I Do Not Care

Judgmental cats sees all. (Photo by Casey Post)

Judgmental cat sees all. (Photo by Casey Post)

A shelter’s job is to shelter animals.

Animals have a right to live.

These two things trump all the excuses offered by killing apologists.

Therefore, I have zero fucks to give about the following:

  • An owner didn’t microchip a lost pet.
  • An owner didn’t see his lost pet’s photo on the shelter’s website as soon as it was posted.
  • An owner let a cat outside.
  • An owner accidentally left a gate open, had a hole in the fence, whatever.
  • An owner couldn’t come up with the cash to pay the shelter’s ransom for a lost pet.
  • An owner didn’t neuter and/or vaccinate a lost pet.
  • An owner didn’t have a collar and/or ID tag on a lost pet.
  • An owner was unable to physically visit the shelter during its open hours throughout the holding period to look for a lost pet.
  • An owner failed in some other way to meet the standards set forth by people who defend pet killing.

Nothing eclipses an animal’s right to live or mitigates a shelter’s obligation to shelter.

And while I would not condemn an owner for any of the above, I want to make myself perfectly clear so let’s just take this all the way.  I don’t care if the owner was on crack and punching baby pandas in the face when he lost his intact, unvaccinated, unmicrochipped pet from his unfenced yard and didn’t sober up enough to look for him for 2 weeks.  And when he finally staggered into the shelter, he was holding a neon sign that said KILL MY PET! and announced he was willing to sign any waiver the shelter had for him so long as they killed his animal.  Because even if – IF<—-get this! IF the owner is a total jerk who doesn’t deserve to have a pet, that’s for a court to decide and has absolutely no bearing on whether the animal has a right to live or whether shelter directors must do their jobs to protect animals from harm.

Killing healthy/treatable shelter animals is never, ever, under any circumstances, the fault of anyone but the people killing the animals.

I don’t like victim blaming.  Pet owners, along with their animals who were needlessly killed at shelters, are victims.  I put up with it on this blog to some extent in order to educate and hopefully change wrong thinking.  But if you’re new here and just popped up to blame the victim and defend people who kill shelter animals, don’t take your coat off.

 

 

Oklahoma Pound Tossing Dogs in a Hole, Shooting Them

FOX 23 in Oklahoma reports that the pound in Bristow shoots pets for convenience and that the mayor is aware of the method being used to kill the animals. Local animal advocates told The Daily Beast that a city employee digs a large hole behind the water treatment facility (where the pound is located) and the ACO drags dogs from the pound, throws them into the hole then shoots them with a small caliber pistol.  When the pit gets filled with dogs, the worker covers it over and digs a new one.  The ACO reportedly has sole discretion on which dogs he chooses to kill and how long they get to live before he does.  The mayor says that shooting dogs is legal under OK law and he is utterly baffled as to why anyone cares:

When reached by phone Wednesday, Bristow’s mayor Leonard Washington admitted the city—some 33 miles southwest of Tulsa—was dragging poor pooches to the back of the water treatment plant and shooting them.
“This is something that’s been a practice for 40 years,” Washington told The Daily Beast. “I don’t know why it’s a controversy … why such outrage now?”

Well gee, if it’s been going on for 40 years, it must be ok. Because no wrong thing has ever happened for any length of time and finally had to be changed because it was so obviously despicable. That’s what they taught us in American history class – everything was swell since ever and that’s why our textbooks are blank.

Animal advocates further allege that before the dogs are shot in the head, they suffer at the pound due to neglect and poor conditions.  They also claim the ACO hates pitbulls.  I wonder how many small caliber bullets the ACO puts into the fat heads of pitbulls before he jumps into the pit and verifies death via stethoscope, corneal reflex and other standard methods clocks out for lunch.

The mayor stressed that the main objective is to find homes for pets[.]

The Bristow pound is closed to the public. Locals offering to volunteer or donate say they have been turned away. I was unable to find any online listings for pets at the pound.  I guess the main objective of finding homes is something the ACO does during the drag to the hole before shooting the dogs. Maybe a city employee who got lost might happen to see a dog on the way to the pit and run over there and want to adopt him on the spot or something. I’m fuzzy on the details there.

Anyway it’s all legal and it’s been going on for 40 years so don’t get huffy.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this story.)

