Philly Pound Oops-Kills Microchipped Lost Dog Whose Owner Filled Out Lost Dog Report

When Cailin Mulvihill’s 15 year old microchipped chihuahua named Rhonda accidentally wandered out of her yard, she immediately began searching for her.  She put up flyers around the neighborhood and went to the Philadelphia Animal Care & Control Team where she filled out a lost dog report.  One day later, a Good Samaritan saw Ms. Mulvihill’s flyer and called her with good news:  Rhonda had been found just a block from home and taken to the pound.  Ms. Mulvihill immediately went to reclaim her pet but the pound had killed her upon intake.  Oops.

The devastated woman asked for an explanation from ACCT’s staff, who initially told her they had scanned Rhonda’s microchip but it didn’t work, Mulvihill explained.

Ms. Mulvihill didn’t buy it. She drove Rhonda’s body to her veterinarian, Dr. Judith Tamas, where the pet was scanned three times and the chip was located three times. (There is a video of Rhonda’s body being scanned at the link but her face is not shown.)  So the pound staff had lied.

“This is the worst kind of negligence [and] laziness,” Dr. Tamas said.

I was thinking that too but pound director Sue Cosby seems to be of the mind that the
rush to kill Rhonda was a kindness:

“I believe the expediency was based on concern for the condition of the dog. It was not callous,” says Cosby, “but policy was overlooked.”

Policy being to scan every animal for a microchip – twice. Staff failed to scan Rhonda even once in their rush to kindness her. Then they lied about it to the owner in an effort to cover up their wrongdoing. I never thought “expediency” could be made to sound so creepy.

Rhonda’s vet said her health was that of a typical elderly dog and that she suffered from sporadic seizures – something which could have been quickly clarified by the pound staff had they done their jobs and gotten the owner’s contact info off the chip. Or failing that, checked their own lost dog reports to find the owner’s info. Or you know – kill, lie, whatever.

After admitting the error, the ACCT put the staff member responsible for the euthanization on unpaid leave while the agency decides what steps to take next, Cosby said.

Maybe a roundtable discussion on expediency and the value of life? Just a suggestion.

The director is refusing to release the name of the employee. But we should just take her word that there is someone on unpaid leave and the pound is taking this seriously, I guess.

Meanwhile Ms. Mulvihill grieves for the loss of her family member and gave the local NBC affiliate a message for her beloved pet:

“I love you Rhonda and you are perfect in every way.”

We have tragically seen callous pound workers fail to protect the lost pets in their care and kill them instead of returning them to their owners countless times. Often, they blame the owners for failing to microchip their pets. Except when they kill chipped pets like Rhonda, in which case – uh, lie.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

TZI Recommends Shelter Should Not Let You Have Your Lost Cat Back

Cleo, a feral cat who has been vaccinated and neutered, and whose caregiver loves her.  (Photo by Casey Post)

Cleo, a feral cat who has been vaccinated and neutered, and whose caregiver loves her. (Photo by Casey Post)

In August 2013, the Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Program issued a summary of recommendations to the Hillsborough Co pound in FL following a consultation.  The recommendation regarding stray cats was particularly troubling to me since it threatened the bond between people and their lost pets.  From the report:

Eliminate the required hold period for stray cats. Stray cats lacking identification are extremely unlikely to be reclaimed by owners and are at high risk for shelter – acquired disease and euthanasia. Eliminating even a few days in the shelter may be the difference between life and death for them. The shelter can simultaneously have an option for immediate live release paired with a required hold period of 3 days prior to euthanasia.

Not only is Maddie’s Fund failing to attribute a low return to owner rate to its proper source – the pound, it fails to acknowledge one of the primary purposes of municipal shelters:  to reunite lost pets with their owners.

The No Kill Advocacy Center weighed in on the elimination of stray holding periods when HSUS suggested it in its 2013 white paper on California shelters:

[I]f a dog or cat comes in as a stray, and he does not have identification, he can be adopted to someone else immediately without giving his family any time to reclaim him. This is unfair to families who deeply love their animal companions. [...] Accidents happen; animals get lost and end up at shelters. Since the choice presented — immediate adoption or sickness/death — is a false one, breaking up families by having them lose all rights in their animal with no reclaim period of any kind appears draconian.

