Walker Co Humane Society Ignores Plight of Abandoned Pets Daily

The Walker Co Humane Society in AL hardly seemed thrilled about having video from their security cameras posted online when it proved their shelter director had killed a friendly dog named Boost and then lied about it.  In fact, the director’s attorney tried to go through the courts to get the video removed from the web.

But this month, the shelter was only too eager to post footage from their security cams on YouTube when it showed a man abandoning 6 puppies at the shelter after hours.  They wanted to identify the man and lecture the public about not abandoning animals at the shelter.  The shelter director, Lane Reno, says “[T]his really happens a lot”.

Reno said he appears to have left the dogs at the side of the building where employees leave several bowls of food for abandoned animals.

Only 4 of the pups were found by the shelter staff the morning after they were abandoned.  Of those, one reportedly died not long after admission.  I don’t have any details on that pup but I wonder what it is that affected him and not the littermates.  How did he die so quickly while in the shelter’s care?

At any rate, the shelter is located on a busy intersection and near railroad tracks.  If, as Ms. Reno says, people are abandoning pets at the shelter after hours “almost every day”, why hasn’t the shelter addressed this issue long ago?  Why don’t they have “drop boxes” like other shelters so pets left after hours can be safely confined until the morning crew arrives for work?  To my mind, they could at least leave some crates outside with food and water in them and maybe a tarp (if it’s not too much trouble).  No wonder the report says someone left a pet in the shelter’s dumpster one night – there isn’t anyplace else to put them!

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what on earth Walker Co HS is thinking by leaving bowls of food out for abandoned pets on a busy intersection.  I hate to break this to you all sudden like but:  Bowls of food does not equal safe, temporary confinement.  I shudder to think pets are being abandoned at this shelter “almost every day” with nothing more than a bowl of food to protect them from being squashed by a car or meeting some other dreadful end.  I don’t know how the taxpayers of Walker Co can allow the shelter to continue ignoring this issue.  On top of that, they then have to stomach a lecture from the director on irresponsible actions regarding pets!  Ugh.

I have no idea what the story is with the man in the video – or for that matter, with any of the people who are abandoning pets at this shelter.  Maybe they’re all evil.  But I doubt it.  It’s plausible to my mind that at least some of these people are simply facing difficult circumstances and using poor judgment.  I’ve been known to make bad decisions when stressed myself.  I bet at least some of these folks are well intentioned, heading to the shelter with their pets, thinking they are doing the right thing.  After all, they’re not throwing them into a river or leaving them in a rural neighborhood far from home.  They’re trying to get them to a place where they think they’ll be cared for and adopted out.  But after finding the shelter closed, a difficult situation turns into a sort of panic – people don’t know what to do.  They still don’t want to go the turning-loose-in-the-country route, so they try to think.  That’s possibly what the man in the video is doing.  He walks around, doesn’t find anyplace suitable to leave the pups, and makes a bad decision.

Maybe the man with the 6 puppies knows better – maybe he doesn’t.  The same goes for everyone abandoning pets at the shelter after hours.  But you know who absolutely should know better?  The Walker Co HS.  They are paid by taxpayers to know better.  Get your act together Walker Co HS and come up with some drop boxes so no more pets die because you repeatedly fail to respond to a crisis that greets you “almost every day”.

A posting on the shelter’s Facebook page says that the man in the video came forward voluntarily and told his side of the story and gave the shelter a donation.  They seem to consider the matter closed.  I hope the taxpayers of Walker Co hold the shelter accountable for its part in these needless tragedies.

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30 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  September 28, 2010

    And once again it comes down to leadership. If your leader is in the mindset that the shelter is a helpless victim of society, no progress is ever going to be made. Shelter directors who see the shelter as “the end point” of pet ownership are not people we need to be doing the job.

    We need shelter directors who see the shelter as THE ANSWER to homeless pets – sorting them out, finding them homes, moving them forward.

    Time and past time to break out of the old mindset.

    Reply
  2. Something that happens every day is not a crisis. It is a habit, by definition, and something the person in authority needs to be prepared for. So, the cycle of people leaving pets at the shelter and the shelter director killing them and lecturing the public about irresponsibility, is inherent in this system–it is systemic, a habit, a bad habit.

    Does Ms. Reno want to break this bad habit? Does she even see it as a bad habit? If so, she could start by changing what she does–you know, help people to do the right thing. Or maybe she prefers to just keep doing what she’s always done.

    Reply
  3. I watched the video of the man abandoning the puppies and I couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a safe, after hours place to put them. And I wondered why there was a camera to take such clear pictures. Shelter playing “Gotcha” with the public maybe? I do hope the public will demand accountability for the actions of the shelter.

    Reply
  4. Doing anything with a shelter like that makes a person feel trapped. When I took someone’s kittens to a shelter once the lady at the intake desk made a show of filling syringes and told us that they were “vaccines.” Maybe vaccines look like milk.

    When you go in you feel judged, you feel trapped, there are magazines from “Best Friends” with propaganda in them about “destructive humanity” on the waiting room table, and you don’t feel like you can trust those people.

