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?
January 20, 2013
When this dog’s photo was posted on Facebook, I shared it on the blog’s page. When I checked back later to see what the status was, I saw a note indicating that the dog’s listing had been removed from PetHarbor and that the pound staff refuses to disclose the disposition of any animal removed from PetHarbor. I think this is a baloney policy so I FOIA’d the dog’s records. The lengthy document which was sent to me included the dog’s ID number and a notation that the dog was adopted. Thank you irresponsible public, once again.
The only other document I received in response to my FOIA request was something that appears to be a cage card.
Since I had specifically requested the intake form, impounding animal control officer notes, all photos, front and back of cage card, veterinary notes, behavioral assessment form, adoption records, disposition form including reason for euthanasia if applicable, and any and all other related documents for this dog, I contacted the city again, asking for the missing documents. The e-mail response I received from the deputy city attorney reads, in part:
I have confirmed with the responding City department that there are no additional records for #A439720 beyond those already provided. The kennel card contains all the information the City has on receiving, vetting, and assessing the animal.
So there you have it. The largely empty kennel card contains everything the city has on this dog – everything the city of San Bernardino did to try and save this dog’s life. All records of the efforts to provide basic vet care to prevent disease, to try to find the dog’s owner, to reach out to rescues and fosters, to market the dog to the public, to provide him with exercise and socialization – all of it amounts to no effort at all, at least no record of any such efforts. There isn’t even a record of the dog’s adoption.
How are they doing follow up calls to promote pet retention without adoption records? Is San Bernardino vaccinating upon intake? Trying to reunite lost pets with their owners? Taking any action of any kind to get pets out of the place alive? Because there are no records of it, for this dog anyway. I would posit that if a member of the irresponsible public had not photographed this pet and posted him on social media (including the video below), the dog would have likely been killed by the city in relative anonymity.
But they’re doing the best they can. Don’t criticize. We all want the same thing. blah.
Video of dog ID #439720 at the San Bernadino city pound, posted to YouTube:
Dang, if it weren’t for the irresponsible public we hear so much about from pet killing facilities and their apologists, this story might have actually been even more depressing. I am grateful the public did the city’s job for them with this dog, since they apparently weren’t going to do it themselves. But I am sorry for all the other pets at the San Bernardino pound. The lost and homeless pets of San Bernardino – and the taxpayers – deserve better.
September 29, 2012
I happened upon a KY shelter dog’s photo on Facebook this morning which caught my eye. So I began flipping through the photo album of the dogs at the Taylor Co pound until I found myself searching the desk drawer for a pencil sharp enough to gouge out my eyes. I am thankful there are volunteers willing to go into the pound, photograph the dogs and post them on Facebook in an effort to help get them out. If not for their volunteer work, these pets would be suffering in relative anonymity and even more dogs would probably be killed at the pound.
The Taylor Co pound warehouses dogs in what appear to be substandard conditions, selling them for $100. If they don’t sell quickly enough, the pound kills them. If these practices and pictures emerged from a place that was breeding dogs, I imagine HSUS would hop in their “rescue” rig and have the media meet them at the place as soon as the light was good to show off their HSUS logo attire. HSUS staff would parade the dogs in front of the cameras, telling reporters how the dogs have been forced to live in terrible conditions, left with untreated medical issues and killed when they failed to generate revenue. Then they would use the case as an example of why new or stronger laws are needed to protect animals from this type of treatment. But given that this is a municipal pound, HSUS will probably give them an award, tell us to bring them cupcakes, or most likely, sit on their $100 million dollar checkbook and do nothing.
(All images via Facebook, posted by volunteers hoping to help save the pets at the Taylor Co pound. Click an image to enlarge.)
Why isn’t HSUS helping dogs at the Taylor Co pound?
July 1, 2012
The Petfinder page for the Estill Co pound in KY says it is “very rescue friendly” and begins its rescue guidelines as follows:
you can rescue a animal when it is due to be euthanized, or adopt that pet if you really wish it.
The pound has zero pets listed on its Petfinder site and the same number posted on its FB page. These are some of the animals posted by a rescue group on FB. (Thank you Dot for sending me these links.)
The rescue group which posted this cat on Facebook describes her as being “unsure of people”. I would guess that she might be more accurately described as “sure of these people”.
Estill Co Animal Shelter
50 Ginter Rd
Ravenna, Kentucky 40336
This shelter’s kill rate is unknown.
February 24, 2012
From the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:
[Carol] Lynch, the Memphis Animal Services employee who filed a police report alleging cruelty at the facility, was accused of a “major infraction” in a charge letter issued by the city.
Lynch, who has worked for Memphis Animal Services for 22 years, is charged with failing to properly document a cruelty case. The letter, signed by MAS Field Supervisor David Johnson, also accuses her of being “incompetent, inefficient and unprofessional.”
That charge letter was issued Feb. 14, eight days after Lynch filed the Feb. 6 police report alleging that animals weren’t being cared for properly at the facility.
This is what retaliation in a corrupt city government looks like.
This is why more good people at MAS do not speak up.
This is why animals at the Memphis pound continue to suffer.