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.

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.)

Dog Owner Alleges Severe Neglect at Detroit Pound

Major and his person, as shown on the Motor City Muckraker website.

Major and his person, as shown on the Motor City Muckraker website.

Veronica Seward’s dog Major was seized by the city of Detroit last month following a bite incident.  Motor City Muckraker chronicles “a series of blunders” by the city regarding the case:

Instead of seizing the dog on the day of the bites – June 25 – Animal Control officers waited until June 29. Although they planned to euthanize Major, “the dog was released in error by Animal Control” on July 7, according to the press release issued by the police department but attributed to Animal Control.

“Once the error was recognized, the dog was picked up again by AnimalControl officers the next day,” the press release read.

No warrant was issued.

When AC seized Major from the owner the second time, she was reportedly told that he must be held at the pound until a judge rendered a decision on the case.  Ms. Seward visited her dog on July 9  and was concerned about his unusual behavior.  She returned the next afternoon with her cell phone on to record video (later uploaded to YouTube) and found Major lying in his own waste and a pool of blood which was running down the front of the cage into a drain.  She says the cage was too small for him to stand up, he had no water in his bowl and the pound vet, who saw Major while Ms. Seward was there, “refused to provide care”.

The owner took Major to a veterinarian who diagnosed him with parvo.  The dog was also reportedly suffering from urine scald and pressure sores.  Despite treatment, he died the next day.

On July 12, Ms. Seward and local animal advocates held a press conference outside Detroit AC.  Pound staff hid:

During the Sunday morning news conference, workers could be seen inside the Detroit Animal Control center. Once media crews arrived, they put up a “closed” sign, shut off the lights and did not answer the door. Calls to the center during business hours, which was open Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., were not answered and messages could not be left.

On Monday, the Detroit Police Department, which oversees Detroit Animal Control, issued a statement, saying animal control staff and a veterinarian found no symptoms with Major during daily morning rounds on July 10.

“By the afternoon, the staff checked on the dog with the owner and determined he was ill,” said Sgt. Cassandra Lewis.

So no charges for anyone at the pound because apparently in the morning Major was all butterfly stickers and glitter but by the time the owner got there in the afternoon his cage was filled with blood, feces and urine and he was on death’s door.  Sounds legit.

Lewis said of the other 179 dogs at Animal Control as of Friday, “none had exhibited symptoms of parvo.”

“As a precaution, animal control staff are closely monitoring each dog and will be testing all 179 dogs for the parvovirus,” she said.

Closely monitoring – uh, lol?

Aaaaaaanyway, DAC probably isn’t overly worried about disease or dogs suffering in their cages or anything like that since the place doesn’t adopt out dogs and kills roughly 3 out of 4 pets in its care every year.  I mean how closely do Dead Dogs Walking need to be monitored, amirite?

Detroit taxpayers need to demand humane care, transparency and accountability at their municipal shelter.  And they need to keep demanding it, louder and more frequently, until someone in a position of leadership takes meaningful action to remedy the situation.  The status quo is unacceptable.

(Thank you to everyone who sent me links on this story.)

MI Shelter Records Appear Falsified to Hide the Killing of Healthy Pets

Nancy Hornberger, a pet owner in Michigan, had a multiple cat household with one cat who kept fighting with the others and spraying urine.  Aside from this, Spitz was a loving pet and Ms. Hornberger felt he might enjoy life more in a single cat home.  She called the Oakland Co Animal Shelter and asked about having the shelter rehome Spitz.  Ms. Hornberger says she was told that as long as the cat was healthy and adoptable, they would put him on the adoption floor.  She packed up Spitz’s favorite food and toys and wrote a two page letter about him to be given to whoever adopted the cat.  Ms. Hornberger then surrendered Spitz, his belongings and the letter to the Oakland Co shelter so he could find his perfect home.

