Open Thread

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when you dont want to gooooo

Treats on the Internets

A NC family who left their kitten at a vet’s office for neutering and rabies vaccination was devastated to learn the vet had injected their pet with euthanasia solution by mistake.  The rabies vaccine was reportedly left alongside a syringe containing the euthanasia drug and the vet picked up the wrong one.  Oops.  The kitten died despite efforts to save him.  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

A worker who was fired from the Hunterdon Humane Shelter in NJ has filed a whistleblower protection lawsuit.  (Thanks Clarice.)

A 10 year old boy in Fort Worth allegedly went into a fenced yard, held down the 15 pound dog who lived there and bashed his head in with a stick until he died.  He has been charged with animal cruelty.  The child’s parents passed along a horrible sorrynotsorry letter to the heartbroken family.  (Thanks Anne.)

The CDC has identified a new strain of rabies in a fox who bit a NM woman in April.

Based on genetic information obtained from a 35,000 year old wolf bone found in Siberia, scientists now estimate that dog domestication occurred between 27,000 and 40,000 years ago.  If accurate, that would beat cat domestication by a mile.

Remember in 2007 during the massive pet food recalls when Blue Buffalo was shocked, just shocked, to find out their food contained melamine because the company knew nothing of the sort?  In the current lawsuit brought by Purina, Blue Buffalo is shocked, just shocked to find out their food contains poultry by-products – the ingredient they like to slam their competitors for using.  The only thing Blue Buffalo knows for sure is they are not to blame, just like in 2007.

Aurora Animal Shelter Refuses Offer of Hospice Care for Cat

When animal advocate Joan Ogner saw a Petfinder photo of a senior female cat at the Aurora Animal Shelter in CO this week, she felt moved and wanted to help get the pet transferred to a rescue group.  While working on that, she learned the cat has some serious medical issues. Specifically, the cat is partially paralyzed, has an acute URI, no teeth and an abdominal mass. She is being housed in isolation at the shelter.

At that point, Joan felt compelled to help this cat herself by providing hospice care at her home. She contacted the shelter to ask about adopting the cat and was refused. She subsequently contacted the manager via email to reiterate her offer and to advise that she works with another municipal shelter which would gladly do an official shelter-to-shelter transfer if the manager deemed that more appropriate.

The manager replied that the cat was receiving treatment at the shelter and that the vet staff had recommended euthanasia and so the request to transfer was refused. Joan asked the manager to reconsider, explaining that she was offering to care for the cat at home and even if euthanasia was the most humane option, to offer that in the quiet comfort of her loving home and not in a shelter environment which is highly stressful for cats.  She stated she would not allow the cat to suffer.

The manager again refused the offer to get the cat out of her cage at the shelter, citing the “five freedoms”, which she says are being provided to the cat there and stating that she didn’t feel comfortable sending the cat to an “unknown” situation.  Joan explained that she has adopted from the Aurora shelter before so she is not “unknown” and that she could provide immediate references if desired, including the director of the shelter who is willing to do the transfer, her veterinarian of 20 years, and local rescuers.  She again promised to provide loving hospice care and not allow the cat to suffer.

That was yesterday.  The manager has not replied since and the cat’s listing has been removed from Petfinder.  This is the post Joan put on her Facebook page in hopes of being allowed to give this poor cat peace and love in a quiet home environment for whatever time she has left.  Joan has named her Miss Kitty:

Screengrab from Facebook (provided by Joan Ogner)

“PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ASAP THE AURORA SHELTER TO TRY AND SAVE MISS KITTY (I named her, they only know her by her shelter ID number A172673). Tell the Shelter Manager that this kitty deserves to live her last days in a hospice setting, rather than in the shelter. The Shelter Manager information is: Manager is :Jenee N. Shipman
Manager of Animal Care | City of Aurora Office 303.326.8299 | Mobile 720.409.2474 .
THIS IS URGENT as there is only a short time before they euthanize her. Let’s see that in her last breath she is not experiencing the smell of death in the Euth Room but instead feeling the love and peace of my home. THANKS”
(Screengrab from Facebook provided by Joan Ogner)

While it is humane to offer euthanasia to a pet who has been determined medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian, it is not humane to leave the animal in a cage at a shelter while typing out repeated refusals for an offer of home hospice care from a compassionate person.  If this cat is truly medically hopeless and suffering, she should have been euthanized to relieve her suffering as soon as the determination was made.  If not, the cat should be released – either directly to the person offering the hospice care or to the shelter offering to do the official transfer.  I simply don’t understand this refusal nor the reasons behind it.  Just because a shelter is able to meet the so-called “five freedoms” does not make sitting in a cage in isolation any kinder for this cat.  I hope the Aurora Animal Shelter manager reconsiders and accepts the offer of hospice care for Miss Kitty.

