A cat owner in Cabarrus Co NC went to AC to look for her escaped 18 year old pet called Snowflake. AC refused to allow her to look at the animals (Who is paying whose salary again?). Turns out, her neighbor had brought the cat in to AC, stating he was the owner and wanted to surrender the pet. AC gassed Snowflake within hours. Snowflake’s owner is speaking out:
They can say I am an animal rights activist, but I’m not. I’m more for the rights of the people. The people who have their pet and the right to know that their pet will be safe when held by law enforcement.”
Broward Co is accusing “vigilante trappers” of using the county’s spay-neuter voucher program to get feral cats fixed (which is against the program’s rules). Maybe Broward should take a look at this not-for-profit org in nearby Miami that offers low cost neuter to cats, including ferals, since there is obviously a need in the county.
LA shelter: Pet overpopulation, people won’t spay and neuter, we have to kill pets, blah blah.
Local news in OH reported on an animal neglect case (Warning: Image of emaciated dog at link) but botched the name of the group asking for donations to care for the dogs. It’s the Appalachian Ohio SPCA that has the dogs and needs help from the public. The piece reported it originally as the ASPCA and subsequently kinda-corrected it to the “Appalachian Ohio American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals”. Someone from the group caring for the dogs noted in a comment on the story that “if anyone sent donations to the ASPCA in NYC, NY, we will not receive those”.
B-More Bulldogs: Missouri dogfighting bust last year went down after undercover cops actually fought Pitbulls they had trained for dogfighting.
Local farmers were informed they would not be welcome at a meeting HSUS was scheduled to hold at a bakery shop in SD. HSUS had sent out an invitation to “our members, supporters and other animal advocates to a grassroots meeting to discuss current issues affecting animals. If you are concerned about local animal issues or just interested in creating a more compassionate South Dakota, you should attend this informative meeting”. The local agricultural community was displeased at being shut out. The business owner, who buys from local farmers, decided not to allow HSUS to hold their “private” meeting at her shop. (Note: The comments on this piece are interesting as well.) Thank you Clarice for the link.
21 thoughts on “Treats on the Internets”
“They can say I am an animal rights activist, but I’m not. I’m more for the rights of the people. The people who have their pet and the right to know that their pet will be safe when held by law enforcement.”
Amen? Heart in the right place, but her right to know where her cat is comes in second to the cat’s right to live. Yes, her rights were violated too, but I hate that we have to pretend like the reason it matters is because the cat belonged to her and she didn’t get a say.
Either way, disturbing. I had the same thing happen to my cat Robert in my early teens. Our neighbors somehow caught her and took her to the shelter while we were on vacation because they disliked her. She was euthanized before we got home.
I liked that she took a controversial term (animal rights) and turned it around to something John Q. Public could relate to. I didn’t take it as her saying the cat only had a right to live because she has the right to own the cat. Not at all.
This kind of thing happens most frequently, i’ve found, when it involves angry neighbors or relations.
Like the ex-girlfriend who brought the blind, deaf, arthritic 14 year old sharpei to the shelter because she was moving- with no indication that she wasn’t actually the dog’s owner. 3 days later the dog’s real owner is trying to get her back, but it’s too late.
Or the one where the ex-husband breaks into his ex-wife’s house, steals the dog, goes to the shelter and admits the dog bit a child in the face and would like it euthanized. 3 hours later the wife rushes to the shelter when she discovers what has happened- too late. And then when she wants to claim the body the husband (who was fine leaving the body there before when he perceived it as having no value) decides he wants it back now too, just to hurt the wife even more. Ended up splitting the ashes.
People are horrible to each other, and even more so when they use an animal in the fray. The animal always ends up on bottom
All of these situations would be avoided – and perhaps dishonest people less likely to try it – if every shelter in the country had a policy limiting immediate/same day euthanasia to pets who are medically hopeless and suffering.
Normally our shelter does have a 24 hour restriction. The exception is the owner-requested euthanasia. And with the situation of a bite (i’m not 100% familiar with this specific story), especially to the head, it’s possible the animal was intended to be sent for rabies diagnostic testing.
The old dog was not immediately euthanized- she was evaluated, and wasn’t euthanized until 3 days later. I can’t imagine the stress and discomfort a blind, arthritic dog felt while being housed in a strange kennel. But sounds like the bf is going to sue the girlfriend, so even if she doesn’t feel guilty about putting a dog through that, maybe it’ll hurt her pocketbook
oh, i also wanted to say, that in euthanasia requests, even if the animal is not hopeless and suffering, we typically euthanize right away anyway- most owners expect this (they don’t like the thought of their animal thinking they were ‘abandoned’ or sitting in a cage), we don’t like to make an animal sit and wait and get stressed before ending his life- we want to make it as calm and peaceful as possible. And finally (although a less compassionate reason, and the least important reason, but a reason nonetheless), it’s a waste of resources to care for animals for additional days when that’s not neccessary. And in the case of dangerous behavior, every day staff have to care for that animal is an increase in a chance of injury.
