Mass Killing at GA Shelter: Tragedy, Opportunity

Regular readers know I am not in the business of defending shelters who kill healthy/treatable pets.  But when I read a story from rescuers about a shelter in Lyons, GA  killing every dog in the pound – 90 total – I wanted to understand why this happened and how it could potentially be prevented in future.

The postings on Facebook about the mass killing yesterday include allegations of dogs being killed with rescue on the way, dogs being buried alive, etc.  These things concerned me enough to make a call to the shelter.  I spoke with two ACOs, including the supervisor, Darel.  Both men came across as honest and sincerely interested in saving dogs at the pound.  I asked specifically about the allegations in the FB posting and we also talked about reducing killing at the shelter.  Some of you will already be familiar with the rescuers’ side of the story.  If not, here is a link.  I want to present the shelter’s side of the story – not in an attempt to justify or excuse the needless killing of shelter pets but rather in an effort to understand how this event occurred and how animal advocates may be able to help this shelter, and others like it, to reduce the killing in future.

This is my summary of the conversations I had with the two ACOs at the Lyons shelter:

There have been no killings at the shelter from July 2010 up until yesterday.  The reason was that they were working with a rescue group called SOAPS, getting dogs sent out to other states and doing adoption events.  The rescue was usually pulling puppies and small dogs and the big dogs were left behind.  As the months passed, the pound – set up to house 30 – 35 dogs in 6 X 8 pens- was getting overfilled with these large dogs.  They were grouping them together based on personality and often had 6 (or more) dogs to a pen.  Each time rescue came to pull dogs, many of the same ones were left behind.  Same with the adoption events.  The number of dogs who had no interest shown in them kept growing.  The shelter staff felt it was cruel to keep so many dogs together in small quarters in a pound environment long term – they are not set up as a sanctuary.  Further, they worried if the state inspector came by and saw how far over capacity they were and how the dogs were cramped together, they might be shut down and then the community’s pets would be without any shelter.

They made a decision to kill every dog in the pound.  All strays had been there more than the legally required 3 days and most had been there much longer.  The idea was to get all new inventory (my words, not theirs) so that rescue pullers and potential adopters at adoption events could have new dogs to choose from instead of the same dogs they’d passed over many times in past.

A local veterinarian and a euthanasia technician administered the injections to all the dogs and verified they were dead before they were taken for burial.  Darel said the dogs’ remains were treated with the same dignity and respect as would be afforded a human.  In addition to the two people injecting the dogs, there were 4 others assisting.  None were from SOAPS.

After the mass killing, SOAPS was understandably very upset and told them they were planning on pulling some of the dogs.  The ACOs did not know that at the time of the killings and since SOAPS did not know the killings were taking place, there was no communication about that fact until it was too late.  The shelter would not have killed any dogs slated for rescue had they been aware in advance.

What I heard from the two ACOs I spoke with was a sense of responsibility to, and compassion for, the dogs in their care as well as a sincere desire to get dogs out of the pound alive.  They want and appreciate any help animal advocates are willing to give them.  These are the types of people I can work with.  I did not hear anything like, “We have to kill because the irresponsible public won’t  neuter their pets” or “Until the county passes MSN, we’re going to keep killing”.  Those types I can not work with because they make me feel hopeless.  But to give you an example of why I feel hopeful about the Lyons shelter, Darel told me they picked up 2 Beagles today.  I explained that I have a Beagle, I love Beagles, and I have many readers who love the breed too.  I explained how, if the shelter posted their pets online, such as on Petfinder (they currently have no pets online), I could share the links with readers in my Shelter Pet of the Day post.  And of course rescuers and cross-posters could share them as well.  We talked about the importance of photos and online networking and how this could get lots more eyeballs on the dogs at the pound than relying on a rescue group and local adoption events.  Darel offered to contact me if no one claims the Beagles and e-mail me a photo.  I promised to put the dogs on the blog to try to help spread the word about them.  If the dogs don’t get redeemed, I hope Darel follows through.  Watch this space.

To reiterate:  I do not condone the killing of healthy/treatable shelter pets, under any circumstances, including those at the Lyons shelter yesterday.  But I think we as animal advocates have an obligation to understand why shelter killing happens – which we can not do with only one side of the story and all manner of histrionics.  Further, when presented an opportunity to help shelter staff who are open to it, such as at the Lyons shelter, we have an obligation to reach out and do what we can to try and save more pets.  To my mind, our focus should be on doing whatever we can to get pets out of situations like these before they happen – not adding unsubstantiated drama to an already heartbreaking event.  That is a distraction.  And while we are distracted, shelter pets are being needlessly killed.

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140 Comments

  1. Kim

     /  January 21, 2011

    Absolutely exceptional coverage, Shirley.

    And a fabulous example of why I’m a stickler for the facts.

    I do have one issue with this mass killing. If it took them six months to accumulate 90 dogs, I do wish someone would have clued in to the fact that it really wasn’t necessary to kill ALL the dogs, and someone’s going to feel like a real ass in a few days when someone comes in looking for a shepherd or a rottweiler and they don’t have one – but they killed seven a few days ago.

    Also, efforts could/should have been made to pressure SOAPS and other rescues/shelters/pet stores/etc to take on the majority of these dogs.

    Hurray for them though – a no kill record for six months IS impressive… at the very least it shows real effort, and that’s the biggest hurdle at every shelter.

    Reply
    • Holly

       /  January 21, 2011

      ************Dear Biscuit,
      There was some info that was skewed and not totally correct that was posted on facebook. However, as a SOAPS board member, foster chair and one of the main volunteers that works with Lyons Shelter, I can tell you that you were not told all the facts. There is a lot more to this than you know. One example of false info…we, SOAPS, do not just pull small dogs and puppies. I have pictures and forms of dogs that we have pulled from that shelter. If you would like to see some of the dogs that we have pulled, please let me know. I would be happy to email you some pics. I dont know if you have knowledge of rescue, but we are unable to walk into any shelter and pull every single animal. We have a small foster program…not our own shelter. We also pull for other rescues from this shelter and board if needed. SOAPS is a 501c3 non-profit organization. We are funded strictly by donations and fundraisers. However, we built 12 additional pens in 2009, fenced the area, furnished igloo doghouses, supply dogfood and other needed supplies as well as pay for needed vet care. O and we also pay 100 towards the cost of every sterilization for animals adopted from the shelter. I think we do our part. Darrell knows how hard we work to pull and save the animals at this shelter. I spend hours on it each day in addition to my full-time job. SOAPS was not even give then courtesy of a phone call. We had a volunteer pull dogs on monday and tuesday and I personally visited the shelter on Wednesday and had 5 dogs take to vet. And YES there were new dogs there on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday that were NOT there on Saturday. SOAPS was present at the shelter on these days. Dogs were killed that were there less than 3 days. If you would like to collect ALL fact and info…please feel free to call me at 912-539-9840.
      Thanks
      Holly

      Reply
      • Millie

         /  January 21, 2011

        Well I was happy to read the response from you at SOAPS, because I was about to get very angry. I see all too often the so called “rescues” who want to go cherry pick the cute little dogs because they know they can get them adopted quickly and make a quick buck, while leaving the larger, harder to adopt dogs there to be killed which is extremely unfair. I hope that what you say is true, but irregardless of that, the mass killing of ALL dogs in any given day just to “rotate the inventory” is simply UNFORGIVABLE.

      • Thank you for your input Holly and for your efforts to save dogs from this pound. I have no doubt you pull more than small dogs and pups. They didn’t say you pulled ONLY those, just “mostly” (that’s the word I wrote down in my notes).
        Darel spoke very favorably of SOAPS and said he believes that your group and the shelter will be able to work things out and resume getting dogs saved.
        If you have any evidence of strays who were not held the mandatory three days before being killed, I hope you will present that to the appropriate authorities.
        I’d be happy to speak on the phone with you but it’s late already tonight. I’ll call you tomorrow.

      • Holly

         /  January 21, 2011

        We are far from making a buck….our foster program charges a $65 adoption fee which includes all vaccines, spay/neuter, heartworm test if age appropriate and any other vet care that is needed such as for mange, heartworms, injuries, etc. We are surely not in it for the money….just to find safe, loving homes for these animals. We are in a small rural community and unfortunately animal welfare is not on most peoples priority list.

      • Holly – Just wanted you to know I tried to call you but got a message saying “This subscriber can not receive messages” so I was unable to leave you a message. If you’d like to e-mail me privately, please feel welcome to do so.

    • Holly

       /  January 21, 2011

      SOAPS is the only reason that they “didn’t put any dogs down for 6 months.” If that is true…there are several dogs that have just disappeared and no one knows where they went. Hmmmmm…. The shelter is not public accessible. There is NO ONE that stays down there all day and works at it like other shelters. You have to call their phone and IF you can get them to answer, you then have to make an appointment to meet them down there, or you have to stop by the fire dept…you may find someone there who will lead you down there and let you in…b/c you will never find it…there are NO signs that lead you up the dirt road thru the woods. It is not the ACOs (which i didnt even know there was more than 1…wow) that do a pet of the week in the local paper, post the animals on facebook, email the dogs pics to rescues all over the US, network, talk with other rescues, arrange & plan transport, & do the transport, ….WE DO (SOAPS)…they do nothing to promote or even attempt to get those dogs adopted. IT IS ALL UP TO SOAPS! People who dont know shouldn’t say a word.

      Reply
      • Jeanne

         /  January 22, 2011

        Holly,

        I called your number several times today hoping to hear your side of this story but no one answered. I also sent an e-mail but it bounced back. I heard a rumor that some dogs at the shelter were sick and that may be part of the reason for the mass killing. Can you verify that? Also, I read posts on facebook saying that dogs were put down even though rescues had asked for them to be held. Do you know whether these rescues (or anyone speaking for them) told the shelter directly to hold particular dogs?
        Does the vet kill unsedated dogs by injecting sodium pentobarbitol directly into the heart?

        I’m having a difficult time deciding whether this shelter wants to invest time and energy in positive change or just cya and business as usual. Since you’ve been working with them for well over a year, what is your take on the situation? Why do you think they reverted to mass killing yesterday?

        Thanks,
        Jeanne

  2. really, this is an example of well meaning, hard working shelter staff not having the opportunity for industry education, advances in sheltering, marketing, media 101, etc. If they had the opportunity to learn some of the new methodology, I wonder how much they could do with it to improve their save rate (some city budgets have enough to kill the dogs, but not send staff to training that would help save lives). They obviously are open to ideas, so…they would be good ones for a scholarship to no-kill conference 2011. does he even provide scholarships to the conference.

    Reply
  3. Christine Murray

     /  January 21, 2011

    Thank you for inquiring on the whys and wherefores on this particular story. It does help to hear the reasoning behind the event, although it is always a tragedy with shelter killings, to be able to understand and work through future situations with open communications. It’s a step toward the right direction.

