Why would a cult try to close down an animal sanctuary?
THE SCIENTOLOGY CULT IS ATTACKING AN ANIMAL SANCTUARY
My name is Robert Vaughn Young. My wife and I have been operating a small
non-profit animal sanctuary in Seattle, Washington. Over the last two
years, we have rescued and adopted out nearly 500 cats and dogs. That
effort is now jeopardized because the Scientology cult is attacking the
sanctuary and trying to get it closed down.
Why would a cult try to close down an animal sanctuary?
Please read on. It will take a few screens.
OUR ANIMAL RESCUE/SANCTUARY WORK
Our initial work started with my wife volunteering at PAWS (Progressive
Animal Welfare Society, based north of Seattle, in Lynwood), by being both
a foster home and helping with off-site adoptions. The effort was so
successful that my wife, Stacy (the initiating and moving force), was
featured in a news article and given an award from PAWS for the hundreds
of cats that were adopted out through her effort.
As we continued to fill this need, our "foster home" grew faster and was
more successful than we ever imagined or planned for. One reason, we
discovered, was that there is no such sanctuary in Seattle. The closest is
the Humane Society in Bellvue, an affluent community to the east of
Seattle. The only thing in Seattle is Animal Control, the "Pound." So the
word began to spread and our popularity grew. By "kitten season" (those in
rescue work know what this means) our too-small home was bursting with
felines. Very young kittens take up little space, until they begin to dash
about under foot and up the wall. Children walking by with their parents
would see the kittens in the window and would drop in as if we were a
"petting zoo" and be surrounded with playful felines. (There is a lot of
therapy to be found being surrounded by adorable kittens.)
We finally gave our effort a name, calling it Friends of the Animals
Foundation (FAF), dba, West Seattle Cat Rescue or WSCR - pronounced
"whisker." (We're not in the phone book under WSCR as we are operating
from our home.) In July, we incorporated as a non-profit, with an eye to
the day that we could establish an actual sanctuary. We are seeking
501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for FAF because we plan to provide sanctuary
to other animals, one we can find and create adequate facilities.
To date we have adopted out nearly 500 kittens, cats and a few dogs. These
animals were homeless, abandoned, sick, injured, abused, handicapped or
destined to be euthanized. Here are some examples:
* Lionel - More than any other animal, Lionel was the inspiration for
our no-kill philosophy. A three-year-old gray male tabby and an abandoned
stray, Lionel was found in some bushes about a year ago by one of our
neighbors who called us to help. Lionel was in a horrible, bloody
condition, obviously hit by a car. We rushed him to emergency and were
told that both front legs had been crushed and the side of his head was
badly scraped, apparently dragged by the car. (We have no idea how he got
to the bushes.) They said that he would definitely lose one leg and
probably the other and recommended he be euthanized because such care
would be too expensive. We made a decision which defined FAF/WSCR. We
refused to kill him and found a feline orthopedic surgeon the next day who
said he would try to reconstruct Lionel's legs. We had no idea how we
would pay for it, but we agreed. After a five-hour operation, and 24
screws and two plates to hold the shattered bones together, Lionel emerged
with two - repeat, two - of the most beautiful blue and yellow bandaged
legs you have ever seen. (We still show pictures of him.) Then, hearing of
his plight through a local news item, the West Seattle community rallied
and Lionel's entire bill (about $3000) was paid by donations to the clinic
and a large community weekend yard sale. The best news is that he
recovered. He lost a few toes due to infection but he can run and jump and
today he lives in a new home with two other cats adopted from us.
* Lily - blind due to a congenital defect and with an eye infection,
Lily was to be euthanized but we took her in. She was treated and adopted
out to a fine home where she lives happily today with another cat, proving
that even blind cats can lead happy lives.
* Beauregard - a tall golden retriever who should have weighed over 100
pounds, he was skin and bones (only 63 pounds when weighed at the vet),
and was barely able to walk, when he was found abandoned. After months of
care and good food, he made a full recovery and finally weighed in at a
healthy and robust 110 pounds. He now can run and play at his new Seattle
* Lucky - a black short-hair cat, she was found by a neighbor at a
shelter when she was literally being taken from her cage to a back room
for euthanization as "unadoptable." The neighbor adopted her on the spot,
renamed her "Lucky" (for obvious reasons) and brought her to WSCR. We
found a home for her one week later, which proved her name.
* Walter - a three-month old kitten, he was found trying to stay afloat
in the middle of Lake Union. How he got there and how he survived for how
long until found by a passing boat, no one knows. Hauled out, he was
hypothermic but alive. They rushed him to us where he warmed up and
recovered and now lives happily with a new family on solid land.
