Martin Co Pound Director Fired and Arrested

Martin Co Animal Control on Landfill Road in Williamston, NC is open from 8:30 – 10:00 am and 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  The website says, with a straight face:

The Martin County Animal encourages animal adoption. […] Please come by during the hours above to consider pets for adoption.

There do not appear to be any listings for lost or adoptable pets on the website.

In 2013, Martin Co AC took in close to 1400 dogs and cats, killing 67% of them. That year, Henley “Pete” Brock was promoted by the county from Lead ACO to Director of the pound.

On February 9, 2015, Brock allegedly attempted to kill a cat then placed the pet in a freezer. The animal was found alive the next morning. Three days later, Brock allegedly attempted to kill another cat then left the facility. An ACO found the pet still alive and brought the animal to a vet where he was re-killed. The first cat is reportedly still alive. The NC Department of Agriculture has suspended Brock’s kill license while it investigates.

An agriculture department spokesman said they have also notified other authorities of possible missing narcotics at the animal shelter. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office referred questions back to the county manager on whether they were also conducting an investigation.

Based upon Brock’s alleged failure to lock up and account for the controlled substances used to kill animals as well as the two botched attempts at cat killings, Martin Co fired Brock. Sounds like he took it well:

WITN News has learned that Brock was arrested today by deputies on a charge of communicating threats. The victim was a former co-worker of Brock’s, according to deputies.

Brock has bonded out of jail. I hope once the state’s (and possibly the county sheriff’s) investigation is complete, all applicable criminal charges related to Brock’s activities at the pound will be brought. Right now, he is not charged with any animal-related crimes.  And I’m not holding my breath while waiting.

Respectful letters demanding a complete and transparent investigation into all possible criminal activities at the Martin Co pound may be sent to:

Do better, Martin Co.  On everything.

(Thanks Clarice and Lisa for the links.)

Houston Has Shipped Thousands of Shelter Dogs to Colorado

Dog ID #A1296681 at BARC, as pictured on PetHarbor.

Dog ID #A1296681 at BARC, as pictured on PetHarbor.

This week, the Houston Press took an in-depth look at the issue of transporting dogs from the city’s BARC shelter to CO.  A well funded group called Rescued Pets Movement (RPM) pulled more than 4300 dogs from the Houston city pound in 2013 and shipped them to rescues in CO.  What happened to the dogs later is unknown:

No one can say with certainty what will happen to all of this shipment’s animals, nor can every other animal transferred to the groups be accounted for.

[…]

It’s no matter, though, because neither Mayor Annise Parker nor BARC Director Greg Damianoff appears to be concerned where the animals wind up, as long as they’re not Houston’s problem anymore.

Feel notfree to ask questions:

The Press learned quickly that asking questions about Houston dumping thousands of animals on another state is a bit of a sore spot. Neither Parker nor Damianoff would talk to us for this story, and BARC delayed the release of public records for 14 days. We had asked for the names of groups RPM partners with — information we believe the public has the right to see, since the public is footing part of the bill.

[…]

If you in any way question RPM’s practices, you are branded a dog-killer.

When the Houston Press contacted one of the receiving rescues to ask for numbers on the dogs imported from Houston, they got the runaround:

[Becca] Orin said she didn’t have exact numbers at the ready for how many RPM dogs Farfel’s [Farm Rescue] received and adopted out in 2013, but that she could probably get them. But, she said, “I’ll have to talk to RPM and see what they want us to say.”

But RPM and BARC are quick to cite numbers regarding the dogs Houston has sent out of state while shining up their PARTICIPANT trophies:

On a recent Facebook post, RPM congratulated BARC — and technically itself — on a January 2015 live release rate of 80.6 percent.

[…]

The numbers are impressive. Hundreds of dogs have been saved from death row. Hundreds more will need saving next month. And RPM will transport those to Colorado. Hundreds more will need saving the month after, and the month after that.

RPM will continue to congratulate BARC on those fabulous percentages. And percentages are math — you just can’t argue with them. On paper, those percentages are damned impressive.

On paper, those percentages don’t point out the obvious: Those dogs and cats are going to Colorado because no city in Colorado is suffering animal overpopulation like Houston is. Those cities, like the cities that Rescue Waggin’ partners with, tackled those problems years ago. And they did not tackle them by sending thousands of animals to Texas or anywhere else.

