Strength in Numbers

In Petaluma, CA – a town of about 60,000 – 1 person apparently left a male Labrador Retriever to suffer long term, probably unattended, in a crate.  The long term confinement caused his skin to burn from urine, his face and front toenails to become damaged from trying to escape, and his body weight to drop severely.  He eventually got free somehow.  Again, the working theory is that 1 person is responsible for this abuse.

After gaining his freedom, the dog was walking down the road when a good Samaritan picked him up and brought him to the Petaluma Animal Shelter.  The shelter staff took him to a vet for treatment and have been caring for him in his recovery.  They named him Boomer.  The ACO has been investigating to try and find out who may be responsible for Boomer’s cruel neglect.  The shelter staff describes the dog as “surprisingly energetic”, which sounds like confirmation of his ancestry.

Word has spread through social media and an article in the local paper.  Dozens of people in the area contacted the shelter to donate money for Boomer’s care along with many offers to give him a loving home.

So to recap:

1 person is believed to be responsible for Boomer’s neglect.

1 person picked up the dirty, stinky dog off the road when she saw he was in need of help.

Dozens of area residents immediately phoned in offers of support for Boomer once they learned of his plight.

If the general pet owning public is so heartless and irresponsible, as we are often told by kill shelters, how come the number of people stepping up to do good exceeds the number who behave badly?  Is Petaluma a freak town populated by people who don’t represent societal norms?  I don’t think so.

I am grateful to the kind-hearted public for stepping up to help Boomer and to the shelter staff committed to his recovery.  In addition, I appreciate the efforts of the ACO to find the person responsible for this cruelty.  We, as members of a humane society, demand accountability for this type of neglect.  And we expect our public shelters to care for the victims until they can be rehomed.  We expect these things because we love our pets.  We are, in the main, responsible and caring.  That is the societal norm – not the other way around as the killing apologists would have us believe.

Anyone with information on who may have been responsible for leaving Boomer to suffer should call Petaluma ACO Jason Pietsch, (707) 753-1169, or the shelter at (707) 778-4396.

21 thoughts on “Strength in Numbers

  1. Ditto – I just posted on another (political) blog about how society seems to have accepted killing and violence as an answer to just about everything as the norm, which it most certainly is not. Thank you for being on the same page…it gives me hope. Thank you also to all the people who are helping Boomer…you people are ‘da bomb!

  2. Thanks for this post. For every dog or cat that gets
    rescued from a kill shelter, there’s a small army of shelter vols, posters, rescuers, transporters, and adopters willing to help.

    Word went out the other day on a husky list that there would be a candle lighting to honor the memory of the dogs who were killed by one man at Whistler. I don’t know how many–but lots of candles lit up around the world last night.

    Two things that really make a difference–all the people who care and the media to reach them.

  3. It is wonderful that this story got in the media and people saw it and responded. But too many times dogs like this end up in our shelters and never make the media and no one but the people at the shelter know about them. The sits in the shelter until it runs out of time and is killed. Please consider doing a blog post about them IMPORTANCE of media coverage in saving pets in need. In order to save pets you need people and you can not get them without media exposure.

  4. Awful to hear about the condition of Boomer – but so HAPPY to hear that someone got him and that he is being cared for AND that so many people have stepped up to offer to help pay for his care and so many possible adopters are out there waiting for him to be available!

    I just wish that EVERY shelter in our country understood the usage of media to get the word out and find homes for these unfortunate animals. Obviously – to have dozens of people willing to take him – that could result in dozens of dogs finding new homes IF the shelter handles this correctly!

    Everyday shelters all across the US have animals in their care that are the victims of some form of abuse…just imagine the result if each story got told. Can you imagine the tidal wave of people that would flock to the shelters to help and how many animals could find forever homes because of it? Because even if that 1 animal they tell the story about finds a home – by having others step forward and say they are wanting to take it as well then they can be shown alternative choices and we could literally run out of adoptable shelter animals.

    Even if the shelter directors are unwilling to go to the media with this kind of stuff – I bet the volunteers would love the chance to tell some of these animals stories and help find homes for all those in their care!

    Thanks for the positive story….I ditto everything you said in that last paragraph!!!

  5. Some days are more — exacting — than others if you’re involved in rescue, advocacy, activism, or just down home don’t like injustice plain talk. On those days you can always count on this: Biscuit will bring you back to center, shining her light and wielding her pen like the best surgeon on the block in Hometown, USA — whilst wading through the alligator swamp and maintaining perfect composure and balance. Honored to know Biscuit.

  6. So far, Boomer’s story has been updated three times in the on-line version of the Press-Democrat, and once in print. If previous cases are anything to go by, I imagine we’ll be updated now and then too; the P-D is good with local animal-related news. I suspect this isn’t just because the shelters and rescues in the region are media-savvy, though some of them are, but also because the P-D knows local animal stories are a good bet. Me, I’ve made a point of emailing them now and then after an especially good one, just to say how much I appreciate it.

