Animal related links, chit chat, etc.
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 8, 2014
Lisa Storey is a pet owner in Orange County, Florida. When one of her children accidentally left the home’s front door open recently, her senior cat slipped outside. Ms. Storey began searching for her beloved pet, called Sofie, immediately. While canvassing the neighborhood with flyers, Ms. Storey learned a neighbor had found Sofie and taken her to Orange Co Animal Services.
“I was kind of relieved when I heard she was there. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. She was rescued.’”
But Orange Co had killed Sofie upon impound so Ms. Storey never had any chance of reclaiming her. The pound’s vet examined the cat, determined her to be “lethargic and extremely emaciated” and killed her.
Ms. Storey was heartbroken:
“It’s not right. I mean, she wasn’t in any pain,” said Storey.
This isn’t the first time the Orange Co vet has been involved in a pet killing that made headlines. After the pound oops-killed a 2 year old dog named Hershey who had an adopter waiting to take him home last summer, a local rescuer wrote to Dr. Robert Ridgway, requesting an explanation for the killing. Dr. Ridgway’s highly unprofessional response included no explanation for the needless killing but a number of attacks on the person demanding answers.
Orange Co policy dictates that stray animals are held for at least 3 days so the owner can reclaim them. But apparently that policy is less policy and more possibly, depending on whatever way the wind blows:
Channel 9 asked Animal Services if that three-day holding policy depended on whether the animal was sick or healthy.
They said hold times are made on a case by case basis.
Orange Co Animal Services likes to read the rules and then apply them based on interpretive dance, as they did when wrongly claiming the law required them to kill a beagle named Rufus whose owner wanted him back last year.
This is your municipal animal shelter, America. These are the people blaming the “irresponsible public” for the killing and claiming shelters should do away with mandatory holding periods for cats because their owners don’t want them. Fight back.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 7, 2014
When a CA family’s 8 month old puppy got lost last month, owner Rosa Torres began looking for her right away. She visited her local shelter repeatedly but never saw her puppy, called Raffiki.
In fact, Raffiki had been found running loose and was taken to a neighboring shelter – not the one the owner kept searching. An area group called Karma Rescue pulled Raffiki from that shelter and listed her online as an adoptable pet. That’s how Ms. Torres found out where her puppy was. The owner immediately tried to reach Karma Rescue by phone but had to leave a frantic message explaining she wanted to get her lost pet back. She then went to the group’s website and filled out an adoption application for Raffiki.
“The application form says why do you want this particular dog. I said because she belongs to me,” Torres said. “I said we love her and we miss her and we want her back home with us.”
But no one from Karma Rescue got back to Ms. Torres. Instead, they sold Raffiki for $300 to another owner. In a statement to the L.A. Times, Karma Rescue said Ms. Torres’s application “did not meet the qualifications that Karma looks for when adopting a dog to a home.” The L.A. Times writer explains:
As someone who’s worked with animal rescue, let me translate that: Torres is young; she and her son live with her parents in a small rental home in a not-so-great part of town. Her dog wasn’t microchipped, spayed or wearing ID tags. If she couldn’t manage to find the dog in a week, she doesn’t deserve to get her back.
“Had [Ms. Torres] been a little more diligent, we would have spoken with her,” acknowledged Karma Rescue’s lawyer Susan Willis.
Karma Rescue decided that Raffiki’s owner wasn’t even worth talking to, never mind considering the return of her family member to her. Not everyone agreed with the decision:
“You’ve got groups that help people and their pets, through education and support, versus people who just focus on the animals and tend to demonize owners,” said Jessica Gary, who spent the last year volunteering with Karma Rescue and considered the group one of the city’s best.
She resigned last week because this case revealed an elitism that’s shocked and disappointed her.
“If they’d returned this dog to the original owner, this new family could have adopted another dog, one that might die in the shelter now because it doesn’t have a home.”
As we’ve discussed numerous times on this blog, rescue groups have no right to act like they are the 1%, trickling down animals upon the unwashed masses as they see fit. Poor people love their pets too. If rescues are truly wanting to save as many lives as possible, returning a lost pet to an owner should be a no-brainer under normal circumstances. It’s a way to put another one in the WIN column while reallocating resources to save the next animal on the local pound’s kill list. Instead Karma Rescue appears to have been determined to break up Raffiki’s family, because they deemed Ms. Torres unworthy.
On its website, Karma Rescue claims that the human-animal bond is sacred and must be respected:
“Unfortunately, your pet does not have a voice,” the Karma Rescue website reminds pet owners considering giving up their pets. “He can’t tell you he would rather stay with the family he has known and loved all his life.”
“Dogs and cats … go through psychological torment when they lose their family. Your pet deserves to stay with the family he/she loves.”
Apparently Karma Rescue neglected to include a giant asterisk there.
