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.

Another in the Seemingly Endless String of Tragedies in Memphis

Sleepy puppy Oliver (photo by Tish Tonole)

Readers may remember Nola, Victoria Henry’s dog who was picked up by Memphis Animal Services and killed before the legally mandated holding period expired, even while Ms. Henry visited the pound looking for her.  Tragically, MAS has done it again – this time the victim is a beloved dog named Oliver.

Oliver and his buddy Marlene escaped owner Tish Tonole’s yard on October 13.  She began trying to get them home right away by posting notices on social media sites, putting up fliers around town and visiting MAS to look for her dogs.  Oliver was wearing his collar and Marlene was microchipped.  Ms. Tonole says someone who saw Marlene running loose responded to one of her fliers and she was able to pick Marlene up.  But 11 month old Oliver remained missing.

Ms. Tonole visited MAS to search for Oliver multiple times, including October 18.  The worker who escorted her through the facility that day said that she was being shown every dog cage in the building, including dogs being held for court cases.  But Ms. Tonole told me she only saw roughly 100 cages  and half of them were empty.  We know MAS has 555 cages in the facility (128 for cats and 427 for dogs) so clearly she was not shown every dog cage.  The worker also advised her that it wasn’t necessary for her to come to the shelter every day to search for her pet.  He told her about the PetHarbor website saying it was continually updated and that if Oliver was impounded, he would immediately appear on PetHarbor.

Ms. Tonole began frequently checking PetHarbor and on Saturday, October 20, a listing for Oliver appeared on the site.  It said that Oliver had been at MAS since the 17th which was troubling since Ms. Tonole had been there on the 18th and did not see him.  MAS was closed by the time she saw Oliver on the website and remained closed for the next 2 days.  She kept trying to reach someone on the phone but only got a recording.

Oliver as pictured on PetHarbor. Ms. Tonole describes him in this photo as looking like he wants to play with the person taking his picture.

Finally on the morning of Tuesday the 23rd, Ms. Tonole got a female employee on the phone before the pound officially opened.  The employee told Ms. Tonole that Oliver had been killed on October 18, just one day after impound, because he had a hole in his head.  Understandably, Ms. Tonole became upset and told the worker that Oliver could not have had a hole in his head because MAS posted a photo of him on PetHarbor which showed him to be his usual happy and healthy self.  The worker restated that records indicated Oliver had been killed on October 18 due to a hole in his head.

Ms. Tonole hung up the phone and was very distraught when a friend happened to call her.  She told the friend what had just happened and the friend said he would call MAS to try to sort things out.  Ms. Tonole says that her friend spoke to James Rogers who told him that Oliver had just been killed that morning due to a hole in the head.  The friend asked if they could see Oliver’s body and Mr. Rogers refused.  Later, Ms. Tonole says MAS changed its story about the reason Oliver was killed from a hole in the head to a hole in the stifle.

Ms. Tonole told her story to WMCTV and the station asked MAS for comment:

Memphis Animal Services sent a statement offering condolences to Tish Tonole over the loss of Oliver. The statement says Oliver was scanned for a micro chip but did not have one. They said Oliver was visible to the public for four days. The shelter stressed the importance of getting your pet micro chipped.

Ms. Tonole is a single mom who works, attends school and must budget her expenses carefully.  She didn’t have Oliver microchipped but she did have Marlene chipped due to her tendency to escape.  In fact, Marlene had escaped just a few weeks prior to Oliver’s killing and Ms. Tonole had visited MAS looking for her.  Although she wasn’t shown Marlene at that time, Marlene was in fact there.  A local pet advocate recognized Marlene’s picture on PetHarbor and responded to a lost dog posting from Ms. Tonole.  MAS had never contacted Ms. Tonole despite Marlene’s microchip and the only way Marlene got home that time was due to the watchful eye of a local advocate.

