Shelter Pets of the Day

Submitted by Jody Fisher, who writes:

Apparently these dogs were taken from a home on 10/17. The owner has been charged with various crimes. Thank goodness, none of his crimes involved animal cruelty. The Department of Homeland Security headed up this investigation and it was one of the very kind DHS officers who let us know about these wonderful dogs. What he said touched me deeply: “Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our official duties that we overlook the victims. These dogs deserve another chance.” It is so refreshing to know there are such compassionate officers out there!

The due out date for these dogs was 10/23.

Ona and I met 2 of the pits on Thursday. At that time, we didn’t know about the gorgeous brown dogs (not sure of breed). We took pictures and video. The female pit is so sweet- made me sad to have to leave her. The male was sweet too. Both dogs are not hyper and just absolute loving dogs. They will make such great pets to any family. I went back yesterday and saw all 4 dogs. Both pits were so happy to get physical attention – they nuzzled up against the kennel door to be petted. The other 2 dogs wagged their tails but had such sadness in their eyes. You could tell they were more confused and so scared… They walked slowly toward the front of their kennels to greet me – they just wanted to feel safe.

Please share these 4 dogs with anyone and everyone! And the DHS Officer is to be commended for wanting to help these dogs and making sure James Rogers has a hold on them. Yes, Mr. Rogers told the officer he put a hold on these dogs so we could help find them homes… I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth, let’s just get these dogs out of there.

Female #247560 at the Memphis pound.

(All videos and photo by Jody Fisher.)

Memphis Animal Services
2350 Appling City Cove
Memphis, TN 38133
Phone: (901) 636-1416
TTY: (901) 636-1416

This shelter’s kill rate was 70% for January – September 2012.

Retaliatory Pet Killing at LA Shelter

We often hear excuses from shelters as to why they “have to” kill pets – overcrowding, people won’t spay and neuter, etc.  While we know there is no justification for killing healthy/treatable pets on an ethical basis, and we know the same to be true in practical terms as evidenced by the dozens of open admission no kill shelters all over the country – the killing continues and the excuses persist.  But to my mind, there is one group of shelter pets that no pound can attempt to justify killing:  pets who have a person – an owner, rescuer, foster, adopter or colony caregiver – willing to take them.  After all, nobody wants to kill pets, right?

In too many cases, animal shelters kill pets rescuers are willing to take as a form of retaliation for criticism of shelter practices.  Last month, a rescuer went to the Iberia Parish Rabies and Animal Control Department in LA in order to pay the fees for a Great Pyrenees.  The staff refused to release the dog.  The rescuer pressed the staff for an explanation and finally was told the dog was sick.  No problem – the rescuer offered to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.  Still the staff refused.  The shelter director, Mike Stockstill, was not in the building.

Since this happened on a Friday and the rescuer knew that Tuesday was the regular kill day at the Iberia pound, she left to make a call to a rescue group for assistance.  The rescue representative called the shelter within 40 minutes to confirm that the dog would indeed be taken to a veterinarian and his medical expenses would be covered.  By the time that call was made, the shelter staff has already killed the dog.

The shelter director “said the dog had blood in its stool and was vomiting bile.”  Neither of these symptoms represents a medically hopeless condition.  In fact, dogs often vomit bile when they are hungry – a condition which can be cured with a bowl of food.  But in this case, there was no need to guess because there was a rescuer at the front desk with cash in hand, willing to take the dog to a vet for immediate treatment at no cost to the pound.

I believe this was a retaliatory killing – payback for criticism of shelter practices from the rescue community.  The director explained the killing as follows:

Stockstill said he later talked to the employee who refused to adopt out the dog.

“He said, ‘Mr. Stockstill they have threatened us so much. They have criticized us to such a great extent about adopting animals out that were not healthy, and this animal was no longer healthy, (so) I told them that it was no longer adoptable,’ ” Stockstill said.

I see no other possible interpretation of this killing except retaliation.  You criticize us for adopting out sick dogs, we kill a sick dog you want to save.  Maybe next time you won’t criticize us.  The message could not be any clearer had the rescuer woken up with a severed dog’s head on the pillow next to her.

No one at a shelter should have the discretion to kill pets rescuers are willing to take.  This is why we need rescue access laws like CAPA in every state.  Because retaliatory pet killings happen at shelters.  And there ought to be a law.

