Lincoln Co Animal Advocates Say the Pound is Far From No Kill

On March 21, The Lincoln Times-News in NC ran a lengthy piece on the troubled Lincoln Co pound which included comments from more than a dozen volunteers, rescuers, fosters and former employees.  Some requested their real names not be published in the paper due to fear of reprisal.  It’s been 2 1/2 years since Lincoln Co commissioners unanimously voted to embrace no kill.  The pound continues to kill animals.  Among the concerns expressed by those interviewed for the article:

  • Pound staff kill pets while cages sit empty, sometimes as a means of hurting someone who is trying to save the animals.
  • Cats are placed on the kill list for being feral when they are in fact friendly, socialized animals.
  • Some dogs are placed on the kill list for aggression without any sort of temperament evaluation.  Others are placed on the kill list for treatable conditions such as heartworm or itchy skin.
  • Intact male dogs pulled by rescuers often have chemical burns on their testicles from the bleach poured on the floors.
  • The supposed increase in the pound’s reported live release rate does not include animals who fall over dead in their cages – something that happens at an alarming rate.
  • Inmates perform the only real work that gets done at the pound while county employees smoke, play cards and play on their phones.
  • The pound’s contracted veterinarian is referred to as “Dr. Death” by many volunteers as death is her recommended treatment for many shelter animals, including nearly all the cats in the facility when she first came on board in 2012.

The same night the article ran in the paper, Lincoln Co commissioners held their regular public meeting and criticized the piece, comparing it to tabloid journalism.  It was also announced at the meeting that Dr. Death’s contract had been renewed and she’d been given a huge raise.  The county is currently in the process of hiring a replacement for the pound’s director who is resigning.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

“Just the worst shit that you’ve ever seen in your life” at OC Pound

California – Remember when Orange Co Animal Care Director and Chief Veterinarian Jennifer Hawkins was crusading for the right to kill a service dog named Karma because dogs are descended from wolves?  Well she’s got more wacky up her sleeve.  Like reportedly killing an adolescent puppy for being “bratty”.  And in response to two scathing grand jury reports which cited filthy conditions causing animals to get sick and “poor management practices and lack of effective leadership” as the root of many of the facility’s problems, Hawkins addressed animal advocates at a public meeting in September:

As for euthanasia practices, the shelter’s director said the policy is to only put down animals that have health or behaviors that are beyond staff’s ability to manage. Euthanasia rates are down to less than 6 percent this year, said Dr. Jennifer Hawkins[.]

Apparently teen puppy brattiness is beyond her staff’s ability to manage.  But reducing the kill rate to less than six percent sounds good, yes?  I mean, if it weren’t a big fat lie:

Of the 2,050 animals entering the county government’s sole shelter in October, 725 were euthanized, according to data from shelter officials. That makes for a euthanasia rate of 35 percent[.]

Ah, I see. Probably a lot of brats in there though.

Then there’s this:

Lake Forest Councilman James Gardner, who is active on animal issues, says the high euthanasia rate is an indicator of major problems with the way Orange County shelters animals.

While the shelter has many documents and policies about how to kill animals, “they have almost nothing on how do you care for animals. Almost nothing on how do you make [them] marketable to the people,” Gardner said.

The documents include advice on how many animals to put on table at a time when killing them, he added. “Just the worst shit that you’ve ever seen in your life.”

How many animalS? What the mother flippin’ pancake?  No animal should be killed in view of another animal, at any distance, never mind on the same table.  What kind of kill room horror show is going on at Orange Co?

When the shelter is killing as many animals as it does, Gardner said, it makes it harder to get volunteers to care for them.

Gosh, ya think?  I can’t understand why there isn’t a line of animal lovers around the block waiting for their chance to hold down animals on the kill table while they watch their buddies getting snuffed.

“Orange County kills animals because they’re scared – honestly, because animals are scared, they’re put to death.”

Look, I am a human being, thousands of miles away from the Orange Co pound and thinking about that kill room makes *me* scared.  I can only imagine how the animal victims locked up in the place feel.

This month, animal advocates spoke at the Orange Co Board of Supervisors meeting about their ongoing concerns. Advocates say the shelter manipulates data to give the appearance of a lower kill rate, e.g. counting the killing of an entire litter of kittens as one animal. Hawkins tried giving advocates the silent treatment at the meeting:

There was no response from county staff to the claims. Hawkins was watching the comments in the audience, but did not respond. Her spokeswoman didn’t have further comment when asked about the claims after the meeting.

