NC Pound Closes to the Public Due to Weather but Heroically Keeps Kill Room Open

little boy

Little Boy, as pictured on the ABC 11 website.

There are levels of appalling.  This story is all top tier appalling.  It’s the appallingest.

On Monday, January 18, Teresa Panameno let her cat outside.  Little Boy never came home.  He was trapped by a neighbor and Wake Co ACOs picked him up the next day.  Like many pets who get trapped by cat hating neighbors and taken to places that kill roughly half the cats they are supposed to be sheltering, Little Boy was not in a ball of yarn playing mood.  Instead of recognizing his behavior as normal under the circumstances, the Wake Co pound rushed to deem him unowned and unadoptable:

Dr. Jennifer Federico, Director of Wake County Animal Services told ABC11 that the cat was immediately deemed feral for his aggressive nature, and given the state-mandated stray hold of 72 hours.

Meanwhile Ms. Panameno continued searching for Little Boy, including looking at the animals listed on the Wake Co pound’s website. She finally saw his picture posted on the site on Thursday, January 21 and began calling the shelter.  No one was answering the phone so she sent an email.  But no one was answering emails either.  The office staff had gone home in preparation for a storm that was moving through the area.  The front office stayed closed on Friday due to inclement weather but Wake Co kept the kill room up and running for business as usual.  Little Boy was killed on Friday, while his owner was trying to get him back.

Someone from the pound finally answered Ms. Panameno’s email on Sunday, advising that her pet could not be handled at the time he was impounded, failing to mention that he had been killed while the place was closed to the public.  So the next day, Ms. Panameno drove to the pound, cat carrier in hand, to bring Little Boy home.  Gee, I bet that was a swell conversation to have.

But the director is all NO REGRETS:

Federico maintains the shelter followed procedure[.]
[…]
“It’s just sad all around,” Federico said.

Noooo.  When you wait by the mailbox for weeks for your Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring and then it finally arrives and you figure out the special message Little Orphan Annie had for you was a crummy commercial, that’s just sad all around.  When you accept an owned pet from a cat hating neighbor, immediately label him unowned, then close for business due to weather but keep your kill room open, then fail to admit to the owner what you’ve done so that she walks into your facility full of hope, expecting to take her beloved family member home, that’s unconditionally appalling.  Your precious procedure sucks.  If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(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.)

Texas Shelter Oops-Kills Dog with Adopter Waiting

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

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

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

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

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

Ya think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Memphis Pound Fails to List Animals Online for 10 Days

Screenshot of the last 4 dogs listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Screenshot of the last 4 dogs listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Screenshot of the last 4 cats listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Screenshot of the last 4 cats listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Animal advocates are concerned that once again, Memphis Animal Services is not updating the only online listings the city does for animals at the facility:  PetHarbor.  These listings, while far from ideal, are essential since MAS has limited hours, limited services, and lots of locked doors where animals are hidden from view.  In some cases, the online listing is the only way for anyone to know an animal is being kept at the facility.  As usual, MAS director James Rogers blames technical difficulties and wants everyone to please stand by:

From: Lou Ann Selves
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 3:06 PM
To: Rogers, James; Tunstall, DeKeishia Masha; Dunlap, Tracy
Subject: Pet Harbor

PetHarbor shows the last dogs that came into the shelter were on October 19. No dogs have been brought in since that date or has no one updated? Considering review dates are critical, some have a small chance of getting out of there if their info is not available.

Lou Ann Selves

***

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:41 PM, <James.Rogers@memphistn.gov> wrote:
Good afternoon Lou Ann,

We are aware of the issue and working with our IS department and Chameleon customer service to correct. Your patience is appreciated.

Thank you

James M. Rogers
Administrator, MAS

***

From: Lou Ann Selves
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 3:54 PM
To: Rogers, James
Cc: Tunstall, DeKeishia Masha; Dunlap, Tracy
Subject: Re: Pet Harbor

How will this “issue” affect the animals’ review dates who are coming into the shelter and have no chance to be posted to PetHarbor?

***

From: <James.Rogers@memphistn.gov>
Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:55 PM
Subject: RE: Pet Harbor
To: Louann Selves
Cc: DeKeishia.Tunstall@memphistn.gov, tracy.dunlap@memphistn.gov

MAS will adjust accordingly. Thanks
***

Adjust accordingly. So MAS has been no kill for 10 days or… erm, something else?  The animals must really be piling up.  MAS might finally have to use all those brand new cages that have been collecting dust since the place opened.  Or not – video of the Puppy(less) Room at MAS taken this week by Jody Fisher:

So where are all the animals who have been impounded by MAS over the last 10 days?  Where are all the animals whose review dates have been adjusted in order to compensate for the city’s failure to list them online so they can be reclaimed, rescued or adopted?  Why does MAS have so many technical difficulties using PetHarbor?  Is PetHarbor designed for rocket scientist use only?  I reached out to Chameleon for comment last time MAS was blaming the company for the failure to post photos of animals (not very long ago) but no one responded.  Hopefully they are more responsive to their customers who have com-pew-tor problems.  Ten days is an awfully long time to leave animals’ lives hanging in the balance – if in fact any are actually still alive.