The director at the Iberia pound offers his version of a solution to this type of situation:

Stockstill said the volunteers should push the Iberia Parish Council to give more money to the shelter, so it can more vigorously pursue animal adoptions. He said the animal advocates should present a “legitimate proposal” in writing, which the council can act on.

I guess animal advocates should do the director’s job for him if they want him to adopt out more pets.  Which he’ll only consider doing if they get him more money.  Got it.  The only part I seem to be missing is how getting volunteers to do the director’s job and getting him more money will put an end to his sanctioning retaliatory killings at the pound.  Or have any impact on a shelter environment in which the staff would even consider the possibility, let alone act upon it, that retaliatory killing of pets whom rescuers are willing to save is A-OK.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me the link to this story.)

Treats on the Internets

Hernando Co, FL has proposed an AC ordinance that criminalizes feeding stray animals, designates pet owners as “kennels” based upon number of dogs relative to acres of property, thereby subjecting them to at-will inspections, and prioritizes cat killing at the pound for “overcrowding”:

(1) Sick, diseased, or injured;
(2) Feral;
(3) Unadoptable.

I could find no definitions for “sick” or “unadoptable”.  There is quite a bit more to this proposed ordinance, just as troubling, and definitely worth your time to investigate if you live in Hernando Co.  You may also wish to attend the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 at 9:00 a.m to make your voice heard regarding the ordinance.

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A bit of insight into why dogs continue to starve at Memphis Animal Services, perhaps?  In 2009, a Memphis police officer whose job was to respond to animal cruelty calls was charged with animal cruelty herself for starving her dogs.  She was fired but later rehired and promoted by MPD.

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The trial for former Memphis Animal Services veterinarian Angela Middleton is scheduled to begin today.  She was one of three people charged in connection with the 2009 raid on the pound.

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A shelter in NM has given away 15 Pitbulls to screened adopters this month.  This prompted PETA to post an action alert because natch, PETA would prefer to see the dogs in its walk-in freezer, in a Piggly Wiggly dumpster, or being killed on live television (which this same shelter also does) rather than being given away for free.

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Video of Canadian consumer protection group reporting on the chicken jerky treats associated with illness and death in Canada and the U.S.

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The Kansas City Zoo was fined by the USDA for allowing a 13 year old chimpanzee to starve to death.

Open Thread

Anything goes – links, updates, questions, etc. – as long as it is animal related.

Savannah Chatham Animal Control Under Fire; Pets Left Voiceless

The Savannah Chatham Animal Control facility is facing criticism from a number of area animal professionals, one of whom is a veterinarian who has worked at the GA pound:

“They’re hoarding,” said Dr. DeAnna Douglas in an interview Thursday. “There’s a lack of enrichment, poor sanitation, they’re not providing preventative care.”

While the complaints by Dr. Deanna Douglas are valid in the sense that sub-standard care is unacceptable, the underlying theme of her affidavit seems to be that the pound should be killing more, which is obviously never a solution.  For example, Dr. Douglas states in her affidavit that although “pet adoption is a worthwhile cause”, the pound must function primarily as a dog catcher facility if it is to uphold its mission.  This is representative of the outdated “catch and kill” model of animal sheltering.  She further complains that pregnant dogs are “often exempt from euthanasia” and allowed to whelp in the isolation ward where the families are kept for 5 – 6 weeks in runs covered in urine and feces.  The former – that pregnant dogs and their unborn puppies are allowed to live – is not the problem.  The latter is.  Dr. Douglas seems to imply that killing would be better than forcing the pups to live in unsanitary conditions but this is a false choice.  There are other options available.  Keeping the runs clean comes to mind as one alternative as does partnering with the community to foster pregnant pets.

Dr. Douglas makes one point very clear:  The local rescue group known as Friends of Animal Control Team Savannah (FACTS), enjoys the unique privilege of keeping its animals housed, fed and cared for by the pound.  And they are able to have taxpayers foot the bill for the care of these animals for an indefinite period of time ranging from months to years.  Meanwhile, Dr. Douglas has killed young, healthy animals by request of the pound for “space” when their mandatory holding period expired.

