March 21, 2013
In the face of feline disease outbreak in a shelter, when is it appropriate to kill every exposed cat in the place? How about never? Does never work for you? It works for me.
The Caldwell Co pound in NC had several cats die. Preliminary testing on two of them indicated Calicivirus. Then the story gets weird:
More samples were sent off for extensive tests and those results are not back yet. The virus is usually passed though the air from cat to cat, said Veterinarian Dr. John Thuss. “It normally is just a moderate illness, sort of like the flu in humans,” he said.
Thuss thinks there could be other factors involved in this case but cannot be sure until all the test results are back.
The Koret Shelter Medicine Program has an information sheet on Calicivirus:
Feline calicivirus is shed primarily in saliva and oculonasal discharge, but can be found in all body secretions during acute disease. Although FCV can be spread by droplets sneezed out to a distance of ~ 4 feet, true aerosol transmission of FCV is unlikely.
If Dr. Thuss believed the disease that was killing cats at the pound was transmitted by air, it wasn’t Calicivirus. This underscores the need for the additional test results. One area where Koret and Dr. Thuss are in sync is the potential involvement of other factors. Again from the Koret information sheet:
The obvious first step in deciding whether outbreak control measures are necessary is to definitely diagnose FCV and rule out other common causes of the observed signs, such as feline panleukopenia. Even if FCV is a contributing factor, the outbreak can often be resolved by controlling the co-factor, which may be more amenable to intervention. [...]
I can’t stress this enough: the vast majority of suspected [Virulent Systemic Feline Calicivirus] cases or outbreaks we are contacted about turn out to have another primary cause such as panleukopenia, disinfectant toxicity, or the cumulative effects of severe crowding, poor sanitation, problems with air quality and rampant disease from many causes adding up to a picture that looks a lot like VS-FCV.
So additional testing is critical to determine the true cause of the illness so that informed treatment decisions can be made. Koret adds:
In the meantime, of course, affected and exposed cats should be isolated as with any possibly infectious outbreak.
Sounds like a reasonable plan. Instead, the Caldwell Co pound killed all the “exposed” cats (exposed to air?), stopped accepting cats from the community and cleaned the cages (and I guess, the air?). All this before the needed test results were back. No informed decisions, no isolation, no treatment – just needless killing. And then they started taking in cats again – before the test results were back.
So Caldwell Co never knew what they were dealing with, killed 15 cats anyway, closed their doors to community cats in need, then re-opened, still ignorant of which virus(es) may have been killing cats in their facility.
If you watch the video at the link, the pound apparently houses cats in dog runs, which has got to increase the stress level for the cats and weaken their ability to fight disease. Oh and the coup de grace: the shelter says the public is at fault for not vaccinating their cats. No mention from the shelter on whether they vaccinate all cats upon intake, as per standard disease prevention protocol.
(Thank you Lisa for the link.)
December 3, 2012
This recent article in L.A. Weekly starts off with a terrible title and goes downhill from there:
Are they really so “bad” that they must be killed? According to whom? What about the “good” dogs – what happens to them?
Regarding manager Brenda Barnette who has reportedly driven some volunteers away from the pound:
“From the beginning, the people engaged in animal issues were deeply divided on Brenda,” says Ron Kaye, former editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, who as a blogger at ronkayela.com has kept a watch on Animal Services. “She won over some segments — the classier segments.”
So anyone who doesn’t support the person in charge of needless pet killing at the pound has no class. Nice.
Official “volunteers” work with specific shelters, and are generally calmer than “rescuers,” who tend to be older, single white women with boundless energy — and often uneasy relations with paid staff.
Oh gee, speaking of no class…
“I think she’s doing the best she can,” says Cheri Shankar, a donor and activist, who argues, with plenty of facts behind her, that zealous rescuers have hated every general manager the department’s ever had, from Dan Knapp to Jerry Greenwalt to Ed Boks. “If St. Francis of Assisi came to Los Angeles to run the shelter, rescuers would complain about him.”
