Animal Neglect and Suffering Exposed in KY Pounds

Kittens suffering in a county pound in KY, as photographed by animal advocates and shown on the WAVE website.

Kittens suffering in a county pound in KY, as photographed by animal advocates and shown on the WAVE website.

Animal advocates in KY are suing some county shelters for failing to comply with the state’s humane care law for shelters.  Over the past 2 years, they have photographed numerous atrocities at county pounds around KY.  (Warning: There are suffering and dead animals in this slideshow of horrifying images.)

Investigative reporter John Boel from WAVE in Louisville went out to visit some county shelters to see the conditions for himself.  What he found ranges from troubling to  – uh, what’s the term I’m looking for? – organized crime.  Yeah, that’s it.

One county pound in KY is the dog warden’s house.  He doesn’t adopt out pets but sends people to another county which he doesn’t know the location of offhand.  Another county pound keeps dogs chained to a fence with no shade, even in 90 degree heat.  Other shelters either have signs posted stating that cameras are not allowed or outright refused entry to Mr. Boel.

The Edmonson Co pound is owned by Kim Carroll who operates the pound for personal profit.  Mr. Boel saw cages of dogs and cats piled high.  The cages were too small for the animals to stand up or turn around.  When Carroll refused to allow Mr. Boel and his photographer inside the facility, he asked her about the stacked cages and suffering animals he had seen.  And for real, don’t take a sip of your beverage just now.  Because this was Carroll’s response:

“If you press the issue, we can go in and put down anything you want to,” Carroll said.

“I’m just talking about humane treatment of animals. I’m not telling you to kill them,” I said.

“Do you want me to kill ‘em?” she said.

“No, I don’t want you to kill them,” I said. “I just want you to treat them humanely.”

If this isn’t make him an offer he can’t refuse enough for you, Carroll obliterates all doubt:

Kim Carroll said their private status means they don’t have to answer to the public. Then she pushed my photographer.

“If you don’t turn that thing off, that’s going to be the end of it,” she said.

Carroll said the shelter passed a recent inspection by the state, but she never let us in.

“I’m asking you, don’t air this,” she said. “This is a lot bigger than you and I.”

What the what?  This person is pocketing cash from taxpayers in four KY counties, flouting the law, forcing animals to suffer, threatening to kill them if a reporter gets too asky – all while doing her best Don Corleone impression.  Who are the people writing checks to her from those four counties?  Where are the police in Edmonson Co who are supposed to be enforcing the law?  Which state inspectors submitted passing reports on these facilities?  Are all these public servants in on this animal cruelty, perhaps skimming off taxpayers to perpetrate this fraud?  Because if not, how has Kim Carroll not been sent directly to jail do not pass Go do not collect $200?

The Contemporary Justice Review is about to publish a scathing analysis by two members of UofL’s sociology department of how Kentucky has complied with the Humane Shelter Law.

Let me guess:  Not.

I’m glad there’s a lawsuit.  I’m glad there’s been an analysis done.  But some people operating “shelters” in KY need to have handcuffs slapped on them and get put in the back of the police car for these failures to comply with state law.  Now.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

PETA Asks KY Shelter to Kill More Animals

McCracken Co in KY parted ways with the local humane society after a whistleblower’s testimony resulted in cruelty charges (related to heartsticking fully conscious pets and unlicensed workers killing animals) against two employees in 2011.  In June of this year, the animal shelter task force recommended re-establishing a partnership with the local HS “as long as agreement is reached to provide humane care for the animals”.  Which this “humane” would somehow be different than the previous “humane” which resulted in the cruelty charges, I guess.

Also puzzling:

Diana Cruickshank of the task force outlined the policies of the Humane Society of Lexington, which has been listed as a possible model for Paducah. […] A person in Lexington gave her data indicating that 40 percent of the 10,000 animals captured each year are euthanized[.]

*blink*

That’s the model?  If a 40% kill rate is your shoot-for-the-stars aspiration, you need a new task force McCracken Co.

And just because everything is FUBAR, enter PETA:

[Judge-Executive Van] Newberry said the county has received a letter from People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals asking them to euthanize more animals – something he found shocking.