While it’s true that Colorado is not killing as many shelter pets as Texas, Colorado does still kill animals.  And many of them might have been saved had resources not been directed toward animals imported from other states.

If we take a look at the 2013 statistics (the most recent year available at this time) for all of Colorado’s registered shelters and rescues, we see the state started out the year with roughly 5000 dogs already in the system.  Over the course of the year, shelters and rescues took in roughly 79,000 additional dogs and imported more than 17,000 dogs from out of state.  Of the total reported dogs in the system, about 2000 were listed as DOA leaving roughly 82,000 dogs as potentially savable, excluding those imported from out of state.  We know that not every dog is savable but there are a number of open admission shelters in the United States saving 99% of their dogs.  In comparison, approximately 9% of the dogs in the CO system were killed or died in shelter care in 2013, excluding the imports. Instead of saving 99%, CO only saved 91% of its own dogs (and that’s including roughly 4000 dogs listed as “missing, stolen, etc.”), and then imported 17,000 more from other states.

I asked Davyd Smith of No Kill Colorado how both the importation of dogs and breed specific legislation (BSL), the discriminatory practice of banning dogs based on body shape, contributes to the needless killing of dogs in the state:

Colorado imported 17,000 dogs from out of state in 2013 and killed 7,000. Now even assuming that half of these dogs were truly euthanized, that means we passed an opportunity to save 3,500 because we imported too many dogs from other states.

BSL is still a problem in Colorado. Because of BSL there are many communities, including the single metro area of Denver, where Pit Bull types are not legal. 4,800 of the 7,000 dogs killed were Pit Bull type dogs. Clearly, they are not being assessed for temperament or health to land on the kill floor.

By shipping dogs to CO, Houston will not solve its shelter killing problems, which stem not from pet overpopulation (which has been debunked), but from a failure to fully implement the proven model used by successful open admission no kill shelters all over the country.  And Colorado will presumably continue to kill its own dogs who are being displaced by dogs imported from out of state.

Colorado is in a position to help shelter pets in its neighboring states but has no right to take the lives of healthy/treatable dogs already in its shelter system while importing more.  Colorado needs to get its house in order by saving every shelter animal who can be saved statewide, regardless of body shape.  This might mean reducing the number of imported dogs in order to redirect resources toward those already in CO shelters, waiting for help.  And it most certainly means directing resources toward the elimination of breed bans.  Likewise, Houston could redirect the vast resources being spent on transport toward implementing the programs of the No Kill Equation in order to save its own shelter pets.

An unwavering commitment to saving the lives of every healthy/treatable animal in the shelter is the foundation of no kill.  Start there.

(Thank you Clarice and Davyd for the links.)

Nobody Wants to Kill Animals: Josephine Co Edition

Screengrab from KTVL showing a portion of a protest sign held by a Riley supporter.

Screengrab from KTVL showing a portion of a protest sign held by a Riley supporter.

A dog reportedly wandered into a family’s yard in Grant’s Pass, Oregon last month.  The family kept the dog for 3 weeks, calling her Riley, while area animal advocates networked her to find her possible owner.  Riley was reportedly a friendly dog who got along well with humans of all ages, canines and chickens.

On January 10, Riley got lost and was picked up by the Josephine Co pound.  Those who had been working to help the dog attempted to get her out but were refused.  First the county said Riley had to be held for a minimum of 3 days for possible owner redemption.  Then the county said they had to keep her for a veterinary evaluation, which took another week.  Riley reportedly tested positive for heartworm and passed a temperament test while at the pound.  Her advocates raised money from the community for heartworm treatment, found an adopter and continued to seek her release from the pound.

Making no headway, a protest was organized for Monday, January 26.  Protesters showed up at the county courthouse with signs saying “Save Riley”.  But the pound had already killed Riley on Friday, January 23.  County commissioner Cherryl Walker issued a statement that day in response to the public outcry.  She states Riley was killed upon recommendation of a vet because the dog:

  • had fleas and ticks
  • was over 8 years old
  • had tested positive for heartworm
  • had “demonstrated aggressive behavior”

Obviously failing to sell even herself on her lame excuses, Ms. Walker goes on to imply that heartworm is as frightening a public health issue as malaria and that Riley may have died undergoing treatment anyway.  So to protect the community from malaria heartworm and since you know, dog could have fallen over dead anytime, anywhere, anyway, the county decided to kill her.  She makes no mention of the rescuers trying to adopt the dog, that it wouldn’t have cost the county any resources to save Riley or that Riley had a right to live, even if she wasn’t young and even though she had parasites.