* Trey - a three-legged (hence the name), declawed Cornish Rex, Trey
was found crying in a dumpster. Brought to us, we first thought he was
feral (wild) because of his behavior but it turned out he was completely
incensed at being deserted in a dumpster. We took out ads and posted
notices around the area for weeks but no one claimed him. He finally
calmed down and became an incredibly loving cat. He is still looking for a
Not all of those we take in are so distinctive, of course. Most are
otherwise ordinary cats and kittens (and some dogs) that simply have no
home and thus are susceptible to being killed. So we take them in or get
them to foster homes until adopted. None are put down for lack of
adoption. We have found homes for every animal taken in, even if it takes
Our adoption policy (so you know we are serious) is rigorous but simple.
No animal comes in without an examination by a licensed veterinarian and
tested negative for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. As part of the
adoption, the animal is spayed/neutered (if not already) and given their
first shots. Those seeking to adopt are given an application to fill out
and are interviewed to ensure they have the home and are serious about the
adoption. We also require that the person agree to no declawing and should
there be any problem, the animal is to be returned to us, and not
euthanized or sent to the pound.
This is how we have adopted out about 500 animals over two years.
But we made one mistake: As valuable as our effort is - and there is only
one group that disagrees with that - we didn't check the zoning
regulations. That gave Scientology the chance they needed.
SCIENTOLOGY'S ATTACK ON THE SANCTUARY
One morning, our neighborhood awoke to find that someone had left a sheet
of paper on every doorstep. It was anonymous but purported to be from a
"concerned neighbor" and said our cats were a nuisance and urged neighbors
to complain to Animal Control and the city. (It should be noted that the
WSCR cats are all kept indoors. Our three cats are allowed in and out and
there are a number of other outdoor cats that belong to neighbors.) A
special anonymous letter was attached to our door saying that we better
get rid of the animals or else.
We soon identified the attack as coming from Scientology when a private
investigator, David Lee, began to call around Seattle, using the same
allegations that appeared in the anonymous flyer. He also told people he
was investigating us for "animal abuse," trying to plant seeds of doubt
about us in people's minds. He said he was working for LA Private
Investigator Eugene Ingram, widely known to work for Scientology attorney
Kendrick Moxon. (Moxon is the lead Scientology in-house attorney. After
Ingram was thrown off the Los Angeles Police Department for his
connections to drugs and prostitutes, he went to work for the cult. He is
wanted in Florida for impersonating a police officer.)
There was no doubt a campaign was being orchestrated against us. After no
complaints to the city in two years, they were pouring into city officials
on a daily basis. Calls were made to various Seattle City offices,
including Animal Control, from people who asked to "remain anonymous."
According to officials we spoke with, the callers (there are apparently
only two) said the house was filthy and our cats were diseased with "open
sores." Besides calling various agencies, they also called city council
members to complain that the agencies were not acting fast enough against
us, urging political pressure. At least two offices responded.
Under such a barrage, Seattle Land Use visited and did an inspection. He
had no objections to the state of the house or the grounds. (We have a
5x5x18 outdoor enclosure that resembles an aviary, with driftwood and
shelves for cat climbing and sleeping. The cats can access if from the
house through a cat door/window.) The section of Seattle law being used
says that a residence cannot have more than three small animals. Anyone
walking by could see we had more than three. It was hardly a secret. When
we asked if the fact that the animals are transitory (between homes) made
any difference. We were told it does not, unless we get a variance to the
zoning code, which we cannot do since we rent. So we were issued a
citation, giving us 14 days to comply (get rid of the animals) or to
respond. He would not tell us who had complained.
The next day, Animal Control visited us, unannounced, saying they had
received numerous complaints about animals with "open sores" and "filthy
conditions" etc. We invited the officer into the house. The officer
commented how clean it was, how it smelled very nice, that the cats were
well-behaved and that he saw no abused animals, let alone any with "open
sores." (This was the second visit by Animal Control. During an earlier
visit, the officer reported the cats were fine and there was no odor to
the house.) Despite the fact that the environment was completely contrary
to the complaints, he gave us citations for having 10 extra unlicensed
adult cats. (Kittens did not count.) We have 14 days to pay the fine ($50
each) or request a hearing. He would not tell us who had complained.
To show further how we are being harassed, we also had a visit from two
county mental health workers who asked for Stacy. They said they had a
call from a "concerned neighbor" (anonymous again) who said a Stacy was
acting erratic, not eating and was "collecting cats." It was obvious that
they were there to see if Stacy should be committed. We invited them in to
see that the information they had been given was completely bogus. (They
too had been told the house was filthy and the cats unhealthy.) We also
explained our role as witnesses in a Scientology homicide case. (See
below.) They left, apologizing.