The following day, Hawkins released a short statement saying her agency will be complying with a directive from county supervisors to respond to the claims by an unspecified date.

The county has previously stated that it’s not management’s fault that morale is low among shelter staff – it’s those pesky animal advocates who keep speaking up and demanding transparency and the implementation of proven lifesaving methods and yadda yadda.  I look forward to the next non-response at an unspecified date.  Meantime, go Team Pesky.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Disability? I’ll Drink to That! *clink*

drinkingproblemThe city of Fort Worth hired a contract veterinarian, Joel Akin, to neuter animals at the city shelter.  Some of the surgeries reportedly didn’t go well.  After a dog he spayed died at the facility, the rescuer intending to pull the dog asked to speak with him but she says he refused.  A technician at the clinic reported that Akin was drunk on the job.  The city immediately suspended and later fired her for making “irresponsible and unfounded” allegations.

Cue the enabling:

Akin’s boss, code compliance director Brandon Bennett, told a local paper, “Akin had a disability that sometimes caused him to get dizzy and slur his speech but that he was a skilled vet.”

He’s a deadbeat dad who’s also gotten into trouble for assaulting and harassing people BUT, it’s a disability.  I hope we can get him a special parking space.

“He’d had a troubled life,” [Fort Worth assistant city manager Fernando] Costa said. “But not withstanding those problems, he appeared to be fully certified as a veterinarian.”
The I-Team found those problems included a criminal record for driving under the influence, public intoxication and police reports alleging akin was shouting racial slurs in public.

Akin reportedly posted a number of disturbing comments on Facebook while employed by the city, some calling on people to kill Muslims, others described as “suicidal” in nature and uh, some other stuff.

At a hearing in November 2015, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners found that Akin was a “continuing threat and a real danger” to his patients and/or the public and suspended his license.  The city finally canceled Akin’s contract.  After the state vet board took his license away.  Cause before that, he appeared to be fully certified as a veterinarian.  With a disability.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Former Director Who Killed Shelter Pets “For Fun” Goes to Jail. Let’s Party.

Mary Jo Frazier was allegedly killing animals for personal enjoyment during her 18 years at Boulder City AC in Nevada. Co-workers report she killed animals before the mandatory holding period had expired to keep the shelter empty. And because: yay killing.  She faced a judge this week on animal cruelty charges:

An 8NewsNOW I-Team first reported, an affidavit against Frazier alleges 91 instances of unusual animal deaths at the shelter and more than 1,200 suspicious cases.
[…]
“There is no doubt that these actions occurred. We know that because this defendant documented all those euthanasias in a log book,” said prosecutor Amy Ferreira.

Yeah I can picture that.  Sort of a pen and paper version of Jeffrey Dahmer’s refrigerator.

The prosecutor says the statute of limitations for animal cruelty in NV is 3 years so Frazier can not be charged for all of her alleged crimes.

frazier

Mary Jo Frazier in court, as shown on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.

Frazier’s lawyer asked the judge to release his client on her own recognizance but the judge upheld the $50,000 warrant for Frazier’s arrest. The lawyer then asked for bail to be reduced to $6000 but that went over like a lead balloon.  Gee, maybe that whole fleeing the state thing after the police investigation wasn’t such a smart move by Frazier after all.  She was handcuffed and taken to jail.

(Pause for applause.)

Read this. Twice:

Frazier “systematically killed animals that came into the shelter” and “committed the same crime over and over and over again,” Ferreira said. “This is an individual who has engaged in this conduct repeatedly, who was told to stop.”

This is important.  The prosecutor in this case is saying that the systematic killing of shelter animals for convenience is a crime.

About.

Damn.

Time.

Also: other shelter workers killing animals instead of doing their jobs may want to jot that down.

Frazier has pleaded not guilty. Her attorney cites an absence of “criminal intent”.  Uh, lol?

Thank you once again Irresponsible Public for standing up for these animals when no one else would.  See a photo of the troublemakers here.

