More on United Animal Coalition Allegations

As posted yesterday, the secretive non-profit United Animal Coalition has had its registrations to run the Guilford Co and Davidson Co pounds revoked by the state of North Carolina.  The county editor for the Rhino Times, a paper in Guilford Co, reports that the allegations made by the state “are only the tip of the iceberg” regarding wrongdoing by UAC.

Citing a source who was in attendance at a secret meeting on July 27 held at the workplace of UAC president Carolyn Cudd, the Rhino reports that Cudd explained to the group how the investigation began:

On Tuesday, May 19, a severely injured dog that was paralyzed from the shoulders down and appeared to have a broken back was brought into the Davidson County shelter.

The next day, a shelter official assured a Davidson County sheriff’s deputy that the dog would be euthanized by the end of that day.  On Thursday, May 21, a deputy discovered the paralyzed dog still alive with maggots on its body and on the floor of the cage.

On Friday, May 22, a worker at the Davidson County shelter noticed a “bloody blowout” from the dog’s rear and took pictures of the animal’s plight and sent the pictures to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department.  The crippled animal was finally put to death later that day.

That led authorities to the investigation that expanded to Guilford County.

[…]

A picture of the dog with the broken back at the Davidson County shelter was also passed around at that time.

After the meeting attendees, including UAC’s former president, a current board member as well as county reps from both Guilford and Davidson, got a look at the maggot infested dog whose rear exploded while he lay paralyzed in UAC’s care, there was a discussion on whether UAC should suspend and/or hire a lawyer for Marsha Williams, the executive director of both shelters.  Because yeah, you know, not sure.

A Guilford Co pound volunteer told the Rhino that Davidson Co, the more recent contract awarded to UAC, was under greater scrutiny than Guilford Co.  In an effort to make Davidson’s numbers look good quickly, UAC set up a racket whereby dogs from the Davidson pound were sent to Guilford for killing and counted as adoptions on their way out of Davidson.  Hey, they went out the front door, technically.  I guess they were “adopted” by Fatal Plus at Guilford.

The vol also says UAC specifically directed employees to neglect suffering animals so that they would eventually die in their cages in order to manipulate the number of animals killed.  Hey, they weren’t “euthanized”, they just happened to be called to the Rainbow Bridge, la la la.

In addition, the volunteer told the paper the Davidson Co pound had no one licensed to kill animals for some period of time, donations were not being used for the stated purpose, the financial numbers being given to the county were false, and people were afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation by UAC.

Other allegations made in the piece:

  • Williams, who was paid more than $92,000 a year, hired several family members to work under her at the Guilford facility.
  • Controlled substances were not tracked and recorded as required by law.
  • Cats weren’t given sufficient quantities of food.
  • Animals were put in cages together without consideration of compatibility resulting in fights and food deprivation for weaker animals.
  • Bleach was poured directly into dog runs each day without rinsing causing dogs’ feet to burn.
  • Although severely injured and ill animals were often left to suffer, pets with minor ailments were regularly killed by UAC (I assume because they would take too long to die in their cages).

And of course, as is all too often the case in these situations, follow the money:

Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Col. Randy Powers said this week that the Sheriff’s Department is looking into multiple issues including concerns of financial fraud.  Powers also said the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has some computer forensics specialists who were working with Davidson County in its investigation as well.

Several of the UAC board members have recently resigned and replacements have reportedly been made but the president won’t name them.  I’m guessing the UAC board, along with the officials in Davidson and Guilford counties, will claim they had no idea about the killing schemes, the animals forced to suffer for the sake of deceptive reports, the financial fraud and all the rest.  Did they have some obligation to make themselves aware of at least the surface appearance of things at the pounds?  Should someone/anyone who was writing checks to UAC have poked their head in the door at some point and asked why dozens of animals were literally dying in front of their faces?  Those are questions which will hopefully be asked by local animal advocates – asked until reasonable answers are provided.

The appalling level of suffering endured by the animals in Davidson and Guilford counties under UAC is enough to keep most anyone awake at night.  Hopefully, it’s enough to land those responsible in jail.  But anyhoo, should we hire a lawyer for the director?  Iffy.

