Alls I’m Saying

vixen disguisevixen sickIn the 1974 claymation classic The Year Without a Santa Claus, two elves ride Vixen, one of Santa’s flying reindeer, to Southtown, USA.  The elves disguise Vixen as a dog in order to avoid attracting attention by placing socks over her ears and a belt around her neck like a leash.  Vixen becomes ill from the heat in Southtown since she’s just a baby and not accustomed to the drastic temperature change.  The elves carry her to a shady resting spot.  Moments later, and despite the fact that her “owners” are close by, the local dog catcher puts Vixen in the back of his truck and drives away with her with the elves in pursuit on foot.

At the pound, the dog catcher knows Vixen is sick.  She is seen in a cage with a thermometer in her mouth, still wearing her lame dog disguise, and the dog catcher standing nearby.  He does not realize she is not a dog.  Santa finally comes to reclaim her and it’s then we learn that the elves had been there earlier trying to reclaim Vixen but the dog catcher turned them away because they couldn’t pay the fine.  Santa pays the fine and reveals that Vixen is a reindeer.  The dog catcher is sufficiently astonished.

vixen and santaBack home at the North Pole, Santa, who is ill himself, puts Vixen in his own bed to take care of her then sits in the hard wooden rocking chair to give himself a rest.

It’s just a kids TV show.  Prolly nothing to read into it.

Rotting from the Head Down: How the Neglect of a Dog at the Louisville Pound Went Public Despite a Political Cover-up

Sadie, as shown on the WHAS website.

Sadie, as shown on the WHAS website.

Regular readers may remember the tragic story of Sadie, an injured dog who suffered for months at the hands of Louisville Metro Animal Services before finally being euthanized by rescuers.  Heather Adkins, an employee at LMAS during the time Sadie was there who later became her foster owner and advocate, was smeared by the city of Louisville after she went public with Sadie’s story.  Due to public outcry, the city appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate what happened with Sadie.  The committee’s report was released Wednesday and can be read here.

Terrible:  The committee found “that by the clear and convincing evidence made available, the LMAS Department did knowingly neglect Sadie by failing to provide proper health care for the animal in a timely fashion”.  Despite the finding, there is no recommendation that the appropriate authorities should determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the case.

Also Terrible:  The committee was not only denied access to records and certain personnel involved with Sadie’s case by Mayor Greg Fischer’s office, it also found that the administration lied to the public in an August press release in an attempt to whitewash the neglect.  Despite the corruption and fraud apparent throughout the office, there is no recommendation that the appropriate authorities should determine whether criminal charges should be brought against anyone in the administration.

More Terrible:  After the city retaliated against Ms. Adkins for going public with Sadie’s story and she ultimately left her job, the Fischer administration stamped her personnel file with the words DO NOT REHIRE, while promoting and shielding those who were instrumental in Sadie’s neglect.  The committee recommended that Ms. Adkins’ personnel file be corrected, exonerating her of any wrongdoing, and that the mayor’s office issue a public statement clearing her name.  The committee also recommended that the city enact a whistleblower protection ordinance and that there should be more oversight into LMAS donations.

Cherry on Top Terrible:  At the same time the committee was scheduled to release its report, Mayor Fischer “abruptly called a news conference” to announce that he does not back a $10.10 proposed minimum wage and that poor people need to learn how to live on $8.75 an hour – the most he’s willing to back.  Some noticed the uh, coincidence:

A Democratic council member said the mayor was trying to “distract” from the findings, while a Republican called the timing “unusual.”

Astonishingly, Mayor Greg Fischer later e-mailed a response to the media regarding the report:

“The council found some weaknesses during its review and we’ve already responded with improvements to our donation and open records policies,” Fischer said in a statement. “It’s very unfortunate what happened with Sadie. We remain committed to moving forward and helping save as many animals as we can.”

Found Some Weaknesses.  I like that.  Although I’d like it better if it was the name of a prison wing housing everyone guilty of neglecting Sadie, smearing her advocate and shielding her abusers.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride as the Fischer administration moves forward, what with all those bodies under the bus.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Treats on the Internets

The No Kill Advocacy Center has renewed its petition to the state of Virginia to revoke PETA’s “animal shelter” status.

A VA state senator has requested an investigation into PETA’s theft and killing of Maya.  (Thanks Nathan for the link.)

In December 2013, authorities responding to a complaint in Ashland Co, WI seized 4 horses and killed a donkey owned by rescuers.  One of the horses starved to death while in the county’s care.  The rescuers are now suing the county along with the individual ACOs and police officers involved in the case.  (Thanks Clarice.)

