Thursday, April 21, 2011

PETA's Attack on Susan Marino and Angel's Gate

     I am deeply saddened that I have to write this post at all, but failing to say anything would be condoning what is happening and also ignoring the elephant in the room.  Yesterday, PETA "broke" the story that Angel's Gate, rather than being one of the most respected animal hospices and sanctuaries in the country, is actually a front for horrific and inhumane treatment of animals by a woman who disregards their needs and suffering.  They have made horrible allegations, posted pictures and videos and complained to the authorities.

     Perhaps you have seen all or some of this.  Perhaps you are disturbed.  Perhaps you feel betrayed and disillusioned.  I ask you to please consider the following:

    * Angel's Gate is highly respected in the animal hospice community.  I have yet to meet a single animal hospice care provider who does not know and speak highly of it.  The animal hospice community is made up of people who have dedicated their lives to providing comfort care to our animals on a difficult and strenuous journey out of the love they feel for animals.  Not a single one of them would support a person or organization that treats animals inhumanely.

     * PETA, by contrast, believes that all forms of cohabitation with companion animals is slavery, inherently cruel and should be abolished completely.  On their website, they state: "We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals' best interests if the institution of 'pet keeping'—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as 'pets'—never existed."  Please do your research on this organization.  The reported "kill rate" for animals in their care (other than those that come in for sterilization) is an astounding 97.5%.  There have been many more allegations of animal cruelty against PETA than any animal hospice.

     * The animals that come to Angel's Gate are NOT the healthy ones.  They are there because of illness, disease, injury, birth defects, special needs and old age.  They are there BECAUSE they are at the end of their life with a condition no one could or would treat.  That is never pretty.  BUT that doesn't mean they are being mistreated.  Animals with compromised immune systems may have infections that are not easily treated.  Multiple rounds of antibiotics and continuous care simply may not work.  Do you accuse a hospital of cruelty because a patient has a resistant infection?  Because their skin breaks down and this cannot be stopped?  Because an AIDS patient has open wounds and dies in a horrific manner?  NO.  You praise them for their willingness to take on difficult cases and do the very best they can for that person at that time.

     * Note that PETA opposes all crates and cages.  Confining an animal with special needs is not cruel.  It provides them with a safe, secure space that is often comforting.  However, given PETA's position on crating and cages, it is not a surprise that their video highlights animals in cribs - with, by the way, clean, soft bedding, bumpers and water available.  You put your child in a crib to protect them while they sleep - but the same is unacceptable for your animal?

     * And let's clarify about "dead carcases left among the living animals."  OK folks, let's think about this.  How many of you have been to a wake for a loved one?  Spent time with a deceased person at their bedside shortly after their death?  In many cultures in the world, human bodies are cleansed and laid out for several days in the family home.  This practice is even making a resurgence here in the US as a result of the green funeral movement.  This is part of our mourning ritual for humans and no one considers it cruel.  Some animal hospices have adopted a wake concept, giving themselves and the other animals a way to say good bye and process the finality of the death.  We are not talking about animals left in the yard to be eviscerated by other animals.  We are talking about a respectful, sanitary display of the animal as part of a traditional mourning ritual.

     I'm not going to take each point by point, but ask you to please (a) remember the source - PETA, who wants to abolish companion animals and has a kill rate more than twice the rate of most shelters and (b) know that far too many things can be and are taken out of context.  Please check out the Angel's Gate website , read what others have said about it.  Consider that Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray had all given their endorsements.  Do you think they did not check it out thoroughly before doing so?

     And go visit.  Susan welcomes visitors and volunteers.  See for yourself.  I and all of the New England Pet Hospice staff will be there on June 24-26 to attend the hospice seminar given by animal hospice pioneer, Dr. Ella Bittel and will certainly report in afterwards!


  1. Does anyone believe anything that Peta says anymore? They're insane.

  2. I don't know why anyone still listens to PETA. They're not in the business of saving animals, and never have been. According to a report they're required to file by Virginia law, in 2010 they took in 1,553 cats and killed 1,507 of them, and 792 dogs and killed 693 of them. With those kinds of stats, and with an agenda like theirs, they have no business going anywhere near a companion animal.

