Gwinnett Co ACO Under Investigation for Beating Dog

When a lost rottweiler called Shane was spotted wandering around a Georgia neighborhood on August 30, Annabella Flynn-Dempsey says the dog was brought into her fenced yard.  Shane played with her three dogs and her grandson tossed a ball until the dog went into nap mode.

“He was just big and fluffy and friendly and just a sweetheart,” Flynn-Dempsey said.

When Gwinnett Co ACO Austin Fetner arrived to pick up Shane, he tried to snare him in a chokepole, which the dog avoided.  Then witnesses say, the situation turned violent:

The dog was running past Fetner when, according to Flynn-Dempsey, he “took a full baseball swing” with his catch pole, cracking the rottweiler on the head.

“It was so damn loud,” Flynn-Dempsey said. “One of the neighbors that was behind me said, ‘Oh dear God, did he shoot him?’”

Flynn-Dempsey alleges that Fetner hit the dog with his pole five more times, mostly on the head and face. There was blood everywhere as Shane was finally dragged to Fetner’s truck, she said.

“One neighbor screamed, ‘Why are you beating that dog?’” Flynn-Dempsey said. “He screamed, ‘If you don’t like what I’m doing call my supervisor.’”

The entire ordeal took just 15 minutes.

Shane’s owner, Sabahuddin Grbic, began searching for his lost dog immediately. He visited and called the Gwinnett Co pound several times asking about Shane but was turned away every time with staff telling him that no rottweiler had been impounded. A week later, pound staff finally admitted that Shane had been there all along, characterizing the misinformation as a mix up. Mr. Grbic recognized Shane physically but teared up upon seeing him because he could tell his dog was not the same emotionally:

Shane has since been evaluated by several different veterinarians and animal hospitals. They found scar tissue from an injury inside his eye, as well as a cataract — possibly trauma-induced but impossible to say for sure. Doctors believe his behavioral changes are “caused by emotional trauma and not neurological damage.”

shane

Shane and his owner, after the attack, as posted on Facebook.

Mr. Grbic says Shane’s tail stays tucked between his legs now, he is wary of strangers and no longer promptly complies with simple commands.

A citizen’s complaint was filed against ACO Fetner and he resigned last month. The Gwinnett Co police department, which runs the pound, is investigating itself in the matter. Neither the pound manager nor Fetner would speak to the Gwinnett Daily Post about the case.

The paper FOIAd the report that Fetner filed on the day that witnesses say he brutally beat Shane without cause. Excerpts from that report:

“I stood in the middle of pen and walked his direction to try and put my pole on the K9. When I got close just the pole between us the K9 growled, showed teeth, and ran my direction. When the 120 (pound) rott ran towards me showing teeth and growling I was in fear for my life and I had to hit the K9 with my pole.”
[…]
“The size of the K9 and the small enclosure we were in made me feel that much more uncomfortable and nervous when the K9 ran back and forth and if I did not keep my distance from him with my pole I believe I would have been seriously injured or killed.”

It sounds like Fetner was terrified of the dog. Maybe he could have called the child who had been playing ball with Shane for assistance. Bringing that much negative energy into a situation while using a chokepole to try to ensnare a lost dog in a strange environment is a recipe for disaster. Tragically, multiple witnesses say Shane was the victim of that disaster.

Mr. Grbic has retained an attorney but has no plans to sue the county at this time, choosing instead to wait on the outcome of the police department’s internal investigation.  It seems hard to imagine that a department which appears to have attempted to cover up the beating by denying the county had the dog for a full week before finally admitting the truth will be capable of conducting an unbiased investigation.  And if I lived in Gwinnett Co, I’d certainly be wondering who else the police are dispatching on calls to pick up lost, napping dogs who got tired out after playing with kids and what tools/weapons they are giving them.  How many owners have gone to the Gwinnett Co pound and been told their lost pet isn’t there when in reality, the animal is there, bleeding on the cage floor after having been beaten by a county employee?

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Treats on the Internets

A pound in Delaware killed 50 cats belonging to a woman who had proof of rabies vaccination for 15 of them after one of her kittens tested positive for rabies.  “Almost all” of the cats were indoor only and presented no risk to other area animals.  (Thanks Steve for the link.)

A dog with a broken back allegedly did not receive veterinary care for 4 days while at the Amarillo pound last month.  (Thank you Clarice for the link.)

