AL Pound Kills Freshly Bathed Cat Upon Arrival

Things to do when a Good Samaritan brings a kitty into your animal shelter:

  1. Ask the finder the location where the pet was found.
  2. Get kitty vaccinated, scanned for a microchip, photographed and logged into your records system.  Get him set up in a cage where every visitor to the shelter can see him.
  3. Upload kitty’s photo, description and area where found to your shelter’s website, Facebook page, and any other social media accounts.
  4. