Feds Round Up Geese Families and Gas Them

The next time you see a cat hater spewing misinformation about how cats kill zillions of birds, remind them of the verifiable fact that the US government killed 4 million animals, mostly birds, last year.  That number includes tens of thousands of beautiful Canadian geese.

The government’s only criteria for killing appears to be a complaint from someone/anyone describing the birds as a nuisance.  And the killing is done in the cruelest of ways, as detailed in this recent story from Youngstown, Ohio.

Goslings [Image via Wikipedia]

Goslings [Image via Wikipedia]

Two hundred thirty-eight adult geese and their babies were targeted for extermination at Mill Creek Park.  Wildlife officials waited until June to kill the geese since they are most vulnerable at that time – the goslings are too young to fly and the adults have temporarily lost their ability to fly due to molting.  Unable to escape their killers, these adult and baby geese were herded into a chamber and gassed to death – an agonizing way for animals of any age to die.

Let’s be clear:  these are not fabricated numbers based on junk science like the now debunked cat claims, these are government reported numbers of kills.  All done for convenience in the most horrifying manner imaginable.  And paid for by American taxpayers.  The feds seem to have something in common with local government run “shelters” with regard to convenience killing of animals – and that is not a good thing.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Shelters Must Be Prepared to Help Surrendered Animals Even When Forms Aren’t Completed in Triplicate

Animal advocates have been hearing for years from people who kill animals at shelters that the public is irresponsible, that pet owners are animal dumpers and that death is better for many pets than being adopted out to a home.  We know all those things to be false, obviously.  But among too many shelter workers, there persists a judgmental attitude toward anyone surrendering a pet.  The notion that the surrendering party is trying to do right by the animal by taking him to a place with the words ANIMAL SHELTER on the sign is lost on those who insist on branding these people as trash.

The truth is, no one at an animal shelter knows for sure why a pet is being surrendered.  The surrendering party may relate circumstances regarding the pet that are fabricated, for example.  This might be attributable to the person’s unwillingness to explain his personal circumstances (terminal illness, eviction, domestic abuse, etc.) to a stranger.  The surrendering party may be unable to relate the true circumstances regarding the pet due to mental illness  (e.g. someone who suffers from delusions).  Sometimes people surrendering pets make up stories that they believe will prevent the staff from immediately killing the animal (e.g. claiming an owned pet to be a stray and therefore subject to a mandatory holding period).  The bottom line is that pets can not speak and the person speaking for them may or may not be relating the full and complete history associated with the animal.  Shelter staff absolutely must take this into account when accepting animals.

Beyond this, and regardless of any shelter worker’s personal feelings, staff members must do their jobs.  That is, when you hang out a shingle that says ANIMAL SHELTER and someone brings you an animal in need of shelter, do it.  It would be ideal if every surrendering party complied with all your requests such as scheduling an appointment, completing a surrender form and providing the pet’s vet records.  But in real life, that’s not always going to happen.  Be prepared for it.  Expect it.  Handle it.  Above all, take the animal that is in front of your face.  That animal may be lost, stolen, abused, sick or simply homeless – you don’t know for certain.  The only thing that is 100% verifiable is that someone has brought you the pet and told you there is no one to provide care for him.  Do your job.  Take that animal and shelter him while things get sorted.

Tragically, too many shelters stand on ceremony when it comes to accepting pets being surrendered.  If the surrendering party does not comply with one or more of the required protocols, the shelter attempts to refuse service – a service the staff is being paid by the public to provide.  This leaves the animal completely unprotected, which is the opposite of what the shelter is there to do.

Dog chasing vehicle after failed surrender at Denver Animal Shelter, as shown on TheDenverChannel.com.

Dog chasing vehicle after failed surrender at Denver Animal Shelter, as shown on TheDenverChannel.com.

Last week, a man tried to surrender a dog at the Denver Animal Shelter in CO.  He declined to complete the surrender form and presumably some sort of confrontation occurred, resulting in the man running from the lobby to his vehicle.  He tried to leave the dog in the lobby but the dog got outside and chased after the man’s car.  Witnesses say the man ran over the dog before picking him up.  When the man returned later that day and again attempted to surrender the dog, the shelter staff apparently insisted on the completion of the surrender form which caused a problem and resulted in the man running to his vehicle and the dog chasing after him.  Again.

The Denver Animal Shelter staff appears to have been unprepared to help the dog the first time the man attempted to surrender him.  That’s failure number one.  But for the staff to intentionally initiate a repeat of the failure when the man brought the dog back is positively outrageous.  At that point, the staff knew the dog was in need and knew the man did not want to fill out the form.  Failing to protect the dog a second time after witnessing the disastrous results of their first failure is unacceptable.

It is currently unknown whether the dog is alive.  The man told a local news reporter that he drove to Los Angeles and abandoned the dog on the street.  That’s one of his stories anyway.  Who knows what really happened to the dog?  The only thing we know for sure is that the staff at the Denver Animal Shelter did not help the pet when he was in need – which was their job – twice.  But staff did do one thing – they issued a citation to the man for cruelty and neglect.  He is due in court on July 2.  Yay animal “shelter”.

(Thanks Davyd for the link.)


Nashville’s Faux Rescue of 38 Dogs Represents Years of Failure

Bad:  Earlier this month, Metro police in Nashville arrested six people in connection with a drug trafficking investigation.  While raiding the home of Michael A. Davis, one of the six charged, police discovered dozens of chained pitbull type dogs in the yard.  Some of the dogs were emaciated and others had open wounds (photos of the dogs here).  In addition, police found items often associated with dogfighting including canine treadmills, syringes, and a rape rack.  WSMV reports that 38 dogs were transferred to the Nashville pound last Tuesday as a result of the raid.

Worse:  The night of the seizure, five of the “rescued” dogs, all of whom were apparently unsupervised, were involved in a fight which erupted after two of them got loose.  One dog was killed, another was seriously injured and the other three sustained minor injuries.  After the needless death and suffering on the rescuers’ (non-existent) watch, officials decided it might be a good idea to supervise the dogs 24 hours a day.

Worst:  After the seizure, the county “discovered” that people had been begging the Nashville pound to help the dogs chained at the Davis home for years.  As far back as 2010 and as recently as 2013, citizens had been reporting that Davis’s dogs were being neglected and possibly used for fighting.  The county was “concerned with the lack of documentation of these complaints” and will investigate itself in the matter.  In the meantime, two of the pound’s ACOs are being paid to not work during the investigation.

This waggy dog, shown on the Nashville.gov website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

This waggy dog, shown on the Nashville.gov website, appears to be in decent shape, unlike some of the other dogs seized by law enforcement in the raid.

It sounds as if these dogs could have been rescued – for real, not the fake kind where they end up dead and injured the night they get “saved” – years ago if the Nashville pound had been doing its job.  Unfortunately, Nashville has long considered its “job” to be killing and if the dogs had been rescued in response to the previous complaints, they likely would have been killed under Nashville’s only recently modified Kill Them All pitbull policy.  Tragically, this way too late botched rescue is probably the best these abuse victims could hope for in Nashville.

(Thanks Karen and Clarice for the links.)

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


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

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.)


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