Outrage in Davidson Co, NC: “10 People Beating a Dead Horse”

Warning: Dead pet photos below text. Do not scroll beyond text if you wish to avoid.

In 2013, the Davidson Co pound in NC took in 3440 cats and killed 3167 of them. The facility took in 3319 dogs and killed 2322 of them. The pound also took in 8 bats, 3 foxes, 6 raccoons, 1 skunk and 1 snake and killed them all.  The Davidson Co pound is a gassing facility.

Some of you have likely seen photos of the dead pets on the NC highway after they fell out of a truck transporting them from the Davidson Co pound where they had been killed. The photos were initially posted on Facebook by a concerned citizen who thought a pet killer was at large in the community. It was later confirmed that the Davidson Co truck’s tailgate had come open while transporting the carcasses.

When asked for comment by the Winston-Salem Journal regarding the incident, pound director Judy Lanier made her views plain as day:

“It was an internal employee mistake that’s been dealt with in less than 30 minutes,” she said. “Basically it’s a nonstory. There is one thread on one Facebook page where you’ve got less than 10 people beating a dead horse.”

This is the leadership in your animal “shelter” Davidson Co. The concerned citizen who photographed the dead pets was correct – there is a pet killer at large in your community.  And you’re paying that person’s salary.

Davidson Co, get rid of this pound director and start fresh with someone willing to do the hard work of saving shelter animals’ lives like they do in hundreds of other open admission shelters across the country. The tools are available today, for free. Why not try? I don’t think there’s any chance you could possibly do worse.

Screengrab from Facebook showing a trail of dead pets on a NC highway.

Screengrab from Facebook showing a trail of dead pets on a NC highway.

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Screencap from Facebook showing the deceased pets removed from the highway by the so-called irresponsible public in an effort to give them dignity in death.

(Thanks Clarice and all who sent me info on this story.)

Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals – Monongalia County Edition

Although there are currently only 11 pets, all dogs, listed on the Petfinder page for the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center in Morgantown, WV, it does state that the facility adopts out both cats and dogs.  In fact, there is an alert that the pound is overflowing with cats:

Screengrab showing a portion of theMonongalia County Canine Adoption Center page on Petfinder.

Screengrab showing a portion of the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center page on Petfinder.

While it’s hard to reconcile the idea that the facility is overflowing with cats but is advertising zero as available for adoption online (the pound’s website takes you to Petfinder), it’s possible some insight may be gleaned from a recent story covered by local media.

Tom Wiley, a Morgantown landlord, is currently the subject of a police investigation after two separate tenants reported he went into their apartments and stole their cats.  Although pets were not allowed in the apartments, neither tenant was given any prior notice that their cats would be stolen by the landlord.  The law requires that prior notice be given before a landlord removes anything from a tenant’s apartment.

Both cat owners say they tried to find out what happened to their pets, including contacting the landlord.  One was told by Mr. Wiley that her cat had been “taken care of” even though he refused to say exactly what he had done.  The other says she was ignored by Mr. Wiley until he finally responded to a REWARD FOR LOST PET sign she posted.  He told her he had taken her pet to the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center.

In fact, Mr. Wiley allegedly took both cats to the same pound where they were both killed upon intake.  One of the cats, Cali, had been adopted from PURR and was microchipped.  Had workers at the pound bothered to scan Cali prior to killing her, they could have obtained PURR’s contact information and someone from the group would have reclaimed her.  It seems like so little to ask – that pound employees do their jobs – and yet:

Officials at the pound said they were unable to scan the animal properly because of its aggressiveness the day it was taken in.

Read:  And they couldn’t wait to kill her.

The cat was supposedly too aggressive to scan for a chip but they somehow managed to kill her which, unlike a scan, would require direct contact.  I don’t want to know how.

Cali’s owner says she was not aggressive.  Although one can imagine she was likely scared after being stolen by a cat hater, transported by who-knows-what means and brought inside a pet killing facility.

Killing surrendered animals upon impound is always bad policy at any “shelter”.

  1. Pets have the right to live.  The fact that they have been surrendered to a shelter does not trump that right.
  2. The shelter does not know for certain if the surrendering party is actually the pet’s owner.
  3. Pets may be microchipped with contact information of someone willing to reclaim them if contacted.
  4. Someone may be looking for the surrendered pet.
  5. It’s the shelter’s job to find the animal a new home, if needed.

