San Diego Co Shelter Vet Files Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit

Dr. Bruce Cauble, a California veterinarian who worked at San Diego County’s three shelters since 2002, has filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against the county.  Named in the lawsuit is deputy director and medical operations manager David Johnson, a registered veterinary technician who oversees the medical portion of the three county shelters.  The lawsuit alleges that Johnson’s mismanagement resulted in a number of serious issues and when the three county vets, including Dr. Cauble, spoke out about the problems, they were each transferred to the shelter farthest from their homes.  The allegations include:

  • Dogs housed in unheated concrete kennels where the temperature sometimes dropped below 50 degrees.  A boiler that was supposed to provide heat for the floors was often broken and management failed to have it repaired in a timely manner.  Staff referred to these chronically cold dogs as “ice puppies”.
  • Staff hosed down the ice puppies’ kennels with the dogs still inside, wetting down the pets and any towels that had been given to them for warmth.
  • Management failed to provide an adequate supply of pain medications and food for the animals in the medical ward and Dr. Cauble witnessed suffering as a result.
  • None of the three shelters’ x-ray machines were properly inspected or licensed, as required by law.  The staff did not have radiation monitoring badges.  When Dr. Cauble brought these issues to the attention of Mr. Johnson, he responded by threatening to shut down all x-ray activity but in fact, directed staff to continue using the unlicensed machines.
  • Two of the county’s three shelters lacked premise permits and were operating illegally.  As a result the state veterinary board advised that some animals had to be transferred to the only shelter with the required permit for treatment.  This caused animals to suffer because their veterinary care, including pain medication, was delayed.
  • Mr. Johnson stopped pain medications on animals who had been prescribed them by county vets.
  • After complaints were filed regarding the above issues by the veterinarians, all three were transferred to inconvenient work locations by Mr. Johnson.  As a result, none of the three veterinarians remained on the job and shelter animals suffered from lack of qualified and consistent veterinary care.

In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dr. Cauble expressed his frustrations with the county bureaucracy:

Cauble said non-veterinarian bureaucrats often prescribe medications or perform other tasks that are required to be performed by veterinarians. He said more than once, he was told to stay away while television news crews interviewed administrators who portrayed themselves as licensed veterinarians.

“We do have a number of animals die from secondary pneumonia and respiratory diseases” that are preventable, Cauble said. “The problem is, we have six or seven paper pushers-who make $700,000-plus between them, but they can’t seem to find $30 to replace a simple boiler part.”

Dr. Cauble also spoke with 10News about the ice puppies:

Cauble said five years ago he started complaining about the boiler to his bosses, but they refused to get a new one, instead making repairs. He said the boiler broke down about five times every year, leaving animals in the cold for at least a week.

“The dogs would get hypothermic. We would wrap them in towels, but the towel would get wet. The dryer was sometimes broken, so we’d run out of towels,” said Cauble. “The conditions left them susceptible to more problems, like kennel cough, pneumonia and distemper.”

San Diego Co’s official response to the lawsuit:

The Department of Animal Services’ number one priority is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the animals in its care. The County is reviewing the claim that has been filed and isn’t able to comment on pending litigation but will continue to provide the best care possible for all of the animals in our shelters.

Raise your icy paw if you feel reassured.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Genesee Co Pound and Director Named in Whistleblower Lawsuit

The long troubled Genesee Co AC pound in Flint, MI took in 5168 dogs and cats in 2013, killing 3246 of them – a kill rate of 63%.  (The 2014 reports haven’t been posted yet.)

In early January 2015, the county hired Paul Wallace as pound director and Karen Dombrowski as deputy director.  Ms. Dombrowski was fired by Wallace one month later.  This week, she filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the county, the pound and Wallace.

The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Dombrowski observed numerous instances of illegal activities while employed by Genesee Co, that she reported these to Wallace who dismissed her concerns, and that she went over his head to report them to county commissioners.  She was fired shortly thereafter.

