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.)

Victoria Co Pound Has a 6% Adoption Rate, Zero Tolerance for Rescues

romo victoria co romo info

The Victoria Co pound in Texas, where a dog who had an adopter waiting was recently oops-killed because not killing is hard, is back in the news:

Since November 2014, 3,515 dogs and cats have entered the shelter, according to records. Of those, 238 were adopted.

238 adopted. *sound of balloon deflating*

Glass half full: That number is 30 more than the 208 pets who fell over dead in their cages during that time period. And way more than the 54 animals who went “missing” from the place. You run, Fluffy. You run and don’t ever look back.

Aaaaaaanyway, they don’t need help, especially not from people who ask questions like Why are the animals forced to live in filth? and such:

Victoria County Animal Control has cut ties with a foster group it has been working with for almost three years.

County officials say the group was given the boot for “bullying and unprofessional behaviors.”

However, Kim Cole, the administrator of the foster group Shelter Pets, said the real issue is her attempt to hold the department accountable for what she considers to be inappropriate and inadequate treatment of animals housed at the facility.
Before receiving the letter, Cole said, she had a meeting with Animal Control and the Victoria County Public Health Department, where she brought up issues including the condition of kennels filled with animal feces.

How unprofessional. Bully.

The Victoria Co pound is doing the best they can, probably. But haters gonna hate.

28261872 victoria co28261872 info

It’s a glove. And a kitten. In some sort of cylinder. That’s my best guess. Can I use a lifeline?

(Thanks Clarice.)

Texas Shelter Oops-Kills Dog with Adopter Waiting

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Tiffany Smith regularly picks up pets she finds roaming loose in her area.  The dog she found wandering her neighborhood on October 30 was different – her family fell in love with the dog and named her Loretta:

“She just hopped in my car,” said Smith[.] “She was so loving.”
“She was a sweetie,” Smith said. “She got along with our kids. She got along with our dog.”

Ms. Smith turned Loretta over to police for transport to Victoria City-County Animal Control. She then called the shelter and asked an employee to note that her family wanted to adopt Loretta if no one claimed her.  The employee told her to call back on November 2.  When she did, she was told Loretta has already been killed.  Oops:

“There was a miscommunication,” [chief officer for AC Brecka] Tieken said. “That definitely has given us an opportunity to establish … a policy/protocol.”

Ya think?

Tieken said because the protocol is still being developed, she could not release details of the changes.

It’s so innovative, even the developers don’t know what it is.  I’m guessing it’s some cutting edge policy where employees WRITE SHIT DOWN and READ IT.  I hope they can pull this off and blaze a trail for other shelters.  Imagine the possibilities.

Making earmarks for animals that have been chosen by adopters is harder than it seems, Tieken said.

No doubt.  Scrawling DO NOT KILL on a cage card involves penmanship skills, a background in 2nd grade spelling and the ability to procure a writing instrument.  It’s little wonder so many shelter workers burn out.

“You gotta realize, when there are so many animals coming in to Animal Control on a daily basis, it’s next to impossible” for one of the shelter workers to call someone when a specific animal is available, Tieken said.

Two points:  There are 8 dogs listed for adoption on the Victoria Co website today.  Just having a guess, there are likely no more than 1 or 2 of them who have adopters waiting on them.  So let’s not make this out to be Wal Mart on Black Friday.

Also:  No one said the shelter worker had to call Ms. Smith when Loretta was ready to be adopted (heaven forfend).  It was the other way around.  The worker told Ms. Smith it was her job to call back in 3 days and ask about the dog.  Which she did.  Only to be told the friendly dog was in the dumpster.

If you can’t take at least a passing interest in not killing the pets people have told you they want to take home, I’m not sure the bar can be lowered further. You are standing on it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Dallas Animal Services: Skanks Gonna Get Themselves Locked Up If They Don’t Step Off

You may remember Dallas Animal Services from such knee-slapping exploits as oops killing a bucket of kittens while a foster home was being arranged, secretly killing 4 dogs slated for rescue and leaving a cat trapped inside the pound wall to suffer and die.  Now, more hilarity as compassionate citizens who care for strays at an area well known as a dumping ground for dogs who appear to have been abused are painted as criminals:

