Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Advocates Seek Shelter Reform

In an effort to offer solutions to the problems at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C shelter in NC, I reached out to Lisa Easton – the whistleblower who reported the abusive photos – and to Samantha Laine, a local animal rescuer.  I asked each of them for a list of suggestions of how to bring meaningful reform to the shelter.  They each provided me with a well thought out list and gave me permission to share their ideas on the blog.  I hope these ideas could serve as a starting point for a discussion within the community about reforming the shelter.

Below is my summary of Ms. Easton’s suggestions.  Quotation marks indicate portions directly lifted from her document which can be read in its entirety here.

  • Terminate all employees visible in the abuse photographs as well as those who posted the photos on Facebook, made “funny” comments about the photos, and any other employees determined by the investigation to have been involved and/or knowledgeable of the abuse.
  • Replace shelter management team.  They haven’t taken responsibility for this incident nor have they accepted responsibility for the oops-killing of two family pets.
  • Specifically, shelter director Mark Balestra “advised employees to purge evidence [of online abuse photos] thus jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation”.
  • Mary Blinn is the on-site shelter vet who failed to provide care for the hairless ferret in the photos.  “This facility contracts Spay/Neuter services to the Humane Society of Charlotte.  Replacing Mary Blinn with a progressive veterinarian willing and able to perform routine surgery will not only save tax dollars but lower euthanasia rates.”
  • The shelter’s Public Information Specialist Melissa Knicely is paid $56,000 a year and yet “volunteers post adoptable animals on PetFinder while positive use of social media aka Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is prohibited”.
  • “Demand The City Council establishes an animal welfare subcommittee to focus on the reform of Animal Care and Control.  A citizen’s advisory board is needed to ensure accountability and transparency throughout a complete revision of sheltering operations, policy and procedures.  Ensure every animal is treated humanely at all times and all but the terminally ill and tragically injured are made available for adoption.  Working towards the goal of implementation of programs consistent with The Companion Animal Protection Act as published by No Kill Advocacy Center.”

Here is my summary of Ms. Laine’s suggestions for reform.  Again, quotes are items lifted directly from the original document which can be viewed here.

  • Make public the findings of the Internal Affairs investigation into the abuse photos.
  • Clarify the shelter statistics publicly available online.
  • Clarify the Pitbull stats since the shelter doesn’t adopt out Pitbulls.
  • “Animals are not given pre-euthanasia injection or oral medication to anesthetize prior to injection of substance which kills animal.  Animals — specifically dogs— which are considered potentially dangerous and liable to bite are “blanket jumped.” Given a “blanket party.”  Dog has blanket thrown over body, is jumped from behind by one worker while other worker pulls out animal’s arm and injects substance which kills. This if slip lead tightened around neck, yanked, then roped around muzzle does not work to restrain animal.”
  • Temperament test currently used by shelter is derived from Sue Sternberg’s testing protocols which have been largely discredited.  “Tests are performed by volunteers on the weekends. Tests are performed in a room without windows in close proximity/almost adjacent to the holding ward, where animals recently brought to shelter for processing are housed. These animals are in distress. In rooms leading off of holding ward animals are euthanized. These animals are in distress. Hence severe auditory and olfactory impact to animals being temp tested.”  Dogs not given 10-15 minute walk prior to the test which negatively impacts results.  A more appropriate temperament test would save lives.
  • Independent review of management needed.

I think it’s relevant to include here the shelter’s stats, as posted online.  In fiscal year 2009, they killed nearly 66% of the pets they took in – that’s close to 14,000 animals killed.  In fiscal year 2010, the shelter killed almost 65% of its pets – that’s just under 13,000 killed animals.  Fiscal year 2011, which began in July 2010, has been removed from the webpage in recent weeks – perhaps because no one was updating it.  The only month that had been filled in was July.  That month indicated a nearly 68% kill rate – just shy of 1300 pets killed.

Hopefully they will put the information for fiscal year 2011 back on the website soon, with the months of August, September and October filled in so the public can get an accurate idea of how the shelter is doing currently.  CMPD-ACC describes itself on its website as “one of the top ten agencies in the nation”.  As such, I’m sure they are eager to maintain accountability and transparency to the community they serve as well as AC shelters all over the country.

I attempted to contact Mark Balestra for comment before finalizing this post but haven’t heard back.  If I do, I will update this post or create another to reflect his comments.  In addition, the comments section is open to readers under the regular guidelines so if Mr. Balestra or anyone else from the shelter would like to respond, that’s an open avenue.