Discussion: Lost CA Sheltie Adopted by New Owners

An elderly couple whose lost Sheltie got picked up by Stockton Animal Services in December was pulled by a rescue group then adopted while the owners were still searching for her.  The new owners, who had Tipsy for around 2 weeks by the time Mr. and Mrs. Robinson found out what had happened to their pet of 8 years, are refusing to give her back.

[Sharon] Robinson was 10 days too late, and the new family was already in love with Tipsy.
“I just want… I want her back,” she said.
She’s heartbroken and has even offered the new adoptive family a refund for Tipsy’s adoption fee. They have declined.
“They’ve loved her for a little over two weeks. I’ve loved her for eight and a half years.”

Mrs. Robinson still has the pedigree that came with Tipsy when she was a puppy. She searched for her to the best of her knowledge and ability, even when she was sick. She is heartbroken and can not talk about Tipsy without crying. Although it’s impossible to know how Tipsy is feeling, it would be hard to imagine she is not missing the only family she ever knew.

Setting all this aside for the moment, I found this troubling:

We also reached out to the city of Stockton’s Animal Services. They declined an on-camera interview. The animal services department is now investigating Tipsy’s case to see if the proper protocol was followed.

The pound doesn’t know if proper procedures were followed? And they won’t discuss the case? Not good.

Back to Tipsy’s ownership:  On the one hand, Mrs. Robinson certainly presents a reasonable case that Tipsy was well cared for and loved by her family.  I don’t think the new owners would have any worries about her quality of life if Tipsy was returned.  On the other hand, the new owners had a Sheltie who died recently and found Tipsy, whom they were told was a stray and that no owner had claimed her.  They adopted her in good faith and instantly fell in love with her, something I think we all can relate to.  Getting a new pet helps some owners in the grieving process and perhaps Tipsy has been providing much needed comfort to the new owners.

What would you do if you had adopted Tipsy under these circumstances?  Mrs. Robinson says she may hire an attorney.  That might not be a bad idea, especially considering that the pound doesn’t know if proper procedures were followed (which opens up the possibility that Tipsy was not held for the legally mandated holding period and therefore not eligible for release to the rescue group in the first place).  I would hate to see a lengthy court battle in this situation, or any pet custody situation really.  What other options might exist for the Robinsons?

(Thanks Anne for the link.)

Lost Pets in Michigan Lose State Protection

The distressingly bad and wealthy Michigan InHumane has been trying for years to get legislation changed to reduce and eliminate mandatory holding periods for lost pets in shelters.  (And when MHS hasn’t gotten its way, it just blatantly ignores the law.)  Its current proposed bill is terrible.

mi hb4915

Portion of terrible HB 4915 in Michigan.

Unfortunately, the state department of agriculture recently caved on the issue and announced it will no longer enforce the law regarding mandatory holding periods in shelters.

Meanwhile, Michigan rescue groups continue to import shelter pets from the south, citing “no pressing need” to help locally.

If you are a Michigan resident, please take action to protect lost pets from being abandoned or killed by your local shelter before their owners have a chance to find them.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Ohio Shelter Oops-Neglects Sick Dog to Death

Last week, four employees of the SPCA Cincinnati transported a pitbull type dog for an adoption fair. In the freezing winter cold, they oops-neglected him to death:

Upon arriving in Sharonville between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Thursday, [SPCA Cincinnati Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Dr. Dave] LeBourveau said, four employees assigned to unload and clean the transfer van failed to follow proper unloading procedure and left the animal in the vehicle overnight.

Roughly 16 hours later, SPCA employees discovered the dog suffering hypothermia Friday around 8 a.m. The dog was not expected to survive its injuries and was euthanized.

Oops. And:

Dr. LeBourveau said the dog had kennel cough.

They were taking a sick dog to an adoption fair? Oops.

LeBourveau said the animal would have been found had the employees followed proper protocol.
“Whoever unloads the van, then they check off a roster to indicate that all the pets were there,” LeBourveau said. “The roster in this case, there was some question whether it was accurate or not.”

Oh see, that explains it. There was some question. I know at my workplace if there is ever any question, we all just err on the side of shrug, crank up the heat in our cars and head home for the night. Because question.

