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.)

Case Update: Former Pound Director Charged with Felony Cruelty

Pete Brock, the recently fired director of the Martin Co pound in NC, has been arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.  This is in addition to the charge he was already facing regarding alleged threats made to a former co-worker.  The new charge was filed as the result of an investigation stemming from a February 12 euthanasia inspection in which the facility received only one “acceptable” rating and twenty-two “not acceptable” ratings.

On that date, the state inspector found impound paperwork for nine cats.  Although the drug log only showed that six cats were killed, there were eight cat carcasses in the freezer and one cat was in distress in a trap.  ACO Beck explained that then-director Brock had injected the cat with a euthanasia drug before leaving for the day, telling him to check on the cat later.  If the cat wasn’t dead, ACO Beck was to re-kill the cat.  ACO Beck is not certified to kill animals and asked the inspector if she could kill the cat.  The inspector instructed ACO Beck to take the cat to a local vet clinic.  The vet at the clinic determined the cat had been injected with something that failed to kill him.  The cat was re-killed by the vet.  A technician called the state inspector to report on the cat and said that this wasn’t the first time this had happened.

The technician told the inspector that one week prior, ACO Beck had shown up at the clinic “in a panic” with a kitten who had been injected by Brock and left in the freezer overnight.  ACO Beck found the kitten alive in the freezer with icicles on her ear tips, whiskers and fur.  The tech described the kitten as “hypothermic, wobbly, showing signs of neurologic compromise, thin, hungry and had frostbite damage to the eartips.”  The kitten was saved and has been adopted.

Drug logs at the Martin Co pound were either incomplete or non-existent according to the inspector’s report.  Controlled substances were left unsecured, both inside the facility and in Brock’s county issued vehicle.  Brock was allegedly killing trapped cats immediately upon impound with improper documentation.  ACO Beck had never seen Brock sedate an animal prior to killing and trapped cats were being jabbed at random spots on their bodies through the spacing in the wire traps.  The inspector found no euthanasia manuals on the premises nor was there a stethoscope to verify death.

On March 11, the state permanently revoked Brock’s kill license.  That document details the two botched cat killing attempts as well as an incident with a dog at the pound.  The dog was slated to be killed on December 3, 2014 and ACO Beck reportedly witnessed Brock use the county’s tranquilizer rifle to shoot the dog with several darts filled with euthanasia solution.  The dog was in his cage while Brock repeatedly shot him in the shoulder.  After the dog collapsed, Brock went into the run and injected him with more drugs.

And in case anyone was thinking that these taxpayer-financed violent crimes against dogs and cats are indefensible, hold up:

The county manager says they recently started lethal injections on animals after receiving grant funds to do away with the gas chamber.

David Bone says, “This was a new program we started recently, so anytime you start something new, there can be challenges.”

Bone says the State Department of Agriculture came to the shelter for a routine inspection to check on how they put down animals.

He says, “Part of that process was when they found some discrepancy about the records.”

[…]

Bone says, “He’s had a good career, unfortunately these circumstances came up and so we’re dealing with them .”

Ah, circumstances.  Records discrepancy.  Challenges.  And for some additional context, I refer again to the state inspector’s February 12 report, in which she states she met with county manager David Bone to detail her findings:

During this session it was clear that Mr. Bone had not known of any of the improprieties and showed much shock and surprise.

*slow clap*  What a performance.

This is what enabling looks like.  This is why we have animal cruelty happening in our broken shelter system.  This is why re-training, moving to a new building, and juggling numbers do not solve any problems.  We need systemic reform, now.

As for Brock, he is reportedly out on a $500 bond and due in court on March 30.  Watch this space.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Owned Cat Trapped by Police, Taken to Cat Killing Facility

The most recent yearly report posted for Baldwin Co Animal Control facility in Alabama is 2012.  That year, the county took in 2526 cats, killing 2304 of them – a kill rate of 91% for cats.  Clearly killing is the default for cats at the Baldwin Co pound and it is a rare event for any cat to leave the facility outside of a garbage bag.

Kiki, as pictured on al.com.

Kiki, as pictured on al.com.

Tragically, as if there aren’t enough cats already being killed at the facility, the Foley police department traps cats upon request and takes them to the Baldwin Co pound.

Foley pet owner Diana Rohe thought her 10 year old cat named Kiki had gotten lost in January.  She searched the neighborhood for weeks and offered a $1000 reward for Kiki, whom she had rescued as a kitten.  It turns out, Ms. Rohe’s neighbor had complained to the Foley police about cats getting into trash cans and requested that traps be set.  Kiki was caught in one of the traps, taken to the county pound and killed for “erratic behavior” although obviously her chances of being killed there were extremely high, all behavioral considerations aside, since she was a cat.  The neighbor stood by in silence as Ms. Rohe searched for her pet.  Ms. Rohe was unaware that traps had been set on the property.

