Treats on the Internets

What is your local shelter doing to prepare for kitten/puppy season this spring when shelters are hit with very high intake levels?  The Washington Co shelter in VA is emptying out its facility in advance by offering free adoptions for a month.  Awesome.

In Newnan, GA, a retired couple has fostered more than 100 dogs during the past 2 years for the local pound because they say they have the time, space, resources and desire to save lives.  Gee, wouldn’t it be great if the local pound director adopted that same attitude?

A NC shelter dog being shipped to ME was lost by the transport company when she wriggled free from her collar.  The dog was found injured 2 days later.  The new owners were cited by ME state police for allowing the dog to run across I-95.  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Diamond Pet Foods has settled a class action lawsuit brought by owners whose pets were sickened and/or died after consuming Diamond products tainted with salmonella in 2012.

Spotted salamander porn – NSFW.  (Courtesy of Valerie, because where else would I get this stuff?)

Headline of the week, posted on April 1st no less (but apparently not a joke):

La. state senator opposes anti-cockfighting bill, saying it hurts legitimate ‘chicken boxing’

Mercifully the state senate took the issue seriously and refused to support Senator Guillory’s claim that chicken boxing is just like human kickboxing. Guillory’s proposed chicken boxing exemption was defeated 29 – 8. Also: chicken boxing. (I had to say it one more time because obviously.)

Sheriff Investigating Allegations of Cruelty at Vermilion Parish Pound

When we checked in with Vermilion Parish Rabies Control in LA last week, the director was killing all cats deemed feral, killing pets before their legally mandated 4 day holding period expired, and killing pets tagged for rescue - all with the support of local politicians who appear to be too lazy to do their jobs and seem to like their own kind.  Although the Vermilion Parish police jury protects the pound director from having to answer questions from the public she serves about all the killing she does, the jury did issue a statement in response to KATC’s allegations that pets are routinely being killed in violation of the law during their holding periods.  You can read the statement here but basically, it says the mandatory holding period only applies when we say it applies, we’re all awesome and everything is sparkle-ponies.

While those being paid by taxpayers in Vermilion Parish appear to be on work hiatus in perpetuity, the KATC investigative team is still doing its job.  A review of pound records by KATC found that at least 90 animals last year were listed as dying of “natural causes” when in fact they appear to have been illegally left to suffer in their cages until they fell over dead:

The Guidelines for Louisiana Public Animal Shelters by the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission requires that, “Veterinary care must be provided in a manner that prevents unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animals.”

[...]

But we found animals like Harmony, a stray cat thought to be sick when she was brought in December 2012. The person dropping her off even wrote, “afraid for my animals – could be sick,” on Harmony’s intake form. Harmony held on for a month before dying of “natural causes.” There’s no record that she ever saw a vet.

And then there’s Miracle, a white pug, that was thought to have been abused, was brought to animal control last year on Sept. 27. She died of “natural causes” three days later, and there were no records showing that she received any veterinary care.

[...]

Not providing animals with veterinary care is considered cruelty to animals, according to Louisiana law. It carries a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail.

An ex-employee verified to KATC that pets were regularly left without vet care at the pound, including a dog with a broken back who was forced to suffer for more than a week without seeing a vet before he was killed.

KATC’s review also found that the pound’s records “contained lots of incorrect information” and that drug logs did not match up with the kill records which, if true, represents another violation of the law.

The sheriff’s office is reportedly opening an investigation based upon the KATC findings.  I wonder how much longer the parish police jury is going to stand behind the pound director.  Is Team Kill going to stick together all the way to jail or will they start stabbing each other in the back to save their own asses before things get that far?

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

Hello, Hello, Hello

Hello, Hello, Hello [x]

Vermilion Parish Pound Allegedly in Violation of Law, Local Politicians Shield Director

Vermilion Parish Rabies Control in LA does not adopt animals to the public.  It functions primarily as a pet killing facility while allowing rescue groups to save some animals – unless the director decides she feels like killing those animals too.  After a recent story about the killing of dogs tagged for rescue went viral, the parish placed a temporary halt on pet killing while the police jury came up with some new guidelines.  This week, those new guidelines were announced:

  1. Re-start killing cats deemed feral immediately.
  2. Hold dogs for 30 days in order to allow rescue groups to network them.
  3. Once the pound exceeds capacity (20 dogs), arbitrarily kill the dogs whose intake dates are the oldest to make space.

It seems to me that numbers 2 and 3 are going to conflict with each other unless rescue groups can consistently do the Vermilion pound staff’s jobs for them and keep getting dogs into homes before the 20 dog limit is reached.  Also, number 1 totally sucks.

