Witness Tells of Botched Killings at Killeen Pound, Police Claim No Witnesses

Screengrab from the city of Killeen's website showing a dog at the pound.

Screengrab from the city of Killeen’s website showing a dog at the pound.

The pound in Killeen, TX has been no safe haven for lost and homeless animals:

In late January 2014, former manager Stacie Sherva was fired after allegations surfaced regarding poor sanitary conditions, injured animals left in cages without veterinary care or pain medication, and the adoption of sick dogs and cats.

Volunteers who have helped care for animals at the pound since that time are voicing serious concerns about current operations.  Volunteers report animals in cages filled with old urine and feces smeared on the walls.  Killeen Police Commander Lee Caufield, who oversees the pound, told the Killeen Daily Herald that he has “reinforced our cleaning policy with all employees”, they’re doing the best they can, blahcetera.

Jerry Hale volunteered at the Killeen pound last October while studying to be a licensed vet tech and told the paper he witnessed two botched dog killings:

“They were just jabbing (the needle) in any place they could,” he said. “They injected them in the stomach, and not intravenously, and they took hours to die.”
[…]

Hale said both dogs were still alive when they were placed in plastic bags and moved to a freezer to await incineration.

“I went outside and I threw up,” said Hale, who said he now works as a veterinary technician in Austin. “It was awful.”

Presumably those dogs either suffocated inside their garbage bags, froze to death in the freezer or were burned alive in the incinerator.  But despite the Daily Herald identifying Mr. Hale and speaking with him on the record, the police commander claims there were no witnesses:

 “In reviewing this issue, we were unable to locate anyone who had any information, other than inferring that someone had told them this happened,” he said. “Different replies had different timelines, and the story itself varied depending on the source.”

Right.  Like maybe the dogs suffered for three hours instead of four or they were bagged alive at one o’clock instead of two o’clock or *throws hands in the air* who knows?  It’s all too confusing so we’ll just have to forget about the whole thing.  But just to show he cares, the police commander did have a vet review the killing protocols and will have that vet “provide refresher training on procedures and protocols” which should set everyone’s mind at ease over the whole living dogs in trash bags thing.

Making matters worse for animals in Killeen, the city is slated to begin enforcing its new mandatory spay-neuter-microchip ordinance this month.  MSN has never eliminated or reduced the killing of shelter animals anywhere it’s been tried.  It’s a proven failure with some communities seeing an increase in killing after the passage of MSN.  This is why MSN is opposed by most every major animal welfare group in the country including the No Kill Advocacy Center, ASPCA, Alley Cat AlliesAVMA, and the American College of Theriogenologists.  There is simply no excuse at this point for implementing failed protocols while ignoring those which have been proven to be successful in saving shelter pets.  Killeen’s ordinance is particularly ignorant as it requires puppies and kittens to be spayed and neutered at the age of four months.

This is your public animal shelter, Killeen.  Demand better.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

AZ Rescue Owner Charged with Felony Cruelty

Scott William Beadles and his wife reportedly operate a tax-exempt rescue called Furry Smiles in Buckeye, AZ.  On January 12, Beadles went to a Petsmart to pick up some kennels belonging to Furry Smiles and told an employee that his pitbull had gotten into a fight with a maltipoo at his home and that he’d killed the maltipoo:

The report stated that Beadles does not own a gun so he “put it out of its misery” by kicking and stomping its head.

The employee apparently notified police. With any luck, this is the most disturbing thing you’ll read today:

The employee told police that Beadles said the small dog was whimpering and trying to crawl to him when he decided to stomp its head until it was dead, according to the statement.

The Beadles’ landlord found the tiny dog’s remains in a trash can on the property.  A necropsy on the dog found puncture wounds and numerous fractures of the skull.

Beadles was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.

I wonder how many hoops applicants have to jump through in order to be approved to adopt a pet from Furry Smiles.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Weekend Jade

How rare is snow here in SC?  Rare enough that even a dusting makes everything seem strange.

