Outrage in Davidson Co, NC: “10 People Beating a Dead Horse”

Warning: Dead pet photos below text. Do not scroll beyond text if you wish to avoid.

In 2013, the Davidson Co pound in NC took in 3440 cats and killed 3167 of them. The facility took in 3319 dogs and killed 2322 of them. The pound also took in 8 bats, 3 foxes, 6 raccoons, 1 skunk and 1 snake and killed them all.  The Davidson Co pound is a gassing facility.

Some of you have likely seen photos of the dead pets on the NC highway after they fell out of a truck transporting them from the Davidson Co pound where they had been killed. The photos were initially posted on Facebook by a concerned citizen who thought a pet killer was at large in the community. It was later confirmed that the Davidson Co truck’s tailgate had come open while transporting the carcasses.

When asked for comment by the Winston-Salem Journal regarding the incident, pound director Judy Lanier made her views plain as day:

“It was an internal employee mistake that’s been dealt with in less than 30 minutes,” she said. “Basically it’s a nonstory. There is one thread on one Facebook page where you’ve got less than 10 people beating a dead horse.”

This is the leadership in your animal “shelter” Davidson Co. The concerned citizen who photographed the dead pets was correct – there is a pet killer at large in your community.  And you’re paying that person’s salary.

Davidson Co, get rid of this pound director and start fresh with someone willing to do the hard work of saving shelter animals’ lives like they do in hundreds of other open admission shelters across the country. The tools are available today, for free. Why not try? I don’t think there’s any chance you could possibly do worse.

Screengrab from Facebook showing a trail of dead pets on a NC highway.

Screengrab from Facebook showing a trail of dead pets on a NC highway.

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Screencap from Facebook showing the deceased pets removed from the highway by the so-called irresponsible public in an effort to give them dignity in death.

(Thanks Clarice and all who sent me info on this story.)

Action Item: Ask Dothan Police Chief to Thoroughly Investigate Abuse at Pound

In Dothan, AL, animal control is run by the police department.  On the pound’s Petfinder page, which has zero animals listed for adoption, it states:

Because of the high number of dogs and cats we receive each week, we are forced to euthanize animals regularly.

And by forced to euthanize, they apparently mean getting kicks by torturing puppies to death.

William Henry Roberson, age 57, has reportedly worked for the city of Dothan for 21 years, including the last 14 as an ACO.  Shortly after showing up for work on Friday, ACO Roberson allegedly intentionally locked a live mixed breed puppy in the facility’s freezer, which I presume is full of dead pet carcasses.  Approximately 20 – 30 minutes later, another employee found the puppy, who died shortly thereafter.

ACO Roberson has been placed on administrative leave, arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.  Bond was set at $500.

If this is the first time this man has tortured an animal, I will eat my hat.  I will eat all the hats.  No compassionate person shows up for work at a job he’s been doing for 14 years and suddenly decides to inflict pain and suffering on a puppy for the first time.  It seems only logical to believe this is part of a pattern of abuse with this ACO, one which his co-workers may or may not have observed over the last 14 years.  The difference this time is that someone turned him in.  Thank you, someone.

“It’s obviously disheartening when somebody who’s charged with protecting and caring for these animals then intentionally harms one,” [Dothan Police Lt. Will] Benny said.

Not ONE.  There is a pattern here, I guarantee it.  Will the Dothan police department, investigating itself in the matter, bother to dig deeper to determine if evidence of a pattern of animal abuse exists?  Or will they just take a play from the city shelter abusers handbook and label the guy a bad apple, the torture a one time incident, and move on quietly with the business of animal killing?

Politely worded e-mails to Dothan police chief Gregory J. Benton requesting a thorough investigation to include any possible incidents of previous animal abuse at the pound and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law may be sent to dpd@dothan.org. And while you’re writing, maybe include a link to No Kill 101 from the No Kill Advocacy Center. In case the police don’t want to be “forced” to continue the needless killing of pets at the pound. Hundreds of other communities have ended the killing. The tools are available, at no cost. Can’t hurt to try. And we already know it hurts not to try.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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.)