  3. Have you WATCHED the video that the investigation produced? There weren't just a pile or two of feces astray. There were animals confined to cribs that circled, she admitted that a cat had suffered the same open wound for 2 years, and the paralyzed animals with leg wounds certainly didn't sustain them from a wheelchair.

    I think PETA is nuts, too, but I'm also beginning to wonder about your eyesight.

    1. Kat, just saw your comment. Unless, you know the complete medical history of an animal, how can you judge if the animals needs are being met. How do you know those animals were not being treated? You are just taking the word of PeTa.

  4. While I welcome discussion and disagreement here, I will delete messages that are posted by anonymous writers or those that are personally attacks. Let's keep this discussion civil and respectful.

    Kat - yes, I watched the video, read PETA's report on their website and looked at all of the photos. I'm not saying that the animals are all in good condition. I *know* many of them are not - but I am not at all convinced that is because Susan did anything wrong with her care of them. All of the animals come to Angel's Gate because there is something wrong with them. Wounds don't heal when there is a compromised immune system or when a body is fighting something else. Neurological disorders can cause animals to circle. There are many explanations for what you see that do not involve abuse or neglect by Angel's Gate.

    YES, the animals are sick. That is why they are there. Do you go to a hospital and assume that the nurse or doctor caused the infection or injury from which the person is suffering? When you go to your vet's office do you conclude that he or she is doing something wrong with the animals because they are suffering from an injury or illness?

    It IS very sad that the animals are in this condition. My heart goes out to them. But I am glad someone is willing to take them in and do everything she can to help them even if sometimes it is not enough.

    I am not going to condemn someone who has such a wonderful reputation, who is known to people I trust and respect based on brief snippets of video taken out of context by an organization with an agenda I do not and cannot support.

    As I said, I will be there in person at the end of June and I will certainly be reporting on the experience here in my blog. I am not affiliated with Angel's Gate and receive no benefit or compensation from them. I will make my own objective assessment when I get there, but I would be very, very surprised if I come to the same conclusion as PETA.

    I would love to hear from anyone who has been at Angel's Gate about their experiences and insight.

    1. My mother and I visited angel's gate when they resided in Fort Solonga. We traveled well over 40 miles to see what this sanctuary was all about. We were amazed at what we saw! It was so gratifying to know someone is looking out for special needs animals. Yes, some animals were in cribs but it was so sweet and nurturing. Her yard was a haven for larger animals, which they were obviously well taken care of too. We were total strangers there just to visit and we left there thinking SHE was the angel! Shame on PETA

  5. Also, would it be possible for you to explain this comment by Sue Marino about her former facility in Long Island?

    "Every agency from town came in couldn't find one violation," she says, then adds with a laugh, "Thank God they didn't come to this house."

  6. Kaye - I will not publish your comments because of the insults you make against others who have posted here.

    However, in response to your points I will say that I do not and will not justify anyone, anywhere keeping animals in unsanitary, unsafe or inhumane conditions.

    I do not know if the allegations against Angel's Gate are true or not. I hope with all my heart that they are not and I await results of the investigation by the authorities, whom I consider a more reliable and objective source than PETA.

  7. Kaye - I have no idea what "this house" is. You are assuming she is referring to Angel's Gate Animal Sanctuary (which is not in fact a house). She could just a easily be referring to a house from which she was rescued an animal, or another rescue, or a shelter, or any number of places.

  8. PETA has an agenda, and anything and everything that they do has to be considered in light of their radical views on animals cohabiting with human beings, IMHO.

  9. Thanks for this blog post... I totally agree with the points you've made. I find it interesting that aside from PETA, Angel's Gate detractors have been mostly private individuals who likely own a couple of pets. In contrast, the people willing to give Angel's Gate benefit of the doubt are the sanctuaries and rescue groups who regularly care for large numbers of disabled and sick animals.