Pitbulls have very low tolerance for cold due to their coats, which anyone working in a shelter in Ohio should know.  This particular dog was reportedly sick and likely felt crummy.  It is heartbreaking to think of how he spent his last night on this earth.

The four workers whose failure to do their jobs resulted in the needless suffering and death of a dog entrusted to their care have been disciplined.  They all kept their jobs.

Dr. LeBourveau describe the disciplined employees as animal lovers and great workers.

Well gee if these are the great ones, I’d hate to run into the adequate ones.

And in case you were wondering:

The SPCA transports nearly 7,000 dogs a year.

No word on the number of survivors.

(Thanks Clarice and Lisa for the links.)

Some NY Shelters Hiding Their Killed Animals at Veterinary Offices

The Journal News submitted a FOIA request to the state of NY to find out how many animals are killed by shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley, along with a request for the controlled substances logs from each facility. The state sort of shrugged:

The state Department of Health, which is required by law to maintain records of all animals put to sleep at animal shelters or animal-control centers, only has a fraction of the mandatory quarterly reports it is supposed to collect. That means that, in addition to not keeping track of most animals that are euthanized by shelters, the state also has no record on how much sodium pentobarbital — the lethal chemical used to put animals to sleep — some shelters have in stock.

State health officials said they conducted “a diligent search” that lasted three months after The Journal News requested the records. But the department only produced partial records for just three of the seven active animal shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley — and no records for other types of animal-control facilities.

A spokesman for the Health Department did not reply to repeated requests for comment over the past two weeks.

Some of the shelters take their animals to private veterinary offices for killing.  Vets fall under different reporting requirements than shelters and when they dispose of dead animals, they don’t have to specify whether the pet belonged to a client or came from a shelter.  Five of the seven shelters contract with a crematory in Hartsdale, which estimates it cremates 30,000 pets a year with 1450 of those coming from area shelters.

The Yonkers Animal Shelter did have records on file with the state but the documents, which indicate only 5 dogs and zero cats were killed during a one year period, are clearly useless:

In 2015, [director of the Yonkers shelter Almira] Simpson said, 71 cats and 11 dogs from the shelter, including the five Yonkers reported to the state, were put down.

The shelter only reported five dogs to the state since the other 77 pets were killed at veterinary offices.

The Journal News, unable to obtain the actual records sought on pets killed in shelters, tried asking some of the non-compliant shelters for numbers:

[Robert] Kelly, the Mount Vernon police commissioner who acknowledged that the department had failed to file the state reports, said his city’s shelter euthanized 53 cats and 12 dogs last year.

M’kay. Not that there is any way to verify that with the state.

The Hudson Valley Humane Society said it only euthanized one animal, a dog, last year.

MMM’Kaaay. So they couldn’t fill out the form to report that ONE DOG?

The SPCA of Westchester did not return calls for comment.

Sounds legit. I checked the shelter’s website and it says:

The SPCA contracts with 13 different municipalities to accept delivery of their stray cats and dogs for return to owners or to arrange for adoption. Lost dogs and cats are held at the shelter for at least eight days before becoming available for adoption.

So 13 municipalities in NY are contracting with a facility that doesn’t follow the law by reporting to the state and doesn’t answer calls from media about pet killing.  I wonder if they take calls from owners looking for their lost pets.

But let’s definitely keep shipping our shelter animals to the magical north where everything is obscenely dandy, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Microchip Saves Dog’s Life After He Gets Adopted by Total Jerk

A dog owned by Jason Dotson of Hamilton Co, Ohio reportedly attacked and nearly killed a leashed service dog who was being walked by his owner in October 2015.  The service dog was forced to retire as a result of the attack.  The court ordered Dotson to have his dog killed at the local SPCA.

Dotson instead went to the SPCA and adopted a dog who resembled his own pet then returned two days later and presented the newly adopted dog for killing under the court order.  It happened that an employee recognized the recently adopted dog and therefore scanned him for a microchip.  The chip confirmed that Dotson had just adopted the dog and he was not the same animal ordered killed by the court.

