Dallas Pound Tries Out a “You Think You Hate Us Now? Just Wait!” Stance

When the public won’t stop clamoring for their public animal shelter to do the job they’re paying them for, the only reasonable thing to do is punish the public.  That’s the approach the long-troubled Dallas pound is taking in a briefing posted this week to the city’s website.  Among the proposed punishments:

  • Slap pet owners who fail to license, fail to keep a rabies tag on their pets at all times, or fail at some other horrible thing with criminal fines and civil fines.  If they can’t pay, sue them.
  • Impound pets belonging to anyone who hasn’t gotten them neutered and hasn’t bought a special permit.
  • Eliminate holding period protections for cats picked up outdoors.
  • Eliminate holding period protections for dogs picked up from areas “with high incidence of injury by animals”.
dasdog

A dog for adoption at Dallas Animal Services, as shown on PetFinder.

What’s that you say?  You are a taxpayer and if your cat or dog gets lost and impounded by Dallas Animal Services, you want the chance to reclaim him and you don’t want pound staff disposing of him as they see fit before you even get home from work?

You don’t see how increasing impounds and breaking up families by imposing hefty fines many owners won’t be able to pay qualifies as “sheltering”?

You sound like a troublemaker.  We have punishments for you.

DAS killed more than 9000 dogs last year.  But don’t worry, that’s “the hard part of the job.”  I guess thinking up ways to increase intake and take pets out of homes is the easy part.  Good going DAS.

(Thanks Nathan.)

 

 

Nobody Wants These Animals: NYC Edition

What would you be willing to do in order to avoid killing a shelter pet?  And let me be clear – in this hypothetical, you are getting paid to do whatever it is your answer is going to be.  So set aside all those obstacles that sometimes hinder us in life when we are trying to save animals.  This is your job.  What would you be willing to do?

I’ll go first:  I would be willing to do just about anything to avoid killing a shelter pet.  The first thing I’d probably do is check the pet’s records to see if any interested adopters or rescuers had placed their names on the animal.  If someone had in fact applied to adopt the pet, I’d call that person.  If he left two numbers, or six or sixteen, I’d call all of them.  If he left an email address, I’d get typing, in addition to the phone calls.  If his mailing address was available, I’d drop a note in the mail if I didn’t receive a prompt response to the calls/emails.  If he put down his place of employment on the application and I hadn’t had any luck reaching him, I might go there, depending on the type of business.  Carrier pigeon, smoke signals, skywriting – I’m not ruling anything out.  And while I wouldn’t quickly give up on the adopter, I’d be trying all sorts of other things in the meantime:  posting an online plea for a temporary foster to buy an extra day, reaching out to rescuers/animal advocates/person I sat next to on the bus once/lady who made eye contact with me at the grocery store/etc.  Like I said, just about anything.

I’m guessing most readers here might give similar type answers.  But if your answer is:  I wouldn’t be willing to do one damn thing even though it’s my job and if I get called out on it later I’d just lie, you might like to apply at NYC ACC.  You know, to be around your own kind.

promise

Promise, as shown in a video posted on Facebook.

This gentleman posted on social media that he had applied to adopt a dog named Promise from NYC ACC.  He was told he’d be contacted upon approval of his application.  While waiting, he tried to check back with the facility several times but couldn’t get anyone on the phone.  Finally he emailed and received a response:  NYC ACC had killed Promise because she had a cough.  They said someone had left him a voicemail but he says that just isn’t true:

I left both of my cell numbers, my girlfriend’s number, my mom’s number, 2 references complete with contact information. I have no missed calls, no voicemails on either of my phones… No email to ensure your transmission was received. No effort whatsoever. Shame on you Animal Care Centers of NYC. You killed my dog for fucking Kennel cough. She deserved better than that. You had a pending application and an eager recipient, yet you took her life anyway.

Her bed arrived last week, she’ll never get to sleep in it. Her new collar with her name on it was on the way, she’ll never get to wear it.

[…]

RIP Promise. We loved you already.

Well done NYC ACC.  You must be proud.  Same shit, different day.

NYC ACC says there is no such thing as no kill.  (There is, of course.)  I heard there was no such thing as monsters but apparently that ain’t true either.

