February 18, 2013
The Caswell Co pound in NC has a website that’s rather, uh – brief. The reason I looked it up was that a reader sent me two screengrabs from Facebook which allegedly show puppies at the Caswell Co pound just before they were loaded for transport to NJ. The kennel appears to be wet and a patch of what looks like suds may have washed into the space from beneath the guillotine door. Were there other dogs on the other side of this kennel and if so, were they healthy? Is that diarrhea on the floor? Did these puppies have health certificates for their trip?
If shelters are going to transport vanloads of puppies, it needs to be done legally – that is, in compliance with the laws of every state the dogs are being transported through; and ethically – with attention paid to the health status of the dogs (as well as those they’ve been exposed to) and with careful consideration of the local dogs being displaced by the imports. I hope Caswell Co is attending to the legal and ethical considerations regarding the transport of any pets.
I used to be more in favor of mass transport for shelter pets but I’ve modified my view in the past couple of years. There seems to be no shortage of transport horror stories – pets escaping en route, pets getting sick and dying after arrival, pets who don’t sell quickly being killed or warehoused in sub-standard conditions, etc. Then there is the notion that northern shelters and rescues “need” to import high value pets such as puppies and lapdogs because the ones they have get adopted quickly and all that’s left is big, black mixed breeds, Pitbull types and others who are challenging to adopt out. This idea goes against the most basic tenet of no kill – that every individual pet has a right to live and that right must be protected. If some of these importing shelters and rescues won’t put in the hard work to find the right matches for the least adoptable pets in their own communities, who will?
January 31, 2013
I was going to wait until I had more info to share, such as a name and other important items, but I am too happy to wait. So this is the pre-announcement announcing the arrival of a new beagley family member, who will be announced in more detail in an upcoming announcement.
This little girl was in a catch and kill pound which allows someone in to photograph dogs. The photographer then sends out an e-mail with the pictures and that e-mail gets forwarded by various pet advocates. Someone forwarded me the e-mail containing the beagle pic one week ago and with the help of some people I’ve never met, the dog was pulled, fostered and transported to within 90 minutes of me. I picked her up yesterday.
Her bones are sticking out, half her tail got left somewhere at some point and she looks generally like she’s been through the wringer. But she is as gentle and sweet as can be. She’s been sleeping in one of the beagle beds like she has never slept before in her life. She’s only gotten up when it’s time to eat or to go out and potty. We have a vet appointment today for a tune-up and an all points inspection. You can count on seeing an update on this gal very soon.
Thank you so kindly to everyone who sent me beagles in need. And of course to those who helped me get this sweet dog home.
I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
March 30, 2012
Facilities which kill healthy/treatable pets do so without cause and in spite of clear evidence of proven alternatives such as exist in the dozens of open admission no kill shelters throughout the country. Pounds may or may not assign a particular “reason” for the killings: space, illness, injury, too young, etc. Whether or not a “reason” is provided, there is no justification for killing healthy/treatable shelter pets. While euthanasia of pets who are medically hopeless and suffering (or dogs deemed dangerous by a qualified party) occurs in all shelters, it is the only time a pet’s life is ended at no kill shelters. At pet killing facilities, lives are ended regularly based on arbitrary criteria such as date of impound. This is different from euthanasia and I believe it’s appropriate to call it killing.
There are a growing number of kill shelters who, in an apparent effort to gain positive media attention and bilk unsuspecting donors, have jumped on the import bandwagon. That is, they “rescue” pets from other kill shelters, often from the southeast, and have them transported to their facilities. The animals (usually dogs) arrive at their destination and are presumably evaluated for adoption. If a dog is sick or otherwise deemed unadoptable by the pet killing facility, he may be killed. This is obviously not a rescue.
But there is a phenomenon, less obvious to the public, but apparent just the same, called displacement killing. Any facility which kills healthy/treatable pets and then imports more animals from other pounds is guilty of displacement killing. That is, some of the healthy/treatable animals already at the facility at the time the imports arrive will be displaced and killed. Again, the facility may or may not provide a “reason” for the killings such as space, etc.
A healthy senior dog whom the kill shelter has failed to market successfully might be displaced by an imported puppy. The staff might attempt to justify the killing of the older dog by saying things like, “No one wants him because he’s old”, “We’ve kept him a long time already and still no interest from adopters” or “Wouldn’t it be better to use his cage for a puppy who will probably be adopted more quickly and for a higher price?” This is displacement killing.
A dog with a treatable medical condition such as mange might be displaced by an imported dog with an attractive coat. The killing of the dog with mange might be explained away as, “Why spend resources on treating a mange dog who will take some time before his coat returns to a healthy appearance which would be appealing to adopters when we are getting this dog whose coat already looks nice?”. This is displacement killing.
The killing might not correlate directly, one to one, between the existing animals and the imported animals. It may be a general excuse for killing such as, “We need to weed out all the coughing dogs before the imports arrive so our population doesn’t get them sick” or “Let’s depopulate the large dogs, which we have a disproportionate number of, in order to highlight the small dogs we are importing who we know will be in high demand”. This is displacement killing.
Displacement killing may be even more vague. It may simply be a matter of a kill shelter maintaining its live release rate of say, 60% while importing dogs. This too is displacement killing. Had the additional animals never been imported and the shelter maintained its 60% live release rate, more lives would have been saved – those of animals already at the facility. While one could argue that lives were still saved – those of the imported animals – it must be considered that the imports may have been adopted had they been left at their original shelter or might have been rescued by a no kill rescue group or shelter where no displacement would have occurred.