    For me, the most revealing aspect of the discussion is this: PETA is calling for Angel's Gate to be shut down, not for Angel's Gate to be better supervised, to be fixed, to be improved, etc. It's not about the welfare of the animals to PETA, it's about their goal of eliminating no-kill shelters, and eventually, eliminating pets. People signing this petition need to know they're asking for Angel's Gate to be closed, and for the 300+ animals there to be euthanized. They're helping PETA work towards closing all sanctuaries. There's a very, very big picture that needs to be considered, and anyone who thinks PETA actually cares about helping a disabled dog or a chronically ill cat is sadly misinformed.

    A moment captured in time can never tell the whole story. Are you a person who only cleans your cat's litter box once a week? If I take a photo of that box a few minutes before its weekly cleaning, will it make you look like a good pet owner or a bad pet owner? Has your cat ever had a URI, and could a spy cam catch a picture of it with a snotty nose while you're at work? Lots of people who live in glass houses are casting stones that might one day come bouncing back...

  10. Thank you so much Heather for being the voice of compassion and reason. I appreciate greatly your courage and convictions regarding the allegations PITA has made against Angel's Gate. I too, am deeply saddened by any such allegations and hope they are extremist and untrue. I know only positive and pioneering efforts by Angel's Gate and am glad you are going to be able to attend Dr. Bittel's seminar in June. Animal Hospice is a difficult process and must be carried out with the utmost reverence and careful care that our animal companions deserve. I know of no greater compassion than those that practice animal hospice exhibit with the dignity and comfort of the hospice patient foremost in their concern and ministrations. It, above all, celebrates the life of those we hold dearest and who deserve our highest ideals: the dear animal members of our family. Thank you so much.

  11. Kaye, with regards to Susan Marino's statement about "agencies" finding violations at her house, the violations could refer to any number of things that don't affect care of the animals. I'm in violation of a local statute that says I can only own 4 pets, but my pets are in excellent health. I'm in violation of a building code because I added an electrical outlet without paying for an $80 permit. Last year I hatched two dove eggs from a nest I accidentally knocked out of a palm tree I was trimming, raised the birds, and released them. That was a violation of some state law because I'm not a licensed rehabber. There are tons of examples, but the point is that statements taken out of context don't always mean what we think.

    Also, I personally don't care if Susan Marino forgot to file a $50 fee with some paperwork, or filed paperwork late, as PETA has written about on their petition. I'm sure that's some sort of violation, too. I'd rather she spend her time on animal care than on paperwork if she's too busy to accomplish both.

  12. Heather-Thank you for posting a rebuttal to PETA's accusations. I have read many discussions on AG's FB page and am appalled by the hostility and threatening manner of those posting. I too believe that we need to consider the source of the allegations, keeping in mind PETA's agenda and also their track record on destroying adoptable animals. I have been in touch with Susan Marino since we met at a conference in the fall. She has told me and my colleagues to come visit anytime. Not the sign of someone with something to hide. Perhaps she is overwhelmed, perhaps she is taking in more than she can comfortably care for or perhaps we are witnessing animals in the final stages of their lives. That often isn't pretty for humans either. Maybe we are so busy hiding from death that we don't know what it looks like. Regardless, we need to find a way to offer healing to all involved. I intend to take Susan up on her invitation to come and offer Reiki to the animals this summer and I will see for myself. I invite anyone who really cares about the animals there to open their hearts and join me in offering Reiki, prayers or thoughts of loving kindness to heal this situation with compassion.

  13. I appreciate Heather's viewpoint. It was good to read an educated response to the allegations and made me feel better about the fact that I had left cats there over the years. I can't say I ever had a problem with the place.

    However, I am concerned about the pics of the cats that died from respiratory disease. That would be a horrible death if the cats were indeed not treated.

    So, I guess there is PETA's side, Susan Marino's side, and someone in the middle is the truth. I hope that truth is found without any animals going through undue suffering.