Oh hey yeah, that is weird.  Except that PETA runs a large pet killing hellhouse itself and is known both for encouraging other facilities to kill more animals and giving them frowny faces when they stop.  But I love that the county politician was all head-scratchery:

The letter said keeping animals long-term in an overcrowded shelter was more cruel than euthanizing them, but Newberry said the county shelter currently takes any animal and tries its best to keep them until they are adopted.

Warehousing animals or killing them.  These are the only two options, per PETA.  And yet, like Mr. Newberry, I can’t help but long for Door Number Three.  The one where the shelter does the job taxpayers pay for and actually shelters animals or at least “tries its best to keep them until they are adopted”.  Just like hundreds of other open admission shelters are doing all over the country.  As if it’s their job.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to the community’s lost and homeless pets in McCracken Co and I’m concerned.  But at least they didn’t fall for the It Says ETHICAL Right Here On The Letterhead shenanigans from one of the killiest animal organizations in the country.  That’s encouraging.  I hope McCracken Co applies similar common sense strategies to the sheltering issues it currently faces.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

TX Pound Gets Huffy When Local Advocates Ask Them to Stop Hiding and Killing Pets

The Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area in Texas hides many of the animals impounded by the facility. When a citizen contacted the organization in July expressing concern over this practice, Amanda Craig, president of the HS of the New Braunfels Area, responded with an explanation. This is a portion of that response:

I have to assume, due to the content of your email, that your knowledge and opinion of our shelter have been influenced by the No Kill New Braunfels group. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few things and invite you to be a part of our future success.

The only animals that are not photographed are the stray animals that are still on hold, animals who enter the shelter in such poor medical condition that they cannot be treated, animals that enter the shelter that are too aggressive for adoption and feral cats. I will elaborate on the “stray hold” policy. When strays enter our shelter they are “held” for 3 business days minimum. During that time they may not be put up for adoption or presented to the public via photographs/internet. The reason for this is that, in the past, there have been issues with people “shopping” our stray area. The reason that people do this is to look for a pure bred and/or intact dog to breed or fight in order to make a profit. You see, if an “owner” claims a dog the fee is typically much less than the adoption fee so it is financially beneficial for these corrupt individuals to claim a stray as their own rather than buy or adopt if they can manage to get away with it. However, during that hold time, if an owner comes in who has legitimately lost a dog, we will happily show them every single kennel in our stray hold area in hopes that we can reunite them with their dog. Based on the level of detail that a person can give about the dog they claim to have lost, we are able to determine if they are truly missing a companion animal or if they are simply “shopping”.

Shorter: No Kill New Braunfels sucks and here’s a bunch of baloney we made up so we don’t have to do our jobs.

For the month of July, when that e-mail was written, the HS of the New Braunfels Area took in 359 dogs and cats, hid an unknown number of them and killed 243 – a kill rate of approximately 68%. But of course, better off dead than living with PET SHOPPERS. Because you know all the evil people in the world are posing as lost pet owners and looking to adopt an animal off death row in the New Braunfels pound. That’s common knowledge.

But alas, No Kill New Braunfels keeps the ball rolling and stays focused on lifesaving with this recent newspaper ad:

Newspaper ad from No Kill New Braunfels in TX (click to enlarge).

Newspaper ad from No Kill New Braunfels in TX (click to enlarge).

How ya like me now, bitchez?

(Thanks Linda for info on this story.)

GA Pound Oops-Kills Owned Dog Because Math

The Whitfield Co pound in GA has some “animal facts” on its webpage that the county likes so much, it printed them twice. They read, in part:

Dogs and cats out number humans in this country at a ratio of about 6 to 1. […]

Pet overpopulation is a serious and growing problem in the United States. It is estimated that between 10 to 20 million companion animals are unwanted and put to death every year.

The U.S. Census Bureau says there are approximately 318,649,000 people in the US. If dogs and cats outnumbered humans 6 to 1 in this country, that would indicate a dog and cat population of roughly 2 billion. Which would make it a tad difficult to get to work, what with all the freeways piled high with kittens, let alone the mountains of puppies covering the sidewalks.

The ASPCA says there are an estimated 144 – 176 million owned dogs and cats in the U.S. and that each year, shelters kill approximately 2.7 million pets.

I guess no one at the Whitfield Co pound majored in math. Or Google.  Or reality.

