ACLU Stands Up for First Amendment Rights of Animal Advocates in Baltimore County

Dog ID #04167 at the Baltimore Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

Dog ID #04167 at the Baltimore Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

The troubled Baltimore Co pound in MD has banned the public from photographing pets in the facility and the ACLU has written to county officials condemning the ban:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland says Baltimore County officials violated free-speech rights by banning photography at the county-run animal shelter, a move the ACLU describes as an effort to stifle critics.

The letter describes the photo ban as showing “a government agency endeavoring to limit its exposure to criticism and public accountability, and to stifle any perceived criticism that does arise, even where the agency’s purpose of serving the animals of Baltimore County is undermined as a result.”

County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler says the complaint is baseless and stems from a small group of pesky do-gooders:

“This is a story manufactured by a handful of advocates who were disrupting shelter employees from doing their jobs,” Kobler said.

Don Mohler, chief of staff for the County Executive, also has excuses:

“[The animal advocates] wanted to manufacture a crisis, and they would wait around until a dog soiled the cage and immediately take a picture and post it — inferring that the dog had been living in those conditions for a period of time, and that’s not true,” Mohler said.

Such dedication.  Waiting around for a dog to pee in his cage so they could snap a photo.  But in case you don’t buy that, he’s got another good one:

“This is not about photography,” Mohler said. “This is about the fact that there is a group of advocates who really want Baltimore County to release wild cats into the community.”

The county apparently has a kill policy for cats it determines to be feral.  And pesky do-gooders, along with the overwhelming majority of the general public, think that’s wrong.

Not to be outdone, Kobler also offered a back-up excuse for the photo ban to the newspaper:

“For some animals, the shutter click and the flash can frighten animals that are already nervous in a shelter environment. So sometimes, the staff members might ask people not to take an animal’s picture,” she said.

Both Kohler and Mobler said that the public is generally allowed to take pictures of the animals.  Except when they’re not.  But that’s because reasons.

So to recap, it’s not that Baltimore Co is trying to silence critics and violate their Constitutional rights, it’s assorted other things:

  • Volunteers photographing shelter pets are disruptors who prevent the staff from doing their job of killing more than 60% of the animals in their care.
  • They wait around all day for a dog to lift his leg in the cage just to capture the puddle on the floor.
  • They actually don’t care about photographing animals, they just want the county to stop killing feral cats and start doing TNR like other progressive shelters.
  • The flash from the camera scares animals and the county officials just aren’t going to stand by and let shelter pets be frightened.  After all, there’s killing to be done – lots of it.  Calm, friendly killing – not like the flash of a camera.

If for some insane reason you are still not feeling reassured, I got you:

County Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, said the shelter has made strides in overcoming past issues. He trusts it’s being run well.

“Every time there’s a policy, there’s a reason,” he said.

So there you go.  There’s some reason for the photo ban.  This guy apparently doesn’t know what that reason may be but strides have been made and everything is fine, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Lake Co Pound Director Kills 147 animals in 9 Days, Gets Fired

Last year, Jacquelyn Johnston was a clinic supervisor at the Miami Dade pound.  She killed animals for convenience in spite of the fact that the county commission had unanimously passed a no kill resolution after voters overwhelmingly demanded it.  In an e-mail to rescuers last summer, Johnston described some of the pets she was going to kill unless rescuers saved them with just a few hours notice:

“Sweet big boy, now has URI’’ — upper respiratory infection.

“Nervous and shy, but warms up if you spend time with her.’’

“Older pet but would make a great senior retiree…’’

“Adopter never showed up, super sweet, already spayed, 35-40 lbs.’’

“This is the one who came in from a caring homeless man, conformed pittie’’ — pit bull terrier, illegal in Miami-Dade

“Has ticks that we are treating. Needs out by tomorrow, no more time.’’

“Just a puppy and been here too long.’’

On October 1, the troubled Lake Co pound in FL hired Johnston as director. The sheriff’s office that runs the pound reportedly clearly explained to Johnston that getting animals out alive was her number one priority and that killing animals was only to be done as a last resort.

