Animal Neglect and Suffering Exposed in KY Pounds

Kittens suffering in a county pound in KY, as photographed by animal advocates and shown on the WAVE website.

Kittens suffering in a county pound in KY, as photographed by animal advocates and shown on the WAVE website.

Animal advocates in KY are suing some county shelters for failing to comply with the state’s humane care law for shelters.  Over the past 2 years, they have photographed numerous atrocities at county pounds around KY.  (Warning: There are suffering and dead animals in this slideshow of horrifying images.)

Investigative reporter John Boel from WAVE in Louisville went out to visit some county shelters to see the conditions for himself.  What he found ranges from troubling to  – uh, what’s the term I’m looking for? – organized crime.  Yeah, that’s it.

One county pound in KY is the dog warden’s house.  He doesn’t adopt out pets but sends people to another county which he doesn’t know the location of offhand.  Another county pound keeps dogs chained to a fence with no shade, even in 90 degree heat.  Other shelters either have signs posted stating that cameras are not allowed or outright refused entry to Mr. Boel.

The Edmonson Co pound is owned by Kim Carroll who operates the pound for personal profit.  Mr. Boel saw cages of dogs and cats piled high.  The cages were too small for the animals to stand up or turn around.  When Carroll refused to allow Mr. Boel and his photographer inside the facility, he asked her about the stacked cages and suffering animals he had seen.  And for real, don’t take a sip of your beverage just now.  Because this was Carroll’s response:

“If you press the issue, we can go in and put down anything you want to,” Carroll said.

“I’m just talking about humane treatment of animals. I’m not telling you to kill them,” I said.

“Do you want me to kill ‘em?” she said.

“No, I don’t want you to kill them,” I said. “I just want you to treat them humanely.”

If this isn’t make him an offer he can’t refuse enough for you, Carroll obliterates all doubt:

Kim Carroll said their private status means they don’t have to answer to the public. Then she pushed my photographer.

“If you don’t turn that thing off, that’s going to be the end of it,” she said.

Carroll said the shelter passed a recent inspection by the state, but she never let us in.

“I’m asking you, don’t air this,” she said. “This is a lot bigger than you and I.”

What the what?  This person is pocketing cash from taxpayers in four KY counties, flouting the law, forcing animals to suffer, threatening to kill them if a reporter gets too asky – all while doing her best Don Corleone impression.  Who are the people writing checks to her from those four counties?  Where are the police in Edmonson Co who are supposed to be enforcing the law?  Which state inspectors submitted passing reports on these facilities?  Are all these public servants in on this animal cruelty, perhaps skimming off taxpayers to perpetrate this fraud?  Because if not, how has Kim Carroll not been sent directly to jail do not pass Go do not collect $200?

The Contemporary Justice Review is about to publish a scathing analysis by two members of UofL’s sociology department of how Kentucky has complied with the Humane Shelter Law.

Let me guess:  Not.

I’m glad there’s a lawsuit.  I’m glad there’s been an analysis done.  But some people operating “shelters” in KY need to have handcuffs slapped on them and get put in the back of the police car for these failures to comply with state law.  Now.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Charleston City Council Considers Bill Allowing the City to Steal Owned Cats

In West Virginia, Charleston city council’s ordinance and rules committee passed a draconian cat bill this week and sent it to the full city council for consideration.  How extreme is it, you ask?

Assistant city attorney Mandi Carter said the ordinance is different from the city’s already-on-the-books animal nuisance ordinances in that it gives the city the power to pick up and impound cats on private property without permission.

The bill includes fines for cat owners but fails to define how ownership is to be determined.  It also fails to address community cats – free living cats not socialized to people whose home is the outdoors – the group that is presumably the source of most of the complaints the city receives about cats.

The sole nay vote on the committee came from at-large Councilman Chris Dodrill:

“I totally understand that the perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good. But I also don’t think we should pass bad laws just to do something,”

Councilman Joe Deneault told the local paper, in essence, the council should pass bad laws just to do something:

“We’ve been looking for a perfect solution forever, and we haven’t even come close to finding it. This is a measure toward some solution. It may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than doing nothing,” he said.

And when he says forever, he means not forever.  Councilman Dodrill:

“We talk about this once a year for an hour. … I think we can work harder and figure something else out that’s going to work.”

On top of all this, the shelter and police department responsible for enforcing the proposed ordinance say they do not have the cage space or humane officers to do so. And even if they did, enforcing such a law would be a waste of time anyway:

“If time is spent on cat calls, there are animal control concerns, safety concerns, that go unattended in the community. So, vicious dogs; dog fighting; children being bit by animals. And when so much time is spent on cat issues, true animal control public safety issues go unanswered,” [Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association Director Chelsea] Staley said.