Rowan Co Institutes Mandatory Killing for Cats After 7 Days, Pretends It’s to Prevent Disease

The Rowan Co pound in NC group-houses cats in a dog run.  Kittens are in a neighboring dog run.  The pound sells all pets for $70 with no discount for rescue groups.  There is no foster program listed on the website.  Rowan Co killed 1452 cats in 2013 – more than half of all the cats they took in.  The pound currently has 11 pets listed on Petfinder – all dogs.

A dog named "60881" posted on Petfinder by Rowan Co and described as "**LAST DAY IS MONDAY 8/4/14!!**", as shown on the website on August 7, 2014.

A dog named “60881” posted on Petfinder by Rowan Co and described as “**LAST DAY IS MONDAY 8/4/14!!**”, as shown on the website on August 7, 2014.

Yesterday, Rowan Co issued a public notice via e-mail and social media that states the county wants to keep the pound free of feline panleukopenia virus and as such, has instituted some new cat policies. My summary:

  • Please don’t touch the cats.
  • In order to reduce “airborne dust particles”, the county is switching the kind of cat litter it uses.
  • All cats and kittens will be killed after 7 days.

The notice further asks that people help educate the public about the importance of vaccination and provides a link to an article on Wikipedia as well as one on the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program website. I clicked that link and snipped the following bits of information on panleukopenia:

  • [A]dult cats with current vaccinations are at very low risk.
  • Control is dependent on effective vaccination, keeping cats separate during the time they may be incubating the disease, and careful cleaning and disinfection of all areas in which cats are housed.
  • Vaccination for panleukopenia is highly effective if performed correctly. A good vaccine program can substantially reduce spread of infection in a shelter. [...] All cats 4-5 weeks of age and older should receive a modified live panleukopenia vaccine immediately upon shelter entry.

I didn’t see anything about not touching cats or cat litter or arbitrary killing of all cats after 7 days on the Koret page.  Maybe they forgot.  Or maybe Rowan Co, whose pound primarily functions as a killing facility with regard to cats, is simply giving itself excuses to kill cats.  More.

It sounds to me as if Rowan Co should be implementing a vaccination upon intake policy for all cats, appropriately quarantining new arrivals, developing a foster program and conducting the prescribed housing and cleaning routines recommended by Koret.  The county’s newly announced protocols are not based on current shelter medicine science.  If the county truly wants to reduce the occurrence of panleukopenia in the pound, they might start by reading their own link and doing their jobs.  But that sounds like work.  And arbitrary killing is apparently so much easier.

(Thanks Jane for the story.)

Mailbag

Reader Tami writes:

Good news in cat rescue can be hard to find. The story of Julianne Westberry in SC has been particularly hard to swallow. She was trusted by so many. I worked side by side with her in the Anderson County Humane Society Spay/Neuter Clinic. She seemed to have a stream of foster homes and adopters. She was given the “Volunteer of the Year” award by ACHS in May 2014!  One month later, she was arrested for ill treatment of animals.

A passerby stopped to ask if the furniture on her porch was for sale. When the odor from inside, and the fly lined, paper covered windows were noted, authorities were notified. Authorities whose facility could be seen out the window of her house, less than 100 feet away!

Inside, they found 32 live cats, 37 deceased. More bodies were found by the owners of the rental house when they went in to clean up. It is believed, at least 25 more bodies. The true number of deceased may never be known. Many were so decomposed, they only way to know they ever existed was by fur and pieces of their tiny bodies. She pulled moms and kittens. Left them in their carriers. There, they died. One, Venus, was only ID’d by her microchip. I’ve seen pictures, not released to the public. Of the 32 survivors, 4 have since died. I have one, who was in some of the worst condition, in the care of my wonderful vets.

Thanks to the dedication of Ash Truesdale, volunteer with Foster Paws Rescue, it has been found that she pulled from 16 CONFIRMED shelters. In a little over a year, over 800 cats and kittens. She was using 3 different aliases. Her name, JW, J’s Kitten Cottage, and unbeknownst to them, the 501c3 of Anderson County Humane Society. She was accepting pledges for these cats. THAT may be the only way for these cats to get justice. Internet fraud.