Johnston apparently thought she was in keeping with this directive when she immediately embarked on a massive killing spree. In nine days, Johnston had killed 147 animals. Someone alerted the sheriff’s office and Johnston was fired on the spot. Too late for 147 animals, including “some dogs that could have made good pets for people” according to Lt. John Herell with the sheriff’s office.  But let’s face it, the death toll could have climbed even higher had she not been shown the door.

While I do not claim to know what Johnston was thinking while she was on her killfest at Lake Co, it seems to me the situation is symptomatic of our broken shelter system.  Instead of sheltering animals, they kill them.  Instead of calling it killing (which is what it is), they call it euthanasia – a kindness.  Instead of doing their jobs to protect and rehome animals, they violate their most basic right – the right to live.  When we criticize them for killing, they tell us they are doing the best they can, we all want the same thing and that we shouldn’t judge unless we are willing to go down there and kill animals ourselves.

Everything is ass backwards and tragically, this is the norm, not the exception in our broken shelter system.  When you explain to someone who would kill “just a puppy” for convenience that killing is a last resort at your facility and her job is to get animals out alive, she likely recognized the same old song and dance.  Riiiight, nobody wants to kill animals, nudge nudge, wink wink.

And then she started in doing what she apparently perceived to be her job:  Say one thing publicly, do the opposite behind closed doors.  Call it pet overpopulation, kill animals.  Blame the irresponsible public, kill animals.  Say you’re doing your best to get pets into homes, kill animals.  This is what these people do.  They are monsters.  I don’t know if they were always monsters or if working a job where they kill friendly dogs and cats for a paycheck made them that way, nor do I care.  What I care about is saving shelter pets.

If Lake Co cared about protecting the lives of the animals in their care, they wouldn’t have given this new hire a few talking points, a box of Fatal Plus and sent her on her way.  Lake Co should have built protections for the animals into the system.  No animal killing without veterinary authorization, for example.  No animal killing without approval from the sheriff’s office.  No animal killing without a minimum 2 business days notice posted online listing all animals to be killed along with their photos.  But apparently all Lake Co gave Johnston was the key to the drug cupboard and a nudge nudge wink wink directive that killing is a last resort.

Johnston is not an anomaly.  She is typical of the type of long term employee who seeks out work in pet killing facilities.  She knew the routine.  She listened to the Lake Co sheriff’s office talk about saving animals and got the message:  kill.  This is why shelter reform is so desperately needed in this country.  Not only are shelters killing animals, they are employing monsters.  In Lake Co, Johnston was stopped and the animals she hadn’t yet managed to kill got lucky.

Are the animals housed in your local pet killing facility lucky?  Or is the director there still killing at will, probably with the support of your elected officials who don’t care to know the truth?  And are you being marginalized for your animal advocacy, being told you don’t understand what a hard job it is and that nobody wants to kill animals?

To the person or persons who spoke up for the animals being needlessly killed in Lake County – thank you.  Keep going.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Helmetta Pound Mired in Failure, Director Appears Oblivious

After receiving a number of complaints regarding the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter in NJ, the Middlesex County Health Department inspected the pound on September 26 and September 30.  The South Brunswick Post reports that the first inspection report indicated multiple problems including the importation of dogs from the south without proper health certificates, housing healthy cats in the isolation area with sick cats, failure to record identification numbers on dog and cat records, failure to record parvo test results and cages not being cleaned with appropriate frequency.

Also on September 26, a letter from the Director of the Office of Health Services for the Middlesex Department of Public Safety and Health to the Helmetta pound advised that a cat was adopted out and subsequently diagnosed with panleukopenia.  The letter indicated “that all felines adopted within the next 10 calendar days must be seen by a veterinarian and cleared for adoption prior to finalizing of said adoption.”