Discussion: How Have Pets Helped Make Your Community Better?

SnoopyA recently published study in Australia found that pets help connect people within communities:

“We found that people who had a pet were more likely, than those who didn’t own a pet, to get to know people in their neighbourhood that they didn’t know before,” says [Associate Professor Lisa Wood from the University of Western Australia’s School of Population Health], adding that people from all walks of life were brought together.

“The great thing about pets is they are a really great leveller.”

And it went beyond pets breaking the ice and leading to a simple wave or a chat.

“Having a pet can actually lead to more meaningful relationships between people,” says Wood.

She and colleagues found 42 per cent of pet owners received practical or emotional support from others they had met through their pets.

And a more tightly knit community benefits everyone:

If you’ve got a street where dog owners help each other, they may be more likely to keep an eye on others in the street as well, whether they own pets or not, says Wood.

“There seems to be a ripple effect.”

What are your experiences?  Have you received support from someone in your community whom you met via a pet?  Do you perceive a ripple effect within your community stemming from relationships established via pets?  What other community benefits have you observed which you believe originated from the presence of pets?  Does your local shelter maintain a strong presence in the community in order to protect and promote animal welfare and the subsequent benefits to people?

I Don’t Know But I’m Guessing It’s Not Based on Merit

Solitary pup tries to snuggle with metal in a cage at the Memphis pound.  (Photo via Facebook)

Solitary pup tries to snuggle with metal in a cage at the Memphis pound. (Photo via Facebook)

Last week a Memphis city council committee voted to accept a proposed 10.6% pay raise for employees at the city pound. The proposal includes an incentive for killing animals by paying workers who kill a higher wage than those who don’t. MAS already had this financial incentive in place but the union representing the employees made sure it was preserved in the new salary increase proposal.  Committee members Harold Collins and Joe Brown voted for the pay raise while Jim Strickland voted against it.

Are there any animal advocates who are politically active and involved with the city council in Memphis?  The pets at MAS really need a voice in government.  Right now, all they have is the employee union speaking to the city council.

The Memphis pound had a 50% kill rate in 2014.

(Thank you Clarice for the link and to the reader who sent me the photo from Facebook.)

Case Update: Changes in St Johns Co After Pet Killed Upon Impound

Readers may remember Tails, the Florida kitty who got lost and ended up at a rental car agency, having ridden there in the engine of one of the rented vehicles.  Staff wanted to get Tails reunited with his owner so they contacted the St Johns Co pound to pick up the cat.  But when the owner called the pound to reclaim Tails, she was told the night shift ACO had killed her pet upon impound.

The county investigated itself in the matter and changes have been put into place at the pound in order to prevent more oops-killings.  But there is no good news.

The night shift ACO, Chris Ellis, resigned his position after initially being placed on administrative leave.  He offered this explanation for killing Tails, whom he determined to be a feral, intact male cat:

“When I tried to pick it up, it started scratching and clawing at me. It didn’t have a collar, flea tags, microchips, or any sort of identification to let me know it belonged to someone,” he said. “It was an unfortunate accident, but I did what I was told to do. I followed protocol and procedure, and I did what I thought was right for the time.”

The problems with this story are many.  For starters, Tails was declawed so he wasn’t scratching anyone.  Tails was also neutered, which should be immediately apparent to any ACO.  Even in the absence of other identification (“flea tags”?), it should have been obvious from the declawing and neutering that Tails likely had an owner.  Furthermore, the staff at the car rental agency described cuddling and playing with Tails and making up a little bed for him while waiting for the ACO.  This sounds nothing like a feral cat interacting with strangers.

