May 18, 2013
Billy Briggs, head of Nashville’s pet killing facility, on the pound’s horrifying 78% kill rate:
“We try our best to find homes for the ones that are adoptable.”
Mr. Briggs failed to mention that just 16% of the dogs and cats at the Nashville pound are deemed adoptable. Of those few who make it to the adoption floor, 25% end up in the kill room anyway. But they’re trying their best.
Bonna Johnson, spokeswoman for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean:
[W]e know that adoptions are a priority for Metro Animal Control.
Is there any other job in the world where you could fail so completely at your most basic tasks and still face the public unashamedly with the full support of the stooges in charge? If so, can we get these pet killers into those jobs so they can at least be prevented from hurting more dogs and cats?
“It tolls on us,” Biggs said about putting animals down. “It’s the hardest job here by far.”
Right. I guess that’s why you’re trying your best to get pets adopted. So you don’t have to do that hard job more than 8000 times a year. Although personally, I would think going to the media to pat yourself on the back with a straight face would be a really hard job too. Obviously more cupcakes are needed.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
May 16, 2013
• Campbell Co Mayor William Baird on the Campbell Co pound in TN:
(Thank you Karen for the link.)
• Lake Co Manager David Heath on a recent audit of the Lake Co pound in FL which revealed that roughly 12% of intake remains unaccounted for:
(Thanks Clarice for the above and below links.)
• Cyndi Nason, the new Lake Co pound director and a former ASPCA consultant, on her goals for the facility:
Wonderful for the dogs and cats who make it out alive, less-than-wonderful for the ones tossed into the dumpster. And I take it “as low kill as possible” will be determined by the failing performances of other pet killing facilities in the area. When a director talks in terms such as this, she is leaving killing on the table as an option and indeed, letting the public know they should not only expect killing but accept it – because the shelter is “doing the best they can”, as we so often hear.
Typical, favorable, wonderful – this is how enablers describe the needless killing of dogs and cats in animal shelters.
Dogs and cats have a right to live. Shelters can not attempt to justify infringing upon that right simply because their neighboring shelters are also killing animals. Didn’t everyone’s Mom give them that “If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” speech when they were 6?
As I have written repeatedly on this blog, parvo is preventable and treatable and every animal shelter has an obligation to both prevent and treat this disease. Parvo in shelters is prevented through the practice of vaccination prior to or immediately upon intake, good housing practices and standard disease prevention cleaning protocols.
Parvo is not the dreaded disease it once was. There are excellent prevention and treatment protocols available for shelters and pet owners to follow. Any shelter or state whose policy is to kill every dog in the place in the face of an outbreak (suspected or confirmed) is operating in The Before Time.
Meet Stokes Co, NC. As of Wednesday, the pound had killed 12 dogs and planned to kill 18 more after one dog adopted from the facility reportedly contracted parvo. County Manager Rick Morris, veterinarian Deborah Cowan, who is also chairwoman of the Stokes Co Animal Control Advisory Council, and pound director Phillip Handy “decided on Tuesday to ban adoptions of dogs at the shelter, euthanize the dogs there and put down any dogs brought to the shelter without vaccination records.” And there’s more:
That policy will remain in place until an outdoor kernel is built so that the shelter staff can clean the shelter’s indoor kennels of feces and urine and place down chemicals to kill the virus, Cowan said.
And not to put too fine a point on the new policy but, ok:
“If you bring it here and it has no vaccination it will be euthanized,” said Veterinarian Deborah Cowan[.]
Gee, is she accepting new patients?
Candis Loy, the president of Animal Rescue of Stokes County, said that euthanizing the dogs is regrettable. “I don’t think they have a lot of choices,” said Loy, a member of the animal control advisory council.
Yeah, the pound has no quarantine area so not “a lot of choices” besides killing. Because how could any animal shelter be expected to be cleaned without an outdoor kennel? That’s bananas. Just kill them all.
But even when they get the outdoor kennels built, that still won’t be good enough:
Shelter advocates say it’s only a temporary fix until a new shelter can be constructed.
Fundraisers are already under way for a new shelter that will cost around $400,000.
“We are begging, we are pleading, we’ve been getting down on our knees asking people to help,” stated Cowan who says they need $40,000 right now to secure a discount on a new facility that could be up and running by 2015.
In the past 3 years, they’ve raised $13,000 toward the new shelter. At this rate, the killing will end never. And I suspect that’s exactly how the killing apologists in Stokes Co like it.