This lead to conflicting reports of whether the Helmetta pound was closed for adoptions or not.  Pound director Michal Cielesz further muddied the waters by making what appear to be wildly contradictory statements to the South Brunswick Post:

“We are doing our due diligence to make sure we do the right thing,” she said.
[...]
Ms. Cielesz said that there were two or three cats in the adoption room with “upper respiratory infections coming on.”

We’re doing the right thing but there are sick cats in the adoption room with healthy cats?

“The cats were checked in the morning and we had a vet here,” she said. “We were examining the kittens. The kittens were bright, alert, and responsive. We came back a half a hour later and (one had) passed away. I don’t know what happened and there was a veterinarian here.”

Bright, alert and responsive to dead in 30 minutes or less?  How does this not raise an All Hands on Deck emergency within a shelter housing 150 cats?

But this isn’t the Helmetta pound’s first rodeo.  The NJ SPCA has also issued written warnings to the facility and will conduct unannounced follow up inspections to verify compliance.  And the New Jersey State Humane Police sent a letter to the Helmetta Borough Administrator last month regarding an investigation conducted in August.  The issues detailed in that letter include “failure to supply a living animal necessary care” for 3 sick kittens and administering improper doses of medicine to animals.

The Helmetta pound kills feral cats as a matter of policy.  And not only are they importing animals from the south, they reportedly shipped a group of cats to a shelter in SC.  Gee, last I checked, we have plenty of shelter cats already in SC.  And since most of them are going to the landfill, there is no way we should be importing more from NJ.  I don’t know what brain trust was behind that brilliant plan but hopefully they’ll go back to their day jobs soon.

In the meantime, the Helmetta pound director dismisses critics because haters gonna hate:

“It’s a personal campaign,” Ms. Cielesz said. “It’s not about the animals. I don’t think this (controversy) benefits the animals.”

Well it doesn’t “benefit the animals” in the same way that housing sick cats with healthy ones does or setting up shop as an animal importer/exporter when you can’t manage to get vet care for sick kittens or even notice when one is just minutes away from death.  But yeah, it’s prolly a personal thing.  Whaddaya gonna do?

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Arizona Humane Society Kills 13 Neglected Dogs

The Arizona Humane Society, which some of you may remember as the place that killed a beloved kitten named Scruffy then lied to the owner to try to cover it up, charges $60 to surrender an animal, with a “discount” available to low income individuals who meet the facility’s requirements.

A local resident who lived on property owned by his mother had 13 adult pitbull mixes and 4 puppies living outdoors and authorities received a tip the dogs were being neglected.  Police responded and the man said he was unable to afford the surrender fees to take the dogs to the pound.  He claims that he was not the owner of the dogs but that he would toss food over the fence for them since they lived on his property.  He surrendered the dogs voluntarily to the Arizona Humane Society:

On Thursday, the Arizona Humane Society sent a report to Chandler police on the condition of the dogs. The dogs were described as fearful and difficult to handle and some suffered from sarcoptic mange, a serious condition that is contagious to humans and other dogs. All of the dogs had hair loss as a result of conditions including skin mites, malnutrition and filthy living conditions, according to the report.

Gee, malnourished dogs living in isolation who had food thrown over the fence to them were fearful and difficult to handle after being seized by pet killers? Anyone see that coming? Some had sarcoptic mange, a common skin condition which can be treated very cheaply. Sounds like these dogs needed some TLC and protection.  What they got was the Arizona Humane Society.  The Arizona Humane Society killed every last one of the adults, treating only the puppies.  The man who was living on the property with the dogs has been charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty.  Yay?

It is absolutely tragic that these dogs were better off with the person who would do no more than throw food at them periodically than they were with the Arizona Humane Society.  At least then they were alive.  Where there’s life, there’s hope.  They could have possibly been rescued a truly humane society – small h, small s.  One that sees dogs as individuals, even if they have suffered emotional abuse and neglect, whose lives have value.  Instead, they fell into the hands of monsters and now all hope is lost.

(Thanks Arlene for sending me this story.)