It was also learned, many of the cats had been taken to her boyfriend’s farm. She lived there, most of the time. Those who have seen the farm give estimates of 70-300 cats that are alive. Others who died have been disposed of (so we are told). After JW was released, the boyfriend contacted Anderson County PAWS, the local impound, to owner surrender the farm cats. Anderson Co was given the go ahead to begin trapping. Cats would be trapped, taken to Anderson Co PAWS, and summarily killed. After all, they were “just cats”, not needed for criminal investigation and PAWS is “already full” from a previous hoarding /rescue that’s awaiting court. They don’t have the space, staff, funds, etc to save the cats.

Those following the case found out about Anderson Co’s plans on Wednesday, July 2. On Monday, July 7 at 6 PM, the cats would begin dying. “No exceptions”. 30 cats, already trapped and in custody had been given a death sentence. The facility would be closed on Friday July 4. Open for a limited time on Sat July 5.

Enter the “irresponsible public”…

Wednesday PM, July 2– much hand wringing and public outcry on the PAWS FaceBook threads as word spread.

Thursday, July 3– a meeting of about a dozen people. The only way to save these cats, these cats who had been promised a safe loving home, these cats who had already once escaped the needle or gas chamber, was to acquire a building. But we were going into a holiday weekend. People were out of town, businesses were closed. Ash knew folks would help, IF these cats could find safe haven (shelter) for a brief time.

Friday, July 4– Geneva Lawrence, a member of Kitten Action Team, spread the word. She had found someone to donate a facility for 6 weeks. Volunteers would be given keys at 5PM on Sunday, July 6. The cats HAD a building! An empty building.

Pregnant cat being sheltered by volunteers after being saved from the Anderson Co pound kill room.  [Photo via Facebook]

Pregnant cat being sheltered by volunteers after being saved from the Anderson Co pound kill room. [Photo via Facebook]

Again, the news was shared. A building was found. No cages, no food, no litter… The media was contacted. When the keys were handed over, a local news crew was there to document volunteers, with brooms and rags. Cleaning the building. Cages were loaned by multiple rescues. A wish list was set up. Amazon and UPS became aware of the multiple packages they would begin shipping. Transport from Anderson County to the building in Mauldin, SC was arranged for the cats. 

Volunteers were there on Monday, July 7 setting up for the arrival. Again, multiple news media were there. Currently there are over 50 cats and kittens. Kittens born at PAWS. Most of the females are pregnant. All are receiving care. All are alive. All of this, thanks to the public. As you like to say, the REAL humane society – small “h”, small “s” – wants to save lives. And they will.

Thank you Tami for sharing this good news and thanks to everyone who saved those non-evidence just cats from being killed at the pound.  Yay irresponsible public.

Louisiana Pound Worker Neglects Dogs to Death, Receives Fine

Vick and Fancy, as depicted on the KATC website.

Vick and Fancy, as depicted on the KATC website.

Cynthia and Royce Johnson’s healthy 4 year old dogs were family.  Vick and Fancy had their own Christmas stockings and were in the family portraits.  But when Vick was found loose in a neighbor’s yard in mid-June, the Town of Basile, LA inexplicably took both dogs away, requiring the Johnsons to go to court to get their pets back.  They went to the scheduled hearing five days later, only to find it had been canceled.  The next day, they found out Vick and Fancy were dead:

All that’s left of the Boxer and Shar Pei is a grave in the backyard of their owner, Cynthia Johnson. She can’t help but relive the day they were taken away.

“I loaded them up, I told them they would be home soon, and they didn’t come home,” Johnson said. “They came home to be buried.”

As if the horror of losing two family members at once wasn’t enough, Cynthia Johnson learned details of their agonizing deaths in the most gruesome way imaginable:

She said the situation became worse when she demanded to see her dogs, who were delivered to her home.

“The dog catcher said, ‘Ma’am, be careful; there are maggots,'” Johnson said. “I was like, ‘What do you mean maggots? He just died two hours ago. How could he have maggots?’ So I took the bag and I tore it open, and when I did he was just like covered in maggots. They were, like, everywhere, and he had sores everywhere, and they were eating him,” Johnson said.

A report from a local vet clinic indicated Fancy was dead at the time she arrived at the hospital and Vick took “one last agonal breath and died.”

