AZ Shelter Oops-Kills Family Pet

Hollie in a screengrab from the KGUN online report

Hollie in a screengrab from the KGUN online report

On Christmas Day 2013, an ACO impounded a dog named Hollie for a rabies quarantine at the Pima Animal Care Center in AZ after she reportedly chased a child on a bike and bit his leg.  Owner Tammy Porter was given a form to sign indicating she would redeem Hollie as soon as the quarantine expired.  The Porters were prepared to meet with shelter staff for education on how to keep Hollie reliably contained and prevent another incident.

When Ms. Porter arrived at the shelter to take Hollie home, she learned the impounding officer had failed to properly communicate to the staff that the owner intended to redeem Hollie.  So they killed her.  Oops.

“It devastated us.” Hollie was part of our family for six years.”

The news really hurt Tammy’s 12-year-old daughter Rachel Porter.

“I was really close to her,” said Rachel.

Manager Kim Janes comes across as lackadaisical in his response to the killing of an owned pet:

“We always review our procedures when these kinds of things happen,” he said. “And we just doubled up on some of the double checks we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Ho hum. Just another day at the office.

In its 2012-2013 annual report, the Pima Animal Care Center claims its live release rate was 64% (without providing the detailed numbers behind this figure).  Shelters that do their jobs have live release rates in the 95% range.  Pima is falling short.  “These kinds of things” don’t happen in a vacuum.  They happen as a result of a culture of killing – where controlling the shelter population by violence is an accepted standard and owned pets sometimes inadvertently wind up in the vast swath of death deemed acceptable and normal.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Assistant Dog Warden Under Investigation in Ohio

The Petfinder page for the Gallia Co Animal Shelter in Ohio describes the facility as a “HIGH kill shelter”.  There are 4 pets listed as available for adoption at the time of this post.

On February 14, a group called Friends of Gallia County’s Animals posted on its Facebook page that “11 dogs were euthanized at the pound this morning because the assistant warden couldn’t wait a day for us to clean the facilities from the dogs who are leaving.”  Friends of Gallia County’s Animals appears to be referring to dogs who were pulled for transport to the New England area, where shelter dogs are also killed, for anyone keeping track.

WSAZ reports today that the 11 dogs who were killed were all vaccinated and friendly:

“There are 11 (other) dogs that we can’t help because they’re aggressive,” [Friends of Gallia County's Animals board member Nathan] Weatherholt said. “They’re cat-aggressive, they’re food-aggressive, they’re people-aggressive. He could have picked 11 of those dogs and euthanized any of those 11 dogs. It would have still been tragic and horrible, but it wouldn’t have been the 11 dogs we were looking at.”

Never fall into this trap of saying it would be better to kill shelter dogs who don’t like cats or have some other perceived flaw than to kill animals who fit an arbitrary, subjective standard.  All shelter animals have the right to live.  Full stop.  If you aren’t advocating equally for the least adoptable animals in the place and the white and fluffies, you aren’t advocating.  What you are doing is buying into the culture of killing and bolstering the position that shelter animals have no inherent right to live.

An unnamed member of the Friends group alleges that the assistant warden killed the 11 dogs via heartstick without sedation.  Ohio code states that heartstick may only be used “on a sedated or unconscious animal”. The Gallia Co sheriff is investigating the matter and the assistant dog warden has been reassigned to a different county department while the investigation takes place.

Gallia County Commission President David Smith says the shelter is not a no-kill shelter, and it’s unclear at this point if anything wrong was done.

This is a consequence of maintaining a culture of killing.  If you believe shelter pets are born with the right to live, opt out.

(Thanks Clarice and mikken for the links.)