In the meantime, there has been more harassment every day, ranging from
abusive telephone calls to anonymous hate mail. (Yes, we report it.)
WHY IS SCIENTOLOGY ATTACKING A SANCTUARY?
There are three reasons.
1. Scientology learned that my wife and I may be key witnesses in a
prominent homicide case (featured in Newsweek and other national media -
see below) in which the cult is the defendant.
2. Scientology is terrified of a rumor that my wife and I were recently
interviewed about them by "60 Minutes," a hard-hitting investigative show
that, with 30 million viewers, is the most-watched program on American TV.
3. Scientology has apparently heard that the German federal government
wants me to testify about the cult's crimes and abuses before a
For you see, between my wife and I, we spent 35 years in the cult. I
became the cult's national spokesman as early as 1977. (See the NY Times
Index.) We fled the cult in 1989 and have been willing to speak out about
the abuse. Scientology does not like that. The cult is notorious for
terrorizing anyone it fears, from ex-members to federal judges, as an
attempt to intimidate them. In the words of Scientology founder, L. Ron
Hubbard, "find or manufacture" enough threat against the person to cause
them to "shudder into silence." It is Scientology's "fair game" law. (see
That is why our animals are now under attack by this cult. Scientology
knows how important our animal rescue work is to us. They were unable to
silence us so now they are seeking to "find or MANUFACTURE" enough threat
to the innocent animals, hoping we will "shudder into silence."
Can one go lower than threatening an animal sanctuary?
SCIENTOLOGY AS A "MAFIA-LIKE" ORGANIZATION
There is no scarcity of proof that Scientology terrorizes people.
As Time magazine pointed out in their 1991 cover story, "The Thriving Cult
of Greed and Power," Scientology is a "hugely profitable global racket
that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner."
In a 1984 civil case, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul Breckenridge,
Jr., after listening to months of testimony about the cult said, "In
addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the
organization over the years with its 'fair game' doctrine has harassed and
abused those persons not in the church whom it perceives as enemies."
(For more, see below.)
That is why Scientology is threatening innocent animals. They want to
intimidate and frighten my wife and me. They know that we will not
sacrifice these animals and so -- like terrorists taking hostages -- they
came after the innocent and the defenseless. They know that our first task
is to protect the animals and that is what we will do.
The other purpose is to intimidate and influence our friends, neighbors
and supporters, to make them back away from us, to apply more pressure to
us. However, it has had an opposite effect. Many are outraged at the
tactics and have increased their support.
WHAT WE ARE DOING IN RESPONSE
The State of Washington has a "public disclosure" law and we have begun
filing requests to get the records and reports.
As far as the animals themselves, we will protect them. They will not be
abandoned and we will not give up our work. While dealing properly with
the various citations, we will find a new location for them so that our
work can legally continue, by whatever miracle. (If anyone has a lead -
especially in unincorporated King County, even temporary - let me know.)
In the meantime, as I write this (Oct. 2), I received a call that David
Lee is in Seattle, making his rounds and asking questions about our
animals - clevery pushing and citing the "complaints" already planted -
and our private lives.
I want the world to know the extremes that this cult of thugs will go to.
Scientology already has a reputation for harassing Netizens, as well as
the media and others. Now let Scientology add a new credit to their list
of abuses: innocent animals.
Robert Vaughn Young
The Newsweek article on the death where we might testify is at
Time magazine's award-winning cover story on Scientology is at
An article I wrote for QUILL, for the Society of Professional Journalists
A declaration I wrote about Scientology's "fair game" policy of attack at
Another declaration I wrote regarding "fair game" is at
Put "fair game" into this search engine to read Scientology's rules at
Most of my postings to alt.religion.scientology are archived at
One of the most-cited pages about Scientology is Ron Newman's at
Read how Scientology set up a woman author to be falsely arrested at
Judge Breckenridge's decision is at
Read "The Two Faces of Scientology," from American Lawyer magazine at
FACTNet has quotes from judges about Scientology at
FACTNet has listed out instances of Scientology's Human Rights Abuses at
Electronic Freedom Foundation archived the cult's attack of the Net at
Scientology's problems in Germany can be found at
The German State of Bavaria has a few things to say about Scientology at
Scientology was raided in Greece with information at
For some of their problems in France, see (in English)
See the Los Angeles Times story on how Scientology attacks critics at
And see Scientology's President (now out on bail) in handcuffs at