Wiz and family member, as pictured on the Dalton Daily citizen website.

Wiz and family member, as pictured on the Dalton Daily Citizen website.

Last month, a dog named Wiz bit a kid in Whitfield Co. Wiz was not current on his rabies vaccination so he was impounded by the county for a standard 10 day rabies quarantine.  After the holding period expired, the owner called the pound to make arrangements to bring Wiz back home.  But Whitfield Co had already killed Wiz because the person doing the killing couldn’t count to 10.  Because math is hard:

[County administrator Mark] Gibson said the employee claimed to have made a mathematical mistake in adding up the number of days since the dog had been brought in. So he euthanized the wrong dog.

Oops.  All two of the Whitfield Co pound employees have been suspended by the board of commissioners as a result of the killing – the director for 5 days and the guy who killed Wiz for 2 days.  And the county has instituted several changes at the pound to prevent a similar type of oops-killing from happening in future.  Specifically:

  1. Owners will be called at the end of the quarantine period to let them know their pet will be killed if not reclaimed.
  2. Animals being held on rabies quarantine will be separated from the general population and have their cages marked with the date the quarantine expires.
  3. The one guy who attempts to count to 10 to determine when the holding period ends needs to turn in his homework to the other guy for a double check.  Hopefully between the two of them, they might get it right.

The fact that they weren’t calling owners before killing their quarantined pets or separating rabies holds from other animals is shocking. The math thing is just frightening.

The director and the other employee both said they feel their punishment for killing Wiz is fair. The chairman of the board of commissioners also thinks it’s fair. As does commissioner Harold Brooker, third cousin to the pound director. No word from Wiz’s family on how fair they feel the punishment is but it’s swell to know the good ol’ boys are all satisfied.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Enablers Desperately Cling to Killing in Glynn Co as Public Supports No Kill

The Florida Times-Union shamefully published a killing apologist piece whitewashing the weekly killing done by Barbara Sancomb, the manager at the Glynn Co pound in GA.  Framing the manager as an animal lover and showing a photo of her paw print tattoos to prove it, the paper talks about the terrible “burden” of killing animals who trust her and willingly submit to her while she’s killing them.  Like we’re supposed to be all aw when in reality, I expect most people’s reaction to the disturbing visualization is more AHHHHH!

The article also talks about how sad it is that no kill advocates have complained online about animals being mistreated, deplorable conditions and needless killing at the pound.  That hurts the shelter staff’s feels.  Plus, the paper says, the animal advocates are liars anyway.  Because other places are worse:

“Everybody who criticizes us, they have obviously never been to a bad animal shelter because this is a really good one,” [Sancomb] said.

Yes, it does sound really good.  Animals in need of homes who come to trust you and willingly allow you to inject them with poison so they can die.  I’m trying to think of anything that would be better but nothing is jumping to mind.  Unless you want to touch upon that doing your job to actually shelter animals thing.

The shelter has been a public relations nightmare for the county. Earlier this year, Animal Control Advisory Committee Chairman Marci DeSart released startling statistics describing the shelter’s euthanasia rates. Since 2006, 18,000 dogs and cats have been put down.

The county kicked that person to the curb post haste.  But then one of the commissioners started talking about no kill and it seemed to resonate with the public:

A town hall meeting he called last month drew a couple of hundred animal advocates in favor of no-kill including DeSart and members of No-Kill Glynn, an organization she co-founded. No one spoke against it.

No one spoke in favor of killing.  Zero.  A couple hundred were in favor of lifesaving.  But veterinarian Bill Disque says reality is an illusion:

But Disque, a retired vet who spays and neuters animals at the shelter several times a month, said there’s a silent majority in the county who realize no-kill is not an achievable goal as things stand now.

A silent majority who really want to see the killing at the pound continue unchecked.

Now you’re just making shit up.  There is no silent majority of the public who secretly rub their hands together in hideous delight when thinking about puppies and kittens being sent to the landfill by the local pound.  There just isn’t.

What there is:

The overwhelming majority of the public, 71% of those surveyed, believes shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals who are medically or behaviorally hopeless.  Sorry to rain on your Pet Killing Parade with my Actual Data from Reputable Agencies but oh, not sorry.