 

NM ACO Adopts Microchipped Lost Dog to New Owner

On December 31, 2013, a dog named Hogan escaped from his yard in Valencia Co, NM.  Owner Tracy Brooks had already microchipped Hogan and began posting lost dog ads online and putting up flyers around the county.  She also filed a lost dog report with her local shelter – Valencia Co AC.  One week later, Bosque Farms AC – a nearby village with one ACO on duty – picked up Hogan.  Bosque Farms says they scanned Hogan for a chip and checked the Valencia Co lost dog reports, coming up negative on both.  Bosque Farms AC normally works closely with Valencia Co AC and turns over unclaimed pets to the county after 72 hours.  But in this case, Bosque Farms adopted Hogan to a new owner, Susan Miertl:

She said Bosque Farms Animal Control told her the dog’s previous owners badly abused him based on the dog’s behavior.

Everybody’s an expert.

When Hogan, renamed Thor by Ms. Miertl, was taken to a vet, the vet scanned him and found his chip.  Although it’s not clear in the article exactly who contacted the Brooks family, the owners registered on the chip, they were apparently told where Hogan was living in Bernalillo County.  A member of the Brooks family went to Susan Miertl’s home and saw Hogan in the yard.  Ms. Miertl was not at home and Bernalillo County AC was contacted:

Bernalillo County said the dog jumped the fence and when Animal Control checked the microchip, it was registered to the Brooks family, so that is who they returned it to.

Handy, that fence jumping.

The original owners say they were threatened with animal abuse charges by the Bosque Farms ACO who also reportedly told the new owner not to return the dog to the alleged abusers.

Officials in Bosque Farms told KRQE they are not aware of any animal abuse claims or pending charges.

So at the end of all this drama, Hogan is back home with his original owners who fear retaliation for getting their dog back.  Ms. Miertl believes the dog she adopted has been returned to animal abusers and has filed a stolen dog report.

All this could have been avoided if the impounding ACO did his job by finding the chip and contacting the owners.  Failing that, he could have matched the dog up via the county’s lost dog report and contacted the owners.  And failing both those things, he could have followed the local ordinance requiring him to turn Hogan over to Valencia Co when he went unclaimed.  But apparently the Bosque Farms ACO didn’t do any of those things and instead took matters into his own hands, tossing in claims of animal abuse which no one in any official capacity knows anything about now.  Failure to do his job has left two families distraught, involved resources from multiple agencies and put a dog at the center of needless upset.  The article makes no mention of any disciplinary actions against the ACO who apparently failed to uphold his duties.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Fort Bend Co Oops-Kills 2 Owned Pets While Rescue Group Signs Paperwork to Save Them

Fort Bend Co AC in Texas posts its mission statement on its website:

The mission of animal control is to eradicate the spread of rabies among the county’s animals, prevent rabies in the human population, and control wild, potentially dangerous animals in areas of high population density.

Animal shelter fail.

The site contains a link so owners can view photos of lost pets who have been impounded. At that link this morning, there is one dog and zero cats. Animal shelter fail.

Screengrab from FortBendCountyPets.com

Screengrab from FortBendCountyPets.com

Rene Vasquez, assistant director at the Fort Bend Co pound, told a local reporter that the facility takes in 600 pets every month and adopted out just 750 animals last year. Animal shelter fail.

On Monday, a pair of friendly dogs were brought in by someone who had found them roaming loose.  The french bulldog and his pitbull mix buddy were immediately seen by a local rescue group that offered to take the dogs for their 3 day holding period and return them if an owner was located.  While the representative from the rescue was filling out the paperwork, Fort Bend Co killed both dogs.  Oops.  Animal shelter fail.

The rescue group posted the photos of the dogs on its Facebook page in hopes that the owner could be found and informed as to what happened to his pets.  And since Fort Bend Co clearly doesn’t keep its website updated, it’s good the so-called irresponsible public stepped in to take up the slack.

The owner did learn that his pets had been killed and was understandably devastated.  He explained he had followed his normal morning routine, letting his 3 dogs out into his fenced yard and when he let them in 30 minutes later, only 1 dog remained.  When he found out Fort Bend Co had killed his dogs upon impound, he told the local news:

I couldn’t believe it.  I don’t know what to do.  I really don’t know what to do.

