Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

Treats on the Internets

An anonymous whistleblower is accusing Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services of killing treatable animals, falsifying their records and turning away strays in need in order to make their numbers look good. (Thank you Clarice for the link.)

The Washington Co Animal Shelter in TN killed 276 cats last month because they had colds.  But the director falsely told the local paper the shelter is “no kill” because they don’t kill “healthy, sociable” animals.  (Thanks Jan.)

A family dog who was lost on a road trip was picked up by Caddo Animal Services in LA.  The owner, who is 8 months pregnant, lives in Houston so a local rescuer offered to drive the dog halfway to reunite the family.  But the pound director refused.  The owner says she asked multiple times to allow the dog to be released to the rescuer as she was experiencing pre-labor contractions and has another young child to care for but the director yelled and cursed at her in response.  She says her mother also called to request release of the dog to the rescuer out of concern for her daughter’s well-being but the director still refused.  For his part, the director says he never spoke with the owner and when he spoke with her mother, she “asked and begged and pleaded with us that we give the dog to the actual owner and not release it to a third party”.  The owner was forced to drive all the way to the pound in Shreveport to reclaim her pet.  (Thanks Clarice and Lisa.)

This article about a feline kidney transplant seems to adopt the posture that the donor cat was found in a shelter and probably would have been killed anyway so it’s fine to harvest him for parts.  Plus the family of the recipient is forced to adopt the donor cat, regardless of how anyone gets along so… it’s all good?  (Thanks Karen.)

A cinematic history of dogs

This kiddie pool in NJ was just right.

More on United Animal Coalition Allegations

As posted yesterday, the secretive non-profit United Animal Coalition has had its registrations to run the Guilford Co and Davidson Co pounds revoked by the state of North Carolina.  The county editor for the Rhino Times, a paper in Guilford Co, reports that the allegations made by the state “are only the tip of the iceberg” regarding wrongdoing by UAC.

Citing a source who was in attendance at a secret meeting on July 27 held at the workplace of UAC president Carolyn Cudd, the Rhino reports that Cudd explained to the group how the investigation began:

On Tuesday, May 19, a severely injured dog that was paralyzed from the shoulders down and appeared to have a broken back was brought into the Davidson County shelter.

The next day, a shelter official assured a Davidson County sheriff’s deputy that the dog would be euthanized by the end of that day.  On Thursday, May 21, a deputy discovered the paralyzed dog still alive with maggots on its body and on the floor of the cage.

On Friday, May 22, a worker at the Davidson County shelter noticed a “bloody blowout” from the dog’s rear and took pictures of the animal’s plight and sent the pictures to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department.  The crippled animal was finally put to death later that day.

That led authorities to the investigation that expanded to Guilford County.

[…]

A picture of the dog with the broken back at the Davidson County shelter was also passed around at that time.

After the meeting attendees, including UAC’s former president, a current board member as well as county reps from both Guilford and Davidson, got a look at the maggot infested dog whose rear exploded while he lay paralyzed in UAC’s care, there was a discussion on whether UAC should suspend and/or hire a lawyer for Marsha Williams, the executive director of both shelters.  Because yeah, you know, not sure.

A Guilford Co pound volunteer told the Rhino that Davidson Co, the more recent contract awarded to UAC, was under greater scrutiny than Guilford Co.  In an effort to make Davidson’s numbers look good quickly, UAC set up a racket whereby dogs from the Davidson pound were sent to Guilford for killing and counted as adoptions on their way out of Davidson.  Hey, they went out the front door, technically.  I guess they were “adopted” by Fatal Plus at Guilford.

The vol also says UAC specifically directed employees to neglect suffering animals so that they would eventually die in their cages in order to manipulate the number of animals killed.  Hey, they weren’t “euthanized”, they just happened to be called to the Rainbow Bridge, la la la.

In addition, the volunteer told the paper the Davidson Co pound had no one licensed to kill animals for some period of time, donations were not being used for the stated purpose, the financial numbers being given to the county were false, and people were afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation by UAC.

