Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals: Jackson, MS Edition

As we so often hear from killing apologists, people who take jobs at the pound do it out of a love for pets and of course, they don’t want to kill animals.  And other fairy tales.

Some yahoo from Jackson AC in MS is riding around in the back of a pickup truck, armed with a shotgun, shooting dogs in their yards.

One man who says he occasionally fed a stray female dog in the neighborhood was at home when the armed sadist killed her:

“She came in my yard. I was sitting there watching the dog and there was a loud boom,” he said. And when the bullet hit the dog, the force pushed the body down, knocked it over, pushed it over. The dog was screaming, making a lot of noise.”

The injured dog made it down the street and collapsed.

A woman down the street had just let her dog Charley outside when the nutter came for him:

“Charley is not going to growl at you, Charley is going to wag his tail even if one of you guys walked up, he would just wag his tail,” said Charley’s owner. “So they could have just got out of the truck and picked him up. Instead, they shot him.”

Charley’s owner describes the behavior of the armed and violent public servant as that of a sniper:

“Yes, he was in the back of the truck, like he was a sniper cause he didn’t get out,” she said.

Neither eyewitness account makes mention of even a minor attempt to capture the dogs or knock on the doors of the homes where they were to inquire about their status.  Just an armed ACO riding around in the back of a truck, shooting pets to death.  But don’t fret, it’s perfectly reasonable:

We went to Jackson Animal Control to get their response. Paul Perry, the manager, said his officers followed policy,that they can use lethal force after all peaceful means of capturing an animal have been exhausted.

Apparently in Jackson, “all peaceful means of capturing an animal have been exhausted” equates with loading the shotgun.

Oh but we can’t understand how hard the job is and compassion fatigue and fuck all.  So don’t judge unless you’re willing to go down there and start randomly gunning down pets yourself.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Texas ACO SorryNotSorry He Got Caught on Camera Dragging a Dog

The Humane Society of Northeast Texas is no stranger to violence against the animals in its care.  But an incident of an ACO dragging a dog around the pound by a leash was caught on video last month, forcing the city to take action.  Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The little dog can be seen on multiple camera views being dragged like a sack of potatoes by Saylor Knox, the ACO paid to protect him from harm:

Knox’s boss, Environmental Health Supervisor Buck Farrar, says there is no excuse for the behavior, but here are some excuses:

Farrar said that while nothing excuses the behavior, the office was short-handed that day, Knox was hurrying, and the dog was behaving in an unruly manner.

“There is nothing that can condone taking action that can be perceived as abusive toward the animal. Do I believe that there was any ill intent on his part, that he was deliberately doing that? Absolutely not,” Farrar said.

“It’s the perception.”

Short-handed. In a hurry. Bad dog. He wasn’t deliberately dragging the dog. That’s just the perception of anyone who watched the video. It’s all in your mind.

As part of the city’s discipline, Knox was forced to write a letter to the HS regarding the incident. It looks like he copied one out of the Shelter Pet Abusers Handbook:

“I apologize for the way it appeared and for anything I did that implied I intended to harm the animal in any way,” Knox wrote.

Sorry for your stupid perceptions, people.

“I was attempting to expedite the call quickly being that the dog was being extremely unruly and vocal in the eyes of the public. I did the best I could in the circumstance, taking ample time both on the truck as well as once I had the dog secured in the animal control officer run, trying to get the dog to warm up to me.”

We’re doing the best we can, yay. Also, have we mentioned lately that the little dog was B-A-D? Because he was.

Apparently the wheel has not yet made it to Longview because if it had, the pound could keep a cart handy to move cages containing dogs too frightened to walk.

Knox refused to be interviewed by local media, as did the pound’s director.  There is no mention in the article of whether the dog survived the pound or was killed.  As far as the remainder of Knox’s disciplinary action, he was suspended for two days.  A city employee in another department was also suspended for two days in August “after administrators discovered she incorrectly filed paperwork for several months”. So I PERCEIVE that the pet mistreating ACO who gets paid to issue citations to citizens who mistreat pets is exactly the same as the paperwork messer-upper. Got it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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.)

