May 18, 2013
Billy Briggs, head of Nashville’s pet killing facility, on the pound’s horrifying 78% kill rate:
“We try our best to find homes for the ones that are adoptable.”
Mr. Briggs failed to mention that just 16% of the dogs and cats at the Nashville pound are deemed adoptable. Of those few who make it to the adoption floor, 25% end up in the kill room anyway. But they’re trying their best.
Bonna Johnson, spokeswoman for Nashville Mayor Karl Dean:
[W]e know that adoptions are a priority for Metro Animal Control.
Is there any other job in the world where you could fail so completely at your most basic tasks and still face the public unashamedly with the full support of the stooges in charge? If so, can we get these pet killers into those jobs so they can at least be prevented from hurting more dogs and cats?
“It tolls on us,” Biggs said about putting animals down. “It’s the hardest job here by far.”
Right. I guess that’s why you’re trying your best to get pets adopted. So you don’t have to do that hard job more than 8000 times a year. Although personally, I would think going to the media to pat yourself on the back with a straight face would be a really hard job too. Obviously more cupcakes are needed.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
Animal Control for the city of Manchester, GA falls under the police department. There was apparently a dog fight which occurred on or prior to March 21 in Manchester. While it’s unclear to me which dogs might have been involved in the fight, this article makes clear what happened to a dog named Ella on March 21. She was shot to death while inside her own fenced yard.
The Manchester ACO apparently decided that Ella was the attacker in the dog fight and that she was rabid – a diagnosis normally determined in a lab after testing an animal’s head. The ACO called police and told them to shoot the dog to death while she sat inside her fenced yard. Ella’s owner, Robin Garrett, was not home at the time. A neighbor attempted to advocate for Ella’s life but police ordered him to return to his home. He heard the shotgun when it was used to kill Ella. Ms. Garrett is devastated:
Garrett said Ella loved to sit on her lap and play with the grandkids. She said the 2-year-old beagle-boxer mix was current on her vaccinations and had no history of aggression.
If Ella was current on her rabies vaccine, she was not rabid. If the city of Manchester cares. When a local reporter attempted to speak with the ACO, he got in his truck and drove away. Probably to provide “services” to some other unlucky family in the area.
Police are investigating themselves in the incident and have never interviewed the neighbor who tried to prevent the killing through peaceful means. It is now May. No action has been taken against anyone involved in Ella’s killing.
If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)
Metro Animal Control in Nashville has been killing every Pitbull they touch for 15 years. Pet advocates have been pushing for reform of this nonsensical excuse for killing and indeed have achieved something. Kind of a lousy, stinking something but um, yay I guess.
Here’s the deal: Metro AC has decided to end the policy of killing all dogs deemed “Pitbull” simply because they’ve been labeled that by Some Guy. It could potentially mean a lot less killing since they take in so many Pitbull type dogs every year. But apparently they can’t just go cold turkey on the less killing thing – they have to wean themselves off slowly. So Metro AC has set up a weaning program for their pet killers. They’re going to kill every Pitbull puppy they get their hands on until June 1. It’s going to be hard to stop killing Pitbull puppies though so to ease the pain, they’ll keep killing all adult Pitbulls until September.
Come September, they’ll only kill Pitbulls who have “behavioral problems”. Determining that is about as easy for an ACO as determining which dogs are Pitbulls because:
- No dog behaves normally in a pet killing facility and no single behavioral assessment should ever be used as an excuse for killing a dog.
- “Pitbull” is not a breed of dog and it is impossible to determine genetics on mixed breed dogs based upon body shape.
So I assume even after they wean off killing everything that looks like a Pitbull just because Some Guy said so, Metro AC will still be killing plenty of Pitbulls just because Some Guy said they look like a Pitbull and have a behavioral problem. Win?
Here’s your money quote from Metro Animal Services manager Billy Biggs:
“Hopefully it’s going to be a big reduction in euthanasia here. Nobody here likes to euthanize things.”
There is a sweet Pibble type dog – I mean thing – in a red harness wagging her tail off in the video of Metro AC at the link. I guess they’ll be killing her and all the other dogs shown because they got impounded during the weaning phase.
Nashville, you know the public believes killing dogs based on body shape is wrong. That’s why you are changing your policy. Don’t be a bunch of whiny asses who need to wean off killing. Just stop it. Today. Right this second. You know, since you don’t “like” doing it anyway. And let that waggy dog in the red harness out of your pet killing facility.
