CA Rescuer Charged with Cruelty, Pound Manager Not Charged with Irony

buell case dog

One of the dogs seized in the felony cruelty case against Buell, as shown on the NBC Los Angeles website.

In April 2015, Apple Valley Animal Services seized 13 starving dogs from rescuer Sherre Kay Buell.  One dog was dead in a trash can on the property, one died on the way to the vet, and two had to be euthanized due to their poor condition.  Buell has been charged with 12 counts of felony animal cruelty in Apple Valley and 3 counts in Hesperia (where she reportedly used to live).  A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 3.

Starving dogs is unacceptable.  Full stop.  There is video at the link of a little girl trying to comfort a severely emaciated dog who is too weak to stand.  It’s heartbreaking.

Killing pets, which is what they do at Apple Valley Animal Services, is also unacceptable.  And there is no hope of recovery from death.  Which puts the manager’s comments on the case in rather a – what’s the word – stupid light:

“I think that’s one of the most difficult things for any of us in the animal welfare position. Why do people hurt animals?” asked Gina Whiteside, the manager at the Town of Apple Valley Animal Services.

Yes please killsplain to us why people hurt animals while I browse through page after page of all the animals killed at your facility every month.

“There needs to be some animal action at the state level that regulates animal rescuing,” Whiteside said.
While shelters are regulated by law to humanely care and provide for the animals they take in, the same rules are not in place for rescue groups or the people who foster, explained Whiteside.

The Real Problem. Identified.

So we want to hold rescuers to the same legal standards as shelters that hide and kill animals. Because that would be better, somehow.


Whiteside acknowledged animal cruelty issues extend beyond the cases against any one individual, calling for progress to be made in laws and procedures dealing with general animal services.
“In my opinion, anything short of changing the ‘status quo’ when it comes to ‘saving animals lives’ does not signal that we (shelters, rescues, the community) want better outcomes for animals in need of our services (at every level),” she wrote.

*Mother of All Coffee Spews*

Being starved and alive with the hope that someone might save you is actually a better outcome than the “services” offered in Apple Valley’s kill room.  The status quo at far too many so-called shelters like Apple Valley is convenience killing. Any interest in changing that?

The Apple Valley Municipal Animal Shelter dealt with its own controversy this summer after Richard Marx and other celebrities on social media criticized the shelter for euthanizing four puppies, which officials had first unsuccessfully tried to house in foster homes. Whiteside said the criticisms, however, were the result of misinformation and distorted facts.

Probably the case for the many, many, really a lot many animals killed at Apple Valley.  Just a bunch of hooey.  If only we had harsher laws for rescuers!

(Thanks Clarice.)

Ontario Police Oops-Torture Pet, Meant to Torture Wild Animal

Merrick, as pictured on the CTV News website.

Merrick, as pictured on the CTV News website.

Residents in an Ontario neighborhood contacted police about a coyote roaming the area Monday night.  Ontario police sent a car in response and an animal approached the car:

“It just kept hanging around and it wasn’t afraid of the vehicle at all, of anything. It was just lurking around looking at the vehicle,” resident Kelly O’Neill told CTV Barrie on Tuesday. “It wasn’t afraid at all.”

Instead of capturing the animal, O’Neill said the police cruiser ran over it several times. One of the officers then got out of the car and shot it.

On Wednesday morning, OPP confirmed the animal was a dog, not a coyote.

Oops. I guess that’s why she wasn’t afraid. The 21 year old dog, called Merrick, was blind, deaf and suffered from dementia according to the owner. After a windstorm blew open a gate in Merrick’s yard, she wandered out. When she saw the police cruiser, she apparently ambled toward it before she was violently tortured to death.

The killing was caught on a cellphone video which was spread on social media. It caused a public outcry which resulted in the police having to admit that the animal was a pet dog, not a coyote.


The police commander wants to remind everyone that Merrick looked like a coyote. And as far as the standard police response to a report of a roaming coyote being Brutalize First, ID Later, that’s still fly:

The OPP “remain committed to destruction of wildlife that is an imminent threat to public safety,” the statement said.

To be clear, the “destruction” the Ontario police is committed to involves slow and deliberate cruelty to animals. Which sounds so crimey. Especially when it’s based on what the victim looks like. In the dark. From inside the car.