But Oakland Co killed Spitz minutes after the former owner hit the door.  Ms. Hornberger found out later, after animal advocates filed FOIA requests and received records for animals who were killed and categorized as “owner requested euthanasia” by the shelter.  When informed of Spitz’s killing, Ms. Hornberger collapsed.  She could not understand why her lovable pet would be killed instead of being offered for adoption by the shelter.  And she says she absolutely did not ask the shelter staff to kill him:

We never, in any way, requested that.

The Oakland Co shelter’s website indicates they are limited admission for cats:

Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center will operate as an open admission shelter for cats based on available capacity starting January 2, 2015. That means we will not accept cats when we do not have room to house them. After consulting with veterinary staff and other experts in animal shelter operations, we will implement the industry’s best practices.  By limiting the number of cats we house, we will be able to offer the very best care to our existing cat population.

It would seem to follow that the facility had adequate space to house Spitz at the time he was accepted.  Also, for those trying to re-read that last paragraph:  open admission=limited admission in Oakland Co, apparently.

(Photo by Casey Post)

(Photo by Casey Post)

WXYZ asked Oakland County Director of Public Services Mark Newman why Spitz was killed. He says that the cat was deemed unadoptable due to the urine spraying and too bad so sad the owner failed to understand that at the time she surrendered Spitz. Ms. Hornberger says if she would have known Spitz would be killed, she would never have left him at the shelter.

So what exactly makes an animal “unadoptable” at Oakland Co?

As for the shelters written policy on what makes an animal adoptable, it won’t be posted at the shelter or its website.

“It is not something we disseminate to the public, but it is our information,” said Newman.

It’s classified. But WXYZ got a copy of the document detailing the excuses used by Oakland Co to kill animals, which the shelter titled “CARES” because aw. Among the excuses:

  • Animals designated “treatable/manageable” may be given one week before being recategorized as “untreatable/unhealthy” – not because these animals actually are either untreatable or unhealthy, just because it’s been a week and hey, we’re not running a doggie hotel here people.
  • Examples of treatable/manageable conditions include: cough, cold, arthritis, fleas, worms, cherry eye, missing eye/limb or other physical disability, and having the audacity to be born while being cared for by a mother. One week to get over that lost eye or that being born thing.
  • Examples of untreatable/unhealthy conditions include: healthy feral cats, dental disease, ringworm, and skin mites. I love that healthy feral cats are included in the definition of unhealthy because that just makes sense. Healthy=unhealthy, what’s the problem – you stupid or something?
(Photo by Casey Post)

(Photo by Casey Post)

One thing I didn’t see on the list was spraying, which is supposedly a capital offense in Oakland Co. The closest thing I could find:

Have a behavioral, temperamental or medical characteristic that would pose a danger to other animals, themselves or the public.

Does Oakland Co think cat urine is a public health threat?

Lest anyone think that Spitz’s killing represents an isolated incident at Oakland Co, the shelter’s own records seem to reveal it is a regular occurrence. Records appear to be falsified as “owner requested euthanasia” on numerous animals, including strays killed upon impound instead of being held for the legally mandated holding period and pets who are given nail trims and vaccines prior to being killed, supposedly by owner request.

Why the shell game? Oakland Co boasts on its website that it “currently has the best save rate in Michigan among public open-admission shelters whose intakes are greater than 5,000 animals”. But that save rate specifically excludes animals categorized as being killed by owner request, such as Spitz. (There is also an exclusion for animals killed and categorized as “contracted” which I don’t recall coming across before and don’t know what it refers to.)

Oakland Co taxpayers are getting the shaft with regard to their public shelter.  The shelter is limiting admission of cats while claiming to be open admission, arbitrarily designating healthy animals as unhealthy, and falsifying records to blame the needless killing of pets on “owner request” where no such request ever existed.  It is up to local residents to demand better.  As for Oakland Co workers, if you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

AL Shelter Under Investigation by Police

In February, the Lawrence Co Commission in Alabama awarded an $80,000 annual AC contract to Bobbie Taylor, whom the county had previously been paying $15 per animal for sheltering services. The controversial decision included an agreement that Ms. Taylor purchase and operate a new shelter within 6 months. She is currently using private property to house animals, many of them outdoors, for the county. Her shelter’s website states:

She has the backing of the community, local officials and AVRAL (Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation), a grassroots political action committee dedicated to helping pass animal-friendly legislation. It is run by Dr. Rhonda Parker.