Are volunteers who feed stray dogs committing a crime? Public statements from the city’s own animal shelter agency and an officer in the Dallas City Marshal’s Office suggest that the volunteer group is breaking the law and possibly harming the animals. “You cannot feed in the city of Dallas,” an officer says in a recording taken by volunteers Marina Tarashevska and Leslie Ysuhuayles. He cites an unspecified “ordinance,” an ordinance that CBS-11 was unable to find when they followed up with a story on volunteers’ encounter with the marshal. Afterward, the city’s animal shelter and animal control agency weighed in. Dallas Animal Services posted a “clarification” on its Facebook page, defending the marshal. While there are no ordinances that actually ban people from feeding loose dogs, the shelter acknowledges, the volunteers may be guilty of littering. Dallas Animal Services also says that people who feed loose animals without doing anything else to help are doing more harm than good. “#IfYouFeedItFixIt,” the posts ends, implying that the volunteers confronted by the marshal were only “feeding” and not “fixing.”

Turns out, the people doing the feeding are also capturing, neutering and adopting out the dogs –  things DAS apparently knows little about.  In fact, DAS is more concerned with outsourcing the killing of its pets in order to “maintain stable workforce” than having its employees actually shelter animals.  (No takers so far, which is weird.)

But just so we’re straight:  The Dallas pound wants to clarify that, while there are people out there tying dogs’ legs together and dumping them (some dead, others still alive) at this one site, it’s the people feeding the dogs who are, in OJ terms, The Real Killers.

(Photo by Casey Post)

(Photo by Casey Post)

Blaming local rescuers, especially Ms. Tarashevska – an outspoken critic of DAS, is standard fare. The pound’s social media coordinator, Rebecca Poling, appears to get a paycheck for it:

In September, Poling shared [on her personal Facebook page] a screenshot of a post that Tarashevska had written that cites the Observer story and criticizes the way Jones runs Dallas’ animal shelter. A group of other rescuers responds with name-calling. Stacy Smith, a co-founder of the Humane Society of Flower Mound, writes of Tarashevska,”#rescuebarbie.” Kate Larkin, who operates a rescue group called Rag Tag Rescue in East Texas, follows with the short and simple “#bitch.”

Erin Schults, who operates Mazie’s Mission animal rescue in Frisco, writes in the thread that Tarashevska will “eventually fade away. When her face is chewed off by a dog she is ‘saving.'”

Others pounce on Tarashevska’s appearance.

Poling, for her part, doesn’t resort to name-calling, but she doesn’t discourage it, either. “Are people still listening to this skank?” Shults writes in another comment in the thread, to which Poling replies, “Unfortunately, yes.”

Neither Poling nor city spokesman Jeffrey Clapper have responded to an email requesting an interview about Poling’s social media strategy.

Social media strategy. #LOL #YouPeopleSeemNice

If I lived in a city where freaks were abusing dogs and dumping them in plastic bags, I’d be kinda worried.  And if it was my job to investigate animal cruelty in that city, I guess I’d get right on that start waving something shiny to distract the public and blame rescuers demanding I do my job for kibble littering.  Which is in fact, a gateway crime.  Every time someone gets their face chewed off, you can always trace it back to skanks putting out kibble.

Never change, DAS. You keep on trying to find someone to kill your animals for you and blaming the public for all the things and social media strategizing.  Your cultural blend of 1940s sheltering philosophy, criminal laziness and Texas sized hate is so uniquely you and becoming harder to find as the rest of the nation progresses unabashedly toward 2016.

(Thanks Nathan and Mike.)

Clark Co Kills Pets Just Fine, Doesn’t Need Do-Gooders Saving Any of Them

The most recent statistics on the Clark Co Animal Control website are not too recent.  In the fiscal year 2010 – 2011, the pound took in 10,181 dogs, killing 5099 of them.  Las Vegas tv news station KTNV reported yesterday that “almost 14,000 animals” were killed in Clark Co last year.  Regardless of the exact number currently being killed, it’s obviously steep.

One bright spot:  The county has partnered with local veterinarian Chris Yach for decades.  Dr. Yach saves animals the county can not afford to treat:

As part of his long-standing private practice, Doc Yach provided emergency care for sick and injured animals brought to him by Clark County Animal Control.
Often going out-of-pocket to provide extra care beyond what the county could cover.
“And we loved to. It was kind of one of those things we could do to give back,” Dr. Yach said.