  14. To New England Pet Hospice… what a thoughtful response you have made in presenting ‘the other side’ that people should consider prior to simply assuming that because ‘I saw it with my own eyes’ in the video, the conclusion to be made is black and white.
    My dog is at Angel’s Gate and has been so for about 18 months… his name is Hoover and he is a rescue dachshund I adopted after someone left him in a box in Spanish Harlem. I received an email from a PETA investigator indicating that if I was someone who has an animal that has “…suffered under Marino's care and for the thousands of people who have been deceived into supporting AG” , I should contact this investigator. On the surface, how could I argue with the video I had just seen? Again, on the surface.
    A bit of background…. Hoover, my other dog Dash, and I had such great times playing in the backyard of my house for about a year, then one day Hoover’s legs gave out and he was paralyzed in his back legs. I made the difficult & expensive decision to have him operated on, and then committed myself to undertake a rehab program for Hoover. For about 6 months, I had to pee him manually every day and it was a lot of work trying to manage rehab. and get him in and out of his wheelchair.
    Did I make the right decision? I can’t say for certain… it wasn’t black & white, but I do know he was every bit as feisty and spirited and seemingly happy as before he became immobile. Ultimately, I could no longer care for Hoover myself as I travel out of the country for extended periods and finding him someone to express him daily isn’t the easiest. The dilemma was that he seemed every bit as alive and happy as he ever was…
    Enter Susan at Angel’s Gate. I was using a holistic veterinarian who was aware of Angel’s Gate and who miraculously was only 2 towns over. He had heard these wonderful things about AG and the dedication of Susan Marino to care for animals that some, like perhaps PETA, think should be discarded for the animals own well being. Perhaps PETA is right, perhaps they are wrong… I can’t say for certain. But neither can they…perhaps there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision here… there are decisions that with best intentions just lead to a different outcome. To me, it seems just arrogant and broadbrushed to presume that PETA’s way is the right way. To me, PETA should be the last group wishing to be painted with a broad brush to where their entire body of work is smeared…
    Anyway, at the time I was about to bring Hoover to AG, they were in the process of moving to Delhi, NY on 40 acres of land so Susan could continue what she considers this important ‘life’s work’ that few others would consider doing. With my friend Lori, we drove about 5 hrs. with Hoover to Delhi to meet with Susan. My impressions….what an incredible person, what an incredible facility, and importantly, what an incredible place for Hoover to be … wow, I felt Hoover had truly lucked out.
    Lori & I talked with Susan for perhaps 2 hours and I could just sense there was something special about Susan and how devoted she was to these animals… she can’t be away long enough to even take a vacation, she seemed to know each and every animal and their story… and the 1st time we were there the place was spotless. Susan’s exhuberance and excitement having the new housing built for all these animals was just so apparent and heartfelt… no doubt in my mind. (continued below)

  15. (cont. from above)
    Well one year later Lori & I went back to Angel’s Gate to see how Hoover was doing. The place and many buildings were completed (all buildings are air conditioned & heated for the animals), the rehab pool with water treadmill was about to be built, and many of the paralyzed dogs (perhaps 15 or so) were inside this very clean room in the main house… most were out, but some were in a crate during the time I was there. And Hoover was as spirited as ever, and seemingly just fit in with all the others. Yes, he slept in a crib at night and occasionally was in his crib during the day… Susan told me Hoover’s ‘sport’ was stealing chew toys from the other dogs.
    I looked at his back legs that he dragged along the ground when he wasn’t using his wheelchair and it looked scabbed and calloused and I raised my concern to Lori. She said, yes that leg does look a bit ‘off’, but look how robust and healthy he looks in his upper body and face. Well I asked Susan about the seeming ‘bad leg’. She explained that with paralyzed dogs they like them to drag their legs inside the house or on the grass so that they develop a tougher calloused area so it wouldn’t bother them when not in the wheelchair. Seemed logical to me.
    I remember leaving Angel’s Gate that visit and remarking to Lori that this place is like Shangri-la for animals…how lucky for Hoover. You know, just speaking with Susan for all that time, I trust my gut and don’t for a minute doubt the love and feeling Susan has for her ‘family’ of pets. Perhaps she is understaffed, I’m not certain….perhaps the size of the undertaking she has chosen is overly daunting… I can’t say for sure. But for someone whose entire life’s work is predicated upon selfless caring for those ‘less than’ animals and then have her reputation totally trashed and reading posts from others that she should be in jail, is just so, so unfair.
    One more thing… if you or I had an agenda to make a case against a place, it would be easy to be able to put together statements and even video to support my position. These are animals that are infirmed and in need and Susan doesn’t try to make it like an ICU, but rather to integrate the animal’s life to be as close to ‘normal’ as it can be. .. and that dog that just goes around in circles….well Lori reminded me that Susan explained to her that she took that dog in at about 1 yr. old after it was dropped on it’s head and suffered neurological damage.
    Finally, I welcome the investigation by the state regardless of its outcome…it’s in the animal’s best interests. Personally, I am confident that Susan will be found to be doing the best she can for the animal’s best interests. But for PETA to pass judgment & blast their ‘conviction’ of Susan without her being able to present her side of the story, seems mean spirited to me. Why not wait to see what the determination is first before dragging someone’s name thru the mud. And if they find that the charges by PETA are trumped up to make PETA’s case, like the accused politician once said “It’s great to be found innocent, but where do I go to get my reputation back?”