I’ve blogged about AVRAL before.

In April, pictures from the Lawrence Co shelter were reportedly circulated on social media and claims were made that the conditions were sub-standard. The local paper ran an article and Ms. Taylor denied the allegations, stating basically that she was doing the best she could and that her intention was to buy an actual building:

Taylor said she is purchasing the former Liberty Woodworks building on Ala. 24 as the location for the new shelter, which she said will be the first county no-kill shelter in Alabama.

Yesterday WHNT aired a story centered around video and photos taken by Caleb Scott, a recent volunteer at the Lawrence Co shelter who said he quit after two days because he could not stand it any longer. The video shows a person identified by Mr. Scott as Bobbie Taylor whacking a dog on the head repeatedly. The pictures are also disturbing:

Scott provided us with additional images from the shelter showing dogs lying in their own waste, and at least one emaciated dog lying in a pen too small for it to turn around in. Scott claims several of the animals are obviously sick and in need of care.

“Sick animals, they can’t even get up to walk, just laying there, laying there in their own waste,” Scott says.

Screengrab from the WHNT website showing an emaciated dog in a metal crate at the Lawrence Co shelter.

Screengrab from the WHNT website showing an emaciated dog in a metal crate at the Lawrence Co shelter.

Mr. Scott says he brought his concerns to law enforcement and the police chief confirmed there is an investigation being conducted.  I get the impression that politics run deep here.

WHNT describes Ms. Taylor as “an outspoken advocate for no-kill animal shelters”. As many readers know, pet killing groups such as PETA enjoy exploiting any opportunity to condemn no kill sheltering and further an agenda of killing by falsely claiming no kill is about warehousing and neglecting animals. I don’t know if PETA or any other anti-pet groups have yet commented on the Lawrence Co situation but I want to make my position clear.

The Lawrence Co shelter’s “no kill” claim is irrelevant. If the allegations of abuse and neglect are true then in fact the shelter has more in common with high kill pounds and the leadership and staff who run them: the idea that animal life is cheap. Animal abuse, filth, neglect and suffering do not represent the no kill movement.

As Nathan Winograd writes:

No Kill does not mean poor care, hostile and abusive treatment, and warehousing animals without the intentional killing. It means modernizing shelter operations so that animals are well cared for and kept moving efficiently and effectively through the shelter and into homes. The No Kill movement puts action behind the words of every shelter’s mission statement: “All life is precious.” No Kill is about valuing animals, which means not only saving their lives but also giving them good quality care. It means vaccination on intake, nutritious food, daily socialization and exercise, fresh clean water, medical care, and a system that finds loving, new homes.

At the open admission No Kill shelter I oversaw, the average length of stay for animals was eight days, we had a return rate of less than two percent, we reduced the disease rate by 90 percent from the prior administration, we reduced the killing rate by 75 percent, no animal ever celebrated an anniversary in the facility, and we saved 93 percent of all impounded animals. In short, we brought sheltering into the 21st century.

The difference between true no kill advocates and those who embrace pet killing facilities is that we will not hesitate to condemn neglect and abuse of animals regardless of what label the group attaches to itself: AC shelter, no kill shelter, rescue group, etc. We speak only for the animals. By contrast, no kill’s detractors will generally ignore or even defend abuse, so long as the facility also intentionally kills the animals and does so by falsely claiming there are too many animals, not enough homes and the public is irresponsible.

I hope there is a fair and thorough investigation of the Lawrence Co shelter that rises above political interests and truly protects the animals.  Regardless of the results of that investigation, it’s important to be clear that animal abuse and neglect – wherever it occurs and whoever is responsible – is unacceptable.