The owner who bought Raffiki is refusing to return her and it’s unclear to me whether Karma Rescue would send her home to Ms. Torres even if the puppy was returned. Ms. Torres and her 4 year old son are heartbroken that their family member will not be coming home. And you can probably guess what Ms. Torres’s opinion of rescue groups is at this point:
“My image for a rescue was always kind people who wanted homes for animals that need rescuing,” she told me. “I was really in shock that they weren’t trying to help me get my dog back.”
Instead of putting one in the WIN column and saving another pet in Raffiki’s place, Karma Rescue has broken up a family and needlessly given other rescue groups a bad name. It’s not lost on me that the group chose the name Karma. In Buddhism, there is no one to deem you unworthy like this group did Ms. Torres, but bad karma must be worked off, no matter how many lifetimes it takes. They might want to get started on that now. Ending their discriminatory practices and focusing on lifesaving would be a step in the right direction.
(Thanks Anne and Davyd for sending me this story.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 6, 2014
Memphis Animal Services impounded a 2 year old male Alaskan malamute on January 31 for roaming loose. His owner called the next day to inquire about redeeming her pet. This should be the end of this dog’s story at MAS – right here. Because the dog was owned and wanted and the owner contacted MAS to advise them. But it’s Memphis, so no.
MAS told the owner they would sell the dog back to her for $83 but only if the dog’s heartworm test came up negative. Then they ran to take blood from the dog and do a heartworm test. Eleven minutes later, someone from MAS hopped back on the phone to call the dog’s owner with the news: the heartworm test was positive so the price to buy the dog back was now $333. So slick. The owner advised she could not afford that amount and so MAS kept her dog.
Memphis Pets Alive photographed this dog on February 4 and February 11 and captured some stunning images of him:
A rescue group applied to adopt the dog on February 12. There are no further notes indicating why this adoption did not proceed.
Two days after the February 11 photos were taken, MAS records indicate the dog had a “brief exam” by a vet and was diagnosed with a “mild” cough. Medications were prescribed.
The next morning however, MAS notes state the dog was found unresponsive in his kennel and since “no vet was on duty” to examine him, they decided to kill the dog rather than take him to a vet for care.
In what appears to me to be a glaring discrepancy, the medical notes for dog ID #263122 indicate a vet at MAS examined the dog after he was found unresponsive and recommended euthanasia:
A dog who appeared to be happy, healthy and smiling on the evening of February 11 was found unresponsive in his cage the morning of February 14. A decision was made to kill the dog without a vet exam since, as two staff members noted, there was no vet on duty. A vet at MAS then noted that she examined the dog and recommended euthanasia on February 14. Whatever shenanigans went on here, the dog’s death was entirely preventable because this pet should never have been at MAS after his owner called to claim him on February 1.
Holding a dog for ransom that an owner can not pay is inconsistent with animal sheltering. Jacking up the redemption fees because a young, healthy dog tests positive for heartworm makes even less sense if the shelter’s goal is to get animals out alive. Heartworm is not an immediate death sentence and there are different treatment options available, including a very low cost option. The owner should have been advised of the positive test result and counseled to seek vet care. If she was unable to pay the $83 in fines to get the dog back, a payment arrangement (of any terms that would work for the owner) should have been made. Tacking on the extra $250 just because the dog tested positive for heartworm is cruel and unusual. The end result of all this nonsense is yet another beautiful dog in a garbage bag at Memphis Animal Slaughtering.
How many more, Memphis?
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 5, 2014
The police department in Odessa, Texas runs the pound. Thousands of animals are impounded and killed each year, with the police department claiming most of them are “unadoptable”. One dog impounded on February 15 for quarantine was definitely not “unadoptable” – he had a family who loved him and wanted him back. Instead, he is now dead:
OPD says on Saturday, the dog pushed up a water bowl, escaped from the opening and out of exterior doors, which were open for ventilation.
The dog was found dead in the street later that day.
When municipalities insist that dogs be quarantined at the pound instead of at home, it’s purportedly being done in order to provide the highest level of safety to the public. That is, Odessa apparently doesn’t trust owners to quarantine their own dogs at home following a bite report and requires dogs be sent to the pet killing facility for the duration of the quarantine.
Pro tip: If your quarantine cages are such that all a dog has to do is push aside a bowl in order to escape not only the cage but the entire building, you aren’t protecting the public very well. I think a reasonable argument could be made that in fact you aren’t doing your jobs at all. But with a cited kill rate of 85% at Odessa’s so-called shelter, I guess everybody already knows that.
