Nashville’s Faux Rescue of 38 Dogs Represents Years of Failure

Bad:  Earlier this month, Metro police in Nashville arrested six people in connection with a drug trafficking investigation.  While raiding the home of Michael A. Davis, one of the six charged, police discovered dozens of chained pitbull type dogs in the yard.  Some of the dogs were emaciated and others had open wounds (photos of the dogs here).  In addition, police found items often associated with dogfighting including canine treadmills, syringes, and a rape rack.  WSMV reports that 38 dogs were transferred to the Nashville pound last Tuesday as a result of the raid.

Worse:  The night of the seizure, five of the “rescued” dogs, all of whom were apparently unsupervised, were involved in a fight which erupted after two of them got loose.  One dog was killed, another was seriously injured and the other three sustained minor injuries.  After the needless death and suffering on the rescuers’ (non-existent) watch, officials decided it might be a good idea to supervise the dogs 24 hours a day.

Worst:  After the seizure, the county “discovered” that people had been begging the Nashville pound to help the dogs chained at the Davis home for years.  As far back as 2010 and as recently as 2013, citizens had been reporting that Davis’s dogs were being neglected and possibly used for fighting.  The county was “concerned with the lack of documentation of these complaints” and will investigate itself in the matter.  In the meantime, two of the pound’s ACOs are being paid to not work during the investigation.

This waggy dog, shown on the Nashville.gov website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

This waggy dog, shown on the Nashville.gov website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

It sounds as if these dogs could have been rescued – for real, not the fake kind where they end up dead and injured the night they get “saved” – years ago if the Nashville pound had been doing its job.  Unfortunately, Nashville has long considered its “job” to be killing and if the dogs had been rescued in response to the previous complaints, they likely would have been killed under Nashville’s only recently modified Kill Them All pitbull policy.  Tragically, this way too late botched rescue is probably the best these abuse victims could hope for in Nashville.

(Thanks Karen and Clarice for the links.)

Town of Hempstead Kills Owned Pets, Owners File Lawsuit

Screengrab from the WABC website depicting Cici and Yankee

Screengrab from the WABC website depicting Cici and Yankee

Last month, 2 mixed breed dogs called Cici and Yankee escaped their yard and went for a run around the neighborhood in Long Island, NY.  Both were known by neighbors to be friendly and playful.  But apparently any loose animal that looks like a Pitbull type dog in Nassau Co warrants the summoning of the National Guard:

An incident in Lakeview involving Pit bulls three days prior caused  police to send multiple police officers including detectives and a police helicopter.

Nassau Co police responded to a report that Cici and Yankee were chasing kids and started shooting at the dogs, hitting Yankee.  The dogs ran home and the Town of Hempstead sent an ACO to the residence where police had gathered.  The owner, who is unable to read English, signed a form he was given by the ACO and the dogs were taken to the pound.

There are no reports indicating the dogs bit anyone, growled at anyone or even cast a stern glance in anyone’s general direction.

The family went to the pound the next day it was open to reclaim Cici and Yankee and were told both had already been killed.  The form the owner signed without understanding what it said due to the language barrier reportedly transferred ownership of the dogs to the Town of Hempstead to do with as the pound saw fit.  The family was apparently so shocked at this news that they went home and returned the next day, believing they must have been given the wrong information.  But they were again told their pets had been killed.

The Town of Hempstead, well known for its alleged abuse of shelter animals, offered this response to a reporter:

“We are confident that the police don’t throw their weapons and shoot at animals unless they present a danger to the public.”

Oh the Town of Hempstead is jokes.  If police shot at the dogs, they must be the spawn of Satan because police.

Cici and Yankee’s owners have filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead for killing their pets without due process.  The town is apparently rolling in dough.  I hope the owners get every penny and just maybe, some stuffed shirt mooching off taxpayers there will take notice and effect change.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

“Human Error” Blamed for Oops-Killing in Prince George’s Co

Screengrab from the WUSA website.

Screengrab from the WUSA website.

Prince George’s County in MD has had a body shape based ban on dogs since 1997.  Like every other similar ban, it tears families apart and offers no benefit of any kind.  But Prince George’s Co continues to uphold the ban.  Because AHHH Pitbulls!

