Treats on the Internets

Surry Co pound in NC bans volunteer for sharing photos she took of pets deemed “unadoptable” by the pound.

A pair of ACOs in Blountville, TN were charged with animal abuse this spring and the pound has made changes, including privatization, in order to win back the public’s trust.  Here’s the money quote:

Marcia Horne runs the Bristol, Va., animal rescue organization Siberian Husky Assist. She has seen some positive changes at the shelter since SBK [the non-profit] took control of the facility.

“I think they are doing a good job,” Horne said. “It’s certainly not any worse than it was.”

Jefferson Parish pounds in LA threatening to kill pets due to having 15 more dogs than the 85 the shelters are designed to hold.

“Excitable” dogs at the Albuquerque pound were being drugged with an “herbal compound” to alter their behavior.  (Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Two Memphis police officers are being investigated in connection with the disappearance of a Pitbull.  They were allegedly seen with the dog in the owner’s yard immediately before the pet went missing.  (Thank you again Clarice.)

Ancestors of our pet dogs were “hypercarnivores”, consuming more than 70% meat, according to a recent scientific analysis.

30 thoughts on “Treats on the Internets

  1. Re: Jeffereson Parrish: I am getting very concerned that shelters reaching out to the media to reach out to the public for help when they’re overcrowded is becoming “threatening to kill pets”. This is one thing shelters SHOULD do, and continually do, to drive more traffic to shelters so they can move more out safely. It’s frustrating when shelters get blasted for this because far too many don’t even try and just kill quietly…at least they’re making an effort.

    1. The choices are not limited to:

      Threaten publicly to kill pets.


      Kill quietly.

      There are other reasonable options which are consistent with no kill and which I support. For example, reaching out to the public, saying that the shelter has received a large influx of pets due to [insert circumstances] and asking the public to step up and adopt or foster.

      I consider the threat to kill pets to be violent in and of itself. I don’t support this tactic.

      1. Can’t seem to post a reply to out thread above — but I would argue that the shelter actually is doing the right thing here. They lowered adoptions fees to $12 for adult dogs, they promoted them as positive adoptables, but that they were overcrowded due to record intake. They didn’t write the headlines on this, and the media seems to always take this angle. It’s one of the risks of doing this through PR vs advertising (which not everyone can afford a lot of, especially in large cities). I’d argue they did this pretty well and will likely save enough animals to not have to kill any because of it.

      2. The director is quoted in the article, regarding the issue of killing pets due to increased intake:

        “It’s something we don’t like to do because what that means is an adoptable dog may have to be euthanized,” Beaulieu said.

        To me that seems clear enough. It’s not the media spinning something. The director is making the threat to kill animals while tossing in the old “no one likes to kill pets” myth.

        Even if they adopt out every animal in the place, they were never in a position where they “had to” kill any pets. No shelter is. Killing is a choice.

      3. Apparently there is no way for them to win. They did almost everything right. Reached out to the media and the public for help. Promoted the dogs positively. Offered discounted adoptions to encourage immediate public support. And becaue the media picked up on one 8 second soundbite out of what was most likely a 15 minute interview they’re getting criticism for it.

        They did a lot more right than wrong in this one…but there is no winning. Heck, even if they save them all with this, they still didn’t win.

      4. Shelters “win” by doing their jobs well – providing good and loving care for pets and adopting them out.

        They can also “break even” by just doing their jobs – providing a minimum level of care so as to prevent suffering and adopting pets out.

        Shelters “lose” when they kill – or threaten to kill – pets.

      5. Seems like there is no winning for the shelter. They did a lot more right than wrong here: reached out to the media for free PR, promoted the animals in a positive light and reduced adoption fees to encourage adoptions. However, during the course of a likey 10-15 minute interview, the shelter director said 8 seconds worth of something about eutanasia, and it got used by the media. It just saddens me to see shelters that even when doing most things right still getting blasted for “threatening to kill” — even if they are successful in saving them all this time. Seems like you can’t win, even when you’re doing things mostly right.

      6. “Shelters “win” by doing their jobs well – providing good and loving care for pets and adopting them out.”

        That’s actually what they’re trying to do here.

      7. You are speaking as if you have additional information regarding their intent. I have no additional information that would allow me to form an opinion on this shelter’s intent beyond the fact that they are threatening to kill pets they are supposed to be sheltering.

      8. To the contrary. I have the same information you have –but I’m assuming that by reaching out to the media, asking for help, and lowering adopting fees that they have good intentions of saving lives. Having done more than a few of these types of TV interviews I can assure you than NONE of them have ever turned out exactly as I would have intended, and headline writers always go for the extreme and shocking. So I guess based on the same information you have I’m assuming their intentions are good (and having a lot of experience here, I anticipate it will have the desired effect of saving lives) while you’re assuming they’re bad.

      9. Threatening to kill shelter pets is bad, yes. Attempting to soften it by adding in the “nobody likes to kill” myth is also bad. Just because they are doing their jobs (by attempting to attract adopters via media and running fee specials) does not give them a pass on the threat to kill pets. Doing their jobs is the minimum I expect from any shelter and that minimum includes protecting pets from harm. Part of protecting pets from harm means the shelter doesn’t threaten to harm the animals themselves.

      10. I’ve said my peace, but will throw one more thing out there. Shelby County, KY is a shelter that has been No Kill for about 3 years — so I think we can all trust that they are passionate about not killing and believe in No Kill. But two weeks ago they were full beyond capacity and reached out to the media for help. Here are a couple of the stories that ran about Shelby County:–160587125.html

        The news stories are amazingly similar to what happened in Jefferson Parish.

        Should we criticize Shelby County for “threatening to kill”? Or applaud them for doing everything they can to not kill?

