UPDATE: They shoot horses, don’t they? Maybe not

February 20, 2009
Killing of animals at Dancing Star have been curtailed, at least temporarily, according to reports.

Killing of animals at Dancing Star have been curtailed, at least temporarily, according to reports.

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

A temporary halt in the random killing of animals at Cayucos’ Dancing Star Sanctuary has been declared by officials of the Los Angeles-based foundation that administers the facility.

None of the ten horses and cattle slated to meet the vet’s needle next week will be euthanized, employees of the sanctuary said they have been informed. The cessation follows an investigative report Tuesday by CalCoastNews revealing a recent surge in the number of animals being killed for “economic” reasons by veterinarians at the sanctuary, which hosts about 200 aged, infirm farm animals. The foundation’s assets exceed $42 million, and its top three officers collect nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in salary, according to the foundation’s IRS 990 form.

Additionally, departing employees are being now required to sign a stringent agreement prohibiting them from talking publicly about the sanctuary before receiving a severance check equivalent to about a week’s pay. CalCoastNews obtained a copy of the agreement.

Officials of Dancing Star Sanctuary, which also maintains a facility in Paso Robles, did not return reporters’ calls for comment Friday.

The four-page “severance and general release agreement” was first distributed to cashiered employees last week, Friday the 13th, by Don Cannon, the foundation’s vice president for finance. The agreement seeks to prohibit former employees from “making disparaging statements or remarks about the foundation, any of its officers, directors, employees or any of its activities.” It also attempts to limit contact with the media: “Employees will not publish, blog, or in any way publicly speak or write about the foundation or its officers or directors.”

Also contained in provisions of the agreement is a prohibition against former employees “assisting or engaging in any litigation against the foundation relating to anything occurring prior to the effective date of this agreement, except as compelled by order of a court or as necessary to participate in an investigation or proceeding conducted by [governmental agencies].”

Cannon promises in the agreement that the foundation will not contest a former employee’s efforts to secure unemployment insurance if conditions of the agreement are met.

(Click on the following link to watch a video, shot by a current sanctuary employee, of a day of killing at Dancing Star animal sanctuary.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omgF2NqgXsw


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15 Comments

  1. ccn_debate says:

    Member Opinions:
    By: stellablue72 on 3/20/09
    Oh, Warhorse, that is very, very bad news about Petunia. Petunia is a tiny, black burro. She is the cutest, or was, the cutest burro I've ever seen. I used to make her food into volcano shapes, because she wouldn't eat it if it was flat – she had a bad tooth and that was ALL that was wrong at that time. It breaks my heart that she is no longer there- and for the reasons she is no longer there. I hope Lonely and Lumpy and Dale are still there-
    How could they put down Petunia? She was the loudest and most robust burro?????!!!!!
    This breaks my heart
    By: stellablue72 on 3/20/09
    I can't imagine JASON, who wouldn't hurt a fly, sawing the head off of a Watusi cow. Jason is the type of person to get hurt if he hears a person being made fun of! This is the truth!
    Jason even has his favorite animals that he makes a point of saying hello to daily! He is a real gentle, kind hearted man.
    By: lalaland371 on 3/16/09
    Does anybody knows what happens after the whole petition it's reach over 1,000 signatures on the petition site???
    By: Joe on 2/27/09
    So…They flew someone out from 'up state" New York to go to Harmony? That's like going from Petticoat Junction to East BF. Go any father west and you get wet.

    My 6thgrade edumacation and the fact that I is a double-not spy leads me to the fuzzy math conclusion that the trip alone would have fed many animals.
    By: mulekist on 2/26/09
    (By: TLP on 2/21/09
    Today I put flowers at the gate of Dancing Star in tribute to the Dancing Stars that have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.)

    That is a beautiful thought TLP,…..everyone who can should do the same. Imagine the impact.
    By: mulekist on 2/26/09
    FARM SANCTUARY ON DANCING STARS CASE

    1st. Dancing Star Update from Farm Sanctuary;
    Feb. 23, 2009

    Hi CJ,

    Please see the memo below that we are distributing regarding any
    incoming inquiries about the Dancing Star Foundation. Feel free to
    forward to anyone inquiring about Farm Sanctuary's involvement in
    this case.

