TN Pound Neglects Animals, Mayor Calls It “Good Care”

A woman says she went to the Smithville pound in TN last week during normal work hours to find the placed locked and no employees on site. Even more disturbing, she says a dead dog and a litter of living puppies were in the parking lot. Local animal advocates are calling upon the mayor to at least staff the facility during open hours and/or allow volunteers to care for the pets. But the mayor gots explanations:

Mayor Jimmy Poss of Smithville said the shelter only has one full time and one part-time employee, who had both called in sick Thursday.

An animal rescue group in Dekalb County is calling for more employees or volunteers to work at the shelter, but the Mayor said that’s extra help the shelter doesn’t need right now.

See? Yeah, me neither. But everyone can quit worrying about the animals left in the pound unattended, presumably without food or water, laying in their own waste, suffering from who knows what conditions.  And definitely no one needs to be concerned about the dead dog found outside the pound or the litter of pups running in the road. Because explanations:

Poss said even with budget constraints, the Animal Shelter takes good care of the dogs they have, even though some may be delivered to them sick.

I see what you did there. That whole irresponsible-public-is-to-blame thing. Smooth.

Mercifully, the irresponsible public stepped up and all the wandering pups are now in foster homes.  That’s what I call “good care”.  That thing the Smithville pound is doing?  That’s neglect, cruelty and fraud against taxpayers to my mind.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

#DeadDogLulz in Maricopa Co

As we are so often told about people who work in pet killing facilities:  Nobody WANTS to kill animals.  But apparently when they do get to kill them, it’s too fun not to gloat about it on social media.

A Maricopa Co dog called Mickey was reportedly minding his own business in his fenced backyard one day last month when someone let their 4 year old child wander into the yard.  When the child took Mickey’s bone, the dog bit the child in the face causing a severe injury.  Mickey was seized by the Maricopa Co pound and his family is fighting in court to keep him alive.

A Facebook group in support of saving Mickey’s life has more than 32,000 likes.  Vanessa Martinez, a Maricopa Co pound employee, visited the page and taunted those hoping to save Mickey:

“This is stupid… you guys doing all of this won’t help any. He’s going night night.”

Ooh, burn.

The pound’s director has defended Ms. Martinez’s comments as free speech.

A judge is scheduled to make a determination on Mickey’s fate by March 13.

A spokesperson for MCACC says Martinez is still employed. A petition is circulating on the Internet calling for Martinez to be terminated.

That petition and 5 pennies will get you a nickel and someone who likes killing animals.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Fulton Co In Their Own Words

Welcome to Fulton Co where they kill more than 1/3 of the animals in their care and post “urgent” animals on Facebook. But do not call them!  Because whoa – it’s not THAT urgent.

Screengrab from Facebook

Screengrab from Facebook

In late October, the Fulton Co rescue coordinator took to Facebook to shame the public for asking the pound to do the job taxpayers are paying it to do and help stray pets:

Screengrab from Facebook

Screengrab from Facebook

In early November, an opportunity for Facebook users to vote a dog off the kill list at Fulton Co. Who wouldn’t want to play The Sophie’s Choice Popularity Contest, amirite?

Screengrab from Facebook

Screengrab from Facebook

In mid-November, an announcement from Fulton Co that Spaghetti Mondays have been moved to Tuesdays – yay! And by spaghetti, of course they mean killing:

Screengrab from Facebook

Screengrab from Facebook

Current Fulton Co listings on the PetHarbor website:

Be further dazzled by the professionalism on display in these previous Fulton Co pet listings on Hell Yes Biscuit.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to reforming the Fulton Co pound here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In researching this facility, I found… enablers!

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks Bonnie for the link to this photo.)

Shelter Pet of the Day: Kentucky

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

***

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

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

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

From: Shirley Thistlethwaite
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Subject: Jeanine
To: rescuebrigade@gmail.com

http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/24090302

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

Thank you,

Shirley Thistlethwaite

***

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

[...]

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

Franklin County Humane Society
1041 Kentucky Ave
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-875-7297
contact.fchsky@gmail.com

Western Arizona Humane Society Oops-Kills Puppy While Owner Searches for Him at Shelter

Natalie Pruitt says her 8 month old puppy Thor was stolen from her vehicle on August 27.  She notified Animal Control and began searching for her pet.  The next day, she saw a post on Craigslist that described Thor so she called the woman who had placed the ad.  That person told her AC had picked up Thor.  Ms. Pruitt contacted AC again and received confirmation that Thor had been picked up and brought to the Western Arizona Humane Society. But workers at the Western Arizona HS denied that Thor was in the building:

Three times a day for a week Pruitt went to the Western Arizona Humane Society to see if they found the dog.

“The humane society kept telling me to go to the sheriff’s office and the sheriff’s office told me to talk to the humane society,” she said.

