Open Thread

This is the anything goes spot for all animal related links, comments, questions, updates, etc.

Pre-Announcement Announcement

I was going to wait until I had more info to share, such as a name and other important items, but I am too happy to wait.  So this is the pre-announcement announcing the arrival of a new beagley family member, who will be announced in more detail in an upcoming announcement.

This little girl was in a catch and kill pound which allows someone in to photograph dogs.  The photographer then sends out an e-mail with the pictures and that e-mail gets forwarded by various pet advocates.  Someone forwarded me the e-mail containing the beagle pic one week ago and with the help of some people I’ve never met, the dog was pulled, fostered and transported to within 90 minutes of me.  I picked her up yesterday.

The ride home.  Those toenails were trimmed shortly after arrival.

The ride home. Those toenails were trimmed shortly after arrival.

Her bones are sticking out, half her tail got left somewhere at some point and she looks generally like she’s been through the wringer.  But she is as gentle and sweet as can be.  She’s been sleeping in one of the beagle beds like she has never slept before in her life.  She’s only gotten up when it’s time to eat or to go out and potty.  We have a vet appointment today for a tune-up and an all points inspection.  You can count on seeing an update on this gal very soon.

Thank you so kindly to everyone who sent me beagles in need.  And of course to those who helped me get this sweet dog home.


I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Discussion: Catch and Kill Pounds

Among the many shelters which I refer to as pet killing facilities, due to the primary outcome for animals there being death, there is a sub-category of places I call catch and kill pounds.  Some people call them “kill only shelters”.  But there is nothing shelter-y about them.

Basically – and I am making generalizations here for the sake of brevity – catch and kill pounds are municipal facilities used to house stray pets for the legally mandated holding period.  The facilities typically have one or more ACOs who will respond to loose dog complaints, set traps for pets, and possibly pick up owner surrenders within the jurisdiction.  There is no pretense of sheltering these animals.  The pets are not marketed for adoption in any way and they may not even be photographed.  The facility is not generally open to the public and adopters wanting to look at pets would never know these animals were in need of homes.  Owners searching for lost pets usually have to track down the ACO personally and arrange a time to meet at the pound in order look at the animals.  There may or may not be any relationship with rescuers or other pet advocates within the community.  But really, who would want to volunteer at a place that makes no effort to get pets adopted?

In the state of NC, legislators took the time to write and pass legislation requiring municipal shelters to be open to the public and to make unclaimed pets available for adoption:

(a1) Before an animal may be sold or put to death, it shall be made available for adoption under procedures that enable members of the public to inspect the animal, except in cases in which the animal is found by the operator of the shelter to be unadoptable due to injury or defects of health or temperament. An animal that is seriously ill or injured may be euthanized if the manager of the animal shelter determines, in writing, that it is appropriate to do so. Nothing in this subsection shall supercede (i) any rules adopted by the Board of Agriculture which specify the number of animals allowed for kennel space in animal shelters, or (ii) the duration of impoundment established by the county board of commissioners, or the 72‑hour holding period, as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(a2) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person who comes to an animal shelter attempting to locate a lost pet is entitled to view every animal held at the shelter, subject to rules providing for such viewing during at least four hours a day, three days a week. If the shelter is housing animals that must be kept apart from the general public for health reasons, public safety concerns, or in order to preserve evidence for criminal proceedings, the shelter shall make reasonable arrangements that allow pet owners to determine whether their lost pets are among those animals.

And yet there are reports of catch and kill pounds in the state of NC which are not in compliance with the law.  With no state entity apparently willing to enforce the law, municipalities get away with running a pet killing operation on the taxpayers’ dime.  These are your public animal shelters.  The ones who claim nobody wants to kill animals, they’re trying their best, and that the public is to blame for shelter pet killing.

Are there any catch and kill pounds in your state?  Do you have a state law requiring animal shelters to be open to the public and/or to make unclaimed pets available for adoption?

(Thank you Lisa B. for the link.)

