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 can be bothered to answer the phone or call 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.)

 

Memphis Pound Kills Puppy Despite Waiting List of Adopters

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov

Puppy ID # 269057 at the Memphis pound.

Puppy ID #269057 at the Memphis pound, as pictured on Facebook.

Puppy #269057 was impounded by the Memphis pound on July 18 as a stray.  He was housed in the “healthy hold” area during the mandatory holding period and photographed by Memphis Pets Alive.

Animal lovers networking this pup on social media report that there was a waiting list of people wanting to adopt him. His “review date” at the pound was July 24. On that date, despite having been in the healthy hold area for several days, MAS decided this puppy was so sick with parvo he had to be immediately killed the moment his mandatory hold expired.  No one on the waiting list was contacted.

Tragically, this pup wasn’t the first to be killed by MAS while adopters tried to save him and he won’t be the last.  How many more, Memphis?

(Thanks Lou Ann for sending me this link.)

Lancaster Co SPCA Kills Dog for Growling, Because They Can

Scout and Josie, as shown on the NBC Philadelphia website.

Scout and Josie, as shown on the NBC Philadelphia website.

On July 1, a PA family surrendered their two healthy Australian shepherds to the Chester Co SPCA because they had been unable to rehome them after moving from a house to an apartment.  The 1 year old siblings, Scout and Josie, are described by owner Shana Goane as loving and friendly with no hint of any aggression issues.  Ms. Goane paid $500 to the Chester Co SPCA and asked that Scout and Josie be kept together, if possible.

Two days later, Ms. Goane called the Chester Co SPCA with good news:  she’d found a home for both pets.  But after pocketing the $500, Chester Co had shipped the dogs off to the Lancaster Co SPCA.  And the Lancaster Co SPCA killed Josie shortly after arrival for aggression.  Specifically, there was an alleged growl:

Josie began exhibiting aggression soon after she arrived, according to LCSPCA director Sue Martin.

“One of these instances included a senior staff having to remove the dog in order to clean the cage whereas the dog growled at them showing teeth,” Martin said. “Another staff member had to enter the kennel and remove the dog so the senior staff could safely exit the kennel.”

[...]

Martin emphasized that euthanasia is always a last resort[.]

Weak tea. I think I’ve seen this movie before. And it sucks.

Ms. Goane drove to the Lancaster Co SPCA to pick up Josie’s body and save Scout from all that prevention of cruelty and such.

That’s some racket they are running up there.  $500 to accept your friendly, young, healthy purebred dogs, only to ship them off to someplace else as soon as you leave the parking lot.  Then that place freaks the frell out when a dog who’s been taken from her home and housed inside two different shelters within a matter of hours says boo instead of doing backflips on command and immediately finding herself an adopter with cash in hand.

Oh but killing is always a last resort.  The first resort is the fabrication of crummy excuses to kill animals.  Then they go to the last resort.

There ought to be a law.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Nebraska Humane Society Kills Two Cats for Hissing

Chloe and Truman, as shown on the WOWT website.

Chloe and Truman, as shown on the WOWT website.

The Lovewell family in Nebraska had 2 snuggly cats since they were kittens – Chloe, age 13 and Truman, age 7.  Due to a chronic health issue with a family member, the Lovewells decided to take the cats to the Nebraska Humane Society where they believed the cats would find new homes.  No one at the facility led them to suspect otherwise and had anyone done so, the family says they would not have left them there.

But that night, the Lovewells were unable to sleep and realized they could not bear to part with their pets, no matter what.  They called the Nebraska HS first thing the next morning to let them know not to adopt out Chloe and Truman as they wanted them back.  But their calls were sent to voicemail.  And anyway, the Nebraska HS had already killed both pets:

Nebraska Humane Society spokesperson Pam Wiese said, “They were acting aggressively, hissing and spitting and swatting and we couldn’t really handle them. If you can’t handle them, you can’t get them into a kennel to get them into adoptable condition.”

