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.


30 thoughts on “AL Pound Conducts a Mass Killing in Response to One Sick Dog

    1. Animal lovers and anyone with a conscience and heart are outraged by this; there is a mass protest planned on Saturday morning in Mobile, AL The MCAS has been a killing field for years and the employees seem to enjoy murdering innocent animals; the County Commissioners have turned a blind eye to this outrage; and the ‘shelter’ has actually banned respected and successful rescue groups in the area because they “take up too much of the employees time”.

  1. And here’s what really cheeses me off: the initial dog came in on Jan 2 and started showing symptoms on the 26th. The incubation period for distemper is usually about 3 to 21 days, so there is a very good chance that his illness could have been prevented by vaccination on intake.

  2. Just another day at a kill shelter. This breaks my heart. Especially for those lucky dogs who actually were adopted – made it out alive- and then brought back to be murdered.

  3. GREAT POINT on the Maddie’s Fund Connection. I’m in shock. LITERALLY. I have vet partners – and shelter vet partners that have never even SEEN a case of Distemper in 20 years of practice. Even IF they really thought every one of these dogs was going to come down with the dreaded “D” – many adopters will take the dog anyway and see the vet for watchful waiting! Once an adopter loves a dog – they many times are VERY committed to it no matter what. NOW? These same adopters may never enter a shelter again. They will be totally freaked out about erroneous information and it will spread like wildfire. It SUCKS.

  4. Who ever runs thus place should be fired. Precautions were not in place and there was no need for a mass killing. Awful, but not shocking because of the location.

  5. No idea WHAT to say! Even if they were not vaccinating on intake, odds are a significant number of the dogs there, espeically adults, HAD been vaccinated at some prior time, before ending up in a shelter or pound, and have immunity.
    however, KarenJ, I don’t know what part of the country you are in, that vets haven’t seen distemper in so many years, unfortunately, that isn’t as it is everywhere….vets here do still see it pretty regularly, though not near as much as in the past, but, most cases involve casually bred unplanned litters of pups, and quite often people do seem to think because we don’t hear so much about anymore, it isn’t a problem, and don’t relize there is still need for vaccinations. We also have a still very potent reservoir of distemper harbored in our wildlife population here in Texas. Several years ago, my daughter near here had an incident, her dogs had a raccoon ‘treed’ in her fenced garbage can storage area, it was obviously sick, not acting right. she called the game warden, who came and captured it and took it for examination (we also have rabies here in wildlife) and they gave her the results, it was canine distemper. Thankfully her own dogs were vaccinated. so distemper is certainly still around.

    1. HI Jenell – I’m in Middle Tennessee. 3 years as a compassionate AC Director in 2 counties – I’ve only had two confirmed cases of Distemper. I may be lucky – along with my partner vets – or we may just not have it significantly right now.
      We have Parvo in spades since the 2010 flooding…and the Tick Borne Diseases are one of the major issues here with our animals and humans.

      I THOUGHT I had a Distemper epidemic last year when I first took over at Montgomery County AC/Clarksville, TN. For 6 or 7 years the building had never been thoroughly cleaned or ventilated, and never used vaccinations. Every animal was killed on day 3 and 7 breeds were killed on intake. So there was simply NO awarenss of illness. It was horrible. When I immediately started “keeping” animals and vaccinating we had a blow up of what looked like Distemper. Eye/nose discharge, lethargy, vomiting & some quick death. Several rescues and I sent necropsies & titers to national labs. What we had was a Super Bug Kennel Cough, overgrowth of Ecoli in some animals RESPIRATORY systems, & several confirmed cases of Pneumonia, & two of Canine Influenza. The county thought we should close and kill. We closed – but cleaned furiously – ventilated – installed dehumidifiers – tested more – and got rescues involved. It got us over the hump with minimal loss of life.

      I’m not surprised at the Raccoon with the Canine Distemper. Although I know some Vets who wouldn’t believe it. When UT Knoxville published their TN rabies stats for 2011 – Canine Rabies has mutated to Equine…& Equine Rabies to Humans. I’ve had Rabies “exposure” in my titers – but never have I been around a dog or cat with a confirmed case of rabies. But at some point I was exposed. I’ve had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease at the same time as two of my dogs.

      Distemper – no real experience except those two cases. Neither of the dogs survived it – though we tried. Many old school Vets say to kill any animal showing signs. Safety of the herd, duty to public health & that all Distemper survivors have serious neurological issues at midlife.

