The Leaf Chronicle reports on a couple of incidents which happened in May at the Montgomery Co pound in Clarksville, TN:
A litter of kittens was found rolling around one of their dead siblings, which had been there for hours if not days. The full litter and their mother had to be put down.
Also in May, a litter of “four puppies were found sitting in the drain covered in fecal matter.” One of the puppies died.
Local advocates say these are not isolated incidents but part of a pattern of neglect at the pound. The director, Tim Clifton, defends the pound’s care of pets:
“This is not a 5-star doggy hotel,” Clifton said. “We’re an animal control facility.”
Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers has indicated that she would investigate claims of neglect but stands by Clifton, on the job for the past year, and says he’s improved things greatly. She specifically notes that the kill rate is down 25% and all 9 full time staffers are now certified to kill animals. Both contend the care provided at the pound is more than adequate.
Volunteers and advocates claim otherwise. They say that staff hoses down kennels with dogs inside as well as numerous other violations of the county’s animal shelter manual.
One advocate e-mailed Clifton about the dead kitten incident which happened in May. His response, in its entirety:
“I will not dignify that absurd slanderous lie with a response. If you would like to come down, we will talk about it, or better yet come take some animals,” Clifton wrote[.]
But in fact Clifton acknowledges the kitten did die and the entire family was killed after discovery. At issue is what volunteers claim they saw:
Shawna Lund, Wendy McKay and Raven Gutierrez, three volunteers, found the dead kitten.
“Raven got Shawna because she noticed there was a really weird smell in the cat room,” McKay said.
The volunteers say the kitten had been dead long enough to go into rigor mortis and expose the other kittens to infection, giving the full litter of kittens a green eye excrement.
“When she pulled it out, the cat was stuck to the edge of the bed, and we literally had to pull him out,” McKay said.
The volunteers tried to clean the eye excrement off of the other kittens, in one case to horrible effect.
“We were putting warm compresses on it,” McKay said. “Shawna kind of rubbed too hard, one of the eyes just exploded out.”
The full litter and its mother had to be put to sleep because of exposure to the dead kitten, which the volunteers say lasted many hours and possibly days, a time span Clifton denies.
Clifton denies the dead kitten was stiff or stuck to the bedding. He says he watched an employee clean the cage that morning and that cages are cleaned several times throughout the day as well. And:
“A kitten did die, but it was a brand new litter of kittens,” Clifton said. “Brand new kittens can die.”
No one seems to be advocating for the fact that the surviving kittens and mother had a right to live, which is troubling to me.
The Animal Control Committee has been hearing concerns from local advocates but doesn’t plan to address them in any meaningful way until the October 24 meeting. Until then, kittens can die, I guess. Oh and yay for 9 people killing animals at the Not 5 Star Doggy Hotel.
On a side note, I was horrified to see a Facebook posting from the pound in Lee County, SC indicating they were sending 27 dogs to Clarksville, TN. Rescues there clearly have their hands full already. How can Clarksville rescue groups justify importing dogs from out of state while pets are suffering and dying at their own pound?
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)