At least we won’t have to wait for a “thorough investigation” on this one…

Last Tuesday, a Charlotte Pitbull owner lost his dog Diesel when a repairman left the gate open in Diesel’s yard.  The owner, Joe Gibson, immediately started searching for Diesel.  He posted over 150 fliers around the area.  He checked the Char-Meck ACC website for lost dogs.  He went to the shelter in person to search for Diesel – every day.  While at the shelter, he posted one of his fliers on their lost dogs bulletin board.  No luck.

On Monday, a friend who was helping Mr. Gibson search the CMPD-ACC website came across a photo of a dog that could possibly be Diesel – it was hard to tell from the photo.  The owner went to the shelter again to ask about the dog in the photo:

“I walked around the corner and I see my dog laying there, dead,” he said.

Char-Meck had killed Diesel because his mandatory hold time as a stray had expired and he was a Pitbull, which the shelter does not adopt out.  Diesel had apparently been injured at the time ACC picked him up and so was left in a kennel area off limits to the public.  And there he suffered, day after day while his owner looked for him.  Diesel’s injuries were treatable.

Rather than trot out the old “Oops” excuse that Char-Meck has used in the past when they’ve killed people’s Pitbulls, they went with a new approach on this one:

Mark Balestra, the director of Animal Care and Control, told Eyewitness News that Gibson is to blame because he never got a microchip for his dog. He said that’s a responsibility of dog owners and makes it much easier to find dogs.


Balestra also said a picture of Diesel was on the website since Feb. 2 and that if Gibson pointed out pictures that could have been Diesel to employees, they would have looked into each one.

Wow.  How do ya like them apples?

And, for the final zing!:

[CMPD-ACC] also say that right now, they have no record of Gibson showing up to look for the dog.

Thanks Valerie and Lisa for the links on this story.

45 thoughts on “At least we won’t have to wait for a “thorough investigation” on this one…

  1. This is happening far too often in cities in across the country and it is clearly the fault of the shelter and they no ac ountablabity. It is flat our wrong and the people who loved their pets are suffering a pain I can not imagine. People need to stand up and demand change in the shelter system national wide and continue to go against the status quo. I have heard this same thing in my town, the person had been at the shelter took photos and was ignored and later found out her dog was killed because quote unquote “aggressive ” and it had a chip. The time for change is now!

      1. Last week, I was told by local shelter employees ” Do you know how much time it would take to list ALL the strays on our website? We’d need one person to do nothing else.And then we’d have folks wanting to claim dogs that weren’t even theirs.” Oh, and the staffers? Volunteer co ordinator and VP of Ops.

      2. Tami –

        That’s is something that people can volunteer to do. Maybe you know someone who can do it for them? When I run into stuff like that I get the word out to find someone who has the ability to do the work and many times the shelter is willing to do it – especially when they don’t have to pay someone to do the work.

      3. tami Says:
        February 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm

        “And then we’d have folks wanting to claim dogs that weren’t even theirs.”


        Well heaven forfend we’d be sending dogs out the front door and into homes. Obviously we don’t want THAT.

        Also: BS. The supposed rush of people attempting to claim dogs who aren’t theirs is fantasy. But if they did get like ONE person trying it, they could implement this fancy new thing that some of the other shelters do called proof of ownership. Have the owner bring in a photo or something. I suppose they’d have to hire another full time staffer just to analyze the photos.

      4. Erica,
        I pointed that out to the vol co ordinator that made the statement.They don’t have time for that.
        and Shirley,
        That was my point.Apparently, my “focus is too narrow”.ie:pointing out their 77% euth rate to folks turning in their pets.I upset the shelter staff when I did that. I needed to respect staff’s feelings.

  2. This shelter is horrid. When will reform come? HOW in the blue hell can the local public not be half as outraged as the nation is over this place and demand change!