The historically awful Ontario SPCA has received requests from the public to investigate but has declined to lift a finger.  Police will investigate themselves in the matter.

(Thanks Jan for the link.)

Dog Dies After Being Left in Hot Van by ACOs in PA

On September 1, ACOs employed by Upper Darby Township in Delaware Co, PA delivered two dogs and one cat to the Chester County SPCA.  All three pets were suffering from symptoms related to excessive heat after riding in the back of the AC van which has no air conditioning or ventilation.  The temperature that day was 94 degrees.  Two of the animals were treated and saved.  The dog who had been in the van the longest, about two hours, was too far gone to respond to treatment.  Chester Co SPCA executive director Adam Lamb issued a press release regarding the incident:

The dog, later named “Baby Blue” by the staff because he was a blue pit bull, was “… listless, his pupils were unresponsive to light, he was panting for air, and he was bleeding from his rectum.”

Lamb said the dog was immediately brought into the shelter and was examined by medical staff, which started treatment for what was likely heat stroke. The dog’s temperature was 107 degrees Fahrenheit before the thermometer indicated that the rising temperature was too high to read.

Baby Blue had been left in the hot van without so much as an ounce of water, to suffer and die a horrible, entirely preventable death while the ACOs sat up front enjoying the air conditioning. An assistant DA with Chester Co is reviewing the case for possible cruelty charges:

The manner in which the dog was transported to the shelter facility was cruel and inhumane, Lamb said.

“Everyone must be held to the same standards with respect to the humane treatment of animals, including those providing animal control services,” said Lamb.
As a result of the incident, Chester County SPCA officials said they will stop accepting stray animals from Upper Darby Township until the shelter has inspected and approved of the vehicles being used to transport animals to their facility.

Thomas Judge Jr., the township’s chief administrative officer, concedes that the pets were stuck in the back of the hot van but is not willing to make the giant leap to associating Baby Blue’s death with heatstroke. And he’s got reasons!

The animal had problems when we picked it up. It was tied to a post in the area of St. Laurence. We don’t know who it belongs to.
And the two other animals in the van survived.

Judge noted the township has been operating with only one van because one of the two animal transport vans was out of service. A new van with air conditioning with individual cages in the back is on order.
There is no law that says we have to have air conditioning in the back of the van.

Everyone knows if you find a dog tied to a post, he’s probably going to fall over dead within a couple of hours regardless of whether you leave him in an unventilated metal box in the summer heat. It’s just like, a thing that happens. And how about a little credit for not killing the other two?  Plus who is this mysterious owner? I mean, that is also very relevant. Anyway one van is out of service and another one’s on order so *shrug*. And there isn’t any law that specifies our ACOs have to share their air conditioning with animals or even provide them with a survivable environment for two hours. Is there? But hey, we’re not monsters:

We are going to drill holes in the back of the van to have air-conditioning in the back.

They’re going to make air holes for the pets. Because they killed one.  Maybe I’m naive but I thought this was a lesson we all learned when we were kids catching fireflies in jars.  (My dad always poked holes in the metal lids for my caterpillars and other temporary pets.)  Or if you didn’t learn it then, I would have thought maybe ANY OTHER TIME BEFORE YOU GOT CERTIFIED AS AN ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER.  Apparently an air hole law is needed in PA.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Maine ACO Receives Summons for Animal Cruelty, Reacts with Mass Slaughter

The town of Orrington, Maine has one ACO on the payroll.  Until September 10, that ACO was Carla Damon, who was reportedly on the job for many years.  She resigned in lieu of being voted out by the town’s selectmen after receiving a summons for animal cruelty.

Responding to a complaint about the conditions of Damon’s herd of ten goats, an animal welfare agent with the state gave her a list of items requiring immediate attention on September 3.  One of the items was a requirement to have a vet examine the herd within five days.  Since one of those five days was a holiday and since there is a shortage of vets in the area according to Damon, she thought it was unlikely she’d be able to arrange a visit.

Damon frequently volunteered at events to educate the public about small livestock husbandry.  Presumably one of the responsibilities she explained to people was the importance of having an established relationship with a vet, which is often helpful when emergencies arise which require immediate veterinary care.  I don’t know if Damon had a relationship with a vet for her pets but it doesn’t sound like it.

