A Post to Answer Those Who Didn’t Read the Previous Post on Lyons

In answer to some of the criticism expressed by those who are praying for my death after (not) reading my post on Lyons, I’d like to offer the following clarifications:

I did not blindly believe every word the shelter staff told me.  I don’t blindly believe every word anyone I talk to for the blog tells me.  If you got the impression that I did, you either did not read or misunderstood the post.  Please go back and read it.

I was not excusing or justifying the killings in any way.  If you got the impression that I was, you either did not read or misunderstood the post.  Please go back and read it.

I don’t get paid for blogging.  I accept no ads and if you ever see ads on this blog (as blog owner, I never see any), it’s because WordPress placed them there in exchange for their free blogging services.  No one has compensated me to say anything about the Lyons shelter.  If you got the impression that I was financially profiting, you were wrong.

Lastly, after reading all the FB postings saying that the Lyons shelter had an unlicensed vet beat 90 dogs and then heartstick them before burying them alive – knowing all the while that rescue was on the way to pull some of them – I was horrified. The killing of adoptable pets is unnecessary and outrageous in and of itself but to have allegations of extreme cruelty such as these is sickening.  I could have chosen to post immediately on the subject and jump on the Blind Hate Bandwagon.  I chose not to because, as I said to one commenter (paraphrasing):

It would have been a no-brainer to put up a frothing-at-the-mouth-post saying, “OMG these people are monsters!  Let’s all grab our pitchforks and torches and run screaming into the night!” I probably would have gotten dozens of comments (from people who didn’t bother to read past the first sentence) saying “Yay”, You are Teh Awesome!”, etc.  But I actively try to avoid no-brainer posts.  There are plenty of fluff pieces out there on pet blogs for those who want them. That’s not what I created this blog for. And I’m not looking for warm, fuzzy comments. Although I certainly do appreciate any sincere support I get.

I wanted to talk to someone at the shelter and put the allegations to them directly for a response.  I wanted to share those responses so readers could decide for themselves how they felt after hearing what the ACO had to say.  Moreover, I wanted to look at the bigger picture – as in, How could this awful event be prevented from happening again?  My point in posting the conversation I had with the shelter ACO was that here we had a kill shelter saying “We’re open to help” while many of the folks who could actually help save pets at that shelter were whipping up wild exaggerations about what went on there. That’s not how pets get saved. I condemn the killing of healthy/treatable pets at shelters, as always. The fact that these dogs were killed is itself heartbreaking and tragic. There is no need to embellish or exaggerate the event.  But maybe, instead of feeding the mob mentality monster, animal advocates could use this as a chance to open a dialogue with the shelter and see if they truly are interested in killing fewer pets. It would be a meaningful and appropriate tribute to those who were killed if advocates could redirect their energy toward working to prevent this from happening again.  And the time to act is now, while there is extensive public awareness of the event.

I would like to mention too that I spoke with Holly from SOAPS yesterday.  She offered to send me some photos and a document related to the Lyons shelter.  If I receive those, I will share them.

97 thoughts on “A Post to Answer Those Who Didn’t Read the Previous Post on Lyons

  1. I felt the post was a very refreshing and honest attempt to dig a little digger. I believe in no kill as a mandate, but sometimes I find your posts to be quick to judge. That’s not quite the term I want, but it’ll have to do.

    The shelter may well be in the wrong here, but hearing their side of the story helps us to understand some of the mindset. You can’t change things unless you understand. I didn’t feel you were trying to excuse anything, just looking more closely to try to find ways to avoid the same situation in the future.

    And sometimes at the end of the day there is no “bad guy” or “good guy”…there’s just people who get as much wrong as they do right on both sides.

    Even if the shelter was being dishonest, the point is they have more eyes on them then ever before. Now is the time to get real change going, because they’ll be most likely to accept it now. So your blog post may well help to save dogs in the future, if this opportunity is used as it should be.

    I do wonder though what the situation is for cats at this shelter. It seems to me that so many no kills blogs focus on the dogs, and the horror seems so much more vivid when they are killed (well kitty being the exception.) I’m going to guess that the kill rate is very high for cats there and has always been high…far more than 90 animals over 6 months. I could be totally off on this, but shelters like this typically have a very high kill rate on cats.

      1. If that’s true and this is the main shelter for that area, where do the cats go? I don’t expect you to have the answer, I’m just curious about that…I was under the impression that county shelters take in both.

      2. Yesterday after the crap hit the fan – I was all over the place on FB trying to read the other side of the story – SOAPS – and other things about the shelter. On YesBiscuit’s FB page there is a comment from “Maria” that says in part “These dogs are clearly neglected and GOD knows what happens to cats!I have been told by people in this town Lyons that they are just turned loose in the woods. I have quite a few friends in the area not even associated with SOAPS who confirm every word of this cruelty.”

        Don’t know if this is the truth but this is what she has been told of how they deal with cats from various sources.

  2. Thank you so much for caring and sharing and taking the effort needed to post about pets in need. We really do need to be open to hearing both sides of a story and so I thank you for trying to do that.

    Actions speaks louder than words and we need to be aware of what a shelter is actually doing not just what they are saying they are doing, or not doing, or what they aiming for.

    It is also important to look for a gather facts, records, photos, and other proof, not just what people say.

    I hope that more people will be motivated to check out just what is going on at their local animal shelter. And not just by taking to anyone there but to actually spend time helping out at the shelter over a time span to get a full image of its operations.

    I hope you keep us updated on this shelter and if their action show improvement.

    I feel that improvement has to start with the shelter leadership and how they run the shelter as to whether people will want to help and work with them. Too many shelters have BAD customer service or relations and they can not keep volunteers. Without community help large gains in improvement cannot happen.

  3. In this day and age, more blogs than not seem to focus on outrage and impact, with facts and context secondary. While nobody is perfect, you’ve consistently made enough effort towards the truth that your following has grown and many both respect and appreciate all of your efforts.

    Especially those of us who in these times have barely enough time for just this short post:-)

    To that, I’ll embellish a point you made here: Many believe you are far more likely to effect change by understanding what is wrong and how it can be better, then by any amount of yelling in outrage. Something which appears lost to many current TV commentators and all of their viewers who seem to hunger more for blame than change.

  4. I think you did the right thing. Anyone who questions your commitment to No Kill doesn’t read your blog. We will never get people on our side if we make wild unverified accusations.

    1. I would like to be on the side of no-kill. I would like to see every animal get a loving home. Our community opened it’s animal facility last year. It does transports, holds adoption events, advertises animals up for adoption, has fundraisers, and has the support of rescues in the area. All that being said, there is a no-kill advocate in our area that talks down this facility. Turns the public against it because they are not a no-kill facility. Instead of reaching out to help, this advocate only criticizes. I know there are shelters like Lyons where atrocities occur. But there are also facilities where everyone is trying to support life with little support and funding.

  5. I did understand your post offering another point of view about the slaughter at Lyons. In fact, I thought it was well done for what it was. The Facebook hysteria and steady game of “whisper down the lane” would have been amusing if it was not for the terrible truth this is all about. I tried to be a voive of reason on that thread. I explained the County Commissioners are the people who oversee that shelter and even put a link up so they could find their State Lawmakers. Very few seemed interested on knowing the right way to take action. Shelly Bright also gave sound advise that was unheeded.
    The terrible truth you wrote about is the very fact the our SHELTER SYSTEM IS BROKEN. It is a flawed concept that does not work , even when compassionate people are involved.
    These “Unadoptables” who were murdered to make room for more “inventory”, would have been much more attractive in a communal living environment at a nice Adoption Center.
    Instead they were sitting in “dead mans row ” cells on concrete slabs in a death chamber. People want to blame the Staff, or the one Dr. and that is really missing the point totally. It is like blaming the woman who accidentally killed Target, the hero dog.
    Every animal who enters a County Shelter gets a death sentence. Only a few are ever saved. Cats and dogs and wildlife all die there. This shelter system, the very one that kills 85% of the animals at Lyons, is at fault and WE allow it to continue. Yes, If we all spoke up, we could make them stop. These are LOCAL laws and LOCAL Representatives who make these laws. They can, and they will change them if it gets them re-elected. Thomas Cole has some terrific Sheltering ideas – Shelter Revolution on Fb & https://sites.google.com/site/drdoolittle2800/home – There are ALTERNATIVES – KILLING IS NOT THE ANSWER.
    ” As Thomas says” Polishing the rotten apple” does not make it any better. The” NO Kill” philosophy has some flaws that need to be addressed. But essentially “NO Kill” is part of the goal – NO healthy animal should die.
    We have to throw this shelter model away and make a new one. We have to start NOW !
    Thank You for your article pointing out how the ACO’s actually thought this was the right thing to do. What else can you do but murder them in this system ????
    Please people need to understand it is IN THEIR power to stop this in only a few election cycles. VOTE FOR the good guys.
    And stop the hysteria – a waste of time and energy. The long distance threats just seem like a waste of time. JUST DO SOMETHING !

