Dog #267442: Hidden and Illegally Killed by the Memphis Pound

Records obtained via FOIA request indicate dog #267442 was impounded as a stray by Memphis Animal Services on June 10, 2014. She was housed out of sight of the public, in the room reserved for animals being killed:

267442 cage card

MAS was obligated to hold her for the mandatory holding period which would have expired on June 17. Her medical notes indicate she was a generally healthy young dog.

267442 medical

On June 15, an MAS supervisor noted that no one had placed a hold on the dog who had remained hidden from the public since impound. And despite the fact that her owner still had 2 days to claim her, the supervisor noted the dog’s time had expired which appears to be a violation of the stray holding period law.

267442 MAS notes

Never having been made available to the public for adoption, rescue or foster, and not even having been held for the mandatory holding period for an owner to reclaim, MAS killed dog #267442 on June 15 (or June 14, if the date noted by the kill tech is accurate).

267442 cage card back

The first day that MAS would legally have been allowed to kill dog #267442 was June 18. I guess they just couldn’t wait.  Not that anyone WANTS to kill animals, of course.

Sadly, this dog is just one of so many whose right to life has been violently violated by MAS and whose legal right to be held for owner redemption was violated as well. Pound director James Rogers recently wrote:

By all accounts the death of one animal in error is unacceptable and MAS is diligently seeking to be error free.

How’s that working out for you? Ready to try something different? Is doing your job on the menu?

Louisville Metro Animal Services Under Investigation for Cruelty

Heather Adkins, a former employee at Louisville Metro Animal Services in KY, went public with the tragic story of Sadie, her foster dog from the pound.  In a letter posted last month on a local blog, Ms. Adkins states that Sadie was impounded by LMAS in March 2013 with a dangling front leg.  The owner who reclaimed her received an official notice from LMAS requiring veterinary care for the dog within 48 hours.  Since the owner never obtained the vet care, a court date was set.  When the owner no-showed in court, LMAS failed to take any action.

Sadie was again impounded by LMAS in July 2013 and held for one month.  After the owner communicated that he would not be reclaiming Sadie, LMAS put her on the kill list.  Ms. Adkins didn’t want to see the friendly dog needlessly killed so offered to take her home to foster around September 1.  She began investigating options on how to get Sadie the vet care she needed within the rules set by LMAS, which still legally owned the dog:

In the meantime, I told Tabitha Gray, the vet staff supervisor about Sadie’s situation. I told her Sadie would be a wonderful adoption candidate because she loved other dogs, loved cats, loved people, and was an all-around sunny dog. Tabitha informed me her vet staff wouldn’t do anything for Sadie because they wouldn’t see a financial return on her.

Within a couple days, Kim [Ward, foster coordinator at LMAS] emailed me back to say hold off on collection any money, because [then assistant director] Margaret [Brosko] wanted to use Sadie as a PR tool. They’d received a donation from a citizen that was specified to be used to save a pit bull, and Sadie would be perfect for this. I agreed, because I didn’t care how Sadie got the surgery, as long as she did.

Months passed. Ms. Adkins kept in regular communication with her supervisors at LMAS asking about when Sadie could get her surgery but was put off at every turn. In mid-November, Sadie began self-mutilating – chewing off part of her paw on the dangling leg. Ms. Adkins rushed Sadie to her personal vet for care and paid out of pocket for the emergency treatment. She contact Ms. Brosko to advise her the situation had reached a crisis point and Sadie could not wait any longer for her surgery. Ms. Brosko replied that the money raised for Sadie had been spent on another dog and basically, sux being you.

Ms. Adkins did not give up. She offered to start from scratch with the fundraising herself but again, was put off by those in charge. Three weeks went by before she was finally given permission to raise money for Sadie’s surgery. Sadie continued to self-mutilate and Ms. Adkins continued to have her treated at her own expense. Fundraising for Sadie took place during January and February 2014 and was successful. But Sadie’s last self-mutilation, which occurred at the same time the fundraising reached its goal, took a heavy toll:

Within two days, Sadie went downhill. She began to cough and be lethargic. On Wednesday, she vomited several times. On Thursday, I took her to see Dr. Pollett, who did X-rays and found Sadie had actually consumed some of the bandages this time. She then suggested I contact the Arrow Fund and ask for help.

Ms. Adkins contacted the Arrow Fund and the group immediately offered to take Sadie. She was taken to a vet by the Arrow Fund. But it was too late:

Her condition at this point was too severe—she’d developed pneumonia from the constant vomiting, on top of the bowel obstruction, on top of the leg that needed medical attention. They opted to euthanize her.

