ACO Loses Job of 14 Years to Save Dog From Kill Room

Illinois – Bryan Jones, an ACO in Joliet Township for 14 years, was recently fired after taking action to save a Chihuahua from the pound’s kill room.  A tech had deemed the little dog aggressive and, fearing the dog (whom he knew to be friendly) would be killed, Mr. Jones took the Chihuahua home with him.  He later requested to adopt the dog, whom he named Chewie.  The pound director and the township supervisor ordered Mr. Jones to return the dog saying Chewie would be kept for a week and, if the people who had already deemed him aggressive turned around and deemed him adoptable, the ACO would be allowed to save Chewie’s life.  He was ultimately told to either resign or be terminated and that regardless of which he chose, he still had to return the dog.  Mr. Jones took a pass on the uh, offer and was fired.

This is hardly the only injustice alleged at the facility.  Mr. Jones said:

“If you’ve seen the stuff that’s gone on with dogs in the past there, it would make you sick.”

The Herald-News lays it out:

Others have said they believe animals are being misread as aggressive by inexperienced technicians, resulting in euthanization of adoptable animals.

“This (Chihuahua) is a perfectly adoptable dog,” said former volunteer Yvonne Polenc. “They wanted to kill this dog just to prove a point. They say (Jones) stole it. He did not steal that dog.”

Polenc volunteered at the center for more than two years, from 2009 to 2011. She stopped volunteering when she could no longer take the “injustice” there, she said.

“These dogs are laying in their filth. It’s slippery from all the urine on the floor. There aren’t enough people to clean,” she said.

Cindy Alberico, a kennel worker whose job will be eliminated from the township as of April 1, said several dogs — pit bulls and a Rottweiler — were euthanized Monday for aggression.

“I’m back there with these dogs day in and day out. I feed them, I water them, I walk them. Not one of those dogs was aggressive,” she said.

Cleaning the kennel, feeding and watering the animals often does not happen after she leaves for the day at 3 p.m., Alberico said.

Animal Control Officer Steve Fix said animals often are left in dirty cages without food or fresh water.

“Animals are being left to suffer,” he said.

Township officials insist the abuses are not happening.

It’s a conspiracy!  And to prove it, the township continued to explore all options in finding a way to kill Chewie.  Which would reassure the public that AC is a safe haven where pets are lovingly cared for until adopted, natch.

The township supervisor went so far as to meet with the township’s attorney, Franklin Burkey, in an effort to determine how they could get Chewie out of his loving home and back to the pound’s kill table adoptability evaluation area.  While this article doesn’t give details of the meeting, I presume the attorney told the supervisor to stop being such a stupid git and shut up about getting the dog back already:

Township officials decided Monday to let [Mr. Jones] keep the dog.

Yay for Chewie but I fear it probably sucks for whatever dogs these scumbags deemed aggressive and killed out of spite, revenge, or just trying to satisfy the craving for that special rush they get killing pets.

The attorney earns his pay:

“Once a dog is in the facility, everybody who has something to do with the dog is veterinary trained,” Burkey said. “Everybody who looks at the facility will find it clean. The results are there — adoptions are up, put-downs are down. We’ve got to be doing something right.”

“Veterinary trained” does not make one qualified to determine whether a dog is too aggressive for adoption.  If a stool sample needs to be analyzed for parasites, veterinary trained is good.  If behavioral assessment is being misused as a determining factor for who gets killed at the pound, veterinary trained is useless.  I should say worse than useless, since not only are the assessments apparently being performed by unqualified individuals, they are being used to justify killing without benefit of behavior modification or other training efforts.

Since the pound doesn’t post its stats online, I requested a copy in order to verify the we-must-be-doing-something-right claim.  The very fact that the stats aren’t available for the public to see on the pound’s webpage tells me they aren’t particularly proud of what they are doing there.  We’ll see.

The good news out of all this:  Chewie is in a loving home today instead of at the landfill.  And Bryan Jones is available for employment.  I imagine he would be an asset to any shelter working to save pets’ lives.

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32 Comments

  1. Tammy

     /  March 20, 2012

    Thank you, Bryan Jones. You are my hero.

    Reply
  2. Jody

     /  March 20, 2012

    Please have Bryan apply at MAS – we need people like HIM !!!!!

    Reply
    • My very first thought! Wonder if there’s any chance since MAS reeeeeeeally wants to change?

      Reply
    • Jessica C

       /  March 21, 2012

      I was going to say the same thing. Yay for Bryan!! And yay for Chewie!! So sad that instead of being glad that Bryan wants to take Chewie, they had to let their pride and general cruelness get in the way and want to kill him instead. So many dogs lose out in these ways because of situations like that, and the humans arent really doing anything to prove a point except what scumbags they are. Ignorance at its finest.