Ms. Pruitt also checked with other shelters in the area, none of whom had any record of impounding Thor.

On September 3, Ms. Pruitt again visited the Western Arizona HS, this time with sheriff’s deputies. Deputies found Thor’s record which showed the Western Arizona HS had killed him on August 28, less than 24 hours after impound and while the owner was searching for him at the shelter. Oops.

Thor should have been released to his owner who was at the shelter trying to find him. Failing that, the Western Arizona HS should have held him for at least the 3 day mandatory stray holding period. Instead, the Western Arizona HS killed the puppy.

“This is just so stupid,” said Pruitt. “They didn’t have to kill him. He was a good, healthy, loving dog.”

[Western Arizona Humane Society CEO Victoria] Cowper agrees, and while she makes no excuses for what happened to Thor, she did say the shelter is under great strain in Kingman, where it took in about 1,450 dogs in fiscal year 2012-2013 ending June 30. Of those, the owners of slightly more than 300 dogs were reunited with their pet.

The percentage of unclaimed dogs is higher in Kingman than in other communities in which the humane society operates, a fact Cowper said is due to too many dogs going without a collar or microchip, and dog owners who won’t bother looking for missing animals. She also said there is an abnormally high number of vicious dogs in the Kingman area.

It sounds like there is an abnormally high number of lame excuses in the Kingman area, specifically the area occupied by the Western Arizona Humane Society’s CEO. And attempting to redirect blame to “dog owners who won’t bother looking for missing animals” while explaining why a dog whose owner was at your shelter looking for him was killed – that’s just precious.

[Ms. Pruitt] said Cowper has been empathetic to the family, but other workers voiced no sympathy whatsoever.

Thor was a beloved family member and Ms. Pruitt’s autistic son had bonded with him. Ms. Pruitt has been trying to explain to him that Thor is not coming home but her son has been deeply affected by the loss – refusing to speak or participate in school.

Ms. Pruitt asked the Western Arizona Humane Society for a $5000 settlement to cover the $3000 she paid for her puppy and $2000 for the pain and suffering inflicted upon her family. The Western Arizona Humane Society consulted with its attorney and made a counter-offer: a shelter dog with a waived adoption fee. And the reassurance that the Western Arizona Humane Society has investigated itself in the matter, implemented better safeguards and staff has been retrained. Straight out of the Oops-Killing Handbook.

Ms. Pruitt intends to sue the Western Arizona Humane Society:

For Pruitt, it’s not all about the money.

“This is ridiculous,” she said. “It’s like somebody crashing into your car and their insurance company tries to settle by telling you to go to a junkyard and pick out a car. We don’t want another dog. We’ve been offered about a dozen dogs since this happened. Friends, strangers, so many people have offered us help, offered condolences and even purebreds. We’re not ready.”

You can’t replace a family member.  The Western Arizona Humane Society not only failed to do its job and shelter Thor in his time of need, they broke apart a family in the most violent and permanent way.  Shame on the Western Arizona Humane Society for offering the surviving injured party the minimum their attorney advised them they can get away with regarding the killing.

When the CEO learned of Ms. Pruitt’s intention to sue, she had this vomit-inducing response:

“That’s certainly her prerogative,” said Cowper. “This wasn’t done with malice. It was human error.”

Remember she’s talking about her shelter’s unlawful killing of a friendly, healthy puppy. In case you thought she was talking about a hub cap that got scratched at the factory.

“We made corrections and money isn’t going to replace the Pruitt family’s emotional connection with the dog.”

Duuuuuude. Seriously. Shut up right now.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Idiocy and Evil Battle It Out in Decatur, AL

On Thursday, Mayor Don Kyle of Decatur, AL ordered the city pound to reduce its population from roughly 300 to 45 according to reporting by WAFF.  Although the piece does not provide the amount of time being allotted for this population reduction, a statement from the mayor describes it as “an aggressive time frame”.  The statement cites the reason for the order as “significant filth, odor and disease” due to the number of animals within the facility.  The number of cages at Decatur Animal Services is not mentioned.  The mayor’s statement stresses the fact that he has not ordered a mass killing to reduce population and that he has “suggested that staffers use all their contacts to move animals out.”

I would interpret this as an all-hands-on-deck crisis.  In order to humanely reduce the pound’s population quickly and dramatically, Decatur Animal Services should be using every tool in the toolbox.

This morning, Decatur Animal Services has just 117 pets listed on Petfinder.  The pound’s website states it sells dogs for $110 and cats for $95.  I looked through several pages on the site but saw no pleas to help save animals during the current crisis nor any specials such as waived adoption fees.  I’m not at all certain the shelter is pulling out all the stops during this crisis or even doing their jobs at a most basic level.