    Reply
    • Mary Lou Seymour

       /  January 21, 2011

      I have been following this on FB. You say ‘A local veterinarian and a euthanasia technician administered the injections to all the dogs and verified they were dead before they were taken for burial.’ Were the dogs killed by lethal injection, or heartstick without sedation (as alleged on FB?) This should be easy to verify, ask for the record of what drugs used in the facility.

      Reply
  4. It’s certainly NOT euthanasia when done on an assembly line basis. The dogs know what is about to happen to them.

    “In the stressful environment of animal shelters, it is not the lethal injection the dogs fight but the body language of people who have been forced to kill too many times.”

    http://www.akitarescue.com/Lets%20be%20honest.htm

    Reply
  5. Lynette

     /  January 21, 2011

    If killing them was not even an option, we would not have these tragedies. It sounds like they are willing to work with rescue, but are not actively seeking it out. They are passive participants and did nothing to reach out and get the help they needed for these dogs.

    Reply
  6. Nancy james young

     /  January 21, 2011

    Lies. These were folks that didnt feel like feeding dogs- so when facebook lit a fire under their asses and adoptions began so did the work…they wanted the old lazy days back. They were pissed that so many people called. They brutally killed ALL 90 and joked about cleaning their slate. Now they see and they are trying to cover their impulsive, ignorant, good ole boy asses.
    Find another job. Dogs there are better off homeless.

    Reply
  7. Liz

     /  January 21, 2011

    I am not sure that you understand that there is alot more going on at this shelter than the mass killing that occurred yesterday. In the days to come, those who believe the nonsense from the shelter will realize that they were misled. We all want to believe that everyone who works in a dog shelter are truly there to take care of them – make sure they do have food/water daily, do not freeze to death in the cold, etc. This is not always the case. If you had taken the time to actually speak to people who are familiar with the shelter – maybe someone who has actually BEEN THERE, and not those who may have something to hide – your article may have been more accurate.

    Reply
  8. Raini

     /  January 21, 2011

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=477855365822&id=658577345 WHy the shelter staff weren’t honest with you…This link was written before this happened

    Reply
  9. I hear, and I understand. But I hate it. *Inventory* indeed. I see and feel this same attitude a lot.
    Are the rescues at fault for only wanting to deal with the “easy” animals?
    To murder EVERYBODY seems more honest. I mean, I would really hate to pick which ones must die. (Which is where all that silly temperament testing stuff comes in…it’s just an excuse to make it easier to choose.)
    I understand the numbers, there are enough homes for every shelter dog to be wanted. But we really need to work on our networking and communication so that nobody gets stuck like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  10. Morgana

     /  January 21, 2011

    Bravo Shirley. I think that we can all help you to help Darel and Co. at Lyons. WHy is SOAPS the ONLY rescue working with them? We need to get this word out, and perhaps someone can even step forward to offer to maintain a PF site for them if they provide pics and a slight description of the dogs.

    It is admirable that they want to do better…let’s all pitch in and help them achieve this goal.

    Reply
    • Trish

       /  January 21, 2011

      Because SOAPS was one of the only ones they let come around. You should have gotten the facts before posting this nonsense post. What a joke.

      They barely fed them and they new rescuers were coming for more dogs. You get the little ones out first so don’t get too sick.

      For you to say Bravo to Shirley for her lack of facts in this post is a slap in the face to those who work tirelessly to save these precious dogs. And for her to think she is the reason for saving future dogs from this place is very egocentric and again a slap in the face to those who actually do. I would love to see this shelter post their dogs online, I am sure they don’t even know how to read or write!

      If you don’t know the facts it is always best to keep your comments to yourself!

      Reply
      • Trish,
        I don’t for one second believe I’m the reason pets might be saved in future at this shelter. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. I would like to help in a small way if possible. That’s one reason I reached out to this shelter – to try to understand and see if anything could be done to improve the situation. I felt hopeful that that is possible. I’m not trying to take credit away from boots on the ground rescuers. I appreciate them and say so regularly. Do you – any of you – think it’s possible to work with this shelter to reduce killings in future?

      • Trish

         /  January 21, 2011

        Those who were working with the shelter were only doing so because after a very long time they were finally allowed.

        This place is run by a bunch of backwoods folks who really don’t care about the dogs and it is as if they take pleasure out of watching the rescuers squirm trying to rescue the dogs.

        This is so bad, so very bad and many people will never be the same because of it.

  11. Thank you for taking the time to call and talk to the people at this shelter and getting their side of the story. It is always helpful to try to get both sides of a story.

    But too many people at shelters talk the good talk, but fall short on really doing all they could do to save animal lives.

    Does this shelter have a computer? Can the people in this shelter read? If so, there is a lot of self educational material online that they could exposed themselves to for free in order to learn how to save more of their shelter’s pets.

    Why didn’t they communicate to the rescue group their concerns about their dogs that had been there for so long? Why didn’t they contact the media and ask for community assistance in placing some of their long term pets?

    I guess I am just sick of hearing excuses — from the public or the shelter, when it leads to more pets dying.

    A shelter in my area posts pets on petfinder but doesn’t name the pets. Most are just given numbers — even though I have sent them info about studies showing that just taking the time to name shelter pets increases the adoption rate.

    I guess time will tell if the people at this shelter are willing to try harder to save their animals. I hope you give us an update on them in the future.

    Reply
  12. Nancy james young

     /  January 21, 2011

    I have pictures of dogs that just arrived and were killed! Its lies. And not true none were killed until yesterday- are u all fools? Tyler’s boss is his Dad, the town fire marshal. He should be fired, now!

    Reply
  13. Candace Barozzini

     /  January 21, 2011

    The shelter can explain it anyway they want…to kill 90 dogs all at one time is mass murder….this is such a heart breaking story, but perhaps it will wake up enough people to do SOMETHING and not just leave it all to the shelters, the volunteers, and the rescue groups…If we can provide sex education to elementary aged children, than we can also provide them sex education on the life cycle of dogs and cats….and TEACH them the proper way to care for their pets.

    The economy is taking its toll on humans AND animals, and so many people feel they can no longer afford their pets. Before someone turns in their pets because they feel they can no longer afford to feed them, the shelters should have numbers to hand out to people imeediately about pet food banks, rabies clinics, free spay/neutering clinics, etc. I am willing to talk to anyone to help them to be able to save their pet or pets.

    I volunteer with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, and when I told my son about it, ( who just happens to be an alumni of Georgia Southern,and a Fraternity Alumni) he said, have them present this to the Fraternities and Sororities, because they get points for community projects and they also like to party.

    I know that there have been requests for donations to help this shelter. How about someone ( which I would be happy to do ), contacting the college, and presenting ideas to the board. How about bringing a bag of cat or dog food to a basketball game or football game. how about presenting the idea of expanding the shelter with the help of the Fraternities or Sororities. How about if the Football team adopts some dogs,not to take home, but to help them survive. the possibilities are endless

    Reply
  14. Raini

     /  January 21, 2011

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=477855365822&id=658577345 Please read this linkthat was written before the massacre happened…The shelter manager didn’t care if puppies were fed,if they froze to death,,,This was BEFORE…I am angry that the guy was able to put on a face before heavy public scrutiny…and you guys are swallowing it!!

    Reply
  15. Raini

     /  January 21, 2011

    Please read this link I posted above that was written before the massacre happened…The shelter manager didn’t care if puppies were fed,if they froze to death,,,This was BEFORE…I am angry that the guy was able to put on a face before heavy public scrutiny…and you guys are swallowing it!!

    Reply
    • Raini, we aren’t swallowing anything. It’s obvious there is a LOT more information than what we see here, and we may or may not ever find out all of it. But if the eyes of the world (or at least this small corner of it) are turned on them, covering things up isn’t as easy as you might think.

      Please help do what you can to get the facts out there.

      Reply
  16. This leaves me nauseated – the lack of communication and cooperation between the shelter and the local rescuers clearly indicates that both factions are not working in the best interest of the animals.

    They may say they are and be very offended by my statement, but their actions speak louder than their words.

    How could the shelter people not let the local rescuers know ahead of time what was going to happen? And how can the locals keep cherry picking Muffie and Princess and leave the rest – what the hell did they expect would happen?

    Leadership: the hardest thing to find and that which is obviously missing in that ugly rescue community. Man, do they need someone there to pull them together and get them to stop fighting each other.

    Reply
  17. Glenda Morris

     /  January 21, 2011

    No excuses it is morally Wrong…I know this shelter and as best I can remember there was a large pen besides the 6x8s.Also the property is fenced in..room for turn outs…look at the pictures sure several were in a 6×8,but with proper turn times…if there were any.Dogs adjust.I feel the shelter was aware of rescues.Wrong just wrong.Look forward to your updates.Thank you for checking on this.

    Reply
  18. I understand there are lots of feelings of anger and sadness over the mass killing. I share in those feelings. I didn’t post the shelter’s side of the story to make excuses for the killings – and I was very clear about that so that’s one criticism I’m not willing to accept. If they are lying, time will tell. I never heard of this shelter before today. I’m paying attention now. Further, I didn’t post the shelter’s side of the story to try to paint one side as “right” and the other side as “wrong”. I wasn’t there, I can’t verify what either side is saying. I’m just hoping that in the face of tragedy, there might be an opportunity here to help educate and get more pets saved in future.

    Reply
    • Trish

       /  January 21, 2011

      Yes you really should pay attention to this shelter. But now that they realize the world is following them you will never see what really happened before happen again at least I hope.

      I have followed the rescuers who have been trying to rescue these dogs for a long time and they always did everything they could for these animals! Your post has upset many people and this tragedy will be in the minds of many of us for a very long time.

      Reply
      • I am sorry if my post has upset people. My intention was to offer another side to the story as food for thought on how more pets might be saved at this shelter in future.

  19. M Staab

     /  January 21, 2011

    OMG – have you ever heard an ACO say they did anything less than ‘humane and loving’ euthanasia? Puleeeeze! I suppose digging a hole behind the shelter and plowing it over was humane, too!

    For someone who asked this question, there were efforts of other rescues to get these dogs out. Many of the dogs had RESCUE HOLDS and were to be picked up today. There was a very active FACEBOOK and email campaign underway to free space up at this shelter through RESCUE!!!!! This was an unplanned event and possibly retaliation for negative press on Facebook. Wouldn’t be the first time. Killing 90 healthy animals to get NEW INVENTORY – I don’t think I’ll ever forget that this happened or the callous behavior of those who were involved. The real facts will come out at some point…they always do.

    Why don’t these ACO’s get with it and jump on the No Kill Nation mentality. There are all sorts of equitable methodologies to keep from mass killing animals. Many shelters in the country no longer euthanize an animal unless it is extremely ill or a menace to society! Even then, we’ve removed these dogs from shelters and they become responsible canine citizens – oftentimes, the shelter treatment was the issue!

    Never, ever is there any excuse for this type of behavior and I’m stunned that the author has sugar-coated the murder of these dogs without real knowledge. I do know some of the facts and am waiting on confirmation before I proceed. Mayhaps the author here should have done the same!

