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.)

Gaston Co Kills Owned Pet Upon Impound, Tries to Hide Killing from Owner

Ace, as pictured on the WBTV website.

Ace, as pictured on the WBTV website.

The Gaston County pound in NC spent more than $1.3 million last year and killed well over 1/3 of its pets.  The pound falls under the county police department.

When Ace, a senior Chihuahua mix owned by Brian Humphries, dug out of his yard on May 3, his family immediately began looking for him.  Ace had walked with a limp since birth but got around very well (obviously!) and was not in any pain.  The family searched the neighborhood all weekend and tried the Gaston Co pound, only to find it closed.  Mr. Humphries kept checking the pound’s website to see if Ace’s photo had been posted but never saw his beloved pet.  When the pound opened Monday morning, Mr. Humphries was there to look for Ace.  But pound staff denied that Ace had been picked up by the county.

Since Mr. Humphries was unable to find Ace anywhere, he kept calling the Gaston Co pound, pressing them for information.  Finally the pound staff admitted Ace had been picked up on May 4 and killed immediately upon impound.  The reason? Ace “wasn’t able to put much weight on the leg” he had limped on his entire life.

The reason that most shelters make exceptions for the mandatory holding period is to avoid forcing a pet who is medically hopeless and suffering to linger in a cage for several days.  An example would be a pet who’d been so severely injured by a car that a vet determines there is no reasonable hope of saving the animal’s life. But this was a senior dog who “wasn’t able to put much weight” on one of his legs – hardly a case where immediate euthanasia to prevent further suffering in a medically hopeless animal is required.

Still, when asked by Mr. Humphries for an explanation as to why Ace was killed so quickly, the county police chief e-mailed a response “citing North Carolina law which says the animal can be put down before the minimum holding period is up if the animal is seriously ill or injured.” And Gaston County Animal Control Sgt. Jim Phil classed the whole thing up by blaming the owner:

“There was no kind of ID on this dog,” he said. “If we don’t see that on the dog, it doesn’t do us much good. That’s a responsibility as dictated by the county leash law. If the dog wasn’t running loose, we wouldn’t have picked it up.”

Gosh, the Gaston Co police seem nice.

Mr. Humphries is heartbroken and angry:

“They continued to deny they’d done it,” he said. “If they had given me another 10 to 15 hours from when they picked my dog up, I would’ve been up there to claim him.”

“He might have injured himself getting out of the fence and they could still say, ‘Well he’s injured, so we’re going to kill him.’”
[...]
“That was my little buddy, and my daughters’ too,” he said.”

Pets are family. But in Gaston Co, the so-called irresponsible public gets blamed for everything, including the scrapping of a proposal to go no kill last year:

Officials say the problem stems from people not spaying or neutering their pets.

So long as Gaston County officials continue to kill pets and blame the public for the killing, animals will pay the ultimate price. But since the county hasn’t been able to kill and blame its way out of its myriad pound problems so far, maybe they’d be open to trying something different? Maybe doing their jobs even?  Or not:

WBTV reached out to Gaston County Animal Services multiple times. They have not returned our calls.

If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thank you Clarice, Bonnie and Patricia for the links.)

Danville ACO and Police Officer Strangle Dog to Death

Chokepoles are one of the most misused tools in our broken animal shelter system, thus my chosen moniker for the things.  While they have the potential to be used safely in rare instances when a regular leash won’t work, too many ACOs seem to use them instead of leashes and sometimes, as torture devices.  Because of the widespread misuse of chokepoles, I am generally opposed to their use, especially by anyone not trained in how and when to use them humanely and safely.

Broody, as pictured on the WSET website.

Broody, as pictured on the WSET website.

On May 5, 2014, the Danville police department in VA says it responded to a report of a loose dog who had nipped at a person’s pants leg.  The officer cornered the border collie mix and called AC for assistance.  When the ACO arrived, she used a chokepole on the dog, who had been barking.  It sounds like the cornered dog became frightened at having a metal noose tightened around his neck and began biting at the chokepole.

Rather than defusing the situation at hand – dog freaking out on a chokepole – the police officer then put a second chokepole on the dog.  The pair chokepoled “the struggling dog up the ramp and into the cage on the truck” where he collapsed and died while still ensnared in both nooses.  A veterinarian performed a necropsy and determined the dog “died of strangulation due to the combination of the pressure of the catchpoles and the confined space of the cage that restricted the air flow in the dog’s trachea and the blood flow to the dog’s brain.”

