By What Right?

What gives a taxpayer funded animal shelter the right to abuse and/or kill pets?  Is it the law of Finders Keepers?

“We got ’em now so we can do whatever we want to ’em”?

There are laws to protect pets from abuse and killing by private citizens.  Should animal shelters and their workers be exempt from those laws?

Susan Boyer is an employee at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C shelter.  She has been in the press, defending the actions of the workers who abused pets at the shelter:

“There was not one bit of animal cruelty involved with that,” Susan Boyer, a vet technician at the shelter, said. “I can say that 100 percent.”

Boyer has worked at the shelter in some capacity since the mid-1980s. She said the pictures of sedated cats posed with cigarettes and knives are examples of “bad judgment” by good workers.

“I compare that to if you’ve ever put your dog or cat in a Halloween costume,” Boyer said. “You’ve done the same thing.”

Graham is our beloved 11 year old Beagle who has undergone surgical cancer treatment more times than I care to recall and for whom I lovingly prepare homemade food and treats.  She has a bed in every room in the house, including our bed.  I have taken lots of photos of her over the years to share with family and friends because she is a light in our lives.  A couple of those photos appear on this blog.

The cats in the abuse photos were at the shelter because they were in need of protection.  That’s why all animals are at shelters.  If they were feral, they needed appropriate veterinary care, ear tipping and neutering before being returned to their colonies.  Hopefully the shelter works with colony caretakers to expand the number of managed colonies in the community.  If the cats were feral, they would have been frightened beyond imagination to be in the shelter environment.  I say again, they were in need of protection.

According to Ms. Boyer, if I wake Graham up from a nap, put her in a Halloween costume and snap a photo for a keepsake, I am doing the same thing as drugging a frightened cat I’m being paid by taxpayers to protect, posing him for a degrading photo, posting it on Facebook for a laugh, then killing the cat and tossing him in the freezer to await, I assume, the Dead Cat Man who rummages through cat carcasses at NC shelters and picks out which ones he’ll pay the shelter $5 apiece to take to his dissection specimen business.  Although Graham can not speak, I dare say she would object to the comparison.  I know I do.

As Graham’s owner, I have the right to dress her up in a costume for a picture if I so choose.  (She may of course decline to cooperate.)  By what right do shelter workers drug, pose for photos, then kill homeless cats?

Excerpts from Ms. Boyer’s recent Letter to the Editor appearing in The Charlotte Observer:

The feral kitten was not tranquilized; it was being held for a photo ID.

If this is accurate, I interpret this to mean that all feral kittens are treated in exactly this manner for photo IDs.  That is, they all have pens jammed in their mouths, paws placed upon the pen, and are positioned over the kill log.  Disgraceful.  By what right does the shelter treat kittens this way?

The feral cat was tranquilized, along with probably 10 other feral cats that day, to allow for nail trimming, vaccinations, etc.

If accurate, the shelter is tranquilizing batches of feral cats to give them pedicures and vaccines before they are killed.  Does the Dead Cat Man pay extra for cat carcasses with recent nail trims?  Are all sedated cats posed in life-devaluing ways for laughs or was this the one and only time anything like this ever happened?  By what right does the shelter treat feral cats this way?

Yes, those feral cats were eventually euthanized. Maybe if more cat rescue groups got involved, there would be other options.

Blaming the public – really?  Maybe if the shelter chose to neuter and return feral cats to their colonies instead of posing them for “funny” pictures and then killing them, more people might be interested in managing feral cat colonies in the area.  By what right does the shelter kill feral cats?

Here is a video of Ms. Boyer addressing the Cabarrus Co Commissioners Meeting this summer.  In her comments regarding the use of the gas chamber vs. killing of shelter pets by injection, she describes the latter as a “morale booster” for shelter staff.  She also claims to have personally killed more than 10,000 pets.  By what right is an animal shelter employee allowed to kill over 10,000 pets?