A Calgary family who found a young stray dog and turned him in to the pound in hopes of finding his owner offered to adopt him and pay for professional training after the pound staff said he failed a temperament test.  The pound killed the dog anyway.  (Thanks Brandi.)

At a recent community forum in Roeland Park, KS, 21 people spoke in favor of replacing the city’s pitbull ban with a breed neutral ordinance while 4 people expressed support for keeping the breed specific ban.  The discussion is on the agenda at the city council meeting on November 24.  (Thanks Salette.)

The Fort Worth veterinarian who stole people’s pets after they left them at the clinic for euthanasia and left his own immobile dog to suffer unimaginable pain in a box on the floor has been indicted by a grand jury on theft and animal cruelty charges.  (Thanks Clarice.)

Three poachers face federal charges for wildlife “thrill kills” in Nevada.

A most excellent plot by stuffies to foil a dictator’s orphanage photo op.

Soap opera they should make which I would watch:  Baby Bat Hospital.

Weekend Jade

This week we changed from shorts weather:

jade linus 111614

to straight up no fooling around weather:

jade 111614

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

eh shepard

Helmetta Pound Raided and Locked Down by NJ Authorities

Photo posted on Facebook, described as living and dead kittens in the Helmetta pound's isolation room.

Photo posted on Facebook, described as living and dead kittens in the Helmetta pound’s isolation room.

Authorities have finally taken decisive action to protect the animals suffering at the troubled Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter in NJ.  Tragically, that action came too late for many animals.

Fifteen officers from the NJ SPCA along with a veterinarian and Middlesex County health officials arrived unannounced at the Helmetta pound yesterday to conduct follow up inspections and determine if the facility had been brought into compliance regarding previously issued warnings.  Those issues included mixing sick animals in with healthy ones, animals living in filthy cages, and importing dogs from the south without health clearances.  The pound director reportedly locked the doors upon their arrival, refusing to allow them inside, but ultimately relented.

Inside the facility, officials found 230 animals, mostly cats – the overwhelming majority of whom had no water in their cages.  Some animals were dying:

Three cats and one dog were removed from the shelter because they were in critical condition, [NJ SPCA chief Frank] Rizzo said. One cat died on the way to the veterinarian office in nearby Jamesburg. One animal had to be euthanized at the vet’s office. The animals that died have been taken as evidence, he said.

The county health department placed the pound on quarantine with no animals being allowed in or out until further notice.  The borough was given 24 hours to have a veterinarian assess all the animals, many of whom are sick:

“Disease control is basically nonexistent in this facility, and healthy animals are becoming unhealthy, and sickness just transfers just back and forth, so there’s just a lot of sick animals in that building,” said Rick Yocum, President of the NJ SPCA.

Gee, I wonder why the director initially locked the inspectors out.

In the wake of complaints from animal advocates who have documented neglect at the pound and made their concerns public, two communities have recently terminated their animal control agreements with Helmetta.  Helmetta mayor Nancy Martin hid from the media yesterday but last month, she clearly had zero fucks to give about the animals suffering at the pound:

“We have a vet that comes in two hours a week,” she said. “I don’t understand why people are saying things that are not true, or totally blown out of proportion.”

The mayor will have to address the issue now since there are still many communities who contract with Helmetta for AC services and they will undoubtedly be seeking answers.

Continuing updates are being posted by animal advocates on the Reform Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter page on Facebook.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

VA Family Says PETA Stole and Killed Their Dog

Maya, as pictured on the WAVY website.

Maya, as pictured on the WAVY website.

Maya the chihuahua was the beloved pet of the Cerate family who had moved to Virginia from Mexico.  The family’s little girl was particularly attached to Maya.  Mr. Wilbur Cerate was used to being greeted by Maya when he came home from work but one Saturday last month, the dog was not there to greet him.

Cerate checked his security camera and the video shows a van with “PETA” on the side back into his driveway. Two women got out of the van and one walked up his porch, took Maya, and put her in the back of the van.

Mr. Cerate says that three days later, the two women returned to his house with a fruit basket to tell him PETA had killed Maya.

*pauses while you go back to re-read “fruit basket”*

Mr. Cerate called the cops on their loopy asses.

Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin told WAVY.com he charged the PETA workers with larceny. He said pets are considered personal property. But the local commonwealth’s attorney told WAVY.com he dropped the charges because there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute. He said the video does not show criminal intent, so he declined to take the case to court.