State of NC Shuts Down Operator of Two County Pounds

The state of North Carolina has revoked the shelter registrations issued to the United Animal Coalition – one used to operate the Guilford Co pound and the other for the Davidson Co pound.  In letters dated August 17, the state ordered UAC to cease and desist operating both facilities within 5 days “based on UAC’s willful disregard” of the laws pertaining to the care of shelter animals.

In Davidson Co, the state investigated a complaint regarding a severely injured dog.  The state found that UAC had left an apparently paralyzed dog with a possible broken back to suffer without a vet exam for 3 days before killing the dog.  A review of records dating back to January 2015 revealed an astonishing number of animals who were left to die in their cages.  A few examples cited by the state:

  • From April 15 – 30:  40 animals found dead in their cages
  • In May:  91 cats and 5 dogs found dead in their cages
  • In June:  86 cats and 5 dogs found dead in their cages
  • In July:  78 cats and 14 dogs found dead in their cages

While the obvious suffering of animals at Davidson Co is disturbing, the state cited scores of specific examples of dogs and cats suffering at Guilford Co which are absolutely heartbreaking to read.  Among them:

    • A dog who had been shot in the face and had an eyeball hanging out was given pain medication upon intake and then left to suffer without a vet exam or meds of any kind for 12 days before being killed.
    • A cat who had been hit by car and had his tail degloved was given pain meds but never received a vet exam, wound treatment or antibiotics by the time UAC killed him 4 days later.
    • A cat who had been hit by a car came in with a missing leg and his chin degloved.  He never received a vet exam and UAC waited 10 days before killing him.  He may have received pain meds but the records contain conflicting information so that information is unclear.
    • A dog who had been hit by a car was bleeding from his penis and had abdominal swelling, possibly due to internal bleeding.  His breathing was labored and one of his legs may have been broken.  He suffered in this condition for 2 weeks without so much as a veterinary examination.
    • An elderly dog who appeared to be suffering was brought in by an owner requesting euthanasia.  UAC failed to obtain proof of ownership but took the dog and left him in a cage for 4 days before killing him.  He was never examined by a vet.
    • Another dog, circumstances similar to the above, was left for 6 days before being killed.
    • A dog with apparent neurological problems and leg wounds was left to suffer without a vet exam for 4 days before being killed by UAC.
    • A cat who had “severe diarrhea, anus and vagina swollen and raw, and hair under the tail missing” was given medication for one day then left without exam or treatment for 11 days before UAC killed her.
    • A dog whose feet were raw and who had a large mammary tumor was left in a cage and discovered with the tumor ruptured the following day.  The dog never received a vet exam and was killed after 5 days.
    • A cat who had a maggot in an infected hole in his neck was given pain meds without a vet exam, had the maggot removed and the wound flushed.  No antibiotics were administered.  The cat was found dead in his cage 6 days later.
    • An emaciated cat who appeared hypoglycemic and exhibited symptoms of conjunctivitis and a URI never received a vet exam or meds by the time UAC killed him, 11 days later.
    • An emaciated dog with multiple bite wounds, both old and new, came in with a swollen face and abdomen, a hematoma on the ear and the smell of infection in the mouth.  The dog was placed on pain meds without a vet exam and never received any wound treatment or antibiotics by the time UAC killed him 5 days later.

HSUS has listed Guilford Co as one of its “top ten emergency placement partners” and encouraged the public to bring the staff cupcakes to say “thank you”.  If anyone does plan on bringing cupcakes, please contact me for a top ten list of suggested places you can cram them.

While shutting down UAC is obviously good news for animals, it’s not good enough.  For one thing, the criminal douchebags responsible for what is likely years of animal suffering and death need to go to jail.  For another, Guilford Co taking over the pound is not exactly the knight on the white horse anyone was hoping for – unless the county has changed from doing basically all the same things UAC is accused of by the state.  Trouble behind, trouble ahead.  Annoying animal advocates needed in Guilford and Davidson counties.  Huge.

(Thanks Lisa, Laura and Arlene for the links.)