Why would FACTS be allowed to have the public pay for the sheltering of its animals at the local pound?  I don’t know but some wonder if it has to do with FACTS’ founder, Diane Abolt, being the spouse of County Manager Russ Abolt.  A state inspector at the pound on September 13 pulled a cat’s cage card which was incomplete, at best:

Image of cat cage card at Savannah Chatham Animal Control as appearing in the state inspection report from 9-13-2012. (click to enlarge).

The inspector cited the facility for its shoddy record keeping after spending hours trying to determine who this cat was, how long he’d been there, where he was going or anything at all:

Portion of the Savannah Chatham Animal Control state inspection report from 9-13-2012. (click to enlarge).

The inspector gave the pound a week to get this cage card sorted but:

On a return visit the following week he found the same card reading “Diane’s cats x 3,” prompting him to cite the shelter for “willful disregard.”

The inspector’s findings seem to reaffirm Dr. Douglas’ concerns about the indefinite rescue holds placed on pets at the pound:

In his comments on a Sept. 5 inspection he wrote: “It was also observed that some of the kennels were tagged with the names of some of the local rescue organizations. I asked about this and it was relayed to me that some of the organizations tag some of the animals as theirs and place the animals under their license — also receiving the adoption fees. The holding period set by the county allegedly does not apply to these animals and some may stay housed in the shelter for extended periods of time.”

During a meeting of the Chatham County Commission on October 19, the county manager had nothing but praise for his wife’s rescue work:

“She’s the Mother Teresa of dogs and cats,” Russ Abolt said.

Angie Koban, an area professor and shelter volunteer recently detailed her concerns about the conditions and lack of protocols at the pound in a letter to a local paper.  Like Dr. Douglas, Professor Koban paints a false picture that animal sheltering choices are limited to hoarding and killing.  While we know this to be incorrect, her observations are nonetheless noteworthy:

Because [the facility] is understaffed, the cages are not cleaned properly and do not get cleaned more than once a day.

[…]

I have seen many animals (especially puppies and kittens) living in a cage full of animal waste.

[…]

It is proper protocol to have sick animals or animals newly arriving at the facility residing in an isolated area. I have witnessed these animals being randomly placed into empty cages, or more often, with another animal. Without an isolation area, it is impossible to stop the spread of disease and the dogfights that ensue when random animals are placed together. […]  One of my volunteers, Kyle Adams (AASU student and CCAC volunteer), reported to me that a dog was brought in after 5 pm and was placed into a kennel with a dog that had been at the shelter for a while. The following morning, staff found that the new dog had attacked the first dog, creating fatal injuries.

[…]

Also, the exceptionally long holding periods of dogs being held by F.A.C.T.S are inhibiting the proper movement of animals and therefore creating a backlog of space.

[…]

In order for my students to enter the facility to provide enrichment, they must sit through a lecture by a CCAC volunteer, Mrs. Diane Abolt, the unpaid Director of Volunteer Operations and Director of F.A.C.T.S., who does not have formal animal sheltering experience (to my knowledge). While this volunteer is in charge of all volunteers at the facility, there does not seem to be (i.e., she does not present anyone with) an official protocol for volunteers or employees that addresses: 1. How dogs are consistently handled when they enter the shelter, 2. How volunteers and employees are to interact with the animals, 3. How cages should be washed, 4. How dogs should be fed, 5. How cats should be handled, fed, etc., 6. How animals are arranged, etc., etc.

The state inspector echoed the concerns about improper housing:

“Sick animals should be housed separately in such a manner as to reduce the spread of communicable and/or infectious disease,” inspector Scott Sell wrote in his report.

Calling the facility “a jewel,” Russ Abolt said the only outstanding issues raised by the Department of Agriculture were structural ones.

[…]

County officials say they’ve addressed the inspection problems and are making plans to improve the shelter long-term, including the six-month hiring of a part-time veterinarian approved by the Chatham County Commission Friday.

I don’t see how hiring one part-time vet for 6 months is going to solve any problems at a shelter with no protocols, no separation between county money and a county official’s spouse’s rescue group, and no one advocating for putting in place the proven programs of the No Kill Equation.

