Haisley formerly headed Animal Rescue Corps, In Defense of Animals, HSUS emergency services, & Washington Animal Rescue League
WASHINGTON D.C.––“On Saturday, January 26, 2019, 50-year-old Scotlund Thomas Haisley, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with two counts of Robbery of an Establishment,” the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department announced to media in the early hours of January 27, 2019.
“On Sunday, January 20, 2019, at approximately 6:37 p.m.,” the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department elaborated, “the suspect entered an establishment,” a Subway restaurant, “located in the 4400 block of Connecticut Avenue, Northwest. Once inside, the suspect approached an employee with an object and demanded U.S. currency. The employee complied. The suspect then fled the scene.”
Returned for seconds
“On Thursday, January 24, 2019, at approximately 8:50 p.m.,” the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department continued, “the suspect entered an establishment located in the 4400 block of Connecticut Avenue, Northwest,” actually the same Subway restaurant, according to ABC-7 television news.
“Once inside, the suspect approached an employee and demanded U.S. currency,” the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department media release repeated. “The employee complied. The suspect then fled the scene,” but this time was identified.
“In surveillance video of both robberies,” ABC-7 explained “the suspect, wearing the same outfit with a ski mask on, can be seen approaching an employee and demanding money at the register behind the counter. In the first robbery, it appears the suspect holds and points what appears to be possibly a gun at the back of the employee’s neck.
From $101,572/year to alleged $300 stick-up
“Police said the suspect took off with approximately $300 in cash in the first robbery. At least in the case of the first robbery, he both arrived and left on the Metro. The nearest Metro station to the Subway restaurant location is Van Ness-UDC on the Red Line, which he appears to have taken at least when he left, based on surveillance video.”
Haisley until September 2018 was founder and president of Animal Rescue Corps, incorporated in Washington D.C. in January 2011.
Raising $2.7 million through 2016, Animal Rescue Corps paid Haisley $97,256, $95,114, and $101,572 in 2014, 2015, and 2016, the most recent year for which an Animal Rescue Corps filing of IRS Form 990 is available.
Haisley in a September 27, 2018 interview with Nick Beres of Scripps Media, Inc. attributed his departure from Animal Rescue Corps to “possible liver failure,” including inability to “hold food or beverages down,” resulting in his becoming “very exhausted” to the point of requiring a blood transfusion.
An October 2018 “GoFundMe” posted on Haisley’s behalf raised $5,130.
Haisley suggested exposure to ammonia fumes during raids on alleged animal hoarders had caused his illness.
Former co-workers have, however, persistently named Haisley in allegations of substance abuse, beginning in 1996, when Haisley was among the first people hired by the then newly formed New York City Center for Animal Care & Control, and was also among the first people to leave the NY-CACC.
On the streets
A January 1997 profile by Bill Workman of the San Francisco Chronicle said Haisley “ran away from an abusive home life in L.A. at the age of 11,” and lived “on the streets for five years until he got a job as a construction worker in the nation’s capital.”
Workman also reported that Haisley “didn’t learn how to read until he was 16, and finally got a GED diploma a year later.”
Former co-workers have also persistently alleged that Haisley has had continuing difficulties with what Haisley himself has termed “dyslexia.”
Haisley worked for PETA for a time before moving to the New York City Center for Animal Care & Control.
Three years at HSUS
After departing from the NY-CACC, Haisley was briefly chief animal control officer for the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo, California; was executive director of the Washington Animal Rescue League for seven years; and was director of emergency services for the Humane Society of the U.S. from January 2008 until February 2010.
In that capacity, Haisley in July 2009 led a multi-agency raid on Pang’s Animal Haven, a nonprofit no-kill facility in Nanakuli, Hawaii, two days after the death of cofounder Bonnie Pang. Her husband Norman Pang had already surrendered the 400-odd animals on the property to the Oahu SPCA. HSUS became involved after the Oahu SPCA requested logistics assistance.
The Honolulu prosecutor’s office in September 2009 declined to prosecute neglect and cruelty charges recommended by the Hawaiian Humane Society, which had unsuccessfully sought to prosecute the Pangs in 1995.
