Was it in writing? Why yes, it was.

Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge, LA has a troubled history.  Although the pound’s director resigned in December, it doesn’t look like there have been any significant changes at CAA, at least not as far as pet killing and cover-up are concerned.

Meet Kodak, a male cat at CAA who had rescue and back-up rescue ready and waiting to save him.  Here is a screencap from Facebook, taken yesterday:

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Note in the comments next to the photo that on Saturday, February 16, CAA posted that Kodak was going to Don’t Be Cruel Sanctuary.  But word got out on Monday, February 18 that CAA had killed Kodak because he was aggressive.  Isn’t a sanctuary the perfect place for an aggressive cat to go?   Why kill him?

CAA quickly launched into cover-up mode by deleting their own comment about Kodak going to rescue and having staff members run interference on a thread about him on another FB page.  One of the many comments by CAA staffers on that thread included this gem:

What HOLD was placed upon him? Was it writing? Where is this documentation? Is there verifiable proof that this HOLD was disregarded?

The obvious implication being that CAA knew nothing of any attempt to rescue Kodak and as such, killed him innocently.  There are 2 problems with that.  First, there is no such thing as a pound being blameless when it kills healthy/treatable pets.  And second, CAA knew full well Kodak was going to rescue.  They even put it in writing.

Screengrab from Facebook taken today, showing CAA's comment deleted.  (click to enlarge)
Screengrab from Facebook taken today, showing CAA’s comment deleted. (click to enlarge)

And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling internet.

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

29 thoughts on “Was it in writing? Why yes, it was.

  1. It has always bothered me how quickly cats are labeled “aggressive” in shelters. First, cats are very different than dogs and although even dogs get nervous when suddenly placed in a shelter environment, it is even more traumatic for most cats. You can have the sweetest of lap cats but when you bring to a shelter (already adds stress) and place them in a cage (many will hide in litter box or under paper if lined with paper etc) and when the room next door is loud with barking dogs, most cats are not going to “show” well at all and even my sweetheart of a cat will seem “feral” when placed in a shelter environment, especially when many have kennel staff that is prison workers etc. What kills me is that the animal sheltering industry has come a long way and needs to be respected as a professional agency. It really irritates me when we have cruelty laws etc but no one to enforce properly and it bothers me that given shelters are breeding grounds for disease etc, that proper disease management AND animal handling and behavior assessment isn’t part of mandatory training with continuing ed. I think the majority of cats that are euthanized in shelters due to “aggression” was just someone who either didn’t like cats or didn’t take the time to learn much about cat behavior and most euths due to aggression in shelter cats in my opinion is falsely diagnosed because i’ve seen many a sweet friendly cat turn frightened once it walks through shelter doors and gets a whiff of all the commotion and noise. Animal shelters with cat adoptions should only cage sick or incoming/quarantined cats then spay/neuter and place in a free roaming room with perches etc. Cats show MUCH better in free roam rooms and I’ve seen it work and that’s the best way to house cats in shelters, not in cages. just my two cents.

    1. OMG!! I am appalled at this shelter and the people involved with it for KILLING this cat!!! Makes me sick I seen these posts, I commented on them and I DO KNOW that my one cat will turn WILD going to vets let alone at a shelter. He is the most loving cat but suddenly changes with other people and surroundings. Thats why I have stated he stays with us forever because if he goes to the pound they will kill him because of his so called scared aggression. People are stupid do not know cats or don’t want to know cats. I agree with this lady, Joan that cats need free roam rooms to settle down and relax…not these cages. How would PEOPLE feel if they were trapped in a damn cage with all this racket going around. I’m ashamed at these people.!! Kodak needed love and he had it stupid damn people is all I can say!!!

  2. There is a petition going around about Kodak (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/838/830/113/justice-be-served-for-kodak-blind-russian-blue-cat/) but it needs improvement to be effective. I wrote to the petition’s sponsor asking him to include an outline of what happened and what steps should be taken in response by CAA. I also mentioned that I didn’t think Kodak was a Russian Blue cat.

