Open Thread

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albert

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Adoptable Fat-Headed Dogs in Memphis: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Memphis Animal Services got a new director this summer. Dogs labeled as pitbulls at the facility would not notice.

MAS continues its long tradition of discrimination against any dog labeled pitbull or pitbull mix by staff – regardless of how inaccurate the labels might be.  And it’s not because of any terrible law on the books – it’s a choice made by the pound, because they can.  These dogs are largely kept behind locked doors in “stray”, away from the areas where the public is allowed to look for a new pet.  Even if an adopter knew MAS had more dogs in the “stray” cages and was able to get an employee to unlock the doors and escort them through the area, they wouldn’t be allowed to take home a pet they fell in love with because MAS discriminates against pitbulls.  Adopters are required to submit to background checks and to a fence inspection by MAS staff (if they get around to it before the dog is killed) before being allowed to save a dog labeled pitbull.

And if all of this doesn’t convince you of breed discrimination by MAS, take a look at the 17 dogs on the “disposition list” for Friday.  These dogs all appear to be young and healthy, most of them have been tested for heartworm and come up negative, and all of them were labeled pitbull or pitbull mix by MAS staff before being locked away in the stray area.  Yesterday afternoon, rescuers received emails from MAS notifying them that all these dogs have until 4:45pm Friday.

There are a number of 3 – 6 month old puppies in the bunch and many beautiful adult dogs as well.  All photos were posted by Memphis Pets Alive on social media:

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(Thanks Jenn.)

Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals – Sumter Co Edition

buddy sumter co

Buddy, as pictured on Facebook.

A dog named Buddy was on the kill list at the Sumter Co pound in Florida this month.  Animal advocates say the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter Co, which partners with animal control, posted him with the wrong picture and an incorrect ID number, making his chances for rescue rather slim.  But thanks to the efforts of rescuers who did not give up on Buddy, a foster was found at the last minute.

A rescuer reportedly called the Sumter Co pound at 4:45pm on August 15 to let the staff know that Buddy was definitely going to be pulled.  The HS/SPCA, which has limited hours and is never open past 3pm, was already closed but someone reportedly did answer the call about Buddy:

Their response was he has to be out of the building by 5pm. Well the HSSPCA was closed and we were in Tampa. We told them he could be pulled in the morning and they said policy says he has to be out of the building by closing.

It was impossible for anyone to physically get to the facility to pull Buddy within the 15 minutes allotted by the pound.  Buddy was reportedly killed the next morning, immediately upon opening, before rescuers could get inside to save him.

This is usually where the people in charge issue some response along the lines of oops.  Not in this case.  In fact, the HS/SPCA board chair, Celine Petrie, not only made no attempt to claim the killing was in error, she went so far as to issue a general non-apology, not mentioning Buddy and by the way, she wants credit for the lives they did allow rescuers to save:

“While we regret every animal where a life is lost, we have saved 1,054 animals this year,” she said.

She can’t conjure up any fake sympathy for Buddy, specifically? Does she even know his name? She sure knows the exact number of lives rescuers have saved, which she wants credit for.  Just a vague “where a life is lost” – as if it’s something other than a friendly, healthy dog being held down on a kill table and having the life snuffed out of him by people who knew he was wanted.  Some cold brew there.

Fifty animal advocates attended the Sumter Co commissioners meeting this week seeking reform.  They asked the county to do more than respond to vicious dog calls during off-hours:

After hearing their concerns, commissioners asked County Administrator Bradley Arnold to work on addressing the problems in the next county budget, which will be enacted next month.

While it remains to be seen whether this leads to any improvement at the Sumter Co pound, it doesn’t address the real issue.  The county has people working at the pound who intentionally killed a pet whom they knew had a home waiting for him.  Until the county gets rid of all those capable of this kind of violence, along with everyone making excuses for them, there will be no meaningful reform in Sumter Co.

Buddy’s killing is a betrayal of public trust in Sumter Co.  Worse, it is a betrayal of the rescue community, on whose backs the animals are being saved.  Worst of all, it is a betrayal of Buddy, a sentient being who had a right to live but fell into the hands of public servants paid to protect him who, instead of doing their jobs, killed him with malice aforethought.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Weekend Jade

082116 BLUR

Out of more than 50 shots, most of which admittedly only captured body parts, this was the least blurry. 

Open Thread

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service.dog and boy

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Name That Animal

I hope no one minds if we just play a Name That Animal today.  I need a tiny, dashing bird in my life today. Oh look!

nta

As a reminder – this is just for fun. The only rule is no researching. Post your guesses in the comments. Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is something you might come to regret later in life optional. Answer will be posted in the comments tonight.

New MAS Director Writes “I approve humane euthanasia for this pet” an Awful Lot

Below are some of the many pets killed at the Memphis pound on July 12, 2016.  The complete records, as provided by the city via FOIA request, can be found here (part 1) and here (part two).

