TZI: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Can I see some ID?

Can I see some ID?

The troubling Target Zero Institute, one of the sham “no kill” consultants that participates in the war on cats, is being called on the carpet by a no kill advocate in Huntsville, AL. At issue are the do-nothing tactics and general fakiness of the group:

Target Zero is actually a nonprofit called First Coast No More Homeless Pets which is based in Jacksonville, Florida. The name of the organization has flip-flopped in the last few years but it was last changed from Target Zero to FCNMHP in May of 2014; it has received numerous grants over the years, two of the largest being from the Best Friends Animal Society (a 2012 grant for $340,000 and a 2013 grant for $280,000).
Target Zero was in Huntsville in early September of 2014. We found out in early March of 2015 that the City had signed a contract with Target Zero on January 15, 2015. When I contacted Cameron Moore of Target Zero in March of 2015 to inquire about plans moving forward, I was told that a Town Hall meeting would be held at some point. Beyond that, there were no specific plans shared with me during our hour-long phone conversation. When I expressed the opinion of our coalition that the city should make a commitment to become a no kill community in order to obtain an in-kind commitment from the public, I was told this position is “silly.”
Target Zero has yet to become visible in this community, to hold a Town Hall meeting here or to otherwise inform the public of how it plans to make ours a no kill community.

As a backdrop to the Huntsville fraud, the shelter in the city of Jacksonville, TZI’s home base, is in disarray. The division chief is quitting her job while under investigation for falsifying records to make it look like the facility has achieved “no kill”:

The city’s inspector general confirmed Thursday that the chief of Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services Division who resigned Wednesday is under investigation.
Nikki Harris’ resignation came a month after at least two whistleblowers made allegations that the shelter was being mismanaged and possibly putting animals’ lives in danger.
Harris personnel file shows that she came to ACPS from First Coast No More Homeless Pets in 2013. She was appointed chief the next year and given a salary of $90,000.

Gee, I’d like to keep a salary that size too, if I had one. Although I’d be inclined to actually do my job in order to keep the salary – not kill animals and lie about it. But I guess I’m “silly” too.

The emperor will presumably continue to show off his invisible clothes. The question is, how much longer must the animals being victimized by this chicanery, especially cats, wait for Best Friends, the Jacksonville Humane Society and the other enablers to start protecting their interests.  Because waiting is lethal.

(Thanks Brie and Clarice for the links.)

Google Reviews of Memphis Pound

Some of the dozens of reviews which have earned MAS a 1.5 star rating on Google:

mas google reviews
mas google reviews1
mas google reviews2
mas google reviews3
mas google reviews4 mas google reviews5
mas google reviews6

(Thanks to the reader who sent in this link.)

Lady Transforms Life at City Pound, Mayor Tells Her to Beat It

It sounds like life for lost and homeless dogs in Livonia, LA used to be pretty wretched if they ended up at the city pound:

The dog pound is located outside, directly behind town hall and is tended to by a single paid employee. The Mayor of Livonia tells NBC33 his name is Brian and he looks after the dogs every afternoon.

Penned up outside, waiting all day long for a guy to come by to clean and throw some food down. And I don’t imagine Brian works 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year either. So there were probably even longer gaps in there which would be cruel to any dog, especially puppies who need to eat several times a day. It doesn’t sound like there was any veterinary care offered to the dogs and ultimately, they were killed – because you know, “unwanted” and such.

But last year, Lisa Shields moved to Livonia from Texas where she had been a shelter volunteer.  She offered her services to the city.  And how:

For nearly a year, Shields fed, bathed, and cared for the dogs like they were her own children. She would take them to adoption events, raised money for them, paid for their vet bills and never asked for anything in return.

Ms. Shields says she had an agreement with Brian that she would care for the dogs in the mornings, since he wasn’t there.  She says things had been working out very well and killing had been completely eliminated since she came on board.  Success by anyone’s standards.  Or not:

At some point in the last month, Shields says Brian started having issues with the work she was doing with the dogs. The Mayor took issue too, saying Shields was over stepping her boundaries.