Right. Because rescuers just hate. It’s not that all the previous managers have also killed pets instead of doing their jobs, inviting condemnation from people who believe they are wrong to kill, it’s that hysterical old white women who can’t find husbands just hate.
No-kill means killing 15 percent or so of animals.
No kill means saving every healthy/treatable pet at the shelter. It’s not tied to a specific percentage although Nathan Winograd, director of the No Kill Advocacy Center, recently used the phrase “saving upwards of 95% of all animals” to describe the dozens of open admission no kill shelters in the U.S.
To reduce the killing, L.A. would have to persuade city residents to spay and neuter to prevent litters of animals. That means Animal Services — and by extension the City Council and Villaraigosa, who have cut its budget — would have to pay to better publicize and enforce a mandatory city spay-and-neuter law that’s widely ignored.
Right, MSN is failing in L.A. because it’s ignored. Because otherwise, MSN would totally be working, even though it has never worked to significantly reduce the killing of shelter pets anywhere it’s been tried. Ever.
“You can’t adopt your way out of the problem,” says Shawn Simons, who runs Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats[.]
Well yeah, you can – if anyone wanted to quit regurgitating the tired excuses of the past and open their eyes to the successes of the present. No kill is happening – in the north, south, east and west. It’s happening in large cities and rural communities. It could be happening in L.A. – today, if anyone involved wanted it.
(Thanks Jan for the link.)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive “some” ashes in the mail.
Shame on you, Belfast City Council.
June 30, 2012
Distracting the public from the way things are by focusing on the way things look doesn’t seem to be working.
February 19, 2012
I know you are probably thinking, “Shouldn’t that be JANE, you ignorant slut?” But here’s the thing, Jeanne Chancellor, head of the “Friends of MAS” volunteer group, has used so many aliases while commenting on this blog, I can’t be sure if “Jane” was one of them. A little background:
Yesterday someone commenting under the name “Cammy Linderman” posted a comment about an MAS volunteer who had come forward to speak to the media about the neglect at the pound. The interview has not yet aired and was conducted under the agreement that the station would conceal the volunteer’s identity. “Cammy Linderman” outed this person publicly on the blog in a very underhanded way. This got my attention so I began running through my list of suspect IP addresses from those who have left comments defending the abuse and killing on MAS posts in the past. In addition to Cammy Linderman, I found Anna Kallecter and Anna Kellecter, Amber Zeuss and Amber Seuss, Elizabeth Swafford and Eizabeth Swafford – all with several commonalities: They were all one letter off in their spelling, the IP addresses were all from Memphis, they connected to the internet at times through Bellsouth and at other times through the City of Memphis, they used AOL e-mail addresses almost exclusively and they were all the same as “Jeanne100″ – a commenter who posted three times in April 2011 using Jeanne Chancellor’s AOL e-mail address. The City of Memphis server threw me momentarily until I learned that Jeanne Chancellor had been issued a laptop by the City of Memphis as head of the “Friends of MAS”. So that about tears it.
Jeanne Chancellor appears to be all of these commenters and seems to be using her city issued laptop, paid for by taxpayers, to give virtual identities to the many confused voices in her head. I could overlook all of that but when she outed the courageous volunteer who went to the media to speak for the neglected pets at MAS under the condition of anonymity – this I can not abide.
And so Jeanne Chancellor, you are now the one who is outed.
You are outed as someone willing to put a brave shelter volunteer in harm’s way and subject this person to vindictive retribution.
You are outed as a defender of one of the most abusive shelters in the country.
You are outed as a “Friend” only to the City of Memphis and its corrupt political culture. You are no friend to the homeless animals in Memphis.