It looks like a tennis ball but it has alien white flakes on it.

Schroeder:  It looks like a tennis ball but it has alien white flakes on it.
Jade: What should we do?

Schroeder:  I'm going for it. Jade:  I've got your back.

Schroeder: I’m going for it.
Jade: I’ve got your back.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

live long and prosper

Islip Shelter Tells Owners Their Beloved Lost Pet Will Be Sold to Strangers

When we last checked in with the Town of Islip Animal Shelter in NY, it was to report on one of the employees there pocketing hundreds of dollars in cash from a pet owner who wanted to rehome her two little dogs.  Instead of taking the dogs to the shelter as promised, the employee tied one dog up in a garbage bag and left her in a dumpster while turning the other pet loose on the street.  He was charged with felony animal cruelty.  I don’t know the status on that case.  This week, the Town of Islip Animal Shelter again made the news and again, not in a good way.

Lucky, as pictured on the CBS 2 website.

Lucky, as pictured on the CBS2 website.

The owners of an eight year old King Charles Cavalier called Lucky had to leave the country to care for a terminally ill family member.  They left Lucky with a dog sitter but he somehow got lost and was taken to the Islip facility.  The dog sitter attempted to reclaim the dog but was turned away.  Friends of the family also attempted to intervene but they too were refused.  At issue was proof of ownership:

The shelter released a statement on its Facebook page Monday, saying “Since the dog has no form of ID, no tags or microchip, their is no proof of ownership. Legally we have to put the dog up for adoption after being held for 5 days if no owner steps up.”

[…]

According to the Islip Animal Shelter, to properly claim one’s dog the owner needs to go to the shelter in person with photo ID and proof of ownership. The owner should also have veterinary information, medical records and family photos.

While this sounds like a fair policy in general, it seems obvious that not everyone is going to be able to meet all these requirements – especially if the person reclaiming the pet is a temporary caretaker and the actual owners are on another continent. Each individual case should be processed with due consideration given to the circumstances at hand.

Lucky’s owners called the shelter to plead for their pet’s return but to no avail.  The shelter’s statement verifies that staff did speak with the owners:

“We do know who the owner is, and that they are out of the country. They have been contacted and they have been made aware that the dog will be put up for adoption and placed with a good home.”

What the effing eff?  How is this not just plain evil?  We know who the owner is but screw them, they just pay our salaries.  And screw the dog too.  We’re going to break up this family.  Because that’s what animal sheltering is all about.

I can’t help but notice that Lucky is a purebred dog of a very popular breed.  It makes me wonder if Islip is one of those places that charges extra for certain “high demand” pets.  Is Islip this stringent on proof of ownership for every mangy shepherd mix and lame pitbull whose owners or caretakers try to reclaim them?

Lucky’s friends contacted the local news which aired a story and made the rounds on social media.  Public outcry was swift.  And the next day, the shelter was shamed into returning Lucky to his caretaker.  Thank you irresponsible public for demanding the Islip shelter workers do their jobs and for advocating for Lucky while he was being held prisoner by these people.

What the hell goes on at the Islip facility when the news cameras are not around?  How many other owned pets have been stolen by Islip?  I bet every heartbroken owner who ever lost a pet in this town and resigned themselves to life without their family member is now wondering if Islip might have had their animal.  Something is seriously wrong with this place.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Treats on the Internets

In 2009, a woman wrote a letter to Klein Animal Shelter in Texas and sent copies to the AC offices in the cities of Jacksonville and Tyler as well as Smith Co – all of which contracted with Klein. In the letter, she mourned the needless death of a kitten she had adopted from Klein. Klein sold her as a 9 week old kitten but the adopter’s vet said she was actually a severely malnourished 4 month old. The kitten, named Twiggy by the adopter, succumbed to the effects of starvation just 4 days after the adoption. In the letter, the woman asked that Klein re-examine its practices and stated that Twiggy would have been better off on the street than at Klein. In 2015, three employees of the facility were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

Case update:  Two ACOs from Orange Co, CA who slit an injured deer’s throat while refusing help from a veterinarian at the scene have been fired from their jobs.  The DA declined to bring charges against either man.  (Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Case update:  In an agreement with prosecutors, the animal cruelty charges against the former director of the Hunterdon Co Humane Animal Shelter in NJ will be dropped in 12 months so long as she gives up managerial control of the facility and agrees to other unnamed conditions.  She will remain on the board and continue fundraising for the wealthy organization.  (Thanks Clarice.)