(Thanks to Clarice and another reader for the links.)

Complaints Prompt State to Inspect VA Shelter and Enablers to Circle the Wagons

In Accomack Co, Virginia, another sad case where pets who were reportedly living in unacceptable conditions in a resident’s yard are now allegedly suffering at the pound after being “rescued”:

An Exmore man who tipped off Accomack County Animal Control officers about poor living conditions of 15 dogs at a rural Onancock residence now is asking the state to shut down the facility where they were taken.

Jim Mason submitted a petition to the state veterinarian and the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services on June 8, asking them to close the Eastern Shore Regional Animal Control Facility in Melfa because it lacks air conditioning and an outdoor exercise area, among other issues.

The dogs, several of whom have whelped litters since being seized, have been held at the pound in connection with an ongoing court case for many months. They are allegedly being denied exercise and socialization.

After receiving the petition, a state inspector visited the Eastern Shore Regional AC Facility and found a number of deficiencies, including:

[S]everal dogs and cats showed signs of discomfort due to heat and humidity and the dog run area was “extremely hot and humid” with no climate control and flies[.]
[…]
Additionally, the inspector said not all animals euthanized at the facility were sedated beforehand.

Members of the Accomack Co Board of Supervisors have also received complaints from animal advocates regarding conditions at the pound.  But(t):

“The shelter is in very, very good hands,” Supervisor Robert Crockett said.

Also:  all county pounds “have to” kill animals (which will undoubtedly come as a shock to the many no kill shelters operating in municipalities all over the country) and the state inspector only dinged Eastern Shore on the recent report because of pressure from pesky activists.  And the offer of free air conditioning from a local SPCA is now being put on hold by the county because reasons.  Seems legit.

I couldn’t find any government website listing animals for Eastern Shore and the facility’s Facebook page is out of date.  The Eastern Shore page on Petfinder says:

We invite you to take a look at all our listed animals.To us, they all deserve the recognition as “featured”.

Petfinder has zero animals listed for Eastern Shore.

Very, very good hands.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Rowan Co Deigns to Let Citizens Work for Free at the Shelter, Within Limits, Because Obviously

One of the six pets advertised for adoption by the Rowan Co shelter in NC.  (Image via Petfinder)

One of the six pets currently advertised for adoption by the Rowan Co shelter in NC. (Image via Petfinder)

Some Rowan Co animal advocates are apparently pleased with promised policy changes at the shelter but after reading about the changes, I was able to contain my enthusiasm. In an effort to be fair, I’ll outline the changes in yay/nay format.

Paws Up: Beginning July 1, the shelter is going to start vaccinating and microchipping animals.
Paws Down: These costs will be passed on to adopters and rescuers who will have to pay an additional $10 for pets (beyond the current $70 fee).

Paws Up: The county will allow a volunteer program at the shelter.
Paws Down: The program won’t be implemented until a new cat wing, currently under construction, is opened. The volunteers will be issued reader cards in order to be prevented from accessing all areas of the shelter. The county has yet to purchase the card readers. Inmates who work at the shelter reportedly have full access but volunteers will be restricted.

Paws Up: There has been universal support for a 60 day TNR program for feral cats which would cost the county zero dollars.
Paws Down: The county decided to table the measure.

Paws Up: The shelter will purchase new software which will allow photographs of impounded animals to be posted online upon intake.
Paws Down: There is no set date for implementing this change. In the meantime, animal rescuers are restricted to following the current policy: they are allowed in the shelter for one hour at the county’s discretion and can take no more than 8 animal photos during that hour. The county commissioners and the shelter director were asked to relax this rule but refused.

So there you go. Keep your cheering to a dull roar, if you can manage it.

I appreciate that advocates have been working hard for a long time to effect change at the Rowan Co shelter. And I understand that progress doesn’t always take the form we hope for or arrive in a timely fashion. It’s an ongoing effort and you have to start somewhere. I get all that.