AL Pound Conducts a Mass Killing in Response to One Sick Dog

One dog at the Mobile County Animal Shelter in AL got sick over the weekend and on Monday, it was “obvious the dog had distemper” per the county spokesman.  Vets were reportedly consulted and 49 dogs who had been “exposed” were immediately killed.  These included dogs who had been adopted on the weekend, whose owners opted to return them to the pound after being contacted with what I imagine was a ZOMG – Plague! type phone call.

It is not reflective of standard disease prevention shelter practices if one dog in a shelter gets sick and 49 more are determined to have been exposed.  How does that even happen?  If the Mobile Co pound had been vaccinating upon intake across the board, utilizing routine cleaning practices and quarantining new arrivals, I don’t see how 49 dogs could have been exposed to distemper.  Moreover, exposure is not disease.  From the Koret Shelter Medicine Program info sheet on Canine Distemper Virus (CDV):

The most important factor in disease risk is vaccination: a “fully” vaccinated animal over four months of age is at very low risk of CDV infection. However, even incompletely vaccinated animals may survive a possible exposure.

But none of these 49 dogs were given a chance to prove they weren’t sick and/or were immune.  They were all needlessly killed by the county employees paid to protect them from harm.  It sounds to me like people are not doing their jobs at the Mobile Co pound and need to be replaced.  Pronto.  Before some other poor dog gets sick and another killing spree ensues.


Foster Pet of the Day

Senior male stray dog in need of help near Memphis, TN.  (photo submitted by Jamie H. Smith)

Senior male stray dog in need of help near Memphis, TN. (photo submitted by Jamie H. Smith)

Submitted by Jamie who writes:

This guy showed up at my house last Thursday night/Friday morning. With two dogs of my own, no fenced-in yard, AND having Tara Sue and her babies, I have nowhere to keep him. No owners came forward (he’s been shared on Facebook and listed as “Found” with the shelter, plus I’ve talked to just about everyone in my neighborhood about him).

He’s pretty emaciated and is not altered. He’ll need to put on some pounds before he can be neutered. He’s been wormed, but no other vetting.  I’m in North Mississippi.  Any inquiries can go to this email address –

Senior male stray dog in need of help near Memphis, TN.  (photo submitted by Jamie H. Smith)

Photo submitted by Jamie H. Smith

Slumblog Millionaire

This blog has always been and always will be free for anyone to read.  I do not accept advertising although WordPress does post ads in exchange for the free service.  There are however some expenses associated with the blog.  WordPress charges for such things as the ability to post video and file storage beyond the allotted amount that comes with the free service.  And on occasion I have to pay for FOIA requests.

In the past, I’ve created Chip Ins specifically for these expenses and I’ve paid some of them myself.  Today I wanted to try something different.  As such, you will now see a link on the sidebar that says Kick In for Blog Expenses.  It takes you to a page with the mailing address to donate any amount you wish to contribute.  My idea is this:  by keeping the page up year round, I can hopefully collect small amounts here and there to keep in an account which I can draw from when needed to pay blog-related bills.

I want to reiterate that the blog remains free to all.  You are not being asked to pay a subscription fee or anything at all.  But if you are financially able to kick in any amount and you feel inclined to do so, the information is there.

If I wind up short on the expenses, I will make up the difference myself.  If I have extra, I will hold on to it for future expenses (maybe even pay WordPress the ransom to kill the ads they put on here).  If someone kicks in $50 grand or their inheritance or something like that, I’ll quit my job and take up blogging full time!  In other words, I will use any donated dollars and cents responsibly.

No Animal Cruelty Charges Filed Against Owner or “Rescuers” of San Antonio Dogs

Last week, authorities seized 19 dogs from a San Antonio home that apparently had such an offensive odor, a reporter outside the yard was nearly gagging from the smell.  The dogs were reportedly malnourished and unsocialized.  Vincent Medley, assistant director at Animal Care Services, told the local news:

“They generally have not been walked on a leash.  Just given by their reaction at all once something is around there [sic] neck, they become very fractious. They’re not used to being around strangers.”