We are a no kill nation of compassionate pet owners who love and respect our pets.  We object to anyone comparing us dressing up our beloved pets for Halloween to abusing and killing feral cats in a shelter.  We are calling your bluff on needless animal shelter killing and abuse.  We know betterJoin us.

47 thoughts on “By What Right?

  1. I think when people talk of the treatment of animals they consider how it would sound if “shelter worker” – or anyone else – were replaced with “neighborhood boys.”

    For instance, the “neighborhood boys” collected stray cats, drugged them, posed them, photographed them, sent photos to their friends, and killed them.

    How does that sound?

  2. It was interesting to listen to the Cabarrus County Commissioners in that video. At least one appears to want to make things better, recognizes they have many unused resources and notes that the local human society has been running things their way for some time. He was calling for sweeping changes. How far he will get would be interesting to see. Especially as the board chairman noted that his research on this topic has started with PETA…

  3. How in the world can what they did be defended? All I can think is it’s gone on for so long , both the bad treatment and the killing, that some people simply cannot allow themselves to see it for what it is. To admit it’s cruel and needless means they’ve done all these things for no valid reason. Rather like a cult, when the end of the world doesn’t arrive on schedule some simply try to go back to normal life, some believe even more in the cult, to admit they invested their minds and hearts in a lie is something they simply can’t live with.

  4. Along w/ Exfriender I watched the rest of Cabarrus County Commissioners meeting and was pleasantly surprised. Excepting the right honorable Ms. Boyer, it seemed (SEEMED) positive. There was one Commissioner in particular who is obviously very knowledgeable of the path to no kill, and others on the Commission seemed keen to know more and implement it. Perhaps it was just talk- but it seems to be a growing sentiment there.

    Alas, Ms. Boyer was truly disturbing. Clean cut, well spoken and put together (in general), yet speaking a frightening message of evil. “Volunteers- they do what all the employees want to do but don’t have the time to do. We have to do the dirty work there”. Well, you said it sister. Dirty work is right- molesting animals for their execution photos. Them there’s some sure hard work.

    Ms. Boyer also said, “Volunteers can’t run a shelter and should not run a shelter”. Why? Why is it that all over this land, it’s the paid workers (not all, obviously) that routinely abuse the animals in their care, and or leave the majority of the grunt work to the volunteers? How could volunteers do worse? It seems working- being paid to, in a municipal shelter engenders the lowest common denominator qualities of the sleaziest of government employment. Like in the post office- you’ve got to rape or pillage or set the place on fire to actually be fired. Why is there this huge cavern between the attitudes of paid employees and volunteers? Since being paid to work in a shelter seems to guarantee the worst attitudes, and every shelter pleads lack of funds, why not get rid of the paid “workers” and let volunteers run the place (excepting vet care, etc.)? You’d have people who love animals working with them, rather than applicants to the general “government jobs available”, which seems to be the pathway a significant percentage of shelter workers traveled to get their positions.

    1. Yes, Rachel, that one commissioner sounded both caring and practical and seemed to have a group studying the issues. So, it’s just possible that something may come of this. We’ll need to see how the others react later on.

      Volunteers, however, can be a mixed bag. I’ve seen some shelters paranoid of them, and I’ve seen some of the volunteers around whose actions explain why. IMO, it’s a caring and knowledgeable Director that has the most impact.

      1. I appreciate that- I understand you can’t paint everyone in a group with a single color. Not government employees, not shelter workers, no one. And I didn’t quite mean it literally. I would assume there are wonderful, caring paid employees as well as disturbed volunteers. I’m just at a loss when confronted with this repeated scenario- shelter director is paid government employee often with no experience working or caring for animals (nor any indication they care for animals in the present tense either) and or achieved the position as some sort of payback/cronyism, and many paid shelter workers with no genuine care for animals. Added to that the perpetual state of affairs for so many of the decent paid workers and volunteers- always on the cusp of not being allowed back should they ever voice concern, to director or “outsiders”, about abuse they witness. It’s just such an up is down, down is up, sick Orwellian kind of reality. No one being paid is accountable, are free to do as they like, and unpaid animal lovers have to beg and plead, and in the case of NYC- pay out of their own pocket, to do right by the animals.

