December 31, 2012
December 31, 2012
In 2011, the Michigan Humane Society killed 67% of the dogs and cats in its care despite the fact that it does not hold an animal control contract. In January 2013, MHS will implement a new policy on owner surrendered pets, which will be done by appointment:
[Y]our pet will be evaluated by a trained MHS evaluator for health and temperament, the results of which we will discuss with you after the evaluation is completed. At this point, we will tell you whether or not your pet would be a good candidate for adoption. If so, the animal will be placed up for adoption immediately. If not, we will discuss other options, which can include finding an alternate home for the animal, sharing information that can help resolve any problem issues the pet has, or in some cases, humane euthanasia.
The evaluator is neither a behaviorist nor a veterinarian. Owners will be asked to pay a $28 surrender fee.
Do you think the new intake process will help curb the killing at MHS in 2013? Could it make things worse? Or do you see the change as having no significant impact on the killing there?
(Thanks Jennifer for sending me this link.)
December 30, 2012
It was announced this week that an 84 year old man named Sylvester Czopek bequeathed $1.5 million to Chicago area no kill shelters. ABC reports the money will be divided among the following five shelters:
1. The Will County Humane Society is a limited admission shelter that sells dogs for $175 and cats for $100 (no checks) only to people who live within 90 minutes of the facility. So not only are they limited admission, they are also limited adoption. The website indicates a special requirement for cats to be considered for intake:
NOTE: All cats considered for intake need to be accompanied with the recent results of a Feline Leukemia and AIDS test performed by a Vet.
2. The West Suburban Humane Society is a limited admission shelter that sells dogs under a year of age for $200 and cats under a year for $175. They don’t take checks, cash, debit cards or AmEx. So unless you have a Visa or Mastercard credit card, you can’t adopt from them. I could not adopt from them, even if I could afford to pay their fees.
3. The Naperville Area Humane Society is a limited admission shelter that charges a $75 fee to surrender a pet. NAHS sells puppies aged 2 – 5 months for $250 and dogs aged 6 months – 6 years for $200. Kittens aged 2 – 5 months are sold for $125 and cats aged 6 months to 6 years are $50.
4. The Animal Welfare League kills healthy/treatable dogs and cats according to the reports posted on its website. AWL is open admission and sells dogs for $135 and cats for $73 (for one or two cats). The website lists some special requirements for adopters including no puppies or kittens under the age of 3 months to any home with children less than 5 years old, an investigator must conduct a house check for “some of the larger breed dogs”, and if you don’t have a land line phone, you have to bring in a copy of a recent cell phone bill.
5. PAWS Chicago is a limited admission shelter that pulls some of the animals from the city pound and makes the familiar promise that “Chicago should be a No Kill community in the next five years.” PAWS Chicago sells puppies up to 6 months for $275 (plus $75 deposit which is refundable upon proof of completion of an obedience class within 4 months of adoption) and dogs for $200 (plus $75 refundable deposit for obedience class). Cats are sold for $100 – all ages.
December 28, 2012
CA state Senator Ted Lieu sponsored a pet related, HSUS backed bill that was signed by the governor in September and will take effect January 1, 2013. Senator’s Lieu’s website makes the bill sound pretty good:
Neglected or injured animals will no longer be returned to abusive owners[.]
Pretty good, yes? Hold your applause.
The bill purportedly fixes a “loophole” in existing CA law which allows for the return of seized pets under certain circumstances:
Specifically, the law states mistreated animals must be returned to the owner if the animal is physically fit or the owner can and will provide the necessary care for the animal. Because these hearings typically occur weeks after an animal has been seized, the animal is almost always “fit” due to the care provided by the animal-control agency. This means the agencies are then forced to return animals to the same harmful environment where they had been abused.
I am not seeing a loophole here. What I see is a poorly worded law that allows a sluggish court system to dictate when the assessment of the abused animal is made. It could be fixed by speeding up the wheels of justice (not likely) or by simply wording it such that the assessment of the animal is made at time of seizure. The new law does nothing to address the time of assessment but rather replaces the “or” with “and”, requiring pets to be fit and the owner to demonstrate ability to provide care before a seized pet is returned. I have to wonder how prosecutors in CA are able to secure animal cruelty convictions if assessments of the animals’ health are not made until the court case comes up on the docket. This makes no sense to me and the new bill does not fix it.