Part of the Town of Basile, as well as the pound where it takes animals, is within Acadia Parish.  Tim Benoit, the Acadia Parish Animal Control supervisor, investigated the deaths.  He determined that the Basile town employee in charge of caring for impounds neglected Vick and Fancy to death.  Benoit issued the employee a citation for two counts of animal cruelty – but it’s just a $500 fine.  After all, they’re only animals:

Benoit said he did not see the alleged violations as criminal in nature.

“It’s a civil matter,” Benoit said.

Nothing civil about it.  Pets are family.  The employee has been reassigned and won’t be working at the pound in future.  Gee, nice gesture on the town’s part there.

Benoit said that his investigation revealed the need for improving animal care in Basile and that the the town’s mayor asked for his recommendations on how to remedy the Basile animal control issues at hand.

Ya think?  There will reportedly be some upgrades and training and blah.

“Just give me some time. We will get this fixed,” Benoit added.

How much time will it take to get justice for Vick and Fancy?  I guess never would be the answer to that.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Cumberland Co Kills Dog Whom Owners Wanted Back, Calls Family Liars

Debo, as pictured on the ABC 11 website.

Debo, as pictured on the ABC 11 website.

People tend to think that animal shelters shelter animals and that everyone who works there is an animal lover who would never hurt a pet.  Tragically, this is far from the truth in too many shelters.  Sometimes people only find this out when their pet ends up at the “safe haven” and is killed there.

On June 15, a 10 year old Rottweiler named Debo reportedly bit a person.  A Cumberland Co, NC ACO came to the home and advised owner Yolanda Streeter that Debo had to be quarantined for 10 days – either at home or at the pound.  Since the family was about to go away on vacation, Mrs. Streeter’s husband chose the option to quarantine Debo at the pound and signed the form the ACO gave him.

On June 17, Mr. Streeter called the Cumberland Co pound to make sure it was known that the family was going away but would be back to pick up Debo on June 27.  He wanted the date to be clear since it was two days after the quarantine ended.  The family also went to the pound that day to visit Debo and reiterate that they would be back to pick him up on the 27th.  Mrs. Streeter says the staff agreed with the arrangements.

But when Mr. Streeter called on June 27 to ask if he needed to bring a fee with him when he picked up Debo, he was advised that his pet had been killed on the 25th.  Because that was the day the quarantine expired and he’d signed a form surrendering ownership of Debo to the county.  And since the staff could legally kill him, they did:

Officials said Wednesday that the paperwork the Streeters signed gave them possession of an aggressive dog. The animal release form Mitchell Streeter signed on June 15 is marked for a “Code 2,” which released Debo to the county.

Yolanda Streeter said they thought they were simply signing the dog off for quarantine.

“Believe me, the last thing we want to do is put an animal down,” said Dr. John Lauby, Director of Animal Services.

I’m going to go with nah on that one.

Adding insult to injury, county officials told the local news the Streeter family never said anything about coming back to pick up Debo and the fact that they called and visited means nothing since owners who know the county is going to kill their pets do that too.  Which apparently happens all the time in Cumberland Co.  Sheesh, I hope these county officials aren’t on the tourism board.

The Streeter family is heartbroken and has no closure:

“Honestly, I feel like somebody who had a loved one who was murdered or killed or something,” Yolanda Streeter said. “And they don’t have the body back.”
[...]
“If I’d known what was going to happen, I would have never sent him there.”

Pets are family.  Having an owned pet in the care of people who kill pets for convenience ends tragically all too often.

If “the last thing” the pound truly wants to do is kill pets, I have a suggestion:  Instead of calling the Streeter family liars, Cumberland Co needs to investigate why the staff failed multiple times to note in Debo’s records that the family was coming for him.  Start by asking the ACO whether he explained clearly to Mr. Streeter that he was signing over his pet to be killed and whether Mr. Streeter indicated to the ACO the family would be reclaiming the dog.  Then find out who at the pound took Mr. Streeter’s call verifying he would be there on the 27th and failed to note the date in the records.  Then talk to the staffers who spoke with the family during the visit when they reiterated they were coming back for him.  See if any of them have reasonable explanations for their failures.  If not, fire them and get people in there willing to do their jobs.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Coffee Co Pound Director Refuses to Put Free Bed in with Dog Whose Skin is Falling Off

The director of the Coffee Co pound in TN is one of those who refuses to give donated beds to dogs to get them up off the concrete in the indoor/outdoor runs.  Even after a Chihuahua apparently froze to death there last winter, director Kevin Brown attributed the death to possible old age, also:  mystery!  The public was outraged and dozens of dog beds were donated to the pound – which the director won’t allow to be used. Because he is the ultimate wielder of dog bed power exclamation point, possibly several:

Brown said he doesn’t agree on using the beds in the summertime because the pavement is much cooler for the dogs.