    1. The link that you gave us comes up as “Page Not Found”….can you post a new link so that we may see it?

      1. Erica, Willie posted the link below. Here is the active link = http://tinyurl.com/36mnkfw

        What Willie was saying (and probably much more eloquently than I can) is that today’s shelter model is the same model from 1900 – it is as basically flawed and wrong as it was 100 years ago. Little has really changed.

        Dog catchers, “impounds” (shelters), and cages are still the basic answer to this issue of protecting humans from animals. Look at Lyons if you disagree!

        I don’t understand what happens to right-thing people who rescue/foster multiple animals in their homes without fighting and massive disease outbreaks – they are able to make that work, but then this mystical, all-knowing, god-like creature called a shelter director says it isn’t possible and these rescuers turn into bobblehead dolls! Oh, the god of shelter has spoken from atop the high mountain.

        People, nothing is cuter than a bunch of dogs and cats getting along. They sell themselves. We don’t need all this silliness like off-site adoption events. Good grief, put the animals together in a friendly environment and get out of their way! They’ll do the rest.

        We don’t need expensive shelters with overpriced executives. Give me 100 dedicated volunteers and I can run the largest shelter in this country with only a paid (and very professional) vet staff. ACOs? That’s a joke. Give me a bunch of angry female rescuers and a few cops and I’ll stop dogfighting and backyard breeding in any city! It’ll look like the Blues Brothers on a mission from God!

        Rescue and rehoming is simple and straightforward. You rescuers do it every day. It’s the shelter people who make it sophisticated – they have jobs and careers to justify and legitimize.

        Shelter people cannot think “outside the box” because the box is all they know.

        It’s simple: This is supposed to be about saving lives, not saving jobs.

        Thanks, Willie, for your support. And Shirley, I sure sympathize with you. Nice job digging into the background. You actually got interviews to support your story – that’s unheard of. You’re the only blogger I’ll follow regularly because you do a reliable job. It’s what the news used to be like before Keith, Chris, Sarah, Rush and Sean took over.

      2. Beautifully written Thomas – particularly the part about angry women rescuers… LOL.

        Hey! I resemble that remark! ;O)

      3. question Thomas- what do you propose to do with animals that need to be rescued with known aggression to other animals- such as dogs that have a history of killing cats (or other dogs)? Or cats with cat-cat aggression?
        Or how about animals that have known contagious illnesses (like a litter of puppies that have been exposed to Parvo, or a cat carrying Ringworm)?

        “Put the animals together in a friendly environment and then get out of their way” does not seem very responsible to me…

      4. Probably why nobody does it. I wouldn’t even recommend leaving pets at home together unsupervised for some owners, depending on the pets. And home is the ultimate “friendly environment”.

      5. When Thomas says “Put the animals together in a friendly environment and then get out of their way” , he assumes some common sense would be used. Not all animals play well with others. Some would need to go to special Fosters, a key partner in this adoption centers. Animals could be helped with socialization skills and learn to play nicer. Those who can not change will be kept separate from the others and adopted into situations where they are the only pet. There will be behavioral experts involved at the different levels and there would be a lot of human contact on a regular basis with these animals.
        His intent was to pint out that most are social and most will get along with others in a good situation of less stress and anxiety. This will not work for ALL animals, tat is why special Fosters are very important to this model. Puppies, Kittens, the sick and the very old will need to be accommodated. This is very realistic. Think about it….

      6. I have thought about it. I’ve even asked Thomas these questions on other occasions (like on his examiner articles). i’ve never gotten satisfactory answers (and have even had some of my comments/questions deleted in the past)

        I believe that there are many solutions to the same problem and someone who is ‘shouting into a hurricane’ that his way is the ONYL solution to a problem, well, is probably going to have a never ending uphill battle, especially when basic questions and concerns are at best ignored (and at other times, insulted)

      7. Great Anne ! I would welcome your questions. Like yourself, I am seeking a realistic, affordable, answer. I have seen many models, some excellent small working models. I would welcome your legitimate and thoughtful questions. I may have some as well. Together we will get your answers. SO far, he has answered my questions openly and to the point. His web site answers a LOT of questions, you just have to read around. I have not found him evasive or defensive. I welcomed his open approach. It’s possible there has been some misunderstanding. My email is: williesaves@gmail.com – Feel free to send me an email with your questions. Also , please let me know … Are you in the “shelter” industry ? Do you work with animals? Are you in a position to help us with a working model if ALL of your questions are answered to your satisfaction?
        Thanks !!

  6. We decided NOT to rescue and NOT to blame the Shelter staff or administration. Instead we decided to be true Animal Advocates. Two fronts. Spay/Neuter so fewer pets enter the Shelter system. Promotion of the Shelter pets for adoption/rescue on many fronts.

    We go in twice a week and take photos. We post on our Facebook page and on Adopt-a-Pet. The local newspaper does a photo ad. The Shelter already posts on Petfinder, but they don’t do all of the pets, not every day and their photos are usually terrible! Maybe they will let us do that someday.

    What we have seen is an increase in adoptions and there are more rescue groups coming to the Shelter. We have even formed a partnership with a Maine rescue/adoption group (we are in NC) to send dogs to them after we do short term fostering. They are actually sponsoring them (expenses), so all we have to do is care and love them during their quarantine. We even have them spay/neutered before shipping. We hope this will be the first of many partnerships.

    I’m not posting this to brag, just saying this is what we are doing. We have a long ways to go! We have just started. You have to lead with your head, not your heart. Passion is good if it is directed to productive action, not protests and loud noise. To be effective, you must work together with the Shelter.

    Thank you for such an informative and thought provoking blog. I really enjoy reading them. You will always have people who love to jump on anything you write, because they aren’t taking the time to think. They have tunnel vision. Keep up the good work!

    1. Since no one has bothered to comment on this, let me say Carol – what a great job, and you SHOULD brag!!

      The more you brag, the more people will learn from you, and hopefully the more people you will inspire.

      In areas that are truly under water, you’re right – rescue is simply not enough. Took me a long time in rescue to learn that the brain had to come before the heart if you really wanted to enact change on a large scale, and it was people like YOU who led me there.

      By bragging. ;O)

      1. Carol, Thank you for doing rescue the right way, with vetting and quarantine. Too many animals are pulled and shipped out without proper care and they are spreading disease. Too many “amateurs” are not following the health regs and giving rescues a bad name. We appreciate your intelligent contribution and love that you are saving these lives.

  7. What happened at that shelter (and is continuing all over the planet) is terrible … Unforgivable even, but let’s make no mistake who or what the true monster is … The ignorant apathetic public. Every time a pet is born and adopted with out due consideration and proper medical treatment ie: vaccinations and spay/neuter the monster grows. It flourishes because we allow it to. Why can’t there be enforced laws that every pet born must be registered? That only licensed breeders may keep unaltered pets. If they can enforce how many children a person can have in China why oh why can we not control the amount of domestic animals born? Laws start with people … People that care enough to effect change.
    There are so many people out there who genuinely care about these unloved unwanted pets why not instead of putting a band aid on the problem then crying about how many we can’t save why not instead get to the real root of the problem and fight harder for legislation to change this situation. Do not leave it to the few brave people that try to fight for our pets rights get off your butts, out of your ivory towers and make change. Be their voice.

