Lancaster Co SPCA Kills Dog for Growling, Because They Can

Scout and Josie, as shown on the NBC Philadelphia website.

Scout and Josie, as shown on the NBC Philadelphia website.

On July 1, a PA family surrendered their two healthy Australian shepherds to the Chester Co SPCA because they had been unable to rehome them after moving from a house to an apartment.  The 1 year old siblings, Scout and Josie, are described by owner Shana Goane as loving and friendly with no hint of any aggression issues.  Ms. Goane paid $500 to the Chester Co SPCA and asked that Scout and Josie be kept together, if possible.

Two days later, Ms. Goane called the Chester Co SPCA with good news:  she’d found a home for both pets.  But after pocketing the $500, Chester Co had shipped the dogs off to the Lancaster Co SPCA.  And the Lancaster Co SPCA killed Josie shortly after arrival for aggression.  Specifically, there was an alleged growl:

Josie began exhibiting aggression soon after she arrived, according to LCSPCA director Sue Martin.

“One of these instances included a senior staff having to remove the dog in order to clean the cage whereas the dog growled at them showing teeth,” Martin said. “Another staff member had to enter the kennel and remove the dog so the senior staff could safely exit the kennel.”

[...]

Martin emphasized that euthanasia is always a last resort[.]

Weak tea. I think I’ve seen this movie before. And it sucks.

Ms. Goane drove to the Lancaster Co SPCA to pick up Josie’s body and save Scout from all that prevention of cruelty and such.

That’s some racket they are running up there.  $500 to accept your friendly, young, healthy purebred dogs, only to ship them off to someplace else as soon as you leave the parking lot.  Then that place freaks the frell out when a dog who’s been taken from her home and housed inside two different shelters within a matter of hours says boo instead of doing backflips on command and immediately finding herself an adopter with cash in hand.

Oh but killing is always a last resort.  The first resort is the fabrication of crummy excuses to kill animals.  Then they go to the last resort.

There ought to be a law.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Nebraska Humane Society Kills Two Cats for Hissing

Chloe and Truman, as shown on the WOWT website.

Chloe and Truman, as shown on the WOWT website.

The Lovewell family in Nebraska had 2 snuggly cats since they were kittens – Chloe, age 13 and Truman, age 7.  Due to a chronic health issue with a family member, the Lovewells decided to take the cats to the Nebraska Humane Society where they believed the cats would find new homes.  No one at the facility led them to suspect otherwise and had anyone done so, the family says they would not have left them there.

But that night, the Lovewells were unable to sleep and realized they could not bear to part with their pets, no matter what.  They called the Nebraska HS first thing the next morning to let them know not to adopt out Chloe and Truman as they wanted them back.  But their calls were sent to voicemail.  And anyway, the Nebraska HS had already killed both pets:

Nebraska Humane Society spokesperson Pam Wiese said, “They were acting aggressively, hissing and spitting and swatting and we couldn’t really handle them. If you can’t handle them, you can’t get them into a kennel to get them into adoptable condition.”

It sounds like the cats were scared at the time they entered the facility – which is normal behavior for cats.  The staff at the Nebraska HS should know this and should have protocols in place to allow cats time to settle.  Instead, the facility apparently has a policy that if a pet is not immediately made “into adoptable condition” – wearing a bow tie and playfully rolling a ball of yarn around the cage I suppose - he needs to be made into dead condition.  The Humane, it hurts.

The Nebraska HS says it will now explain to all surrendering parties that their pets might be killed.  And someone will start answering calls from people wanting to reclaim their pets.  Oh.  I was hoping they were going to stop killing animals and conducting useless behavioral assessments at the time of impound.  I guess humane doesn’t mean what I think it means.

Note:  Comments bashing the owners for surrendering the cats will be deleted.  Every single one of us has made decisions we regret.  Sometimes we can correct them, sometimes we can not.  This family tried.  They believed, as most people do, that a place calling itself a humane society was staffed by animal lovers who would not kill their pets.  Now they know better.  Blame the people doing the killing.

