A lost Boxer wearing a collar was found Tuesday by a couple of good Samaritans who brought the dog to the shelter in Walker Co, AL at 4:00. The relieved owner was waiting to redeem the dog the next morning prior to the shelter’s opening. But shelter staff had “evaluated” the dog and killed him by 4:30 the previous day. The shelter director explains:
“We can have any individual bring a dog in. It’s a family pet. It’s never bitten anybody. It’s really nice, but I guarantee you if it tries to bite one of us while we’re reaching for it, we cannot and will not put that animal up for adoption.”
Where to begin?
A dog wearing a collar that is turned in to the shelter may well be owned by someone looking for him. That’s just common sense. Evaluating whether to put the animal up for adoption is a non-issue until the owner has had a chance to redeem the dog. Typically that’s at least a few days. What is this shelter’s policy for holding dogs for redemption – 14 seconds?
Temperament evaluations are a useful tool when conducted by a qualified individual with an understanding of dog behavior in a shelter environment. I’m pretty sure if I was lost and on the run, and somebody brought me to this shelter and introduced me to this shelter director, I would not be on my best behavior. Or even my normal behavior. And I can talk.
The evaluation is a guide to determining what type of training and home environment best suits the dog’s needs. It’s a chance for the dog to be placed successfully in a home either now, or hopefully at some time in future after some rehab. It is NOT a Pass/Fail with Fail equaling Death. That is not an evaluation. That is a lazy and cowardly excuse for killing.
Every shelter dog deserves a fair evaluation. And you know, shelter too.
Added: Thank you Heather for posting the link to an additional story on this case in the comments. In that piece, the shelter Director, finding herself in a hole, keeps digging:
The dog would not come out of the carrier so we had to use a capture pole. That is when he became aggressive.”
According to [shelter Director, Lane] Reno most animals brought to the Humane Society become frightened or agitated, which she said could explain Boost’s reaction.
“Some of the friendliest dogs change their demeanor as soon as they get here,” Reno said. “They smell the smells and hear all the dogs barking and it scares them. It changes their mind about cooperating.”
She acknowledges that dogs are often scared and not behaving in their normal manner when they arrive at the shelter. And yet inexplicably, she stands behind her decision to immediately kill the dog. In fact, she seems to be upset only at the allegation that she possibly sold the dog and lied about it. Apparently selling someone else’s dog is rude but killing him=A-OK.
“Mr. Campbell [the Boxer’s owner] wants to say I sold his dog or gave him away to someone, which just isn’t true,” Reno said. “I hate the Humane Society is getting a black eye over this, but we have a lot of animals brought in on a daily basis and many of them have to be euthanized. But no one here stole his dog.”
Reno alleges the Humane Society did not have any room for the boxer, despite Campbell’s claim of three empty pens. Reno said the pens to which Campbell referred are useless because of damage.
Gee, if only they would invent some kind of thing which could be done to fix damaged runs – something like a “repair”. That could be useful for a shelter I would imagine in my La La Land of Fantasy Animal Shelter World. In reality, I guess the only answer is to kill dogs.
When confronted with AL law specifying that impounded dogs must be held for at least 7 days, Ms. FancyShelterDirectorPants has an answer for that too:
“That doesn’t apply to us, We aren’t a pound. We are a animal shelter,” Reno said when read the code. “The only pound that is in this building is on the city side. The building belongs to us, but the City of Jasper has Animal Control. When you have animal control you have to provide impound. Impound is what ever the city want’s to make it. Jasper City has a 72-hour hold. Jasper City pays us to feed and house their city impound dogs. Anything else that gets directly turned into us becomes our dogs. This is a not-for-profit organization, and is privately owned and operated by a board.”
Unless your business sign that reads “Humane Society” is actually made up of characters from some now defunct language which translate to “Dog Killin’ Hole”, I’d say you’ve got some kinda problem. We are the real humane society and we don’t kill people’s pets. I don’t care what part of the building you’re in (?!) or who pays your salary. You are not above the law lady, even if’n ya thinks so.
Contact info for the Walker Co Humane Society:
2302 BIRMINGHAM AVENUE
JASPER, AL 35501
PHONE: (205) 221-6621