Plus, he said the beds are nearly as big as the kennels themselves and leave little room for them to move around.

A pregnant dog named Elsa has been severely stressed while being held at the Coffee Co pound for a court case. And she’s been loving her room-to-move-around-uninhibited-by-awful-bed so much, her skin is falling off:

“The pads on her feet are coming off; it’s from constant wear on concrete and hot temperature,” said volunteer and founder of Love Linked Dogs, Andrea Ahlijah.

Even her backside is down to the flesh.

“The raw marks on her back, right here, the sores, that’s from the hot pavement,” she said.

The dictator director wants the record to reflect that there is only one dog at the pound being flayed alive due to his refusal to use the free dog beds:

Director Kevin Brown points out that no other dogs at animal control have that problem.

Let’s pool together our dollars and get an Only One Dog Having Her Skin Stripped Off Due to My Willful Neglect award for this man.

Would Coffee Co allow a citizen to leave a pregnant dog to suffer in this way? Would cruelty charges be brought against such a citizen? Where are the cruelty charges for the director? No doubt the mayor is on standby with his trusty thermometer to defend the needless suffering at the pound.

Mercifully, the so-called irresponsible public stepped up and offered to foster Elsa and her litter of 10 newborn pups.  I guess we should bring cupcakes to the director for allowing taxpayers to do the job he refuses – but still gets paid – to do.

Elsa, in foster care, as depicted on the WSMV website.

Elsa, in foster care, as depicted on the WSMV website.

(Thanks Clarice and Devry for the link.)

Filth and Neglect Found During State Inspection of Rutherford Co Pound

A toy dog on concrete at the Rutherd Co pound in NC  [Screengrab from PetHarbor]

A toy dog on concrete at the Rutherford Co pound in NC [Screengrab from PetHarbor]

The website for the Rutherford Co pound in NC indicates the facility is closed during the hours most people can visit:

The shelter hours are Monday thru Thursday 12:00 P.M. till 4:00 P.M. for adoptions only and Friday 10:00 a.m. til 2:00 p.m. for adoptions only. The shelter is closed on Saturday, Sundays, and major holidays.

With these very few open hours, it seems counter intuitive that the state is demanding the facility count hours for every animal and kill them based upon these arbitrary counts, relative to the mandatory 72 hour holding period:

State inspector Jay Blatche from said in his report to the shelter staff that any animal that is at the shelter on the 73rd hour must be adopted immediately or euthanized.

How can anyone be reasonably expected to adopt an animal on his 73rd hour when the place is mostly closed?

The state inspection was prompted by a citizen’s complaint alleging deplorable conditions, neglect and needless killing at the pound.  The inspector indicated the facility was filthy and overcrowded but the sheriff’s department is all hey, we’re just heroes here:

Lt. Leon Godlock of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department said it is true the shelter has been holding some animals beyond the state mandate of 72 hours. “We’ve held animals up to 10 days or more over, just hoping someone will come by to adopt them,” Godlock said.

Maybe people have been coming by to adopt.  Maybe they come by in droves on weekends, holidays and after school/work – the usual times most people can get there.  But the county would not know if that was the case since the place is closed all those times.

“We got wrote up for housing too many animals, hoping they would get saved. Now we are going to start putting more animals down. It is about spacing,” Godlock said.

No.  It’s about being open when people can get there.  It’s about not putting sick puppies and kittens in cages with healthy puppies and kittens.  It’s about cleaning litter boxes and kennels.  It’s about providing soft food to puppies and kittens who are too young to eat hard kibble.  It’s about keeping the number of kittens per cage down to a manageable number – not 19 or more.  All these issues, with the exception of the facility being mostly closed, are addressed in the state’s inspection report.