“I’m not saying she was breaking any rules but we have things that we have a guy, you know, that does washing of the pens, the feeding of the animals, you know, and we asked her, you know, don’t do those type of things” says Troy Chustz, the Mayor of Livonia.

The mayor banned Ms. Shields from the pound.  And that’s with her not breaking any rules but simply volunteering to do some additional feeding and cleaning.  I guess if she had broken any rules the mayor would have sent her to Gitmo.

“I can’t even drive by there and look now to see if there’s dogs down there because I know they’re just going to get the blue juice and be buried in the bayou and it’s just heartbreaking, it didn’t have to be this way, it didn’t have to go this far” continues Shields.
Shields is now hoping she can rally the town behind her at the next city council meeting.

Geez, I hope so too.  Come on Livonia, give the lady who single-handledly eliminated the needless killing of the community’s lost and homeless pets while vastly improving their quality of life and paying their vet bills one more chance.  Pretty please?  If she promises to let some puppies go hungry and sit in filth?

(Thanks Davyd for the link.)

Forsyth Co Oops-Kills Cherished Pet, meh

Maximus, as pictured on the Fox8 website.

Maximus, as pictured on the Fox8 website.

Forsyth Co forced the owner of a dog who scratched someone to surrender him for an 8 day quarantine at the pound.  Ashley Burton had adopted the border collie/labrador retriever mix, whom she named Maximus, as a puppy 5 years ago.  It was heartbreaking for her to surrender her pet:

“I was in tears and could barely speak with him because I just didn’t want to let him go,” Burton said.

After the 8 days expired on July 2, she went to the Forsyth Co pound to pick up her beloved Maximus.  Pound staff gave her a pitbull mix named Spike instead of her own pet.  She waited for 30 minutes while they looked for Maximus then was taken to the manager’s office:

“He said, I don’t want you to panic right now, but we can’t find your dog,” Burton said.
Burton was then told there was nothing else she could do, and to go home while the shelter investigated.

Yeah don’t panic.  And definitely don’t look at the numbers Forsyth Co reported to the state of NC last year, reflecting the killing of 63% of the dogs and cats in its care.  OK, do panic.  But please, do it at home.  We’re busy killing animals here.

Ms. Burton later received a phone call from the pound manager explaining that staff meant to kill Spike but killed Maximus instead.  Oops.  The local Fox affiliate went to the pound director, who never contacted Ms. Burton personally, to find out what happened:

“At some point, either the identifying kennel cards were switched, or the dogs themselves might have been switched,” said Tim Jennings, Director of Forsyth County Animal Control.

Jennings said, since the picture taken of Maximus was not clear, and their descriptions were similar, it resulted in the mistake.

“The photograph is to be the definitive security issue, and in this case we could have done a better job there,” Jennings said.

So basically something got switched, we don’t know what exactly, and we took a crappy picture which is our “definitive security issue” but whatevs, and big black dogs, and did I mention we kill 63% of the pets here?  So I mean, odds are…  Also:

Jennings also told FOX8 that this is not the first time the wrong dog has been euthanized at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter. He said a similar incident happened some time in 2014.

Some time in 2014, some incident, some thing.  Oh but don’t ask for any sort of reform because Forsyth Co is on it:

Jennings said the photograph issue, among others, has been addressed.

See, it’s a photograph issue.  Like cropping.  And it’s been addressed.  Whew.  So just forget about the oops-killing of an owned pet and whoever might have been responsible for that still working at the place and the fact that 63% of the pets who come through the front doors leave in garbage bags.  We’re keeping the public safe!

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)


Caddo Parish Pound Director Posts Repulsive Image on Social Media

The alleged nice guy in charge of the Caddo pound in LA is in the news again.  This time, he uploaded an anti-Semitic/anti-dog image to the pound’s Facebook page, captioned it, then started taking massive heat for it about 4 seconds later.  Who knew that drawing Stars of David on pictures of shelter dogs’ faces like they were concentration camp prisoners and putting the SS logo above them would be received so poorly?  Holocaust jokes are usually just fall-down-funny and the mass killing of shelter pets is another knee slapper so pairing the two seems like a very good idea.  But the public outcry failed to reflect the awesomeness of the stunt.