        I aware of the disturbed circumstances or character of some “rescues”. And I understand that people that aren’t ‘paid’ might not be considered accountable in a way that a paid employee might.

        And I assume the first step to a real cure is the community becoming aware of and offended at a bad state of affairs at their shelter and knowing there is another way- which seems to be the case in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

      2. Rachael, a final comment here. We do have to remember that there ARE good shelters, directors, staff and volunteers out there. That this is a large country and most of the news is on the poor ones and the large org’s that dominate the scene. While there’s much more that should be done, a great deal of good is done and rarely heard of.

  5. Thank you for this post. It made my heart sing. I didn’t go check out all the links, I’m running late today and need to get going.
    But I wanted to say that just like the animals in our care, not all volunteers or shelter workers, or government officials are the same. We are each unique. We tend to gather into herds, flocks and packs, and we tend to exhibit herd and pack behaviors as well. (Anybody read the book: “This is what would happen if Everybody did?”!)
    We’ve spent a lot of time, money and energy trying to change the way PEOPLE act, and our criminal justice system is rather cumbersome and perhaps somewhat broken.
    I keep coming back to something my father always said: “When you live in my house, you live by my rules.” That’s honest at least! We must work harder to help animals find SAFE houses…and stop funding prisons and torture chambers. But, well, hey, we can’t seem to do that with humans, so I guess we just keep plodding along trying…

  6. People need to carry a copy of PETA’s self reported kills for its Virgina shelter. It is only a single page for each year.

    When people start quoting PETA ask them if they truly want to follow down the path of killing 95%+ of pets.

    See how people react. I think you can find it right on this page, or at least a link to it.

  7. As a direct challenge to Ms. Boyer’s antiquated remark, “Volunteers can’t run a shelter and should not run a shelter.” Yes, they can. And they could do a much better job of it!

    That is propaganda generated from 100 years of lazy, uncreative practices.

    Shelters, especially government pounds, are more concerned with saving costs than saving lives. An entire bloated industry, filled with elitists and ineffectual people from top to bottom, has been built up.

    All shelter managers are fixated on building the organization instead of simply saving lives. Look around at all the job titles, policy and procedure manuals, rules, organizational hierarchy – it jumps out at event the casual observer. Under visionary management none of that is necessary. It all serves as a roadblock to the simple work of rehoming unwanted animals.

    The only place in a shelter for all that “best practice” crap is in the medical and business facets. Medical protocols are clear and GAAP dictates what needs to happen with money.

    Animal rescue is simple. It is not sophisticated. Animal in, animal out. Work hard to shut off the supply. Don’t kill. Love and rehome.

    Give me, with my extensive animal and business skill set, 100 hundred devoted and energized volunteers and I could change New York City in 6 months. Ms. Boyer’s Charlotte would be a cakewalk compared to that.

    Nothing excites people (volunteers) to give and give freely like a fun environment where they are free to dive in and help. Contrary to Ms. Boyer’s arrogant, condescending attitude about animal lovers, I believe most people have in them a great ability to contribute. Shelter managers just see an ability to contribute dollars.

    Volunteers can do so much more than just clean up cages and give a few bucks. My “Adoption Center” model could flourish in these tough economic times because it is streamlined and doesn’t have the high overhead costs of a hugely bloated payroll. (Link to model overview =

    As an example, I thought of applying for the open leadership role at Marin Humane Society by San Francisco. After a cursory examination I wouldn’t touch that with a 10′ pole! They barely handle 4,000 animals a year. Yet they have a CEO, a COO, a CFO, 20 on-staff paid trainers and a multitude of long-term directors and managers. With that bloated staff they couldn’t possibly change for the better. They need to learn why trains don’t need steering wheels. And it’s like they’re trying to provide jobs for the entire community!

    Animal rescue and rehoming is a simple process. It takes love and compassion, not technical training. Stop warehousing animals in prisons. I wonder if we took a tour of Ms. Boyer’s shelter if we would want to go back? I’ll bet it’s like visiting a prison. Ugly cages, dismal environment. Would it make you want to sit and relax and visit with animals?