(Thanks Nathan.)

Dallas Pound: Stop Me If You’ve Killed This One Before

SpencerTracy

Spencer Tracy, as shown on the Dallas Morning News website.

When a Good Samaritan in Texas saw a dog running in traffic, she whistled for him.  Michelle Henderson got the friendly, 84 pound dog into her car while he slobbered kisses on her.  She brought him to the Dallas pound and gave staff her contact information for his record to make sure he wasn’t killed as she intended to find a foster home for the dog, whom she named Spencer Tracy.  After lining up a foster, she called the pound to check on the dog only to learn staff had already killed him.  Oops.

But hold up, there’s REASONS:

  1.  In addition to Ms. Henderson, another person had asked to have his/her contact info posted in the dog’s records.  Staff did contact that person before killing the pet but didn’t bother contacting Ms. Henderson because “staffers believed the two were the same person.”
  2. Pound staff decided the dog was unadoptable because he was “shy and withdrawn” and as such, put him on the kill list.

Gosh, a dog acting shy and withdrawn in a cage at a pet killing facility? Weird. Plus the two people asking to be contacted are really the same person. I just know it. No need to call.

Last summer, when the Dallas pound oops-killed a bucket full of kittens who had a foster home lined up, management expressed regret that staff never bothered to call the rescuer who had asked to be contacted about the kittens:

“[S]he should have gotten that phone call, and we’re devastated that we failed her and those animals.”

Several months earlier, the Dallas pound oops-killed 4 dogs slated for rescue and issued a statement which read, in part:

Euthanasia of animals is tough enough for employees. To know that four dogs may have been euthanized in error has devastated staff, and they are also eager to look for ways to prevent incidents like this in the future. We mourn the loss of homeless animals that can be saved. DAS prides itself on caring for thousands of animals that staff members come into contact with each year. The City, DAS and community remain committed to our life-saving efforts and continued progress in this area.

Now it’s a new year but the same old song and dance:

Shelter manager Teresa Cleek apologized for Spencer Tracy’s death in an email to an animal advocate. She called the death “unfortunate” and promised to remind staff of proper procedures.
“We are sorry we failed this pup and appreciate the opportunity for our continued improvement,” she said in the email, which was forwarded to The Dallas Morning News.

Here’s the thing about continued progress and continued improvement – you actually have to have some progress and some improvement to continue.  All the Dallas pound seems to have is workers too lazy to give a flying fuck, too willing to kill animals whose records have been flagged with DO NOT KILL notes and management too quick to dispense platitudes about how the staff has all the sads.  The Dallas pound staff needs to stop being sorry about failing animals and start doing their jobs.  Maybe if they actually sheltered animals instead of killing them, their dogs wouldn’t be “shy and withdrawn” in their cages.

(Thanks Nathan.)

What Are You Guys Wearing to the Ceremony Honoring the Dog Skull Cracking Deputy?

An attorney for the off-duty Montgomery Co deputy who bashed a dog’s brains in then adopted a different dog at the pound wrote a letter to the local paper to tell of his client’s uh, heroism.

The MCSO deputy, now identified as Keith Berger, says through his lawyer – and oh yes, I’m paraphrasing here – that he saw three female vols, one of them a teenager, in an enclosure with Rock, the 90 pound pitbull mix, another large pitbull mix and a tiny dog being eaten by the other two.  The three hysterical women were yelling and flailing and attempting to break up the little dog buffet with sticks and a hose.  Although the dogs were not behaving aggressively toward the vols, the deputy envisioned that the teen girl looked very chomp-worthy to Rock and decided to jump in and save the overemotional wimmins.  Berger could have opened fire inside the enclosure, cause you know, yay guns, but he valiantly opted not to do so instead relying on his super manly strength.  He “picked up a piece of ‘half rotten’ 2×4 and hit Rock on the head.” It was barely a tap, just enough to save the pygmy dog and the silly little girl and the world. An ACO then came in and broke up the fight between the two large dogs.

