If your local pet killing facility participates in social media, they probably post donation pleas claiming they can’t save lives without additional money from taxpayers for things like vaccines, pet food, kitty litter, etc. Have you have ever seen your local pet killing facility issue an urgent donation plea because they have run out of Fatal Plus? If not, it’s probably safe to say you know what is number one on their priority list (and it isn’t lifesaving).
All posts in category animal shelter
Posted by YesBiscuit on December 5, 2013
It sucks being a cat at the Hillsborough Co pound in Florida. Way.
Although the pound’s TNR program was officially sanctioned by local politicians on May 1, not one action has been taken to implement the program:
“I’m not [a] patient person,” said Sherry Silk, director of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “Come on; it’s been six months and we haven’t saved a single cat.”
Not only has Hillsborough Co failed to save a single cat via its TNR-INO (In Name Only) program while citing colony caregivers for feeding TNR’d cats, its cat killing machine continues to mow down nearly every feline in its path. In fiscal year 2012, the live release rate for cats was 18.9%. The pound is currently killing 600 adult cats and kittens every month.
In August, the Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Program issued a report detailing recommendations for the Hillsborough Co pound. Some of the findings:
- Nursing mama cats who are impounded as strays are automatically sent to the kill room after their mandated holding period expires.
- Some kittens designated as available for adoption are housed in rooms which are off limits to the public.
- Animals’ records – both computer and paper – regularly contain incorrect age, sex and holding period data.
- Cats are often housed in tiny holding cages with the access door to the other side of the cage kept closed, even when the other side is empty, leading to “compromised feline welfare”.
- Cats are left in uncovered traps and carriers in a high traffic hallway while awaiting cage placement, putting them at increased risk for illness due to stress.
One of the recommendations from the Maddie’s Fund consultants is to designate a feline advocate at the facility:
This person should assure individual cats are housed in the appropriate ward, have no unnecessary holds, and are tracked appropriately for foster, transfer, or adoption.
And by “unecessary holds”, Maddie’s Fund includes any holding period for stray cats who lack identification. A key recommendation 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.
So lost cats with their sex/age/holding period information data possibly entered wrongly by Hillsborough Co staff, possibly housed in rooms which are off limits to the public and possibly designated in advance as Straight to Kill Room are unlikely to be reclaimed by their owners? And the recommendation is to eliminate the unidentified stray holding period entirely because they might get sick at this “compromised feline welfare” facility? Snaaaaaap.
The No Kill Advocacy Center weighed in on the elimination of stray holding periods when HSUS suggested it in its recent 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.
If Hillsborough Co accepts the Maddie’s Fund recommendation to eliminate the state mandated 5 day holding period for unidentified stray cats, it will not only cause undue harm to owners of lost cats trying to find them, it will fast track cats to the kill room – the most likely outcome for cats at Hillsborough Co. What Hillsborough Co needs is someone to run into the cat ward and yell, “Iceberg – dead ahead!” Instead, Maddie’s Fund is busy re-arranging the deck chairs.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 29, 2013
On May 4, 2013, Donald Aaron Hawes hauled a cat belonging to his girlfriend’s daughter out from under a bed. He then attempted to kill the cat by strangling her. When that failed, Hawes attempted to kill the pet by squeezing her stomach. And when he failed at that, Hawes threw the cat against a wall in a final attempt to kill her. The daughter had a phone in the room which recorded the violence.
Mercifully, the cat survived and Hawes was charged with third-degree felony torture of a companion animal. But in court last week, Hawes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted torture of a companion animal. He received a $450 fine, two years of informal probation and will not have to serve one day in jail.
The judge also “ordered Hawes to complete an anger management course and then also ordered him to complete 48 hours of community service.” And where would a judge want to send a violent, abusive freak like Hawes to perform his service to the community? The county shelter. Because yeah, what community wouldn’t want a cat torturer on duty at the local shelter?
Fail, six ways from Sunday.
I sincerely hope no animal shelter in the state will accept this convicted animal abuser for volunteer work. Let him clean toilets at local rest stops or scrub floors at the sewage plant. Keep this scumbag away from animals at all costs.
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 18, 2013
A troubling situation developed in Delaware yesterday and more information is needed. I am asking for help from readers if they come across any additional media reports or press releases from relevant parties regarding this story today.
The scattered facts, as I understand them:
Delaware has a law called the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) which requires shelters to give at least 2 business days’ notice to rescuers before killing any healthy/treatable animal.
The Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in Delaware was set to close on November 30. I do not know the reason why. They previously held an animal control contract but recently lost it. Safe Haven reportedly asked the ASPCA last month to help shut down the shelter in an orderly manner and ASPCA agreed.
Suddenly yesterday, the closing of Safe Haven got moved up – to yesterday. I do not know the reason why.
Safe Haven reportedly posted a comment on its Facebook page last night about what may be the unlawful killing of dogs there:
“Some dogs, due to severe behavior issues, were such a threat to other animals or humans, that they were unsuitable for adoption,” the statement said. “Some dogs were humanely euthanized.”
The Safe Haven Facebook page has since been deleted.
The News Journal also reports:
It’s not clear how many dogs remained at Safe Haven until this week, because the shelter did not post intake statistics on its website for the third quarter of 2013, which the state’s Companion Animal Protection Act mandates shelters do.
The law also requires shelters to maintain “a registry of organizations willing to accept animals for the purpose of adoption,” and are not supposed to euthanize any animal if organizations on the registry are willing to accept it.
[Former Safe Haven volunteer Karli] Swope said rescue groups she is familiar with had not received notices from Safe Haven indicating it was considering euthanizing any of its dogs.
The Sussex Countian spoke with several area rescuers who showed up at Safe Haven yesterday to pull dogs. They claim Safe Haven officials had given them permission to come to the facility and save dogs. But when they arrived, they found the ASPCA’s giant truck and a hostile environment:
However these people were turned away by the ASPCA, who eventually called the Delaware State Police and reported the prospective adopters were trespassing on private property.
Speculations surrounding whether the ASPCA was euthanizing the remaining dogs onsite were discounted by Capt. Sean Moriarty of DSP Troop 4 in Georgetown. Moriarty said he saw the dogs inside a large ASPCA truck, and they were all alive.
“I’m not sure exactly where they’re going; mostly out of state. Some are going to a facility in the state, but we don’t know where,” Moriarty said on Thursday at Safe Haven.
There were an unknown number of dogs, possibly 20, at Safe Haven at the time ASPCA locked the doors and called police to keep rescuers out. I haven’t seen any reports indicating what ASPCA did with the dogs.
I am not an attorney but it appears to me that possibly both Safe Haven and the ASPCA may have violated Delaware’s CAPA law in the handling of dogs at the facility. I hope some clarifications and additional facts come to light today and that the remaining dogs are safe. I further hope the appropriate authorities will investigate to determine if Safe Haven and/or the ASPCA should be charged with violations of Delaware’s CAPA law.
(Thanks Karen for alerting me to this story.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 15, 2013
The Florida pound that made the news three times in two months for oops-killing owned pets requested a change in killing protocols from its manager. No, they didn’t ask the manager to stop killing pets and start doing her job. [hysterical laughter] Nothing like that.
Escambia Co reportedly told Dr. Melissa Adkison, who had run the pound since September, she would now be required to personally sign off on all pet killings at the facility. She apparently had a problem with this directive and got into a dispute with her superiors. The county spokesman says after the dispute she walked out and never came back.
You’ve been rolling downhill for awhile now, Escambia County. You are picking up speed. Maybe it’s time for something radical? Perhaps requiring the shelter to actually shelter animals would be a good place to start.
(Thanks Salette for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 13, 2013
A couple of years ago, volunteers at Minneapolis Animal Care and Control started a “Friends of” page on Facebook. MACC wasn’t promoting its own animals online and some of the volunteers were professional photographers who believed that good photos and descriptions posted on social media could help get more pets out of the pound alive. Kathy Boyd began volunteering about a year ago after being inspired by the success and community involvement of the FoMACC page. She and the other volunteers would photograph animals and write up summaries of their observations and interactions with pets at the pound so that potential adopters could get some insight into the animal’s personality. They also gave all the pets names and answered questions from interested parties.
Since its creation, Ms. Boyd estimates that at least 100 people have adopted or fostered pets from the pound due to the FoMACC page on Facebook. But even while staff at MACC cooperated by supplying information to volunteers, they also complained. Ms. Boyd was told that staff did not like the extra effort required of them when potential adopters forgot to to make note of an animal’s ID number and instead inquired about a pet by name. Staff was also reportedly annoyed by angry phone calls from compassionate pet lovers after the FoMACC administrators moved a pet’s photo into a category reserved for pets killed by the pound, which was a common occurrence. MACC has historically tried to hide the killing at its facility, failing to report on any animals it deems “unadoptable”.