It sounds like the cats were scared at the time they entered the facility – which is normal behavior for cats.  The staff at the Nebraska HS should know this and should have protocols in place to allow cats time to settle.  Instead, the facility apparently has a policy that if a pet is not immediately made “into adoptable condition” – wearing a bow tie and playfully rolling a ball of yarn around the cage I suppose - he needs to be made into dead condition.  The Humane, it hurts.

The Nebraska HS says it will now explain to all surrendering parties that their pets might be killed.  And someone will start answering calls from people wanting to reclaim their pets.  Oh.  I was hoping they were going to stop killing animals and conducting useless behavioral assessments at the time of impound.  I guess humane doesn’t mean what I think it means.

Note:  Comments bashing the owners for surrendering the cats will be deleted.  Every single one of us has made decisions we regret.  Sometimes we can correct them, sometimes we can not.  This family tried.  They believed, as most people do, that a place calling itself a humane society was staffed by animal lovers who would not kill their pets.  Now they know better.  Blame the people doing the killing.

(Thanks Karen for the link.)

Augusta Pound Refusing to Adopt Out Animals Because of Possibility Adopters Might Not Follow Through with Neuters

In Richmond Co, Georgia, Augusta Animal Services has been killing 70% of its animals for the past two years.  And that tragic kill rate appears to be the result of a hot mess perpetuated by local leaders.

An animal advocate recently told the Augusta Chronicle that Augusta pound director Sharon Broady refuses to work with rescues and charges them full adoption fees.  In addition, with the loss last month of the pound’s part-time vet, animals are apparently being single-tracked to the kill room, with the state spay-neuter law being cited as the reason.  No vet=no neuters=no live releases.

Georgia state law and Richmond County ordinance both require shelters to either neuter pets prior to adoption or have the adopter sign an agreement that the pet will be neutered within 30 days (for adult animals).  It is unclear to me why the Augusta pound is not utilizing the latter option in order to save lives.  The director cites a lack of compliance in past on the part of owners who adopted intact pets but fails to mention that the alternative choice she is making, instead of working to increase compliance, is death.

The pound’s adoption program appears to be suspended and the facility is killing more than 100 pets a week. The director won’t reopen the adoption program until a veterinarian is hired.  City commissioners recently approved hiring a full time vet for the pound but there is no sense of urgency to fill the position, which the city estimates may take as long as 6 months.  No rush I guess, as long as the city has the landfill space for the mountain of dead animals it’s creating.

The city commissioners bring the blame:

“This is a community wide problem and not strictly to our animal control director. It goes all the way down to people who have pets and don’t take care of them,” Commissioner Donnie Smith said.

It is the director’s choice to kill animals instead of allowing rescues and adopters to save them. That choice is not in any way reflective of the behavior of area pet owners. Naming the problem is the first step to finding a solution.

Then there’s this guy:

“I wish we had more debate about abortions. I mean nobody has talked about that. animals are animals and I love animals. We don’t have the funds and I approved to have a veterinarian. At some point we need to have responsible pet owners,” Commissioner Joe Jackson said.

What, no nightcaps?

What, no nightcaps?

Mmmmkaaaay.  I wish we had a debate about foxes wearing pajamas.  Maybe I’ll get my wish someday and maybe Commissioner Jackson will get his.  In the meantime, the director of the Augusta pound is choosing to operate the place primarily as a pet killing facility while turning away rescuers and adopters.  While we’re waiting for our debate wish lists to be fulfilled, maybe we could talk about that.

(Thanks Clarice and Kim for sending me links on this story.)

One Dog Not Killed by the Pound

Not chasing tennis balls anytime soon.

Not chasing tennis balls anytime soon.

Yesterday a dog apparently crawled underneath someone’s truck in a parking lot where I too was parked. When the family returned to their vehicle and tried to leave, they said they felt a hump and knew instantly they had run over something. It was the dog, of course.

A few of us approached to help but no one wanted to get too close to the pitbull, who was dragging her hind leg and trying to find a quiet spot. I talked to her and since she appeared friendly, I decided to kneel down and hold my hand close enough to her face so she could respond one way or the other. (How brave I am now that I have health insurance and can get seen by a doctor if a dog bites me, heh. Thanks Obamacare!) She gave my hand a kiss so I moved in to pick up the tether she was dragging. Someone had wrapped a chain around her neck 3 times and attached a leash type tether to it, which appeared frayed at the end, as if possibly she’d broken free.