    Thank you for covering what happened to Kodak. It is outrageous that a cat with rescue being arranged should be put down for “aggression.” Any cat in a shelter could seem “aggressive” if he is very scared, and I’m sure this blind cat was scared. That doesn’t mean a cat would be aggressive outside of a shelter, or that a rescue or sanctuary could not handle the cat. They were clearly able to handle him enough to euthanize him.

  3. Joan Sammond you said it all!! I only have to add that shelter staff are typically not qualified to make accurate determinations as far as behavior goes. They don’t seem to get it and this costs many lives. Further, they seem to understand that many of us would work with what they deem difficult. What a waste for this poor innocent cat.

  4. It seems funny to me that they label cats like that aggressive, dangerous and a threat to all mankind – but always manage to wrestle those wild beasts down to euthanize them.

    1. Like Mario at MAS – they were willing to use chokepoles to drag him into a cage and they were willing to use chokepoles to drag him out to kill him, but they weren’t willing to use one (or anything else) to get him into a trap to save him.

  5. They always say that they don’t enjoy killing. And maybe they don’t. But they do enjoy the EASE of having killing be the default. That way, they don’t have to work to save lives, just process pets for slaughter. So much EASIER that way…

    1. I’m confused… Was anyone that commented here actually there? Did anyone meet the cat? Touch it? Try to hold it? All I am reading are accusations and assumptions…

      1. If you read the FB thread, then yes, you’ll see that there are people there who actually tended to the cat while he was at the shelter. And since the cat had TWO rescues that would take him, any rationale used by the shelter to kill him is completely irrelevant and inexcusable.

      2. There is an I in Killing,

        It makes no difference whether anyone commenting here touched the cat. That information has zero effect on the cat’s right to live.

      3. What difference would that have made?

        Back when I was an in-shelter volunteer, it was not at all unusual for cats later proven to be friendly to go dingo with stress. This was especially true of cats who also later proved to have one or another issue with their sight and/or hearing, which Kodak’s photo suggests may have also been an issue for him.

        I’ve also seen cats safe at home respond to stress very poorly, and refuse to be consoled for some time.

        Based on this, and on all the experience I’ve had with cats before and since, it’s my belief that no reliable behavioral evaluations can be made of cats in stressful situations, and I’m not convinced that any can be made at all. I have also yet to find any formal guidelines for such assessments, which leads me to suspect that the majority are still based – as they were in my day – solely on whether or not the cats were deemed easy to handle or not.

      4. “…it’s my belief that no reliable behavioral evaluations can be made of cats in stressful situations…”

        AGREED. I would like to see cats stop being labeled as “feral” as a quick and easy means to justify their killing. Or, if they are to be labeled as feral, make it a fast track to neutering and releasing back to the area from which they came.

      5. as i said in my previous comment, just my two cents; however, my opinion was based on experience of seeing shelters deem cats as feral or aggressive when it was actually fear of environment change and reaction to that. you can’t size up EVERY cat fairly in 3-5 days, or dog for that matter. i’m not at all saying it’s the shelter’s fault, they can’t control cat behavior or how it will react when fearful. i’m just saying that the many cats (and dogs) that i have seen enter a shelter appear to be unfriendly only because it was yanked from a home and shoved into a metal cage with barking dogs (also probably fearful or wanting attention and barking dogs also freak out other dogs new to shelter environment) and when your world goes from a comfy couch to chaotic in the matter of an hour or so, you wouldn’t be too thrilled either. the animal shelter is not the most ideal place for any pet to be but for cats, either free roaming rooms or foster homes are by far better than a cage. i don’t particularly care for caging dogs either. i don’t particularly care for putting pets in shelters, period. unfortunately when some of the public disregards the life of their pet or contributes to the overpopulation, the shelter is where they end up and that’s actually referring to the lucky ones. many just get dropped off on some lonely country road with nothing. take any dog or cat out of a shelter and put it in a home environment and the majority of the time within 24-48 hours you will see a much different animal. i will say though, until we “recycle” the abundance of unwanted pets we already have, we shouldn’t be adding to the problem – basic math.