I didn’t go to law school but isn’t stealing a crime in and of itself, like with the “criminal intent” part automatically included?  PETA reportedly stole this family’s well loved pet, killed her, then returned to brag about it while shoving a fruit basket in their faces.  There is video evidence.  There is an admission of guilt.  The county sheriff brought charges.  But the commonwealth’s attorney can’t be bothered to do his job.

Maya’s little girl is heartbroken and her father says she no longer has any interest in school or other activities.  PETA hid when WAVY repeatedly contacted the group seeking comment.  Mr. Cerate wants to know why PETA stole and killed his family’s pet.  Tragically, the answer is that PETA operates a pet killing facility in VA and death is the outcome for almost every animal PETA takes.

Respectful letters requesting the commonwealth’s attorney pursue charges against PETA for the theft and killing of Maya can be e-mailed to commatt@verizon.net.

(Thank you Laura for the link.)

OK Mayor Bans Shelter Volunteers, Rolls Around in Pile of Tax Dollars

Volunteers at the city pound in Pryor, OK have been banned.  And in a classy way:

“Lisa and I showed up on Sunday morning to walk dogs and they just said that we weren’t needed anymore, that they were going to have two part time employees and another full time employee and that our help was no longer required,” [volunteer Kathy LaValle] said.

Ms. Lavalle has volunteered at the city pound since 2011, heading up adoption events and networking pets online.  She’d like to know why she and the other volunteers are being turned away suddenly:

Kathy Lavalle is exhausting her resources trying to find out why she is not allowed to help out at the shelter anymore.

“I have texted, I’ve called, emailed,” Kathy Lavalle said. “I can’t get an answer.”

Pryor mayor Jimmy Tramel says the vols should quit harshing his mellow:

[Y]eah we could’ve done a better job, but that didn’t happen,” Tramel said.

Mayor Brozilla told the media that the reason for the suspension of the volunteer program is that the city needs “to put a procedure in place” outlining the terms to which volunteers must agree in order to donate their time at the pound.  He needs 30 – 45 days to come up with the terms.  Ms. LaValle said the volunteers met with the city to discuss these terms a year and a half ago and the matter is long settled.

While the mayor is reinventing the wheel for 45 days, taxpayers will be shelling out $3000 to pay the pound staff overtime as they compensate for the free labor normally performed by vols.  The mayor is totes chill with this too:

“Sure it’s tax money, but for the safety of the volunteers, the safety of the employees and safety and well being of the animals, it’s going to cost us some money,” Tramel said.

Hey, it’s only tax money.  So FREE CASH basically.  Woohoo!

Volunteers are worried that without their free help, more pets will be needlessly neglected and killed at the pound.  I imagine the mayor’s response to that concern is something along the lines of “Coulda, woulda, shoulda!”

You know who I would like to shake hands with?  Mayor Rice-A-Broni’s campaign manager.  You sir, are a genius.  A magical genius who somehow managed to put ALL THE LIPSTICK on a pig, sufficient to win an election.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

WV Pound Employee Charged with Animal Cruelty, Again

I last wrote about Fayette Co, WV sheriff Steve Kessler in April when he was making excuses for one of his ACOs who illegally shot a dog to death with a small caliber rifle as a form of “euthanasia” when the owner had already paid to have the county euthanize the dog via injection.  It took 3 shots for the dog to finally die but sheriff Kessler said the ACO would not be terminated because working as an ACO is a “dirty, nasty” job and that law thing – whatevs.

Fayette Co AC is once again in the news and it’s still suckage.  Last week, Fayette Co ACOs and sheriff’s deputies received a tip that dogs had been abandoned at a vacant home in a trailer park.  Upon arrival, they found the dogs had no food or water and one was severely malnourished.  Neighbors said the homeowner, Crystal Lowery, came by daily.  Authorities probably had no trouble tracking Lowery down since she works at the Fayette Co pound.  And this wasn’t her first rodeo:

After investigating, deputies found, Lowery, who worked at the Fayette County Animal Control Center, had previously been charged with animal cruelty and had entered into a pre-trial diversion agreement on the previous charge on August 6, 2014.

One of the conditions of the agreement was that Lowery wouldn’t maintain ownership of any animals while the agreement was in effect. Based on the violation and the neglect of the animals, deputies filed a criminal complaint against Lowery.

