Metro Animal Control in Nashville has been killing every Pitbull they touch for 15 years. Pet advocates have been pushing for reform of this nonsensical excuse for killing and indeed have achieved something. Kind of a lousy, stinking something but um, yay I guess.
Here’s the deal: Metro AC has decided to end the policy of killing all dogs deemed “Pitbull” simply because they’ve been labeled that by Some Guy. It could potentially mean a lot less killing since they take in so many Pitbull type dogs every year. But apparently they can’t just go cold turkey on the less killing thing – they have to wean themselves off slowly. So Metro AC has set up a weaning program for their pet killers. They’re going to kill every Pitbull puppy they get their hands on until June 1. It’s going to be hard to stop killing Pitbull puppies though so to ease the pain, they’ll keep killing all adult Pitbulls until September.
Come September, they’ll only kill Pitbulls who have “behavioral problems”. Determining that is about as easy for an ACO as determining which dogs are Pitbulls because:
- No dog behaves normally in a pet killing facility and no single behavioral assessment should ever be used as an excuse for killing a dog.
- “Pitbull” is not a breed of dog and it is impossible to determine genetics on mixed breed dogs based upon body shape.
So I assume even after they wean off killing everything that looks like a Pitbull just because Some Guy said so, Metro AC will still be killing plenty of Pitbulls just because Some Guy said they look like a Pitbull and have a behavioral problem. Win?
Here’s your money quote from Metro Animal Services manager Billy Biggs:
“Hopefully it’s going to be a big reduction in euthanasia here. Nobody here likes to euthanize things.”
There is a sweet Pibble type dog – I mean thing – in a red harness wagging her tail off in the video of Metro AC at the link. I guess they’ll be killing her and all the other dogs shown because they got impounded during the weaning phase.
Nashville, you know the public believes killing dogs based on body shape is wrong. That’s why you are changing your policy. Don’t be a bunch of whiny asses who need to wean off killing. Just stop it. Today. Right this second. You know, since you don’t “like” doing it anyway. And let that waggy dog in the red harness out of your pet killing facility.
(Thanks Devry for the link.)
May 10, 2013
I get a knot in my stomach when I hear that an advisory committee has been appointed to make recommendations about a pet killing facility. Nothing good ever seems to come from it. Add Mobile Co, AL to that list.
Yesterday Mobile County commissioners received their first report from the advisory committee charged with making recommendations about the deeply troubled pound. Here is my summary of the recommendations and seriously, I did not make these up:
- Use part of the county’s Maddie’s Fund grant to pay the Maddie’s Fund University of FL program for a shelter evaluation.
- Shorten the hold time for cats deemed feral (such as Porkchop) to 3 days so they can be killed quicker.
- Continue the “breed specific policy” that no puppy over 3 months old deemed a pit bull, chow or wolf hybrid will be allowed to live.
Bear in mind this is a place that kills many animals upon impound in violation of state law. They clearly can’t tell a well cared for pet from a feral cat and I can only imagine how well they do in determining dog “breeds”. (Pitbulls and wolf hybrids are not “breeds” and it’s nearly impossible to determine lineage for mixed breeds based on body shape.)
No doubt fans of Maddie’s Fund will be supportive of the idea of sending the county’s grant money to another Maddie’s Fund program in exchange for a shelter evaluation. I am not so excited. My thinking, wacky as it may be, is to clear out everyone committed to pet killing in Mobile Co and replace them with compassionate people committed to no kill – starting with a director. Once there is strong leadership in place, use the grant money to assist in implementing the programs of the No Kill Equation.
In other words, stop killing animals, start doing your jobs. The road map to success already exists and is available to everyone. No middle man required. Put that in your advisory committee pipe and smoke it.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
One of those “aggressive dogs”, per NC state lawmaker Rodney Moore. Wearing a striped sweater. And gyrating. The owner really should get a permit.
Dr. Stanley Coren writes in Psychology Today that we tend to explain away what he describes as “a disproportionate number of dog bite related injuries and deaths [by Pitbull type dogs]” because we love them as family members. Does his thinking ring true to you?