He faced the judge yesterday:

“In my 10 years as a judge I can’t recall a more cold and heartless act,” Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg said in court Tuesday. “If I could give you more time, legally, I would.” Jason Dotson, 32, was sentenced to 30 days at the Hamilton County Justice Center without probation or work release. His bond was set at $50,000.
[…]
“It’s one thing for you to ignore a court order, it’s quite another thing to try to perpetrate a fraud on this court,” Greenberg said. “And you tried to have an innocent dog killed.”

The attacking dog has since been killed. The article doesn’t mention what happened to the dog Dotson tried to have killed but presumably the SPCA would have taken him back.

I’m glad in this case that a shelter employee recognized the dog and thought to grab the scanner.  A life was saved. We have far too many stories on this blog about shelters failing to scan animals for chips and the tragic outcomes that follow.  I hope this story motivates more shelters to scan ALL animals before killing – even if they’ve been previously scanned and no chip detected, even if the person requesting the killing says he is the owner of the pet, and even if the animal comes with a court order to be killed.  Things are not always as they seem.

If the shelter worker had not happened to recognize the dog Dotson brought in for killing, apparently there would have been no scan, just as there often isn’t any scan when a supposed owner takes a pet to a shelter to be killed.  Had Dotson been bright enough to get a dog from any other facility besides the one he was ordered to bring his dog to, there would have been no possibility of the dog being recognized, which is what prompted the scan.

Scanning for a microchip takes just a minute and does not require any advanced training.  Finding a chip could save an animal’s life.  There is simply no excuse for shelters not scanning every animal before killing, regardless of circumstances.

Louisiana Pound Employees Under Investigation by Police

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations of wrongdoing by the director and three other employees of the Ouachita Parish pound in LA. The facility falls under the Ouachita Parish Police Jury:

Scotty Robinson, Police Jury President, says, “we had someone within the animal shelter come in and raise some concerns.”
Concerns surrounding allegations the director and other employees were using an inmate who had trustee status to work on their private projects, projects that the police jury’s attorney says are not allowed.
Jay Mitchell, OPPJ Attorney, says, “…constructed a barbeque grill…and also did some welding on some trailers Uh private trailers that were apparently may have been used sometimes in animal control work, But they were not owned by the parish.”

All four of the employees reportedly resigned rather than face termination by the parish.

In 2014, the pound killed approximately 63% of the animals in its care.  The only other online statistics I could find were from 2011 when the pound killed 60% of its dogs and 85% of its cats, according to a local volunteer group.  The group has a page detailing the thousands of pets needlessly killed each year at the pound along with all the standard excuses about how there aren’t enough homes, they “have to” kill every single day of the year, the irresponsible public blows, killing isn’t as much fun as it should be and smack in the middle, in boldface, is this:

ouachita parish enablers

Screengrab from a PAWS of NE LA webpage.

Oof.

So apparently this institutionalized killing for convenience has been going on for years, maybe since the pound’s inception, I don’t know, and it’s a total package complete with a band of enablers.  The director and staff don’t do their jobs to shelter animals but kill them instead while the volunteers stand ready to defend the killing and blame the public.  Maybe no one has ever done their jobs at this place, I don’t know.

But recently, “someone within the animal shelter” was moved to take action.  Not because the place is an epic fail and the bodies are really starting to pile up, not because there are proven alternatives which could be put into place to save the animals but continue to be ignored in favor of daily kill-fests – but because somebody got a grill built by an inmate.  And there was WELDING.

Enough is enough, you know?  I mean killing animals hand over fist every day of the year instead of doing our jobs is one thing but getting a grill made and having welding on some trailers Uh private trailers that were apparently may have been used sometimes in animal control work, But they were not owned by the parish – well that’s just objectionable.  There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s got to take a stand and this is that time.

But do not fear, the mission endures:

[A]lthough down four employees, Robinson says it hasn’t seriously affected the shelter.
[…]
“Our treasurer office has kind of taking over the day to day operations as far as the financial and the money and things that go on.”

Things that go on. I dread to think.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

NM Shelter Killing 10 Dogs a Day for Convenience

KOB in New Mexico reports that the Valencia Co Animal Shelter is overcrowded with more than 240 dogs at the facility. In response, they are killing for convenience:

This week, the shelter has killed 8-10 dogs every single day and even that’s not nearly enough.
“I can’t bring myself to putting 40 to 50 dogs on that list at a time like I should be,” [supervisor Patty Mugan] said. “We’re getting to that point when we’re going to need to.”