      Reply
  3. bunchofpants

     /  March 20, 2012

    The behavioral assessments used in shelters are pretty much pseudoscience and are most useful as a cover for convenience killing. They are the favorite tool of my county pound, the Animal “Protection” Society of Durham, which claims only a 5% “kill for space” rate thanks to aggressive use of “behavior assessment” to deem as many dogs as they can “unadoptable.”

    Bryan Jones did the right thing, and I hope he very soon enjoys the good karma he has earned.

    Reply
    • Catherine Threadingham

       /  March 20, 2012

      Regarding “Bunchofpants”, do you work or volunteer at the Animal Protection Society of Durham? What is your background?

      Reply
      • Catherine Threadingham

         /  March 22, 2012

        I gave “Bunchofpants” ample time to respond, and they did not, so I would like to address his/her claims. I am a volunteer at the APS of Durham, and have not found that they aggressively put any animal down. I have not seen or heard of a “5% kill for space”, in fact, I find that they do everything they can to get animals adopted. I ended up adopting “Rosie” after fostering her briefly, and she had been at the shelter for many months waiting for a home. They had a big black dog that had been there since October, and just got a home. As much as I hate the killing of animals for ‘space’, it is a fact of life until people take responsibility for their animals. I just feel it is irresponsible of the previous poster to make claims that could further injure the mission of the APS of Durham…We need more volunteers, so if Bunchofpants wants to come down and help, that would be awesome!

      • The needless killing of shelter pets for “space” or reasons other than having been diagnosed by a vet as medically hopeless and suffering is not a fact of life in the many no kill communities throughout the country. It’s not a fact of life in Reno or Austin or Charlottesville. It need not be a fact of life in Durham is the shelter would stop the killing and implement the programs of the No Kill Equation. I imagine you’d get a lot more volunteers if your facility stopped killing friendly animals and started saving lives LIKE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE DOING.

      • Catherine Threadingham

         /  March 22, 2012

        YesBiscuit, I tried to respond directly to your response, but it wouldn’t let me, so I will do it here. I was not trying to start a fight with my post, I was simply defending a group of people who do the best they can with the little they have. It is not ‘my facility’, it is a place I choose to go, in addition to my two jobs, in order to make a difference, however small that may be… In a perfect world, they would all be no-kill shelters, but it is not a perfect world. It is a world I hope to see someday, but right now, it is not a reality. My daughter and I tried to get all of the no-kill shelters in NC and surrounding states to take a Pitbull that came into our yard, nearly dead. I paid for all of his care (heartworm +, shots, neuter, chip, training, etc), but as we already had four dogs and four cats (and he was not ‘cat friendly’) I really was not in a position to keep him. All of the no-kill rescues were full, and NO ONE could help us. My daughter moved out of our home in order to keep him, since he couldn’t live with our cats… she ‘gave up’ (to me to keep in my home) her two beloved cats in order to save Bandit. We have a beautiful no-kill shelter in Asheville, NC, but they can only take ‘adoptable’ dogs, and they only have limited space. The others have to go next door to the Animal Control side, where they may end up euthanized. It is a wonderful concept, and like I said, it is my hope to see it someday in Durham, but right now, that is not the case. Maybe I am taking it the wrong way, but I felt ‘attacked’ to some degree by your response to my post. I volunteer at the shelter on average, three days a week, and I have never seen ANYTHING but great care given by the folks at the APS. I don’t think people avoid volunteering because animals are euthanized. I don’t know why more people don’t volunteer, if we had more volunteers to socialize the dogs, and more fosters to take the dogs, we would never have to put the animals down… I have cried many times over animals that have been ‘put down’, and it is my life’s mission to make lasting changes for the animals, but I do believe that, at least with regards to the APS of Durham, that they are a group of caring wonderful people (mostly volunteer), who are doing the best they can… And they do “save lives” LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING… Just my 4-1/2 cents… please be nice, I really am a nice person…

  4. Firing Officer Jones is the real crime here. I hope he gets a kick-ass job where he can be appreciated for his kind heart and good deeds. On behalf of animal lovers everywhere, THANK YOU Officer Jones!!

    Reply
  5. mikken

     /  March 20, 2012

    Officials denying that there are problems, supporting a shelter that concerned locals say has real problems with humane care, supporting workers accused of neglect and incompetence …sounds familiar…where have I heard this…oh! That’s right, Memphis.

    Do these “city officials” EVER actually go down unannounced to these shelters and look for themselves? Do they EVER do surprise inspections or audit records? Or do they just keep denying that there’s a problem until some really bad sh*t hits the fan and they’re forced to acknowledge that yeah, maybe something wasn’t right after all (and let the PR spin begin!)?