See.  It was totally a situation where womenfolk got themselves into a fix and they were all going to die, probably.  The deputy has a sworn duty to protect and to serve and just because he’s not on the clock doesn’t mean he’s going to stand by while fainting ladies put themselves in harm’s way.  He gets all the credit for not shooting up the place and for his deft wielding of a toothpick to stop Rock from doing what he was not doing but totally could have, possibly, if you’ll only believe.  You don’t have to thank him, just let him know when the medal ceremony is to be held.

Montgomery Co is continuing to investigate itself in the matter and the investigation is reportedly “moving along quickly.”  And, not to give away the ending but:

“While this matter is still being thoroughly investigated, several accounts that had initially surfaced on social media regarding the incident have proven to be false,” District Attorney Brett Ligon said. “We will continue to follow every lead and witness; but as of yet, we have not received the necropsy report or the completed report from the detective assigned to the case.”

We don’t yet know what happened but we do know that several accounts which do not fit our narrative are wrong. We are being very thorough and waiting by the mailbox for the necropsy report which will confirm that Rock had Jelly Head Syndrome and even a love pat would have caused his skull to cave in which will prove that the deputy did him a favor actually.  Medal ceremony to be announced forthwith.

(Thanks Clarice.)

The Worst Deja Vu Ever

tilly

Tilly, as shown on the WDAM website.

This again.

A man thought to be a potential adopter visited the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League in Mississippi on Friday, asked to see the cats, then allegedly beat one to a pulp before leaving. The guy was unsupervised as all the staff and vols at the private shelter were chasing a loose dog. The three year old cat, called Tilly, was found in an open cage, battered and bloody, clinging to life. She died later at a vet’s office.

The area where Tilly was found is described as a colony room so it sounds as if she was tortured in view of other cats. There was blood spatter on the walls and a “plastic stick” was in pieces. The man apparently beat Tilly until his weapon fell apart then stomped on her.

Jody Cothron has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in connection with the case. In Mississippi, nearly all animal cruelty offenses are misdemeanors. Police have obtained surveillance video from the shelter.

I totally get that there was an emergency at the shelter because a dog had gotten loose. I get that everyone was looking out for the dog’s well being by chasing him around and leaving the guy in the cat colony room unsupervised. But come on people, you need to watch your pets and not leave them alone with strangers.

If a guy walks into a daycare and says he’s interested in looking around because he might want to enroll his kid, you don’t show him into the infant room and leave him alone – even if there’s an emergency. Emergencies happen. They need to be handled in such a way that no one’s safety is compromised.

If it was absolutely an all-hands-on-deck situation that required everyone in the place to help, the first thing that needed to happen was for someone to quickly explain to the visitor that he would need to wait in his car until the dog was captured and then to make sure the guy was out of there. Because apparently unsupervised adopters beating shelter pets is a thing now. FFS.

(Thanks Clarice.)

One Dog Dead, Two Others Injured as Adopter Selects a Pet

Montgomery Co in Texas is investigating itself to determine how one of its off duty sheriff’s deputies visited the county shelter to adopt a dog and ended up allegedly beating three dogs with a two-by-four in the back before having his adoption processed out front.  (You probably want to go back and re-read that so I’ll pause for a moment here.)

The Courier of Montgomery Co reports that on Saturday, the MCSO deputy and his family were in the shelter’s exercise area with three dogs, including a friendly male pitbull mix named Rock who was reportedly a staff favorite.  There was apparently no shelter staff supervising the family.  Not saying the guy got special treatment because he was a sheriff’s deputy but, unless the staff is totally lax with everyone who comes to visit, it seems like a possibility.

rock

Rock at the Montgomery Co Animal Shelter, as shown on the Courier website.

When the three dogs started fighting, the deputy allegedly picked up a board and began beating the dogs.  Rock apparently got it in the head and was left with neurological damage so severe that he had to be euthanized.  The other two dogs are described as “seriously injured” but the county won’t say what their status is.  They’re probably fine, you know.

After the bloodshed, the deputy apparently went up front and got the adoption paperwork processed and took home his new pet.  Not saying the guy got special treatment because he was a sheriff’s deputy but, unless shelter policy states adopters can’t be denied for any reason including leaving a trail of blood from the exercise area to the adoption desk, it seems like a possibility.