Animal Shelter Investigations in NC, OK, and CA

The secretive United Animal Coalition, a non-profit contracted to run the pounds in Guilford and Davidson counties in NC, is under investigation by everybody:

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington Police Department, in conjunction with their respective county district attorneys, are investigating animal cruelty and abuse allegations at both shelters, Guilford County officials said late Thursday.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency is also looking into potential violations at both facilities.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture, which oversees and regulates animal shelters throughout the state, is also conducting a separate investigation, a spokesman confirmed Friday.

Although UAC has only been running the Davidson pound for less than a year, it’s had control of the Guilford Co pound since 1998. HSUS has listed Guilford Co as one of its “top ten emergency placement partners” despite widespread killing, breed discrimination and claims of abuse over the years. In 2014, UAC reported to the state that it took in 11,610 dogs and cats, killing 5592 of them.

The UAC president told a local news outlet that both shelters are continuing to operate as normal during the investigations. Which is…reassuring?  I hope HSUS has plenty of cupcakes on standby.

(Thanks Lisa and Alice for the links.)

***

In May, the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners began investigating Marteen Silas, then-manager of the Pontotoc Animal Welfare Society.  The state reportedly asked her to surrender her euthanasia license as a result of the investigation.  She did and resigned from her job in June.  At issue was the killing of a healthy husky owned by Silas’s neighbor.  Silas reportedly captured the dog, took him to the PAWS facility, killed him, told the employees to keep quiet about it, then lied to the owners who came to the shelter looking for their lost pet.  An anonymous whistleblower described the encounter to the local news:

“She acted really concerned, and said that she would be looking for it and would call him if she’s seen it,” the employee said. “And then when he left, she turned around to all the employees and just smiled at everybody.”

Silas claimed the dog was chasing her livestock.  She was arrested by the county sheriff last month “on suspicion of cruelty to an animal, larceny of a dog, obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud, knowingly obtaining a controlled dangerous substance for personal use by misrepresentation and administering a poison to a dog that was the property of another.”

(Thanks Clarice.)

***

An ACO with Los Angeles Co Animal Control has been placed on leave after disturbing photos posted to his Instagram account went viral:

Some of the explicit photos showed burned dogs, charred roosters, and animal extremities ripped apart.
[…]
Animal control officials said they were not sure why the officer posted the graphic photos to his account.

Los Angeles Co AC has refused to name the ACO and is investigating itself in the matter.

(Thanks Nathan.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

State Finds Person Co Pound in Violation of Law

In 2014, the Person Co pound in NC took in nearly 1800 dogs and cats, killing 62% of them. The county’s website provides a link to Petfinder to see adoptable animals. Today on Petfinder, Person Co has 11 animals listed.  They’re doing the best they can, probably.

Or not.

Twice in recent days, representatives from the NC Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal shelters in the state, called the Person Co pound manager who they say admitted that the pound does not provide veterinary care to its animals nor does it hold them for at least 72 hours before killing – both of which constitute violations of state law.  The representatives apparently asked the manager if at any point she might like to try following the law and doing her job which, based upon the warning letter from the state, she appears to have nah’d:

PCAS’ shelter manager has stated her intention to willfully disregard or violate [both provisions of state law] in the future.

Wow.  I’ve heard of being confident in your feeling of job security but this is extraordinary.  I really want to try this “conflict resolution” approach on my boss but I’m hoping one of you will try it first and let me know how it goes.

WNCN reports:

According to notes taken by the Department of Agriculture, Kellie Oakley with Person County Animal Services said, “The shelter does not provide veterinary care. If the animal is not going to a rescue, it is euthanized.”

But how do you know a rescue isn’t going to pull the animal if you aren’t even waiting the 72 hours mandated by the state?  Oh right, because nobody rescues dead animals.  I see what you did there.  Another victory for the Cats Don’t Need Holding Periods crowd, I guess.

The state has given the Person Co pound 14 days to bring its written protocols and practices into compliance with the law.  If the pound fails to comply, disciplinary action may be taken which might include the suspension or revocation of the pound’s license to operate.  The animals should be so lucky.

(Thanks Clarice 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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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