  3. Carbarrus county n.c. never looked for chip in Bella,just guned her down in the streets as she was running away..(see justice for Bella)ac officer still has job,sheriff denies any wrong doing…cat killed at same shelter while owner was told cat not there,,she was there just dead..(see snowball saves).These shelters need to be held accountable for their actions.Demand change.This is your money supporting these shelters…Lyons,Ga. ac control kills All dogs in one day..while rescue group that supports that shelter had rescue in place..reason,,uh animals been there too long need a fresh group of dogs…sick just sick of all the killing…

  4. This is utterly sickening. Oh, and don’t forget they killed the dog and are getting paid with the owner’s tax dollars.

  5. Totally unacceptable behaviour AND justification by Shelter Director. Horrible and heartbreaking for the guardian of Diesel, my sympathies go out to him, deeply. Am I to understand that this is the same Char-Meck that has some of the AL44????? Goddess help them! And as for liking “them apples”, them apples are poisoned!

    1. Char-Meck took 2 of the AL 44 after HSUS whisked away from Lincoln Co – amidst bad press – the dogs who hadn’t been gassed already. They have been stuck in (presumably) the same isolation ward that Diesel was trapped in. But they’ve been there for 2 months.

  6. Many, many, years ago I visited our local animal shelter looking for my lost dog. I walked through the whole area that people were allow to walk through and then posted up a flyer. I told the people there that I lost my dog and showed them a photo, give them a flyer, and asked for them to please call me if my dog showed up.

    They told me that they couldn’t do that and that they couldn’t check their dogs to see if my dog was there. They told me that I would have to return every few days to look for my dog myself.

    I was about to leave when I thought to ask them about if they had any other areas that held dogs that I couldn’t go through. They said yes that they had a couple of areas, one for sick or injured dogs and one for bite cases.

    I asked to go through those areas. I was walked through with a worker (after waiting a good while).

    There was my little dog in the sick/injured area. I could have easily missed her and they would have killed her.

    It is way past time for all the “shelters” in America to be run like a business those jobs it is to save, rehome, and return lost pets.

    1. this makes me so happy for you that you and dog were reunited, but so sad to think of all the others that are not so lucky. this is just crazy and lazy how they manage “shelters”. very sad and way overdue for a change!!

    2. So glad you thought to ask that question – unfortunately too many people have NO idea that there are areas of the shelter where animals may be that no one thinks to take these people through to look for lost pets – and IF you don’t know that shelters are set up this way it is ALL too easy for animals to get over looked. I am glad your story, at least, had a happy ending.

      The more I hear the more I think – SHELTER REFORM!

  7. This is why I NEVER leave my pit outside alone. Also do not want him to be stolen. When you go to shelters always ask if ” this is all your dogs” Show them pictures and ask questions. It is sickening that “props” fail to educate themselves. Micro chip would have been a waste, only works in one area not nation wide. the shelter never intended to return this dog. they knew a dog fitting his description was in the back. they just wanted to kill it because it was a “pit”

  8. can u say dick?poor guy loses his dog..they let it suffer for days and kill it but its his fault?tired of it…if anyone ever did that to my pet i’d go to jail…cause i’d give em beat down theyd never forget-and lock em in one of their own cages

  9. I can’t imagine the pain that the owner is going though. My thoughts and prayers are with him. Diesel will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge and you will be reunited one day

  10. Now that whole story just plain SUCKS! He went to the shelter EVERYDAY – and even gave them a flyer…you can’t tell me that they bring in that many dogs per day that NO ONE recognized his dog!?!?!?! And it is nothing but POOR TASTE to not update the website, especially when you are killing animals! If his dog was put down, or in danger of soon being put down – then his photo should have been removed OR had something like “About to be killed” stamped acrossed it. What I absolutely LOVE is that, of course, the blame gets put on the owner. What if his dog was chipped, but due to the issue with certain scanners ONLY being able to read certain chips – they couldn’t read the chip? Who could they have blamed in that case?

    ABSOLUTE BEST: “Balestra also said a picture of Diesel was on the website since Feb. 2 and that if Gibson pointed out pictures that could have been Diesel to employees, they would have looked into each one.” WAIT, WAIT – that goes along with the “no record” of him being there and looking for Diesel!