Among the allegations in the lawsuit:

  • Animals were not receiving food, water, and clean cages on a daily basis.
  • An emaciated dog did not receive proper care at the pound.
  • A dog had been in a cage for seven months without adequate food, water or exercise.
  • A small dog experiencing pain was left unattended in a cage in a cold garage at the pound for several hours.  He was later euthanized.
  • A dog with a bone sticking out was left unattended for several hours.
  • A mother dog whelped a litter of puppies in a cage in the pound’s garage and no one at the pound provided any sort of box for the family.  As a result, the puppies repeatedly fell down the drain hole.
  • Wallace refused to allow an investigation into the finding of a deceased dog who appeared to have been used for fighting.
  • Dogs were seized from an owner’s home without due process.
  • A dog who had been “euthanized” by an ACO was found alive and suffering in the cooler the next day.
  • Expired drugs were used to kill a dog named Ana.  She was left in a cage.  When she woke up later, she began thrashing and injured herself.  The ACOs had already gone home when Ms. Dombrowski found her.
  • Dogs were killed via heartstick while fully conscious by untrained employees.
  • Feral cats were being killed in a gas chamber.

Ms. Dombrowski can be seen along with Ana, the dog she saved from the Genesee Co pound, in a video accompanying this news piece.  Additional reporting here.

(Thank you Clarice and Davyd for the links.)

Video Shows Dog Being Abused at Hesperia Pound

A video posted online shows a whimpering dog being dragged by a leash around the neck at the Hesperia pound in CA:

The video was reportedly taken by a member of the public who was looking for her lost dog at the pound when she saw what appears to be one staff member dragging a dog behind her like a bag of trash while two other city employees have a chat.  But I guess they are all talked out now because they have nothing to say to the local news:

Victor Valley News reporters reached out to the Hesperia Animal Shelter staff, the operator simply said, “The department is aware of it and investigating it”. A message was also left for Cheryl Lewis, a shelter supervisor, who is not yet available for comment on this matter.

Gosh, I wonder how long before Ms. Lewis becomes available for comment:

A past shelter employee, who asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons has identified the alleged people in the video. Victor Valley News will withhold from publishing the name of the person seen dragging the dog until the investigation is complete.  The former employee alleged the two other’s who stood by in the video are Officer Osvaldo Montes and Supervisor Cheryl Lewis. The former employee, also shared that she was let go from her position only after speaking out about some of the happenings at the shelter.


The Hesperia pound reportedly will only allow rescuers to save animals from being killed if they sign an agreement waiving their First Amendment rights with regards to speaking up about abuse at the pound.  That has kept many from going public with their concerns.  In spite of the threats against rescuers, 60 people showed up at an emergency city hall meeting last night.

When the city council was asked about the legality of violating the Constitutional rights of rescuers, the city attorney responded, “This might not be satisfactory” and said he’d look into the matter.

The meeting went four and a half hours, with most of the speakers advocating on behalf of the shelter pets:

Stephanie Lonsdale, an animal advocate that is known in the community for speaking up for the well-being of animals mentioned that the Hesperia Animal Shelter currently has a 70% kill rate. The 70% kill rate equals 7 out of 10 animals entering the shelter being euthanized rather than reunited or adopted. “The shelters do not utilize the free sites that are available to them to place these animals,” said Lonsdale.

Of course there’s one in every bunch:

“I believe it was misjudgment, not abuse. Ideally the dog would not be there or the dog would have been socialized,” said Lisa Wilson.

Yeah, the slutty whoredog was prolly drunk and asking for it and the owners are all the suck too.

Oh and the unwashed owners, who have since irresponsibly reclaimed their pet, showed up to speak for their dog:

Of all the speakers, the most touching, bringing tears to the speaker as well as, much of the crowd was the dog’s owner, Tracie Carpenter.

“I don’t have fancy things to tell you, like a lot of the people here. I am not going to use crazy big words or rescue terminology. I am here on behalf of Mia, who is my dog.  She is not a 60 pound dog that can not be carried, she is 47 pounds. She is not unsociable, she is a beautiful girl and very lovable, she was scared, the floor was slippery,” said Carpenter with her voice cracking due to her emotions on the treatment of her dog.

“She was in the shelter for just over 24 hours and I have no idea how the rest of her stay was there. If it is going to happen to a dog that belongs to somebody, that is loved, that has a good home, that has someone to care for them, it can also happen to the ones that have no one to speak for them, the dogs that are being euthanized, the ones that are being put to sleep, the ones you don’t hear anything about, the ones who do not have anyone to come here and stand before you gentlemen to explain that they do not have any behavioral issues, it was a good dog, she is a wonderful dog.”