I am deeply opposed to the elimination of holding periods for any pet whose owner might be looking for him. It’s the shelter’s job to treat the bond between pets and their people as sacrosanct. Which is why I was shocked to read that the Target Zero Institute, in its recommendations to the troubled Amarillo pound in TX, has taken the travesty even further. TZI not only recommends eliminating the holding period for stray cats lacking identification but for all cats found outside – including friendly, possibly microchipped pets who may be wearing collars and/or tags and whose owners are searching for them:

The TZI recommends returning outside cats back to their original neighborhoods following sterilization, rabies vaccination and ear tipping. [...]TZI recommends returning cats to their ‘outside home’ where they have a food source as evidenced by a healthy body weight. These may be feral cats that cannot be handled or friendly cats found outside.

If Amarillo, or any other municipal shelter, adopts TZI’s barbaric recommendation regarding cats found outdoors, your pet could be turned into the shelter by a cat hating neighbor or anyone at all, or he could simply be trapped by an ACO and, so long as he appears to be “visually healthy”, he would be immediately vaccinated, neutered, ear-tipped and put back on the street. This would happen as a matter of policy – even if you were actively searching for your pet, even if you had microchipped him and even if you had placed a collar and an ID tag on him. If he’s found outside, TZI wants him immediately anesthetized, put through surgery and turned loose in the area where he had gotten lost (or presumably where the cat hating neighbor says he was found).

TZI says in its report that this practice will save money by reducing the number of cats who “have to be cared for, fed and ultimately [killed] in large numbers” at the pound.

No cats “have to be” killed.  Full stop.  If you don’t get that, get out of the shelter consulting business.

All cats impounded by shelters should be immediately – in the field whenever possible – scanned for microchips and checked for ID tags.  No exceptions.  A chip or ID tag should equate with a free ride home from the ACO.  Those cats lacking identification should be photographed and posted online by the facility immediately.  Anyone visiting the shelter looking for a lost pet should be shown every pet in the place as a matter of course.  Reuniting families is part of the job.  It seems to me to be one of the best parts, by the way, and I can’t imagine why anyone who supposedly cares about shelter pets would want to eliminate it.

Now that Maddie’s Fund and HSUS have opened this awful door and TZI has barreled through it with a bulldozer, I can’t help but wonder what’s next.  Will some consultant recommend that shelters stop housing all dogs found outdoors too?  Gee but we can’t turn dogs back out onto the streets, can we?  So what will “have to be” done with them?

I’m not a shelter consultant, just someone who loves pets and believes dogs and cats have a right to live, regardless of their status in the community.  I don’t get paid for my ideas nor do I have any big money backing me behind the scenes.  Here’s my unsolicited recommendation to shelters and their staff, for what it’s worth:  Do your jobs.  Stop looking for ways to avoid the hard work of sheltering by bringing in big money consultants.  You are accountable to the local taxpayers who pay your salaries and who love their pets.  Start acting like it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Greenville Co Illegally Kills Lost Dog Whose Owner Wanted Him Back

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel was a five year old Siberian Husky whom owner Mandi Nalley describes as “my heart, my son”. Kalel was temporarily living with a trainer in the Greenville Co, SC area in July 2014 when he became lost. On July 30, the trainer notified Ms. Nalley that Kalel was missing. She immediately filled out a lost pet report on the Greenville Co pound’s website and included photos. The next morning, she received an e-mail from someone affiliated with the pound that Kalel had been impounded on July 24 and instructing her to bring in proof of ownership, a leash and $85 in order to reclaim him.

Ms. Nalley went to the pound but did not see Kalel. She asked an employee at the desk to look up the dog’s ID number. The employee advised her Kalel had been killed 2 days ago due to heartworms and a leg injury. Ms. Nalley burst into tears and was unable to compose herself for further conversation so she left. She asked a friend to go in and retrieve Kalel’s body. Upon arrival, the friend says she was told Kalel was alive. Then the director came out and explained that not only was the dog not alive, his body had already been sent to the landfill. And that he’d been killed for aggression.