The county reportedly keeps careful track of all animals taken to contracted vets in case their owners are searching for them.  After nursing the animals back to health, Dr. Yach would find homes for unclaimed animals.  It’s a partnership that has reportedly saved many pets whose injuries would have landed them on the kill list at the pound.  But the county has decided the terms of the long standing agreement with Dr. Yach are no longer acceptable.  It’s not about money, it’s about control:

“And for whatever reason, the county decided that we can’t [adopt out animals] anymore,” Dr. Yach said. “It has to — no matter what, it has to go back to the pound — even if we can find a home for it.”
“If we can find one home, let alone dozens of homes for these pets, we’re gonna probably find a better home than the pound,” said Dr. Yach. “And the pound has so many animals to find homes for, why would it make any difference that we found a home for this pet here?”

The county pound is killing thousands of animals a year but is now demanding they get even more pets into the facility.  How does this make sense?

[County Animal Control Administrator Jason] Allswang says they have to follow protocol.
“The code reads that the animals have to go to the contracted shelter.”

But since the county has no “shelter” – just a pet killing facility – maybe they could just keep on letting this vet save some animals here and there?  Since it’s no extra work or expense for the county?  All they have to do is nothing and boom – some animals get to live.  But I guess that’s just ridiculous.  Maybe you have to kill 14,000 animals a year to really appreciate the importance of following the county code to the letter.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

San Diego Co Pound Volunteers Go Public with Concerns

Dog ID #1683976 pictured on the County of San Diego Animal Services website.

Dog ID #1683976 pictured on the County of San Diego Animal Services website.

More than a dozen current and former volunteers with the County of San Diego Animal Services recently shared some concerns with The San Diego Union-Tribune. Among the volunteers’ complaints are needless killings, poor conditions, and retaliation against volunteers who speak out. The allegations mirror some of those made in lawsuits filed by former vets at the facility.

Former pound volunteer Bonnie Kutch quit after years of service and now volunteers with a different shelter. She says of the county pound:

“They were euthanizing perfectly good dogs to make space for other dogs coming in, and not devoting enough effort to getting the existing dogs adopted,” she said.

Additional problems noted by the group of vols:

Not only are officials too quick to put down pets, volunteers say, they resist practices that could lead to more adoptions, such as opening on Sundays like many shelters do so more animals can be adopted out at a time convenient to the public.

The volunteers say many shelter animals languish in cages for days or even weeks at a time without walks, making them “kennel crazy” and lessening their chance to be adopted.

Vols who asked if they could walk dogs say they were told to wash dishes instead or were kicked out.

Longtime pound director Dawn Danielson killsplained all the things to the Union-Tribune, including claiming that the county has maintained a 0% kill rate for dogs deemed healthy and friendly for the past 6 years. (Never you mind about the 6600 pets killed last year. They were all unhealthy and unfriendly, it says so right here in this note I just typed.) And as for those pesky vols wanting to get dogs out of their cages for walks, this ain’t no doggie day spa:

“It’s nice to get the dogs out, but it’s not required,” Danielson said. “We want them to be able to urinate and defecate in their kennels” because it helps prevent infections.

Right. Ask anyone in the business of trying to prevent infections. They’ll tell you the first thing you want to do is shit on the floor you eat off of.  That’s Hygiene 101 right there.

She said her priority with adoptable dogs is to promote “kennel enrichment,” spending quiet time with the animals inside their cages so they learn to be calm when potential adopters arrive.

Quiet time – good one.  I imagine the line to sign up for squeezing into cages with unexercised shelter dogs so they can jump on you with their poopy paws while pleading “Let me OUT!” in the most dramatic way they can manage is probably super long.  Any vols still have their front teeth?

Anyway, the director isn’t asking for much:

“All we ask of our volunteers is to follow the rules and to work with us and follow our philosophy.”

The philosophy apparently being Suck.  And Kill.  And also Suck.  Who wouldn’t want to get on board with that?

(Thanks Clarice and Teresa for the link.)


Reader Casey Post who volunteers with the Medina Co SPCA in Ohio sent me this great adoption story. Shared with permission:

Mushu (left) and Spookie

Mushu (left) and Spookie (Photo by Casey Post)

Spookie (the black cat) is 13 years old. He first came to the shelter as a result of an abuse case (his person was convicted). Super scared of new stuff, hides all the time, but so, so sweet and loves to be petted (you just have to reach into wherever he is to do it).

Spookie was eventually adopted out last year to a guy who apparently didn’t take great care of him – he was returned to the shelter along with this kitten – both VERY hungry (like they hadn’t eaten in days) and covered in fleas.

It was decided to adopt them out together, since Spookie loves Mushu so much and Mushu may help him adapt to new situations. Mushu is easygoing and friendly and loves his Spookie.

A senior cat and a five month old kitten. Most people who want a senior, don’t want a kitten and most people who want a kitten aren’t in the market for a senior.