Fort Bend Co says protocol wasn’t followed and disciplinary action will be taken against the employees who killed Jax, the mixed breed, and Jake, the frenchie.  Because there is a protocol in place for the systemic killing of dogs and cats at Fort Bend Co – a protocol which dictates owner surrenders may be killed immediately but strays can’t be killed for 3 days.  Animal shelter fail.

Screengrab depicting Jake and Jax from a video at the Click2Houston website

Screengrab depicting Jake and Jax from a video at the Click2Houston website

The kill techs accidentally got Jax and Jake mixed in with the group of pets who are routinely killed upon intake.  Animal shelter fail.

The owner, who did not wish to be identified, told the reporter it would be a shame if this happened to someone else’s dogs.  But killing is the standard protocol in place at Fort Bend Co.  Killing immediately or killing 3 days after impound.  Kill, kill, kill.  I find it extremely unlikely that oops-killings of owned pets haven’t happened before at Fort Bend Co and surely they will happen again.  Because killing is the default.  The protocols are all about killing.  When your facility takes in 600 animals a month and only live releases roughly 62 of them, you are functioning primarily as a pet killing facility.  Animal shelter fail.

In the face of this epic failure at Fort Bend Co, I would suggest disciplinary action against the kill techs who got mixed up while doing their jobs is not going to cut it, especially if the county truly wants to be a no kill shelter, as the assistant director told the Local 2 reporter.  What’s needed is a complete overhaul.  I would start by round-filing all killing based protocols and replacing them with lifesaving protocols, such as the ones followed by the hundreds of open admission shelters in this country saving more than 90% of their pets.  Make the commitment to doing your jobs and sheltering the animals in your care – both owned and unowned.  Get everyone on board with the goal of saving every healthy/treatable dog and cat that comes through the front doors.  If you do that, no employee at the shelter is even going to consider killing dogs like Jax and Jake because their immediate reaction upon seeing them in the kill room is going to be, “A mistake has been made.  These pets are not medically hopeless and suffering.  I am not going to kill them because my job is to save them.  That’s what we do here.”  Tragically, Fort Bend Co had very little to offer in response to the needless killing of Jax and Jake besides oops.

Animal shelter fail.

(Thanks Maureen and Clarice for sending me this story.)

WA Shelter Director Threatens People Who Use Shelter Services with Prosecution

KEPR in Washington reports that 3 seriously injured dogs were surrendered to the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter within the past week when their owners could not afford to pay for the necessary veterinary care.  When I hear about these types of stories, I am sad for the families who are forced to give up their pets due to financial concerns.  I also feel sad for the animals who, in a time of crisis, are likely confused and possibly depressed as they find themselves suddenly away from home in a strange, stressful environment.  I always hope the shelter has some strategies in place to prevent these types of surrenders whenever possible.

But in cases where that’s not possible, I am thankful the owners cared for the pet to the best of their abilities for as long as they could and when the animal’s needs exceeded their ability to pay, they sought help for the animal. Our shelter system is a safety net for pets who become homeless for whatever reason, regardless of whether their former owner died, became homeless himself or any other circumstance – known or unknown.  This is what shelters are for – to help homeless pets in need, no matter how they became homeless.

This is why I was astonished to read a quote from Tri-Cities Animal Shelter director Angela Zillar implying that the owners who surrendered their injured pets should have killed them:

 “I don’t want to be the person that has to hold a dog while it takes it’s last breath. That’s not my job, that’s not what we’re here for. This is not what we should have to do.”

Right.  But that’s not what the owners should have to do either.  Because these animals have a right to live.  Their owners loved them enough to give them up in order to protect that right.  Serving as a refuge of last resort for animals in need is exactly what you’re there for and what your job is.