Greenville Co pound records obtained via FOIA request indicate Kalel was impounded on July 24 and killed on July 29 for “heartworm positive/aggression/space”. The behavioral section of his profile is blank. There are no records indicating his temperament was ever evaluated. There is one handwritten note on his records that reads: “Have to be muzzled to touch mouth or do medical. Otherwise he’s good.” The supposedly injured leg was x-rayed and found to be sound, aside from some inflammation which was treated with medication.

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Because too many so-called shelters were ignoring the state law regarding the mandatory holding period for strays, the attorney general’s office for the state of SC issued a clarification for all municipal facilities accepting stray animals. In the November 2013 release, the AG’s office clearly states that stray animals must be held for five days. In calculating the five days, the day of impound must be excluded, as must weekends and holidays.

Kalel was impounded on Thursday, July 24. Day One of his five day hold was July 25. Day Two was Monday, July 28. On Day Three of his five day hold, Greenville Co killed him. When his owner came to reclaim him on July 31, he was still within his five day holding period. Greenville Co appears to have violated state law by killing Kalel before his mandated holding period expired.

The letter from the state AG’s office seems perfectly clear. And yet public shelters such as Greenville Co continue to kill at will, disregarding the law and tearing families apart in the most violent and permanent way possible. What will it take to get Greenville Co and other kill-because-we-can pounds to comply with the law?

Kalel and owner Mandi Nalley  (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel and owner Mandi Nalley (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

A lost dog who needs to be muzzled to be examined in a pet killing facility but “otherwise he’s good” is hardly a threat to public safety. There is no information in the records indicating Kalel bit, tried to bite or even growled at anyone at the pound. Heartworms are a treatable medical condition and in fact, Kalel’s owner was already giving him medication under guidance from her veterinarian. Space is not a justification to kill a shelter animal under any circumstances and when it’s done during the five day holding period in SC, it’s illegal.

Shame on the Greenville Co pound for needlessly killing a lost pet whose owner loved and wanted him. There is no excuse. Will there be any justice?

Sonoma Co Shelter Decides to Stop Blaming Owners, Start Reuniting Families

Cat ID #309183 at Sonoma Co Animal Services, as shown on PetHarbor.  (Click link to read the fabulous bio.)

Cat ID #309183 at Sonoma Co Animal Services in CA, as shown on PetHarbor. (Click link to read the fabulous bio.)

Instead of shelter directors and staff continually spewing the tired old mantra that the public is irresponsible and if their lost pet got loose, they don’t deserve to have him anyway so let’s not bother doing our jobs, how about this?

“It’s moving away from that old-school thinking that owners are irresponsible,” [Sonoma Co Animal Services director Brigid] Wasson said. “Every grieving pet owner who is looking for a lost pet deserves the same level of high customer service.”

*sits up straight, pays attention*

“Why would we want to find a new home for an animal that already has a good home?” Wasson said.

Hey, yeah… that.

Sonoma Co reportedly returned 55% of its stray dogs and 20% of its stray cats to their owners in the 2013-14 fiscal year which is not too shabby.  And Wasson wants to do even better.  She has instructed her ACOs to spend more time scanning for microchips, making phone calls and knocking on doors around the neighborhood when they find a stray pet.

In addition to doing their jobs to return lost pets to their owners, Sonoma Co ACOs are re-examining their own biases against the public which typically lead to unnecessary impounds:

[ACO Shirley] Zindler said officers tended to assume the worst about people who didn’t make an effort to find their missing pets, which in turn often resulted in the animal being whisked away to the shelter. But she said that attitude is changing.

“Some people don’t realize their animal’s gone yet,” Zindler said. “They’ve been at work, the animal dug out. Certainly every effort would be made to return the animal in the field.”

More, please.

(Thank you Daniela for the link.)

 

Lost Pets, Pregnant Animals and Others Being Killed and Sold for Profit in Duncan, OK

The city of Duncan, OK has an animal control department but it’s unclear to me exactly how that department operates.  The website seems to indicate AC picks up stray pets.  But in a recent media interview, the department refused to disclose details on its operations:

Although the City of Duncan’s Animal Control Department refused to comment on how long they hold animals before they are euthanized, [city manager Jim] Frieda said the humane society is notified of the animals being held so that adoption possibilities can be explored.

