Karel Minor is the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Berks County. Mr. Minor currently serves as board chair of the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team, is a board member of Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the HSUS Companion Animal Advisory Committee.
On August 14, 2017, Minor posted an attack against SHARK and me personally on the HumanePA website. You can read his full post here: http://blog.humanepa.org/?p=1650 Since removed.
In his attack, Minor makes a lot of snide comments and numerous outright false statements. Rather than go chasing after every nonsensical remark, I will address the real issue. Minor and his associates at the Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania (FHSP), and its ally the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are tired of being criticized by me for being no-shows at Pennsylvania’s pigeon shoot killing fields.
First, the issue under discussion - live pigeon shoots. In a live pigeon shoot, hundreds to thousands of animals will be shot at in a single day. You can view pigeon shoot footage here:
Pigeon Shoot Clips for Media
Shot birds are usually not killed outright. Most are wounded. Wounded birds who escape the shoot area are left to die slow, lingering deaths. It may be hours or even days before their agony ends due to their wounds, exposure, predation, infection, hunger or thirst.
Given the extreme abuse that occurs, one would think that all animal protection people and organizations statewide would be on the scene for a pigeon shoot, doing everything possible for the victims. That surely is not the case in Pennsylvania.
To be certain, Minor and his FHSP associates make noise about pigeon shoots. They make statements from the comfort of their offices, and perhaps hold an occasional news conference before a big, multi-day shoot. What Minor, the FHSP and HSUS have decidedly NOT done is make a difference. Their statements have not rescued wounded pigeons, or brought a single conviction for cruelty, or stopped a single shoot, or shut down a single PA shoot location, or reduced the number of shooters. The fact is that SHARK personnel have accomplished all that, making real change - and real change is what counts for the pigeons, or any other animals for whom we labor.
A basic mistake Minor makes is calling SHARK “protesters.” I am sincere when I say that Karel Minor is a very intelligent individual, and that means he knows better. When SHARK personnel are at a pigeon shoot, we are documenters, rescuers, and educators via the media and the Internet.
Minor states: “Good for them that they drive a long way to stand there, even if standing there doesn’t have much of an actual impact.”
That is a fascinating denial of what has come of SHARK’s efforts against pigeon shoots. A big part of our efforts includes the rescue of pigeons, and it is incredible that Minor refuses to acknowledge that. Here is just a few of our pigeon rescues:
Beautiful Survivors of Wing Pointe Pigeon Massacre
Cruelly Shot Pigeon Rescued from Delaware River
Pigeons Rescued from Cruel Pigeon Shoot
Emergency Action Needed to Save Pigeons Shot by Senator Inhofe
Regarding impact, SHARK’s documentation of pigeon shoots ended all pigeon shoots in Illinois. We shut down a number of shoot locations in Pennsylvania, caused the cancellation of some events at remaining sites, and generally cause a significant reduction in the number of shooters. In the last few weeks, we learned that Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe has ceased his pigeon shoot fundraisers due to our efforts.
Pigeon shooters have filed numerous lawsuits against SHARK in an effort to stop us from exposing them. Those lawsuits have been filed in state courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as in federal court. All the cases that have been decided so far have been in our favor, and we expect that will continue, because we've done nothing wrong. These are merely groundless, punitive suits mean to cost us time and money. What is important to note here is that only SHARK has been sued - not a single Pennsylvania humane society, not the Humane Society of the United States - no one else. The killers showed who is fighting them effectively with their lawsuits, and their lawsuits only name SHARK. We consider that to be a badge of honor, in spite of the cost.
Minor’s accusation that SHARK is in the business of criticizing other groups is false. While we won’t hesitate to expose individuals and organizations that are scamming, unproductive, lazy or incompetent, SHARK has for decades worked cooperatively with sincere groups and individuals nationwide and beyond. Just this year, those cooperative efforts ended the contest killing of cownose rays in Maryland, and the ripple effect of that victory ended the killing at least temporarily in Virginia. SHARK is working with groups in Canada against rodeo cruelty and the government slaughter of Cormorants on Lake Erie. SHARK worked with groups in Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas and California to successfully end pigeon shoots held by Oklahoma Senate Jim Inhofe. We work cooperatively and successfully with many organizations throughout the US and Canada.
Our latest pigeon shoot victory, in Oklahoma, was won against a sitting US senator with no help from the courts, legislators, or police at any level - local, county, state or federal. On the other hand, the combined efforts of the Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania and the Humane Society of the United States have, unfortunately, NOT worked. I wish things were different, but the inaction of PA humane societies and HSUS on Pennsylvania’s killing fields have failed, miserably, for decades.
Minor accuses SHARK of being “single-minded.” Again, this is false. In just the last couple years, SHARK has worked on factory farm issues, rodeos, government deer kills, government cormorant slaughters (both American and Canadian), cownose ray contest killing, research animals, shark fishing, exotic animal breeding and displays, and pig wrestling and other animal scrambles.
Minor rhetorically asked the following: “Did they stand shoulder to shoulder with us when my staff and I left our homes during natural disasters to set up and man emergency shelters for pets in our region?”