The misrepresentation of ownership is actually pretty rare (though you remember every instance), so we wouldn’t develop policies based on the exceptions.
So you kill healthy/treatable/friendly pets if the owner requests it?
i can count on one hand (in 5 years) the amount of times an owner has ever requested to have their healthy pet euthanized. I think that’s always a fear of the general public when thinking about kill shelters, but in my experience it just doesn’t really happen.
We don’t turn people away at my shelter, but each time we were able to gently pursuade them into a better option
So the answer to your question is …no? it’s hard to say without a specific example and depending on what the reason for the euthanasia request is. But if a person just wanted to have their pet euthanized just because they didn’t want someone else to have it, and the animal appeared to be behaviorally sound and healthy, then we would not honor that request. But we’re a lot more lenient than most vet clinics
If these people turn animals into the shelter claiming to be their owners, are they not committing theft? Is the shelter “receiving stolen goods”? Clearly they record the names of the “owner” surrenders – can’t these people be prosecuted for stealing?
oh most definately. We have contracts that surrenderers sign that state they are the owners and surrendering in good faith, etc etc. The euthanasia request ones have even more legal jargon. Usually the contracts protect the shelter from litigation, and puts the issue back between the surrenderer and owner. I have previously had to give copies of signed contracts to the police and to lawyers when litigation results. it can happen too if an owner falsifies whether the animal has bitten within the last 10 days as well. or if ‘abandonment’ is an issue
So your legal paperwork for a surrender/execution is focused totally on protecting the institution from any consequences, and not at all on actually preventing someone from having someone else’s pet killed as an act of spite or revenge.
If someone else’s friendly, healthy, much-wanted pet is killed because of a neighbor’s malice, that’s okay, as long as your institution can’t be sued for it.
Why is it, exactly, that you call yourselves a “shelter” ?
that was pretty harsh considering you don’t know me or my work. I gotta say- your response to my comment- in which i’m trying to have an open discussion about a problem that can be apparent in animal welfare, is pretty off-putting. If people aren’t able to talk about things like this openly without insults, attacks, or open criticism (without merit), then no wonder any progress or ability to work together takes so freaking long to accomplish. i mean, what’s your intention with your response? My intention is to educate and learn from others.
Anyway, in answer to your question, our paperwork is not just about protecting ourselves legally- though that is part of the contract (and we would be remiss in today’s litigous society to NOT have a legal disclaimer)
We have DOZENS of different documents we use in receiving anytime we are accepting pets, most of which put the pet into some sort of holding pattern. For example:
Abandoned Animal Documentation Form
Microchip/Other Id Follow-up Form
Humane Investigations Consultation Form
Geriatric Pet Form
Behavior Forms (such as fears and phobias, behavior towards people, behavior towards animals, litterbox use eval)
Call Back program Info
Kitten Project Instructions
Not to mention the DOZENS of sheets we have for referrals. We also have a legal contract, receipts, donation forms, and survey cards as well.
So i guess i would disagree with you that our surrender paperwork is solely focused on protecting our asses. i would say that our surrender paperwork is mostly focused on THE ANIMAL and getting as much information about them as possible- including valid ownership information. Then we focus on attempting to prevent a surrender if possible through support and education. Then it’s focused on the legal details of surrendering ownership.
As i said above- it’s pretty rare that anything like this happens, but it’s important that you’re prepared with policies and procedures in case it does. People are going to be horrible to each other and to animals sometimes. But we can’t go around assuming that EVERYONE is an evil, vindictive person just trying to get revenge. Most people are trying to do right by their animal
form my understanding it was a well intentioned neighbor who brought the cat in to AC. In the comments there is this website that tells the whole story
That story seems to contradict the linked article in that the article states Snowflake was an owner surrender and thus, not subject to any stray hold period.
This discussion reminds me of when I was 20-ish and looking for a job as a veterinary assistant. A vet I interviewed with specifically asked me how I would feel if an owner came in with a healthy/treatable dog, left her with us and requested we kill her. I doubt I’d ever considered that possibility before and I think I wondered if it was some kind of trick question. I answered what I thought I “should” in order to get the job – that is, I asked her if she had any legal obligation as a vet to fulfill the request. She said she thought she did. I said I would follow the law. I got the job. Thankfully, that situation never presented itself during my employment. (Obviously now I would answer differently but “I was so much older then…”)
As it turns out, the reason the vet had asked me this question was because their clinic had recently faced this exact situation. The owner had left the dog with a request to kill her (and I assume had paid for the “service”). The receptionist at the clinic really liked the dog and wanted to adopt her. Apparently an intra-office drama ensued as the staff wrangled with the issue of how to handle things. I don’t know all the details but I know for certain the receptionist did adopt the dog.
This discussion really bothers me. (I guess it hits too close to home.) I take the “story” that a relinquisher relates with a grain of salt. I try to judge the animal for myself. But I also hate it when Animal Control strips an animal of all its history. (It’s that legal backlash loophole thingy.)