Tri-Cities is reportedly getting vet care for the animals but unbelievably, also threatening the owners with prosecution:

Those owners could be facing criminal charges.

[...]

Animal control works with the prosecutor to hold owners accountable for potential charges of animal cruelty, abandonment and theft.

Unless the director has evidence the owners intentionally caused the injuries to these animals, I don’t see how any cruelty charges would be applicable.  Abandonment implies they left the animal tied to a tree in the woods when in fact, the article makes clear the pets were surrendered to the shelter due to an inability to pay for vet care.  Theft, I don’t even know.

Surrendering injured animals to the shelter when the owner can’t afford to pay for vet care and has exhausted all options is what we want people to do.  It’s why shelters exist.  Without that safety net in place, we are driving people to acts of desperation such as abandoning the injured animal in a highly visible location in hopes that a Good Sam will take him in and provide the necessary care.  It does not matter one iota how the pet became homeless, it matters only that he is.  And once he is, it’s your job to help him Angela Zillar.  Full stop.

I wonder how many people in the areas served by the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter have seen this article and now believe if their pet ever becomes injured beyond their ability to pay for care, they need to either kill the animal or do something illegal in order to avoid prosecution by animal control.  I hope local taxpayers contact their elected officials and demand that the shelter director stops threatening the public with prosecution and starts doing her job.

(Thanks Mary for the link.)

West Fargo is Not a No Kill City

After reading a claim that West Fargo, ND was a “no kill city”, I checked online for information on the shelter.  It appears the West Fargo police department impounds animals and brings them to the West Fargo Animal Hospital.  I filed a FOIA request for shelter statistics for 2013 and received this response:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: FW: pound animals
From: “Chris Y. Seidel” <Chris.Seidel@westfargond.gov>
Date: Wed, January 15, 2014 8:07 am
To: “eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com” <eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com>, “Marcy J.
Overby” <Marcy.Overby@westfargond.gov>

Good morning Shirley,

1/15/2014 9:07 AM

Sorry to inform you but our agency does not keep track of what you are requesting and we are unable to create a report for you.

Thank you
Chris

Chris Seidel
West Fargo Police – Office Supervisor
800 4 Avenue East, Suite 2
West Fargo, ND 58078
701-433-5590 (office phone)
701-433-5508 (fax)

I then requested detailed impound and outcome records for every individual animal impounded by the city in 2013.  After exchanging escalating pleasantries via e-mail, it was determined that the West Fargo PD could in fact produce some records. The records I received are here. Please look them over and see if you can shed any light on this jumble o’ heap.

Based on the records provided by the West Fargo PD, here are the 2013 intake and outcome totals for the pound:

  • Intake:  203  (You will notice the numbers start at 1 and end at 216 but there are only 203 animals listed.  Explanation to follow.)
  • Transferred to rescue:  90  (Three groups identified as Cat’s Cradle, 4 Luv of Dog and FMHS)
  • Adopted:  1
  • RTO:  1
  • Killed:  17 (mostly cats listed as feral)
  • Died in cage:  1
  • On hand at year’s end:  1
  • O rate:  91

I inquired as to the meaning of the outcome type listed as “O rate” since it is entirely unfamiliar to me.  I was told only that it indicates the city was not charged for that animal.  I specifically requested outcome records for each of the animals on this report but did not receive any.  I tried to press the issue in order to at least determine whether the “O rate” animals were live-released but the police department declined to answer my questions or provide the requested records.  I also do not know what type of outcome is indicate by the letters NPC (one animal in June is listed as outcome type “NPC”).  The city consistently worked with the same 3 rescue groups all year long according to the records.  If NPC is a rescue group, the city transferred only one animal to the group in 2013 which seems unlikely.  It could mean anything.

Astute readers will also notice a major discrepancy in the records between pages 9 and 10.  The sequential animal numbers skip from 84 to 98 and clearly 2 of the dogs listed as “held over from June” are among the missing.  Assuming there were actual animals attached to the missing numbers, their outcomes are unknown.

