Activists Upset about Pasco Co Pound

Pasco Co, FL opened a $3 million adoption center last year but pets who arrive at the pound don’t go there.  They go to Building C – a place with no windows, no air conditioning, and no insulation.  Some animal activists say the dogs are not fed daily and end up covered in their own feces.

Michael Cox, a former county commissioner who founded a “Friends” group to help pets at the pound, says there is $150 grand left sitting in the bank after the adoption center was paid for and suggests the money be used to improve conditions in Building C.  The assistant county administrator who oversees the pound says that is not at all feasible as it will cost $50,000 just to design the renovations.

Animal activists are upset – they want improved conditions at Building C, they want the county to go no kill, and they are willing to help.  Dozens of compassionate people attended the county commissioners’ meeting this month to speak for the animals at the pound.

Among the issues raised at the public meeting was the killing of pets while half the cages sit empty.  The director, John Malley, has an explanation for that:

Malley said that is a nationally accepted practice to reduce the chance of a disease outbreak.

While some pet killing facilities do leave half their cages empty at all times, it is not a practice in any of the dozens of open admission no kill shelters to my knowledge.  It’s one of those things that sounds good in theory but isn’t practical in today’s shelter environment.

Another concern was an alleged 15 percent live release rate:

Malley said that’s just not true. A few years ago, the county’s live release rate was 19 percent. Now about 55 percent of the animals leave the shelter alive.

I FOIA’d a copy of the pound’s stats to look at the actual numbers.  For the 5 month period covering January through May 2012, Pasco Co killed about 42% of the pets in its care which indicates a live release rate of 58%.  For comparison purposes, I looked at the 2 preceding 5 month periods.  From August through December 2011, the pound killed approximately 54% of its pets (46% live release rate).  From March through July 2011, Pasco Co killed about 69% of its dogs and cats (31% live release rate).  These figures represent an improvement over time.  But while less killing is better than more killing, it’s still killing.  And the improved numbers are not indicative of sustainable progress in my opinion.  In other words, I don’t see how Pasco Co will ever get to no kill under the status quo.

In reviewing the Pasco Co report for year to date 2012, the most striking figures are the increase in fosters and transfers.  For example in May, cat fosters are up 2175% and transfers are up about 329%.  Cat adoptions for the month are only up about 20%.  This says to me that the pound is relying heavily on fosters and rescues for its increased live release rate while failing to match the public’s contribution to lifesaving with similar increases in adoptions.  While fosters and rescues play an important role in any shelter’s long term success, they can not be expected to do the shelter’s job.  Keeping your local foster homes and rescue groups in crisis mode (If you don’t take these animals, we’ll “have to” kill them.) eventually results in burnout.  And then the shelter director, never having done his part, throws up his hands and says, “We tried but the irresponsible public just wasn’t committed to helping so we have to kill pets.”

If Pasco Co is serious about saving pets’ lives, the shelter needs to demonstrate that by stepping up its adoption efforts, opening itself up to fair criticism from the public (this is one way shelters improve) and spending the money that’s collecting dust at the bank.  Most importantly, the county needs to implement the programs of the No Kill Equation if it wants to create a no kill community that is sustainable.  Accepting help from the public is only one piece of the puzzle.  The pound needs to stop making excuses and start saving lives.  The public can not be expected to do the shelter’s job.

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31 Comments

  1. $3 million adoption center — so how many pets is this new place saving if most animals saved are going through rescue/foster? Why did they spend that kind of money if they don’t have someone running the place that knows how to market the animals? :(

    Reply
  2. They need to move the employees to building C. Move the animals into the new building. The animals is what the shelter is all about. If the employees want to be in AC they would be in taking care of the animals and not just sitting around an office and getting paid. Shame on you for treating the animals badly. IT’S YOUR JOB TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. This includes cleaning cages, feeding and fresh water. This also means doing what you can to get them adopted.

    Reply
  3. Barb

     /  July 2, 2012

    Even the adoption numbers are misleading. I work with several rescue groups but have pulled many animals from Pasco by just adopting them instead of pulling through rescue. I “adopted” 8 cats over the past 3 months myself for rehoming. I know many other rescuers who are doing the same. The $40 adoption fee to get everything done really makes it convenient and easy. Just keep in mind rescuers like me when you look at adoption figures.

