Jackson Co Animal Control Kills Microchipped Pets

Jackson Co Animal Control in Oregon had a live release rate in 2010 of just 36%.  Its vision statement on its website begins:

Our Vision:

A time when Jackson County neighborhoods will be safe from the dangers and nuisances of irresponsible pet ownership.

Notably missing is Jackson Co pet owners’ vision for a time when their pets will be safe from the dangers of irresponsible animal control practices.

Last month, a Jackson Co couple lost their much loved cat named Max.  The owners had microchipped Max to help him get back home just in case he ever got lost.  But when they visited the pound while searching for Max, they learned that a cat hater had been trapping cats in their gated community (where cats are not allowed outdoors) and bringing them to the pound.  Max was one of those cats.  The pound killed him upon impound without ever checking for a microchip.

One theory as to the reason for the killing is that Max behaved aggressively after being trapped and turned in at the killing facility.  When the local news contacted the pound regarding Max’s killing, the pound had no comment.  (There is a heart-wrenching video interview with the owners here.)

This month, news of another beloved pet with a microchip, another senseless killing and another broken-hearted family.  Jake, a 6 year old Pitbull with a microchip, was the constant companion of an 11 year old boy.  Jake and his boy had a very special relationship and Jake helped the kid through some hard times last year including the death of his grandmother and his father being a victim of violent crime.  When Jake got lost last fall, the family searched for him and ultimately learned he was at the pound.

With the child’s mom being out of work and unemployment benefits having run out, the family was unable to come up with the $150 redemption fee right away.  The grandmother called the pound to explain the circumstances.  Jackson Co AC’s response?  “Rules are rules.”  The pound did offer an alternative:  They’d be willing to sell Jake to someone else.

Suddenly though, the pound called the boy’s mother to advise they had deemed Jake aggressive and killed him.  In the video, you can see Jake playing with his boy and another child.  The news station asked the pound for comment on Jake’s killing but did not receive a response.

An image from the KTVL website showing the sign at the Jackson Co pound in Oregon.

I guess they ran out of room to fit the words “to kill” before the words “them all”.

Max and Jake had homes that wanted them back.  The owners microchipped their pets to protect them in case of emergency.  But when Jackson Co AC got their hands on Max and Jake, no microchip was going to get in the way of their kill room.

With a 36% live release rate, it really makes me wonder about all the other pets Jackson Co AC kills.  Especially the ones deemed “aggressive”.

There. Ought. To. Be. A. Law.

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21 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  January 17, 2012

    I don’t care how “aggressive” an animal is, you SCAN for a chip and you contact the owners. For all you know, that “aggressive” cat in the trap has been left out in the weather all night, being harassed by raccoons or whatnot and is at the end of his mental tether. And that “aggressive” dog may have arthritis or something and be in pain.

    And $150 redemption fee? Are you kidding me? Is that typical for the area? And they couldn’t wait for their money? Bet you anything that dog was already dead before they even spoke to the people the first time…

    Reply
    • I wondered that too – if they had already killed the dog and came up with the “Well we can sell him to someone else if you want” to see if the people would bite. If they had, the pound would be off the hook. Since they didn’t, they had to go to plan B – “aggressive”.

      Reply
      • I personally spoke to the family….one of the reasons the fee was so high was because the dog had been at the shelter for FIVE days before the family were contacted. This is a dog that was microchipped and it took them 5 days to contact the owner?

  2. When people pay microchip companies and veterinarians to put microchips in their pets, they are buying (or think they are buying) a safety net for their pets. Yet, we know that the safety net is only as good as it’s weakest link, which in the case of so-called shelters like this one, utterly worthless. Time after time, we see tragedies like these, yet I have never seen a veterinarian or microchip company discipline or even publicly chastise a “shelter” for killing a chipped pet. They just quietly collect money for a safety net that has such an obvious, gaping hole as to be rendered virtually useless to many animals. Some states have microchip laws, requiring shelters to scan on intake and before killing, but what is the penalty for flagrantly violating it? Is there any way that the chip companies and veterinarians could be compelled to hold shelters accountable?

    Reply
    • I LIKE this idea! Except that it flies in the face of blaming the irresponsible public…so I don’t see it going anywhere.
      The Iditarod and the Yukon Quest (two big long-distance sled dog races) require dogs that race to be micro-chipped. But then they throw out that information when the race is over.
      So when a musher relinquishes a dog to Animal Control, the chip can’t be traced back to the musher.
      In some cases, when they found the record, the musher gave or sold the dog, and the dog was traded, sold, lost (whatever) multiple times.
      So, in the case of these mushers, they are buying a chip to comply with a race rule, but then these race organizations are supporting irresponsible dog ownership by *losing* the records annually.
      A dog’s life is longer than a ten or twenty day race!

      Reply
      • I think we are long past being able to call thisngs like this “isolated incidents”, as they happen so often. I think it is time to ask the chip manufacturer and the implanting veterinarian for public comment every time an incident like this happens. They like to capitalize on the publicity when a chip reunites a long-lost pet with her owner, well the people and pets in this article and others like them are part of the story of microchips as well. The chip manufacturers and veterinarians are doing pet owners a disservice by failing to publicly and forcefully address this issue.

      • I agree Valerie. And I would add to that list: SHELTERS! I hear many shelter vols and staff chastising owners for not having their pets chipped, claiming it will get them back home if lost. Obviously as you point out, the word is not the deed.

      • I would add that the state’s VMA as well as the AVMA should be asked for public comment.

      • Maybe while I’m protesting tomorrow, I’ll come up with a letter and some contacts for people to send it to regarding this matter. Then I can post it after the blackout ends.

      • That’s why we love you, Shirley!