Not actually.

Not actually.

In summary, the West Fargo pound, such as it is, does not appear to do adoptions (the one for the year is indicative of an anomaly) and kills all feral cats.  Furthermore, there appear to be some serious transparency issues with the pound, including record keeping and the refusal to reveal what happened to nearly half the animals impounded last year.

West Fargo is definitively not a no kill city based on the fact that it kills all feral cats. Even if the city stopped killing feral cats as a matter of policy today, there is still insufficient information to substantiate any claim of it being a no kill city. There are not only missing animals but also numerous animals whose outcomes the city refuses to reveal. This goes against the transparency tenet of operating a no kill shelter.

No kill continues to grow in popularity among members of the public. With increased demand from compassionate people, there will be some who attempt to co-opt the term no kill without actually doing the work of saving lives. This type of deception is harmful to the movement as naysayers point out the killing and secrecy of these fraudulent “no kill” groups and claim they are representative of no kill as a whole. They are not. There are hundreds of open admission shelters across this country putting in the hard work to save the lives of their animals and doing it in a transparent manner. In order to keep the movement honest and in defense of those actually walking the walk, it is important to verify claims of no kill before celebrating them. In this case, the claim fell far short of the mark.

If there is anyone in West Fargo interested in working to reform the city pound, visit the No Kill Advocacy Center for a toolkit to get started. And let us know if you need help.

Funky Cold Medina Co

At the time public pressure brought by an animal advocate forced the Medina Co pound in Ohio to stop gassing cats, it was believed that the shelter staff did an admirable job caring for dogs.  After all, the facility boasts a 92% live release rate for dogs.  But records obtained via FOIA request appear to show that many of the dogs who were euthanized last year at Medina Co received less than the amount of Fatal Plus indicated on the label.  For example, a 50 pound dog being euthanized by IV injection with Fatal Plus should receive no less than 5 cc according to label instructions.  But many dogs whose weights were recorded as 50 pounds by Medina Co received only 4 cc of Fatal Plus with one 50 pound dog receiving just 3 cc.  Several dogs weighing 60 pounds also received the 4 cc dose.  This is a serious problem according to an animal euthanasia expert in Ohio:

The Medina County animal control officers “need to be relieved of duty pending a thorough investigation of their qualifications and ability to do their jobs,” David Balz, Ohio-certified euthanasia instructor and director of the Wyandot County Humane Society, wrote Thursday in an email to The Plain Dealer. “I would not trust them to work in my shelter, in any capacity, under any circumstances, let alone that of euthanasia technicians.”

The state of Ohio does not specifically require that those qualified to euthanize animals do so only using the dosage on the drug’s label.  (The state of Virginia for example, requires exactly that.)  But Ohio code does include this:

Any agent or employee of an animal shelter performing euthanasia by means of lethal injection shall do so only in a humane and proficient manner that is in conformity with the methods described in division (A) of this section and not in violation of Chapter 959. of the Revised Code.

A humane and proficient manner.  In order to get a qualified opinion, I contacted David Balz myself. I asked him his view on whether using less than the label dosage, such as is evident in the Medina Co shelter’s drug logs, would qualify as performing euthanasia “in a humane and proficient manner”? He replied, in part:

I would say that it is certainly questionable. There is also the issue of using a drug “off label” in other words not following the directions or usage on the bottle. Only a licensed professional can do that. The rest of us have to use things as they are labeled. I may “know” that a particular drug will do something or that a different dosage would do a particular thing, but, not being a MD, DDS, DVM etc, I would not be allowed to do it any way except what is labeled on the bottle.