At issue with the animal welfare agent were some housing deficiencies and the care of three particular goats:

“There was a long list of things that needed to be corrected, some structural things and some complaints about lack of care and lack of feeding because I had two that were a little on the thin side, but they were older goats that had been bred every year,” Damon said in a telephone interview.

One goat was 16 years old and the other 13, she said. Another goat had a slight nasal discharge that could have been treated with an antibiotic.

Could have but wasn’t, apparently.  The other seven goats were described by Damon as “fat, healthy and sassy.”

So maybe no regular vet and maybe it might be hard to get one over a holiday weekend so – what to do?  Instead of getting on the phone and trying to get a vet to see the goats, perhaps explaining that she’s the town ACO and would really appreciate being worked in on short notice as a professional courtesy, and/or asking the state inspector for an extension (“I couldn’t get a vet visit before the 8th but I have one scheduled for the 9th, can you work with me?”) or taking three seconds to think up any other reasonable thing, Damon came up with this plan:

“So I looked at the animal welfare person and said, ‘So, I do have the right — and correct me if I’m wrong — to destroy my own animals because if I destroy my animals, there is no longer a problem?’

The state inspector reportedly agreed that Damon had the right to kill the goats.

“So it was with a heavy heart that I chose to put down animals that I brought into this world because a lot of them, I helped deliver,” she said[.]


Damon said she would have preferred to have the goats processed for meat but she was unable to find an opening before late December.


Some of the goats were buried and others became coyote bait, she said.

Damon says she “sat down and bawled” after killing her pets.  Whom she cradled at birth.  Whom she would have liked to eat.  Whom she left to rot as coyote bait.

Regarding the town’s request for her resignation:

She said that she was asked to leave the post “because of things that went on in my own personal life regarding the goats. They do not feel it looks kosher for an animal control officer to be reported and to possibly be facing animal cruelty charges, regardless of the fact that they were my own personal animals.”

Uh, regardless?  I was thinking especially because.  The town’s enforcer of animal cruelty statutes thinks she should be above the law apparently.

“I feel that what I had to do to my own animals should not reflect upon how I treated other people’s animals in my line of work as far as being the animal control officer,” she said.

So I see on your resume that you have had your parental rights terminated for beating your kids but you believe you’d be a good fit for our daycare center?

The parting shot:

Now that she has lost her job, she might have to downsize her flock of 16 chickens, she said.

And by downsize, I assume she means rehoming to greener pastures something awful.

The last AC call that Damon appears to have responded to is a bizarre and tragic bite report involving a man who hanged a ten month old puppy after Damon left his home then called her back to come pick up the body.  The incident was later reported to the sheriff by another resident of the home, not Damon.  I can’t help but wonder what counsel she offered in that case.

Damon is scheduled to appear in court on October 15 on the animal cruelty summons (the same date the puppy hanger is set to appear).  She has not been charged for killing her pets.  The town of Orrington is currently looking for a new ACO and having police officers perform those duties in the interim.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Georgia ACO Lets Friendly Dog Suffer and Die in Vehicle

Brad Pitt, as shown on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

Brad Pitt, as shown on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

When a 17 month old dog called Brad Pitt got lost in Georgia last month, owner Holly Roth and her family began looking for him.  They searched for him physically, put up fliers around the neighborhood, and reported him missing to Cobb Co AC.  The family kept checking in with AC to see if their pet had been picked up but they were repeatedly told no.  Then a neighbor called the Roths and said he had seen a Cobb Co ACO pick up Brad Pitt.

Oh, THAT dog.  Well, ok.  He was picked up but he was dead after having been hit by a car. It says so right here in the ACO’s notes.

Really?  Because the neighbor said:

“He (was) just a friendly dog. (The animal control officer) just put a leash on it (and) put him in the side of the truck and then drove away,” [David] Spontak said.

Oh, THAT that dog.  Well, ok.  He was perfectly fine when he was loaded onto the truck by the ACO but he was left in the metal box all day to suffer a horrible death from heat stroke.  So, still dead.

Gee, I’m afraid we’ll have to charge someone for that.  But don’t worry, just misdemeanor animal cruelty and misdemeanor obstruction for the attempted cover up.