April 23, 2013
Most pet owners don’t like to think about killing pets in shelters. Even fewer like to think about the possibility of those dead shelter pets being ground up for use as an ingredient in pet food. While I don’t know of any unequivocal proof that dead shelter pets sent to rendering facilities end up being purchased as a protein source by pet food manufacturers, I think it’s a question worth asking.
Slate asked the question last week and tragically bungled the thing worse than I could have imagined. The author determines that dead shelter pets are likely in your pet’s food dish but closes with this so very wrong paragraph:
Go ahead, feed this stuff to your dogs. I’m not kidding. They have to eat something, and this is what is available. Until we have a better answer for the millions of unwanted pets waiting in shelters for homes that aren’t there, and until we figure out a more efficient means of turning subsidized grain into steak, this stuff exists, and we’ve got to do something with it. Put Lassie on the label, since she’s on the menu anyway. If you don’t like it, adopt a shelter dog and make sure it’s neutered.
Fail, fail everywhere and all the brains did shrink.
Dogs do have to eat something but commercial mystery meat food is not the only thing available. Table scraps, in their various forms, have been used to feed dogs since dogs started hanging around humans and there were no “subsidized grains” being turned into steak then. There are plenty of other foods dogs can be fed besides steak anyway.
Millions of shelter pets are not unwanted. They are wanted. Shelters and rescues prevent pets from getting into homes by keeping the pets hidden, turning down adopters who don’t meet arbitrary criteria such as a fenced yard and failing to do their jobs overall.
Homes are there. More than enough homes. Check the math.
I have adopted shelter dogs. I’ve gotten them neutered. It didn’t make any shelter directors do their jobs. Problem still unsolved. Or to put it more lovingly, your solution sucks, makes no sense and sucks more.
April 4, 2013
Many pet killing facilities in this country are enabled by caring volunteers and rescuers who buy into the Save a Few, Kill the Rest business model. How it works: The pet killing facility allows members of the public to care for, network and rescue certain pets so long as the public plays by its rules. The rest of the pets are killed. The rules that must be obeyed typically center around silence on the part of the enablers – no speaking to the media or posting online about the truth of what goes on at the shelter.
How do compassionate people stand by silently while healthy/treatable pets are being killed all around them? It a two-pronged attack – one from without and the other from within. The pet killing facility tells the rescuers and volunteers:
- We’re not monsters. No one here wants to kill pets. We’re animal lovers, just like you.
- It’s the public’s fault that we have to kill pets. With the exception of you guys, the rest of the public is irresponsible and uncaring.
- We’re all on the same team. But if you speak to the media about what goes on here, people might get the wrong impression and stop donating. That will only hurt the animals.
The rescuers and volunteers carry the weight from there and tell themselves:
- If I publicly tell the truth about what happens at the shelter, I won’t be allowed to walk dogs/foster kittens/rescue pets any longer and then the animals will have no one to be kind to them because the people here are monsters.
- The people here aren’t monsters. They only kill pets because the irresponsible public forces them to do it. I am a member of the public and so are all the networkers, adopters, fosters, donors, rescuers, volunteers and transporters that I know. Before we got involved with the shelter, we were all just regular pet owners. I guess I and everyone I know are all exceptions. Yes, that must be right because only uncaring people would surrender their pets to these monsters.
- The people here aren’t monsters. After all, they are allowing me to save a few of the pets. And saving a few is better than saving none so I am going to keep my mouth shut and play by their rules in order to maintain my privileges. If I don’t, they might kill Fluffy, whom I’ve been working on getting into rescue for 2 weeks, in retaliation. I can’t risk these monsters killing Fluffy.
Do you recognize yourself in any of these statements? This is how our broken shelter system’s status quo of Save a Few, Kill the Rest is maintained. The monsters sell it and the compassionate public buys it. If you buy it, there will always be a place for you at your local pet killing facility. Because there will always be a Fluffy. They will dangle a Fluffy in front of your face forever and taunt you with their power of life and death.
If however you decide to empower yourself to be free from this mindset, to put the responsibility for Fluffy’s protection on those paid to protect her, and to stand up for what you know in your heart is right – that ALL SHELTER PETS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE – let me know. I’ll stand by you.
We don’t have to accept saving just a few. We can save them all. As compassionate pet advocates, we must reject the myths of pet overpopulation and the “irresponsible public” that have been put forth in an attempt to justify needless killing. It is our duty to publicly condemn the notion that saving shelter pets is a “privilege” which directors extend only to those who play ball. We must organize, not to enable more killing by keeping quiet, but to garner legislative support for the Companion Animal Protection Act to protect pets from monsters.