In repayment of her heroic efforts to save Sadie, the management at LMAS officially reprimanded Ms. Adkins for seeking outside assistance. And they threatened to fire her for the negative publicity, including FOIA requests, regarding Sadie. Ms. Adkins finally quit.

A group of advocates seeking justice for Sadie retained an attorney who recently sent a letter to the Jefferson Co attorney requesting an animal cruelty investigation at LMAS. In response, the Louisville Metro Council announced an ad hoc committee will conduct an 8 week probe of the agency. In addition to investigating the allegations of neglect and cruelty that caused Sadie to suffer for months, the committee will be asking why the facility has been without a director for more than a year.

Margaret Brosko, who has since been promoted to the mayor’s communications office, is hiding from the media.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Treats on the Internets

What taking responsibility looks like.  (Thank you Davyd for the link.)

YouTube video purports to show flooded dog kennels at Miami Dade Animal Services.  Anyone have any additional info on this?  (Thanks Arlene.)

City officials in Lowell, MA are alerting dog owners to the dangers of parvo, which has reportedly killed 15 area dogs this month.  They don’t seem to mention how treatable the disease is which unfortunately may lead owners of sick dogs to believe they have no options.

The carcass of a conjoined dolphin, estimated to be 1 year old, washed ashore in Turkey.  (Warning:  dead animal photo.)

Zoo tragedy:  A 3 year old manatee who was born in captivity and transferred to a zoo in Paris last month drowned in his tank.

An alligator in FL, estimated at 6 feet, also long on manners.  (Thanks Valerie.)

It’s not much of a vacation if you don’t have your guinea pig.  (Thanks Rachel.)

I want a body that also serves as a hammock when I feel a nap coming on.  (Thanks Arlene.)

Fayette County Shelter’s License Revoked by State of PA

The inappropriately named Fayette Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been quarantined and had its license revoked by the state of PA.  State inspections in July and August found the staff failed to separate sick dogs from healthy ones and failed to follow proper sanitation and vaccination protocols to prevent the spread of disease.

Specifically, the staff suspected many dogs were sick with kennel cough, distemper and/or parvo.  Feces potentially carrying disease from the dogs indoors was being hosed with water only, no disinfectants, while feces in the outdoor facility was left in piles, including on dog beds.  Not only were dogs not being vaccinated immediately upon intake, the state found that dogs who had been there more than 10 days still weren’t vaccinated.

Between July 29 and August 7, 7 dogs were killed and 3 were found dead in their crates among a population of 65 adult dogs and puppies. State inspectors observed several coughing dogs who were lethargic and had mucus visible in their eyes and noses.  One dog was housed in a pen so small he could not stand up.  Moldy dog food was being stored in pens and the entire facility was infested with a “centipede type insect”.

Pat Ballon, a board member for the SPCA, says the place is $130,000 in debt and will likely remain closed.  Also, there’s a conspiracy:

[A]ll of a sudden, Ballon said, the state has come down on the group by employing questionable inspection tactics or enforcing mandates that have never been a problem in the past.

“Nothing has changed for 30 years and all of sudden, everything’s bad?” he said. “Somebody’s got it in for us.”

Because the cackling state inspector came twirling his mustache in the morning, instead of the afternoon:

Ballon said the staff members earn about $8 an hour, so he wonders how he could convince someone to shovel excrement at night so the place would have been ready for an inspection early the next morning — an inspection that he expected in the afternoon as it had been done in the past.

The sick dogs got their mucus on, mixed themselves in with the healthy dogs, the dog food went moldy and the centipedes stormed the place because it was morning.

“Do you think a county employee is going to work here for $8 an hour, no benefits, to shovel waste all day?” he said.

So because you don’t pay your staff a living wage, you can’t be expected to follow the state’s rules for providing humane living conditions for the dogs in your care.  I get it.

Adding to the list of woes, Ballon says once the state revoked the SPCA’s license they could no longer sell dogs to earn income.  But the main reason they’re so broke is because nobody wants to kill animals:

First and foremost, Ballon said, Fayette SPCA Board members, employees and volunteers are reluctant to euthanize animals. He said there were only about five percent, roughly 150 animals, of the more than 3,000 taken in by Fayette SPCA last year were euthanized. Ballon said most shelters euthanize between 40 to 60 percent of their animals annually.

Trusty old “Other places are worse” – love that guy.