(Thanks Karen for the link.)

Manatee Co Shelter Employee Alleges Dog Ripped Pants

Kayla Lippert, a potential adopter, her 2 year old son and a volunteer were having a meet and greet with a dog called Happy Feet in the fenced play yard at Manatee Co Animal Services in FL on Monday when things went sour.  A shelter employee, who had left the play yard to obtain information for Ms. Lippert, returned and apparently spooked the dog:

“As soon as the dog saw (the employee), his whole demeanor changed. He went into defense mode,” Lippert said. “The dog went to his feet, and the gentleman kicked him. He picked up a chair and waved it at the dog while me and my son were watching.”

The employee says Happy Feet bit his pants, tearing the fabric at the knee, and the kicking and chair waving was done in self-defense. Ms. Lippert says she saw no biting or ripped pants:

“I never saw the dog bite him,” Lippert said. “I saw the dog near his feet, but I never saw a bite. The volunteer was standing on bench asking: ‘Why are you kicking him? Stop kicking him!’ He kept saying, ‘He’s attacking me, he’s attacking me.’”

Manatee Co Animal Services will investigate itself in the matter. Regardless of the results of that investigation, circumstances are decidedly sadder for Happy Feet today.  He’s sitting in the thug quarantine section of the shelter with a sign on his cage indicating he bit a person and is not allowed to have walks.  He’ll be held there for 10 days and evaluated.  The shelter director says Happy Feet may not be put back on the adoption floor but does not elaborate on what would happen to the dog in that case.

This photo was taken by Ms. Lippert in the play yard before the alleged pants incident:

Happy Feet, as depicted on the Herald-Tribune website.

Happy Feet, as depicted on the Herald-Tribune website.

Hopefully this isn’t the last time Happy Feet ever sees the sun.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Request from a Reader for Cat Taming Suggestions

Reader Casey Post writes:

Every morning when I feed my outdoor ferals, I check their shelter just in case someone has vomited on the blanket during the night (hey, mouse parts happen). One morning, I see two eyes looking back at me…a small brown tabby with an ear tip! Long story short, he’s not feral, he’s super sweet and in need of a dental. The vet says that he’s already missing teeth, but she needs to extract one more and clean up the rest. She estimates him to be around eight years old. I named him Virgil.

Virgil  (Photo by Casey Post)

Virgil (Photo by Casey Post)

Not long after Virgil’s appearance, another strange cat is spotted from afar – a black and white. But this cat melts away as soon as he sees me. I start leaving food out by the front door for him, hoping to get a better look to see if he’s a neighbor’s cat. Eventually, I get a glimpse – and see that he too is ear tipped! Now I live on a dead end street, so I figured that Virgil had been dumped (I did post him as found everywhere, called around, no one recognized him or claimed him) and the chances of TWO strange ear tipped cats appearing in the neighborhood at the same time reinforces the idea. So I set my trap out next to the now-familiar food dish for a couple of days, then one day put the food dish IN the trap – success! I caught my black and white.

But this cat is not outgoing and friendly like Virgil. I set him up in a cage until I can get him to the vet (it’s the weekend, of course) and one day he meows at me! Okay, not feral. But definitely doesn’t feel comfortable with me touching him. Our vet appointment comes around and I plan to just scruff him (now named Gary, just to have something to call him) and pop him in the carrier (top loading – oh yeah, you want that if you’re alone with a difficult cat). The plan was sound – the room was closed and closet shut, pillows stuffed around the bed so that an escape would not result in a cat hiding under there, everything going great. Until I actually put a hand on Gary – he explodes in terror, clawing my arm. It’s okay, I’m not going to let go, just.need.to.get.cat.in.carrier. Focused. Determined. Bleeding. No yelling, no panic, just blood, it’s okay, it’s only two feet to the carrier…but no, it was not to be. He’s in a panic and I’m clearly going to kill him, so uses those claws to dig into my arm and swing around enough to BITE. Hard. That’s it, I dropped him. Couldn’t help it. Calmly exit room, wash out injuries thoroughly, bandage up, call vet to say that we’re going to be just a little bit late…

Now Gary is loose in the room, but with nowhere to go. So I give him somewhere to go – the carrier. I make it the only safe spot and continuously and slowly herd him towards it. Eventually, he goes in and I get the door closed and latched. Hooray!