Norman Pang then sued the Humane Society of the U.S. and a variety of codefendants, including four HSUS staff members and three members of the Hawaiian Humane Society staff.
The Pang case was in mid-2010 settled out of court.
Haisley, less than two months after the Pang’s Animal Haven raid, led another multi-agency raid in which Hurley, South Dakota hunting dog breeder Dan Christensen’s dogs “were seized under an improperly obtained warrant as videographers from the HSUS filmed the events,” recounted John Hult of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, after the 2016 release of a fictionalized film based on the incident.
The film, The Dog Lover, was financed by Forrest Lucas, founder of Lucas Oil and funder of the anti-animal advocacy organization Protect the Harvest.
Haisley left HSUS after 11 of the then-18 members of the HSUS emergency services team either resigned or threatened to resign in protest against his leadership, according to documents obtained by ANIMALS 24-7.
Two of those who resigned, Ronnie Graves and Allen Schwartz, detailed their reasons for departure on the October 18, 2009 edition of The Carroll Cox Show, an environmental news and discussion forum broadcast on Sunday mornings by the 48-year-old Hawaiian talk radio powerhouse KWAI 1080 AM.
Also a longtime columnist for Hawaii Fishing News, Cox was for about 10 years a wildlife law enforcement officer for the California Department of Fish & Game. For another 10 years Cox was a special investigator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Defended by Wayne Pacelle
Graves and Schwartz explained to Cox that they were particularly concerned that Haisley had asked them to wear badges resembling those worn by law enforcement officers, and that this could expose them to legal liability.
“I want the scum to think we are law enforcement,” Graves said Haisley told them.
Graves and Schwartz then took their concern to then-Humane Society of the U.S. president Wayne Pacelle.
“I like the cowboy ways that Scotlund brings to the team,” Graves said Pacelle responded.
Pacelle resigned from HSUS amid allegations of sexual harassment in February 2018.
Haisey, after departing from HSUS, was introduced as chief executive officer at In Defense of Animals on June 4, 2010. Haisley was terminated there by mid-September 2010.
Haisley formed Animal Rescue Corps three months after that.
Birds went from one bad situation to another
The new organization enjoyed a burst of good publicity after taking in 116 exotic birds who were impounded in August 2011 from Hookbill Haven Aviary in Portland, Tennessee. Owner Lasandra Walter, 69, pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty just two weeks later.
But many of the birds were reportedly turned over to the Bailey Foundation, a bird rescue charity founded by former National Aquarium bird caretaker Beth Lindenau. Forty animals were found dead at the Bailey Foundation address in January 2012. Indicted on 69 related charges, Lindenau was acquitted of all counts in September 2012. Her husband, Brady Decker, originally indicted on 93 counts, pleaded guilty to six counts of neglect in June 2013.
Nicky Ratliff says
I met Scotland on several occasions and must admit I never particularly liked him. He seemed to have very little regard for the opinions of women and fancied himself smarter than everyone else. He certainly would not have been someone I would have wanted representing my organization. The term “hot dog” comes to mind. That being said I am shocked to learn he was robbing Subway.
Laurella Desborough says
In the case in Tennessee, where Scotlund Haisley confiscated the parrots and chickens from a very responsible and diligent owner, (based on the complaint of an unhappy worker who had asked for a free African grey parrot and been denied). Scotlund Haisley proceeded to KILL a goose because “geese should not be pets” he said. Then he proceeded to kill a blind chicken because “this chicken has no quality of life.” Now, these are the behaviors of a cruel person. On top of that, he would not allow local newspeople into the facility until he had torn off the cage doors, threw stuff on the floor, etc. Many of the healthy well cared for birds taken from this facility ended up STARVED TO DEATH at the Bailey Foundation. No charges filed against the Foundation executive who was in charge! Scotlund Haisley is clearly not a decent person in regards to compassion for animals, nor a person of principled character, based on his behavior with birds and animals.
Merritt Clifton says
As the last paragraph of our article above points out, Hookbill Haven Aviary owner Lasandra Walter pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty just two weeks after she was raided. Bailey Foundation founder Beth Lindenau was later indicted on 69 charges, but was acquitted on all counts in September 2012. Her husband, however, Brady Decker, pleaded guilty to six counts of neglect in June 2013, after having originally been indicted on 93 counts.
