Open Thread

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Action Alert: Harnett Co Shelter Pets Suffering in Heat

These videos were submitted by an animal advocate who wishes to remain anonymous. They were reportedly taken at the Harnett Co pound in NC this week and appear to show cats suffering in the summer heat:

I don’t know what type of system is in place to keep the animals cool during the summer months at Harnett Co but whatever it is, it appears to be terribly inadequate and may be a violation of state law.  It is my understanding that the NC Department of Agriculture, responsible for overseeing the state’s animal shelters, has already been advised of this situation.  Based upon the dates of the state’s inspections of the Harnett Co facility, it doesn’t look like the place has been inspected during the summer in years.

If you wish to take action on behalf of the animals:

Send polite, respectful letters requesting an immediate fix to the heat problem at the Harnett Co pound which does not involve further harm to the animals to:

Joseph Jeffries, County Manager
102 East Front Street
Lillington, NC 27546

Phone: 910-893-7555
Fax: 910-814-2662

“The Incident with Barbie”

barbie co co

Barbie with a toy, in a screengrab from a video apparently made by rescuers.

Contra Costa County Animal Services spokesman Steve Burdo says a 4 year old dog named Barbie was put on the June 18 kill list “after a series of evaluations by the department’s staff and medical team.”  She appeared to have a mammary tumor.  She also had two rescue groups who wanted to save her and had communicated that to the shelter.  But Contra Costa killed Barbie anyway – by mistake.  Oops.

“There were two rescues interested in this dog and the shelter manager overrode those notes and said to have her killed by the end of the day,” said Melissa Farley Law of Petaluma Pet Pals told CBS San Francisco on Thursday.

“I literally cried for three days,” she continued. “I couldn’t even look at her picture without crying. l just felt like I let her down.”

Rescues didn’t let her down. The people solely to blame for killing Barbie are the people who actually killed her – Contra Costa Co Animal Services.  And they did more than just fail Barbie – they appear to have broken the law.  Specifically the Hayden Act, which requires shelters to release pets to rescue groups willing to save them.

tommy co co

Tommy at Contra Costa Co Animal Services, as pictured on CBS SF.

In addition, a dog named Tommy who was killed around the same time, was reportedly also slated for rescue:

Rescue group member Melissa Farley Law said a second dog named Tommy had been pulled for adoption as well, but was instead euthanized.

Burdo said the department does not have any records confirming that a rescue group had shown interest in rescuing Tommy. He doesn’t believe there was a mistake.

No records.  Now.  So just punt, I guess.  But let’s be clear, unless Tommy was medically hopeless and suffering, which his completely adorable photo seems to refute, killing him was a mistake.  He had a right to live and it was Contra Costa County’s job to protect him from harm.  Instead of doing their job, they killed Tommy.  Just because the spokesman wants it known that the killing was intentional does not justify it in any way, shape or form.  Tommy is irreplaceable.

There are records confirming rescue holds on Barbie.  So there has been a two-pronged response by the county:

1. Distract with shiny thing.

Ironically, the “Barbie incident” comes on the heels of good news regarding the agency’s increasing live release rates. As of May 2016, around 80 percent of animals that were brought to the county shelter made it out alive, up from around 45 percent in 2011, CCAS spokesman Steve Burdo said.

“Not to take away from the incident with Barbie, but the situation with Barbie, if you’re asking me, seems more like the exception than the rule,” he said.

Breaking the law and killing dogs rescue groups are willing to save is not the rule at Contra Costa Co, it’s just the exception.  Gee, I’m glad it’s not the rule.  That would be bad.  Seeing as it’s just the exception, I guess we can let it slide.

Barbie’s death was not an incident or a situation, by the way.  It was a tragedy which a state law was enacted in order to prevent.  Barbie is irreplaceable.

2.  Investigate yourself!

“We’re going to take this opportunity to learn and improve our process so this never happens again.”
Burdo said the department is investigating the incident internally.

I can’t think of anything that would give me more confidence.  Except possibly an investigation by a specially appointed piece of cardboard with aspirations of higher office.

Anyway, if you feel like bawling your eyes out, watch this video of Barbie, apparently posted to social media by rescuers the day she was oops-killed, playing, being social and generally loving life.

