Filth and Neglect Found During State Inspection of Rutherford Co Pound

A toy dog on concrete at the Rutherd Co pound in NC  [Screengrab from PetHarbor]

A toy dog on concrete at the Rutherford Co pound in NC [Screengrab from PetHarbor]

The website for the Rutherford Co pound in NC indicates the facility is closed during the hours most people can visit:

The shelter hours are Monday thru Thursday 12:00 P.M. till 4:00 P.M. for adoptions only and Friday 10:00 a.m. til 2:00 p.m. for adoptions only. The shelter is closed on Saturday, Sundays, and major holidays.

With these very few open hours, it seems counter intuitive that the state is demanding the facility count hours for every animal and kill them based upon these arbitrary counts, relative to the mandatory 72 hour holding period:

State inspector Jay Blatche from said in his report to the shelter staff that any animal that is at the shelter on the 73rd hour must be adopted immediately or euthanized.

How can anyone be reasonably expected to adopt an animal on his 73rd hour when the place is mostly closed?

The state inspection was prompted by a citizen’s complaint alleging deplorable conditions, neglect and needless killing at the pound.  The inspector indicated the facility was filthy and overcrowded but the sheriff’s department is all hey, we’re just heroes here:

Lt. Leon Godlock of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department said it is true the shelter has been holding some animals beyond the state mandate of 72 hours. “We’ve held animals up to 10 days or more over, just hoping someone will come by to adopt them,” Godlock said.

Maybe people have been coming by to adopt.  Maybe they come by in droves on weekends, holidays and after school/work - the usual times most people can get there.  But the county would not know if that was the case since the place is closed all those times.

“We got wrote up for housing too many animals, hoping they would get saved. Now we are going to start putting more animals down. It is about spacing,” Godlock said.

No.  It’s about being open when people can get there.  It’s about not putting sick puppies and kittens in cages with healthy puppies and kittens.  It’s about cleaning litter boxes and kennels.  It’s about providing soft food to puppies and kittens who are too young to eat hard kibble.  It’s about keeping the number of kittens per cage down to a manageable number – not 19 or more.  All these issues, with the exception of the facility being mostly closed, are addressed in the state’s inspection report.

But don’t criticize unless you are willing to neglect and kill pets yourself:

Kelly Carpenter, a volunteer with the Community Pet Center, says she’s surprised to see the reaction on social media.
Of the 330 animals that came into the shelter in June, 190 were put down.
“We work tirelessly all day long and half the night to coordinate with these rescue groups to get these animals out,” she says. “And if you’re not here on a daily basis to see what we’re doing, it’s kind of hard to criticize what goes on here.”

Not really. Killing more than 57% of the animals in your care last month indicates Rutherford Co is primarily operating a pet killing facility, not a shelter. Needless pet killing is the kind of thing that’s super easy to criticize. Most everyone hates it and will say so, given the opportunity. Defending the neglect and killing of shelter animals – now that’s the hard thing.  It looks like Rutherford Co has sufficient enablers to keep the pet killing operation running for awhile.

(Thanks Clarice and Karen for the links.)

Bulloch Co Taxpayers Spending Thousands on Needless Killing of Shelter Animals

I’ve written about the alarming number of animals who reportedly die in their cages at the Bulloch Co pound in GA.  The Statesboro Herald recently ran a piece detailing the cost to taxpayers for the animals the pound kills:

Bulloch County spent $52,878.33 of taxpayer money from Jan. 1, 2011, to Oct. 29, 2013, euthanizing 4,379 animals[.]

From a fiscal responsibility standpoint, I wonder how taxpayers feel about their money being used to kill so many pets.  Imagine if the pound had adopted out these 4379 animals instead of killing them.  Even if they only charged $3 for each animal, it would represent more than $13,000 in revenue for the county instead of the nearly $53 grand spent on the drugs used to kill them.

The paper talked to pound manager Wendy Ivey about the killings:

But Ivey said that the number of animals the shelter has had to put down wasn’t always what it is now.