The vet goes on to invoke the too many animals, not enough homes myth and blames the irresponsible public for the killing. In a county where a couple hundred people showed up in support of no kill at the town hall meeting.  They do sound so irresponsible.  I wish they would move to my county.

(Thank you Valerie for the link.)

Memphis City Official Explains Why Killing Pets Even Faster is Going to Be So Awesome

Manhandled kitten, as posted by MAS on PetHarbor.com

Manhandled kitten, as posted by MAS on PetHarbor.com

If you are partial to flowery political speeches, you might like to read the city’s full explanation for why it’s retaliating against rescuers shortening hours at the Memphis pound and proposing to kill pets faster than ever.  But if you’d rather blind yourself with rusty pokers than read more bullshit excuses for killing animals, I’ve got you covered.  Here’s the takeaway:

The proposed change in hours will assist with the reduction of holding time of animals from 5 days to 3, saving 104 days annually in the cost of food, work hours (animal care techs and vets), housing, medical supplies, etc.

Shorter:  Dead pets don’t eat food and take up cage space.  The faster we can kill them, the less we have to do our jobs.

So there it is.  In case anyone was wondering where the city of Memphis stands on the issue of animal sheltering.  It’s a no.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this link.)

Memphis Expands its Retaliation Against Rescuers and Owners of Lost Pets

Screengrab from PetHarbor of a lost dog, posted by the Memphis pound.

Screengrab from PetHarbor of a lost dog, posted by the Memphis pound.

Ever since Mayor Wharton put straight man James Rogers in charge of Memphis Animal Services, MAS has become lolMAS.  While MAS slaughters pets by the thousands, Rogers blathers on about being “on a positive trend” and continuing the “march forward in terms of excellence”.  When rescuers started doing his job for him by volunteering to photograph shelter pets and network them on social media, he retaliated with a ban on photography.  When his ban was recently overturned by the city, he had to dig deep into his bag of shenanigans:

Memphis Animal Services director James Rogers is shortening shelter hours.

Specifically, Rogers is eliminating the evening hours, which totally by coincidence happens to be when most people, including the rescuers who photograph pets, can get to the pound.  He’s also eliminated all morning hours – because hey, who wants to deal with the unwashed masses before noon?

He’s got explanations people, so please buckle in:

He says his goal is to increase adoptions.
[…]

Rogers calls it a budget cut, but he is not cutting the number of staff members or the hours MAS employees will work. The only thing changing is the hours the shelter is open to the public.

By being open 9 less hours a week for adoptions, including the hours most people can get there, he’s going to increase adoptions. And it’s going to save money in the budget, even though every single staffer will be paid exactly the same as they are now so no actual dollars will be saved. Also: increased adoptions!

As soon as Rogers announced the changes at a public meeting of the pound’s advisory board on Wednesday, people knew what was up:

“There were two evenings a week they were open late. You’re eliminating both. On one Memphis Pets Alive took photos to network,” people in the crowd said.

Those against the changes pointed out there are now no hours for those who work 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to come.

The hour shift is also cutting into the shelter’s popular Thursday adoption event called Yappy Hours. It’s held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Rogers admits the events are a huge help.

“What we’re trying to do is increase number of adoptions,” Rogers said to people in the crowd laughing.

All the credit for keeping a straight face, Rogers.  But there is something sinister going on here, beyond the obvious retaliation against rescuers and the ridiculous excuses.  Included in the announcement about shortened hours was another change:  MAS would open at noon for 2 hours each on Sundays and Mondays strictly for owners of lost pets to be shown some of the animals in the facility by staff members.

Since MAS has previously been closed entirely on Sundays and Mondays, those days were not counted against strays when determining their mandatory 72 hour hold.  With the announcement that the pound would open for 2 midday hours on Sundays and Mondays, comes a change in how Rogers calculates the mandatory hold for strays.  Sundays and Mondays will now count as 2 of the 3 mandatory hold days, even though the shelter is closed for all but 2 midday hours each of those days.

