How Does Clayton Co Animal Control Care for Abandoned Dogs?

In Clayton County GA, the police department runs the AC unit.  On their webpage, they give information about their adoption program:

Adult stray animals that remain unclaimed by their owners for three days become Clayton County property and are placed up for adoption. All puppies younger than three months old have to spend five days in quarantine before they are available for adoption.

On Saturday, a good Samaritan in Clayton Co saw about a dozen adult dogs and puppies who had apparently been abandoned in a vacant lot.  The man didn’t want them to get hit by cars so called AC to pick them up.  The article contains photos of the dogs, described by the good Sam as “very friendly”, and some are clearly younger than 3 months old.  And yet, rather than being offered for adoption after 3 days (for the adults) or placed on 5 day quarantine before being offered for adoption (for the pups), AC may have other plans:

Police in Clayton County said the animal shelter is near capacity and if they are not adopted they could be put down within three days.

Near capacity – so the shelter is not full.  Within three days – so clearly not in accordance with the policy stated on AC’s webpage.  If they are killed within 3 days, they wouldn’t even have been given a chance at adoption.

According to HSUS, the national average for a U.S. community is approximately 12.5 animals killed per 1000 people.  In 2009, Clayton Co killed 21.4 pets per 1000 residents.  That amounts to more than 6000 pets killed via the heartstick method in 2009.  In August 2010, Clayton Co AC was reportedly “preparing to do away with” killing by heartstick although I don’t know the current status of that plan.

So the possibility appears to exist that these abandoned dogs will be killed by heartstick without ever having a chance at adoption while cages sit empty at the shelter.  Regardless of how unlikely owner redemption might seem in this case, shouldn’t these friendly dogs at least be given that chance?  Failing that, shouldn’t they at least be offered for adoption for as long as possible while the shelter has empty cages?

Not that I’d ever want to choose between these two options but if forced, I think I’d rather take my chances avoiding cars than end up in the “care” of Clayton Co AC.  Better yet, it would be great if the AC shelter was reformed and its 80% kill rate drastically reduced.  Any animal advocates in Clayton Co with a mind to take on reform efforts?

Thanks Valerie for the link on the abandoned dogs.


Shelter Pet of the Day

Tom-Tom, submitted by reader Valerie.

Meriwether County Animal Shelter
Greenville, GA



This shelter’s 2007 kill rate was 29%.

P.S. I had a red point Siamese named Alice who was the best cat I’ve ever known.  He talked and was very affectionate.  I still miss him.

Treats on the Internets

In Ohio, the Clark County Board of Health declared a shelter called One More Chance Rescue & Adoption run by Jeff Burgess a public health nuisance.  367 live dogs and 15 cats were removed from the property.  There are 69 photos of the raid but none of them contain clear images of the dogs or the housing facilities.  Most are of trash and debris.  Mr. Burgess already faces cruelty charges in Piqua, with regard to another shelter he operated there.  Authorities in Piqua seized 100 dogs from that facility.  (Thanks Clarice and Kim for sending in links on this story.)

The Lynchburg Humane Society in VA talks about how they saved so many more pets last year by introducing new programs including fostering, counseling owners considering pet surrender, low cost spay-neuter and adoption specials.  (Thanks Clarice.)

A new tethering ordinance goes into effect March 1 in Charlotte, NC.  Check out the puppy hanging device AC & C recommends in the photo.  (Thanks Samantha for the link.)

The MO Humane Society rescued 74 dogs, mostly Collies, from a breeder whose license was revoked after an inspection this month.  The article notes:

The Stone County breeder lost its license under current Missouri standards, not the tighter regulations laid out in Proposition B.

(Thank you Laura for the link.)

Warning:  This next one may be too disturbing for sensitive readers.  Just scroll to the end of the post if you want to skip.

File under I Wish I Hadn’t Read That:  A NM man allegedly beat his dog in his yard and then attempted to burn his balls off – like yeah, with fire – in order to avoid paying a neuter surgery fee to a vet.  A good Samaritan paid for the dog, called Charlie, to receive treatment:

Charlie has now recovered and is living with a new owner. However, the veterinarian who examined him said the dog is blind and had wounds on his ears, head and genitals.

(Thank you Clarice for that link.  I think.)

Blog note:  If you’d like to nominate a Shelter Pet of the Day for the blog, please visit this page for details.

NY Mother Pleads Guilty in Pet Torture Case

You might remember the 2009 story of the Long Island mother who forced her children to participate in torturing pets to death.  We’re not talking a couple of unfortunate family pets here – we’re talking dozens of dogs and cats, probably stolen from area residents.  Since she never made bail from her December 2009 arrest, Sharon McDonough has been in jail all along.  This week, she pleaded guilty to 13 counts of animal abuse and child endangerment.  The details are too graphic to post here but suffice to say, the punishment will not fit the crimes, and I am not sure what punishment would:

McDonough faces two years on the animal cruelty charges, but only a one-year term for the child endangerment offenses because they are misdemeanors, prosecutors said.

