Be Here Now: Loving Pets Available in Shelters

I was researching a public shelter and couldn’t find a website for the facility so visited its page on Petfinder.  At the top of that page, the shelter had a quote from another website which reads, in part:

ALL SHELTER DOGS WERE ONCE NORMAL PUPPIES eager to learn how to live with people. Yet far too many dogs are surrendered to shelters largely because their owners were unaware of how to prevent predictable puppy/adolescent behavior, temperament and training problems.

While I understand the desire to promote responsible puppy ownership, putting this quote on a shelter’s webpage is a terrible idea because it translates to:

ALL SHELTER DOGS ARE ABNORMAL. They were once normal but that time has passed. As adult shelter dogs, they don’t want to learn how to live with people. It’s not their fault they are defective. Their ignorant former owners saddled them with the behavioral, temperament and training problems they now have.

Myth:  Shelter dogs are damaged goods.  There is a reason they are sitting in a shelter.

Reality:  Shelter dogs are dogs, just like owned pets.  They come in all varieties of behavior, temperament and training, just like owned pets.  They may have had an ignorant owner in the past or a loving owner who was simply unable to care for them any longer or perhaps they haven’t had an owner in quite some time.  Verifiable information about the pet’s past is often not available.

Nearly all dogs are happy to learn how to do what is required of them in order to have a place within a family home.  This is true for dogs adopted from shelters as well as dogs obtained from friends, family or other sources.  Adopters should expect to put some work into their new pet – not because he came from a shelter but because he is a dog.  Adopters can also expect to experience the joys of living with a companion animal.

Wendy, former and current normal dog, was adopted from a shelter and readily took to her bed hog training.

Wendy, former and current normal dog, was adopted from a shelter and readily took to her bed hog training.

Shelter dogs don’t dwell on their past.  Neither should we.  Every dog is an individual with the right to live, love and be loved.  At most public shelters, animals’ right to live is violated by the very people we pay to protect them from harm.  The notion that anyone at a shelter would do anything to discourage adoptions, and thus increase the number of pets going to the kill room, is tragic.

If you are considering adopting a shelter pet, don’t be fooled by the myths.  A dog sitting in a shelter is a dog – no more, no less.  It’s possible they might be a little more appreciative than average because you saved their life but you can probably manage.

ASPCA All Done with Bunny Publicity Now

In January and February 2015, the ASPCA and NYPD seized 175 rabbits from a woman in Brooklyn.  The rabbits were reportedly living outdoors, suffering from syphilis, conjunctivitis and other illnesses.  Logo jackets were donned, sad rabbits were displayed, photographs were taken and presumably, donations were collected.  Since the seizure, approximately 60 more bunnies have been born.  And the bills for housing the animals have been adding up all these months.

The owner was charged with animal cruelty but has yet to go to trial.  She has claimed the rabbits were part of a breeding scheme, designed to produce pastel colored bunnies and make her a multi-millionaire.  I wonder where she got the wacky idea that there are millions to be made off animals.

The ASPCA sent an attorney to a bond hearing in the case last week to fight for permission from the judge to kill the seized animals.  The judge ruled in favor of the bunnies:

“None of the rabbits shall be killed,” the judge order, adding, “If they die of natural causes that’s one thing, but if they need to be euthanized you need a further order.”

One of the animal advocates closely involved with the case said on social media that the “ASPCA lawyer jumped to her feet to argue for him to change his mind” but the judge did not waiver.  I always wondered what it would take to get the ASPCA to jump in response to an animal case.  Now I know.  

The judge ordered the owner to pay the ASPCA for the cost of caring for the rabbits but it’s not known if or when that might happen.

Anyhoo, so tragic.  The ASPCA is going to have to actually do their jobs and prevent cruelty to animals instead of inflicting it via mass bunny killing.  And they’re going to have to open up their fat wallet and part with some dollars too.  *single tear*   

(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)

Weekend Jade

Special efx

Special efx

Open Thread

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

Treats on the Internets

Sea World announced the death of a 3 week old baby beluga born in captivity, referring to her as “it”, thanking people “for their thoughts and support during this difficult time for our team” while failing to mention the mother at all.  Also:  fuck Sea World.