Discretion to kill feral cats impounded after hours was formerly left solely with the ACO.  St Johns Co will now hold off on killing feral cats impounded after hours until the next day, when a supervisor is there to sign off on the killing.  Paul Studivant, division manager for AC explains the change:

“This gives them (the feral animals) ample time to calm down, but if the officers can’t handle the animal safely, and it’s ear isn’t notched or if it isn’t microchipped, the ultimate will happen,” he said.

A period of hours riding in an AC truck and sitting in a pound is not “ample time to calm down” for any cat – feral or socialized.  In fact, it might result in the opposite, depending upon the circumstances and the individual animal.  Even worse, it sounds as if any cat who tries to scratch (even with declawed paws apparently) and has been ear tipped in order to signify he is part of a neutered/vaccinated maintained colony will be killed.  Oh wait – I mean, will be ultimated.

This is not how shelters are supposed to work with TNR colony caregivers and does nothing to humanely reduce the feral cat population over time.  It unfortunately provides incentive for anyone who doesn’t want to see feral cats killed in St Johns Co to avoid trapping/neutering/vaccinating them for fear of having them marked for swift killing if picked up the county.  Fail.  Ultimate fail, if you like.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Weekend Jade

"Is this close enough?  Because I can totally get closer."

“Is this close enough? Because I can totally get closer.”

Open Thread

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



Treats on the Internets

Warning:  Disturbing, graphic photo at first link:  A photo of a bloody dog on the end of a chokepole at the Hesperia pound in CA has been causing outrage on social media.  The photo may be from 2013.  Readers may remember this video of a dog being casually dragged down a hall at Hesperia while two other workers chatted.  The city investigated itself in the matter and now says two employees are no longer on the payroll but won’t discuss any details.  (Thanks to everyone who sent me links on this story.)

Many shelters sell their dead cats to dealers who re-sell them to schools for dissection by students.  OK high school students made a video of dead cats in their anatomy class “dancing” to the Meow Mix jingle.  In a statement, the high school characterized the behavior as a “mistake”.  (Thanks Susan.)

The director of the municipal shelter in Dona Ana Co, NM was charged with two misdemeanors after allegedly refusing to disclose a dog’s microchip information to a county ACO.  The dog had been impounded in connection with a livestock killing incident.  The director has filed a tort suit against the county in response.

This person is dangerous and I can not fathom why Petfinder would have any association with someone who has caused so much harm to shelter dogs.

A comprehensive and excellent primer on the truth about PETA, especially useful to send to people you come across who are all, “But PETA helps animals, right?”.

The demand for animals by the animal mummy industry in ancient Egypt was so great that some animal populations were devastated and many of the animal mummies were actually faked.

David Attenborough explains in an interview why he is still passionate about documenting nature at age 89.

State Investigation Determines Two Injured Cats Left to Suffer at Columbus Co Pound

The troubled Columbus Co pound has received a warning letter from the state of North Carolina indicating that the pound “may be in violation of the North Carolina Animal Welfare Act”.  After receiving a letter of complaint from rescuers, the state investigated and determined that Columbus Co may have violated the portion of the law which requires pounds to either seek veterinary care for sick/injured animals or kill them.  The findings pertain to two cats pulled by rescue groups – one who was left without veterinary care for a week at the pound while suffering from two fractured ribs, a draining abscess, bite wounds all over the body and blood in the lungs:

Portion of warning letter from the state of NC to the Columbus pound.

Portion of warning letter from the state of NC to the Columbus pound.

The second cat was a kitten who was left for several days without treatment at the pound despite having open wounds on his legs and part of his face falling off.  Pound workers characterized the extent of the kitten’s injuries to rescuers as “an old scab” on the leg:

Portion of warning letter from the state of NC to the Columbus pound.

Portion of warning letter from the state of NC to the Columbus pound.

The state is requiring the Columbus Co pound to provide written protocols and additional training to workers regarding veterinary care and assessment of animals. This isn’t the pound’s first rodeo and it hardly seems reasonable to hope that meaningful change will result from the current warning letter. Reform, as usual, is left up to local citizens to force.

(Thanks Arlene and Clarice for sending me this story.)


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