Off to the vet. Vet gets a warning about the whole “will bite if you try to scruff him” thing, so vet is aware. He does try it, gives up, goes for sedation. Then more sedation. This poor cat really is convinced that death is coming for him from people handling him. Her. Vet discovers that Gary is a female! Also that she has less than wonderful lung sounds (I thought she might be asthmatic, but vet thinks URI – especially since she’s got a squinty eye, too). We get blood drawn, test for FIV/Feleuk (neg/neg), and get her microchipped while she’s out. Vet would like chest x-rays, but that’s a different building and they would have to sedate her again and that’s too much for one day, so at a later time. We get a Convenia shot (not something I’d normally go for, but with a cat whom you absolutely cannot handle, this is your best antibiotic choice), treated for parasites, and a nail trim (just in case). The vet sends me home with “let’s hope this is all she needs”.

This is where Gary is now -

Gary's taming cage.  (Photo by Casey post)

Gary’s taming cage. (Photo by Casey Post)

This is our “taming cage”. Her carrier/safe place, her litter box (right by the door so I can clean it, a Kuranda so she can get up a level and see out the window, a toy, her water. The carrier door is tied open so she doesn’t jostle it and accidentally close it to shut herself out. A fearful cat with no place to hide is not good. The whole set up is on top of a desk – setting it up ON TOP OF SOMETHING is very important – a cat on the floor feels much more vulnerable than a cat up on a desk. And I can shut Gary in the carrier to clean the cage safely for both of us (or transport her to the vet again, if needed, without bloodshed this time). I have a cardboard scratcher for it, but haven’t worked out where I can hang the thing, yet. The best place is between the Kuranda and the water bucket, but that would result in cardboard bits in her water. Still working on that.

Gary  (Photo by Casey Post)

Gary (Photo by Casey Post)

This photo was taken through the bars – and no, she’s not drugged up with sedatives here, her tongue just does that. Virgil’s does too (which I had attributed to his poor dental state), but now I wonder if they’re related? Gary’s teeth are decent, according to the vet, so the tongue thing may be a family trait.

So right now, I’ve got one very friendly and one not-so-friendly cat that I suspect came from the same household. I’m going to have to assume (for now) that Gary is a friendly cat who is just terrified out of her environment and having lost all that was familiar. My goal is to help her realize that this is a safe place, that she doesn’t have to be pointy bits of death at me. I want to get her URI cleared up and get her healthy. If she cannot be “tamed down”, then she can go back outside and join my little feral colony (there is a means to acclimate her out there for a few weeks before releasing her, so she knows that this place is now “home” and the ferals can get used her presence and she to theirs).

But *someone* transported her here to dump her. Which makes me think that she’s not normally a violently fearful cat. So I’ve got two Feliway diffusers going in the room, I’m spraying Spirit Essences “Scaredy Cat” over her carrier’s top grate four times a day, and I make sure that she sees me petting and brushing Virgil (and him loving it). I talk to her gently and I can even reach in with a soft brush to brush a little of her (but she’s not thrilled with that, yet, but she just flinches away, no lashing out or growling). I’ve also started adding L-lysine to her food twice a day, in case the URI is herpes-related.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions for us, it would be appreciated!

