Update on Abandoned Pets at Walker Co Humane Society

The man depicted in a YouTube video abandoning puppies at the Walker Co Humane Society has come forward to take responsibility for his actions.  He visited the WCHS and explained that he had found the pups abandoned at his church on a Sunday morning.  He took them home for the night and on his way to work late Monday afternoon, brought them to the shelter, which was closed.  His friends and family have reacted negatively to his actions and he feels bad about what he did.  He made a donation to the shelter.

[Shelter director Lane] Reno said one reason she posted the video of Monday’s incident was to educate the public about how frequently animals are abandoned at the humane society.


Reno said a nighttime drop-off has not worked in the past because incompatible animals were sometimes placed in the same cage and the staff also wants some history on animals that come into their care.

Well sure.  It would be ideal if everyone obeyed the law, didn’t abandon pets at shelters (or anywhere) and provided a complete case history when surrendering them.  But reality is that people do leave pets at this shelter after hours.  Almost daily.  And those pets have no safe place to stay.

Certainly drop boxes carry a risk that incompatible animals might be placed in the same cage.  But if given a choice between the possibility of that happening and the reality of pets being abandoned daily without safe confinement, I’d choose the drop boxes.  And perhaps more than you’ve put out in past, so as to minimize the risk of the cage already holding a pet when another person decides to place a pet inside as well.

“People bring animals by here all the time at all hours of the night. I just don’t want them to do that,” Reno said.

Right – You.  Don’t.  Want.  Them.  To.  We get it.  How’s that working out for you?

26 thoughts on “Update on Abandoned Pets at Walker Co Humane Society

  1. Um, you can purchase night drop boxes that lock after first use or you can add a latch and padlock for people to use after they place the animals inside. You can also include an intake sheet that will help shelter staff place the animal.

    I mean, if Sac County was able to do it without incompatible animals being placed together, I’m sure that this small shelter can.

    I still have to wonder if this person would have come forward w/o video evidence. Is it the public shaming or the understanding that what he did was wrong the reason for his “remorse”? I’ll hope for the latter and that the public shaming is his karma and he won’t ever do something so idiotic and unintentionally cruel again.

    1. Exactly. So many of these shelters seem to think they need to reinvent the wheel. Why is it so difficult to look at what’s already working at other shelters? Pride?

    1. Well it appears most of the celebrity pups survived. That is one good things about these stories. They help raise money for potentially bad shelters but it can keep the victims from being immediately killed.

  2. OK well, it sounds like you’re saying that individual people should never be accountable at all? For anything they do with the animals they don’t want? Is it EVER their fault when they act irresponsibly? Or is it always the shelter’s fault? In this instance, give the shelter person a little bit of a break for asking people to use common sense. If you were talking about a shelter that has horrible hours or doesn’t give people any options to dump off their unwanted animals, that shelter would deserve our criticism. But if this shelter’s concern with drop boxes is that people treat them like a garbage can, then I can see how the shelter would want to ask people to be a little more reasonable. The shelter is not always, across the board, the bad guy. Sometimes members of (OK I’ll say it) “the public” really are at fault in individual cases.

    I worked at a very well known and respected no-kill shelter for several years. We had no drop box, we had limited acceptance of animals because we stayed full (overcrowded at times). We had great hours, a terrfic adoption program, behavior rehab department etc. When we turned people away who wanted to drop off their animals, where did they go? Several people let their animals go in our parking lot. One guy, furious, stuffed his dog into the trunk of his car. Several dragged their animals out by the collar and I have nightmares thinking about what happened to them. So, drop boxes are probably better than nothing but many no-kill shelters don’t have them either — they turn animals away while they’re open for business, in fact.

    1. I post regularly about holding individual people accountable for their actions regarding pets – often covering cruelty cases and the failure of the justice system to hold them truly accountable.
      I had a negative opinion of this shelter and its director long before this story came to light. This story did nothing to change my view.

    2. How about training staff and volunteers to assess the situation, including determining the relative level of safety for an animal in a given situation, and the level of urgency for admitting them to the shelter?

      For example, suicide hotlines train their staff and volunteer in how to assess a callers level of lethality accurately. This requires listening to people and asking pertinent questions in a non-judgmental fashion, two skills which can be taught to the right people. Developing skills in assessment would go a long way towards preventing animals being abandoned in the parking lot after being refused admission, or dragged off to an unknown fate. And, if you see someone mistreating an animal on your premises after being denied admission, why not intervene?

    3. The shelter put bowls out as if they accepted just leaving the puppies there. Exactly who should be held accountable for what offense and by what authority?

      Never be held accountable at all? Again, by whom, for what? Publicly shaming him exposes him to acts of terrorism. Punishing him for coming close to doing the right thing but not compromising his job and his life, that is simply disingenuous, and they set a trap.

      I can understand the attitude of people who have to get rid of dogs, who almost always don’t want to, who go to a shelter that has been begging for donations but that won’t take their animals. Liz, you’ve given me enough clues in that message. The shelter acts all high and mighty and royally pisses people off then blames them for the way that they act when they get angry.

      You don’t give them credit for trying. They didn’t get the help that they needed from a business that keeps begging for money and volunteers and simply isn’t there for them. I hope that same shelter doesn’t also hold clearance sales in preparation for raids.

      How did these shelters get this moral dominance thing going? Because no one else wanted it? That’s what I see.