Diane Hoover, director of the county health department which oversees the pound, is totally fine with Riley’s killing:

“I don’t feel like overriding a vet’s recommendation, when he’s a licensed professional,” Hoover said.

Yeah sometimes I don’t feel like putting forth effort at my job either.  But then I worry maybe my boss won’t feel like paying me if I don’t do a decent job.  I guess Ms. Hoover doesn’t have that concern.  No need to seek a second opinion from another vet or let the dog go to the adopter who wanted her or anything at all actually.

[The Josephine Co pound] typically has to euthanize more than 500 dogs a year. More than 700 dogs are adopted out to good homes in an average year.

Has to?  Because Riley’s case makes it seem more like WANTS TO.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Forsyth Co Officials SavingNotSaving Pets from the Cold

Forsyth Co, NC:

Over the last two days, at least 57 animals were saved from the sub-freezing temperatures in Forsyth County.

Animals saved.  Yay!

However, FOX8 has learned that at least one of these animals will be euthanized.

[…]

Many more of the animals may meet the same fate.

Animals saved?

“If they do die, it’s a humane death. It’s not the type of situation they’d face if we didn’t do anything,” [Forsyth Co Animal Control’s Lt. John Day] said.

If we didn’t do anything – like for example, kill them.  Which sounds pretty terrible but did we mention it’s humane and such?

As if things aren’t bleak enough for animals outside in Forsyth Co, the people killing them have enablers:

There are a lot more things worse than euthanasia,” said the nonprofits’ Jennifer Tierney. “They would have continued to live like that had it not been that they were taken.”

There are no fates worse than death.  Where there’s life, there’s hope.  Is anyone in Forsyth Co advocating for the rights these animals have to live?  We don’t have to choose between letting them freeze to death or killing them with injectable poison.  There’s always that third option of respecting their right to life and the county actually doing its job to shelter them.

She also wants anyone who might feel sick realizing they called in a tip on a cold pet and probably got them killed to know that they shouldn’t worry:

“You did the right thing to protect them, and it’s everybody’s responsibility to look out for these dogs,” she said. “Keep your eyes open and report everything you see and keep reporting it. You are the voice for the voiceless.”

Oh yes compassionate citizens of Forsyth Co, definitely keep your eyes peeled for any lost or homeless pet you might be able to “save” or “protect” by getting them into the hands of people who think death is a kindness.

With any luck, the freezing temperatures will snap their phone lines.

(Thank you Jan for the link.)

Dallas Pound Secretly Kills Four Dogs Slated for Rescue

 Photo attributed to Deborah Whittington, as shown on the Daily Mail website.

Photo attributed to Deborah Whittington, as shown on the Daily Mail website.

Dallas Animal Services functions primarily as a pet killing facility, killing more than half of the animals taken in last year.  You don’t earn the moniker “pet killing facility” without putting forth some effort – specifically, killing most of the animals in your care.  There is not going to be a whole lot in the way of justifications for killing.  It’s just the thing you mainly do to your animals.

So hardly a surprise to read that on January 1, the Dallas pound killed 4 dogs who were slated for rescue.  The dogs were reportedly part of a larger group whom local rescuers were getting into foster homes after the owner reached out for help.  Rescuers say they in turn reached out to Dallas Animal Services for temporary assistance with 4 of the dogs in order to buy time to secure more fosters.  There was reportedly an agreement between rescuers and Dallas Animal Services that the dogs would be listed under “protective custody” which indicates a 10 day hold.  But at the pound, the dogs were listed as “owner surrenders” which indicates they are eligible for immediate killing, at the discretion of pound workers.  The pound housed the dogs for 2 days, then killed all 4, citing “health and behavior”.  When rescuers tried to visit the dogs a few days later, they learned of the killings.