Doll Stanley says
Merritt, I have followed your journalism on the animal protection movement for as long as I can remember. I have no doubt that your accounts relating to Scotlund are verifiable. I experienced Scotlund’s failure to follow legal procedure on two cases of mine when he was to be an observer.
Mary Finelli says
I’m really sorry to read this. I was working in the law enforcement department of the Washington DC Humane Society when Scotlund supervised field work at DC Animal Control. I could hear their operations over the radio there, and he was always so impressive with his calm and determined manner to help animals in often desperate situations.
I later assisted with a rescue effort that the Animal Rescue Corps undertook for roosters in an abandoned trailer park that was going to be demolished. Scotlund and his staff were so savvy and patient, returning repeatedly until every bird was finally caught. No easy task! I didn’t think they were going to be able to catch the last wary rooster and was pleasantly shocked when they did.
I’ve also seen Scotlund at various animal events, and he has always been very friendly and professional. He has helped countless animals in a variety of ways. Perhaps he has pushed the edge at times but the animals he’s rescued surely would approve. They are very fortunate to have him on their side. I hope the trouble he is encountering now will resolve well and that he regains his health. I wish him well.
Elizabeth Clifton says
Mary your heart is huge, but he allegedly robbed a restaurant either at gun point or with an object that the Subway employee perceived as a gun. This has nothing to do with kind acts of the past. We don’t even know how much he may have stolen from the animals. Further, his poor judgement appears to have cost cases that should have been won in court, and to have cost perhaps millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements. Haisley may be an addict of some sort and I understand addiction steals a person’s life away from that person and their family. Did he make a career
at the expense of all the animals in his path to sustain his addiction?
Mary Finelli says
Innocent until proven guilty, Beth, and even if he is guilty of having robbed Subway we don’t know what may have driven him to it. If it was a substance abuse problem he may not have been in his right mind when he did it.
There is also no evidence whatsoever that he stole ANY money that may have been intended for animal protection work.
We also don’t know that any actions of his cost court cases that could have been won or may have cost “millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements.”
I know that he has saved many animals. That is really all we do know for a fact. Let’s not be so willing to condemn our own unless there is good, actual reason to do so. I see by some of the comments here that some of your other readers are just gunning to do that, animal abusers no doubt.
Merritt Clifton says
Mary, I know for a fact that Scotlund Haisley has for at least 22 years left behind a long trail of enablers taking the rap for him, excusing him, and then telling me about behavior off the record (including actions of their own to protect Haisley) that they were mostly unwilling, for career-related reasons, to talk about on the record. Former employers have been unwilling to disclose on the record the reasons why Haisley was no longer working for them, even when I had long been aware of most of those reasons –– and time after time they were essentially the same reasons. Is there evidence that Haisley actually stole money donated to help animals? Well, Haisley has not been taken to court for this, but there is ample evidence in case after case that evidence and charges were thrown out of court because Haisley failed to observe warrant procedures; that lawsuit after lawsuit was settled at significant cost to Haisley’s employers (in legal fees alone); and that alleged perps have repeatedly walked, to go on to repeat similar offenses, because Haisley for whatever reason did not observe the rules that every successful humane officer follows. Finally, there is no “our own” at ANIMALS 24-7. We report the news. We leave judgement to the courts. We are aware, however, that when an alleged perp is caught on video in the act of committing armed robbery and making a getaway by public transit, the alleged perp seldom walks — unlike in instances where warrant requirements and maintaining secure chains of evidence are not followed.
Mary Finelli says
Merritt, you don’t know it for a fact, from what you’ve written you are going on hearsay. If indeed Scotlund had been so problematic his employers should have taken legal action against him rather than allow him to continue on in such a way. If he was and they did not, they are in large part to blame, not unlike the Catholic Church covering for/passing along problematic priests.
When I say “our own” I mean the animal protection community, of which I consider ANIMALS 24-7 a part of. There is far too much accusation/speculation/insinuation in our movement, and too many innocent activists are harmed by it.