The ACO, Matthew Cory Dodson, quit his job, was arrested and spent an hour in jail before being released on his own recognizance.

“Cobb County authorities want to reassure our citizens that this type of behavior will never be condoned and that the safety of any animal while in our custody (or otherwise) is paramount. We have met with the owner of the dog, advised them of the results of our investigation and are working with them regarding this tragic situation,” Cobb police said in a news release Monday.

I, for one, am so totally reassured.  It’s vewy sewious.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Animal Advocates Continue to Protest Legal Decisions in KY Dog Case

In April, Boyle Co Animal Care and Control in Kentucky seized twelve presa canarios from owner Christopher Pope who was charged with twelve misdemeanor animal cruelty counts.  Five of the dogs were returned to him while the other seven were housed at the local HS while the court case proceeded.  In June, Pope’s house caught fire and three dead presa canarios were found on the property – two in a bathtub and one decomposing in a plastic bin.  The cause of death was never sought.  Last month, Pope made a plea agreement with Boyle Co on reduced charges.  His seven dogs were returned to him despite protests from rescuers:

Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell decided to release the dogs into Pope’s care despite some public outcry and requests from “rescue” organizations to take the dogs. Campbell said in a recent interview that he made the decision because if Pope went to trial on the charges and was found not guilty, he could rightfully reclaim his dogs.

Days after Pope put the dogs in kennels on property in Lincoln Co, six of them chewed through the fencing and escaped.  They reportedly mauled a woman in her yard, causing her serious injuries.  One dog was shot to death at the scene and the others, including a pregnant dog named Fiona whose belly was too fat to escape the kennel, were taken to Lincoln Co AC.  There, Fiona whelped a litter of ten puppies.  Local animal advocates hired an attorney to fight for Fiona’s right to live along with her puppies, noting none of them were involved in the attack.

Lincoln Co judge executive Jim Adams ordered all the dogs, including Fiona, killed on August 10.  All ten of her puppies are also reportedly dead, although the county is refusing to say exactly how they died.  Adams has also put a stop to rescues and volunteer transporters pulling animals from the pound, citing liability concerns.  Animal advocates protested the judge’s decisions on the steps of the Lincoln Co courthouse this weekend.

The case appears to have been mishandled from the beginning with multiple points along the way where the counties involved could have prevented further harm.  Instead, they have ended up with a seriously injured resident, a pile of dead dogs and puppies, protesting animal advocates, and presumably more dogs languishing at the pound.  Maybe they figure they’re in a hole and it’s too late to stop digging now, I don’t know.  I hope the locals stay on them.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

ASPCA All Done with Bunny Publicity Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)

AZ Rescue Owner Charged with Felony Cruelty

Scott William Beadles and his wife reportedly operate a tax-exempt rescue called Furry Smiles in Buckeye, AZ.  On January 12, Beadles went to a Petsmart to pick up some kennels belonging to Furry Smiles and told an employee that his pitbull had gotten into a fight with a maltipoo at his home and that he’d killed the maltipoo:

The report stated that Beadles does not own a gun so he “put it out of its misery” by kicking and stomping its head.

The employee apparently notified police. With any luck, this is the most disturbing thing you’ll read today:

The employee told police that Beadles said the small dog was whimpering and trying to crawl to him when he decided to stomp its head until it was dead, according to the statement.

The Beadles’ landlord found the tiny dog’s remains in a trash can on the property.  A necropsy on the dog found puncture wounds and numerous fractures of the skull.

Beadles was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.

I wonder how many hoops applicants have to jump through in order to be approved to adopt a pet from Furry Smiles.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Crazy Town, Georgia in the News Again

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Toccoa, Georgia – Remember late last year when a high school teacher in Stephens Co brought two cats to class and had students hold them down while he neutered them?  The community rallied behind the teacher’s actions and the pound director seemed very apologetic about doing his job with regard to issuing a summons for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.  The message was clear:  Toccoa is the place to play vet and get away with it, if you feel so inclined.

Another Stephens Co resident apparently felt so inclined and reportedly performed a do-it-yourself castration on her dog this month. Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley met with a judge and determined no criminal charges would be brought because the owner’s employment history includes work in the medical field. She reportedly made some effort to reduce the pain experienced by the dog as well as to minimize risk of infection. The article doesn’t provide any specifics but maybe she gave the dog an aspirin and washed her hands before cutting the dog open, I don’t know. The sheriff also found:

There is no direct evidence supporting the dog felt any particular level of pain during or after the procedure.