Linden Pound Ordered Closed by State Due to Massive Failures

On September 16, 2014, the NJ Department of Health wrote a letter to the health officer for the city of Linden ordering her to “immediately” close the pound due to failed inspections in July and August.  All the animals and records are to be transferred to another licensed shelter.

Among the most egregious violations found during the inspections at the Linden pound:

  • Impounded animals were being sold or killed before their 7 day mandatory holding periods expired.
  • Animals were not being scanned for microchips at time of impound, at time of sale, or before being killed.
  • Ketamine and euthanasia solution showed evidence of being used but no records were kept regarding their usage.
  • Animals were not being weighed before being killed (in order to determine appropriate drug dosages) and no records of animal weights or dosages of drugs used to kill them were maintained.
  • A veterinarian had not established or maintained a disease control or health care program at the pound, as required by law.
  • Housing for the animals was in severe disrepair.

It sounds as if the city was given an opportunity to correct problems noted in July but inspectors found conditions worsened when they returned in August.  Linden Mayor Richard “A Total Lie and an Exaggeration” Gerbounka says the state health department is “overreacting” and as of today, the Linden pound remains open in defiance of the state order as far as I know.

(Thank you Robert Scutro for the FOIA’d documents.)

Fulton Co Protests Pound’s Killing Policy for Pitbulls

More than 80 animal advocates turned up at a peaceful protest at the Fulton Co Dog Pound in Ohio last weekend designed to raise community awareness regarding the pound’s regressive pitbull policy. Fulton Co kills any dog or puppy who is not reclaimed by an owner and whose body shape resembles that of a pitbull or pitbull mix in the opinion of the dog warden or his assistant. This cruel policy not only defies logic, it defies legal recommendations on the local and state level:

The commissioners unanimously passed Resolution 2012-47 in May, 2012, just after and in spite of the Ohio Legislature’s removal of breed-specific language from state code and against the recommendation of their legal counsel, Fulton County prosecutor Scott Haselman, to remain breed neutral. The policy states that no dog identified by the dog warden or assistant dog warden as a “pit bull” or “pit-bull” mix will be adopted out or transferred to a rescue group from the pound.
[...]
Dog Warden Brian Banister, who according to county records recommended and initially drafted the policy, said he agrees with the county’s decision about “pit bulls.”

Area animal advocates have been trying to present a case for judging each dog and puppy as an individual, based on behavior, instead of having a blanket policy of death for all unclaimed dogs and puppies based on body shape. But the county already knows everything:

The two leaders of Fulton County No Kill, Carol Dopp of Chesterfield Township and Tasha Grieser of Archbold, Ohio, said dogs should be judged by their behavior, not their physical appearance. The pair met with County Administrator Vond Hall in mid-August to discuss the matter with the intent of placing it on a county commissioners’ meeting agenda. They were rebuffed.

Mr. Hall said he approached the commissioners, who refused to open a discussion about the policy and have not met with representatives of either group.

“The board members fully understand the position the No-Kill group has, and they also fully understand their own position,” he said. “They do not see the need to discuss what they feel they already understand.”

It’s got to be a good feeling, knowing everything and not needing to listen to your constituents, your county attorney or your state’s legal recommendations. They probably sleep like babies. And act like them:

[A] Fulton County resident and dog trainer who is certified in a behavior-evaluation protocol developed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offered to evaluate the county’s dogs at no charge. That offer was refused.

*stomps feet*
We. Already. Know. Everything.
Why isn’t anyone listening to us?

“We are not a shelter,” Mr. Hall said.

Problem number one, in what appears to be a lengthy list in Fulton Co.  By the way, it’s not necessary to call yourself a “shelter” in order to stop killing stray dogs and puppies whom people are willing to save.  You can just call yourself a human to do that.

Mr. Hall said [...] those people protesting the policy appear to be “expressing concern about the animal, not the public.”

Wait – I thought the people protesting were the public. But heaven forfend anyone be concerned about an animal, especially one with fat head and a waggy tail.

(Thank you Arlene for the link.)