Overnight, a new article was published on DecaturDaily.com with much more information including a number on that “aggressive time frame” – 30 days.  The piece indicates the pound’s manager, Carol Wicks, had responded to the mayor’s order with a threat to kill animals:

Wicks said she could only comply with the directive by euthanizing more than 100 animals.

The director determined this need for mass killing within 1 day of the order.  She never even tried listing all the pets online, running a promotion or using social media to reach out to the public for assistance.  The mayor reiterated his opposition to a mass killing in order to reduce the population:

“I never wanted that,” Kyle said.

The mayor’s order has been put on hold.

Misinformation and miscommunication are apparently the words of the day:

Shelter Advisory Board members said Friday they did not know how Kyle had arrived at the limit of 20 cats and 25 dogs.

[...]

“I’m not sure where those numbers came from,” [board secretary Carla] Swinnee said. “There has to be an analysis done as to how many dogs and cats the shelter is equipped to handle. Nobody ever said, ‘This is the number.’ ”

[...]

The shelter has 106 cages and kennels for dogs and 121 for cats.

[...]

“There’s no such thing as a maximum capacity,” Wicks said.

Let’s play Identify the Problem.  Or in this case, Problems.

  • No one has ever analyzed the shelter’s capacity.
  • The mayor thinks 45 is a good number – leaving 182 cages empty.
  • The director thinks the shelter’s capacity is Anything Goes.
  • The mayor specifically said he didn’t want killing used as a tool to reduce the population.
  • The director immediately threatened to kill more than 100 animals in response.
  • Decatur Animal Services is not offering any adoption specials, running any promotions or even listing all its pets online in order to increase live outcomes.

And in the Wait, There’s More Frightening Stuff Department, we have this:

Kyle said wants to hear ideas for reducing the numbers.

“For example, I heard a recommendation that when a pregnant cat comes into the facility it should be spayed, rather than holding it until it has the litter of kittens,” Kyle said. “That’s not been done.”

Wicks said she and her staff are aggressive in trying to reduce shelter numbers. In the past three days, she said, the shelter adopted out 11 dogs and four cats. It also euthanized 20 animals.

“That’s the normal euthanasia, not an accelerated rate,” Wicks said.

She said the shelter euthanizes animals that are aggressive or diseased, and others that would use up shelter space for adoptable animals.

“If an animal is here for a long time and nobody is showing an interest or is not doing well in this environment, they are pulled and euthanized,” Wicks said.

Killing unborn kittens is unconscionable.  Killing animals who take up space because “nobody is showing an interest” when the shelter doesn’t even list all its pets online or whip up an adoption promotion during a crisis is sickening.  It seems as if killing is the answer to all questions at Decatur Animal Services.  I hope there are some shelter pet advocates in the area who will stand up for the defenseless animals being needlessly killed at the pound.  Without such voices, there appears to be little hope for these pets.

(Thanks Thom for alerting me to this story.)

Cleveland Co AC: Abuse of Power, Abuse of Dogs

There’s an old adage about freedom that you’ve probably heard phrased various ways by different people but I’m grabbing a quote attributed to author Neil Gaiman:

“Because if you don’t stand up for the stuff you don’t like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you’ve already lost.”

The point being that the legal right to freedom has to apply to everyone across the board, not just to you, your family, and others who agree with you.  Otherwise, it’s a pointless concept.  Enough said.

Last week, Cleveland Co AC in NC took 23 surrendered dogs from an owner who breeds dogs.  There were no violations at the time AC visited the property and convinced the owner to surrender some of the dogs.  Just as there were no violations when AC visited the property last year with big guns in tow:

“They had 60 animals,” [Sam Lockridge, with the Cleveland Co Health Department] said. “They supplement their income by raising pups. We had the Department of Agriculture and the Humane Society with us. There were no cruelty violations.”

During last year’s visit, during which no violations were found, “Lockridge said the owner was made aware of legislation before the N.C. Legislature, House Bill 930.”  The bill lays out requirements for facilities keeping more than 10 intact female dogs.

At the visit last week, AC again brought up the bill, which has still not been enacted into law:

On Thursday, officers reminded the owner about the proposed legislation.

“We told them if the legislation passes, they would be in violation,” he said.

After being visited by badge flashers for the second time in a year, and being reminded that although they weren’t being accused of any legal violations now, if a proposed bill passed and became state law they would be in violation of that new law, the owners decided to turn over 23 of their dogs to the officers.

How is this not harassment by authorities at least and abuse of power at worst?

I have no knowledge of the situation at this property and if circumstances warranted, I would be fully supportive of an effort by private citizens to offer assistance to the owners.  But sending in the cavalry – not once but twice – when the ace up their sleeve is the threat of a proposed bill?  That is wrong.  And while some animal welfare advocates may be inclined to shrug off what I consider to be an abuse of power by local authorities since you know, evil dog breeders blah blah, I refer you to the beginning of this post.  And I further remind you of what the “rescued” dogs faced upon impound at this gassing facility:

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Who are the bad guys again?