Around the beginning of summer 2013, things began to change. MACC staff stopped cooperating with the volunteers and refused to give them information on what happened to individual animals. The partnership deteriorated, at the animals’ expense. On November 2, the volunteer coordinator at MACC, Jeanette Weidermeier, called a meeting of the volunteer photographers which Kathy Boyd attended. It was announced at this meeting that MACC would be using its own photographers, posting its own photos (using PetHarbor via its website) and from now on staff would no longer be sharing information with the FoMACC Facebook page. A gag order of sorts was imposed upon the volunteers and they were all required to sign forms acknowledging the change in policy. Ms. Boyd writes:
So, at the meeting on Saturday, Jeanette passed out print copies of the new procedures. One copy for each person to keep, and one to sign. But I got a different piece of paper. Mine was a memo that said, in effect, “Thank you for graciously offering to step in when we needed photographers… and now we can let you go back to your passion – cuddling cats.”
Feeling distraught by MACC effectively killing a successful form of marketing for its animals as well as humiliated for being kicked to the curb in an open meeting, Ms. Boyd resigned. The FoMACC posted about the meeting on Facebook.
Our new website features the most accurate, real-time information for all of the adoptable and lost animals at MACC and allows for more animals to be seen online than ever before.
I checked the PetHarbor listings on the MACC website yesterday. There were 5 dogs and 10 cats available for adoption. While there were a couple dozen additional animals listed in the stray category, there were also duplicate listings there for some of the adoptable animals. It’s unclear to me how a facility that takes in roughly 4000 animals a year could find only 15 of them adoptable at this time. If this is MACC’s idea of allowing more animals to be seen online than ever before, I think their idea is clearly a fail.
Thank you Kathy Boyd for speaking out publicly about MACC’s attempt to stifle the First Amendment rights of volunteers and muzzle anyone telling the truth about the needless killing there. The volunteers have started a petition asking the city pound to reverse its decision and once again permit them to help save animals’ lives through their Facebook page.
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 11, 2013
There are not nearly enough shelter pets for everyone in the U.S. who plans to get a pet this year. This is ok because some owners, about 1.5 million, are already set on an alternate source (a breeder usually) for the new pet they plan to get within the next year. I appreciate the fact that some people want a specific breed of puppy or kitten with a documented pedigree, a known health/behavioral history and a written performance guarantee. For those people, I recommend they contact a breed rescue or a responsible breeder (generally someone who breeds occasional litters at home, screens the parents for health and temperament, screens potential buyers for the best possible match between pet and person, and offers a safe place for the animal to return for life, if ever it is needed).
There are about 5 million people determined to adopt the pet they will be getting this year. Since we have an estimated 8 million pets entering shelters in this country every year, we have plenty of animals for these 5 million owners to choose from. But there is a third group of people, about 17 million, who are planning to add a pet to the family within the next year and haven’t yet decided on a source for that animal. We have only about 3 million shelter pets left in the total estimated population who are healthy/treatable and available for adoption. As is plain, if we were to convince even half of these 17 million homes to adopt from a shelter, we would be coming up short by millions of animals. So again, the fact that some people want to buy from a responsible breeder does not condemn shelter pets to death. Shelter pets are dying because shelter directors are killing them instead of doing their jobs to get them into homes, of which there are plenty.
One of the groups that has traditionally looked to responsible breeders for their dogs is law enforcement. But that is not always the case. In fact the BBC recently ran a story on a shelter dog in the UK who was adopted for use as a police dog and successfully completed his basic training. Here in the States, rescued shelter dogs have fought crime in New York, Chicago, and many other cities.
But I was disappointed to see a photo on Twitter today that appears to depict someone from the Jasper County Sheriff’s office in Missouri (that’s what the sleeve insignia looks like to me anyway) buying a puppy at a pet store. The photo was contained in a tweet from the Hunte Corporation, “the largest distributor-wholesaler of puppies in the United States.”
The Hunte Corporation buys puppies – not from responsible breeders, who would never allow a broker to determine where their puppies end up – but from puppy mills. They truck the puppies, whose parents are left to suffer at the puppy mills, to pet stores all over the country. Why a law enforcement officer would want to purchase a puppy from a pet store is a mystery to me. The benefits that law enforcement normally receives from buying from responsible breeders – a puppy with a known pedigree whose lineage is likely to contain successful law enforcement dogs, a health and temperament guarantee and a safe place to return the puppy if the training doesn’t pan out – are all non-existent with a pet store purchase. Furthermore, by purchasing a pet store puppy, the sheriff’s office is helping to keep puppy mills in business, which is tragic.