ACO Runs Out of Cat Catching Ideas After 60 Seconds, Calls In Police to Shoot Cat

Clark, as pictured on the Press-Herald website.

Clark, as pictured on the Portland Press Herald website.

On August 20, Some Guy in Gorham, ME called police to report that a limping cat had scratched or bitten his child and that he suspected the cat had rabies. The Gorham police sent an ACO to the scene at 7pm. The ACO was unable to immediately trap the animal and so called for a police officer to come shoot the limping cat with a 16 gauge shotgun. Which is the next obvious step after the limping cat, having been diagnosed as possibly rabid by Some Guy, refused to walk immediately into a trap. There are zero steps in between Immediately Secure Cat in Trap and Blast Cat with 16 Gauge Shotgun.

After being shot, the cat ran off into the woods for 4 days. He finally emerged in the yard of a woman who has been feeding him on her back deck for years. He was trapped and taken to an area shelter. He is being monitored by a vet as his front leg bones are shattered from the shotgun pellets and may require surgery to repair. It’s painful to even imagine the suffering this cat endured for 4 days after being shot.

Lt. Chris Sanborn of the Gorham PD said the department will investigate itself in the matter, the officer who shot the cat is still on duty, and that officer is not being named. Also, he doesn’t know what to do if a cat diagnosed by Some Guy as possibly rabid doesn’t immediately limp into a trap:

Sanborn said his department follows state protocol for dealing with animals that police suspect may be rabid, including trapping the animal so it can be quarantined while veterinarians determine if it is infected. Sanborn said he did not know what the protocol is for situations where the animal cannot be caught.

If you don’t know, start shooting. I think that’s what it says on the sides of police cars.

The cat, now named Clark, is having his vet bills paid by the police department. He is not rabid but is reportedly very friendly and loving. The lady who has been feeding him on her property is worried the shelter will kill him.

An ACO obviously ill equipped for the job.  A police officer ready, willing and able to fulfill cat shooting requests upon demand.  A supervisor prepared to provide cover for these heinous actions.  A shelter where citizens fear their pets will be killed.  Yay public servants.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

TZI Recommends Shelter Should Not Let You Have Your Lost Cat Back

Cleo, a feral cat who has been vaccinated and neutered, and whose caregiver loves her.  (Photo by Casey Post)

Cleo, a feral cat who has been vaccinated and neutered, and whose caregiver loves her. (Photo by Casey Post)

In August 2013, the Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Program issued a summary of recommendations to the Hillsborough Co pound in FL following a consultation.  The recommendation regarding stray cats was particularly troubling to me since it threatened the bond between people and their lost pets.  From the report:

Eliminate the required hold period for stray cats. Stray cats lacking identification are extremely unlikely to be reclaimed by owners and are at high risk for shelter – acquired disease and euthanasia. Eliminating even a few days in the shelter may be the difference between life and death for them. The shelter can simultaneously have an option for immediate live release paired with a required hold period of 3 days prior to euthanasia.

Not only is Maddie’s Fund failing to attribute a low return to owner rate to its proper source – the pound, it fails to acknowledge one of the primary purposes of municipal shelters:  to reunite lost pets with their owners.

The No Kill Advocacy Center weighed in on the elimination of stray holding periods when HSUS suggested it in its 2013 white paper on California shelters:

[I]f a dog or cat comes in as a stray, and he does not have identification, he can be adopted to someone else immediately without giving his family any time to reclaim him. This is unfair to families who deeply love their animal companions. [...] Accidents happen; animals get lost and end up at shelters. Since the choice presented — immediate adoption or sickness/death — is a false one, breaking up families by having them lose all rights in their animal with no reclaim period of any kind appears draconian.