Maricopa Co Stands by its Kill Numbers

Note:  This post has been corrected.  The original incorrectly attributed the killing of Target to Maricopa Co instead of Pinal Co.

Maricopa Co Animal Care and Control in AZ is Pinal County’s neighbor to the north.  Pinal Co recently oops-killed Sgt. Terry Young’s war hero dog Target.  Now, local rescue groups are speaking out about all the needless killings in the area’s two shelters.  Maricopa Co is defending its kill numbers:

Rodrigo A. Silva is the Assistant County Manager and confirms 100 dogs die per day in the county’s two facilities.

“Animals just continue to come through our door every day,” Silva said.

He said with 55,000 dogs coming through the doors every year it’s impossible to keep any dog without tags or microchips any longer than 72 hours.

Dogs with tags are kept a minimum of five days.

“There’s just absolutely no way for us to keep animals any longer than we legally need to,” said Silva.

Dogs without ID are killed after 72 hours apparently without even being offered for adoption?  And there is “just absolutely no way” to do things any differently?  I’m glad not all shelters see things this way.

Here are the county’s stats for last month:

Total number of animals coming in to the shelter: 4,106

Total adoptions: 1,178

Animals returned to their owners: 444

Transferred to rescue groups: 648

Euthanized: 1,812 (0 healthy, 320 treatable/manageable, 1,492 untreatable/unmanageable)

Now ain’t that something?  The county kills 100 dogs a day including every dog who comes in without ID and is still at the shelter after 72 hours.  And not a single one of them killed last month was “healthy”.  In fact, the vast majority of those 100 dogs being killed every day are “untreatable/unmanageable”.  That is almost hard to believe.  I mean, what are the odds?

I wonder what category Target will fall into for the November stats because I believe she would have been considered “healthy”.  I notice they don’t break down the numbers by “Oops”.

Can You “Dump” a Pet at a Safe Haven?

From Orange Co CA comes this feel-good story about a German
Shepherd Dog called Roxy who was surrendered to a shelter and, thanks to internet fundraising efforts, will now get surgery to correct a genetic defect.  But what ruined the otherwise uplifting post for me was this bit:

Roxy was dumped at the Pasadena Humane Society on Nov. 8 because her former owners did not want to or couldn’t pay for surgery to correct a genetic bone disorder in the dog’s front legs. She was scheduled to be euthanized Thursday.

Who is being painted as the bad guy here?  To me, it’s the owners.  They “dumped” Roxy possibly because they didn’t want to or couldn’t pay for her surgery.  No aspersions whatsoever cast upon a so-called humane society that was planning to kill a dog who needed surgery on her forelegs.  It doesn’t say the “humane society” had tried to find a vet to donate the surgery or tried to raise the funds in the community or anything – just that they were going to kill her.

Let’s be clear here – we do not know why the owners surrendered Roxy to the shelter.  We don’t know if their kid is chronically ill and they are trading shifts in round the clock care.  We don’t know if they’ve been laid off in this rough economy and haven’t been able to find new employment.  Maybe they would have happily paid for Roxy’s surgery if they could afford to do it.  We just don’t know.

The only thing we do know about the owners is that they cared enough about Roxy to take her to a place called a “humane society”.  Our American animal shelters are supposed to be safe havens for pets in need – not dumps.  Bringing an animal to a shelter should never be considered “dumping”.  Roxy’s owners were not bad people – at some level, perhaps different from how you or I might act with our pets – they cared.  You know what actual bad people do with dogs who need expensive surgery?  They take them out to the back forty and let their kids use the dog for target practice.  They drive them out to rural areas, put them out the car and drive away.  They most certainly don’t take them to the animal shelter.

So, while we don’t know why Roxy’s owners surrendered her, we know for certain what the shelter was going to do:  kill her.  And yet this story, like so many others, puts the owners in a negative light when there really is no basis for doing so.  Further, the post fails to condemn or even mention the hypocrisy in a place called “humane society” planning to kill a treatable dog.

NC Shelter President to My Office Please

The board president of the Lenoir Co SPCA in NC wrote an opinion piece in an area paper.  It’s titled “Let’s Stop the Killing” which sounds, you know – awesome.  I want to stop the killing of healthy/treatable pets in shelters too so yeah, I’m listening.

The piece starts out with some figures, both nationally and locally, on shelter killing:

We do our part in Lenoir County as we intentionally kill from 2,200-2,500 dogs and cats every year. Every month, animal control officers bring some 300 dogs and cats to the local shelter. Sadly, 65-70 percent of these animals will be killed … and we kill less than the national average where 75-80 percent are killed.