Take back your power. Giving it up was a tragic mistake but one that can be made right – unlike killing. Save them all, kill the excuses.
This dog reportedly died in his cage, never receiving vet care or even having water in his bowl. Read how the “Friends” of the Lawrence Co pound attack the photographer and enable the neglect and suffering at the facility.
It sounds like the pets at the Lawrence Co pound need some friends in their corner, advocating for their rights, not covering up the abuse.
December 28, 2012
CA state Senator Ted Lieu sponsored a pet related, HSUS backed bill that was signed by the governor in September and will take effect January 1, 2013. Senator’s Lieu’s website makes the bill sound pretty good:
Neglected or injured animals will no longer be returned to abusive owners[.]
Pretty good, yes? Hold your applause.
The bill purportedly fixes a “loophole” in existing CA law which allows for the return of seized pets under certain circumstances:
Specifically, the law states mistreated animals must be returned to the owner if the animal is physically fit or the owner can and will provide the necessary care for the animal. Because these hearings typically occur weeks after an animal has been seized, the animal is almost always “fit” due to the care provided by the animal-control agency. This means the agencies are then forced to return animals to the same harmful environment where they had been abused.
I am not seeing a loophole here. What I see is a poorly worded law that allows a sluggish court system to dictate when the assessment of the abused animal is made. It could be fixed by speeding up the wheels of justice (not likely) or by simply wording it such that the assessment of the animal is made at time of seizure. The new law does nothing to address the time of assessment but rather replaces the “or” with “and”, requiring pets to be fit and the owner to demonstrate ability to provide care before a seized pet is returned. I have to wonder how prosecutors in CA are able to secure animal cruelty convictions if assessments of the animals’ health are not made until the court case comes up on the docket. This makes no sense to me and the new bill does not fix it.
In addition, the bill “would allow a seizing agency or a prosecutor to file a petition in the criminal action requesting that the court issue an order forfeiting the animal(s) to the county or seizing agency prior to final disposition of the criminal charge.“ [emphasis added] The reasons given for this change are:
- The cost of housing seized animals at the pound.
- The cruelty of keeping seized animals in cages for an extended period of time.
- The fact that pounds “have to” kill other pets for space taken up by the seized animals.
- If the accused owner lives in an area with a pet limit law and has more than the allowed number of pets seized, the owner won’t legally be able to keep all the pets anyway, regardless of the outcome of the case.
This is a bunch of baloney. It’s all a fancy way of saying that shelters aren’t doing their jobs therefore the state should be able to seize and dispose of property (pets) as it deems fit, regardless of the owner’s right to due process.
No shelter “has to” kill healthy/treatable pets. Many don’t, in fact. Only the ones that choose to kill do so. If an owner is simply over the pet limit and not found guilty of animal cruelty, the owner should have first option to place as many pets as needed to come into compliance with the law. Animal control can offer to assist with placement but no pet killing facility should be able to legally take ownership of someone’s well cared for pets without due process.
Furthermore, I see nothing to protect the lives of the seized animals and no mechanism to return the legally allowed number of pets to the accused owner. It looks as if the law will allow the pound, or the state, to simply take every animal from a home and give the owner nothing in return, even if he is acquitted.
Thanks Senator Lieu and HSUS for another backwards law enabling shelters to kill more animals, even ones whose owners love and want them, under the guise of animal protection. How humane. We are the real humane society – small h, small s. Join us.
(Thanks Jan for alerting me to this bill.)
November 27, 2012
In an op-ed piece entitled “Last Resort”, the Columbus Dispatch offers:
Hands down, the worst job in any dog shelter doesn’t involve a scoop and a bag; it requires a needle, or a gas chamber.
Killing shelter pets is a worse job than scooping poo. This is not a valid comparison and worse – it attempts to group diametrically opposed actions into the same category. While keeping cages clean is necessary for hygiene and humane care, killing healthy/treatable shelter pets is not only unnecessary, it’s unethical. Clean cages are an integral part of any animal shelter, killing is the opposite of why shelters exist.
“We hate putting dogs to sleep down here. We hate it, we hate it, we hate it,” Bill Click, the dog warden of Lawrence County, told The Dispatch.
Lawrence Co killed 81% of the dogs in its care last year according to The Dispatch. This is a travesty and to my mind should be a crime. But the dog warden says they “hate it” so I guess that’s supposed to demonstrate that some shred of humanity resides within those doing the killing. If they hate it so much why don’t they stop doing it? Especially since there are proven methods for saving every healthy/treatable pet being used by dozens of open admission shelters all over the U.S.