    Reply
    • Again, I was very clear that I wasn’t “sugar-coating” the killings. I was also clear that I chose the word “inventory” – not the shelter. The exact words I think they used were “clean slate”. In any case, I was merely relating what they said so people interested in hearing more about the story could do so and in the hope that perhaps a similar event could be prevented in future. They shelter staff says they want and appreciate any help from animal advocates. That sounds like a potential opening to get a no kill foot in the door.

      Reply
      • I admit to finding this comment thread interesting (but unsurprising). When you write scathing (and often well-deserving) posts on shelters, it’s hugs and puppies. When you write a post from the perspective of, I guess to many, the “enemy”, it’s as if you’ve sided with the devil. I mean, you didn’t clear the shelter of any wrongdoing, and I am pretty certain you’re absolutely as horrified as anyone else that 90 dogs were unnecessarily snuffed from life.

        Not that we see eye to eye on all issues, I know my abrasive commenting gets on your nerves, but I personally appreciate the honesty and integrity in your posts, even when I don’t particularly agree with your opinion.

        But wow, epic 90+ comment thread, batman!

      • Yes Marji, We agree on some things and disagree on others. And you get on my nerves sometimes just as I’m sure I get on yours. That happens with adults and we recover. But even when you and I disagree, I always know that you read the post and aren’t just trash talking to vent your blind anger. You are commenting because you feel strongly about the issue. And thankfully, most longtime readers who have differing opinions from mine (you included) don’t drop to the level of ‘burn in hell you stupid bitch’ on a post you haven’t even read. I try to be fair and perhaps sometimes I fail. I’m human. But in being fair, I don’t expect to win any popularity contests.

        It would have been a no-brainer to put up a post saying “OMG these people are monsters and let’s all grab our pitchforks and torches and run screaming into the night!” I probably would have gotten dozens of comments (from people who didn’t bother to read past the first sentence) saying “Yay”, “I love you”, etc. (Maybe I’m reaching on that last one.) But I actively try to avoid no-brainer posts. There are plenty of fluff pieces out there on pet blogs for those who want them. That’s not what I created this blog for. And I’m not looking for warm, fuzzy comments. Although I certainly do appreciate any sincere support I get.

        My point was that here we had a kill shelter saying “We’re open to help” while many of the folks who could actually help save pets at that shelter were whipping up wild exaggerations about what went on there. That’s not how pets get saved. I condemn the killing of healthy/treatable pets at shelters, as always. The fact that these dogs were killed is itself heartbreaking and tragic. There is no need to embellish or exaggerate the event. You can’t get any deader than dead. But maybe, instead of feeding the mob mentality monster, animal advocates could use this as a chance to open a dialogue with the shelter and see if they truly are interested in killing fewer pets. It would be a meaningful and appropriate tribute to those who were killed if advocates could redirect their energy toward working to prevent this from happening again IMO.

  20. Marsha Blackmon

     /  January 21, 2011

    I used to love this blog, read it often. Your naivete in interviewing people who have a vested interest in covering their own behinds, and NOT interviewing the rescues who have tried to work with this shelter, have seen puppies frozen and dogs lying in kennels dead is unbelievable. All because you bonded over some Beagle talk? Really? This will be the last time I read anything you ever write again. I am appalled at your lack of fairplay, and your ability to believe the ramblings of some backwards people who are trying to cover they tracks after they killed NINETY DOGS. NINETY!! This is absolutely mind boggling, and for you to simply trivialize it because the shelter staff “sounded nice” makes me wonder exactly why I ever read or listened to you in the first place. Bye bye–will never read your drivel again, NEVER….

    Reply
    • Marsha, I already had the rescuers’ side of the story from several Facebook postings. I wanted the shelter’s side of the story to get a better understanding and ask about the allegations. Just because I “bonded” (as you say) over Beagle talk doesn’t mean I am not heartbroken about the killings. Civil discourse with people whose actions you disagree with but who are open to hearing what you have to say is sometimes how change comes about. It’s what grown-ups do. Many of our Congressmen seem to have forgotten this. Some others in our society as well. You will never, ever be able to educate anyone or change their point of view by insulting them. There are many people who work in kill shelters who are completely closed to hearing anything about no kill. They will block you from their Facebook page/website/e-mail etc if you even utter the words “no kill” once. I can’t reach those people. But if there’s an opportunity to possibly reach out to someone in a kill shelter – someone who says he’s open to ideas and assistance – I’m going to try.

      Reply
    • Trish

       /  January 21, 2011

      I have never read this blog but felt compelled to do so when I saw my friends were upset about what was written.

      I find it hard to believe that someone would take the word of a few idiots at a shelter and not want to believe what all the rescuers were saying about what happened. Obviously we are not naive and know dogs get pts, but for an uproar like this, one would realize there must be something wrong.

      I pray for those families who’s dogs got there the night before and never had the chance to find out if they were there. I pray for those who work so hard for the dogs at this shelter sonthat they can find peace it what happened.

      Reply
      • Again Trish, I’m not taking anyone’s word – I wasn’t there. I can’t verify what either side has said. I simply wanted to get some answers to the troubling allegations made.

    • You know, that’s not all that fair to Shirley. The only thing she is doing here is presenting the other side of the story AS SHE WAS TOLD, not condoning the killing or claiming that she will suddenly be the messiah for dogs in that area.

      Do you really think that all of us out here are going to sit around and think, “Oh, well they HAD to kill those dogs, and of course they aren’t covering things up!”? We’re not stupid, we know how people can sound all nice and reasonable and be doing awful things as soon as our backs are turned.

      At least Shirley is willing to try and hear both sides before flying into a frothing rage, calling people names, and badmouthing them all over the place.

      Oh, and I’m not saying any of this because I think Shirley is some sort of demi-god of rescue or whatnot. But before I came in here and started screeching about how she only writes drivel (then why were YOU reading it??), I’m looking around at other sources and waiting to find out what else gets shaken loose.

      To those of you ranting at yelling at Shirley, did you ever stop to think that you are making yourselves look like raving lunatics and less believable by acting this way? Can’t you be civil? She linked to your page so that people could make up their own minds, not follow her blindly.

      Reply
  21. Garry Saunders

     /  January 21, 2011

    Now only time will tell if Darel and co are genuine. Eyes on them and hands out to help where we can.

    Reply
  22. Lyons GA is not the only location this is happening. Liberty County, in violation of the open meetings law, has made it a public policy to banned the general public from it’s animal control facility. That means YOU can not walk in the doors and adopt an animal. They are simply KILLED.

    Reply
    • Lynnette

       /  January 22, 2011

      Oh, yes, good old Liberty County, where Grace survived gassing in a case that ultimately resulted in gassing being outlawed in the state. If I recall correctly, it’s the county administration that has it in for rescues.

      Reply
  23. M Staab

     /  January 21, 2011

    YesBiscuit – they killed dogs with RESCUE HOLDS!!!!! What does that say about ‘NO kill’ and interest in assistance from animal advocates and, how did you put it?

    “What I heard from the two ACOs I spoke with was a sense of responsibility to, and compassion for, the dogs in their care as well as a sincere desire to get dogs out of the pound alive. They want and appreciate any help animal advocates are willing to give them.”

    Then why didn’t they at least leave the ones with RESCUE HOLDS on their cells ALIVE?????

    If you’re going to present the story – present both sides…how in the world can 2 people injecting dogs kill 90 dogs HUMANELY in a short period of time????? Ask any vet…absolutely, totally impossible. And, the story is that they most definitely were not killed humanely! So you might want to talk to the other people who were there yesterday! ACOs are notorious for CYA.

    My group actually gets in the trenches and gets these dogs out of these shelters every week. We have seen it all and some of the ACOs we work with will do anything to get the dogs out. However, this is not the norm…most could care less and if they’re not out in three days; they’re dead. We could tell you stories that would make you violently ill and others that would make your hair stand up on the back of your neck!

    If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat…it’s a RAT! Do some real investigative work and I suspect your next blog about Lyons won’t be quite so ‘hopeful’!

    Reply
    • Again,

      Both sides were there. I put a link in the post to make sure that anyone who hadn’t read the rescuers’ side could do so if they wanted. Regarding the rescue holds, they told me they did not know of any rescue holds and if they had known, they would not have killed those dogs. I’m not saying that I take anyone’s word as the gospel truth, just sharing the answers I got to my questions. You may be right and my next post on Lyons won’t be so hopeful. That will be a disappointment to me if that happens because I’d really like to see some positive changes at this pound and have something good to post about them in future.

      Reply
      • oh yes… Shelters never lie to cover their butts. Sorry but you admitted not talking to the rescue. You got your info from a Face Book page that as far as I can see is not even the rescues page!!! So your both side argument isn’t exactly accurate.

  24. Nancy james young

     /  January 21, 2011

    They do not ‘want and appreciate help’ how can you write that when they killed ninety animals?

    Reply
    • Nancy,

      I wrote that because that’s what Darel said to me. And I wrote it in a section of the post that I placed after a sentence explaining that this was my summary of what they told me on the phone. And just in case anyone missed that line, I put the whole summary in italics so it would stand out as different and hopefully people would understand that these were not my personal statements or opinions but a summary of what the shelter told me. I’m sorry if it came across to you as my own personal opinion but I’m glad I could clarify it for you.

      Reply
  25. Kim

     /  January 21, 2011

    I’m looking for the photos of the broken leg, the dead puppy, the frozen dogs, the dogs frozen to the ground – there doesn’t seem to be any photos of those. I see three dogs who are notably underweight, but without knowing how long they’ve been in there, 3 out of several dozen hardly makes a case, and 3 or 4 with definite or possible skin issues that should be looked at. Sadly, most county shelters do not have the funds to treat for this, and due to the highly contagious nature of mange will euthanize as soon as they can to prevent it from spreading.

    What I’m wondering is, where is the proof, the documentation of all of these awful things happening. If Lyon’s shelter is such a hell on earth (and I’m not disputing it is – it very well may be!) it strikes me as odd that there are no photos to back this up.

    I mean, ten or twenty years ago, maybe, but these days most people don’t leave their house without their cellphone – which means we all walk around with a camera/videocamera in our pockets for the majority of the day. I find it hard to believe that no one has ever managed to capture on photo or video any evidence of this. If they have, please show me where I can find it.

    Our local animal control is locked up tighter than Alcatraz – no one gets past the front office, which is little more than a mudroom – you’re another 50′ from even a hallway that will take you to a wing that contains animals. They have no outdoor runs. Rescues choose from photos and descriptions, if we want to temperament test a dog, they’ll bring it outside for us to see. It is NOT open to the public under any circumstance unless you’re looking for your pet – and even then your access is limited.

    And yet still I have a computer folder full of photos of cats with their teeth protruding through their cheek after being struck by cars, cats and dogs laying in piles of their own urine and feces, animals found in the morning, dead and already stiff… because we find a way to get the proof we need. Usually it’s a sympathetic tech who’s doing part time hours there and is just as horrified as we are. Occasionally one of the staff themselves will be so repulsed by a case they’ll send us a photo or a video. Sometimes we have people go in with their cell cams and claim to look for a lost cat while they get video of the status of every cat they can see.

