Name That Animal

I do realize this one is going to be extra hard since the mystery animal is still inside the egg but it’s a holiday so everything is just a little worse today, you know?

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your best guesses in the comments.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

eggs

SC Pound Director Suspended After Cat Suffers Botched Surgery

Sylvester, as depicted on the WIS-TV website.

Sylvester, as depicted on the WIS-TV website.

After seeing a story on the news about overcrowding at the Lee Co pound in SC, 12 year old Luke Giddings began volunteering at the facility.  In the course of caring for a cat named Sylvester, the pair became best friends:

“Really, we bonded when I was giving him his medicine,” Luke said. “He was mad at me. Then, he just finally got over it and he was one of the most loving animals to me.”

The Giddings family decided to adopt Sylvester but the Lee Co pound director, Doris Winstead, said he had to be neutered first.  After the surgery, Sylvester stopped eating and using the litter box and was very lethargic.  Ms. Giddings contacted Doris Winstead to ask for details about the surgery.  She says Ms. Winstead advised that Sylvester had been taken to a local vet, Dr. Ken Currie, and a tumor had been found and removed during the neuter.  Ms. Giddings called Dr. Currie’s office to let them know she was bringing Sylvester in right away for a post-op check as he appeared to be very sick.  Dr. Currie said he’d never seen Sylvester before, let alone performed neuter or tumor removal surgery on the cat.

Dr. Currie did examine Sylvester and was unable to definitively determine whether the cat had been neutered as the swelling was so great.  Sylvester had a gaping wound which was infected and still bleeding.

Ms. Giddings says she asked Ms. Winstead again who did the surgery on Sylvester but she refused to say.  Ms. Giddings filed a report with the police and the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating.  Ms. Winstead has been suspended from the Lee Co pound.  Media outlets have been unable to reach her for comment.

I hope SLED not only looks at Sylvester’s case but every other animal who has been “neutered” and/or shipped up north by the Lee Co pound under Ms. Winstead’s direction.  If crimes have been committed, I hope the issue isn’t swept under the rug as we so often see in cases involving “just animals” and the “good people who do a hard job” who abuse them at so-called shelters.

Twelve year old Luke has been crying over his beloved cat who was needlessly butchered.  I wonder if he’ll ever volunteer at a pound again or adopt another shelter pet.  I hope Sylvester is able to fully recover in the care of his family and that no more pets will meet this same fate in Lee Co.  I hate to think of the ones who went before.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Indianapolis Pound May Be Unlawfully Neglecting Animals

damning report on Indianpolis Animal Care and Control commissioned by the Department of Public Safety was released last month.  Among the findings:

  • Conditions at the pound may violate the city’s animal cruelty ordinances.
  • The city does not budget for food for the animals at the pound.
  • The position of veterinarian has been vacant since March and there are no vet techs or assistants since these positions are not budgeted.
  • Decisions to kill animals for medical reasons are made by staff with no veterinary training and made without the most basic medical information.
  • The director position has been vacant since April.  In the past 12 years, 10 directors have quit.
  • The pound needs at least twice the number of animal care techs it currently has in order to meet bare minimum shelter standards.
  • Dogs do not get walked unless it’s by volunteers.
  • The pound lacks quarantine areas to separate sick animals from healthy ones.
  • The city won’t purchase the appropriate cleaning agents needed to prevent and minimize disease outbreaks at the facility due to cost.
  • Volunteers bring in bleach and rags from home to clean cages.
  • The pound’s 500+ animals are left alone overnight.

And yet the city charges owners with cruelty who fail to provide “food in adequate amounts to maintain good health”, provide proper veterinary care and/or separate sick animals from healthy ones in order to prevent the spread of disease:

“The city is charged to investigate cruelty,” said John Aleshire, CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis. “How ironic it is that we would bring an animal back to a shelter that is not properly staffed, that does not have proper medical care and (where) the staff has to scrounge around for food.”

The report’s findings echo those of previous task forces that have examined the pound.  The lack of results over the years has ground expectations into the dirt:

“We’ve known this since at least 2000,” said Sue Hobbs, chair of an advisory board that oversees Animal Care and Control. “There have been committees and studies and panels, and nothing ever changes. It just doesn’t. It’s seriously like Groundhog’s Day.”

[…]

“If we could just get it up to miserable,” she said, “I’d be happy.”