Dallas Animal Services released this statement:

On Tuesday, Dec. 30, Dallas Animal Services officers picked up four dogs. The owner gave the dogs to DAS in hopes of finding them a new home. They ranged in age from about one to eight-years old. The officers took the animals to the City shelter, where they were entered into the system as “owner surrenders.” Two days later, on Jan. 1, all four dogs were euthanized by DAS staff based on their health and behavior.

On Monday, Jan. 5, community members said potential homes had been found for the dogs. DAS is now conducting a complete investigation to determine if system failures and/or performance issues may have contributed to the incident. Once the investigation is complete, we will share our findings and potential next steps.

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.

Oh gee, I hope no one was swigging coffee when reading that part about being “committed to life-saving efforts and continued progress”.  If so, I hope your keyboard doesn’t stay sticky for too long.

Rescuers dispute the city’s claim that the dogs had behavioral problems requiring death and have filed a complaint with the city manager.  Dallas Animal Services is investigating itself in the matter.

Here’s the problem:  While advocating for the right that these 4 dogs had to live is a worthy effort, it does nothing to change the fact that Dallas taxpayers are paying for a “shelter” which primarily kills animals.  It does not alter the pound’s policy that owner surrenders are eligible for immediate killing, if workers so choose, without so much as a phone call, email or internet posting notifying anyone of the intention to kill.  This policy is entirely inconsistent with the “lifesaving efforts” the pound claims it is committed to and effectively dooms any animal listed, correctly or incorrectly, as “owner surrender” to the whim of whomever is making up the kill list for the day.  Pets whom the public is willing to save will continue to be killed under this system, as should be obvious.  And many more owner surrendered pets whom the public might be able to save if only they knew the animals needed help, will also continue to be killed.

Dallas Animal Services needs to immediately dispense with its killing for convenience policies and at the very least, adopt a slightly more progressive approach.  All animals, except those few deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian, should be guaranteed at least a chance to survive the pound.  Killing animals without a minimum of 2 business days notice to the public should be summarily abandoned.  Advance notification to all interested parties, including rescuers and potential adopters, should be made in addition to the public notices posted online for each individual animal.

It is human nature to hide those things of which we are ashamed and thus we see so much secrecy in the kill rooms of our animal shelters.  But that doesn’t make it any less objectionable.  As taxpayers, we must demand our shelters do their jobs and actually shelter animals.  Those who refuse must be held accountable through transparent government policies and actions. If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

SC Pound Kills Microchipped Lost Dog Without Contacting Owner

Mocha, as shown on the WBTV website.

Mocha, as shown on the WBTV website.

On New Year’s Eve, a 10 year old chocolate Lab called Mocha got lost in York Co, SC.  Her family searched for her for 2 days, calling AC numerous times and posting fliers in the area.  A York Co pound worker finally told owner Mike Cunningham that Mocha had been brought in on December 31 and killed due to severe injury.  The county says Mocha had been hit by a car, “was barely breathing and was euthanized on the recommendation of a veterinarian.”

The Good Sam who found Mocha on New Year’s Eve painted a rather different picture, telling the owner Mocha did not appear to be seriously hurt and just had a “spot” on her hip:

“To listen to a story of a man that I don’t know tell me that he picked my dog up and he pet my dog and my dog was moving her head and was responsive. And then to be told that she was squashed like a grape. I find it hard to believe that there could be that big of an inconsistency in stories,” Cunningham said.

Even if we were to set aside the differing stories and the failure of the pound to tell the owner what they had done with his dog the first several times he called, Mr. Cunningham says Mocha was wearing a collar with identification and was microchipped.  So why didn’t York Co AC contact him?  On top of all this, Mr. Cunningham requested Mocha’s remains and was given a cardboard box filled with ashes of all the dogs the pound had killed and cremated at the same time they did Mocha.

Had the county done its job and contacted the owner off the ID tag or the microchip when she was brought in, the owner could have taken Mocha for veterinary treatment.  Had the county at least contacted the owner immediately after killing Mocha, the owner could have gotten the dog’s remains back and seen the extent of the injuries himself or had a necropsy performed by a vet. Failing both of these, had the county admitted to Mr. Cunningham they had killed Mocha when he first called, it’s still possible he could have obtained his pet’s remains.

Now I’m wondering about the other ashes in that cardboard box.  Were any of those pets owned and loved, wearing ID and microchipped when York Co killed them?  Are their owners still searching for them?  How long has this been going on in York Co?