I am not an expert but reading that description of the dogs makes me think that the last thing I would want to do is to have a bunch of strangers approach them and put things around their necks.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the trained professionals did.  The video of the dogs being dragged and manhandled while they are terrified out of their minds is difficult to watch.  One dog, pinned to the ground with a chokepole, appears to have been injured by the device and is bleeding.  Another dog on a chokepole is shown being hand fed some sort of glop.  Yes, I said hand fed and chokepole in the same sentence.  So it’s ok to stick your fingers in their mouths but apparently they posed too much of a threat to do anything other than drag and otherwise injure them to get them off the property.

The dogs reportedly lived in a 7 by 7 foot room where they ate and relieved themselves.  The owner, Michael Hernandez, was arrested on unrelated warrants but animal cruelty charges may be filed.

If a judge, at a hearing in the next 10 days, determines Hernandez was cruel in his treatment of the animals, the man will have 30 days to appeal.

ACS is prepared to care for the animals for 40 days.

The pound is asking for potential foster homes to visit its website.  I took a look and didn’t see any pleas for the seized dogs but did find this page about fostering for ACS in general.  I imagine loads of people from the community will be lining up to foster these dogs after seeing the trained animal handlers on the news apparently so fearful they felt obligated to abuse the dogs.

(Thank you Arlene for alerting me to this story.)

MA High School Boy Continues Search for Cherished Pet Despite City’s Failures

Zach Gentile, a high school student in Revere, lost his dog Emily on December 19 when his mother accidentally let her out unattended.  He searched the neighborhood for many hours but couldn’t find his beloved pet of nine years.  The next day, he called Lisa Cutting whose kennel is contracted by the city to house stray pets.  Ms. Cutting advised the young man that police had received a call from a man who reported finding Emily, but the dispatcher didn’t bother getting the man’s name or phone number.

Mr. Gentile called the police himself.  They told him to call the city’s ACO, which he did.  But no one has helped him.  He has continued to search on his own and to put up fliers in the area.

Ms. Cutting spoke to the city council a year ago about the numerous failures involving lost and stray pets in Revere.  She told the council that healthy, owned pets who had been picked up after getting lost from their homes have been killed by the city due to the lack of police communication with the owners.  Nothing has apparently improved in the past year although when confronted with the Emily story by the local newspaper, the police threw them a bone:

Revere Police, upon learning more about the situation, told the Journal that they are revisiting the idea of making a clear policy for lost or abandoned animals – a problem they were told of more than a year ago by Cutting.

While they are revisiting the idea of having a policy, maybe they could help Mr. Gentile look for Emily.  Pets are family.  Animal services=family services.  How sad it is that the Revere police need a written protocol to tell them that when someone calls in to report finding a lost family member, they need to do better than meh.

(Thank you Anne L. for sending me this link.)

AL Shelter Volunteers Charged with Animal Cruelty

Two young women in AL, described as volunteers at the Walker Co pound, have been arrested and charged with 23 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty each.  The charges stem from a report made to police by one of the volunteers’ family members, with whom she lived.  The family member told police there were dozens of live dogs at his home, all brought there from the pound by the volunteer, and approximately 50 dead dogs in trash bags on an adjacent property.  Authorities seized 23 dogs from the home and killed 7 of them due to their medical conditions.  The women have not been charged in connection with the dead dogs and are currently jailed on a $6900 bond each.

There are two additional news clips on the story here.

I tried searching online to find what, if any, connection exists between the current Walker Co pound and the now defunct Walker Co HS but was unable to find any information.

(Thanks Clarice for these links.)

Foster Pet of the Day

Tiger is an adoptable cat in New York City.  (photo submitted by Anne Davis)

Tiger is an adoptable cat in New York City. (photo submitted by Anne Davis)

Submitted by Anne who writes:

I pulled a cat off the kill list at the NYCACC a week before xmas because a woman in VA said she wanted him. After he was delivered to me the potential adopter backed out. Now I have this cat in my tiny apt. with 3 other cats. He is so sweet, healthy, mushy lovebug, neutered 3 yr. old who loves other cats. I love him but due to space and finances can’t keep him. I just want to make sure Tiger ends up in a wonderful, cat loving home with another playful cat. Tiger is very playful and affectionate.

Tiger in NYC (photo submitted by Anne Davis)

Tiger in NYC (photo submitted by Anne Davis)

Anyone interested in learning more about Tiger should e-mail Anne.