Translation: dogs can’t talk and cutting out testicles isn’t painful, probably.

But don’t try this at home:

However, Shirley says that while there may not be enough probable cause for a criminal charge in this particular case, he would like to remind everyone that this is not a procedure that just anyone should undertake.

Right. You should at least be a file clerk in a hospital or something. Then just strap your pets down and start cutting because it’s anything goes in Stephens Co I guess.

There is no mention of local animal control being involved in this investigation.  Maybe they’ve given up any pretense of doing their jobs.  And like the cat case, there is no mention of rabies vaccination and whether the state’s rabies law has been violated by these Vet for a Day yahoos.

How long before the dangerous precedent that has been set by local authorities results in someone attempting an at-home spay on some poor pet?  Why isn’t AC acting as the voice of reason here and working to protect pets from harm in Stephens Co?  Where is the area veterinary association to condemn these failures in the strongest possible terms and explain why pets should never be castrated by people who haven’t been to vet school?

(Thank you Teresa for sending me this story.)

Police Officer Fired after Standing Up to City Officials and Refusing to Shoot Loose Dogs

Walker Co, AL used to have a pound but the place closed a few years ago after it was exposed as a dog killing hole.  Since then, the city of Carbon Hill in Walker Co has apparently been trying to avoid the issue of homeless pets on the streets.  That brilliant plan did not work out for some reason and this month the city attempted to address the issue:

Carbon Hill City Councilor Billy Jenkins says the dog problem there is out of control, and people are complaining.

He thinks it’s time the city revisited an ordinance that was passed in 1991 but never enforced.


The ordinance references the responsibilities of a dogcatcher, but Carbon Hill Police say the city doesn’t have a dogcatcher and officers feel they’re being pressured to shoot strays because of Section 8 of the ordinance.

“It says the police department shall have the authority to destroy any stray domestic animal running at large within the city limits of the city. When in the opinion of the (Carbon Hill Police Department) such animal constitutes a public nuisance or is a danger or a menace to the life or health of the citizens of the city,” said Jenkins.

While Jenkins specifies that the city is not asking officers to shoot dogs on the streets, the police chief says his department has no resources to catch and transport dogs, even if a new Walker Co shelter opens as planned next year.  He says lethal force against a dog is only a last resort:

“We just don’t go around firing our weapons off in town. You know I mean if our weapons are ever then it’s a threat to us or to someone else, you know someone’s life. We’re just not going to go out and shoot a dog for no reason just because it’s a stray,” said Chief Jason Richardson, Carbon Hill Police Department.

“Things have changed since 91 this is 2014 fixing to be 2015. There’s a lot of things changed. You just don’t go around, you don’t go around killing dogs,” said Richardson. “In my eyes that’s animal cruelty.”

Well say, that’s refreshing.  And it looks like the chief isn’t the only one with that attitude:

Carbon Hill’s mayor says alleged statements from city leaders that stray dogs should be shot to eliminate the problem are not true.

However, the city’s acting assistant police chief tells Alabama’s 13 city leaders did make such statements[.]


[A]cting assistant police chief Johnathan Yerby says he notified city leaders last week that state law prevents officers from shooting stray dogs. A week later, he’s out of a job for what the city says is budget cuts, but Yerby says the timing is no coincidence.

“I was the one chosen to be laid off because I’m the one that stood up and printed out the state law and told them that we couldn’t shoot dogs,” Yerby explains.

The police chief is reportedly very upset at Yerby’s firing and the mayor has no comment.  The mayor did however offer this greatly comforting reassurance:

“There ain’t going to be no dogs shot,” Mayor Chambers stresses. “We’ll catch them and try to give them away, adopt them out, or do whatever we got to to please everybody.”

Sounds like a well thought out plan of action there.  I can’t imagine how it’s not going to succeed, especially when the police officers charged with the catching and the giving away or the doing whatever say they lack the resources for the job and now they’re down an officer.  Stay tuned for success, I guess.

(Thanks Clarice for the story.)


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