Two of the dogs “rescued” from the troubled Helmetta pound in NJ were sent to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area where they were reportedly killed for behavior despite evaluations from a behaviorist who determined the dogs were not aggressive outside their cages. (Thanks Clarice.)

An ACO from the Memphis pound was called to help stray dogs living at an abandoned property near Mayor Wharton’s home.  One of the dogs was reportedly in desperate need of veterinary care.  The ACO initially refused to do her job and only finally removed the one dying dog after an animal advocate begged her for help.  But when the local news called the mayor’s office about the story, Memphis ACOs were quickly sent to the property where they captured one dog and set traps for the remainder.  The ACOs will supposedly monitor the traps so the dogs don’t suffer and/or freeze to death in the inclement weather.  (Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Hunt Co, TX – Some manly man with a gun shot his neighbor’s two dogs when they came into his yard, photographed their bodies, then bragged about it on Facebook.  He has been suspended from his job with the Union Valley Fire Department and a county constable is investigating the case.  (Thanks Mike.)

A therapy dog who visits veterans in a transitional housing program in Pittsburgh uses his whole body to help heal people he meets.  (Thanks Steve.)

Rescue Group: I Will Hold You Back

Toto, a band well known for a string of hits in the 80s including the song “I Won’t Hold You Back”, was fronted by singer Bobby Kimball.  Kimball and his wife, Jasmin Gabay, formed a rescue group called Saving K9 Lives in California in 2011.  The group’s website has a number of pleas posted for more foster homes in the Los Angeles area.  Rescues typically ask for more fosters so that they can pull more pets from area pounds to save them from being killed.

Saving K9 Lives recently received an offer even better than a foster home – an area pet owner fell in love with one of the group’s dogs and offered to give the dog, called Eloise, a permanent, loving home.  Criss Keeler filled out an adoption application, sent photos of her home and of her 10 year old dog Finnegan.  She was initially approved for the adoption and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new family member:

The one remaining step was a home inspection to be conducted the day Saving K9 Lives Plus delivered the dog to her “forever home.”
According to Keeler, the trouble started the moment the group’s founder, Jasmin Gabay, stepped out of her car in front of the apartment building.
“She said ‘I’m just not comfortable in this neighborhood.’ That was kind of the first words out of her mouth. Not even ‘hi’ or anything,” Keeler recalled. “She then went on to say that if she had known this wasn’t West Hollywood, she wouldn’t have gone this far in the adoption process.”

Gabay took Eloise and left.  An hour later, Keeler checked the group’s website and saw that Eloise had been re-listed as a dog in need of a home.  She immediately emailed Gabay to again offer to give Eloise a good home.  Gabay replied stating that the adopters were good, but the neighborhood was not and therefore – no pet for you.

Gabay confirmed that she felt Keeler’s neighborhood wasn’t safe for Eloise. The rescue group founder also issued a written statement defending her group’s adoption standards.

“Our adoption process follows the standard of most rescues. There is an application requesting information, reference check, a phone interview, followed by a home visit. Home visits are an important part of the process,” the statement said.

“If an adopter has never had a five pound dog, they won’t know that the space between their fence and front gate is wide enough for that dog to escape. It’s our responsibility to look for any possible dangers before an adoption takes place and to work with an adopter to remedy those dangers. Of course we also endeavor to match our dogs to an adopter based on activity levels, long term medical needs, training experience and personalities. We have to consider whether a dog will do well in a home with small children and/or if they are compatible with the other animals in the home or if the dog can handle the new adopter’s work schedule.”