Today is officially a party day on the blog.  Bust out the sparkling juice and sequins.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Coffee Co Pound Still Sucking All the Suckage

The sucksational Coffee Co pound in TN is once again in the news.  Animal advocates recently attended a public county meeting to voice serious concerns about how dogs are being treated at the pound.  Among the allegations being made against the two man operation:

  • Dogs are being starved.
  • Cages are being hosed and bleached with dogs inside the cages, even in winter, causing icicles to form on the dogs’ fur and their feet to burn.
  • The two ACOs ride around the county together “on calls” all day long, leaving the facility mostly unattended and numerous calls unanswered.

Area advocates would like to be allowed to volunteer at the pound in order to help walk and socialize dogs and to make sure they are fed properly.  Pound director Kevin Brown warned any potential volunteers that if they convince the county to implement a volunteer program, they will all be under his authoritah and he might not let them interact with the dogs at all.  He might just have them painting walls or whatever he feels like ordering the peons to do since he has absolute power.  And they can’t say a thing about it because he is King Sucksauce.

(Sidenote:  Why are the directors of every frelling hole from hell “shelter” obsessed with putting fresh paint on the walls?  Does huffing that new paint smell make watching pets suffer more exciting?  WHAT.  IS.  IT?)

Commissioner Steven Jones was unmoved by the photographs and vet bills presented by rescuers as evidence of dogs being starved – a problem the county held an “emergency” meeting about in December which still hasn’t been remedied:

“The mayor and I have been out there and every time we have the bowls have always been full of food,” said Jones.

Oh really. So let’s break this down:

  1. Evidence of dogs starving.
  2. Bowls always full of food.

I’m no county commissioner but it seems to me that if dogs are leaving bowls full of food to sit there, that food has got to be so contaminated that even a starving dog won’t touch it. Are the bowls “cleaned” with bleach the way the cages are – that is, the bleach is left to sit there and do its corrosive thing?  Are these always-full food bowls sprayed with water/bleach/waste during cage cleaning like the dogs are?  Does anyone check if the food in the bowls is moldy or wormy or otherwise needs to be dumped?

As far as the unanswered calls to help animals in need, the King does not wish to be disturbed:

Brown said he did not want calls forwarded from the shelter landline to his work cell phone to make up for employee absence at the shelter because they receive too many calls.

Plus it sounds like work. Slippery slope there.

Anyhoo the county is going to buy the pound a scale and a color printer to aid in the documentation process for impounded animals.  So they can document dogs being starved, I guess.  Apparently after the last rabble rousing, the county bought a giant board for the ACOs to write dog information on.  That’s reportedly still sitting there, new in the box.  Maybe they can add the scale and the printer and make some sort of artistic installation, if it pleases the king.

(Thanks Devry and Clarice for the link.)

Former Nevada Pound Director Charged with Cruelty

There have been some developments in the case of the former head of Boulder City AC in Nevada. Readers might remember Mary Jo Frazier as the lady organism accused of killing healthy/treatable animals “for fun”, who was the subject of a police investigation resulting in a recommendation of criminal charges but whose boss decided to sweep the whole thing under the rug and allow her to retire.  Frazier reportedly fled the state.

Frazier’s then-boss, police chief Bill Conger, has also hit the highway:

Conger resigned in January after his staff went to human resources to complain that Frazier’s behavior had been reported to him a full year before taking in action, and resulted in an abrupt departure of its police chief.

A Clark Co grand jury indicted Frazier yesterday on two felony counts of animal cruelty and a warrant has been issued for her arrest. One charge relates to Frazier’s alleged refusal to provide care for a badly injured pitbull puppy because, as a whistleblower told police, “we don’t spend money on pit bulls and because I’m just going to stick her anyway.” The second charge relates to Frazier’s alleged spite-killing of her ex-husband’s dachshund, Oscar.

Thanks, once again, to the irresponsible public for bringing all the irresponsible to their elected officials and shoving it in their faces until they did their jobs:

Public outcry turned into passionate rallies and protests with several victims in attendance.

And several more under mountains of trash at the landfill.

“This is somebody who is being paid to take care of these animals who was killing these animals,” said Nevada State Senator Mark Manendo, who helped lead the fight for the city to submit the case to the Clark County District Attorney for consideration.

Gee, what a thing.

“We had people even saying listen ‘we’d come into be shelters with food and blankets and we were going to walk the animals and there were no animals there,'” Manendo said.

Sooooo everyone was under the assumption the place had a 100% adoption rate and those adoptions happened instantaneously upon impound? No one noticed the dumpster overflowing with pets and attempted to reconcile that with this empty pound? I have to think that someone, probably many someones, did notice. But there was a powerful enabler in the police chief and an environment of hostility and violence. Frazier wielded her absolute power in the cruelest possible way, betraying the animals she was being paid to protect from harm.