(Thanks Devry for the link.)
May 10, 2013
I get a knot in my stomach when I hear that an advisory committee has been appointed to make recommendations about a pet killing facility. Nothing good ever seems to come from it. Add Mobile Co, AL to that list.
Yesterday Mobile County commissioners received their first report from the advisory committee charged with making recommendations about the deeply troubled pound. Here is my summary of the recommendations and seriously, I did not make these up:
- Use part of the county’s Maddie’s Fund grant to pay the Maddie’s Fund University of FL program for a shelter evaluation.
- Shorten the hold time for cats deemed feral (such as Porkchop) to 3 days so they can be killed quicker.
- Continue the “breed specific policy” that no puppy over 3 months old deemed a pit bull, chow or wolf hybrid will be allowed to live.
Bear in mind this is a place that kills many animals upon impound in violation of state law. They clearly can’t tell a well cared for pet from a feral cat and I can only imagine how well they do in determining dog “breeds”. (Pitbulls and wolf hybrids are not “breeds” and it’s nearly impossible to determine lineage for mixed breeds based on body shape.)
No doubt fans of Maddie’s Fund will be supportive of the idea of sending the county’s grant money to another Maddie’s Fund program in exchange for a shelter evaluation. I am not so excited. My thinking, wacky as it may be, is to clear out everyone committed to pet killing in Mobile Co and replace them with compassionate people committed to no kill – starting with a director. Once there is strong leadership in place, use the grant money to assist in implementing the programs of the No Kill Equation.
In other words, stop killing animals, start doing your jobs. The road map to success already exists and is available to everyone. No middle man required. Put that in your advisory committee pipe and smoke it.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
The Mobile Co pound in AL has been in the news a lot this year. First it was reported that the facility conducted a mass killing in response to one sick dog. Then we learned the pound killed a freshly bathed, neutered cat named Porkchop upon arrival before his owner could find him. The pound investigated itself to determine why the cat wasn’t held for the mandated holding period and decided the killing was A-OK because the pet was “feral”.
Now the local NBC affiliate reports that killing pets upon arrival appears to be commonplace at the Mobile Co pound:
We combed through nearly 600 pages of shelter records and policies and found that in the first two months of this year, 400 animals were euthanized. Nearly a third of them were put down on the same day they were brought in, and many within just a few minutes. The reasons given were varied: medical conditions, sickness and injury, aggressive animal, bite animal, feral animal, too young, too old.
I hate to nitpick but every one of the Mobile Co pound’s “reasons” for killing pets upon arrival is bullshit. Nearly all medical conditions are treatable. Aggression is impossible to determine upon arrival at a pet killing facility. The purpose of impounding bite animals is to hold them in quarantine to see if symptoms of rabies develop. Feral cats already have a place to live – the community. There is no such thing as being too young or too old – a pet is either alive, with an inherent right to continue living, or dead. And it’s mostly the latter after they get picked up by Mobile Co.
The shelter’s own policy states all stray animals are to be held for a mandatory seven-day period before any action is taken. Their policy also states the staff will explore “every option available before euthanization.”
Shelter records show many cases where the animal was never scanned for a microchip before being put down. Shelter policy states animals up for euthanization should be scanned not once, but twice for a microchip prior to the injection.
Everyone make sure you spell M-O-B-I-L-E C-O-U-N-T-Y correctly when submitting your nomination ballots for the Fail Awards.
The reporter went to county spokesperson Nancy Johnson with the above concerns and donchaknow – she had a pat answer for everything.
“If they are very sick, if they are suffering, for medical reasons,” Johnson says, “We get a vet to verify that they are in duress.”
[...] Johnson says the 7-day hold policy does not apply to cats deemed ‘feral’ because it’s inhumane to hold them.
“Feral cats, by definition, don’t have owners and can’t be owned,” Johnson says.
The county says some animals are too aggressive and unmanageable to be scanned.
Johnson says the county deals with an overwhelming number of stray and abandoned animals. They are required by law to pick up strays, unlike no-kill shelters.
I’m not sure which is more terrifying – the swiftness with which she offered these utterly lame/outright false explanations or the notion that she may actually believe them.
When asked by the reporter why the shelter is failing to follow its own policy limiting pet killings to 2 hours per day, 3 days a week, Ms. Johnson finally admitted there’s cause to change a policy – to open it up for more killing, natch. Mobile Co – all killing, all the time. (If the county commissioners are reading this and realize they are in need of a new tourism slogan, call me!)