ASPCA Knows All About Your Dog. And All the Dogs.

On Tuesday, the police in Huntersville, NC, accompanied by Char-Meck AC and representatives from the ASPCA, raided a property allegedly used for dogfighting and seized 16 adult pitbulls and 7 puppies. The dogs have been taken to a secret location.  No one has been charged at this point but the investigation is ongoing.

Kathryn Destreza, ASPCA’s director of investigation, immediately began smearing the victims:

“They’re alive, but they are in various states of medical conditions,” she said. “They’re not pets by any means, not like your dog, but they’re currently going through their medical evaluations.”

They’re not pets by any means. They’re not like your dog. Gee, that’s so weird because they remind me very much of my dog:

This lovely dog in Huntersville, NC is pictured on the ASPCA website with a fat head and a sweet expression.

This lovely dog in Huntersville, NC is pictured on the ASPCA website with a fat head and a sweet expression.

My dog has a fat head and a sweet expression too.

My dog has a fat head and a sweet expression too.

This sweet dog in Huntersville, NC is pictured in a video on the ASPCA website getting a scratch and a hug from a person.

This sweet dog in Huntersville, NC is pictured in a video on the ASPCA website getting a scratch and a hug from a person.

My dog likes to get a scratch and a hug too.

My dog likes to get a scratch and a hug too.

Kissy pup

This pup in Huntersville, NC is pictured in a video on the ASPCA website giving kisses to her buddy.

My dog likes to give kisses to her buddies too.

My dog likes to give kisses to her buddy too.

So weird, right?  But I guess they’re not like my dog somehow, even though they totally seem like my dog.  Because ASPCA.

Rescued.  Smeared.  Taken to a secret location.  And, I presume, already being used for fundraising purposes by the ASPCA.

What say you, unwashed masses?  Do the dogs in Huntersville remind you of your dog?  Could a dog who hasn’t been treated as a pet in past start being treated like one and possibly like it?  Will anyone stand up for these dogs and demand their rights to live, to love and to be loved be protected?  If only there was some kind of society for the prevention of cruelty to animals that could do that.

(Thanks Nathan for the link.)

Cook Co Officials Bicker Over Who’s the Bigger Jerk

When the former residents of a foreclosed home in the Chicago area abandoned the house, they also abandoned their dog. A German shepherd was found in a cage in a filthy, sweltering garage last month by Cook Co sheriff’s deputies. Found and left:

“The eviction officers who locked up the house left her in the garage without food or water,” neighbor Cynthia Villanueva told the Chicago Tribune. “How could anyone that was locking down a house for an eviction leave without taking the dog out?

“You could hear her barking continually. … I just don’t understand how this happened.”

How it happened takes a little sorting. The sheriff’s department says it called Cook Co AC to alert them that the dog needed to be picked up. Cook Co AC says no such call was ever received – they even double checked their call log to be totally super sure that the police were pants on fire. Then the sheriff’s department got all evidence-y:

But the sheriff’s department released a tape of a July 13 call in which a woman is clearly heard saying, “Cook County Animal Control, may I help you?” A sheriff’s officer then says, “Cook County Sheriff’s Police calling” and that there’s “a dog to picked up from an eviction” and giving the address in Worth.

“It’s a German shepherd in the garage,” the officer says, giving the name and phone number of the receiver, the person representing the bank, who would be waiting for animal control at the garage.

Animal control apparently never sent anyone to the house.

Oops. Also: busted. But don’t fret – Cook Co AC is investigating itself in the matter.

Asked if animal control dropped the ball, [a spokesman for the county board who had previously denied the existence of the phone call] said, “I respect the question, but I can’t comment on something that’s under investigation.”

Under investigation by the people who, at best, are incompetent to the point of being dangerous and at worst, intentionally left an animal to suffer, covered it up, got caught and now need time to make up some other shit as an excuse.  Yeah I wouldn’t want to comment on that either.

The sheriff’s department spokesman says:

“From what I understand, we did everything correctly.”

Well gee, everything’s correct and questions are respected. It’s nice.