York Co says it will investigate itself in the matter.  The owner says he plans to sue.  I hope he does.  There is no excuse.

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

MAS Kills Dog Good Samaritan Wanted to Adopt

Photo by Vickie Carter

Photo by Vickie Carter

On December 16, Vickie Carter was driving her car and saw two dogs attacking a third dog.  She stopped to help.  After breaking up the fight, the dog who was being attacked ran into her car through an open door.  Although he appeared to have minor injuries from the fight, he seemed to be in otherwise good shape.  Ms. Carter called the police for assistance and decided to take the dog to Memphis Animal Services, which was right across the street from where she found him.  She thought he must live in the neighborhood and his owners would be able to find him at MAS, where he could receive vet care for his wounds in the meantime.  Ms. Carter photographed the dog in her car in order to network him on social media before taking him to the pound.

Photo by Vickie Carter

Photo by Vickie Carter

At MAS, Ms. Carter says she was very clear in her communication with staff:  she asked them to make sure the dog was not killed because she planned to get him out one way or another if no owner reclaimed him.  She and a friend began networking the dog online and both women placed phone calls to MAS to reiterate the “do not kill” request.  Between the two of them, Vickie says they spoke with multiple staff members, a veterinarian and MAS director James Rogers.  Ms. Carter says that in a phone conversation with a staffer on December 18, she offered to personally adopt the dog if no one claimed him and was told she had to wait until December 20 because the dog was on mandatory hold until then.

But when Ms. Carter went to MAS to adopt the dog on Saturday the 20th, she couldn’t find him.  She asked a staffer about the dog and was finally told he had been killed.  Ms. Carter was understandably upset and says she asked many questions, including why the dog was killed.  But no one at MAS provided any answers of any kind beyond “I don’t know.”

Now Ms. Carter is heartbroken.  She says she plans to attend the next public meeting of the shelter advisory board and is working to get this dog’s story out to the public.  She wants to know why MAS killed this dog, despite her offer to adopt.  And she wants people to know that when she was at MAS, the place was half empty but they killed the dog she wanted to save anyway.

I wish I could say this is the first time we’ve ever seen a story like this out of MAS but tragically, it’s the So Many I’ve Lost Track time we’ve seen this same scenario.  MAS has always been primarily a pet killing facility.  And until someone is able to buck the status quo, fire the animal killers and send the enablers scurrying back under their rocks, it always will be.

How many more, Memphis?

Advocates Allege Animals “Barbarically” Killed for Convenience at Irvine Shelter

It has long been the position of this blog that numbers alone do not tell the complete story of any shelter.  Individual lives matter.  As shelter pet advocates, it is up to us to advocate for the right to live of every healthy/treatable shelter animal – not just the ones who fall within an arbitrary statistical analysis.  There is no save rate percentage that is “good enough” at any shelter if it means even one healthy/treatable animal was killed there or that any animal needlessly suffered while being euthanized.

I am glad to see advocates in Irvine, CA taking action on behalf of shelter pets there.  Mind you, there hasn’t been any reported increase in killing at the Irvine Animal Care Center, which has a reputation for being a “low kill” facility.  But advocates are speaking out regarding the reasons and methods used to kill shelter animals.

For example, records show a 2 year old Chihuahua named Tate was fed a half can of food and taken for a walk one morning in July.  He ate all his food and would have gladly eaten more according to an employee.  Instead, he was killed just minutes later for “not eating” and “orthopedic conditions”.

That same month, a cat named Cody was brought in by his owner for euthanasia but was left to suffer for 2 hours while he was injected with Fatal Plus IV, then IP and finally IC before finally dying.

The Irvine shelter sent x-rays on a rabbit with a dislocated hip to a private vet for an opinion.  The vet recommended repair but Irvine killed the pet instead.

Advocates also cite killing while cages sit empty, reduction of volunteer hours and scaling back lifesaving programs at the Irvine facility.  Rita Gatto has volunteered at the shelter for 10 years:

Euthanasia numbers have been kept low, she said, because volunteers and staff have taken in animals that were slated to be killed. But those homes are now full and some staff have quit because of what she terms an oppressive work environment.

The euthanasia numbers in Irvine, Gatto added, will rise going forward when they reflect what she views as the shelter’s new policies.