I hope the Jasper Co Sheriff’s office will reconsider buying pet store puppies to work with its law enforcement officers. There are plenty of responsible breeders with puppies available and there might even be some excellent candidates sitting in the local shelter. Law enforcement should be setting a good example for the community, not supporting animal cruelty by buying pet store puppies.
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 8, 2013
Kern Co, CA – On October 8, a dog named Capatcho was impounded by the city of Bakersfield after reportedly biting a neighbor. The dog lacked identification and was listed as a stray upon impound at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center. The owner, Bree Dedmon, went to the facility to identify her dog. She was told Capatcho had to be held for a 10 day rabies quarantine period and that she’d be able to pick him up on October 19.
Ms. Dedmon returned to the pound many times during the quarantine in order to visit with her pet and the staff came to recognize her by face. Ms. Dedmon told a local news outlet that she was “all excited” when she went to pick up Capatcho on October 19. When she arrived at the pound, a staff member told her that Capatcho was “missing”. When the distraught owner pressed the staffer for details, she was told he had been killed one day earlier. Oops.
The dog was put down after the quarantine period, because an owner for Capatcho was never documented by the shelter staff.
Following the notification of death, police were called into the shelter to help staffers with Dedmon, according to one center official.
Yeah, I can imagine how someone might temporarily lose it after being informed her family member was “missing” only to find out that was a lie and in fact, the pet had been oops-killed.
“Until I got Potch, I never understood how people could be so close to their animals,” she said. “I just mainly wanted to get the word out, and for people to know that his life meant something and he meant something to his family.”
We get it Ms. Dedmon. Pets are family. Animal services=family services.
The pound, in typical fashion, told the news outlet that people need to keep their pets on their property and wearing ID tags in order to avoid these kinds of situations. Which sounds like something out of The Sopranos if you think about it. Never have an oops with your pet because if you do, there’s gonna be the kind of oops you’re gonna regret. Oh and the pound also warned the public that quarantine costs more than $200. Stay classy, Bakersfield.
In addition to blaming the owner for the killing, the pound says it’s taking responsibility (I think they have a different definition of that term than the rest of us) and has relocated a staff member. Which means nothing. Until Bakersfield commits to doing its job to shelter animals instead of killing them, nothing will change.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on November 3, 2013
In August, Bloomberg ran a piece claiming there were 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit, MI – a claim widely disputed by various animal advocates. (We talked about it on the blog at the time.) Michigan Humane Society, which doesn’t hold an animal control contract but functions primarily as a pet killing facility anyway, was not one of the agencies disputing the figure at the time. In fact, they tried to fundraise off the claim.
Regardless of the what actual number is, Detroit does have stray dogs and they are being killed at a horrifying rate at area animal shelters. When asked about the ACOs who work in the field, rounding up the city’s stray dogs, AC head Harry Ward told Bloomberg:
“We are really suffering from fatigue, short staffed” and work too much overtime, he said in an interview.
Kristen Huston from All About Animals Rescue talked about the problem of widespread breeding among owned pets allowed to roam the streets of Detroit:
She said many dogs that appear to be abandoned actually have owners who allow them to wander. Those dogs often end up breeding with others, exacerbating the problem.
Daniel Carlisle of Detroit Dog Rescue also addressed the problem of uncontrolled breeding among stray dogs in the city:
“And the warehouses are large doghouses. They’re walking into these places, they’re bedding down in them and they’re mating.”
But while the city ACOs are working overtime to get stray dogs off the streets and into the kill rooms at area shelters, Michigan Humane is importing dogs from TN in a pretty white van with their logo on it, all shined up for the TV news crews.
Because there is a shortage of dogs in Michigan.
Because everyone in Michigan neuters their pets.
And other myths.
“Our centers are not full,” said Erin Campbell with the Michigan Humane Society. “We don’t often have small dogs or puppies. It seems spay and neutering has taken off so that’s why don’t have the puppies that are in the south.”
When a pet killing facility imports shelter animals from out of state, it appears they are doing it for personal profit and/or publicity. They are obviously not doing it to save animals since they are killing pets they already have. In the case of Michigan Humane, they are claiming to have empty space while simultaneously asking for donations to help save the supposed 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit. And driving to Knoxville for more. Apparently 50,000 dogs don’t stretch as far as they used to.