      • No you do not. If you really loved me, you would say “Let me research this for you and write it all up while you eat gelato and watch a movie”.

      • You can eat gelato while you research it. It’s called multitasking.

      • D’oh! I dug my own grave on that one.

  3. Lauren

     /  January 17, 2012

    Max the cat was deemed “aggressive” after being trapped and taken to the “shelter”?? How many people wouldn’t be plain pissed off, freaking out, and scared to death if someone trapped them in a cage and they had no idea what was going on, where they were, who the heck the people are, or what is going to happen to them. Is a trapped and panicked animal supposed to be docile, sweet, and just roll over on their backs? If it were me, I’d be doing all I could to escape and get back home.

    Reply
  4. This shelter has a history of euthanizing first and ask questions later…..I had a dog stolen out of a friend’s car and called the shelter daily to see if they had picked up a silver malamute / shepherd mix. I had posters and flyers out; put ads in the paper…Then I happened to take a friend to the shelter and took a walk through their kennels. My dog was sitting in one of those kennels to be adopted out! He was microchipped and tattooed in the inner thigh. I am so glad he was a sweet puppy and did not give them an excuse to euthanize him!

    Reply
  5. PLEASE!!! Contact the following regarding Jackson County Animal Shelter! They need to change their procedures!

    C.W. Smith
    Jackson County Courthouse Room 214
    10 S Oakdale
    Medford, OR 97501

    Phone: 541-774-6119
    FAX: 541-774-6705

    E-mail address: smithdc@jacksoncounty.org

    Reply
  6. Darrell Coggeshall

     /  January 18, 2012

    When the person doing the intake evaluation is scared of cats the cats don’t have a chance with or without a chip. That was the case with Max.

    Reply
  7. Chris, Ontario, Canada

     /  January 18, 2012

    I just learned about this U.S. microchip and scanner issue & was wondering if this is part of the problem. What’s your opinion on this? The American Veterinary Medical Association says:

    “Microchipping technologies have the potential to reunite millions of pets with their families. But the technology must be universally applicable for it to see widespread adoption. In the United States today, a microchip made by one company can’t be read by a scanner designed to read the microchip of another. A veterinary clinic may not have the right scanner to detect an identification microchip implanted in a pet by an animal shelter just down the street.

    In Europe and Canada, the animal welfare community already employs a scanner that can read all chips. And, consequently, the rate of pets returned to their owners is dramatically greater. For example, in the United Kingdom, where a scanner that can read all chips is in place, 47 percent of lost dogs are returned to their families — that’s more than twice the current rate of return in the United States!

    U.S. pet owners may today be getting a false sense of security when they have their pet implanted with an identification microchip because there is currently no one scanner in this country that can read all chips. And that’s not only an obstacle in getting lost microchipped pets home, but a further impediment in getting more families to choose microchip identification for their pets.

    The newly formed Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families is asking that chip and scanner manufacturers and marketers permit the use of a scanner that can read all microchips–and that such a scanner be made readily available to shelters, animal control officers and veterinarians throughout the country…”

    Link http://www.avma.org/readallchips/default.asp

    Reply
  8. Jude

     /  January 20, 2012

    1 – SERIOUSLY? ONLY 36% MAKE IT OUT ALIVE?!!! You can’t convince me that 2 out of every 3 can be justifiably destroyed. Sounds like Jackson County shelter manager Colleen Macuk fails the people and animals of this community.

    2 – EVALUATIONS: Under such shady circumstances, the shelter evals should be conducted by an objective individual, group, or vet who is NOT associated with the shelter. It is far too easy for Ms. Macuk to label any animal she wishes as aggressive or unadoptable, whether they are or not.

    3 – NO ACCOUNTABILITY, ONLY THREATS: When queried, Ms. Macuk hides behind a veil of secrecy, stating that she is not at liberty to comment. Innocent inquiries are met with threats. I have been personally threatened by her, and am now learning of others who have been also.

    4 – NO EXCUSE FOR EUTHANIZING MICROCHIPPED PETS … EVER … not the cat, and definitely not the dog. I have no doubt that FUNDS COULD HAVE BEEN RAISED to save that boy’s pitbull. An appeal to the community through the local papers would have done it. For all we know, the family may have been trying to raise the $150, never expecting that their dog was a candidate to be euthanized. Or as previous postings say, the dog had probably already been destroyed.

    5 – SHELTER MAKES $$ FOR PUTTING ANIMALS DOWN? I understand that the shelter receives monetary compensation for each animal euthanized, incorporating a pathetic greed into the equation.

    6 – TAX-SUPPORTED: It is disturbing to know that our tax dollars pay this abysmal shelter manager’s paycheck! Speaking for myself, Ms. Macuk is far too cold, unyielding, manipulative, and controlling to hold this (or any other) position as a public official in our community. This is NOT how I want my tax dollars spent, nor my local shelter run.

    NO ANIMAL SHOULD BE EUTHANIZED IF IT IS WANTED BY A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL OR A RESCUE.

    Reply
  9. Tuxi

     /  January 21, 2012

    Hi! I’m a cat. It’s about time humans get their pardon me -shit- together when THEY run shelters for US! Why didn’t the the US regulate that microchip readers had to read both company’s chips, like in England? Why aren’t managers & main staff of shelters hired with required levels of veterinary training and experience? Volunteers should also have to attend mandatory animal care and veterinary care classes! If humans keep screwing up, put THEM in cages and WE’LL run the shelters!

    Reply
  10. Linda

     /  June 8, 2012

    Doesn’t sem this place should be called a “shelter”! You need to notify the locat tv stations, newspapers etc. & band people together to remove this person managing the shelter.

    Reply

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