    Why oh why can’t they just be adults about this stuff, gird their loins and conduct an honest evaluation of the situation? Then DEAL with it appropriately? Yes, it’s hard up front, but it makes you look like a LEADER who GIVES A RAT’S ASS about the community. Instead of a politician who is only interested in keeping your ivory tower and doling out favors to your special friends.

    Reply
  6. Reblogged this on hand4paws.

    Reply
  7. Karen F

     /  March 20, 2012

    Unbelievable. Especially since killing and abuse have apparently been going on there for years.

    Reply
  8. Patti

     /  March 20, 2012

    We need more people like this man working at shelters. Apparently he had enough! Thank you for standing up and speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves! This is heroic.

    Reply
  9. Wonderful news. Thanks Bryan!

    Reply
  10. Jill Polsinelli

     /  March 20, 2012

    Sadly, none of this surprises me anymore… I’m willing to bet that attorney doesn’t know anything about animal rights, or even laws though. A lot of lawyers know laws concerning people, but unless they’re specialized in animal rights, they don’t have enough expertise on their plate to say whether or not a person has ample experience to say if an animal is “aggressive” or not, or if a facility is suitable for animals to be living in.

    Reply
    • Jill Polsinelli

       /  March 20, 2012

      I mean’t to say: “or even animal laws though”.

      Reply
  11. “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
    -Martin Luther King Jr.

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  March 20, 2012

      This should be emblazoned on every animal shelter in the country.

      Reply
  12. Sounds like this pound/shelter loves the smell of dog blood any time of the day…

    Reply
  13. Thank You, Shirley. I would have missed this story without you. This man needs all the support and help he can get. He may get reparations form the city in a counter suit but that costs money $. I ask everyone reading this to thank him by helping him find a good job . This man had enough and saved one dog to prove his point. He lost his income because of it. Dog Bless Officer Jones! Change happens when enough people say ” ENOUGH” and mean it. He is a real life hero. This evaluation process is often wrong and there is no “science ” applied, no real measured tests. The ACO’s frequently see a very scared animal and say they are aggressive, Give them 2-3 days of food & some Love. Then “test” them for aggression. This is nothing short of insanity ! This shelter system could not be more broken.

    Reply
  14. Also Sharing at AskWillieWonka@Blogspot.com
    You are right Shirley, this needs some attention.

    Reply
  15. Reblogged this on askwilliewonka and commented:
    READ THIS STORY ABOUT A HERO
    Let’s find a way to help him !

    Reply
  16. Mary

     /  March 20, 2012

    Anyone who knows anything about dogs knows that it is the shelter environment that makes some dogs behave aggressively. The noise, the cages, the other dogs infringing on their space, people coming and going, all the confusion. It makes a scared dog terrified and terrified dogs act aggressively to protect themselves.

    I came home one day and found a lovely little pit or pit mix on my front lawn. He came right up to me and was very friendly. I was getting ready to leave for vacation the next day, and I have a non-dog friendly dog of my own and another dog, so I had no choice but to take him to the shelter. The whole way to the shelter he licked my face and wagged his tail. He was an absolute delight.
    Even though I was on vacation, I kept calling to check on him, hoping the rescue group I work with could pull him when his stray time was up. I kept checking only to find out that he had been put down because he did not pass the temperament test and was deemed aggressive. That dog was no more aggressive when I brought him there than I was. They just did not need another pit.

    Reply
  17. P Martello

     /  March 20, 2012

    Bravo for this ACO officer! Boo to the shelter! We need this guy in Memphis! Buy, he probably wouldn’t come because this shelter sounds. Just like ours including the leaders who are either in denial, part of the cruelty or just stupid. Not reassuring at all – if our country can’t run a decent shelter… Guess that explains why our government & US is in such a mess!

    Reply
  18. We love you Brian!

    Reply
  19. What we need in these shelters is stricter regulation by the local government. Oh, but first, we need local government who actually gives a hoot as to what happens to these animals!

    Reply
  20. has Mr Jones found another job?

    Reply
  21. I live not too far from Joliet and wasnt aware of the horrible living conditions these poor animals endure in this shelter. Bryn is a hero with a good heart. i am digusted at how the public officals act. Its election time right?

    Reply
  22. CristyF

     /  March 22, 2012

    It seems the theme repeating at kill shelters (and yes, even rescues) is “must control ALL THE THINGS.”

    Reply
  23. hilda

     /  July 6, 2012

    Bryn you are the king of all that is good and your dog will forever be greatful, and thanks for bringing this to someone attention it may save one more or maybe save some human from being so cruel. You will do well in life

    Reply

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