    Volunteers – I could run an entire huge Adoption Center with them. All I need is a core group that will commit to being there regularly. The rest can just drop by when they feel like it.

    A couple months and they’d be lining up outside waiting for the place to open! We’d have to turn them away. Oh, and by the way, within one year there’d be a shortage of adoptable animals. We’d have to import them to meet the demand!

    Up yours, Ms. Boyer…

    1. Let’s be careful not to lump every shelter and every shelter manager into one lump sum
      that’s not fair to those who work hard and do a good job every day

      1. Right. Remember that Ms. Gale specifically mentioned 2 people she worked with at the Charlotte shelter who worked hard to save pets and there may be others, we don’t know. So even at this shelter, where we have evidence of abuse and then a circling of the wagons in response, there are good people. Just as there are at shelters in many other places.

        A shelter manager committed to no kill is key. From there, transparency and accountability flow naturally because of course they WANT as much free publicity as possible to get the community more involved in their lifesaving efforts. And obviously the types of people who think it’s funny to drug cats and pose them for degrading pictures wouldn’t find an environment conducive to their actions at a shelter committed to saving every healthy/treatable pet that comes through the doors.

      2. I made no attempt to single out any shelter nor did I lump them together except to say that volunteers can do the job and with proper care could do a better job than paid staff (like at Charlotte).

        In my very experienced opinion there isn’t a single “good” shelter in this country – not one. Yes, Anne, some are better than others. Just like some shelter workers are better than others.

        My point clearly was not about shelter workers. Not at all. My point was that sheltering, as a “system” or as a model, must be dumped – and that Ms. Boyer was absolutely wrong in her arrogant statement about volunteers.

        But since you opened this issue, Anne, we desperately need to move away from this antiquated prison model to something which is attractive to people and displays animals at their best.

        This shelter model, as it exists in any form, absolutely sucks. That includes the very best “no-kill” shelters in this country.

        The No-Kill Equation (NKE), sitting at the peak of the very best of today’s failed shelter model, is still very lacking in how it handles animals with behavior issues. All the NKE does in two of its 11 steps is to basically say “implement some program.” And all it does is build on and continue this prison model. Yech.

        I did not lump every shelter and every shelter manager into one lump sum. But thanks for giving me the opportunity to more clearly express my utter contempt for this failed model. My hat’s off to you, Anne.

  8. I wanted to clarify a few things about the video, which those of you commenting on it may have already noticed for yourselves.

    1. I started the video at the point where Ms. Boyer speaks, which is about 1/2 way through the meeting. If you are interested in viewing the entire meeting, you’d need to go back.

    2. The meeting was of the Cabarrus Co Commissioners. This is not the county with the drugged/posed cat photos shelter (Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C).

    3. The group Justice for Bella has been very active in working towards no kill this year in Cabarrus Co. There may be others too, I don’t know. But I’m assuming the good things you see in the meeting are at least in part a result of their efforts.

  9. 10,000 animals she’s personally killed?

    And she never once wondered if there might be another way?

    Never questioned if this is the very best she could do?

    That’s either some kind of massive intellectual deficit or a sociopathic disorder.

  10. After reading all the background material on this pathetic example of legalized aniaml cruelty committed by this shelter nothing short of asking for Boyer’s resignation would make sense.

    How could anyone trust her judgment moving forward in providing the lifesaving leadership that the citizens not only demand but are entitled too.

    While firing the workers involved would be appropriate it appears the real culprits are in the management itself that allows these “boys will be boys” examples to be tolerated in the first place.

    Had these employees been provided with the proper leadership perhaps their work days would be filled with tasks helping these animals cope with their shelter stay and with efforts placed on finding suitable safe havens rather then amusing themselves by torturing innocent victims of their sick demented minds.

  11. I watched Susan Boyer on the video from the link above. I was so sickened listening to her that I had to turn it off.