      1. Can you please move to Macon, Ga and replace our Director. She came from Mobile. Vaccinate upon intake! What a novel idea. It is horrible here,

  6. According to a snippet of the description of a Youtube video posted on a friend’s FB page, they didn’t even wait for the test results to come back (I haven’t viewed it yet so can’t verify) –

    Crap like this has been happening at this shelter for awhile, and late summer last year, they banned the best rescue group they had pulling dogs from there. Also new is their claim they do not have non-adoption policies for certain breeds, but there is a sign on their wall saying they will not adopt out pits, chows and wolf-hybrids over 3 months of age. You can read more on SouthBark’s FB page (

    One of my notes from 2011 gives a bit more background info on this shelter. It’s not a lot of info since it was geared to the petition linked in the note.

    For additional info on the shelter and all the issues, you can contact SouthBark. Email is on the about page.

  7. What are you people thinking these pets diddnt have to be killed you can treat distemper are you that stupid i guess you are i would like to lock you up and let you see how these pets fill being caged and not knowing what is going on stop this thay diddnt need to die………

  8. In addition my friend Shane Smith who has an upcoming show on the Animal Planet just reminded me he offered to do a *pardon* as he has done in other shelters – where he promises to get all the pets out over a specified period of time (usually over a couple of weeks to a month) and they agree to let him and they turned him down! So I think we can surmise there are some places that can’t claim they don’t want to kill!!

  9. And now there is talk of a de facto bully breed ban at that facility. I’m not sure what difference it makes if they are so readily willing to just kill every animal there. It is a disposal facility so let’s not pretend it is anything more than that.

  10. My understanding of the article I read about this is that they killed all the cats as well. Even though they cannot contract the disease from the dogs. Sounds like just an excuse to kill them all, clean the house out and be rid of what they had there. Obviously they didn’t care about the animals in their facility!

  11. Thank you Yes Biscuit for covering this! The rescue groups down here in Mobile will not stop until the County Administration fires the person responsible for this and hires a compassionate director. This “shelter” has a $1 million annual budget and a very nice building, however, the leadership is indescribably pathetic. Read this other story that occurred right around the same time as the slaughter. This is yet another example of how nauseating the situation is down here:

  12. Thank you for posting this! There are protests planned this Saturday, Feb. 2nd. One protest is at 10am in front of the Mobile County Animal Shelter (Tanner Williams Road).
    Also, two Mobile County Commissioners are currently investigating the incident. They need to keep hearing from everyone and will respond. (Mobile County Commissioners Connie Hudson and Jerry Carl, Jr)

  13. The only way to stop the barbaric practices in this shelter is for every animal lover in this county/state/country to make noise. A whole lot of it. The ruthless history of animal abuse at the ‘shelter’ has been going on for years. This taxpayer funded shelter refuses to work with rescue groups because they “do not like to have to answer the phones” after rescue groups post pictures of death row dogs. Carmello Miranda, the director, lacks the compassion needed to run any business involving animals. Connie Hudson county commissions email address is
    Knowing that the eyes of many around the country are focused on her just might help her to decide that it is time to make some big changes at this shelter and relieve its gas happy director. So send her a little note and let her know we are all watching and waiting for change.

  14. Those of us who live in the Mobile area and are involved in rescue and/or other animal related professions…I am a groomer, I and several of my staff members are involved in rescue…have been aware for some time of the horrible way this shelter is being run. Concerned people have been trying for a long time to get something done, to get rid of the shelter director who thinks he has infinite power, and to get rid of the shelter employees who think they can decide who gets to even see the available dogs and who doesn’t. Last week a young lady in Mobile needed to run some errands…as she left her apartment her 5 month old kitten apparantely sneaked out the door as she left and she didn’t know. A few hours later when she returned and couldn’t find him, she realized what must have happened and began looking for him outside…neighbors soon started helping her but they had no luck…the next day she put up flyers around hoping that would help…soon another neighbor called and told her that he and his wife had found the kitten at their door but after a couple of hours they took him to the shelter…this young woman immediately went to the shelter thinking she was going to get her kitten back because they were supposed to hold newly turned-in animals for 7 days…when she got there the staff was rude to her, said that no one had turned in a kitten like that, etc…she didn’t give up and finally a man came out and told her that the kitten had been brought in but was in a live trap and the person who brought him said he was a feral cat…without even checking to see whether the cat had been neutered,,,he had,,,they put the kitten down…1 minute after they took him in. The woman’s boyfriend finally got the paperwork from the shelter and that’s how they found out. Her neighbor told her that he did NOT take the cat in a live trap but walked in with the little cat in his arms. The entire staff need to be fired starting with the director…there are many more stories like this about the county shelter…my business is located in a town in Mobile county but my husband and I moved across the bay to Baldwin county, a place that is much more pet friendly. .