    Reply
  4. C

     /  July 2, 2012

    Our rescue has pulled from this place and it is horrible. I was picking up a dog there one time right after a BYB turned in 20+ terrier mixes. They were, understandably, petrified and timid. I saw one worker drag a dog by its leash and hoist him up over a curb. When he wouldn’t move, she proceeded to kick him repeatedly. When she noticed I was there, she stopped and continued pulling him.
    There have also been multiple incidences of dogs with severe injuries being left with little to no treatment. One dog had a stab would through his side and was given nothing more than basic pain medication. Three more (that I know of) had been hit by cars and didn’t even get pain meds.
    The poor cats at that shelter – they have no chance. One of the rooms where they house them (mostly quarantine and ferals) also happens to be the kill room. Not only do the cats have a death sentence, but they have to watch everyone die in front of them.
    And I agree with Barb. Our rescue has adopted dogs straight from the shelter because the adoption fee is $30 and the dog comes fully vetted (since low cost S/N services are almost non-existent in Pasco County, this is a cheaper alternative when we have a foster home available but are low on funds.)
    The brand new adoption center rarely has more than 10 dogs and 15 cats at any given time. One time, me and another girl from the rescue were picking out dogs and came across a sweet little Min-Pin mix, young, maybe 3 years old. We were told he had to be out by the close of business or “euth’ed” in the morning. We asked why and he said because they had no space in adoptions. We walked over to adoptions (to look at an 8 month old adorable puppy who had been there 2 months and was ‘out of time’) and there was ONE small dog in the small dog room that can accommodate 20.
    According to one worker, they like to leave kennels open so if the dogs ‘mess’ their first kennel, they can simply move them to a new one and only have to clean once a day. Their smoking breaks are more important, I guess.

    Reply
  5. db

     /  July 2, 2012

    Just emailed the governor of florida with a pasco county zip code – perhaps we need to start right at the top!

    http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/email-the-governor/

    Reply
  6. Susan Holmes

     /  July 2, 2012

    It is stated that their explanation for euthanising dogs, despite having empty kennels, is due to the risk of spreading disease/infection, which I find rather laughable.

    Perhaps if they spent more time making sure the kennels were clean, treating the poorly dogs immediately on arrival (weak/thin/starved/coughing/eye infections and so on) isolating those that were more at risk (the starved/thin/malnourished) rather than leaving them to spread their kennel cough (and so on).

    Also, they need to release dogs to rescue immediately so that they can start treatment immediately. Refusing to allow rescuers to take these dogs that have been treated so inhuamnely (deliberately starved /skin and bone) is a disgrace and will surely end sadly and miserably for the poor dog. I can think of many examples of shelters refusing rescuers to take these poor souls (to give them a chance) which results in the death of the dog or euthanisation (killing of the dogs).

    There is too much pen pushing and the important issues, such as, SAVING the dogs lives, comes last. Their priorities are all wrong. These days the animal welfare system is more concentrated for the public (which of course is very important) but what about the dogs? Those that work in the animal welfare system should be putting the dogs/cats first, doing all they can to help them.

    Reply
  7. This is heart breaking. Cats usually fare worse than dogs in these hell holes. This place sounds like no one fares well… Our nations shelter system is just plain sick. Why is there such a fight against reform??

    Reply
  8. Jessica C

     /  July 2, 2012

    Wow. This is awful. Who are the people that check in on these things, sort of like what the health department is for restaurants, to make sure everything clean and is good. The USDA? Well if they are our only hope, then its really hopeless..

    Reply
  9. Is that money really there or did some crook politician affiliated with the Pasco Pound pocket it for self or something else? Sounds awfully suspicious to me.

    Instead of putting up with their “put offs” take the damn animals out of there, period. Get a State Court Order to do so, or higher form of Court Order instead of meetings and mincing words while animals live in unhealthy conditions that could kill them or make otherwise healthy animals ill that the Pasco Pound chooses to kill all of them. Sounds like this is their plan.