(Thanks Christine for the link.)
The Guilford Co pound in NC kills roughly half its dogs and cats – unless someone there thinks the pet happens to look like a Rottweiler, Chow Chow or “Pitbull”. Guilford Co refuses to adopt out any pets who, in the staff’s opinion, resemble those types of dogs. The non-profit that runs the pound also kills dogs that rescues are willing to take and then attempts to cover it up by claiming to be exempt from public records requests.
The Guilford Co pound is the opposite of what an animal shelter is supposed to be. And that’s why I was concerned when I read that 3 English Shepherds had been taken there after their owner died in January. A caring relative of the owner was determined to see the dogs, 15 in total, properly cared for by people who understood the special needs of the individual dogs and their rare breed. She contacted National English Shepherd Rescue and the group was able to send someone to evaluate the dogs while they lined up foster homes:
Two of the dogs had to be put to sleep [...] and three were taken to the Guilford County Animal Shelter, where two were adopted by the director’s daughter. The other dog left at the shelter was returned to the group after the National English Shepherd Rescue organization stepped in.
Thank you irresponsible public, once again. It is so comforting to know that these dogs will be properly cared for, neutered and adopted out, as they should be. The Guilford Co pound doesn’t do its job to shelter animals but thankfully, the compassionate owners and breeders who make up National English Shepherd Rescue were able to step in and do it for them.
I dread to think of this group of dogs being impounded by Guilford Co, mislabeled as Chow mixes and killed for no reason other than someone’s opinion of their body shape and coat. And it’s tragic to know that happens to other dogs in the area as a matter of pound policy.
March 14, 2013
Former MAS director and current Bernalillo Co Animal Services director Matt Pepper recently explained to a local TV news reporter why he killed 13 Pitbulls seized from an area residence:
“If you look at the conditions in which they were kept, and you look at their behavior you can understand why, why they had the significant aggression that they had,” said Matt Pepper with Bernalillo County Animal Services.
The contention here appears to be that the 13 Pitbulls had to be taken from the owner because they were being kept in terrible conditions and then they had to be killed because they had become aggressive as a result of the conditions. Oh and they were allegedly being used for dogfighting.
The owner’s landlord and neighbor says the owner is from Cuba, where he worked as a veterinarian. He says the former vet took care of his dog once after he had gotten into a fight. And he would put his life on the fact that the owner was not fighting dogs.
But hey, we can’t know anything for certain based on one man’s opinion. So let’s look at the evidence:
Veterinary medical supplies and something else point to a dog fighting ring.
“Maybe a foot long to 18 inch piece of wood that they use if the dogs are fighting to open up the jaws,” said Pepper.
M’kaaaay. So the former vet had veterinary medical supplies. And pieces of wood.
All responsible Pitbull owners should keep breaksticks at hand in case of emergency. But not every “piece of wood” lying around someone’s property is a breakstick. And the presence of breaksticks do not necessarily indicate criminal dogfighting.
The fact that the dogs were killed without the benefit of an evaluation and opportunity for behavior modification training (if warranted) by qualified individuals means there is no evidence remaining to support or refute the allegations of dogfighting. So we can not look to the 13 dogs for evidence since they were never given a chance.
But there was another dog seized from the owner – a 14 year old Doberman. That dog is still alive. I don’t know any specifics on the health of that dog but anyone who can keep a Doberman alive to the age of 14 is probably doing something right.
I can’t help but wonder if this was a case where the dogs could have been sheltered in place while authorities worked with the owner to improve conditions at the residence. However poor the living conditions may have been there, the dogs were alive, which is more than can be said now.
A judge has until tomorrow to indict the owner on animal cruelty charges. The investigation is ongoing. Tragically, there will be no investigation or cruelty charges against those responsible for killing the 13 dogs. Because they’re the good guys. Right?
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)
February 11, 2013
Pike Pet Pals, a 501(c)3 that helps dogs at the Pike Co pound in Waverly, Ohio, brought a Heinz 57 type dog called Sarge to a large adoption event in Cincinnati on Saturday. Someone at the pound apparently decided Sarge has a Pitbull ancestor in his pedigree.