The real villains behind high euthanasia rates are irresponsible owners who fail to spay or neuter their pets.
So I’ve heard. And judging from the comments of those who kill shelter pets for a living as well as those who enable the killing (such as the editorial board of the Columbus Dispatch), all these irresponsible owners are concentrated in communities where the public shelters kill animals.
It’s weird because common sense tells me there must be irresponsible owners everywhere, even in the many no kill communities throughout the country. But I never hear no kill leaders in these communities decrying the horrible locals who make their lives hell. On the contrary, I so often hear no kill shelter directors praising the public, reaching out to them for donations and other assistance – and receiving it.
Do communities where the shelters save every healthy/treatable pet have irresponsible owners who fail to neuter their pets? Of course they must. But just as there are a comparatively small number of irresponsible drivers and irresponsible parents among those populations in society, irresponsible pet owners represent a tiny minority. Most pet owners try to do right by their pets and don’t want to see shelter pets hurt. No kill community leaders recognize that and put it to use in their lifesaving efforts.
Any shelter where more than 8 out of every 10 dogs who come in the front door wind up in the dumpster is not relying on killing as a “last resort”, as the op-ed’s title suggests, but rather Plan A. Standard Operating Procedure. The Number One Priority. In Lawrence Co, and in too many other municipal shelters, the method of population control is killing and live release is in fact the last resort. And that is not the public’s fault.
(Thank you Jan for the link.)
October 7, 2012
Due to Michael Vick’s admitted federal crimes related to dogfighting, a judge barred him from owning a dog for 3 years after his release from prison. But he has repeatedly expressed an interest in owning a dog again “for the kids” and in fact his partnership with the Humane Society of the United States yielded an endorsement on that front from CEO Wayne Pacelle in December 2010:
“I have been around him a lot, and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner.”
Last week, Vick reportedly tweeted and quickly deleted a photo of himself and his daughter at home, sitting at a table that had a box of Milk Bones on it. He replaced it with a very similar photo but the box of dog treats had been removed from the table. Common sense tells us that Vick currently has some personal involvement with dogs (due to the box of treats) and that he wants to keep that information from becoming public (tweet-and-delete). Given that he has been expressing a desire to get a dog for some time, it seems a reasonable conclusion to believe he may have done so. But what are the legalities here?
Profootballtalk.com reports that Vick’s court documents allow him to own, buy and sell dogs at some time in 2012:
We tracked down (thanks to a reader who also is a lawyer) a copy of Vick’s sentencing order from December 10, 2007. And while the document states that “[t]he defendant shall not engage in the purchase, possession, or sale of any canine,” that limitation appears as a condition of Vick’s supervised release, otherwise known as probation.
Vick was placed on three years of “supervised release,” which began to run after he was released from prison. Thus, at some point in 2012, he’ll no longer be on supervised release — and he’ll be able to buy, own, and/or sell dogs.
My question is this: Has Vick’s probation officer (or anyone else) checked to see if in fact he does has some personal involvement with dogs and if so, whether he began owning, buying and/or selling dogs after the date allowed by the courts?
And as a follow-up, if Vick did get a dog, I’d really, truly and sincerely like to know who on this planet gave him one?
September 21, 2012
We set up a FB page which we use to berate you worthless people while we threaten to kill pets so damn – why isn’t everyone at the shelter right now
for some in-person abuse adopting?
Anyone care to asplain it to them?
I was trying to find the number of dead pets not one person is allowed to complain about at the Wise Co pound but apparently that number is unknowable. From an article dated June 2011:
[Sgt. Asa Mosely] would not release numbers on how many animals come in each month and how many are adopted and euthanized, saying there is no running tally of the numbers.
But he estimated 500 dogs came in during the last three months, and about 25 percent were adopted.
Wise Co has zero pets on Petfinder, although there is a note telling people to visit the shelter’s website for the complete list of adoptable pets. That website does not exist. The note also mentions seeing pets on Facebook but I could not find any animals for adoption there either. There are probably pets posted at the “Urgent Animals” FB page (from which the above screengrab was taken) but I didn’t want to scroll through for fear of being unable to suppress the urge to complain about dead pets, which not one of us is allowed to do.
Thank you to reader Natalie who says she has offered information about no kill and asked about getting Wise Co animals neutered before adoption. In response, she was removed as an administrator and banned from the “Urgent Animals” FB page and ordered to leave the shelter. Keep going, Natalie. You are hereby given permission to complain about pets being killed and offer no kill solutions to the county’s problems.