    And yet with full access to Lyons shelter, there are no such photographs (that I’m aware of) of any of these atrocities.

    As for the mass killing (because I do agree, that’s what it was), I’m sure it’s possible to get the information of the veterinarian and confirm that it was at least done humanely.

    At this point, as far as I can see, it is NOT possible to *confirm* the accusations against the Lyons shelter.

    So please, someone – treat us all to some tangible proof. Otherwise this all becomes he said/she said – Oh, and the ACOs are not responsible for where the shelter is located, how it is built or designed, or how many hours it is funded for.

    One last thought, that is very telling about the “air” surrounding this whole SOAPS/Lyons conflict – I love that people who live right by the shelter can sit behind their computers and literally scream about there being no signage to direct the public to the shelter – instead of just going out, getting a piece of plywood, and making one. Trust me – yours will look nicer than anything they would have put up anyways.

    Reply
  26. Been though this mass shelter killing before:

    182 killed and no investigation – http://tangiadoptarescue.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/182-killed-and-no-investigation/

    Makes your heart cry for a very long time. So sad.

    Reply
  27. Nancy james young

     /  January 21, 2011

    Kim- do u or have u ever lived in Ga?

    Reply
    • Kim

       /  January 21, 2011

      Are you suggesting that only those who live in or have lived in GA have the ability to request facts or proof?

      And if you’re going to go with the old “they’re all redneck backwoods bumpkins and you don’t understand” bullshit, don’t even go there.

      We’ve pulled dogs from OH, PA, GA, KY, and several other states – personally. I know exactly how it is down there, so spare me the speech that one has to LIVE there to understand.

      And you don’t wander around and “snap shots” to the person who suggested that. You simply set your cellphone to record and casually hold it in your hand as you walk around to assess the “puppies frozen to the ground”. We’ve also taken fabric shopping bags, cut a small hole in the side and taped the phone to the side of the bag, if you’re more comfortable with that. This will also hold a full sized digital video camera, in case you’re interested.

      Explain again why all the dogs in the photos, who have supposedly been there for so long, all looked quite well fed while they were being described as “starving to death”? Sorry, but the photo evidence doesn’t match with the story at hand.

      Again, I’m not saying that some of it isn’t true – but I can say that the dogs I saw were certainly not starving and did not look to be in poor shape other than the few that I mentioned. And frankly, you walk into any shelter that doubles as an animal control facility and you’re going to see some dogs who come in not looking so hot.

      And again, I’m also not defending the mass murder that went on here – and neither was YesBiscuit. What I think we both want is to judge the situation on its facts, however – not simply on words on a facebook page.

      Has anyone approached those in charge? I mean, really in charge? Has anyone contacted their local representative, the state inspector, etc, etc?

      Wonder why they don’t take you seriously? Because you need PROOF. That’s the way our justice system works, that’s the way our government works, and that’s the way these small town politics work if you want any leverage.

      Reply
  28. carla page

     /  January 21, 2011

    i,m sorry but what the lyons georgia shelter did was wrong and unacceptable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it was pure flat out mass murder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i hope those who murdered the animals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.if they go to prison and never see the light of day again so be it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Yes Carla, Wrong and unacceptable. They say they are open to help from animal advocates. Can we put them to the test and see if they truly are? Can we try to educate and assist them in saving more pets from the shelter so that, hopefully, this wrong and unacceptable event doesn’t happen again?

      Reply
  29. Nancy james young

     /  January 21, 2011

    There’s no sign because they LIKE it that way! Laws do not apply when you’re related to the police.
    They were jerks to the volunteers and didnt let them wander unattended so they could snap pictures.

    Reply
  30. Laura

     /  January 21, 2011

    Usually I love my YesBicuit, but I gotta say, I think you blew it with this one. Using the phrase “all manner of histronics” was probably a pretty bad choice, under the circumstances. If the allegations are true, they are not really histronics, are they? I don’t know the truth of the matter, but I can’t imagine what the motivation would be for these ladies to make these things up. I also don’t believe people who would kill EVERY dog there are honestly concerned w/ animal welfare (and I CAN imagine their motivation to lie.) I’m pretty sure by the time you called, they had already spoken to many people about this, and they had their story down pat.
    I do appreciate that you were able to speak to them in a civil tone, and took the time to try to educate them a bit. I’m not too sure many people who care about animals (and I know you do) could have done that very effectively. Your efforts, combined with the “histronics” showered on them by phone by the FB animal brigade, could actually bring about some positive results. I hope that is the case, and they weren’t just agreeing with you so you would print something nice about them, and let them get off of the phone.

    Reply
    • Laura,

      By presenting two sides to the story and suggesting we reach out to these people and see if we can save more pets – I “blew it with this one”? I hope not. I hope I’ll always be open to civil discourse with those I disagree with and open to hearing more than one side of a story. If an opportunity presents itself and I think I could help, even in a tiny way, improve a kill shelter’s situation, I hope I’ll always take a shot. I hope I never become so close-minded or jaded that I’ll refuse to listen or talk to people who kill pets when they say they are open to ideas and assistance from animal advocates. If that’s “blowing it”, I don’t see how.

      If it turns out these people are just liars and really care nothing about saving pets, you know I’ll be the first to call them out on it. And I’ll stay on them. Probably even worse than usual since they will have lied to me personally which I don’t take kindly to.

      But it may turn out that these folks really are sincere about accepting help and there actually is an opportunity here to educate and help save more pets. Since that’s a possibility at this point, I’d like to go for it. I hope that some of the boots on the ground rescue folks in the area will try to open up a dialogue with them and see if they can get more dogs out. And that they’ll share their experiences – good or bad – with us. I like to hold people accountable. And I’m glad to be held accountable too.

      Reply
      • Laura

         /  January 21, 2011

        I just came across this:

        http://www.southeastgeorgiatoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5576&Itemid=117

        Here he tells a reporter that he is just going to clean house once a month now, so it’s not looking like you got through to him.

      • Link doesn’t work for me. I doubt a single phone conversation with me – a stranger in another state – is going to change anything at the shelter. If I thought that was possible, believe me, I’d be on the phone every day to every kill shelter in the country! My hope is that perhaps some rescuers in the area might see this as an opportunity to develop a relationship with the shelter with the aim of getting more dogs out. And while they’re saving pets, they can open up a dialogue about no kill and hopefully the conversation will blossom into something real and permanent.

      • Jeanne

         /  January 22, 2011

        Actually he doesn’t say he’s going to clean house once a month–he says he will put down any dogs not rescued (or adopted). I take that to mean he’s willing to work with rescues and adopters and will put dogs down monthly rather than weekly. That may actually be some progress, considering they used to kill dogs every Thurs.

        Here’s the article from http://www.southeastgatoday.com (link above)

        –begin article–

        Seventy-Seven Dogs Die in Lyons
        Friday, 21 January 2011

        January 21– The killing of 77 dogs Thursday at the Lyons Animal Shelter is drawing fire from the Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society (SOAPS).

        On top of that, Public Works Director Darel Corley says posting of the story on Facebook has resulted in complaints from as far away as Las Vegas.

        Corley says the dogs were given lethal injections and buried after he had delayed any euthanizations since last July as he worked with SOAPS to get the dogs adopted. He reports SOAPS saved 83 dogs from the shelter during that period, but he still had more dogs than the shelter could hold.

        “I didn’t have anywhere to put any dogs and Toombs County was calling that they didn’t have anywhere to put dogs. The only thing I could do was clear the pound out and start over because I was so overrun with dogs. I tried to work this thing out and probably got myself in trouble by prolonging it so long. What I’m going to do from now on is at the end of every month, whatever dog they can place, they can place, and we’ll go ahead and euthanize whatever’s left and we’ll go ahead and move to the next month,” Corley said.

        Therisa Ingley, the head of SOAPS, is shocked. “Right now SOAPS is heartbroken that so many animals had to be euthanized. We admit we don’t have all the details, but we’re concerned that so many were put down when some were scheduled for rescue the very next day. We want to know the answer to that question.

        “We’re just here to do whatever we can to provide a better situation for the animals in Lyons. We want to be here to be supportive to make sure that shelter is run appropriately and to help the city make that happen,” Ingley says.

        Meanwhile, SOAPS is filing a complaint with the Lyons Police Department regarding possible violations of city and state laws.

        –end article–

  31. Kim

     /  January 21, 2011

    Here’s another thing I’m wondering.

    If SOAPS was the only rescue allowed on site, then why were they not already pulling for other rescues? Why had they not coordinated with others and started doling out the Lyons dogs back in May 2009 if it was such a house of horrors?

    We had this issue at a local shelter, and we just used one rescue as a letterhead basically, and then spread the dogs throughout about ten other groups. Of course, this only works when rescues work together… which tends to be a rare occurrence.

    Reply
    • Lynnette

       /  January 22, 2011

      Kim, I know of a couple of rescues they were working with. One is in Kentucky (which admittedly baffles me, considering that Kentucky is not a hotbed of no-kill and has crappy dog pounds, too, but any port in a storm, I say). I *think* that’s where the money for kennels was going – to build kennels to house animals from Lyons.

      Reply
  32. jennifer j

     /  January 21, 2011

    what was done there was totally unacceptable and mass murder. these dogs looked like totally adoptable animals. your story makes it sound like this was a store that cleared out their inventory to get this years newer stuff. i read this getting the vibe from you like this was not a big deal and they were justified. there is no justification for the brutal murder of 90 dogs. and if you or anyone else thinks that they had time to humanely put 90 dogs down you are all crazy. these poor souls were most likely in sever pain before finally dying and i have heard some were still breathing when thrown into the pile of dead dog bodies. this is a completely disgusting thing they did and to blame the rescues for “leaving” these dogs behind is ridiculous. some of these dogs were on rescue holds. these sick twisted heartless people who were involved deserve the same fate.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  January 22, 2011

      Yes, of course, that what we should push for – doing the same thing to them that they did to the dogs?!?!?! That last statement made everything positive or even logical prior to that statement just disappear before my eyes. People who make comments like that aren’t helping ANYONE and make yourself look bad.

      Reply
  33. carla page

     /  January 21, 2011

    —————————

    Classroom and lab activities will be conducted at Gaston College’s Vet Tech Building, next to the Gaston County Animal Shelter. The Shelter is located at 222 Leisure Lane, Dallas, NC 28034. Leisure Lane is off NC Hwy. #279 West, off of US #321 North. When traveling West on NC #279, Leisure Lane is approximately 1/2 mile from the US #321 intersection, on the left. Turn left onto Leisure Lane, next to the Citizen¡¦s Resource Center. The Animal Shelter is further down Leisure Lane on the right. Follow the directional signs.