I am deeply opposed to the elimination of holding periods for any pet whose owner might be looking for him. It’s the shelter’s job to treat the bond between pets and their people as sacrosanct. Which is why I was shocked to read that the Target Zero Institute, in its recommendations to the troubled Amarillo pound in TX, has taken the travesty even further. TZI not only recommends eliminating the holding period for stray cats lacking identification but for all cats found outside – including friendly, possibly microchipped pets who may be wearing collars and/or tags and whose owners are searching for them:

The TZI recommends returning outside cats back to their original neighborhoods following sterilization, rabies vaccination and ear tipping. [...]TZI recommends returning cats to their ‘outside home’ where they have a food source as evidenced by a healthy body weight. These may be feral cats that cannot be handled or friendly cats found outside.

If Amarillo, or any other municipal shelter, adopts TZI’s barbaric recommendation regarding cats found outdoors, your pet could be turned into the shelter by a cat hating neighbor or anyone at all, or he could simply be trapped by an ACO and, so long as he appears to be “visually healthy”, he would be immediately vaccinated, neutered, ear-tipped and put back on the street. This would happen as a matter of policy – even if you were actively searching for your pet, even if you had microchipped him and even if you had placed a collar and an ID tag on him. If he’s found outside, TZI wants him immediately anesthetized, put through surgery and turned loose in the area where he had gotten lost (or presumably where the cat hating neighbor says he was found).

TZI says in its report that this practice will save money by reducing the number of cats who “have to be cared for, fed and ultimately [killed] in large numbers” at the pound.

No cats “have to be” killed.  Full stop.  If you don’t get that, get out of the shelter consulting business.

All cats impounded by shelters should be immediately – in the field whenever possible – scanned for microchips and checked for ID tags.  No exceptions.  A chip or ID tag should equate with a free ride home from the ACO.  Those cats lacking identification should be photographed and posted online by the facility immediately.  Anyone visiting the shelter looking for a lost pet should be shown every pet in the place as a matter of course.  Reuniting families is part of the job.  It seems to me to be one of the best parts, by the way, and I can’t imagine why anyone who supposedly cares about shelter pets would want to eliminate it.

Now that Maddie’s Fund and HSUS have opened this awful door and TZI has barreled through it with a bulldozer, I can’t help but wonder what’s next.  Will some consultant recommend that shelters stop housing all dogs found outdoors too?  Gee but we can’t turn dogs back out onto the streets, can we?  So what will “have to be” done with them?

I’m not a shelter consultant, just someone who loves pets and believes dogs and cats have a right to live, regardless of their status in the community.  I don’t get paid for my ideas nor do I have any big money backing me behind the scenes.  Here’s my unsolicited recommendation to shelters and their staff, for what it’s worth:  Do your jobs.  Stop looking for ways to avoid the hard work of sheltering by bringing in big money consultants.  You are accountable to the local taxpayers who pay your salaries and who love their pets.  Start acting like it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

RSPCA Killing Healthy/Treatable Pets with Bolt Guns and Bullets

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the UK reportedly killed 53,000 animals in 2011, many of them healthy or treatable.  The RSPCA’s 44% kill rate can not be blamed on an open admission status:

In 2009, the RSPCA, which is one of Britain’s biggest charities and receives £120 million a year in donations, stopped accepting stray animals and unwanted pets.

While the number of animals being adopted to new homes by the RSPCA has fallen, the number of convictions against pet owners has risen by 20%.  Critics claim that the organization’s focus on securing convictions has led to the drop in animals being adopted out as well as thug tactics against pet owners:

[In 2011], spinster Georgina Langley, 67, of West Hougham, Kent, was raided at her home by the RSPCA and had five of her 13 cats put down.
The charity prosecuted her for neglect, but Mr Smith, 62, came to her aid. After sending two of the cats’ bodies to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) for an independent post-mortem, he said: ‘There appears to be no good reason why the RSPCA allowed these animals to be put to sleep.
‘The RVC post-mortems concluded the cats were healthy, with no signs of incorrect feeding or major problems with fleas or other illnesses.
‘They were very heavy-handed with an elderly lady and kept her standing out in her garden in the rain for hours while they searched her house.
[...]
Following a three-day trial in May 2012, the RSPCA dropped 11 of the 13 charges against Miss Langley.