    1. While I somewhat agree with what you are saying…many places already have laws in place where you have to license a dog and if that dog is unaltered the cost of the license is more. You talk about more laws needed – and in some cases maybe that would help…but everytime I see a law passed it does nothing more than infringe upon the rights of those who do thing by the book. There are always going to be people who don’t follow the law and there always will be. Continual passage of laws does nothing more than limit people’s right so that needs to be addressed as well, because those who operate under the law aren’t going to change just because a new law is passed.

      What is needed is a federal committee that oversees ALL shelters & rescues (and possibly even breeders). A group of vets, and dog breeders, shelter managers/directors, rescue groups, etc. that can put policies and procedures in place across the board so that each shelter operates the same way. Similar holding periods, definition of what constitutes a healthy treatable dog and what would be the reasons for putting any animal down. Something that puts no brainer hours in place (to increase possibility of adoption), vets on staff, utilizes volunteers, and rescues to help place animals, as well as the internet. That would make more sense rather than just continuing to have each shelter decide for themselves what they are going to do – and in many cases has no one to answer to. If that was put in place we would see less and less situations like this – because they would be held accountable to an oversight group….and I’m not talking about just the shelters own board of directors – but a bigger group that has smaller branches in each state. That way we can have people just pop in any time to check the books and animals. It would also help because it would create breakdowns of incoming (owner surrender vs stray pick ups), and those who are killed (human aggression vs needing space vs time limit) – if we had consistency across the board we would indeed begin to see changes taking place rather than having to fight each and every shelter that is like Lyons, one at a time.

    2. Good Lord, Good Lord! I share your frustration at irresponsible breeders, pounds, shelter, or rescues who are only out for a buck or who make too-optimistic placements and don’t help and support the new owner. But why would we in the land of the free, want to create the same Totalitarian Hell for dog and cat owners that exists for human parents in China?

    3. First of all, we DO NOT want to become “China”. Really? We’re going to use the “one-child” policy and it’s enforcement by a communist government, as a “suggestion”? Wow…

      Most communities already have JUST “basic” registration requirements (for rabies…) and a roughly WHOPPING 10% of pet owners currently “register” their dogs with the city. Less in poor communities. And THAT pitiful percentage is dropping due to the punitive and far more restrictive nature of new laws being passed. How much do you think it should cost breeders to be licensed, and what should the requirements be to become a licensed breeder? The problem is not one of laws…it is one of enforcement…and there simply are not enough dollars to spend to enforce every American family is conforming to all the law in regard to animals. Hell, we’re getting ready to significantly cut Fire, Police and Teachers jobs. States are looking at bankruptcy. If we can’t afford Fire Fighters, Police, and good god, TEACHERS…who realistically thinks that animals and the laws applying to them, are going to be enforced when we CAN’T cover crimes or emergencies against people? BY who!? And what budget is going to fund them? These funds will be taxpayer generated…and there’s just not enough of our dollars to go around any more.

      We have tons of laws on the books for what is required, both from a public responsibility point of view, and a “minimum level of care” for our animals. And yet, we still struggle with shelter populations and cruelty and abuse. We have laws against murder and rape…and yet in many cases, in many cities, they are at record levels. So more laws, are not going to “solve” the problem. Our prisons are overflowing, and it seems to be the only “growth” industry at the moment. Most of the criminals in prison currently, are non-violent, or petty offenders. And we continue to wish to create and pass laws, that turn currently law-abiding citizens, INTO criminals. I don’t believe anyone is suggesting a “police” state, either. Shall we have “door-to-door” enforcement of all limit laws, registration laws, etc? And what do we do with those that are out of compliance? Simply ask they comply? Or fine them into oblivion? (Which is what most NEW legislation does…and usually requires placement or surrender of the pet as well…yeah…that’s solving the impound problem…) What if there are one or two pets over the limit? Do we then seize them? Even if they are well cared for and vaccinated, but not registered? What if it’s more than that, but the level of care is sufficient?

      Poor shelters, or those operating with poor policies, need to be addressed. BY THEIR COMMUNITIES! But I don’t buy into the apathetic public excuse. The public is not to blame. In most cases, the public either doesn’t understand there IS a problem, or is actively kept at arms length from helping. Many shelters have policies designed to “control” what few volunteers can qualify. Because again, the public at large, is generally not “qualified” enough to help in their opinion. Stop the intrusive background checking, especially for volunteers that work ON site and can be supervised, especially if they are doing things like cleaning, laundry, paperwork operations, and don’t have direct interaction with the animals. Non-disclosure agreements are insane…and NO shelter should require them. Volunteers in ALL areas should be considered…groomers, socializers, trainers, in-home fosters for injured or whelping animals, exercisers, off site advice phone trees…whatever talent a citizen or groups of citizens can bring should be explored, and as long as the person is dependable…and shows up when they say they will…or agrees to a shelter schedule if one exists for that position, they should be WELCOMED with open arms. People will help, they want to help, and they bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience…but shelters must LET them. And most are so concerned about their internal policies and practices, that they don’t wish the public to see them. They are NOT transparent, and are afraid to become such. And why do you suppose that is? That is not the public’s fault.

      Even by HSUS figures (from the APPMA) we know that the overwhelming percentage of the American public, IS responsible. 75% of all dog-owners spay or neuter their pet….and a full 93% of cat owners do the same. You can only spay and neuter so many animals, without affecting the ability to have healthy gene pools from which to continue breeding. And, what ABOUT breeding? Shall we only ALLOW pure breeds to breed? Nor more mutts? Or ONLY mutts? Leave the breeding decisions to the populations of “approved” breeding animals? Let them pick their own partner? No more carefully considered cross-breedings for performance or utility? Will only certain breeds, be allowed to reproduce? Less than 2 cats or dogs, per hundred, are euthanized (I’m using this word to be nice for now) in our shelters currently. LESS than 2%. Forty years ago…it was around 23% with far less pet population overall. I know of many communities that have large populations of dedicated citizens supporting their shelters and I know a lot of shelters which desire NO outside interference, or “judgment” of internal “policy”.

      If you want to be a “voice”…then find out what your shelter’s policies are…and how welcoming and open they are to the citizen volunteers in the community…and then make it a rewarding experience for the community to help. And for God’s sake, let the community know that the shelter needs help! What policies exist within the community to ask for volunteers on a broad scope? Do not assume volunteers are guilty until proven innocent (most poorly operating shelters do…) and that they do not possess the skill or intelligence or compassion, to care for animals. Do not set the bar so high, that volunteers, regardless of skill, cannot qualify. If a shelter does, then they should not question why the public does not choose to “help”.

      The problem, conceptually, is quite easy to fix. And most of the heavy-lifting can be done by volunteers and volunteer organizations. But they must be motivated to devote themselves TO volunteering. They must WANT to help. They must feel appreciated, and important, and valuable. And most shelters, or at least far too many…do not foster that environment nor foster that feeling of accomplishment and value, amongst their volunteers. In many cases, the EXACT opposite message is sent. “You do it “our” way…or you’ll be booted, and the “animals will pay”…” is the message sent FAR too many times.

    4. Simple – because we are not a communist country, and just like I have the right to decide what is in my best interests and the interests of my family, I also have the RIGHT to decide what is in the best interests of the animals in my care.

      Which is why all of my dogs are intact and are only vaccinated once, at 16 weeks of age. It’s a pain in the ass for me to deal with (they’re all female), but it’s healthier for them, long term. They will be spayed at an age that I deem appropriate, along with my veterinarian. They will never be bred, they will never contribute to the population.

      In the meantime, best of luck convincing others that your point of view is the correct one, while you continue to refer to them as ignorant and apathetic.