Pound director Everett Harris deleted the post amidst all the outrage and ended up posting a non-apology on the page, claiming that uploading the photo was an oops (and presumably typing in the caption, “How to deal with the difficulties of life”, was too) while he was uploading photos of adoptable dogs. But that explanation apparently wasn’t the first draft:

While Harris’ official apology and [Caddo Parish administrator Woodrow] Wilson’s statement claim that the posting of the photo was in error, Caddo Commissioner Matthew Linn says that was not the explanation he was given when he called Wilson while the post was still up, concerned that the page had been hacked.

“I found out through talking to Dr. Woodrow Wilson, that Everett had put it up there and Everett was proud that he put it up there. He wanted to share with the citizens of Caddo what someone had sent him and did it without the second thought.”

Linn characterized the whole oops explanation as “a bold face lie.”

But the director was proud.  I guess if you can’t be proud of what you do to animals at your job, you can look to concentration camp/dead dog jokes as a source of pride. Harris added:

“I have to endure what some would call a hostile work environment from a group of people with a dated mindset. I have been called a liar, a dictator, profanity laced, scumbag, rude, and racial comments that no human should say because of a select few who want to influence, control and make decisions for this department.”

In that initial explanation, Harris went on to say, “The picture that you see is one of many that I received since becoming the Director of ASMC because some take hatred too far.”

You guys – he’s the victim here. Have a little sensitivity.

That caption though.  Makes both the oops and the victim claims a hard sell.  He photographed the image, uploaded it to Facebook, then typed in the caption.  It seems like Wilson, the only person who can fire Harris, is the only one buying what he’s selling.  Except for commissioner Lyndon B. Johnson.  He knows Harris is innocent because God:

“I pretty much believe that’s probably what happened because he just preached his first sermon last Sunday or the Sunday before,” he said. “So somebody who has been called, I don’t think they would do anything like that.”

Right.  I know I’ve never heard of any sort of wrongdoing associated with someone involved in a church.  It’s like, impossible.

Good for animal advocates for screencapping the postings and raising hell.  Keep going.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

ASPCA All Done with Bunny Publicity Now

In January and February 2015, the ASPCA and NYPD seized 175 rabbits from a woman in Brooklyn.  The rabbits were reportedly living outdoors, suffering from syphilis, conjunctivitis and other illnesses.  Logo jackets were donned, sad rabbits were displayed, photographs were taken and presumably, donations were collected.  Since the seizure, approximately 60 more bunnies have been born.  And the bills for housing the animals have been adding up all these months.

The owner was charged with animal cruelty but has yet to go to trial.  She has claimed the rabbits were part of a breeding scheme, designed to produce pastel colored bunnies and make her a multi-millionaire.  I wonder where she got the wacky idea that there are millions to be made off animals.

The ASPCA sent an attorney to a bond hearing in the case last week to fight for permission from the judge to kill the seized animals.  The judge ruled in favor of the bunnies:

“None of the rabbits shall be killed,” the judge order, adding, “If they die of natural causes that’s one thing, but if they need to be euthanized you need a further order.”

One of the animal advocates closely involved with the case said on social media that the “ASPCA lawyer jumped to her feet to argue for him to change his mind” but the judge did not waiver.  I always wondered what it would take to get the ASPCA to jump in response to an animal case.  Now I know.  

The judge ordered the owner to pay the ASPCA for the cost of caring for the rabbits but it’s not known if or when that might happen.

Anyhoo, so tragic.  The ASPCA is going to have to actually do their jobs and prevent cruelty to animals instead of inflicting it via mass bunny killing.  And they’re going to have to open up their fat wallet and part with some dollars too.  *single tear*   

(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)

CA ACO Stands By While Dog Suffers and Dies

A tethered dog in need of help, as pictured on the ABC30 website.