The dog was named Broody.  He was 7 years old, in good health and loved by owners Beth and Edward Warren.  The owners are heartbroken:

“I just didn’t know why he had to go like that,” said Edward Warren.

The Danville police department stands by its use of chokepoles and intends to continue using them.  Because tasers might kill loose dogs.  And those are the only two tools in the toolkit.

Danville Police apologize but say they did everything that they’re trained to do.

See, that’s your problem right there.

And I hate to have to resort to the A word but where is the accountability?  Public servants paid by taxpayers strangled a family’s pet to death.  Because he was loose and barking.  Any charges forthcoming?  Suspensions?  Reprimands?  Sort of stern glances?

The Danville Area Humane Society is going to give the police department some tips on basic chokepole use.  Yay for a day late and a dollar short.  How about training them how to catch scared dogs without use of a chokepole (or taser)?  Because that is an actual thing, too.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

 

Odessa Pound Kills Beloved Pet, Blames Owner

The Odessa pound in Texas has a poor track record including banning rescuers without reasonable cause and violating their First Amendment rights.  Although the police department in charge of the pound does not make its statistics available to the public on its website, one area rescuer cites a kill rate of nearly 85% and claims “6 or 7″ dogs are housed in each kennel.  A petition seeking improvements at the pound has collected more than 4600 signatures to date.  The Odessa American reports the pound killed 5,442 animals in the first 10 months of 2013, deeming all but 353 of them unadoptable.

But wait – there’s more!

Fatboy, as pictured on Facebook.

Fatboy, as pictured on Facebook.

On Tuesday, a dog named Fatboy was picked up by Odessa AC and taken to the pound.  His owner came to reclaim him but was turned away because he didn’t think to bring the dog’s vaccination records with him.  The owner returned the next morning with shot records in hand and asked to take his pet home.  But Odessa AC had already killed Fatboy.

Here is where I usually say “Oops” and tell how the pound staff explained away the accidental killing of a pet whose owner was turned away when trying to redeem him.  But Odessa AC not only failed to take any responsibility whatsoever for the needless killing of Fatboy, they issued a statement blaming the owner and attempting to paint Fatboy in a negative light as well:

“On 1-6-14 at approximately 1401 hours, Odessa Animal Control officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of Golder in reference to a Black Pit Bull that had been chasing children thru the neighborhood. Animal Control officers later located the said dog in the area of 12th and Alleghaney. The pit bull was running loose and did not have a tag or collar on it. The pit bull was brought back to the animal shelter later that evening. It was discovered that this was the second time the pit bull had been brought to the animal shelter for running loose,” OPD said of the incident.

“On 1-7-14 at approximately 1700 hours, a male subject came into the shelter and reported that his dog was possibly there. The male subject did not leave any information, including his name or address and advised he would be coming back. The male subject never returned that evening.”

“On 1-8-14 in the morning hours, the said pit bull was determined to be sick. To prevent any further diseases from spreading, the said pit bull was euthanized per policy.”

Oh where oh where to begin?  Odessa AC reportedly has a quarantine room for sick animals.  If Fatboy really was sick – and yeah, I’m questioning the ability of these control freak pet killers to diagnose a sick dog – why didn’t they put him in the quarantine room?  “Pitbull chasing children” is to my mind a blatant attempt to deploy the scary.  But when I read it, I interpret it as a friendly dog who escaped his yard and was having a romp enjoying his renegade status.  He didn’t bite anyone or even give anyone a stern look.  Just because he’d gotten loose in the past – and apparently issued no stern looks then either – doesn’t make a case that the dog needed to die.  Sorry, no scary.

Regarding the “male subject” (ooh, he’s like a criminal now too!), isn’t it good enough that he identified his dog, spoke to a staff member who told him a vaccination record was required for redemption and left with a verbal agreement to return in the morning?  Does he have to “leave information” in writing and oh say, wouldn’t that be the Odessa pound staff’s job to collect that anyway?

The statement issued by the police department is nothing short of a hit job, attempting to deflect blame for their own failures – which are obviously chronic and massive, to the tune of 5000 “unadoptable” dead animals – and blame the victims.

I hope in addition to the petition, local shelter pet advocates organize some public awareness events, starting with speeches delivered to the city council.  Because this situation is bullshit stacked on top of malarkey and held together with depravity.  And if this is the first time Odessa has killed someone’s lost pet, I will eat my hat.  Has anyone examined the records on those 5000 “unadoptable” animals killed in 10 months last year?  I’m betting it reads like a Lost and Found Pets section from the local newspaper.  Except at the Odessa pound, it’s Lost and Found and Killed and Screw You Guys, We’re the Police.