To respond - if we weren’t immersed in another issue at that time, the answer would be yes, and Minor should know that. Most of the issues I already listed came about as a response to requests from other organizations trying to make change in their own areas.
Mass animal slaughters that occur within a few miles of a humane society, wherein animals will additionally be left injured and suffering before finally succumbing to their wounds hours or possibly days later should not be ignored, but they are ignored by the Pennsylvania Federation of Humane Societies. Those animals need immediate help on the ground, and they need evidence, whether it be for the courts or for the world to see what is going on, for as long as it needs to be exposed. High-minded rhetoric alone doesn’t cut it.
It is incredible that Karel Minor, who currently serves as board chair of the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team, refuses to respond to the cruel mass-killing and abandonment of animals in his own area, and then criticizes an out-of-state organization that actually does make an effort.
Minor cites the time when he and his organization, “…went up against a DA who threatened to strip us of our police powers for attempting to prosecute pigeon shooters…”
I remember that time very well. It was Karel Minor’s Moment of Truth. Minor initially stood up to, but then utterly collapsing before a corrupt district attorney demanding that Minor and his humane society not do their job. Now Minor wants to claim his failure as some kind of badge of honor. It is not.
When Minor was tested, he proved to be tragically inadequate. Corrupt Berks County District Attorney John Adams would not have stripped the Berks County Humane Society of its police powers, or if he had, it would have been national news that could have caused the issue of live pigeon shoots to come crashing down. SHARK would have stood with him all the way. People around the country would have stood with him. If Minor had only stood strong he would have not only won - saving untold hundreds of thousands of lives - he would have been a national hero in animal circles.
Instead, Minor’s weakness gave aid and comfort to pigeon shooters who knew the local animal control officer wouldn’t touch them, because he wasn’t strong enough to stand up and do what was right. Want to see what followed? Here is a link of unbelievable cruelty being committed at Wing Pointe, the pigeon shoot that is held under Minors jurisdiction.
Corrupt District Attorney Allows Unspeakable Cruelty
We must warn you that the video is extremely graphic. The punks who brutally tortured the birds got away with their vicious cruelty because Karel Minor didn’t have the guts to hold them accountable.
SHARK has had its share of Moments of Truth with Pennsylvania pigeon shoots. We’ve had a gun pulled on us, we’ve been hit by shotgun fire, assaulted numerous times. I was intentionally hit by a minivan, and SHARK and its personnel have been sued a number of times as a group and personally.
The punitive lawsuits continue to this day. All we have to do to end the lawsuits is to ignore the pigeon shooters, like Karel Minor, the FHSP and HSUS, but we refuse to turn our backs. We refuse to stand down.
The Minor taunt that really caught my attention was this: “Where they in any of the meetings we had with our elected officials to lobby and pass Libre’s Law…? Nope.”
Libre’s Law is a new and supposedly better animal cruelty law in Pennsylvania. There is just one enormous, overriding problem with Libre’s Law - it sold out the victims of live pigeon shoots by declaring the shoots to be legal. Let me restate this. Pigeon shoots were for illegal in Pennsylvania. The shoots went on due to the corruption of law enforcement in the face of the wealthy, politically connected shooters, but the law was being broken. Now, the law allows for pigeon shoots.
SHARK was not aware of the effort for Libre’s law and If we had known about the glaring flaw in Libre’s Law when it was in process, we would have fought the pigeon shoot exemption, which is exactly why not a single humane organization or HSUS gave us a heads up. These organizations did what they have done for decades, which is to bow to the NRA instead of fighting for what is right.
This is where Minor’s protesting that he cares about fighting for pigeon shoots is truly hollow rhetoric. In a scene that imitated his collapse before corrupt District Attorney John Adams - Minor, along with Humane PA and HSUS - chose to stay silent to avoid attention about pigeons being thrown under the proverbial bus - just so they could score a win and most likely raise money from their self-proclaimed “victory.” Nothing says betrayal like dumping one group of animals to make an empty claim of success over the more bankable species.
When SHARK personnel rescue wounded pigeons on the killing fields, the blood of these poor animals stains our hands and clothes. Karel Minor, the FHSP, Humane PA PAC and HSUS also have the blood of pigeons on their hands, though theirs is a result of ignoring the suffering birds, and the utter betrayal they committed by agreeing to a law to make their suffering legal.
People in PA have come to view pigeon shoots as untouchable. The NRA is strong in PA, but it is also strong in Illinois, where SHARK got pigeon shoots banned. The NRA is extremely strong in Oklahoma, where we knocked out Senator Jim Inhofe’s pigeon shoots. Pennsylvania pigeon shoots aren’t untouchable, they just need to be fought by people who aren’t afraid to fight.
Pigeon shoots still exist in Pennsylvania because Pennsylvania’s supposed humane leaders are weak, and more focused on their careers and money than the cause. While this is a general problem throughout the animal protection industry in the US, nowhere is it more on display than in Pennsylvania.