But today, they found a home. Together.

There are homes for all of them – you just have to find them!

Thank you Casey for this happy story. All the hopes…

Perry, OK Asplains Pile of Dead Dogs Behind Pound

After photos of dirty kennels and decomposing dog carcasses behind the pound in Perry, Oklahoma were posted on social media, area residents were outraged.  The Perry ACO explained to the local news that he normally buries the dogs killed at the pound but the hole digging thingy broke so he had to use a pit to toss the bodies in and wait until the pit was full before covering it over.  Also:  he took the job to “help animals”.

Not to be outdone, the city manager issued the following statement:

There have been some disturbing and disgusting photos from the City of Perry’s animal shelter posted on Facebook, the worst being dead dogs in various states of decomposition. I want to assure Perry residents that the these conditions are being addressed.

For the last several months, the city of Perry has been working with a group of local volunteers to improve the conditions at the shelter. This volunteer group is now organized as the Perry Humane Society, and their concern for humane treatment of animals is to be commended. Their willingness to be part of the solution in addressing issues at the shelter is very welcome. With the help of city funding, private donations, and volunteer time and effort, an addition to the existing animal shelter building is under construction. When the addition in completed, there will be runs to allow the animals to go in and out of the building and will be a major improvement over what we have now.

The City of Perry encourages responsible pet ownership. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. When Animal Control picks up animals, their goal is to reunite animals with their owners or find new responsible owners. Euthanizing animals is done as a last resort and is handled by a local veterinarian. As I understand the procedure, two injections are given. One to sedate the animal and the second to put it to sleep. It is done as humanely as possible, but is not a pleasant part of their job.

The City has been exploring alternatives to disposing of euthanized animals. I was contacted by the city of Stillwater about a month ago offering Perry their old incinerator that is due to be replaced. We will evaluate its condition and whether it is a viable and cost-effective alternative. Other alternatives for disposing of euthanized animals are also being discussed.

The Perry Humane Society has also been assisting Animal Control by helping advertise animals at the shelter available for adoption. Animal Control has also been releasing animals to the Humane Society that are available for adoption to responsible owners instead of having to be euthanized. Unfortunately, not all dogs are good candidates to be released for adoption. Because of the liability that the City of Perry bears for animals that are released to someone other than their owner, we use our best judgment and a lot depends on the age of the animal. If we err, it is going to be on the side of caution.

My message today is to let Perry citizens know that the City of Perry has been addressing the conditions at the Animal Control Shelter and will continue that effort with the help and involvement of the Perry Humane Society.

So basically:

  • There’s going to be a new addition to the killhole.  (New things fix everything, even lack of compassion!)
  • The public is irresponsible.
  • The homeless animals are killed humanely, probably.
  • The city might start incinerating dead pets instead of leaving them out back to rot, if it’s cheap enough.  If not, they’ll find some other cheap way to get rid of the bodies.  Because there are gonna be bodies.  Lots.
  • The city is letting rescuers save some dogs but is refusing to allow other dogs a chance to live, based mainly upon age.  If the city makes a mistake in its most excellent judgment (on age, I guess), better to kill an animal than risk allowing him to live and uh, age.
  • Everything’s fine, move along.

Welp, totes reassured over here.  Sounds like the experts are ON IT.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

WA Shelter Director: Public Too Dumb to Get Weather, Too Irresponsible to Have Pets. Also: Why Doesn’t the Public Like Me?

inoriteThe director of the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter in Pasco, Washington is saying things again.  This time, pound director Angela Zilar blamesplains to KEPR why the facility typically sees an increase in stray dog intake at this time of year:

“As soon as the weather starts to change, people that have all of these outdoor dogs that they wanted to keep as outdoor pets, they realize that maybe it’s going to be too cold for them.

They tend to start to get rid of them because what was easy for them possibly for the summer is now going to be different or problematic for them for the winter,” said Zilar.

The second reason being the start of the hunting season.

“They determine they’re not going to be a hunting dog so the rise in hunting breeds goes up because now they don’t want these dogs because now they don’t work for what they want them for,” adds Zilar.

The third reason… the agricultural industry.

“The workers have animals when they come to the Tri-Cities- they tend to get animals- and then when they leave they can’t take them with them,” said Zilar.

Shorter: The pound takes in more stray dogs in September and October because the public is too stupid to understand how seasons work, hunters suck and so do the Mexicans.

