Crowley, LA Adoption Event Today

Note:  I looked on the pound’s Facebook page to confirm the specifics on this event but all I found was a bunch of drama.  I am posting the information below based on a mention in the piece on KATC.  If anyone knows anything further, please leave a comment.

Where:  Tractor Supply, 204 Odd Fellows Rd, Crowley, LA

When:  11 am

Cost:  $25 per pet but sponsorships available, just let me know if you need assistance!

Who:  All the pets remaining at the Crowley, LA pound which must close down due to a criminal investigation regarding animal cruelty involving one of the workers (now fired).  Here a few from the Facebook album:

Belle, an adoptable dog in Crowley, as pictured on Facebook.

Rebecca, an adoptable dog in Crowley, as pictured on Facebook.

Mama dog and puppies for adoption in Crowley, as pictured on Facebook.

An Officer and a Gentleman

Reason #84 why the animal shelter system in this country is broken:  The people given enforcement powers regarding animal cruelty are in some cases committing cruelty themselves.  And when they get caught, the good ol’ boy network minimizes the crimes and does its best to sweep the mess under the rug.  In the case of Michael Edwards, the Crowley, LA shelter employee accused of killing and dumping dogs outside the city, the mayor says:

“Horrific, from the stand point of a former employee, a gentleman that was terminated Tuesday afternoon and then went on a little bit of a tear,” said Crowley Mayor Greg Jones.

The “gentleman” who “went on a little bit of a tear” allegedly broke into the shelter after being fired in order to kill and mutilate more dogs.

Mr. Edwards had been working at the shelter since March and apparently had some sort of pets-check-in-but-they-don’t-check-out type scheme going:

Crowley Police Chief K.P. Gibson said they believe roughly a dozen more dogs were killed at the hands of Edwards and disposed of outside of the city of Crowley.

[…]

“One thing is the animals that were micro-chipped and discovered were logged as coming in and not going out, meaning to an owner, being adopted or even being euthanized the proper way,” explained Gibson.

Logged in, not logged out.  That sounds pretty clear to me.  And raises questions regarding everyone else associated with the pound, including the director who is presumably in charge of overseeing the welfare of the pets who are checked in but not checked out.  As in, those animals should be in kennels with someone signing off on cleaning, walking and feeding them every day.  But the mayor has an explanation for that too:

“At this time we think he was doctoring some of the paper work,” he answered.

No he wasn’t.  Logged in, not logged out.  A point that was underscored yesterday when the police chief talked about the discovery of the 3 beheaded dogs:

“The other three animals, all dogs, were listed as being taken into the shelter but had never been listed as returned to own / released, thus the belief that they were still alive prior to the supervisors discovery” stated Chief Gibson.  [emphasis mine]

And then there’s the issue of numbers, which KATC explains as:

A point of clarification on this story: Thursday night, two independent sources, close to the animal relief effort, told us more than 200 dogs had been killed. Friday, Chief Gibson and Mayor Jones both said that number it is closer to 15 to 20 dogs killed.

Gee, there’s a discrepancy for ya.

So apparently Mr. Edwards allegedly killed 15 – 20 or maybe over 200 dogs, and they were logged in but never logged out in the shelter records but he was doctoring paperwork so maybe they were logged out but no one else, including the director, knew the guy was a psycho, or maybe he was a gentleman and a pretty swell guy who just got a bit miffed after being fired so chopped off some dogs’ heads for his first act of animal cruelty ever.  Got that?

Due to the criminal investigation, the remaining animals need to be adopted out.  They will be sold for $25 each at Tractor Supply in Crowley on Sunday, starting at 11 am.  If anyone is in the area and needs financial assistance with the adoption fee, please leave a comment.  I will do anything I can to help get the pets away from these people.

The shelter is expected to reopen in one week with the same director running the place.

Updated: LA Shelter Employee WANTS to Kill Animals

The city of Crowley, LA operates an animal shelter separate from the parish facility.  Police are currently investigating the city shelter and have reportedly charged an employee with animal cruelty.  The staff member is accused of killing hundreds of dogs “over an extended period of time.”

Details are few at this point but beheaded dog carcasses with microchips from the Crowley pound have reportedly been found in multiple locations.  It sounds from the report like the employee may have gotten wind of the investigation and figured the jig was up so he allegedly broke into the pound Wednesday night in order to kill 4 more dogs.  One last hurrah, I guess.

The shelter is open today in an effort to adopt out the remaining animals although it’s unclear how long the shelter will be shut down while police investigate.

I will update this post if additional information becomes available today.

(Thank you Arlene for sending me this link.)