  16. Ken,

    Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences with us. First hand accounts like yours are so very much needed to balance out the snippets PETA is presenting.

    As you say, it is not black and white and we make the best decisions we can for our animals at the time. PETA certainly does take the position that all of these animals should be euthanized while Susan, you, I and others feel they can have a joyful life despite their injuries and special needs. That is a philosophical disagreement but as you so clearly stated, does not make someone evil.

    Thank you again for sharing your experiences and for all you did and are doing for Hoover. The New England Pet Hospice team will be at Angel's Gate at the end of June for hospice training with Dr. Ella Bittel and we will be sure to give Hoover a snuggle for you!

    - Heather

  17. From the Angel's Gate Facebook Page:

    Angel's Gate will be making a statement in the coming days. We do however welcome anyone who would like to see Angel's Gate for themselves to please stop by.

    The following note was written by Kim, one of the unannounced visitors we had this morning. She also took pictures and posted them for public viewing.

    This morning, I loaded up my 1 yr old daughter and camera and headed to Angels Gate, unannounced. I pulled into the driveway about 11 am, and drove up to a brand new addition on a house and thought, I must be in the wrong place, this is clearly not the house I saw in the PETA video. I was greeted by a woman with a mop in her hand who was very welcoming. I told her who I was and that I was there to see for myself what was going on. We started out in the new addition area of the house, which was several HUGE rooms for various purposes, of course housing the dogs in the PETA video, as well as a few other purposes, like physical therapy, water therapy for the dogs, they have an underwater treadmill, I saw it.

  18. Then she showed me the older part of the house which is under construction as well. There was a pee puddle here and there in only ONE room..,all recent and then a poo happened while I was there, but was promptly cleaned as was the dog who did it, since it was one of the disabled dogs. There were dogs with various birth defects, some with skin conditions, all clearly disabled. I met the dog who was circling in the video and falling over in the crib, he was out with some other dogs, happy and playing and walking wonderfully-falling over occasionally but not excessive. I met a few other dogs that circled but were so happy and loving and so receptive to attention. Everything was clean, all the water bowls were spotless, the food was NOT rancid meat as reported, I sniffed. The floors were all clean,,I mean really really clean, even the ones who got a pee puddle here or there. the litter boxes were clean, again REALLY clean, the walls were clean all bedding was clean. The staff was wonderful and very clearly loving and attentive to the animals. The environment was calm and nice and professional. NO dog fights. The horses were sweet and friendly fat and healthy, the cat cabins were incredible!!!! Each equipped with their own AC units and heating units. There were clip boards with the days activities and duties clearly filled out- i took pics, in each area. There was NO room off limits.

