Weekend Jade

Summer.  Dragging.  On.

Summer. Dragging. On.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

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TX Pound Gets Huffy When Local Advocates Ask Them to Stop Hiding and Killing Pets

The Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area in Texas hides many of the animals impounded by the facility. When a citizen contacted the organization in July expressing concern over this practice, Amanda Craig, president of the HS of the New Braunfels Area, responded with an explanation. This is a portion of that response:

I have to assume, due to the content of your email, that your knowledge and opinion of our shelter have been influenced by the No Kill New Braunfels group. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few things and invite you to be a part of our future success.

The only animals that are not photographed are the stray animals that are still on hold, animals who enter the shelter in such poor medical condition that they cannot be treated, animals that enter the shelter that are too aggressive for adoption and feral cats. I will elaborate on the “stray hold” policy. When strays enter our shelter they are “held” for 3 business days minimum. During that time they may not be put up for adoption or presented to the public via photographs/internet. The reason for this is that, in the past, there have been issues with people “shopping” our stray area. The reason that people do this is to look for a pure bred and/or intact dog to breed or fight in order to make a profit. You see, if an “owner” claims a dog the fee is typically much less than the adoption fee so it is financially beneficial for these corrupt individuals to claim a stray as their own rather than buy or adopt if they can manage to get away with it. However, during that hold time, if an owner comes in who has legitimately lost a dog, we will happily show them every single kennel in our stray hold area in hopes that we can reunite them with their dog. Based on the level of detail that a person can give about the dog they claim to have lost, we are able to determine if they are truly missing a companion animal or if they are simply “shopping”.

Shorter: No Kill New Braunfels sucks and here’s a bunch of baloney we made up so we don’t have to do our jobs.

For the month of July, when that e-mail was written, the HS of the New Braunfels Area took in 359 dogs and cats, hid an unknown number of them and killed 243 – a kill rate of approximately 68%. But of course, better off dead than living with PET SHOPPERS. Because you know all the evil people in the world are posing as lost pet owners and looking to adopt an animal off death row in the New Braunfels pound. That’s common knowledge.

But alas, No Kill New Braunfels keeps the ball rolling and stays focused on lifesaving with this recent newspaper ad:

Newspaper ad from No Kill New Braunfels in TX (click to enlarge).

Newspaper ad from No Kill New Braunfels in TX (click to enlarge).

How ya like me now, bitchez?

(Thanks Linda for info on this story.)

NJ County Threatens Caretaker and Her Colony of Cats

Image from the header of the Gloucester Co AC webpage.  The header.

Image from the header of the Gloucester Co AC webpage. The header.

A compassionate person in Gloucester Co, NJ has been feeding community cats on her own property for years.  Sandra Leady has caught many of the cats and had them vaccinated and neutered at her own expense, since the Gloucester Co pound doesn’t do anything for free living cats except kill them.  There are an estimated 18 cats in the colony she’s feeding today.  But a cat hating neighbor recently called animal control to report her and the AC director used Ms. Leady’s kind acts against her:

The medical care she provided made her legally responsible for the animals, according to Gloucester County Animal Shelter Director Bill Lombardi.

After a warning notice from the animal control office, Leady has few options: Build a pen for the feral felines or let the county set cat traps in her yard.

I am not an attorney but does the county have the right to trespass on private property to set traps when the property owner doesn’t consent?  This seems wildly illegal to me.

The reason Ms. Leady is so distraught over the notice is because the Gloucester pound traps community cats, tosses them into cages for a week then kills them.  The director likes to emphasize how humane the whole thing is but it sounds more like torture to me:

Euthanasia is a “humane death” compared to what a feral cat faces in the elements, Lombardi said[.]

[...]

The wire cages are set on Sundays and retrieved on Fridays.

This week’s traps were empty, but the shelter’s “feral room,” a death row for wild felines, was full from previous collections.

So a cat trapped on a Sunday would be stuck in the trap, presumably without food, water or shelter from the elements until Friday.  Then left on death row for another seven days at the cat killing facility.  Then, for any lucky survivors, death.  My humane is tingling.