When a bully breed type dog was surrendered at the Prince George’s Co pound by her owner last week, a local rescue group moved swiftly to save her.  Within hours, they found a foster home where the healthy dog, who was about to give birth to a litter of puppies, could raise her family in safety and comfort.  The rescue advised the pound they were sending a volunteer to pick her up.  But someone at the pound failed to mark the dog’s record with a DO NOT KILL so Prince George’s Co killed her before the rescuer arrived.  Oops.

Lisa Marie Czop, the rescue volunteer who tried to save this dog, told me she received a text message from a pound worker that read, “Don’t worry about the pregnant dog I emailed you about” which she soon learned meant the dog had been oops-killed.

The Public Information Specialist for Prince George’s Co told the local news:

[T]he animal was selected for euthanasia due to the lack of space at the Facility and her condition.

Her condition was reportedly healthy.  I believe that the county spokesman is using the word “condition” to indicate that the dog was pregnant and had a body shape deemed illegal by the county.

Lisa Marie Czop wrote to me in an e-mail:

The issue is the leadership at the shelter, and specifically in this case, the kennel manager who makes the decisions to euthanize, does not have life-saving as the top priority of the shelter.

In my opinion, the best outcome would be to remove leadership from this shelter, specifically Chief Taylor. However, a more realistic goal in light of all of this media attention may be to establish some oversight by the County of this shelter so that they can answer to the fact that they are euthanizing significantly more animals than the shelters around them.

County Executive Rushern Baker is the highest level of County leadership that the shelter reports to, and his office phone number is 301-952-4131.

When a pregnant dog who is near term is injected with Fatal Plus, she dies.  But her puppies remain alive inside her uterus, forced to slowly suffocate to death.  This dog had a right to live, as did her unborn puppies.  This dog and her unborn puppies were wanted and a rescue group had advised Prince George’s Co they were coming to pick her up.  But the county killed her anyway, blaming “human error”.

I would offer that the human error at the Prince George’s Co pound is the systematic killing of healthy pets and harboring bias against certain dogs based on body shape.  Within this culture of killing, pound workers view discrimination and death as standard operating procedure which is why no one jumped up and down screaming, “No, this is not right!” when this dog was taken to the kill room.  If Prince George’s Co was doing its job and saving every healthy/treatable animal in its care, that’s exactly what would have happened because no compassionate worker committed to protecting pets’ lives would stand by and allow this dog to be killed and her puppies, who likely could have survived outside the uterus, to smother.

I’ve been hearing for years that shelter works do not want to kill animals.  I’m tired of hearing it.  Show me.  Start doing your jobs and providing shelter to the animals in your care.  Follow the example set by the hundreds of open admission shelters in this country that are saving more than 90% of their animals.  Stop the excuses.  Stop the killing.

(Thank you Anne T. for the link.)

Prospect of Killing Fewer Pitbulls Gives Nashville AC the Shakes

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:

  1. 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.
  2. “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.)

Mor(e)on Mobile Co Pet Killing Facility

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:

  1. Use part of the county’s Maddie’s Fund grant to pay the Maddie’s Fund University of FL program for a shelter evaluation.
  2. Shorten the hold time for cats deemed feral (such as Porkchop) to 3 days so they can be killed quicker.
  3. 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.)

That Tree Branch Could Be a Schoolbus Full of Kiddies!

One of those “aggressive dogs”, per NC state lawmaker Rodney Moore. Wearing a striped sweater. And gyrating.  The owner really should get a permit.

Discussion: Are we blinding ourselves to dangerous dog behavior in bully breeds?

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 Irresponsible Public Shelters a Group of English Shepherds in NC

Photo of rescue dog "Buddy", posted on the National English Shepherd Rescue page on Facebook.

Photo of rescue dog “Buddy”, posted on the National English Shepherd Rescue page on Facebook.

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.

Photo of rescued dogs, posted on the National English Shepherd Rescue page on Facebook.

Photo of rescued dogs, posted on the National English Shepherd Rescue page on Facebook.

13 Pitbulls Killed in New Mexico Pound

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.

Baloney.

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.)

 

Wrong Intentions Regarding Mixed Breed Dogs in Pike Co

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.)

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