This is one of four kittens who lived at MAS for a week. Records indicate the kittens were housed in FERAL 01, were eating cat food well and would sleep together in a pile. There are no notes indicating any of the kittens were sick, malnourished, or losing weight. All four were killed on July 12 when MAS suddenly determined, after they’d been apparently thriving for a week, they were too young to survive.  Oops?:

mas kitten too young

This cat’s intake condition was listed as “injured” on July 7 but there are no notes that any veterinary care – even an examination – was ever provided. It’s unclear if he truly was injured.  Romeo was killed for “time/space” on July 12.  Oops?:

mas cat time

Kitten ID 288617 was part of a litter surrendered to MAS.  The family was housed in cage number ER 04:

mas 288617 card

All the kittens’ medical notes are identical and were presumably copied and pasted into each individual record on July 9:

mas 288617 med

The family was killed on July 12 because three of the kittens had colds:

mas 288617 kill

This would appear to be the kittens’ mother, Mona.  Her record indicates she was housed in cage number ER 04, with her litter:

mas mona card

MAS provided no medical notes for Mona so presumably, none exist.  (She was not the only pet killed by MAS on July 12 for whom no medical notes were provided.)  Mona was killed on July 12 for having a cold.  There appear to be no records supporting this claim:

mas mona

This is Molly, kitten ID 288616 at MAS.  She was housed in cage number FERAL 01, just like the kittens who were killed for being “too young”:

mas 288616 card

Molly’s age is listed on her cage card as 2 months. Her medical notes on July 9 appear to have been copied and pasted from records belonging to Mona’s litter of kittens who were described as newborns and housed in ER 04. Note that on July 9, Molly’s apparently incorrect notes state she has a cold but on July 10, “none noted” appears next to URTI, seeming to reaffirm that Molly was indeed healthy:

mas 288616 med

Molly, who was apparently healthy and whose records appear to contain notes from a different litter of kittens, was killed for having a cold on July 12.  Oops?:

mas kitten 288616

These are two of four pups who were killed despite having a rescue offer to take them after MAS determined they had been exposed to parvo. Note that their “outcome” indicates “transfer – rescue”.  Oops?:

rescue pup mas
rescue pup2 mas

Local animal advocates report that the Memphis pound has never once filled all of its roughly 550 cages since its opening several years ago. There are always many empty cages at MAS, yet animals are still killed for space which, like the overwhelming majority of killings at MAS, seems to make no sense.

In the fall, MAS will reportedly bring in Target Zero, a group which has targeted and created zero no kill communities and which advocates for dumping lost cats lacking identification back on the streets instead of sheltering them. Afterward, MAS will reportedly adopt a plan to continue killing pets for time/space (or not) for another 3 years before ending the practice. Killing for being too young/or not, having a cold/or not, being injured/or not and for having a rescue on the way will continue forever, I guess, since none of these excuses are being addressed by the new director.  And in fact, she’s signing off on them left and right.

Look, I don’t know if some or all of the animals killed by MAS on July 12 were killed by mistake. Maybe some or all were killed intentionally – despite being healthy or in some cases, treatable, despite cage space being available, despite having rescue on the way – whatever. What I do know is that killing shelter pets is wrong.

Euthanasia to end the suffering of medically hopeless pets who have been given a poor/grave prognosis by a veterinarian is something completely different than killing. It’s part of animal sheltering – a very small part. Words matter. Attempting to whitewash the needless killing, by mistake or by design, of healthy/treatable pets by referring to it as “humane euthanasia” is wrong.

The main focus of any animal shelter should be lifesaving – immediate and responsible lifesaving. If that is ever to be the focus at MAS, it must start with a director immediately and responsibly committed to it. It appears that MAS, as ever, is lacking in this area.

Some in Memphis want to excuse the new director’s killing by claiming “these things take time”. To my mind, that is nothing more than enabling the behavior. I don’t need to wait and see how many more animals MAS puts into the dumpster over the next three months, three years or three anything. Molly is too many. Mona is too many. Romeo is too many. Every pet at MAS who is left to die in his cage or is killed under the guise of “humane euthanasia” when he isn’t medically hopeless and suffering is too many.

How many more, Memphis?

(Thanks Lou Ann.)

Weekend Jade

080816 jadenewt

Sneaky idea face

Open Thread

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kitten1935

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Baton Rouge Pound Oops-Kills Another Pet

Brittany Seelmann left her beloved 4 year old dog Thrall in the care of a friend last month. When Thrall reportedly bit a repairman at the house, AC took him to the Baton Rouge pound for a 10 day quarantine. The facility is managed by a pet killing group called Companion Animal Alliance.

Ms. Seelmann says she called and spoke with someone from CAA daily about Thrall – making sure he was eating and re-verifying that the release date on his paperwork, July 29, was correct. On July 28, someone from CAA called Ms. Seelmann to tell her they’d killed her dog by mistake. Oops.

“I was just devastated when she called me. I immediately started crying,” Seelmann said.

CAA director Beth Brewster released a generic Oops-Kill statement from the Crappy Pound Manual:

“My staff and I are devastated we failed Thrall while he was in our care. He was brought to us after a bite case occurred for quarantine as required by ordinance. Our protocols are based on national standards, but unfortunately human error does occur. Everyone involved has been reprimanded, we are retraining staff on procedures and working on tightening our vigilance to ensure that this will not happen again.”

So yeah it’s sad but don’t forget he was a BAD DOG and we were just following the law and we’re only human and what human hasn’t oops-killed someone’s pet, you know?

Also, retraining and the usual blah.  Which apparently does not include transparency:

CAA would not comment further on how many people were disciplined and how.

thrall memorial

Shelter pet advocacy, courtesy of the irresponsible public. (Image via WAFB)

Ms. Seelmann held a memorial for Thrall at the pound and set up a table to raise awareness about some of the other owned animals CAA has killed. That took guts.  And she had to dig down past her grief in order to harness that power.  Good on you, Ms. Seelmann.  I am glad someone is advocating for the right of shelter pets to live, since no one at the shelter seems to care.  I hope more local animal lovers will join you in calling for reform at this pet killing facility.

(Thanks Clarice.)

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