A Customs and Border Protection officer in AZ has been charged with animal cruelty after he was caught on video hanging his drug detection dog from a leash and slamming him to the concrete. The dog has reportedly been retired and given a home by another officer.  (Thank you Clarice.)

A cat who’d been living at a private shelter in PA since May became rabid in December and was killed for testing.  Three people were treated for exposure.  The shelter’s president insists proper protocols were followed but the article does not mention whether the cat was ever vaccinated.

Present for the cat/tea party lover on your list.

Reminder:  The deadline for submitting a photo for the Christmas day post is December 21.

City of Irvine Takes Action to Improve Conditions at Shelter after Community Complaints

After shelter pet advocates went public by bringing their concerns about the Irvine Animal Care Center to the City Council last month, changes are afoot.

The chief veterinarian at IACC, Dr. Lawrence Kosmin, whom shelter pet advocates allege has been botching surgeries and refers to himself as “Dr. Death”, will be leaving at the end of the month.  A vet who worked under Dr. Kosmin will take his place.

City officials plan to establish a clear euthanasia policy that ensures no treatable animal is euthanized. A policy will also be set to create an atmosphere in which shelter staff and volunteers can come forward about issues without fearing retribution from their management.

A number of other changes are in the works as well:

  • A behaviorist will be hired to evaluate pets and get them ready for adoption.
  • Staff will be given one day’s notice on the kill list.
  • The Third Chance program, which advocates allege has been misused resulting in the needless killing of “rescued” pets, will be re-evaluated.
  • A veterinarian who trained in shelter medicine at UC Davis was slated to begin an independent evaluation of the Irvine facility this week.

The mayor says it will take 4 – 6 months to fully implement the changes.

Former shelter staff and volunteers are encouraged by the city’s plans but worry the independent evaluation will rely on information provided by current shelter management, who deny wrongdoing.

That’s always a challenge.  But any reasonable shelter evaluation is going to include input from community stakeholders.  In this case, since the city only took action after the community dropped the problems on its doorstep, I would think the evaluation would have to include input from those who got the ball rolling.

We’ll be watching.

One last noteworthy bit from the article, regarding “Dr. Death”:

Kosmin is serving as president-elect for the California Veterinary Medical Association during 2014-15.

The CVMA must be so proud.

(Thanks Arlene and Clarice for the link.)

Fort Worth Grand Jury No-Bills Police Officer Who Hunted Down and Killed Lost Pet

Bentley, as pictured on the Star-Telegram website.

Bentley, as pictured on the Star-Telegram website.

Remember when a freak with a gun Fort Worth deputy police chief Kenneth Flynn was charged with animal cruelty after chasing down an owned, lost dog called Bentley with his SUV and shooting him in the street?  A grand jury failed to indict Flynn, who retired after the killing:

Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, a dog or coyote that has recently attacked a domestic animal may be killed by any person witnessing the attack or by the attacked animal’s owner if that owner had knowledge of the attack.

Welcome to Vagueville, home of gun nuts and regular people trying to live with their pets – and never the twain shall meet.

But yeah, that “knowledge of the attack” thing? A bit sketchy:

Flynn initially denied any involvement but later admitted to investigators that he shot at the dog with his city-issued .45-caliber Glock 30 after learning in a phone call from his sobbing wife that their cat was dead and being told by a neighbor that a German shepherd had been standing over the dead cat.

Denied any involvement. A hallmark of justified police actions – because when you know what you did is righteous, lie. And apparently no one saw any animal kill the cat. But a neighbor saw a German shepherd checking out the dead cat – a normal response from any dog – and she told someone who told someone who had a Glock. The perfect beginning to any story.

The Fort Worth police department meanwhile continues to investigate itself in the matter of the three responding officers who failed to file any report on the shooting. That too is more than a little dodgy:

When questioned by the officer, Flynn identified himself as a deputy chief with the department. Asked if he had shot at any dogs, Flynn “said he was not involved,” the affidavit states.

Two of the officers visually inspected Flynn’s city-issued SUV while the third officer chatted with Flynn and asked if the officers needed to “look further.”

“No, you’re good. You don’t need to keep looking,” Flynn responded, the affidavit states.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. No need to file a report.  But I’m sure the Fort Worth PD is doing a bang-up job on the investigation.