Update:  Police have identified the shelter employee (now fired) as 50 year old Michael Edwards.  He has been charged in connection with the discovery of the remains of 10 – 20 dogs who were “disposed of improperly and cruelly”:

Edwards was arrested Thursday evening and charged with 5 counts of Obstruction of Justice, 3 counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and 1 count of Malfeasance in Office.

Loving Companion Will Need New Home

Ollie, at home in Memphis.

This special pet was submitted by Claire, who writes:

Ollie was rescued from Memphis Animal Shelter in October of 2010.  Her human, who loves Ollie with all her heart, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and has been told by the doctors that she has approximately 3-6 months left to live.  She has found homes for her cats and her other dogs, but not yet for Ollie.  She is desperately hoping for the right home.

Ollie is about 3 years old.  She tested positive for heart worms last winter and has undergone the treatment.  Her last follow-up to make sure she is negative is due in 2 weeks.  Her shots are up to date. She is a Husky/Schnauzer mix with one blue eye and one brown eye.  Ollie is incredibly loyal-she has been by her human’s side through chemo and all the illness that means.  She sits right by her human all night long, because she knows that her beloved human is sick.  

Her dream is to find a home for Ollie before she dies, but to have Ollie stay with her until the end.  She would like someone to come and meet Ollie a couple of times, and to be prepared to pick her up when her human is gone. Ollie loves cats and other dogs, has lived with both, and does well.  She is the alpha dog and needs a good, loving, strong human to help her understand the rules.  She knows “sit”, “lay down” and “stay.”  She likes children, but can be very playful so no small children would be recommended. 

I will happily facilitate the adoption if anyone in the Memphis area thinks Ollie would be the perfect dog for them.  Ollie’s mom is my dear friend and I would love to be able to help her.

If you are interested in meeting Ollie or would like more information, please leave a comment here.

Name That Animal, with a Twist

Please read before you make a mad dash to the comments section to type CAT.  This week, I’m posting a photo of a famous person holding a pet and what I’m looking for is the actual name of the cat (e.g. Tiger).  Bonus point if you can name the person which, if you know the cat’s name, you probably can.  The only rule is: no researching.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments later today.

Why One Dog is Currently at a Shelter in MA

As I stated yesterday, we don’t often know the stories behind why pets end up in shelters.  There is a Westie called Sadie in a shelter in MA today whose story we do know:

A Massachusetts couple boating on a lake drowned after jumping into the water to rescue their dog, who survived.

Sadie was taken to the local municipal shelter and is supposed to be given to a family member, according to WaPo.

While I am not implying that every pet in a shelter today is there because she was loved so much that the owners gave their lives trying to help her, I am saying that this is Sadie’s story.  And to my mind, it’s not a stretch to believe that some of the other pets in shelters right now also had people who loved them very much.  They weren’t dumped, they aren’t damaged goods, and we should not smear the unknown people who brought them there for reasons unknown to us.

Stop Condemning Those Who Bring Pets to Shelters

When shelter staff and volunteers say a pet was “dumped” or otherwise smear the surrendering party, they are delivering a double blow to the animals:

  1. Adopters perceive shelter pets as damaged goods (you dump trash, right?).
  2. People don’t want to face the judgement of shelter staff and so may not bring the next pet in need of rehoming, or an injured or loose pet they find, to the shelter.

People who bring pets to a place called ANIMAL SHELTER are doing the right thing.  They may need a hand up via education or assistance but since they’ve already arrived at the shelter, they’re in the right place for that.  Taking pets in need to the shelter is what we want people to do.  And it’s why we spend our tax money to keep shelters open.

If we discourage people from bringing pets to the shelter by unloading our judgement on them, they will seek alternatives, many of which we won’t like.  And if we continually refer to shelter pets in the same way we refer to trash, people are going to find other sources when looking for a new pet, many of which we won’t like.

The truth is, we don’t know why many pets are brought to shelters, what their backgrounds are or whether their previous owners loved them dearly, not at all or anywhere in between.  So why not start with a clean slate and just consider that the shelter is where the pet is now, and a loving home is where she needs to be as soon as possible.  Dogs and cats seem to be very good at living in the moment and not dwelling on the past.  Maybe we can follow their example.

***

This issue is a pet peeve of mine, which I’ve written about before, but it won’t seem to go away.  Many of the people who are truly dumping pets in our society work in pet killing facilities, sometimes adjacent to the city landfill for convenience.

Dog #106356 at the Cumberland Co pound in NC, as posted on PetHarbor.

Shelter Pet of the Day

Submitted by Laura.