Barbie had the right to live and to love.  So did Tommy, despite what recordkeeping, or lack thereof, may exist at Contra Costa Co.  Barbie’s needless and apparently unlawful killing is not “an opportunity” nor should it be waved off as merely “an exception.”  Barbie, like Tommy, and like every other shelter pet, was exceptional.  That’s the part too many shelters don’t get.  There are and will be other friendly, happy dogs in our broken shelter system.  But there will never be another Barbie.  Or Tommy.  Or any of the millions of others whose lives are snuffed out each year in the name of “animal services.”  Taxpayers of Contra Costa Co, this is your animal shelter.  Let your elected officials know exactly what services you want.  Demand that compassionate people are immediately put into place who are committed to treating every animal as exceptional.  Accept nothing less.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is no sparklers for you! optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.


Weekend Jade


Too hot to do anything except lie around looking like our own damn beautiful selves.

Open Thread

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



Whistleblower Photographs Dead Dogs All Over the Floor at CA Pound

stanislaus co

The kill room at the Stanislaus Co shelter, as shown on

A man on a work release program was working at the Stanislaus Co pound when he saw a number of dead dogs on the floor of the kill room. He snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook. People were upset by the photo, and rightly so. Taxpayers pay for community pets to be sheltered, not killed. Moreover, it is sinister to force pets about to be killed to see, hear and/or scent other animals who are being or have just been killed.

wicked witch of the west

The last to go will see the first three go before her, hahaha.

Stanislaus Co took to Facebook and spun the public backlash this way:

Stanislaus Animal Services says “Thank You” for the ongoing continued support we have received today from the community. We have received an overwhelming number of calls and messages for support of Animal Services expressing their concern and disbelief that an inmate in our community thought it was okay to post a picture on Face Book disrespecting deceased dogs and their owners. The picture is disrespectful to the families of these dogs and was posted purely for shock value. The picture was taken down by Facebook and this person in now in custody.

All good whistleblowers go to jail in Stanislaus Co apparently.  Also, nice smear on the “inmate”.  I guess we’re supposed to imagine he’s a kiddie rapist or a serial killer or something – you know, purely for shock value.

The local kool-aid drinkers ABC affiliate did a piece on the viral photo in which they asked such hard hitting questions as:

[W]ho would take such a picture?

Probably nobody ever again, after this guy was taken away to jail.

ABC 10 reassured the public that a bunch of dead dogs on the kill room floor is totally normal:

“What’s seen and depicted in that picture is that euthanasia is complete,” [director Phillip] Zimmerman said. “The employees do a double check to make sure these animals are expired. They are getting a gurney which you don’t see, and then they put them on that and take them to refrigeration.”

According to the Sacramento and Stockton Animal shelters, as long as a pet doesn’t have to see a fellow pet euthanized, this is the common practice.

And in the accompanying video, Annette Patton from the Stanislaus Co shelter says:

We never expose an animal coming into euthanasia to see other deceased dogs.

She also explains that pets are killed up on the table, not on the floor.

So ok. I didn’t go to journalism school but I am far less concerned about who took the damn picture than I am about all the dead dogs lined up on the floor. And I have questions:

  1.  Given that the shelter rep made clear that pets are killed in that room and on that table, can anyone come up with an even slightly plausible scenario that explains how these dogs did not see, hear and/or scent all these other dogs either being killed or having just been killed?  Because I can not think of A N Y T H I N G.
  2. Is this how 7248 animals were killed last year at the Stanislaus Co pound?
stanislaus co stats

Stanislaus Co stats, as posted on its website.

Depite what the killing apologists at ABC 10 say, having dead dogs all over the kill room floor is not totally normal. The standard, as specified by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, among others, is rather the opposite:

Animals should not be permitted to observe or hear the euthanasia of another animal, nor permitted to view the bodies of dead animals.

I don’t know if state or local statutes specifically address this issue but maybe, when the sheriff’s office is done tossing bread and water to whistleblowers in the clink, they could check into that.