    To Register:
    Fill out the form below and mail with check payable to:
    Carolina Veterinary Consulting
    c/o Gaston County Animal Control
    PO Box 479
    Dallas, NC 28034
    Attn: Lisa Benton
    Name
    Agency
    Address
    For more information call
    Lisa Benton (704) 922-8677 or

    Administrator Reggie Horton (704) 922-9716
    Animal Euthanasia
    Registration Fee
    NCARCA Members ………….. $200.00
    Non-members …………………… $225.00
    (includes equipment / supply charges)
    Room accommodations may be arranged directly at the following convenient establishment:
    Holiday Inn Express ……… (704) 884-3300
    1911 Broadcast Drive, Gastonia, NC 28052
    Phone
    COURSE SCHEDULE
    ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

    Gaston County Animal Shelter

    220 Leisure Lane
    Dallas, NC 28034

    Tel:………. …… (704) 922-8677
    Fax: ……………. (704) 922-1205
    Email: …….. lbenton@gcps.org (gcps.org)
    August 4-5-6, 2008

    Reply
  34. carla page

     /  January 21, 2011

    Ralph Houser, by furnishing substandard gas machines and by teaching inhumane euthanasia practices to NC workers who operate the machines, has in many places made humane euthanasia impossible. He has escaped accountability to date because the victims can’t bear witness or ask for help and the workers carrying out the unspeakable tasks have had no where to turn. County Commissioners and County Managers don’t want to hear about it – much less take the time to investigate and correct the problems.

    Now is the time to bring Ralph Houser out into the light of day. It is time to bring him out of the “off limits” dark and smelly animal control back rooms and out from his private “county sponsored” classrooms where there is no accountability and into a room where his actions can be made public and stopped. That room is the Courtroom, where a jury of his peers can pass judgment on his “Final Solution” for the animals of NC. Where they can stop him from causing and contributing to future municipally sponsored animal cruelty.
    Where is he when this illegal animal abuse is taking place daily all across NC in gas chambers that he designed and sold? He made the statement that shooting is OK at a Yadkin County Commissioners meeting. He told me on the phone that “gunshot is an acceptable means of euthanasia”- what he failed to add was that “gunshot” is not approved by the AVMA or anyone else for the routine euthanasia of animals and that, in fact, “gunshot” is only to be used in unusual situations like in the field where no other means of euthanasia is available.

    Is it any wonder that there is an absence of “compassion” and “humane treatment” of animals in public “shelters”?

    The physical characteristics of his chambers are substandard. Many do not have an exhaust fan — subjecting the workers to the gas when they open the door. The door seals and latches are not industrial quality and the seals are made of a material that is thin and subject to deterioration. In addition it is so flimsy that it can be torn by workers or animals while operating the chamber. Since the animals are not confined or separated they could certainly damage the seals and expose the workers to the gas. It does not take a large tear in the seal to cancel the mandatory”air tight” requirement for a gas chamber.

    Reply
  35. Elizabeth Burrows

     /  January 21, 2011

    I have no involvment or knowledge of the facts in this instance. From reading the story and some of the many comments, what jumps out at me is – what did the SHELTER do to re-home the animals it was housing? Were they just sitting back doing the minimum and waiting for overwhelmed rescues to take all the dogs? Or were they themselves doing everything possible to find them homes? Unless they were doing that, they are negligent. Unfair for so called shelters to expect rescues to save them all. Until “shelters” work equally hard for the animals in THEIR care, they should not criticize rescues. Shelter is not the correct word for a place that takes in animals, does nothing to help them, and then blames rescues for not taking enough of them. Some of these shelters should just call themselves pounds as they are stuck in the past and evidently unwilling to do the work needed to actually help save the animals they profess to care about…that they kill routinely all the while blaming everyone but themselves. Those animals were brought to you for shelter and refuge. Arbitrarily killing them is an awful betrayal. Once you accept them, killing them is on YOU, not Joe Public, not the overwhelmed rescues.

    Reply
  36. April

     /  January 22, 2011

    It is quite shocking to me that you could believe the reasons given to you by these men. And furhtermore even more distressing that you call the news given to all of us on FB, as “drama”. Sometimes the truth sounds pretty dramatic, because it is!
    They needed “new inventory”, your words yes, and a very poor choice of words. I have no idea what involvement you have in rescue, but as a rescuer in NY for the past 4 years, killing all 90 dogs was a rather pathetic and unimaginative way to solve that problem. And for you to use your time to write an article like this, equally sad. I love all dogs the same, but I always rescue large breed and especially pit mixes. There are many of us out there. There was surely another way to solve this!

    Reply
    • Jeanne

       /  January 22, 2011

      My impression is the shelter may well be open to other solutions in the future, particularly getting dogs out via rescue. However, it might help if they had their own rescue coordinator, whether paid or volunteer, and also a transport coordinator.

      Reply
  37. willie wonka

     /  January 22, 2011

    This exemplifies what is so wrong with our current shelter system. We should have a system that showcases these dogs and highlights their social skills and show what good companions they could be. They should not all have death sentences. The very fact that the “well meaning” ACO’s thought they did the right thing shows how broken this system is. It is not this shelter that is the problem,it is the system itself. It doesn;t work. Killing is not an effective method of population control either. Come on now ! Look at the facts. Polishing the rotten apple does not work. We need adoption centers, not fake shelters. We need fosters to work with behavior issues and housing less than social animals. Please look at the SYSTEM and DO SOMETHING !

    Reply
  38. Oh please, all of you who are so outraged that Shirley didn’t bleed all over her blog about how stupid and bad and evil the ACOs and people who run this shelter are… HOW WOULD THAT HAVE HELPED?

    She practically fell all over herself explaining what she was doing and why, and you’re so steeped in needing to get validation for the wrongness of them and the rightness of you — which, in all honesty, I can understand — that you have completely missed what she’s really saying.

    Ask yourself this question: If you’ve been doing one thing, and had a negative result from trying to blame/expose this shelter, as I’ve read on FB, where it’s clear any attention being drawn to their flaws and failings resulted in things getting WORSE for your rescue efforts, what the hell harm would it do to try the approach Shirley laid out here? You can always go back to blame/expose if it doesn’t work.

    Sometimes we’re way, way too close to a situation to view it in a big-picture, strategic way. But one thing we all have to, and that I do pretty much every day, is set aside being “right” and getting all our grievances aired and validated, and doing what will accomplish our true and ultimate goal — in this case, making life better for the animals in this area.

    Reply
    • Kim

       /  January 22, 2011

      Sorry, they don’t have a “like” button on wordpress…

      Reply
    • Jeanne

       /  January 22, 2011

      Facebook could do with a little more strategic thinking and a little less flash mob mentality, IMHO. All the screaming over there doesn’t really add up to “doing something” about anything. Seems to me the ACO is still open to working with rescues so hope the rescues will respond in kind. I looked at the photos of the dogs from this shelter on FB and only saw one or two that might have been hard to place (based on appearance alone) with rescues in the NE.

      Reply
    • What has struck me about this, ah, “discussion” is the large percentage of commenters who haven’t read what Shirley wrote, but think they have.

      Reply
    • Thanks Christie for stating it in a better way than I managed.

      Reply
  39. Patrice

     /  January 22, 2011

    This is just barbaric and there is no excuse.. The shelter staff there needs to be given a needle and a whole new inventory should be put in place! ahhh maybe people who like animals… and want to help and take the time to network them.. OMG.. this is just terrible and it makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it~ They should all hang their heads in SHAME! Especially those 2 ACO’s or what ever the FK u call them!

    Reply
    • Patrice and EVERYONE:
      I understand that emotions are running high but let’s stop wishing death to our fellow humans.

      Reply
  40. Nancy james young

     /  January 22, 2011

    Go to bed kim.
    U have NO idea about reality.

    Reply
    • Kim

       /  January 22, 2011

      Sorry Nancy, is that the grown up equivalent of “I’m taking my ball and going home?”

      You have no idea who I am, what I do, what I’ve done, where I’m from, what I’ve seen, or what I know.

      If this is the way you deal with everyone who disagrees with you, or say… asks for proof… I can’t imagine why you’ve had such an uphill battle.

      Really. I can’t.

      Do us all a favour and keep it to the topic at hand, would you?

      Reply
  41. therisa ingley

     /  January 22, 2011

    I am the CEO of SOAPS and thus far I have refrained from making public comment on the internet. But, I feel there are some things I must say. SOAPS is located in a county of approximately 30,000 people.
    Our active membership is less than a dozen people. In addition to the 2 towns and their shelters in our county, we also assist with shelters and animal welfare in 6 near by counties that have no other animal welfare/rescue groups. Anyone who looks at our record just for this year would be astounded that such a small group could do so much. In 2010, we proidved for over 700 reduce cost steriliztions and moved hundreds of animals out of the shelters we assist either into permanent homes, foster homes or other rescue groups. Oh, I might mention that we have NO
    paid employees. This is all done by volunteers, most of whom work other full time jobs. We clean pens, take animals in for medical care, transport animals to other rescue groups, foster in our own homes, and do just about anything else necessary to make sure the animals in our area are humanely treated. That said,
    I think it is important for everyone to know that we have attempted to work with the Lyons shelter for several years. We have contacted the mayor’s office,
    attended city council meetings, and county commissioner
    meetings. We have offered manpower and financial aid.
    The reception has most often been poor, although they have gone from threatening to have SOAPS members arrested if they set foot on the property to allowing our members to come and clean and pull dogs for rescue.
    I would appreciate anyone who really wants to know the
    effort SOAPS puts into animal welfare to contact Police
    Chief Frank Waits of Vidalia to see what can be accomplished when a municipality and an animal welfare group works together. Finally, I do not condone some of the comments made on FB and I have told Darel this.
    However, NOTHING explains or excuese the wholesale slaughter of 77 or 90 animals–we’ve been given both numbers by him. Our group will continue to work with Lyons in anyway possible to insure that the animals there are treated well and that as many as possible are rescued. But, I will not sit idly by and let our group of volunteers be criticized nor let these animals have died in vain.

    Reply
    • Nothing excuses the killings. We agree. I said so in the post. More than once.

      I appreciate your group’s efforts to help shelter pets. I hope you can develop the same positive partnership with Lyons that you describe above with Vidalia. I’m glad to hear you’ve been working on it and things have moved in a positive direction.

      btw, I was told 80 – 85 dogs, if that is helpful. I guess the only way to verify the number is to request the shelter records.

      Reply
    • Jeanne

       /  January 22, 2011

      SOAPS certainly deserves credit for everything they have accomplished, but the task of getting all or even nearly all adoptable dogs out of a shelter every month is probably more than one rescue can handle alone. And SOAPS is working with several shelters, including the one at Vidalia that housed 140+ animals in Aug. 2010.

      Surely it’s time for the Lyons shelter to put a rescue/adoption program in place that includes an adoption coordinator and transport coordinator who can work with the shelter to move the adoptable dogs to safety every month and avoid having them pile up until the shelter is severely overcrowded and dogs are in danger of mass killing again.