And there’s more bad news:

KATC reviewed hundreds of parish euthanasia records and uncovered that last year, more than 21 percent of all dogs and cats were killed before [the mandatory holding period of] four days, some even dying the day they arrived at the facility.

The only sort-of-explanation for why the pound appears to have been violating parish law in such an egregious manner comes from an ex-staffer:

“Every Thursday was euthanasia day, and sometimes we would pick up the dog on Monday and by Thursday they were gone,” said Thad Savoy, a former animal warden of the Vermilion Parish Rabies Animal Control Center.

Right.  It’s Thursday.  And Thursday is kill day.  If the lost pet’s owner is looking for him or if an adopter might like to save him, that’s just not happening.  It’s Thursday.

“Most of the dogs that were picked up were able to be rescued. But they were not rescued or put online because of the color or the breed. … It’s kind of hard to say; it’s kind of hard to describe why,” Savoy said.

Wait, wut?  Prolly no owner would want their black dog back so no point posting her online.  Because black.  Plus it’s Thursday.

The current director of the pet killing facility – the one who threatened to call the police last time a reporter tried to ask her a question – is once again being shielded by the asshats who came up with the brilliant killing guidelines:

For now, the parish is not commenting on KATC’s investigation. On Wednesday night, the Vermilion Parish Police Jury unanimously denied KATC’s request for an interview with Animal Control Facility Director Pam Monceaux and Public Works Director Bill Nogel.

Instead of providing cover for monsters, maybe the Vermilion Parish police jury could hire some people willing to do the jobs taxpayers pay them to do and actually shelter animals in need.  Any vote on that?

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

 

GA Animal Control Officer Posts Images Mocking Dead Pets

Barrow County Animal Control Officer Danyal Harper has been on the job for nine years and was promoted to director of the long-troubled Georgia pound on March 25.  Then an anonymous tipster sent screencaps of ACO Harper’s Photobucket account to the local news and all hell broke loose.  So what was ACO Harper posting on Photobucket?  Compassionate people will find these descriptions difficult to read:

The first item was a short clip from a You Tube music video about a board game called “Euthanasia!” that “makes you want to kill your pets.”

When a character on the video asks, “What am I going to do with all these kittens?” the other players respond, “Euthanasia!” And on the game board is a silver device called “The Pound” where the plastic kittens are dropped to their deaths.

Harper also posted an actual photo of a dog copulating with a duck; a photo of two gun-toting GI Joe dolls in camouflage standing on the carcass of a dead squirrel; two photos of “Free Cat” roadside signs posted next to dead cats; and a poster of a kitten that states: “KITTENS. You have to love them. God knows you’ve killed so many already.”

More:

One of the posts includes a satirical advertisement for a Cat Carrier— a contraption with a “stabilizer screw” on one end and muzzle on the other— that’s designed to transport a cat. An “endorsement” states that the device helps mold the cat “into a well-mannered creature God intended.”

Another is a photo of a dead cat with a sign pointing to it saying “Free Cat” and underneath is written “Charitability: At least your heart is in the right place.”

Although news outlets characterized the disturbing images as “dark humor” and “off-color”, there is no indication from ACO Harper as to whether he thought the images were dark, funny, some kind of turn-on, or anything else since he emptied his Photobucket account and hid from reporters:

11 Alive went by the animal control office where we were told Harper was on duty, but that he did not want to comment on the controversial pictures.

At a hastily called meeting yesterday, the Barrow Co Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to yank ACO Harper’s promotion. But he’s still the senior ACO for the county because, you know, it’s not clear whether the postings are indicative of any really serious problems. In order to determine that, the county will investigate itself.

I am not a psychiatrist but I get gallows humor. Totally. I have many years of experience with it as a coping mechanism. This ain’t that. Anyone who reads the descriptions and/or sees these images should be immediately struck by how NOT THAT they are. Why is Barrow Co still paying this guy to handle animals? Would any of the county commissioners like to volunteer their kids or grandkids to be under this ACO’s care? Perhaps a kiddie camping trip in the woods with ACO Harper, just to show the community they have full faith in the guy? [tumbleweed]

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Potential Good News for Whales (Giant Asterisk)

Warning: Second link contains an image of a dead whale.

Minke whale, [x]

Minke whale, [x]

In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling but this did not prevent countries from hunting whales.  Indeed, a few countries dropped out of the IWC or simply “opted out” of the ban in order to continue killing whales for profit.  The 1986 ban also offered exceptions for aboriginal people, such as those in Alaska, to continue their traditional whale hunts and for the killing of whales in the name of science.  Japan has infamously made use of the scientific research exception, killing hundreds of whales every year, including endangered species.

