Open Thread

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

sardinia cat

[x]

Serial Rug Killer

052016 newt

After a spate of rug holings around the house, Newt has opened an investigation. Please contact her with any tips.

Jacked Up Shelter Staff Charged with Cruelty in VT

Warning:  This is some disturbing shit.

In February 2016, the Vermont Department of Agriculture reportedly inspected a 16 year old cat shelter in Chester called Webster’s House and approved the facility for re-licensing.  In April, a local paper reported that Webster’s House was being evicted by its landlord, forcing the shelter to find homes for its 39 cats.  And:

In an unrelated situation, after a monthlong investigation, Chester Police have sent a report to the State’s Attorney’s office following a complaint of animal cruelty at Webster’s House.

At that time, shelter manager Mary Donaldson characterized the complaint as coming from “a disgruntled former volunteer who complained about the cats not getting proper medical care.”

This week, Donaldson and the vice president of the shelter’s board, Jessica “Remi” Fecteau, were charged with animal cruelty and lying to police. Both women are still living at the now-closed shelter and have pleaded innocent.

About that so-called disgruntled vol and lack of medical care:

The investigation started when one volunteer, Crystal Losee, a local nurse, was told not to go into the bathroom at the shelter and found a dead black cat in a bucket of water.

[…]

Crystal was told that they could not take the cat to the vet because of a $4,000 bill they already owed.”

Donaldson and Fecteau had allegedly been drowning sick cats in lieu of getting them veterinary care. And no, you’re not out of the woods yet:

Losee told police Donaldson had told her that “the cat had asked Mary to drown him but she just couldn’t do it so Remi did.”

“Remi told her that after the cat was done fighting, the cat apologized to Remi.

[…]

In addition, people at Webster’s House believed in “soul jumping” between the dying cats and the healthy cats, and that Donaldson told another volunteer that one of the cats was “destined to die to be reborn again.”

Court records reveal what appears to be a boatload of crazy-pants:

There were sworn statements from Donaldson and Fecteau, as well as others associated with the now-closed shelter, and it painted a picture of a deteriorating situation at the shelter and shelter volunteers endorsing “body jumping” to transfer the soul of a sick, dying cat into a healthy one.

At one point in December, there were an estimated 70 to 80 cats at the shelter, many of them sick. When the criminal investigation began in January, the number of cats was about half that number.

A state inspector noted the earlier cat population at 80, as did Ann Eddy of the Springfield Humane Society, who also counted about 80 cats, with sick and healthy cats intermingled.

So Webster’s House was drowning sick cats and kittens in order to transfer their souls into the bodies of healthy cats. At the same time, they were housing the sick cats, of which they reportedly had many, with the healthy cats which would obviously result in the healthy cats becoming sick and thereby guarantee a constant supply of souls for the drowning buckets.  Nice bananas system.

By the way, the Rutland Herald reports that Fecteau now works at a mental health facility.  So there’s that.

The lying to police charges likely stem from the various stories Donaldson and Fecteau allegedly told police when asked about the drownings.  They tried everything from “never happened” to “must have drowned in the water dish”.  And when volunteers from area shelters – at Webster’s House to take some of the cats for rehoming before they were evicted – found a freshly drowned cat, Donaldson tried playing the Bitch Set Me Up card:

But the afternoon’s events took a turn for the worse when humane society volunteers found a dead cat, wrapped in a plastic bag, floating in a bucket of water in back of the building. The bucket was covered by a litter box, weighed down by a large rock.

When volunteers confronted Mary Donaldson, the Webster’s House manager about the dead cat, she started yelling that it was a “plant,” and that it wasn’t one of her cats. She refused to look at the cat.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, the Vermont Department of Agriculture has regulations which shelters are required to meet.  A snippet from those regs:

vtwelfareregs

Portion of Vermont’s animal welfare regulations

I will grant you the state inspector might not have known about the soul jumping wackiness because maybe all the Webster’s House peeps were like Ix-nay on the cray-cray while the inspector was around. And maybe he didn’t think it was weird to see water buckets covered with litter boxes and weighed down with rocks. But the inspector would presumably have noted the missing cats, the sick cats housed with the healthy ones and the lack of veterinary care. The last two are clear violations.  So I guess I’m wondering:  How the fuck did the state wave this crackass horror show through for 16 years?  And what is going on at the other state licensed shelters in Vermont?  Can somebody lose their job now, please?