Other allegations made in the piece:

  • Williams, who was paid more than $92,000 a year, hired several family members to work under her at the Guilford facility.
  • Controlled substances were not tracked and recorded as required by law.
  • Cats weren’t given sufficient quantities of food.
  • Animals were put in cages together without consideration of compatibility resulting in fights and food deprivation for weaker animals.
  • Bleach was poured directly into dog runs each day without rinsing causing dogs’ feet to burn.
  • Although severely injured and ill animals were often left to suffer, pets with minor ailments were regularly killed by UAC (I assume because they would take too long to die in their cages).

And of course, as is all too often the case in these situations, follow the money:

Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Col. Randy Powers said this week that the Sheriff’s Department is looking into multiple issues including concerns of financial fraud.  Powers also said the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has some computer forensics specialists who were working with Davidson County in its investigation as well.

Several of the UAC board members have recently resigned and replacements have reportedly been made but the president won’t name them.  I’m guessing the UAC board, along with the officials in Davidson and Guilford counties, will claim they had no idea about the killing schemes, the animals forced to suffer for the sake of deceptive reports, the financial fraud and all the rest.  Did they have some obligation to make themselves aware of at least the surface appearance of things at the pounds?  Should someone/anyone who was writing checks to UAC have poked their head in the door at some point and asked why dozens of animals were literally dying in front of their faces?  Those are questions which will hopefully be asked by local animal advocates – asked until reasonable answers are provided.

The appalling level of suffering endured by the animals in Davidson and Guilford counties under UAC is enough to keep most anyone awake at night.  Hopefully, it’s enough to land those responsible in jail.  But anyhoo, should we hire a lawyer for the director?  Iffy.

State of NC Shuts Down Operator of Two County Pounds

The state of North Carolina has revoked the shelter registrations issued to the United Animal Coalition – one used to operate the Guilford Co pound and the other for the Davidson Co pound.  In letters dated August 17, the state ordered UAC to cease and desist operating both facilities within 5 days “based on UAC’s willful disregard” of the laws pertaining to the care of shelter animals.

In Davidson Co, the state investigated a complaint regarding a severely injured dog.  The state found that UAC had left an apparently paralyzed dog with a possible broken back to suffer without a vet exam for 3 days before killing the dog.  A review of records dating back to January 2015 revealed an astonishing number of animals who were left to die in their cages.  A few examples cited by the state:

  • From April 15 – 30:  40 animals found dead in their cages
  • In May:  91 cats and 5 dogs found dead in their cages
  • In June:  86 cats and 5 dogs found dead in their cages
  • In July:  78 cats and 14 dogs found dead in their cages

While the obvious suffering of animals at Davidson Co is disturbing, the state cited scores of specific examples of dogs and cats suffering at Guilford Co which are absolutely heartbreaking to read.  Among them:

    • A dog who had been shot in the face and had an eyeball hanging out was given pain medication upon intake and then left to suffer without a vet exam or meds of any kind for 12 days before being killed.
    • A cat who had been hit by car and had his tail degloved was given pain meds but never received a vet exam, wound treatment or antibiotics by the time UAC killed him 4 days later.
    • A cat who had been hit by a car came in with a missing leg and his chin degloved.  He never received a vet exam and UAC waited 10 days before killing him.  He may have received pain meds but the records contain conflicting information so that information is unclear.
    • A dog who had been hit by a car was bleeding from his penis and had abdominal swelling, possibly due to internal bleeding.  His breathing was labored and one of his legs may have been broken.  He suffered in this condition for 2 weeks without so much as a veterinary examination.
    • An elderly dog who appeared to be suffering was brought in by an owner requesting euthanasia.  UAC failed to obtain proof of ownership but took the dog and left him in a cage for 4 days before killing him.  He was never examined by a vet.
    • Another dog, circumstances similar to the above, was left for 6 days before being killed.
    • A dog with apparent neurological problems and leg wounds was left to suffer without a vet exam for 4 days before being killed by UAC.
    • A cat who had “severe diarrhea, anus and vagina swollen and raw, and hair under the tail missing” was given medication for one day then left without exam or treatment for 11 days before UAC killed her.
    • A dog whose feet were raw and who had a large mammary tumor was left in a cage and discovered with the tumor ruptured the following day.  The dog never received a vet exam and was killed after 5 days.
    • A cat who had a maggot in an infected hole in his neck was given pain meds without a vet exam, had the maggot removed and the wound flushed.  No antibiotics were administered.  The cat was found dead in his cage 6 days later.
    • An emaciated cat who appeared hypoglycemic and exhibited symptoms of conjunctivitis and a URI never received a vet exam or meds by the time UAC killed him, 11 days later.
    • An emaciated dog with multiple bite wounds, both old and new, came in with a swollen face and abdomen, a hematoma on the ear and the smell of infection in the mouth.  The dog was placed on pain meds without a vet exam and never received any wound treatment or antibiotics by the time UAC killed him 5 days later.