“Our numbers used to be lower, but with the economy and people not being able to afford pets like they used to — and they lose their homes, and they have to move, and then they have to move into places where they can no longer have their pets — and, unfortunately, they have to be surrendered into the animal shelter,” Ivey said.

But the records obtained by the paper via FOIA request do not support Ivey’s statements.  In fact, although 2013 figures were not completely tallied at the time of the report, they appear on track to reflect decreases both in the number of total animals killed and in the money spent on the drugs to kill them in comparison to 2012.  I hope the manager is not only aware of these details but is also scrutinizing them.  For example, what percentage of total intake do the killings represent and what about all those dogs and cats falling over dead in their cages?  What should the pound be doing differently to save them so they can be adopted out and generate additional revenue for the county?

Besides the financial costs associated with the pound failing to do its job, there are emotional costs as well:

For people who go into these professions to protect and help animals, having to put them down on a regular basis can take a toll.

“It’s difficult to do,” [veterinarian Stan] Lee said. “Psychologically and emotionally, sometimes, it can be very difficult to do but … if it must be done, which it must be, you want to be sure it’s done right and you want to be sure it’s done correctly.”

For Ivey, the shelter manager, it can be tough to decide what animals should be put down, but she tries to see the positive side of things.

“A lot of people don’t realize how stressful it can be because I’m the sole one who makes the decision on who stays and who goes. But, I also look at it as rewarding because I keep more than I do put down, so I feel I am the one that’s able to give them that chance,” Ivey said. “If someone else was in that position, it might be different.

Sometimes you do have people that feel we don’t have time for this, we’ve got to go by policy, and I have the privilege that I get to make that decision.”

Good news, Bulloch Co: There are hundreds of communities all over the country that are saving 90% or more of their shelter animals. So no one in Bulloch Co has to be burdened with the “privilege” (?) of deciding to kill healthy/treatable dogs and cats anymore or ever again. Bulloch Co will hopefully want to stop needlessly killing animals today and start doing its job to shelter them while also generating revenue for the county. If not, Bulloch Co needs needs new leadership. Because “if someone else was in that position, it might be different.”

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

How Would Your Pet Fare If Impounded by Putnam County Animal Services?

The sheriff’s office runs the pound in Putnam Co, Florida. The website states “the shelter is on N Highway 17, at the landfill.”

I reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment after seeing this photo posted on Facebook:

Photo posted on  Facebook of a sign at the Putnam Co pound in Florida

Photo posted on
Facebook of a sign purportedly displayed at the Putnam Co pound in Florida

I haven’t yet received a response from the sheriff’s office but if I do, I will update this post.

In researching this facility, I found… enablers!

Facebook posting in which a member of the public advocates for the lives of pets at the Putnam Co pound and gets swatted down by their "Friends".

Facebook posting in which a member of the public advocates for the lives of pets at the Putnam Co pound and gets swatted down by their “Friends”.

We so often hear from killing apologists that “Nobody wants to kill animals.” Since it is impossible to accurately assess temperament in ANY dog or cat upon impound at a shelter, the sign at top is instructing pound employees to ignore standard protocols, pretend to assess all animals upon impound and then, based upon the false assessment, kill all “feral” and “aggressive” animals whom the state does not mandate be held. And their “Friends” blame the public for the killing – the very people they demand rescue, donate and adopt from the shelter.

These people want to kill animals.  Or to put it more accurately, these people really want to kill animals.

How would you expect your pet(s) to score in an assessment administered immediately upon impound at a pet killing facility by people who want to kill animals?  I imagine most of mine would fail.  In which case I’d be relying on the state of Florida statute requiring a mandatory stray holding period to save their lives.  Assuming someone didn’t trap and falsely “owner surrender” my lost pet or that no one at Putnam Co put an X in the wrong box somewhere or DOT DOT DOT.  Gee, it seems like evaluation and killing upon impound is not the swell idea it’s made out to be.  I don’t suppose anyone in Putnam Co would be interested in scrapping that plan in favor of doing their jobs to shelter animals?