      1. Tom, it’s easy to generalize but things are not such a neat little package of who to blame in every situation. I might not give someone “credit for trying” when he tries to dispose of an animal like it’s a piece of trash. I’m not saying the man in this particular article was doing that, but the subject of drop boxes came up, unleashing the typical torrent of how evil all shelters are, which gets a bit monotonous. Tom, you won’t give shelters — even no-kill ones, apparently– credit for trying to solve problems of overcrowding on a sometimes hourly basis. Overcrowding actually exists — it’s not a cop-out in every shelter situation. In many, obviously, it is — but one has to look at the programs outlined by the esteemed Mr. Winograd and examine shelters on an individual basis rather than start blathering on with the knee-jerk criticism.

        The shelter I’m speaking of — the one I have personal experience with (and I’m not sure how many people who post on this blog have any) had life-saving programs running full tilt on all fronts and still there were times when they were crammed to the brim with animals. There was literally no more space for another one to be kept alive decently. I suppose to make certain people (perhaps Tom) happy, they could just stack them in crates up to the ceiling and in every garage and dark closet they could find.

      2. I’m not really into giving shelters “credit.” If they go around bashing citizens who are desperately trying to find places for their animals instead of just dumping them in the middle of nowhere, and they are allegedly the professionals, I have no respect for that.

    4. The shelter just “wants people to be more reasonable”? I thought we were assuming that people who dump animals after hours are evil criminals? How is it logical to expect THEM to be reasonable? Even assuming this man is Satan incarnate, how does punishing him, or catching other evil people on camera, or lecturing thousands of OTHER members of the public who had nothing to do with this crime, help the animals?

      Leaving food out, and knowing that people abandon pets, but doing nothing about it, is wrong. The shelter needs to be held to a higher standard.

  3. Nobody is perfect. But I find it worse when an institution with the word “Shelter” or “Humane” in it’s name chooses to not be or do either!
    The guy kept the puppies overnight. He came in before work, and didn’t find what he needed to relinquish the puppies safely. Whose fault is that?
    Perhaps the organization that accepts public donations to care for animals should use that money to do so?
    Our Animal Control has taken to publicizing when they are full and asking mushers to not relinquish at these times. But as a public facility, they MUST take whatever comes in. We have enclosed drop off cages because animals can freeze to death overnight around here in the winter.

  4. I truly can not understand how any place that stores animals can be unstaffed at night.

    There must be a 4H which would love to help out.

    A high school student who would much rather study and watch the animals than sit at a gas pump.

    A college student. I live near Ames Iowa with a well known vet school and I bet there are lots of unstaffed vets and shetlers which could have all the help they want.

    I attended a pet first aid class put on by the shelter which was taught by a volunteer who had taken the class herself, with no professional pet medical training. They appear to see every event as a fundraiser, not helping people and pets.

    Ask for help, appreciate the public, and then blame the public if they don’t respond. That is my takeaway.

    Shelters need to understand not everyone hates pets and their people.

    1. It’s posts like these that make me wish there were a “thumbs up” or “Like” option on this blog comments’ section. :)

    2. I don’t know what their finances look like so I cannot intelligently reply as to whether a shelter can find the money to pay a night staff.

      I can certainly understand when people believe that they can treat a quasi-governmental agency as if it should have more power. They have the power to come to my house and walk all over my constitutional rights and completely screw around, so they should have the power to properly take care of a pet that an owner can no longer keep.

      What am I supposed to do with the animals if the shelters are “full”? There are times when people have to get rid of there pets right now, not ten days from now, not when someone feels like talking to them, and the pseudo-moral judgments from on high that I read just make me want to throw things.

      If you can’t confront an issue, just call people dirty names. That’s how you wipe away inconvenient truths.

      A lot of us don’t have husbands who are pediatricians or lawyers or hospital administrators. I don’t even have a husband. People who do often don’t have to move without thousands of dollars to prepare to take their animals. I know some people say it’s hard on a $100,000 a year family income, and that proves my point. Try it on $22,000 a year between three people if you are lucky.

      “Shoulda done this” and “shoulda done that” work for the person who is handing down judgment from the catbird seat. It don’t work so well down here on planet Earth.

      1. Y’know, Tom, I’ve been dirt poor. I didn’t think it absolved me of my responsibility to my pets, and I have absolutely no patience with people who think it ought to do so.

      2. Exactly what would you need to know to determine whether they can afford to ask for help at night?

        My point is you are babbling, and being rude, and being nonsensical.

  5. This “Humane Society” – receives funding from Walker County Commission and the City of Jasper, AL. Why aren’t they called the Walker County Animal Control? Its hardly a shelter, they kill more animals than they every adopt out. They solicit funds from private sources. They need to admit they are a killing facility just as all the other animal control killing facilities are. Nothing but a disposal dump, in reality. How sad the citizens of that community care so little for their animals. This man who dumped those puppies is a jerk – He carried those poor pups as if they were trash and threw them down to fend for themselves. They followed his truck, begging for him to look at them. He never gave them a glance or a thought. No excuse.

  6. A ‘shelter’ being closed in the late afternoon hours is a red flag…..it shows that they dont take saving lives seriously…if they did, they’d be open much longer than the late afternoon.

    Preferably 24/7 (Hey if Super Wal Marts get to sell their crap 24/7, precious souls should be allowed to be saved 24/7) or atleast 8 AM to 11 PM seven days a week.

    This nine to five crap on weekdays…..hello, McFly, most humans are working.

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