You might remember this collection of stories of the goings-on at the Lincoln Co shelter in NC. One of those stories was about Lincoln Co Animal Services accepting 10 dogs from AL earlier this month as a “favor” to HSUS: “Thousands of local animals put to death, but county accepts dogs from Alabama”. The dogs were part of a group of 44 retrievers whose owner surrendered them to HSUS after becoming “overwhelmed”. In keeping with standard HSUS “rescue” practices, they farmed the dogs out to various groups. One of those was the Lincoln Co shelter, headed by Jack Kerley:
Kerley said he is hopeful that the dogs will be adopted but admits that they may be gassed to death if they are not adopted, even though the Humane Society of the United States deplores putting pets in the gas chamber.
Kimberley Alboum, state director for the Humane Society, said she was glad Lincoln County graciously stepped up and took the dogs.
I wanted to find out what happened to these 10 dogs, as well as the other 34. So I made a few phone calls and sent out a few e-mails. Failing to get results, I extended my Web of Sleuth. Then things got really challenging. There seemed to be a roadblock at every turn. Here’s a summary of what I found out over the past several days:
The HSUS press release was either removed from or never published on their website, which is very odd to me. This is the text of the original press release:
The Humane Society of the United States Transports Rescued Dogs to Lincolnton Shelter
(Dec. 8, 2010) – The Humane Society of the United States transported 10 dogs rescued from Alabama to Lincoln County Animal Shelter. These dogs, mostly retriever mixes, are among 44 rescued by The HSUS from poor conditions in Marshall County, Ala. The owner surrendered the dogs when she became overwhelmed and could no longer properly care for all of the animals.
“These dogs are already starting to warm up to their new caretakers at the shelter and want nothing more than to be part of loving homes this holiday season,” said Ashley Mauceri, deputy director of cruelty issues for The HSUS. “Please consider visiting the Lincoln County Animal Shelter and giving one of these resilient dogs a second chance at a happy life.”
Please reach out to the Lincoln County Shelter directly to find out how you can adopt one of these dogs.
I e-mailed the HSUS staffer listed as the contact on the media release to ask about the dogs. She replied promptly that HSUS had “transported them to several area shelters” and she would send me a list of those shelters. I never heard back. E-mails to the NC and AL state directors for HSUS went unanswered.
I called the sole ACO for Marshall Co AL to ask about the case. He said he knew nothing about it and suspected the story was either fabricated or didn’t happen in Marshall Co. He suggested I contact a couple of local humane societies in the area. I tried but no luck there either.
The Lincoln Co shelter is in the midst of major upheaval after the local paper ran their expose. Even so, the two people I spoke with there were both very helpful and looked up each individual record for me. Of the 10 retrievers they got from HSUS, 3 were killed shortly after arrival. Their records indicate “sick” but offer no additional details. One of the dogs killed was Murray, whose photo was featured in the Gaston Gazette article. Harry, who was kenneled with Murray, was also killed. This is Harry’s Petfinder listing as posted by Lincoln Co:
The third dog killed was ID #38805. He was a male retriever but for some reason was never listed on Petfinder. Lincoln Co shelter staff also told me that 4 of the dogs, including a bitch in whelp called Mary, went to the Humane Society of Charlotte on 12-17. Mary apparently whelped 10 puppies according to a source. I e-mailed a couple of people at the Humane Society of Charlotte but didn’t receive a response. The last 3 dogs from Lincoln Co were sent to Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C, also on 12-17. Their kill rate is about 65%. I don’t know the status of those 3 dogs.
Beyond that, I have almost no information. If anyone knows what shelters the remaining 34 dogs were taken to and/or what has become of any of the dogs, please share. I realize it’s very close to a major holiday and some people may be away from the computer. If I receive any additional responses to my queries from any of the folks I’ve contacted about this case, I will update this post.
Update, 11am, December 24: I was sent a link to the HSUS NC Facebook page with a note indicating most of the comments discussing the HSUS sending 10 AL dogs to the Lincoln Co shelter have been removed. I did find a few left and they are posted below. (Note: Kim Alboum is the state director for HSUS in NC and Sarah Barnett is a media manager for HSUS.) The original commenter asked:
Hi Kim, I am hoping you can diffuse my anger at the situation with Lincoln County Animal Control and the poor dogs that were taken there from a bad situation in Alabama. Do you know what has happened with the dogs??? I am worried sick about them since this is a gassing shelter that has been embroiled in illegal killing… and wrong doing for many months. I have been thinking to myself and now out loud about the donations that the Humane Society must have received from this act. Any of you that think this was a wonderful move I am positive thing was wrong! I had no idea this was the kind of activity the Humane Society of the US condones. There are many rescues out there that would have been happy to help those dogs. I have given money to the HSUS for years…so sad my support as well as my family members will no longer be with HSUS. Will you at the very least let everyone knows what happened or is happening with those sweet pups? I think it is wrong to dress AC in sheeps clothing.
This info differs significantly from what both people I spoke with at the Lincoln Co shelter said. The entirety of the notes in the records explaining the reason the dogs were killed was “Sick”. One staffer told me they had consulted with a vet on the illness but she didn’t know any details because there was nothing besides the word “Sick” in the notes. The other person I spoke to (on a different day) also looked up the records and confirmed this information. Both pets were listed on Petfinder as “adult”, neither was listed as “senior”. And none of these comments addresses the killing of dog #38805, who was also killed due to being “sick” according to his record.
Update, 2pm, December 25: From an Examiner article on the subject:
Calls to HSUS went unanswered, but a concerned Alabama animal rescuer, Tammy Mooreland, spoke with AL HSUS Rep Mindy Gilbert today:
Gilbert confirmed that she assisted other rescue groups in removing the dogs from a woman in Marshall County, and explained that the reason for no publicity was to “protect the hoarder’s privacy.” Gilbert added, “Due to recent controversy raised about LCAS, we have asked other NC agencies to take some of the dogs.”
Mooreland commented, “I asked if she, or anyone with HSUS, was tracking the dogs’ outcome. She didn’t really respond to that question. However, she did say that she was always happy to answer any questions from Alabama animal advocates, so she can dispel any rumors or misinformation.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If any AL animal advocates receive any additional info on this case from Mindy Gilbert, please share. My own inquiry to Ms. Gilbert remains unanswered. There are still dozens of dogs unaccounted for and interestingly, this post has received more hits from HSUS HQ in Maryland than anyplace else so far. Hopefully while HSUS is reading, they will respond and let us all know the whereabouts of these dogs.