(Thanks Nathan and Clarice for info on this story.)

Harford Co Humane Society Harasses Then Kills 18 Year Old Lost Pet

The Harford County Humane Society in MD kills a lot of the cats in its care – most of them actually:

[Humane Society's board president, David] Fang said the shelter took in just over 3,000 cats in 2012. Of those, 581 were euthanized because they were feral, 637 were euthanized for medical reasons, 222 were put down because of their temperament, 65 were returned to owners and 876 were adopted. The remaining cats were either dead on arrival, given to rescue groups or put down because of lack of space or at the owners’ request.

On June 28 the Harford Co HS impounded a frightened elderly cat.  She had been found by an area resident who described her as friendly and assumed she was a lost pet.  He was right.  The cat, named Mistoffelees, had been an indoor pet for 18 years and lived in the neighborhood, unbeknownst to the man who found her.  She had been spayed and declawed.   Mistoffelees accidentally got outside when her owner, Robert Brooks, was out of town.

At the Harford Co HS, Mistoffelees was understandably scared.  She had spent 18 years living indoors and now found herself in a cage at an animal shelter.  Rather than leave her alone and give her some quiet time while searching lost pet reports and posting her information online so she could be reunited with her owner,  the staff immediately and repeatedly approached her in the cage.

Astonishingly, workers did not take a cue from the cat’s initial hisses and swats but instead began poking her with a fake hand on a stick.  In what will come as a surprise to no one with a brain, Mistoffelees didn’t respond well to that either.  So the Harford Co HS sedated her, scanned her for a microchip (which she did not have), failed to find her spay scar or note that she was declawed, deemed her feral and killed her.  All within one hour of impound.

For its part, the HS board blames the owner for not microchipping his cat and defends the staff as dedicated, hard working and blah.  There is a plan to discuss the facility’s holding policies.  The article states:

Harford County code does allow for immediate euthanasia when an animal is deemed violent or dangerous.

But the Harford Co HS website gives a rather different impression about how long owners have to find their lost pets:

Q: For how long do you keep animals?
A: HSHC meets State and County mandated holding periods for stray dogs and cats. These holding periods are designed so that pet owners have a reasonable amount of time to find lost pets. The stray hold periods are:10 days for dogs wearing a license, 4 days for dogs with no identification and 3 days for cats, excluding Sundays and holidays, Once the holding period is up the pet becomes the property of HSHC. HSHC then determines the best course of action, which often means making that pet available for adoption as soon as we have completed some basic medical screening, vaccinations, and whatever else the animal might need to fit this criteria.

Depending on the situation, HSHC might hold an animal longer than even our stray hold period or place them into foster care.

I don’t see anything about one hour in there.

Mr. Brooks is heartbroken.  Mistoffelees was a family member.  He has retained an attorney.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Pasco Co ACO Kills Owned Pet upon Pickup

Pasco Co, FL pet owner Debbie Patsos had a 10 year old cat named Peggy who had been born with just three paws, causing her to limp.  Ms. Patsos adored Peggy and considered her family.

When Peggy recently got lost and turned up in the garage of neighbor Casey McCarthy, he didn’t know she had a home down the street.  Mr. McCarthy called the Pasco Co pound to pick her up, fearing her limp was the result of a recent injury requiring veterinary care.  He described the cat as friendly and agile.   Mr. McCarthy says when the ACO brought out a carrier, Peggy walked right in front of the ACO and into the cage.

Unbeknownst to Mr. McCarthy, the ACO immediately killed Peggy.  She was dead before she could even be checked in at the pound, let alone scanned for a microchip, have her limp assessed by a qualified vet or be held for the mandatory period so her owner could reclaim her.

A local news outlet obtained a report on Peggy from the pound which contained a note from the ACO that Peggy was unable to move her hind legs.

“They’re lying. They’re lying flat out,” said McCarthy[.]

The TV news station was unable to reach the Pasco Co pound for a comment regarding the killing of Peggy.  Ms. Patsos is determined to pursue the matter.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

 

 

GA ACO Who Ordered Lap Dog Shot to Death Hides from Reporter

 

Ella, as seen on the WSB-TV website.

Ella, as seen on the WSB-TV website.

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.)