HSUS has listed Guilford Co as one of its “top ten emergency placement partners” and encouraged the public to bring the staff cupcakes to say “thank you”.  If anyone does plan on bringing cupcakes, please contact me for a top ten list of suggested places you can cram them.

While shutting down UAC is obviously good news for animals, it’s not good enough.  For one thing, the criminal douchebags responsible for what is likely years of animal suffering and death need to go to jail.  For another, Guilford Co taking over the pound is not exactly the knight on the white horse anyone was hoping for – unless the county has changed from doing basically all the same things UAC is accused of by the state.  Trouble behind, trouble ahead.  Annoying animal advocates needed in Guilford and Davidson counties.  Huge.

(Thanks Lisa, Laura and Arlene for the links.)

Discussion: How Do You Cope?

A search term which led someone to the blog last week.

A search term which led someone to the blog recently.

Snipped from an email received from reader Renate:

Subject: How do you cope?
From: Renate
Date: Tue, August 11, 2015 8:13 pm
To: eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com

There is one thing I’ve been wanting to ask you: How do you cope with the relentless stream of bad news and downright evil reported from the animal world? I sometimes feel like I cannot stand another report about a kill shelter abusing the animals in its care, assembly line killing, callous, indifferent and abusive employees and directors. I believe such shelters and pounds attract employees that are at best indifferent and at worst abusive to animals. Who like the feeling of power over life and death that it gives them. It’s so depressing.

In my reply, I mentioned a few of the tools and strategies I use: humor, taking breaks as frequently as needed, and reminding myself that the no kill movement continues to grow and succeed. But the exchange also got me thinking about our group as a whole. While each of us is focused on our own areas of animal advocacy, we all likely suffer from some form of stress related to this work and have developed coping strategies which may be useful to others.

So I am opening up the floor to everyone who wants to share what works for them – or even what doesn’t, which might be helpful information too. Anonymous comments are accepted, as always, but please feel welcome to use your name if you feel comfortable. This will be a safe place to discuss mental health issues related to animal advocacy and absolutely no shaming or other jerkass behavior will be tolerated.

If you are a U.S. resident in crisis and need to talk to someone by phone or online, visit this site.  Additional resources, including those in other countries, are available here.

Weekend Jade

I really need to get them a selfie stick.

I really need to get them a selfie stick.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

Naptime, but no pajamas. (Photo by Rachel Johnson)

Naptime, but no pajamas. (Photo by Rachel Johnson)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is: no researching. Post your most and/or least knowledgeable guesses in the comments. Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is Straight Outta Cheatin’ optional. Answer will be posted in the comments tonight.
nta

Dallas Pound Oops-Kills a Bucket of Kittens

Orphaned kittens at Dallas Animal Services.  Photos by Carla Adkins, as shown on the Dallas Observer website.

Orphaned kittens at Dallas Animal Services. Photos by Carla Adkins, as shown on the Dallas Observer website.