Because of that, the shelter says, it will not list Sarge on its website and is unable to do the proper screenings for him to be eligible for adoption.
Unable? Or unwilling? I searched online to see if there is a ban on breeds who someone at the pound thinks might have a drop of Pitbull blood in them but couldn’t find anything. So why won’t the pound let Sarge go home if someone wants to adopt him?
“We have a lot of people coming in (the shelter) with the wrong intentions,” said Julie Mercer of Pike Pet Pals and Pike County Dog Pound.
Really? What is the basis for this assertion? Or is this also filed under the Someone at the Pound Thinks category?
You know who has wrong intentions? People at a taxpayer funded facility refusing to do their jobs and instead making up excuses for killing based on a dog’s body shape.
A Pitbull rescue at the My Furry Valentine adoption event, Adore-A-Bull, “couldn’t rescue Sarge because he doesn’t look like a pit bull.” Well geez, is this poor dog coming or going?
Sarge wasn’t adopted on Saturday and the article states he was returned to the pound that night. The event was scheduled to continue on Sunday, without Sarge.
It is unknown when he will be available for adoption, however, since he is currently on his way back to the Pike County Dog Pound.
There was plenty of hand-wringing over the dog:
Pike Pet Pals brought four dogs, and the other three were adopted. “He is caught in limbo,” said Carolyn Evans, who organized My Furry Valentine. “There are 20 types of dogs that are mislabeled pit bulls. I believe that is where he falls.
“It is just a tough position for this poor dog,” Evans said.
I wonder if anyone has stopped to consider either of these crazy possibilities:
- Go ahead and list Sarge online and adopt him out to someone who wants him, despite his body shape.
- Quit saying he is part Pitbull since this is pure speculation and apparently keeping him from being marketed better.
If only Someone at the Pound Thought of that.
(Thank you Larkin for sending in this link.)
December 7, 2012
Although this information, which I posted on Facebook yesterday, is directed at dog owners in Sikeston, MO where authorities are rounding up dogs based on body shape, it could potentially apply to any pet owner, anywhere, anytime.
Dog owners in Sikeston, MO – keep your doors locked. Do not answer the door if AC knocks. Do not give them permission to come into your home. If they do not have your permission, they have to get a search warrant. Make them get one. This is a travesty.
Lisa from Hospets shared info from this link that has been widely circulated on the net and tells pet owners exactly what to do and what not to do when AC knocks on your door – whether you live in a BSL area or not. It’s good to review this document periodically to remind yourself of your rights and how to best protect yourself and your pets.
To that excellent list I would add that when AC is conducting illegal seizures under BSL, no dog owner should assume he is safe because his dog is not a Pitbull (or whatever “breed” they are targeting). It may be obvious to the owner that the dog is not a Pitbull but the owner’s opinion will not count. Keep the door locked.
Many people are understandably outraged at the illegal seizure of pets from law abiding citizens. Some have made extreme suggestions such as moving or physically resisting and many have drawn comparisons to Nazi Germany. People in Sikeston don’t need to flee or resort to violence. They need to stand up, speak up and refuse to shut up until someone in a position to stop this madness listens. It’s important to remember that Hitler counted on the masses to do what people in uniform told them to do – even if they believed it was ethically wrong, unfair and/or illegal. By and large they did and this was a key component in his rise to power. Compassionate, reasonable people always outnumber ignorant sadists. They just tend to keep quiet.
Added: KC Dog Blog has posted an update on the situation in Sikeston. It sounds as if authorities are backing down.
July 25, 2012
The Memphis pound, like many others, mislabels dogs as Pitbulls/mixes regularly. A couple of examples from PetHarbor (click to enlarge):
At MAS, a dog who is labeled a Pitbull type stands a greatly diminished chance of being adopted. For starters, the city targets Pitbull types for killing and very few ever get offered to the public. For the lucky few who make it to the adoption floor, their chances are limited by the fact that the pound requires a background check and a fence inspection for Pitbull adopters. The person wanting to adopt must have a 6 foot fence of a type deemed appropriate by a Memphis ACO, provided the ACO can get out to the person’s home to inspect. If not, the adopter is out of luck – and so is the dog.