In addition, no domesticated animal’s behavior can accurately be assessed at the time of arrival at a pound.  Some animals may be able to be assessed after a settling-in period, others may never reach that state.  Behavioral assessments are of limited value in a shelter environment but the notion that any animal can be evaluated upon impound is outrageous.

I can’t help but wonder whether the Monongalia Co pound workers even asked Mr. Wiley whether he owned the cats.  For all I know, he truthfully told them he’d stolen the pets from tenants and they gleefully busted out the Fatal Plus to teach the irresponsible public a lesson.  Maybe they have an established relationship with Mr. Wiley, as many pet killing facilities do with cat haters.

And what about the zero adoptable cats listed online by the Monongalia Co pound – are they all “aggressive”? Is it just the pound’s dumpster that is “overflowing” with cats?

(Thanks Vicki for sending me this story.)

Action Item: Demand Shelter Pets in Charles Co, MD Be Immediately Protected from Further Abuse

There is a video on Facebook of a dog being physically and emotionally abused by a pound employee in Charles Co, MD.  I’m not posting it here because I want to make sure that no reader views it without reading a warning first.  It’s disturbing.  As in, I have had trouble sleeping since I first saw it on the weekend.  I don’t think I’ll ever get the horrifying audio and visuals out of my mind.  For anyone who chooses not to watch but would still like to know the basics of what happens in the video, I will summarize from memory but bear in mind that I only watched it once.  I won’t be watching it again.

The dog, an apparently young black lab mix, is ostensibly being temperament tested by a pound worker using the method popularized by Sue Sternberg.  There is at least one other person in the room.  The worker holds a bowl of food over the dog, which the dog attempts to reach by jumping repeatedly.  The worker screams at the dog and slaps her in the face.  When she finally sets the bowl on the floor, the confused dog avoids it, obviously trying to offer a different behavior than the one that earned the abuse.  The worker then encourages the dog to eat the food which she does.  Then the worker pokes the dog in the face with a plastic hand on a stick and again abuses the dog.

It’s heartbreaking how the dog is trying so hard to please, placing her trust in the person, getting betrayed, trying again…

Someone with a stronger stomach than me might be able to correct my summary or offer a better one by re-watching the vid.  But that’s what I remember from my one viewing.

Let me be clear:  I think the Sue Sternberg behavioral assessment for shelter dogs is rubbish when applied correctly.  This worker clearly is not applying it correctly.  And questions must be asked:

  • Is the worker in the video still being paid to work with animals at the pound?
  • How many shelter dogs has this worker abused – during “testing” and at other times?
  • Who trained this worker in temperament testing?
  • Are all the workers at the pound conducting their temperament tests in this same manner?
  • Is the pound killing dogs based on the workers’ assessments?

I reached out to the pound for comment on the video and Kim Stephens, a supervisor at the pound sent me a statement from the chief of AC:

As the Charles County Chief of Animal Control, I am responsible for day-to-day operations at the Tri-County Animal Shelter (TCAS) located in Hughesville, Md. Recently, I became aware of a video posted on Facebook depicting an interaction between a TCAS employee and an animal in the shelter’s care. The behavior depicted in the video is inconsistent with adopted TCAS practices and procedures, and will be thoroughly investigated.

C. Edward Tucker, Chief
Charles County Animal Control

The statement does not answer any of my questions.  I believe the public has an immediate right to know if this worker is still hurting animals and being paid by taxpayers to do it.  Further, I believe it is incumbent upon Mr. Tucker to immediately publicly disclose what steps he has taken to protect the animals at the pound from abuse in light of this video.

If you wish to contact Mr. Tucker, please keep your comments respectful. We can condemn the actions depicted in the video in the strongest possible terms while still being an effective voice for the animals by maintaining civility:

C. Edward Tucker, Chief (301) 609-3400, ext. 3, (301) 609-3425
e-mail: tuckere@charlescountymd.gov

Other parties to contact:

Charles County Sheriff’s Office
Charles County Commissioners

And since the Charles Co pound advertises on its website that it participates in the HSUS Emergency Placement Partner program, you may wish to contact HSUS to let them know what’s going on at the facility where they are sending animals in need of care.

(Thank you Arlene for sending me this video.)