When a volunteer saw a man trying to surrender a bucket full of orphaned, one week old kittens to the Dallas pound, she stepped in with an offer to help.

[Volunteer Carla] Adkins says she intervened. “I told the guy I’m going to go ahead and post this online and see if I can find a nursing mom real quick,” Adkins says. The intake worker agreed to let Adkins submit the kittens to Dallas Animals Services under her own name and address. The intake worker, Adkins adds, appeared to understand that she would hunt for a foster home.  “He said, ‘You’re going to try to find a rescue for these cats?’ And I said yes,” Adkins says.

Ms. Adkins says she went out to her car and began posting on Facebook about the 7 kittens.  Within 4 hours, she had a foster lined up but it was too late:

“The kittens were euthanized because they had a poor prognosis,” the shelter’s operations manager, Dr. Cate McManus wrote in an email to Adkins. “This heat is deadly to these little guys. They dehydrate so quickly.  I am so sorry. If your foster is interested I can divert the next set of healthy neonates to them. We are always looking for nursing moms.”

The heat.  So deadly.  You know what else is so deadly to these little guys?  Fatal Plus.  Plus they were dehydrated and until someone invents a thing called fluids, there’s no hope.  Oh but hey, if you want the next batch of kittens that comes through the door, let me know and I’ll hold off on killing them.  Kittens, so delightfully interchangeable.

Also, there’s more killsplainin’ (and if anyone understands this, please provide a translation):

Dallas Animal Services Director Jody Jones and  McManus told the Observer that the intake worker failed to indicate to the vet team that foster arrangements were being made. Jones expressed regret that Adkins didn’t receive a phone call before the kittens were killed. “Carla did offer the capacity to network those kittens; she should have gotten that phone call, and we’re devastated that we failed her and those animals,” Jones said. The intake employee, Jones says, “certainly could have been more proactive in helping us” find a new home for the cats, though the employee blamed Adkins for the misunderstanding.

“He thought Carla was just mentioning she was going to try and network the animals, and left it at that, as opposed to feeling that she was going to find a place for the animals,” Jones said.

Oof.  The intake worker didn’t tell the vet not to immediately kill the kittens because he thought the volunteer was making some effort to save them.  Which is totally different than feeling that same thing.  And he wasn’t proactive.  And my head hurts.

The intake worker was not a city employee but came from a staffing agency.  He won’t be doing his thinking and feeling at the pound in future.

McManus would like the irresponsible public to know that this is the first time the Dallas pound has been caught killing pets whom rescuers were trying to save since the last time they got caught in January.

McManus and Jones apologized at a news conference at the time [of the January killings] and said they would give staff additional training to ensure that animals with foster homes are no longer killed.  “In a situation where animals … had a foster or adoption home in place, that information should be in the computer,” McManus told reporters.

I guess additional-additional training is needed.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Kittens Meet Grisly End at NC Pound

Kitten #35611, identified by animal advocates on Facebook as one of the cats killed by a dog at the Columbus Co pound.

Kitten #35611, identified by animal advocates on Facebook as one of the cats killed by a dog at the Columbus Co pound.

More violence at the long troubled pound in Columbus Co, NC – this time, reportedly due to an ACO who “accidentally” left a dog’s cage unlocked and “accidentally” left the door to a room housing cats unlocked then went home for the night.  Oops.  Director Rossie Hayes told a local paper:

“The door was open when we came in Monday and found what we found.”

Found what we found is a way of avoiding saying that the dog killed more than a dozen cats, most of whom were kittens.  Nobody seems to agree on the exact number killed but hey, they’re just cats.

The ACO has been fired.  And Hayes wants to know where he goes to accept his I Refrained from Killing One Dog award:

“This was just as friendly a dog as you would ever see,” Hayes said of the female pit bull. “I think the animal groups thought I would euthanize her, but I didn’t.”

The dog has reportedly been rescued.  The county recently appealed a fine assessed by the state for illegally killing an owned pet.

(Thank you to everyone who sent me links on this story.)

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