ABC24 reported that there was a meeting between volunteers and city leaders several weeks ago where some volunteers spoke up about the dogs not being fed and other concerns. I am told that Jeanne Chancellor attended that meeting but remained silent. This would be in line with her years of silence regarding the criminal activities at MAS. She had the chance to speak for the pets at the pound but chose to let them suffer. She used her knowledge of that meeting and subsequent events to attempt to put a volunteer in harm’s way by outing the person on this blog. That person should be commended for speaking up. That person had the courage and strength of character to come forward and take action when Jeanne did not. That person deserves our thanks, not our betrayal. When reform finally comes to MAS, it will be because compassionate people put action to their good conscience.
Jeanne Chancellor, you and all your aliases have been banned from this blog. If you ever attempt to use my blog to hinder shelter reform at MAS again, I will not be so kind in my response as I was today. Take that laptop that the caring citizens of Memphis paid for and get the hell out of the way. Change is coming.
January 26, 2012
…and into the Fire of Stupid. I recently blogged about the pound in Jackson Co Oregon where they sometimes kill microchipped pets. One of those pets was a cat named Max, whom the shelter deemed aggressive while in the trap, and killed. This was an easily preventable tragedy and can be prevented from ever happening again: Jackson Co must check ALL PETS for microchips, regardless of the pet’s behavior. They must contact owners of microchipped pets and post them online so that owners can find them. Further, they must cease impounding feral cats.
But at a recent Animal Control Advisory Committee meeting, these items didn’t get much attention. Instead, misinformed attendees clamored for mandatory spay-neuter (MSN) laws and even tossed in some wildly misleading (and I’m being generous here) information:
More than 32 states have mandatory spay/neuter laws, with a minimum requirement that all animals adopted from a shelter be spayed or neutered, said Lisa Frost, an Ashland attorney and shelter volunteer.
Frost urged the committee to move forward in implementing a mandatory spay/neuter program to help curb pet overpopulation and reduce the numbers of feral, stray and abandoned animals who are euthanized.
Where to begin? There is no such thing as pet overpopulation. The danger to community pets in this country lies primarily with the agencies designated to protect them which are instead killing them.
MSN does not reduce/eliminate shelter pet killing and it’s failed everywhere it’s been enacted. Some examples:
- The city of Los Angeles enacted MSN in 2008 and after the first year, shelter intake and killings were up. Killings increased after the second year as well. The third year was yet another failure.
- Intakes and killings increased in Las Vegas after the city enacted MSN in 2010.
- When CA was considering statewide MSN legislation in 2007, the past president of the California Veterinary Medical Association wrote a lengthy letter to the Board detailing his opposition.
- Killings and costs both went up in King Co, WA after MSN was passed in 1992.
As a result, most every major animal welfare group in the country opposes MSN. That list includes:
- The No Kill Advocacy Center explains “Why Punitive Legislation Fails”
- Alley Cat Allies points out that MSN does not reach most intact cats
- “Best Friends does not support mandatory spay-neuter legislation as a method of pet population control.”
- The “ASPCA is not aware of any credible evidence demonstrating a statistically significant enhancement in the reduction of shelter intake or euthanasia as a result of the implementation of a mandatory spay/neuter law.”
- The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes MSN.
32 states do not have statewide MSN as the article leads the reader to believe. In fact no states have statewide MSN. There are various cities and counties around the country which have enacted MSN but they have all failed. All.
To be clear, MSN is completely different than requiring shelter pets to be neutered. The article makes it seem as if the two are related. They are not.
Also during the meeting, another resident told how her cat Max (incredibly, a different cat) had also been trapped by a cat hater, brought to the pound, deemed agggressive and killed before she could find him.
More mess o’ stupid:
There is no county ordinance forbidding cats to be “at large,” said Colleen Macuk, shelter director. But owners are responsible for their animals’ actions. It is also legal for others to bait and trap “nuisance” cats and take them to the county shelter. In fact, it is required that trapped cats be taken to the shelter to prevent the possibility of animal abuse, said Macuk.
“We don’t turn them away because of the alternative,” Macuk said.