Grand Jury Findings in Mendocino Co, CA Shelter Investigation

A recent investigation by the Mendocino Co grand jury into the county shelter in Ukiah, CA revealed some troubling findings:

  • Owners attempting to surrender pets at the shelter are regularly turned away, in violation of CA law.
  • The shelter is overcrowded and overflow animals are kept in crates.  Some animals have lived at the shelter for more than a year.
  • The shelter is infested with rats.
  • There is a contentious relationship between shelter staff and ACOs, each falling under separate departments.  The ACOs feel the staff doesn’t want them bringing animals to the facility.  As a result, ACOs tend to work with animal abusers over extended periods of time rather than seize their animals.

Additional grand jury findings:

  • Some veterinarians refuse to work with ACOs because they don’t believe the ACOs seize abused animals in a timely manner and the abusers are not barred from immediately obtaining more animals.
  • ACOs in the field do not have access to the computer system containing licensing information and therefore must use their personal cell phones to call shelter staff when they pick up stray animals.  Because cell service is spotty and the staff only answer the phones some of the time, the ACOs don’t bother trying to get the information they need to return lost pets in the field.  These animals are all brought to the overcrowded, rat infested shelter.

Although it’s stated in the Mendocino Co ACO manual that they are required to maintain confidentiality in their duties, the grand jury found ACOs were telling animal abusers the names of people who complained about them.  As a result, many tipsters and their children were harassed in retaliation.

The grand jury made a number of recommendations including placing ACOs and shelter staff under the same department, training for shelter management, third party inspections at the shelter on a quarterly basis, annual ethics training for ACOs, computer access in the ACO vehicles, and the development of protocols for handling abuse cases.  The Mendocino Co shelter manager, the county sheriff, and the county board of supervisors are just some of the people required to respond to the grand jury findings.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

MI Shelter Closed and ACO Suspended After Dogs Found in Grave Condition

The shelter for the city of River Rouge, MI appears to fall under the police department.  The website says:

River Rouge Animal Control is operated by the Animal Control Officer Ernest Bowling Sr. The Animal Control Officer is available Monday, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

ACO Bowling recently brought two dogs in need of immediate veterinary care to the city shelter, and while no one can say exactly when that was (?), it was presumably on a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.  Both dogs were apparently left in cages to suffer. When the manager arrived on Tuesday, apparently seeing the dogs for the first time, both were dying:

“The pit bull had a hole in his head so that when he would take a breath blood would squirt out,” [volunteer Tom] Maskeny said. “There was blood on the sidewalk and in the shelter from him.”

[...]

Maskeny said the Yorkie also was just tossed into a cage. When volunteers arrived it was laying on the concrete next to a bowl of food, not moving.

Both dogs were taken to a vet who euthanized the elderly yorkie but was able to save the pitbull.

ACO Bowling has been suspended while an investigation is conducted and the shelter is being closed. The animals are being transferred to other facilities and a call for foster homes has been issued.

I don’t know any history on this shelter but it’s hard to imagine that this event occurred in a vacuum.  It’s also concerning that the police department will likely investigate itself in the matter.  If anyone sees any updates on this story, please share.

Pets Go Missing After Animal Control Gets Involved

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune's website.

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune’s website.

Annie Allison and her family have owned their beloved cat Doozie Bean for 9 years. He’s been missing since May 7, when he was reportedly trapped in a neighbor’s yard by the ACO for Hornell, NY. Prior to setting the traps in the neighbor’s yard, Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan states the ACO was supposed to knock on doors of area homes to alert residents. In addition, any cats trapped are supposed to be held for 5 days in order to give owners a chance to reclaim them. The ACO in this case, Gary Hadsell, appears to have not followed procedures.

After Ms. Allison brought her concerns to Mayor Hogan, the mayor denied any knowledge of traps being set. He says he talked with ACO Hadsell who reportedly admitted losing one of the cats he trapped. The ACO also apparently denied ever trapping Doozie Bean, claiming he has the ability to immediately distinguish feral cats from owned pets based on their behavior in the trap. The article doesn’t say if he also pulls rabbits out of hats or whether he’s available for kiddie birthday parties.

Mayor Hogan says ACO Hadsell has resigned. This too is clear as mud:

When reached for comment on his resignation, Hadsell said, “I don’t believe I did (resign). If you have any questions, call Shawn Hogan.”

Mayor Hogan also says that because of what happened with Doozie Bean, his city is getting out of the trapping business.

In the meantime, Ms. Allison and her family are heartbroken. She continues to search for Doozie Bean, driving around for hours, whistling for him and shaking cat treats out the window.