With time served, Ms. McDonough is expected to be out in a couple of months.  Prosecutors will seek an order of protection at sentencing to prevent the mother from contacting her seven children.  The article does not mention if she will be legally prevented from owning pets again.

Ms. McDonough’s defense attorney supposes she will not win any popularity contests within the community once she returns.  I can imagine it would be nearly impossible for a notorious animal abuser to remake her image with the public.  Maybe her handlers can strike up a deal with HSUS and get things turned around for her.

Shelter Pet of the Day

The Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC has a Facebook page which they could use to market their pets but – they don’t.  They have a blog but it too is withering on the vine.  They do have a page on Petfinder but when you click “Our Pet List”, it gives you an error message.  The shelter’s website, which was never updated any of the times I checked, now redirects to the Kershaw Co Humane Society.  I searched Facebook and Petfinder for Kershaw Co HS but came up empty.  There are some pets listed on the Kershaw Co HS site but they are almost all listed as “unnamed” and I have no idea if they are current.  This dog is about halfway down the list:

Unnamed is a male Lab mix

Walter Crowe Animal Shelter
460 Fair Street
Camden SC 29020
Phone: (803) 425-6016

This shelter’s kill rate is about 50%.

Book Raffle

I like to eat dirt.

At Christmas, I received a new copy of the book Food Pets Die For by Ann Martin.  Since I already have this book, I wanted to raffle it off to (hopefully) raise a few bucks to help cover costs on blog related expenses such as open records requests.  If you are interested in purchasing a raffle ticket for the book, please click here.  $1 per ticket or 5 tickets for $4.  The raffle will be open until midnight March 4.  I’ll ask Billy to draw a name from the hat on Saturday, March 5 and put up a new post announcing the name of the winner.  Winner will need to provide a U.S. mailing address via e-mail.

Municipal Shelter in VA: Your tax dollars at work. Question mark.

In Roanoke, VA, the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection evaluates pets to determine adoptability, according to their website:

In accordance with Virginia law, stray animals are held for a minimum of ten (10) days if the animal has any form of identification and five (5) days if the animal has no identification.  There is no minimum holding period for animals relinquished by owners, but the Regional Center endeavors to hold animals relinquished by owners for a minimum of two (2) days.

While at the Regional Center, animals are evaluated for adoptability.  Animals that are not considered to be adoptable are humanely euthanized once the animal has been held for the required length of time.

The local news reports that the adoption process and the behavioral evaluations are resulting in complaints from potential adopters:

Several pet owners have complained to 10 On Your Side they had to jump through too many hoops in order to adopt an animal from the regional center.

Teresa Powell and Bonnie Moore said dogs they adopted recently were at first deemed “unadoptable” by the center’s behaviorist, Mary Marr.

Behavior evaluations should never be used as an excuse for killing treatable pets.  They are a guide to learn what direction the pet’s rehab needs to head in – if any rehab is needed at all.  Most shelter pets should be considered adoptable immediately after their hold period has expired.

Powell and Moore understood being deemed “unadoptable” meant the dogs were in line to be put down.

“That happens all the time as far as animals being deemed unadoptable that are adoptable,” said Amber Perrin, a former employee at the regional center.

All the time?  The news station looked at the shelter’s stats and found that in 2010, the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection killed more than 99% of the pets in its care:

State statistics show the center put down 3,432 cats in 2010 while adopting out 30.

The same stats show the center put down 1,139 dogs in 2010 while adopting out only 8.

What the heck is going on here?

[Executive Director Bill] Watson said he could not comment on the qualifications of his animal behaviorist, Mary Marr.

He said a question on if Marr had sole discretion on deciding which animals are adoptable and which ones aren’t was “more complicated than just saying it’s right or wrong.”

“Until we get a handle on overpopulation, [euthanasia] is inevitable,” Watson said.

Ack.  Mr. Watson is “also executive director of the Roanoke Valley SPCA, which sits in the same building.”

Oh really?  Do tell.

The SPCA had around a 90 percent adoption rate in 2010, according to state statistics.

Impressive.  I bet those stats garner a lot of donations from unsuspecting animal lovers who don’t realize they are being scammed.

Speaking of funding, the Regional Center apparently gets plenty.  The news station reports the following figures paid to the shelter in 2010:

  • The city of Roanoke:  $610,000
  • Roanoke County:  $200,000
  • Botetourt County:  $155,000


Botetourt County’s finance director said the county made the check out to the Roanoke Valley SPCA.