    Reply
    • Penicilin looks like milk. Some vaccines, when reconstituted, look milky. Euthanasia solution is blue or pink*, not milk-colored. And it cannot just be drawn up in public at the front desk – it’s a heavily controlled substance and is only handled by veterinary staff or aco’s/staff certified w/ euthanasia training. Which is just my way of trying to alleviate any concern you might have had that the woman was actually loading up syringes of death juice.

      *The actual solution is clear, color is added for shelter staff to easily identify it.

      Reply
  5. That man was morally bankrupt and legally wrong to abandon those puppies. If you watch the video, he runs over two of them without bothering to stop and see if they’re okay (they appear unharmed). He ignores them as they chase after him, desperate to reach him. He is not a nice person. He is not a good person. I do not like him at all.

    That a**hole could have waited until the shelter opened. Drop boxes or not, he should – NOT the shelter – be held legally accountable for allowing those puppies, baby little dogs with no ability to care for themselves, to run loose, nearly get run over by him, and die.

    The shelter can be held accountable for their wrongs too, but they are NOT at fault for someone dumping puppies in the middle of a parking lot. This guy would have done the same thing if all the drop boxes were full or there were only three dog crates. Watching that video, seeing that one puppy happily follow that man back and forth as he scruffed and dumped his/her littermates made me hope for karma something fierce.

    Reply
    • It’s a fact – for many reasons, people leave pets at shelters after hours. It’s most definitely a fact at WCHS – the director says it happens almost daily. Regardless of whether the people abandoning the pets are pure evil or mentally ill or having a severe judgment lapse or whatever might be the case – shelters MUST provide safe confinement for these pets. They can not continually allow pets to die because the people doing the abandoning are legally wrong. Claiming the legal high ground while allowing pets to die when their deaths could so easily be prevented could itself be described as pure evil or mental illness or a severe lapse in judgment. Many shelters offer drop boxes. Why doesn’t WCHS?

      Reply
      • Oh, I absolutely agree that there should be drop boxes or after hours officers onsite. And yeah, call the shelter on that.

        I’m just still reeling from what this man did, that he probably would have done it whether the boxes were full, that he didn’t seem to care much about these puppies he “saved” only to nearly run them over with his truck.

    • Erich Riesenberg

       /  September 28, 2010

      That man seemed evil to me.

      Still no idea why it is not the shelter’s fault for not doing something about it if it happens so frequently.

      Watching the woman from the shelter acting like she is a victim knowing what they do there makes me sick.

      Why is it a crime for that evil man to act with malice and not a crime for the people employed at the shelter? It is a serious question.

      Reply
      • I’m not in disagreement. The man would have dumped those puppies no matter what options were provided. Yes, the shelter should cover their bases in order to protect the welfare of animals (which they seem to suck at, anyways), but I don’t think this person would have cared if the drop boxes were full (which frequently happens at many larger shelters).

  6. “They still don’t want to go the turning-loose-in-the-country route, so they try to think. That’s possibly what the man in the video is doing. He walks around, doesn’t find anyplace suitable to leave the pups, and makes a bad decision.”

    Since there is a bowl of food left out, it probably looks like the ‘proper’ place to put them to that guy.

    They leave food out for abandoned animals, and then gripe when people abandon animals where they leave the food?!

    Reply
    • Exactly. One plausible scenario to my mind is that this man lives in a rural area and has never confined a dog in his life (perhaps how his bitch got pregnant). He is aware that leavings pups on a busy intersection seems unsafe but can’t find any drop box to leave them in. So he sees the bowls of food and thinks, “Well if the shelter thinks its ok to leave pets here after hours, I guess it must not be as dangerous as I first thought”.

      To be clear, I’m not condoning anyone abandoning pets under any circumstances. But I do think we in the animal welfare community have an obligation to go beyond the finger wagging and condemnation and try to understand why these things happen and be proactive. Otherwise, how can we help the pets in these situations?

      Reply
  7. teresa

     /  September 29, 2010

    I live in Walker County and see what happens here all the time with this excuse for a humane society. They do not care for the animals at all. The so called director is a former pest exterminator. Why they call it the Walker county humane society we don’t know because they sure want come out to the county and pick up the pitiful animals roaming around. Its a sad situation that our commissioners continualy ignore. I’m sure by now they are no puppies alive. She believes in killing especially ones that will be large dogs. We need help and publicity to stop this!!!! It is sad, sad, and unbelievable.

    Reply
    • Redemptionis†

       /  September 30, 2010

      “…The so called director is a former pest exterminator.”

      From a PEST exterminator to a PETS exterminator…. Oh, the irony. But pets are not pests and shouldn’t be treated like this. No wonder our animal “sheltering” system in America is doing such a crummy job.

      Reply
  8. I realize that ‘drop boxes’ would be an incremental improvement over what the shelter has now, but how about aiming a little higher? How about finding out why people abandon animals at the shelter after hours? Is it because they are at work when the shelter is open? To avoid dealing with extremely rude staff? Because the shelter has failed to set a better example?