Flynn’s lawyer applauds the no-bill from the grand jury but laments that his client decided to retire a few months earlier than originally planned due to his arrest – which the lawyer says was all just a bunch of political BS.  Right.  Because seeking a grand jury indictment on police officers when it’s obvious they’re going to get no-billed is totally the hottest thing right now.  Every politician wants one.  If nothing else, for the good will and feeling of trust it engenders within the community.

I hope Flynn takes up some other hobbies in retirement besides playing the Glock version of the telephone game.

Bentley’s owner, who only wants to be identified by his first name for fear of retaliation by the public servants he pays to protect him, still mourns the loss of his pet:

Bryan said he keeps Bentley’s cremated remains in a hallway of his home.  He said the circumstances behind the dog’s death —and whether anything would happen to the former deputy chief — had weighed heavily on him.

So uh, yay – one less thing to worry about.  Thanks Fort Worth!

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Weekend Jade

Serious Sunday

Serious Sunday

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

Cole Porter and dachshund, 1926

Cole Porter and dachshund, 1926

Treats on the Internets

A rescuer pulled a kitten in rough shape from the Columbus Co pound in NC after the kitten had been kept in isolation at the facility for 10 days due to a reported bite.  The director says he would have treated the kitten if he had known he was sick but he didn’t know.  Because he’s the person responsible for running the place so how could he know what may or may not be happening there, right?  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

The Lucas Co pound in OH killed an 11 month old puppy whose disabled owner couldn’t afford to keep her and surrendered her to the pound, believing she’d be adopted.  The pound director says the puppy failed a temperament test.  (Thanks Clarice.)

A private no kill shelter in WA held a Black Cat Friday adoption event, staying open for 24 hours and offering reduced adoption fees (down to FREE from 2am to 6am).  Twenty-one animals found homes and the shelter plans to do it again next year.  (Thanks Mary Frances for the link.)

Researchers find that killing wolves increases livestock predation.

Last pope:  Heaven is not for animals.  Current pope:  Is too.  (Thanks Nathan.)

A clever vet whom I would like to hug used Legos to put together a wheelchair for a lame tortoise in Germany.

 

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is a hanging offense optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

nta

PA Pet Store Chain Importing Shelter Animals from the South

Philly.com recently ran an article on a PA pet store chain that, like some others around the country, is switching from selling puppies and kittens obtained from commercial breeders to selling pets obtained from shelters.  Since shelter pets are being needlessly killed by directors who won’t do their jobs, any chance at avoiding the kill room sounds great.  Nonetheless, I have questions – and just because I do does not mean I’d rather see shelter pets killed than shipped for resale.  That is a false choice and one I won’t be entertaining in the comments.

The stores have been getting their rescue animals from Kentucky and Georgia shelters that have been vetted by the Humane Society of the United States.

Pets are being killed in PA shelters as well as in surrounding states.  Why would a PA pet store chain import animals from the south to stock its stores?  Shouldn’t they help the homeless pets in their own backyard (and then from their neighbors’) before importing them from the south?  Why should dogs and cats be subjected to the extreme stress of a road trip that takes all day (or days) when there are shelter pets available nearby?  The article does indicate the chain will start getting some pets from the PA SPCA as well but it makes little sense not to get all their pets locally, since PA shelter pets are going to the landfill otherwise.

How were the KY and GA shelters “vetted” by HSUS – a lobbying/fundraising group which actually has relatively little to do with animals shelters at all, let alone vetting them?  What is the HSUS vetting process?  Is money involved?  In past, HSUS has charged shelters for evaluations.  For example the Dallas pound was charged $25,000 for a 3 day HSUS evaluation in 2010.

The store is selling neutered, vaccinated, microchipped shelter pets for roughly $400 – $500.  Who is paying for these services and for the health certificates required for shipment?  Are the shelters receiving payment for the animals?  If the financial details in this arrangement are unknown, how can prospective buyers determine whether it constitutes fair trade?  The basis for the objection to pet store puppies and kittens is that they don’t constitute fair trade – with the animals being the ones who get shorted via health and quality of life concerns.  Is it reasonable to replace something objectionable with something unknown?

Some activists have been skeptical of the wave of store conversions, questioning whether all the animals are, indeed, from shelters and checked by vets.

Are the animals sold with documentation verifying their transfer from the shelter of origin and the veterinary health certificates and services they received?  Or it is just a Believe us type deal?

Representatives from the Pennsylvania SPCA and the Humane Society said they were confident that with Pets Plus Natural, any fears were misplaced.

Mmm’kay… but is there documentation?  Just in case someone isn’t prepared to go all in on the wildly comforting Believe us thing?

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