The dog survived all the correctness and respect and is now recovering at an area shelter, thanks to the neighbor who called the police and insisted the dog be helped.  Oh Irresponsible Public, I wish I knew how to quit you.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

MI Shelter Records Appear Falsified to Hide the Killing of Healthy Pets

Nancy Hornberger, a pet owner in Michigan, had a multiple cat household with one cat who kept fighting with the others and spraying urine.  Aside from this, Spitz was a loving pet and Ms. Hornberger felt he might enjoy life more in a single cat home.  She called the Oakland Co Animal Shelter and asked about having the shelter rehome Spitz.  Ms. Hornberger says she was told that as long as the cat was healthy and adoptable, they would put him on the adoption floor.  She packed up Spitz’s favorite food and toys and wrote a two page letter about him to be given to whoever adopted the cat.  Ms. Hornberger then surrendered Spitz, his belongings and the letter to the Oakland Co shelter so he could find his perfect home.

But Oakland Co killed Spitz minutes after the former owner hit the door.  Ms. Hornberger found out later, after animal advocates filed FOIA requests and received records for animals who were killed and categorized as “owner requested euthanasia” by the shelter.  When informed of Spitz’s killing, Ms. Hornberger collapsed.  She could not understand why her lovable pet would be killed instead of being offered for adoption by the shelter.  And she says she absolutely did not ask the shelter staff to kill him:

We never, in any way, requested that.

The Oakland Co shelter’s website indicates they are limited admission for cats:

Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center will operate as an open admission shelter for cats based on available capacity starting January 2, 2015. That means we will not accept cats when we do not have room to house them. After consulting with veterinary staff and other experts in animal shelter operations, we will implement the industry’s best practices.  By limiting the number of cats we house, we will be able to offer the very best care to our existing cat population.

It would seem to follow that the facility had adequate space to house Spitz at the time he was accepted.  Also, for those trying to re-read that last paragraph:  open admission=limited admission in Oakland Co, apparently.

(Photo by Casey Post)

(Photo by Casey Post)

WXYZ asked Oakland County Director of Public Services Mark Newman why Spitz was killed. He says that the cat was deemed unadoptable due to the urine spraying and too bad so sad the owner failed to understand that at the time she surrendered Spitz. Ms. Hornberger says if she would have known Spitz would be killed, she would never have left him at the shelter.

So what exactly makes an animal “unadoptable” at Oakland Co?

As for the shelters written policy on what makes an animal adoptable, it won’t be posted at the shelter or its website.

“It is not something we disseminate to the public, but it is our information,” said Newman.

It’s classified. But WXYZ got a copy of the document detailing the excuses used by Oakland Co to kill animals, which the shelter titled “CARES” because aw. Among the excuses:

  • Animals designated “treatable/manageable” may be given one week before being recategorized as “untreatable/unhealthy” – not because these animals actually are either untreatable or unhealthy, just because it’s been a week and hey, we’re not running a doggie hotel here people.
  • Examples of treatable/manageable conditions include: cough, cold, arthritis, fleas, worms, cherry eye, missing eye/limb or other physical disability, and having the audacity to be born while being cared for by a mother. One week to get over that lost eye or that being born thing.
  • Examples of untreatable/unhealthy conditions include: healthy feral cats, dental disease, ringworm, and skin mites. I love that healthy feral cats are included in the definition of unhealthy because that just makes sense. Healthy=unhealthy, what’s the problem – you stupid or something?
(Photo by Casey Post)

(Photo by Casey Post)

One thing I didn’t see on the list was spraying, which is supposedly a capital offense in Oakland Co. The closest thing I could find:

Have a behavioral, temperamental or medical characteristic that would pose a danger to other animals, themselves or the public.

Does Oakland Co think cat urine is a public health threat?

Lest anyone think that Spitz’s killing represents an isolated incident at Oakland Co, the shelter’s own records seem to reveal it is a regular occurrence. Records appear to be falsified as “owner requested euthanasia” on numerous animals, including strays killed upon impound instead of being held for the legally mandated holding period and pets who are given nail trims and vaccines prior to being killed, supposedly by owner request.

Why the shell game? Oakland Co boasts on its website that it “currently has the best save rate in Michigan among public open-admission shelters whose intakes are greater than 5,000 animals”. But that save rate specifically excludes animals categorized as being killed by owner request, such as Spitz. (There is also an exclusion for animals killed and categorized as “contracted” which I don’t recall coming across before and don’t know what it refers to.)

Oakland Co taxpayers are getting the shaft with regard to their public shelter.  The shelter is limiting admission of cats while claiming to be open admission, arbitrarily designating healthy animals as unhealthy, and falsifying records to blame the needless killing of pets on “owner request” where no such request ever existed.  It is up to local residents to demand better.  As for Oakland Co workers, if you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

State Finds Person Co Pound in Violation of Law

In 2014, the Person Co pound in NC took in nearly 1800 dogs and cats, killing 62% of them. The county’s website provides a link to Petfinder to see adoptable animals. Today on Petfinder, Person Co has 11 animals listed.  They’re doing the best they can, probably.

Or not.