A tethered dog in need of help, as pictured on the ABC30 website.

The Central California SPCA (CCSPCA) is contracted by the city of Fresno for animal control services.  On July 7, a concerned citizen took a photo of a tethered dog standing atop a fence – clearly a dangerous situation – and sent it to the CCSPCA and the police department along with a complaint.  The next day, an ACO from the CCSPCA went to the home where another dog had been seized on July 6 after the owners failed to respond to a citation left by AC.

Upon arrival, the ACO found the dog hanging from his tether with his feet touching the ground but unable to move.  He was being strangled to death.  The ACO reportedly called the police for back up and waited for several minutes for officers to arrive.  During that time, the dog died.

Neighbors say the animal control officer did nothing but wait until FPD arrived.

The CCSPCA was ready with excuses when the local news came knocking:

The CCSPCA says it has authority to enter a property to seize a dog only 48 hours after it’s cited the owner.


Animal control can step in if there is immediate danger. “There is protocol that we have to follow and authorization and approvals,” [CCSPCA spokesman Walter] Salvari said. “We’re still waiting to see if that’s what the officer was waiting for instead of stepping in and saving the animal’s life.”

Protocol.  Turns out, it’s actually not proper protocol for an ACO to stand around while a dog hangs itself to death.  Who knew, right?  And straight from The Handbook, here’s your spoonful of reassurance:

The SPCA said that “appropriate disciplinary actions” have been taken with the animal control officer responsible, and that “proper procedural training will be reinforced with all animal control staff to help prevent such a tragedy from happening again.”

The owner who left the dog in that dangerous situation may be charged with animal abuse.  But the ACO who could have saved the dog but chose not to –  appropriate disciplinary actions, yeah. And no doubt residents will find it comforting to know that the ACOs in Fresno have to be reminded that when dispatched on a cruelty call, you don’t actually contribute to the cruelty.  If the animal is alive when you get there, your job is to keep him alive, not wait while he dies.

Prevention of cruelty to animals:  you’re doing it wrong.

(Thanks Bonnie for sending me this story.)

A Tale of Two Drain Dogs in Memphis

On April 5, 2015, Memphis firefighters rescued a dog who had been trapped in a drainage ditch for several days. The media was on hand to cover the story and the dog was taken to Memphis Animal Services. The publicity generated significant interest in the dog and pound director James Rogers indicated that the dog would be given preferential treatment and not be killed – the fate of most animals at MAS. When the dog was adopted, that made the news too:

The dog could have technically been euthanized last week but MAS promised not to kill the dog due to the high interest from the public.

MAS administrator James Rogers said, “The interest shows and the successful rescue and adoption of this pet reflects our community’s and MAS’ care and concern for the wellbeing of our pets.”

Gee, that sounds swell.  But in fact this is what MAS should be doing for every dog who comes into the facility and not just the rare pet whose impound gets shown on TV.  And if you’re thinking that sounds harsh, consider what happened to another dog who was trapped in a drain and impounded just 2 days after the first dog – only this time there was no media on hand to publicize the story:

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

Obtained via FOIA request, this is a portion of the Memphis pound records for dog ID #276411.

This dog, like the first, was saved from a drain but arrived at the pound in rough shape. The MAS vet examined the dog and determined that he was unconscious and extremely pale and it would be preferable to kill him rather than try even one thing to see if the pet responded. No warm IV fluids, no medication, just nothing.

If this had been my dog and I saw that he had been rescued from a drain only to be killed upon arrival at the Memphis “shelter”, I would be devastated. Just because a dog is non-responsive upon impound does not automatically mean no treatment will help and there is no hope. That can only be determined after standard lifesaving protocols have been attempted and there is no positive response. There is no way to know that this dog was medically hopeless because not a single medical treatment was offered.

If the MAS vet wasn’t going to help, at least cover the dog with a blanket and give him a quiet place to rest while issuing a plea to the public for emergency assistance. But apparently doing anything at all for this dog was too much to ask. He didn’t have any camera crews filming his rescue or reporters following up on his story. All he got after being “rescued” and brought to MAS was a shot of Fatal Plus.