I also asked Mr. Balz to explain the concerns associated with using too little of a euthanasia drug. His reply, in part:

There are a number of problems associated with “underdosing” when using the drug for euthanasia. The most obvious is that, while the animal may literally go to sleep, it may also wake up. The problems with that are obvious. My worry about the workers in Medina is that if they previously had confusion regarding Intraperitoneal injections on cats and are now having problems with IV dosage calculations, then perhaps they also are not capable of establishing that the animal is dead before disposing of the body.

The other issue with “underdosing” is that at the doses we recommend you are basically “anesthetizing” the animal to the point where the base of the brain shuts down and the animal’s heart and lungs simply stop working – long after total unconsciousness which is the first effect. Picture the human operating room and the doctor asks the patient to start counting backwards from 100 – the doctor injects the drug and the patient says 99………and is unconscious. From that point on the level keeps deepening. Obviously in anesthesia we support the patient, but in the case of euthanasia they rapidly go into coma and then stop completely (at recommended doses they are unconscious in seconds and dead in 1 to 5 minutes). During this process there is an “excitement” phase where the patient/animal may flail about injuring themselves and others. When the animal is underdosed it becomes more likely that this excitement phase will occur or be extended. Thereby potentially being dangerous for the workers.

Public records obtained via FOIA request show that Medina Co shelter director Del Saffle, whose initials appear on all of the underdosed dogs, received training and certification in euthanasia practices in 1995. Although many shelters require their euthanasia technicians to continually update their training and certification, Medina Co apparently does not. Even without recent training, anyone performing euthanasia in an animal shelter should be reading and following the label instructions for the drug being used. No animal shelter employee should be underdosing animals with euthanasia drug under any circumstances.  If there is to be any deviation from the label instructions, it is always recommended to overdose and never to underdose animals being euthanized.

From the HSUS euthanasia reference manual:

Technicians can help minimize the chances of record-keeping errors by rounding up (never down!) to the nearest milliliter[.]
[...]
[R]ounding up and administering slightly more drug than technically needed is perfectly acceptable (it is never acceptable to use less than the label dose).

Medina Co reportedly places euthanized animals into an onsite incinerator.  The implications of the shelter’s practice of routine underdosing of dogs with euthanasia drug are obvious and disturbing.  Why was this practice ever allowed at Medina Co and when will the county put a stop to it?

Unwilling: The Bias Against Poor People Who Want to Save Shelter Pets

The Grayson Co Humane Society in KY expresses the following popular belief on its website:

If a new owner is unwilling to pay very much for an animal, it’s likely they’d also be unwilling to pay for proper care in the future – such as heartworm and flea/tick prevention, proper food, and vaccinations.

I have raged against versions of this false and discriminatory belief for years.  Not only is the claim itself baseless, it costs shelter animals their lives.  This occurs either as a direct result of steep adoption fees – because shelters kill animals instead of allowing them to be adopted for reduced or waived fees, or as an indirect result – because rescue groups tie up foster home space with animals they require exorbitant fees in order to adopt while saying they are unable to pull more animals off death row at their local pound as they have no space.  In both cases, healthy/treatable pets are being killed and I am opposed to that.  Therefore, I want to grind this myth into the dirt.

As animal advocate Christie Keith notes on her Dogged blog:

[L]et’s look at the idea that people don’t value pets they haven’t paid for.

We know this is not true because of the data that exists on this topic, looking at pets acquired for free at special adoption events.

We also know it’s not true because the single category of pet least likely to end up in a shelter is a pet given as a gift.

And every one of us involved in rescue should know it’s not true because we have houses full of pets we got for free, who we’d do anything for. I certainly never loved my free pets less than my adoption-fee or breeder-obtained pets. I never spent less money on them, treated them less well, or fought less fiercely to save them from illness and injury.

And really, by that logic, pets from puppy mill outlets should be considered the most precious of all, as they cost the most to obtain. Do you believe that to be true? I didn’t think so.

What I’m saying is this: Organizations should seriously question whether or not adoption fees are interfering with the fulfillment of their mission.