Any questions as to where the haters can stick their “misjudgment”?

The city council says they love animals and will take the matter seriously and blah:

The city is encouraging anyone with concerns to email

Right.  Funnel all the concerns to one faceless email account where they can sit and rot.

OR, you can contact the Hesperia city council members directly and ask that a complete and transparent investigation be conducted and all applicable criminal charges filed:

Eric Schmidt, Mayor; email
Bill Holland, Mayor Pro Tem; email
Russell “Russ” Blewett, Council Member; email
Mike Leonard, Council Member; email
Paul Russ, Council Member; email

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

Police Officer Fired after Standing Up to City Officials and Refusing to Shoot Loose Dogs

Walker Co, AL used to have a pound but the place closed a few years ago after it was exposed as a dog killing hole.  Since then, the city of Carbon Hill in Walker Co has apparently been trying to avoid the issue of homeless pets on the streets.  That brilliant plan did not work out for some reason and this month the city attempted to address the issue:

Carbon Hill City Councilor Billy Jenkins says the dog problem there is out of control, and people are complaining.

He thinks it’s time the city revisited an ordinance that was passed in 1991 but never enforced.


The ordinance references the responsibilities of a dogcatcher, but Carbon Hill Police say the city doesn’t have a dogcatcher and officers feel they’re being pressured to shoot strays because of Section 8 of the ordinance.

“It says the police department shall have the authority to destroy any stray domestic animal running at large within the city limits of the city. When in the opinion of the (Carbon Hill Police Department) such animal constitutes a public nuisance or is a danger or a menace to the life or health of the citizens of the city,” said Jenkins.

While Jenkins specifies that the city is not asking officers to shoot dogs on the streets, the police chief says his department has no resources to catch and transport dogs, even if a new Walker Co shelter opens as planned next year.  He says lethal force against a dog is only a last resort:

“We just don’t go around firing our weapons off in town. You know I mean if our weapons are ever then it’s a threat to us or to someone else, you know someone’s life. We’re just not going to go out and shoot a dog for no reason just because it’s a stray,” said Chief Jason Richardson, Carbon Hill Police Department.

“Things have changed since 91 this is 2014 fixing to be 2015. There’s a lot of things changed. You just don’t go around, you don’t go around killing dogs,” said Richardson. “In my eyes that’s animal cruelty.”

Well say, that’s refreshing.  And it looks like the chief isn’t the only one with that attitude:

Carbon Hill’s mayor says alleged statements from city leaders that stray dogs should be shot to eliminate the problem are not true.

However, the city’s acting assistant police chief tells Alabama’s 13 city leaders did make such statements[.]


[A]cting assistant police chief Johnathan Yerby says he notified city leaders last week that state law prevents officers from shooting stray dogs. A week later, he’s out of a job for what the city says is budget cuts, but Yerby says the timing is no coincidence.

“I was the one chosen to be laid off because I’m the one that stood up and printed out the state law and told them that we couldn’t shoot dogs,” Yerby explains.

The police chief is reportedly very upset at Yerby’s firing and the mayor has no comment.  The mayor did however offer this greatly comforting reassurance:

“There ain’t going to be no dogs shot,” Mayor Chambers stresses. “We’ll catch them and try to give them away, adopt them out, or do whatever we got to to please everybody.”

Sounds like a well thought out plan of action there.  I can’t imagine how it’s not going to succeed, especially when the police officers charged with the catching and the giving away or the doing whatever say they lack the resources for the job and now they’re down an officer.  Stay tuned for success, I guess.

(Thanks Clarice for the story.)

Rotting from the Head Down: How the Neglect of a Dog at the Louisville Pound Went Public Despite a Political Cover-up

Sadie, as shown on the WHAS website.

Sadie, as shown on the WHAS website.

Regular readers may remember the tragic story of Sadie, an injured dog who suffered for months at the hands of Louisville Metro Animal Services before finally being euthanized by rescuers.  Heather Adkins, an employee at LMAS during the time Sadie was there who later became her foster owner and advocate, was smeared by the city of Louisville after she went public with Sadie’s story.  Due to public outcry, the city appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate what happened with Sadie.  The committee’s report was released Wednesday and can be read here.