Brevard Co Pound Audit Reveals Disturbing Practices

The Brevard Co pound in Florida was audited in 2009 and the county followed up on that audit in 2011 and again in 2013.  A recent internal audit by the clerk of court, made public this week, reveals that “no appreciable progress was made between 2011 and 2013″.  In addition, the clerk of court internal audit staff found the following:

  • The Brevard Co pound staff is either not using many features of the Chameleon software or using them incorrectly.
  • The pound is padding its live release rate by shuffling animals between its two facilities and categorizing those animals as “transfers”.
  • Dogs are being kept in dirty cages and receiving too few walks.
  • Some stray animals are being killed before their holding periods expire.
  • The decision to kill specific animals lacks “sound reasoning”.  For example, one puppy was killed for fighting with a sibling even though the pair were never separated.
  • 90% of the animals killed are listed as behavioral or medical in nature.
  • There are no behaviorists on staff and only one veterinarian to handle approximately 13,000 animals per year.  The vet goes to the north facility just once per week.
  • Staff evaluates dogs by putting them with a live cat.  The ensuing fights have led to deaths and needless killings of animals injured during the evaluations.
  • The pound is not sufficiently alerting the community prior to animals being killed.
  • The pound is killing more than 100 animals per month upon request of the owners, without determining whether the animals can be saved.
  • Both facilities are closed on Wednesdays, which is when staff works more hours than they do on weekends, when the public is there adopting.
  • Pound management has no strategic plan in place to move toward no kill.

The audit staff made several recommendations based upon the report, including giving the public at least 48 hours notice online before killing animals. And obviously, stop placing dogs and cats in a room to fight. The county has responded to the report with a resounding thud:

Scott Ellis, Clerk of the Circuit Court, said he gave Brevard County’s Board of County Commissioners several opportunities to respond to all 51 pages of the audit.

After three months of hearing nothing, he decided to make it available to the public.

However, County Manager Stockton Whitten responded to Local 6.

“This is a report that appears to be a compilation of personal opinions on how Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement is to be operated,” Whitten wrote in an email to Local 6.

It’s only a bunch of opinions, so just keep on staging those cat-dog fights to the death I guess.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Input Needed Regarding Tethering Ordinances

Request from a reader:  A municipal animal control is researching the issue of tethering.  The unit is considering drafting a tethering ordinance and is trying to find relevant studies, as opposed to opinions.  Any ordinance they may come up with will be drafted with the following in mind:

  • They do not want to increase impounds.
  • They do not want to penalize low income dog owners.

Can you help provide links to any information you think might be useful regarding the issue of tethering?  Again, they are hoping to find actual studies, not opinion based articles.  Do you have a link to a tethering ordinance you believe to be a good model?  As a responsible tetherer, I am pleased to see a group researching this issue thoroughly in advance and not simply caving to the Chaining=Torture hysteria too prevalent in the animal welfare world.

Fitchburg Animal Control Kills Owned Pet During Holding Period

Capone, as pictured on the WHDH website.

Capone, as pictured on the WHDH website.

On April 20, 2014, MA pet owner Maghan Moynihan says her family’s 2 year old dog Capone escaped through an open door while not wearing his collar.  She immediately got in her car, searching for him on every street in the area.  She also called Fitchburg ACO Sue Kowaleski, with whom she had established a relationship due to Capone’s previous escapes, to advise that he was lost.

Ms. Moynihan says she didn’t receive a return phone call from the ACO until Tuesday morning.  Oddly, the ACO was calling to ask her if Capone had ever been aggressive.  Ms. Moynihan said that Capone had absolutely never displayed any aggression and that she trusted the gentle pet with her children, ages 4 and 8.  Odder still, the ACO showed up at the Moynihan family’s home a few hours later.  This time, the ACO requested Ms. Moynihan and her partner drive down to the pound to identify a stray dog whom the pound had killed for aggression recently. That dog was Capone:

“It was horrible. He was freezing cold. He was on a table. They had a blanket over him. They pulled it down to show us the face. We all lost it in there.”

Ms. Moynihan was heartbroken and wants to know what happened but the pound has provided very little information to date. It is known that Capone got into a building on the day he escaped where a Good Samaritan held onto him until AC arrived. The Good Sam, who was with Capone most of the day, described the dog as being friendly to him and his girlfriend, growling only at their dog and at the ACO who impounded him with a chokepole.