  19. I met Tux, the cat with the large open wound on the back of his head, he is in the infirmary, and in NO pain at all.( I am not a dr, this is my personal observation by his actions) I was told I could touch his head and he was so happy and loving, he rubs all over you, even that big spot and that area CLEARLY causes him no pain. It is a wound he got while being out on the street before being trapped and brought to AG. He is FIV+, his abscess became necrotic and is what it is today. Not pleasant to look at but he is a happy cat in NO obvious pain and SO VERY obviously under veterinarian care. ***PETA claims this animal lived in a cage for years, I saw his beautiful kitty cabin, he has one roomie and the place is amazing. There are deformities, brain issues, skin issues but all clearly being cared for. Not only is this place wonderful, but it is going to be even more wonderful with all the projects and new buildings going up. It is an educational place for people, and a wonderful caring place for animals. Some of the animals are not pretty to look at, but they ARE NOT suffering and dying. They are also not expendable and should not be put to sleep because of their disabilities or deformities. I witnessed NO urine scalding, as reported and I looked at all the animals. There were dogs in their wheelchairs happily running around, PETA reported that they denied them this. NO animals live outside, and there were heated floors installed for the dogs with arthritis and leg issues. What PETA also failed to report was that the ASPCA has been there multiple times and found nothing wrong, and were in fact there when the horse in the video passed away. They have a full staff, a licensed vet tech on the premises, ( I met them) Please keep mind I have never met or talked to Susan prior to this catastrophe. I recommend to everyone NOT to take my word for it, go up there and see for yourself. Volunteer, they need help always and welcome it. They have accommodations where you can stay over night or for a few days. I challenge PETA and anyone trusting their false accusations to go stay there for a week or more, a month, work with these animals, and then tell me if you would kill them because they are not perfect or shut down this place. Take the challenge...PETA really should. As I was leaving there were 2 wonderful women who had driven down from Canada and were staying a few days. Susan also welcomes advice, suggestions, and is so calm and kind, even in this situation she is not angry or bitter as I would be. She had no bad words for anyone and her only concern was for the animals.

    I am just a small no one who does small time rescue, and just had to see for myself if this was true. I urge you all to do the same.


  20. Link to Kim's photo album:

  21. I'm a vegan who is AGAINST domestication. I do not believe it is ethical to breed animals for food, clothing, medical research, companionship or any reason what so ever. Having, said that, I do believe we have a responsibility to the animals that are already here. We need to adopt and care for homeless animals. We created the mess they are in. I am strongly AGAINST kill shelters. And, I am strongly opposed to PETA for MANY reasons, but particularly because of their kill policy. They don't kill animals because they are against domestication; They kill animals because they believe animals don't have an interest in living. Which is absurd and speciesist. Anyone who's ever had a companion animal can see that their animal friends values their lives the same in which we value ours. I don't put any stock in what PETA has to say. I don't know enough about Angels Gate to have an informed opinion on them, but I do know enough about PETA to know they do not have the best interest of animals in mind. I take anything they say with a grain of salt.

  22. I completely agree with the "anonymous" comment above. I believe that PETA targets no kill sanctuaries for idealogical reasons. Ingrid Newkirk's position on companion animals can be summed up in one phrase: most of them are better off dead. The idea that PETA knows better than anyone else whether an animal's life is worth living seems to me to be the height of human arrogance and completely antithetical to the concept of "animal rights."

  23. I volunteered at Angel's gate for about 6 years, and I can say without hesitation that Susan's first concern and interest is the health and happiness of her animals. PETA's video seems to be edited in a way that is misleading. As she is viewing the progress on the sore on a dog's mouth, the person recording only says "yeah, he doesn't want you touching his mouth" in an effort to make her seem callous. How else can she see how the sore is doing?
    It would be too time consuming to specifcally counter all of the points, but I will touch on a few things.
    Animals that are paralyzed and have carts cannot be in the carts all day- this would create other sores and additional problems stemming from where the legs rest in the carts. An option that is often used(at Angel's Gate) is a wrap of gauze with vet wrap(also, cannot be on 24/7/and I have had to reapply wraps 8 times a day because of crafty dogs taking them off).
    Animals in Hospice care are in various stages of illness, and as other commenters have pointed out, illness isn't always pretty. I have personally witnessed hundreds of examples of animals who lived out their lives happily and contentedly at Angel's Gate. I have seen dogs walk again from hydrotherapy. That being said, there are hundreds of animals there- how many (misled) instances did PETS point out? 5? Also, the dogs that were "circling"-that is due to neurological disorders, not any type of mania because of the quarters.
    Do I think that there are things that possibly get overlooked? Sure. But that is true anywhere. Actually, no. PETA maintains an excellent record, because the instance of unsightly wounds on the piles of animals that they toss in dumpsters after immediately euthanizing is very neglible. These are obviously two very different stances. If PETA really cared about the animals from the same stand point, they would give Susan more funding and additional help. Instead they are out to villify her. Shame on PETA. I hear there are still dog fighting rings and other things of that nature out there. Is it just me or does that seem like a better place for PETA to put a fire under?