And while animal welfare groups are at it, I hope they will consider Christie’s recommendations for generating revenue outside of adoption fees and why this makes a world of sense.

For the record, I love my free pets unconditionally.  I specifically sought out a pet with a reduced/waived adoption fee when I was last looking for a pet.  The backlash for doing so consisted of a number of people who don’t know me condemning me as an animal abuser, hoarder, etc.  Some vowed to add my name to their Do Not Adopt lists and to circulate warnings against me to rescue groups in hopes of preventing me from obtaining a pet.  My reason for wanting a pet that cost very little money (which no one asked me) was that I don’t have much and the less I spend on adoption fees, the more I have to put into vet care and related expenses.  Responsible and sensible – not in any way “unwilling to pay for proper care”.

Ultimately I got a shelter dog for free and gave the person who volunteered to transport her to me the cash I had set aside for an adoption fee.  She expressed her surprise and gratitude, noting that not only would it help her with the cost of gas but also the cost of a new tire she had to put on her vehicle that morning.  And because it wasn’t a large amount of money, I was able to pay for the vet care the dog so desperately needed right away.

For those who condemn poor people as being “unwilling to pay for proper care”, you have a lot to learn.  I hope you step outside of your tiny box and see compassionate pet lovers as they really are very soon – before too many more animals die as a result of your bigotry.  People of all income levels love animals and want to save them from being needlessly killed at so-called shelters.  Let them.

Chicago Pound Transferred More Than 1200 Cats to a Small Rescue Group

Chicago Animal Care & Control killed more than 8000 animals in 2012. Since 2006, the pound’s rescue transfer program, Homeward Bound, has seen a 230% increase in the number of animals transferred.

Chicago ACC gave an average of more than 200 cats every month for 6 months in a row this year to a rescue group called Purrs from the Heart which participates in the Homeward Bound program. They stopped giving cats to the group after a written complaint was received by the city in September, alleging mistreatment of cats left at an apartment. The state has opened an investigation:

Now, a week into its inquiry, the state says it cannot account for 1,216 cats that Purrs From The Heart took between April and September. The number of animals involved, spokesman Jeff Squibb said, ranks the case among the largest animal welfare investigations ever conducted by the department.

Like many rescue groups, Purrs from the Heart uses a network of foster homes to care for the cats it saves from death row at the pound. The group’s state license allows for it to use up to 7 foster homes in order to provide care for a maximum of 28 animals. The rescue has spoken with state investigators to explain their side of the story:

As many as 150 cats were left at the South Side apartment at a given time, said Brian Przybylski, one of the shelter’s founders, in an interview. Its tenants agreed to care for the animals in exchange for weekly payments of $150, he said.
[...]
The founders said they learned some cats in that apartment were killed or starved, but that others were adopted or too sick to survive.
[...]
Brian Przybylski also blamed the city for allowing the organization to take too many cats from the shelter.
[...]
“We were trying to save as many as we could,” he said. “Basically we had too many people who had the authorization to (rescue cats).”

State investigators visited the apartment in question and found no cats there. The rescue group also referred investigators to a rural barn where they said a large number of cats were being housed but it too was empty.

Neither the apartment nor rural barn were authorized foster providers, the Department of Agriculture said.

The Chicago ACC spokesman declined to comment on the pound’s transfer and subsequent failure to track more than 1200 cats via Purrs from the Heart.

Purrs from the Heart reportedly intends to dissolve and transfer the cats who remain in the group’s care by the end of the month.

Clearly the overriding issue at this point is determining what happened to the 1200 cats and getting help to any still living.  Local shelter pet advocates will need to hold the Chicago pound accountable.  At the very least, Chicago ACC should be made to answer for why it transferred so many cats to a group it knew was licensed to care for only 28 pets at a time and why it failed to follow up on the fate of these animals.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for sending me this story.)

They always make sure they’ve got money for the important things.

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).

priorities

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