Regarding the circumstances that resulted in Capone’s quick killing:

Amy Egeland, the part-time manager of the Fitchburg Animal Shelter, also said she is unable to comment because of the investigation. The shelter is mostly staffed by volunteers, including Carol Stacy who said Capone was a vicious, aggressive dog that indirectly caused Egeland to be injured and was a known problem animal in another city.
[...]

Stacy said Capone was aggressive and tried to escape his cage in front of Egeland and visiting certified animal experts who train and evaluate the visitors. Stacy said Capone got halfway out of his cage and attacked another dog, which became agitated and attacked Egeland.

So it was the other dog, not Capone, who injured the shelter manager.  But Capone, having bitten no person, is the one who had to be killed?

He was a problem in another city? Does the city of Fitchburg play the Telephone Game in order to determine which pets they want to kill?

Fitchburg staff and/or vols failed to keep Capone properly confined at the pound and allowed him to get into a fight with another dog they had irresponsibly placed directly in front of his cage. Then they killed him, effectively destroying the evidence of any wrongdoing.

“It wasn’t that sweet little dog people are making it out to be,” said Stacy.

This is how the Fitchburg vols talk about family pets who were killed during the holding period? Just eww.

The city now claims that ACO Kowaleski was sick on the day Capone escaped and did not receive Ms. Moynihan’s message. Though ACO Kowaleski was apparently available to talk on the phone to Ms. Stacy regarding Capone:

She said Kowaleski was notified of what happened but did not see Capone. Kowaleski authorized [Assistant ACO Michael] East to euthanize the animal, Stacy said.

The city of Fitchburg’s website gives ACO Kowaleski’s phone number as the solitary contact for owners to report lost pets.  There are no other contact names or numbers.  The opening sentence on the pound’s Petfinder page reads:

Fitchburg Animal Shelter holds all stray dogs for 7 days.

I keep going back to that initial phone call to the owner by the ACO on Tuesday morning, asking if Capone was aggressive. Does this whole thing not reek of cover-up?

The city of Fitchburg still has not provided Ms. Moynihan with answers regarding why Capone was killed during the holding period. The city police department is investigating the city AC department in the matter. Ms. Moynihan wants the person who authorized Capone’s killing to be fired. And she wants people to know that her pet was family to her:

“He loved playing with other dogs, he loved playing with the kids. He was just like my son. Just another kid.”

Fitchburg taxpayers, this is your animal “shelter”. Demand that the city staff start doing their jobs to shelter animals and hold lost pets so their owners can reclaim them. Maybe if the city starts doing its job instead of killing owned pets, the pound might attract more compassionate volunteers, which would also be a plus.

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

Odessa Pound Kills Owned Pets upon Impound, Two Days in a Row

Prince (photo by Marie Luera)

Prince (photo by Marie Luera)

Three years ago, Marie Luera and her family adopted littermate male kittens from the long troubled Odessa pound in Texas.  She named them Binx and Mojo.  They joined a third kitten at home called Prince.  All three cats were neutered and vaccinated and lived as indoor/outdoor pets.  At night, they slept in bed with the kids.  When Binx and Prince didn’t come home late last week, Marie became concerned.  Neither cat was microchipped and both had persistently removed the collars Marie had tried to keep on them.

The Odessa pound is closed on weekends but Marie checked the website which states:

Dogs and cats that are not wearing a current vaccination for rabies are held for three days.

Since she had last seen Binx and Prince on Wednesday night, she felt reassured that, had they been impounded by animal control, they would still be there on Monday.  She went to the Odessa pound Monday morning as soon as the place opened.  She and her husband walked through the facility but did not see either Binx or Prince so she asked the staff member at the counter about her pets.  The staffer explained that the pound had been accepting a lot of cats lately from one man and that it was possible that man had brought in one or both of her pets.  The staffer told Marie she would check “the dalmatian book” which Marie noted was a notebook with cartoon puppies from 101 Dalmatians on it, filled with red cards.  Inside, the staffer located cards for cats matching the descriptions of Binx and Prince.