The county manager thinks the place is a jewel.  The loudest advocates are framing the only choices as hoarding and killing.  The community pets in Chatham Co have no one advocating for their most basic right:  the right to live.  I don’t think Mother Teresa would approve.

Action Alert Regarding Abuse of Pets at Memphis Pound

For those wanting to write letters and/or make phone calls regarding the ongoing abuse of pets at Memphis Animal Services, I have included relevant contact information and links below.  It is more effective when elected officials hear from their constituents but if you live outside the area and want to make your voice heard, be sure to let officials know you will not vacation in Memphis while pets are being abused at the city pound.  As always, keep your comments polite and respectful.

Office of Governor Bill Haslam
1st Floor, State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243

Phone: (615) 741-2001

e-mail:  bill.haslam@tn.gov

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Office of the Attorney General and Reporter
Robert E. Cooper Jr.
P.O. Box 20207
Nashville, TN 37202-0207

Telephone: (615) 741-3491
Fax: (615) 741-2009

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Your Senators are:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R)
Clifford Davis-Odell Horton Federal Building
167 North Main Street, #1068
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 544-4224
Fax: (901) 544-4227

Sen. Bob Corker (R)
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510

Phone: 202-224-3344
Fax: 202-228-0566

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Most Memphians are represented in Congress by Steve Cohen (D) but many in East Memphis are represented by Marsha Blackburn (R).

Steve Cohen
The Clifford Davis/Odell Horton Federal Building
167 North Main Street Suite 369
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 544-4131
Fax: (901) 544-4329

Marsha Blackburn
7975 Stage Hills Blvd.
Suite 1
Memphis, TN 38133

Phone:  901-382-5811
Fax:  901-373-8215

Shelby County residents who live outside Memphis can find their congressional representatives here.

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Find your state legislators here.

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Memphis City Council
125 North Main Street,
Room 514
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone: (901) 576-6786
Fax: (901) 576-6796

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If anyone local is planning any form of action on behalf of the pets at MAS, please leave a comment.

MAS Continues to Starve Dogs; Puppy Cannibalizes Littermate Out of Hunger

This is a difficult story to tell.  It is the story of 2 puppies, impounded by MAS along with 4 others (whose outcomes are unknown), who are both now dead.  The details are horrifying but must be shared if there is to be any hope of justice.  In my view, justice for the deaths of these two puppies would be nothing short of immediate arrests, criminal charges, and a complete overhaul of MAS – starting with the state Attorney General placing the facility into receivership, as we requested more than a year ago.  This ongoing crisis of suffering, neglect and needless killing at MAS must be met with swift and decisive corrective action.  It has gone on far too long.

Puppy #245825 at the Memphis pound.

On September 4, 2012, a Memphis animal control officer responded to a call from a school reporting puppies on the property.  The ACO impounded 6 puppies, including dog ID #245825 and #245826, who were listed as 4 month old Lab mixes.  On September 5, both pups were dewormed and vaccinated.  Each weighed a little over 14 pounds.  Both pups had the note “nasal discharge” entered into their medical histories on September 17 but no weights were recorded.

On September 13, an adopter expressed interest in puppy #245825 but MAS would not release him without a background check and a yard inspection because, although his medical history says Lab mix, and his littermate’s records say Lab mix, puppy #245825’s cage card says Pitbull mix.  And MAS has special adoption requirements for Pitbulls.  There are no notes indicating those tasks were ever completed.  On September 19, the would-be adopter was phoned and advised that the puppy she wanted had been found dead in his kennel that morning.

In fact, the two pups had been caged together and one ate the other.  Puppy #245826 ate his littermate’s face, trachea and esophagus as well as his shoulder.  Someone with initials RC, presumably the MAS vet Rebecca Coleman, performed an examination on the remains of the partially eaten puppy and found he was very recently deceased and not suffering from an upper respiratory infection.  The final notes are:

Cause of death undetermined.  Body was cannibalized post-mortem.

There is no way of knowing whether this puppy was dead when the littermate ate him and I see nothing in the the records that supports this conclusion.  He was not sick and in fact, there is no known cause of death.  This conclusion seems irresponsible, at best.