    To listen to Boyer talk about compassion while killing (adoptable) pets with injection made me ill. How on earth can she call it compassion when most of those pets should / could have been put up for adoption if that shelter had it’s act together?

    Susan Boyer, by your own admission, you’ve killed over 10,000 pets. You are part of the problem, a big part.

    Is there anyone trying to get Nathan Winograd to come to Charlotte? That’s what’s needed.

  12. While we understand all the frustrations we read here, we need to keep this in perspective and avoid simply “killing the messenger”. What type of person is Susan Boyer? From all we’ve read and heard we cannot answer that. People here are yelling about some of her statements on killing animals, but no comments on her working with spay/neuter programs or helping rescues.

    Yes, she did kill many animals. But, consider this: Today you have accepted a job at a kill shelter where most of the animals are killed. Injection is only slightly better than gas (they still die, but in less pain). You would like to see all killing stop, but you are not in control. Do you try to ignore injection killing because it’s still bad, or try to do what little you can actually do to make things just a little better. Perhaps you can intercede occasionally and maybe slightly increase the rate of adoption and transfer to other shelters and rescues. Not a lot, but a little better.

    Of course, you could just refuse to kill animals. In which case, you are fired and somebody else is hired, with nothing changing. Except, perhaps, the dozens of animals you managed to save through your extra efforts will now die.

    We have seen this play through elsewhere, time and time again. Yes, you can find many sadists and hypocrites (in both staff and volunteers), but we have also found many who do what little they can to help, and who are quick to embrace changes which make things better for the animals. Are these really the people we should throw our anger against?? What could we possibly accomplish with that?

    Elsewhere ( we’ve written much of issues at Best Friends Animal Society. Yet, even there, we have also noted many good people who remain there only for the little good that they can contribute and that conditions would be much worse if they left.

    The Directors, the Commissioners, the City Councils, that’s where the policy and implementation decisions come from for public shelters. They are the ones in control and the only ones who can change this. They have the public trust and responsibility for what happens.

    So, perhaps Susan Boyer is far worse than we’ve heard, or just maybe she is a good and caring person who is trying to do whatever she can to help the animals. From all that we’ve read and heard, we do not know. And, not knowing, we direct our comments and efforts against those who have clear responsibility here.

    1. I understand what you mean about the difficult choices some people make, but how does anyone explain away this comment:

      “I compare that to if you’ve ever put your dog or cat in a Halloween costume,” Boyer said. “You’ve done the same thing.”

      And I can understand working at a place for a few years and trying to change it, but more than 20? By that time you are the place.

      1. Erich, I agree Susan’s Halloween analogy was lacking, but I won’t condemn her for just that.

        As for 20 years, most burn out long before that and Susan mentioned she had stopped there for several years. But, how does one become “…the place”? Is she actively endorsing the old methods or still trying to change them? How much influence does she really have? No number of simple years will put her in charge.

        If she was able to help some animals, how easily can she walk away from that? Add to that her efforts she mentioned with other shelters. Perhaps the real question is this: If she were to leave, would conditions there be better or worse? In the meantime, there are others there who have clear responsibility and authority to make changes.

      2. Is she somehow being forced to speak on behalf of the shelter, despite being a secret advocate for change for a couple decades?

        Yes, after 20 years, if a person has tried to create change and failed, the place has probably changed the person.

        I definitely am not even close to implying she is as responsible for how the place is run as management, that would be nonsensical. I simply don’t see her as a hapless victim.

      3. I’m sorry Erich, but those are all strawman arguments.

        Nobody said “secret advocate” and she may have been fairly vocal; we just don’t know.

        The 20 years was less than 20. We all change over time. Not meeting all of your goals may not be failure, but life. She spoke of some changes she initiated and there may have been many more. Nor did she only work there during that period.

        Hapless is “deserving or inciting pity”. She didn’t ask for or need that, and I’m not implying that, only that things are rarely black and white.

        Did you read Thomas Cole’s link below? I’ve spent years before trying to create change and accomplished little, so do I now share responsibility for the bad? What Thomas showed was just a small piece of what many people at shelters have to bear with.