Ms. Staley told the committee that residents can use things like citrus and coffee grounds on their property to discourage cats from entering. Some guy who spoke in support of the ordinance wanted to know if irresponsible cat owners were going to foot the bill for the orange peels and the stuff left in the coffee filter that otherwise goes in the trash. Sounds like there was legitimate debate anyway.

The Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association has put up an online petition calling for the bill to be tabled and replaced by something that makes a tiny bit of sense and doesn’t include stealing people’s cats.

If the Charleston city council would scrap this bill and be willing to consider a TNR program for its community cats, I would personally pledge to send my used citrus fruits and coffee grounds to that one guy worried about the cost.  Win-win?

(Thanks Clarice and Anne for the links.)

Lapeer Co Pound Sells Family’s Purebred Dog “to the Highest Bidder”

Daisy, as pictured on the WNEM website.

Daisy, as pictured on the WNEM website.

Too many animal shelters seem to be engaged in a war against pet owners – insistent upon breaking families apart while demanding to be called “compassionate” and “humane” by critics.

Like many pet owners, Steve and Kathy Foster of Lapeer Co, MI consider their dogs family.  They have pictures of their dogs on the family portrait wall in their home.  And when they found a stray border collie in rough shape last month, they were willing to help.

The Fosters took the dog, whom they named Daisy, to the vet to get her the care she needed, including vaccinations and spay surgery.  But then Daisy got lost.  The Fosters searched the area, called neighbors and local vets and posted about Daisy on social media in an effort to find her.  After a week, they learned Daisy had been impounded by Lapeer Co Animal Control.  Kathy Foster called the pound and asked what she needed to do in order to redeem her dog:

She said she was told she had to pay $180 and she didn’t have much time. That’s because the shelter had two people ready to adopt Daisy.

Having just paid the vet $420 to fix Daisy up, the Fosters didn’t immediately have $180 to bail her out of the pound:

“I said I don’t have $180 right now. And she said well that’s the only way you can get her back,” said Kathy Foster.

Lapeer Co AC reportedly sold Daisy just minutes after Kathy Foster called and said she didn’t have the cash. Local news station WNEM asked the Lapeer Co pound director why Daisy wasn’t allowed to return to her family. The director cast blame on the Fosters, indicating they were at fault for failing to report the stray dog and failing to immediately license her. And steel yourself, because this next part is jarring:

TV5 spoke to Carla Frantz, the Lapeer County Animal Control chief, over the phone on Monday evening. She said the dog exhausted the county’s four day stray hold policy, and once it does that, it becomes county property. Because the Foster’s could not come up with the money, Daisy, who now goes by the name Bella, was adopted out to the highest bidder.

It sounds like the Lapeer Co pound saw dollar signs when they looked at freshly vetted, purebred Daisy. And they were so eager to collect those dollars, they wasted no time selling her “to the highest bidder” when they got the call that Daisy’s family couldn’t immediately pay the ransom.

The Fosters are heartbroken and want the pound to change its policy about breaking up families for profit. It’s too late for their family, but they hope to spare another family the same pain in future.

The Lapeer Co pound killed roughly half its animals last year. The state of Michigan does not require them to disclose how many families they broke up while auctioning owned pets so that number is unknown. But this year, we know it’s at least one.  Oh and remember – don’t criticize, it’s a hard job and we all want the same thing and DOMFL.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Commerce Mayor to Public Meeting Attendees Supporting No Kill: Shut Up and Get Out

A public meeting of the Commerce city council in Texas was held last week. Dozens of people showed up in support of no kill, some planning to address the council during the public speaking portion of the meeting. They intended to speak about the needless killings at the Commerce pound. But they were denied that opportunity when the city council skipped the portion of the meeting where the public is allowed to speak. After the meeting was abruptly adjourned, taxpayers asked why they were denied their right to address the council.

“This is an issue that does not have to be brought forth,” Commerce Mayor John Ballotti said. “I get to pick what items we go over. That is the end of the discussion. You may all leave.”

Members of the city council hid from the media after the meeting and the city manager confirmed that the mayor is the Supreme Picker of Who Gets to Talk and When They Get to Do It.

The city later issued a statement regarding the pound to the media. You can read it in full here. The gist of it:

  • The irresponsible public is all the irresponsible.
  • Animal Control workers have a hard job.
  • Everything at the pound is fine.
  • Killing is a kindness.
  • PETA kills 90% of the animals it accepts and you know they’re ethical because it says so right in the name.

So there’s that malarkey.

