top of page

Writing Project 5

          In Surrey County, Virginia, something devious was happening. Officials found 30 dead dogs, 2 mass graves with dog bodies and parts, and evidence of even more killings at this property. Bad Newz Dog Kennels, a dog fighting ring owned by NFL quarterback Michael Vick, was shut down in 2007. When investigators arrived, they discovered ghastly torturing and killing methods, including: hanging, drowning, electrocuting, "slamming", and shooting dogs (wikipedia, p.1), and other torrid faculties, such as a “rape table” for dogs. The 49 alive dogs that remained were physically and emotionally depleted and had little trust in humans left. Because of this, a court decided to euthanize these dogs. Admirably, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, convinced the jury to allow them to try to rehabilitate 48 dogs. With tremendous care and effort, these dogs were able to heal, trust again, and reacclimate, with 39 of the dogs living at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and miraculously, 9 canines were rehomed with new families. This is just one of the heartwarming initiatives taken by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Screenshot 2023-07-21 at 2.21.35 PM.png

For example, the shelter’s website depicts their goal to convert all USA’s animal shelters to no-kill status by the year 2025. The overall purpose of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary website is to “Save Them All”. This means they wish to provide the best possible life for animals. Their website advertises in their hyperlinks that their main ideas focus on saving pets in abusive situations, those that would be put down, and strays. The site is able to compel this ambition by invoking their audiences, applying context, and using strategies that work towards achieving the website’s purpose.

       First, this site specifically targets those that care about animals. When one opens the Best Friends website, they are bestowed with an advertisement that states, “Save lives this kitten season”. If one would click on this advertisement, they would be diverted to a site where they ask for “animal lovers to step up” and foster kittens. It also beseeches the site’s visitors to donate, stating that their monetary donation will contribute to saving lives. These tactics are based towards those who love animals as the viewers are presented with messages that would appeal to animal lovers, such as the sentence, “you are working to save the lives of cats and dogs all across America”. Another category of people Best Friends targets are those who have time or money to spend. The least amount of money that one could donate is 20 dollars a month. In addition, those that wish to volunteer would need to either travel to Kanab, Utah, or contribute by giving periods of time online. The last aspect of the website's invoked audience are those that are willing to adopt an animal. Because those that would want to adopt need to be able to take a pet in at that moment, the invoked audience of this website are people with space in their house and either have time or money. Best Friend’s website invokes this particular audience with endearing photos and calming colors. When the site is opened, the user is first met with an appealing photo of a kitten.

Screenshot 2023-07-21 at 2.26.23 PM.png

This photo attracts the audience to keep viewing this page and not to click off, as there is a borderline shock value equated with the cuteness of the kitten presented. If this photo is selected, the user will be redirected to a part of the page that will show other charming kittens and pets, adding to the site's appeal. Color also invokes the audience by blending the soothing oranges with the stable colors of white and black. The color orange mirrors the red rocks of the area, while white and black can mirror the simple method the site is trying to achieve. This, compounding with the attractive photos, aid in invoking the site’s audience.

       The site's first context is the exclusion of people that cannot afford fees associated with the pets as seen in the site’s minimum donation of a one time 50 dollar gift. This is also demonstrated in the adoption fees, which range from 50 to 300 dollars on average. On this note, people may not have enough money to take care of a pet. Secondly, adopting directly from Best Friends is only viable from a few areas. The main location is in Kanab, Utah, which is 1072 miles from the average US person. (census, pg.1) The shelter does have outreach programs though, in Houston, Las Vegas, New York, and Atlanta. Even though the locations are near some people, the outreach shelters cannot service the entirety of the United States. Even if a person could be an optimal distance from a shelter, they may not be accepting of having an animal in their life. This could be, for example, a worker that can not spend time with their pet.   These contextual elements shape the audience by excluding those that cannot afford a pet, reach an adoptable pet from Best Friends or satellites, or take care of one. Other aspects that contribute to achieving the website’s purpose, are able to oppose these negative attributes.

       Furthermore, the website uses Pathos, Logos, and Ethos, to achieve the website's purpose. As previously stated, the website's purpose is to advocate for animal rights. The website achieves this by attracting and enticing its visitors. The strongest strategy is the emotional appeal related to animals. The site first uses photos of either cute, or hurt animals. The site also uses emotionally catching messages, such as

 “Your gift to the animals saves lives”. These messages aim directly at the viewer, giving them full responsibility. For example, the second slogan entrusted the user that their gift specifically can make an impact. The site also does not deter from direct words, as seen in the repetition of “your” and “saving”. Compounding these two words show that the site is attempting to hold the user morally responsible for the animals well being, echoed in the many phrases noting the key characteristic, “your saving”. Pathos is defined as forwarding someone’s argument with emotional appeals. This is mirrored in the appeals of your need to save helpless animals. The website also uses Logos, as seen in the literary arguments. Under the no-kill tab, the site shows reputable statistics that correspond with the site's goal. “In 2022, about 378,000 dogs and cats were killed in our nation’s shelters just because they didn’t have safe places to call home. But people like you are changing that.” Following this, the user is given the opportunity to see “if their area is no kill”. They will be redirected to a page with an interactive map. The state’s map can be selected, showing what counties, and more specifically shelters that are no kill. It also provides the data of the severity of each location’s kill rate. This is coupled with a logical argument that displays which region needs the most help. Below this, it shows the audience how it can improve this situation. This is a Logos argument because of the logical claims made with the statistical quotes. Additionally, the site provides an Ethos argument, or an argument stemming around credibility. When  the “who we are” tab is selected, the site depicts its origins. This shows that the group grew from “scrappy group of friends from far corners of the globe” to Kanab, Utah in 1984, and developed Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Succeeding this, the website shows who initiated Best Friends: Francis Battista, Judah Battista, Silva Battista, Gregory Castle, Gabriel DePeyer, Jana DePeyer, Steven Hirano, Eaith Maloney, Anne Mejia, and Cyrus Mejia. Under each founder, the site provides an impressive and compelling biography of each person. For example Francis Battista’s biography states, “Francis Battista is co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, and today, considered to be one of the foremost thought leaders in animal welfare. Born in 1945 and raised in the New York City metropolitan area, Francis has always been in the company of pets. He studied engineering and physics at NYU and SUNY and started his career working in the family real estate business … Francis and his friends devoted their energies to healing our collective relationship with animals.” This quote includes many powerful statements that detail Francis Battista’s historical accomplishments; an example is the statement surrounding his everlasting care for pets. The website has many ethos based arguments, as Ethos demonstrates ethics and credibility

       Best Friends’ website invokes the audience with photos and messages, shapes the audience with contextual elements, and incorporates strategies surrounding Pathos, Logos, Ethos. The website applies these points to help surround the website's main purpose, animal welfare. This site has been incredibly successful in their efforts for their cause. For example, the sanctuary saved 953 kittens in just one year. That same year, the sanctuary launched “Final Frontier”, a program for dogs with extreme behavioral issues. Another example of success is the impact Best Friends accomplished during Hurricane Katrina. Best Friends coordinated the major animal rescue program in collaboration with the United States Humane Society for the affected animals. It also provided a large majority of food and animal care supplies. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is able to change the world, one website visitor at a time.





 

                                                                                Citation Page

“Bad Newz Kennels Dog Fighting Investigation.” Wikipedia, 2 May 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki          /Bad_Newz_Kennels_dog_fighting_investigation.

 

Bureau, US Census. “2020 Center of Population Press Kit.” Census.Gov, 14 Mar. 2023, www.census.gov/newsroom/press-kits/2021/2020-center-of-population.html.

bottom of page