Merritt Clifton says
I am talking about having interviewed many first-hand witnesses over the years. This is not “hearsay,” only information that I have not been able to report because those witnesses have been unwilling to go on public record, or to police, with statements which for legal reasons I was unwilling to attribute to anonymous sources. Former employers have been among those sources. In several instances they were unwilling to pursue legal action because they believed doing so would hurt their donations from people who had been persuaded by those organizations’ own publicity & fundraising machines that Haisley’s record was & is much more positive than it actually has been. We have seen this same sort of idol worship & enabling behavior time & again, for example involving David Wills, Wayne Pacelle, Paul Shapiro, and Alex Pacheco, & will continue to see it until animal advocates realize that maintaining so-called “movement unity” is much less valuable in persuading the public than maintaining movement integrity.
C. Mack says
On October 25, 2018, Scotlund was fired by Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) for spending approximately $61,000 for personal expenses. I will share his termination letter from ARC with Merritt and Beth Clifton for their use and publication provided this website puts me in touch with them and keeps my identity and email private. I also have information about the fraud underlying Scotlund’s “Go Fund Me” account.
Jan Dykema says
Curious to know what happened to those roosters. In my mind they would have been better off staying away from ARC.. and of course if you do not support him you MUST be an abuser of animals.
Mary Finelli says
Jan Dykema: “Once the chickens have completed medical evaluations, ARC will transport them to placement and sanctuary partners in North Carolina. These partners include: Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, and Full Circle Farm Sanctuary. Rescue placement for the cats is being sought in the Baltimore/D.C. area.”
Btw, are you the Jan Dykema who breeds dogs? The greyhound-racing defender? The horse-carriage industry supporter? The Jan Dykema who questioned people for criticizing this woman who pled guilty in “worst case of animal cruelty”?
Merritt Clifton says
In view that at least some of the birds “rescued” by Scotlund Haisley in the Hookbill Haven Aviary case were taken from possession by an individual who pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty, to possession by an individual who pleaded guilty to six counts of cruelty after many or all of those birds died, it is reasonable to ask what became of the animals in other cases that Haisley handled.
The so-called “worst case” to which a WMDT headline and Mary Finelli referred (above) was that of Linda Brown, proprietor of JoLindy’s German Shepherds, who in December 2008 sold a German shepherd puppy to then-U.S. vice president-elect Joe Biden, was found not guilty of neglect allegations in January and March 2009 and again in June 2010, and pleaded guilty to three of 14 counts of neglect in a fourth case filed in July 2018.
Ronnie N. Graves says
I can actually state facts where Scotlund wasted donors money telling me to buy large items like a boat, because if “We don’t keep spending, they won’t be donating” I was there when he tried to command team members to go to south Louisiana during an active incoming Hurricane. Fortunately, I was in charge of all of the vehicles and I stood up and said NO. I personally warned Wayne Pacelle in front of witnesses that Scotlund was a disaster waiting to happen and HSUS would be paying out millions to people for his tactics. That actually came true after I left. There are so many instances that we can’t possibly name them all. He’s a liar, a bully, a thief (as evidenced when he stole an animal control truck in Iowa and sunk it in a flooded river), a sexist (as evidenced by the many sexual harrassment claims made against him) and just a jerk in general. We all laughed as his story of raising himself on the streets fell apart each time it changed. One time he taught himself to read in 1 year to a college level. At last count, he told us he had 6 Degrees from various colleges, yet none of them have records of him being there.
There are some people who deserve the benefit of the doubt, Scotlund Haisley is NOT one of them. His chickens have come home to roost!!!!
Doll Stanley says
Thank you for coming forward.