***

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

In West Memphis, AR a dog named Blue got spooked during a thunderstorm Saturday night and got lost.  A police officer took him to the West Memphis pound.  When Blue’s owner inquired at the pound Sunday, he was relieved to hear his pet was there.  But Blue’s cage was found empty.  Pound director Kerry Sneed says she personally locked the gate on Blue’s cage Saturday night and that it did not appear that he had escaped on his own.

For several hours Sunday morning, Sneed said there was a window of opportunity for people on the property to steal the dog.

Well gee.  Is that the sort of failure that taxpayers in West Memphis are supposed to accept?  What is being done to actually shelter animals from harm once they arrive at the so-called shelter?  Anything?

The owner, George Johnson, continues to walk the streets, calling for Blue.  He has made his e-mail address public in an effort to get any possible leads on the whereabouts of his pet: rjhealthfirst@yahoo.com

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Detroit Police Shoot 3 Dogs, ACOs Drag Their Bodies Down the Street

A Detroit ACO chokepoles a dog, possibly dead, across a street.  Screengrab from mlive.com.

A Detroit ACO chokepoles a dog, possibly dead, across a street. Screengrab from mlive.com.

Detroit police in riot gear entered a home in a drug raid last week, shooting 3 dogs who were inside the home.  The police called animal control to pick up the dogs.  Detroit ACOs used chokepoles to drag the dogs, who appeared limp and bloody, across the street in front of neighborhood children.  One dog’s entrails were reportedly falling out.  ACOs then heaved the dogs, who were possibly dead, onto the truck which contained live dogs.

These are your public servants, paid by your taxes to protect your community’s pets and promote the human-animal bond.  I guess we’re not giving them enough cupcakes.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Nashville’s Faux Rescue of 38 Dogs Represents Years of Failure

Bad:  Earlier this month, Metro police in Nashville arrested six people in connection with a drug trafficking investigation.  While raiding the home of Michael A. Davis, one of the six charged, police discovered dozens of chained pitbull type dogs in the yard.  Some of the dogs were emaciated and others had open wounds (photos of the dogs here).  In addition, police found items often associated with dogfighting including canine treadmills, syringes, and a rape rack.  WSMV reports that 38 dogs were transferred to the Nashville pound last Tuesday as a result of the raid.

Worse:  The night of the seizure, five of the “rescued” dogs, all of whom were apparently unsupervised, were involved in a fight which erupted after two of them got loose.  One dog was killed, another was seriously injured and the other three sustained minor injuries.  After the needless death and suffering on the rescuers’ (non-existent) watch, officials decided it might be a good idea to supervise the dogs 24 hours a day.

Worst:  After the seizure, the county “discovered” that people had been begging the Nashville pound to help the dogs chained at the Davis home for years.  As far back as 2010 and as recently as 2013, citizens had been reporting that Davis’s dogs were being neglected and possibly used for fighting.  The county was “concerned with the lack of documentation of these complaints” and will investigate itself in the matter.  In the meantime, two of the pound’s ACOs are being paid to not work during the investigation.

This waggy dog, shown on the Nashville.gov website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

This waggy dog, shown on the Nashville.gov website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

It sounds as if these dogs could have been rescued – for real, not the fake kind where they end up dead and injured the night they get “saved” – years ago if the Nashville pound had been doing its job.  Unfortunately, Nashville has long considered its “job” to be killing and if the dogs had been rescued in response to the previous complaints, they likely would have been killed under Nashville’s only recently modified Kill Them All pitbull policy.  Tragically, this way too late botched rescue is probably the best these abuse victims could hope for in Nashville.

(Thanks Karen and Clarice for the links.)

Dog Abusing City’s ACO Charged with Cruelty

The city of Winnfield, LA is home to Uncle Earl’s Hog Dog Trials – an annual event where dogs are turned loose in an enclosure with wild hogs whose tusks have been removed. The length of time it takes the dog to pin down and/or maim the hog determines the winner. Winnfield proudly advertises the blood sport on its website, describing the event as the “Super Bowl” of hog dog rodeos.

Although Winnfield’s city website does not mention an animal control officer, it apparently has one.  Or had – as the last one is currently in jail, charged with animal cruelty.  Former Winnfield ACO Eva Wise allegedly stopped paying rent in October 2013.  At that time, her landlord, who was preparing to evict her, received a phone call from the Heart of Louisiana Humane Society requesting permission to access the property for a cruelty investigation.

Wise had allegedly left 9 dogs on the property she abandoned, chained without food or water along with 8 dogs and a litter of puppies on another property one mile away.  Two of the dogs were already dead and the rest were reportedly in such bad shape, all but two were euthanized on site.

The landlord, Jennifer Johnson, says she asked Wise why the dogs had been left to starve to death:

“She just said that she couldn’t hardly afford to feed herself, much less the animals and she had said that she had told some of her husband’s family they needed to come get the dogs because she had apparently up and left and this had been for several weeks,” said Johnson.

Although the dogs were discovered in October 2013, Wise was not arrested until February 28, 2014.  Law enforcement declined to explain the reason for the lengthy delay.  She has since pleaded not guilty to seven counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.  Her court date has been set for July 28.  One of the two surviving dogs has an adoption application pending and the other is available for adoption.

City of Winnfield, this is your wake-up call. Stop being proud of hurting dogs and start attracting a different element in your animal control department.  Every dog has the right to live, to love and to be loved.  Advertise that.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this story.)

WV Animal Control Officer Violates Law in Dog Killing, Will Keep Job

A Fayette County dog bit a child on March 11, 2014 and stitches were required as a result of the injury. Fayette Co ACO Russell Parker seized the dog and was advised by the owner that the dog had not been vaccinated for rabies. The owner stated the dog had attacked another person in past and agreed to have the dog euthanized.

The Fayette Co animal control director is the only person licensed to euthanize animals for the county and she works at a veterinary clinic. When ACO Russell was advised by the county health department on March 12 that the dog’s head needed to be sent to a lab for rabies testing ASAP, the individual licensed to perform euthanasia was contacted. She stated she would come to the county facility after her shift ended at the clinic that afternoon to perform the euthanasia. The dog’s owner had already paid the vet clinic for the euthanasia.

ACO Russell decided the euthanasia could not be delayed and opted to shoot the dog to death with a small caliber rifle. He did not inform the animal control director of his intentions.  Nor did he exercise the most obvious option of immediately transporting the dog to the vet clinic for the euthanasia. After killing the dog, he reportedly used some sort of tool to remove the head and sent it to a lab for testing.

West Virginia code allows for the shooting of dogs under limited circumstances and there are specific protocols which must be followed:

(c) In an emergency or in a situation in which a dog cannot be humanely destroyed in an expeditious manner, a dog may be destroyed by shooting if:

(1) The shooting is performed by someone trained in the use of firearms with a weapon and ammunition of suitable caliber and other characteristics designed to produce instantaneous death by a single shot; and

(2) Maximum precaution is taken to minimize the dog’s suffering and to protect other persons and animals.

The animal control director filed a complaint with the sheriff’s office regarding the killing. The sheriff’s investigator determined that ACO Parker was in violation of the law as he did not use a firearm capable of killing the dog with one shot. In fact, ACO Parker shot the dog three times before he finally died, causing needless pain and suffering.

Fayette Co sheriff Steve Kessler concluded that despite the violation of the law which resulted in the dog’s agonizing death, there were no grounds to fire ACO Parker. His reasoning:

  • ACO Parker was trying to to get the dog’s head to the lab as quickly as possible for the sake of the bitten child and thought this was the only way to do it.
  • Using a weapon of insufficient caliber to kill the pet with a single shot as required by law is exactly the same as when a technician tries to euthanize a pet by injection, misses the vein and must re-insert the needle.
  • Serving as an ACO is a “dirty, nasty” job which pays slightly more than minimum wage.

As to the first point, it does not seem credible to me that ACO Parker thought shooting the dog to death was the only way to get the head submitted for testing right away. He didn’t even explore the alternatives such as driving the dog to the clinic himself or requesting the services of another clinic. Regarding the second point, a missed venipuncture with a small needle is in no way, shape or form the equivalent of a small caliber rifle shot. One does not cause the same pain and suffering as the other, as posited by Sheriff Kessler in his press release.  And lastly, whether or not the sheriff thinks sheltering animals is a “dirty, nasty” job is irrelevant, as is the pay.  The sheriff is sworn to uphold the law which in this case, was violated.

Local animal advocates had been calling for ACO Parker’s termination.  Sheriff Kessler stated that ACO Parker has been disciplined but refused to elaborate.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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