The humane society being referred to is apparently the Stephens Co HS. They won’t say how long they hold animals either. From the organization’s website:

SCHS is an open access shelter. We take all animals, excepting only the very ill, the very aggressive or city strays that must be processed through a city’s animal control department. We do not have a minimum ‘hold time’ on any of our animals; based on the high intake numbers we routinely experience, we simply do not have available space to do so.

With every county stray intake, we assess the dog and make a determination 1) whether someone may be looking for it, 2) its adoptability and 3) available space.
[...]

SCHS does not hide the fact that we are an open access facility and that we do euthanize.

Oh crud. They are open admission but won’t take those animals most in need. Of the ones they do take, they won’t say how long they’ll hold them. But they will decide if someone might be looking for them or if someone could ever possibly love them before killing them.  Yay.

Within this partnership of secrecy lies a money making scheme for the city of Duncan.  It sells the dogs and cats killed by AC for profit and has been doing so for about five years according to the Duncan Banner.  The city contracts with Bio Company Inc. and Skulls Unlimited International, Inc.

Bio Company pays $2 for dead cats who measure over 12 inches from nose to tail. The company embalms the carcasses then sells them to schools that dissect cats in their biology classes. But wait, there’s more gruesome:

A customer service representative from Bio Company said the price range depends on what kind of injections the specimen has had, how big they are or if the animal is pregnant.

I don’t suppose the city of Duncan will want to comment on the killing of pregnant animals either.

Skulls Unlimited pays $3 for dead cats and $5 for dead dogs so long as each possesses a full set of adult teeth. After cutting off the animals’ heads, the company removes the flesh and bleaches the bones. The company sells the skulls of housecats for $69.

The city manager wants people to know what a sweet deal this is:

Both companies are responsible for providing equipment to store the animal carcasses, such as freezers, and for disposing of all animals that do not meet their standards.

Frieda also noted that with these agreements, more money is being brought into the general fund.

“With these contracts, we get something for the animals.”

That’s what animal “sheltering” is all about, at least to the city of Duncan I guess. Getting something for dealing with animals. Doing their jobs to actually shelter animals and return them to their owners or help them find new ones is not getting something apparently. I’m not seeing any dollar signs there so no, not getting something. But don’t react normally or anything:

City Manager Jim Frieda said residents should not be alarmed by the contracts.

[...]

“For the most part, all of these animals are animals that are not claimed by any owner that might want to keep the remains or go through a burial process.”

But I mean, how do you know? Neither the city of Duncan, nor the “humane society” it partners with will say how long they hold stray animals, some of whom are lost pets whose owners are looking for them. And with a financial incentive to kill animals, how can local residents possibly give the city the benefit of the doubt?

(Thanks Salette and Nathan for the story.)

Houston Police Officer and Tow Truck Driver Abandon Elderly Dog in Traffic

Guero, as pictued on ABC13.com

Guero, as pictued on ABC13.com

In Houston, the owner of a 14 year old Chihuahua named Guero gave a friend a lift on July 13, taking the pet along for the car ride.  A Houston police officer stopped the vehicle for failing to signal a turn.  And because Houston apparently takes turn signals terrible-awful seriously, the officer decided to search the SUV.  The search turned up prescription medication belonging to the passenger.  But the officer decided to arrest both men. BECAUSE TURN SIGNAL.

The officer called for a tow truck to impound the vehicle but refused to call anyone to pick up Guero.  The owner, Mr. Garcia, pleaded to be allowed to call someone himself but the officer refused.  In Houston, animal control can be reached by calling 311 but the officer refused to make that call nor would he allow the owner to make it.  They were 2 blocks away from AC, at the side of the highway ramp.

Instead, the officer instructed the tow truck driver to leave the dog at the side of the road.  Mr. Garcia begged for Guero’s life, explaining that the pet was nearly blind from cataracts and needed medication.  The officer replied that it wasn’t his problem.

Charges against Mr. Garcia were dropped (apparently not everyone in Houston is on the same page when it comes to zero tolerance for turn signal criminals).  The family put up Lost Pet signs in the area and received a call a few days later from someone advising that a dog matching the description was at the side of the road where the officer had ordered he be abandoned.  The caller was unable to help the dog due to the heavy traffic.  The family went to the area and found their pet dead, having been hit by a car.  They wrapped Guero in a towel, took him home and buried him.