I attempted to get information from the family who had accidentally run over her regarding any possible owner. There was no known person with the dog. Another woman asked if we should call animal control to pick the dog up and of course I said no, knowing that would be a death sentence. Just then the driver of the truck came around the corner and announced that she had called AC and they were on the way. So I decided to stay with the dog and see if pleading for her life might do any good. Nothing to lose.

When the ACO arrived I was so pleased to see how gentle he was with the dog and how compassionate he appeared to be. I asked if there was any chance at all the dog would not be killed and he told me in a very straightforward manner that there was no hope of that. He explained how much he hated that fact but that he wanted to be honest with me. I told him I could not send an apparently young, friendly and otherwise healthy dog to be killed. She at least deserved a veterinary evaluation. I am currently broke but I still have a couple hundred dollars in the bank, courtesy of donations that readers have made to the blog’s expense account over the years. I made an executive decision and decided no one who donated to the blog expenses fund would mind if I raided it under these circumstances. I am going to pay it back over time and a woman in the parking lot offered to chip in as well.

The kind ACO managed to get the dog onto his stretcher and unwind the chain from around her neck. He loaded her into my car for me and said I could call him later in the week and he would come by to pick up the stretcher. He scanned her for a chip, found none and wrote up a found dog report. I asked if he needed to take her picture and he said the pound doesn’t have that capability.  He explained to me that someone could potentially reclaim her but added that anyone attempting to do so would need to have a very good explanation for why the dog was loose with a chain wound around her neck.  He thanked me profusely for helping the dog and asked me to let him know what happens with her.

I called the emergency vet clinic on the way and they took her to the back immediately upon arrival. I was asked to fill out paperwork, which I did, scrawling “I have financial limitations.” across the top. After awhile, the vet who had examined her spoke to me about his findings. The injuries did not appear to be grave and he explained that despite the fact that I was being handed an $800 estimate for care that would be ideal, much of it was precautionary in nature. I was given the option to go through the estimate item by item, picking out the services I could afford. He strongly recommended at least one x-ray. I picked out $200 worth of services, including an x-ray. This is that x-ray:

Radiograph of dog pelvis showing 2 fractures  (click to enlarge)

Radiograph of dog pelvis showing 2 fractures (click to enlarge)

The dog’s pelvis is fractured in 2 places but they will heal on their own, with approximately 6 weeks of cage rest. The vet said, “She got lucky.” I was never so happy to hear 3 words. The vet told me the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible and thanked me for not leaving the dog in the lobby, which he said happens regularly.  He gave me $50 off the bill. They sent us home with pain pills and home care instructions.

We already have too many dogs. Now we have one more, at least temporarily. I tried reaching out to some area rescues but have been turned down. She is approximately 9 months old and I am assuming she is intact, although due to the pain she’s in, I haven’t checked for a spay scar. Her belly looks wormy but she has not been starved and has a good amount of muscle on her. I assume she needs vaccines, heartworm testing/meds, deworming and spay surgery, once she regains her health. But that’s down the road. For now, I am taking things with her one day at a time. Yesterday was a good day.

In the absence of a shelter that actually shelters animals in need, at least we have the so-called irresponsible public. Thank you to the generous woman who offered on the spot to help with the bill, to all of you who have donated to the blog’s expense fund in the past, and to the kind ACO who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth when it mattered. I will keep everyone posted on this dog’s progress.

For as long as this dog is with us, she will need a name. I decided to name her in honor of the little girl whose family accidentally ran over the dog. She was so polite and well spoken and she impressed me with her sincere concern for the dog. She waited with me for awhile until her family left. While we were waiting for AC, she spotted an ambulance coming down the road and said, “I think that’s them!” This fills me with hope. I want that world to exist in this little girl’s lifetime. I want it to be true that animals are treated as sentient beings with the right to live and that when a stray dog has an emergency, the local shelter takes swift action to help protect that dog from further harm. And so, this dog will be called Jade.