Further, MAS states that Oliver was visible to the public for four days yet glaringly omits the fact that the owner was at the pound on one of them, supposedly being shown every dog in the place, but never finding him.  The statement also fails to mention that Oliver was not posted on PetHarbor, where the MAS employee told the owner to look, until Saturday – after which the pound is routinely closed for 2 days every week.

Let’s be clear:  It is not the owner’s fault that Oliver is dead.  The blame for that lies squarely with MAS.  The subsequent lies, spin and attempted cover-up are par for the course in Memphis.  Oliver is yet another casualty in the ongoing tragedy that is MAS.

They can try to say they showed the owner every cage in the building but obviously that is not true.  They can try to say the owner could have saved Oliver by having him microchipped but obviously that is not true either.

No one at MAS is willing to do their job.  No one in a position of authority is willing to hold them accountable.  No one local is willing to take legal action to force them to stop hurting animals.  And so the killings continue.  How many more Memphis?

L- R: Oliver, Lolly, Marlene and Schmitty. Pets are family. (photo by Tish Tonole)

Every pet has a right to live.  Just because MAS refuses to acknowledge that doesn’t make it any less true.  The people at MAS don’t know what precious gifts they have been given the privilege of caring for.  They don’t know that pets are family and animal services=family services.  And they don’t know Oliver.

Tish Tonole said, “He was my best friend.  He slept with me every night.  I would wake up in the middle of the night to find his head in the crook of my arm and his paws in the air.  He was a sweet, kind, good dog.  He just wanted to be loved by everyone.”

I’m sorry that no one at MAS could be bothered to do their job and shelter Oliver in his time of need.  I’m sorry that when they were caught killing a pet whose owner was in their facility trying to find him they resorted to lies.  I’m sorry that in their efforts to deflect attention from their own failures they attempted to shame Ms. Tonole.  Most of all, I’m sorry that this silly puppy who brought such joy to his owner has been cruelly taken from this life.

Silly puppy Oliver, getting into trouble at home and making his owner laugh. (photo by Tish Tonole)

Central CA SPCA Oops-Kills Family Dog

Scar, as shown on the KMPH website.

On September 24, the Del Rio family’s dog – a Pitbull called Scar – escaped the yard wearing his collar and ID tag. A Pitbull hating neighbor took the 11 month old puppy to the Central California SPCA and told them he’d been bitten by Scar. Owner Helen Del Rio went to the pound to get her dog back but instead she got one story after another from the staff: Scar bit the neighbor, he bit a cat, he killed a dog. Finally, they told her they’d investigate what really happened.

As you may have guessed, the investigation determined the neighbor was lying. And there was no cat bite or dog killing either. So the pound called Ms. Del Rio on October 11 to come down and pick up Scar:

“Grabbed his leash, ready to take our dog home. We get there and they can’t find him. They call the supervisor out, the supervisor’s going from building to building,” Helen said. “Then Officer Boyce comes in and calls me over and says he’s been euthanized; just like that. He didn’t even say sorry, he was just like, basically with an expression on his face like, it happens.”

Ms. Del Rio later received a letter from the pound apologizing – not for killing Scar – but for “our failure in insuring the return of your family pet to you.”  The letter also promised more training for staff (where have we heard that before?) and a free pet (ditto).

Ms. Del Rio is heartbroken and can’t stop thinking about Scar being walked to the kill room at the pound:

“I kept thinking that what was he thinking when they were going to take him for a walk?”

The Central CA SPCA would not respond to the TV station’s request for comment but people who left comments on the online article state that this is not an isolated incident at the pound.

Shelter Cats at Grave Risk if Determined Feral

Today is National Feral Cat Day.  One of the many risks that cats face from shelters is the risk of being determined feral.  In too many shelters, this is an automatic death sentence.  Truly feral cats should not be impounded by animal control unless it is for neuter and vaccination with the intention of prompt return of the cat to the area where he was trapped.