    If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact
    me.

    Yours in compassion,

    Tricia Barry
    Communications Director
    Farm Sanctuary
    P.O. Box 150, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. ccn_debate says:

    Farm Sanctuary Memo

    2/23/2009

    To: All staff and any inquiring individuals

    In response to reports that Dancing Star Foundation sanctuary in
    California was killing its animals in an effort to cull the
    population, Farm Sanctuary sent a representative to meet with Dancing
    Star Foundation President Michael Tobias.

    Tobias confirmed that some animals had been killed and that more were
    slated for killing.

    Farm Sanctuary urged Tobias to stop killing the animals.

    Our representative then visited the sanctuary where the killings
    reportedly are taking place under direction from senior management at
    the Dancing Star Foundation. We were able to speak with sanctuary
    staff who described a total of 14 animals who were killed in recent
    weeks. We found the remaining animals well cared for with a dedicated
    staff and excellent facilities.

    We again reached out to Tobias with the intention of convincing him
    to sign a document pledging to stop the killings and readdress the
    foundation's euthanasia policy. But now, Tobias will not respond to
    our phone messages or emails.

    Farm Sanctuary emphatically condemns the killing of any animal whose
    quality of life remains at a reasonable level. It has been reported
    that animals are being killed for the wrong reasons at Dancing Star
    and that confounds us, given the organization' s mission.

    After interviewing staff, we believe that animals previously
    segregated for the purpose of being killed have been integrated back
    into their herds at least for now, and we hope that the efforts of
    Farm Sanctuary and activists around the country continue to play an
    important role in granting these precious animals a reprieve. If
    clear evidence of continued inappropriate animal killings exist that
    violates Dancing Star's stated mission, then the foundation's conduct
    may also warrant intervention by the California Attorney General.

    Farm Sanctuary believes the best approach to this situation at this
    time would be to compel Dancing Star management to take
    responsibility for the animals under their care for the entirety of
    their natural lives, because:

    We do not want to enable sanctuaries to lightly unload their charges
    any time their animals become inconvenient, least of all when funds
    are available. Dancing Star is one of the wealthiest farm animal
    sanctuaries in the nation with the financia l resources to care for
    these animals in an ideal environment.

    Farm Sanctuary rescues animals from the food industry, and what
    capacity we have is meant for victims of animal agriculture.
    Farm Sanctuary shelters are currently operating at capacity, and
    after recently conducting three major rescues involving more than 100
    large farm animals and other rescues involving hundreds of small farm
    animals, our space is limited.

    Although Farm Sanctuary operates the largest placement network for
    farm animals in North America, we reserve placement for those animals
    who have nowhere else to go. Given these economic times, it has
    become all the more important that our placement efforts be focused
    on those individuals who are in most dire need of placement. The
    animals at Dancing Star have a home and ample funds are available for
    their care.

    For the sake of the animals, Farm Sanctuary is willing to work with
    Dancing Star to establish a sound euthanasia policy based on the
    health and quality of life experienced by the animal, rather than the
    economic concerns of an organization that by all appearances is
    financially capable of caring for these animals for the remainder of
    their natural lives.

    Learn about our shelter residents and take action on their behalf —
    sign up for our alerts and online newsletter today!

    http://www.farms anc tuary.org/ member/

    Farm Sanctuary
    Rescue, Education, Advocacy
    http://www.farmsanctuary. org

    A compassionate world begins with you

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. ccn_debate says:

    Farm Sanctuary Memo

    2/23/2009

    To: All staff and any inquiring individuals

    In response to reports that Dancing Star Foundation sanctuary in
    California was killing its animals in an effort to cull the
    population, Farm Sanctuary sent a representative to meet with Dancing
    Star Foundation President Michael Tobias.

    Tobias confirmed that some animals had been killed and that more were
    slated for killing.

    Farm Sanctuary urged Tobias to stop killing the animals.