Here’s my question: Are taxpayers in Commerce truly only allowed to address their city council at the whim of Mayor Supreme Picker?  Can anyone point me to where it says that in the law?  If such a law does exist, I would raise hell about that if I lived in Commerce.  If it doesn’t exist, I would raise hell about the mayor and the city manager disenfranchising taxpayers of their right to petition government for redress of grievances – which by the way is a right guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which Mayor Supreme Picker must uphold even if he hates it.  End of discussion.

(Thank you Patricia for the link.)

Mass Cat Killing Threatened in Indianapolis Pound

Vaccination is the name of the game when it comes to preventing and minimizing outbreaks of panleukopenia in shelter cats.  Some takeaways from the Koret Shelter Medicine Program info sheet on panleukopenia:

Kittens are at highest risk for this disease, and adult cats with current vaccinations are at very low risk.

[...]

Vaccination for panleukopenia is highly effective if performed correctly.

[...]

All cats 4-5 weeks of age and older should receive a modified live panleukopenia vaccine immediately upon shelter entry[.]

In addition to vaccination upon intake, shelters must follow appropriate cleaning protocols and housing requirements for all cats in order to prevent and minimize panleukopenia outbreaks. During an outbreak, Koret’s recommendations include:

  • Quarantine and isolate all at-risk cats for [the virus's incubation period of] 14 days.
  • Minimize foster kitten return and place new intakes into non-contaminated rooms.

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is currently facing an outbreak of panleukopenia. Last week the pound killed 20 cats in response to the outbreak and announced that 80 more would be killed. Dawn Contos, the pound’s community outreach coordinator, told the media that the public is being asked not to drop off cats in need for the next 2 weeks. Any cats who are brought to the pound will be killed.

When asked about how the outbreak could have been prevented, Ms. Contos told WTHR:

“I don’t know that a vet could have prevented this. Honestly, what prevents panleukopenia is vaccinating your cats.”

She doesn’t know whether a vet could have prevented the outbreak. Because Indianapolis ACC doesn’t have one. The position, along with that of director, has been vacant almost all year. So in the absence of a leadership team, I guess the plan is kill every cat in the place and let the flying spaghetti monster sort them out.

She’s right on the vaccination issue though. So totally right. Although I notice she terms it as “your cats”, implying the so-called irresponsible public is at fault, when the cats currently at the shelter are in effect your cats, Ms. Contos. Taxpayers pay you and the rest of the staff to shelter them and protect them from harm.  And the question must be asked, have you been vaccinating your cats per standard shelter protocols? Because if you have, there is no reason to worry about your adult cats – they are protected. In addition, some of your cats have likely already been vaccinated by their previous owners – so they are protected even if you have failed in your duties. And your kittens can safely be quarantined and monitored for symptoms.  There is simply no need for a mass killing, whatever the case.

As often happens when these stories make it to the media, the irresponsible public immediately stepped up to save lives:

Several animal shelter and rescue organizations have worked to save more than 100 cats from what they considered unnecessary death at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control[.]

So while the Indianapolis pound continues to flail without a director or veterinarian, the public continues to work hard, trying to do the staff’s jobs for them, even as the pound spokesman attempts to foist blame on the very people networking, donating, fostering, and adopting.

IACC – your cats are alive today and safe in the care of the public.  You’re welcome.  But you’ll be taking in more cats, since that’s what taxpayers pay you to do.  Will you start doing your jobs now?

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

Wendy can not get enough of playing with Jade lately. I don’t know if it’s the change in the weather or what. They will play like this all afternoon if left to their own devices.

Oh yeah, I got both these dogs for free. And now I’m fighting them.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

cat rad

Shelter Pet Abuse and Cowards In Taos County, NM

In New Mexico, the city of Taos as well as the county of Taos pay a group called Stray Hearts more than $230,000 a year to perform animal control duties. Stray Hearts hired veterinarian Eugene Aversa to work at the facility in November 2013, providing medical care to the animals. He resigned last month, after a complaint made by shelter volunteers and staff led to a hearing before the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine, the findings of which were damning:

Eugene Aversa was found to have violated state codes in his treatment of or failure to treat 18 animals.
[...]
In its order, the seven-member board suggested Aversa was not qualified to work as a veterinarian at Stray Hearts. The order said Aversa “did not exercise the same degree of care, skill and diligence that reasonably prudent New Mexico veterinarians would have employed” in several cases. The doctor’s care for some animals was found to have constituted “gross negligence,” including in the case of a dog with a fractured paw which eventually fell off, a dog with cancer and a cat with a fractured paw as well as exposed bone.

Details of individual animals forced to suffer under Aversa’s “care” are disturbing to read.

A cat named Taffy was being given fluids by Aversa when the needle slipped out from under Taffy’s skin and the fluids spray Aversa in the face. The state report indicates Aversa threw Taffy to the floor in response. A worker found Taffy dead in her cage the next day, “with blood everywhere.”