Haisley defender and chief enabler Wayne Pacelle was also protected for decades despite credible reports of his sexual misconduct and documented Non Disclosure Agreements/payments to women who dared to stand up to him. But plenty of women are still defending him today with the “innocent until proven guilty” nonsense. After all, Pacelle has “saved billions of animals” and “worked tirelessly” on their behalf. And now Haisley is seen as a sympathetic figure by Mary Finelli and others. Hero worship from too many women and an eagerness on the part of too many men to believe Pacelle/Haisley’s stories and claims, in part because it reinforces their own sense of superiority. According to Glassdoor reviews in the year since Pacelle resigned, the same incompetent and abusive managers that drove people away are still working at HSUS and HSUS is still defrauding donors and wasting enormous sums of money. Acting CEO Kitty Block has no real power and HSUS Board President Eric Bernthal is holding tight to the status quo Wayne target Alison Schiebelhut, who bravely told her story to the NY Times, finally left because the culture is still extremely toxic. Reasa Currier, who told her story to the Washington Post, recently gave up and took another job. I am focusing here on HSUS because it played a major role in the misbehavior and downfall of Haisley. HSUS rewarded him because he knew how to work/lie to the media and bring in big donations. HSUS made him a celebrity. I also focus on HSUS here because it played a major role in facilitating the criminal career of David Wills, whose downfall is finally complete. Wills and Haisley have similar early abuse stories, or so they claim. Both wrote books about their heroics. Neither gave a damn about their victims – human and animal. That’s where the focus should have been – on the victims. How many could have been spared if Haisley and Wills would have been held accountable long ago?
Mary Finelli says
It’s not “hero worship.” It’s a matter of wanting people to be treated fairly. If we expect our government to abide by innocent until proven guilty isn’t that a standard that we should hold ourselves to in judging others, too?
Merritt Clifton says
Wanting people to be treated fairly pertains to victims as well as defendants. Enabling behavior and denial are unfair to all.
Amy Nikias says
Thank you Mary for supporting my Brother. He is a wonderful man, and going through a hard time in his personal life. All you haters have no idea. So please stop with the hateful comments.
A thief under color of law.
A psycho look up some of his quotes
Sex perverts, liars and thieves make up the Animal Rights community. Not to mention the animal abuse and death caused by these same people.
that’s a big ol AMEN !!!
Christie Bernas says
That’s a bit too broad of a brush. There are many good people in rescue. Scotlund has a God complex and needs to have praise poured on him constantly to keep his ego jacked up. Where the problem comes from is the money. Money corrupts completely. The people who turn up to help at these rescues don’t make a dime and work incredibly long days and nights. Scotlund bragged to me, after he just finished a media interview, that he was able to make himself cry and boasted about the money that it would drag in. What his liver was exposed to was Hennessy…and a lot of it.
Doll Stanley says
Your comment is absurd.
Geez, get over yourself already, Joe. There are more than a few grifters, embezzlers, and criminals in human charity and religious organizations…does this mean that every single individual who agrees with these causes is a monster? Guess what, the animal industries have their fair share of criminals too.
I’m willing to bet that causes you support and agree with, Joe and Robt, have examples of awful people within them–and I’ll bet you don’t have to look too hard to find them, either. So grow up and cut out the lazy, immature stereotyping.
Peter Wood says
Take your meds, Joe.
Sad and disillusioning. There is no one lower than a person posturing as a helper of the helpless who in actuality is nothing of the kind. But life is increasingly tough for most of us, and desperation plays a part in the lives of many.
Bill Brothers says
Remember, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. It sounds like there is a great deal more to this story that remains to be learned and told.
We all fall somewhere on the Bell Curve of the balance between the good we do and the bad we do. We try hard to favor the good but none of us is blameless or perfect. We’re all complex people with different amounts and types of baggage
I hope these incidents, if true, are irregularities in Scotland’s life.
He was willing to rob owners of their animals so why not rob a Subway? Disgusting excuse for a human being. Typical misanthropist activist who also used animals and preyed on the public for donations to support his scams and militant raids. Glad he finally got what he deserved.
Anne Marie Duhon says
Oh this dude who was CAUGHT ON TAPE robbing SUBWAY with what the cashier perceived to be a deadly weapon and he gets “innocent until proven guilty” yet HE and his co horts will gladly hang any animal owner that they want to take down and STEAL animals from as guilty from the moment they set sights on them! NA I hope this conniving glory hog gets the book thrown at him! You get what you put out.
Exactly. He is a presumptuous ass that will get 20-25 years if they can prove he had a gun. Commission of at least two felonys with a gun; we won’t see this AH for a long time!!
Anne Marie Duhon says
Protect the Harvest IS NOT an anti-animal advocacy organization. They are anti “animal rights” as opposed to animal welfare. As a lifetime farmer I am a member of this group and they work hard against people like Scotlund Haisley and PETA. Protect the harvest supports responsible animal use.