Not need to – choose to. Killing is a choice, as is lifesaving, which is hard work:

“It’s not fair to the kennel techs to have to have twice the work to do to clean and walk dogs and feed them and everything else,” Mugan said.

I’m sorry but where in life do we sign up for FAIR? Because I have been wanting FAIR so hard all these years and I’ve never known where I go to get it. Is it Valencia Co, NM?

And the response to UNfair is kill, I guess.

“But it’s sure not fair to the animal sitting in a crate on borrowed time. It’s very hard for us mentally to watch day after day.”
[…]
“It’s not easy to be the one to look in their eyes and tell them goodbye,” she said.

Where does this sense of entitlement come from?  Life should be fair and easy and not require ironing.

I’m glad it’s not easy to kill animals you are supposed to be sheltering. It should be hard. It should be impossible really.

Staff is apparently trying to ship the problem out of state by getting rescue groups to transport dogs.  But since every state in the U.S. kills shelter animals, shipping shelter pets to other states is not a long term solution.  It just redistributes the killing.  Maybe that seems fair or easier to some people, I don’t know.

Instead of killing animals and making excuses for it, why not try implementing the proven programs of the No Kill Equation?  Start looking the animals entrusted to your care in the eyes and telling them hello.  Tell them you are committed to protecting them from harm and getting them into loving homes.  It requires hard work but seeing all your animals get out alive sounds pretty sweet.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Scott Co Pound, So Killy

scott co wjhl

Screengrab from the WJHL website showing puppies at the Scott Co pound.

Volunteers at Scott Co Animal Control in Gate City, Virginia are speaking out against the needless killing of dogs at the facility and the staff’s failure to work with rescues. But surprise! – only joking, there isn’t any surprise:

News channel 11 spoke with the Scott County Animal Control today and they say they’re not doing anything wrong.
[…]
Jake Dougherty works at Scott County Animal Control and he said they are following procedure. He said, “the required amount of time that we have to keep [animals] is 7 days if they don’t have a collar. If they have a collar, we have to keep them 10 days.”

In addition to following procedure, Scott Co AC is functioning primarily as a pet killing facility where 65% of the animals are killed. Volunteers say that sometimes adopters inquire about a pet only to be told the dog was already killed. So why can’t slack-ass adopters get on the ball sooner and get down to the pet killing facility to adopt while the dogs are still alive? Maybe it’s the hours, which the county’s website (which shows zero dogs for adoption) states are 8 – 12 Monday through Saturday.

Dougherty says additional staff would help. He said, “If we had a full-time employee … that would, I’m sure, double our chances of people coming in to see what we’ve got.”

Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Gosh, if only Dougherty’s wish could come true, the dogs would have double the chance!

Scott County Animal Control actually already has 2 full-time employees, including Dougherty, along with one part-time employee.

Oh. So the dogs already have what – quintuple the chance of staying alive but are still being killed at a rate of 65%?  But IF there is room and IF someone wants them, Dougherty says dogs might be allowed to live beyond the 7 days – up to a month even.  Gee whiz!  *kisses ring*  Except when they aren’t:

Volunteers, like Billy Denton, said that just last month animals at Scott County Animal Control Shelter were killed too soon.
Denton said they’ve got “21 kennels there and there were twelve dogs at the shelter and 6 dogs were euthanized.”

Oh. Well anyway ho, hum:

Dougherty says euthanizing animals is part of the job. He said, “You have to distance yourself a little bit from the animals.”
“I can’t look at them the way that everyone else does because you’re not going to find homes for every animal,” He said.

So the dogs are killed by someone who doesn’t look at them like other human beings do because he considers killing them to be his job. That puts a swell image in mind for every poor dog who draws his last breath at the Scott Co pound.

One thing you can’t fault him on though is his logic. It’s absolutely correct that you are not going to find homes for every animal when you’re only open for 4 hours a day, sit around pining for a full time employee when you are one of the full time employees, don’t work with rescues, don’t market your dogs and don’t regard dogs like everyone else does.  And you definitely aren’t going to find homes for dead dogs, which is what you make most of your live dogs into, because you think it’s your job.

Maybe he should distance himself further.  Like to Mars.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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