(Thanks Bonnie for the link to this photo.)

Shelter Pet of the Day: Kentucky

Added, 10-30-13: Readers Clarice and db have offered to donate to whoever helps Bo.


Bo, as pictured on the Petfinder website.  He is at the Franklin Co Humane Society in Frankfort KY

Bo, as pictured on the Petfinder website. He is at the Franklin Co Humane Society in Frankfort KY.

Today I received a note from a reader, asking me to feature a dog at the Franklin Co Humane Society in Kentucky on the blog as he is going to be killed on Friday and the reader really wanted to help find him an adopter or rescuer.  I needed to verify the information about the dog being scheduled for killing on Friday so I wrote to the contact e-mail address provided.

From: Shirley Thistlethwaite
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Subject: Jeanine

I am planning to feature this dog on my blog today, per a request from a reader.  Are you affiliated with the facility that is housing this dog?  I am trying to confirm information I was given – that he is on the kill list for Friday.  I only want to include accurate info in my post.

Thank you,

Shirley Thistlethwaite


From: Jeanine <>
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: Jeanine
To: Shirley Thistlethwaite

I am the shelter’s Rescue Coordinator and yes he is on the list however my shelter manager will not allow our animals to be posted online with a euth notice because of the negative feedback the shelter receives.  The staff does not have time for harassing calls and emails.  Please stress the he has been in and out of our shelter for over a year and time is of the essence but do not use the word euthanasia or give a date.  Give my email address as the contact and I’ll expedite any interest in him.  Thanks.


From:Shirley Thistlethwaite
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 11:58 AM
Subject: Re: Jeanine
To: Jeanine <>

Thank you for the information Jeanine.  If he’s on the kill list for Friday, I’ll be saying so.  I don’t play fancy dress up with people who kill pets.  Facts are facts.  I get them and I tell them.  I will be happy to include your e-mail address as a contact.


From: Jeanine <>
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Re: Jeanine
To: Shirley Thistlethwaite

We are a county open admission shelter taking in thousands of animals a year and people don’t understand the lack of resources and shelter space so thanks but no thanks. Do not post our shelter dog.


Shorter:  We’d rather put a dog in the dumpster than have someone tell the truth about the killing we do here at Franklin Co.

In order to get to know the Franklin Co Humane Society a little better, I visited the group’s website.  FCHS has a report posted there indicating its live release rate for January through August 2013 was 75%. The most recent board meeting minutes posted on the site are from July 2013. A few snippets:

This year the shelter alone (without the thrift store) essentially broke even. We have income exceeding expenses by $69,076 for the 12 months ending in June. [...] Assets went up from $340,000 to $470,000. Sam noted this was a good turnaround we should be happy about.


August 24 – Microchip and license sales at Petco from 11 ‐ 2. Lauren will attend with a volunteer to help with this endeavor. Normal cost is $25 but will only charge $20 (cost is $10 so there will be a profit).


Upon recommendation by the Evaluation Committee, a motion to approve a 3% raise for [shelter manager] Nancy Benton retroactive to July 1, 2013 was made by Ray Smith, seconded by John Hibbard. Motion approved by all except Linda Thomas opposed. Motion carried.

Shorter:  Income exceeding expenses, selling microchips at a 100% markup, give the manager a raise.

But I guess I don’t understand about “the lack of resources” at this profitable facility where the staff is going to kill Bo instead of doing their jobs.

If you are interested in helping Bo, please read his particulars then contact the Franklin Co HS.  Oh and I wouldn’t mention that you saw him here.  Not that anyone who works in a shelter would kill an animal out of spite but you know, negative feedback and resources and stuff.  Let us know if you need help.

Franklin County Humane Society
1041 Kentucky Ave
Frankfort, KY 40601

Nine Dogs Not-Rescued by Broward Co Pound

On August 26, this was the headline on the Ft. Lauderdale ABC affiliate’s website:

Broward animal shelter, cops save dogs from suspected dog fighting ring – Investigation continues; Dogs to be rehabilitated

Eleven female mixed breed dogs were reportedly found in rough shape, living in sub-standard conditions at a Broward County home. The owner was arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.