Well gee, I wish you would turn them away. Because the alternative is that they might, ya know - live. (It’s just this little thing I’m fond of.)
The director explained that Max (the recently killed cat) was deemed aggressive while in the trap so they stuck him with a needle on the end of a pole to kill him. He was never checked for a microchip.
With the county’s resources, wild and aggressive cats cannot be safely or humanely held to perform this task [of checking for chips] without putting staff at risk of bites or scratches or injury to the cat, Macuk said.
Heaven forfend the poor cat might get injured. Better to go straight for the kill stick.
Adding to the problem is the lack of manufacturer uniformity regarding chips and scanners. The shelter has two scanners, which are capable of reading all but two types of chips, she said.
Gee, all but two. That sounds… inadequate.
In 2011, the shelter received 2,883 cats. Only eight were microchipped, Macuk said.
Well but – how do you know, right? I mean, you’re not checking them all so maybe 8 had chips or maybe 800 did. Or maybe 2800. Nobody knows.
“One thing we’ve committed to is that we’re going to scan them all after they’ve been euthanized,” Macuk said, referring to cats that were deemed unsafe for staff to handle.
An excellent plan with only one possible drawback…
November 9, 2011
All this time, I’ve been typing away, trying to steer advocates toward step-by-step guides about reforming your local pound. I’ve sent you here and there in hopes of motivating you to take on the challenging work of bringing change to your community. Of course I know it’s a daunting prospect and all of you have full lives already.
But today, good news! The ASPCA, that bastion of compassion, laid it all out for us on their website yesterday – and it’s easy! The ASPCA quickly removed the online documents describing no kill advocates as “extremists” but as most of us know, there is no such thing as buying up every paper in town these days. Once online, forever online.
And so it is with the ASPCA doc “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda“, thanks to crazy people who saved the docs after the ASPCA began promoting them yesterday morning. So thankfully we can all still read ASPCA’s guide to creating change. Valerie has written a lengthy post on the subject so please go there to read the docs in all their glory. But the Reader’s Digest version of the ASPCA’s description of how we operate is this:
- Find some schmuck to go around shrieking “No kill!” down at city hall.
- Single out the people who kill pets at your local pound and call them names.
- Install a “Puppet Regime”.
October 12, 2011
A paper in Davidson Co, NC ran an article Monday in the “news” section (not “opinion”) which promotes the killing of shelter pets. The author, L.W. Shoaf, characterizes pet advocates as “zealots”. And from there, it goes straight to hell.
Mr. Shoaf wants readers to know that shelter pets are not friendly companions waiting to find a family:
The vast majority of these animals can be classified as feral, stray, surplus, often sick and/or dangerous animals.
He fails to mention that feral adult cats already have a home – the community. Or that feral kittens can be tamed. Feral adult cats should only be brought to a shelter for the purpose of neutering before they are returned to their colonies. Sick pets can be treated – they call it veterinary medicine. Dangerous dogs are rare and usually mislabeled by people not qualified to make such a determination. As for the pets he calls “stray” and “surplus” – is this a problem as far as getting the pets adopted? I highly doubt anyone who has ever adopted a stray or surplus (he makes it sound dirty) pet would agree. They are regular pets who happen to be homeless. This is not a crime. And certainly not one requiring a death penalty.
If these animals were such treasures, people would be breaking in line to take them home.
Well gee, I guess you’ve got us there. Never mind pounds who refuse to adopt some or all of their pets out to the public, who keep banker’s hours, who charge prohibitive adoption fees, or who require adopters to submit to home inspections and other invasions of privacy in order to save a pet’s life. Let’s put all that aside and just apply Mr. Shoaf’s logic – if they were so great, everybody would want them. Just like cultures which condemn rape victims as damaged goods who bring disgrace upon their families. You know they were asking for it anyway.
Not everyone wants to go to the pound and adopt an animal that someone else has ruined. Would you?
