollars would not be enough money. Other welfare animal advocates agreed, and Michelson promised to donate $10,000,000 to implement a "nokill" policy in LA. Michelson promised city officials, including Antonio Villaraigosa and Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman, that if Ed Boks were to be hired as head of the department of animal services, he would donate $10,000,000 to the department and millions more to animal welfare agencies and animal rescue groups."

We all know the results of this collaboration. Ed Boks left in disgrace after too many fiascos. LA ended up with more pets dying under No Kill than before.

There's more, much more to the dealings of Gary Michelson outside of the humane aspect and almost all of it point to a man who is "To his detractors and many of his ex-business partners, Dr. Michelson is a belligerent and intimidating serial litigator who has parlayed his knowledge of the US patent system into almost a billion dollars from the spine industry in the form of royalties and legal judgments. Emphasis on legal judgments.

The Humane Society of the US is paying lip service support to this "White Paper". Considering the background of it all, one has to question this decision by HSUS. Are they attempting to get some of that free flowing money from Michelson in exchange for their support? Where are participants from the largest animal control agencies such as the County of Los Angeles? Considering what this "White Paper" is suggesting, the burden that would be place upon our strapped shelters already, the vote should be that the support by HSUS just very well could be donor driven rather than driven by what is in the best interest of the animals. Does HSUS want Michelson's money would be the question to be asked.

Is the California Shelter Project "White Paper" just another of Gary Michelson's attempts to control the sheltering world? Does he think that our shelters are for sale so easily? Hopefully the answer is that our shelters are not for sell to the highest bidding billionaire. Do we trust solving the issue of our shelters being full of pit bulls to the very ones who create the problem such as Michelson not altering his own pit, to make laws requiring the rest of us to follow?

Could this be a final attempt by billionaire Michelson to be recognized as the 'hero' of the California sheltering community, a dying gasp as Best Friends steals the donation base in the City of Los Angeles with constant advertising and press attention?