Oops They Did It Again

Hello animal shelter, I’d like to redeem my pet!

Oh.

Well.

Ah.

Oops:  A cat in Virginia Beach got lost last Monday.  On Tuesday, the owner called AC to see if they had her.  They did.  The owner was told to come down and pick up the cat on Wednesday.  The owner was filled with anxiety Tuesday night, waiting to get her kitty back home.  When she showed up at AC on Wednesday, she found out they had killed her cat:

Virginia Beach Police spokesman MPO Adam Bernstein said Animal Control Services staff suspected the cat had rabies because of it was showing symptoms and aggressive behavior.

No details are provided as to what exactly the “symptoms” were but certainly a cat acting pissy at a shelter is nothing unusual.  They’re often scared and upset.  That doesn’t mean they’re rabid.

The owner says her cat was current on her rabies vaccine.  Not that anyone at the shelter bothered to check before the looks-like-rabies diagnosis condemned the cat to a swift death.

AC is conducting an internal investigation of the matter.

AKC Judges Guilty of Animal Cruelty in PA

AKC judges Mimi Winkler and Jim Deppen had been charged with a combined total of 60 counts of cruelty and related charges after local authorities found sick and dead dogs at their PA show kennel.  Although cleared of most charges, they were found guilty on some of the counts in court yesterday:

District Judge Rod Beck found Winkler, 71, and Deppen, 46, guilty of three cruelty counts against bichons frises, one cruelty count against a border collie and one count of operating an unlicensed kennel. Winkler was also found guilty of making a false statement to a dog warden.

Each guilty count carries with it – brace yourself – a $200 fine.

While the judges’ defense attorney described the entire case as a waste of time over “dogs having a bad hair day”, prosecution witnesses testified otherwise:

Prosecution witnesses included veterinarians, bichon frise experts and the three dog wardens who said the dogs needed veterinary attention, not grooming.

The original police report indicated dogs at the kennel were “living in unsanitary conditions and had heavily matted coats, long nails and open tumors on some of the dogs that were untreated”.  The Border Collie was described by police as “emaciated and sickly”.

Do the words “open tumors”, “emaciated” and “sickly” sound like dogs that needed a spit shine and a-little-off-the-top?  Maybe the judges should have placed satin bows over the open tumors and hid the Border Collie’s rib cage with a cute sweater.

The defense attorney says he will appeal the convictions.

Treats on the Internets

NC:  Gaston Co board votes unanimously to increase killing of shelter pets via lethal injection and decrease killing by gas chamber

Robeson Co Animal Shelter has hired a new director.

Statesville police, acting on a tip, found a dog fight in progress at a home with about 20 people in attendance.  Only the resident of the home was arrested despite a law in NC which makes being a spectator at a dog fight a felony.  The 2 dogs were seized.

WV:  Brooke Co says their new shelter is full so some dogs have to be housed at the old shelter.  Local animal advocates say the dogs are being kept in pitch dark, without food or water.

WA:  After one dead kitten tested positive for panleukopenia, the Everett Animal Shelter decided to kill every cat in the place.

TX:  A dog owner who put up two fences and a Beware of Dog sign had her pet seized by AC after a kid stuck his finger through a hole in the fence and was bitten by the dog.  After the dog tested negative for Rabies, he was returned to the owner, who has now put up a second sign.

MN:  Resident nursing home cat sits with patients as they exit life.

Canada:  Brindi, a shepherd mix with a history of dog aggression whose case became famous when she was held for 2 years by authorities while the courts sorted things out, was returned to her owner a couple of months ago.  She has reportedly been seized again, after allegedly attacking another dog.

Humane Watch compares similar patterns between HSUS and ONE

Update on Abandoned Pets at Walker Co Humane Society

The man depicted in a YouTube video abandoning puppies at the Walker Co Humane Society has come forward to take responsibility for his actions.  He visited the WCHS and explained that he had found the pups abandoned at his church on a Sunday morning.  He took them home for the night and on his way to work late Monday afternoon, brought them to the shelter, which was closed.  His friends and family have reacted negatively to his actions and he feels bad about what he did.  He made a donation to the shelter.

[Shelter director Lane] Reno said one reason she posted the video of Monday’s incident was to educate the public about how frequently animals are abandoned at the humane society.

[...]

Reno said a nighttime drop-off has not worked in the past because incompatible animals were sometimes placed in the same cage and the staff also wants some history on animals that come into their care.

Well sure.  It would be ideal if everyone obeyed the law, didn’t abandon pets at shelters (or anywhere) and provided a complete case history when surrendering them.  But reality is that people do leave pets at this shelter after hours.  Almost daily.  And those pets have no safe place to stay.

Certainly drop boxes carry a risk that incompatible animals might be placed in the same cage.  But if given a choice between the possibility of that happening and the reality of pets being abandoned daily without safe confinement, I’d choose the drop boxes.  And perhaps more than you’ve put out in past, so as to minimize the risk of the cage already holding a pet when another person decides to place a pet inside as well.