I hope the next time Michigan Humane sends its shiny logo van to the south to import more dogs into its pet killing facility, the local news will do a piece on displacement killing. And fraud. It’s always disappointing when reporters don’t lift the veil on the feel-good stories being fed to them. All it would take is the tiniest bit of research to uncover the fact that Michigan Humane kills pets instead of saving them while bilking compassionate donors out of millions of dollars.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on October 31, 2013
On August 26 , a 3 year old Florida dog named Cowgirl got lost while the owner, Danielle Riggens, and her roommate were at work. The two women searched for Cowgirl, learning 2 days later that she’d been impounded by the Escambia County Animal Shelter. The pound is only open for 6 hours per day, 5 days a week and Ms. Riggens was unable to get off work before the facility closed. The owner’s roommate, Brittany Ann Meade, went to redeem Cowgirl. Pound staff refused to release the pet to Ms. Meade so Ms. Riggens repeatedly phoned the pound to make sure they knew she would come in personally to redeem the dog on Saturday. She asked what the redemption fee would be so she’d be sure to have the right amount of money with her when she arrived. But the day before Ms. Riggens was to reclaim her pet, the Escambia Co pound killed Cowgirl. Oops.
The issue behind the “mistake” was a system of cards used to identify pets at the Escambia Co pound. Pets who were being reclaimed were supposed to have an arrow drawn on the right hand corner of their cards with the word “over” to alert staff that the owner is coming to claim the pet. Someone forgot to draw the arrow on Cowgirl’s card and instead placed her card into the pile of cards for animals to be killed that day.
“It was an accident that never should have happened,” said Director Marilyn Wesley of the Escambia County Community Affairs Department, which oversees the animal shelter.
“It was just an unfortunate mistake that the card accidentally did not have the marking on it, but it also got mixed in with another batch of animals,” she said.
Cowgirl’s owner and the roommate who lived with them were both devastated:
“It’s heartbreaking. She had her for so many years,” Meade said. “Our dogs are our children.”
“The life and death of an animal should not be as simple as turning over a piece of paper,” Meade said.
The two women spoke at length with Marilyn Wesley, asking for a major overhaul in the way the pound does business. Ms. Wesley indicated the county was “redesigning and revamping that card” but Ms. Riggens and Ms. Meade clearly saw that was not enough:
Riggens and Meade said they would like to see even bigger steps taken such as computerizing the entire animal card system. Riggens said she also plans to challenge the state’s policy regarding killing pets taken in without identification after three days and those with identification after five.
A couple of weeks later, the director of the Escambia Co pound was replaced.
This week, Leslie Reeder’s dog Maggie escaped her yard while the owner was napping inside the house. Maggie was reportedly barking at some kids at a bus stop. An ACO picked Maggie up and knocked on Ms. Reeder’s door, waking her. The ACO advised Ms. Reeder that Maggie was on the AC truck, sedated, that she was receiving 2 citations which she must sign and that she could come to the Escambia Co pound to redeem her pet. Ms. Reeder signed the paperwork without reading it.
In fact, what the ACO told Ms. Reeder and the paperwork provided to her were conflicting in nature. One of the forms Ms. Reeder signed included a surrender paragraph, giving Escambia Co permission to dispose of Maggie as it saw fit. Maggie was driven to the Escambia Co pound and immediately killed. Ms. Reeder says that if she had any idea of the true contents of the form, she never would have signed it.
Although details are scarce in this news report, some obvious questions come to mind:
- Why did the ACO take the dog to the pound when he knew where she lived and in fact had spoken with the owner in person? Is it because Escambia County likes to punish owners whose dogs get loose, just as they punished Danielle Riggens by not allowing her roommate to redeem Cowgirl?
- Why did the ACO tell the owner she could come to the pound to reclaim her pet while giving her a surrender form to sign?
- Why did the Escambia Co pound immediately kill a sedated dog who could not possibly have been evaluated in any meaningful way?
- Is barking considered to be an imminent public safety threat in Escambia Co that requires lethal force?
Marilyn Wesley admitted no mistake and in fact defended Maggie’s killing, stating the owner signed her right to the pet away. She also told the local news she’s “investigating” to make sure shelter protocols were “thoroughly followed”. Word to the wise: If the shelter’s policies were thoroughly followed and the result is the immediate killing of a sedated, owned dog who barked, I’d say the shelter’s policies need a complete rewrite. And does the county really want anyone who would follow such barbaric polices on the payroll? If the policies weren’t followed, which would seem to be the only logical conclusion here, I guess it will be just another oops for the Escambia Co pound.
I hope local advocates are pushing for reform at the Escambia Co pound. Clearly killing is the default for this facility even when the staff knows pets in their care have owners. It’s time to get some compassionate people in there who will do their jobs and actually shelter animals in need.
(Thanks Clarice for posting about Maggie in yesterday’s Open Thread.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on October 26, 2013