In addition, the bill “would allow a seizing agency or a prosecutor to file a petition in the criminal action requesting that the court issue an order forfeiting the animal(s) to the county or seizing agency prior to final disposition of the criminal charge.“ [emphasis added] The reasons given for this change are:
- The cost of housing seized animals at the pound.
- The cruelty of keeping seized animals in cages for an extended period of time.
- The fact that pounds “have to” kill other pets for space taken up by the seized animals.
- If the accused owner lives in an area with a pet limit law and has more than the allowed number of pets seized, the owner won’t legally be able to keep all the pets anyway, regardless of the outcome of the case.
This is a bunch of baloney. It’s all a fancy way of saying that shelters aren’t doing their jobs therefore the state should be able to seize and dispose of property (pets) as it deems fit, regardless of the owner’s right to due process.
No shelter “has to” kill healthy/treatable pets. Many don’t, in fact. Only the ones that choose to kill do so. If an owner is simply over the pet limit and not found guilty of animal cruelty, the owner should have first option to place as many pets as needed to come into compliance with the law. Animal control can offer to assist with placement but no pet killing facility should be able to legally take ownership of someone’s well cared for pets without due process.
Furthermore, I see nothing to protect the lives of the seized animals and no mechanism to return the legally allowed number of pets to the accused owner. It looks as if the law will allow the pound, or the state, to simply take every animal from a home and give the owner nothing in return, even if he is acquitted.
Thanks Senator Lieu and HSUS for another backwards law enabling shelters to kill more animals, even ones whose owners love and want them, under the guise of animal protection. How humane. We are the real humane society – small h, small s. Join us.
(Thanks Jan for alerting me to this bill.)
December 27, 2012
Since two inmates from a federal jail in Chicago escaped last week, authorities have been tracking down various leads. Police in Hazel Crest, IL suspected one of the escapees might be hiding in a home next door to Chanette Weaver. They apparently searched the home early on December 24 and found nothing. Ms. Weaver had let her obedience trained dog Kobi out into her fenced backyard while police were at the neighbor’s house. Suddenly, Ms. Weaver received a knock on the door from police advising her Kobi was dead.
Someone had apparently tampered with the gate to Ms. Weaver’s backyard that morning, although police say it was not them. A police report indicates Kobi came onto the sidewalk and growled at the officers, one of whom shot him three times.
Ms. Weaver suspects the officers had opened the gate to her backyard that morning after coming up empty in their search for the fugitive next door. She suspects they failed to secure the gate properly. And she finds it hard to believe Kobi made the officers fear for their safety to the point where lethal force was required.
“What’s the protocol? I mean, to shoot a dog three times? What about mace? It just doesn’t make sense,” Weaver said.
Hazel Crest police gave Ms. Weaver the bad news about Kobi along with a ticket for having a loose dog with no tags. Kobi’s Christmas present was wrapped beneath the tree. Watch the video at the link to see a clip of the family singing Happy Birthday to Kobi in September. The family has retained the services of an attorney in the matter.
(Thank you Clarice for sending me this link.)
December 26, 2012
When the pound kills for “space” while cages sit empty, they blame the public for failing to neuter their pets.
When the pound kills someone’s lost pet instead of sending him back home, they blame the owner saying the pet should have been microchipped.
When the pound kills someone’s lost pet despite him having a microchip, they blame the owner saying the pet should have been wearing an ID tag.
When the pound kills someone’s scared cat and erroneously calls him “feral”, they blame the owner for letting the cat outside.
When the pound kills someone’s lost pet despite the owner visiting the shelter to look for him, they show the owner only some of the pets in the facility then claim the owner failed to recognize their own family member.
When the pound allows healthy pets to get sick by failing to follow standard disease prevention cleaning practices and/or failing to vaccinate upon intake, they blame a lack of manpower and resources even as they refuse help from volunteers and fail to partner with the community to save lives.
When the pound conducts a mass killing in response to a disease outbreak instead of performing appropriate testing and quarantine, they blame the public for failing to vaccinate the pets in the community.
When the pound kills orphaned puppies and kittens instead of placing them with foster homes they should have lined up on a list, they blame the public for failing to neuter their pets.
When the pound kills Pitbulls instead of letting them go home with people who want to adopt but are unwilling to submit to special requirements such as home inspections, they blame the public, claiming that the only people who wouldn’t jump through all their hoops are dogfighters and thugs.