      YOU, my dear, are a part of the problem, NOT a part of the solution.

      Mandatory spay and neuter has ONLY been shown to INCREASE killing, and limiting breeding to “licensed breeders” would ensure a bottleneck effect in the gene pool that would be detrimental – did I mention that current “licensed breeders” are also known as “puppy mills”?

      Thanks, but if I really had my heart set on a particular puppy my choice would be to purchase from the working stock of someone I know, whose puppies had grown up in their bedroom – not in shopping carts covered in chicken wire.

      Honestly… why can’t we be more like China? Did I really just read that? Would you like to be a dog in China? Maybe you’d end up a turnspit dog, or a cart dog, a lap dog if you were lucky, or a menu item if you weren’t.

      Give your head a shake.

      I’m sorry, normally I try to be as civil as possible, but you’ve got your wires so crossed… you need to do some serious research before pretending to know what you’re talking about.

      Verjean, all I can say is… hear, hear – and ditto. You pretty much summed it up – in a much kinder and more eloquent way.

      I’m in a lot of pain today and apparently my breaking point was that post, right there.

      1. I want to absolutely second everything Kim says. Demonizing the public is not only stupid, it’s not even correct. But it is easy.

        I made the choice to get a purebred rough collie from a responsible breeder and I make no apologies for that. It was the correct choice for our family.

        I say this with five years of rescue and shelter volunteer experience.

        Please consider also checking out The Pet Connection blog so that you can start to get accurate information about homeless pets in this country.

        And, if I was you, I wouldn’t bring China into it at all. Trust me on this.

    5. Mandatory spay neuter laws mean more death. People who can’t afford to pay for it have their pets taken and murdered. That is wrong!
      No more laws! (Let’s try working on enforcing the ones that are already on the books…please.) And get rid of the MANDATORY S/N laws wherever they exists.
      Let’s try free or cheap spay/neuter and HELP those who can’t afford to have it done!

  8. I just wanted to say that your post yesterday created a lot of differing opinions – and yes it did appear that many did not read it. On the flip side – there were those that read it and were ticked because they felt that your efforts created more harm than good – because they feel that the backlash will be that the shelter stops working with SOAPS and doesn’t allow any other rescue to remove animals. Their fear is that these guys at Lyons will kill animals just to cause emotional distress to the rescuers.

    While many of us have seen just that happen to “whistle blowers” I have to say that with the attention that is being stirred up around them that these guys who run the place will have to realize that they have all these eyes across the US on them and what they are & are NOT doing. I absolutely hate the thought of them doing more killing just to get under people’s skin…but if they do then it needs to be documented each and every time it happens and then there needs to be a GROUP of people willing to go before those who oversee the shelter with ALL their facts and problems and demand change. IF that doesn’t work you need to take it to the next level up and keep going until you find someone who WILL listen and ACT upon the information that is available.

    I know that this doesn’t help the 90 dogs that they already killed…and yes, unfortunately if these guys are as heartless as they have sounded at times – this could potentially lead to more needless deaths. BUT ultimately if someone is keeping track of what is going on – and you can show this proof: keep e-mails back and forth, keep track of phone conversations (record them if you have to), keep records of each trip you take to pull animals and record the condition of each dog you pull and those around them that you can see, if you have to hide a camera (you can buy them almost anywhere fairly reasonably priced – and they are small enough you can hide them in a bag – or just turn on your cell phone camera and carry it around with you). The more you have against them…the more REAL proof that is shown – they can’t hide from it. They can’t explain away what they did/or didn’t do…if you have hard evidence to the contrary. And, yes, I understand that in many situations like this that it could potentially get worse before it gets better. We will all mourn the loss of the animals that are the targets of this situation at the shelter, but let’s not let their deaths be in vain!

    This is a chance to open more people’s eyes and a chance to see the shelter reformed. Isn’t that ultimately the end result that we are looking for? To stop the killing of all healthy/treatable animals? If the shelter stops allowing SOAPS to keep pulling animals as a result of Shirley calling them to get their side of the discussion (which may or may not be BS) – that another thing that can be documented and used against them as well.

    Just remember things have to be exposed to everyone to see before we can begin to see true change. It is going to take a group of supporters to demand change – and instead of seeing people blast Shirley – maybe you should be thanking her for taking the time to dig through everything and tell us what she heard and knows. Although I know it is hard to have to play the waiting game – and while it may feel like it pushes things backwards instead of forward (initially) with enough evidence going through the correct channels we can see a change. It’s happened before.

    Shirley – I just wanted to thank you for being willing to put yourself out there to show the negative and positive of our shelter system. I know that it has to be hard, because we all love our pets and nobody really wants to think of any dog (or cat) killed senselessly. The first step in change most times begins with someone blogging about the issues. The more awareness you raise the better off these animals will be in the long run. Nobody said that doing the work was going to be fun or easy – heck I cry everytime I hear of an animal being killed for any reason other than them being untreatable and in pain that we are unable to make go away…same with our own pets. I know that not one person can do this alone and the YesBiscuit blog reaches so many people from so many different walks of life.

    I hope that this effort pulls more people together instead of isolating certain people (groups) that could be helping. IF I were involved in SOAPS I would take this chance to pull together a group of rescues so that each time you go into that shelter you can pull as many dogs as possible and move them around to places where they have a chance at life. Especially if SOAPS is the ONLY rescue they allow to pull dogs – then maybe SOAPS can work on being a central place where other rescues can utilize them as the go to person to have dogs pulled. If the shelter isn’t using PetFinder – maybe that could be another option…find someone who can do it for them. I know that they may reject the idea – but if we have someone willing to do that much as a volunteer than how can they not say no. It won’t cost them a dime and IF they ACOs really care about saving animals then they should be open to doing it.

    NOW is the time to ACT. Now that they know that there are more poeple than just those at SOAPS watching them, maybe, just maybe they’ll be more open to allowing alternatives to killing, especially if it doesn’t come back to just another thing for them to do. Taking things off their plate of responsibilities may just be what is needed. Especially as sometimes we have rural shelters where they get overwhelmed and don’t think there is an alternative to killing. Plus – maybe this is the chance that the shelter will open up to accepting help from more rescues.

    We definitely need to keep our eyes and ears open to what is going on AND take this opportunity to demand change (nicely and as a form of helping instead of finger pointing). Are we likely to change their way of thinking in regards to animals? Maybe. Then again in some of these situations just the opposite happens. Just remember that regardless of the outcome – there are avenues that you can use to see that change takes place.

    Please, if anyone has more information to help…then share it. People need to know what they need to do in order to help…and if you don’t tell us then we have no idea where to start, especially SOAPS, who appear to be the only group they are willing to work with). Let us know what you have been doing and what you need from us to help you succeed. Instead of pointing at Shirley as the devil for bringing this situation to light…maybe you can take this chance to actually thank her for raising awareness of the wrongs taking place here. If it isn’t brought to light there are always going to be people that don’t know what is going on – especially when you are states away. Instead of looking at her as being in the wrong…use the awareness of this shelter to light for people across the world to see. She did nothing more than let people know what is going on…and if, by chance it does cause a backlash that results in SOAPS being barred from pulling animals – use that too when you go through the proper channels to get this shelter reformed.

    1. And the “if you don’t tow the line, the animals will pay” philosophy…should be taken to the public. If enough citizens/volunteers STAND UP, and simply force the shelter and whoever makes decisions for that shelter, TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THOSE DECISIONS, things will change. I suggest a nice protest with at least a couple of hundred people to start the ball rolling. As long as you are a frightened mouse in the corner, nothing will change. And yes, unfortunately, some animals may pay with their lives while you stand up…but with the status quo…only a few are being saved through SOAPS now, and far too many are still paying with their lives…and if it doesn’t change…will continue to pay with their lives far into the future. At some point, a community must say, “ENOUGH IS DAMN ENOUGH”… It will NEVER get better otherwise. The problem is, if most shelters allowed the general public to volunteer, the public would learn far too many dirty secrets which would become public…and the public at large would be outraged and not allow them. It’s really a pretty simple concept. The public would NOT stand for what takes place in our shelters, if they were a part of volunteering AT said shelter.

