We Can Stop the Killing in NYS Shelters!
Oreo: A Story of Tragedy & Betrayal
Oreo survived being thrown off a
Brooklyn rooftop. But she could not survive the
"rescue" by the ASPCA.
In New York City, a one-year old dog named Oreo was intentionally thrown off a sixth
floor Brooklyn roof top by her abuser. Oreo sustained two broken legs and a fractured
rib. Oreo also appears to have been beaten in the past—several of the neighbors in
the building where Oreo lived reported hearing the sounds of the dog being hit. The
ASPCA nursed her back to health and arrested the perpetrator. They also dubbed her
the “miracle dog.”
The miracle was short-lived. According to the ASPCA, when Oreo recovered from her injuries,
she started to show aggression. After a series of temperament tests, the ASPCA made the
decision to kill her. The New York Times reported the story the day before Oreo’s scheduled
execution. A sanctuary in New York offered to take Oreo, explaining that they had experience
rehabilitating dogs deemed aggressive and offering her lifetime care, including plenty of
socialization and walks if the rehabilitation was not successful.
They were ignored, hung up on and lied to. And the ASPCA chose to kill the dog instead.
That afternoon, Oreo laid dead, the victim not of her former abuser, but of an overdose of
poison from a bottle marked “Fatal-Plus,” at the hands of a shelter bureaucrat.
Following the furor that erupted over Oreo’s killing, New York State legislators introduced a
bill to prevent animals from being killed by shelters when there is a lifesaving alternative
offered by rescue groups. “As a dog owner and a foster parent for an animal rescue group, I
was heartbroken to learn that Oreo was [killed]. When a humane organization volunteers their
expertise in difficult cases, a shelter should work with them to the fullest extent possible,”
said one of the sponsors. “I am hopeful that Oreo’s Law will ensure that no animal is ever put
to death if there is a responsible alternative.” (A few weeks later Ed Sayres, Oreo’s killer,
did it again, killing a dog named Max a rescue group had offered to save.)
Reportedly taken right before they killed her, this photograph shows that Oreo was not the mean,
vicious dog she was made out to be. The ASPCA has refused to release the videotapes of Oreo's
For far too long, those running our animal shelters – agencies funded by the philanthropic
donations and tax dollars of an animal loving American public – have refused to mirror our
progressive values. For far too long, they have assumed a power and authority to act independent
of public opinion, and the will of the people who have entrusted them to do their jobs with
compassion, dedication and integrity. In betraying this trust, they have proven that they can’t
be trusted, and that we must regulate them in the same way we regulate other agencies which hold
the power of life and death: by removing the discretion which has for too long allowed them to
thwart the public’s will and to kill animals who should be saved. Oreo’s Law, thankfully, seeks
to do just that.
Sadly, we cannot bring Oreo back and give her the second chance the ASPCA denied her. And we
will forever remember her killing at the hands of those who were supposed to protect her from
further harm as many things: tragic and heartbreaking, chief among them. Nothing can alter
that calculus. But we can lessen the futility of Oreo’s death if we learn from it, and alter
our society in such a way as to prevent such a betrayal from ever happening again.
--From No Kill Advocacy Center, November 19, 2009
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Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary
Dear Fellow Rescue Organizations.
In January, Oreo's Law will be presented to the legislation in the Assembly. We are asking
you to join in support of this new legislation. No animal should ever die when a bona fide
501(c)3 rescue is willing to save the animal. It has happened to us, it has probably happened
to many of you. This law has been on the books in California for over 10 years. They have
had NO SUCH ISSUES such as hoarders getting more animals (let's face it - hoarders can get
them ANYWHERE) or dog fighters getting dogs. Those are the two arguments against the law
which really make no sense. Why are some willing to sacrifice something that could save
hundreds of thousands of animals a year, for the possibility that a very, very small number
MIGHT fall into less than ideal circumstances. Indeed we take that chance every single time
we adopt an animal out to any "family". So this email is to ask for your letters of support,
signed on your letterhead. We will add it to our website.
For more discussion and talking points and explanation of Oreo's Law, please review our
We are also asking that if you have any stories of trying to pull an animal that you wanted
to save but were turned away, to please email us and let us know the details. You can remain
anonymous, but some larger organizations feel this is NOT an issue in New York and so therefore
the legislation is not necessary.
Thank you for all you do for the animals. Let's try to work together to save as many animals as
we can in 2010!
Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary