Animal Control for the city of Manchester, GA falls under the police department. There was apparently a dog fight which occurred on or prior to March 21 in Manchester. While it’s unclear to me which dogs might have been involved in the fight, this article makes clear what happened to a dog named Ella on March 21. She was shot to death while inside her own fenced yard.
The Manchester ACO apparently decided that Ella was the attacker in the dog fight and that she was rabid – a diagnosis normally determined in a lab after testing an animal’s head. The ACO called police and told them to shoot the dog to death while she sat inside her fenced yard. Ella’s owner, Robin Garrett, was not home at the time. A neighbor attempted to advocate for Ella’s life but police ordered him to return to his home. He heard the shotgun when it was used to kill Ella. Ms. Garrett is devastated:
Garrett said Ella loved to sit on her lap and play with the grandkids. She said the 2-year-old beagle-boxer mix was current on her vaccinations and had no history of aggression.
If Ella was current on her rabies vaccine, she was not rabid. If the city of Manchester cares. When a local reporter attempted to speak with the ACO, he got in his truck and drove away. Probably to provide “services” to some other unlucky family in the area.
Police are investigating themselves in the incident and have never interviewed the neighbor who tried to prevent the killing through peaceful means. It is now May. No action has been taken against anyone involved in Ella’s killing.
If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)
April 29, 2013
Karen Lombardi is an ACO for the town of Woodbridge, CT. She was recently charged with animal cruelty in connection with a November 2012 incident in which she allegedly hurt a dog. The incident was witnessed by two co-workers who reported it to police:
[Kennel worker Karen] Myers told police she was at Woodbridge Animal Control, struggling to outfit [a dog named] Timone in a sweater, when Lombardi came over and said, “I’ll show you how to do that.” Myers said Lombardi then grabbed the dog and slammed it against a wall while screaming, “You hold still or I’ll smash your (expletive) skull in.”
Ms. Lombardi continues to work directly with pets as a town employee:
Woodbridge Police Chief Eugene Marcucci said Tuesday that Lombardi would not face suspension because of the cruelty charge. The Police Department oversees animal control.
If you go back and read the description of the alleged cruelty incident replacing the location with a shelter for people and the dog with a child, I would guess the police would not be so quick to keep the person on the job while the court case proceeds. Why isn’t a temporary reassignment to a position that doesn’t involve hands-on animal care considered appropriate in this case?
Pets are family and should be protected. In fact Ms. Lombardi, charged with cruelty herself, continues to get paid to protect local pets from cruelty. It seems appropriate that she should request a temporary reassignment of duties, even if her superiors aren’t demanding it, for the sake of protecting the integrity of the job (if nothing else). How can the public have faith in animal control when the person accused of smashing a dog against a wall is the one judging whether local pet owners are taking good enough care of their pets?
April 29, 2013
Sometimes people find it hard to relate statistics and reports to needless pet suffering and killing but a photo of a single mistreated animal will stir their blood. In some cases, these photos are too disturbing to post on the blog. (Warning: all the links below contain disturbing images of a dog who appears to be deeply suffering and on the brink of death.)
Anna Nelson is the former ACO for Wareham, MA. An anonymous tip led the current ACO to her home and her senior dog:
The 10-year-old terrier mix could hardly stand and was diseased and jaundiced.
“It was incredibly malnourished, had parasites — internal and external — and in fact, too ill to be saved. It had to be euthanized,” said Rob Halpin of the MSPCA.
Ms. Nelson is facing a felony animal cruelty charge. She was a no show for her arraignment, forcing authorities to issue a warrant and send police to arrest her. Although she allegedly neglected her suffering pet for months, when her own ass was in hot water she promptly posted bail to get herself out of jail. Ms. Nelson is due in court today.
A decomposing dog was found in the AC truck normally driven by Tim Garza, the sole ACO for the city of Arvin, CA. Mr. Garza had been arrested 10 days earlier and remained in jail at the time of the discovery:
Tim Garza is accused of beating his girlfriend of two years at her home off California Avenue in Bakersfield. Court documents say Garza left the woman with several bruises, held a gun to her head, and forced her to record a cell phone video saying a head butt that caused a gash on her head was an accident.
Garza is also accused of raping the woman in October in front of his two children.
He has been charged with multiple felonies:
According to Kern County court website information, Garza is being held on $320,000 bail for seven felony charges. Those include inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, threatening with intent to terrorize, assault with a firearm, assault with great bodily injury, false imprisonment with violence, preventing a witness from reporting and rape by force or fear.
It is unknown how long the dog was in the AC truck, who placed him there or whether he was alive at the time. Someone who works near the location of the parked AC truck and smelled the decomposing remains reported it to authorities:
“The Public Works employee reported that the blood was dripping from the vehicle onto the ground,” Arvin Police Chief Louis Cobarruviaz said Friday morning. “And that’s how it was first detected.”
Another worker told Eyewitness News she had spotted “goo” dripping from both sides of the truck.
Police are speculating the dog was already dead, hit by a car, when he was placed in the truck. I have doubts.
Cobarruvias is trying to determine who put the chihuahua in the truck. He said there is no record of the dog being picked up by a police officer.
Therefore I think it’s reasonable to speculate that Mr. Garza is the one who put the dog in the truck. And if you watch the video here, the police chief mentions, in what appears to be an edited clip, “an injured animal” being transported in the truck to the pound in Bakersfield. It’s not clear to me if the injured animal is a reference to the decomposing dog.
The link between domestic violence and animal abuse is well established. While Mr. Garza will have to answer for his alleged crimes against a human being, I hope that there will be a thorough investigation into the death of the decomposing dog in his truck and, if it’s determined that he left the pet there alive, that he will be charged accordingly.
(Thank you Clarice for the links.)
February 1, 2013
(Read the previous post for background.)
A source tells me the 5 dogs had been surrendered to the Selma shelter for “euthanasia” due to aggression. If that is accurate, it raises a number of other issues. Was it dog aggression, human aggression, or something else? There was apparently just one owner for all 5 dogs. I don’t know what steps, if any, were taken by the shelter to determine if the dogs were truly dangerous with no reasonable hope of rehabilitation, friendly, or somewhere in between.
The same source states the dogs were housed in 2 kennels: 3 dogs in one cage and 2 dogs in the other. If accurate, this further undermines the claim that the officer feared for his life due to the potential threat of 5 dogs mauling him.
I think the chief should supply more information to the public. He says he wants the shelter’s record to speak for itself. I want the chief to speak for the 5 dogs who were in his department’s care and ended up dying violently and unnecessarily at the hands of one of his officers. He needs to order a full investigation of these killings by an independent agency. The officer who killed the dogs should be prohibited from working with animals in future and charged with whatever statutes he is found to have violated with regard to these dogs.
Chief of Police: Myron Dyck, (559) 891-2228 or e-mail email@example.com
Shelter Contact Person: Sgt. Terry Reid, (559) 891-2281 or (559) 896-2525 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Selma Police Department: Mailing address is 1935 E. Front Street, Selma CA, 93662, Fax 559-896-8839
January 22, 2013
The above image purportedly depicts two Birmingham-Jefferson Co ACOs using a net and a chokepole to drag a dog across a restaurant parking lot in AL. The person who claims to have witnessed and photographed the alleged abuse states that the dog is a friendly stray, known by locals who regularly feed him.
While we have tried to respond to all of the comments being made it will be impossible to reach out to everyone. We appreciate everyone’s concern for this dog! We wish the concern was there BEFORE we were asked to remove him! Our officers were performing their jobs and were utilizing capture equipment designed for both the safety of the animals AND the officers. The photo shows one moment of what must have been a very stressful capture and shows the officers leading the dog to the vehicle. This has been shown to be the least stressful and safest method for moving an aggressive animal. While a dog may not show aggression when someone tosses him a biscuit we did receive a report that his dog growled at a patron (which is why we were there in the first place) Stray dogs do not usually trust a stranger and we are trained to handle cute and fuzzy puppies all the way up to the large dog that bit the neighbor’s child. We must first and foremost protect the public! Our techniques may look barbaric to the untrained public but we have extensive training and often are called to remove a dog that has bitten a citizen who was “just trying to help!” Any dog can bite and we are prepared for those circumstances. If we can lead a dog out on a leash we do and many people have witnessed this. Before you sit in your warm living rooms and decide to demand justice for this dog we ask that you consider he could still be out of the street dodging traffic and trying to locate his next meal. That is not a good life for a dog and we provide them with a shelter and food and if we can, a better life with a new family! Thank you all for your comments and we will continue to follow this and respond if we feel additional information is necessary!
So apparently if you weren’t concerned about this dog’s welfare BEFORE, (never mind that no one but locals knew this dog existed) you have no right to complain about the photographic evidence of what appears to be taxpayer funded abuse NOW, especially if your living room is warm. Oh and they heard the dog had once growled at someone. So obviously the next logical step was dragging the dog across the pavement by a chokepole and a net. Because public safety! And he might have missed a meal!
(Thanks Christine for alerting me to this photo.)
November 9, 2012
Sharon McGein’s 18 month old Lab called Axel allegedly ran after a 17 year old boy exiting a school bus in Charles City Co, VA last week. A neighbor shooed Axel home to the family farm. The teen’s mother called AC and an ACO responded, taking the teen with him to the farm to identify Axel, opening a closed gate along the way:
[ACO Franklin] Bates claimed he shot Axel because Axel charged at him. But, McGein said Axel was provoked.
“He told my daughter he stomped at the dog, and the dog went back 10-foot, turned around and barked at him,” McGein said.
ACO Bates shot Axel in the face then apparently felt the dog was still an imminent threat so shot him in the face again. Apparently the ACO still believed Axel posed an imminent danger and shot him in the face a third time. He left without leaving a note for the owners and took Axel’s body to the county freezer.
ACO Bates contacted the McGein family the next day to advise them their pet had been killed. The family requested Axel’s collar and tags be returned. They were not on Axel’s body and the collar was in fact broken, laying inside the ACO’s truck.
Axel’s family attempted to file animal cruelty charges with the magistrate but was denied. The magistrate said the ACO was acting in an official capacity when he shot Axel the first time, the second time and the third time.
Charles City County Sheriff’s Captain Jayson Crawley wrote McGein’s daughter about the incident with Bates. Crawley said he wrote the email — not as a county employee — but as a private citizen.
“I am tired of seeing the unprofessional and lack of supervision in which he [Bates] has shown ever since I have known him,” Crawley wrote in the email to McGein.
The McGein family has set up a Facebook page in Axel’s memory and is asking for other county residents who have had dealings with ACO Bates to contact them. (Note: Some of the material in this post was sourced from the family’s postings on this Facebook page.)
Thank you Clarice for alerting me to this story.
October 3, 2012
Many months ago, the mayor of Dunkirk, NY got rid of the city’s dumpsters to save money:
“The beginning of this year DPW Director (Tony) Gugino and I decided that they weren’t necessary,” [Mayor Anthony J.] Dolce said. “It saves us anywhere from $3-4,000 a year. Obviously the use or private dumpsters is highly frowned upon.”
The mayor is referring to a recent incident in which a local resident saw the city’s ACO place 2 bagged dog carcasses into a dumpster owned by a Family Dollar store. She reported the incident to police and concerned citizens are now wondering how long this practice has been going on:
This may not be the first time an animal’s been thrown in a private dumpster, as “[the ACO] was advised by the past animal control officer that this was how — if he was in a bind, to use a private dumpster.”
Dolce says the dog was put down at a local veterinarian’s office after its owner agreed it was a danger.
Amidst all the concern from local residents, city politicians and the media, I don’t see anyone addressing the issue of reducing the number of pets who require disposal by implementing proven no kill programs. Everyone seems aghast at the idea of throwing pets into the dumpster but no one is asking if they all actually need to go there in the first place.
When the ACO was hired 2 years ago, he told a local paper, “[W]e’ve got quite a feral cat problem.” He admonished people for feeding “wild animals” and expressed concern over the number of Pitbulls in the city and dogfighting. So where is Dunkirk’s TNR program? Where is the anti-dogfighting task force? Where are the city pound’s online listings for pets in order to get them out alive? Why isn’t anyone in Dunkirk asking these questions?
August 2, 2012
ABC 24 in Memphis reports that a cruelty complaint prompted ACO David Johnson to visit a home last week where he found starving dogs, including a mama with pups. The dogs were reportedly chained without food or water and were clearly emaciated. ACO Johnson had the authority to seize the dogs and get them the food, water and care they needed at the pound. Instead, he left a notice to comply on the owner’s door and drove away. Three days later, the starving mama dog ate one of her pups.
There is no mention in the piece regarding the current whereabouts of the dogs. If anyone knows, please share.
As I’ve said numerous times, there is a culture of neglect at the Memphis pound. The staff allows pets to suffer and the volunteers keep quiet. Is everyone there so immersed in this culture of apathy that they truly can’t recognize animal cruelty when they see it? Or is it just laziness that keeps them from doing their jobs? Instead of addressing the real problems, the city chooses to provide compassion fatigue counseling for employees due to the astonishing number of pets they kill at work.
Fire. Them. All.
June 29, 2012
The director of the Caldwell Co pound in KY, Abigail Tucker, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges stemming from incidents occurring between 2007 and 2010. The charges seem to involve money although there is a reference to “property” as well:
[T]here are several acts by Ms. Tucker which involve improper accounting of monies given to her as donations, failure to make proper dispositions and accounting of property that she had possession of as the animal control officer here in Caldwell County. Improperly inducing donations to the animal shelter,” [Commonwealth Attorney G.L.] Ovey said.
Ms. Tucker, who is also a police officer, has additionally been indicted on the submission of false pay vouchers for county employees. She is currently on paid suspension and set to be arraigned in August.