A dog named Petey came to the pound in March 2014 with a fractured paw and Aversa left him to suffer until late July when he finally performed surgery on the dog. The state report says Aversa subsequently refused to change Petey’s bandages regularly and his paw eventually “fell off.”

Felicia Valencia, who assisted Aversa during procedures, says it took 90 minutes for a kitten to die after being “euthanized” by Aversa, and that the kitten’s suffering was only ended when Aversa finally jabbed a needle in the pet’s heart.

Ms. Valencia says when she spoke up about the abuse she witnessed, the shelter administration fired her.  Several Stray Hearts board members have resigned this year and the director recently quit.  Aversa’s malpractice and the shelter administration’s failure to take action to stop it has obviously taken a toll.  Still, the administrators appear to be trying to sweep the whole thing under the rug:

 Asked whether Aversa had been qualified to work at the shelter, the nonprofit’s chair said Tuesday she was “not qualified to comment on the veterinarian’s qualifications.”

Yeah, that’s not the only thing the administrators for Stray Hearts aren’t qualified to comment on.

The state veterinary board suspended Aversa’s license for 30 days and ordered him to shadow a shelter vet for 64 hours without pay. Once the required hours have been put in, Aversa will again be allowed to practice, and will be on a probationary status with the board. Which will surely bring comfort to any animals he hurls to the floor or leaves to suffer in pain until their fucking feet fall off.

If you live in Taos County, contact county manager Stephen Archuleta and tell him you don’t want one more penny of your tax money paid to Stray Hearts unless the entire board steps down.  Let the vols and staffers who filed the complaint run the place while things get sorted out.  Or find another group to contract for animal control.  Maintaining the status quo is unacceptable.  If Stray Hearts won’t do right by the lost and homeless animals in Taos Co, it’s up to the public to demand immediate changes be made.  At minimum, the shelter animals in Taos Co deserve a vet who won’t hurt them but will instead do his job to help them and shelter administrators who recognize that hurting pets is intolerable and will take action to protect the animals, not the abuser.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your best guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is optional heavily frowned upon by management.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow morning.

Yes, you can hold him next.

Yes, you can hold him next.

Arkansas Pound Employee Fired After Dog Found Starving

Lucy, as pictured on the KATV website, after being starved in the Brinkley pound.

Lucy, as pictured on the KATV website, after being starved in the Brinkley pound.

The city of Brinkley, Arkansas has fired its sole employee who was paid to work at the pound after a dog was found starving in the facility. The German shepherd dog called Lucy had been in the pound since June and was taken by a rescuer last week. A vet determined she was 30 pounds underweight and sick. Brinkley mayor Billy Hankins was shown pictures of Lucy and swiftly fired the pound employee:

“In no circumstance would I ever do this to an animal, no way. If I had of known about the condition of this dog before the 16th of October, there would have been immediate action,” Hankins said.

The Brinkley city attorney said the city will investigate itself in the matter. But the rescuer is not satisfied and has retained an attorney:

According to the dog rescuer’s attorney, Clint Lancaster, the investigation is not good enough for her.

“My client has given me a recording which I am not authorized to release which tends to indicate that the mayor knew this was going on for [quite some time],” Lancaster said.

Hmm. The two people who volunteer at the pound say they have been locked out for the past month. But now the mayor says he’s meeting with the volunteers about how to improve conditions at the facility and it’s conceivable that the city might go so far as to maybe even paint the place, possibly:

“We’re looking at even painting it, trying to brighten it up, anything that is necessary to make this where we feel like the dogs are safe ,” Hankins said.

You know what would brighten up the Brinkley pound for Lucy? Groceries. Someone doing his job. Unlocking the damn place so volunteers can get in.

But the mayor says not to criticize because actually, they could be worse:

“Once we pick a dog up and impound him, after 5 days if the dog has not been claimed by the owner then we take charge in a humane matter. As far as disposing of the dog, that would be euthanized,” Hankins said.” I might say there has been 50 dogs, at least the report I’m getting, we have saved their lives by not sticking with this ordinance.”

Maybe 50 dogs (somebody said, I think) we let people save, even though we could have killed them under the ordinance we made, but we let the public take them out alive because we’re awesome like that. True, we paid one guy to run the pound while we provided no oversight whatsoever and he wasn’t even managing to throw food down regularly for the animals but hey, we could be even more killy so shut up.

In the meantime, the irresponsible public has removed all the dogs from the Brinkley pound while the city investigates itself and the mayor browses paint color palettes online. The city isn’t taking in more dogs until the current crisis is resolved. Or at least painted over, I guess.

(Thank you Arlene for the link.)

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