    The shelters in this area are a mixed bag, some very good, some not, some improving, some in turmoil – if you’re up for some drama with moments of low comedy and WTF, look up the on-going saga of the directorship of Sonoma County Animal Services and our erstwhile Head of Agriculture.

  7. Twitter users unite to protest slain sled dogs.

    “The first of the two rallies is happening today, from noon to 2 p.m. [yesterday] in Whistler. The second rally — called Barking Mad — is scheduled for Sunday in West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park, also from noon to 2 p.m.”

    “Catherine Barr, organizer of Sunday’s event, is calling it the world’s “first social media doggie tweet-up.” []

    “She said it’s not a protest, but rather a rally to “channel all this energy [being seen] online” after news of the massive cull of dogs, believed to be the largest in Canada, was made public this week.”

    “It’s the first of its kind in history by getting people with Twitter accounts to get out, get to know each other and tweet,” she said, adding people are encouraged to bring their dogs.

    Read more:

  8. Thank you for posting Boomer’s story. We are still trying to find the person that did this to Boomer. They actually “Shelter” the animals until they have new forever homes. The staff and volunteers will even work with the new adoptive families to make sure there is a smooth transition for all. I only wish that the County Shelter could learn from this Shelter how to treat it’s animals differently. What a difference the adoption rate would be. Unfortunately it’s like talking to a brickwall. At least Boomer ended up at Petaluma Shelter where he will get healthy and then he will find a new home. At the County, it would have been a different story. They don’t go the extra mile.

    No Kill Sonoma County

  9. I volunteer at the Petaluma Animal Shelter and I had Boomer with me for the first 3 days of his rescue. Our little shelter made sure Boomer went to the hospital and immediately following that- he was in foster care with me. Best of all, Petaluma Animal Shelter treats all our not so famous cases like this and we work hard on finding our homeless pets a forever home. Boomer is doing well today, he’s eating and playing with 3 other labs. He’s gained 9 pounds since last Friday. Thank you for your support- and we appreciate the media for their assistance.

  10. Jeff Charter is the one who runs the show at Petaluma Animal Services. And he’s responsible for the incredible turn-around at this shelter. The word I hear most often out of his mouth is “Yes”. Jeff listens to everyone, assesses how this new idea will fit with everything else going on and then gives the go-ahead to try new things.

    Jeff started a dog foster program. He welcomed a dog trainer into the shelter. He has paved the way to nurture relationships with rescue groups. He ok’d the use of social media to communicate with the public and market the animals who are available for adoption.

    And the adoption numbers are way up while the euthanasia numbers are very low. These are important stats for some people, but the bottom line is that Jeff has created a culture in which the shelter really is a bridge between the pet’s last home and their next.

    I’m lucky to volunteer at such a caring and humane shelter.

    Because all of those pieces were already in place at the Petaluma Animal Shelter, Boomer’s care and path to recovery were smooth and straightforward.

    So one person in Petaluma California found a dog in need. And one person in Petaluma California already had a system in place, a network of many people to make that one dog’s life turn around (boomerang).

    And the great thing is that Jeff Charter and the Petaluma Animal Shelter will always have room and will always find a solution that leads to adoption.

    1. Thank you Sue, Valerie and Vickie. All this sounds great and very encouraging to those still struggling in the face of the proverbial brick wall of killing cultures.

      1. In my experience shelters believe in their own dogma like it’s fact, they’re WAY too passive in their attitudes about adoption tasks (like market, and hustle for each dog) and they think euthanasia is not a tool of compassion but rather a human work flow management tool. Euthanasia is just lazy. In Petaluma we have been able to find homes for old dogs, black dogs, pit bulls, dogs with cancer, ugly dogs, dogs who don’t like kids and belong with older folks because we WORK ON IT. PAS also let me initiate a training center which is all volunteer and we train away our problems- not kill them. Our euthanasia rate is down to almost nothing because most dog behavior is fixable and we do it all day long. Thank you YesBiscuit for caring about us and about Boomer. We’re changing our community one dog at a time. It can be done! It’s training, marketing and a good foster program in Petaluma that makes all the difference for our homeless animals.

      2. You guys should get together and write up a policy/procedure manual and send it out at all the shelters that we have noted with problems so that they can see it is fixable and do-able. I like what I am seeing from your shelter and think that, especially since you guys are volunteers – you can show what is possible by everyone working together and removing the word “no” from our vocabulary. Keep up the good work gals!!!

  11. Hi all and welcome from Australia. This is such a heartwarming tale and a testament to the No Kill policy and how it can work. Many of us here in Aus are battling to educate the authorities that it is possible for this to work. Stories such as this help greatly.
    Kudos to you guys….

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