  6. I am so so sad to hear this and it breaks my heart! Poor little guy, may he rest in peace. He must have been so dizzy if he had sight at all and I’m sure that contributed to his so called aggression which I’d suspect was just a super scared kitty – not a mean one. I think he was adorable and though I don’t live in the area there are so many people from various posts that were willing and able to help him. Disgusted by the behavior of those at that particular shelter. Shame on them.

  7. Wow,Such a sad story.Poor Kodak.I agree with Marie.If Kodak was so “aggressive” he really wasn’t, if they clearly were able to euthanize him as she puts it.I’ll sign that petition and post on Instagram too.:(

  8. This post which was posted on Companion Animal Alliance’s Facebook page today conflicts with the evidence, but I am glad they are acknowledging that they indeed had a miscommunication. Usually they simply say they don’t know what we are talking about or just ignore us. The post says that they set up a memorial fund, but don’t confuse that with the In Memory Of Kodak page that was set up by Homeless Animal Lifeline.

    Thank you for all caring about the animals in our care and especially Kodak. Due to miscommunication that a rescue was indeed coming for him after holding him for 21 days, Kodak was put down. He had become extremely agressive to staff and was hurting himself in the cage and I made the decision. We are working on structuring our process so that this does not happen again. We have identification cards made for each cat’s cage identifying rescue group, person rescuing and date for pick up. We take in over 9000 animals a year and my goal is to save as many as possible. We set up the memorial fund in his name to help other cats in our care and to purchase feral boxes that protect the animal as well as the staff.


    Beth Brewster
    Executive Director

      1. Sorry, no sale. Acknowledging the truth after you flunk out of Lies and Cover Ups class does not impress. And setting up a fucking FUND to collect money in the name of the cat you killed then lied about? They’ll get fuck-all from me in that fund. Oh and Pro Tip: If a cat is that fractious that he is hurting himself in the cage and injuring workers who try to handle him, let him out.

      2. A rescue hold WAS put in place. The shelter announced to all that were working to save him that he would be going to Don’t Be Cruel Sanctuary in Albany, LA who was going to find him a place to live out his days. The group in NJ were making plans to take him in. There are screen shots on this and our page verifying this. He was supposed to go to rescue yesterday, I believe, but instead was killed because he allegedly “attacked” a shelter employee. It is my understanding that in bite cases an animal is supposed to be quarantined for 10 days for “rabies observation”, so even if he did do this, he should NOT have been killed. I think they changed the story about him attacking an employee because then the required observation period bullet could be dodged. Crafty, huh?

    1. I have trapped ferals before. The vet I worked with said “They may injure themselves, but it’s nothing I can’t fix.” She also recommended a towel to cover the area. Agreed that if cats are feral they do NOT belong in a shelter where, apparently, they are expected to be cute and cuddly or die!

  9. Oops, forgot to edit that, I had posted it originally in a comment on one the posts on the Shelter Animal Allies page and after comparing it to their post today realized that they retracted the statement about about attacking an employee, but hit “post comment” before properly editing. Doh!

    1. Hey, Christine. I think the retraction was to avoid the legality of being bitten and not having followed protocol on quarantine (Imagine them not following a protocol! Such a shock!)

  10. Yesterday, I went to CAA to adopt a kitten. I was TURNED AWAY because they will only allow kittens under 6 months to be indoor kittens. That is insane. They euthanize so many animals every year so how the hell can they justify not allowing another animal to be adopted! I am an awesome pet mom, my animals have a wonderful life. I am capable of deciding on the best life for my kitten. They don’t know anything about the situation. But they think they know best. That’s totalitarian and completely arrogant. I’m going to Denham Springs animal shelter.

    1. Thunder Heart, I relocate cats to barn homes, and I will relocate tame, young kittens to a barn home. If it’s a boarding stable operated by people who live near the barn, those kittens will probably get more attention than kittens adopted to people (like me) who work 8 hours a day.

  11. A lot of places won’t adopt out cats/kittens to indoor/outdoor homes because of the danger. Which is fine, if aren’t going to kill them to “save” them from the dangers of outdoors.

Leave a Reply