But speaking for myself, I’d rather eat glass than volunteer my services to people who treated me with such contempt and are more interested in wielding their sovereign power over me than saving animals. There are, tragically, many places where shelter animals are desperately in need of help and many ways to help them. I wouldn’t waste my time in Rowan Co. On the other hand, I am eternally thankful that not everyone in the world is like me. I’m glad there are some animal advocates in Rowan Co able to put up with these dickheads. Long may they run, especially since there may not be anyone on this planet willing to replace them.

(Thanks Lisa for the link.)

San Diego Co Shelter Vet Files Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit

Dr. Bruce Cauble, a California veterinarian who worked at San Diego County’s three shelters since 2002, has filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against the county.  Named in the lawsuit is deputy director and medical operations manager David Johnson, a registered veterinary technician who oversees the medical portion of the three county shelters.  The lawsuit alleges that Johnson’s mismanagement resulted in a number of serious issues and when the three county vets, including Dr. Cauble, spoke out about the problems, they were each transferred to the shelter farthest from their homes.  The allegations include:

  • Dogs housed in unheated concrete kennels where the temperature sometimes dropped below 50 degrees.  A boiler that was supposed to provide heat for the floors was often broken and management failed to have it repaired in a timely manner.  Staff referred to these chronically cold dogs as “ice puppies”.
  • Staff hosed down the ice puppies’ kennels with the dogs still inside, wetting down the pets and any towels that had been given to them for warmth.
  • Management failed to provide an adequate supply of pain medications and food for the animals in the medical ward and Dr. Cauble witnessed suffering as a result.
  • None of the three shelters’ x-ray machines were properly inspected or licensed, as required by law.  The staff did not have radiation monitoring badges.  When Dr. Cauble brought these issues to the attention of Mr. Johnson, he responded by threatening to shut down all x-ray activity but in fact, directed staff to continue using the unlicensed machines.
  • Two of the county’s three shelters lacked premise permits and were operating illegally.  As a result the state veterinary board advised that some animals had to be transferred to the only shelter with the required permit for treatment.  This caused animals to suffer because their veterinary care, including pain medication, was delayed.
  • Mr. Johnson stopped pain medications on animals who had been prescribed them by county vets.
  • After complaints were filed regarding the above issues by the veterinarians, all three were transferred to inconvenient work locations by Mr. Johnson.  As a result, none of the three veterinarians remained on the job and shelter animals suffered from lack of qualified and consistent veterinary care.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dr. Cauble expressed his frustrations with the county bureaucracy:

Cauble said non-veterinarian bureaucrats often prescribe medications or perform other tasks that are required to be performed by veterinarians. He said more than once, he was told to stay away while television news crews interviewed administrators who portrayed themselves as licensed veterinarians.

“We do have a number of animals die from secondary pneumonia and respiratory diseases” that are preventable, Cauble said. “The problem is, we have six or seven paper pushers-who make $700,000-plus between them, but they can’t seem to find $30 to replace a simple boiler part.”

Dr. Cauble also spoke with 10News about the ice puppies:

Cauble said five years ago he started complaining about the boiler to his bosses, but they refused to get a new one, instead making repairs. He said the boiler broke down about five times every year, leaving animals in the cold for at least a week.

“The dogs would get hypothermic. We would wrap them in towels, but the towel would get wet. The dryer was sometimes broken, so we’d run out of towels,” said Cauble. “The conditions left them susceptible to more problems, like kennel cough, pneumonia and distemper.”

San Diego Co’s official response to the lawsuit:

The Department of Animal Services’ number one priority is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the animals in its care. The County is reviewing the claim that has been filed and isn’t able to comment on pending litigation but will continue to provide the best care possible for all of the animals in our shelters.

Raise your icy paw if you feel reassured.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

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
jshipman@auroragov.org 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.

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.)

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