Smarter: If you know that your facility is going to see an increase in stray dogs in the fall, prepare for it. Be proactive. If people who have outdoor dogs in your area typically abandon them when the weather turns colder due to lack of resources, reach out to them while it’s still warm. Apply for grants and ask for donations so you can supply those in need with appropriate winter housing materials for their dogs. Educate owners whose dogs are not good candidates for being housed outdoors year round about alternatives while it’s still warm.

Engage the members of the hunting community in order to build a relationship with them so that they aren’t turning unwanted dogs loose in the woods every fall instead of utilizing humane rehoming alternatives. Educate hunters about these alternatives during your “Free nail trims for hunting dogs” weekend and other outreach events.

Seasonal workers are most likely not buying dogs. They are taking in strays in need of homes, even though they themselves only have a temporary home to offer these pets. They are sorta doing your job for you. Reach out to them. Offer free spay-neuter and vaccinations (using grant money and donations) to their temporary pets so the population doesn’t increase and remains free of diseases which are a serious threat in the shelter. Make yourselves the good guys. Educate the workers on humane options for rehoming long before the end of the agricultural season. Keep in touch. Let them know you are there to help and, if a shelter of last resort ends up being needed, that’s your job. They should feel welcome to turn to the shelter instead of abandoning the animal.

It sounds like a large number of people in the community think that pets are better off on the streets than at the Tri-Cities shelter. That is a problem. And it’s Angela Zilar’s job to fix it. Instead, she pours gasoline on the fire:

Gabby is a stray dog who just gave birth and was abandoned in a Pet Smart parking lot.

“They are trading her in for a younger generation they probably kept the puppy and now don’t want her,” said Zilar.

Wow. Apparently Gabby came with a backstory pinned to her collar. Or she can talk.

You know who abandons a dog in the Petsmart parking lot? Someone who thinks that people who love animals will see her and hopefully care for her. And obviously that’s not what people think of the Tri-Cities pound. Which again, is a problem.

Angela says they haven’t turned anyone away in the last four years and encourage owners to come in and ask for help when they don’t know what to do with their pet.

I guess I’ll just go with lol on that one. This from the lady who threatened to prosecute owners who surrender their pets to her facility and who blames the community for the many failings of that facility. Sure, walk into my parlor.

(Thanks Mary for the link.)

NY Shelter Refuses to Return Elderly Lost Dog to Family

Manson, as pictured on the CBS 6 website.

Manson, as pictured on the CBS 6 website.

When Alysha VanDyke’s 13 year old min pin slipped his collar and got lost last month, she began looking for him but there were no sightings of the dog, named Manson, for weeks. She thought that because of his advanced age and poor health, Manson may have gone off to die. But then a friend saw a posting on Facebook of a dog being offered for adoption by the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley. The dog looked like Manson so the friend alerted his family:

“We were like, ‘Oh my God here he is!’ And we thought that this was the greatest ending and everyone would be happy. Only to find out that was not so,” VanDyke said.

VanDyke says the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley refused to give her dog back when she called and then showed up at the shelter the very next day.

“It felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. It’s like he’s here but I can’t see him? And now I can’t have him?” VanDyke said.

Ms. VanDyke says she showed photos of Manson to the shelter as proof of ownership. But shelter staff told her she wouldn’t be getting her dog back because he wasn’t neutered and therefore she’s obviously a crummy owner. Then they called the cops and had her escorted out of the place. The local CBS affiliate has repeatedly contacted the shelter and its attorney but their only response has been: Hide.

The shelter did post on Facebook about the situation with Manson. They basically say it’s the stupid owner’s fault she didn’t get her dog back because:

  • Didn’t reclaim him fast enough.
  • Not licensed.
  • The proof of ownership she provided was unacceptable.

Also, if the owner does somehow provide the sort of proof of ownership they fancy (while she’s being taken away by police, I guess), she’ll have to pay the extensive vet bills they’ve run up on the dog in addition to the other fees they charge.  Meanwhile, a feeble old dog is sitting in a shelter while his family is waiting for him at home.

So yeah the mandatory holding period expired.  But the shelter knows who the owners are NOW, knows they want their pet back, and knows how hard it is for old dogs removed from their home environment.  Why would you call the cops on someone trying to reclaim their pet – because they didn’t neuter the dog?  Why not use the opportunity to educate the owners, get the dog back home and look like heroes to the public?  Keeping the dog under these circumstances is just ugly.  I guess HIDE sounds like a reasonable plan for the shelter at this juncture.

(Thanks Clarice and Jan for the links.)


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