    1. I can’t think of any other municipal service that, when caught by the police, is held to a bar so low as to be “not any worse than it was”.

  2. To your roundup, I hope you don’t mind if I add a link to a horrible story I just posted about an employee of the Person County (NC) pound hosing down a very sick shih tzu with cold water and then leaving him to shiver in the puddle:

    The dog has been rescued and is fighting for his life at the vet.

    Thanks to the brave rescuer who went public with the story and photos–she may never be able to pull from the Person County pound again but she’s willing to risk that to get things to change.

    1. Lisa, that is a horrible story. I’m glad your post named Kay Farrell. As unbelievable as it is that she would do this to an animal, it’s equally incredible that she is adoption agent/volunteer coordinator, with the power to turn away adopters and volunteers.

      1. The rescuers I know who pull from this pound say she is a horrible, cruel person. I think she needed to be named and I’m grateful that one of the rescuers wanted to go on record with this.

  3. So many bad stories, including the shih tzu w/ the hose, to hear in such a short time. Also, it is eye-opening considering we spend so much time focused on MAS so when we hear about a bunch of other shelters it kind of wakes you up like “yeah, we still have a lot more work to do”.

  4. Here is another dog in a similar situation to Lennox. I’m not sure where they live, but I suspect it’s also in the UK by her British spelling of certain words.
    This is from Google+. Maybe you can check out his FB page….

    Petition Save Duke »

    This is petition for Save Duke. Join the movement! Sign now!

    Jeanne ODell6:57 PM
    From what I read Duke is in a similar situation as Lennox. Usually you can tell if the petition is legit if they show the info of where and who they are sending the petition. I will look into this more and let you know what I find. Duke does have a facebook page.

    Jeanne ODell7:07 PM
    This is the statement the Grandmother has wrote on Facebook:

    Hi all, Please take time to read this statement from Alison Smillie. Duke is my grand-dog, our court case is coming up soon, I would like to tell you all what has happened but feel because he belongs to my son and because I do not want to jeopardise any chance that we may have of getting him home I cannot divulge any info that may have an adverse reaction in court. As you will understand we are very very upset and worried (especially today with poor Lennox and his family), all I can really say is on 25th April at 6am we went and picked up Jon and Duke from their home and went for a long walk around a country park where Jon and Duke normally go, and then went to a meeting point arranged the day before with the police, to hand Duke over, naively believing that he would be examined and returned soon after, ever since our lives have been put on hold, going through the motions of everyday life but all the while constantly worrying about Duke’s welfare, (I really don’t know how Lennox’ family have managed to hold it together with such dignity and grace for so long), I know this has really turned my son’s world upside-down, he is completely lost with-out his boy. Every night before I go to bed I ask the angels, spirits and Gods of all religions to hold Duke, to comfort him and tell him that we love him and we are doing all we can to get him home.
    We have had lots of help, kindness and support from Nik at Cooper and Co, an amazing animal behaviorist Sarah Fisher, Chris from Custom ink and Sian from DDA watch as well of course from all of you.
    We would ask you to refrain from coming to the court or using any intimidating tactics, we believe (maybe naively) that the facts should be enough to get Duke home with Jon where he belongs.
    I hope this helps a little bit, and once again thank you to everyone for all your support. xx

  5. The shelter in Shelby County, KY has been saving a lot of animals (90%) for about three years now, yet they threatened to kill shelter pets when they became over crowded. Which you feel is wrong.

    I would think that they must know a think or two about moving animals into homes by now so why do you think they had to threaten now? What should they have done instead of threaten?

    1. I can’t speak to why the person there made the threat. But as for alternatives: reaching out to the public for assistance by explaining what the current crisis is and how people can help, running fee specials and/or other adoption promotions, making use of traditional media and social networking sites to help spread the word, expanding the shelter’s foster network, etc.

      1. I just want to note though that any time you reach out to the media (which is an important component of this) you are at the mercy to some degree of how they decide to frame the story. It never turns out exactly like you want it to — which is why I’m hesitant to throw stones at organizations based solely on a media story if they at least appear to be doing a lot of things right.

      2. Let’s be clear. If someone is quoted as saying anything along the lines of “If people don’t adopt, we’re going to kill these pets”, that’s not media spin. If someone is misquoted, a correction should be requested from the media who got the quote wrong. I don’t run a shelter but I’ve done a number of interviews and I know people can get quotes wrong. I let it slide if it still conveys the same general meaning. One thing I would not let slide is if someone quoted me as threatening to kill shelter pets when I said nothing of the sort. I would think anyone committed to no kill would feel the same way. In the absence of a correction, I take the quotes as they are presented. Therefore, I don’t see this as a case of media spin but rather a shelter threatening to kill pets.

  6. On that Albuquerque shelter drugging dogs, I happened to know about that months ago, when one of those dogs was transferred to another shelter I work with. As it was new, I researched his meds and ran it through several vets, private vets who donate time to shelters. We saw no issues or concerns.

    Yes, there is overcrowding as they are open admission and that has spiked upward in the past few months. But I’ve seen the staff and volunteers working overtime to try and help.

  7. I guess I’d rather not criticize a shelter that is busting their ass trying to save them and when resources are used up elsewhere, reaches out to the media for help and is honest about their situation. Maybe they do need to work on how they answer the question “what happens if people don’t come and adopt?” — but their answer is the reality for the majority of open admission shelters out there — and what they are trying to do is prevent it from happening.

    1. “their answer is the reality for the majority of open admission shelters out there” – and that’s the reality I’m committed to changing. Because it’s a cruel reality based on the false presumptions that there aren’t enough homes and killing is an option. Part of that commitment means calling out those who kill and/or threaten to kill shelter pets.

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