I am not an attorney but I think there is a legitimate case to be brought against the city of Memphis here.  The city appears to be subverting the intent of the 72 hour holding period for strays by playing games with the pound’s business hours.  It is entirely possible that a pet owner in Memphis who works a day job could not get to the facility to search for his lost pet during the newly announced, limited hours.  Since MAS does an extremely shabby job of posting impounds online and since the pound kills lost pets immediately after the 72 hour holding period expires, the new hours are in effect an automatic death sentence for many lost pets.  And Rogers won’t allow these animals to live, even for one day past their holding periods:

MAS holds stray dogs for 72 hours as required by law. The shelter has been euthanizing the dogs immediately once their time is up, often before opening and allowing them a chance to be adopted. Board members are questioning that logic, especially when the shelter has empty kennels.

The director’s explanation for why strays need to be put down immediately isn’t adding up.

“It behooves us to follow the law which is 72 hours,” said director James Rogers. “Anything beyond that opens us up to the susceptibility of allowing parvo to increase.”

“It’s a disease of puppies,” said Stephen Tower, who is a veterinarian and on the MAS advisory board. He argued an extra few hours won’t cause any greater risk. “I don’t buy that exposure argument.”

“According to the director of veterinary medicine at Memphis Animal Services, the parvo virus has mutated and it does affect adult dogs now,” Rogers said.

But just a few weeks ago, the head veterinarian Rogers is talking about said the exact opposite at an open press conference about parvo.

“There is some acquired immunity with older pets, so I don’t think the public should be concerned about adopting an older pet,” said Dr. Rebecca Coleman.

So to recap:

MAS is eliminating the evening hours that many adopters and rescuers can get there to save lives. To increase adoptions.

The shortened hours are going to save money. Not actual money but possibly Rogers has cut out some rectangles from construction paper and drawn pictures of himself and dollar signs on them and likes to pretend he can buy unicorns and fairy dust with them – those dollars might be saved.

Sundays and Mondays will now be counted against strays under mandatory 72 hour hold. Because parvo is magic and now infects all adult, vaccinated dogs at MAS and immediately zaps them with death rays on the 73rd hour.  And Rogers’ kill techs aren’t going to get beaten to the punch by no magic parvo death ray.

Memphis, this is your animal “shelter”.  File an emergency injunction to stop the killing.  Address your city council.  Demand meaningful reform.  Do something.

(Thank you to everyone who sent me these links.)

Memphis: One Step Up and Two Steps Back

Dog ID #267072 at the Memphis pet killing facility, as shown on Facebook.  Her "review date" is tomorrow.

Puppy ID #267072 at the Memphis pet killing facility, as shown on Facebook. Her “review date” is tomorrow.

After much public outcry, Memphis Animal Services has announced it will again allow Memphis Pets Alive and other rescuers to photograph pets in the healthy hold area before their review dates expire.  Photographs of the cage cards will again be allowed as well.  The statement from the city, which can be read in full here, is hardly anything to celebrate.  Although MAS staff is again allowing members of the public to do their jobs for them, as they were before, there are new restrictions in place which appear to be at least cruel and at worst, illegal.

MAS now stipulates that rescuers will be allowed just the first two business days of the mandatory three day holding period to save animals from the kill room.  Obviously MAS wants to protect its staff from the annoyance of dealing with e-mails and phone calls from rescuers wanting to save animals on their kill day.  Once the first two days of the holding period have passed, MAS staff has the green light to kill the animal – no need to even check if there is an owner standing in the lobby holding a leash and collar I guess.

The city’s statement also attempts to restrict the First Amendment rights of anyone using the photos:

Photos taken of animals housed at the facility are not to be used in any negative campaign or propaganda against Memphis Animal Services.

MAS is primarily a pet killing facility.  If city officials are worried about American citizens truthfully saying so in public, they need to find jobs outside the U.S.  Speech is protected in this country and anyone who wants to express that MAS is wrong to kill animals, that the staff doesn’t do their jobs, or any other “negative” opinion about MAS is free to do so.

Finally, I think it’s important to restate something that has long been true at MAS, even before the current administration began its shenanigans:  No member of the public has had access to every animal in the facility, including those in the so-called stray areas, in years.  MAS continues to impound pets, hide them in areas deemed off-limits to the public, then take them to the kill room after 3 days with no one ever knowing they were there.  The reversal of the photo ban does not change that.

Pardon me if I find little worth celebrating in the draconian measures being employed by MAS to continue its needless dog and cat killing spree.  And I’ll be saying so.  Still.  More.

