Columbus Co Pound Fined by State for Illegal Pet Killing

In NC, a pet owner filed a lawsuit alleging that the Columbus Co pound killed one of his two impounded dogs before the state mandated 72 hour holding period had expired.  He also filed a complaint with the NC Department of Agriculture, responsible for overseeing animal shelters in the state.  County Manager Bill Clark defended the killing to a local reporter:

“Our side of that story is that the dogs were aggressive and dangerous,” Clark said. “The gentleman who released the dog to us signed a release, basically giving us control of the animal and when he did that, we have the ability to put down a dangerous dog.”

Clark said safeguards are in place to prevent the accidental euthanasia of an adoptable pet, but in this instance, because the animal was “dangerous” the county was within its legal rights to destroy it.

As it turns out, the NC Department of Agriculture disagreed with the county.  Totally.  In a letter to the Columbus Co pound dated June 18, the state says that the two dogs were impounded as owner surrenders on May 19 but no proof of ownership was obtained.  Further, the impound papers state the dogs will be held until 2pm on May 22.  The owner came to reclaim both dogs on May 21, only to find one had been killed that same day.  The state says that records for that dog do not indicate any serious illness or injury – the only exceptions legally allowed for killing an animal during the mandated holding period.

As a result, the state fined the Columbus Co pound $5000 for violating the law while noting that the pound had previously been fined $6500 in 2013 for the same violation.  That fine also occurred under the current manager who appears to kill at will, regardless of any dumb laws.

Gosh, I wonder how many shelter animals could be saved for $11,500?  I guess that’s not something Columbus Co is interested in finding out.

The county has 60 days to either file an appeal or pay up.  The lawsuit is, I presume, going forward.  And as far as I know, the county is standing by their man at the pound.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Case Update: WV ACO Who Hunted Down Dog Cleared Of Wrongdoing

In April, Greenbrier Co ACO Robert McClung reportedly shot a loose dog 5 times then followed him to his porch, dragged him down, and told the dog off before putting a 6th bullet into the pet, killing him.  The county has investigated and cleared itself in the killing, finding that the ACO’s actions were both appropriate and lawful.  The county recommended no disciplinary action be taken against McClung.

County commissioners want to give McClung a chokepole and a taser, both of which will presumably be used while exercising the same stellar decision making abilities previously displayed.  Greenbrier Co pet owners, brace yourselves.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Dog Runs Home After Being Shot by ACO 5 Times, ACO Hunts Him Down

Max with family, as shown on the WVVA website.

Max with family, as shown on the WVVA website.

West Virginia – On April 21, Tamara Curry’s dogs Max and Tyson accidentally escaped the family’s fenced yard and were roaming the neighborhood.  Someone called Greenbrier Co ACO Robert McClung about the dogs.  ACO McClung loaded Tyson into his vehicle but says Max was growling, showing his teeth and coming towards him so he shot the dog 5 times.  The wounded pet went to his bed on his porch to lay down.  ACO McClung says he then dragged Max off the porch.

Ms. Curry, who had been asleep inside the house with her children but was awakened by the gun shots, heard ACO McClung tell Max, “That’s what you get for being stupid.” She then heard more gunshots and the sound of a vehicle driving away. Curry, who had not come outside during the incident because she did not know who the lunatic with the gun was or what he might do next, found a note slipped under her door by ACO McClung which read “We have removed 2 dogs from your property.”

Ms. Curry is heartbroken because Max was family.  She says he was never aggressive and was a good dog.  She doesn’t believe McClung should stay employed as an ACO because he’s not doing his job:

“I feel that there should have been some other step done first. I don’t feel he’s compassionate. I will quote his business card. It says serving and protecting man’s best friend. I don’t feel he did that. I don’t feel he did the steps to protect my dog.”

I would agree that an ACO whose one and only tool in the toolbox for dealing with growling dogs is GUN should not be on the job.

McClung tells WVVA that there was nothing he could have done differently, especially with Max coming at him. While some outraged citizens worry he isn’t trained, McClung says he is only one of 100 people nationwide that has the level of training he does from the National Animal Control Association.