The national average of needless shelter pet killing is 75-80%?  Source, please.  I’m familiar with figures closer to the 50% range.

Only a few of the animals saved are adopted locally. Most of those saved are hauled to other, more enlightened communities that have enacted regulations that encourage population control.

Your local adoption rate is “a few”?  Sounds like there’s room for improvement there.  Are you doing weekend adoption events at high traffic retail spots, extended shelter hours, reduced adoption fees, and other things to bring up your adoption rate?  Maybe this shelter thinks they can’t improve because they aren’t in an “enlightened” community, I don’t know.  But dang, if I lived there, I don’t see myself running down to this place after reading this article.  “Hi, I’m a member of the local dimwittery. I can haz pet?”

For those who haven’t already guessed what comes next – it’s a call for county-wide MSN:

Others have done it. We can, too.

Other communities have stopped the killing by enacting MSN?  Do tell!  I am eager to hear about these previously well guarded secret communities.  The ones I am aware of have failed to end the killing of pets after passing MSN and in fact, they often end up increasing the number of pets killed at shelters.  Read the stats and weep.

I may not live in one of your so-called enlightened communities but I know a snow job when I see it.  You are not killing less than the national average – you are killing more.  You’re only adopting out “a few” pets and the others who escape death are “hauled” away to where smart people live.  Now you want a law likely to increase killing?  70% isn’t good enough for you?  Aiming for 100?  Gimme a break.  How about a title do-over for your piece:  Let’s Stop the Lying.

In order to stop killing you need to work with the people in your community, not disparage them.  Get the public involved with saving lives by developing an expansive foster network and volunteer program.  Support programs that help low income pet owners get their pets neutered.  Get lost pets reunited with their owners.  Participate in area TNR programs.  Use your voice to reach out to the public as you vow to commit to change.  Also:  stop killing.

“Very Good Chance” NYC’s Lost Pets are Doomed

This dog was homeless in NYC. He was rescued by a good Samaritan and adopted by a loving family because "nobody around here would take a found dog to ACC".

This summer, New York City Animal Care and Control tried to muzzle their volunteers so they couldn’t go to the media with documentation of neglect and abuse at the city’s shelters.  In addition, they “suspended” many already approved rescue groups, refusing to allow them to save pets while ACC developed a new rescue policy.  The entire volunteer program has been on-again, off-again with next month scheduled as a “break” according to ACC’s website.  That might be for the best since some folks may have trouble at year’s end coming up with the $25 fee ACC charges people to volunteer.

Now, blaming “budget cuts”, ACC has announced they won’t be looking in the city’s 3 shelters for lost pets anymore when worried owners call:

Frantic owners used to call Animal Care and Control directly to have city workers search the three main facilities, but that’s no longer part of the workers’ job description.

As a result of these budget cuts the owners of lost pets must come to city shelters in person, including one in Manhattan, and the others in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

They will make an exception for disabled owners who are unable to search the shelters themselves.  But for everyone else:

“There’s a very good chance if their pet is lost they wont be able to find them,” said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

[…]

Hoffman said, by law, an unclaimed animal can be adopted out or euthanized after as little as 48 hours, although it usually takes longer than that.

How is any of this ok?

Let’s be clear as to the effects of this decision.  Your kitty slips past your feet, bolts through your front door and gets lost somewhere in New York City.  You have to physically visit and search all three shelters every day because you don’t know if or when he might get brought to a shelter.  You don’t know if the shelter would hold him for 48 hours or 72 hours or might kill him immediately because maybe he’s been deemed “unadoptable” or caught a kitty cold.  Hopefully you have a very understanding boss who will allow you the time away to get to all three shelters and conduct your searches every day.  But if your kid gets sick or you break your ankle or someone in your family wants you to attend their wedding in CT – well, any of those things could mean death-by-shelter for your lost cat.

Here’s my question:  If you strip away your shelter’s volunteer program, the rescue groups you work with, and any realistic chance of reuniting lost pets with their owners – what’s left?  ACC won’t look for your lost pet because they can’t afford the staff to do it.  They won’t let volunteers who would be willing to look for your pet for free come in unless they pay a fee and jump through flaming hoops.  They won’t work with rescues willing to save pets from being killed at the shelter.  Is NYC Animal Care and Control going to rename itself NYC Pet Killing Facility?  Because if the current trend continues, that will be the only “service” they’ll offer.