Why don’t we dispense with the gas chambers and blue needles and just stone all these surplus pets to death?
Mr. Shoaf also posits that gassing pets to death is a better experience for the pet than killing by injection. (He’s suddenly concerned about the quality of the pet’s death experience?) And he has the answer for pets who have been abused: death, natch.
If you are a pet advocate living in Davidson Co, NC, maybe you should send in an article to this paper. You know, so they can get more “news”.
August 27, 2011
MAS webcam watchers are bearing witness to the abuse and killing that goes on at the pound. They are giving faces to pets who would otherwise be known only as a statistic in a year end killing report. For this, I am grateful.
It takes a toll on those who watch the webcams, just like it does on everyone who looks at the shots posted here. Who among us could watch pet after pet being needlessly taken to the kill room, knowing they were never even offered for adoption, without suffering for it?
Without webcam watchers, there would be no photographic evidence of what goes on behind closed doors at MAS. As awful as it is to see, I won’t look away. And I am thankful there are others who won’t either.
All the pets in this post appear to have been killed by MAS on Friday, August 26, 2011. There were others as well. While webcam watchers were documenting the horrors of needless killing at MAS on Friday, someone there thought it would be funny to send a message of sorts.
Congratulations morons. You guys are just hilarious. I’m sorry I can’t laugh at the moment because I’m throwing up after looking at pictures of all the pets you just killed. It’s good to know Memphis has professional, caring people like you to look after the community’s pets. Well done Mayor Wharton.
June 11, 2011
Snipped from the minutes of the MAS Advisory Board Meeting March 9, 2011:
Board Members present:
Cindy Sanders, acting Chair/secretary
Matt Pepper, MAS Administrator
Floor opened to public
Beverly King – public should not be kept from entering stray area to adopt. Until Pepper, all animals except most
vicious/sick were available to be adopted. City is keeping public out to hide mistakes.
MAS response – public is shown adoptable animals that come from stray area.
Board response – Miami/Dade allows public in to see strays and adoptable animals. Allowed more time to spend with
Anne Marie Easton – M/D has up to date book with photos and allows public to select animal with disclaimer regarding
MAS response – strays are mostly pit bulls.
Michelle Buckalew – 13- 15% of animals at shelter available to be viewed. Potential for large scale adoption events to be
MAS response – people are welcome to come to the shelter any business day to adopt.
So there you have it folks. No need to keep clamoring for the public to be allowed to help the hundreds of dogs behind closed doors in the stray area: they’re mostly Pitbulls. Ipso facto, they have no right to life. And even if they did, nobody cares about a bunch of dogs who are mostly Pitbulls anyway.
As far as taking any of the dogs from the stray area out to weekly, large-scale adoption events – puh. [eye roll] [groan] [sigh] [appeal to Flying Spaghetti Monster for strength to deal with these stupidheads] Why would we want to do that? If anyone in Memphis wants to adopt a dog, they can damn well come to OUR PLACE, on OUR HOURS, and choose from the dogs WE SAY they can adopt. And it’s not gonna be mostly Pitbulls either because we require a home inspection for that and frankly, we just don’t have the resources to conduct a bunch of home inspections so better just to kill kill kill. We really do have the best system worked out here so if you annoying taxpayers would just sit down and shut up, we’ll all get along just fine.
I don’t know if the dog in the above photos is still alive but if he is, I would love the opportunity to try and help him. MAS – will you allow me to try and help this dog? Can you provide any information on the dog’s status? You can post here, anonymously if you wish, or e-mail me or contact any Memphis no kill advocate who can then pass along the info to me. Bloody hell, I don’t care if you send a note tied to the leg of a carrier pigeon. Just let me try to help this dog. If he is already dead, I will gladly try to help any other dog of your choosing in the stray area. Just get the info to me.
Added, 6-12-11: I received a grab of a dog who looks like the brown and white one above being taken to the kill room yesterday.