  9. I read the original blog post, I understood it. I thought it was a tough, but thoughtful and FAIR, look at a difficult issue, and what both sides must deal with. The other fact that readers must keep in mind…is that many times these policies are NOT the shelter’s. This is true in most cases where the shelters are supported by tax dollars, i.e. municipally run shelters. These decisions are made by your city council members, department managers under which the shelters fall (usually Code Compliance) or groups appointed by Council to oversee the shelters. So, I know of shelters that wish to change policy, but cannot. I’m lucky enough to live in a community that has a No-Kill municipal shelter. But since I live in a large metroplex-type area…there are plenty of metro/muni shelters in the area which are as far from No-Kill as one can get…some by choice or apathy, and some because they are NOT allowed by politics or department policy.

    The problem of shelter killing is a complex and complicated tangle of politics, philosophies, and realities. They will only be solved by working together, and attempting to understand the underpinnings of tragic situations, when they occur. Again, civility in our interactions is mandatory…and perhaps trying to understand what “caused” the problem…and not simply that the problem occurred.


    1. This is a point I’ve been trying to make regarding the shelter not being open.

      In order for the shelter to be open for regular hours (let’s say we shoot for just a few hours on saturday and sunday at first), the county itself likely has to approve this. Then they have to approve the funding.

      It’s easy to say “Oh, we’ll staff it with volunteers” but for insurance purposes alone realistically this is not possible – an actual employee would need to be there.

      Then you need to somehow guarantee a certain number of free labourers EVERY weekend for let’s say a six month trial period. That’s not as easy as it sounds either – all of these people have to be properly trained, and overseen, by the staff member on premises.

      Everyone keeps bemoaning the small town politics – but in reality it’s much easier to make change in a small town than it is in a large city. Your representatives are less likely to have stalling tactics like consultants, etc.

      How about staging a sit in at a major intersection during rush hour? Each person holds one giant photo of a dog who has been killed with the caption “Healthy, Adoptable, Dead” and on each corner of the intersection a sign that reads “90 dogs murdered and buried” or whatever number you have.

      Surely the local media will come down and do an interview, and SOAPS can address it’s concerns with the way the shelter is being run – mainly, the fact that there are NO HOURS. No dirty stories, no digs, no punches, just the facts. That SOAPS has been the only way out for these dogs for a long time and they’ve proven their commitment to the county of Toombs – now it’s time for the county to pitch in. Hand out flyers, put up signs in parks and along walking routes, put them on windshields in parking lots if you have to.

      Keep it clean and simple – as soon as people start to hear folks screaming about undead dogs and frozen puppies, they change the channel, they tune out – the average public just would rather not look. I know that’s not the way it should be, but that’s the way IT IS.

      Instead, focus on the fact that county hasn’t lifted a finger to move any of these dogs anywhere but “out back” and it’s time that it does. Give them pictures of those happy smiling faces we’ve all seen, those totally adoptable dogs that did NOT need to die, and ask them to help ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

      You may be surprised by the response.

      1. THAT’S the idea. You must bring awareness to the community. You must connect that to what their tax dollars are paying for…and in this case, it’s to kill animals. We find that protest is a valuable tool. And I like the idea of small groups in various corner locations. Brilliant idea.

  10. The link I was trying to leave, was Thomas Cole’s shelter Revolution:

    Thank You to those of you who are aware and trying to make these changes. In Pender County NC. next week, there are another 80 dogs who may face the same fate. We know it now , we have 8 days. This is happening around the country. Good hearted ACO’s saving dogs but having no way to showcase them .
    Then what ……. !
    Thanks. Please read Thomas Cole’s thoughts – Nobody is listening and he has screaming into a hurricane.

      1. You will see that Thomas is not saying just throw then all together and it will all be fine. Obviously, every animal must be de-wormed and given HW preventative. They would have to be inoculated before they were able to be a part of the group. Behavior issues must be addressed. The animals who do not play well with others must be given to fosters who have the ability and facilities to separate them. This model requires real Common Sense. Behaviorists can work with those who need help and some,of course, will not be able to mingle with the general population. BUT, why punish ALL of them for the few that are antisocial. Of course they have to be monitored and they need to interact with humans all the time. Socialization doesn’t happen by itself. Feeding time would require the animals to be separated, but that is not a problem. Use your imagination. This would cost LESS than our current system of slaughter does now. Sick animals would need isolated and treated until they can join the general population safely. Stop trying to fit it into the current mold of shelters we have. This is a circle, not square. Look at PAWS in Chicago. They have a wonderful communal set up that is working very well. They just have not left the old model totally. It needs to be throw away. It doesn’t work.
        We can “Market” these animals is a much better way, present them as the attractive and loving companions they are.
        Think about it……

  11. I think your original post was perfectly clear re: your position, and anyone who read two sentences and then went to light their torches and grab their pitchforks are probably like that all the time over everything. Let’s all pull together and offer Lyon and any others the help that we can. All too often, these shelter don’t want to work with rescue because some rescuers see them as the ‘devil’. In most cases (not all, certainly) they only have a job to do, and don’t want to have to kill animals, but their resources are limited if not their imaginations on how to reach out to others. I even worked with one shelter in the past that did not know (and this is the truth!) that they COULD work with rescue, or that rescues were available to help! Give them the benefit of the doubt, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get to work. WillieWonka: can you give us all a link to Pender County?

  12. The Story on Pender is here : http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20110121/ARTICLES/110129929/1155?p=1&tc=ar

    There are not photo’s of the all the dogs yet. Here is the newspapers pics: http://www.starnewsonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=WM&Dato=20110121&Kategori=NEWS&Lopenr=121009999&Ref=PH&pl=1

    Their web site on Petfinder . I’ll add it .
    Do not send donations directly to the shelter. That does NOT work. The funds get to the animals. Email me or Cape Fear St. Bernard Rescue , (williesaves@gmail.com) and I will be happy to suggest local rescues and good Vets working there that you can help specifically. Thanks for listening. I have been shouting into a hurricane all week.

  13. Your intentions and post were clear. Thank you for your effort to seek non-violent communication on behalf of the animals.
    Just posted the Pender County, NC situation on fb.

  14. I totally agree with you. I asked for certain information in order to write to various media outlets regarding the Lyons Shelter situation, but was not supplied the info. I found this very suspicious, IF the situation is exactly as it is being portrayed then it would seem the wisest thing to do is get media involved, as was done with Cadiz. However all I saw were a few messages saying NOT to contact anyone. This shelter is supposedly out of the way and the public doesn’t know it is there (according to the story) I asked for the address but not given it. I am right with you Yes, your comments were clear, precise, and right on the mark! Good work!

  15. Oh, and by the way, I just went to the thread and found all my posts asking for information and giving ideas about contacting media are gone. Something is not right about this. I noticed they set a chip in up to build kennels etc. which apparently has $3200 in it already. Very fishy.

    1. Is this the chip-in you are talking about? It is dated January 16 and states in part:

      There is serious threat that they will pts all the dogs in the shelter this Tuesday or Thursday and then at least every week they will destroy them they are so over full there are no adoptions happening in this little rural area so i am begging you to help me save them..

      In fact the dogs were all killed that Thursday so it sounds as if someone (or more?) at least knew that was a possibility. Could the $3200 have been used to pull all the dogs from the shelter and board them somewhere temporarily until fosters/rescues/transports could be arranged? I hope someone with first-hand knowledge will chime in as it’s very confusing trying to sort through all the online info.

      1. Assuming private boarding isn’t all that much cheaper in the States than here in the UK, $3,200 wouldn’t have bought them all that much time (and would go almost no-where towards enabling the rescue to set up kennels of their own). Our boarding bill runs at £2,000 a month, so unless they could get all the dogs into foster homes within a matter of weeks, the rescue would have ended up with 90 dogs they couldn’t pay for.