MAS chose to allow the first dog to live because the publicity garnered by the dog’s rescue prevented them from the usual outcome for their pets – killing.  MAS chose to give that dog special treatment.  MAS chose to kill the second dog whose story had received no publicity.  But both of these dogs had equal rights to live.  And as the publicly funded “shelter” in Memphis, it’s MAS’s job to protect both of these dogs from harm, along with every other animal in their care.  It should not be considered a matter of choice.

It’s not enough to choose to do your job when the TV cameras are on.  It’s what goes on behind closed doors that reflects MAS’s care and concern for the well being of their pets – to paraphrase some trifling bit of nonsense I read.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me info for this post.)

Yellowstone Co AC in Need of Reform by Way of Gasoline and a Match

The Yellowstone Co Sheriff’s Office in Montana supervises the animal control division for the county – which is not something I’d disclose on a resume or while being waterboarded, even.  Yellowstone Co’s AC is a putrid pile of slack-ass fraud designed to kill animals while putting forth the least possible amount of effort – all on the taxpayer’s dime.

John Fleming, the county ACO, picks up lost and homeless animals – that is, when he’s working, which is just 7am – 2pm Monday through Friday.  People looking for their lost pets or needing help with animals at any other hour are referred to the sheriff’s office.  This is the scam that the county has been running, reportedly for years:

Dogs are picked up by the ACO and taken to a local vet/grooming/boarding facility.  The ACO fills out some sort of DIY spreadsheet with info on each dog (where found, gender, whether the dog was killed or adopted, etc.) that possibly no one else knows how to read.  Oh and this is when he gets around to it, which might be several days after impound or after he’s already killed the dog.  And the spreadsheet is full of holes where he fails to document basic information such as whether the dog was wearing a collar and what exactly happened to the pet.  Photos are not taken, nor are animals networked online, despite having volunteers with a proven record of success willing to perform these tasks.  ACO Fleming said in an interview:

“I think it would be more of a hindrance to put dogs online… . We don’t run a humane society or an adoption agency.”

Aaaaanyway, when owners call the sheriff’s office to ask if their lost dog has been picked up, they are generally told no since the documentation is either non-existent or contains erroneous and missing data on the spreadsheet (which it’s unclear if anyone can read).  Owners may know that impounded dogs are taken to the local vet facility but the vet there, who gets paid $17,000 a year by the county for use of his facility, won’t allow people to come in and look for their lost pets because he’s running a business and they are not paying customers.  But if an owner is willing to pay an “estimated boarding fee” at the sheriff’s office, they could take the receipt to the vet facility, be allowed to look at the impounded dogs and if their pet was not among them, drive back to the sheriff’s office for a refund.

That’s the thumbnail version of the fraud being perpetrated by the county with regard to dogs.  Who are lucky when compared to the hundreds of cats picked up in Yellowstone Co every year:

Fleming, in an interview with Last Best News, said there was no county ordinance on cats, and that “we don’t allow impoundment of cats.”

“They’re treated no differently from skunks, raccoons, coyotes—a nuisance animal,” Fleming said. With rare exceptions, he said, when he picked cats up they were taken to a small shed behind the county shops, just west of the jail, where he would euthanize them.

Even cats whom rescue groups offered to take were reportedly killed instead of live released.

Although Fleming may have been certified to kill animals at some time in the past, he is not now and, after being questioned by the local news about it, reportedly stopped killing animals in January.  Apparently that took all the fun out of it because after 24 years as an ACO, Fleming put in for a transfer within the sheriff’s office and will be working as a process server as soon as the county hires a new ACO.

Animal advocates say they met with County Commissioner John Ostlund 3 years ago to discuss their many concerns over the needless killing of owned and homeless pets by Fleming.  Changes were promised but never materialized.  After the recent local investigative reporting on Fleming’s abuse of power went public, Ostlund claimed he was shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear such things:

“I have been under the impression that he (Fleming) is doing a bang-up job,” Ostlund said. He said he hadn’t heard any new complaints about the division, and “complaints and compliments are the only way we have of getting a grip on what’s going on.”

