UPDATE: See special note to Edie Jarolim below.
This is Tom writing, but it’s from all three of us at BlogPaws.
I’m going to start with the evidence you’ve supplied in your recent post, in the hope that this will help get us back on track toward working together as a community. Much more in the way of thanks, apologies, and (hopefully) clarifications on specific items will follow below.
Thank you for filling in some of the gaps I perceived, rightly or wrongly, in your previous posts. For what it’s worth, the Petland example above and the links through to the HSUS and Animal Planet investigations hit home strongest for me.
Just so I understand, did I miss these screenshots or some links to them in your post on Thursday, or the one from last year? I clicked through quite a few of your links and did not find any of these, or anything like them.
Cutting to the chase, we are very much convinced by your hard work and research, and the wrong-headedness of our response, that:
1. We need help with things like “vetting” speakers. To paraphrase Dr. Kay from her “My Puppy Mill Education” post last December, we’re embarrassed by our naïveté about the need for digging beyond our speakers’ qualifications and even recommendations to teach on a particular subject.
We hope you’ll agree that this task is beyond what the three of us could possibly hope to do on our own. Going forward, we will be creating a Speaker’s Advisory Board to enlist help from you and several others, if you’ll be willing to work with us.
2. Michael Ayalon will not be speaking at BlogPaws again. We sincerely hope that with a Speaker’s Advisory Board we will avoid engaging anyone of his unsavory caliber, in the future.
In response to your most recent post, your "response" to us: Thank You, both for the tone and for a number of the specifics and clarifications you’ve provided. And especially, thank you for the public apology about how your post made us feel. We offer the same to you – we never meant to attack. In hindsight, we should have contacted you privately. We embrace the work you’ve put into uncovering this.
Enough people we know and who know us have read our post as an attack on you and we take full responsibility for that. It was, at the very least, a clumsy and ineffective attempt to respond in an unemotional manner. For that, we apologize to you and the whole community.
Some have labeled our response(s) as bullying, or mean … and although others who know us have confirmed there was not, could never be, any such intent by us, for those who saw it that way, perception is reality. We apologize for whichever words triggered such a reaction.
To your specific points in your most recent post:
Thank you (more than I can find words to express adequately) for clarifying your belief in us and that you don’t see BlogPaws as supporting puppy mills.
Thank you for clarifying your agreement that “responsible breeders are not, nor should they be, compared with puppy mills.” If BlogPaws as a community can’t be big enough to include pet parents who love specific purebred dogs and the responsible breeders who keep those breeds with us, then we are truly missing our purpose.
Tom and Yvonne are more tuned in to mutts (though our current canine crew consists of a purebred Boston, Olive, rescued from a real puppy mill, and two mostly coon hounds, Chester and Emily, rescued from research facilities). And Caroline has her rescue Persians, but BlogPaws is for all pets. Purebred or mutt, feather, fur or fin.
On the next two points (who knew what and $$$), thanks for clarifying what you meant. I hope you’ll also recognize that from your own readers’ comments, we weren’t the only ones who misunderstood what you intended to say or imply. This should help those with fair minds to understand.
By the way, our program is created to provide education, networking opportunities, and fun for our online pet-loving community. Business follows from that, but that’s not what we’re thinking about when building the program.
Since we linked to ASPCA’s post with their reaction to the Ayalon presentation and Petside left a comment on our post, they’ve spoken for themselves.
On your point about the “Award” press release, please can we have a laugh about that one? Because this time YOU totally misunderstood ME! I wasn’t suggesting you were wrong for calling it an “award.” I was trying to say that Ayalon seemed to have over-stated it – sadly, not an uncommon thing in press releases!
What I thought had happened was that you read his term “award” and mistook that as being something different on the ASPCA website, when it was just an item on their Facebook page. If there was a page on their website where it was listed and later removed, I don’t have any way of knowing.
It just looked like a mistake, to us. If we’re wrong on that one, once again we apologize.
And on your last item, THANK YOU for noting the erroneous links in your post. That’s understandable and an easy mistake to make. Unfortunately, in this case, it contributed to our reaction by causing us to question the facts you were offering. We should have stopped and asked – we admit it.
With that, our hope is to get beyond the controversy, heal our feelings, and work together as a community. Really work together.
Thank you for being honest, upfront, and open. As a parting note, this outstanding post by a member of our community and a supporter of yours, says it best – Lessons in Grace – The Idealist vs The Realists.
Yvonne, Tom and Caroline
Special Note to Edie Jarolim:
We’re sorry you didn’t feel included in our apology to Mel and the whole community. We do apologize to you, and I do in particular for the harshness of my rebuttal in commenting on your post. Our surprise and disappointment in your public comments about BlogPaws should have been expressed privately, given our relationship and past discussions. As I mentioned before, we have always respected and supported you and I hope you accept our sincerest apology.
As Mel suggested, we’d like to enlist your help in making positives come out of this painful episode. Are you able to join us as a member of the BlogPaws speaker advisory group we’re forming?
Happy to discuss this further offline, of course.