Winograd on HSUS Partnering with Vick

From Nathan Winograd’s post “In Bed with Monsters“:

Can anyone imagine the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence embracing wife killer O.J. Simpson to help him regain his image? Can anyone imagine the National Organization to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children embracing pedophile John Geoghan to help him regain his image? Can anyone imagine the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network embracing rapist Josef Fritzl to help him regain his image? It is unthinkable. And yet we in the animal movement, under Pacelle’s direction, are threatening to do this very thing, to having our movement embrace our version of Simpson, Geoghan, and Fritzl as a spokesman. It is beyond obscene. It is unthinkable.

Yep.

Pacelle tried to couch the partnership in terms favorable to HSUS, regardless of the outcome:

If he makes the most of it, and demonstrates a sincere, long-term commitment to the task, then it may prove to be a tipping point in our campaign to eradicate dogfighting. If he demonstrates a fleeting or superficial interest, then it will be his own failing, not ours.

But you can’t have it both ways. You don’t get to declare “We win” or “He loses”. The fact is that the HSUS has not demonstrated a “sincere, long term commitment to the task” of saving bust dogs. If and when they do that, maybe some of us will be interested in participating in their efforts. For now, teaming up one dog killer with another just makes my filing easier.

Memorial Day

Thank you for your service, one and all.

Loudoun Co, VA Judge: Keep Right on Killing Shelter Pitbulls

Pitbull advocates took their case to a judge earlier this month challenging Loudoun County’s policy on not adopting out Pitbulls. (The county kills most of them.) The judge has now issued a ruling in favor of the county. His opinion states that although residents can legally own a Pitbull, that doesn’t guarantee them the right to adopt one. I guess that makes sense if you’ve been to judge school.

Sorry Pitbulls ensnared by Loudoun Co’s “shelter” system – sucks being you.

Benton Co WA: Dogs in Danger – Can HSUS Help?

Here’s a goddamn sorry situation:

Allegations of troubles at Ella Stewart’s Sun Valley Kennel are nothing new. Residents have complained for years, and county officials have investigated her operation before.

In 2007, the health department recommended her for prosecution, and the prosecutor’s office asked the sheriff’s department to serve a warrant and check on the animals’ welfare. Stewart would not let officials inspect her property, and a court order would have been needed to see the dogs.

But the sheriff’s department decided to give Stewart a break. She said she was trying to reduce the number of dogs on the property. She was on a quest to breed the world’s smallest American Eskimo dog, she said, and she first needed to weed through her breeding stock.

She wasn’t willing to give dogs to the Humane Society or have them put down. But she stands accused of being willing to let them live in filth.

Two years later, a deputy ran across the operation while on another call nearby. He said he found it because of the odor.

[…]

At least this time the authorities didn’t mess around. Armed with a search warrant, deputies found dogs living in shopping carts with wood and scrap covering them to keep them in. Water bowls were covered in algae. Kennels — if you can call them that — had not been cleaned in a very, very long time, if ever, deputies said.

They arrested Stewart and charged her with animal cruelty. But there’s still no resolution for the hundreds of dogs. They’re still living at the kennel.

Benton County has no facility to take in the dogs and rehabilitate them or euthanize some if medically necessary. The Benton-Franklin Humane Society doesn’t have the resources, nor do any other facilities in the region.

More on this story here and here. Sounds like the local dog community is willing to pitch in but is simply overwhelmed. And it doesn’t help that authorities seem to be dragging their feet either. I guess they figure they’ve known about these dogs suffering for years, what’s a little – or a lot – longer? The kennel owner seems willing to cooperate to some extent at least so hopefully things could be resolved if somebody gets on the freakin’ ball here.

Seriously HSUS, can you spare some cash for area shelters so they can get these dogs out? I know writing a check probably won’t satisfy your need for media coverage and fundraising opps so how about if I let you don your HSUS jackets and carry out some of the poor dogs in front of the cameras? Would you be willing to write a check then? I know you’re not in the business of supporting local shelters but let’s be frank – you’ve got the money and these dogs need help. You’re not going to leave dogs living in shopping carts covered with wood scraps, just because the local shelters lack funds, right? That would be totally inhumane.

Fastest Kill in the East: AL Shelter Breaks Record

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

Aiken Co Shelter in SC Asleep at the Wheel?