    Reply
    • ipo2

       /  July 3, 2012

      Check out previous employment records for the director. You’ll see why he was fired from his last job at a non-profit shelter.

      Reply
  10. They are killing adoptable pets most every day when there are many open cages in the Adoption Program. A man recently had to surrender his dog because he was losing his home, Noelle was DEAD in less than 24 hrs. The rescues had NO TIME to save her, she was a very adoptable girl. There was no reason not to put her in the adoption program.

    The place is a killing ground. It wreaks of urine & feces…..and DEATH. The dogs are covered in fleas to the pont the water is red when you bathe them from all the full fleas that come off. Most contract kennel cough immediately from the disgusting conditions in bldg C.

    They even have a girl working there that is afraid of dogs…….So to her most every dog is aggressive, which also makes it harder to get them out.

    PCAS is purposely hindering rescues attempts from saving lives as a retaliation for bringing their practices and non caring staff to light. At 8am on most mornings, the innocent animals are the ones that pay that price.

    Reply
  11. Ginger Holland

     /  July 3, 2012

    This place is dispicable!! When I adopted my dog we accidentally went to building A… the workers there were nice until they found out we were adopting an animal from building C…. they then tried to discourage us by telling us “those” dogs have not been vetted or tested for temperment, they are as is and should not be considered for adoption… building C is a death trap.. my dog was so scared he peed all over the floor and I tried to tell the employees about it so that no one slipped in it, and she just chuckled and said it happens… a few minutes with no action I put a wet floor sign over the spill so that no one injured themselves.. ten minutes later it was still there, no one cared. My dog required expensive vet bills to deal with the respiratory infections he got while staying in building C… Building A has twelve dogs available for adoption, although it’s a 200 animal facility… why keep all the animals in building C with no air or ventilation when you can put them in the 3.4 million dollar building so that citizens can view them and know they are available?? And Sir what’shisface, that lied and skirted the truth at the BOCC meeting…should be put in a cage and building C for a few days, at the very least maybe he would realize that he in no ways has the animals best interest in mind and SHOULD NOT be in the position that he is!!!!

    Reply
  12. Piret

     /  July 3, 2012

    They spend 3 million to build themselves a nice building to sit in and collect the paycheck -that’s how it looks like. That is just wrong in all levels!!! Whoever is in charge now should be fired and replaced by someone who actually cares about saving animals!!!

    Reply
  13. I adopted a building c dog. Honey was house trained knew basic obedience commands and visits nursing home with me but she wasn’t deemed an adoption candidate for the adoption building. It took them 2 weeks to get her ready for me to pick up so by the time I got her she had caught an upper respiratory infection they would,t even send her home with a prescription.

    Reply
    • Lisa

       /  November 9, 2012

      And guess who the cops and Pinellas Animal Control are looking for now? Maryann Barnhart! Seems she was hording, lying and stealing and then abandoned a house full of dogs with no food or water!!!!! May she burn in hell!!!

      Reply
  14. As part of the Florida Doggie Paws Rescue i have been to Pasco County Animal Service’s many times and there is no excuse for these dogs to be kept in these conditions. The stench is horrific from the time you walk in the door. Fecal matter is in every cage and many times in their water. They have no beds, No Ac, No ventilation and do not go out for walks.
    Our Rescue has begged for them to let us come in and disinfect and walk the dogs in Bldg C but volunteers are not allowed there.
    The dogs we “pull” (rescue) out of there way to often have Kennel cough or phenomena due to no ventilation which Pasco has money left over after building the 3.5 million dollar showcase building yet the have no mercy for the precious dogs of Building C…Please remember these are often someones lost pet(s) left to die in this dreaded.
    If you and i kept our dogs in this condition we would be arrested for animal cruelty!

    Reply
  15. JulieT

     /  July 4, 2012

    This shelter is nothing more than a deathtrap. Room for 200 animals in adoption with less than 30 at any given time.

    Mr. Malley has now retaliated against the rescues for speaking out. His new ‘rule’ is no one is allowed to bring cameras into any building (adoption or the dreaded bldg C). Thanks Mr. Malley for ensuring the deaths of Pasco citizens’ pets and preventing rescues from helping.