You know what is “disrespectful” to these dogs and their families (including the families they might have had if the county had done their jobs and sheltered them until adopted)?  Killing.  You know who is doing the killing, in an apparently inhumane manner?  Stanislaus Co.  You know who hauled a whistleblower off to jail for exposing that reality?  Stanislaus Co.

Spin that, psychopaths.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Stokes Co Officials Decide Sheltering Animals is Too Much Like Work

In 2015, the troubled Stokes Co pound in North Carolina took in 1029 dogs and cats, killing 473 of them.  The county’s adoption rate was 36%, return to owner rate was 7% and kill rate was 46%.  Dogs and cats coming in the front door of the Stokes Co pound had a better chance of going out the back door in a garbage bag than anything else.

This month, county manager Rick Morris says Stokes is “overwhelmed with strays and surrenders”, there are funding issues and staff turnover as well.  To address these issues, county leaders voted to not address them at all:

“We will no longer […] take in animal surrenders by the owners or stray animals,” said county manager, Rick Morris.

Morris added that he expects his county’s failure to do their jobs with regard to community pets will leak onto surrounding counties actually trying to do their jobs. And he’s fine with that.  Let other shelters take care of Stokes Co animals because we’re not going to do it.  I guess sucks being you, other counties.

Then there’s this:

“It’s just unbelievable the number of animals people just want to give up,” said County Manager Rick Morris.

[Refusing to shelter strays and surrenders in need is] a change Morris says will cut costs for cleaning supplies and spay and neutering.

Right. Reduced spay-neuter should certainly help reduce your county’s animal population.  I have no idea how that would work but hey, less paper towels!

They are changes Morris hopes will save many animals from having to be euthanized.

“It’s doing a favor to the animals by not putting them in there,” he said.

tanya tucker

Critical cat photo by Casey Post

The most likely outcome for animals at the Stokes Co pound is killing. Because the staff kills them instead of doing their jobs to shelter them. So it’s a favor to the animals to not put them in a place where people kill them. I see what you did there.

Stokes County manager Rick Morris hopes by changing the way the shelter operates, it will make people around the area more responsible with their pets.

Yeah I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. Lead by example. By taking no responsibility for the challenges involved in sheltering animals, the job taxpayers are paying you to do, the public will learn – wait.

What the public actually did:

Several Stokes County residents stood before county commissioners Monday night, demanding to pay higher taxes to help offset costs for much-needed services like EMS, funding for schools and the county animal shelter.

Oh snap.  For some reason, the public seems to find the whole non-solution solution to be less desirable than paying higher taxes.  Let that sink in for a sec.

Nice try Stokes Co but it seems like taxpayers still want you to do your jobs.  And they are paying attention.  Quick – look busy while you try to think up another stellar plan to avoid work.


Action Alert: Animals Suffering in Clinton Co Shelter

No food or water, crammed in filthy cages, sick and dying.  These are a few of the photos taken at the Tri County Animal Shelter in Albany, KY and posted on Facebook.  Warning: There are additional photos and some videos at the links.  They are very disturbing and some appear to show dead animals.

If animals were suffering in these conditions at a citizen’s home, HSUS and/or ASPCA would be there with their logo jackets on, media in tow, bringing animals out for the cameras (before dumping them on the local rescue community after they got their fundraising ops).  I have been checking online since these photos were posted and have seen no reporting on this so-called shelter.  HSUS and ASPCA will never go there with the media and remove the animals because they enable this behavior and call us troublemakers when we demand the workers do their jobs.  They tell us to bring them cupcakes in appreciation for the work they do.  Fuck their worse than useless platitudes.

Contact Clinton Co.  Tell them to treat this emergency situation in their shelter exactly as they would if animals in these conditions were found in a citizen’s home.  The animals need immediate vet care and charges must be brought against those responsible for the neglect and abuse:

Clinton Count Judge Executive Office
Richard C. Armstrong
(606) 387-5234

County Sheriff
Jim Guffey
(606) 387-5111

The idea that a meeting could be held and changes proposed is unacceptable in this situation.  This is a life and death emergency.  The animals need help NOW and the people responsible need to be put in the back of a police car and taken to jail.  This is institutionalized animal abuse, paid for by taxpayers, and overseen by Clinton Co officials.  Shame on all of them.

Weekend Jade

062616 jadenewt



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