Ballon appears to be of the opinion that if the Fayette SPCA had killed more dogs, they wouldn’t be in dire straits now.  But the state inspectors who even now are out tying fair maidens to railroad tracks, probably indicate that the staff wasn’t even doing the minimum to provide humane care for the dogs, the result of which was sick dogs dying alone in crates during the night.  Which would seem to be the opposite of preventing cruelty.

An area no kill shelter has since taken some of the dogs from the Fayette SPCA.

 

(Thanks Jan, Clarice and Arlene for sending in links on this story.)

Weekend Jade

The return of sunny weekend Jade.

The return of sunny weekend Jade.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments.

what dreams may come

Memphis Pound Oops-Kills Dog Who Had Rescue Waiting

Portion of the cage card for dog ID #269523 at the Memphis pound.

Portion of the cage card for dog ID #269523 at the Memphis pound.

Records for dog #269523 at Memphis Animal Services are incomplete.  Curiously missing is the e-mail exchange between Ms. Brenda Fortney, who was interested in rescuing the healthy, vaccinated dog, and pound director James Rogers.  On Friday August 8, 2014, Ms. Fortney e-mailed MAS to express an interest in the dog and director James Rogers told her he would keep the dog alive until the pound closed that afternoon.  Here is his reply in full. Note that several MAS staff members are copied on the response:

From: James.Rogers@memphistn.gov
To: bfortney; tracy.dunlap@memphistn.gov; DeKeishia.Tunstall@memphistn.gov; Glenn.Andrews@memphistn.gov; James.Edgeston@memphistn.gov; Rebecca.Coleman@memphistn.gov; Shanna.Wall@memphistn.gov
Subject: RE: Interested in dog A269523
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 12:01:01 +0000

Good Morning Ms. Fortney,

This pets time has expired. You have until close of business today to adopt. Please inform me of your intentions upon receipt of this message.

Thank you
James M. Rogers
Administrator, MAS

But when a second rescuer contacted James Rogers later that morning, she was advised the dog had already been killed.  Oops.  An explanation was requested, multiple times, and the director finally provided one.  It too is notably absent from this dog’s official records provided by the city of Memphis.  Here is a copy sent to me by a shelter pet advocate:

From: <James.Rogers@memphistn.gov>
Date: 11 August 2014 08:15:38 am GMT-5
To: alysemasserano, jennwestrich, bfortney
Cc: <tracy.dunlap@memphistn.gov>, <Glenn.Andrews@memphistn.gov>, <DeKeishia.Tunstall@memphistn.gov>, <LaSonya.Hall@memphistn.gov>
Subject: RE: A269583

Good morning Masserano,

My apologies for pet #269523 being humanely euthanized in error on Friday. I responded to Ms. Brenda Fortney at 7:01 Friday morning informing her that that she had until close of business on Friday to adopt the pet. I proceeded to remove the pet from the euthanasia list in our system at the time that I replied to her email at 7:01 a.m. This action should have been sufficient, however we have discovered through our investigation of this incident that it is not.

The pet was euthanized at 9:37 Friday morning. Reason being, pet ID # 259523 kennel card was not removed from the stack of kennel cards prepared for euthanasia the previous day. A fatal error. The pet’s kennel card remained in the stack of kennel cards for pets to be euthanized on Friday morning. The assigned staff proceeded to make the euthanasia list the “morning of” from the stack of kennel cards pulled the previous day. The pet was placed back on the euthanasia list from the kennel cards and subsequently euthanized.

We have a policy in place that the euthanasia list will not be completed until the “day of”. We followed that rule. The euthanasia list was made the “morning of” the euthanasia session. However, we must now include not pulling the kennel cards until the “day of” as well. By all accounts the death of one animal in error is unacceptable and MAS is diligently seeking to be error free. Again, please accept our apologies.

James M. Rogers
Administrator, MAS

*splashes cold water on face*

What the frell?

Does anyone on the planet earth understand the point of drafting a kill list the “day of” killing based upon information pooled from the previous day?

“We followed that rule.”

*slow clap*

By all means, step right up and grab yourself a prize from the Stupid Bin for following your own nonsensical rule that you made up because you can’t stop killing pets people want to adopt.

Despite all the staffers copied on the e-mail acknowledging the poor dog would be given an additional day to live, he was killed anyway.  Not because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at MAS.  That would be too innocent.  It’s because the left hand at MAS is always killing animals while the right hand is up someone’s ass trying to find a brain.

Oh and it’s not “euthanasia” nor is it “humane” when you kill healthy pets.  If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

How many more, Memphis?

