In my few spare moments, I’ve been trying to dig into the SPCA controversy. I’ve got some feelers out to the various players involved; have been reading up on the issue; and have been getting lots o’ interesting email on both all sides.

There’s only one fact I’m thoroughly convinced of right now and that’s that there is a huge due process problem with the current Texas law regarding seizure of allegedly neglected animals once they are turned over to a rescue organization or slated to be killed.

Beyond that, I’ve found that:

  • The Texas SPCA is a wonderful volunteer-driven nonprofit that saves thousands of neglected, abandoned and abused animals, or alternatively a group with an agenda to bring an end to all professional breeders and perhaps even human ownership of animals.
  • Dave Garcia is either the most accomplished animal rescuer in the country, and a patron saint second only to Francis of Assisi, or alternatively a power-mad thief who is probably sitting in my hedges right now waiting for my dogs to poop so that he can take a picture and use it as evidence to seize them and then sell them for beer money.
  • There’s nothing wrong with breeding dogs for sale, or owning large numbers of animals. Unless you’re a puppy mill. What makes you a puppy mill? Someone says you are. If you’re not a puppy mill, you’re a responsible breeder. The dogs apparently don’t get a vote on this distinction.
  • You are either an Animal Rights (AR) nut who wants to turn over my house to the bears and raccoons, or a cold heartless Lassie-killer.
  • The 20/20 piece was either the greatest piece of journalism since Mark Felt said "My friends call me Deep Throat," or the worst since Dan Rather said "That memo looks good."

The wild swings of sarcasm are intentional. There’s a lot of rhetoric on this matter. There are a lot of "facts" being thrown around with little backup.

Somewhere, deep between all of those flamboyantly diametrically opposed statements is the truth. Or at least something closer to it. And no matter how you shake it, it’s the animals who are getting screwed.

Would love to see a full-time reporter on this, but so far all I’ve seen is a letter to the editor in the DMN.

C’mon folks — Either a great charity that prevents our streets from teeming with stray animals has been maligned and damaged, or we’ve got a charity run amok that needs to be rehabilitated or replaced.

Or something in between, not nearly as clear or as fun for people who like to shout on internet message boards.

But it’s ridiculous that Our Little Blog is the #2 result in a Google search on this topic.

I’ll keep looking for answers, as I can (mostly out of non-activist animal-loving guilt). But this is a complex story that begs for a full-time local reporter to investigate it. Even if it’s half-baked.

As a side note, I’m sure a lot of people in the media business have said a lot of things about me over the years, some of which I’m sure I wouldn’t want to hear. But I’ll know I’ve really made it (or stepped in it) when there’s a Yahoo!Group dedicated to my activities.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.