    Our representative then visited the sanctuary where the killings
    reportedly are taking place under direction from senior management at
    the Dancing Star Foundation. We were able to speak with sanctuary
    staff who described a total of 14 animals who were killed in recent
    weeks. We found the remaining animals well cared for with a dedicated
    staff and excellent facilities.

    We again reached out to Tobias with the intention of convincing him
    to sign a document pledging to stop the killings and readdress the
    foundation's euthanasia policy. But now, Tobias will not respond to
    our phone messages or emails.

    Farm Sanctuary emphatically condemns the killing of any animal whose
    quality of life remains at a reasonable level. It has been reported
    that animals are being killed for the wrong reasons at Dancing Star
    and that confounds us, given the organization' s mission.

    After interviewing staff, we believe that animals previously
    segregated for the purpose of being killed have been integrated back
    into their herds at least for now, and we hope that the efforts of
    Farm Sanctuary and activists around the country continue to play an
    important role in granting these precious animals a reprieve. If
    clear evidence of continued inappropriate animal killings exist that
    violates Dancing Star's stated mission, then the foundation's conduct
    may also warrant intervention by the California Attorney General.

    Farm Sanctuary believes the best approach to this situation at this
    time would be to compel Dancing Star management to take
    responsibility for the animals under their care for the entirety of
    their natural lives, because:

    We do not want to enable sanctuaries to lightly unload their charges
    any time their animals become inconvenient, least of all when funds
    are available. Dancing Star is one of the wealthiest farm animal
    sanctuaries in the nation with the financia l resources to care for
    these animals in an ideal environment.

    Farm Sanctuary rescues animals from the food industry, and what
    capacity we have is meant for victims of animal agriculture.
    Farm Sanctuary shelters are currently operating at capacity, and
    after recently conducting three major rescues involving more than 100
    large farm animals and other rescues involving hundreds of small farm
    animals, our space is limited.

    Although Farm Sanctuary operates the largest placement network for
    farm animals in North America, we reserve placement for those animals
    who have nowhere else to go. Given these economic times, it has
    become all the more important that our placement efforts be focused
    on those individuals who are in most dire need of placement. The
    animals at Dancing Star have a home and ample funds are available for
    their care.

    For the sake of the animals, Farm Sanctuary is willing to work with
    Dancing Star to establish a sound euthanasia policy based on the
    health and quality of life experienced by the animal, rather than the
    economic concerns of an organization that by all appearances is
    financially capable of caring for these animals for the remainder of
    their natural lives.

    Learn about our shelter residents and take action on their behalf —
    sign up for our alerts and online newsletter today!

    http://www.farms anc tuary.org/ member/

    Farm Sanctuary
    Rescue, Education, Advocacy
    http://www.farmsanctuary. org

    A compassionate world begins with you

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. ccn_debate says:

    Farm Sanctuary Memo

    2/23/2009

    To: All staff and any inquiring individuals

    In response to reports that Dancing Star Foundation sanctuary in
    California was killing its animals in an effort to cull the
    population, Farm Sanctuary sent a representative to meet with Dancing
    Star Foundation President Michael Tobias.

    Tobias confirmed that some animals had been killed and that more were
    slated for killing.

    Farm Sanctuary urged Tobias to stop killing the animals.

    Our representative then visited the sanctuary where the killings
    reportedly are taking place under direction from senior management at
    the Dancing Star Foundation. We were able to speak with sanctuary
    staff who described a total of 14 animals who were killed in recent
    weeks. We found the remaining animals well cared for with a dedicated
    staff and excellent facilities.

    We again reached out to Tobias with the intention of convincing him
    to sign a document pledging to stop the killings and readdress the
    foundation's euthanasia policy. But now, Tobias will not respond to
    our phone messages or emails.

    Farm Sanctuary emphatically condemns the killing of any animal whose
    quality of life remains at a reasonable level. It has been reported
    that animals are being killed for the wrong reasons at Dancing Star
    and that confounds us, given the organization' s mission.