“Right now, Irvine is not euthanizing for humane reasons, but killing animals for convenience,” Gatto said.

Last week, advocates spoke before the city council to request an independent investigation of the Irvine shelter, claiming management has bullied individuals who have questioned the killing:

In a 50-page report presented to council members, advocates described a progressively hostile work environment toward staff and volunteers in the past 18 months. The report cites several incidents of careless treatment leading to animals being destroyed.

“I saw, and assisted, in the euthanasia of animals that had not even been diagnosed [with an illness or a disability] or seen by a veterinarian,” former center staff member Ava Crittenden told the council. She resigned her position last week.

“Sadly, I realized the shelter developed a culture that did not center on animal welfare.”

Another speaker painted an even darker picture:

“Today, animals are being euthanized carelessly, barbarically, for space and just out of laziness for not wanting to care for them any further,” said one speaker, who said she had volunteered at the center for 11 years.

Several speakers said they have been expressing their concerns and requesting action for months, to no avail.  Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway was all *shrug*:

“I got a few emails, maybe some letters, this summer,” Lalloway said. “I remember specifically asking the city manager to look into it.”

I asked someone to look into whatever might have been said in maybe some letters but I guess they didn’t because I don’t know.

I hope the advocates in Irvine aren’t putting all their hopes in the mayor’s basket.  Because the bottom fell out of that basket some time back and nobody noticed.

If anyone has a copy of that 50 page report, I’d like to read it.  E-mail me.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Mass Cat Killing Threatened in Indianapolis Pound

Vaccination is the name of the game when it comes to preventing and minimizing outbreaks of panleukopenia in shelter cats.  Some takeaways from the Koret Shelter Medicine Program info sheet on panleukopenia:

Kittens are at highest risk for this disease, and adult cats with current vaccinations are at very low risk.

[…]

Vaccination for panleukopenia is highly effective if performed correctly.

[…]

All cats 4-5 weeks of age and older should receive a modified live panleukopenia vaccine immediately upon shelter entry[.]

In addition to vaccination upon intake, shelters must follow appropriate cleaning protocols and housing requirements for all cats in order to prevent and minimize panleukopenia outbreaks. During an outbreak, Koret’s recommendations include:

  • Quarantine and isolate all at-risk cats for [the virus’s incubation period of] 14 days.
  • Minimize foster kitten return and place new intakes into non-contaminated rooms.

Indianapolis Animal Care and Control is currently facing an outbreak of panleukopenia. Last week the pound killed 20 cats in response to the outbreak and announced that 80 more would be killed. Dawn Contos, the pound’s community outreach coordinator, told the media that the public is being asked not to drop off cats in need for the next 2 weeks. Any cats who are brought to the pound will be killed.

When asked about how the outbreak could have been prevented, Ms. Contos told WTHR:

“I don’t know that a vet could have prevented this. Honestly, what prevents panleukopenia is vaccinating your cats.”

She doesn’t know whether a vet could have prevented the outbreak. Because Indianapolis ACC doesn’t have one. The position, along with that of director, has been vacant almost all year. So in the absence of a leadership team, I guess the plan is kill every cat in the place and let the flying spaghetti monster sort them out.

She’s right on the vaccination issue though. So totally right. Although I notice she terms it as “your cats”, implying the so-called irresponsible public is at fault, when the cats currently at the shelter are in effect your cats, Ms. Contos. Taxpayers pay you and the rest of the staff to shelter them and protect them from harm.  And the question must be asked, have you been vaccinating your cats per standard shelter protocols? Because if you have, there is no reason to worry about your adult cats – they are protected. In addition, some of your cats have likely already been vaccinated by their previous owners – so they are protected even if you have failed in your duties. And your kittens can safely be quarantined and monitored for symptoms.  There is simply no need for a mass killing, whatever the case.

As often happens when these stories make it to the media, the irresponsible public immediately stepped up to save lives:

Several animal shelter and rescue organizations have worked to save more than 100 cats from what they considered unnecessary death at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control[.]

So while the Indianapolis pound continues to flail without a director or veterinarian, the public continues to work hard, trying to do the staff’s jobs for them, even as the pound spokesman attempts to foist blame on the very people networking, donating, fostering, and adopting.