Right.  Because it would be completely impossible for anyone to actually check.  Like, look at the county records or ask some questions or something, especially after complaints were recorded.  Nope, the default position is apparently assumed excellence.  Nice work, if you can get it.

Yellowstone Co is paying a guy who for 24 years was picking up cats and literally taking them to the woodshed for killing.  He’s been impounding dogs, leaving a paper trail that any 3rd grader would be embarrassed to turn in, stashing them in a vet’s office under some kind of pay-to-play scheme then killing them based upon his unqualified behavioral assessments while lacking the appropriate certification.  The county pays a vet $17,000 a year to house lost and homeless dogs while allowing the vet to turn away anyone and everyone who might be interested in getting the dogs out alive, including their owners.  The county commissioner, who has known about the problems for years, now says he assumed everything was pie in the sky because hey, everybody likes pie.

Taxpayers in Yellowstone Co deserve better and so do their pets.  They need to stand up and demand it, publicly and loudly and immediately.

(Thanks to the reader who sent me this link.)

Arkansas Pound Kills Dog Whose Owner Tried to Reclaim

Muneka and her boy, as shown on the FOX 16 website.

Muneka and her boy, as shown on the FOX 16 website.

Two dogs belonging to Yadria Dorantes jumped their fence and were picked up by Beebe Animal Control on March 13.  Ms. Dorantes says she contacted AC to reclaim her shar pei/lab mix Muneka and her other dog.  Ms. Dorantes says AC told her that because the dogs kept jumping her four foot fence, she would need to put up a taller one before picking them up.  AC reportedly gave her two weeks to get the new fence installed.  Ms. Dorantes spent $1200 to get the much taller chain link fence put up then took her children to the pound to pick up their pets within the two week time frame, as agreed.  Upon arrival, Ms. Dorantes was shown a pile of dead dogs who had been killed at the pound.  Muneka’s body was in that pile.

“The guy told me that I could not get the shar pei back because she was really aggressive and that they were going to put her down. I asked ‘are you going to put her down or have you already?’ and he didn’t say anything,” Dorantes said.

Ms. Dorantes is understandably heartbroken and it’s clear in the video interview with the FOX 16 reporter that Muneka was family.  The tall fence is shown in that clip as well as a neighbor who says that the dogs were friendly.

The city of Beebe released this statement regarding the killing:

“On or about March 13, 2015, Beebe Animal Control personnel and Beebe City Police personnel responded to a report of “at large” dogs at or around the 600 block of N. Fir in Beebe. Two (2) dogs were impounded on that date; one (1) of the dogs was aggressive and both dogs did not have tags and there was no proof that the dogs had required vaccinations. Animal Control personnel were able to locate the owner of the two (2) dogs and that owner has had multiple dogs impounded by Animal Control on prior occasions. At the time the two (2) dogs were impounded on March 13, the owner was given verbal notice that the dogs were being impounded and the owner responded, “…take them.” On or about March 23, 2015, the aggressive dog was destroyed as authorized by the attached Beebe City Ordinance (6.04.15). Before the aggressive dog was destroyed, the owner made no attempt to seek release of this dog. After the aggressive dog was destroyed, the owner appeared and requested release of the second dog, which was granted on conditions that the dog be tagged and properly vaccinated. The owner has still not complied with those conditions as of the time and date of this press release.”

I guess the typewriter must have run out of ink before they got to the “Sorry for your loss” part.  But at least we know the owner is a no-license-no-proof-of-vaccines scumbag who doesn’t care about her pets.  It’s exactly these sort of heartless slackers who come up with $1200 on short notice to save their dogs from the pound.  The city should totally kill their dog, who no doubt was evaluated by a qualified behaviorist and given every opportunity for behavioral modification in an appropriate setting over a period of months.  Also, nice touch with the whole you-can-reclaim-your-beloved-family-member-from-this-pile-of-carcasses.  Stay classy.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)


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