Right.  But none of those things were a factor here.  So I assume the only reason any of those issues are being brought up is because the first draft yo-hood-so-skanky didn’t pass muster with the group’s PR peeps.

So let’s tally up:

  • Saving K9 Lives prevented an adopter who wanted to rescue a dog in need from saving one.  Now that person may be soured on the process and will perhaps seek another source for a dog.  Maybe it will be a source we all think is wonderful.  Maybe not.  I’m guessing she’ll probably look for a source that isn’t so snooty.  I can think of several.  And she’ll perhaps tell her friends and family that applying for a rescue dog is a bad experience and recommend they find alternative sources for their next pets.
  • Saving K9 Lives prevented Eloise, who is in a foster home, from going to a permanent home.  Now Eloise is back in limbo instead of learning to feel secure and comfortable in her new life.  But at least she doesn’t have to set her paws down on those inferior sidewalks in East Hollywood, I guess.
  • Saving K9 Lives returned Eloise to her foster home, which they say they need more of, so now there is no free space available there.  I’m sure the dogs currently waiting to be killed at area pounds all completely understand why Eloise had to take up that foster space.  It will surely be a great comfort in the kill room.

Everybody loses.  Congratulations.

Pets do not know or care about their neighborhood status.  They want to love their people and feel loved in return.  Eloise had a chance for that but was denied because of an unfounded bias against poor people.

Discriminating against “good adopters” because they don’t have a fancy zip code holds us all back.  If Saving K9 Lives truly wants to save pets from being killed at the pound, the group needs an attitude adjustment.  Otherwise, a name change may be in order – something like “Saving K9 Lives from Being Wrecked by Having to Suck the Same Air as the Poors” might more accurately reflect the group’s mission.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Video Shows Dog Being Abused at Hesperia Pound

A video posted online shows a whimpering dog being dragged by a leash around the neck at the Hesperia pound in CA:

The video was reportedly taken by a member of the public who was looking for her lost dog at the pound when she saw what appears to be one staff member dragging a dog behind her like a bag of trash while two other city employees have a chat.  But I guess they are all talked out now because they have nothing to say to the local news:

Victor Valley News reporters reached out to the Hesperia Animal Shelter staff, the operator simply said, “The department is aware of it and investigating it”. A message was also left for Cheryl Lewis, a shelter supervisor, who is not yet available for comment on this matter.

Gosh, I wonder how long before Ms. Lewis becomes available for comment:

A past shelter employee, who asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons has identified the alleged people in the video. Victor Valley News will withhold from publishing the name of the person seen dragging the dog until the investigation is complete.  The former employee alleged the two other’s who stood by in the video are Officer Osvaldo Montes and Supervisor Cheryl Lewis. The former employee, also shared that she was let go from her position only after speaking out about some of the happenings at the shelter.

Welp.

The Hesperia pound reportedly will only allow rescuers to save animals from being killed if they sign an agreement waiving their First Amendment rights with regards to speaking up about abuse at the pound.  That has kept many from going public with their concerns.  In spite of the threats against rescuers, 60 people showed up at an emergency city hall meeting last night.

When the city council was asked about the legality of violating the Constitutional rights of rescuers, the city attorney responded, “This might not be satisfactory” and said he’d look into the matter.

The meeting went four and a half hours, with most of the speakers advocating on behalf of the shelter pets:

Stephanie Lonsdale, an animal advocate that is known in the community for speaking up for the well-being of animals mentioned that the Hesperia Animal Shelter currently has a 70% kill rate. The 70% kill rate equals 7 out of 10 animals entering the shelter being euthanized rather than reunited or adopted. “The shelters do not utilize the free sites that are available to them to place these animals,” said Lonsdale.

Of course there’s one in every bunch:

“I believe it was misjudgment, not abuse. Ideally the dog would not be there or the dog would have been socialized,” said Lisa Wilson.