I’m posting the video for this lovely dog since the photos don’t do her justice.  Her name is Scrappy.  She’s 13 years old and the shelter is giving her away for free to anyone who will provide her with a loving home.

Prince Georges County Animal Management Division
3750 Brown Station Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

301-780-7200

Closed Sundays and Thursdays

This shelter’s kill rate for June 2012 was 35%.

Advocacy at Home

This morning I met with my county administrator regarding the local pound.  The county contracts with a non-profit group to run the pound.  That group is warehousing and killing roughly 3 out of every 4 pets in its care.  I went to advocate for no kill and get a sense of the county administrator’s stance.

Using the No Kill Advocacy Center’s guide for advocates, I put together 3 brief pages for the meeting.  It was hard to leave out the other 877 pages of things I wanted to cover but the guide says not to bombard officials with info so I didn’t.  It was a good call since the administrator said, ‘I’m a bullet point guy” when I handed him the folder.  The three pages included information on the No Kill Equation, questions I’ve been unable to get answered regarding the pound’s annual stats and the following:

Comparison:  Marquette Co, MI/Kershaw Co, SC

Population:  61, 694/61,697

Median income, household:  $35,548/$38,804

Percent of families below poverty line:  6/9.7

In 2011, percent of pets returned to owner:  14/3

In 2011, number of pets adopted/transferred per 1000 people:  22/18

Note:  Marquette Co adopted 1342 animals and transferred 36 to other shelters/rescues.  Kershaw Co adopted 688 and transferred 452 to other shelters/rescues.

In 2011, number of pets adopted (excluding transfers) per 1000 people:  22/11

In 2011, Kershaw Co killed 73% of the dogs and cats that entered the shelter and returned only 3% to their owners.  By comparison, Marquette Co, a rural county in MI with similar demographics to Kershaw Co, has an open admission shelter which euthanized 5% of its pets in 2011 and returned 14% to their owners.  Where Kershaw Co adopted/transferred 26% of it pets, Marquette Co adopted/transferred 74% and it did so at half the cost of what an average shelter spends.  Warehousing and killing pets is unpopular, unethical and expensive.  We can do better.

Thanks to the No Kill Advocacy Center’s guide, I was prepared for the administrator’s likely responses.   And, almost as if he’d read the guide too, he brought them all, including:

  • Kershaw Co isn’t progressive like the other communities you mentioned.  We don’t have MSN laws like they do.  People here drown kittens in the creek.
  • The non-profit group does a good job.  Nobody there wants to kill animals.
  • There are many places in SC doing worse who would love to have Kershaw Co’s kill rate.
  • The county is doing its part – we gave them more money.
  • We have to follow the law.  State law requires us to hold animals for 5 days and that’s what we do.

I explained that the programs of the No Kill Equation operate within existing state laws, that none of the 50 open admission no kill shelters in the U.S. serve communities which have MSN, and that SC law doesn’t require that pets be killed after 5 days, just that they be held for that period so their owners can reclaim them.

I also touched upon increasing community involvement by putting an end to pet killing, opening the shelter when people can get there to adopt (currently it’s only open for 3 hours on the weekend), participating in offsite adoption events, and I stressed the 100% failure rate of MSN everywhere it’s been enacted.

So although there were some negatives, I would call the meeting overall positive.  For one thing, he didn’t throw me out and kindly let me talk for 40 minutes.  For another, while the administrator doesn’t believe no kill is possible here, I didn’t go into the meeting expecting to immediately win hearts and minds and in fact, he did state he was open to saving more animals.  And he recommended a county councilman I should meet with so I’ve got a foot in the door there.

I will be following up with the administrator, sending him a bullet point list of 10 things the pound could implement today to save more pets.  My hope is that if I can start the ball rolling, other local advocates will pick it up and run with it.  Watch this space.

 

 

Discussion: Marketing Shelter Pets

Dog #0772760 at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg pound in NC, as pictured on Petharbor.

Are there one or two aspects of marketing shelter pets that you consider to be the most important or should every small detail related to marketing be considered essential?

To my mind, if a member of the public can see it, it’s marketing.  By that I mean to include such things as the cage housing the pet, the information on the kennel card, and obviously the actual pet.  In addition, there are numerous aspects of online marketing including any photographs, write-ups and pleas regarding the pet.

Is there a minimum a shelter should do in order to market a pet?  For example, present a clean pet in a clean cage to visitors and post a quality photo of the pet online?  Are small details such as the selection of a name for the pet significant?  Should shelters be considering all aspects of marketing as equally important?  Where do strategies such as offsite adoptions and crossposting to multiple websites fit into the equation?