Commentary on the grand jury’s failure to indict the TX veterinarian who shot a cat to death with an arrow and bragged about it on Facebook.  (Thanks Loran.)

One of the candidates for mayor of Memphis has caught the attention of animal advocates.  (Thanks Claire.)

A pet shop in Brazil put shelter puppies and kittens in its cages for one day and gave them away to customers.  (Thanks Lisa.)

The ceremonial burial of a bobcat 2000 years ago in IL leads to speculation that the animal was kept as a pet by Native Americans.

I wonder how long this gator was walking around Manhattan before anyone noticed.

Abandoned chicken church now serving as lover’s lane.  (Thing I’ve always wanted to write.)

Lost, Microchipped Pets – Emphasis on LOST

In theory, microchipping your pet is an excellent way to help get him back home should he ever get lost.  In reality, microchips are useless if the organization taking in lost pets doesn’t scan for them or contact the registered owner (and the alternate contacts, if necessary).  There have been a spate of stories recently involving microchipped lost pets being found and the owner not being contacted.

A Pennsylvania family who left their microchipped German shepherd Sophie with a relative while they went on vacation this month only found out she had gotten lost on July 4th after they returned home on the 13th.  They immediately called the HS of Westmoreland Co and learned their pet had been impounded on July 6 and adopted to a new owner six days later.  The HS says it tried to reach the registered owner (whom the family obtained the dog from) listed on Sophie’s microchip but the voicemail at that number was not set up.  After the 48 hour holding period elapsed, they offered the dog for adoption.  The original owner disputes the shelter’s claim about her voicemail.

Either way, if a chip’s first phone number doesn’t yield results, there are always the alternate contacts as well as registered mail and good old knocking on door.  But I guess that sounds like work.  The HS claims the adoption is legal and that the family never legally owned Sophie anyway because they hadn’t licensed her.  So stuff it, basically.

***

In Sonoma Co, CA, a lawsuit has been filed by the original owner of a 10 year old tuxedo cat who was microchipped at the time he went missing several years ago.  The current owner, who says she bought the cat 5 years ago from a rescuer she met through her veterinarian, only found out the cat was chipped last year when she took him to a new vet who scanned him.  She attempted to register the chip in her own name, prompting the chip company to contact the original owner.  The original owner says she bottle fed the kitten from birth, searched for him extensively when he got lost and still wants him back.  The current owner loves him too and doesn’t want to give him up.

Had either the rescuer or the first vet scanned the cat at the time he was found, he could have been returned to the original owner.  Now two people are heartbroken over the matter and a cat is caught in the middle.

***

The city of Alton, IL recently eliminated funding for its ACO position, turning those duties over to police.  This week, Alton police responded to a call about an injured dog in a store parking lot.  The 15 year old dog, called Buster, had wandered away from home and apparently hurt his rear leg.  His owner had filed a missing pet report with the police department including a description of Buster and his microchip information.

A witness says she saw police coax him into their car with bologna.  State law requires the officers to take the dog to a vet’s office to be scanned for a microchip.  Once the chip’s information had been read, the owner could have been contacted.  Instead, the officers reportedly drove the dog to the AC facility where one shot him twice with a .12 gauge shotgun and the other put two bullets from his .40 caliber Glock 23 into the pet.  After Buster was dead, a chip scan provided his owner’s information and the owner was notified of his pet’s killing.  Oh and the police love animals:

“We know what our protocol has been up to this point,” said Emily Hejna, public information officer for the Alton Police Department. “We were presented yesterday with some law saying something that might contradict what what we have been using as practice.”

Rather than task the police department with figuring out how to work compliance with some law into their protocol, the city voted to reinstate the ACO.  Hopefully the ACO has – and uses – a chip scanner.  While animals are still alive.

***

(Thanks to everyone who sent me links for this post.)

Roswell: Some People Just Don’t Get It

The city of Roswell, New Mexico, whose mayor Dennis Kintigh may be under alien mind control, has an ordinance stating that lost and homeless animals must be killed after 7 days at the shelter, regardless of how many cages sit empty.  Animal advocates have called for an end to that policy but the mayor and the police chief have refused, in the most gleeful sounding ways.  But now the city is planning to hire someone new to run the shelter and will begin accepting bids for the position on July 28.  Major reform may be within reach:

“If they want to keep animals longer, they can,” Kintigh said.