The RSPCA, which routinely kills animals with a bolt gun, also shoots healthy/treatable pets to death as a form of “euthanasia” according to a whistleblower who worked for the organization for 2 years:

Ms Aubrey-Ward claimed large numbers of animals, particularly dogs, were put to sleep after being classed ‘unsuitable for rehoming’, but that the definition could be widely drawn to often include older animals, those needing veterinary care, dogs deemed ‘aggressive’ or larger dogs which were ‘hard to home’.
[...]
Ms Aubrey-Ward, 44, a divorced mother of four from Martock, Somerset, joined the RSPCA as a trainee inspector in 2007. But she soon found herself at odds with what she described as its ‘antiquated military-style’ regime which placed ‘prosecution and persecution’ of owners ahead of protection of their pets.
[...]
Later, she rescued a heavily pregnant ‘staffie’ bitch from a cruel owner, along with an aggressive male dog. ‘With some TLC in a nice kennels, and someone to work on her behaviour, she would have been OK. The dog warden and I tried hard to find a space for her but we couldn’t,’ she said.

‘The warden took the dogs to RPSCA Hillingdon, where a vet said they should be put to sleep if nowhere could be found for them, and they were killed round the back. The dog warden noosed them and I shot them.’

An RSPCA spokesman told the Daily Mail:

‘We do need to put animals to sleep when it is in their interests.
‘Nobody who works for the RSPCA wants to have to put rehomeable animals to sleep but it is a sad reality of the work that we do.’

Unadoptable.  Putting to sleep.  Killing is a kindness. Nobody WANTS to kill animals. DOMFL. I see pet killing hypocrites are exactly the same across the pond as they are here.

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

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Norfolk Whistleblower Alleges Pound in Violation of State Law, Retains Attorney to Fight Termination

The city of Norfolk, VA kills animals at its pound.  So far in 2014, more than 1600 animals have been killed.  Nearly 600 of those animals were killed because the staff at the Norfolk pound didn’t like their behavior in addition to the 230 animals who were killed for being feral.  Fifty-four animals were killed for being too old while another 125 were killed for being too young.  Five animals were killed for being pregnant, which means their unborn offspring were suffocated inside their mothers but Norfolk doesn’t bother counting them.

The Norfolk pound currently has 8 dogs listed for adoption on its website.  They’re doing the best they can, totally.

A former Norfolk pound employee who says she was fired for being a whistleblower has retained an attorney to fight the city’s termination of her employment:

Adrienne Alper, 26, worked for the city-run shelter for about seven months before she was fired in December. She says the shelter didn’t follow procedure when workers euthanized animals, and that management targeted her after she spoke up about it.

She alleges that staff “often carried out euthanasia procedures in a cruel and inhumane manner.”

Specifically Ms. Alper is alleging that Norfolk was killing animals in their cages instead of taking them to the kill room – a violation of state law.   She also expressed concern at the needless killing of animals, including a surrendered mama Pitbull and her litter of puppies who were killed upon impound.  She says she attempted to go through proper channels before taking her concerns outside the pound:

“I talked to my immediate supervisors but they kind of brushed me off,” Alper said. “They just said that it was the way they did things and the way it was done for years.”

Tragically, Ms. Alper took her concerns to PETA, the Norfolk based pet killing organization. I can only imagine PETA’s concern might have been that the pound wasn’t killing even more animals, faster and more efficiently.  And maybe they had some hurt feels that no one called them to come watch the killing of the Pitbull family.  PETA would have brought popcorn, no doubt.

Ms. Alper was fired soon after and says her termination letter specifically cited the PETA meeting and “alleged that Alper did not get along with co-workers and accused one of them of killing puppies”. I guess she should have said puppies and adults, to be fair.

The city stands by the puppy killers at its pound, noting that surrendering parties sign a form stating their animals might be killed.  So it’s all good, I guess.  Presumably the city’s lawyers will have a tad more than that to offer if the case goes to court.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for the links.)

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