IL: Report of Killing Without Consent at TLC Animal Shelter

On July 9, a family in IL adopted a dog called Ollie from the TLC Animal Shelter in Homer Glen.  At the time of the adoption, Ollie had a limp and a mass on his leg, the result of a prior break which was left untreated.  The adopting family did not notice it at the time but after getting the dog home, the condition was quickly discovered.  The owner, Jamie Enright, sought immediate care for the dog:

On July 12, she took Ollie, short for Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, to her veterinarian. A growth plate injury was diagnosed, and a $2,000 treatment plan was discussed.

Angry, she said she brought the dog back to TLC on Tuesday to see if the shelter would help pay for treatment.

She said volunteer Dennis Carter Jr., whose parents run the shelter, told her to leave the dog in his care so that the shelter’s veterinarian could provide a second opinion. Often, he told her, the shelter could get veterinary services at a discount. Enright said he promised to call her later that day.

That all sounds reasonable to me.  Unfortunately, Ms. Enright never received a call back from the shelter.  She phoned them and was told a diagnosis was in progress but they were waiting on the shelter Vet.  Days went by and Ms. Enright continued calling the shelter to find out about Ollie.  She became worried because the shelter did not respond to her calls.  On Friday, she sent her partner to pick Ollie up from the shelter:

“I was getting really nervous,” she said. “I didn’t want Ollie to think we had abandoned him.”

Sadly, the shelter had already killed Ollie.

The Carters won’t say which veterinarian diagnosed the dog. Nor will they say when it was put down.

“She brought the dog back because she didn’t want it,” Carter Sr. said.

If that’s the case, TLC should provide a copy of Ms. Enright’s signature on the surrender form.

He insists no one promised to call Enright with a confirming diagnosis.

As for possession, Carter Sr. said no one who adopts from TLC ever takes ownership of an animal.

“The adoption fee they pay is a donation,” he said. “We always own the animal. That way we can take it back if the adopters are neglectful or abusive.”

The adoption fee – $150 in Ollie’s case – is simply a charitable donation and as a thank you gift they let you – what, borrow a dog until such time as they decide to kill him?  Last I checked, Illinois was in the United States on the planet Earth – has this changed?

Carter Jr. said euthanasia was the best treatment for the dog.

“Its leg had ceased to grow. It was disgusting, all bow-legged,” he said.

It was so gross in fact, they had a hard time keeping a straight face while they cashed Ms. Enright’s $150 check I suppose.

When asked why no one had called Enright to ask permission or even tell her that the dog was being put to sleep, the shelter manager became enraged and began yelling into the phone.

“There’s no law that says I can’t euthanize an animal however and whenever I choose to do it. It’s my business.”

The article goes on to say that Ollie’s family doesn’t even know if he was killed in a humane manner because the Carter family won’t tell them.  IL has a law mandating that pets must be killed humanely.

Further, I googled IL state laws pertaining to shelters and came across the Humane Euthanasia in Animal Shelters Act:

Sec. 150.  Temporary suspension of a certificate.  The Director may temporarily suspend the certificate of a euthanasia agency or euthanasia technician without a hearing, simultaneously with the institution of proceedings for a hearing, if the Director finds that evidence in his or her possession indicates that the continued practice of the certified euthanasia agency or technician would constitute cruelty or an imminent danger to the public.

As a layman, it would seem to me that indeed, the continued practice of someone who allegedly kills people’s pets without consent would constitute cruelty and an imminent danger to the public – at least those members of the public who own pets since it’s conceivable this shelter could receive additional pets under similar circumstances.  I would think the Director of the Department of Professional Regulation would want to place a temporary suspension on this shelter’s licensed euthanasia technician(s) until the facts of this case get sorted.

The statement from the shelter that stuck in my mind was the one about “euthanasia was the best treatment”.  As most of us understand, euthanasia is not a “treatment” – it is the humane ending of a life when all treatments have been exhausted and the suffering animal’s condition is medically hopeless.  It is never a treatment.  This bothered me enough to Google their shelter and on the About page, there is a reference to the “terrible animal overpopulation problem”:

Puppies and kittens are cute, but the sad truth is, there are not enough homes for them all. In this area alone, thousands of animals are destroyed each year for lack of homes, and across the United States, the numbers soar to over 15 million!

Tha sad truth is, there are enough homes for all the shelter pets in this country but some so-called animal welfare advocates continue to perpetuate the myth of overpopulation.  As far as more than 15 million pets being killed in the US every year “for lack of homes” – again, have you ever visited the planet Earth?  The 15 million figure is completely false.  Although we have no definitive numbers, most estimates put the number of pets killed in shelters annually in the range of 4 million (with some portion of these being true euthanasia cases, not the killing of healthy/treatable pets).

The article about Ollie leaves me with a negative impression of TLC.  Their own website doesn’t do anything to improve that.  Maybe there’s more to the story here that we don’t know.  But for Ollie, it’s the end of the story.

Perhaps most tragic of all are the opening and closing lines of the newspaper article:

Jamie Enright now knows that the word shelter on the door is not a guarantee there’s compassion inside.


Running an animal shelter, after all, doesn’t necessarily make you humane.

Is this how TLC plans to end the unnecessary killing of pets in shelters – by giving the impression that shelters only “loan out” pets and can kill them at will?  Do we really want to drive the public away from shelter adoption like this?


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