      Lyons is under contract to provide animal control services for Toombs Co. whether FB participants approve or not, and they are under an obligation to maintain a clean, disease-free (insofar as that’s possible) shelter that can accept incoming dogs. Given the number of dogs they killed on Thurs., they were already way beyond capacity. Forgive me for asking, but didn’t SOAPS notice? I can’t help wondering why an adopt-a-thon wasn’t arranged or why nothing was posted on the internet (other than on FB) asking rescues to take the dogs or why dozens of willing and reputable rescues in the NE were not contacted? I sincerely hope that Lyons and SOAPS, working together, can put an effective adoption and rescue program in place at the shelter.
      For the sake of all who died on Thurs., beautiful, loving, adoptable dogs, it’s the least
      anyone can do.

      The Lyons shelter seems to have one thing going for it that no one has mentioned–it’s NOT being run by hardened, old-school kill enthusiasts who
      are steeped in a “sheltering” mentality that dates back to the 19th century. The ACOs (and presumably their bosses) seem open to working with rescues, reducing the kill rate, possibly even implementing a real no-kill program. I was very surprised to learn that they kept dogs at the shelter for 6 mos–unheard of in many GA shelters. The supervisor seems to be learning as he goes–and not once has he fallen back on blame-the-public rhetoric or any of the other despicable excuses that other shelters use to justify killing.

      Thanks, YesBiscuit, for being willing to see both sides of the story. Not so long ago, I read comments here accusing the blog of shelter bashing. Now reader sentiment has swung in the opposite direction and it seems the blog isn’t bashing enough. But these extremes are emotion-driven and sentiment alone won’t get the job done. Lyons needs help. The dogs at Lyons need help. What can we do about that?

      Reply
  42. Lynnette

     /  January 22, 2011

    Unfortunately, some people are too caught up in the histrionics – yes, histrionics is the perfect word – to comprehend this article. I applaud YesBiscuit! for calling to find out what the shelter had to say. She presented their words without EVER saying she believed them, only that her impression was that rescues might be able to work with them better in the future. Yeah, I’d go back and change “inventory,” but only because too many people get stuck on that unfortunate term.
    There are several notes on FB, and YesBiscuit! provided links, to read what the rescuers think about this wholesale slaughter. Both sides ARE represented in this article.
    All the name calling in the world won’t bring those animals back and is liable to result in more dying – retaliation killing is not unheard of at animal control “shelters.”
    I’ve been trying since this was first posted on Facebook to find someone who has talked to the shelter personnel, the mayor or *anyone* involved who could confirm this actually happened. Thank you for that, YesBiscuit! I’m still trying to find out where the dogs that were posted as still alive ARE and what their status is, what help might be needed for them, etc. About $4,000 has been raised to help the animals at Lyons, so what is happening on that front? Are arrangements being made to build the kennels they need or for transport? Where do things stand now?
    I hope YesBiscuit! will continue to keep an eye on this situation and continue to report.

    Reply
  43. Gene J Austin Jr

     /  January 22, 2011

    I usually enjoy and agree with these bogs. In this case the writer is DEAD WRONG in every aspect. dogs are not caring , etc individuals. They are heartless, soulless, murdering slaughterers who are unfit to walk the planet earth, They should be immediately tried for 90 counts of premeditated first degre3e murder, then executed 90 times. I hope these slime never spend a minutes peace, sleep or have another pleasant moment for the rest of their inexcusable disgusting lives.

    Reply
  44. Judith

     /  January 22, 2011

    I appreciate the additional perspective but I am still NOT convinced that EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT was made to avoid this outcome. If this was the only possibility then why not reach out far and wide to ask every rescue for help? I get cross……postings all day long, are there any that were done in this case? What about the photos that were posted of the dogs destroyed, they sure looked VERY adoptable. I just feel as though people are presenting as concerned and want everyone to think that they are furthering the no-kill agenda but if that were true then all options needed to be explored.

    Shelters are notorious for hiding the truth, in fact when pushed to remove a gas chamber that hadn’t been inspected in 11 years shelter workers in Chesterfield SC instead painted it first to hide the holes and rust and when they realized that wouldn’t do they turned around and said it was they who had initiated the removal and that they had always wanted to kill in a humane way. I feel as though this is part of a campaign to spin the facts in a tragedy that could have been avoided.

    Reply
    • I agree Judith – it seems every possible effort was not made to save these dogs before killing them. This is the situation in kill shelters. It’s what animal advocates are working to change. This shelter says they are open to help from advocates. Can we work with them to effect change?

      Reply
    • Lynnette

       /  January 22, 2011

      Yes, Judith, the dogs were shared widely before this, with pleas for help.

      Reply
  45. Nancy james young

     /  January 22, 2011

    Kim!
    READ the very first Post! (Holly’s)

    Reply
    • Kim

       /  January 22, 2011

      I’ve read it. It states that she has photos of dogs arriving from the shelter in poor state. Guess what – they arrive AT the shelter in poor state too. We once pulled a dog from a shelter that had a stab wound in it’s left ribcage – does that make it a bad shelter?

      No, what we have are allegations of dogs buried alive, frozen to death, frozen to the ground, sprayed in their kennels, starved to death, a described “hell on earth”, etc, etc. Those are the pictures I’m interested in, if that’s what you’re referring to.

      The actual photos I’m seeing of dogs who are living supposedly long term in this facility look quite healthy – which makes this all the more tragic (a previous poster was correct – they have shipped many of these dogs to the NE or Canada and they would have been adopted quickly).

      Reply
      • Ginger

         /  January 22, 2011

        I do not condone the murder of these dogs. With that statement made I have seen only photos of healthy looking dogs. Now dead dogs. I do not understand why $4000 dollars donated for kennels somewhere some place in the future was not used to help save any of these dogs.
        Laura the histrionics started several weeks ago to save the dogs: frozen, starved, etc build new kennels donate money. This situation was known before hand. Why wasn’t this money used to board the dogs that could have been pulled by SOAPS. It isn’t the perfect solution but these dogs would be alive today. $4000 would be enough to board and vet all the dogs until they were placed. The dogs are gone and accusations abound. Why couldn’t the dogs lives be thought first? I see no one asking this question.

  46. “Further, they worried if the state inspector came by and saw how far over capacity they were and how the dogs were cramped together, they might be shut down and then the community’s pets would be without any shelter.”

    Do we know if an inspection was likely to have been imminent? That could explain a panic decision.

    It’s possibly in their favour that they didn’t turn round and use emotional blackmail to get the rescue to remove all of the dogs, whether or not that was going to have a domino effect and push the rescue over the edge too.

    It does seem to me that one of the lessons from this is that we have to work out ways to share the load instead of each little group struggling away in their own corner instead of moving animals on to communities where they have a better chance of being adopted.

    Reply
  47. Donna

     /  January 22, 2011

    Thank you, Shirley, for doing what you do. Your replies to some of the comments here demonstrate a certain “grace” that I can only aspire to acquiring someday.

    Reply
  48. To all those judging me harshly for “excusing” the killings, believing everything the shelter staff said, blaming the rescuers, etc: You obviously have not read the post. And commenting without reading the post is bad form. It’s insulting. It’s the internet equivalent of standing on a street corner, pointing fingers at everyone who walks by and yelling “Communist!”

    I tolerated those comments last night because I understood that emotions were running high and many people were not in a right state of mind. Now that we’ve all had a chance to sleep on it, I hope cooler heads will prevail. If you READ THE POST and have a comment to make reflective of that fact, I’ll be glad to post it. All others are getting zapped. The free for all is over. This isn’t Facebook, this is my blog. You are a guest here. Please behave accordingly.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • willie wonka

       /  January 26, 2011

      Thank you, Shirley ! For those of us who have been reading your posts, and those of others, I want to say I appreciate the venue to have this discussion and to hear from the different “sides” of this tragedy. I think you have been fair and allowed those who needed to “vent” a forum to do so. I have tried to educate some about the system itself that is the reason behind these deaths. There are alternatives that deserve to be made available. The animals deserve “Adoption Centers” and so do the humans looking for companionship. There are other ways of addressing homeless animals. I wish people would put a lot more time into making those a reality. We could eliminate the killing of healthy animals that occurs every day in shelters across the country, in the course of “business as usual”.
      Thank You very much!

      Reply
  49. nancy james young

     /  January 22, 2011

    There were people wanting to adopt- working out transportation- networking. Dogs were being adopted. The ones that were still waiting were getting better housing built. Money was being raised. People cared. They didnt want the dogs in the snow- they didnt like hearing how the kennels were sprayed down- and the dogs just before nightfall. And yes 5 week old puppies froze to death. But it was looking up for these dogs with stories of prior abuse, homelessness and starvation. People were seeing their photos and opening their hearts. But we all knew it was a touchy situation with the shelter staff- and we knew to just smile and get each dog out one at time. We knew if anyone bitched about anything it would be taken out on the dogs.
    All of a sudden someone had a bad day- and went ballistic…and took it out on the dogs. We were all shocked. Still shocked.
    They woke up too- and realized, Uh oh. We better come up with something. And here’s the first of it.
    There is no opportunity here.
    Soaps was working with other rescues to get more dogs out. You are not going to see pictures of ‘dogs frozen to the ground’. The money raised for housing for these dogs- is still there…and in good hands. This shelter was not the kind of place that you can just go bang a sign up and expect it to be there the next morning. This isn’t New England or California. You may have dealt with shelters in this state but you are so oblivious to the day to day life here. You can’t shoot a dog in New England just because he isn’t wearing a collar and not get in trouble for it. These dogs were killed because they knew they could get away with it…especially when your boss is your own father who happens to be the fire marshal in charge of animal control. and so on and so on-
    Jokes were made by the shelter about having a clean slate- a big hole was dug and patted over with a backhoe. ALL these dogs were not killed humanely.
    Its great to post your opinion, everyone has one. Some are just more ugly than others. Some people just want to talk about who they are= well its not about you. Have your opinion- but this is between SOAPS and the shelter and the people who cared about getting those dogs to their new homes.
    Sick/ healthy (sorry their pictures aren’t gruesome) – DOGS WERE KILLED THURSDAY FOR NO REASON. PERIOD.

    Reply
    • Lynnette

       /  January 22, 2011

      “There is no opportunity here.”

      Right there is why you will never, ever fix the problems at Lyons AC. I know that’s harsh, but there it is.
      Some people have already posted suggestions you could use. Ask for more and you’ll get more. Some ideas will work, some won’t. But your comment slams the door on the notion of even trying.

      “this is between SOAPS and the shelter and the people who cared about getting those dogs to their new homes.”
      Slam!

