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.)

No Kill Advocacy via Media Outreach in Huntsville, AL

Following the recent news that the city of Huntsville, AL is researching the No Kill Equation for possible implementation at the pound, the group No Kill Huntsville is engaging the community by putting up some digital billboards:

No Kill Shelter astronaut

Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

No Kill Shelter salon #2

Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

No Kill Shelter girl  dog

Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

Aubrie Kavanaugh of No Kill Huntsville writes:

No Kill Huntsville continues to push local elected and appointed officials to embrace no kill programs and to end the destruction of healthy and treatable pets using tax dollars. John Hamilton, the new city administrator, told a media outlet recently that the city is exploring the possibility of becoming a no kill community. This is a degree of forward progress in a city which has known about, but chosen not to implement, the No Kill Equation for more than five years.

Although the city’s recently stated position is seen in a positive light, the members of No Kill Huntsville plan to continue to push the issue in the community and to be the group which seeks to hold city leaders accountable. A huge part of that is reaching the public, many of whom either don’t know what happens at the local shelter or may not realize that there are other ways to function. The latest tool in the toolbox is a digital billboard campaign which is set to run during the months of July and August (thanks to some help from a local sponsor and an animal-friendly advertising company) and a new television PSA (below) getting air time on the local network stations. Although the group has a fully developed web site and is very active on social media, the members acknowledge that the key to change is connecting with the very people who can be educated on what is taking place using their tax dollars and then encouraged to speak out to local officials in support of change.

The hope is to reach a wider audience using visual content which goes beyond the computer screen. No Kill Huntsville is using a degree of humor to reach the community, but there is a method to the madness. Since Huntsville is home to the Marshall Space Flight Center and does, in fact, have a host of rocket scientists living in the community, the group is taking advantage of that. Here in Huntsville, we call ourselves the Rocket City and the Star of Alabama. This region is smart, proud, progressive and creative. If we can support the space program and the international space station, surely we are smart enough to learn from successful no kill communities and stop killing healthy and treatable pets.

Thank you Aubrie for the update. Keep going.

 

Augusta Pound Refusing to Adopt Out Animals Because of Possibility Adopters Might Not Follow Through with Neuters

In Richmond Co, Georgia, Augusta Animal Services has been killing 70% of its animals for the past two years.  And that tragic kill rate appears to be the result of a hot mess perpetuated by local leaders.

An animal advocate recently told the Augusta Chronicle that Augusta pound director Sharon Broady refuses to work with rescues and charges them full adoption fees.  In addition, with the loss last month of the pound’s part-time vet, animals are apparently being single-tracked to the kill room, with the state spay-neuter law being cited as the reason.  No vet=no neuters=no live releases.

Georgia state law and Richmond County ordinance both require shelters to either neuter pets prior to adoption or have the adopter sign an agreement that the pet will be neutered within 30 days (for adult animals).  It is unclear to me why the Augusta pound is not utilizing the latter option in order to save lives.  The director cites a lack of compliance in past on the part of owners who adopted intact pets but fails to mention that the alternative choice she is making, instead of working to increase compliance, is death.

The pound’s adoption program appears to be suspended and the facility is killing more than 100 pets a week. The director won’t reopen the adoption program until a veterinarian is hired.  City commissioners recently approved hiring a full time vet for the pound but there is no sense of urgency to fill the position, which the city estimates may take as long as 6 months.  No rush I guess, as long as the city has the landfill space for the mountain of dead animals it’s creating.

The city commissioners bring the blame:

“This is a community wide problem and not strictly to our animal control director. It goes all the way down to people who have pets and don’t take care of them,” Commissioner Donnie Smith said.

It is the director’s choice to kill animals instead of allowing rescues and adopters to save them. That choice is not in any way reflective of the behavior of area pet owners. Naming the problem is the first step to finding a solution.

Then there’s this guy:

“I wish we had more debate about abortions. I mean nobody has talked about that. animals are animals and I love animals. We don’t have the funds and I approved to have a veterinarian. At some point we need to have responsible pet owners,” Commissioner Joe Jackson said.

What, no nightcaps?

What, no nightcaps?

Mmmmkaaaay.  I wish we had a debate about foxes wearing pajamas.  Maybe I’ll get my wish someday and maybe Commissioner Jackson will get his.  In the meantime, the director of the Augusta pound is choosing to operate the place primarily as a pet killing facility while turning away rescuers and adopters.  While we’re waiting for our debate wish lists to be fulfilled, maybe we could talk about that.