Dr. Coleman then killed puppy #245826 marking “behavior” and “health” on the card.  She performed a necropsy on this puppy, noting that portions of the other puppy were readily identifiable amidst the stomach contents.  His body condition score (BCS) was 1/5.  Anyone who has sat in a vet’s office looking at posters on the wall probably knows what a BCS of 1 looks like (see an illustration here).  It indicates an emaciated animal. In an apparent contradiction, she also notes the pup had “good fat” under the skin and around the internal organs.  The fat around the organs is among the last reserves to be used in the case of starvation.  And the “good fat” beneath the skin is inconsistent with an emaciated puppy although the mere presence of fat in no way indicates the puppy was being fed enough.

In a paper by Melinda D. Merck DVM called ANIMAL CSI: AN INTRODUCTION TO VETERINARY FORENSICS IN THE INVESTIGATION OF ANIMAL CRUELTY, there is a section on starvation:

On post mortem exam you need to note the loss of external and internal fat. The body consumes its own fat stores and muscle protein for nourishment in the state of starvation.The external fat is used first; then deep organ fat (pericardial and perirenal fat). The bone marrow fat is the last place to be used and when low it is indicative of starvation. A Bone Marrow Fat Analysis can be performed at Michigan State University. Normal range is 50-60% and in starvation cases it can be as low as 0-10% though a normal value does not rule out starvation. Even if an animal is decomposed or most of the internal organs are gone due to insect activity it is still possible to get enough bone marrow for testing. BM fat can become rancid with time but freezing will preserve the fat for up to a year. This test costs $8.00 and with results in a few days.

Cannibalism may be seen in cases of starvation. This will occur when an animal dies and the other live animal is suffering from severe starvation and has no other source of food.

Why didn’t Dr. Coleman send off for this $8 test?  Is it a coincidence that she noted the external fat along with the perirenal and pericardial fat, just like what Dr. Merck suggests an investigator should look for in starvation cases?  I would posit that there is no coincidence.  I believe that because Dr. Coleman cooperated with authorities during the 2009 raid at MAS in which Dr. Merck necropsied dogs and determined they were starved, she knew exactly what to put in the report to deceive anyone who might ask questions. But there is no mention of the bone marrow fat and no $8 test.

Dr. Coleman noted “partially digested dog food” in the stomach as well.  I believe this was noted in an effort to prove the dogs were being fed by MAS.  Obviously they were not being fed nearly enough since one puppy ate the other one.  The weight of the puppy at time of death is conspicuously absent from the necropsy notes.  I believe that was done intentionally so that the records would not reflect the weight loss in what should have been a growing puppy.  There is a weight on the kill card that says 18.4 but the amount of Fatal Plus used is more than would be necessary for a dog of that weight.  The method is “IC”, presumably intra-cardiac, which by law requires a sedative although no sedative was apparently given.  Is anything on this kill card accurate?

Puppy #245826 at the Memphis pound.

There is no doubt in my mind that these puppies were starved at MAS.  I know of no 4 month old Lab/Pitbull mix puppy who would eat the face off a littermate unless he was starving to death.  And I will never believe there is any puppy who is going to walk away from his bowl of kibble in order to pick apart his dead littermate’s trachea.  Furthermore, a 4 month old puppy simply hasn’t been alive long enough to have manifested such bizarre aggression, if that’s what Dr. Coleman was implying when she circled and X’d “behavior” on the kill record.

I believe Dr. Coleman killed the other puppy to dispose of evidence of animal cruelty and to make the records seem as if the whole incident was a mysterious behavioral aberration.  I have no idea if she acted alone or was directed to cover up this wrongdoing.  But I think it merits an investigation.

A kill card with questionable entries, no $8 test, no recorded weight at necropsy – why?

This is no isolated incident.  Dogs have been starving at MAS for years.  There are currently 3 former staffers charged with animal cruelty for starving dogs at MAS in 2009.  We’ve seen evidence of the staff’s failure to feed pets on the security camera video.  Some of the volunteers tried appealing to management about this issue.  There have been complaints about court case dogs being starved during their lengthy stay at the pound.

Memphis city leaders continue to turn a blind eye to the abuse at MAS.  Local advocates can not seem to get true reform efforts off the ground.  But somebody needs to do something.

Impeach Mayor Wharton.

Fire shelter director James Rogers and veterinarian Rebecca Coleman.

Fire every worker who was supposed to be feeding these puppies from September 4 until September 19.