Action Item: Ask Dothan Police Chief to Thoroughly Investigate Abuse at Pound

In Dothan, AL, animal control is run by the police department.  On the pound’s Petfinder page, which has zero animals listed for adoption, it states:

Because of the high number of dogs and cats we receive each week, we are forced to euthanize animals regularly.

And by forced to euthanize, they apparently mean getting kicks by torturing puppies to death.

William Henry Roberson, age 57, has reportedly worked for the city of Dothan for 21 years, including the last 14 as an ACO.  Shortly after showing up for work on Friday, ACO Roberson allegedly intentionally locked a live mixed breed puppy in the facility’s freezer, which I presume is full of dead pet carcasses.  Approximately 20 – 30 minutes later, another employee found the puppy, who died shortly thereafter.

ACO Roberson has been placed on administrative leave, arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.  Bond was set at $500.

If this is the first time this man has tortured an animal, I will eat my hat.  I will eat all the hats.  No compassionate person shows up for work at a job he’s been doing for 14 years and suddenly decides to inflict pain and suffering on a puppy for the first time.  It seems only logical to believe this is part of a pattern of abuse with this ACO, one which his co-workers may or may not have observed over the last 14 years.  The difference this time is that someone turned him in.  Thank you, someone.

“It’s obviously disheartening when somebody who’s charged with protecting and caring for these animals then intentionally harms one,” [Dothan Police Lt. Will] Benny said.

Not ONE.  There is a pattern here, I guarantee it.  Will the Dothan police department, investigating itself in the matter, bother to dig deeper to determine if evidence of a pattern of animal abuse exists?  Or will they just take a play from the city shelter abusers handbook and label the guy a bad apple, the torture a one time incident, and move on quietly with the business of animal killing?

Politely worded e-mails to Dothan police chief Gregory J. Benton requesting a thorough investigation to include any possible incidents of previous animal abuse at the pound and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law may be sent to dpd@dothan.org. And while you’re writing, maybe include a link to No Kill 101 from the No Kill Advocacy Center. In case the police don’t want to be “forced” to continue the needless killing of pets at the pound. Hundreds of other communities have ended the killing. The tools are available, at no cost. Can’t hurt to try. And we already know it hurts not to try.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Weekend Jade

I know someone who loves to get hugs and kisses.

I know someone who loves to get hugs and kisses.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

[x]

[x]

Redemption Screening Tonight in Charlotte

I am taking a wee trip to Charlotte, NC

taking a trip

to attend the premiere of this movie:

finalmovieposter

at the Pease Auditorium at Central Piedmont Community College, 6pm. If you are also attending, please say hello.

To see where the film will be shown in upcoming weeks, check this page.

Thuggery

fiends

Portion of a posting on Facebook.com

These things take various forms and get circulated online from time to time.  They’re generally rants against the so-called irresponsible public.  This one is too, which is why I didn’t bother posting the entire thing.  I’m sure all of you already know the myriad things you’re doing wrong which “force” shelter workers to kill animals and their enablers to justify it for them.

Plus I wanted to make clear what these rants are by focusing on the header.  They are, in no uncertain terms, a threat to continue the needless systematic killing of healthy, happy dogs and cats unless the world meets the demands of the killers and their enablers and becomes perfect in their eyes.

It’s terrorism.

And these people are monsters.

 

Dog #267442: Hidden and Illegally Killed by the Memphis Pound

Records obtained via FOIA request indicate dog #267442 was impounded as a stray by Memphis Animal Services on June 10, 2014. She was housed out of sight of the public, in the room reserved for animals being killed:

267442 cage card

MAS was obligated to hold her for the mandatory holding period which would have expired on June 17. Her medical notes indicate she was a generally healthy young dog.

267442 medical

On June 15, an MAS supervisor noted that no one had placed a hold on the dog who had remained hidden from the public since impound. And despite the fact that her owner still had 2 days to claim her, the supervisor noted the dog’s time had expired which appears to be a violation of the stray holding period law.

267442 MAS notes

Never having been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster, and not even having been held for the mandatory holding period for an owner to reclaim, MAS killed dog #267442 on June 15 (or June 14, if the date noted by the kill tech is accurate).

267442 cage card back

The first day that MAS would legally have been allowed to kill dog #267442 was June 18. I guess they just couldn’t wait.  Not that anyone WANTS to kill animals, of course.