“We do a big job,” Johnson says.
Yes. And you need a big shovel to manage it.
A rescue group called SouthBARK, which was banned from the pound last year, is currently suing the county for $500k. The group asked the court to put a halt on killings at the pound until the case is decided. The judge didn’t even wait for the county’s response before rejecting the request. A hearing has been scheduled for June 18.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)
Some of you might remember when A Second Chance Animal Shelter in Manning, SC shipped 41 of their dogs off to places that kill pets via the ASPCA. At that time, I made inquiries to A Second Chance, an organization that describes itself as “low to no kill”, but they were less than thrilled about the prospect of providing me with information. This time, I will let the group’s website speak for itself. Here is a screengrab of Merlin’s listing there today:
The text beneath Merlin’s photo describes him as an “AKC Registered, male Weimeraner (sic) puppy” and instructs interested buyers to call for his selling price. Today I received an e-mail from someone who inquired about Merlin as well as the response she says she received:
From: Mrs. Ramsey
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:23 AM
I was so excited to see the AKC Weimeraner puppy on your Web site. I would like to know how much he is . I have been looking for one forever. He is so pretty. My cell phone is in the shop and I do not have a house phone so please send me all the information so i can show my husband. We have a female that needs a buddy . Thank you so much.
From: Adoption Coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Mrs. Ramsey
Sent: Tue, Apr 30, 2013 10:47 am
Subject: Re: Merlin
Good Morning, Mrs. Ramsey.
Merlin’s adoption fee is $500.00. He’s up to date on vaccines and has his papers. He will not be neutered, unless you want him to be. May I ask what website you’re looking at? If you’re still interested in Merlin, please feel welcome to visit him anytime. Our hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to 3pm. We can be reached by email or by the number listed below. We look forward to hearing from/seeing you.
Thank you for your interest in Merlin.
Leslie Jones, Adoption Coordinator
A Second Chance Animal Shelter
5079 Alex Harvin Hwy
Manning SC, 29102
Adoption Coordinator. I’m gonna go with LOL on that.
On its website, A Second Chance includes “population control” and “spay and neuter programs” in its mission statement. LOL redux.
When I contacted A Second Chance in 2011, the organization described itself as “low to no kill”. That appears to have changed, at least according to the website:
We are a “No-Kill” shelter and some animals will stay with us all their lives– those that are handicapped, those who cannot emotionally recover from their experiences and cannot be placed in a home, and some that are just not “cute” enough to be chosen.
Except for the 41 long term resident dogs shipped off with the ASPCA to places that kill animals, that could almost sound truthful.
It’s so nice that the ASPCA was able to clear out the black & uglies from this place to make room for profitable little stud dogs like Merlin. I don’t imagine A Second Chance will be calling the ASPCA to take Merlin off their hands anytime soon.
April 30, 2013
The Logan Co pound in WV has been closed for quarantine. A local television station reports that three dogs have tested positive for distemper and volunteers at the pound suspect 17 other dogs have died from the disease recently. Dozens of dogs remain inside the facility:
“If they are not laying there dying they are being put down,” said SAFE volunteer Michelle Starr.
Well that sounds pretty awful. It’s hard to imagine anything worse but don’t give up hope so quickly because there’s this:
Twenty-six dogs had to be vaccinated at the Logan County Animal Shelter after a distemper outbreak, and one dog had to be put down.
*facepalm* Gee we’ve got a confirmed distemper outbreak, I guess we’ll have to vaccinate – there’s just no way of avoiding it at this point.
If the Logan Co pound had been vaccinating upon intake across the board, utilizing routine cleaning practices and quarantining new arrivals, they might not have dogs dying left and right. Vaccination prior to or immediately upon intake is key to preventing and minimizing distemper outbreaks. From the Koret Shelter Medicine Program info sheet on Canine Distemper Virus (CDV):
The most important factor in disease risk is vaccination: a “fully” vaccinated animal over four months of age is at very low risk of CDV infection. However, even incompletely vaccinated animals may survive a possible exposure.
It sounds like Logan Co does little to nothing to prevent disease outbreak at the pound:
SAFE volunteers said the distemper outbreak is not an unusual problem. They provided 13 News with a letter from Michael Koch, a veterinarian at Tug Valley Veterinary Clinic in Williamson. Koch said in the letter that he has treated several animals from the pound. In the document Koch writes:
“All of the patients I have examined have been afflicted by at least one infectious or contagious disease. Some of them have had multiple diseases. I have diagnosed Sarcoptic mange, infectious canine tracheobronchitis, canine distemper, parvovirus, coccidiosis, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. All of the patients have been in a very poor state of health.”