(Thanks Clarice and Kim for sending me links on this story.)

Pets Go Missing After Animal Control Gets Involved

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune's website.

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune’s website.

Annie Allison and her family have owned their beloved cat Doozie Bean for 9 years. He’s been missing since May 7, when he was reportedly trapped in a neighbor’s yard by the ACO for Hornell, NY. Prior to setting the traps in the neighbor’s yard, Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan states the ACO was supposed to knock on doors of area homes to alert residents. In addition, any cats trapped are supposed to be held for 5 days in order to give owners a chance to reclaim them. The ACO in this case, Gary Hadsell, appears to have not followed procedures.

After Ms. Allison brought her concerns to Mayor Hogan, the mayor denied any knowledge of traps being set. He says he talked with ACO Hadsell who reportedly admitted losing one of the cats he trapped. The ACO also apparently denied ever trapping Doozie Bean, claiming he has the ability to immediately distinguish feral cats from owned pets based on their behavior in the trap. The article doesn’t say if he also pulls rabbits out of hats or whether he’s available for kiddie birthday parties.

Mayor Hogan says ACO Hadsell has resigned. This too is clear as mud:

When reached for comment on his resignation, Hadsell said, “I don’t believe I did (resign). If you have any questions, call Shawn Hogan.”

Mayor Hogan also says that because of what happened with Doozie Bean, his city is getting out of the trapping business.

In the meantime, Ms. Allison and her family are heartbroken. She continues to search for Doozie Bean, driving around for hours, whistling for him and shaking cat treats out the window.

***

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

In West Memphis, AR a dog named Blue got spooked during a thunderstorm Saturday night and got lost.  A police officer took him to the West Memphis pound.  When Blue’s owner inquired at the pound Sunday, he was relieved to hear his pet was there.  But Blue’s cage was found empty.  Pound director Kerry Sneed says she personally locked the gate on Blue’s cage Saturday night and that it did not appear that he had escaped on his own.

For several hours Sunday morning, Sneed said there was a window of opportunity for people on the property to steal the dog.

Well gee.  Is that the sort of failure that taxpayers in West Memphis are supposed to accept?  What is being done to actually shelter animals from harm once they arrive at the so-called shelter?  Anything?

The owner, George Johnson, continues to walk the streets, calling for Blue.  He has made his e-mail address public in an effort to get any possible leads on the whereabouts of his pet: rjhealthfirst@yahoo.com

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Advocates Speak Out Against Killing in Lafourche Parish Pound

In November 2013, then Lafourche Parish veterinarian went public with allegations that the local pound director, Kelli Toups, was forcing suffering animals to linger without care in their cages.  There appear to have been no significant improvements since then.  The Louisiana pound remains closed on weekends and Wednesdays with kill days on Tuesdays and Fridays. There are reportedly no offsite adoption events.  This year, a local rescuer who says she has saved more than 1000 dogs and cats from the pound in the past 2 years cut ties with the facility, citing the “flat out lazy” staff and outrageous policies.

Area rescuers report that Ms. Toups regularly e-mails them a list of dozens of cats on the kill list, giving rescuers just 24 – 48 hours to save them.  The pound is undergoing renovations, making the cat room half its normal size.  Instead of using that as an opportunity to hold special cat adoption promotions and events, the pound is apparently sagging over it like a slug on a crutch, using it to justify continued failures.

Shelter critics say the issues boil down to three main problems: the size of the shelter, archaic rules and regulations, and a lazy staff.

[...]

Toups denies any wrongdoing and [...] would not discuss the staff and whether it’s lazy.

Last week, dozens of protesters went to the pound and voiced their concerns.

“They say we’re a group of wishers wishing for the moon if we’re looking for a no-kill shelter, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We just want to see the least amount of euthanasia as we can possibly have. We’d like to have a shelter that doesn’t have to kill animals twice a week to make space for more animals,” [shelter advisory board member Gisele] Landry said.

No need to wish for the moon – we already have one. We also have hundreds of open admission no kill shelters all over the country where healthy/treatable animals are not killed but instead are sheltered. Lafourche Parish could have one too.  It’s entirely achievable with hard work and a commitment to lifesaving.

Advocates should not stop short of demanding that the shelter staff members do their jobs, just as those in open admission no kill shelters everywhere do.  No one has to kill animals for space.  Killing is a choice.  Lafourche Parish can choose to follow the proven programs that have ended the killing in other communities or can continue to make excuses.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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