    This shelter sucks – especially the more I hear about it. When you talk about rife for changes…this is it. I say we turn it over to maybe 10 women who are the take no nonsense BS kinda crap from ANYONE, real animal lovers and turn their butts loose on this place. I GUARANTEE we would see a 100% turn around within a week!

    RIP Diesel – and may your owner/guardian/best friend be able to find comfort in the time he did have with you though it was cut too short.

    Shirley – while I know many of us are more than capable to going back through the posts and pulling up every single on in regards to Char-Meck…but what if you did one post with a complete list of what we have/know about Char-Meck. You know one of those good, bad, and ugly things. That way those new to the blog, or with limited PC capabilities could have a list in front of their faces that shows EXACTLY what type of information we have on this shelter and where it is failing the public it is set up to help, as well as showing where they do (cough, cough) a good job…of something…I hope. My thoughts are if we list it all then maybe it will awaken some people to action instead of a bunch of separate blog entries we have 1 about the entire shelter. (I can’t wait until my printer is up & running again so I can just print this stuff out and separate it by shelter!) AND I admit – while I do read yoru blog everyday…sometimes I even tend to get the shelters mixed up at times. I’m thinking something like a guide to shelters type thing. (If you already up to your eyeballs with stuff and this isn’t a priotrity I would understand…and maybe this si something that someone else might tackle – heck I’ve been thinking about doing my own blog and/or wensite and maybe this is something I can focus on – we’ll see.)

    1. I have a category cloud in the sidebar of the blog and if you click on “Charlotte-Mecklenburg ACC”, you will get a list of all the posts tagged with that name. Just above the category cloud, there is also a search function, just FYI. I’ll keep your idea in the back of my mind for when I have some free time. I like the idea!

  11. Just reading the stories of area residents at the link to the story makes me homicidal…..

    You can only CYA so many times before nothing sticks but toilet paper.

    Guv’mint employees should never make excuses. They should say yes ma’am and no sir and do everything they can to help the person paying their (in this case useless) wages.

    So, for all those who live in this area, find out when the local government that has jurisdiction over these people (city or county??) has it’s public meetings, find out how to get an item on the agenda, bring a lot of people……..and speak! If both the city and county fork over money to support animal control, go to both meetings. Getting results may take longer than you want, but one HAS to bring it before government before anything gets done. Bring a shelter expert with you too if you can.

    BTW I just looked at the lost dog pictures. Some of them are really bad quality.

  12. This story has me reeling. How many pet owners show up day after day looking for their dogs? They couldn’t assign a staffer to help him? Or at least look at the photo he put up on their wall? But the real OMG moment is when Mr. Gibson comes across his own dog, dead, in the off-limits area of the shelter. They can’t even be bothered to pick up the dead bodies?! This shelter deserves to be smacked hard with a lawsuit.

    1. It is outrageous to me that no member of the shelter staff even thought to say to a daily visitor who comes in looking for his lost dog – “Ya know, we have dogs in another part of the shelter that isn’t visible to the public. What kind is yours? I’ll go see if there are any that might be a match.” That betrays either a willful neglect of duties or a serious lapse of common sense. Either is troubling. Maybe someone in Charlotte can tell us – does this shelter check you in upon entry? Do they have you sign in, take a copy of your ID, take your photo and/or whatever? Because if they DON’T do those things, I can’t imagine how they think they could get away with further maligning this poor owner by saying they have no record of him visiting the shelter.

      1. As I recall Char-Meck has had trouble in the past with record-keeping–they don’t know where the dogs are (or rather where they went) and now they don’t know who the visitors are or where they go either. Wonder if they can tell the fed and state agents where the controlled substances go? Oh, right–into the pitbulls. Got it.

  13. How many times does this have to happen before “shelter” directors like this are kicked to the curb? Only in an animal shelter could someone fail so miserably at their job and still keep it.

    BTW: Last summer, a police officer told me that an acquaintance had lost his dog and went to one of Houston’s kill shelters to look for him. His dog was microchipped, so presumably the shelter staff would have scanned for a chip if he had been taken there, however the man walked up and down the kennels looking for his dog anyway.