  24. i am heartened reading the comments on this site. certainly, on the PETA site, there is frenzy akin to madness and frenzy, even when fueled by good intention, blinds.
    i'll be going to angels gate in June for up to two weeks to offer Reiki to staff and animals and, if Susan is willing, to do video interviews with her and the volunteers. also, i'll be videoing the animals to capture their spirits and tell their stories and, in general, do them honor.
    i hope those who have spoken so eloquently on this blog regarding positive personal experiences with angels gate will inspire others to come forth and share their stories. the fate of the ag animals is precarious and time sensiive and warrants a groundswell of support to bring emotions to balance.
    i realize i haven't yet been to angels gate yet picturing an outcome there that surpasses anyone's dreams for that sanctuary feels right for me to do.
    regarding this website, it is a pleasure to be in the company of such merciful and humane human beings.

  25. What a breathe of Fresh Air to see some support for Angel's Gate.
    I saw the video and saw nothing that depicted animal abuse whatsover!! I saw a scuffle of dogs which is quite normal when feeding that many, wheels hanging up neat (finished using for the day), dog in a crib going in circles (obviously neurological), 2 dogs on the floor dragging and running back and forth (they looked like they were having fun), a cat screaming (I wasn't even certain the cat was screaming), he could have had TM or perhaps they were feeding him before they changed the bandages. He was eating quite heartily and actually looked quite healthy. The food was clean, bedding was clean. For God's sake, these are disabled critters!!! How are they supposed to look?
    I do not believe PETA. I was shocked when I saw the allegations and they seemed to be intent to destroy this wonderful organization. Susan Marino has been an animal caretaker for so many years and must have more love and dedication than most of us have to sacrifice her life for Hospice Animals. When PETA can stop Animal testing, I go think it's great, but I cannot believe this and truly feel there is more to it than we can see. I also don't know why anyone still listens to PETA. They are definitely not in the business of saving animals, and never have been. If in 2010 alone, they took in 1,553 cats and killed 1,507 of them, and 792 dogs and killed 693 of them, that tells me more than I want to know about PETA. And yes, with those kinds of stats, and with an agenda like theirs, they have no business going anywhere near a companion animal.
    There seems to be a witch hunt on Facebook, there are people actually lying about the situation, like vultures waiting for someone to die, but so eager to destroy, they kill the dying. This has to stop. What will happen to these animals, will PETA take them in, perhaps, but they will kill most, if not all of them.
    I don't want this to happen because all creatures deserve life, disabled or not; that no organization is perfect, (volunteer at any wildlife center for a couple of days or shelter) and see for yourself. Instead of tearing it all down, build it up by helping. If all of us love animals, we have to know in our hearts that Susan loves animals and if we really sincerely believe something has gone wrong, then perhaps we need to put that love in action by giving with a caring heart.

  26. Thanks for this blog, I couldn't agree more.

  27. Why would the middle of opposing views be right?

  28. When i visited Angel's Gate years ago, it was the spirit of love and care.

    Susan has to win with our help. I'm glad she is going to post so we can forward to our pages.

  29. When i asked my group to defend Angel's Gate, i also spoke about no kill shelters. That effort is opposed by PETA and most large animal organizations, for some reason.