In 2013, the Gloucester Co pound killed roughly 80% of the more than 3500 cats taken in.  And the director wants the legal authority to steal more cats:

Fifteen of the county’s 24 towns have ordinances concerning cat licensing and felines at large. [...]

“I’m for cat ordinances,” Lombardi explained. “It gives us a better grip on handling the problem in a lot of towns that have cat problems.”

Punitive legislation does not work.  Making criminals out of compassionate citizens is the opposite of what animal control ought to be doing, especially if they want to reduce the community cat population humanely and protect public health via neuter and vaccination.  But everything is justified because rabies:

“Rabies is the biggest concern and the reason why we trap,” Lombardi said Friday morning.

Rabies.  Because 20 cats have tested positive for rabies in Gloucester Co in the past 26 years.  So it’s an uncontrolled plague basically.  And cats must die.

I guess rabies vaccines for cats must not work in Gloucester Co.  Because if they did, surely the pound wouldn’t be killing cats by the thousands, using rabies as a weak sauce excuse:

“People think we get a kick out of doing this,” Lombardi noted. “It’s very emotional on our employees.”

Cat killer has a sad.  I wonder how “emotional” it is on free living cats forced to suffer in a trap for a week, tossed on death row for another, then injected with poison before they get sent to the landfill.  All of which is needless cruelty, inflicted by those paid to protect animals from harm, when proven alternatives such as TNR are available.  Not that anybody WANTS to kill animals, natch.

In the meantime Ms. Leady, who can not afford to build a pen such as the county is requiring, is worried for the lives of her colony cats:

Animal control officers need her decision soon, or she faces penalties, according to Leady, who claims she has not been informed of the exact penalties she faces.

“I’m an animal lover,” she insisted. “I won’t turn my back on them.

“I don’t care if they put me in jail. I won’t turn my back on an animal.”

Attention Gloucester Co:  This is what the person you pay to “shelter” animals should be saying.

There. I’ve identified your problem Gloucester Co. Fix it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

MI Politician Smears the South as an Excuse for Hiring a Pet Killer

In Leon Co, FL, animal control is run by Andrew Seltz.  On AC’s website, it states that more than 6000 animals are killed every year at the pound.  And there is one of those threats that the killing will continue until magic happens:

Unfortunately, until each citizen commits to preventing their pet from adding to the burden of pet overpopulation, the trend will continue to worsen.

We don’t have to stop killing animals at the pound.  The burden is not on the few of us actually doing the killing.  We are not going to change.  It’s up to the approximately 282,000 residents of Leon Co to change.  And until all 282,000 people meet our demands, the killings will not only continue but will “worsen”.  If you don’t like it, you can go… enact legislation, I guess.

This is the shabbiest, shirkiest form of blaming the public for the killings at the local pound.  Not only is Andrew Seltz refusing to accept responsibility for his actions, he is blaming the public he needs to partner with in order to stop the killings and setting an unachievable demand for the community to meet before he’ll consider stopping.

The fact is, most people have already neutered their pets.  Most of those who haven’t neutered them would do so if it was within their financial means.  Ordering this small group to get their pets neutered on pain of more needless shelter pet deaths does not cause free spay-neuter certificates and transportation to vet clinics to magically happen.  We can not neuter our way out of killing.  Any shelter director knows this and given that they do, it’s especially cruel to dangle that carrot in front of the public who is needed to foster, rescue, adopt and donate.  It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Then stomping your face in the dirt.  While killing friendly dogs and cats.

When it was recently announced that Andrew Seltz was leaving Leon Co to take over the Ingham Co pound in MI, a concerned animal advocate contacted county commissioner Kara Hope.  This is the response received from Commissioner Hope:

From: “Kara Hope” <kara@votekarahope.com>
To:
Sent: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 1:54:45 PM
Subject: New animal control director

Ingham County is fortunate to have residents like you who care so much about animal welfare. But I hope that you’ll give Mr. Seltz a chance and reserve judgment until he’s had a chance to go to work here.