The Odessa police department will investigate itself in the case.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 4, 2014
When Martin Starr, a Hillsborough, OR pet owner, arrived home on February 25, he found his two dogs had escaped his yard and a Washington Co ACO had left a note on his door:
Two dogs, Dojie and Lucy, were barking in the street in front of their home. Someone called AC and a Washington Co ACO responded to the scene. Three witnesses reportedly told the owner that Dojie was scared and ran from the ACO into her backyard. The ACO allegedly followed her back there with a collapsible baton and, out of sight of witnesses, beat her about the head so severely, she will lose her eye.
Bill Enro, a neighbor who knew the dogs, had offered to help with the situation:
“Just knowing the dogs, they don’t seem to be that aggressive,” Erno said. “To me I was a little surprised when I heard that they actually had to smack Dojie.”
He said Dojie and her house mate, Lucy, have never been aggressive.
An investigation has been opened by the Hillsborough police department and the ACO is on desk duty during that investigation. Washington Co AC released a limited statement regarding the incident which reads, in part:
We urge people to remember that the initial report indicates that the dog’s owner was not at home when the dogs were at large and the incident occurred.
Right. Also the victim is a slut who was drunk and wearing a short skirt at the time of the attack.
This isn’t the first time the ACO has been investigated for violence against a dog. He reportedly shot a dog to death while on duty in Alaska in 2004. His superiors cleared him of any wrongdoing in that killing. That dog was probably asking for it too.
Mr. Starr says Dojie’s future as a river rescue dog is uncertain due to her compromised vision. More than that, he loves his dog and considers her a member of the family. Mr. Starr told local media if the ACO isn’t charged in connection with Dojie’s maiming, he will take legal action.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 3, 2014
Put your animal related questions, links, stories and miscellany in the comments.
Posted by YesBiscuit on March 1, 2014
When I last wrote about the Saginaw Co pound in MI, it was to praise the local advocates who stood up for the animals being neglected at the pound, even after then-director Val McCullough instituted retaliatory policy changes in an attempt to stifle their efforts. That was in August 2012. Ms. McCullough quit in the middle of the ensuing investigation and the county hired Kevin Wilken to replace her in November 2012. His leadership was fraught with controversy as well. In December 2013, Kevin Wilken was escorted from the pound by members of the county sheriff’s office. The county declined to comment on the reason for his removal except to clarify he had been placed on leave with pay.
This week, new information came to light. After at least one local advocate complained to the county and the state about the mistreatment of shelter animals under Kevin Wilken, Saginaw Co hired a consultant to conduct an evaluation of pound operations. The resulting report contained evidence of possible crimes and was sent to the county prosecutor and MI state police, who opened an investigation. A county press release references both the consultant’s report and the state investigation of the pound:
“During the operational assessment and state’s investigation, the county became concerned that several animals under the care of SCACC may not have received proper palliative care for their injuries or illnesses,” the release states.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has since notified the county that they face a hearing regarding the allegations of wrongdoing on March 7.
“Specifically, the Saginaw County Animal Care failed to follow statutory requirements, and recommended and accepted good practices in the care of shelter animals including but not limited to proper holding, proper sanitation, adequate housing, proper handling of perishable food and proper disposal of dead animals,” the notice states.
Additional details on the allegations:
- One dog was allegedly housed in a kennel in a state of disrepair which allowed a neighboring dog to injure him. The injured dog was allegedly left to needlessly suffer and later ordered killed by Kevin Wilken.
- More than 100 animals were allegedly killed before their state mandated holding periods had expired.
- Pet food was allegedly improperly store and infested with insects.
- More than 200 animals were allegedly adopted to unlicensed groups
No charges have been brought against Kevin Wilken. He remains on paid leave. An ACO has been running the pound in his absence.
(Thanks Clarice for sending me links on this story.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 28, 2014
The city of Houston, which kills most of its homeless pets, estimates there are between 600,000 and 1.2 million homeless dogs and cats on the streets there. The same article, appearing in the Houston Chronicle, says that there is a “shortage of adoptable animals” in CO. This will no doubt come as a shock to the “unwanted” dogs and cats being taken to kill rooms in CO pounds today. (Thank you Clarice for the link.)
“Forsaken No More” is a paper on Pitbull facts by animal advocate Aubrie Kavanaugh. It may be useful to other shelter reform advocates who are battling Pitbull stereotypes and myths in their own communities.
The SPCA of Northern Nevada is using a blood test to determine which incoming dogs need vaccinations and which already have sufficient antibodies to protect them from contagious diseases. (Thanks Clarice for the link.)
A boy in a rural area of the Philippines wants to open an animal shelter when he grows up. He’s putting a downpayment on the effort now.
Eighteen cats were treated to a $35,000 home renovation by their owner in CA.
A woman in Germany allowed her horse to come inside the house during a recent bout of severe weather. He liked it.
Finnish reindeer are getting their antlers spray painted with reflective paint in an effort to make them more visible to motorists. (Thanks Valerie.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 26, 2014