***

Thank you FreedomDaug and Rachel G. for sending in links on this subject.

The Problem with Oops at Kill Shelters

Anyone can make a mistake.  Some people exercise more care in their work to avoid mistakes than others but even so, mistakes happen.  Your doctor’s office might bill your old insurance instead of your new insurance; the furniture store may advertise a couch at one price but have it marked as a different price in the store; etc.  These kinds of things can be frustrating, especially when you suspect incompetence and/or a general uncaring attitude led to the error.

Fortunately, nobody is going to die as a result of the wrong price being advertised on a piece of furniture.  But when your business is killing pets – as is the case in most public animal shelters – your mistakes result in the death of beloved family pets.  And these mistakes happen far too often:

  • In Putnam Co WV, the local shelter insisted on seizing a man’s cat for quarantine after it bit him.  When the man attempted to reclaim his pet at the end of the quarantine period, he learned the shelter had accidentally killed his cat after the pet got “mixed up” with some feral cats at the shelter.
  • A lady in Sugar Land, TX had been feeding two homeless kittens.  She brought them to the local shelter whose policy is to hold for at least 72 hours then, should the kittens remain unadopted, contact the surrendering party to give her an opportunity to reclaim.  Instead, the shelter killed the kittens upon intake then contacted the woman to issue an official oops.
  • You might remember the story of a NC man whose dogs got out of his fenced yard through a hole and were picked up by animal control.  He fixed the fence and tried to redeem the dogs but animal control had “mistakenly” killed them.  They could not explain why.  Adding insult to injury, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control then sent the owner a bill for $100.
  • At Matthew Pepper’s old shelter in Caddo parish LA, a puppy who had been adopted by a family was accidentally killed by the shelter after he got “lost in the system”.
  • In NC, a family desperately wanted to adopt a very friendly dog they found but the shelter mistakenly killed the dog despite the family’s efforts to make sure that didn’t happen.

This week, a dog who had saved the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan and was adopted by one of them, was killed by mistake at an AZ shelter.  The dog had slipped out an open gate at Sgt. Terry Young’s home and he checked the local pound’s website for found dogs.  He saw his dog’s photo and thought, “She’s in the pound. At least she’s safe”.  When he went to the shelter to redeem his dog, he learned of the killing and had to explain what happened to his wife and kids:

“The 4-year-old is really taking it hard right now,” Young said. “She’s saying we need to get the poison out of her so she can come home. She can’t grasp the idea that she’s gone.”
I wish it could work like that kid, I really do.
***
Thank you Clarice and Sheenagh for the link to this story.

Not a Crime

In MI, a Pitbull mix named Gooch was suffocated and squashed to death by a man and woman who put a choke collar on the dog, muzzled him, then sat on him until he died.  This was a “service” they were providing to the owner, who has MS, and wanted her dog’s nails trimmed by a groomer willing to make a house call.  The dog suffered multiple internal injuries and, unable to breathe, died by the time the first nail was cut.  All of this occurred while the owner, Laurie Crouch, watched in horror.

“I threw myself out of my wheelchair and dragged myself to where Gooch was to hold my dead dog,” Crouch said later.

Ms. Crouch called the police and filed a report but no charges were brought as police determined there weren’t any to bring.  I guess this kind of reckless and negligent act is not a crime.  Police suggested the owner file a lawsuit.

This story makes me sad because it’s yet another needless death of someone’s beloved pet.  There is no dog in the world who needs to be muzzled and have 300 (I’m guessing) pounds laid on him in order to have a nail trim.  Some dogs really hate having their nails cut and will struggle and snap.  The muzzle takes care of the business end and the helper holds the dog on his side by the two legs touching the table (or floor).  The dog will be physically unable to get up from that position and the groomer can then trim the nails as quickly as possible and release the dog.  Any dog that can’t be managed thusly requires veterinary sedation to my mind.  How could a dog groomer possibly think it was ok to handle a dog in this way?

After the story made the local papers, the community rallied in support of Ms. Crouch.  A local business is giving her a Lab puppy next month, complete with vaccines, neuter surgery, obedience training and a month’s supply of food.

Thank you Clarice for the link.

Police in WA Shoot Scared Dog Hiding in Bushes

On November 7, a good Samaritan called police in Des Moines, WA to report that a Newfoundland was roaming the neighborhood.  Kids were chasing the dog around and the caller was worried the dog would get hit by a car.