  15. As someone who is owned by my dogs… I don’t own them… I am appalled by what happened here. I will be at the protest Saturday, and will do my best to support putting this KILL Shelter out of business.

  16. It seems suspiciously convenient that the distemper hysteria required them to kill 49 other dogs at such a busy time of year when the intake of dogs is especially high… this is heartbreaking.

  17. Thank you for helping us make more people aware of the situation. I am a member of the rescue organization, SouthBARK, that was banned last August. We have been fighting for change at this shelter for years, but until there are enough people involved, showing that they care, they will continue to label us as animal rights crazies. This so-called shelter is a killing field for animals. The government officials in charge have found it easier to attack our rescue group than to implement change.

  18. You obviously are not educated enough on animal sheltering and/ or shelter medicine to give an opinion on this subject, much less advise. I, on the other hand, have many years experience and I’m of the real animal welfare advocates that do not euthanize for population control; however, your reckless comments are so very far from the truth. I only hope your readers better educate themselves on the dangerous practices you recommend that would put an entire shelter at risk. I will treat an ill dog or cat and isolate when they are stricken with a contagious disease; however, the shelters that are operated by local government municipalities do not have the luxury of funding for treating these expensive and often times contagious diseases that spread to the entire shelter population. I suggest you better educate yourself on this subject before trying to be an authority on it and poorly informing your readers.
    Joan Sammond
    Georgia Humane Society

    1. Hi Joan – I posted earlier on this thread. There are many on this site that are knowlegeable…and many who have never worked in government. As a two time – two county – government Animal Control Director in Tennessee – I had never worked in government when I took on my first AC Department! I simply knew that it could be done better and more humanely.

      I never reacted to the threat of disease with killign to cleanse. Disease and the “health of the herd” is a very real and difficult thing to manage in a shelter…BUT – killing and cleansing is rarely the only answer. Building a network of team members inside AND outside the department who will take animals and help when emergencies hit is the answer. There are so many everywhere who will take animals and be part of the solution if the Director leads that way. Sadly – my experience has been that most of the Directors across the country have been trained that DEATH to animals is the answer. And status quo they feel – is simply easier.

      An Animal Control Director’s job is hard. You walk a fine line between pleasing the county commissioners and the Mayor – and being innovative and progressive and learning on your own time about rescues, shelter management, disease, treatment, vaccinations, building maintainance, county legal liabilities, court cases, the DAs, the police and the sheriff’s departments, health department directives, safety of citizens, budgets, state policies and audits, tehtering, reproduction, and so much more. There is NO training for this position. NONE. There is only the pressure everyday to save lives and save money and educate. It feels like you are serving two masters because of the politics and all the emotion involved.
      The fact is that saving animals is cheaper and healthier for any community.

      My first facility – in the county I live in – was a hell hole. 85% kill rate for 6 straight years since it opened – filthy and all animals very sick. In my first 6 months we were over 80% save rate including parvo litters, ringworm cats, mange dogs, and distemper dogs. I was also on call 24 x 7. All of this with a 15% budget cut from what “the last guy had.” THIS only happens when a Director reaches out to the community and builds a team to SHARE in saving and education. My second facility was a slaughterhouse – killing over 6500 animals every year! A 7 breed ban for 10 years and a 93% kill rate. In 6 months our adoptions were up 51% – the breed ban off the front door – a rescue program, volunteer program, vaccinating on intake, and a 63% kill rate and falling.

      YES I led these efforts…but this cannot be accomplished by one person. It takes a leader willing to STOP believing that DEATH is the answer to it all. Build a team – vets, volunteers, fosters and more. The Director has to lead and has to reach out.

      Again – sadly – most don’t. Killing at the rates that we do in this county is neither necessary nor is it humane. It is NOT euthanasia when the animals are healthy. Every Director CAN make a difference on day one – but NOT if you’re only worried about your paycheck OR following what’s always been done before.

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