Christie Keith just posted a petconnection blog about writing honest and helpful listings for adoptable animals. There is some of that in this topic too. (The back stories can be lovely, or not.)
Our Animal Control is under construction, and for the first time I can remember, they are NOT offering owner-requested euthanasias! (It’s really rather refreshing.)
I don’t know what the answer is, except maybe Oreo’s Law that makes it illegal for a “shelter” to kill an animal if somebody else is willing to take it. Will that fix the spiteful neighbor or the pissed off ex? Dunno. But it might buy the critter some time.
I think taking the story that accompanies a pet at surrender w/a grain of salt is wise.
Again, this discussion has put me in mind of another personal story. When it was time to have Tina put to sleep, it was at night and I took her to an emergency clinic. She had cancer and had stopped eating. As she was unwilling to eat, I couldn’t give her the pain meds anymore. Sure, I could have force fed her but that is not something I choose to do in the case of a terminally ill pet.
Of course *I* knew Tina’s background and what had led me to the emergency clinic that night to request euthanasia. But in my grief, it didn’t occur to me that the emergency vet didn’t. So when she asked me questions and wanted to feel the large, cancerous mass hidden beneath the feathering on Tina’s chest/leg, I was slightly put off. I felt like she was questioning my judgment. But then I realized that even though Tina was 11 years old and terminally ill, she still *looked* pretty fabulous. And this vet didn’t know me or my dog. When I thought about it afterward, I was grateful that she took an extra minute to verify that the story I was giving her was true. As it happens, I was separating from my partner of 13 years AND moving at the time – both of which are reasons people sometimes give when requesting the needless killing of a healthy pet. I don’t think I mentioned those things at the time though. The vet was just taking her responsibilities seriously. That’s as it should be.
i don’t neccesarily think taking every story with a grain of salt is a good habit to get into for an organization that is trying to help people and animals by accepting animals from the public. In my experience, lack of trust leads to judgement, leads to anger, leads to crap service, crap employees, crap care for animals.
BUT that’s not to say you shouldn’t be asking questions any time an animal comes in to get as many details as possible (NOT to catch an owner in a lie). It’s definately a balance
It’s rare that someone steals a pet and takes it to the shelter claiming to be its owner.
Perhaps. It’s also atrocious. A nightmare. And quite likely not detected in many cases. Truth is, you have no idea how often this may have happened, because most people are not going to come to the shelter and ask “Hey, my creepy neighbor didn’t bring in a lil’ yappy dog that he claimed was his, did he?”
Is it so much to ask, that public shelters incorporate some safeguards to prevent “misappropriated” animals from being reflexively killed “because we can?”
At the Ohio pounds from which I sometimes spring dogs for breed rescue, there are “drop boxes.” Or dogs are just left tied to the fence. These dogs are considered owner-turn-ins, and don’t get a hold period. Perfect opportunity for an irate neighbor, vindictive ex, etc. to get your dog killed. But also, someone finding a lost dog on the roadside on a Saturday night is likely to bring it to the “drop box” thinking he’s doing the right thing, not knowing that he’s just robbed the dog of his best chances at living.
In cases where the owner is requesting that the dog be killed, where is the harm in seeking some proof of ownership — your driver’s license with a name that matches dog license, vet records, an adoption or sales contract — before considering the dog “owned” in any but obvious emergencies where the animal is suffering?
Not to CYA the shelter from lawsuits — to perform due diligence and avoid enabling a creep by killing someone else’s pet.
I 100% agree. I would hope most shelters ask for some sort of proof of ownership before accepting an animal- especially for euthansia requests. I know we do. I think our local AC does as well, because it’s a city pound and they only offer services to residents of the city
Though it’s suprising how often people claim to not have anything (really- you’ve had a pet for 14 years and you don’t have a photo, or a vet record?).
Of course, in cases of divorce or dual ownership, each person might have documentation that ‘proves’ ownership of the animal.
Microchips, i feel, are your best bet for proving legal ownership of an animal (in a pinch), especially if you don’t have a sales/adoption contract.
Anne, Thank you for your replies. I too want to have an honest, open discussion where people can question each other but not feel threatened or attacked for their comments. As you said above, it’s a balance.
With regard to the “grain of salt” comment, I was thinking of how *some* pet owners surrender pets under false pretenses although I’m not trying to indicate they are evil (such as the case of a nasty neighbor trying to get a pet killed for coming in his yard).
For example, a person whose cat gets hit by a car may bring the cat to the shelter for euthanasia saying he had brought the cat to his vet but the vet said the cat should be euthanized, that there was nothing that could be done to help the cat. This *may* be someone’s way of trying to compensate for the fact that they don’t have the funds to take the cat to the vet and rather than tell that to the shelter, they make up a little story that they think sounds better and maybe it’s what they wish they could afford to do. Rather than immediately euthanize the cat, it would be wise for the shelter vet to do a brief exam and form an opinion on whether the cat is truly medically hopeless. If treatment can be performed, perhaps the owner would be willing to surrender ownership rather than have the pet euthanized as originally requested.