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.)

Fitchburg Animal Control Kills Owned Pet During Holding Period

Capone, as pictured on the WHDH website.

Capone, as pictured on the WHDH website.

On April 20, 2014, MA pet owner Maghan Moynihan says her family’s 2 year old dog Capone escaped through an open door while not wearing his collar.  She immediately got in her car, searching for him on every street in the area.  She also called Fitchburg ACO Sue Kowaleski, with whom she had established a relationship due to Capone’s previous escapes, to advise that he was lost.

Ms. Moynihan says she didn’t receive a return phone call from the ACO until Tuesday morning.  Oddly, the ACO was calling to ask her if Capone had ever been aggressive.  Ms. Moynihan said that Capone had absolutely never displayed any aggression and that she trusted the gentle pet with her children, ages 4 and 8.  Odder still, the ACO showed up at the Moynihan family’s home a few hours later.  This time, the ACO requested Ms. Moynihan and her partner drive down to the pound to identify a stray dog whom the pound had killed for aggression recently. That dog was Capone:

“It was horrible. He was freezing cold. He was on a table. They had a blanket over him. They pulled it down to show us the face. We all lost it in there.”

Ms. Moynihan was heartbroken and wants to know what happened but the pound has provided very little information to date. It is known that Capone got into a building on the day he escaped where a Good Samaritan held onto him until AC arrived. The Good Sam, who was with Capone most of the day, described the dog as being friendly to him and his girlfriend, growling only at their dog and at the ACO who impounded him with a chokepole.

Regarding the circumstances that resulted in Capone’s quick killing:

Amy Egeland, the part-time manager of the Fitchburg Animal Shelter, also said she is unable to comment because of the investigation. The shelter is mostly staffed by volunteers, including Carol Stacy who said Capone was a vicious, aggressive dog that indirectly caused Egeland to be injured and was a known problem animal in another city.
[…]

Stacy said Capone was aggressive and tried to escape his cage in front of Egeland and visiting certified animal experts who train and evaluate the visitors. Stacy said Capone got halfway out of his cage and attacked another dog, which became agitated and attacked Egeland.

So it was the other dog, not Capone, who injured the shelter manager.  But Capone, having bitten no person, is the one who had to be killed?

He was a problem in another city? Does the city of Fitchburg play the Telephone Game in order to determine which pets they want to kill?

Fitchburg staff and/or vols failed to keep Capone properly confined at the pound and allowed him to get into a fight with another dog they had irresponsibly placed directly in front of his cage. Then they killed him, effectively destroying the evidence of any wrongdoing.

“It wasn’t that sweet little dog people are making it out to be,” said Stacy.

This is how the Fitchburg vols talk about family pets who were killed during the holding period? Just eww.

The city now claims that ACO Kowaleski was sick on the day Capone escaped and did not receive Ms. Moynihan’s message. Though ACO Kowaleski was apparently available to talk on the phone to Ms. Stacy regarding Capone:

She said Kowaleski was notified of what happened but did not see Capone. Kowaleski authorized [Assistant ACO Michael] East to euthanize the animal, Stacy said.

The city of Fitchburg’s website gives ACO Kowaleski’s phone number as the solitary contact for owners to report lost pets.  There are no other contact names or numbers.  The opening sentence on the pound’s Petfinder page reads:

Fitchburg Animal Shelter holds all stray dogs for 7 days.

I keep going back to that initial phone call to the owner by the ACO on Tuesday morning, asking if Capone was aggressive. Does this whole thing not reek of cover-up?

The city of Fitchburg still has not provided Ms. Moynihan with answers regarding why Capone was killed during the holding period. The city police department is investigating the city AC department in the matter. Ms. Moynihan wants the person who authorized Capone’s killing to be fired. And she wants people to know that her pet was family to her:

“He loved playing with other dogs, he loved playing with the kids. He was just like my son. Just another kid.”

Fitchburg taxpayers, this is your animal “shelter”. Demand that the city staff start doing their jobs to shelter animals and hold lost pets so their owners can reclaim them. Maybe if the city starts doing its job instead of killing owned pets, the pound might attract more compassionate volunteers, which would also be a plus.

(Thanks Clarice and Bonnie for sending me this story.)

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