Shelter director Dr. Todd Hayden told the Courier he didn’t know why three dogs were in the exercise area together, where the two-by-four came from or who Rock was.  And:

“We are working with the DA and the dog is going to Texas A&M tomorrow (Monday) for a necropsy.”

Right. Because maybe Rock had heartworms or hookworms or earthworms or any other possible thing that his death could be pinned on besides having his skull cracked by a sheriff’s deputy. Not saying the guy is getting special treatment because he is a sheriff’s deputy – well, actually.

As far as how the guy’s adoption was processed and he was given a dog to take home, Hayden offered this:

He said the front desk personnel was unaware of the situation unfolding at the back of the shelter.

Gee, maybe they need to institute an Adopter Carnage Alert system to take care of this little loophole.  Or at least a quick visual inspection to determine the adopter isn’t covered in flecks of gray matter and blood.

Anyway, don’t criticize.  Until the stupid public spays and neuters their pets, I guess we just have to accept.  I can’t wait to find out that Rock had Jelly Head Syndrome or a bum ticker or whatever cause of death that will not be attributable to being Negan’d with a two-by-four.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Discussion: Cost of Care Laws

So-called “cost of care” legislation, pushed by get-rich-quick-via-one-eyed-shivering-puppies-commercials groups such as the ASCPA and HSUS, are sometimes referred to as “civil forfeiture” or “bonding” laws.  They are on the books in some form in most states with Georgia currently considering such a bill.  These laws basically require someone accused of animal cruelty to pay whatever amount the agency that seized their animals, usually the public shelter, tells a judge they have already and will in future spend on their care while awaiting trial.  This care is likely to include such things as housing, food and veterinary procedures.  If the accused is unable to pay, he forfeits his animals and the seizing agency/shelter is free to sell them.

Those in favor of this type of legislation frame it as “making animal abusers pay” which sounds – you know, good.  And if they can’t come up with the money, which could be $50,000 a year or more for a dozen dogs, well hey, we don’t want abusive jerkwads getting their animals back anyway so yay, right?  The ASPCA tries to justify requiring the presumed innocent owner to pay up front this way:

The imposition of a bond is not a punishment for committing a crime. It is a requirement to continue paying for the costs of caring for his or her animals when there is sufficient evidence of cruelty and the owner chooses to maintain ownership—costs which, in theory, the owner would be incurring already if he/she was taking proper care of his/her animals. We are all legally responsible for the care of our animals, and taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay the costs of such care for an owner who faces cruelty charges.

Sufficient evidence of cruelty is of course, open for interpretation. Since the accused has not yet had his day in court, the evidence may consist of an ACO telling a judge about pets with long toenails and/or fleas, accusations we’ve seen numerous times in cruelty cases.

As far as $50,000 a year (or whatever amount is requested by the seizing agency/shelter) being the amount of money an “owner would be incurring already if he/she was taking proper care of his/her animals”, I can anecdotally dispute that. I’ve never made $50,000 a year, I’ve always had a group of pets and they’ve all been properly cared for. I’m not saying they get rushed to the emergency clinic every time they crinkle a whisker but they get neutered, vaccinated, receive heartworm medication, etc. Sometimes their toenails get long, sometimes they get fleas. Maybe I’m just a terrible person.

In any case, the Georgia bill at least addresses the fact that some of those accused of animal cruelty are not going to be convicted:

Under the act, if the owner is found innocent, they would be reimbursed.

Gee, was keeping the money an option?

And for those owners who couldn’t produce a platinum card to pay the seizing agency/shelter? Well your animals were long ago sold. Sucks being you.  But you can cling to your innocence and celebrate the fact that you are now free of this tremendous financial burden of having family members who love you unconditionally and who get dirt on your sheets and stuff.  You’re welcome.

What other ways could a shelter pay for care of seized animals without depriving citizens of due process?  Are cost of care laws acceptable because many, or even most, of those accused of animal cruelty will eventually be found guilty?  How much money could you come up with on short notice to pay your local shelter to cage your animals for months while you await trial?

Disability? I’ll Drink to That! *clink*

drinkingproblemThe city of Fort Worth hired a contract veterinarian, Joel Akin, to neuter animals at the city shelter.  Some of the surgeries reportedly didn’t go well.  After a dog he spayed died at the facility, the rescuer intending to pull the dog asked to speak with him but she says he refused.  A technician at the clinic reported that Akin was drunk on the job.  The city immediately suspended and later fired her for making “irresponsible and unfounded” allegations.