Mrs. Garcia filed a complaint with the Houston police department.  Receiving no response, she addressed the city council on July 22.  There she received a public apology from the mayor.  The police department will investigate itself in the matter, which may take 6 months.

In the meantime, I suggest the unnamed Houston police officer whose reckless disregard for the life of a member of the Garcia family and the tow truck driver who was just following orders when he abandoned the helpless pet at the side of the road ask themselves some serious questions.  Starting with What The Fucking Hell?  The tow truck company isn’t responding to the media, instead hiding behind the police department’s skirts.  And the police department is busy looking for turn signal violators apparently.

Here’s my question:  How does Houston deal with asshats who leave blind dogs in traffic?  If the police officer and tow truck driver aren’t dealt with in exactly the same manner in this case, I call shenanigans on the city of Houston.

Mrs. Garcia says her family has been torn apart by the death of Guero, who had been part of their family his entire life.  In an interview with the local ABC affiliate, she tearfully said:

I felt so much pain, like I never knew I had.

We get it Mrs. Garcia.  Pets are family.  Good on you for refusing to give up in trying to get justice for Guero.

(Thanks Lisa and Davyd.)

NJ Department of Health Investigating Linden Shelter

The city of Linden, NJ operates a shelter where they impound animals from several area cities.  The shelter failed its last inspection.  Animal control falls under the city health department.  Now the state health department is investigating the facility:

“The department is investigating numerous complaints received about the holding of animals at Linden Animal Shelter relating mostly to animals not being held appropriately, unsanitary conditions and improper euthanasia,” state Department of Health communications manager Daniel Emmer said in an email.

Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka says the allegations are “a total lie and an exaggeration” which seems to be wildly contradictory but hey, I didn’t go to Mayor School.

“Our goal is always to unite animals and their owners. And although we have the right to euthanize an animal, our policy is to try working with rescue groups to find good homes for animals that are not claimed.”

They have the right to kill any animals of their choosing.  But they have goals, which you know, kinda balances everything out.

Only animals that are not adoptable, because of age, illness or poor temperament, are euthanized, said Linden Health Officer Nancy Koblis, who oversees animal control.

Not adoptable and euthanized are my least favorite euphemisms in the world.  And in the mouths of killing apologists, they always seem to fall out together.

On Friday September 6, 2013, an area family’s 15 year old pitbull accidentally got lost.  The family began searching for him immediately and called Linden AC but no one there bothered to pick up the phone or call the family back.  The next day, the family went to the local police department and was told their dog had been picked up by Linden AC and taken to an area vet hospital.  They called the hospital, called the hospital emergency number and even drove there in hopes of finding their beloved pet.  The only person they were able to speak with was a veterinarian who had no idea what they were on about.  The family was forced to wait until Monday morning.  But as it turns out, their pet had been killed shortly after arrival at the vet clinic on Friday.  Linden Health Officer Nancy Koblis explained:

“It was an older dog and was not in good shape. The recommendation was to euthanize, which is what we did.”

According to the hospital’s medical history report, the dog was underweight, had a small tumor and was walking with difficulty, possibly from severe hip arthritis.

Yep, sounds like a 15 year old pitbull.  Who was dearly loved by his family who was looking for him and being given the runaround by pet killers.  But nobody WANTS to kill animals, ‘specially on Friday afternoons before quitting time for the weekend.  They have goals there and stuff.

Another complaint made against the Linden shelter from an area resident concerns the hosing of filthy dog runs with dogs still inside.  The resident is upset that the dogs are sprayed with their own urine and feces under the guise of “cleaning”.  But the mayor says people are mistaking what sound like spa days at the pound for mistreatment of animals:

“Our animal control officers do spray the dogs on a hot day and they enjoy getting a shower,” the mayor said. “If someone sees that, they might think something is improperly being done.”

What’s the wording again – a total lie and an exaggeration?  It’s growing on me.

AND there are improvements:

The facility also is making a more visible attempt to reunite animals and owners.

“We’ve done it all along, but probably not as much as people would like us to do,” Koblis said.