What special NACA training is he referring to?  And where are the other 99 bozos we have to protect our pets from?

Greenbrier Co has fined the Curry family for having dogs off leash and for expired licenses and rabies tags.  There are still blood stains on their porch.

Concerned citizens are expected to attend tonight’s county commissioners’ meeting to demand that McClung be fired.  McClung is confident that won’t happen and in fact, isn’t even bothering to attend the meeting.

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

Yellowstone Co AC in Need of Reform by Way of Gasoline and a Match

The Yellowstone Co Sheriff’s Office in Montana supervises the animal control division for the county – which is not something I’d disclose on a resume or while being waterboarded, even.  Yellowstone Co’s AC is a putrid pile of slack-ass fraud designed to kill animals while putting forth the least possible amount of effort – all on the taxpayer’s dime.

John Fleming, the county ACO, picks up lost and homeless animals – that is, when he’s working, which is just 7am – 2pm Monday through Friday.  People looking for their lost pets or needing help with animals at any other hour are referred to the sheriff’s office.  This is the scam that the county has been running, reportedly for years:

Dogs are picked up by the ACO and taken to a local vet/grooming/boarding facility.  The ACO fills out some sort of DIY spreadsheet with info on each dog (where found, gender, whether the dog was killed or adopted, etc.) that possibly no one else knows how to read.  Oh and this is when he gets around to it, which might be several days after impound or after he’s already killed the dog.  And the spreadsheet is full of holes where he fails to document basic information such as whether the dog was wearing a collar and what exactly happened to the pet.  Photos are not taken, nor are animals networked online, despite having volunteers with a proven record of success willing to perform these tasks.  ACO Fleming said in an interview:

“I think it would be more of a hindrance to put dogs online… . We don’t run a humane society or an adoption agency.”

Aaaaanyway, when owners call the sheriff’s office to ask if their lost dog has been picked up, they are generally told no since the documentation is either non-existent or contains erroneous and missing data on the spreadsheet (which it’s unclear if anyone can read).  Owners may know that impounded dogs are taken to the local vet facility but the vet there, who gets paid $17,000 a year by the county for use of his facility, won’t allow people to come in and look for their lost pets because he’s running a business and they are not paying customers.  But if an owner is willing to pay an “estimated boarding fee” at the sheriff’s office, they could take the receipt to the vet facility, be allowed to look at the impounded dogs and if their pet was not among them, drive back to the sheriff’s office for a refund.

That’s the thumbnail version of the fraud being perpetrated by the county with regard to dogs.  Who are lucky when compared to the hundreds of cats picked up in Yellowstone Co every year:

Fleming, in an interview with Last Best News, said there was no county ordinance on cats, and that “we don’t allow impoundment of cats.”

“They’re treated no differently from skunks, raccoons, coyotes—a nuisance animal,” Fleming said. With rare exceptions, he said, when he picked cats up they were taken to a small shed behind the county shops, just west of the jail, where he would euthanize them.

Even cats whom rescue groups offered to take were reportedly killed instead of live released.

Although Fleming may have been certified to kill animals at some time in the past, he is not now and, after being questioned by the local news about it, reportedly stopped killing animals in January.  Apparently that took all the fun out of it because after 24 years as an ACO, Fleming put in for a transfer within the sheriff’s office and will be working as a process server as soon as the county hires a new ACO.

Animal advocates say they met with County Commissioner John Ostlund 3 years ago to discuss their many concerns over the needless killing of owned and homeless pets by Fleming.  Changes were promised but never materialized.  After the recent local investigative reporting on Fleming’s abuse of power went public, Ostlund claimed he was shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear such things:

“I have been under the impression that he (Fleming) is doing a bang-up job,” Ostlund said. He said he hadn’t heard any new complaints about the division, and “complaints and compliments are the only way we have of getting a grip on what’s going on.”