Billy can not stand for any dog to be without a tennis ball.

Billy can not stand for any dog to be without a tennis ball.

Memphis Pound Kills Ten Kittens in One Day

Public records of ten kittens killed by the Memphis pound on May 22, 2014:

Records from Memphis Animal Services, obtained via FOIA request (click to enlarge)

Records from Memphis Animal Services, obtained via FOIA request (click to enlarge)

The first four kittens on the list were killed because of their “behavior”. I guess the person holding them in their hands must have been mauled after these photos were taken. The complete records, including all veterinary notes, were requested. The only records provided by the city of Memphis were copies of the cage cards. Records indicate that the behavior of these tiny kittens was so unmanageable, they could not be scanned for a chip or weighed. But all four kittens had their records marked “no chip” at the time they were killed.

266315

266316

266317

266318

no chip

The next two kittens on the list were killed because MAS staff didn’t have “time” to take care of them. The complete records, including all veterinary notes, were requested. The only records provided by the city of Memphis were copies of the cage cards.

266351
266352

MAS killed the last four kittens on the list because they were “too young”. Kittens have that tendency. It’s not a permanent disability but when you operate primarily as a pet killing facility like MAS does, any excuse will do. The complete records, including all veterinary notes, were requested. The only records provided by the city of Memphis were copies of the cage cards.  Note that all four kittens were killed before their “review date”, the date the city says must expire before the animals can be photographed or networked by Memphis Pets Alive to save them from the kill room.

266565

266566

266567

266647

But don’t criticize, they’re doing the best they can, we all want the same thing, blah.

York Co SPCA Kills 36 Cats in Response to Ringworm Outbreak

Ringworm is a treatable condition which appears as a skin infection in pets.  Both oral and topical medications may be prescribed by a vet in treating pets with ringworm.  As with all diseases, it’s essential that animal shelters have protocols in place to prevent ringworm since treatment involves time, space and money – resources which shelters must use carefully.  The Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis has very detailed recommendations for shelters on both prevention and treatment.  These include:

  • Carefully inspect all incoming animals and all animals being considered for foster care or group housing. Look for any areas of hair loss, scabbing, or crusting, especially focal areas affecting the face, ears, feet or tail.
  • Segregate affected or suspected animals and institute cleaning protocols to prevent further spreading.
  • Environmental decontamination
  • During an outbreak or in areas that have frequent problems with ringworm, separate housing of all kittens in an easy to bleach area for at least two weeks, followed by careful re-inspection for signs of ringworm.

It sounds like hard work but obviously for a shelter, it comes with the territory.  After all, the name is not Animal Shelter, When It’s Easy and Convenient.

Dingo, a cat with ringworm (Photo by JF Richards)

Dingo, a cat with ringworm (Photo by JF Richards)

Dingo after receiving treatment for ringworm (Photo by JF Richards)

Dingo, after receiving treatment for ringworm (Photo by JF Richards)

On April 1, the Fox affiliate in central PA reported that the York County SPCA killed 36 cats in response to a ringworm outbreak, for convenience:

York County SPCA executive director, Melissa Smith, says likely a stray cat spread its undetected ringworm to 120 cats.

Smith says, “That was too large a number for us to successfully treat so we decided to decrease that number down to a more manageable amount we could quarantine.”

Decrease that number. Ew.

Apparently the quarantine area at the York Co SPCA can house 90 cats so they killed 36 cats for convenience. And if you don’t like them apples, you will probably not like hearing that the decision to needlessly kill cats for convenience is your fault:

It’s a decision Smith says is preventable by spaying or neutering your pet.

If only we irresponsible public types would spay and neuter, the staff at the York Co SPCA would start doing their jobs. Wait – I did spay and neuter my pets. Now what’s the excuse? The York Co SPCA board president explains:

The York County SPCA recently experienced an outbreak of ringworm that ultimately resulted in the difficult decision to euthanize 36 cats. In a perfect world, there would be no unwanted animals, no need to operate animal shelters, and thus no need for those who dedicate their lives to the well-being of animals to make the heart-wrenching decision of euthanasia.