    After interviewing staff, we believe that animals previously
    segregated for the purpose of being killed have been integrated back
    into their herds at least for now, and we hope that the efforts of
    Farm Sanctuary and activists around the country continue to play an
    important role in granting these precious animals a reprieve. If
    clear evidence of continued inappropriate animal killings exist that
    violates Dancing Star's stated mission, then the foundation's conduct
    may also warrant intervention by the California Attorney General.

    Farm Sanctuary believes the best approach to this situation at this
    time would be to compel Dancing Star management to take
    responsibility for the animals under their care for the entirety of
    their natural lives, because:

    We do not want to enable sanctuaries to lightly unload their charges
    any time their animals become inconvenient, least of all when funds
    are available. Dancing Star is one of the wealthiest farm animal
    sanctuaries in the nation with the financia l resources to care for
    these animals in an ideal environment.

    Farm Sanctuary rescues animals from the food industry, and what
    capacity we have is meant for victims of animal agriculture.
    Farm Sanctuary shelters are currently operating at capacity, and
    after recently conducting three major rescues involving more than 100
    large farm animals and other rescues involving hundreds of small farm
    animals, our space is limited.

    Although Farm Sanctuary operates the largest placement network for
    farm animals in North America, we reserve placement for those animals
    who have nowhere else to go. Given these economic times, it has
    become all the more important that our placement efforts be focused
    on those individuals who are in most dire need of placement. The
    animals at Dancing Star have a home and ample funds are available for
    their care.

    For the sake of the animals, Farm Sanctuary is willing to work with
    Dancing Star to establish a sound euthanasia policy based on the
    health and quality of life experienced by the animal, rather than the
    economic concerns of an organization that by all appearances is
    financially capable of caring for these animals for the remainder of
    their natural lives.

    Learn about our shelter residents and take action on their behalf —
    sign up for our alerts and online newsletter today!

    http://www.farms anc tuary.org/ member/

    Farm Sanctuary
    Rescue, Education, Advocacy
    http://www.farmsanctuary. org

    A compassionate world begins with you

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  5. ccn_debate says:

    2nd. Farm Sanctuary Memo, received today;

    2/26/2009

    To: All staff and any inquiring individuals

    Farm Sanctuary is pleased to report that we have received a written
    agreement from Dancing Star Foundation to enact a moratorium on the
    killings of any animals under their care, and that they will continue
    to evaluate their euthanasia policy. The following statement has been
    sent to Farm Sanctuary from Dancing Star Foundation's senior
    management:

    "We constantly review our practices to ensure that our policies are
    enforced, and such a review is currently under way. Hence, while it
    is our obligation to our animals to regularly assess their quality of
    life, there are no plans to put any to rest at this time."

    —————-end of quote

    Our first priority from the start has been to protect the animals.
    We are now monitoring the situation to ensure that Dancing Star
    abides by the agreement.

    Learn about our shelter residents and take action on their behalf —
    sign up for our alerts and online newsletter today!

    http://www.farmsanctuary.org/member/
    Farm Sanctuary
    Rescue, Education, Advocacy
    http://www.farmsanctuary.org

    A compassionate world begins with you.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  6. ccn_debate says:

    2nd. Farm Sanctuary Memo, received today;

    2/26/2009

    To: All staff and any inquiring individuals

    Farm Sanctuary is pleased to report that we have received a written
    agreement from Dancing Star Foundation to enact a moratorium on the
    killings of any animals under their care, and that they will continue
    to evaluate their euthanasia policy. The following statement has been
    sent to Farm Sanctuary from Dancing Star Foundation's senior
    management:

    "We constantly review our practices to ensure that our policies are
    enforced, and such a review is currently under way. Hence, while it
    is our obligation to our animals to regularly assess their quality of
    life, there are no plans to put any to rest at this time."

    —————-end of quote

    Our first priority from the start has been to protect the animals.
    We are now monitoring the situation to ensure that Dancing Star
    abides by the agreement.

    Learn about our shelter residents and take action on their behalf —
    sign up for our alerts and online newsletter today!

    http://www.farmsanctuary.org/member/
    Farm Sanctuary
    Rescue, Education, Advocacy
    http://www.farmsanctuary.org

    A compassionate world begins with you.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down

Comments are closed.