Australia filed suit against Japan for its whale killing in the United Nations’ International Court of Justice.  This week, the court agreed with Australia that Japan’s whale killings do not appear to be scientific in nature, citing:

  • Japan could use non-lethal methods to collect the data it purportedly seeks.
  • The sample sizes are not justified.
  • There is no time-frame for the research to be concluded.
  • Japan doesn’t talk whale science with other whale scientists.
  • Very little scientific output has been produced as a result of the mass slaughter.

The UN Court determined Japan’s science was not so sciencey and ordered the country to stop hunting Antarctic whales.  Japan says it will comply with the order but Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who regularly eats science whale meat, vowed to “closely examine the ruling and swiftly figure out ways to continue whaling” which doesn’t exactly scream Compliance so much as it does Sinister Scheming 2.0.  The ag minister seems very enthusiastic about continued killings, apparently because science must not be thwarted whale meat is ALL THE DELICIOUS.

There do not appear to be any meaningful repercussions if Japan decides not to comply with the order or comes up with some new loophole to exploit.  And the order only applies to large whales, meaning that Japan’s slaughter of dolphins and small whales in Taiji Cove will continue.  But the ruling is significant in that it calls out fake science (more, please) and puts additional international pressure on Japan to stop the killing, for what it’s worth.

By the way Australia, next time we run into each other I’ll be giving you a long hug, past the point of awkwardness and bordering on creepy.

Calling All Cars! Angry Pet Lover in Parking Lot, Talking and Stuff!

We last checked in with the Chester Co SPCA in August 2013.  At that time, the facility was refusing to release its kill stats, abandoning its offsite cat adoption program due to it being a “hassle” despite reports that impounded cats were taken directly from counter to kill room, and importing puppies from other states without obtaining the required health certificates.  Former staffers and volunteers described the Chester Co SPCA as a “kill factory”.

Today, there doesn’t appear to be any progress to report.

A volunteer who had bonded with a dog at the Chester Co SPCA grew concerned after he was placed on a six month quarantine for kennel cough (What the what?) and she found him in a cage covered in filth.  When she expressed her concern to staff, she was told she was not allowed to go into the quarantine area.  Problem solved, eh?

The volunteer scheduled an appointment to meet with the volunteer manager concerning the dog on March 24.  After the meeting took place, the volunteer was told to never return to the Chester Co SPCA.  When she asked why, the only information she was provided was that there had been a sekrit vote.

The vol reportedly went to the parking lot where she met another vol with whom she began a conversation.  During that time, the Chester Co SPCA called the police to have her removed from the premises, claiming she was trespassing.  The officer handed her a letter from the pound making her banishment official and told her to leave the parking lot, which she did.

Apparently calling the police on people trying to help animals is SOP at the Chester Co SPCA:

Monday’s incident is the second time in less than a month that police were called to the shelter because of a dispute between staff and volunteers. On Feb. 22, West Goshen Police were called after an altercation between its executive director, two board members and two volunteers. The two volunteers were also fired prior to that incident, according to police.

No doubt the local police unit is thrilled with the Chester Co SPCA’s trespassing calls against volunteers.  I hope no one in Chester Co is being robbed or assaulted while the Sekrit Vote Club is taking law enforcement resources away from the community.

How do you know when your local pound needs a complete overhaul?  Well, this.  For example.

TN Pound Neglects Animals, Mayor Calls It “Good Care”

A woman says she went to the Smithville pound in TN last week during normal work hours to find the placed locked and no employees on site. Even more disturbing, she says a dead dog and a litter of living puppies were in the parking lot. Local animal advocates are calling upon the mayor to at least staff the facility during open hours and/or allow volunteers to care for the pets. But the mayor gots explanations:

Mayor Jimmy Poss of Smithville said the shelter only has one full time and one part-time employee, who had both called in sick Thursday.

An animal rescue group in Dekalb County is calling for more employees or volunteers to work at the shelter, but the Mayor said that’s extra help the shelter doesn’t need right now.

See? Yeah, me neither. But everyone can quit worrying about the animals left in the pound unattended, presumably without food or water, laying in their own waste, suffering from who knows what conditions.  And definitely no one needs to be concerned about the dead dog found outside the pound or the litter of pups running in the road. Because explanations:

Poss said even with budget constraints, the Animal Shelter takes good care of the dogs they have, even though some may be delivered to them sick.