Terrible:  The committee found “that by the clear and convincing evidence made available, the LMAS Department did knowingly neglect Sadie by failing to provide proper health care for the animal in a timely fashion”.  Despite the finding, there is no recommendation that the appropriate authorities should determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the case.

Also Terrible:  The committee was not only denied access to records and certain personnel involved with Sadie’s case by Mayor Greg Fischer’s office, it also found that the administration lied to the public in an August press release in an attempt to whitewash the neglect.  Despite the corruption and fraud apparent throughout the office, there is no recommendation that the appropriate authorities should determine whether criminal charges should be brought against anyone in the administration.

More Terrible:  After the city retaliated against Ms. Adkins for going public with Sadie’s story and she ultimately left her job, the Fischer administration stamped her personnel file with the words DO NOT REHIRE, while promoting and shielding those who were instrumental in Sadie’s neglect.  The committee recommended that Ms. Adkins’ personnel file be corrected, exonerating her of any wrongdoing, and that the mayor’s office issue a public statement clearing her name.  The committee also recommended that the city enact a whistleblower protection ordinance and that there should be more oversight into LMAS donations.

Cherry on Top Terrible:  At the same time the committee was scheduled to release its report, Mayor Fischer “abruptly called a news conference” to announce that he does not back a $10.10 proposed minimum wage and that poor people need to learn how to live on $8.75 an hour – the most he’s willing to back.  Some noticed the uh, coincidence:

A Democratic council member said the mayor was trying to “distract” from the findings, while a Republican called the timing “unusual.”

Astonishingly, Mayor Greg Fischer later e-mailed a response to the media regarding the report:

“The council found some weaknesses during its review and we’ve already responded with improvements to our donation and open records policies,” Fischer said in a statement. “It’s very unfortunate what happened with Sadie. We remain committed to moving forward and helping save as many animals as we can.”

Found Some Weaknesses.  I like that.  Although I’d like it better if it was the name of a prison wing housing everyone guilty of neglecting Sadie, smearing her advocate and shielding her abusers.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride as the Fischer administration moves forward, what with all those bodies under the bus.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

OK Mayor Bans Shelter Volunteers, Rolls Around in Pile of Tax Dollars

Volunteers at the city pound in Pryor, OK have been banned.  And in a classy way:

“Lisa and I showed up on Sunday morning to walk dogs and they just said that we weren’t needed anymore, that they were going to have two part time employees and another full time employee and that our help was no longer required,” [volunteer Kathy LaValle] said.

Ms. Lavalle has volunteered at the city pound since 2011, heading up adoption events and networking pets online.  She’d like to know why she and the other volunteers are being turned away suddenly:

Kathy Lavalle is exhausting her resources trying to find out why she is not allowed to help out at the shelter anymore.

“I have texted, I’ve called, emailed,” Kathy Lavalle said. “I can’t get an answer.”

Pryor mayor Jimmy Tramel says the vols should quit harshing his mellow:

[Y]eah we could’ve done a better job, but that didn’t happen,” Tramel said.

Mayor Brozilla told the media that the reason for the suspension of the volunteer program is that the city needs “to put a procedure in place” outlining the terms to which volunteers must agree in order to donate their time at the pound.  He needs 30 – 45 days to come up with the terms.  Ms. LaValle said the volunteers met with the city to discuss these terms a year and a half ago and the matter is long settled.

While the mayor is reinventing the wheel for 45 days, taxpayers will be shelling out $3000 to pay the pound staff overtime as they compensate for the free labor normally performed by vols.  The mayor is totes chill with this too:

“Sure it’s tax money, but for the safety of the volunteers, the safety of the employees and safety and well being of the animals, it’s going to cost us some money,” Tramel said.

Hey, it’s only tax money.  So FREE CASH basically.  Woohoo!

Volunteers are worried that without their free help, more pets will be needlessly neglected and killed at the pound.  I imagine the mayor’s response to that concern is something along the lines of “Coulda, woulda, shoulda!”

You know who I would like to shake hands with?  Mayor Rice-A-Broni’s campaign manager.  You sir, are a genius.  A magical genius who somehow managed to put ALL THE LIPSTICK on a pig, sufficient to win an election.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

ACLU Stands Up for First Amendment Rights of Animal Advocates in Baltimore County

Dog ID #04167 at the Baltimore Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

Dog ID #04167 at the Baltimore Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

The troubled Baltimore Co pound in MD has banned the public from photographing pets in the facility and the ACLU has written to county officials condemning the ban:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland says Baltimore County officials violated free-speech rights by banning photography at the county-run animal shelter, a move the ACLU describes as an effort to stifle critics.