Sorry but this isn’t one of those Everybody Gets to Play teams.  Every little improvement is not worth celebrating, nor should it be considered acceptable to neglect animals and leave them to die.  If the Indianapolis pound is in violation of the city’s own cruelty laws, people need to be arrested and charged with crimes.  The whole “Gee, there isn’t anyone in charge so whatevs” thing does not work when animals are suffering and dying.   The animals need to be sheltered.  That’s what taxpayers are paying for.  Enough with the task forces and reports already, Indianapolis.  Do something.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Allegations of Neglect and Needless Death at IL Pound

The town of Cicero, IL has a pound mired in what appears to be political corruption.  Fox 32 News lays it out:

[T]he shelter’s previous director, Sharon Starczyk, […] was fired in 2009 after she accused town president Dominick of sexual harassment. The town, though, said she was fired for poor management.

Cicero paid Starczyk $500,000 to settle her lawsuit. Dominick then appointed a woman named Erika Rosas to run the shelter, who was working as chief of staff to democratic state representative Lisa Hernandez.

Election records show Rosas has contributed more than $11,000 to Dominick’s political campaign since 2006, including a $5,000 donation two years before she got the job. Rosas has also earned thousands of dollars doing political work for Hernandez, Dominick, and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

cicero kitten

Kitten suffering at the Cicero pound, as shown on the Fox 32 News website.

If you’re not too dizzy, you can start preparing yourself to be sick.  (Warning:  there is a slideshow at both news links in this post that contains images of suffering and dead animals at the Cicero pound.  It’s bad.  Even the rats are dying at this place.)

Angela and Cindy, two former volunteers at the Cicero pound, aka the Waggin Tails Animal Shelter, went to the media with 2 months worth of recent photos and videos documenting what look like neglected, dying and dead animals at the facility:

“Parvo, animals dying, animals with infections, upper respiratory, eye infections. They didn’t have water. They didn’t have food. They would sleep in their feces,” Angela said.

Angela shot video on her cellphone when she said she went in one morning and found none of the dogs had water in their bowls and feces filling the cages.

Another video shows a kitten barely able to walk that later died and a nearly dead cat found lying behind its cage.

Angela and Cindy also said rats are rampant and dirty laundry went unwashed for weeks. Angela said she watched a cat give birth to five kittens without any staff attention.

“I came back the next morning, all five of her kittens were dead and they were still laying in the cage with her,” Angela added.

A former part time worker at the pound was horrified at the large number of animals dying there.  That is in addition to the increasing number being killed:

State records show Waggin’ Tails reported euthanizing only eight dogs in fiscal year 2012. That jumped to 66 dogs in 2013 and 338 dogs in fiscal 2014.

Fox 32 News showed the disturbing photos to Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.  He told the reporter that the people who have come forward with allegations of neglect are lying.  And that they are all involved in a political smear campaign orchestrated by the previous director, Sharon Starczyk.  The current director refused to speak to the reporter.

But after the story aired on the local news, more people came forward alleging neglect at the pound and providing photographic evidence to back up the claims.  Hanania now says Cicero will investigate itself in the matter by bringing in “some professionals to help us look at it.”  He released a statement stating that the town president “is sickened about how Cicero’s Animal Shelter is being mis-portrayed.”  Also that things used to be even worse so shut up.  Oh and the pound is “no kill”.

Congrats on getting every single thing wrong, sir.  A clean sweep is hard to find in politics.

The people of Cicero are paying for this corruption at the expense of defenseless animals.  I hope many more of them exercise their First Amendment rights and their right to vote as well.  Don’t count on the state department of agriculture for help.  Animal advocates have complained repeatedly to the state over conditions at the pound and the state has inspected and passed the pound three times in the past two months.  If change is to happen, it will be up to the so-called irresponsible public, as usual.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

Click to enlarge and to speak French.

Click to enlarge and to speak French.

Case Update: Rally for Maya on Monday, November 24

There is video evidence and an admission by PETA that two representatives of the group stole an owned chihuahua called Maya from her home on October 20 and killed her.  Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin brought charges against the two women but the commonwealth’s attorney has declined to prosecute the case. At issue for the commonwealth’s attorney is “intent”.

The video, which can be seen in this news story as well as on this Facebook page, appears to show the PETA van backing into the owner’s driveway, one of the women getting out and attempting to coax Maya off her porch by tossing treats toward her, then walking onto the porch and taking Maya away to the van.