Lexington-Fayette AC & C Illegally Oops-Kills Beloved Pet

On the home page of the Lexington-Fayette Animal Care & Control website, it says “EVERY DAY, the dedicated staff of lfacc… Provides safe shelter and care to stray and homeless animals.”  Apparently Sunday was not “EVERY DAY” because on Sunday, the KY pound picked up a lost Chihuahua named Peanut and killed him.

Saturday night, Peanut had followed his little girl down the street to a friend’s house.  From there, he got lost.  The family searched for him and ultimately learned the public agency charged with protecting Peanut had instead oops-killed him:

Animal Control is supposed to keep stray dogs for five days. Peanut was euthanized after one. Animal Care and Control officials didn’t want to talk on camera, but they said over the phone that when they brought Peanut in, he failed a health and temperament screening, then someone mistakenly thought he’d already been there for five days. That’s when the decision was made to euthanize him.

No animal coming into a shelter should receive a temperament test immediately since pets are naturally scared and out of sorts upon impound.  No temperament test should be used as an excuse to kill a pet under any circumstances.  And mandatory holding periods are in place for a reason – so families can find their missing family members.

Although the pound refused to speak about Peanut’s killing on camera, they offered an entirely vague reassurance that some unnamed person is to blame and has been fired.  Put me down in the NOT REASSURED column on that.  If the pound is contending that the decision to kill animals rests solely with one employee, that is yet another failure to provide true shelter to pets.

Pets are family.  Any questions?

pets are family

The little girl’s father, seen in this screengrab from the WKYT website comforting his daughter, describes Peanut as being like a son to him.

Fair Warning:  Anyone who attempts to come on the blog and blame the owners for Peanut’s killing for not keeping him confined, not having him chipped or any other reason is going to be on the receiving end of a virtual boot.  Whatever anyone’s opinion of Peanut’s owners, they loved him and they did not kill him.  The pound did that – illegally and immorally.  The pound is supposed to be there to protect pets when they are in need.  Instead of offering Peanut protection, Lexington-Fayette AC & C killed him.

No one has been criminally charged for the illegal killing of Peanut as far as I know, nor do I expect that to happen.  Because in our broken shelter system, killing is the default and failure of shelter personnel to follow the mandatory holding period laws is looked upon as nothing more than oops.  Moreover, your standard fare pet killing in so-called shelters is exempt from the normal animal cruelty laws applicable to the so-called irresponsible public.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

PETA Partners with a Local AC Unit in Killing 19,000 Animals

PETA strikes again – this time in Lake Elsinore, CA at a facility breeding rodents and reptiles.  One of PETA’s infamous undercover investigations documenting alleged cruelty was brought to the city government.  The city partnered with PETA, local animal control and a number of other organizations to investigate the facility.  On December 16, city spokesman Justin Carlson “said experts will treat any of the reptiles or rodents if they are found to be ill.”

From a series of press releases on the city’s website:

December 13:

Yesterday, the City inspected the facility and found evidence of animal neglect.

[...]

PETA spokeswoman Daphna Nachminovitch commented that PETA’s mission in this case is to ensure all animals receive necessary treatment[.]

December 17:

As of noon today, approximately 600 reptiles and 18,400 rodents have been identified and assessed by a team of veterinary experts, rat and reptile specialists, and animal cruelty investigation professionals. Willa Bagwell (Executive Director of Animal Friends of the Valleys) stated “we are continuing to inventory and evaluate the rodent population. The reptile counts have been confirmed and we continue to assess their situation as well.”

Upon entrance to the building, inspectors identified a dire situation. According to Willa Bagwell, “what we saw was horrific animal conditions involving thousands of dead animals in various states of decay as well as dying in their enclosures. In my 25 years of conducting animal control this is the most horrific case of animal cruelty, neglect, and suffering that I have encountered.”

December 19:

After careful analysis, a team [...] determined [...] euthanasia was the safest and most humane option[.]

Willa Bagwell said, [...] “We are thankful [...] to PETA and Marin Humane Society for providing us with the resources needed for this operation.”

Approximately 19,000 animals, most of them rodents, were killed.  Not one living creature was saved.  Not one mouse.  Not one baby rat.  Not one snake.  This is PETA’s mission – to administer their version of “necessary treatment” to animals.  And they provide the resources.

No charges have been filed in connection with the case as far as I know.

For a look at how PETA treats dogs and cats, click here.

VA ACO Enters Private Property, Shoots Family Dog to Death

Axel with sleeping child, as posted on Facebook.

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.

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