The letter describes the photo ban as showing “a government agency endeavoring to limit its exposure to criticism and public accountability, and to stifle any perceived criticism that does arise, even where the agency’s purpose of serving the animals of Baltimore County is undermined as a result.”

County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler says the complaint is baseless and stems from a small group of pesky do-gooders:

“This is a story manufactured by a handful of advocates who were disrupting shelter employees from doing their jobs,” Kobler said.

Don Mohler, chief of staff for the County Executive, also has excuses:

“[The animal advocates] wanted to manufacture a crisis, and they would wait around until a dog soiled the cage and immediately take a picture and post it — inferring that the dog had been living in those conditions for a period of time, and that’s not true,” Mohler said.

Such dedication.  Waiting around for a dog to pee in his cage so they could snap a photo.  But in case you don’t buy that, he’s got another good one:

“This is not about photography,” Mohler said. “This is about the fact that there is a group of advocates who really want Baltimore County to release wild cats into the community.”

The county apparently has a kill policy for cats it determines to be feral.  And pesky do-gooders, along with the overwhelming majority of the general public, think that’s wrong.

Not to be outdone, Kobler also offered a back-up excuse for the photo ban to the newspaper:

“For some animals, the shutter click and the flash can frighten animals that are already nervous in a shelter environment. So sometimes, the staff members might ask people not to take an animal’s picture,” she said.

Both Kohler and Mobler said that the public is generally allowed to take pictures of the animals.  Except when they’re not.  But that’s because reasons.

So to recap, it’s not that Baltimore Co is trying to silence critics and violate their Constitutional rights, it’s assorted other things:

  • Volunteers photographing shelter pets are disruptors who prevent the staff from doing their job of killing more than 60% of the animals in their care.
  • They wait around all day for a dog to lift his leg in the cage just to capture the puddle on the floor.
  • They actually don’t care about photographing animals, they just want the county to stop killing feral cats and start doing TNR like other progressive shelters.
  • The flash from the camera scares animals and the county officials just aren’t going to stand by and let shelter pets be frightened.  After all, there’s killing to be done – lots of it.  Calm, friendly killing – not like the flash of a camera.

If for some insane reason you are still not feeling reassured, I got you:

County Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, said the shelter has made strides in overcoming past issues. He trusts it’s being run well.

“Every time there’s a policy, there’s a reason,” he said.

So there you go.  There’s some reason for the photo ban.  This guy apparently doesn’t know what that reason may be but strides have been made and everything is fine, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Norfolk Whistleblower Alleges Pound in Violation of State Law, Retains Attorney to Fight Termination

The city of Norfolk, VA kills animals at its pound.  So far in 2014, more than 1600 animals have been killed.  Nearly 600 of those animals were killed because the staff at the Norfolk pound didn’t like their behavior in addition to the 230 animals who were killed for being feral.  Fifty-four animals were killed for being too old while another 125 were killed for being too young.  Five animals were killed for being pregnant, which means their unborn offspring were suffocated inside their mothers but Norfolk doesn’t bother counting them.

The Norfolk pound currently has 8 dogs listed for adoption on its website.  They’re doing the best they can, totally.

A former Norfolk pound employee who says she was fired for being a whistleblower has retained an attorney to fight the city’s termination of her employment:

Adrienne Alper, 26, worked for the city-run shelter for about seven months before she was fired in December. She says the shelter didn’t follow procedure when workers euthanized animals, and that management targeted her after she spoke up about it.

She alleges that staff “often carried out euthanasia procedures in a cruel and inhumane manner.”

Specifically Ms. Alper is alleging that Norfolk was killing animals in their cages instead of taking them to the kill room – a violation of state law.   She also expressed concern at the needless killing of animals, including a surrendered mama Pitbull and her litter of puppies who were killed upon impound.  She says she attempted to go through proper channels before taking her concerns outside the pound:

“I talked to my immediate supervisors but they kind of brushed me off,” Alper said. “They just said that it was the way they did things and the way it was done for years.”