The fence we have would not qualify and I know the same is true for many pet owners. Even if it did, I’m not particularly keen on giving my personal info to a place with multiple animal cruelty charges pending against staff members so they can check my background. I’m all for checking adoption applicants for previous animal cruelty charges but beyond that, what business is it of anyone there and what relevance does it have to one’s ability to take care of a dog?
The adoption requirements should be the same for every pet at MAS – a state issued ID, a completed adoption application and a check for animal cruelty convictions. Placing special restrictions on a certain type of dog is breed bias and when the “breed” is as loosely defined as Pitbull/mix, it seems to be applied haphazardly, to the detriment of the dogs at the pound.
All of which brings me to a beautiful puppy named Moonbeam at MAS. She was mislabeled a Pitbull mix but still lucky enough to make it to the adoption floor. The only form of marketing that was done for her to my knowledge was a post on the Facebook page belonging to the “Friends” group on July 13, 2012. She was not taken to any offsite adoption events (since MAS very rarely participates in any) nor was she included in any pleas to rescue groups (since MAS very rarely sends any). This post, since deleted, was her only chance to be seen by someone who might have a 6 foot fence and be willing to submit to a background check and have an ACO come to their property for an inspection:
For comparison purposes, I include this dog on the MAS PetHarbor site this morning, who is labeled a Border Collie/Lab (ignore the “chocolate point” coloring description):
I don’t know if anyone wanted to adopt Moonbeam and was discouraged by the Pitbull mix label and/or the special hoops they were required to jump through in order to give her a home. But I do know that she is dead – killed by the very people who should have protected her. Killed on July 23, just 10 days after the FB posting above, due to “time/space”. In an effort to cover up the needless killing of this beautiful puppy, the cowards who call themselves the “Friends of MAS” deleted her post from their FB page, as they do with all the pets who end up in the dumpster at MAS. They refuse to acknowledge the mass slaughter of pets at the pound and they certainly aren’t going to answer questions about it. Better to just delete-delete-delete.
But I won’t let Moonbeam be deleted. She was real. She was alive. She was just a baby.
The “Friends” put a flower collar on Moonbeam and took her picture, then posted her with the mislabled “Pitbull mix”, saying the special requirements for adopters were “for her protection”. The “Friends” failed to challenge that the puppy was not a Pitbull mix. Even worse, they failed to challenge the breed discrimination that was limiting her chances of adoption, and instead promoted it as some sort of benefit to the puppy. And finally, when she was killed a week and a half later, the “Friends” attempted to cover up the killing by deleting Moonbeam’s post. With “Friends” like these, it’s no wonder MAS continues to flail in the ditch year after year.
I’m sorry you were so completely and utterly failed at every level Moonbeam. You were a pretty little girl who deserved so much better than what you got from MAS and its “Friends”. You had a right to grow up and to be loved and to live and tragically, no one at the pound was advocating for your rights. Rest in peace, sweet pup.
How many more, Memphis?
June 8, 2012
I love this dog and I am ordering you to enlarge her photo to see her smiling face and waggy tail embiggened.
No one can adopt this dog from MAS unless they meet special requirements because the pound has mislabeled her a “Pitbull”. Let me be clear, I think it’s ridiculous for shelters to have added requirements for adopters based on breed, particularly when the alternative is the dumpster. But specifically for this dog, it’s mind-blowing idiocy.
If you want to adopt this girl, you have to have a secure 6 foot fence which must pass inspection by a Memphis ACO. I guess you need the 6 foot fence so that other dogs passing by your yard can mock this dog as she waddles along the lower third of the fence line. You also need to undergo a criminal background check. Because you might secretly be a dogfighter wanting to toss this dog into a pit. Do they have a canine version of “midget wrestling”?
Come on MAS, give this dog the chance she deserves and remove the special adoption requirements for her. And while you’re at it, stop discriminating based on breed – which you get wrong more often than not anyway. Every dog deserves a chance to live.