Criminally charge everyone connected with the starving and death of these two puppies.

Place MAS into receivership so no more animals have to suffer and die in this abomination of an “animal shelter” while the good ol’ boys pat each other on the back.

Posting angry comments online is not going to cut it.  A candlelight vigil won’t stop these monsters from preying on more defenseless animals.  Please somebody, anybody in Memphisdo something.  Get in the face of someone who has the power to stop this cruelty and don’t take no for an answer.  Don’t send an e-mail, leave a phone message or make an appointment for next month.  Get in someone’s face and talk until they listen.  I’ve got your back.  Let me know if you need help.  I will do anything within my power.  Please just tell me someone is doing something.

“We will not tolerate the abuse of any animal.” (HUGE asterisk)

The Horn Lake Animal Shelter in Mississippi holds an animal control contract and has an ACO to investigate crimes against animals and help bring those responsible to justice.  The shelter is only open on weekdays and anyone needing help with an animal when the shelter is closed is directed to call the police department:

Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  You may reach us at 662-393-5857 during those hours.  After hours EMERGENCY ONLY call Horn Lake Police Department, 662-393-6174.

On Sunday, the Commercial Appeal ran a story about 3 individuals who had starved and neglected dogs.  All 3 were brought to justice with the help of shelter staff who indicated their commitment to ending such crimes against pets:

Animal Shelter director Frances Williams added, “We will not tolerate the abuse of any animal. We will pursue the maximum penalties and fines that can include jail time up to six months on each count.”

On Tuesday, ABC24 aired a piece in which Frances Williams admitted abusing a dog at the Horn Lake shelter.

Bentley, a German shepherd mix, has been kept unfed with a cover over its cage since Wednesday, October 10. Shelter Director Francis Williams says Officer Lynn Brown told her to do it to break the dog of his aggressive behavior.

“I’m trusting Officer Brown – Officer Lynn Brown – and his method,” she said.

Williams admits she was told to stop feeding the dog, and he was given a little food on October 15.

“The dog is not starving, the dog is very healthy, he’s not thin,” said Williams. “Dogs, from what I understand, can survive several – 2, 3, 4 weeks without food.”

So apparently the standard of care at the Horn Lake shelter is whether a pet can survive the abuse inflicted upon him by Ms. Williams.  Thankfully, another employee refused to participate in the mistreatment of Bentley and blew the whistle.  As a result, she lost her job.

Officer Brown says everything is groovy because someone was watching Bentley suffer:

Brown said while he wasn’t a certified trainer, he has trained hundreds of dogs for police agencies and the military.

“There was no cruelty because the dog was being monitored, still had water, still had shelter and was being watched. And he was fat anyway.”

And fat dogs are excellent candidates for archaic deprivation methods to “break” them.  Because fat.

Although Ms. Williams appears to be offering some sort of Nuremberg Defense, WMC-TV reports that Officer Brown’s boss is uninterested in the case, at best:

Horn Lake Police Chief Darryl Whaley says Brown is a K-9 handler with the police department, and has also trained animals in the military. But Whaley says he does not know what prompted the shelter to take the officer’s advice.

“He was asked for advice on this day. But at the end of the day, we don’t have anything to do with the shelter,” said Chief Whaley. “He was a police officer, either on duty or off duty, and did not have any oversight over them. Not in the same division, so if they chose to follow the advice then so be it.”

So be it.  And if Officer Brown tells Ms. Williams to “break” a toddler of bad behavior through severe deprivation methods, so be that too, I guess.  Apparently it’s a free-for-all under Chief Whaley’s watch in Horn Lake.

Horn Lake is a suburb of Memphis, TN.  Thank Ponies I don’t live there.  Can you imagine finding a hungry stray dog in Horn Lake that you do not personally have the resources to feed and shelter?  I don’t think you’d want to call the Horn Lake Animal Shelter.  Or the Horn Lake Police Department.  And I don’t see driving the dog over to MAS as an option either.

If you want to contact Chief Whaley and encourage him to fully investigate this case, send a respectful e-mail to dwhaley@hornlakepolice.com

The Mayor of Horn Lake is Nat Baker and his assistant is Andrea Mullen.  If you choose to contact them regarding the employment of Frances Williams as director of the city shelter, please keep your comments polite:

To contact the Mayor or Mrs. Mullen you may call 662-342-3502 or e-mail amullen@hornlake.org

Meanwhile, can anyone in the area get Bentley away from the people who are abusing him?