This week, Ms. Rohe spoke before the Foley city council about the needless killing of her beloved pet:

“My cat lost her life because there is no warning from the city. There’s no kind of sign, there’s no kind of phone call, there’s no notice on the Internet, on a website or something to say, ‘We’re going to be setting traps in your area,'” Rohe said.

Rohe described her cat being “lured and tricked like a little kid with candy.”

[…]

“I’m just telling y’all my life has changed,” Rohe said emotionally. “I’m devastated over what she went through … They put her to sleep because she was so traumatized.”

Foley police chief David Wilson said that the officers will start putting up signs to notify residents when they have set traps for cats:

“I’ve apologized to her that her Kiki was put down like that,” he said. “You couldn’t have made this up. And we’re going take measure so it doesn’t happen again, at least like that.”

Maybe not exactly like that, but the pound’s statistics show that any cat brought in will most likely be killed.  Putting up trapping signs for cat haters to rip down won’t force the county shelter to start doing its job.  As it stands, the county is operating little more than a pet killing facility with regard to cats and the city of Foley should either demand that cats actually be sheltered or terminate the relationship with the pound.  If Foley insists on trapping cats, the city has an obligation to take them to a safe place and the Baldwin Co pound is not safe for cats.

(Thank you Anne for sending me this story.)

Martin Co Pound Director Fired and Arrested

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do better, Martin Co.  On everything.

(Thanks Clarice and Lisa for the links.)

Crazy Town, Georgia in the News Again

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Toccoa, Georgia – Remember late last year when a high school teacher in Stephens Co brought two cats to class and had students hold them down while he neutered them?  The community rallied behind the teacher’s actions and the pound director seemed very apologetic about doing his job with regard to issuing a summons for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.  The message was clear:  Toccoa is the place to play vet and get away with it, if you feel so inclined.

Another Stephens Co resident apparently felt so inclined and reportedly performed a do-it-yourself castration on her dog this month. Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley met with a judge and determined no criminal charges would be brought because the owner’s employment history includes work in the medical field. She reportedly made some effort to reduce the pain experienced by the dog as well as to minimize risk of infection. The article doesn’t provide any specifics but maybe she gave the dog an aspirin and washed her hands before cutting the dog open, I don’t know. The sheriff also found:

There is no direct evidence supporting the dog felt any particular level of pain during or after the procedure.

Translation: dogs can’t talk and cutting out testicles isn’t painful, probably.

But don’t try this at home:

However, Shirley says that while there may not be enough probable cause for a criminal charge in this particular case, he would like to remind everyone that this is not a procedure that just anyone should undertake.

Right. You should at least be a file clerk in a hospital or something. Then just strap your pets down and start cutting because it’s anything goes in Stephens Co I guess.

There is no mention of local animal control being involved in this investigation.  Maybe they’ve given up any pretense of doing their jobs.  And like the cat case, there is no mention of rabies vaccination and whether the state’s rabies law has been violated by these Vet for a Day yahoos.

How long before the dangerous precedent that has been set by local authorities results in someone attempting an at-home spay on some poor pet?  Why isn’t AC acting as the voice of reason here and working to protect pets from harm in Stephens Co?  Where is the area veterinary association to condemn these failures in the strongest possible terms and explain why pets should never be castrated by people who haven’t been to vet school?

(Thank you Teresa for sending me this story.)

New Hanover Co Wants to Kill “Dangerous” Dog Who Has Never Bitten Anyone

Honey, as shown on the WECT website.

Honey, as shown on the WECT website.

New Hanover Co in NC killed roughly half of its dogs and cats in 2013.  And the pound wants to kill yet another dog, an owned pet named Honey who has never bitten anyone, because she allegedly sneaks and snarls:

[New Hanover Co] deemed Honey as a potentially dangerous dog in June after five separate civil and state citations were filed reporting the owner’s inability to keep the dog controlled.

“All of the different accounts have stated the dog is snarling. It sneaks around behind them. It does a sneak attack sort of situation,” said Steve Watson, of the New Hanover County Animals Services.

Emphasis on SORT OF, I guess.  No one has been bitten.  But for whatever reasons, Honey’s owners seem to have repeatedly failed in keeping her confined.  And after the county declared Honey potentially dangerous, she was picked up running loose again last November, making that a sixth citation against the owners.  As punishment, the county wants to kill the healthy 2 year old dog:

“We get to a point where it becomes an issue of public safety, and if the owner doesn’t comply then we have to take the dog from them,” Watson explained.

Well, SORT OF public safety, if you close one eye and squint with the other.  Again, no one has been bitten.

Owner Ashley Aiena is heartbroken:

“You’re not just taking away a dog, you ‘re taking away our child,” sniffled Aiena. “We love this dog with all of our heart. It’s been very, very stressful and I am loosing [sic] it over this. It’s not right.”

Ms. Aiena filed an appeal with the pound, requesting Honey be allowed to live but the pound denied the appeal.  The family has until January 29 to take the appeal to superior court.