Probably not as much as the owners of the 15 year old pitbull we killed on a Friday afternoon then tried to hide so we could at least enjoy our beers over the weekend would like but hey, there’s no pleasing some people.

Workers at the shelter will be taking pictures of animals at the shelter that will be placed on the Internet by a rescue group in hopes that owners will be located, she said.

With no computer access at the facility, she said, animal control workers are unable to search the Internet for missing dogs.

Gee, they are going to start taking pictures.  Welcome to 2014.  But they don’t have computer access and there is no possible way to get that in New Jersey apparently.  Plus they don’t want to encourage the unwashed masses to come in trying to save lives or anything like that:

While the shelter has walk-ins who are looking to adopt, Koblis said, “we would rather give them to rescue groups, who will put them up for adoption.”

“We are not an adoption facility,” she said. “We do animal control. We hold the dog for at least seven days. Hopefully, the owner will come and look for it.

And by hopefully, I take it she means hopefully not since obviously they don’t hold all the dogs for 7 days – or 7 hours even – and nobody really feels like answering the phone or calling back owners looking for their lost pets.  But let’s not criticize.  For the love of ponies – these people have no computer access!

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

 

Baltimore Co Fails to Notify Owner of Impounded Dog with Microchip

Shayla, as pictured on the WBAL website.

Shayla, as pictured on the WBAL website.

Helen Turner’s microchipped shelter dog Shayla escaped her Maryland yard one day last month.  Baltimore Co Animal services picked her up close to home.  Instead of knocking on doors in the neighborhood to see if anyone recognized the dog, the impounding officer apparently just took Shayla to the pound.  Missed opportunity number one.

The Turner family searched the neighborhood for their lost pet, circulated her photo online and contacted area shelters.  Ms. Turner left several messages at the Baltimore Co pound but those messages were all ignored.  Missed opportunity number two.

A member of the public alerted Ms. Turner to a photo of a dog at the pound who looked like Shayla.  Ms. Turner went to the facility, showed the staff a photo of Shayla and asked if she was there.  The staff advised Ms. Turner that Shayla was not at the pound.  Missed opportunity number three.

Ms. Turner decided to walk through the kennels herself to find her dog.  She found Shayla, noted her kennel number and her kill date:  four days after impound.  After doing so, she returned to the front desk and told the staff she wanted to reclaim her pet. The staff regarded her with suspicion:

“I said, ‘Shayla’s here. No. 16.’ And they said, ‘Are you sure? It doesn’t look like her.’ I said, ‘I’m positive that’s our dog. Did you scan her? Because she’s chipped.’ And they were like, ‘Well, I just got here. I don’t know if she’s been scanned,'” Turner said.

Missed opportunity number four. Plus bonus points for side-eyeing the person trying to save the dog from the kill room and sidestepping the chip issue.  No thanks to the staff at the pound, Shayla is now home with her family, enjoying life.

Good going, Baltimore Co.  Remind me again how we all want the same thing and it’s the irresponsible public’s fault that shelters kill animals.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Pets Go Missing After Animal Control Gets Involved

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune's website.

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune’s website.

Annie Allison and her family have owned their beloved cat Doozie Bean for 9 years. He’s been missing since May 7, when he was reportedly trapped in a neighbor’s yard by the ACO for Hornell, NY. Prior to setting the traps in the neighbor’s yard, Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan states the ACO was supposed to knock on doors of area homes to alert residents. In addition, any cats trapped are supposed to be held for 5 days in order to give owners a chance to reclaim them. The ACO in this case, Gary Hadsell, appears to have not followed procedures.

After Ms. Allison brought her concerns to Mayor Hogan, the mayor denied any knowledge of traps being set. He says he talked with ACO Hadsell who reportedly admitted losing one of the cats he trapped. The ACO also apparently denied ever trapping Doozie Bean, claiming he has the ability to immediately distinguish feral cats from owned pets based on their behavior in the trap. The article doesn’t say if he also pulls rabbits out of hats or whether he’s available for kiddie birthday parties.

Mayor Hogan says ACO Hadsell has resigned. This too is clear as mud:

When reached for comment on his resignation, Hadsell said, “I don’t believe I did (resign). If you have any questions, call Shawn Hogan.”

Mayor Hogan also says that because of what happened with Doozie Bean, his city is getting out of the trapping business.