Tragically, Ms. Alper took her concerns to PETA, the Norfolk based pet killing organization. I can only imagine PETA’s concern might have been that the pound wasn’t killing even more animals, faster and more efficiently.  And maybe they had some hurt feels that no one called them to come watch the killing of the Pitbull family.  PETA would have brought popcorn, no doubt.

Ms. Alper was fired soon after and says her termination letter specifically cited the PETA meeting and “alleged that Alper did not get along with co-workers and accused one of them of killing puppies”. I guess she should have said puppies and adults, to be fair.

The city stands by the puppy killers at its pound, noting that surrendering parties sign a form stating their animals might be killed.  So it’s all good, I guess.  Presumably the city’s lawyers will have a tad more than that to offer if the case goes to court.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for the links.)

Memphis Expands its Retaliation Against Rescuers and Owners of Lost Pets

Screengrab from PetHarbor of a lost dog, posted by the Memphis pound.

Screengrab from PetHarbor of a lost dog, posted by the Memphis pound.

Ever since Mayor Wharton put straight man James Rogers in charge of Memphis Animal Services, MAS has become lolMAS.  While MAS slaughters pets by the thousands, Rogers blathers on about being “on a positive trend” and continuing the “march forward in terms of excellence”.  When rescuers started doing his job for him by volunteering to photograph shelter pets and network them on social media, he retaliated with a ban on photography.  When his ban was recently overturned by the city, he had to dig deep into his bag of shenanigans:

Memphis Animal Services director James Rogers is shortening shelter hours.

Specifically, Rogers is eliminating the evening hours, which totally by coincidence happens to be when most people, including the rescuers who photograph pets, can get to the pound.  He’s also eliminated all morning hours – because hey, who wants to deal with the unwashed masses before noon?

He’s got explanations people, so please buckle in:

He says his goal is to increase adoptions.

Rogers calls it a budget cut, but he is not cutting the number of staff members or the hours MAS employees will work. The only thing changing is the hours the shelter is open to the public.

By being open 9 less hours a week for adoptions, including the hours most people can get there, he’s going to increase adoptions. And it’s going to save money in the budget, even though every single staffer will be paid exactly the same as they are now so no actual dollars will be saved. Also: increased adoptions!

As soon as Rogers announced the changes at a public meeting of the pound’s advisory board on Wednesday, people knew what was up:

“There were two evenings a week they were open late. You’re eliminating both. On one Memphis Pets Alive took photos to network,” people in the crowd said.

Those against the changes pointed out there are now no hours for those who work 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to come.

The hour shift is also cutting into the shelter’s popular Thursday adoption event called Yappy Hours. It’s held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Rogers admits the events are a huge help.

“What we’re trying to do is increase number of adoptions,” Rogers said to people in the crowd laughing.

All the credit for keeping a straight face, Rogers.  But there is something sinister going on here, beyond the obvious retaliation against rescuers and the ridiculous excuses.  Included in the announcement about shortened hours was another change:  MAS would open at noon for 2 hours each on Sundays and Mondays strictly for owners of lost pets to be shown some of the animals in the facility by staff members.

Since MAS has previously been closed entirely on Sundays and Mondays, those days were not counted against strays when determining their mandatory 72 hour hold.  With the announcement that the pound would open for 2 midday hours on Sundays and Mondays, comes a change in how Rogers calculates the mandatory hold for strays.  Sundays and Mondays will now count as 2 of the 3 mandatory hold days, even though the shelter is closed for all but 2 midday hours each of those days.

I am not an attorney but I think there is a legitimate case to be brought against the city of Memphis here.  The city appears to be subverting the intent of the 72 hour holding period for strays by playing games with the pound’s business hours.  It is entirely possible that a pet owner in Memphis who works a day job could not get to the facility to search for his lost pet during the newly announced, limited hours.  Since MAS does an extremely shabby job of posting impounds online and since the pound kills lost pets immediately after the 72 hour holding period expires, the new hours are in effect an automatic death sentence for many lost pets.  And Rogers won’t allow these animals to live, even for one day past their holding periods:

MAS holds stray dogs for 72 hours as required by law. The shelter has been euthanizing the dogs immediately once their time is up, often before opening and allowing them a chance to be adopted. Board members are questioning that logic, especially when the shelter has empty kennels.

The director’s explanation for why strays need to be put down immediately isn’t adding up.