The mobile home park owner reportedly had authorized PETA to pick up stray dogs in the mobile home park.  But Maya was obviously not a stray, refusing to venture far from her own porch, even when lured with treats.  To my mind, the video shows criminal intent:  the PETA employees know they are only authorized to pick up strays and since Maya clearly isn’t one, they attempt to legitimize her theft by luring her away from her porch, presumably so they can claim they found her wandering in the mobile home park and deemed her to be stray.

There is a rally outside the commonwealth attorney’s office slated for Monday at 10am in the town of Accomac.  If you attend, please let us know how it goes. For those outside the area, respectful letters requesting the commonwealth’s attorney, Gary Agar, pursue charges against PETA for the theft and killing of Maya can be e-mailed to commatt@verizon.net.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me links on this story.)

Case Update: Contracted Dolton Veterinarian and Employee Indicted on Felony Cruelty Charges

The Village of Dolton, IL contracted a private vet clinic, the Dolton Animal Hospital, to care for stray pets.  The animals were housed in the clinic’s basement.

In September, a Dolton police officer was dropping off a stray dog at the vet clinic and observed conditions reflecting serious neglect.  Four of the dogs in the hospital were dead in their cages, urine and feces were everywhere, and nine other dogs and one cat were starving to death.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Police removed the surviving animals and shut the place down.  A reporter spoke briefly with the clinic’s owner who seemed unimpressed with the public interest in his basement torture chamber:

“It’s a sad situation, but we’ll look into it and get back to you if there’s anything more,” said Dr. Amardeep Sangha[.]

This week, there is something more.  Although Sangha and one of his employees, Sharon Cargile, had been initially charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, charges were upgraded after necropsy results came back on the dead dogs revealing the pets had been starved to death.  Sangha and Cargile now face 3 felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Sangha’s attorney, Scott Frankel, appeared with him in court on Wednesday.  He seems about as unimpressed with dogs being starved to death as his client:

“Obviously, we are very disappointed, we believe, at the worst, what happened here should have been resolved as misdemeanors, if anything.”

If anything.  Because starving pets in cages next to dead pets whom you’ve already starved while pocketing cash from taxpayers to care for stray animals is nothing, basically.

“I’m sure when we get into the details it will be obvious to everyone that he is a responsible doctor, he is a great guy, he’s a family man, he’s supporting a family. And he still feels terrible that he has to answer all of these charges in court,” Frankel said.

I can’t wait to learn these amazing “details” so I can get on board with this Great Guy thing.  What a life transforming event that’s going to be – journeying from here to way, way over there.  And oh, how distressing that he has to answer for his crimes.  In court, even.  Like a common Not Great Guy.

Cargile failed to show up in court so there is a warrant out for her arrest.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Orange Co ACOs Under Investigation After Cutting Deer’s Throat

On the night of September 29, California veterinarian Kathleen Johnson and her husband were walking their dogs when they came upon a deer whose rear leg was impaled on a wrought iron fence.  He was hanging upside down, screaming and thrashing.  Dr. Johnson called 911, assessed the deer and waited on Orange Co ACOs to arrive.  When they did, she introduced herself as a vet and explained that the deer could be saved.  The ACOs said the deer should be killed.  Although the vet disagreed, she asked if they had euthanasia drugs with them.  They told her no and she offered to get some from her home which was nearby.  They refused.

The ACOs hogtied the injured deer, who was still hanging upside down and thrashing, and pulled out a knife to cut off his leg:

“I told them it was inhumane to cut off the buck’s leg while he was still alive without any anesthesia,” Johnson said. “The officer told me, ‘What does it matter, he’s going to be euthanized anyway?’”

Dr. Johnson offered to have her husband cut the fence but the ACOs told her to leave, threatening to let the deer to suffer in pain and do nothing at all so long as she was there.  After she left the ACOs slit the deer’s throat and watched him to bleed to death.

Dr. Johnson filed an animal cruelty complaint with Orange Co Animal Care:

Scott Weldy, a Lake Forest veterinarian who for years has helped Fish and Wildlife officers as well as animal control officers deal with wildlife, was called to do a report on the buck’s death.

When Weldy and fellow veterinarian Kristian Krause went to perform the necropsy, they were horrified. The buck’s front legs were tied together and one hind leg was attached to his neck.