        It’s incredibly sad, but I think it’s only the killing of the 90 that’s created enough attention to make it possible that future animals entering the shelter can be saved.

      2. The number of dogs is another point I’m unclear on. I was told by the ACO it was 80-85 dogs but Holly from SOAPS – who gave me permission to quote her – said she was at the shelter Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 and estimates there were only 35-40 dogs on site. I specifically asked her if she had looked everywhere in the shelter and she said indeed she was looking FOR a particular dog that she could not find and so she had absolutely looked everywhere. Holly said the shelter couldn’t physically hold 90 dogs. She wondered where the rest of the dogs came from if the ACO’s estimate was accurate. Again, a point adding to this weekend’s confusion.

        At any rate, I guess what I’m wondering is if the $3200 could have been used to save any of the dogs – however many the total number was.

      3. Laura – agree, it’s hinky…

        Rosemary – I can’t speak for the boarding rates in GA, but I agree with you that $3,200 couldn’t have held 90 dogs for long in a private facility. However, we are talking about $3,200 that could have been used to easily vet and transport at least half the dogs there to a NE shelter, no?

        Here’s an interesting question – did anyone call the HSUS and ask for help? Not that they would be my first call, but if it came to the point they were threatening to clean house, I have to admit, I’d make the call. Chance to stay alive beats dead for sure any day. Particularly when it appears that they had the funds to transport the animals if HSUS could arrange places for them to go.

      4. Possible explanation for the discrepancy in number of dogs killed is that additional dogs came from Toombs Co. (as opposed to the City of Lyons). In the brief article I posted from http://www.southeastgatoday.com, supervisor
        Darel Corley says the county had called him about dogs they didn’t have a place for:

        –begin quote–

        “I didn’t have anywhere to put any dogs and Toombs County was calling that they didn’t have anywhere to put dogs. The only thing I could do was clear the pound out and start over because I was so overrun with dogs. I tried to work this thing out and probably got myself in trouble by prolonging it so long. What I’m going to do from now on is at the end of every month, whatever dog they can place, they can place, and we’ll go ahead and euthanize whatever’s left and we’ll go ahead and move to the next month,” Corley said.

        –end quote–

      5. I think some of the money could have been used for temp boarding. The rescue I work with gets rates from $5-10 per dog per day, so it’s not cheap unless you have a place for the dogs to go after a week or so. We use it for quarantine prior to transport so max time in boarding would be about 2 wks.

        What I really think is the situation never should have come to that. I saw dogs in the photos on FB who could have been placed with breed rescues (labs and at least one GSD) along with lots of medium-sized mixed breeds who looked very adoptable. All of them could have and should have gone to rescue during the 6 mos. that led up to this disaster. Then if there were a few left over, they could have gone to fosters or boarding. Six months is a long long time in the rescue world. Most dogs have to be pulled from kill shelters in a matter of days–and the rescues still get them out.

      6. It still seems to me that it’s unfair to both the shelter and the rescue to say the dogs could definitely have been placed if they’d only asked.

        If we were asked to take a dog of a large breed that we knew would be likely to occupy a place for several months I’m afraid we’d very likely say no, because we’re very pressed ourselves. If we were told the dog would be killed tomorrow if we didn’t take him, we might bite the bullet and do it.

        We couldn’t do that repeatedly because we’d go under ourselves.

        And it’s very scary writing cheques in hope that you’ll have raised enough money to honour them when they reach the bank.

      7. HSUS will not be much help. They “might” be able to find other facilities that are willing to take the animals…but that/those shelters may not be any better than the one they currently sit in. HSUS does not “rescue” nor support dogs/cats in shelters. They sometimes help with transport, and they might be helpful in finding other locations/shelters to transfer to…but that’s the best you can hope for.

      8. Rosemary,

        I think the situation may be a bit different in the U.S. Rescues pull hundreds of dogs from Atlanta area shelters every week. We send dogs to a number of out-of-state rescues every month–enough that the shelter we work with has not killed a healthy adoptable dog during the past year. Other rescues pull from there, too, but the point is well-networked rescues can move fairly large numbers of dogs in a short period of time.

        To place 90 dogs over a period of six months is not so difficult. It’s harder to place pits and pit mixes and also American Bulldogs, but by no means impossible.

  16. Thanks for sharing . It is on my wall as well. Pender has made the news ,now that another week has past. In spite of a health director who said they will have “business as usual” last week. He said 20 dogs would be affected. Mr. Wayne Raynor was dead wrong, but would not correct it this week. I asked him several times. Finally the newspaper did the story anyway thanks to some persistent rescues.


    Some photo’s from the newspaper:

    Please do not donate $ directly to the shelter. It does not go to the animals.
    I will be happy to provide names of rescues and Vets in the area who will use it for the animals. (williesaves@gmail.com) Thanks.
    The whole point here is to help people understand that this problem happens all the time. So called “Unadoptable” dogs are not bad, or mean, or aggressive. It means that the shelters can not show them in a way that would highlight their best qualities – show off their playfulness, companionship and ease of training. This can be done, using a different model of sheltering. These animals need to be “Marketed” differently. This is the wrong way to do it. Lets stop this now.

    1. This is also a great reminder when talking about monetary donations to shelters. IF they are not private shelters, meaning supported by tax dollars as municipal shelters are…then they are supported by a budget, and any monies coming into them from adoptions/placements/donations, etc…do NOT go to the shelter…they usually go to the general operating fund of the city. Donate your time, donate goods, i.e. food, blankets, toys, equipment, etc…unless your shelter specifically is allowed to accept financial donations for the care of the animals. Private shelters can…public shelters usually can’t. FYI.

  17. HSUS has been asked to help at Pender County. They were at the shelter last week. So far, noting concrete has happened.

    1. Well, it’s at least good to hear they’re leaving no stone unturned – those working on the Pender situation, I mean. While my imagination pictures Wayne Pacelle living under a rock, I don’t picture him turning many over.

      Although I suppose I shouldn’t be so decisive just yet – nothing is final until it’s final.

    2. I fear that getting HSUS involved is still only result in the death of healthy/treatable animals. I keep going back to the Alabama 44 and how many of the dogs were dumped at a gas facility and some were killed…and then we still have some dogs that we are unsure of where they are…HSUS has done a good job at hiding this from public eyes – but nothing good as far as actually saving the animals. Whenever I hear of HSUS being involved in ANYTHING concerning cats & dogs I actually fear for their lives more than if they are just left at the ‘shelter’ where they are in the first place. I just hope there is trnasparency while the HSUS tackles this situation at Pender.

      1. Good! That way you can keep them in check! Thanks for your hard work! And please keep us updated on what happens.

  18. Oh, that’s just SWELL….the depositors of the Alabama 44. That will surely be an improvement (she said with heavy sarcasm). Kim: surely you can’t mean it? HSUS would just farm them out as they did the AL44, and what would that mean for them? 24 hours? A few days? Depending upon where HSUS dumped them, they could have been just as dead. sigh.

    1. I agree with you Morgana, I really do. I mean, the last part at least. But “could have been” and “are dead” are very different things. At least these dogs would be going somewhere they would be *seen* by the public (one can hope?).

      The majority of the notorious Alabama 44 are alive. ALL of the Lyons dogs are dead.

      You’re saying if you had to make the choice, you wouldn’t pick up the phone and make that call?

      Can’t trust BFAS any farther than I can throw them either (as far as I’m concerned, personally, your opinion may vary) but I would have handed every one of them over – even knowing there’s a chance one of them might get his leg through his kennel wall while he’s there and say, have it chewed off by the guy next door.

      Three legs and alive beats four legs and dead every time. None of the alternatives were ideal, listen to what we’re discussing! Leaving them there, with hours on weekends – expanding Lyons kennel area so they can hold MORE dogs – boarding the dogs in a facility long term – shipping them off to other high kill shelters in NC… none of these are great alternatives… unless your alternative is DEAD.

      Then suddenly Pacelle’s crap smells like roses and a high kill shelter in NC seems like the Ritz.