    He didn’t find his dog so one of the shelter workers scanned the dogs that they had just killed and FOUND HIM AMONG THE DEAD. So, not only did the shelter workers NOT scan the dog in the field (as the no kill naysayers claim that they do), the shelter workers did NOT scan the dog when he entered the shelter and they did NOT scan the dog before they killed him.

    When you have shelters like this, having a microchip makes absolutely no difference.

      1. They can’t be bothered to tell someone coming in DAILY to look for his lost dog that they have a kennel full of dogs not visible to the public but SURELY they would have scanned for a microchip! Or not…

    1. Sounds to me like this is a shelter hell bent on the killing of pit bull type dogs – regardless of is they are pets or strays. I have seen shelters do this before – and there needs to be a good shake up at this shelter for what they have done. Do these families know about the other families that have gone through the same situation? Sounds to me like they should ban together and get an attorney and sue the hell out of the shelter! Maybe that will be the wake up call Char-Meck needs.

  14. My pets are my family! If i found my pet in these circumstances then employees of that shelter would have most certainly died that day!

  15. A reader comment on WSOC story with information re NC Freedom of Information Law, passed last year:
    “Dear Mr. Gibson, Very sorry for your loss. Don’t know if you are aware of the following case, less than one year ago in Charlotte Also, under the NC Freedom of Information law, passed last year, you or anyone can deliver an email or written request for copies of any/all records maintained at Animal Control databases, files etc. pertaining to your dog. This should include all intake forms, signatures, notations, or any other records, including screen-shots of database records. Email of public officials is also a matter of public record in case anyone tells you they don’t give out email addresses.”

  16. The loss of one’s pet is a terrible thing. But in this case, I see no mention of a collar or dog tag with the owner’s name, phone number etc. At the risk of offending, I propose that it is the OWNER’s responsibility to be sure the dog is properly tagged. Heaven knows, the dog can’t do it. So please, be a responsible owner. It’s really a very simple thing.

    1. I don’t keep collars on my dogs when they are at home due to the risk of injury/death. And yes, I realize it’s also a risk that they could get out w/no collar or tag on to identify them. I consider the choking to be a greater risk so that’s the choice I make. YMMV.

  17. I’m at a loss for words b/c I feel as though time and time again we keep telling these people to stop, we keep trying to make the public aware of what’s going on and I feel as though the people hear us but those in power choose to ignore us. It hurts me deep. It hurts me b/c these animals are left to suffer. It hurts because people are losing their family members. It’s not fair. It’s not that the pet parents aren’t taking neccessary precautions or dont have the responsibility it’s the lack of empathy and sympathy in these facilities. I pray that we get proper animal advocates in the system to change what’s going on. Until then we can only do so much but we wont stop until we get what we want.

  18. Mary Beth,

    I agree we need the right people with in the system to change it, believe me I’ve been trying to make changes at a no kill sheler and I’m just beating my head against the wall, it takes the voice of alot of people together to try to change the status quo and improve the lives of shelter animals. My hope is one day they really will be a safe haven on their journey to a new home.

  19. I don`t understand? So, he goes to the shelter saw a picture that looked like his dog but never asked to see the dog? This shelter has a licensing program and a micro chip program and he didnt try to register his dog ever? He doesnt check his gates to make sure they are secured? It sounds as if he played a role in this to me….The most important part in responsible pet ownership is the “owner”….would you not agree? I understand that he is upset, as I would be as well, but you can not count on government to wipe your ass b/c you lost something that cant talk, doesnt have id, and has four legs….it only helps if you help yourself!

    1. When he saw the picture of the dog that looked like it might be Diesel, he went to the shelter and asked to see that dog. That’s when they showed him Diesel’s dead body.

  20. I am asking for help. I live in Charlotte, NC. Although the first WSOC story about the needless killing of DIESEL has a number of comments, the follow up story, which details two more families and a total of four family pet pit bulls destroyed, has none. If you could take a moment to comment I would appreciate your help. So would DIESEL, RALOW, DEUCE and L’IL MAMA. Unless the media Kleig lights continue to shine on this agency there will be no change. It’s up to us.

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