Dr. Weldy characterized the suffering endured by the deer after his throat was slit as “inhumane and unbearable.”  The two ACOs have been on paid leave since October 1.  The Orange Co DA is investigating but the results of the investigation sound like a foregone conclusion:

“Whether you agree with what they did or not, it’s not a crime,” said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff at the District Attorney’s Office.

If that’s the case I imagine Ms. Schroeder will have no problem pointing out the applicable statute which states that ACOs can hack up animals with knives as they see fit.

Mercifully, it sounds like there is at least one person willing to do his job in Orange Co:

County Supervisor Todd Spitzer has been investigating this on his own since being notified by Johnson.

“County training does not authorize the slitting of an animal’s throat so it can bleed out slowly,” Spitzer said. “It’s inhumane and unconscionable with folks we want in the county dealing with animals.”

Yeah, that would be like the minimum requirement for an ACO I would think:  the not cutting animals thing.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

21 Year Old Cat Illegally Impounded and Killed by Animal Control in CT

Wallingford, CT – Scott and Kim Palmer got their cat Zima from a neighbor 2 years ago when Zima was 19 years old. They converted an insulated shed in their yard for Zima, putting in several beds, a heater, and installing a window so Zima could enjoy the sunshine. The cat house was accessible via a covered kitty door.

Kim Palmer arrived home on November 12 to find Zima was missing. She began searching the neighborhood and went to Pent Road Animal Control. She was told at the pound that Zima had been impounded and killed due to possible rabies. Ms. Palmer said that Zima had been vaccinated and couldn’t possibly have been rabid. She went home to get her husband and they both returned to the pound, only to find the door locked. They have never received any reasonable explanation for why Zima was impounded and killed.

Connecticut’s animal laws can be read here. The statutes require cats to be vaccinated for rabies, which Zima reportedly was. And there are very narrow parameters which allow an ACO to impound a cat:

§ 22-332d. Impoundment and disposition of certain cats. Authority to spay or neuter unclaimed cat

(a) Any animal control officer for a municipality which has adopted an ordinance under subsection (b) of section 22-339d may take into custody any cat found to be damaging property other than property of its owner or keeper or causing an unsanitary, dangerous or unreasonably offensive condition unless such cat can be identified as under the care of its owner or a registered keeper of feral cats. The officer shall impound such cat at the pound serving the town where the cat is taken unless, in the opinion of a licensed veterinarian, the cat is so injured or diseased that it should be destroyed immediately, in which case the municipal animal control officer of such town may cause the cat to be mercifully killed by a licensed veterinarian or disposed of as the State Veterinarian may direct. The municipal animal control officer shall immediately notify the owner or keeper of any cat so taken, if known, of its impoundment. If the owner or keeper of any such cat is unknown, the officer shall immediately tag or employ such other suitable means of identification of the cat as may be approved by the Chief Animal Control Officer and shall promptly cause a description of such cat to be published once in the lost and found column of a newspaper having a circulation in such town.

Cats who are not deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian must be held at the pound so their owners can reclaim them. And that’s if the cat was causing property damage – otherwise, it seems that an ACO has no authority to impound a cat. It appears that the Pent Road pound may have violated state laws by impounding and killing Zima. When the local paper reached out to the assistant ACO for comment on the case, she had nothing to say.

There is a provision in the state laws for owners who have had their pets taken by ACOs to complain:

§ 22-335. Removal of municipal animal control officer. Complaint against municipal animal control officer

Any municipal animal control officer may be removed by the authority which appointed him or by the commissioner, and a successor may be appointed by such authority or commissioner. Any owner of a dog or cat aggrieved by the taking of such dog or cat by a municipal animal control officer may make complaint to the appointing authority of such municipal animal control officer or to the commissioner; and if, upon investigation of the complaint, the authority or the commissioner finds that the municipal animal control officer took the dog or cat otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or abused or cruelly treated the dog or cat, the authority or the commissioner may remove the officer and appoint his successor.

I hope the Palmers file a complaint. How many other owned pets has the Pent Road pound impounded and immediately killed? How many owners have given up hope after finding the facility’s doors locked and/or being met with the staff’s refusal to provide explanations as to what happened to their pets?  Where are the records for Zima and all the other pets killed at this facility indicating a vet determined them to be medically hopeless and suffering?

Cats are second class citizens in far too many so-called shelters in this country.  It’s past time for that to change.  Oh but nobody WANTS to kill animals, it’s all the irresponsible public’s fault, spay-neuter would solve everything and [insert your favorite myth here].

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

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