I appreciate that shelter volunteers and co-workers are in a difficult position when it comes to reporting animal neglect and abuse within the shelter. One person may witness another kicking a pet for example, but feel helpless to do anything about it for fear of being marked as a “troublemaker” and possibly retaliated against by being fired. Caring volunteers and staff further fear that if they are ousted, the only people left at the shelter will be the abusers and the pets will suffer even more.
But even if we grant how challenging and complicated it might be to report shelter abuse in some cases, is there some point where you draw the line? Is there some action that, when witnessed, leaves no doubt in your mind that this incident must be immediately reported, regardless of the consequences?
How about a shelter employee who gets angry at a puppy and kills him with bleach? To my mind, I’m thinking that would be one of those I’m reporting you to the shelter supervisor and if that person fails to take immediate action to remove you from having access to pets, I’m dialing 911 type of incidents.
Bleaching a puppy to death is just one of the allegations made by volunteers – now banned – at the Hempstead Animal Shelter in NY. (Also the inspiration for my chicken pluckers post yesterday.) The volunteers claimed at a recent town board meeting to have witnessed additional abuse, including:
- Shelter staff beating pets
- Leaving pets to suffer and die in their cages
- Dogs who were kicked, hung by leashes
- Emaciated dogs left to lay in blood and feces in their cages
- Needless killing of shelter pets
The Town Supervisor is Kate Murray:
“Quite frankly, this is the first I’ve heard of these (abuse) allegations,” Murray told reporters. “I am in the shelter quite often and have never seen anything like that. But we take the allegations seriously and will investigate them.”
Any of that sound comforting to you? Me either.
The Nassau Co DA has launched a criminal probe of an administrative nature into the shelter but given these never-heard-before-and-totally-surprising abuse allegations:
[…] Town Supervisor Kate Murray said the probe may have to be expanded to investigate these allegations.
May. We’re not sure if an allegation of a worker killing a puppy by means of a caustic chemical agent really qualifies as criminal. We need to take some time to weigh the pros and cons of death by bleach ingestion. This matter can’t be decided hastily – unlike the ousting of the volunteers, which was totally cut and dried obvious. But don’t worry, we’ve got it all under control and we promise to police ourselves. And by the way, can you folks donate some of the items on our shelter wish list? We’re low on bleach. kthx.