    We use private shelters for the animals we rescue, which are mostly birds in urban settings, and some kill for reasons i think are downright wrong. Those people refuse to talk about it. Supporters of the kill shelters defensively stop talking logically if you ask them to think about the choices.

    Meanwhile, most rehabilitators put care, love, and life first, killing last, and they mean mercy killing when they say euthanasia.

    My group has always said: Give forever homes to unreleasable birds. The same goes for domestic animals.

  30. I agree, one cannot trust PETA to be any kind of voice for domestic animals. Found this out the hard way when complaining about a 'shelter' that euthanizes in horrific ways, their response was basically that as long as they WERE euthaninzing the animals, they had no problem with it, they only stirred up trouble for 'no kill' shelters. Many years ago I believe in their 'propaganda' ....once I got involved directly in animal rescue, I saw PETA's 'inhumane side'.

  31. During the summer of 2010 my wife and I came across a young beagle puppy who had Hydrocephalus (water on the brain). The poor little guy could only walk a few steps before falling over. The shelter he was at did not have the funds or capabilities to take care of him. We then contacted Susan at Angels Gate about possibly taking the dog. She invited us to her facility to bring the dog and take a tour. That dog is pictured in the PETA video. His name is now Tucker and he is pictured in a crib walking a few steps and then falling over. My wife and I spent almost 2 hours at Angels Gate and got a tour of the entire place. We were both impressed at the facility. Susan and Angels Gate have our support.

  32. Although your visit to Angel's Gate would have been back in June 2011, I would be interested to hear back from New England Pet Hospice as to your visit, what your staff found and also the views of others who attended the class. In your original posting you promised to reply on this blog with an update and think it would be useful for those people considering donating to Angel's Gate and/or considering 'retiring' an animal to AG to hear from you as promised. Clearly recent events may have overtaken this matter but your views would still be appropriate to share, either way.

  33. Thank you for your interest, Kevin. The seminar we had planned to attend was cancelled and we did not make the trip.

    - Heather

  34. I came across your site here because I've been in utter shock since seeing the allegations made against Susan Marino and Angel's Gate. Finally I've found the other side I've searched for! I visited Angel's Gate several times when she was still located on Long Island, and can't express just how wonderful it all was. My first shock was finding out there were 75 animals in the house alone, and it was not only spotless, but your nose would never make you think their was even one animal there. She had all furniture covered, and volunteers there every day to clean EVERYTHING from top to bottom. As for Susan herself, and her partner Victor, there was nothing but love and total dedication to the care and well being of these animals. I suspect that being in a more rural area now, the volunteers may not be as abundant, but I still believe that no animals would be mistreated or made to suffer in her care. I also must add that as a long time PETA supporter, I'm also shocked at the info. about this group that I've read here, and will be reconsidering any further support to them!

  35. I want to share my personal experience with Susan Morino...In 2005 our dog was dying of kidney failure. I felt over my head late one night when our dear Oscar was having labored breathing and found Angel's Gate online...I called the number posted on the site. It was about midnight our time, (Pacific), and 3:00 AM Susan's time (Eastern). She answered the phone and spent a long time educating us, and walking us through the dying process and how to keep our beloved friend comfortable! She made all the difference in the world for our family...not one vet, and he'd been in the care of several specialists, ever had the kind of real help our family needed for end of life care. To be able to comfort and love our little guy up to the very moment he passed has been the biggest gift anyone could have ever bestowed on our family...

    I am sickened by what Peta has "exposed" at Angel's Gate and truthfully have no idea what if any agenda may have provoked it...I was a proud, card-carrying member of Peta for years and have decide not to renew my membership this year until I gain more knowledge about their methods and agendas.

    As for Susan, I support her and her loving work and appreciate this blog for having the courage to speak out and give the facts about what it's like to be with the sick and dying. My family has had 3 of our animal companions die from old age related things in the past five years and the care is strenuous, disheartening, and not pretty...but we took on the commitment to be there for all of our family members and love them until the end.

    I'm wondering how to show support to Susan in her time of need? Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.