Vinton’s town manager, Chris Lawrence, said it contributed more than $38,000, also making the check out to the SPCA.

Hmm.  Curiouser and curiouser.  I wonder if anyone besides the local TV news station is interested in investigating this place.  If you live in one of the municipalities which sends your tax money to the Regional Center, you might like to contact your local representatives and ask.

Video of the piece here.

Thank you Clarice for sending these links.

Can We Really Save Every Healthy/Treatable Shelter Pet in America?

Nathan Winograd has a post detailing why “pet overpopulation” is a myth:

  1. How many dogs and cats enter shelters annually? 8 million. (Some put it as low as 6 million, but I am going to use a “worst case” scenario.)
  2. Of those how many are savable? 90 percent or just over 7 million.
  3. Of those how many will be saved? 4 million.
  4. How many of the savable animals are killed? 3 million.
  5. How many need to find new homes? If shelters are doing their jobs comprehensively, just over 2 million (3 million on the high end). The remainder should be increased reclaims or in the case of feral cats, TNR’d.
  6. Other than those who will adopt from a shelter as a matter of course (those saved above), how many people in the U.S. are looking to bring a new dog or cat into their home next year but have not decided where they will get the animal and can be influenced to adopt from a shelter? 17 million. So, 17 million people for 2-3 million dogs and cats.

The Shelter Pet Project has a Powerpoint presentation here.  The first several pages explain how we can find homes for all the healthy/treatable pets in shelters in the U.S. and include a slide on the methodology behind the numbers:

To fully understand the problem and to strategize wisely on the solution, the Ad Council and Draftfcb:

•conducted in-depth research

•ran surveys and focus groups

•met with The HSUS and Maddie’sFund at length

•…and visited shelters

HSUS has a press release on the Shelter Pet Project on their website:

According to The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund, eight million pets enter shelters and rescue groups every year, with three million of these healthy and treatable pets euthanized due to a lack of adoption.
“By reaching a subset of the population uncertain about where they’ll obtain their next dog or cat and convincing them that an animal shelter is the best source, we can end the euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats in this country,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

Maddie’s Fund looks at the shelter numbers here:

There are around 3 million healthy or treatable dogs and cats put to death in shelters each year.

There are 14 million people who have adopted shelter pets already, and another 41 million who’ve indicated they’re considering doing so – we call those the “swing voters,” and of them, 17 million will bring a pet into their family in the next year.

We only need to convince 3 million of those 17 million to do what they are already considering doing, get their new pet from a shelter, and every treatable or healthy cat or dog in America will have found a home.


America’s approximately 4,000 animal shelters are currently adopting out more than 4 million pets per year – between 2 and 3 per shelter, per day. By simply increasing that by an additional 2 pets per shelter, per day, the 3 million healthy and treatable pets who currently lose their lives in shelters will be saved.

Does a no kill nation seem achievable to you?

Louisiana AC Unit: Doing What’s Best

On the Bossier City Animal Control website, it says:

Euthanasia: Doing what is best for animals they love and the community they serve forces animal control personnel to make some hard decisions.

The problem: Animal shelters can usually offer only temporary shelter for the millions of unwanted animals. The cost to taxpayers for the housing of all unwanted animals on a permanent basis would be enormous. The alternative allowing animals to live in the wild or on the streets would inevitably lead to their destruction by starvation, disease and accidents.

The answer: Animal Control personnel are working tirelessly to bring the animal population under control and end the need for euthanasia. Unfortunately, until they succeed, euthanasia will remain a tragic necessity.

What I learned:  There are only two option available to us in this country.

  • Force taxpayers to provide lifelong sanctuary for every homeless pet.


  • Allow homeless pets to roam freely until they starve to death, succumb to the plague or get squashed by a bus.

The ACOs are apparently working day and night to bring no kill to the community (there are 4 hours every week that the public can actually adopt pets!) but until the pixie dust settles, they’ll just have to keep killing pets.  Because death is what’s “best for animals they love”.

In fact, death is so great, they even offer it to people’s pets they are “holding” at the shelter:

After a mix-up at a local animal shelter, a dog that was supposed to be returned to its owner was instead euthanized.


“Unfortunately the paper work got mixed up with one of the animals that showed the animal was not a hold animal,” said Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale.

Oops.  But don’t worry.  These folks are used to making the hard decisions:

The employee at Bossier City Animal Control who mistakenly put the dog down has been reprimanded.

You were supposed to needlessly kill this dog, not that dog.  Bad ACO.  Stupid paperwork mix-up!

Open Thread

Bring your pet related links, questions and chit-chat.

And here is a picture of Mulder, the worm puppy from hell:

I have a wee underbite.