With names like Princess, Sugar and Cinnamon, these loving Pit bulls are now safe and protected at Broward Animal Care.

On August 28, the ABC affiliate followed up with an equally optimistic report:

Trainers rehab dogs rescued from alleged dog fighting ring

That piece included an interview with animal advocate Dahlia Canes:

“It kills me, it pains me, to see these dogs in the wrong hands.”

It turns out, the wrong hands in this case were those of Broward Co AC where nine of the eleven dogs were ultimately killed. The reporter returned to Dahlia Canes who brings the enabling:

“Unfortunately, for numerous reasons — including lack of space at the shelter and no rescues coming forth, no adopters coming forth — the rest of them had to be humanely euthanized,” Canes said.

Lack of space does not trump a dog’s right to live. Blaming the public for the killing done by the pound is straight out of the Enabler’s Handbook. And using the words “humanely euthanized” to described the violent betrayal of these dogs by those who are supposed to be protecting them is just enabler icing on the bullshit cake.

I wish the ABC affiliate would go back and change those headlines.  Nine of the eleven dogs were not “saved”, nor were they “rescued”.  They weren’t “safe and protected” at the Broward Co pound.  Tragically, nine of the dogs were better off in the hands of the original owner – and he was charged with animal cruelty.  But the dogs were at least alive then and the hope that they could be truly rescued by compassionate people who would respect their right to live was alive as well.  Now there is no such hope, courtesy of the Broward Co pound and its enablers.

Where there is life, there is hope. Killing is not rescue.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Dead Shelter Pets Don’t Lie

When we talk about shelter statistics – or save rate, kill rate, hard numbers or any way you want to describe it – we are talking about pets.  Dogs and cats, including feral cats whose home is the community, who for whatever reason have been placed in cages at the shelter – these are the lives represented by a shelter’s stats.  Every one of these animals has the right to live.

In the case of rescue groups, private shelters that don’t perform animal control duties or any other type of limited admission facility, the statistics are normally going to indicate an extremely high save rate due to the fact that the organization does not accept every pet in need but rather hand picks animals based on such factors as financial resources and available space.

But in the case of open admission shelters – those which accept all animals in need including owner surrenders (whether by appointment or walk-in) – the statistics are going to reflect the director’s commitment to lifesaving which he or she has instilled in the shelter’s staff.  And when the numbers indicate that the primary function of the shelter is pet killing – that is, more than 50% of the animals are killed, I call that a pet killing facility.  I know of no more fitting description.

Many pet killing facilities do not function in a vacuum but in fact have a network of enablers – volunteers, rescuers, donors and others who support the killing by attempting to justify it in various ways.  The director, staff and their enablers often blame the so-called irresponsible public, the debunked myth of pet overpopulation and a general lack of support for the killing.  They may claim that outsiders do not understand their unique set of challenges.  Every pet killing facility seems to believe their situation is unique when in reality they all have more in common than they do differences.  When the killing is criticized by locals, they may blame those people directly with witty zingers such as “How many animals have YOU fostered?” and “Are YOU going to pay for vet care for all these animals?”  The irony of blaming compassionate people who don’t want to see pets killed for not providing direct assistance to a pet killing facility is apparently lost on some.

In some cases, pet killing facilities attempt to deflect attention and justify killing by referencing another facility in a nearby county which kills more pets than they do – as if that somehow trumps any individual animal’s right to live or reduces the responsibility on the part of those doing the killing.  But Ma, the kid that sits behind me in class pushed two girls into the river.  I only pushed one!  False choices are frequently offered such as, “Would you rather we cram 20 dogs into every run, force them to fight for food and live in filth or humanely euthanize them?”  As if these are the only two options available.