I am all for transporting shelter pets to where they are wanted. This is how I got Surrey from TN. But transporting Surrey to my house in SC did not displace any pets since I do not kill animals. Rather, it freed up a space at the pound where she was on the kill list. I know there are many other situations where shelter pets can be transported in order to save lives. But importing additional animals into a facility which already kills pets is counterproductive.
December 9, 2011
Surrey has hit the highway once again. Next stop: South Carolina!
Thank you again to everyone who pitched in to save Surrey: the shelter volunteers, the rescuers, the fosters, the drivers… All the pieces add up to one barky life saved – plus 9 little barkers who got to be born and will now be looking for homes.
December 5, 2011
Thank yous all around to former foster owner Lori in TN for delivering Surrey to reader Leslie who drove her to an anonymous reader in MS. Surrey will have a layover of several days before she gets back on the road for her trip to SC. Watch this space.
November 28, 2011
Thanks to everyone who sent suggestions and offered assistance in getting the Beagle mama from TN to SC. We have a plan in the works which should get her to Spartanburg in installments over the next couple of weeks. I will drive there to pick her up. I will post if there are any changes to the plan or if I need to pick your brains again.
This has been a learning experience for me. I was trying to explain the challenges to Billy (while dodging the frying pan) and I likened it to government red tape. Restrictions have been put into place by many rescue transporters (paid and volunteer) in order to protect pets. This is good. But as a result of the restrictions, transporting to an actual adopter (and not a rescue organization) is specifically excluded. This is not so good. I don’t know what the system-wide solution is – if there is one – but it would seem like evaluating transport requests on a case by case basis might lead to more shelter pets saved.
Thanks again and hopefully the next time I’ll be posting about the bagel is to say she is home.
November 26, 2011
In exploring all options, I went ahead and put together a trip outline for transporting the bagel from Memphis to SC. Each leg is no more than 2 hours one way (4 hours round trip). I’ll be posting this in various places online and wanted to share it here as well. Shooting for an early morning start either Saturday, December 3 or Sunday, December 4. If you are in the area and would like to make an offer, please specify if both days work for you or if only one of the days would work for you. Thanks!
Leg 1: COVERED – Memphis, TN to Tupelo, MS: Estimated one way driving time is 1 hour, 50 minutes
Leg 2: COVERED for Sunday, December 4 – Tupelo, MS to Jasper, AL: Estimated one way driving time is 1 hour, 35 minutes
Leg 3: Jasper, AL to Oxford, AL : Estimated one way driving time is 1 hour, 50 minutes
Leg 4: Oxford, AL to Conyers, GA: Estimated one way driving time is 2 hours
Leg 5: Conyers, GA to Augusta, SC: Estimated one way driving time is 1 hour 55 minutes
Leg 6: Augusta, SC to my house: Covered!
November 24, 2011
I’m looking for suggestions and ideas on how to transport a formerly fat-bellied Beagle from the Memphis, TN area to anywhere near Columbia, SC. The route goes through MS, AL and GA so possibly a rescue transport that had dogs to pick up at multiple shelters throughout the south before heading north could work – if such a transport exists. The bagel has been out of the shelter for more than one month and will have a health certificate and vaccines prior to transport.
Rescues pulling dogs from out-of-state shelters should follow the laws regarding pet transport for every state on the route. This means obtaining health certificates and age appropriate rabies vaccinations for each dog on the transport. Rescuers need to be especially careful when pulling puppies as they are more vulnerable to the common deadly shelter diseases such as parvo and distemper. And if a rescue group is pulling twenty-seven puppies from a shelter on a single transport – that’s twenty-seven times the need for careful attention to the law.
Parvo and distemper both are very contagious and the potential for death is high. Supportive veterinary care is too expensive for many rescuers, especially when the chances for survival are limited, at best. Even if the pups look ok at the time of pick-up (and granted, this can be tricky as pups might be scared and not acting normally), the vet exam for the health certificate will get the rescuer a professional opinion on whether the pup appears to be free of disease. The shelter should provide details on any known exposure and this information should be given to the vet performing the health certificate exam.
But let’s say, whatever the reason, rescuers don’t follow the law and obtain a health certificate for their shelter pups being put on a transport. What’s the worst that could happen? For starters, any pups who are harboring contagious diseases could infect all the other dogs on the transport. Subsequently, every dog coming off the transport may have been exposed and may infect other dogs at their final destination. Furthermore, if a rescue group pulls twenty-seven puppies and only gets them vetted once they have arrived, they might find out that most of the pups have parvo and be forced to euthanize en masse or beg for $20,000 to help cover vet bills.
I am all for treating sick pets who are not medically hopeless. At the same time, I am also for following the law and spending donations from the public wisely. The Barkley Foundation, a rescue group in Iowa apparently failed to follow the law for bringing twenty-seven puppies from a NC shelter into their state. Upon arrival, it was determined that most of the pups had parvo. The group proceeded to post on Facebook and set up a ChipIn for $20,000, stating they might have to close their doors and/or euthanize the sick puppies. The Examiner picked up the group’s story as well. Everyone appears to feel sorry for the rescuers because they were trying to do the right thing and then this bad thing happened to them.
Well, no. In my view, they failed to follow the law and transported sick pups across state lines. Now they want people to donate $20,000 to help pay the vet bills for this group of pups who never should have been transported in the first place. If donations had been spent on obtaining the health certificates before embarking on the transport, the vet may well have deemed at least some of the pups unfit for travel, refused the health certificates and cautioned rescuers about exposing other dogs. Imagine how many healthy/treatable shelter pets could be helped for $20,000. It boggles the mind.
If this rescue were to shut its doors, would that be such a bad thing?
Thank you Kim for alerting me to this story.