Subscribe to Our Newsletter
By Published On: January 19th, 2023

Back in 2005 a hoarder named Tammy Hanson had collected close to 500 dogs. After hurricanes Katrina and Rita she and her enablers convinced rescue groups that she ran a sanctuary for aggressive dogs. Her Every Dog Needs a Home site was more of a hell on earth, than a sanctuary for the dogs the overwhelmed and trusting people delivered to her. You can read more about it here in an article written in 2009 by the HSUS. If you look closely at the picture you can catch a glimpse of my Sunny. What isn’t included in the article is how the authorities finally caught up with Hanson.

Visitors were not allowed on the property so few saw the horrors of the place. Dogs trapped in travel cages for weeks. Crowded outdoor kennels. Conditions that were not only unsanitary, they caused some dogs to develop stereotypies and other behavior issues. But some folks knew what was going on. There were women who spoke up and out about the realities of the EDNAH site. But their criticism was met with complaints. Hanson was only trying to help dogs, why was she being picked on? Can’t we all just get along in the fields of animal training and rescue? Thankfully for the dogs they did not back down. They continued to speak what they knew to be the truth, Hanson was a hoarder, she needed to be stopped.

Local animal control was not allowed on the property, but because of the women who would not be silenced, a fly-over of the property was done, and with this evidence, the site was shut down. I ended up with one of the 477 dogs on the property. The story didn’t end there. Hanson fled the state and landed in Vermont, where I live. She spent time in jail in Vermont and Missouri. If she’s still alive there’s a good chance she’s got too many dogs again.

Those of us who are committed to the ethical treatment and training of dogs are not simply soft-hearted, nor do we feel powerless, as I’ve heard some suggest is our motivation when we speak out about the use of aversive training practices. We are not fragile, we don’t over-empathize with the animals we see. We know a Truth. We know that force, fear, pain or intimidation are not required to teach pets new skills. We are not harmed by the unwillingness or inability of other trainers to learn about the science of behavior. We are not harmed, but animals are, and we’d like it to stop, and it seems that asking nicely hasn’t worked.

Share this post