One of the numerous problems associated with the impound of trapped cats is that the shelter takes on the responsibility of categorizing the cat for disposition (feral, semi-feral, friendly).  There are no nationally accepted standards for making this determination and practices vary from evaluation by shelter staff after an adjustment period to immediate disposition decisions made in the field by the officer on call while the cat is still in the trap.

From a 2010 paper entitled “A survey of the methods used in shelter and rescue programs to identify feral and frightened pet cats” and published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery:

When any cat enters an unfamiliar environment such as an animal shelter or other welfare agency, however, it is prone to displaying fearful behavior. Even well-socialized pet cats can become fearfully aggressive or motivated to withdraw or escape. As a result, it can initially be very difficult to accurately determine which cats are feral and which cats have the potential to be reclaimed or adopted as a pet. There are currently no validated methods of differentiating the various categories of cats upon intake to animal sheltering or other welfare agencies.
[...]
While fearful pet cats can, upon shelter intake, experience high stress levels and, therefore, appear behaviorally similar to feral cats, they may begin to display more characteristic behavior after several days or weeks in the shelter when their stress levels begin to subside.
[...]
Of the 288 respondents [of the roughly 500 total] who indicated that a cat they previously thought to be feral was subsequently found not to be feral, this discovery was most frequently cited as due to: the cat’s behavior changing after it had time to settle in or acclimate (mentioned by 144 or 50% of respondents), the cat began to display tolerant, social or affiliative behavior in response to human contact or handling (65 or 23%), the cat began to offer social behavior when humans were nearby (vocalization, blinking, solicitation, approach) (56 or 19%), and the cat’s behavior was different when it was assessed in a quieter, less stressful or more familiar environment (40 or 14%).

The problem with a policy of death for all feral cats at a shelter is that it violates the cat’s most basic right:  the right to live.  The problem is compounded when friendly cats are incorrectly identified as feral when they are behaving normally in response to the stress of being trapped and impounded.

Cat ID #09122012-256, Tag #193, at the Columbus pound in Georgia.

Cat ID #09122012-256 was trapped and impounded by animal control in Columbus, GA on September 12.  While the pound claims to follow the 5 day stray holding period law, it was determined within 24 hours that this trapped cat was too aggressive to live, despite a volunteer describing him as “easy to pet”.  He was killed on September 13 for exhibiting typical behavior seen in trapped cats.

Records on cat ID #09122012-256, Tag #193 at the Columbus pound, obtained via FOIA request. (click to enlarge)

Two months ago in South Dakota, an owned cat named Poobs was trapped by a cat hating neighbor.  She was healthy and current on her vaccinations.  But she was understandably upset in the trap.  The officer who picked her up from the cat hating neighbor determined on the spot that she was too aggressive to live.  He shot her to death in the trap.

Last month, a municipality in PA hired an ACO to trap feral cats for killing.  Area cat owners began noticing their pets going missing.  Apparently the ACO was killing all cats caught in traps, including residents’ pets.  Outraged owners attended the Borough Council meeting for answers but the ACO was a no show, which was fine with community leaders:

“I had asked him to come and he declined his appearance,” said Christine Cardinale, the North Charleroi Borough attorney. “He’s not here tonight.”

Instead of discussing the fact that both feral cats and owned pets have the right to live, the council appeared defiant when faced with angry cat owners:

“If you were so interested, you would have found out about why we’re starting to trap,” said one council member.

As a compromise, the council said it will pass an ordinance giving owners 10 days to reclaim their pets.  But that does not address the fact that feral cats have a right to live nor does it address the ACO’s apparent lack of interest in even attempting to determine whether the cats he’s trapped are feral or owned pets.

Cats deserve better.  Any cat brought to a shelter in this country should be afforded basic protections – including protection of the right to live.  Decisions on whether to designate an impounded cat for TNR or adoption should be made only after the animal has had sufficient time to adjust to the shelter environment.  Not every cat in a trap is feral but every cat deserves to live.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me links, as always, to Stefani for alerting me to the cat killed at the Columbus pound and to Vox Felina for the study on identifying feral cats in shelters.)

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