    Reply
    • I don’t live there so can’t say for sure but having a guess – could have something to do with the director. How she kills friendly pets and then lies about it to try and cover it up. Her whole attitude is one of kill pets/blame the public. How this woman still has a job is beyond me. But as with all shelter leadership, her attitude likely sets the tone for the shelter staff.

      Reply
  9. I live in Iowa and am fostering a little dog from Missouri.

    Until I got her I had no idea there were dropboxes. Apparently in Missouri they have drivethrough.

    I think regional differences play a huge role in the treatment of pets. I can’t imagine in my hometown people leaving animals in a box, or a drive through. I have never noticed a dropbox.

    It is weird this place left food out. I can understand if they are feeding strays but that is about it.

    Reply
  10. Cary G Petry

     /  September 30, 2010

    As a lifelong resident of Alabama, I sadly say there is no REASON for the neglect, abuse, and misuse of sentient animals prevalent here but in actuality in most other states also. The most popular EXCUSE is probably “that’s the way I make my living and so did my daddy and grandpa and besides it says in the bible that man should have dominion over all the creatures.”

    Walker County and Jasper though having lots of decent compassionate residents is not widely known as an area of great enlightenment

    Reply
  11. Rebecca

     /  September 30, 2010

    The excuses for this puppy dumper really surprise me. The reason they don’t leave cages outside is beecause they want to be there when the animals are dropped off. Do you know what would happen to the caged animalsin “off”hours in most places? for one thing the cages would be stolen, and many animals would be stolen for terrible things like BAIT for dogfighters,etc. Southerners please get it thru your heads, STOP DUMPING,please

    Reply
    • Rather than making excuses for the “puppy dumper”, I’m trying to understand.

      We in the south can get a lot though our heads, it may surprise you to know. For instance, I can envision a bicycle lock or padlock being used to secure cages.

      Reply
    • At Sac County, before they moved, they had locks and automatically locking doors (you left them open and then when you shut the door after placing the dog/cat in it, the door locked). They were embedded into the structure of the building, so you’d have to be really determined to steal them. There were drop-off/intake sheets for people to fill out too.

      And Sacramento is in northern California, by the way. It’s not like dropping off animals – for whatever reason – is intrinsic to one part of the country.

      Reply
      • I’m always excited to learn new things! Thank you for sharing about the drop boxes that automatically lock after you shut the door – super idea. Beats my bicycle lock by a mile. (Although the bike lock could be used in a pinch.)

    • Joan

       /  October 1, 2010

      Rebecca advises Southerners to get it through their heads and stop dumping animals. Am I to understand only Southerners dump animals? Rebecca, you are the one who needs to get it through your head that this type of cruelty exists all over the nation and is not exclusive to the South.

      Reply
  12. Jiggycat

     /  September 30, 2010

    I’m surprised at some of the comments too,To excuse this POS for what he did is ridiculous,He abandoned those pups just to avoid paying the surrender fee,That is an offense in itself,Those pups were dumped on a busy main road,They could have caused an accident,School buses pass that road,What would have happened had those pups ran out in front of a school bus and crashed..with your kids on board?..

    To even suggest leaving cages outside a shelter to encourage people to dump after hours just shows a lack of being able to think about anything else except yourselves,How about I lock some of you in a cage and wait for the local drunks/hooligans to come by and set fire to you trapped in a cage..just for fun eh?..or better still..You just go back to school and actually learn something about life!

    Reply
    • Oh dear. Now the town drunk is setting pets left in drop boxes at the shelter on fire for amusement. I’ll alert the media.

      Reply
      • Jiggycat

         /  September 30, 2010

        Not only does your ignorance shine..you don’t get out much do you?

    • It’s clear from the sequence of events that he didn’t just dump them after-hours to avoid the surrender fee. Even if you choose to dismiss everything except the video, he looked around for someplace more appropriate–and finally left them by the food bowls which the shelter had put out.

      The shelter, apparently, considers that an appropriate place to put food bowls.

      Despite your ignorance of the fact, secured drop boxes for animals to be dropped off overnight are a common feature of shelters. Self-locking, secured cages aren’t all that easy to steal, or to steal animals from, and your fevered imagination doesn’t reflect the usual experience.

      Reply
  13. Jiggycat Says:

    Not only does your ignorance shine..you don’t get out much do you?
    ________________

    This is my blog. You are a guest here. Behave appropriately.

    Reply
  14. Marsha

     /  October 1, 2010

    I live in Walker County and our leaders do NOT care about the animals in our county. You’d think if this happens “all the time” that the shelter would make arrangements for safety (crates left outside, etc). Our county seems to have no desire to address the pet overpopulation and strays. It makes me sick! We need animal-caring people in leadership roles (county & state). A local candidate running for Senate, Brett Wadsworth, has his heart in the right place, so I truly hope he gets elected & can vote on any issues that affect our 4-legged friends b/c those in office now couldn’t care less. I never realized how horrible our shelter is until the situation with the euthanized boxer. Cameras don’t lie. Until we have new leadership, our situation is never going to change.

    Reply

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