Right.  Because it would be completely impossible for anyone to actually check.  Like, look at the county records or ask some questions or something, especially after complaints were recorded.  Nope, the default position is apparently assumed excellence.  Nice work, if you can get it.

Yellowstone Co is paying a guy who for 24 years was picking up cats and literally taking them to the woodshed for killing.  He’s been impounding dogs, leaving a paper trail that any 3rd grader would be embarrassed to turn in, stashing them in a vet’s office under some kind of pay-to-play scheme then killing them based upon his unqualified behavioral assessments while lacking the appropriate certification.  The county pays a vet $17,000 a year to house lost and homeless dogs while allowing the vet to turn away anyone and everyone who might be interested in getting the dogs out alive, including their owners.  The county commissioner, who has known about the problems for years, now says he assumed everything was pie in the sky because hey, everybody likes pie.

Taxpayers in Yellowstone Co deserve better and so do their pets.  They need to stand up and demand it, publicly and loudly and immediately.

(Thanks to the reader who sent me this link.)

Arkansas Pound Kills Dog Whose Owner Tried to Reclaim

Muneka and her boy, as shown on the FOX 16 website.

Muneka and her boy, as shown on the FOX 16 website.

Two dogs belonging to Yadria Dorantes jumped their fence and were picked up by Beebe Animal Control on March 13.  Ms. Dorantes says she contacted AC to reclaim her shar pei/lab mix Muneka and her other dog.  Ms. Dorantes says AC told her that because the dogs kept jumping her four foot fence, she would need to put up a taller one before picking them up.  AC reportedly gave her two weeks to get the new fence installed.  Ms. Dorantes spent $1200 to get the much taller chain link fence put up then took her children to the pound to pick up their pets within the two week time frame, as agreed.  Upon arrival, Ms. Dorantes was shown a pile of dead dogs who had been killed at the pound.  Muneka’s body was in that pile.

“The guy told me that I could not get the shar pei back because she was really aggressive and that they were going to put her down. I asked ‘are you going to put her down or have you already?’ and he didn’t say anything,” Dorantes said.

Ms. Dorantes is understandably heartbroken and it’s clear in the video interview with the FOX 16 reporter that Muneka was family.  The tall fence is shown in that clip as well as a neighbor who says that the dogs were friendly.

The city of Beebe released this statement regarding the killing:

“On or about March 13, 2015, Beebe Animal Control personnel and Beebe City Police personnel responded to a report of “at large” dogs at or around the 600 block of N. Fir in Beebe. Two (2) dogs were impounded on that date; one (1) of the dogs was aggressive and both dogs did not have tags and there was no proof that the dogs had required vaccinations. Animal Control personnel were able to locate the owner of the two (2) dogs and that owner has had multiple dogs impounded by Animal Control on prior occasions. At the time the two (2) dogs were impounded on March 13, the owner was given verbal notice that the dogs were being impounded and the owner responded, “…take them.” On or about March 23, 2015, the aggressive dog was destroyed as authorized by the attached Beebe City Ordinance (6.04.15). Before the aggressive dog was destroyed, the owner made no attempt to seek release of this dog. After the aggressive dog was destroyed, the owner appeared and requested release of the second dog, which was granted on conditions that the dog be tagged and properly vaccinated. The owner has still not complied with those conditions as of the time and date of this press release.”

I guess the typewriter must have run out of ink before they got to the “Sorry for your loss” part.  But at least we know the owner is a no-license-no-proof-of-vaccines scumbag who doesn’t care about her pets.  It’s exactly these sort of heartless slackers who come up with $1200 on short notice to save their dogs from the pound.  The city should totally kill their dog, who no doubt was evaluated by a qualified behaviorist and given every opportunity for behavioral modification in an appropriate setting over a period of months.  Also, nice touch with the whole you-can-reclaim-your-beloved-family-member-from-this-pile-of-carcasses.  Stay classy.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

21 Year Old Cat Illegally Impounded and Killed by Animal Control in CT

Wallingford, CT – Scott and Kim Palmer got their cat Zima from a neighbor 2 years ago when Zima was 19 years old. They converted an insulated shed in their yard for Zima, putting in several beds, a heater, and installing a window so Zima could enjoy the sunshine. The cat house was accessible via a covered kitty door.