When the pound kills feral cats instead of implementing a TNR program, they blame mythical population explosion figures, and/or parasites and diseases that they falsely claim will endanger public health.
When the pound kills treatable pets instead of providing them with basic veterinary care, they blame the public for so-called pet overpopulation.
When the pound kills healthy cats instead of adopting them out because it’s Halloween, they blame the public, claiming that only animal sacrifice ritualists would adopt a cat near Halloween.
When the pound kills healthy pets instead of adopting them out because it’s Christmas, they blame the public, claiming that only irresponsible people who won’t take good care of a pet would adopt at Christmas.
I say: When the pound kills pets, the pound is responsible. It doesn’t matter what someone at the pound thinks someone in the community may or may not have done at some point in time. What matters is that once the pet hits the front door of the shelter, the staff need to do their jobs and quit looking for someone else to blame for their failures.
It’s time for those who kill pets to start taking responsibility for their actions. And for those who enable the killing to stop parroting the tired old excuses. There is an alternative – a set of programs proven to save pets’ lives. Any animal shelter failing to do its job has no one else to blame.
December 25, 2012
And thanks for all you guys do. All of you – your activism, your compassion and your love for animals – are my inspiration. Merry Christmas everyone.
December 24, 2012
Received this fabulous update on Sarah the endearing black cat recently featured telling off the “Pets with Santa” photographer. This is from the email the Cortland SPCA sends to volunteers every week. Shared with permission:
Sarah – you might remember Sarah’s Santa photo last week. I made a deal with Kitty, our Board President (who happens to love Sarah), that if Sarah wasn’t adopted by Christmas she would officially become our shelter cat. Sarah was not adopted, and keeping to my word…Sarah is now the Cortland Community SPCA’s feline ambassador!!! She spends most of her time quite happily in the office with us. She doesn’t really like other cats…or dogs for that matter. She had poor Wilma (our very sweet pitbull) hiding in a corner until they settled the matter that Sarah was in charge. She also doesn’t like being demoted to the other office when she’s been too bossy with visiting dogs. She does like to share your lunch or snacks, lay on your keyboard or paperwork (smacks you if you try to move her), twitches her tail constantly, purrs occasionally, dials our phones when she walks on them and in general is a great big wonderful nuisance who we all love (some of us more than others). Merry Christmas, Sarah. You did get your forever home for Christmas after all!!
Good for you Sarah. Keep everyone in line and Merry Christmas (or Bah Humbug, if you prefer).
December 24, 2012
We love him.
December 22, 2012
A reader sent me the link to this photo last month and I filed a FOIA request for the records of these kittens. There were 6 of them and all of their record notes are identical. Every note in each kitten’s record appears to have been copied and pasted from one to the next. All 6 kittens were surrendered to the Downey Animal Care Center in Los Angeles Co on October 25, 2012. Listed as 3 months old and weighing roughly 2 and 1/2 pounds each, they were vaccinated, dewormed and Frontline’d on October 26. Their “due out” date was October 31. On October 30, a note in each kitten’s records reads “pre-alter for Petsmart event this weekend”. I interpret that to mean that the 6 kittens were supposed to be neutered in preparation for an adoption event at Petsmart occurring on the weekend of November 3. On October 31, each kitten’s record has a note indicating they were too small for surgery. The next day’s notes indicate every one of the kittens was “found sneezing in the cage” and put on antibiotics. The day after that, the shelter killed them all for “space” and listed their condition as “ill”. They weren’t allowed to live long enough to finish their medication.
Since the notes were the same on all the kittens, I only scanned one kitten’s records for this post. You can view those records here.
If the so-called irresponsible public all neutered their pets, would that force the staff at Downey to do their jobs instead of cramming these kittens into a cage and killing them the first time they sneezed? Because that’s what killing apologists say – blame the public, spay-neuter, blah. The problem with blaming shelter killing on the public for failing to neuter their pets is three-fold:
- Most pet owners have already neutered their pets. Most of those who haven’t would do so if the service was something they could access and afford.
- Neutering pets does nothing to save the roughly 22,000 pets who are in shelters today. And those pets’ lives matter. All of them.
- There will always be a need for animal shelters, regardless of how many people neuter their pets. When shelter workers won’t do their jobs and shelter the pets in their care, reproductive status is irrelevant.
The bottom line: If you are an animal shelter worker who does not know that it’s wrong to stuff 6 kittens into a cage and then kill them, you can not be helped by anyone neutering their pets.