The Aiken Co Animal Shelter in SC has an appalling kill rate of 86%. In order to improve, the County Council set aside $30,000 last year for a program offering spay-neuter vouchers to those in the community who qualified. Paws up! Unfortunately, the money has run out and there are still several months to go before any new money might be available in the new fiscal year. Even worse, the prevailing attitude seems to be: When faced with adversity, give up. Paws down.

Nine months in, the money ran out…during their busiest season. In the short time we were at the shelter, four more cats were brought in. Their future owners will have to hang on until next year’s budget passes, and another round of spay and neuter vouchers are up for grabs.

[Chief Enforcement Officer at the shelter, Bobby] Arthurs: “I feel like the county’s doing there part. I think it’s going to be left up to the citizens, next year, to use the voucher program, which it’s clear that a lot of them did, because we ran out of money in 9 months.”


I am loathe to tell anyone how to do their job but in the absence of any other ideas, I’m going to offer a few:

  1. Someone needed to be evaluating the use of the program’s funds on a monthly basis to make projections on future needs. When a shortfall was anticipated, steps should have been taken to address it. Perhaps contracted rates with Vets participating in the voucher program could be renegotiated to get through to the next fiscal year.
  2. Since apparently that was not done and the program is now buried on empty, steps should be taken to allow for the continuation of the program on a temporary basis until the new fiscal year starts. Again the contracted rates might be renegotiated, a community fundraiser might be in order and certainly reaching out to the media with an attitude beyond “Oh well” would be an important step in rallying community support.
  3. Give some area Vets the chance to be heroes! Rally the veterinary community, making them aware of the situation and ask if anyone can donate services to bridge the gap until the new fiscal year starts. People want to help.
  4. A report detailing the success and need for the program needs to be put together so that a convincing pitch can be made for more funding to the County Council at the next budget meeting. It may not be successful but it should at least be given an honest try!

2 Pitbulls Seized from Alleged Dogfighters in NJ

Police in Hamilton Township, NJ charged 5 men with dogfighting and seized 2 Pitbulls after apparently coming upon a dogfight in the woods. Video showing the dogs with multiple bite wounds and swollen legs is here. If the owners are convicted or sign the dogs over to authorities, I hope the dogs receive a fair evaluation to determine what type of training and home environment is most appropriate for each. A positive sign that there isn’t a rush to kill them:

Since animal control officers transported the dogs to the Columbus Veterinary Hospital, where they are currently recovering, the animal control officer has received numerous calls from people interested in adopting the two animals.

“At this point both seem well and will recover,” he [Captain James Stevens] said.

Colorado Dog Bites: July 2007 – July 2008

A comprehensive study of reported dog bites over a one year period in that state of CO yields some unsurprising results:

1. Most dogs don’t bite.
2. Any dog can bite, regardless of breed.
3. Loose dogs contribute significantly to bite stats.
4. Unsupervised children left with dogs are at risk for bites.

These are all common sense findings to my mind and further proof that targeting specific breeds for punishment will not reduce bite stats. Despite the findings of this study, Denver, CO maintains its ban on Pitbulls.

Treats on the Internets

Save Our Dogs profiles “The Best Animal Control Program in North America” in Calgary, Canada. Calgary shelters take in 5000 dogs per year and do not kill for population control. Their dog licensing rate is over 90%. Their success has been achieved in part because they don’t have MSN, BSL, pet limit laws or anti-tethering laws. Sounds like a good model to follow.

It’s Dog Bite Prevention Week, which looks a bit different from the dog’s perspective

From The Senior Dogs Project: Top 10 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog

Another opinion piece on Vick’s possible return to the NFL

Sign PetPAC’s petition letting Congress know that HSUS and PETA do not speak for you

Join our Facebook group to promote awareness and effect change regarding animal shelter abuse and killings

Rawr: Feral cat video – Kitty gone wild

ABC News Atlanta Segment on HSUS Donations: Now You See it, Now You Don’t

I am truly confounded by the disappearing act on the WSB-TV news segment on HSUS donations. I haven’t found anything to indicate the station doesn’t stand behind its report. At any rate, the video is available here (although perhaps it will disappear at some point too?) and PetPAC has posted a transcript as well (same caveat). I hope the station reposts the segment on its website or issues some kind of clarification as to why it was removed.

Added, 5-22-09: YouTube posting of video here.

Added, 5-23-09: See it here and here, before it disappears (momentarily anyway)