Kim Palmer arrived home on November 12 to find Zima was missing. She began searching the neighborhood and went to Pent Road Animal Control. She was told at the pound that Zima had been impounded and killed due to possible rabies. Ms. Palmer said that Zima had been vaccinated and couldn’t possibly have been rabid. She went home to get her husband and they both returned to the pound, only to find the door locked. They have never received any reasonable explanation for why Zima was impounded and killed.

Connecticut’s animal laws can be read here. The statutes require cats to be vaccinated for rabies, which Zima reportedly was. And there are very narrow parameters which allow an ACO to impound a cat:

§ 22-332d. Impoundment and disposition of certain cats. Authority to spay or neuter unclaimed cat

(a) Any animal control officer for a municipality which has adopted an ordinance under subsection (b) of section 22-339d may take into custody any cat found to be damaging property other than property of its owner or keeper or causing an unsanitary, dangerous or unreasonably offensive condition unless such cat can be identified as under the care of its owner or a registered keeper of feral cats. The officer shall impound such cat at the pound serving the town where the cat is taken unless, in the opinion of a licensed veterinarian, the cat is so injured or diseased that it should be destroyed immediately, in which case the municipal animal control officer of such town may cause the cat to be mercifully killed by a licensed veterinarian or disposed of as the State Veterinarian may direct. The municipal animal control officer shall immediately notify the owner or keeper of any cat so taken, if known, of its impoundment. If the owner or keeper of any such cat is unknown, the officer shall immediately tag or employ such other suitable means of identification of the cat as may be approved by the Chief Animal Control Officer and shall promptly cause a description of such cat to be published once in the lost and found column of a newspaper having a circulation in such town.

Cats who are not deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian must be held at the pound so their owners can reclaim them. And that’s if the cat was causing property damage – otherwise, it seems that an ACO has no authority to impound a cat. It appears that the Pent Road pound may have violated state laws by impounding and killing Zima. When the local paper reached out to the assistant ACO for comment on the case, she had nothing to say.

There is a provision in the state laws for owners who have had their pets taken by ACOs to complain:

§ 22-335. Removal of municipal animal control officer. Complaint against municipal animal control officer

Any municipal animal control officer may be removed by the authority which appointed him or by the commissioner, and a successor may be appointed by such authority or commissioner. Any owner of a dog or cat aggrieved by the taking of such dog or cat by a municipal animal control officer may make complaint to the appointing authority of such municipal animal control officer or to the commissioner; and if, upon investigation of the complaint, the authority or the commissioner finds that the municipal animal control officer took the dog or cat otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or abused or cruelly treated the dog or cat, the authority or the commissioner may remove the officer and appoint his successor.

I hope the Palmers file a complaint. How many other owned pets has the Pent Road pound impounded and immediately killed? How many owners have given up hope after finding the facility’s doors locked and/or being met with the staff’s refusal to provide explanations as to what happened to their pets?  Where are the records for Zima and all the other pets killed at this facility indicating a vet determined them to be medically hopeless and suffering?

Cats are second class citizens in far too many so-called shelters in this country.  It’s past time for that to change.  Oh but nobody WANTS to kill animals, it’s all the irresponsible public’s fault, spay-neuter would solve everything and [insert your favorite myth here].

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals – Monongalia County Edition

Although there are currently only 11 pets, all dogs, listed on the Petfinder page for the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center in Morgantown, WV, it does state that the facility adopts out both cats and dogs.  In fact, there is an alert that the pound is overflowing with cats:

Screengrab showing a portion of theMonongalia County Canine Adoption Center page on Petfinder.

Screengrab showing a portion of the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center page on Petfinder.

While it’s hard to reconcile the idea that the facility is overflowing with cats but is advertising zero as available for adoption online (the pound’s website takes you to Petfinder), it’s possible some insight may be gleaned from a recent story covered by local media.