        My point is that far too many people tend to focus on “sound bite” issues that offend them, make many assumptions and accusations about them, and go no further. So, we don’t really know how Susan would total up there, but only that she makes an easy target, and that attacking her will accomplish nothing.

    2. This is just me but – I could not kill a friendly, healthy pet. Even if a genie appeared and told me if I killed just one adoptable pet, every other shelter pet in the country would be saved.

      Someone who can kill more than 10,000 pets, with far less potential “rewards” for doing so than saving every adoptable pet in the U.S. – that is not someone I can view as a compassionate animal advocate.

      Killing apologists have got to be removed from our shelter system in order to truly reform it IMO.

      1. Right there with you. I find it astonishing that anyone would state in an open forum they have ‘euthanized’ over 10,000 animals. “Definition of Euthanaisa:
        : the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” Merriam-Webster Online. There is no pre-killing anesthetic to relax the animal. In the moment the killing needle enters their bodies the faces of the animals show terror, fear and pain. End of story. In muni shelters “relatively painless” does not apply. Nor does “for reasons of mercy.”

    3. I don’t understand the point of this conversation. The real issue is not Susan Boyer or even the ugly work she does.

      Both are credible sides but you guys need to lift your focus. Do you guys think Boyer is the only person in the country doing this? Is Boyer alone killing 5-10 MILLION animals a year in shelters?

      Come on people. Susan Boyer is only the poster child for this ugly, backward, antiquated “industry.” She makes an easy target because she has the balls to stand up and say what it is she does. We need more vet techs like her not more silence. They make it possible for the “outsiders” to learn what really happens behind all the secrecy and closed doors.

      Shelters – they aren’t and they don’t. They are prisons. Solitary cages: who here thinks that’s the only way to house SOCIAL animals?

      Killing dogs and cats with behavior issues – who here thinks that’s the only way to “deal with” what are basically minor problems?

      Shelters – they are prisons and death camps. The world fought a war over this kind of atrocious abuse of humans. When do we fight a war over this same treatment of our companion animals?

      Here’s the issue – what model do we promote that gets away from killing and cages? If some no-kill nut stands up and says we can make this work with cages, then they’re not seeing the whole issue. Cages or little rooms – that is the major problem with “shelters.”

      In the words of Scotlund Haisley at Washington Animal Rescue League a few years back:

      “As shelters, we’re working against our mission by housing animals in this environment that breeds anxiety, frustration, depression and aggression.

      We can no longer accept the traditional way of sheltering animals.

      It absolutely does not work!”

      Go ahead, defend caging with him. I trust this opinion of a shelter director (at the time). He understands that cages are not the way to go.

      Implement a model that does away with cages, putting the animals into social settings and provides mental therapy for those who cannot live socially.

      That model, along with targeted FREE neutering (unfortunately, just for animals) to reduce the supply flow and most of the Susan Boyers can go away.

      People, focus on solutions. This bickering over Susan Boyer’s rightness or wrongness detracts from the important issue. This is as much a waste of time as quarreling over the “real meaning” of no-kill. And it’s causing huge splits in our animal rescue community. Move on, people!

      No more cages…

      1. Tom, I agree.
        Except, perhaps, on your neutering restriction…
        The focus should be on how to get from here, to there. What efforts will help, and which will only make noise.

      2. Exfriender – ROFLMAO! I didn’t get your reference to the “neutering restriction” at first. Then the light bulb went on! Amen. Sometimes I think we’re trying to fix (pun intended) the wrong end of the issue.

        It would be great if we could license pet owners by testing them all, wouldn’t it? And maybe a few mandatory (human) spay/neuter laws would help.

      3. Yes, anyone who focuses all their time on one volunteer at one shelter is wasting their time.

        Hope no one has even considered that.

        And yes, a new model. Okay.

