Hoke Co Animal Shelter Rescue Fail

Kathy Hynes, a rescuer in Raeford, NC, saw an emaciated Pitbull chained to a tree in someone’s yard last month while she was out walking her own dog.  She and a person who lived next to the emaciated dog went to the magistrate’s office on March 9 to file cruelty charges against the owner.  A subpoena was issued (but never served) on March 9.  AC was notified of the dog’s plight the following day and took him from the yard to the Hoke Co Animal Shelter.  According to shelter records, his weight upon intake was 52.5 pounds and his temperature was 101 degrees.

Ms. Hynes repeatedly offered to pay for vetting for the dog, whom she named Ray, but the shelter refused her offers.  She visited Ray on March 30 and found him shivering in an outdoor run in the rain with heavy winds and temperatures in the 40s.  When she called the following day to check on him, a shelter worker told her he’d been vomiting for days.  Ray was taken to a vet later that day:

Medical records for April 1 showed Ray was not eating, was losing his balance and had vomited in his kennel earlier that day. His weight was 49.6 pounds – a loss of nearly 3 pounds since he had arrived at the shelter. His temperature was 92.9 degrees.

According to the medical records, Ray died April 2, after passing blood from his rectum.

Records indicate the cause of death was possibly heartworms.  Yeah, possibly.  Also possible:  severe blood loss after being stabbed by a unicorn.

The dog was in the shelter’s care for 3 weeks with an offer to pay for veterinary care.  Had the shelter accepted this offer and/or had they made sure a dog with no body fat was protected from the cold, Ray might be alive today.  These are no brainers and wouldn’t have cost the shelter any money or manpower.  Letting the emaciated dog sit there, shivering in the cement floor outdoor run, vomiting while an offer for vetting was on the table is inexcusable.

Ms. Hynes complained to county manager Tim Johnson as she had offered to pay for Ray’s vetting and the shelter should have cared for him humanely – providing him with adequate shelter and making an effort to keep the emaciated dog warm:

Johnson said he takes exception to some of Hynes’ accusations.

“When you look at the pictures of the dog, that dog was in pretty rough shape when it got there,” he said. “This dog was taken from a home for cruelty. I can’t help but think that, looking at the pictures, it was in really rough shape when we got it.”

Also, he’s investigating the matter.

Let me gaze into my Crystal Ball of Stupid and see if I can guess what the result of this investigation will be.  Ah yes, coming clearer now:  Dog would have died anyway.  Also, heartworms. And also, also:  not in any way our fault.

15 thoughts on “Hoke Co Animal Shelter Rescue Fail

  1. Sounds like similar mentality at Memphis Animal Shelter. My heart goes out to Kathy Hynes who wanted to do the right thng and tried but when you are dealing with that kind of mentality (Hoke County AS), it’s a losing battle. Has the media gotten involved- what about the Mayor? That sickens me that Ray died when he could have- should have- been saved!

  2. if the dog was in really rough shape, then teh humane thing would’ve been to euthanize it- instead of letting it suffer for 3 weeks.
    so not really an excuse

  3. I have to wonder how much the breed affected Hoke’s approach to the situation? Would they have treated him the same way if Ray were a Maltese? Doubtful.

    Does Hoke have a vet on staff? Did they think to bring the dog to a vet? Lots of steps missed here bigtime. Looks like criminal neglect to me – if the owner had treated the dog like this, you could bring charges. Maybe that’s what we need at Hoke.

    Such a difference between this and the story of Patrick, the NJ Pitbull.

  4. You know, being stabbed by a Unicorn horn is terrible way to die. I shiver at the thought…seems Ray did too. (I think that is why Unicorns are now extinct, what a blessing!)
    My condolences to Kathy, can she take legal action? I hate it that once Animal Control is legally responsible for an animal, the public has NO recourse as to it’s care or fate. That is WRONG.

  5. I ran a County Animal Control Division. We took in dogs like Ray-sadly, far too often. We medicated, treated, fattened up, prosecuted, and, after getting legal possession of the dogs and returning them to health, got them homes. IF they were too far gone and keeping them was cruel we documented and then euthanized-and still filed charges. No excuses here-if he lived three weeks he could have made it.

  6. Wait, wait, wait! Let me get this straight…

    The “shelter” was “….Letting the emaciated dog sit there, shivering in the cement floor outdoor run, vomiting while an offer for vetting was on the table.”

    And if a private citizen had done this? With witnesses? What would happen? Charges of Cruelty you say? Hmmm. I hope someone sues these clowns over this poor dog’s death!

  7. This is why, should I ever see an animal in distress, I would think twice about going through the proper channels.

    Such a shame, because that is what they’re supposed to be there for.

  8. Beyond unexcusable…ESPECIALLY when she offered to pay for all the vetting. The owner that let the dog get in this poor shape should be prosecuted, the shelter failed to treat him and should be prosecuted….

    When a private citizen notes neglect and contacts the ‘proper authorities’ and they fail to do right by the dog – where do you go from there? Obviously – if they are investigating themselves – nothing will come of it – the blame will ALL go back to the previous “owner” that they confiscated the dog from.

    When we can’t even trust our Animal Control to do ‘the right thing’ for the animals – where CAN we turn for PROPER help in these cases? Sadly when it comes to pit type dogs it seems almost as if all ACO’s seem to not care enough about helping them save – because, you know, there are already so many that can’t find home so why save yet another one that may or may not be able to be rehomed? That’s a BS line – and one I am sick of hearing!

    Is this yet another “shelter” suffering from compassion fatigue, or just stupid syndrome? I just don’t ‘get it’ when you have someone willing to pay the bills and still do NOTHING. At least they didn’t take her money and still do nothing…that’s probably the ONLY good point from this story. But to have a County Manager making excuses that the dog was in bad shape when it came in – isn’t it their JOB to fix the problem? Even when we have someone offering to pay the vet bills – there is NO excuse for letting the poor dog sit there in an OUTDOOR run and suffer for THREE WEEKS and do nothing to help it. Sadly – she would’ve been better off stealing the dog and caring for it herself!

    I have always been on the fence when it comes to Animal Control dealing with animals – some are stellar and wonderful, while others just plain suck. Makes me think we’d be better off NOT having ACO’s and just having the SPCA handle cruelty cases because historically they have at least acted like they give a shit!

  9. “not in any way our fault”.. you forgot to add.. “the PUBLIC is at fault”…poor dog.. so sad

  10. Fortunately, yes, the local media (Fayetteville Observer) has become involved in this story. Here is a link to their story:


    I met Kathy just a couple of weeks ago. She was on the rescue end of a Pilots N Paws flight I was doing for a senior lab mix (Vanilla). Kathy took Vanilla in to give her a new chance at life. The story has also been picked up by examiner.com at the link below and this story has been linked to a number of places across the web.


  11. sad, seems like most of animal control workers dont have a heart for the animals…so tired of seeing abused animals just in the wrong hands…stupid government

  12. Sounds like the poor dog might have lived a little longer if left with his horrible owner.

    This animal control did wrong. More people there are working on shelter reform. Time for a new leader that actually cares about animals.

    This is way some people just steal the dog off the chain or out the yard. They know that animal control will not do right be the animal.

  13. Maybe it would save them a lot time if they knew the smokescreens don’t always work. I bet most of the documentation could come from this blog. It might also help them to read the news and they might notice a movement in this Country to take back control of the actions of our government officials at every level. You work for us and sadly for you, compassionate people that are concerned about the plight of other living beings seem to be fairly literate and well versed in the election process.

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