Tom Wiley, a Morgantown landlord, is currently the subject of a police investigation after two separate tenants reported he went into their apartments and stole their cats.  Although pets were not allowed in the apartments, neither tenant was given any prior notice that their cats would be stolen by the landlord.  The law requires that prior notice be given before a landlord removes anything from a tenant’s apartment.

Both cat owners say they tried to find out what happened to their pets, including contacting the landlord.  One was told by Mr. Wiley that her cat had been “taken care of” even though he refused to say exactly what he had done.  The other says she was ignored by Mr. Wiley until he finally responded to a REWARD FOR LOST PET sign she posted.  He told her he had taken her pet to the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center.

In fact, Mr. Wiley allegedly took both cats to the same pound where they were both killed upon intake.  One of the cats, Cali, had been adopted from PURR and was microchipped.  Had workers at the pound bothered to scan Cali prior to killing her, they could have obtained PURR’s contact information and someone from the group would have reclaimed her.  It seems like so little to ask – that pound employees do their jobs – and yet:

Officials at the pound said they were unable to scan the animal properly because of its aggressiveness the day it was taken in.

Read:  And they couldn’t wait to kill her.

The cat was supposedly too aggressive to scan for a chip but they somehow managed to kill her which, unlike a scan, would require direct contact.  I don’t want to know how.

Cali’s owner says she was not aggressive.  Although one can imagine she was likely scared after being stolen by a cat hater, transported by who-knows-what means and brought inside a pet killing facility.

Killing surrendered animals upon impound is always bad policy at any “shelter”.

  1. Pets have the right to live.  The fact that they have been surrendered to a shelter does not trump that right.
  2. The shelter does not know for certain if the surrendering party is actually the pet’s owner.
  3. Pets may be microchipped with contact information of someone willing to reclaim them if contacted.
  4. Someone may be looking for the surrendered pet.
  5. It’s the shelter’s job to find the animal a new home, if needed.

In addition, no domesticated animal’s behavior can accurately be assessed at the time of arrival at a pound.  Some animals may be able to be assessed after a settling-in period, others may never reach that state.  Behavioral assessments are of limited value in a shelter environment but the notion that any animal can be evaluated upon impound is outrageous.

I can’t help but wonder whether the Monongalia Co pound workers even asked Mr. Wiley whether he owned the cats.  For all I know, he truthfully told them he’d stolen the pets from tenants and they gleefully busted out the Fatal Plus to teach the irresponsible public a lesson.  Maybe they have an established relationship with Mr. Wiley, as many pet killing facilities do with cat haters.

And what about the zero adoptable cats listed online by the Monongalia Co pound – are they all “aggressive”? Is it just the pound’s dumpster that is “overflowing” with cats?

(Thanks Vicki for sending me this story.)

Gaston Co Kills Owned Pet Upon Impound, Tries to Hide Killing from Owner

Ace, as pictured on the WBTV website.

Ace, as pictured on the WBTV website.

The Gaston County pound in NC spent more than $1.3 million last year and killed well over 1/3 of its pets.  The pound falls under the county police department.

When Ace, a senior Chihuahua mix owned by Brian Humphries, dug out of his yard on May 3, his family immediately began looking for him.  Ace had walked with a limp since birth but got around very well (obviously!) and was not in any pain.  The family searched the neighborhood all weekend and tried the Gaston Co pound, only to find it closed.  Mr. Humphries kept checking the pound’s website to see if Ace’s photo had been posted but never saw his beloved pet.  When the pound opened Monday morning, Mr. Humphries was there to look for Ace.  But pound staff denied that Ace had been picked up by the county.

Since Mr. Humphries was unable to find Ace anywhere, he kept calling the Gaston Co pound, pressing them for information.  Finally the pound staff admitted Ace had been picked up on May 4 and killed immediately upon impound.  The reason? Ace “wasn’t able to put much weight on the leg” he had limped on his entire life.