Cue the enabling:

Akin’s boss, code compliance director Brandon Bennett, told a local paper, “Akin had a disability that sometimes caused him to get dizzy and slur his speech but that he was a skilled vet.”

He’s a deadbeat dad who’s also gotten into trouble for assaulting and harassing people BUT, it’s a disability.  I hope we can get him a special parking space.

“He’d had a troubled life,” [Fort Worth assistant city manager Fernando] Costa said. “But not withstanding those problems, he appeared to be fully certified as a veterinarian.”
The I-Team found those problems included a criminal record for driving under the influence, public intoxication and police reports alleging akin was shouting racial slurs in public.

Akin reportedly posted a number of disturbing comments on Facebook while employed by the city, some calling on people to kill Muslims, others described as “suicidal” in nature and uh, some other stuff.

At a hearing in November 2015, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners found that Akin was a “continuing threat and a real danger” to his patients and/or the public and suspended his license.  The city finally canceled Akin’s contract.  After the state vet board took his license away.  Cause before that, he appeared to be fully certified as a veterinarian.  With a disability.

(Thanks Clarice.)

El Paso Shelter Oops-Kills Dogs and They Can’t They Won’t and They Don’t Stop

fox and person

Fox and his person, as shown on the KTSM NBC website.

In October, Juan Gudino was worrying over his lost dog, Fox.  The five year old German shepherd had been missing for two days and to Mr. Gudino, he was family.  He was very relieved when he received a call from El Paso Animal Services letting him know Fox was at the shelter.  He dropped what he was doing in order to immediately head to the shelter to pick up Fox and bring him home.  Upon arrival, Mr. Gudino was shown three German shepherds, none of whom was Fox.  There could not have been any mix-up as Fox had been impounded wearing his collar and ID tag and the shelter had called the owner from that info.  So where was Fox?

It turns out, despite Fox having his ID tag, despite the shelter calling the owner and despite the fact that the owner was on his way to reclaim his pet, the vet at El Paso decided to kill Fox because of a fractured leg and a lack of professionalism communication compassion everything:

Guanina De La Torre is the veterinarian who authorized the euthanization. She says Fox’s death is a result of miscommunication between the office.
“If I had known that there was an owner, I would have not made the decision on my own. And we’re working on systems to improve our communication within the shelter,” says De La Torre.

Oops.

De La Torre said that while she doesn’t regret making the decision to kill Fox, she would not have done so if she had known he had an owner.  Here’s the problem.  Here are all the problems:

  • Fractured legs in dogs are generally treatable.  You know who treats them?  Vets.
  • Euthanasia is only appropriate when an animal is deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian.  Had De La Torre examined Fox and determined he was medically hopeless and suffering?  If not, why did she kill the dog?
  • Does the vet at El Paso Animal Services you know, check with anyone before killing a dog to ask any questions like say, is any owner racing over here right now thinking he’s going to be reunited with his lost family member?  Protocol should dictate a system of checks with multiple shelter staff being involved in verifying a pet’s identity before any action is taken against an animal which can’t be undone.  Does El Paso adopt out pets without verifying there isn’t any known owner?  I hope not.  And if they don’t, why do they kill pets without verifying same?  The former is not easily reversed and the latter – not at all.
  • What the hell is up with the staff showing the owner three other German shepherds before figuring out their vet had killed his?  Oh you’re here for a GSD?  Here are some.  They are interchangeable, yes?
  • How many other pets have been killed at El Paso because of this unprofessional and outright alarming lack of communication?

I don’t know the answer to that last question except to say:  at least one.

tank el paso

Tank, as shown on the Fox Baltimore website.