IACC – your cats are alive today and safe in the care of the public.  You’re welcome.  But you’ll be taking in more cats, since that’s what taxpayers pay you to do.  Will you start doing your jobs now?

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Lake Co Pound Director Kills 147 animals in 9 Days, Gets Fired

Last year, Jacquelyn Johnston was a clinic supervisor at the Miami Dade pound.  She killed animals for convenience in spite of the fact that the county commission had unanimously passed a no kill resolution after voters overwhelmingly demanded it.  In an e-mail to rescuers last summer, Johnston described some of the pets she was going to kill unless rescuers saved them with just a few hours notice:

“Sweet big boy, now has URI’’ — upper respiratory infection.

“Nervous and shy, but warms up if you spend time with her.’’

“Older pet but would make a great senior retiree…’’

“Adopter never showed up, super sweet, already spayed, 35-40 lbs.’’

“This is the one who came in from a caring homeless man, conformed pittie’’ — pit bull terrier, illegal in Miami-Dade

“Has ticks that we are treating. Needs out by tomorrow, no more time.’’

“Just a puppy and been here too long.’’

On October 1, the troubled Lake Co pound in FL hired Johnston as director. The sheriff’s office that runs the pound reportedly clearly explained to Johnston that getting animals out alive was her number one priority and that killing animals was only to be done as a last resort.

Johnston apparently thought she was in keeping with this directive when she immediately embarked on a massive killing spree. In nine days, Johnston had killed 147 animals. Someone alerted the sheriff’s office and Johnston was fired on the spot. Too late for 147 animals, including “some dogs that could have made good pets for people” according to Lt. John Herell with the sheriff’s office.  But let’s face it, the death toll could have climbed even higher had she not been shown the door.

While I do not claim to know what Johnston was thinking while she was on her killfest at Lake Co, it seems to me the situation is symptomatic of our broken shelter system.  Instead of sheltering animals, they kill them.  Instead of calling it killing (which is what it is), they call it euthanasia – a kindness.  Instead of doing their jobs to protect and rehome animals, they violate their most basic right – the right to live.  When we criticize them for killing, they tell us they are doing the best they can, we all want the same thing and that we shouldn’t judge unless we are willing to go down there and kill animals ourselves.

Everything is ass backwards and tragically, this is the norm, not the exception in our broken shelter system.  When you explain to someone who would kill “just a puppy” for convenience that killing is a last resort at your facility and her job is to get animals out alive, she likely recognized the same old song and dance.  Riiiight, nobody wants to kill animals, nudge nudge, wink wink.

And then she started in doing what she apparently perceived to be her job:  Say one thing publicly, do the opposite behind closed doors.  Call it pet overpopulation, kill animals.  Blame the irresponsible public, kill animals.  Say you’re doing your best to get pets into homes, kill animals.  This is what these people do.  They are monsters.  I don’t know if they were always monsters or if working a job where they kill friendly dogs and cats for a paycheck made them that way, nor do I care.  What I care about is saving shelter pets.

If Lake Co cared about protecting the lives of the animals in their care, they wouldn’t have given this new hire a few talking points, a box of Fatal Plus and sent her on her way.  Lake Co should have built protections for the animals into the system.  No animal killing without veterinary authorization, for example.  No animal killing without approval from the sheriff’s office.  No animal killing without a minimum 2 business days notice posted online listing all animals to be killed along with their photos.  But apparently all Lake Co gave Johnston was the key to the drug cupboard and a nudge nudge wink wink directive that killing is a last resort.

Johnston is not an anomaly.  She is typical of the type of long term employee who seeks out work in pet killing facilities.  She knew the routine.  She listened to the Lake Co sheriff’s office talk about saving animals and got the message:  kill.  This is why shelter reform is so desperately needed in this country.  Not only are shelters killing animals, they are employing monsters.  In Lake Co, Johnston was stopped and the animals she hadn’t yet managed to kill got lucky.

Are the animals housed in your local pet killing facility lucky?  Or is the director there still killing at will, probably with the support of your elected officials who don’t care to know the truth?  And are you being marginalized for your animal advocacy, being told you don’t understand what a hard job it is and that nobody wants to kill animals?

To the person or persons who spoke up for the animals being needlessly killed in Lake County – thank you.  Keep going.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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