I’m glad Frazier is finally being charged. I wish it was more. And I hope the former police chief is next.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Good Ol’ Boys Taking AZ Shelter Back to the Bad Old Days

The Benson Animal Shelter in Arizona reportedly transformed under the leadership of ACO Laurie Fivecoat, about whom area animal advocates had many good things to say at a recent city council meeting:

Rica Powell, founder of Smiling Dog Rescue out of Benson, said that prior to Laurie Fivecoat’s appointment as shelter manager, the rescue community of Southern Arizona was not involved with the Benson Animal Shelter “in any way, shape or form,” citing a closed door policy and lack of transparency. She described the facility as a “shelter of the past, with a 1950s attitude.”

Powell said Fivecoat changed that when she came on board. “The changes that happened are astonishing,” Powell added. “She brought your shelter from an archaic situation to a vibrant up and coming shelter which was community involved, with volunteers and social networking, low cost spay and neuters,” and more.

[…]

“Last year almost 90 percent of the animals that were taken to the Benson shelter left alive and well,” [animal advocate Geir] Hundal said. He spoke of Fivecoat’s networking efforts with outside rescue organizations and other shelters, describing those efforts as “an unshakeable commitment to save every life possible, even at the expense of extra time and effort,” adding that “Staff would spend up to a year finding the right home for the right pet. That’s a job well done.”

The city’s good ol’ boy police chief apparently longed for that “shelter of the past” and re-hired a good ol’ boy former Benson ACO, Paul Teza, near the end of January, appointing him shelter manager. Fivecoat is still employed as an ACO but is no longer manager.  Teza had managed the facility several years ago, with a live release rate of just 59%. The first things he did upon being re-hired were to cease the transfer of animals to other shelters, shut out the team of volunteers except for those he personally approved, terminate all rescue partnerships except those he personally approved (reportedly none) and kill a dog named Rusty, a shelter favorite who was described by volunteers as “goofy”.

rusty

Rusty, as shown on the Benson News-Sun website.

Two year old Rusty had been “fawned over” by the public at adoption events and was one of the few dogs an elderly volunteer was able to walk regularly. Teza reportedly noted in Rusty’s records that the dog was “aggressive, a bite risk, nervous in confined spaces and that he actively avoided direct observation.” So he ordered him killed. Teza seems to have seen in 11 minutes behavioral traits that none of the volunteers saw in Rusty in the past 11 months.  I don’t think I would like that guy staring at me either.

When the local paper asked police chief Moncada about the killing, as well as the quashed networking and volunteer programs, he provided a statement.  It doesn’t adequately explain any of these issues and ends with the following:

Prior to Paul’s hiring, conditions at the shelter were poor at best. Now, between his and Sgt. (Floyd) Graf’s efforts, the shelter is in better condition.

So the shelter saving 89% of its animals was a hellhole but things are looking up now that Mr. 59% is in charge?  Maybe we should ask Rusty’s opinion – oh, never mind.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Oklahoma Pound Tossing Dogs in a Hole, Shooting Them

FOX 23 in Oklahoma reports that the pound in Bristow shoots pets for convenience and that the mayor is aware of the method being used to kill the animals. Local animal advocates told The Daily Beast that a city employee digs a large hole behind the water treatment facility (where the pound is located) and the ACO drags dogs from the pound, throws them into the hole then shoots them with a small caliber pistol.  When the pit gets filled with dogs, the worker covers it over and digs a new one.  The ACO reportedly has sole discretion on which dogs he chooses to kill and how long they get to live before he does.  The mayor says that shooting dogs is legal under OK law and he is utterly baffled as to why anyone cares:

When reached by phone Wednesday, Bristow’s mayor Leonard Washington admitted the city—some 33 miles southwest of Tulsa—was dragging poor pooches to the back of the water treatment plant and shooting them.
“This is something that’s been a practice for 40 years,” Washington told The Daily Beast. “I don’t know why it’s a controversy … why such outrage now?”

Well gee, if it’s been going on for 40 years, it must be ok. Because no wrong thing has ever happened for any length of time and finally had to be changed because it was so obviously despicable. That’s what they taught us in American history class – everything was swell since ever and that’s why our textbooks are blank.