    1. Thomas,

      This is in response to your posting dated December, 5th regarding as you put it, Best Friends “giving you the finger” about assisting with training dangerous dogs. I want to say up front that I agree 100% with what you are saying in your posts. BF has absolutely NO business working with the Vick dogs or any other dangerous dog! PERIOD!!

      I have stated this before, but sadly, BF would never help you or any other non profit regardless of how much sense it might make. The single biggest reason is that you, and any other organization is their COMPETITION. You are competing for the same donations that BF spends sooooo much time/resources and MONEY pursuing.

      I think you might find this very interesting. On the very same weekend that Beans was ripped from limb to limb by the Vicktory pit “Tug”, PetSmart charities was presenting Best Friends with a $240,000 grant for, get this, to support a year-long pilot program that encourages responsible ownership of pit bull-type dogs to reduce euthanasia and improve the perception of the breed. So, Thomas, as you can see, Patty H, Gregory Castle, etc have no reason to give you the time of day let alone any help!

      I also agree with you staying vocal and calling attention to your cause. I feel that PetSmart is also to “blame” in this particular instance as well. I wonder how they selected BF for this $240,000 grant? Did they publicize this grant for other non profits to compete for? Or, was this just a case of PetSmart trying to cash in on name recognition? Regardless, bottom line, BF accepted a $240,000 grant that could’ve/should’ve went to a more deserving recipient.

      I hope you and others continue to press Best Friends and not give them a “free pass” that so many others like to do.

      1. dwf – this post was about, “What gives a taxpayer funded animal shelter the right to abuse and/or kill pets?” I’m sure YesBiscuit! would like us to stay on topic.

        But I do want to say thanks for the insight and the kind of weird cheerleading! :-)

        What is so terribly sad and wasteful about that huge grant is that I and my friend, Brandi Tracy, could have used that money as seed capital to expand her incredible operation to set up a training academy to teach experienced volunteer rescuers and fosters how to rehab.

        Think of that: 500 graduates a year heading back to their rescue groups and shelters to teach other volunteers.

        It wouldn’t be long before shelters would no longer “need” to kill animals with behavor issues.

        Check out Braveheart Rescue’s wooded 5-acre shelter and sanctuary that could easily have been expanded to include a training and dorm area. It’s just a rough unedited video but you’ll see some cool dogs!

        Link =

    2. Thomas,

      I think you missed the point of my last post. I was not trying to as you put it “cheerlead”. What I was attempting to get across to you was the simple fact that BF is not in the business of looking for partners. Unless of course you can bring a rather large “donation” to the dance with you.

      I hear you go on and on about BF not doing this or not doing that. I think the sooner you realize they are NOT going to help you the better. So, perhaps you can move on and start competing for other types of resources. For example $240,000 grants from PetSmart charities. While you are ranting,other non profits are applying.

      Oh yeah, the previous post was submitted in the wrong forum by accident. This one was is placed here specially for you Thomas:) I hope I don’t throw off the whole world order;)

      1. dwf – I didn’t miss your point at all. I got it. You are, if nothing else, quite effective in making sure everyone gets your point.

        I sure need to stop getting involved in blogs like this. Take a look at your responses to me and see the “inconsistency:”

        “I also agree with you staying vocal and calling attention to your cause.”

        “I hope you and others continue to press Best Friends…”

        “I hear you go on and on about BF not doing this or not doing that.”

        Goodbye, Mr. Anonymous. That’s just way too unhealthy for my tastes.

  13. YesBiscuit – I have a comment that maybe you offer you opinion on, or write a future article. It is pertaining to the Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ.

    The above article and comments clearly show the line between public killing/abusing animals which is obviously baaad, vs. shelter employees killing/abusing animals which some feel is acceptable because it’s “their job”.

    But what happens when it’s a volunteer that kills an animal?

    When the interim board took over Liberty Humane Society fired the Executive Director (and then both shelter and assistant managers) and asked a “friend” to help out. This “friend” was a previous LHS shelter manager, but now became a VOLUNTEER for rescue efforts, etc.

    This “friend” authorized the killings of 26 dogs and an unknown number of cats, overriding the authority of the shelter manager, as a VOLUNTEER. This “friend” also personally killed 19 of those dogs (with the help of her daughter), as a VOLUNTEER.