Three officers responded and tried to use a catchpole on the dog but she was afraid and kept barking and running away.  They yelled at her when she “charged” them and she ran away again.  One of the officers took a photo of the dog with his cell phone and sent it to the off-duty ACO.  The ACO said she didn’t recognize the dog.  (What that has to do with the price of tea in China I have no clue.)  So they tazed the Newfie, twice.  By then she was really scared and ran into someone’s backyard and hid in some bushes.

At this point, the officers all agreed that the dog was a threat to public safety and to them personally so one of the officers put a bullet in her.  She fell to the ground, her eyes rolled back in her head and her breathing was labored.  Apparently still deeming the dog to be a public threat, the officer put a second bullet in her.  At that point the dog began to yelp.  Apparently the dog was still a threat to public safety so he shot her a 3rd time.  After that shot she struggled to sit up, trying to move away.  Apparently the officer felt she was still a threat and so put a 4th bullet in her which killed her.  Then he poked her with a stick to make sure she was dead.

Newfies, in case you didn’t know, are the dogs so reliably good tempered they are used to rescue drowning victims – people who flail and scream and have a tendency to choke their rescuers.  They are often called “gentle giants” due to their kind disposition and large size.  This Newf was named Rosie and her owners are devastated.  She had never gotten loose before and in fact, neighbors at the scene did not even recognize her.

A letter to the editor from a local resident paints a pretty negative picture of how lost dogs are handled in Des Moines.  The community held a vigil for Rosie yesterday.

Putnam Co Rabies Policy Causing Needless Pet Deaths in WV

Putnam Co in WV has a rabies policy which seems to differ significantly from the state laws regarding rabies quarantine and related protocols.  The primary difference for owned pets is that under the Putnam Co policy, any dog, cat or ferret who bites a person is required to be quarantined for 10 days “at the Putnam Co Animal Shelter or at an approved Veterinarian’s office at the owner’s expense”.  The confinement must begin “within the hour” and there are “no exceptions”.

Animal advocates and owners have complained that owned pets should be allowed to be quarantined at home, as indicated by state law.  The ability to quarantine at home can be essential to keeping a pet with the owner as some owners can not afford an unexpected expense of immediate quarantine boarding at a facility.  There are obviously other risks for seized pets in the shelter as we will see in a moment.  Putnam Co contends that WV law does not provide for home quarantine for bite cases.  This appears to me to be incorrect.

1.  The WV state form for reporting an animal bite indicates on page 4 that “Home” is one of the options for the location where an owned pet may be quarantined after a bite.

2.  Under “Strict Isolation” (page 6 of the pdf) in the state’s Rabies Surveillance, Management and Control Manual, it states:

A kennel in a veterinary hospital, animal control facility, commercial boarding establishment, or a pen at home (see Appendix A) that prevents direct contact between the animal and any human or other animal, but allows for observation, feeding, watering and sanitation. The local Sanitarian is responsible for approving the adequacy of the isolation unit.

3.  Appendix A (page 23 of the pdf) provides plans for constructing a pen suitable for quarantining an unvaccinated pet at home.

4.  Appendix G (page 36 of the pdf) offers “Home” as one of the places an animal may be confined.

5.  Appendix H (page 37 of the pdf) is a form instructing an owner about home quarantine of a pet.

Given these references, it seems clear to me that the state of WV code does indeed allow for owned pets who bite a person to be quarantined at home.

In the case of a bite by a stray dog, cat or ferret, the Putnam Co rabies policy calls for immediate killing of the animal with a possible exception:

However, if the animal has the appearance of an owned pet, the supervisor will be notified immediately for case review to determine if a short waiting period will be allowed for the possible claiming of the animal by its owner.

In the case of a bite by a stray dog, cat or ferret, the state’s Rabies Surveillance, Management and Control Manual states:

[…] the local health officer shall direct the county humane officer, dog warden or sheriff to confine the suspect animal for a period of 10 days for rabies observation.

This appears on page 9 of the pdf and does list cases where immediate euthanasia and testing may be preferable to the 10 day quarantine (for example in the case of a fatality).  The Putnam Co policy lists these same conditions.

Why does Putnam Co need this extremely stringent rabies policy?  You might be wondering if rabies in companion animals has been a problem in recent years there.  I wondered that myself.