Pound officials said they do the best they can to regularly care for the animals and disinfect the facility, pointing out that animals are often not vaccinated when they come to the facility and are already in very poor condition.
They’re doing the best they can. It’s the public’s fault for not vaccinating and providing proper vet care – which the pound doesn’t do either but hey, why quibble over details?
Logan County Commissioner Danny Godby confirmed that workers put down at least eight dogs within the past month after testing positive for parvo.
Vaccination upon intake. Vaccination upon intake. Vaccination upon intake.
“We are doing our best to save these animals,” said [County Administrator Rosco] Adkins.
So I’ve heard.
(Thanks Clarice for the links on this story.)
As I have written repeatedly on this blog, parvo is preventable and treatable and every animal shelter has an obligation to both prevent and treat this disease. Parvo in shelters is prevented through the practice of vaccination prior to or immediately upon intake, good housing practices and standard disease prevention cleaning protocols.
Parvo is not the dreaded disease it once was. There are excellent prevention and treatment protocols available for shelters and pet owners to follow. Any shelter or state whose policy is to kill every dog in the place in the face of an outbreak (suspected or confirmed) is operating in The Before Time.
Meet Stokes Co, NC. As of Wednesday, the pound had killed 12 dogs and planned to kill 18 more after one dog adopted from the facility reportedly contracted parvo. County Manager Rick Morris, veterinarian Deborah Cowan, who is also chairwoman of the Stokes Co Animal Control Advisory Council, and pound director Phillip Handy “decided on Tuesday to ban adoptions of dogs at the shelter, euthanize the dogs there and put down any dogs brought to the shelter without vaccination records.” And there’s more:
That policy will remain in place until an outdoor kernel is built so that the shelter staff can clean the shelter’s indoor kennels of feces and urine and place down chemicals to kill the virus, Cowan said.
And not to put too fine a point on the new policy but, ok:
“If you bring it here and it has no vaccination it will be euthanized,” said Veterinarian Deborah Cowan[.]
Gee, is she accepting new patients?
Candis Loy, the president of Animal Rescue of Stokes County, said that euthanizing the dogs is regrettable. “I don’t think they have a lot of choices,” said Loy, a member of the animal control advisory council.
Yeah, the pound has no quarantine area so not “a lot of choices” besides killing. Because how could any animal shelter be expected to be cleaned without an outdoor kennel? That’s bananas. Just kill them all.
But even when they get the outdoor kennels built, that still won’t be good enough:
Shelter advocates say it’s only a temporary fix until a new shelter can be constructed.
Fundraisers are already under way for a new shelter that will cost around $400,000.
“We are begging, we are pleading, we’ve been getting down on our knees asking people to help,” stated Cowan who says they need $40,000 right now to secure a discount on a new facility that could be up and running by 2015.
In the past 3 years, they’ve raised $13,000 toward the new shelter. At this rate, the killing will end never. And I suspect that’s exactly how the killing apologists in Stokes Co like it.
The Wake Co pound in Raleigh, NC kills roughly half of the 11,000 animals it takes in each year. That’s a lot of pet killing and a lot of soul killing of human beings who work and volunteer in that environment. Perhaps that’s why no one at the pound apparently noticed they were working with someone who sexually abused dogs:
Wake County Magistrate J.D. Saferight said [Seadon Collins Etienne] Henrich first began working at the animal shelter as a volunteer and was eventually hired full time. He left the agency but returned as a volunteer who worked by himself at night, alone with the dogs.
The guy allegedly raping dogs over an 18 month period apparently didn’t raise any red flags with those who worked or volunteered at the pound. He got caught because he posted photos of himself raping the pets on the internet. Mr. Henrich was arrested last week “and charged with four counts of crime against nature and three counts of felony dissemination of obscenity.”
He has been offered bail:
Henrich was placed in the Wake County jail early Thursday afternoon under $70,000 bail. If he does post bail, he has been ordered to not go into any public or private facility where animals are kept.
Fine. What about the dog (or dogs) he may have at his home? When a local news reporter visited the man’s home, he was greeted by a barking dog outside who was quickly put indoors by a woman there.
Mr. Henrich appeared in court on Friday and is due for his next court appearance on May 9. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 14 years in jail.