(Thanks Clarice.)

 

Treats on the Internets

Lynn Co Animal Services in Texas recently announced plans to start killing dogs after 72 hours.  The director killsplained that the public is irresponsible, nobody wants to kill animals, blah cetera.  After the local news ran the story, so many stupid irresponsible public jerks called wanting to adopt, Lynn Co had to refer the unwashed masses to other shelters in the area.  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Second Chance Dogs, a rescue that reportedly pulled a lot of dogs from Ashe Co Animal Control in NC, has severed ties with the facility because another rescue beat them to a “very adoptable litter” of puppies last month.  Second Chance was annoyed that AC didn’t turn the other rescue away and hold the pups at the pound, I guess you know, in case Second Chance might want to sell them.  Plus shelters are really swell environments for puppies so.  Second Chance got so much angry feels and decided to punish all the dogs at the Ashe Co pound by refusing to help any ever again.  (Thanks Lisa.)

Some of you have seen this in the Open Thread but I wanted to mention it here too:  A heartbroken owner who filed a lost dog report with Prince George Co Animal
Services in VA says she doesn’t harbor any ill will toward the shelter despite the fact that they forgot to file her report, impounded her dog, failed to find his microchip, then sent him to a rescue group.  The rescue director is jerking the owner around so shamefully that it’s embarrassing to be the same species.  (Thanks Clarice, et al.)

Nat Geo answers readers’ questions about cat behavior.  Note:  Even if you aren’t particularly interested in reading the article, you probably want to look at the super excellent kitten picture at the top of the page.  (Thanks Steven.)

Pilots broke the rules when flying evacuees from the Fort McMurray fire in Canada by accepting every pet who came with their family including dogs, cats, rabbits, hedgehogs, chinchillas and frogs. The pictures of the pets on board the plane are awesome. (Thanks Karen.)

Weekend Jade

janewe20160521

As we were leaving the park, a group of people arrived and set up to take a group photo.  Jade, Newt and Wendy wanted to watch so I took my own group photo.

Open Thread

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

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Texas ACO Drags Suffering Dog Across Gravel

alice tx aco

Photo posted on social media

On April 30, pet owner Tara Garcia found a dog in her driveway in Alice, Texas.  The mixed breed dog had been shot three times but was very friendly as Ms. Garcia and her stepfather petted and offered water to the dog.  Ms. Garcia called 911 and waited on an ACO to come help the pet.  Instead, an Alice ACO arrived, strung the bleeding dog up in a chokepole and dragged him through dirt and gravel to her truck.  Ms. Garcia offered to carry the dog to the truck but the ACO refused.

KIII reports that the dog “had to be euthanized because of [his] injuries” although they don’t specify whether they mean the gunshots or injuries which would likely result from dragging a severely wounded dog by the neck.

Ms. Garcia was disturbed by how the dog was mistreated by the ACO and snapped a photo.  Some days later, AC is knocking at her door, warning her that she needs to take better care of her pets if she wants to keep them.  You stay classy, Alice AC.

After Ms. Garcia posted the photos of the injured dog on social media, outraged citizens began calling the city to demand action.  The city manager told KIII the city is investigating itself in the matter, procedures may need to be reviewed, blah.

I think this is one of those times when we all need a reminder that the only reason people work at a shelter is because they love animals, we all want the same thing, you can’t criticize unless you are willing to do their jobs for them, if only the irresponsible public would spay and neuter and all like that.

(Thanks Susan.)

Florida ACO Under Investigation After Details of Disturbing Bird Killings Emerge

So this happened.

On February 27, 2016, Hillsborough Co deputies raided a cockfight in progress.  A dozen men ran off, abandoning “numerous dead and live caged chickens”, and no arrests were made. ACOs from the county pound were called in to kill the roosters.

Yay, we’re saved.  *Four seconds later*  Oh FML.