“People bring animals by here all the time at all hours of the night. I just don’t want them to do that,” Reno said.

Right – You.  Don’t.  Want.  Them.  To.  We get it.  How’s that working out for you?

Memphis: Killing 16,000 Pets a Year Isn’t Enough

Memphis has adopted a mandatory spay-neuter ordinance.

In legislation that moved Memphis into ranks with cities such as Denver and Los Angeles, the Memphis City Council approved a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for dogs and cats on Tuesday.

Gee Memphis, you must be excited to join such nightmare killing cities as Los Angeles with its failed MSN and Denver with its endless litigation over its terrible Pitbull ban.  Good going.

About 100 people attended last night’s city council meeting with half in favor of MSN and half opposed.  Where was Memphis Animal Shelter director Matthew Pepper’s opposition?  Was he even there?  Maybe he’s not at all concerned about saving his community’s pets, I don’t know.

Ordinance supporters argued that with about 16,000 animals euthanized in Memphis each year, a spay/neuter ordinance is a progressive solution to the problem.

Unless Memphis somehow breaks the mold, the number of pets killed annually under MSN will not be reduced and may well increase.

Under the Memphis ordinance, there are some exemptions – but not for the pet owners who need them.  For example, dogs registered with the AKC – that paragon of virtue – need not be altered.  But poor people, feral cat colony caretakers, owners who lack transportation to and from the clinic and others who need assistance in getting their pets neutered get a big fat nothing from the ordinance by way of special treatment.

In the absence of Matthew Pepper, the pets of Memphis had to look elsewhere for a voice to speak on their behalf:

“If you enforce the leash law, then the leash law will take animals off the street, reduce complaint calls and we’ll end up with less animals at the shelter,” said Donna Malone of Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee, in opposition of the law.

Sounds reasonable.  Except of course AC is short staffed and nearly 1000 calls behind.  So they probably can’t enforce the leash law.  But somehow, maybe by magic, they’ll be able to enforce MSN?

Walker Co Humane Society Ignores Plight of Abandoned Pets Daily

The Walker Co Humane Society in AL hardly seemed thrilled about having video from their security cameras posted online when it proved their shelter director had killed a friendly dog named Boost and then lied about it.  In fact, the director’s attorney tried to go through the courts to get the video removed from the web.

But this month, the shelter was only too eager to post footage from their security cams on YouTube when it showed a man abandoning 6 puppies at the shelter after hours.  They wanted to identify the man and lecture the public about not abandoning animals at the shelter.  The shelter director, Lane Reno, says “[T]his really happens a lot”.

Reno said he appears to have left the dogs at the side of the building where employees leave several bowls of food for abandoned animals.

Only 4 of the pups were found by the shelter staff the morning after they were abandoned.  Of those, one reportedly died not long after admission.  I don’t have any details on that pup but I wonder what it is that affected him and not the littermates.  How did he die so quickly while in the shelter’s care?

At any rate, the shelter is located on a busy intersection and near railroad tracks.  If, as Ms. Reno says, people are abandoning pets at the shelter after hours “almost every day”, why hasn’t the shelter addressed this issue long ago?  Why don’t they have “drop boxes” like other shelters so pets left after hours can be safely confined until the morning crew arrives for work?  To my mind, they could at least leave some crates outside with food and water in them and maybe a tarp (if it’s not too much trouble).  No wonder the report says someone left a pet in the shelter’s dumpster one night – there isn’t anyplace else to put them!

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what on earth Walker Co HS is thinking by leaving bowls of food out for abandoned pets on a busy intersection.  I hate to break this to you all sudden like but:  Bowls of food does not equal safe, temporary confinement.  I shudder to think pets are being abandoned at this shelter “almost every day” with nothing more than a bowl of food to protect them from being squashed by a car or meeting some other dreadful end.  I don’t know how the taxpayers of Walker Co can allow the shelter to continue ignoring this issue.  On top of that, they then have to stomach a lecture from the director on irresponsible actions regarding pets!  Ugh.

I have no idea what the story is with the man in the video – or for that matter, with any of the people who are abandoning pets at this shelter.  Maybe they’re all evil.  But I doubt it.  It’s plausible to my mind that at least some of these people are simply facing difficult circumstances and using poor judgment.  I’ve been known to make bad decisions when stressed myself.  I bet at least some of these folks are well intentioned, heading to the shelter with their pets, thinking they are doing the right thing.  After all, they’re not throwing them into a river or leaving them in a rural neighborhood far from home.  They’re trying to get them to a place where they think they’ll be cared for and adopted out.  But after finding the shelter closed, a difficult situation turns into a sort of panic – people don’t know what to do.  They still don’t want to go the turning-loose-in-the-country route, so they try to think.  That’s possibly what the man in the video is doing.  He walks around, doesn’t find anyplace suitable to leave the pups, and makes a bad decision.