That’s because the shelter is getting new management. The city will take applications, and rescue groups will be included.

“The idea is those that have a passion for caring for animals would step up and provide a level of care and service that those that don’t have the passion wouldn’t be able to provide,” Kintigh said.

Note the they – just one side-eye short of those people.  At issue is management of the public shelter paid for by taxpayers in the city this mayor runs.  Where is he coming up with this they notion?  If the mayor is not invested in his own community’s shelter, why would anyone else?

As a reminder, the primary complaint is that management needlessly kills animals they have resources to shelter – because they can.  It would seem that the only thing the current management has a passion for is killing animals.  Regardless, the mayor’s assertion that people who don’t care passionately about animals are unable to perform the same quality of work as those who do is ludicrous.  He’s giving a pass to animal killers for not doing their jobs because of some perceived lack of ability.

First off, many people who work for a living do not have a passion for bagging groceries, driving a cab, buffing floors or what have you.  That’s why they call it work.  We do it for a paycheck and if we want to keep those paychecks coming, we do it well.  I have never worked for a boss who told me it was fine to be a total slack ass because hey, if you don’t feel it, you just don’t.  Secondly, human beings have free will and can choose to feel empathy for the animals entrusted to their care.  Just because management in Roswell has chosen not to do so in no way excuses the needless killing of shelter pets.

I hope Roswell is able to attract a compassionate manager for its shelter.  I hope that not every decent candidate looks at the job opening and thinks they would not work for that mayor for love or money.  I fear that the applicants who would think working under this ready-made-excuse-mayor sounds appealing would not be the type to buck the system and institute meaningful reform at the shelter.  I also question whether the mayor is truly willing to allow for major changes.  Maybe if they do their work quietly and don’t cause a fuss.

(Thanks Karen for the Open Thread link.)

ACO Whistleblower Alleges Cruelty at Baytown Animal Shelter

Warning:  Some images at the second link and some material in this post is disturbing.

***

When Fox 26 reported on July 9 that police were investigating the Baytown Animal Shelter in Texas, Mike Lester, the Baytown health director in charge of the facility, said police hadn’t yet interviewed him for the investigation.  He also said no employees had come to him with allegations of wrongdoing at the pound.

Yesterday Lauren Hartis, a former ACO at the pound, went public with her whistleblowing evidence which prompted the police investigation.  Former ACO Hartis “says she saw fellow employees commit animal cruelty on a daily basis.”  And she states she had met with Mike Lester to discuss her concerns:

“I did go to Mike Lester,” Hartis said. “I sat in Mike Lester’s office for more than an hour and he wrote down everything I said on a pad of paper.”

[…] Hartis says Lester reviewed shelter videos and told her euthanasia laws were indeed being broken.

Former ACO Hartis says she resigned after 15 months on the job because she could not stand it any longer.  Among the allegations being made against the Baytown Animal Shelter:

  • Dogs and cats were routinely killed in full view of other pets, sometimes in stacked cages, other times in a large group cage.
  • Cats were ensnared in chokepoles, slammed to the ground and strangled to death by employees.
  • Trapped cats were drowned in a pond on the pound’s property, their bodies left floating.
  • Botched injections of euthanasia solution resulted in animals crying out in pain and terror.

Earlier this month, animal advocates attended a city council meeting to ask for new management at the pound:

One angry volunteer told city council, “You don’t have an animal shelter gentlemen you have a death camp.”

No argument there.

If substantiated by the police investigation, these allegations appear to violate state law so hopefully all involved will be prosecuted.  At the very least, I would think the Baytown city council would suspend the staff for the duration of the investigation due to the heinous nature of the allegations.  Let the volunteers run the place for now.  I think it’s reasonable to make the case that the animals at the pound are in extreme danger if even one of these allegations is true.  Local residents must demand city leaders take immediate action to protect the animals.

(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your smartypants answers in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is 403 Forbidden optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

nta

(Thanks Kathryn for sending me this animal.)

Weekend Jade

Beagle ears, velvety soft...

Beagle ears, velvety soft…

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