Such decisions are made out of necessity, not by choice, in thousands of similar humane organizations across the country on a daily basis. Sadly, an ideal world is one we continually strive for but not the reality of the world in which we live.
[...]
Many are demanding the resignation of Executive Director Melissa Smith, who has been a tireless advocate for the well-being of animals for nearly 25 years. Let us be unmistakably clear: Melissa Smith has the full support of the York County SPCA Board of Directors and will continue to do so.
[...]
Euthanasia is a disease that can be cured. The ultimate blame for this measure should be assigned not to those who must routinely make such heart-wrenching decisions, but to those who do not properly care for their animals, leave them unattended, allow them to reproduce, and whose lack of responsibility inevitably causes countless unwanted animals to end up in our and similar shelters throughout the country each day.

To recap:

  • The world is imperfect. Therefore, it’s anything goes, including cat killing!
  • Thousands of other shelters needlessly kill pets every day. Which makes it ok.
  • “Euthanasia is a disease that can be cured.” So it’s exactly like ringworm!
  • Don’t blame those doing the killing for the killing of pets. Blame your awful selves.
  • We are awesome. You guys suck.

Notably absent from the Yay Cat Killings/Boo You People PR:

  • Any mention of the York Co SPCA’s protocols to prevent ringworm
  • A detailed explanation for how those protocols failed
  • Whether any/all of the 120 cats were actually tested for ringworm
  • Why the York Co SPCA chose to kill for convenience instead of issuing a plea to the public for assistance
  • Why donors should continue to have faith in the York Co SPCA
  • What changes are being implemented in order to avoid, or at least minimize, another outbreak.

I guess the organization was so busy congratulating itself on its tireless animal advocacy filling up the dumpster with dead cats, no one remembered to appear accountable.  But when they are not killing cats, they are probably doing their jobs, right?  I mean, they would be, if it was a perfect world.  Until then, sucks being a cat at the York Co SPCA.

(Thank you Beth for the links.)

MAS Moves to Increase “Time and Space” Killings with Photo Ban

Memphis Animal Services (MAS) is a pet killing facility which has long cited “time and space” as its primary reason for killing dogs and cats.  In order to counter the alleged time and space issues at MAS, a group called Memphis Pets Alive has been photographing pets at the pound weekly, sharing them on Facebook.  In this way, owners looking for lost pets have an opportunity to see clear photos on an easily navigable and popular website – a service the pound does not provide.  In addition, rescuers and potential adopters can see the pets currently at the pound and begin making arrangements to get the pets out alive once the holding period expires, a date which Memphis Pets Alive notes on its posts.

The marketing of pets immediately upon impound is an important tool used by shelters wishing to increase their return-to-owner and overall live release rates as well as reducing their average length of stay.  MAS does not market pets upon impound, selectively choosing to photograph only some pets, using seemingly arbitrary criteria, and list them on a user-unfriendly website not designed for the public to navigate.  But Memphis Pets Alive has helped bridge the gap by photographing pets every week and sharing them on Facebook.

This week however, Memphis Pets Alive was informed by pound director James Rogers that they would no longer be allowed to photograph pets who are still within their mandatory holding period.  The “review date”, as MAS terms it on its cage cards, must be met before anyone is allowed to photograph the pets.

The Tiny Problem with That:  MAS typically kills pets the day of, or the morning after, their so-called review date.  Review is MAS-speak for Kill.  Some examples of pets who have been killed by MAS on, or within hours of, their review date:

  • Beauty and Rocko – two young, healthy dogs whose owner wanted them back.
  • Two owned dogs who were supposed to be quarantined at MAS for 10 days but who were killed after 72 hours because “review date”.
  • 3 year old mixed breed dog who was impounded after the owner fell behind on utility bills and killed by MAS on her review date.

In addition, the following pets listed on the Memphis Pets Alive Facebook page are just some who were recently listed as having been killed on their review date:

Dog #265867 at the Memphis pound, listed as killed on his review date.