The reason that most shelters make exceptions for the mandatory holding period is to avoid forcing a pet who is medically hopeless and suffering to linger in a cage for several days.  An example would be a pet who’d been so severely injured by a car that a vet determines there is no reasonable hope of saving the animal’s life. But this was a senior dog who “wasn’t able to put much weight” on one of his legs – hardly a case where immediate euthanasia to prevent further suffering in a medically hopeless animal is required.

Still, when asked by Mr. Humphries for an explanation as to why Ace was killed so quickly, the county police chief e-mailed a response “citing North Carolina law which says the animal can be put down before the minimum holding period is up if the animal is seriously ill or injured.” And Gaston County Animal Control Sgt. Jim Phil classed the whole thing up by blaming the owner:

“There was no kind of ID on this dog,” he said. “If we don’t see that on the dog, it doesn’t do us much good. That’s a responsibility as dictated by the county leash law. If the dog wasn’t running loose, we wouldn’t have picked it up.”

Gosh, the Gaston Co police seem nice.

Mr. Humphries is heartbroken and angry:

“They continued to deny they’d done it,” he said. “If they had given me another 10 to 15 hours from when they picked my dog up, I would’ve been up there to claim him.”

“He might have injured himself getting out of the fence and they could still say, ‘Well he’s injured, so we’re going to kill him.’”
[…]
“That was my little buddy, and my daughters’ too,” he said.”

Pets are family. But in Gaston Co, the so-called irresponsible public gets blamed for everything, including the scrapping of a proposal to go no kill last year:

Officials say the problem stems from people not spaying or neutering their pets.

So long as Gaston County officials continue to kill pets and blame the public for the killing, animals will pay the ultimate price. But since the county hasn’t been able to kill and blame its way out of its myriad pound problems so far, maybe they’d be open to trying something different? Maybe doing their jobs even?  Or not:

WBTV reached out to Gaston County Animal Services multiple times. They have not returned our calls.

If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thank you Clarice, Bonnie and Patricia for the links.)

Danville ACO and Police Officer Strangle Dog to Death

Chokepoles are one of the most misused tools in our broken animal shelter system, thus my chosen moniker for the things.  While they have the potential to be used safely in rare instances when a regular leash won’t work, too many ACOs seem to use them instead of leashes and sometimes, as torture devices.  Because of the widespread misuse of chokepoles, I am generally opposed to their use, especially by anyone not trained in how and when to use them humanely and safely.

Broody, as pictured on the WSET website.

Broody, as pictured on the WSET website.

On May 5, 2014, the Danville police department in VA says it responded to a report of a loose dog who had nipped at a person’s pants leg.  The officer cornered the border collie mix and called AC for assistance.  When the ACO arrived, she used a chokepole on the dog, who had been barking.  It sounds like the cornered dog became frightened at having a metal noose tightened around his neck and began biting at the chokepole.

Rather than defusing the situation at hand – dog freaking out on a chokepole – the police officer then put a second chokepole on the dog.  The pair chokepoled “the struggling dog up the ramp and into the cage on the truck” where he collapsed and died while still ensnared in both nooses.  A veterinarian performed a necropsy and determined the dog “died of strangulation due to the combination of the pressure of the catchpoles and the confined space of the cage that restricted the air flow in the dog’s trachea and the blood flow to the dog’s brain.”

The dog was named Broody.  He was 7 years old, in good health and loved by owners Beth and Edward Warren.  The owners are heartbroken:

“I just didn’t know why he had to go like that,” said Edward Warren.

The Danville police department stands by its use of chokepoles and intends to continue using them.  Because tasers might kill loose dogs.  And those are the only two tools in the toolkit.

Danville Police apologize but say they did everything that they’re trained to do.

See, that’s your problem right there.

And I hate to have to resort to the A word but where is the accountability?  Public servants paid by taxpayers strangled a family’s pet to death.  Because he was loose and barking.  Any charges forthcoming?  Suspensions?  Reprimands?  Sort of stern glances?