Merritt Clifton says
Four of the six organizations that employed Scotlund Haisley before he founded Animal Rescue Corps explicitly support “responsible animal use,” including the New York City Center for Animal Care & Control, the Washington Animal Rescue League, the Peninsula Humane Society, and the Humane Society of the U.S., which has never embraced an “animal rights” philosophy and has always defined itself as “animal welfare.” HSUS has nonetheless long been the primary target of Protect the Harvest for opposing factory farming practices that have for many years been illegal in much of the rest of the world. Haisley did work briefly for two animal rights organizations, but his tenure with PETA came more than 20 years ago and his tenure with In Defense of Animals was barely longer than most university students’ summer vacations.
Peter Wood says
Protect the Harvest supports cruelty to animals.
Maggie S. says
I have often wondered if Scotlund Haisley was a child who could not speak for himself and was abused himself. Maybe this led him to work for animals who could not speak, period. He said at one time he wanted people to be afraid of him and seemed to feel that animals, just being owned, were abused.
Scotlund Haisley is no one’s hero, nor should he be. He did not fit in anywhere he worked for long. I would not comment on his being guilty or innocent in the robbery charges as time will tell.
jan dykema says
Please change the headline. It looks like Scotlund took Subway to jail makes no sense whatsoever.. meanwhile he is and always has been a sleazy person.
Stefani Olsen says
I too met Scotlund on many occasions. He gave me a tour of the Washington Human Society complex he had helped to design, and I interacted with him at many animal related events. He impressed me as someone who is truly all about the animals. I also could see in his eyes, that the horrible things that he had witnessed had traumatized him. I am in no way excusing behavior alleged, but rather I have a heart of empathy for him because I truly believe his current circumstances are the result of the way his heart and spirit have been impacted by what he has seen and gone through. He has had a target on his back for a long time because he doesn’t mince words about people who are not really into it for the animals. I understand and empathize with this. I believe his heart and I feel he must be in trouble. I will join those who plan to extend compassion to him and rally around him if I can. This news breaks my heart. Just remember, doing this kind of work traumatizes people, and if you came from an abusive home, your level of trust in humans is low to begin with. Adding the horrors of witnessing animal suffering and abuse on top of that can be very damaging. Love to all people who work to help animals.
Merritt Clifton says
Thousands of people involved in animal rescue and advocacy have had backgrounds at least as traumatic as anything Scotlund Haisley purports to have experienced, as a teenaged multi-time runaway, but––though the others have told their stories at appropriate times, none of them built their careers around telling their personal “war stories” as an excuse for problematic behavior. Many of the longtime superstars of the field endured much worse, as early in life, including several Holocaust survivors, at least one of whom is still alive and involved. Many thousands have seen comparable animal neglect and abuse. Haisley, however, appears to be unique as the very first and only person in the 150-year history of organized humane work in the U.S. to be allegedly (and in our view recognizably) videotaped––twice––in the act of committing armed robbery.
I applaud the writers for their story on Scotlund Haisley’s arrest. I wish I could say this was a sensationalized, dramatized article, but sadly, your article was true. I can attest to his out of control mindset, having known him at the Humane Society of the United States.
Thank you for exposing him again.
Lasandra Walter says
Birds went from one bad situation to another..
I wish you would remove that headline. It is just not true. Many people, including the editor of the local paper at the time of my raid, neighbors and hundreds of people who have purchased birds from me will attest to the fact that my birds had the best of care. Haisley and his untrained group stormed my home dumping flights over, snatching breeders out of wooden nest boxes by smashing them and killing a Goffin. My birds included rescues and Best in Show winners and endangered species. Swans were taken throughout my house and there were no positive results for psittacosis, PBFD, Pacheco’s or any bacterial infection, not even in my chicken house!! My birds were the picture of health and happy. I hand raised babies for almost 30 years and was a published author on bird care. This was a illegal raid based on the lies of a disgruntled employee and carried out for political acclaim and MONEY!! $40,000 +. I was coerced financially into taking a plea deal. I was not guilty. You can read part of my story at http://www.portlandparrotsnatchers.com
Merritt Clifton says
Lasandra Walter pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty just two weeks after the August 2011 raid in question.