As someone concerned with animal well-being, you might know that there is a big cultural difference in how animals are viewed and treated in some areas of the southern U.S. To put it crudely, in some southern communities, animals are viewed as disposable. There is less effort and few resources put into re-homing animals. I’m sure that the statistics you refer to reflect policies that result from the difference in points of view.

And it might ease your mind to know that Mr. Seltz told us during his interview that one of the reasons he wants to return to Michigan is because he found the southern perspective on animals and their value to be troubling.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Kara Hope
http://www.votekarahope.com
@KaraHope7

Oh hell naw.  Don’t go blaming the south for your decision to bring in someone who kills animals instead of doing his job.  We here in the south love our animals just as much as anyone does anywhere in this country.  Our compassion for lost and homeless animals is not second-class.  Our perspective that animals in need should be sheltered and not killed is based upon the value we place on our pets.  Now if you want to charge the south with having an overabundance of regressive, good ol’ boy appointed shelter directors who keep killing animals because that’s the way they’ve always done it and why change when you can blame the public instead – well, that’s a conversation we can have.  Case in point:  Andrew Seltz.  (By the way, thanks for stabbing us in the back on your way to the top, sir.  Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.)

While employed in the south, Andrew Seltz blamed his local community for the killings he oversaw at the pound.  If Ms. Hope or anyone else in Ingham Co thinks that’s going to change when he gets there, brace yourselves.  I predict Mr. Seltz will find the unwashed masses just as blamable in Ingham Co as he did in Leon Co.  And he’ll continue killing animals until magic.

My message to Ms. Hope goes for Mr. Seltz as well: If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. And don’t expect the south to be your punching bag. We’re all full up on smack-talking shelter pet killers around here so find somebody else to kick around.  Or maybe you could stop looking for whipping boys and start doing your jobs, “to put it crudely”.

Sonoma Co Fires Director Who Implemented Lifesaving Changes at Shelter

Remember that one time we had good news about the Sonoma Co shelter in CA?  Well hold on to that memory like a clip-on koala stuffy because it may be all you get.

Brigid Wasson, the shelter’s director for the past 11 months, was fired without reason by Sonoma Co last week, one month prior to her probationary period being fulfilled.  She describes her termination meeting with the county:

My boss and her assistant came to my office at three in the afternoon, announced their decision, then watched me as I packed my personal belongings and was escorted off the property like a criminal. I was shocked and devastated.

Ms. Wasson, who says she moved to Sonoma Co for this job, is credited by the county with increased rescue placements, establishing social media marketing, improved record keeping and the robust return to owner program for lost pets I blogged about previously.  The bottom line:

The shelter’s live release rate is now at 85 percent, up from 59 percent in 2008, according to the county.

In fact, Ms. Wasson told me she had calculated the year-to-date live release rate at 88% just days before being terminated.  And that she was working on a number of other programs:

  • The community cat program which had already reduced cat euthanasia by 75%
  • The Sonoma County animal related ordinance revision which included bringing the ordinance up to state code (it currently isn’t), adding TNR/cat-friendly language, removing breed-specific language (restrictions to Pit Bull type dogs), and reducing pet limit restrictions
  • An expanded coalition including shelters in our county as well as in neighboring counties.

A Sonoma Co ACO will temporarily run the shelter while the county seeks a permanent director.  The ACO will be the third director in 14 months.  It’s unknown what will happen to the changes and protocols instituted by Ms. Wasson at the shelter.  But the county’s message seems clear enough:  saving the lives of pets at the shelter is not the direction the county wants to go.  What type of applicant will be attracted to the position knowing that the previous director increased lifesaving and was fired by the county?  What will happen to the lost and homeless pets in Sonoma Co going forward?

Treats on the Internets

The pound in Orange Co, CA is being sued by a rescuer who claims the facility is not complying with the state’s rescue access law and killing animals before their mandated holding period expires.

Pitbulls.  With flowers.  On their heads.  (Thanks Valerie for the link.)

A cat owner writes about his life with his pet of 19 years.  (Thanks Valerie.)