      “well its(sic) not about you” You’re right. It is NOT about YOU, Nancy. People have been trying to understand what happened and why, and they want to help. Everyone won’t understand what has been tried already. But it’s no longer about what you have done or SOAPS has done or even what Lyons AC has done. None of that can be changed. The future can, but you are wasting time focusing on what happened and refuse to see what CAN happen.
      Before this, nobody knew about Lyons. Before this, nobody said in a newspaper, on the record, that they were willing to work with rescues. Nepotism and good ole boy networks are everywhere. Lyons isn’t unique. There are places where these problems have been overcome. Why don’t you find out how?
      Honor the memory of those 90 dogs. Take off your blinders and stop screaming about what happened and how you’re not getting the credit you deserve. You know you have someone already in place in a nearby town who can help you with PR. You know she’s working on an article about this situation. Others are, too.
      There are thousands of rescues in this country. Find out how they forged a good working relationship with their municipal shelters.
      And go in front of council every single time they meet and ask for something, where it will be forever public record. Ask for permission to make and post signs to the shelter, to appoint an adoption coordinator volunteer, to hold an adoption event, etc. If they say no, ask point-blank why not. If you’ve done that already, that needs to be part of THIS story.

      You don’t have to defend yourself. You’ve done what you could these past months. Not everyone will agree that you have, but who cares? That’s the past. Right now, there’s a chance to do some different things, too, with a lot more support than you probably ever dreamed of, things that just might change the future. Instead of slamming that door because you feel no one understands your efforts, please, open the door wide and invite anyone in who has even a glimmer of an idea.

      Reply
    • Jeanne

       /  January 22, 2011

      I live in GA and work with rescue in GA. What you have written here is largely fiction fueled by
      emotion. It’s wrong-headed and unlikely to lead to a resolution of the problems at Lyons. I take issue with your statement that those problems are just between the shelter and SOAPS. You can’t blast the shelter all over FB and then insist this is just a private matter. It doesn’t work that way. My experience with FB has been that it’s an excellent venue for fundraising. But for organized, effective rescue work? Not so much.
      I wonder how familiar you are with the GA counties who have no animal control at all? Have you seen the photos of the starved, mangey, pathetic dogs in these areas? They are walking skeletons and have no hope whatsoever.

      I am opposed to the killing of healthy, adoptable dogs in GA shelters. But I see hope for the dogs
      in Toombs Co. because there is a already a structure in place to provide animal services there, however misguided.

      Why not learn from what happened on Thurs.? Why not figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again? Why not THINK about it?

      Reply
    • Ginger

       /  February 7, 2011

      It is now Feb 7th. I would like to ask you if you think the $3750 closed and collected for kennels in Kentucky, on a rental property, by a rescue not 501c3, that the county didn’t know existed, the wording on the chip-in changed after the dogs were killed is still safe?

      This group also had 2 other chip-ins running simultaneously with another $2000+ dollars in them. Two were started on the 16th help us save the dogs at Lyons to die on Thurs. That gave SOAPS 3 days whom seemed to be dealing with this rescue exclusively to move dogs. No other rescue had the photos taken by the volunteer shared with them and allowed the name of their name on the album as the rescue’s album.

      Pender NC 80 dogs per Willie Wonka needed to be moved for construction to temp.fosters or homes. AR took it on and shared on Facebook and other venues. All dogs were safe in less than a week.

      SOAPS had to know the housing capacity was 30-32 dogs at Lyons. The rescue involved was only taking pups, pregnant dogs, and lactating moms and babies. These dogs, at least most, could have been saved in the three days this rescue was posting the album and asking for donations to help save the Lyons dogs.

      This rescue has changed the wording on the album several times.. Starved & beaten dogs, frozen puppies, paper work that someone had a complaint hand written in 2009 but they had no headings or title. No seals or stamps.

      They first had the only survivors from the massacre. They stated 2 moms and pups, 2 single pups and one small terrier that were pulled either early in the week or late the week before the 77 dogs were killed. Now they have 31 dogs that were rescued from the massacre. Unless those 2 moms had 26 puppies something is wrong here. They are asking for vetting, transportation ( if they rescued from the KY high kills costs would be less)heartworm treatment(for 3)for 31 dogs.

      If Lyons killed all their dogs which we know this terrible thing was done …77 dogs. Lyons had 101 dogs in a 30-32 dog shelter and SOAPS didn’t see this or take photos of this mass overcrowding… something is amiss here. The CEO stated they keep this shelter going feeding and cleaning. Did she ever go to Lyons and see the problem? The big dogs languishing there since July and August. The dates were on the photos so the shelter is telling the truth here. There seems to not only be a lack of communication as claimed from the shelter but in SOAPS volunteers. The volunteer is agreeing that it was 31 dogs now.

      Is this money safe and going toward helping the dogs at Lyons as it was solicited to animal lovers on Facebook. Please Nancy I would like your answer since you know where know the money is safe.

      Reply
      • willie wonka

         /  February 7, 2011

        Thank you again for this forum .
        I think Ginger brought up some excellent points. Where is the $$ ?
        A clear and transparent accounting of every nickle should be available to everyone.
        I did use every media tool at my disposal, newspapers, TV and social media to call attention to the terrible situation at Pender County Animal Shelter in N.C. These efforts succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
        Every dog was rescued and 30+ cats, virtually emptying the building and the outdoor kennels. FOPAS, Friends of Pender Animal Shelter, received over $10,000 in cash donations. Unfortunately, the funds are being held up by one woman in FOPAS who is not spending on the very animals it was raised to help. I am confident that more publicity will take care of that situation as well. Never rely just on FB to spread the word. Nothing works like a 30 second spot on the 6pm news.
        My sincere thanks to every person who helped out at Pender to save those animals.

      • Jeanne

         /  February 7, 2011

        Excellent questions. I’m only going to state a few facts here and say if SOAPS had done their “due diligence” before agreeing to work with the KY “rescue” then they would have found out these facts just as easily as I did. The KY “rescue” is neither a rescue nor a non-profit with 501c3 federal tax exempt status. They are not even licensed as a rescue or kennel in their county. They are banned from pulling dogs at shelters in that area, including Louisville Metro. They were banned after attempting to pull adult pitbulls from that shelter. Anyone may confirm this by calling the shelter. There are no kennels on the property they rent. Only a few dogs have been observed on that property–and no puppies at all.

        I have another question to add to the list–what has happened to all the dogs who were sent to these people?

      • All of this is very troubling. Any rescue (or non-rescue, as the case may be) accepting donations needs to maintain a certain level of transparency. At the very least, posting photos of dogs and “happy tails” on Petfinder or some other website. If money is requested for a specific purchase (e.g. Kuranda beds), photos showing the dogs lying on the newly purchased Kuranda beds should follow. If this (non) rescue collected thousands of dollars for kennels and to provide care for dozens of dogs but actually does not have kennels or dozens of dogs – there’s a problem. I hope someone will clarify.

      • Erica

         /  February 7, 2011

        I have to say kuddos to you “Willie Wonka” for the work you have and are doing!

        Some VERY valid points have and are still being raised in regards to this situation and while we still have nothing more than a back and forth argument – it is doing NOTHING to help the animals….

      • lynn

         /  February 13, 2011

        And still no answers? WHERE are the animals that were pulled? WHERE is the money? WHERE is the Kentucky rescue? WHY does SOAPS not have a word about this on their website?

  50. Thanks for this – it’s so important to know both sides if not to simply find ways to change how the “killing” side does things and how we, as a public at large, can help. It would just be great for everyone to be “in it together”. I mean, it would be great for the animals, mostly.

    Reply
  51. So the shelter is Teh Evol and the whole town is a hotbed of nepotism and sloth. There is one group that can’t do the job alone, and its members are understandably losing it over the fate of not just the dead dogs but ALL the dogs who end up in this facility. (I won’t use the word “shelter” because it doesn’t sound like this is a shelter.

    And Shirley makes this post and suggests a change of tactics.

    That’s good advice for all bad, stuck, worsening situations. When you stop reading your pre-written script, the other side has to scramble to figure out what their lines are supposed to be, and THAT moment is an opportunity to change the paradigm.

    This is a very basic fact of ALL forms of change, in the shelter world or out of it.

    But the volunteers who have commented here, who I UNDERSTAND are shell-shocked and feeling violently aggrieved, aren’t ready or able or perhaps willing to step outside the emotional hell and try to handle this as a PR problem, because it feels like that would be letting the nepotistic, slothful, animal-abusing SOBs off the hook.

    I get it. I really do. I personally struggle with wanting to be “right” instead of getting the job done all the time. It’s brutally hard, all the more so when animals are suffering and dying.

    But Shirley is right. This slaughter has created an opportunity for a change in the status quo, however horrible it is. And that is not the opportunity for the change and enlightenment of THESE INDIVIDUALS. It does not mean that fairies and unicorns are now cleaning the kennels at this “shelter.”

    It is a moment of change and imbalance that, if seized, will move the struggle to a new place, one that could, if played right, result in greater transparency, and a more functional relationship between rescue and the facility.

    If what you want is to be patted on the back for the incredible job you’ve all done in getting dogs out of that system, here it is: I applaud you. You’re all awesome, and I am utterly blown away by the amount of lifesaving this one over-worked group has done. What astonishing hearts you all have.

    And if what you want is to be told that the people running this shelter are doing a terrible job and utterly blew it, for reasons either incomprehensible or wrong-headed or both, then here’s that: “Shelters” that don’t have hours open for adoption, don’t clean their shelters humanely and well, that don’t move heaven and earth to find homes for the pets in their care, are not shelters at all; they’re killing centers. That’s not acceptable, and the day of that kind of approach to animal control is over. It’s time for these guys to deal with that fact, whether they like it or not.

    But saying that changes NOTHING. It leaves you both exactly where you were before the killing. Or even a little worse off, because now all this bad blood has spilled out into public view.

    If you’re going to take charges like this public, as was done on Facebook, without having a plan for what you’re doing to do with the reaction, then you won’t get anywhere, and may well only make things worse for you and for the animals.

    Whether it’s to leverage public outrage or generate donations or inspire more volunteers or to put pressure on local government or get animal lovers in the community up in arms, if there’s no strategy here, it was all for nothing.

    Shirley offered up a strategy on a silver platter. And you all reacted as if she’s making excuses for the shelter and denigrating your hard work, and that’s not at all what she was doing, as was ABSOLUTELY TRANSPARENT to anyone reading her post with an unbiased and open mind.

    Step back. Change the script. Break the status quo. That’s how change happens. But you have got to be strategic here. Something I KNOW you can do, as your CEO clearly stated she’s already been doing it for a long time — smile, agree, get out the dogs.

    It’s not about being right or vindicated, it’s even about making the ACOs admit they are evil and have them see the light and become new people. It’s about improving the lives of the animals in this community, and taking advantage of any crack in the wall to do it.

    Reply
  52. As if that comment wasn’t long enough, I’m going to add to it now. My father, a very successful business man, always told me: In a negotiation, always leave something on the table.

    If you come up with a way for this “shelter” to change how it operates without trying to back them against the wall and admit their wrong-doing and badness and tell you how you were right and they were wrong, if you leave them a way to save face, you’ll get a lot more out of this event than if you demand EVERYTHING you want, including them kneeling before you in supplication and vowing to buy everyone in the county a pony.