Binx (photo by Marie Luera)

Binx (photo by Marie Luera)

Binx had been trapped by a man living on Marie’s street and turned into the Odessa pound last Thursday at 10:03 a.m.  He was killed at 11 a.m. for “aggression”.  Prince had been trapped and turned in by the same man on Friday, also at 10:03 a.m.  He too was killed at 11 a.m. for “aggression”.

Marie was devastated.  She considers her pets to be family members and told me “they are not just animals”.  She requested the cats’ records but the pound refused to provide them, telling her she’d have to file an official FOIA request, which she has since done.   She also requested a copy of the pound’s policy regarding cat evaluations and staff training.

Marie says the pound manager told her the protocol for evaluating cats is for a staff member to attempt to touch the caged cat upon impound.  If the cat hisses or swats, the cat is killed.  It’s unclear to me whether either Binx or Prince was ever removed from the traps in which they were impounded or how the staff could have had the time or handling skills required to scan them for microchips in the 57 minutes each was allowed to live at the pound.

Marie’s children are 11, 9 and 7.  She had to deliver the tragic news to them about Binx and Prince.  She hopes that by speaking out publicly and demanding reform, she might prevent the same tragedy from happening to another family.  She told me while struggling through tears:

I don’t want another mother to have to tell her kids that their family members are never coming home.

Marie says the Odessa pound offered to chip her surviving cat, Mojo for free.  Marie declined because she didn’t want cat killers touching her only remaining cat.  Instead, she took Mojo and the family dog to a facility of her choosing to be chipped on Tuesday.

Let’s be clear:

Evaluating feline behavior upon impound is useless, unless the facility is actively seeking an excuse to kill cats.  It’s debatable whether cats can be reliably evaluated in a shelter environment at any time during a standard 3 – 5 day holding period but certainly at the time of impound (and after having been trapped) would have to be ruled out by anyone who cares about shelter animals.  And regardless of the outcome of the evaluation, no healthy/treatable cat should ever be killed for behavior.  Cats do not represent a threat to public safety based upon how much they fear humans or how much they love them.

Killing caged cats who hiss or swat is indicative of a shelter policy designed to give cat killers hard-ons.

Failing to hold cats for the designated period so their owners can reclaim them is inexcusable, regardless of whether a cat hisses.  Just because organizations like HSUS and Maddie’s Fund are encouraging shelters to eliminate holding periods for cats lacking identification doesn’t make such action any less offensive.  Pets are family.  Cat owners deserve the same opportunity as all other pet owners to reclaim their lost family members from shelters.

Refusing to provide copies of records to owners of pets who were needlessly killed is outrageous.  The technicalities of record requests can be sorted out later.  That’s just evil people twisting the knife around, at best.  Or maybe it’s people scrambling to falsify public records prior to release in an attempt to cover their asses, I don’t know.  In fact, Texas state law requires shelter records to be kept on site and to be made “available for inspection at reasonable times”.  I would suggest that during regular business hours while the owner of two lost pets your pound needlessly killed is standing there asking to see the records would qualify as a reasonable time.

“The dalmatian book” – seriously?  Do you people even hear yourselves anymore?

How many more horrors must be revealed at the Odessa pound before the city demands meaningful reform?

 

CA Police Officer Attempts to Shoot Dog in His Own Fenced Yard, Shoots Self Instead

On this blog, we have long lamented police officers whose sole tool in the toolbox when encountering a dog is GUN.  We’ve seen dogs shot while restrained on chokepoles, while locked inside animal shelter cages, while chained in their own yards, and while fearfully cowering in the bushes after fleeing police.  The shootings are typically explained away as the officers being afraid for their lives and/or protecting the public, the police department investigates itself, and Bob’s your uncle – no wrongdoing found.  But this is a first – and not in a good way.

Last week, a CA deputy was so eager to shoot a dog who barked at him as he approached the dog’s fenced yard, he drew his gun and forgot to aim at the dog, shooting himself in the leg.  The deputy was apparently attempting to serve an eviction notice AT THE WRONG HOUSE in Riverside Co when the resident pet barked at the officer.  (Note for any I-just-like-to-shoot-pets police officers who may be reading:  Barking is the thing that dogs do when strangers approach their home.  It’s one of the primary reasons people have dogs.)