(Thanks Dot for sending me links on this story.)

Colbert Co Pound Oops Kills Friendly Lost Pet

A beloved family dog named Rosco got lost last month in Colbert Co, AL.  Owners Mary and Keith Bullington began looking for him immediately, including bringing his photo to the local pound to inquire about him.  Colbert Co pound staff told the Bullingtons that they didn’t have Rosco and had not seen him.  Staff did not scan Rosco’s photo or take a lost dog report.

The next day, the Bullington’s son saw Rosco’s picture on the pound’s Facebook page and alerted his parents.  The owners again visited the pound and told the staff Rosco was there because his photo was posted on Facebook and they wanted to take him home.  Instead of being given their pet, the Bullingtons got the runaround from staff for a full hour.  One worker got upset, saying she couldn’t talk to them right now and left.  Another told them Rosco had been placed in a foster home.  The Bullingtons refused to give up and finally pound supervisor Richie Michael showed up.  Mr. Michael told them their dog had been killed less than 24 hours after impound:

“He never said I’m sorry that was the wrong thing to do, we apologize, he just never apologized, he never admitted they did anything wrong,” Keith said.

A TV news reporter spoke with Mr. Michael who admitted the pound was in violation of state law when Rosco was killed before the required 7 day holding period expired.  He said it was a mistake and the shelter will investigate itself in the matter.  Oh and they are starting a lost and found log book, now.

Goodbye Rosco.  I’m sorry the very system intended to shelter you in your time of need failed you in the most violent and horrific way possible.  I’m sorry no one at the Colbert Co pound could be bothered to do their jobs or tell the truth.  And I’m sorry that they are apparently going to be allowed to sweep the whole thing under the rug.  Local taxpayers need to demand better of the Colbert Co pound.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co Committed to Killing Truffles

Truffles is a 2 1/2 year old spayed female mixed breed dog at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co, a private shelter in TN. There is a video of her posted on YouTube which promotes her as an adoptable dog. I am neither a behaviorist nor an expert but in my layman’s opinion, Truffles looks uncomfortable in this video, especially when she has her personal face-space invaded, which is often. It’s obvious the people doing the invading love her and are trying to help her get adopted but don’t seem to read her in the same way I am. The thing that most impressed me about Truffles was the continued restraint she exhibited every time she felt uncomfortable. She never bares her teeth, nips or bites. And certainly a dog with less restraint would have done so in my opinion. Watch the video for yourself and see what you think:

Truffles was reportedly adopted and returned recently after a child kissed her on the head while the dog was asleep. Truffles apparently bit the child in the face. Based upon what I saw in the video, this does not surprise me. Awake Truffles will choose again and again to exercise restraint when someone gets in her face-space. Sleeping Truffles does not have that luxury. When she was startled awake by a kid in her face, she reacted with a bite. I am sorry for the child who was bitten and for the family who adopted Truffles. I do not know what sort of counseling they were given by the HS when they adopted Truffles. Nor do I know whether the child was given appropriate instructions on interacting with the dog. Sometimes children don’t follow directions. That happens.  The results of which account for many dog bites involving children unfortunately.

At any rate, I have been contacted by several individuals who are concerned because the HS of Memphis and Shelby Co is reportedly going to kill Truffles on Tuesday. The HS has apparently refused all offers to save Truffles’ life, including signing any waiver of their choosing and placing her with a rescue group or sanctuary. I have reached out to the HS several times but have not received a response. There may be more to Truffles’ story but if there is, the HS is not telling it.

The bottom line is this: Truffles has a right to live. There is no court order requiring the HS to kill Truffles. She has not been given any chance at long term behavioral modification by a qualified behaviorist or group. She reportedly failed to exercise restraint once out of countless opportunities.  She made a mistake.  People around her may have made mistakes too.  She should not be killed for it.  As I said, I am just a layman but it seems obvious to me from the video that this dog could be safely placed in an appropriate environment and represent no threat to the public. Why is the HS of Memphis and Shelby Co refusing to advocate for Truffles’ right to live? Worse still, why is the HS of Memphis and Shelby Co determined to kill Truffles in the face of reasonable alternatives?

On the FAQ page of the HS website, it says:

I would like to report animal cruelty. How do I do that?
Please call our cruelty investigator at 901-937-3910 with the address of the animal, as well as the potential violations.

But who do citizens call if the cruelty is happening at the HS?   Killing a healthy/treatable pet, which is what Truffles appears to be, is the ultimate form of cruelty.  Is there anyone who will advocate for Truffles?

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