Animal advocates further allege that before the dogs are shot in the head, they suffer at the pound due to neglect and poor conditions.  They also claim the ACO hates pitbulls.  I wonder how many small caliber bullets the ACO puts into the fat heads of pitbulls before he jumps into the pit and verifies death via stethoscope, corneal reflex and other standard methods clocks out for lunch.

The mayor stressed that the main objective is to find homes for pets[.]

The Bristow pound is closed to the public. Locals offering to volunteer or donate say they have been turned away. I was unable to find any online listings for pets at the pound.  I guess the main objective of finding homes is something the ACO does during the drag to the hole before shooting the dogs. Maybe a city employee who got lost might happen to see a dog on the way to the pit and run over there and want to adopt him on the spot or something. I’m fuzzy on the details there.

Anyway it’s all legal and it’s been going on for 40 years so don’t get huffy.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this story.)

Lost Pets in Michigan Lose State Protection

The distressingly bad and wealthy Michigan InHumane has been trying for years to get legislation changed to reduce and eliminate mandatory holding periods for lost pets in shelters.  (And when MHS hasn’t gotten its way, it just blatantly ignores the law.)  Its current proposed bill is terrible.

mi hb4915

Portion of terrible HB 4915 in Michigan.

Unfortunately, the state department of agriculture recently caved on the issue and announced it will no longer enforce the law regarding mandatory holding periods in shelters.

Meanwhile, Michigan rescue groups continue to import shelter pets from the south, citing “no pressing need” to help locally.

If you are a Michigan resident, please take action to protect lost pets from being abandoned or killed by your local shelter before their owners have a chance to find them.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Some NY Shelters Hiding Their Killed Animals at Veterinary Offices

The Journal News submitted a FOIA request to the state of NY to find out how many animals are killed by shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley, along with a request for the controlled substances logs from each facility. The state sort of shrugged:

The state Department of Health, which is required by law to maintain records of all animals put to sleep at animal shelters or animal-control centers, only has a fraction of the mandatory quarterly reports it is supposed to collect. That means that, in addition to not keeping track of most animals that are euthanized by shelters, the state also has no record on how much sodium pentobarbital — the lethal chemical used to put animals to sleep — some shelters have in stock.

State health officials said they conducted “a diligent search” that lasted three months after The Journal News requested the records. But the department only produced partial records for just three of the seven active animal shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley — and no records for other types of animal-control facilities.

A spokesman for the Health Department did not reply to repeated requests for comment over the past two weeks.

Some of the shelters take their animals to private veterinary offices for killing.  Vets fall under different reporting requirements than shelters and when they dispose of dead animals, they don’t have to specify whether the pet belonged to a client or came from a shelter.  Five of the seven shelters contract with a crematory in Hartsdale, which estimates it cremates 30,000 pets a year with 1450 of those coming from area shelters.

The Yonkers Animal Shelter did have records on file with the state but the documents, which indicate only 5 dogs and zero cats were killed during a one year period, are clearly useless:

In 2015, [director of the Yonkers shelter Almira] Simpson said, 71 cats and 11 dogs from the shelter, including the five Yonkers reported to the state, were put down.

The shelter only reported five dogs to the state since the other 77 pets were killed at veterinary offices.

The Journal News, unable to obtain the actual records sought on pets killed in shelters, tried asking some of the non-compliant shelters for numbers:

[Robert] Kelly, the Mount Vernon police commissioner who acknowledged that the department had failed to file the state reports, said his city’s shelter euthanized 53 cats and 12 dogs last year.

M’kay. Not that there is any way to verify that with the state.

The Hudson Valley Humane Society said it only euthanized one animal, a dog, last year.

MMM’Kaaay. So they couldn’t fill out the form to report that ONE DOG?

The SPCA of Westchester did not return calls for comment.

Sounds legit. I checked the shelter’s website and it says:

The SPCA contracts with 13 different municipalities to accept delivery of their stray cats and dogs for return to owners or to arrange for adoption. Lost dogs and cats are held at the shelter for at least eight days before becoming available for adoption.

So 13 municipalities in NY are contracting with a facility that doesn’t follow the law by reporting to the state and doesn’t answer calls from media about pet killing.  I wonder if they take calls from owners looking for their lost pets.

But let’s definitely keep shipping our shelter animals to the magical north where everything is obscenely dandy, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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