The sheriff’s office said the dog was a giant mass of seething hate who intended to eat the officer for an afternoon snack.  In order to save his own life, the officer was forced to draw his weapon and fire.  The deputy shot himself in the leg and was taken to the hospital for treatment of “non-life threatening injuries”.

Screengrab from a video posted on the KNBC website.

Screengrab from a video posted on the KNBC website.

But when a local TV news crew arrived on the scene, they found a medium sized dog named Precious playing with his kids inside their fenced yard.  They filmed Precious shuffling about the place, tail wagging, tongue lolling out like a goofball.  In the video, he looks as if he’s already had his afternoon snack but wouldn’t turn down a Happy Meal.

The sheriff’s office has an explanation for the discrepancy:  The sound of gunfire transformed Precious from an eat, swim, make little sharks eating machine to an ambling BFF.  Talk about your Magic Bullet Theory.

Precious was not taken into custody by the pound.  No word on whether the sheriff’s office ever figured out the right house to serve the eviction notice.  Or anything else.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Cruelty Allegations against Franklin Co Dog Pound

The Franklin Co dog pound in Ohio killed more than 40% of the dogs in its care in 2012.  Among the thousands killed by the pound each year are dogs who don’t pass a behavioral test administered by the staff.  The pound’s assistant director, Deborah Finelli, e-mailed a local reporter regarding the process:

“To be selected for adoption, all dogs 6 months and older must pass a behavior assessment, which evaluates the dog’s ability to be safely handled, reaction to people and other dogs and any situations that might provoke aggressive behavior,” she wrote.

“No dog that is perceived to be a threat to the safety of other dogs or humans will be permitted to be sent to rescue and/or foster, or placed on the adoption floor.”

If this place was truly following this absurd rule, presumably no dogs would be made available for adoption since ALL DOGS BITE. Some bite people, some bite other dogs, some exhibit incredible restraint, some exhibit no restraint – and there are as many variations on these parameters as one would care to contemplate.  But the bottom line is that all dogs represent a potential threat to the safety of people and other dogs, even though that risk is small in the vast majority of cases.

Testing a dog in a pound environment is of very little value since the dog is not behaving normally due to severe stress.  Franklin Co’s statement that they test dogs for “any situations that might provoke aggressive behavior” suggests to me a pokey-in-the-face-with-a-plastic-hand-on-a-stick type deal or a take-food-away-from-a-hungry-stressed-out-dog-while-he’s-eating-it or maybe both monstrosities.  Whatever the tests, they should not be used as a justification to kill dogs.

To make matters worse, there are allegations that Franklin Co pound veterinarian Vincent Morton intentionally mistreats dogs in order to fail them on the behavioral tests and runs needless medical tests for the purpose of failing dogs he couldn’t sufficiently provoke to fail on behavior.

One complaint submitted in August 2013 says Morton would “purposefully be rough with them almost like he was trying to get them to growl or bite.”

Another complaint says Morton made fun of one employee for being gay and another for being Mexican. “Dr. Morton is very rough on the dogs and is rude to the employees and belittles them,” the complaint states.

But wait, there’s more!  There are allegations of oops-killings of dogs who had adopters waiting, dogs left to suffer without vet care for days, and dogs killed for behavior who had never been touched or let out of the cage.  And, despite employing a full time volunteer coordinator, Franklin Co has allegedly been shutting out volunteers.  Because volunteers, so complainy.

Local advocates voiced their concerns to the county commissioners this week and were told basically that their complaints weren’t going to be addressed as the county was already conducting its own investigation.  So tattle your tales elsewhere because we already know everything and you didn’t even know about our ultra secret investigation that is totally happening as we speak so sit back down, I guess.  Neither the vet nor the director have responded to the allegations at this time.

(Thanks Jan and Clarice for the links.)

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