In the meantime, Ms. Allison and her family are heartbroken. She continues to search for Doozie Bean, driving around for hours, whistling for him and shaking cat treats out the window.

***

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

In West Memphis, AR a dog named Blue got spooked during a thunderstorm Saturday night and got lost.  A police officer took him to the West Memphis pound.  When Blue’s owner inquired at the pound Sunday, he was relieved to hear his pet was there.  But Blue’s cage was found empty.  Pound director Kerry Sneed says she personally locked the gate on Blue’s cage Saturday night and that it did not appear that he had escaped on his own.

For several hours Sunday morning, Sneed said there was a window of opportunity for people on the property to steal the dog.

Well gee.  Is that the sort of failure that taxpayers in West Memphis are supposed to accept?  What is being done to actually shelter animals from harm once they arrive at the so-called shelter?  Anything?

The owner, George Johnson, continues to walk the streets, calling for Blue.  He has made his e-mail address public in an effort to get any possible leads on the whereabouts of his pet: rjhealthfirst@yahoo.com

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Gaston Co Kills Owned Pet Upon Impound, Tries to Hide Killing from Owner

Ace, as pictured on the WBTV website.

Ace, as pictured on the WBTV website.

The Gaston County pound in NC spent more than $1.3 million last year and killed well over 1/3 of its pets.  The pound falls under the county police department.

When Ace, a senior Chihuahua mix owned by Brian Humphries, dug out of his yard on May 3, his family immediately began looking for him.  Ace had walked with a limp since birth but got around very well (obviously!) and was not in any pain.  The family searched the neighborhood all weekend and tried the Gaston Co pound, only to find it closed.  Mr. Humphries kept checking the pound’s website to see if Ace’s photo had been posted but never saw his beloved pet.  When the pound opened Monday morning, Mr. Humphries was there to look for Ace.  But pound staff denied that Ace had been picked up by the county.

Since Mr. Humphries was unable to find Ace anywhere, he kept calling the Gaston Co pound, pressing them for information.  Finally the pound staff admitted Ace had been picked up on May 4 and killed immediately upon impound.  The reason? Ace “wasn’t able to put much weight on the leg” he had limped on his entire life.

The reason that most shelters make exceptions for the mandatory holding period is to avoid forcing a pet who is medically hopeless and suffering to linger in a cage for several days.  An example would be a pet who’d been so severely injured by a car that a vet determines there is no reasonable hope of saving the animal’s life. But this was a senior dog who “wasn’t able to put much weight” on one of his legs – hardly a case where immediate euthanasia to prevent further suffering in a medically hopeless animal is required.

Still, when asked by Mr. Humphries for an explanation as to why Ace was killed so quickly, the county police chief e-mailed a response “citing North Carolina law which says the animal can be put down before the minimum holding period is up if the animal is seriously ill or injured.” And Gaston County Animal Control Sgt. Jim Phil classed the whole thing up by blaming the owner:

“There was no kind of ID on this dog,” he said. “If we don’t see that on the dog, it doesn’t do us much good. That’s a responsibility as dictated by the county leash law. If the dog wasn’t running loose, we wouldn’t have picked it up.”

Gosh, the Gaston Co police seem nice.

Mr. Humphries is heartbroken and angry:

“They continued to deny they’d done it,” he said. “If they had given me another 10 to 15 hours from when they picked my dog up, I would’ve been up there to claim him.”

“He might have injured himself getting out of the fence and they could still say, ‘Well he’s injured, so we’re going to kill him.’”
[...]
“That was my little buddy, and my daughters’ too,” he said.”

Pets are family. But in Gaston Co, the so-called irresponsible public gets blamed for everything, including the scrapping of a proposal to go no kill last year:

Officials say the problem stems from people not spaying or neutering their pets.

So long as Gaston County officials continue to kill pets and blame the public for the killing, animals will pay the ultimate price. But since the county hasn’t been able to kill and blame its way out of its myriad pound problems so far, maybe they’d be open to trying something different? Maybe doing their jobs even?  Or not:

WBTV reached out to Gaston County Animal Services multiple times. They have not returned our calls.

If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thank you Clarice, Bonnie and Patricia for the links.)

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