In all of WV, cases of rabies in dogs and cats have been rare in the past decade (see page 4), with 2007 and 2009 each showing 4 cat cases and zero dogs (2008 shows 8 cats cases and zero dogs).  A note at the bottom of page 6 of this 2008 rabies report from the state lists Putnam as one of the counties where the raccoon strain of rabies has never been identified within its borders.  This state document lists all cases of positive rabies tests by county for 2000 through 2009.  Putnam Co appears on page 41 and, aside from 3 bats scattered over the years, Putnam Co doesn’t have a whole lot going on rabies-wise.  In fact, the number of dogs, cats and ferrets who have tested positive for rabies in Putnam Co in the past decade is zero.  Putnam comes up with another goose egg on this state rabies map for 2010 (the same ZERO shows up in the state’s USDA data).

So if the county rabies policy is not motivated by an actual need for heightened response to a rabies threat, what is behind it?  I don’t have any way of knowing but I was contacted by Barbara Koblinsky regarding the matter.  Ms. Koblinsky is a former Registered Sanitarian at the Putnam Co Health Department who spoke out against the rabies policy and tried to counsel owners that they were within their rights to quarantine their pets at home and not surrender them to the county.  She was wrongfully terminated by the county, and recently ordered by a judge to be reinstated with back pay and benefits.

Ms. Koblinsky provided me with copies of six Putnam Co “Euthanasia Request” forms for pets who had bitten people.  They are dated between 8-14-09 and 5-6-10 and name 4 cats and 2 dogs.  Four of the pets appear to have owners and there is no mention whatsoever of any quarantine period – home or otherwise.  One of the forms describes a 3 month old kitten.  It appears as if all 6 of these pets were seized by the county and immediately killed under the county’s rabies policy.

In addition, Ms. Koblinsky provided me with copies of seven “Quarantine Forms” (so we know the county does have them, at least).  A cat listed on the 2-25-10 form was killed at the shelter and his story made the local news earlier this year:

Terry Humphrey had to take his cat, Kitty Tom, to the shelter after the indoor cat got outside and then bit him. Humphrey’s finger swelled up and he went to the doctor to get it checked out. That’s when the Health Department caught wind of the incident and insisted the cat be quarantined.

While at the shelter, Kitty Tom was mixed up with a group of Ferrel [sic] cats and was later euthanized.

The shelter blamed a volunteer for the oops killing but obviously if the owner had been allowed to quarantine his own cat who had bitten him at home (as allowed by state law), this never would have happened.

Just a few weeks ago, the rabies policy was again in the local news after an owner spoke out at a county meeting over the county’s killing of his dog:

[Dog owner Dale] Stone said his 2-year-old border collie was taken to the shelter after it “nipped” a deputy assessor.

[…]

As Stone recalled his conversation with the animal control officer, he said he agreed to pay $10 a day for the quarantine at the shelter and offered documentation of the dog’s rabies vaccination.

But the papers he signed — which were explained “word for word,” [Chief Humane Officer John] Davis said — surrendered ownership of the dog to the shelter.

The shelter does not offer dogs that have bitten humans for adoption, he said.

Well, either it wasn’t explained “word for word” that the county would be immediately killing the dog – which is what happened – or somebody is lying.  I can’t think of any other reasonable explanation.

The remaining quarantine forms provided by Ms. Koblinsky all have handwritten notes on the side that say “Owner surrendered” with the same date as the quarantine request.  From the above quote about the shelter not offering bite case pets for adoption and based upon what happened to Mr. Stone’s dog, I assume all these pets were immediately killed as well.

The county is vowing to fight the reinstatement of Ms. Koblinsky to the health department.  She is vowing to continue speaking out against the county’s rabies policy which has caused the needless deaths of both owned and currently-between-homes pets.

Thank you to both Babrbara Koblinsky and Jo Staats for providing me with information about this story.

Friday Feel Good

Would these two dogs – one a Pitbull and the other a Rottweiler mix – be banned in your town? If so, they wouldn’t be able to save any babies from drowning like they did in Australia in 2007.  A 2 year old boy apparently wandered on to a neighbor’s property and into a dam where his family pets saved his life:

The owner of the property had heard a noise about 11am and had run to the dam, which was about 100 m from the house.

The woman found the boy lying on the embankment of the dam covered in mud with the two dogs, usually thought of as aggressive breeds, by his side.

Police said there were drag marks from the waters edge to where the boy was lying and small scratches on his arms from the dog’s claws.

“We are certain the dogs pulled him out of the dam,” a police spokesman said.

“It is an amazing story.”

“Usually thought of as aggressive breeds” – tuh!  Maybe by dumb grown-ups but certainly not by saved babies.  I imagine the tot’s parents weren’t too displeased with their dogs either.  The dogs received a special award from the RSPCA for their heroism in 2008.