There are SPCA’s, or Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in many cities in America. They are charged by city governments to “stop animal abuse” and have the right to confiscate and sell all the animals of any owner with a judge’s warrant. In states like Texas, the SPCA can seize the property of owners without the right of appeal. Even in states where the owner can appeal, judges usually rely on the expertise of the SPCA and dismiss the owner’s appeals.

Often, the seized animals are sold within days of seizure, and the unsold animals put to death. (The SPCA charges $50-150 for all “adoptions,” and more for show animals.) When the SPCA seizes animals, it will typically seize the entire inventory of a breeder, including both “sick” as well as healthy animals, often putting the breeder out of business. Sometimes, there really are sick animals – but because of diseases, not abuse. Other times, photos of dirty but empty cages are enough to put a breeder out of business.

The SPCA is run by volunteers and employees, and rarely involves veterinarians in requesting a warrant from the judge or evaluating the condition of seized animals. The Dallas SPCA is one of the biggest SPCA’s in the nation, but (according to 20/20) its highly paid manager has no professional education treating animals, and does not involve veterinarians anywhere in the process.

Does that sound like a recipe for abuse? Aside from the fact that the entire premise of the SPCA is unjust and unconstitutional (animal owners have the right to treat their property however they wish, even if they wish to starve or torture their animals to death), such cruelty to humans is shockingly common. Many victims of the seizures complain that SPCA seizes healthy animals and sells them for profit. Often, the amateur SPCA employees rely on the ignorance of judges to get warrants. For example, some breeds of show dogs and healthy nursing bitches are naturally thin, and some animal feces on the ground are unavoidable in any breeding facility.

SPCA’s injustices are rarely presented on appeal because of laws that deny owners the right to appeal and because the media vilifies the animal owners by uncritically repeating the SPCA’s claims. Abused owners have a hard time getting justice because of the media’s vilification of animal abusers and the deference given to the (presumed) expertise of the SPCA. The targeted owners are usually poor and unable or unwilling to hire lawyers to defend themselves after their entire inventory is confiscated and the animals quickly sold or killed. The publicized seizures and condemnations are major money-makers for the SPCA, which uses the income from donations and seizures to bulk up the often-respectable incomes of their employees.

If you love animals and are thinking of donating or volunteering for your local SPCA, you might want to think again – they may be guilty of cruelty to humans.