In the One Day This Might Be Possible category, there is debate about whether we should attempt to recreate extinct species.  Looking at the passenger pigeon (the last of whom, named Martha, died 100 years ago today), scientists wonder if recreated versions of the birds could survive in the wild and if so, what about their destroyed habitat which, in part, is what caused them to go extinct in the first place?  (Thanks Valerie.)

Science:  People look like their pets

In the wake of the controversy over expensive coffee made from civet droppings, a Canadian man came up with the idea of using elephants for the same job – only bigger.  (Thanks Valerie.)

I’m still waiting for my pizzaaaaaaaaaaa!

I was going to adopt this little guy but the paws… so big.

Weekend Jade

It's so hot outside.  But Jade is always ready to pose for her blog pic.

It’s so hot outside. But Jade is always ready to pose for her blog pic.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

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Greenville Co Illegally Kills Lost Dog Whose Owner Wanted Him Back

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel was a five year old Siberian Husky whom owner Mandi Nalley describes as “my heart, my son”. Kalel was temporarily living with a trainer in the Greenville Co, SC area in July 2014 when he became lost. On July 30, the trainer notified Ms. Nalley that Kalel was missing. She immediately filled out a lost pet report on the Greenville Co pound’s website and included photos. The next morning, she received an e-mail from someone affiliated with the pound that Kalel had been impounded on July 24 and instructing her to bring in proof of ownership, a leash and $85 in order to reclaim him.

Ms. Nalley went to the pound but did not see Kalel. She asked an employee at the desk to look up the dog’s ID number. The employee advised her Kalel had been killed 2 days ago due to heartworms and a leg injury. Ms. Nalley burst into tears and was unable to compose herself for further conversation so she left. She asked a friend to go in and retrieve Kalel’s body. Upon arrival, the friend says she was told Kalel was alive. Then the director came out and explained that not only was the dog not alive, his body had already been sent to the landfill. And that he’d been killed for aggression.

Greenville Co pound records obtained via FOIA request indicate Kalel was impounded on July 24 and killed on July 29 for “heartworm positive/aggression/space”. The behavioral section of his profile is blank. There are no records indicating his temperament was ever evaluated. There is one handwritten note on his records that reads: “Have to be muzzled to touch mouth or do medical. Otherwise he’s good.” The supposedly injured leg was x-rayed and found to be sound, aside from some inflammation which was treated with medication.

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Because too many so-called shelters were ignoring the state law regarding the mandatory holding period for strays, the attorney general’s office for the state of SC issued a clarification for all municipal facilities accepting stray animals. In the November 2013 release, the AG’s office clearly states that stray animals must be held for five days. In calculating the five days, the day of impound must be excluded, as must weekends and holidays.

Kalel was impounded on Thursday, July 24. Day One of his five day hold was July 25. Day Two was Monday, July 28. On Day Three of his five day hold, Greenville Co killed him. When his owner came to reclaim him on July 31, he was still within his five day holding period. Greenville Co appears to have violated state law by killing Kalel before his mandated holding period expired.

The letter from the state AG’s office seems perfectly clear. And yet public shelters such as Greenville Co continue to kill at will, disregarding the law and tearing families apart in the most violent and permanent way possible. What will it take to get Greenville Co and other kill-because-we-can pounds to comply with the law?

Kalel and owner Mandi Nalley  (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

Kalel and owner Mandi Nalley (Photo by Mandi Nalley)

A lost dog who needs to be muzzled to be examined in a pet killing facility but “otherwise he’s good” is hardly a threat to public safety. There is no information in the records indicating Kalel bit, tried to bite or even growled at anyone at the pound. Heartworms are a treatable medical condition and in fact, Kalel’s owner was already giving him medication under guidance from her veterinarian. Space is not a justification to kill a shelter animal under any circumstances and when it’s done during the five day holding period in SC, it’s illegal.

Shame on the Greenville Co pound for needlessly killing a lost pet whose owner loved and wanted him. There is no excuse. Will there be any justice?

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