Melanie Kahn’s Transition from Journalist to Dog Advocate

humane society puppy

Melanie Kahn thought she had her life planned out. Her career goal was to become a television news reporter, and she was well into that goal when a news assignment story caught her eye and veered her onto another path. About a year into her reporting job in Louisville, Kentucky, she was assigned to cover a story about a Humane Society of the United States puppy mill raid. “It was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and it affected me in a way that I didn’t expect it to,” explains Kahn, who today is the campaign senior director of USUS’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “It’s so unbelievable that not only could people abuse animals in this manner but then on top of it be okay with making a profit from it.”

For the next year she continued in her journalism career but used every minute of her free time volunteering for The Humane Society and learning as much as she could about the puppy mill industry and animal abuse. During the volunteer hours, Kahn began meeting people within The Humane Society. She became so well known for her passion for fighting this specific animal cruelty that when a position opened up within The Humane Society, Kahn was put up for it and without hesitation she took it.

puppy mill“I didn’t come to the position with any animal welfare background, other than being a person and having a dog, but I’m passionate about this and driven and I think I can help change things,” says Kahn, who attended the 2nd annual Palm Beach To the Rescue! From Cruelty to Kindness Gala, benefiting the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign. The event, which took place earlier this year, was hosted by Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and co-chaired by James Berwind and Therese Mersentes. Special guests Jill Rappaport and Amanda Hearst were also in attendance.

Ignited with passion from the abuse she saw, Kahn decided to use her journalistic voice in a new manner as the senior director of the Stop Puppy Mill campaign, which is the largest issue campaign in the country focusing on puppy mills. Kahn got to work right away.

“The biggest shock has been realizing how much vehement opposition there is to ending this. I never thought it’d be hard to save puppies but it’s unbelievably political. People genuinely think that it is ok to treat dogs like livestock and to profit off of that.”

Even with opposition, the campaign has managed to pass 10 state-level bills that crack down on puppy mills, 19 localities including large cities such as Phoenix, Chicago and New York City and also finalized two major federal rules.

Despite Kahn’s obvious success in this position, she hopes this career isn’t too long. “When I started this position, my supervisor asked me during the interview, ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years?’ I told her that in ten years I see myself working somewhere else because I will have done my job well and puppy mills will no longer exist in this country.”

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1 Comment

  • Randy Janssen says:

    Groups like the HSUS are animal rights fakes. They raise money by pretending to take care of dogs and cats and then spend most of it on ads to raise more money, pensions and salaries. The only thing the national animal rights groups like the ASPCA, HSUS and PETA seem to be good at, is publicity to raise money. Their idea of animal protection is internet attacks on farmers and ranchers. Taking care of animals is way down at the bottom of their agenda.

    These are from a local animal shelter’s plea for money:

    Please keep in mind, we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and do not receive any help from ASPCA, HSUS, PETA, etc. We need your donations to help keep our doors open so we can continue helping local homeless pets as we have for the past 30-plus years. Specify who your tax-deductible donation is for with complete address where notification or acknowledgment should be sent and your complete address. We will do the rest.
    This is from another shelter:
    We’ve all seen the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials — and become numb to them. Don’t get us wrong, we want to help the animals, but we’re not really sure how the horrific images and sad song really does anything for local shelters. But when Charleston Animal Society and C. Wonder team up on Fri. May 30, we’ll know where the money goes. And you get a little something too for helping out the cause — breakfast and 10 percent off your full-price purchases. During the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., C. Wonder (285 King St.) will donate 20 percent of the event’s proceeds to the shelter.

    A third shelter said this:

    Make CHS Your Pet Project

    The Casper Humane Society is not supported by city, state, or national funds (including The Humane Society of the United States). All revenue comes from donations, bequests, memorials, adoption fees, and fund drives.

    The problem with national animal rights groups is that the talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.
    They just seem to be in it for the money. If you want to help animals, give to your local shelter.

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