Jacked Up Shelter Staff Charged with Cruelty in VT

Warning:  This is some disturbing shit.

In February 2016, the Vermont Department of Agriculture reportedly inspected a 16 year old cat shelter in Chester called Webster’s House and approved the facility for re-licensing.  In April, a local paper reported that Webster’s House was being evicted by its landlord, forcing the shelter to find homes for its 39 cats.  And:

In an unrelated situation, after a monthlong investigation, Chester Police have sent a report to the State’s Attorney’s office following a complaint of animal cruelty at Webster’s House.

At that time, shelter manager Mary Donaldson characterized the complaint as coming from “a disgruntled former volunteer who complained about the cats not getting proper medical care.”

This week, Donaldson and the vice president of the shelter’s board, Jessica “Remi” Fecteau, were charged with animal cruelty and lying to police. Both women are still living at the now-closed shelter and have pleaded innocent.

About that so-called disgruntled vol and lack of medical care:

The investigation started when one volunteer, Crystal Losee, a local nurse, was told not to go into the bathroom at the shelter and found a dead black cat in a bucket of water.

[…]

Crystal was told that they could not take the cat to the vet because of a $4,000 bill they already owed.”

Donaldson and Fecteau had allegedly been drowning sick cats in lieu of getting them veterinary care. And no, you’re not out of the woods yet:

Losee told police Donaldson had told her that “the cat had asked Mary to drown him but she just couldn’t do it so Remi did.”

“Remi told her that after the cat was done fighting, the cat apologized to Remi.

[…]

In addition, people at Webster’s House believed in “soul jumping” between the dying cats and the healthy cats, and that Donaldson told another volunteer that one of the cats was “destined to die to be reborn again.”

Court records reveal what appears to be a boatload of crazy-pants:

There were sworn statements from Donaldson and Fecteau, as well as others associated with the now-closed shelter, and it painted a picture of a deteriorating situation at the shelter and shelter volunteers endorsing “body jumping” to transfer the soul of a sick, dying cat into a healthy one.

At one point in December, there were an estimated 70 to 80 cats at the shelter, many of them sick. When the criminal investigation began in January, the number of cats was about half that number.

A state inspector noted the earlier cat population at 80, as did Ann Eddy of the Springfield Humane Society, who also counted about 80 cats, with sick and healthy cats intermingled.

So Webster’s House was drowning sick cats and kittens in order to transfer their souls into the bodies of healthy cats. At the same time, they were housing the sick cats, of which they reportedly had many, with the healthy cats which would obviously result in the healthy cats becoming sick and thereby guarantee a constant supply of souls for the drowning buckets.  Nice bananas system.

By the way, the Rutland Herald reports that Fecteau now works at a mental health facility.  So there’s that.

The lying to police charges likely stem from the various stories Donaldson and Fecteau allegedly told police when asked about the drownings.  They tried everything from “never happened” to “must have drowned in the water dish”.  And when volunteers from area shelters – at Webster’s House to take some of the cats for rehoming before they were evicted – found a freshly drowned cat, Donaldson tried playing the Bitch Set Me Up card:

But the afternoon’s events took a turn for the worse when humane society volunteers found a dead cat, wrapped in a plastic bag, floating in a bucket of water in back of the building. The bucket was covered by a litter box, weighed down by a large rock.

When volunteers confronted Mary Donaldson, the Webster’s House manager about the dead cat, she started yelling that it was a “plant,” and that it wasn’t one of her cats. She refused to look at the cat.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, the Vermont Department of Agriculture has regulations which shelters are required to meet.  A snippet from those regs:

vtwelfareregs

Portion of Vermont’s animal welfare regulations

I will grant you the state inspector might not have known about the soul jumping wackiness because maybe all the Webster’s House peeps were like Ix-nay on the cray-cray while the inspector was around. And maybe he didn’t think it was weird to see water buckets covered with litter boxes and weighed down with rocks. But the inspector would presumably have noted the missing cats, the sick cats housed with the healthy ones and the lack of veterinary care. The last two are clear violations.  So I guess I’m wondering:  How the fuck did the state wave this crackass horror show through for 16 years?  And what is going on at the other state licensed shelters in Vermont?  Can somebody lose their job now, please?

(Thanks Clarice.)

 

Forsyth Co Punishes Elderly, Suffering Dog for Reacting to His Pain, and Other Horror Stories

The terrible Forsyth Co pound in NC continues to be terrible.  The NC Department of Agriculture failed the facility on its March inspection and this month, fined the county $5200 for numerous violations of state laws.  Among the violations outlined by the state:

  • Animals whose records contained no indication of serious illness or injury were being killed before the 72 hour mandatory holding period.
  • A cat with a leg wound was left for 2 days without veterinary care then killed.
  • Another cat with an injured leg was left without vet care for 2 days, then had instructions issued for vet care and was then immediately killed.
  • A dog with her uterus hanging out was left in a cage without veterinary treatment for nearly 3 full days before someone finally sent a photo to the vet to inquire if she needed any medical care.
  • A sick, one month old kitten whose records contained the notes “eyes possibly blind” and “cat can not eat on its own” was left without vet care to suffer in a cage until she finally died 3 days later.
  • An elderly dog who was barely able to move, exhibiting neurological symptoms, urinating in his bowl, vomiting and having diarrhea in his cage was scheduled for euthanasia 3 days after being surrendered.  While handling the dog in preparation for the euthanasia, a staff member said she was bitten.  The decision was then made to leave the suffering dog in a cage for an additional 10 day rabies hold with a plan to cut off his head and submit it for rabies testing.  The dog was found dead in his cage 9 days into the hold.  He never received any vet care.
  • A dog who was struggling to breathe and unable to move after being run over by a car was left without veterinary care to suffer for more than 24 hours before being killed. Another mangled dog was similarly neglected.
  • A nursing dam was seized for a 10 day bite quarantine along with her litter of 7 puppies.  Pound staff killed the mother and all her puppies after 9 days.  No owner surrender form or other records could be found for the puppies.

While these violations of state code may seem disturbing to some, it’s all in how you look at it:

Tim Jennings, Forsyth County’s animal control director, said after reviewing the violation notice Monday, “It looks like we have some things we need to focus on, prioritize and deal with pretty quickly.”

[…]

“They’re outlining some serious issues, and we have to correct those problems,” Jennings said.

He said they strive to keep animals from suffering.

[County manager Dudley] Watts said the civil penalty “comes as an unfortunate surprise to us,” because the county has some years of solid inspections.

“We just haven’t had these kinds of violations emerge. … But we certainly want to make sure that we’re in compliance across all of these issues,” Watts said.

Everybody calm down. It’s not Eyes Possibly Blind kitten left in a cage to starve to death or Dog with Insides Falling Out left to suffer – it’s just issues.  Plus, they’re striving.  So there’s that.

I hate that the county had this unfortunate surprise.  You know who else got an unfortunate surprise?  That cat with the hurt leg who finally got to see a vet after 2 days at the pound but instead of getting treatment, the pound staff decided to give him death.  Treatment sounds like work, amirite?

(Thanks Clarice and Lisa.)

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

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

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

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

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there’s this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks Clarice.)

IL Veterinarian Accused of Brutal Acts Against Shelter Pets

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has issued a 17 page complaint against Andrew Kaiser, the contracted veterinarian for the Quincy Animal Shelter who also runs a private practice. The document alleges numerous incidents where Kaiser failed to exercise “skill and care” in treating animals. Two of the alleged incidents occurred at the shelter.

Kaiser allegedly strung up a friendly pitbull at the shelter in a chokepole until the dog couldn’t breathe, hanged him then slammed him to the floor. The dog, whom Kaiser was supposed to be vaccinating, was left bleeding from the mouth.

A chihuahua whom Kaiser was supposed to euthanize at the shelter reportedly behaved in an aggressive manner. Kaiser allegedly tightened the noose of a chokepole around the dog’s neck, dragging and choking him inside the cage. The dog ended up breaking several teeth against the cage wall before Kaiser finally dragged him to the ground and stepped on the tiny pet with both feet while injecting him.

The remainder of the incidents allegedly happened at Kaiser’s private clinic and seem to demonstrate a pattern of willful negligence and violence against animals. Surgeries, including declawing and limb amputation, were allegedly performed without pain medications being administered during or after the procedures. Post surgical patients were allegedly left to bleed to death, unattended. When a dog balked at being caged, Kaiser allegedly punched him in the hip repeatedly.

The city of Quincy needs to decide what to do with Kaiser’s contract.  I have suggestions.  The county state’s attorney is dragging his feet too:

KHQA reached out to Adams County State’s Attorney Jon Barnard.

He said his office is waiting for an outside consultant before making a decision on whether to charge Dr. Kaiser with criminal charges.

The outside consultant is reportedly the ASPCA.  They need the ASPCA’s opinion on whether stringing up a 5 pound dog in a chokepole, knocking his teeth out then standing on him with both feet while killing him rises to the level of criminal charges.  Because grey area.

While all of the allegations are horrifying, the one that sticks in my craw the most is the hip punching.  To me, that’s an indication of someone who has been abusing pets for years and knows how to inflict maximum pain without leaving visible marks.  And if the owner noticed the dog limping or crying out after jumping on the bed at home, he’d probably take him right back to Kaiser for treatment.  Nice little business model there.

I hope the city of Quincy and the county state’s attorney don’t take too long consulting on Kaiser’s skill and care.  How many more animals must suffer and die while they make up their minds?

(Thanks Clarice.)

Former WV Pound Director Arrested

A year long police investigation of Carrie Lynn Carr, who ran the Fayette Co pound in WV for several years for the New River HS before retiring last month, has resulted in criminal charges.  Among the allegations against Carr:

  • Severely injured/ill animals, including a dog with her uterus falling out, were hidden in back room cages out of public view until they died instead of receiving veterinary care.
  • Animals were crammed into tiny crates and cages and forced to live there for extended periods of time.  Large animals were unable to turn around or even lie down in their enclosures.
  • Food was tossed onto cage floors, filthy with feces and urine.
  • Individual water bowls were not provided but rather a single bucket of water was available in the facility for animals to drink.
  • A female coonhound was starved at the pound for 8 months.  She developed open sores on her hips which were never treated.
  • Carr submitted payroll records showing she worked 35 hours a week when in fact she never dragged herself in much before 3 pm and left promptly at the 5:30 pm closing time.
  • When minimum wage workers at the pound (which Carr was not) were authorized to receive a 75 cent per hour raise in January 2015 in order to bring them up to the state mandated minimum, she gave herself the same raise.

How lazy and ridiculous were the people at this place?  Here:

The criminal complaint continues to say a “heating crisis” at the animal shelter in the winter of 2014-2015, caused the New River Humane Society to urgently ask the public to donate blankets and portable heaters. The complaint alleges Carr and other employees of the shelter didn’t check the level of propane in their tank and failed to order additional propane to be delivered.

There was reportedly nothing wrong with the heating system- Carr and the other employees simply allowed the propane to run out.

I don’t… I can’t… I just –

Obviously this kind of neglect and abuse does not happen in a vacuum.  There were enablers, notably the New River HS board, which included Carr’s mother and brother.  But it’s all good and sparkly now:

Newly-elected members of the Board of Directors for the New River Humane Society have pledged to take a more ‘hands-on’ approach in overseeing the operations of the Fayette County Animal Control Center.

Gosh, so bold.

They point out that Carr was not working for the New River Humane Society and the Fayette County Animal Control Center when she was arrested.

Remember when President Carter got the American hostages released but Iran agreed to hold them until after Reagan was sworn in?

They say Carr’s actions were not instructed by the NRHS Board of Directors nor were the Board of Directors aware of these actions.

Not instructed? So the board actually didn’t type up a memo telling Carr that when mangled cats or dogs with their guts falling out get impounded, it was protocol to hide them in the dungeon until they eventually suffered to death. Got it.

As far as the board not being aware, that is not an excuse – it’s the problem.

Fayette Co commission president Matt Wender doesn’t want to be outdone on the enabling front, apparently:

Wender, too, became more involved in the shelter, stopping by unannounced over the last year. He said he never saw animals abused. Volunteers and employees had already cleaned cages or were in the process of cleaning them.
Often when he stopped by, volunteers were walking dogs, he said.
“I believe that those now left in charge of the shelter do a good job. Those on the board now are without blame.

Sounds so nice. Any of the dogs being walked have their guts dragging behind them? Just wondering.

Carr has been charged with a felony count of obtaining money under false pretenses, three counts of falsifying accounts and three misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. She’s out on a $20,0000 bond.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Rowan Co ACO Who Broke Cat’s Face Cleared by State

The NC Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal shelters, investigated the brutal microchipping (wait – WTF did I just write?) of a cat by a Rowan Co pound employee which resulted in the cat’s jaw being broken in two places.  The severely injured cat, Cooper, was reportedly uncooperative during the bloody torture.  Cooper is currently undergoing lengthy veterinary treatment and is being fed a liquid diet.  The state has completed its investigation and determined that the ACO did not violate the NC Animal Welfare Act:

According to the investigation report from the Department of Agriculture, “The statements of the shelter staff, rescue personnel and veterinarians, the veterinary medical records and the shelter records have been reviewed. This review concludes that as Cooper was provided with access to veterinary care within 30 minutes of injury. Therefore veterinary care was provided as required by 02 N. C. Administration Code .0210 (c). Consequently, the findings of this investigation do not substantiate a violation of the N. C. Animal Welfare Act. The investigation findings have been turned over to the Rowan County Manager’s Office and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department.”

Sooooo brutal microchipping is a thing and it’s condoned by the state so long as the victim is given to someone who takes him to a vet within 30 minutes of the torture.  If that truly falls within the Animal Welfare Act, I’m thinking the Animal Welfare Act sucks and needs to be changed to be a little more welfare-y and a little less legal-cover-for-animal-shelter-torture-y.

Rowan County Manager Aaron Church won’t say whether the unnamed ACO is still on paid administrative leave or back at uh, work.

Clai Martin, longtime pound director at Rowan Co, is being shifted to a related position in a county consolidation move:

As part of the consolidation, current Rowan County Animal Control Director Clai Martin will be moved into another position — manager of the animal enforcement division.
[…]
The consolidation would create a new department called Rowan County Animal Services. Church said Bob Pendergrass, the current director of the Nature Center at Dan Nicholas Park, would be promoted to oversee the new, consolidated department.

They’ve set a pretty low bar for you, Nature Center Guy. I hope you will raise it.  Anything above “We don’t break cat faces for hissing during microchipping here” would be a good start.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice for the links.)

Sadistic Ex-Director in Boulder City Now Comes with Extra Creepy

(Warning: This is disturbing material.)

Somehow, SOMEHOW, the animal cruelty case against Mary Jo Frazier, the former head of Boulder City AC in Nevada from 1996 – 2015, is even grosser than previously reported.

An ACO whistleblower had informed Frazier’s boss, former Police Chief Bill Conger, of wrongdoing at the pound a full year before any action was taken:

[ACO Ann] Inabnitt testified that Conger told her, “Well kid these things take time to investigate.”
“He just kind of patted me on the head and said he’d look into it,” she told the grand jury. “And I had to believe him at that point that he was looking into some of the things I was telling him.”

He wasn’t. Apparently the allegations made by the ACO didn’t interest Conger. Among them was Frazier’s killing of her own pet, Oscar.

ACO Inabnitt testified to the grand jury that Oscar, a dachshund who had been owned by Frazier and her now ex-husband, had been taken by Frazier and was reportedly peeing on Frazier’s carpet. ACO Inabnitt suggested to Frazier that she give the dog back to “his dad” since he was most likely missing his person and the inappropriate peeing behavior was a result:

But Frazier cursed at the mention of her ex and brought Oscar to a bank of cages at the back of the shelter. She stuffed him inside a cage and went to the safe where she kept the shelter’s drugs, Inabnitt testified. Then Frazier killed him in a manner against protocol, Inabnitt testified. Inabnitt said she wanted to hold Oscar as he died to comfort him, but Frazier would not allow it.
Frazier stuck him with the drug in his hind leg and went out for a smoke. Inabnitt stared in shock as the dog screamed, banging its head against his cage.

Frazier came back and stuck a syringe directly into unconscious Oscar’s heart, Inabnitt testified. Frazier let the syringe sit there, moving with the dying dog’s fading heartbeat.

Holy Monkey Fighting Snakes.  I do not even want to guess at what “manner against protocol” refers to.

Inabnitt told the grand jury that Frazier ordered that there be no paperwork on Oscar’s killing.  When asked about the drug log, Frazier reportedly said she’d simply falsify it.
Which leads to the next horrible thing:

Boulder City police officers told a grand jury the city’s former police chief, who quit amid the shelter scandal, didn’t want the case against his former employee made public.
Former Police Chief Bill Conger ordered Detective David Olson not to investigate why the city’s shelter was missing cash and missing narcotics, Olson testified.
Conger ordered that evidence taken out of the investigation paperwork, he said.

That’s some Grade A enabling there.

If Frazier was stealing cash from the shelter, that makes her a thief.  But if she was responsible for the missing narcotics, who the eff knows what might have been going on?  Was she torturing and killing other animals the way she did Oscar and trying to cover her tracks?  How many?  I can only imagine everyone in Boulder City who ever lost a pet during Frazier’s reign is now tormented by nightmares.

Mona Angelone is one of many local residents who blame Frazier for the needless killings of their pets. Ms. Angelone says that in 2013, Frazier chased her dog through the desert and shot at him more than a dozen times before finally killing him. She says her other dog was strung up in a chokepole by Frazier, hanged over her back fence until he was dead, then dragged across her driveway in front of her and her daughter.

Some owners are considering civil litigation against Frazier.

Now for your Moment of Reassurance:

The Boulder City community has taken steps to make sure this level of abuse by animal control never happens again.
“The shelter was closed for a few days, so the animal control officers could go on to training regarding animal cruelty,” said Jean Slader, who served as head of animal control prior to Frazier.

Gosh, if only someone had thought of this sooner.  But you know kid, these things take time.  It’s not like anyone who works at a shelter WANTS to kill animals.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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

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

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

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

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

frazier

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

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

(Pause for applause.)

Read this. Twice:

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

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

About.

Damn.

Time.

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

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

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

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

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

600 Animals Seized from Unlicensed NC Shelter

The state of NC has known for years that a private shelter in Hoke Co was being operated so far below minimum acceptable standards that animals were suffering.  Animals at the Haven were not receiving necessary veterinary care, food, water, exercise, or socialization – and there were way too many for the small number of staff to take proper care of.  During the state’s October 2009 inspection, there were more than 1300 animals at the facility:

Portion of a 2009 inspection of the Haven by the state of NC

Portion of a 2009 inspection of the Haven by the state of NC

State inspectors took dozens of photos documenting neglect during their October 2013 visit to the Haven.  Animals were stacked in dirty cages everywhere including the “isolation” area, inside the dog runs, in the barn and in a lean-to:

havenstatepic5havenstatepic1havenstatepic3havenstatepic4
Some animals were sick, others were left without food and/or water:

So it would have come as a surprise to no one at the state level when the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the Haven yesterday pursuant to public complaints. The ASPCA was brought in. More than 600 animals have been seized:

“You’ve got animals out here with open wounds…obvious skin conditions…animals that appear to be malnourished,” [Capt. John] Kivett said.

According to the ASPCA, the animals were kept in dirty kennels, cages, outdoor pens and paddocks, many without protection from the elements.

The owners have been charged with animal cruelty and possession of a controlled substance used for animals. Additional charges are likely as the investigation continues.

Thank you to the complainers for not giving up on the animals and to the local authorities for taking action. I dread to think how many more years the state would have kept documenting the suffering of animals at this place without doing anything to help.

(Thanks Lisa for the links.)

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