Yeah, the slutty whoredog was prolly drunk and asking for it and the owners are all the suck too.

Oh and the unwashed owners, who have since irresponsibly reclaimed their pet, showed up to speak for their dog:

Of all the speakers, the most touching, bringing tears to the speaker as well as, much of the crowd was the dog’s owner, Tracie Carpenter.

“I don’t have fancy things to tell you, like a lot of the people here. I am not going to use crazy big words or rescue terminology. I am here on behalf of Mia, who is my dog.  She is not a 60 pound dog that can not be carried, she is 47 pounds. She is not unsociable, she is a beautiful girl and very lovable, she was scared, the floor was slippery,” said Carpenter with her voice cracking due to her emotions on the treatment of her dog.

“She was in the shelter for just over 24 hours and I have no idea how the rest of her stay was there. If it is going to happen to a dog that belongs to somebody, that is loved, that has a good home, that has someone to care for them, it can also happen to the ones that have no one to speak for them, the dogs that are being euthanized, the ones that are being put to sleep, the ones you don’t hear anything about, the ones who do not have anyone to come here and stand before you gentlemen to explain that they do not have any behavioral issues, it was a good dog, she is a wonderful dog.”

Any questions as to where the haters can stick their “misjudgment”?

The city council says they love animals and will take the matter seriously and blah:

The city is encouraging anyone with concerns to email socialmedia@cityofhesperia.us.

Right.  Funnel all the concerns to one faceless email account where they can sit and rot.

OR, you can contact the Hesperia city council members directly and ask that a complete and transparent investigation be conducted and all applicable criminal charges filed:

Eric Schmidt, Mayor; email eschmidt@cityofhesperia.us
Bill Holland, Mayor Pro Tem; email bholland@cityofhesperia.us.
Russell “Russ” Blewett, Council Member; email rblewett@cityofhesperia.us.
Mike Leonard, Council Member; email mleonard@cityofhesperia.us.
Paul Russ, Council Member; email pruss@cityofhesperia.us.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Martin Co Pound Director Fired and Arrested

Martin Co Animal Control on Landfill Road in Williamston, NC is open from 8:30 – 10:00 am and 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  The website says, with a straight face:

The Martin County Animal encourages animal adoption. […] Please come by during the hours above to consider pets for adoption.

There do not appear to be any listings for lost or adoptable pets on the website.

In 2013, Martin Co AC took in close to 1400 dogs and cats, killing 67% of them. That year, Henley “Pete” Brock was promoted by the county from Lead ACO to Director of the pound.

On February 9, 2015, Brock allegedly attempted to kill a cat then placed the pet in a freezer. The animal was found alive the next morning. Three days later, Brock allegedly attempted to kill another cat then left the facility. An ACO found the pet still alive and brought the animal to a vet where he was re-killed. The first cat is reportedly still alive. The NC Department of Agriculture has suspended Brock’s kill license while it investigates.

An agriculture department spokesman said they have also notified other authorities of possible missing narcotics at the animal shelter. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office referred questions back to the county manager on whether they were also conducting an investigation.

Based upon Brock’s alleged failure to lock up and account for the controlled substances used to kill animals as well as the two botched attempts at cat killings, Martin Co fired Brock. Sounds like he took it well:

WITN News has learned that Brock was arrested today by deputies on a charge of communicating threats. The victim was a former co-worker of Brock’s, according to deputies.

Brock has bonded out of jail. I hope once the state’s (and possibly the county sheriff’s) investigation is complete, all applicable criminal charges related to Brock’s activities at the pound will be brought. Right now, he is not charged with any animal-related crimes.  And I’m not holding my breath while waiting.

Respectful letters demanding a complete and transparent investigation into all possible criminal activities at the Martin Co pound may be sent to:

Do better, Martin Co.  On everything.

(Thanks Clarice and Lisa for the links.)

Weekend Jade

In the huddle.

In the huddle.

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