Sadly, this dog is just one of so many whose right to life has been violently violated by MAS and whose legal right to be held for owner redemption was violated as well. Pound director James Rogers recently wrote:

By all accounts the death of one animal in error is unacceptable and MAS is diligently seeking to be error free.

How’s that working out for you? Ready to try something different? Is doing your job on the menu?

Louisville Metro Animal Services Under Investigation for Cruelty

Heather Adkins, a former employee at Louisville Metro Animal Services in KY, went public with the tragic story of Sadie, her foster dog from the pound.  In a letter posted last month on a local blog, Ms. Adkins states that Sadie was impounded by LMAS in March 2013 with a dangling front leg.  The owner who reclaimed her received an official notice from LMAS requiring veterinary care for the dog within 48 hours.  Since the owner never obtained the vet care, a court date was set.  When the owner no-showed in court, LMAS failed to take any action.

Sadie was again impounded by LMAS in July 2013 and held for one month.  After the owner communicated that he would not be reclaiming Sadie, LMAS put her on the kill list.  Ms. Adkins didn’t want to see the friendly dog needlessly killed so offered to take her home to foster around September 1.  She began investigating options on how to get Sadie the vet care she needed within the rules set by LMAS, which still legally owned the dog:

In the meantime, I told Tabitha Gray, the vet staff supervisor about Sadie’s situation. I told her Sadie would be a wonderful adoption candidate because she loved other dogs, loved cats, loved people, and was an all-around sunny dog. Tabitha informed me her vet staff wouldn’t do anything for Sadie because they wouldn’t see a financial return on her.

Within a couple days, Kim [Ward, foster coordinator at LMAS] emailed me back to say hold off on collection any money, because [then assistant director] Margaret [Brosko] wanted to use Sadie as a PR tool. They’d received a donation from a citizen that was specified to be used to save a pit bull, and Sadie would be perfect for this. I agreed, because I didn’t care how Sadie got the surgery, as long as she did.

Months passed. Ms. Adkins kept in regular communication with her supervisors at LMAS asking about when Sadie could get her surgery but was put off at every turn. In mid-November, Sadie began self-mutilating – chewing off part of her paw on the dangling leg. Ms. Adkins rushed Sadie to her personal vet for care and paid out of pocket for the emergency treatment. She contact Ms. Brosko to advise her the situation had reached a crisis point and Sadie could not wait any longer for her surgery. Ms. Brosko replied that the money raised for Sadie had been spent on another dog and basically, sux being you.

Ms. Adkins did not give up. She offered to start from scratch with the fundraising herself but again, was put off by those in charge. Three weeks went by before she was finally given permission to raise money for Sadie’s surgery. Sadie continued to self-mutilate and Ms. Adkins continued to have her treated at her own expense. Fundraising for Sadie took place during January and February 2014 and was successful. But Sadie’s last self-mutilation, which occurred at the same time the fundraising reached its goal, took a heavy toll:

Within two days, Sadie went downhill. She began to cough and be lethargic. On Wednesday, she vomited several times. On Thursday, I took her to see Dr. Pollett, who did X-rays and found Sadie had actually consumed some of the bandages this time. She then suggested I contact the Arrow Fund and ask for help.

Ms. Adkins contacted the Arrow Fund and the group immediately offered to take Sadie. She was taken to a vet by the Arrow Fund. But it was too late:

Her condition at this point was too severe—she’d developed pneumonia from the constant vomiting, on top of the bowel obstruction, on top of the leg that needed medical attention. They opted to euthanize her.

In repayment of her heroic efforts to save Sadie, the management at LMAS officially reprimanded Ms. Adkins for seeking outside assistance. And they threatened to fire her for the negative publicity, including FOIA requests, regarding Sadie. Ms. Adkins finally quit.

A group of advocates seeking justice for Sadie retained an attorney who recently sent a letter to the Jefferson Co attorney requesting an animal cruelty investigation at LMAS. In response, the Louisville Metro Council announced an ad hoc committee will conduct an 8 week probe of the agency. In addition to investigating the allegations of neglect and cruelty that caused Sadie to suffer for months, the committee will be asking why the facility has been without a director for more than a year.

Margaret Brosko, who has since been promoted to the mayor’s communications office, is hiding from the media.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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