    When questions came up about this situation, this “friend” was quickly given an Interim Executive Director position to continue the killing.

    What do you do about people like this? This is clearly animal cruelty.

    1. Does NJ law specify who can “euthanize” an animal? Even if it doesn’t, I would think a reasonable case could be brought (at least before the municipality, if not the courts) that someone who was not an animal shelter officer, director, or staff member was killing pets. What method did this person use? Was he/she given access to controlled substances? etc.

      1. Yes, this person would have had access to controlled substances. And we are afraid there may have been instances of heartsticking as well.

        (About the heartsticking – It has been done in the past, and an owner surrendering their dog described a kennel attendant walking out around with blood covered scrubs and a very large needle. PS – Those who are ignorant or in denial need to take a good look at themselves in the mirror before responding.)

      2. Shirley, be very careful about assuming anything in that post is factual. Lots of accusations and implications, but no facts.

        That doesn’t mean it isn’t true, but as happens way too often on the internet (in animal rescue) we jump to conclusions assuming we have the whole story.

        As an example, Sonoma County municipal pound dismissed its director this summer. An incredible wave of dissent arose from bloggers writing news articles on, Most were taken right from the very biased keyboard of Derek Moore at the PressDemocrat. All of the complaining was in support of their Great White Hope, Amy Cooper.

        Digging deeper beyond the surface I have found out that Amy Cooper failed on every single promise she made when she was hired. She had become a puppet of the very controlling union at the shelter. In essence, she was not a visionary at all, but turned out to be “just another shelter director.”

        That is my view, not a fact. Take it for what it’s worth to you. But I have talked with some insiders at LHS and there is another side to the story. I don’t know who’s right or wrong. I don’t live there. Look beyond the perception – “perception is everything” is a terrible way to go through life.

        Hope this is interesting and offers some balance.

  14. Thomas, the insiders are the one’s feeding everyone lies because of their need to cover up their wrong doing…and you should know that by now. The insiders are the ones that banned and fired everyone who did not agree with them. The insiders are the ones suing volunteers to silence them.

    If you want the facts I suggest you go through all the paperwork yourself. I’m sure the insiders won’t give you a copy, so you may have to find it from outside sources.

  15. Thomas Cole Says:

    December 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Shirley, be very careful about assuming anything in that post is factual. Lots of accusations and implications, but no facts.


    I assumed nothing. Whether that scenario is factual, fabricated or somewhere in between, I gave my opinion, as was requested.

  16. Cruelty in public-funded shelters is more prevalent that the general public knows, unfortunately. Locally, the director of the ‘shelter,’ a division of the police department, gave a domestic rabbit in her care to a claw-less cougar that was seized from a home. For the next 45 minutes, the cougar chased, pounced on and mauled the rabbit, until it finally died. Two shelter employees went to the police officer who was responsible for overseeing the shelter and filed a complaint. After he talked with the shelter director, he repeated her comment that “it’s nature.” Really?? Unfortunately, the person who dropped the rabbit off to be adopted or HUMANELY euthanized didn’t realize that the director considered giving a pet rabbit to a pet cougar in a confined space natural. The employees were subsequently reprimanded for going over the director’s head. Another employee called the HSUS to report the incident, but would not allow them to cite her, as she was afraid of retaliation. Because of this, the HSUS was unable to follow up on this case. Although it is widely known about by shelter volunteers and animal activists, everyone is afraid to get involved. This is not the only time this director has shown a callous regard for the life of animals in her care. She has a reputation for taking her grudges out on the animals, as well. For example, on a number of occasions she has an euthanized animal who is the favorites of an employee if she is angry with that employee. The problem is that there is no oversight of most city-run shelters, except by others in the same department or by the city staff, who have a vested interest in protecting them.

  17. LOL, as one who works with feral cats I have to wonder why shelter employees would bother to give pedicures to cats/kittens that are going to be euthanized in a couple of days.

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