    There is huge, huge value in getting people to make public statements that they don’t necessarily believe or mean. It puts them on the spot, and forces them to live up to their word, or at least, make it more likely than if they never said it in public in the first place.

    TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

    Reply
  53. Mary Lou Seymour

     /  January 22, 2011

    I have been following this story closely on FB and on this blog. There are 3 issues: the treatment of the animals PRIOR to the slaughter, the slaughter itself (notification of SOAR, credentials of the vet (has his license been suspended and/or not renewed), competence of the vet (early reports sounded like unsedated heartstick, later reports that lethal injection was used but improperly (missed veins etc), disposal of the animals (were they actually dead or still alive), and the future (how to address the situation so it does not recur and improves). It is my understand SOAR and/or Southern Comfort Rescue have or will be filing complaints with the police and/or AG. Presumably the first 2 issues will be addressed in those complaints and are being handled by the folks ‘on the ground’ , I certainly would be interested in the results of those complaints. The 3rd issue, the future, is where we who are not in the area can actually help… it is my understanding there are 30 or more dogs who WERE rescued before the slaughter, Holly and SOAR need help placing those dogs; and the FR for the additional kennels is still ongoing, as far as I know. Whether or not the owner of this blog was ‘snowed’ by the shelter personnel is a moot point, if she was, so what, lets move on. It sounds like the shelter personnel had been briefed on what to say, The phone interview done with the shelter personnel and reported on this blog is substantially the same info that was published in the local paper, and is a fairly standard response from shelter personnel (not our fault, do the best we can, willing to work with rescues,etc)

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  January 22, 2011

      I applaud and commend your post. You raised very valid points…and ones that need addressed and some follow up would be GREAT. I, for one, would love to hear about the updates as they occur.

      With this story breaking wide open – NOW is the time to jump on board and push for changes. Take the opportunity that appears to be given to Shirley and expand on it.

      I do hope that someone can update us as the complaints are filed and what the outcome is. There are plenty of people around the world that would be more than willing to assist by writing letters and some may even send money to assist in the effort of seeing this shelter do a complete turn around.

      Reply
  54. Erica

     /  January 22, 2011

    You know what upsets me as much as this type of mass killing…is the people that jump on this blog and slam Shirley as if she is the one who filled that gas chamber and turned it on.

    At NO point in this blog did she say what they did was acceptable. At no point did she demean SOAPS. At no point did she say that this was ok in ANY form. She told the story – told what she got out of her conversation with the ACO AND she even went further by talking to them about MORE efforts they could be undertaking to save more animals…instead of killing more.

    While going through all the comments I looked up every link provided. I checked out everything that was said. I did my leg work to see BOTH sides of the story. It is my understanding that the shelter mainly only works with SOAPS…I don’t, and won’t, pretend to know why…but if this is truly the case and SOAPS is that upset about this then why don’t they work out a rescue chain where they pull for other rescues as well? I understand SOAPS if fully run by volunteers and it would be a huge undertaking – but if that is the only way to do it then why isn’t it being supported?

    I agree that there is obviously a LOT of room for change at this shelter. I understand that it appears that things go unchecked because of who is in charge. But it wouldn’t take but a few minutes to MAKE signs…maybe they won’t be all pretty lit up signs that we see at some places – but a plywood sign that has info painted on it is far better than NOTHING.

    I’m not trying to side with the shelter, rescue, or even Shirley….I am trying to point out that there is more than can and should be done. Since the ACO appeared to being receptive to what Shirley had to say then it would be my guess that if this info is being made public that things may slowly begin to change. Maybe instead of just letting a board or a group of people sit around and talk about what they can and can’t do – someone, anyone, should step up to the bat and just do it. Just make signs and pound them into the ground. If they dont’ have adoption friendly hours then ask them to work with volunteers to achieve that. Volunteers can accept adoption applications, that can be looked over and begin the dialogue between the shelter and potential adopters.

    This place is ripe for change and instead of sitting back and pointing finger maybe people should get off their rear ends and actually do something to see that change takes place. Instead of sitting back saying that if we do this then they will severe our ties to be able to rescue ANY animals…take the intiative to explain that you can only save so many – and work with the ACOs to make changes that will help, not harm the animals further.

    I am so sick of seeing shelters blame the public, rescues blame the shelter, and the shelter then backs off using the rescue. It is a catch 22 situation. Only time will tell if the ACO is really willing to change. But instead of just sitting back, or worse still – finger pointing at what is being done wrong and who’s fault it is time to stop playing the blame game and act!

    All Shirley can do is bring it to everyone’s attention…and only time will tell if there will be changes taking place.

    Lastly, for those who keep saying things that basically amount to personal threats against those who did the killing – those type of comments do nothing more than make you look bad, uneducated, and no better than those who killed the animals in the first place. Addressing killing of animals with violence is not the answer. None of us enjoy the thought of all those animals being killed – not a one of us. No body is trying to minimize the killing of those dogs – Shirley is looking at both sides and trying to get answers – in addition to opening the door for change. What have you done POSITIVE to help change things?

    Reply
    • therisa

       /  January 22, 2011

      I look forward to seeing some of you in Lyons to help us implement the suggestions that were made and help us move forward in working with the city.
      We welcome your participation in any effort to improve the situation including meeting with city officials, cleaning and building new pens, funding more workers for the city shelter, fostering animals, finding homes for them and providing for transportation to rescues. I can assure you, this a sincere letter. The only goal of SOAPS is to provide for the next “inventory”
      so they won’t meet the same fate as this one has.
      I appreciate Shirley using her blog to bring this before so many people who seem genuienly interested in making this happen. Therisa CEO of SOAPS

      Reply
      • Jeanne

         /  January 22, 2011

        Therisa,

        Other than the e-mail form on the SOAPS website, what is the best way to contact you?

        Thanks,
        Jeanne

      • Lynnette

         /  January 22, 2011

        Will you be writing any letters to the editor of whatever newspaper is there to provide information on what happened and ask for volunteers to help?
        You’ve got a population of 30,000. I’ll bet 29,999 of them attend a church regularly, so maybe you can get the pastors to ask for help.
        Surely more than a half dozen out of 30,000 will be interested in volunteering once they know how much they are needed and how graciously you will embrace them.

  55. Lynnette

     /  January 22, 2011

    There are some additions to one of the FB pages everyone should read. Copies of a report from 2006 describes the vet striking a dog, sticking it in the abdomen because he kept missing the leg vein, causing seizures. The dog was put back in the cage, seizing, and later taken out and properly (ugh) given the fatal dose in her leg.
    You might have to adjust your browser or download the photos to enlarge so you can read them.
    Why this guy wasn’t kicked out immediately is what I want to know.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/album.php?fbid=455159217345&id=658577345&aid=257726&forceClose=1

    Reply
    • Link didn’t work for me but when I talked to Holly (from SOAPS) earlier, she did tell me about this document. She said she will e-mail it to me. I will share it if I receive a copy.

      Reply
  56. Jeanne

     /  January 22, 2011

    I read as much as I could online–there seem to be some pages missing? Not clear who wrote this document or what it is exactly–a formal complaint? If so, who filed it and where was it directed? What resulted from the complaint? Is the same vet, Dr. McRae, still employed by the shelter?

    Reply
    • Mary Lou Seymour

       /  January 22, 2011

      It appears to be the same vet. Echoing Jeanne’s question, was this filed as a complaint in 2006 and if so what were the results?

      Reply
  57. therisa

     /  January 22, 2011

    I can be reached by email at therisa@ingleycpa.com

    Reply
  58. DianeC.

     /  January 23, 2011

    Shirley, I haven’t yet read any of this blog’s discussion but just wanted to say before I get distracted that I freaking love you. To say I was impressed with your level-headedness (I think I just made a new word) would be an understatement. Thank you. :)

    Reply
  59. carla page

     /  January 23, 2011

    i have it on good authority that they got more dogs in and another mass grave has been dug,they plan on killing the new dogs they just got in.

    Reply
    • Lynnette

       /  January 23, 2011

      Is someone going to go there and take photos of the dogs that are there before the shelter has a chance to do something like this?

      Reply
    • Jeanne

       /  January 23, 2011

      They’re the pound, so they probably did get more dogs in, but the supervisor stated he plans to hold them until the end of Feb. So what’s your evidence for stating the shelter is planning another mass killing? And how would they get in enough dogs to require a mass grave anyway? They just killed every dog in the shelter 3 days ago! You wouldn’t possibly be trolling here, now would you? That would certainly explain your off-topic posts about the gas chambers in NC and that ancient history about a euthanasia class at Gaston back in 2008. Hmmm?

      Reply
    • Carla, Please cite your source and provide contact information so that I can verify. You may e-mail me privately if you wish. Please – EVERYONE – refrain from posting these kinds of allegations unless you can back up what you are saying. This is how a whole lot of the unnecessary hysteria over this mass killing got started in the first place. I say again – It is ENOUGH of an outrage and tragedy that all these healthy dogs were killed. Let’s focus on how to save more dogs from this pound.

      Reply
  60. “To my mind, our focus should be on doing whatever we can to get pets out of situations like these before they happen – not adding unsubstantiated drama to an already heartbreaking event. That is a distraction. And while we are distracted, shelter pets are being needlessly killed.” Yes. And yes again. Namaste, YB. “Courage can’t see around corners, but goes around them anyway.” ~Mignon McLaughlin

    Reply
  61. MichelleD

     /  January 24, 2011

    Killing 90 dogs at one time without notice is INEXCUSABLE, period. That alone makes anything Lyons says to defend themselves suspect at best.

    Reply
  62. Lynnette

     /  January 24, 2011

    For anyone who has not seen the link, there is now a petition on the Cares2 site. I signed the petition.
    Here’s the link:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/fb/22/stop-the-cruelty-at-the-lyonsga-animal-shelter/

    Reply
  63. willie wonka

     /  February 13, 2011

    DO SOMETHING !

    Reply
  64. willie wonka

     /  February 13, 2011

    The # of dead is not unusual. It happens a lot more than you would,like to think. Small rural county shelters in the south and SW routinely kill as many as possibly Friday because one person is “on call” that weekend. Less to feed and care for.
    To them, it is that simple.

    Reply
    • Erica

       /  February 14, 2011

      Do they not have volunteers to assist with feeding and animal care, cage cleaning, and to walk the dogs? I understand that they need a staffer there due to liability – but if they had 1 staffer and had volunteers there to do the work maybe it would help – and keep them from killing dogs, because unless they kill every animal on Friday – they are going to have to have someone come in and care for the animals, so why not line up a list of volunteers that can handle the baot load of work without having to pay for more then 1 staffer to be there.

      Reply
  65. I recently adopted a “death row” dog from this HELL HOLE… Chance (i named him), I love ya buddy… When i was told about the SADISTIC way this shelter PTS dogs i was disguisted (STILL AM). HOLLY with SOAPS, thank u SOOOOOOOO much for taking/sending that pic of a death row hound mix who happened 2 b dying the next day… OMG holly thank u so much for Chance !!!!

    Reply

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