    Recently, they TRAPPED a lactating mommy dog. We do not know where they got her or what happened to her pups. She is now awaiting execution by Mr. Malley and the PCAS gang.

    TO ANY PASCO RESIDENT: If you are missing a cat, you can almost guarantee Mr. Malley has killed it. Cats have no hold times…which means they come in the back door and have a needle immediately. What no one has questioned is that cats are not required to have tags and should NOT be trapped and taken to the shelter.

    TO THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO SURRENDER ANIMALS: Surrenders also have NO HOLD TIME! This means your pet goes from your arms to the back and euthanized in most cases.

    RESCUERS AND THE PUBLIC ARE ONLY SEEING 1/10th OF THE ANIMALS THAT ARE KILLED DAILY AT PCAS.

    Thank you for bringing attention to this matter

    Reply
    • ann dudkowska

       /  July 4, 2012

      …i was in building C so many times and believe me this video is nothing like inside……this is Hell on Earth for taxpayers money….they should all be fired (maybe 3 people from curent employes should stay)….they just wrong people in the wrong places and the worst is those people love to kill and they dont care about all the voiceless animals in this place…

      Reply
    • JulieT

       /  July 4, 2012

      Nice vids of both Bldg A and Dreaded C. When I was there this week, the stench in Bldg C was horrific! Again, dogs with no food/water sitting in urine/feces. Saw a JRT stuffed into a cat cage. The poor dog could barely move around. The conditions are criminal!

      Reply
  16. Ngaire Lucaites

     /  July 4, 2012

    If you are a dog or cat in Pasco County you are out of luck. If you are picked up and taken to the Pasco shelter your life will be cut short as soon as you enter the C building If your owner gives you up it will be even shorter for you and could happen right away if the shelter feels like it your life could be snuffed out immediately without any compassion or thought The dogs and cats of Pasco are kept in a place nor fit even for rats They are kept in kennels fllled with their own poop and urine. If you were to walk in there on a Monday morning as I have when they are closed you will be shocked to find hardly a soul around The kennels filthy and the poor dogs without hardly any water in their dishes.with no food either Is this the way a shelter should be run Mr Malley Why is no one cleaning these kennels and seeing these dogs get water and food Does anyone care in this house of horrors or is this just a place where they just get euthanized You have made it virtually impossible for rescues to network these dogs and cats on Facebook anymore by not updating the threads and letting us know when these dogs are due out or when they have been euthanized The cat albums are a disgrace there are cats in there that have been dead long ago and people are still looking at them and asking if they are stiil available We have asked for months for them to be updated and they are still there cats that have been rescued are still in the album What are your employees doing when they are at work if all these things are left undone?

    The taxpayers of Pasco County paid for a new adoption Center.to be built That adoption center is a joke with hardly any dogs or cats in it for the most part and C building full of dogs and cats that could be put into the adoption center For some reason Mr Malley you would rather euthanize these dogs and cats than put them into the adoption center I think the taxpayers of Pasco County deserve an answer as to why you are throwing away their money

    Reply
    • db

       /  July 5, 2012

      It will take some people who really care to go public and ask these questions – in a public forum – and not give up until they get answers. Hopefully, by putting this out there before the voters who agreed to pay for an ADOPTION CENTER. Obviously, enough taxpayers do care about animals to vote in the funds to build this.

      No living creature should have to suffer the way these animals are suffering.

      Reply
  17. Sherri Calkins

     /  July 7, 2012

    Based on what I saw first hand, coupled with this article, what can I/we do to help??? I only skimmed all the comments, so if the answer is already here I am sorry. There has to be a way to get more cages over into the new building and to effectively encourage/mandate the county to utilize ALL the cages!!

    I was just in bldg C on Tuesday and it is heartbreaking! I was also in the new building…very plush…very spacey. I find it very hard to believe that the new building could not have been designed to hold more cages and more animals. My education is interior design and I worked as a structural designer for a building supply company before the housing market hit…so I know space planning. This is not a lawyers office where you need to impress the clients! This is a rescue shelter for heaven sake!!

    What can we do?

    Reply

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