All the dogs were seized.  Lowery was arrested and released on $2500 bond.  It boggles the mind that she wasn’t tossed out on her ass in August after the previous animal cruelty charge.  I wonder whether anyone checked to see if she has other cruelty charges prior to August.

The county contracts with the New River Humane Society to manage the pound.  Sheriff Kessler issued a press release to make sure everyone knew he was still the excuses king:

“All of the individuals employees at this Animal Control Center are employees of the New River Humane Society,” Kessler said. “The county administration does not play any role in screening or employing any of these individuals or in determining their suitability for continued employment at this Animal Control Center.”

Well gee, maybe the county administration uh, should play a role in determining the suitability of employees of groups it contracts to perform county duties.  At least to the extent of making sure they aren’t past and current abusers of the living beings in their custody.  Anyone else wondering who’s watching the kiddies at the county daycare or caring for the elderly in the county nursing home?

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Capital Area Humane Society Increases Lifesaving for Cats by Engaging Public

It’s been depressing watching these so-called animal shelters and consultants announce they are going to “save more cats” by turning lost, owned cats back out into the street and/or selling lost, owned cats immediately upon impound.  Reuniting lost pets with their owners is not only part of the job at any shelter, it’s one of the best parts of the job to my mind.  I guess that’s why these groups feel compelled to lie about their reasons for failing at it so egregiously, blaming the “irresponsible” public even as they themselves violate the law and their own ethical responsibilities as temporary caretakers of the community’s pets.

An extremely handsome cat named Bill, listed as adoptable on the Capital Area HS website.

An extremely handsome cat named Bill, listed as adoptable on the Capital Area HS website.

It would be easy enough for any shelter to look at this trend of treating stray cats as second class pets and say “Works for us – let’s join in!”  After all, cats are harder to shelter than dogs and if you’re lazy and don’t care about keeping families together to being with, why should you bother coming up with actual solutions to the myriad issues surrounding cat sheltering?  But the staff at the donor funded Capital Area Humane Society in Ohio didn’t take the easy way out when it came to revamping their cat protocols.  They didn’t blame the public, they embraced the fact that most people who bring cats to a shelter are trying to do the right thing.  They didn’t break up families for personal profit, they gave surrendering parties supplies to keep families together, even if just temporarily.

Staff at the Capital Area Humane Society used to spend 3 hours a day killing cats and had a live release rate of just 32% for cats.  They knew their cat protocols needed an overhaul.  On September 1, staff began implementing new admission protocols for all surrendered animals but cats, including strays, have particularly benefited:

With the new protocol, an animal that is brought in to the Humane Society near Hilliard receives an exam, vaccinations and necessary medications for a nominal fee, which might be waived if the client dropping off the animal can’t pay. The client is then offered supplies, such as food and litter, and the option of fostering or keeping the animal.

The shelter also slashed adoption fees on cats and is now selling kittens for $25 and cats over 6 months of age for $10.  And a new partnership with five area rescue groups is allowing the community to step up even more.

By October 23, the kill rate for cats at the shelter had dropped by 58% and the killing of healthy, friendly cats for space dropped by 93%.

An example of how the new system works for stray cats:

Caity Waites of Huber Heights, near Dayton, said she and her roommate received assistance with three stray kittens under the new system, turning to the society when a number of other shelters said they couldn’t help.

After the veterinary exam, the women agreed to foster the animals until the society could take them. They ended up finding homes for two themselves and keeping the third.

[…]

“It was just the easiest thing in the world,” Waites said. “They just genuinely wanted the kittens to get homes. The whole experience was completely seamless and friendly and caring from start to finish.”

I’m so glad these people were able to foster and find homes for two of the kittens and decided to give the one kitten a permanent home.  These are good people, as are most people who turn to a shelter for assistance with pets.  I only hope their kitten never gets lost and if she does, she isn’t picked up by one of the lazy shelters with a policy of either putting the kitten back out on the street or immediately selling her for profit.

Improvements can and should be made in poorly performing shelters.  Taking a fresh look at how cats are sheltered is a good idea.  Breaking up families, putting owned cats back on the street and blaming the public have no place in any shelter.  It’s the opposite of why we have shelters in our society.  Good on the Capital Area HS for putting in the hard work to save more cats.  Keep going.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Weekend Jade

The dentist is IN.

The dentist is IN.

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