But don’t criticize unless you are willing to neglect and kill pets yourself:

Kelly Carpenter, a volunteer with the Community Pet Center, says she’s surprised to see the reaction on social media.
[...]
Of the 330 animals that came into the shelter in June, 190 were put down.
[...]
“We work tirelessly all day long and half the night to coordinate with these rescue groups to get these animals out,” she says. “And if you’re not here on a daily basis to see what we’re doing, it’s kind of hard to criticize what goes on here.”

Not really. Killing more than 57% of the animals in your care last month indicates Rutherford Co is primarily operating a pet killing facility, not a shelter. Needless pet killing is the kind of thing that’s super easy to criticize. Most everyone hates it and will say so, given the opportunity. Defending the neglect and killing of shelter animals – now that’s the hard thing.  It looks like Rutherford Co has sufficient enablers to keep the pet killing operation running for awhile.

(Thanks Clarice and Karen for the links.)

F-Star-Star-Star Yeah Augusta Chronicle

Although many newspapers feel comfortable endorsing political candidates in the lead up to an election, most do not weigh in on the needless killing of dogs and cats at their local shelter.  Of those that do, the editorials tend at best to nudge the shelter director with a kindly worded request for improvement and at worst blame the so-called irresponsible public for the killing and demand MSN enforcement.  But in a piece published yesterday, the editorial staff at the Augusta Chronicle in GA has changed all that.  They go to eleven:

Augusta-Richmond County is needlessly killing animals – dozens a day, hundreds a week, thousands a year.

All because leaders at the county’s Animal Services department refuse to work with volunteer rescue groups who help find homes for the dogs and cats that turn up at the animal shelter.

Apparently, it’s simply easier for Animal Services Director Sharon Broady and her staff to warehouse, kill and dispose of the animals than to process the paperwork needed to get them into caring homes.

The piece goes on to question why the Augusta pound is killing 70% of its animals while turning away rescuers and volunteers and why the director refuses to adopt out intact animals with spay-neuter agreements when the only alternative she allows is death.

Why is Broady’s default setting on “kill”?

She told The Augusta Chronicle via email interview that she is open to exploring options of lowering euthanasia rates. We suggest she consult a dictionary if her idea of “open” is to refuse to cooperate with rescue volunteers and blindly adhere to a policy that sends dozens of animals to the county landfill each day.

About 6,500 dogs and cats were killed last year.

Broady says lowering the kill rate would require “a new facility, additional staff, to include another veterinarian, vet techs and a much larger budget.”

She needs more resources? We don’t buy that facile argument for a split second. Broady has volunteers practically kicking her door in, begging to take these animals off her hands.

There are likely plenty of policy changes she can make to cut the kill rate that don’t require a bigger budget.

I’ll have what they’re having.

Referring to the Augusta pound as a “sick, sad death house”, the Chronicle offers up examples of places such as Kansas City where the killing of healthy/treatable pets has been drastically reduced after compassionate animal lovers committed to lifesaving took charge of operations.

Look long and hard at all these other agencies that are correctly and humanely executing their duties without executing tons of animals. Start doing what they do. Check your pride at the door. The animals whose life or death depends on us deserve that much.

Augusta Animal Services’ problem isn’t financial. It’s about attitude. And this agency has precisely the wrong attitude to fulfill a successful mission of caring for and adopting out Augusta’s most vulnerable animals.

While the editorial staff does not mention the No Kill Equation or the fact that there are hundreds of open admission shelters saving more than 90% of their pets all over the country, they clearly get the idea that a shelter should shelter, not kill, animals and that the need for meaningful reform is urgent:

Augusta Commissioners have ultimate authority for this slaughter. They have the responsibility to put an end to it. Commissioners, a compassionate and caring community is looking to you now. Do your jobs, and either make Ms. Broady do hers, or find someone else who will.

Out with the old, in with the editorial staff at the Augusta Chronicle. Someone should send them a copy of Redemption and a link to the No Kill Advocacy Center so that they can see what’s achievable in Augusta.  Local animal advocates, you’ve got the newspaper editorial staff on your side.  No small thing.  Seize the moment and publicly demand an end to the killing of healthy/treatable animals at the pound.  And then keep demanding it, six ways from Sunday, loudly, until it happens.

(Thanks Jodi for the link.)

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