The pound has offered no comment. I hope they seriously reconsider killing thousands of pets every year in favor of saving them. The killing environment does more than harm animals – it hurts people too. If the Wake Co pound had anything close to a compassionate environment full of people dedicated to protecting animals, I question whether a dog rapist might not have shown up on someone’s radar at some point during the 18 months these crimes allegedly took place. It’s too late for Wake Co to protect the dogs allegedly abused by Mr. Henrich or to protect any of the animals they’ve already killed. But they could start protecting the animals they have today. I hope they do.
(Thank you Clarice for the links.)
April 17, 2013
The Campbell Co pound in TN has been at the center of a hot mess this month. On April 2, I posted the following on Facebook in response to the e-mails I had been receiving about the pound:
Several people have e-mailed me links to a video and petition about the pound in Campbell Co, TN. I watched the video. While the allegations may be accurate (I don’t know), there is nothing in the video to substantiate the allegations. There is no one named as a source to provide eyewitness testimony. The only records shown are from 2011 and in fact show the correct amount of Fatal Plus being used for each dog, contrary to the allegations in the video.
I am the last person to defend cruelty and killing in an animal shelter and I am not defending those practices, if they exist, in Campbell Co. What I am saying is that it’s irresponsible to throw anonymous allegations around on the internet. If someone with first hand knowledge and/or other evidence of wrongdoing at Campbell Co would like to contact me, my e-mail is email@example.com If the evidence exists, I will help you bring it to light in a responsible manner.
On April 5, the local NBC affiliate WBIR ran a story titled “Knoxville veterinarian: spaying & neutering are keys to reducing animal euthanasia rates” which mentions the Campbell Co pound but does not focus on it. Since then, WBIR has been linking back to this piece in other articles about Campbell Co, characterizing the piece as as their own “investigation” of practices at Campbell Co:
A 10News investigation found the shelter was not using the recommended procedures or dosage of euthanasia drugs.
I find this claim to be a mischaracterization of the article’s text. I am unable to watch the videos on the website but unless they contain information which is entirely different from the printed articles, I don’t think the claim can be validated.
On April 4, WBIR posted a piece saying they had been allowed inside the pound for a tour and an interview with the director, Betty Crumley:
Inside, we found a clean, sterile environment; dogs and cats that are well-fed, and heated floors. The center was not at full capacity. There were less than 10 adult dogs, five puppies, two adult cats, and five kittens being held in kennels or cages. All had water, and or food.
Ms. Crumley offered this disturbing account of how Campbell Co kills dogs:
“When a dog comes in to be euthanized, you guess the poundage. Usually on the big dogs, it takes both of the technicians. They get the juice out and give them a shot. It’s called an “IP”. Then within minutes they die. At that point when there’s no heartbeat, then they are put in the freezer.”
I guess I should pause here so you can finish recoiling.
The deputy mayor threatens that whoever posted the video online will face criminal charges and claims Ms. Crumley is under police protection due to death threats in the comments sections of some websites. Ms. Crumley reiterates the police protection claim to the news crew.
10News did not see any law enforcement officers or vehicles at the center during the two hours we were there.
Maybe they were like, stealth units.
On April 9, a pound employee went to the media to report that there is true animal abuse occurring there. (Warning: details may be too disturbing for sensitive readers.)
The Campbell Co mayor closed the pound last week, despite an internal investigation involving the mayor’s office, the sheriff’s office and the district attorney general’s office which resulted in no substantiated claims of wrongdoing. The staff has been placed on administrative leave and the animals have apparently been placed with outside agencies while the state conducts its own investigation.
At least one of the groups caring for the Campbell Co animals says that all the animals they took had to be carried and describes pets in a very different state than what the news crew observed:
[T]he Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, who took in 20 of their animals, says the animals they rescued weren’t properly taken care of.
A nursing dam is described as having been locked in a cage with her pups, covered in fleas and ticks.
The Campbell Co pound remains closed at this time. It’s hard for me to make sense of this case where there seems to be no shortage of unsubstantiated and contradictory claims from all sides. I can’t imagine that it was any animal advocate’s hope to create mass confusion and doubt about the pound. That’s usually a tactic employed by those trying to hide wrongdoing. I guess we’ll see what comes out in the wash.
In the meantime, put me down in the “massively relieved” column regarding the closing of a facility where dogs have their dosage of kill “juice” guessed before they are stuck in the gut and left to suffer for some unknown number of “minutes” before being carted off to the freezer.