      At least, if you’re the next dog on the table.

      1. All I was saying is that HSUS doesn’t give a hoot, they apparently don’t track, and with them involved, what is going to happen? Will the dogs be parced out to other high-kill shelters? Yes, I agree with all you said about dead vs. alive…abosultely. Give them a chance. My Sanctuary is devoted to the old and the special needs (medical, behavioural) and we deal with the ones that fall through the cracks of “adoptable”, which also includes the dogs that simply don’t “show well”. I am one of those who believe that almost no dog is irredeemable, given time, and I’ve got the scars to show it. But a place like ours doesn’t get funded very well, and gets full quickly, esp. if we pull from shelters. Not sure where I’m going with this…must need more tea.

        Anyway, I guess its all to say that there are alot of people who will pull, foster, transport, but when the SHTF, there are only a few who will burden themselves with the actual animals, and I think that tends to give us a somewhat different take on things. I think I am blathering here…check back with me later, lol.

      2. “All I was saying is that HSUS doesn’t give a hoot, they apparently don’t track, and with them involved, what is going to happen?”

        Morgana, I agree with you there 100% – but this is a different case, where there were actual rescues involved in the original pull. The HSUS would have been “involved” but any actions would have been overseen, no doubt, by the volunteers on the ground – unlike the AL44 who were easy and convenient to make disappear when the original source was unidentified.

        I know I’m arguing a poor option… but an option it was…

        We also specialize in those dogs that no one else will take (maybe one day we’ll compare scars… hehe) and perhaps that’s what drives me to grasp for ANY possibility.

        We’ve transferred animals from one animal control into shelters we knew did poor jobs of maintaining their animals – but it bought us time to arrange foster homes, funding, and transport for the vast majority of them, while putting them at least on display in the meantime, where previously they were in a situation where no public was allowed.

        An ideal situation? Hell no. And I mourn every one we lose along the way, but I know that we’d lose them ALL if we didn’t take these risks sometimes.

      3. I don’t know how anyone can guarantee that the HSUS can be involved while actually being overseen by rescues – that doesn’t sound like the HSUS I know. They don’t work very well with others in charge. They demand to be “in charge” and think they know more about the animals then people who actually work with said animals. Their superiority complex does not help the animals. I pray that in this case they do leave the main “control” with the rescuers, but won’t hold my breath because traditionally that has not been the case. Otherwise when it came ot the Alabama 44 the local ACO would’ve been notified and given a voice in how to handle the situation with local help, as opposed to HSUS shipping animals all over the place.

      4. Erica, I didn’t mean for it to sound like I was “guaranteeing” anything.

        And perhaps “oversee” was the wrong word, suggesting that the rescues would be in charge – but you can’t argue that the AL44 and the GA90 (or whatever number they’ve come up with today) are the same situation.

        The AL44 were apparently whisked away by cover of darkness (ok, I embellish) with, as you mentioned, the local ACO not even being notified. This situation, and the situation at Pender, has already garnered media attention, meaning all eyes on HSUS.

        In both situations, there would have been people on the ground to witness the move at least, and with this much public attention, it’s doubtful any would come up “missing” like they did in AL.

        No, the HSUS will treat this like it is – a chance to look like the hero. And as much as I just threw up a little having to type those words, I’d rather be tasting bile because I was forced into a win/lose situation with an organization I can’t stand and don’t believe in… but who MAY be able to save some of these animals, even if it is merely a game of shuffle the deck – then because I’m mourning the senseless slaughter of 90 adoptable dogs.

        I find it really disturbing that everyone can come out and say such horrific things about YesBiscuit’s blog on the basis that ANY examination of 90 dead dogs was essentially tantamount to defense of killing them – but the suggestion of involving the HSUS as a last ditch effort is met with scorn, because it’s not a “sure thing”.

        You can’t honestly believe that being in a high kill shelter with no adoption hours and an impending slaughter is better than being shipped to a high kill shelter with proper viewing facilities and at least the chance of adoption or rescue… just because the HSUS would be involved? I’m going to assume that’s not what you meant, Erica – because I’ve read enough of your comments over time to know that you would give those dogs any fighting chance you could.

        Correct me if I’ve read you wrong.

      5. Kim,
        My point is just that given HSUS track record – I would be cautious of their involvement. Yes I do think giving the dogs a fighting chance vs no chance at all is a good thing. I completely agree with you on that. I am just concerned because there have been so many situations where they have whisked in grabbed the animals and took off. No notice of where the animals are placed, or even how many animals there were. If it is indeed a group effort between rescues & HSUS then there will be more “in the trenches” which should result in more accurate detailing as to how many animals and where they are placed. I guess that is my main concern…I just want to make sure that we are able to track the animals and know where they are vs being whisked away in the dead of night with no information.

        I would prefer to not have HSUS involved – as I know you would – but given the situation it appears to be the only option at this time. It would be nice to see all the dogs go to rescues, but I know that this isn’t always possible. I am just ‘hoping’ that during this effort there will be enough publicity that other rescue groups will step up and offer to take some of the dogs in.

        I apologize if I made you think I’d rather see animals die than have the HSUS help. In a perfect world we wouldn’t even have to deal with HSUS…but given their status and since this will be an opportunity to get their love time on TV or in the newspapers I can only hope that they handle this correctly – and with transparency for everyone to see exactly what happens to the dogs in question.

      6. Erica, I think we share the same concerns – and like I said before, I’ve read enough of your posts to know that your post was sounding more negative than I believe you intended. :O)

        VERY happy to hear that Willie is on the ground and ready to handle HSUS if it comes to that. From what I’ve read, they’re in capable hands.

        Fingers crossed that there are enough shelters and rescues willing to take dogs that Pender can get past this bottleneck and hopefully emerge in a positive direction, regardless of how they get there.

        I think that’s something we can all certainly agree on.

    1. “Ideally, these animals should be moved to good homes, not another cage. Realistically, we are lucky if they live at all.”

      Looking forward to a day when Willie’s comment reminds me of how things *used* to be.

      Sadly, I agree.

  19. @ Kim:
    Point very well taken, and now I can see a little more clearly where you were going. We have done the same thing on occasion. And I agree, anything that can buy time. But I also think that rescue is SO busy with the bandaids, that we are splintered enough to not be able to mount a good enough campaign to clean the wound and stanch the bleeding forever.

    1. LOL… this feels like we’re arguing the same point.

      Point right back to you – I agree, band aid solutions are messy and DO leave a rescue scrambling even harder.

      Then again, in the meantime we’ve been able to make serious headway with our local problems – or at least, with half of them (we’re dealing with two organizations, a shelter and an animal control). In the beginning, one was a warehouse, the other a killing floor. Now, the first is no longer a warehouse thanks to the fact that the entire board of directors (all 60 of them!) were forced to resign under public pressure and replaced with a leader who is concerned about cleaning up the problems present AND working openly with rescue. This of course means we now have a shelter we need to keep space available in to prevent AC from becoming a blood bath again – although the cat situation is still outta control.

      The point is we’re getting there, slowly but surely. What we ended up doing was forming a group of rescues that were dedicated solely to this purpose. Those members expanded to include animal members from all over the city, and eventually those not directly involved in rescue took over a lot of the administrative work necessary to make the changes possible.

      We’ve got a LONG way to go, and it’s taken a LONG time to get here. But we’re proud of every step forward – and every band aid’d dog or cat that makes it out alive. ;O)

      We learned a lot from that experience though, and now we actively try to recruit retired or semi-retired administrative and executive types to do the paperwork loop-da-loops that need to be done in order to move forward. These are the same people that ended up on the board of directors (some, anyways).

      Interestingly, we had the same discussion when we started to bring on non-rescuing rescuers – how far could we stretch ourselves before we snapped? Would these people be of any use, or would it be one MORE thing to keep an eye on, one MORE thing to worry about, to supervise. At the time, it was very literally a band aid solution. We were all so overrun we simply didn’t have time to tackle it all, so we found people who could.