Any dog with teeth could be described as a potentially dangerous dog.  It seems the real issue here is the owners’ failure to keep the dog confined.  What are the reasons for this?  Could the problem be solved with a fence?  Does Honey need a coyote roller bar on her fencing to prevent her from climbing?  If Honey is killed, will the owners get another dog and face similar confinement issues, effectively hitting reset on the six citation cycle?  How is the public served by killing Honey?

New Hanover Co needs to take a fresh look at how it handles owned dogs picked up running loose.  The current protocols aren’t making anyone safer and are violating the animals’ right to live, which New Hanover Co obviously doesn’t respect anyway.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice for the link.)

Forsyth Co Officials SavingNotSaving Pets from the Cold

Forsyth Co, NC:

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

Animals saved.  Yay!

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

[…]

Many more of the animals may meet the same fate.

Animals saved?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thank you Jan for the link.)

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.)

PA Pet Store Chain Importing Shelter Animals from the South

Philly.com recently ran an article on a PA pet store chain that, like some others around the country, is switching from selling puppies and kittens obtained from commercial breeders to selling pets obtained from shelters.  Since shelter pets are being needlessly killed by directors who won’t do their jobs, any chance at avoiding the kill room sounds great.  Nonetheless, I have questions – and just because I do does not mean I’d rather see shelter pets killed than shipped for resale.  That is a false choice and one I won’t be entertaining in the comments.

The stores have been getting their rescue animals from Kentucky and Georgia shelters that have been vetted by the Humane Society of the United States.

Pets are being killed in PA shelters as well as in surrounding states.  Why would a PA pet store chain import animals from the south to stock its stores?  Shouldn’t they help the homeless pets in their own backyard (and then from their neighbors’) before importing them from the south?  Why should dogs and cats be subjected to the extreme stress of a road trip that takes all day (or days) when there are shelter pets available nearby?  The article does indicate the chain will start getting some pets from the PA SPCA as well but it makes little sense not to get all their pets locally, since PA shelter pets are going to the landfill otherwise.

How were the KY and GA shelters “vetted” by HSUS – a lobbying/fundraising group which actually has relatively little to do with animals shelters at all, let alone vetting them?  What is the HSUS vetting process?  Is money involved?  In past, HSUS has charged shelters for evaluations.  For example the Dallas pound was charged $25,000 for a 3 day HSUS evaluation in 2010.

The store is selling neutered, vaccinated, microchipped shelter pets for roughly $400 – $500.  Who is paying for these services and for the health certificates required for shipment?  Are the shelters receiving payment for the animals?  If the financial details in this arrangement are unknown, how can prospective buyers determine whether it constitutes fair trade?  The basis for the objection to pet store puppies and kittens is that they don’t constitute fair trade – with the animals being the ones who get shorted via health and quality of life concerns.  Is it reasonable to replace something objectionable with something unknown?

Some activists have been skeptical of the wave of store conversions, questioning whether all the animals are, indeed, from shelters and checked by vets.

Are the animals sold with documentation verifying their transfer from the shelter of origin and the veterinary health certificates and services they received?  Or it is just a Believe us type deal?

Representatives from the Pennsylvania SPCA and the Humane Society said they were confident that with Pets Plus Natural, any fears were misplaced.

Mmm’kay… but is there documentation?  Just in case someone isn’t prepared to go all in on the wildly comforting Believe us thing?

NC Ends Routine Gassing of Shelter Animals

The gas chamber at Henry Co AC Shelter, 2005

A gas chamber for killing shelter pets, no longer in use.

On December 4, 2014, the Animal Welfare Section of the NC Department of Agriculture issued a policy statement regarding the use of gas chambers to all licensed euthanasia technicians and registered shelters.  The letter can be read in full here.

In summary, the letter states that because the last major animal welfare organization still endorsing the gassing of pets, the AVMA, revised its position in its Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals:  2013 Edition, the state too is revising its position.  The letter states that all shelters should immediately stop the routine gassing of animals and gives a compliance deadline of February 15, 2015.  Exceptions for killing animals in the gas chamber will be allowed, in keeping with AVMA recommendations:

  • “Unusual or rare circumstances”
  • “Natural disaster”
  • “Large-scale disease outbreak”

Licensed euthanasia technicians are requested to contact the Department of Agriculture prior to gassing in order to explain the circumstances and see if the director of Animal Welfare agrees that the case qualifies as an exception.

Any facility which anticipates it won’t be able to stop gassing pets by February 15, 2015 has until January 7 to file a one-time extension request.

Paws Up to the NC Department of Agriculture for taking action to drastically reduce the conditions under which it will be legal for shelters to gas animals to death.  It’s not as good as a ban, but it’s a solid step.

Paws Down for only doing it after the AVMA, the gas chamber’s last champion, finally arrived in the 21st century on the issue and stopped endorsing it for routine pet killing.  No other major animal organization approves of gassing shelter pets.  How many more years until the AVMA crosses the gas chamber off its list permanently?

(Thanks Lisa for sending me this letter.)

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