Maybe the man with the 6 puppies knows better – maybe he doesn’t.  The same goes for everyone abandoning pets at the shelter after hours.  But you know who absolutely should know better?  The Walker Co HS.  They are paid by taxpayers to know better.  Get your act together Walker Co HS and come up with some drop boxes so no more pets die because you repeatedly fail to respond to a crisis that greets you “almost every day”.

A posting on the shelter’s Facebook page says that the man in the video came forward voluntarily and told his side of the story and gave the shelter a donation.  They seem to consider the matter closed.  I hope the taxpayers of Walker Co hold the shelter accountable for its part in these needless tragedies.

Spare a Fivespot?

If you can, I have a suggestion for you: Check out this effort to help a no kill shelter in Iowa keep its doors open. Take a look at the shelter’s website.  If it seems worthwhile to you, donate your $5 directly to the shelter.

The Needle and the Damage Done

In the United States, we kill millions of pets in shelters every year.  Most of them are healthy and friendly – or at least treatable.  And there are enough homes for all of them.  As a society, we have come to accept the killing as “unavoidable” because that’s what we are continually told by those sanctioning and performing the killing.  But that is a lie.

Did you know that some shelter pets are killed for readily treatable conditions such as ear mites, ringworm or obesity?  Others are killed immediately upon intake because a shelter worker is afraid of possibly getting scratched, because it’s close to quitting time, or simply because they are kittens.

Even pets with homes eagerly waiting for them are killed because:

Those in charge blame the public for being stupid, for not taking care of their pets, for failing to neuter and vaccinate their pets, and even for causing the shelter to be infested with rodents because John Q. Public touches the dogs!

In fact it is all too often the shelter staff who treat the pets in their care cruelly, are too lazy to do their jobs, and allow shelter pets to needlessly suffer.

Our shelter leaders lie to the public, telling us that MSN and restrictive breeder laws are the ways to end pet killing, and that pets are better off dead than being adopted out without unusually extensive and costly applicant screening.  They tell us that shelter conditions are good while pets suffer.  Worst of all, they repeat the pet overpopulation myth – which has been debunked – as a so-called explanation for the killing of healthy, friendly cats and dogs.

In fact, the proven way to improve the quality of care pets receive is to help people, not threaten to punish them.  And the only proven method to end the killing of adoptable pets is implementation of the No Kill EquationPunitive laws (pdf) do not end killing or even reduce it.  Sadly, their effect is often an increase in needless pet killing.

In spite of the facts, many shelter leaders continue to misinform the public.  And we, believing that anyone who devotes their career to “sheltering” homeless pets must be a truly compassionate person of great integrity, believe them.  The truth is that too many shelters are not providing a safe haven for the community’s pets – quite the opposite:  They are needlessly killing adoptable pets and lying about the reasons they’re doing it.

We the people, whose taxes pay the salaries of these shelter directors, have become so accustomed to the lies that they feel free to make such outrageous statements as “We kill our friend every day”.

This is the damage done.

They needlessly kill our communities’ pets.  We accept it.  They lie about it.  We accept that too.  And we pay them for the privilege.

I know we are better than this.  I know we love our pets and don’t want them killed in so-called shelters.  I know we are smart enough to question the lies, to educate ourselves and our friends, and to demand change.  We are a no kill nation of pet lovers.  Join us.

Dinner at Chez Dog

Pancakes:
2 Cups whole wheat flour
4 eggs
2 Cups milk
generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Whisk all ingredients to make a batter and set aside while you make the filling.

Filling:
Heaping Cup ricotta cheese
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 bananas
Heaping Cup cooked rice

Put first 3 ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth.  Stir in rice.

To make the pancakes, pour them out thinly into a medium-hot, greased frying pan.  After they are cooked, allow them to cool to room temperature.

Spread the filling over each pancake and roll up.  Slice into portion sizes suitable for your dog.

Recipe adapted from one found in Cooking For Your Dog by Ingeborg Pils

“No Return” on Justice for Delta Either

Cathryn Washington, the former nursing professor who killed her dog Delta in July by leaving her in the car while she shopped at Costco, then went back inside to return the dog food and bed she’d bought after discovering Delta was dead, was charged with two misdemeanor cruelty charges. The first was for failing to provide adequate food, water and shelter and the second was for causing Delta unnecessary pain and suffering.  (Apparently there’s no statute for being a heartless bitch who is more concerned about getting her money back than the fact that she just cooked her dog to death.)  Each count is punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ms. Washington has now been sentenced.  Number of days she will be serving of the possible 180:  Zero.  Number of dollars in fines she’ll be paying of the possible $2000:  Zero.  Instead, she got probation.  She won’t be allowed to own a pet for 18 months and must undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Amount of hope I have that authorities will check to make sure Ms. Washington doesn’t have a pet in the next 18 months:  Zero.

Thank you Clarice for the link.

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