The Danville Area Humane Society is going to give the police department some tips on basic chokepole use.  Yay for a day late and a dollar short.  How about training them how to catch scared dogs without use of a chokepole (or taser)?  Because that is an actual thing, too.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

 

Odessa Pound Kills Beloved Pet, Blames Owner

The Odessa pound in Texas has a poor track record including banning rescuers without reasonable cause and violating their First Amendment rights.  Although the police department in charge of the pound does not make its statistics available to the public on its website, one area rescuer cites a kill rate of nearly 85% and claims “6 or 7″ dogs are housed in each kennel.  A petition seeking improvements at the pound has collected more than 4600 signatures to date.  The Odessa American reports the pound killed 5,442 animals in the first 10 months of 2013, deeming all but 353 of them unadoptable.

But wait – there’s more!

Fatboy, as pictured on Facebook.

Fatboy, as pictured on Facebook.

On Tuesday, a dog named Fatboy was picked up by Odessa AC and taken to the pound.  His owner came to reclaim him but was turned away because he didn’t think to bring the dog’s vaccination records with him.  The owner returned the next morning with shot records in hand and asked to take his pet home.  But Odessa AC had already killed Fatboy.

Here is where I usually say “Oops” and tell how the pound staff explained away the accidental killing of a pet whose owner was turned away when trying to redeem him.  But Odessa AC not only failed to take any responsibility whatsoever for the needless killing of Fatboy, they issued a statement blaming the owner and attempting to paint Fatboy in a negative light as well:

“On 1-6-14 at approximately 1401 hours, Odessa Animal Control officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of Golder in reference to a Black Pit Bull that had been chasing children thru the neighborhood. Animal Control officers later located the said dog in the area of 12th and Alleghaney. The pit bull was running loose and did not have a tag or collar on it. The pit bull was brought back to the animal shelter later that evening. It was discovered that this was the second time the pit bull had been brought to the animal shelter for running loose,” OPD said of the incident.

“On 1-7-14 at approximately 1700 hours, a male subject came into the shelter and reported that his dog was possibly there. The male subject did not leave any information, including his name or address and advised he would be coming back. The male subject never returned that evening.”

“On 1-8-14 in the morning hours, the said pit bull was determined to be sick. To prevent any further diseases from spreading, the said pit bull was euthanized per policy.”

Oh where oh where to begin?  Odessa AC reportedly has a quarantine room for sick animals.  If Fatboy really was sick – and yeah, I’m questioning the ability of these control freak pet killers to diagnose a sick dog – why didn’t they put him in the quarantine room?  “Pitbull chasing children” is to my mind a blatant attempt to deploy the scary.  But when I read it, I interpret it as a friendly dog who escaped his yard and was having a romp enjoying his renegade status.  He didn’t bite anyone or even give anyone a stern look.  Just because he’d gotten loose in the past – and apparently issued no stern looks then either – doesn’t make a case that the dog needed to die.  Sorry, no scary.

Regarding the “male subject” (ooh, he’s like a criminal now too!), isn’t it good enough that he identified his dog, spoke to a staff member who told him a vaccination record was required for redemption and left with a verbal agreement to return in the morning?  Does he have to “leave information” in writing and oh say, wouldn’t that be the Odessa pound staff’s job to collect that anyway?

The statement issued by the police department is nothing short of a hit job, attempting to deflect blame for their own failures – which are obviously chronic and massive, to the tune of 5000 “unadoptable” dead animals – and blame the victims.

I hope in addition to the petition, local shelter pet advocates organize some public awareness events, starting with speeches delivered to the city council.  Because this situation is bullshit stacked on top of malarkey and held together with depravity.  And if this is the first time Odessa has killed someone’s lost pet, I will eat my hat.  Has anyone examined the records on those 5000 “unadoptable” animals killed in 10 months last year?  I’m betting it reads like a Lost and Found Pets section from the local newspaper.  Except at the Odessa pound, it’s Lost and Found and Killed and Screw You Guys, We’re the Police.

(Thanks Nathan and Clarice for info on this story.)

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