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your best guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

nta

GA Pound Oops-Kills Owned Dog Because Math

The Whitfield Co pound in GA has some “animal facts” on its webpage that the county likes so much, it printed them twice. They read, in part:

Dogs and cats out number humans in this country at a ratio of about 6 to 1. [...]

Pet overpopulation is a serious and growing problem in the United States. It is estimated that between 10 to 20 million companion animals are unwanted and put to death every year.

The U.S. Census Bureau says there are approximately 318,649,000 people in the US. If dogs and cats outnumbered humans 6 to 1 in this country, that would indicate a dog and cat population of roughly 2 billion. Which would make it a tad difficult to get to work, what with all the freeways piled high with kittens, let alone the mountains of puppies covering the sidewalks.

The ASPCA says there are an estimated 144 – 176 million owned dogs and cats in the U.S. and that each year, shelters kill approximately 2.7 million pets.

I guess no one at the Whitfield Co pound majored in math. Or Google.  Or reality.

Wiz and family member, as pictured on the Dalton Daily citizen website.

Wiz and family member, as pictured on the Dalton Daily Citizen website.

Last month, a dog named Wiz bit a kid in Whitfield Co. Wiz was not current on his rabies vaccination so he was impounded by the county for a standard 10 day rabies quarantine.  After the holding period expired, the owner called the pound to make arrangements to bring Wiz back home.  But Whitfield Co had already killed Wiz because the person doing the killing couldn’t count to 10.  Because math is hard:

[County administrator Mark] Gibson said the employee claimed to have made a mathematical mistake in adding up the number of days since the dog had been brought in. So he euthanized the wrong dog.

Oops.  All two of the Whitfield Co pound employees have been suspended by the board of commissioners as a result of the killing – the director for 5 days and the guy who killed Wiz for 2 days.  And the county has instituted several changes at the pound to prevent a similar type of oops-killing from happening in future.  Specifically:

  1. Owners will be called at the end of the quarantine period to let them know their pet will be killed if not reclaimed.
  2. Animals being held on rabies quarantine will be separated from the general population and have their cages marked with the date the quarantine expires.
  3. The one guy who attempts to count to 10 to determine when the holding period ends needs to turn in his homework to the other guy for a double check.  Hopefully between the two of them, they might get it right.

The fact that they weren’t calling owners before killing their quarantined pets or separating rabies holds from other animals is shocking. The math thing is just frightening.

The director and the other employee both said they feel their punishment for killing Wiz is fair. The chairman of the board of commissioners also thinks it’s fair. As does commissioner Harold Brooker, third cousin to the pound director. No word from Wiz’s family on how fair they feel the punishment is but it’s swell to know the good ol’ boys are all satisfied.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Sonoma Co Shelter Decides to Stop Blaming Owners, Start Reuniting Families

Cat ID #309183 at Sonoma Co Animal Services, as shown on PetHarbor.  (Click link to read the fabulous bio.)

Cat ID #309183 at Sonoma Co Animal Services in CA, as shown on PetHarbor. (Click link to read the fabulous bio.)

Instead of shelter directors and staff continually spewing the tired old mantra that the public is irresponsible and if their lost pet got loose, they don’t deserve to have him anyway so let’s not bother doing our jobs, how about this?

“It’s moving away from that old-school thinking that owners are irresponsible,” [Sonoma Co Animal Services director Brigid] Wasson said. “Every grieving pet owner who is looking for a lost pet deserves the same level of high customer service.”

*sits up straight, pays attention*

“Why would we want to find a new home for an animal that already has a good home?” Wasson said.

Hey, yeah… that.

Sonoma Co reportedly returned 55% of its stray dogs and 20% of its stray cats to their owners in the 2013-14 fiscal year which is not too shabby.  And Wasson wants to do even better.  She has instructed her ACOs to spend more time scanning for microchips, making phone calls and knocking on doors around the neighborhood when they find a stray pet.

In addition to doing their jobs to return lost pets to their owners, Sonoma Co ACOs are re-examining their own biases against the public which typically lead to unnecessary impounds:

[ACO Shirley] Zindler said officers tended to assume the worst about people who didn’t make an effort to find their missing pets, which in turn often resulted in the animal being whisked away to the shelter. But she said that attitude is changing.

“Some people don’t realize their animal’s gone yet,” Zindler said. “They’ve been at work, the animal dug out. Certainly every effort would be made to return the animal in the field.”

More, please.

(Thank you Daniela for the link.)

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 907 other followers