Hillsborough Co pound manager Morgan Woodward apparently sat ACO Sgt. Steve Scanlon down before sending him to the site.  He was supplied with sodium pentobarbital and needles and told not to kill the birds by sticking them in the brain.  Why such a conversation was necessary – well, readers can draw their own conclusions.

According to [Hillsborough Co pound director Scott] Trebatoski, county policy is that roosters should be euthanized with an injection of sodium pentobarbital into the body cavity. The county generally tranquilizes the birds first.

Gee, that’s generally nice.

Upon arrival at the scene of the raid, ACO Scanlon apparently told his staff to stick the birds in the brain. When word got out, the county investigated itself. From a taped interview conducted in connection with the investigation:

“The only thing that I violated ma’am, was I violated our county policy. I did not treat any rooster in a cruel manner,” Scanlon [said].

Scanlon admitted that the method utilized to euthanize (injecting sodium pentobarbital in the back of the head) was the wrong method.

Before we get too far down the rabbit hole here, I guess it needs to be clarified that jamming a needle of Fatal Plus into a bird’s brain is not a method.  There is no such thing as – uh, brainsticking.  He’s making it sound as if he didn’t have a uniform clean for work so he wore street clothes.  Uniforms and street clothes are both actual clothes.  Heartsticking, when performed on an animal already rendered unconscious via drugs, is a recognized method of animal killing.  Brainsticking is a thing made up, presumably by some horrible person, in order to (and I’m guessing here) inflict extreme pain while killing an animal.  ACO Scanlon’s claim that he did not treat any rooster in a cruel manner would have to be false considering the suffering every one of those birds would have endured after having a needle jabbed in his head.

ACO Scanlon has been placed on desk duty while the county continues to investigate itself.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Police Facilitate Business for CA Dog Flippers

NBC Los Angeles described a story run on May 9 this way:

A man was reunited with his lost dog but was questioning why he was put up for adoption during his disappearance.

After reading the story, my take is uh, rather different.

jack

Jack, as shown in a video on the NBC Los Angeles website.

A woman was caught on surveillance video stealing a purebred Havanese puppy who slipped out of his owner’s workplace.  She takes him inside a neighboring business and neither are seen again.  The owner, Lou Gotowski, immediately began searching for his puppy Jack on numerous fronts.  Jack has two microchips.

The owner found Jack listed for adoption on a website belonging to a non-profit called Pet Match Rescue, 40 miles from where Jack was last seen.  In checking the website for this group, I noticed they have mainly white & fluffies, many of them pups.  Which seems odd.  As is this:

Gotowski said the minute he tried to claim the dog, his ad disappeared from the website. He also tried to catch up with the rescue group during an adoption event at a Petco, but Jack wasn’t there.

Sounds legit.  Ultimately two women from the group contacted the owner and told him he could buy his dog back for $525.  They met at the local police station and instead of arresting the dognappers, police supervised the ransom exchange while an ACO scanned Jack’s chip to verify it was him.

An officer brought the fuzzy 6-month-old pup out, and Jack began squirming in excitement at the sight of Gotowski.

Jack kissed his owner and wriggled in joy, clearly happy to see a familiar face.

Gotowski wondered why the microchip wasn’t scanned earlier – it could have saved weeks of heartache.

Or:  I wonder why dognappers/puppy flippers would not comply with the law and scan their victims before resale.  Hmmmm.

From California Penal Code section 597.1:

(m) It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane society
officers, and animal control officers to use all currently acceptable
methods of identification, both electronic and otherwise, to
determine the lawful owner or caretaker of any seized or impounded
animal. It shall also be their duty to make reasonable efforts to
notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and
any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal and,
upon the owner’s and caretaker’s initiation of recovery procedures,
retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow
for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact
the owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to
be the owner or caretaker shall be recorded and maintained and be
made available for public inspection.

Just leaving that there.

The women from the nonprofit told NBC4 there was no dispute, but would not say how Jack came to them.

And to reiterate, this was at the effing police station.

“I got Jack back, and forever am I grateful but my big deal is how many other people have lost their dog in this type of situation? That’s the scary part,” Gotowski said.

Ya think?

(Thanks Clarice and Nathan.)

Weekend Jade

may2016jadenewt

Jade is the best post-spay recovery nurse.

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