Twice in recent days, representatives from the NC Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal shelters in the state, called the Person Co pound manager who they say admitted that the pound does not provide veterinary care to its animals nor does it hold them for at least 72 hours before killing – both of which constitute violations of state law.  The representatives apparently asked the manager if at any point she might like to try following the law and doing her job which, based upon the warning letter from the state, she appears to have nah’d:

PCAS’ shelter manager has stated her intention to willfully disregard or violate [both provisions of state law] in the future.

Wow.  I’ve heard of being confident in your feeling of job security but this is extraordinary.  I really want to try this “conflict resolution” approach on my boss but I’m hoping one of you will try it first and let me know how it goes.

WNCN reports:

According to notes taken by the Department of Agriculture, Kellie Oakley with Person County Animal Services said, “The shelter does not provide veterinary care. If the animal is not going to a rescue, it is euthanized.”

But how do you know a rescue isn’t going to pull the animal if you aren’t even waiting the 72 hours mandated by the state?  Oh right, because nobody rescues dead animals.  I see what you did there.  Another victory for the Cats Don’t Need Holding Periods crowd, I guess.

The state has given the Person Co pound 14 days to bring its written protocols and practices into compliance with the law.  If the pound fails to comply, disciplinary action may be taken which might include the suspension or revocation of the pound’s license to operate.  The animals should be so lucky.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Oh Roswell

the menagerieMaybe you’ve heard that aliens crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 and the government covered it up.  Maybe you are skeptical.  I, for one, believe.  And as proof, I offer the current city leadership of Roswell, specifically the mayor and the police chief, because their actions can only be attributed to some sort of alien mind control.

Regular readers may remember when Roswell mayor Dennis Kintigh banned every rescue group in the state from saving dogs at the pound because of an incident involving the son of one of his police detectives.  Now animal advocates are voicing concern about dogs and cats being killed at the pound while cages sit empty.  But explanation:

[P]olice chief Phil Smith says they’re just following the ordinance that gives dogs one week and cats four days to get adopted.

“We’re going to stick to the rules, we’re going to do it to the letter,” said Smith.

To clarify, the it they are doing to the letter is killing lost and homeless pets.  So although the facility has space to house these animals, the city staff opts to kill them instead, because they can.

And then there’s this:

Both Smith and Mayor Dennis Kintigh say that if taxpayers want to fund and run their own shelter, they should.

Wait –

I thought –

Aren’t taxpayers already shelling out $400 grand a year to fund this shelter?  Isn’t this shelter the taxpayers’ own shelter?  How could either the police chief or the mayor, both of whom would have to know that taxpayers are paying for this shelter (and their salaries), possibly say something so absurd out loud and not drunk?

You see what I’m saying?  Aliens.

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

Kern Co Pound Exporting Sick Dogs

The UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program consulted on the troubled Kern Co pound in CA in 2008.  At that time, a report was issued which detailed, among other problems, lack of leadership and rampant disease at the shelter along with recommendations for how to reduce and prevent it.  Standard protocols such as the quarantine of new arrivals and examination/vaccination by vet staff upon intake were on the list.

Fast forward to 2015 and it appears as if disease is still rampant at the Kern Co pound and that few, if any, of the 2008 recommendations from Koret have been implemented.  A group that flies shelter dogs from the area to rescues elsewhere along the west coast recently suspended its partnership with the Kern Co pound after a number of the facility’s dogs were found to be sick upon arrival.  Despite all the dogs having health certificates from the pound’s vet, interim director Nick Cullen admits in an email that in fact some of the dogs had never been vaccinated “due to reported behavioral concerns”.  Three of the sick dogs died.

In response to the rescue’s refusal to take more sick dogs labeled healthy from Kern Co, Cullen has asked Koret to come around for another consult.  I guess he wants a current report to ignore because you know, ignoring the old one is so 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014.  Cullen also wants to reassure taxpayers that a cleaning chemical used for disinfection at the pound is being diluted correctly.  He had a consultant in on that one too.  So the disinfectant is being diluted correctly and apparently used to clean cages housing sick and/or unvaccinated dogs next to healthy ones.  Pound workers who are not on the vet staff are “examining” the animals and deeming them fit for transport, even if they are deemed unfit for vaccines due to behavior.  The vet is signing the health certificates and then the dogs are loaded onto planes and arriving with symptoms of serious illness.  It sounds shoddy, at best.

Like his predecessor, Cullen blames the public for the pound’s failures:

We are seeing an inordinate amount of illness in animals originating from Shafter, Mcfarland, and Arvin areas. Much of that is due to those communities being less involved in vaccinating animals with core vaccines.

Gee, if only there was some kind of magical way to make sure animals coming into the pound were vaccinated, even if their vaccine history is questionable.  If only there was someone at the pound who would take responsibility for that, somehow.  If only Koret would have told Kern Co about this in 2008 DOT DOT DOT.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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