“It behooves us to follow the law which is 72 hours,” said director James Rogers. “Anything beyond that opens us up to the susceptibility of allowing parvo to increase.”

“It’s a disease of puppies,” said Stephen Tower, who is a veterinarian and on the MAS advisory board. He argued an extra few hours won’t cause any greater risk. “I don’t buy that exposure argument.”

“According to the director of veterinary medicine at Memphis Animal Services, the parvo virus has mutated and it does affect adult dogs now,” Rogers said.

But just a few weeks ago, the head veterinarian Rogers is talking about said the exact opposite at an open press conference about parvo.

“There is some acquired immunity with older pets, so I don’t think the public should be concerned about adopting an older pet,” said Dr. Rebecca Coleman.

So to recap:

MAS is eliminating the evening hours that many adopters and rescuers can get there to save lives. To increase adoptions.

The shortened hours are going to save money. Not actual money but possibly Rogers has cut out some rectangles from construction paper and drawn pictures of himself and dollar signs on them and likes to pretend he can buy unicorns and fairy dust with them – those dollars might be saved.

Sundays and Mondays will now be counted against strays under mandatory 72 hour hold. Because parvo is magic and now infects all adult, vaccinated dogs at MAS and immediately zaps them with death rays on the 73rd hour.  And Rogers’ kill techs aren’t going to get beaten to the punch by no magic parvo death ray.

Memphis, this is your animal “shelter”.  File an emergency injunction to stop the killing.  Address your city council.  Demand meaningful reform.  Do something.

(Thank you to everyone who sent me these links.)

Roswell Mayor Bans NM Rescue Groups in Response to Dog Attack

A 9 year old boy suffered bruising and scratches after 3 loose dogs attacked him on his family’s property in Roswell, NM last week.  He scrambled on top of a gate to stay clear of the dogs until his father, a city police detective, arrived with a gun and began shooting the dogs, killing one and wounding a second who was later euthanized.  The third dog was taken to the Roswell pound and will be killed for rabies testing.

The 3 dogs reportedly escaped from a local rescue called Doggy Saviors which pulls dogs from the Roswell pound.  The rescue surrendered another 15 dogs back to the pound after the attack.  Those dogs have reportedly been sent to a rescue group in CO.  In a statement on Roswell mayor Dennis Kintigh’s Facebook page, he indicates that all NM rescue groups are currently barred from saving animals at the pound:

On my direction the Roswell Animal Shelter has suspended releasing any animals to a local “animal rescue” organization until investigations have been completed regarding the attack on the 9 year old. The dogs involved in that attacked were reportedly “rescued” from the Roswell Animal Shelter by a local group. That group may have failed to provide appropriate care and supervision to these dogs.

Once the criminal investigation by the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and the Administrative investigation by the City of Roswell have been completed, the policy and procedures for releasing animals to local organizations will be reviewed and amended where needed. Until that time the only groups which will be allowed to receive dogs will be those who will remove the animals from our state.

While the incident which occurred with the loose dogs is tragic, there is no reasonable basis for barring every rescuer in the state from saving animals at the pound.  The mayor alleges that Doggy Saviors “may have failed to provide appropriate care and supervision” and that there is an investigation being conducted.  There are no allegations of possible wrongdoing by any other NM rescue groups.  In the absence of any evidence suggesting otherwise, it appears the mayor is reacting in an extreme manner to an incident involving the son of one of his police officers.  Furthermore, barring all in-state rescues will result in increased killing at the Roswell pound.

Presumably the mayor is basing his decision on the notion that the public will be safer if no dogs at the Roswell pound are allowed to live unless transported out of state.  But in order for this assertion to be true, there would have to be evidence that dogs at the Roswell pound represent a public safety threat and that evidence simply does not exist.  If it did, the mayor would be acting irresponsibly by ordering these dogs to be shipped out of state.

By reacting in this extreme manner, the mayor is conveying the message that all NM rescuers are too irresponsible to have dogs and that all dogs, including puppies, at the Roswell pound are dangerous and must either be killed or sent to live in other states where they can not threaten his constituents.  The mayor’s reckless response to the incident not only insults rescue groups but also smears shelter dogs as damaged goods, thereby discouraging potential adopters.  The cycle of harm created by the mayor’s thoughtless action in this case will reverberate over time.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 986 other followers