And then there are claims, whether vague or specific, that the pet killing facility is trying their best and/or improving.  Well hey, trying your best is better than trying your worst, right?  And improving beats a downward spiral any day of the week.   But dead shelter pets don’t lie.  If you are killing healthy/treatable dogs and cats, your best is not good enough and your improvements are falling short in the most horrifying way imaginable.  Stop. Reform.  Abandon your failing ways.  Embrace change.  Follow in the footsteps of those who have faced your challenges and worked hard to beat them long term.  Spend less time in your comfort zone  having your ego stroked by enablers and more time doing your job to actually shelter pets.

Rather than trumpeting your reasons for killing, let the animals saved by your shelter speak for themselves.  Because live shelter pets don’t lie either.  And they make way better spokesmen.

NC Animal Control Administrator is Proud of Pound’s Performance

The Gaston County pound in North Carolina kills dogs and cats.  A private citizen had hoped to open a no kill shelter in Gaston Co but recently announced the plan will not move forward.  The local paper falls all over itself in its capacity as killing enabler:

Euthanasia by legal injection is common at the public shelter in Dallas, due to the volume of incoming animals and the need to free-up space.

It’s not “euthanasia” if the pet is healthy or treatable – it’s killing.  If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be enabling it.  Killing shelter pets is not an ethical means of freeing up space.

Officials say the problem stems from people not spaying or neutering their pets. That leads to residents who “surrender” animals, despite being informed by staff the dogs or cats will likely have to be euthanized.

Blame the public.  The tried and true method for enabling shelter pet killing while maintaining the status quo.  It’s a lame tactic that’s never ended the killing anywhere but hey, don’t let that stop you.  No shelter pets in this country “have to be” killed – it’s a choice made by directors.

Gaston County Animal Control Administrator Reggie Horton said he’s proud of the strides that have been made there in recent years to get more dogs and cats into good homes.

“With everybody working together, we’ve been able to realize placement numbers that are just unprecedented,” he said.

Everybody is not working together in Gaston Co.  I know this because the pound is killing pets instead of sheltering them.  That means everybody at the pound is failing to do their jobs.  Therefore, although some members of the public are working together to save pets from being killed in Gaston Co, it’s unfair to imply that shelter workers are doing their jobs and deserve credit for any animals the public has saved from their kill room.

Here are the “unprecedented” numbers which make Reggie Horton proud.

Gaston Co AC’s kill rate for dogs and cats:

I don’t see any significant improvement from 2010 to 2011.  And while the 11% decrease in killing from 2011 to 2012 is good in the sense that less killing is better than more killing – it’s not acceptable.  Shelter pets have the right to live.  Gaston Co is infringing upon that right in the most violent manner possible – by killing the animals they are supposed to be sheltering.

Compare these numbers with the dozens of open admission shelters around the country who are saving 90% or more of their pets.  That’s something to be proud of – and something Gaston Co could do too, if anyone in a leadership position demanded that people start doing their jobs.  Instead the killing and enabling continues in Gaston Co and leadership is proud of it.

“We’re doing the best we can!” – Nashville edition

Dog ID #101252 at the Nashville pound, as pictured on PetHarbor.

Dog ID #101252 at the Nashville pound, as pictured on PetHarbor.

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.

Cat ID #101428 in a trap on a trash bin at the Nashville pound, as pictured on PetHarbor.

Cat ID #101428 in a trap on a trash bin at the Nashville pound, as pictured on PetHarbor.

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.

Dog ID #101482 on a chokepole at the Nashville pound, as pictured on PetHarbor.

Dog ID #101482 on a chokepole at the Nashville pound, as pictured on PetHarbor.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Things Killing Apologists Say

•  Campbell Co Mayor William Baird on the Campbell Co pound in TN:

Its annual euthanization rate is about 80 percent, which the mayor said is typical of rural counties.

(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:

[O]ur euthanasia rates are favorable when you compare them to other counties[.]

(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:

We would like this (shelter) to be as ‘low kill’ as possible. That is a wonderful goal[.]

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.

Mama dog and 2 pups at the Vance Co pound in NC, as pictured on

Mama dog and 2 pups at the Vance Co pound in NC, as pictured on

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?

Stokes Co: The Killings Will Continue Until Donations Improve

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.


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