I Once was Lost but Now I’m Found

North Carolina:  Mark Painter found a very friendly dog roaming the parking lot of the medical office complex he was visiting on July 26.  The dog had two collars on and a rabies tag from 11 years ago.  He walked the Lab mix around the parking lot to see if an owner could be found but no luck.  He gave the dog some water, called Gaston Co AC and waited with the dog until the ACO arrived.  Mr. Painter told the officer that if the dog’s owners could not be located, he and his wife Anne would like to adopt the dog.

Over the next couple of weeks, AC tried to locate the dog’s owner via a home visit and a certified letter – both of which proved unsuccessful.

In the meantime, both Mark and Anita Painter worried the dog would be euthanized accidentally. So they called every couple of days to check on the progress. They left two contact numbers, and pleaded each time to be alerted when the Lab’s time was up.

“I did not just leave messages,” said Anita. “I spoke to someone and was persistent in each one of these calls. Each time, I said we do not want this to fall through the cracks.”

An animal control officer said they had nothing to worry about.

Anita Painter called again to check on the dog August 13 and was told AC had killed him the day before.

Gaston Co AC administrator Reggie Horton says an ACO called Mrs. Painter on August 10 (when the dog became available for adoption) and got no answer but that was the one and only attempt that was made to contact the Painters:

“That is incorrect,” [Mrs. Painter] said. “No one called. No one left a message. Nothing.”

So depending on who you believe, either a solitary, half-assed attempt to reach the family was made or no effort at all was expended.  Then they killed the dog.

Horton said he feels bad about the mistake. Considering the volume of animals that come through the shelter, he feels he and his staff have a good track record.

I’d be inclined to agree if the incident in question was a matter of a document being misfiled or an officer arriving late to work.  But that’s not the case.  Gaston Co AC killed a friendly dog who had a family desperately waiting for him to come home and share their lives.  That has no place in a “good track record”.

“Perfection is a difficult standard, but it’s a standard we strive to meet,” [Mr. Horton] said. “This is an unfortunate situation and we accept full responsibility for it.”

No one expects perfection.  In this case, you didn’t even have to go to any special effort.  The Painters took care of that by going above and beyond what most potential adopters would do to make sure the dog they wanted was safe.

Make no mistake, you are not off the hook by telling the local paper you’re sorry your AC unit isn’t perfect.  What a crock.  You need to accept responsibility for needlessly killing a dog you were supposed to be helping, for failing the Painters, for allowing an environment of laziness to exist on the taxpayers’ dime, and for sending a message to the community that you can’t be trusted not to kill pets, no matter what you say.

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9 Comments

  1. alice in LALA land

     /  August 25, 2010

    NO KIDDING.. this is trash.. all it takes is a note on the pen.. do not kill.. on hold for adoption… just another reason NEVER to allow your dog to get into this situation.. or to TAKE a dog to the pond.. killing is the name of the game to most of them and they get away with it buy saying Oh so sorry..
    Lucky for me I have a great pound near me.. no kill for the most part

    Reply
  2. However, we do need more context. If this is not a typical happening there and if they subsequently took steps to reduce the likelihood of it repeating, then should we really damn them? We see so very many truly bad AC’s that we may become too quick to jump when perhaps a single individual does not perform their job properly. I will note that this AC did take the unusual step of assuming blame.

    Or, this might be worse than we fear. We just don’t know.

    Reply
  3. Our local AC allows people who find lost dogs that they want to keep to continue to foster the dog in their homes while they try to find, and advertise, the dog. After 3 weeks, the dogs are officially theirs.

    Reply
  4. Gaston, NC is a notorious gassing pound.
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=103883427940135972934.00047b16c28d96ab72fec
    A necessary first step for anyone who claims to strive for perfection would have been to destroy the gas chamber. This isn’t BS, it’s something a lot worse.

    Reply
  5. Houndward Bound

     /  August 25, 2010

    More context is needed I suppose but I cannot fathom how anyone could ‘mistakingly’ kill this dog. They damn well had to of known who this dog was and that a family was waiting and willing to take him in. Why would they do this on purpose? I shudder to think of it but this is no mistake. To top it all off they kill by gas chamber. This can never be labelled ‘euthanasia’. Seems the correct definition has been lost on many.

    Reply
    • HB, I fully agree on the gas issue, no question there. But I have worked with populations of hundreds of animals and have seen unfortunate mistakes. Fortunately, that was a no-kill situation so the results weren’t as bad.

      Reply
  6. What a heartbreaking story. Mistakes like the one made by the Gaston County AC are unconscionable and unacceptable. All they would have had to do was place a sign on that dog’s cage that said DO NOT KILL. My heart goes out to the Painters.

    Reply
  7. Matt

     /  August 26, 2010

    Typical sh*thead murderer tactics:

    1. Murder

    2. Make believe you didnt know someone wanted to save the life that you ended.

    Reply
  8. We’ve occasionally had embarrassing situations where we “lost” animals in the sense that we were full so someone took one of the extras home for the weekend with them without recording it, but it seems crazy that they don’t have simple kennel cards that can be annotated “reserved for adoption if not reclaimed.”

    Reply

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