      Turns out, it was the best decision we made. We now keep all of our administrative and actual rescue work separate from one another. One group targets the administration, while the other tackles the actual four-leggers on the ground.

      Not exactly the same as what we were discussing, but I think that a lot of rescues miss out on help they need by not actively seeking animal lovers who want to help but can’t donate or foster. These people can organize!

      Also, I find that when we let the paperwork specialists do their job instead of getting in their way, we get things done faster. Makes sense – I wouldn’t expect them to be able to rehab a dog as fast as I could either. ;O)

  20. Thanks for your intelligent contribution Kim. This is good for this to be shared. There are some good poeple working on this. I would just like to see the system changed so this stops happening altogether. It makes so much more sense than making the same mistakes over and over.

  21. There are 29 dogs now at Pender County that need foster or rescue before 2/1. I posted them all last night. One is a special needs dog. As I was posted one was marked adopted. So to go from 80 dogs to 29 in just days is remarkable for the rescue community. Keep up the good work.

    Now to the Chip-in that was started to save these dogs. The language has been changed. If this money was being raised to help these dogs, and it was know in advance, why in the world did not one cent go to saving them? It is not only the original wording on the Chip-in that Shirley has printed above but I was tagged to share these dogs. It was written on the album and multiple times on each thread “help me save these dogs.”

    There is a boarder in GA that I have used with dogs from Spalding. They charge $200 this includes pull, boarding for 2 weeks and vetting. Heart worm and all else is extra. In four days some lives out of what ever the number that were killed could have been saved. There was money to do it.

    Now the wording on this Chip-in states:

    With your help we can make a big difference.. AND this is just the 1st steps we are taking to help if you all will help us make this happen..

    With Speaking with Holly we are going to agree to help and pull 4-8 dogs (more if pups) at a time from Lyons.. But we need to add kennels to do this.. The materials for those kennels are $3000 for 6 large Kennels……..

    There is $3,355 in this Chip-in.

    Part of the heading from the rescue’s recent post 1/23:

    “However exclude me from gossip rumors or drama.. I am here to save the animals in whatever way i can”

    This rescue has said the dogs were thrown in a landfill still alive. The dogs were beaten before they were killed. They were starved. They hinted that they were killed by heart stick. They had dogs on hold that were killed. They have said Lyons has already had a pit dug for the dogs there now. When asked for photo proof none could be taken? Someone was there taking pictures in their new album.

    The rescue claims they are being Cyber-stalked and threatened. Who? “bunch of cowards telling me to remove my albums and stop trying to raise funds to save the animals of Lyons.. said it is worthless efforts and no one cared really or they would not have died.” People are” saying we were on that album making terroristic threats” About the dogs that were pulled by Holly before this terrible event they have said “I have lots of them out and will be to me asap.. they leave tomorrow the rest of them from a safe location to me!!!
    They are safe..

    If this is not drama and attention getting what is it? It is about the dogs that were killed not them. Shame on them for not using the $3,000 to try and save these dogs.

    1. The situation just gets keeep getting stranger and stranger. And those who support the rescue are now basically playing a blame game. I don’t get it – are we here trying to save lives or play games?

  22. Does anyone here know how dogs will be pulled from Pender for rescue that are far away (like us?) and transported?? I think I missed something in that boarding fee? $200 for two weeks and vetting, but the vetting doesn’t include HW testing and “all else”? Then WHAT vetting is actually done? We were thinking about pulling that little chocolate whippetX who had a special needs mark on her OF listing, but now I don’t know who can pull and so forth. 200$ going toward what? How much is the pull fee for rescue there? Etc….

  23. Terrific news about the Pender Animals being rescued !! Some wonderful people are stepping up and working together. No blame game here – everyone wants to save lives.
    My point about having an adoption center that would highlight the adaptability and ease of care with these middle aged animals is still extremely relevant. I am keeping my paws crossed that most are being adopted and not just put into another cage for more years. A communal adoption center is still the best way to show these animals off and let the public see that adoption is the best way to find a family member. All shapes and sizes of homeless animals are out there, looking for love. They are not broken, they just need a place to live. My sincere thanks to those who care enough to DO Something to help these fur babies.

  24. Hey – I don’t think enough attention went to that number Ginger posted.


    Wow, that’s some positive work! Keep it up, you guys – everyone involved, from those who adopt to those who transport to those who rescue to those who participated in getting the word out, you are doing GREAT in a terrible situation.

  25. I am Thrilled to let everyone know that ALL off the dogs that needed to leave Pender County shelter in NC have been taken as of today. This has been a wonderful effort with “Adopt An Angel” in Wilmington,NC. offering to foster and vet a majority of these dogs. Some shelter volunteers, and others in the community have stepped forward to take these animals , hopefully furever ! I know that every animal who goes to sleep tonight with a roof over their head is better off than they have been in a long time. My most sincere thank you to the wonderful people who DID SOMETHING to save these dogs. Now, Lets change the system that makes this happen. Adoption Centers for homeless pets are cheaper and do not take lives of healthy animals. Tell a friend.
    I am not affiliated with Adopt an Angel but I am including their wen site in case anyone ants to adopt a dog or donate to their effort. They did a wonderful thing !


  26. Funny how all this is lies. Shame on u. I personally have worked for the rescue group u slandered and are now cyber stalking. Let’s do a c Lear legal definition search what cyber stalking includes this site is now in violation of those terms. I will be a professional witness please ck me out and my job please. You have slandered good people. There were close to 30 doggy saved I witnessed this first hand and my colleagues. So please get your facts straight

    1. You are making NO SENSE…what ARE you talking about? Cyber stalking? Slander?

      Maybe you SHOULD EXPLAIN yourself a little better. First of all – there is a BIG difference between cyber stalking and fact gathering (which is what most people do when writing a blog). Secondly – slandering? How is it slander when you are reporting acts and people are responding by posting your VIEWS on what you have seen or done by any person/group.

      Maybe you should give us a more thorough explanation that MAKE SENSE so we have a clue what you are talking about!!!

    2. I would LOVE the opportunity to “check out” you and your job.

      Who the hell are you, and what is it you do again?

      Slander requires a “false and malicious claim”. Uh, nope, try again.

      Cyber Stalking requires a threat to be made. Unless the threat of exposure as an utter fraud is considered a threat, uh… nope, try again!

      These groups have put themselves in the public eye (both Let Them Live and SOAPS) by ranting about unproven allegations and then requesting (and receiving!) money – to the tune of several thousand dollars.

      SOAPS for example, claims to have spent $195K in one year on the Lyon’s shelter – and yet they continue to refuse to release their 990 tax forms.

      LTL claims to have dogs they likely don’t have, considering their refusal to provide any proof or paperwork to back up their claim.

      YOU claim to have witnessed the pulling of “close to 30 doggy”. Really? LTL claims the total was 31. So are you lying about your knowledge of the situation, or are you saying that LTL was lying about the number of dogs they pulled?

      We would LOVE to get our “facts straight.” The problem is that both of these groups have FAILED to provide the facts – while continuing to collect funds from unsuspecting donors.

      Here are some of the FACTS that we’ve dug up.

      LTL has “rescued” horses in the past – and then advertised them as a cheap way to start a breeding program.

      LTL has provided ZERO confirmed information regarding the use of the funds collected by the facebook chip-in account.

      SOAPS has refused to provide their past tax forms – as a charitable organization, these forms are a matter of public record. Why are they trying to hide them?

      SOAPS has “slandered” the Lyon’s shelter incessantly with claims of frozen puppies, dogs starved and even buried alive – while providing no proof of anything other than the fact that the shelter is under funded.

      So PLEASE, straighten out my “facts” if you have proof to the contrary. Otherwise, crawl back under the rock you peeked out from.

      ** sorry, but I am really sick of the circular double talk that continues to pour out of not only both of these “rescues” but their supporters as well. As the operator of a rescue I am APPALLED at their behaviour and what they are doing to the reputation of rescues in general. **

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