A few weeks ago, a dog owner received a call from El Paso Animal Services advising her that her brown pitbull, Tank, had gotten out of his yard and bitten a person.  He would have to be quarantined for ten days.  The owner waited ten days then went to the shelter on March 6 to reclaim Tank.  After the proper paperwork was completed, staff brought out a brown pitbull and gave him to the family:

“Right away my husband said this is not our dog, you need to take him back and give us back our dog.”
She said the dog was a skinny, dark brown and looked different than her dog, Tank.
“I pulled out my phone. I showed them a picture of my dog and the veterinarian came out and said, ‘OK we’re sorry we’ll go ahead and find your dog.'”
She said she was told they couldn’t find her dog, but to come back tomorrow.

Dang, these owners must be the snooty, “only our dog will do” type. Apparently brown pitbulls are not as interchangeable as German shepherds.

The owner returned and met with a supervisor:

“As soon as we sat down, he said that there was no easy way of telling me, but that they had accidentally euthanized the wrong dog,” she said. “That they had confused him with another pit bull that was brown and had killed him.”

Oops. El Paso had killed Tank before his ten day quarantine had expired:

She was told her dog got moved from his cage and switched with another dog scheduled to be euthanized.

Oops.  The owner is understandably distraught and considering legal action:

“I believe they should have a better system. Maybe separate the quarantine animals from the animals that need to be euthanized,” she said.

Ya think?  El Paso’s multi-person, multi-check system to verify pets’ identification before killing appears to be non-existent. Like their sense of responsibility:

KDBC requested an on-camera interview with the City of El Paso, but they declined. Instead they issued the following statement:
“Animal Services did erroneously euthanize a dog that had been quarantined at the shelter as a result of a biting incident. We sincerely apologize to the family for the loss of their pet. Animal Services is investigating the incident and will take corrective measures necessary to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”

Similar incidents. I like that. It’s not killing someone’s family member out of incompetence, it’s an incident. Like the cashier getting your coffee order wrong after you told him twice. Although they presumably meant to say “similar more again incidents that we can’t stop doing” but that’s probably just me being picky. Oh and nice taunt putting that “biting incident” right there in the first sentence to make sure everyone knows Tank was not a good dog so no big whoop. Just taking out the trash for you, El Paso.  You’re welcome.

I hope the owner sues their lazy, inept asses.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Former Nevada Pound Director Charged with Cruelty

There have been some developments in the case of the former head of Boulder City AC in Nevada. Readers might remember Mary Jo Frazier as the lady organism accused of killing healthy/treatable animals “for fun”, who was the subject of a police investigation resulting in a recommendation of criminal charges but whose boss decided to sweep the whole thing under the rug and allow her to retire.  Frazier reportedly fled the state.

Frazier’s then-boss, police chief Bill Conger, has also hit the highway:

Conger resigned in January after his staff went to human resources to complain that Frazier’s behavior had been reported to him a full year before taking in action, and resulted in an abrupt departure of its police chief.

A Clark Co grand jury indicted Frazier yesterday on two felony counts of animal cruelty and a warrant has been issued for her arrest. One charge relates to Frazier’s alleged refusal to provide care for a badly injured pitbull puppy because, as a whistleblower told police, “we don’t spend money on pit bulls and because I’m just going to stick her anyway.” The second charge relates to Frazier’s alleged spite-killing of her ex-husband’s dachshund, Oscar.

Thanks, once again, to the irresponsible public for bringing all the irresponsible to their elected officials and shoving it in their faces until they did their jobs:

Public outcry turned into passionate rallies and protests with several victims in attendance.

And several more under mountains of trash at the landfill.

“This is somebody who is being paid to take care of these animals who was killing these animals,” said Nevada State Senator Mark Manendo, who helped lead the fight for the city to submit the case to the Clark County District Attorney for consideration.

Gee, what a thing.

“We had people even saying listen ‘we’d come into be shelters with food and blankets and we were going to walk the animals and there were no animals there,'” Manendo said.

Sooooo everyone was under the assumption the place had a 100% adoption rate and those adoptions happened instantaneously upon impound? No one noticed the dumpster overflowing with pets and attempted to reconcile that with this empty pound? I have to think that someone, probably many someones, did notice. But there was a powerful enabler in the police chief and an environment of hostility and violence. Frazier wielded her absolute power in the cruelest possible way, betraying the animals she was being paid to protect from harm.

I’m glad Frazier is finally being charged. I wish it was more. And I hope the former police chief is next.

(Thanks Clarice.)

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