Dog #265867 at the Memphis pound, listed as killed on his review date.  [Photo by Memphis Pets Alive]

Tragically, these dead pets are the “lucky” ones, in terms of MAS killing, since they were allowed to live until their review date.  MAS also kills pets before their review date.  Nola, a lost dog whose owner went to MAS trying to find her, was killed before her review date.  And pets who are owner surrendered do not get the “benefit” of a review date at all.  MAS often kills them upon impound.

Needless to say, shelter pet advocates raised hell about the photo ban.  After all, MAS is still killing pets for “time and space” but now actively blocking efforts by advocates to reduce the supposed time and space burdens placed upon the $7 million pet killing facility.  The city posted a response on its website which explains that the reason for the dick move ban is because MAS doesn’t want a potential adopter to see a pet’s photograph on Facebook and mistakenly believe the animal is immediately available for adoption.  Because MAS cares, really, so much:

MAS views the emotional trauma of such an unfortunate misunderstanding too great a risk[...]

I wonder how much of an emotional trauma it is to have your pet killed by MAS because of “time and space”, such as has happened to so many Memphis pet owners.  But I guess Memphis is all full up on caring.  The city can’t possibly care one iota more.  It’s too great a risk to consider more caring.  So please everyone, stop bothering MAS about its enormous level of caring.  Just leave it alone and quit bringing up how hugely much MAS cares.  Because the caring, it’s bulging and gigantic.  And space is an issue.

(Thanks Arlene for sending me info on this story.)

FL Pound Kills 16 Dogs in Response to Parvo Outbreak, Cites ASPCA Guidelines

Last Monday, Lake County commissioners “began investigating the deaths of several puppies which appear not to have received the proper vaccinations before they were cleared for adoption” at the pound.  On Tuesday, one dog, followed by several more at the Lake Co pound, reportedly began exhibiting parvo-like symptoms.  On Wednesday, the county veterinarian recommended shutting down the facility – dog adoptions and intakes were both halted.  That night, asymptomatic dogs were given booster vaccinations.  By Thursday, cat adoptions had also been suspended.  Somewhere in there, 16 symptomatic dogs were killed.  I have found no publicly available information indicating any dog was ever tested for parvo or diagnosed by a veterinarian.

The county claims that all animals are vaccinated upon intake but given the current investigation, that appears to be questionable.  When asked why the 16 dogs did not receive supportive care, Brian Sheahan, Lake Co community safety and compliance director, offered 2 justifications for the killings:  treatment is “extraordinarily expensive” (not necessarily) and the county is “following the ASPCA guidelines” regarding parvo.  That second thing appears to be accurate, tragically.

The ASPCA recommendations for shelters which have one dog diagnosed with parvo are the same for those with more than one dog diagnosed:

Dogs that are owned by the shelter but not strong adoption candidates are immediately euthanized.

As for the definition of “not strong adoption candidates” – it’s anything goes.  And if that’s not broad enough for you, the ASPCA gives additional leeway:

Dogs and puppies diagnosed with CPV may be euthanized for the following reasons:

1) No space at veterinary clinic to treat
2) Not adoption candidate
3) Failure to improve with treatment (defined by shelter veterinary discretion)
4) Parvo in addition to other illness

It’s disappointing to see that the ASPCA is not only providing cover for the needless killing of shelter pets but hasn’t updated its guidelines to reflect lifesaving as a priority for shelters dealing with parvo.  Diagnosis of disease is never a license to kill pets.  Decisions must be made on an individual basis utilizing the prognosis for each animal provided by a veterinarian.  It’s unclear if testing even occurred at Lake Co, let alone obtaining a prognosis for each individual dog from a vet.

Lake Co is no stranger to failure.  The public has long been critical of the needless pet killing at the facility.  The current director, on the job for just months, is quitting.  The county manager stated last week that he would request an audit of the pound’s intake and vaccination protocols.  Wow, you really want to go that far?  Color me underwhelmed.

Apparently the county politicians are only interested in scraping the tip of the iceberg then applying a band-aid to the pound’s image.  I hope the public will continue to demand meaningful reform at the Lake Co pound, including the implementation of the proven programs of the No Kill Equation.  Continued killing while hiding behind the skirts of the ASPCA is not going to cut it.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

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