SC Shelter: Hookworms, Plague – eh, what’s the diff?

When a dog is infected with hookworms, the adult worms produce eggs in the intestine which are expelled with the dog’s feces.  Once on the ground, the eggs hatch and develop into larvae.  The larvae can survive in the soil, provided temperatures are above freezing, for only a few months while waiting for a new host.  They can enter a new host by burrowing into the feet or skin that touches the ground or by being ingested when a dog eats soil containing the larvae.

Hookworms are very common in pups (mama dogs can transmit them to the puppies before birth) and in stray pets.  Luckily they are easily treatable with non-prescription dewormers.  Many of the packaged heartworm medications also contain the medicine to kill hooks.

Shelters should expect that many of their pets will have hookworms.  Bleach is effective in preventing eggs in the environment from developing into larvae.  With routine deworming upon impound and standard cleaning practices, having dogs infected with hooks does not present a serious problem for shelters.

When an Horry Co man had to go out of town on business for 10 days, he arranged for someone to look after his pair of 4 month old puppies.  During this time, the pups escaped from home and animal control picked them up.  The person looking after the pups and the owner both called AC many times trying to find out where the pups had been taken.  In fact, the pups had been taken to the Horry County Animal Care Center where they were killed after 5 days because, although no one is claiming the puppies were sick, both had blood in their stool and one of them tested positive for hookworms.

Horry County Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier gave misleading information about blood in the stool/hookworm infestation to the local NBC affiliate covering the story:

“The type of health issues that these two puppies were displaying that actually infect the general population so these two puppies were actually euthanized,” Bourcier said.

And she deflected blame from the shelter that actually did the killing to the owner who didn’t have ID tags on his his 4 month old puppies or have them microchipped:

Bourcier said if proper identification had been present, it would have been easier to find the proper owner.

Then, natch:

Bourcier said this is a good time to raise awareness on how important it is to get pets spayed or neutered.

Right.  Had these 4 month old puppies been neutered, the monsters at the pound wouldn’t be so effing ignorant about common intestinal parasites in pets.

Owner Frank Jones was so devastated after learning his puppies were killed, he went to the hospital, feeling as if he was having a heart attack.  But he’s not giving up.  He has vowed to continue attending county council meetings until somebody takes action.  And he’s got a reasonable suggestion that would help owners find their lost pets who have been taken to the pound:

Jones wishes there was some sort of social media displaying when a person’s animal is picked up by Horry County.

“Why can’t we have an amber alert? My poor dog Peanut, I wanna see a Peanut alert. I wanna see every time they pick up a dog, I don’t see why they can’t put it on a web site and show the picture of it,” Jones said.

I don’t see why either.  Because nobody wants to kill animals, right?  Making a little effort to help get pets back home should be a no-brainer.  Unfortunately, no-brainers seem to hold leadership positions in Horry Co.

Bourcier said there are several efforts to alert the community when a possible pet is picked up by Animal Control.

The Horry Co Animal Care Center does have a Facebook page, but it doesn’t appear to be very active so I don’t think she’s referring to that.  The shelter’s website has some animals on it but the listings appear to be outdated so that must not be one of the “efforts to alert the community” either.  I can’t tell if the pets they have on Petfinder are current but their page says:

We accept all types of animals and never refuse to accept an animal that needs a safe place to go to in Horry County.

Gee, that’s great.  They accept any animal who needs a safe place to go in Horry Co.  But where is this safe place located and why weren’t Mr. Jones’ 2 puppies taken there?

When is National Not-So-Feral Cat Day?

Who is the best unsocialized kitten marked for death at a euthanasia class but saved by Shelby Co No Kill Mission instead?  Everyone KNOWS it’s Shirley T!

An update from Kelly on how kitteh’s socialization is going:

Shirley T now calls out for me and BEGS for can food.  Oh….and she sure LOVES her bed and her naps!!

I too demand canned food from my bed but sadly, I am ignored.

If you are interested in being at Shirley T’s beck and call, apply within.