I see what you did there. That whole irresponsible-public-is-to-blame thing. Smooth.

Mercifully, the irresponsible public stepped up and all the wandering pups are now in foster homes.  That’s what I call “good care”.  That thing the Smithville pound is doing?  That’s neglect, cruelty and fraud against taxpayers to my mind.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Update on Gallia Co Dog Wardens Charged with Cruelty

The 57 cruelty charges against 3 current and former Gallia Co dog wardens in Ohio stem from illegal killing protocols at the Gallia Co pound according to Gallipolis city solicitor Adam Salisbury. Specifically at issue is the allegation that the wardens were injecting sodium pentobarbital into a shoulder or hip muscle of shelter pets before injecting it into the heart muscle, causing needless pain and suffering.

The Ohio SPCA however is alleging a different type of cruelty entirely – at least with regard to 11 dog carcasses they obtained and had necropsied at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Teresa Landon with the Ohio SPCA says the intramuscular injections were not evident at the time of necropsy:

“There is no evidence of (the dogs) being injected (with sodium pentobarbital) in the muscles,” Landon said, citing OSU’s necropsy results. “They were injected in the heart and lungs.”

Good, right? Because we were concerned the dog wardens, all trained and certified in proper euthanasia protocols, had possibly gotten lazy or just didn’t care about the animals they were killing. But it looks like we can cross lazy off the list:

[M]any of the [necropsied] dogs suffered “body changes compatible with blunt thoracic and head trauma” before and during the euthanasia process.

“Several dogs were bleeding on the head or had blood coming out of their mouth,” [Landon] said. “They died horrible deaths.”

For anyone not sure of what they just read, Ohio SPCA appears to be alleging that the Gallia Co dog warden beat the dogs about the head and chest and/or strangled them before and while he was jabbing a syringe full of Fatal Plus into their hearts. In addition, the Ohio SPCA’s report includes witness testimony indicating dogs at the Gallia Co pound were trapped using a squeeze gate on the kill room wall.  The witness alleges dogs were never sedated prior to heartsticking (as required by law), were often jabbed multiple times in the heart and would sometimes stagger around the kill room for 30 minutes before finally dying.  The gruesome torture inflicted on these poor pets put me immediately in mind of the Memphis kill techs, finally brought to justice in 2012 after an undercover police officer witnessed them sadistically killing dogs and cats at the pound.

While the new allegations in the Gallia Co case step the heinous nature of the charges up a notch, Gallia Co sheriff Joe Browning seems more concerned with finding out how the Ohio SPCA got the 11 carcasses they sent for necropsy:

It was not clear Saturday night if whoever took the dog carcasses from Gallia County could face charges. Browning said Saturday night that the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office “will have to look into it.”

Yeah, definitely find and charge that person.  That’s the real crime here.

The two current dog wardens are sitting at home being paid by taxpayers.  All 3 have entered not guilty pleas.

(Thanks Arlene and Clarice for the links.)

Miami-Dade Pound Manager: “Obviously we’re doing something right”

The troubled Miami-Dade pound in FL is funded by taxpayers, in part to provide a safety net for stray pets in the community.  But when a Good Samaritan tried to help a dog he found loose on a highway by bringing him to the pound recently, he was turned away.  A Miami-Dade pound employee was caught on video telling the man the pound had no room and that he’d have to try again another day to get shelter for the dog.

Local news reporter Jacey Birch showed the video to manager Kathleen Labrada who described what happened as a “miscommunication”:

“For strays the doors are always open. We have no option in taking in strays,” said Labrada.

We have no option but to do the jobs taxpayers pay us to do. Except when we don’t do our jobs, in which case miscommunication.

But in this SuperFantasticWishTime exchange, the reporter doesn’t fail to do her job:

“If you euthanize for space, how could the shelter ever be at over-capacity?” asked Birch.

“The goal is to never euthanize for space,” said Labrada.

“But you do euthanize for space?” asked Birch.

“The shelter will euthanize for space as needed, but we take many actions to prevent that from ever happening,” said Labrada.

Like not accepting animals?

“In February, we saved 88 percent of the dogs and 82 percent of the cats, so obviously we’re doing something right,” said Labrada.

“Isn’t it because you’re not accepting the animals anymore?” asked Birch.

“No, not at all. We’re open for intake seven days a week,” said Labrada.

Jacey Birch: 1
Kathleen Labrada: 0
Stray pets in Miami-Dade County: We have no option but to miscommunicate you.  Obviously.  Because otherwise we’d have to do our jobs.  Which sounds like work.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 855 other followers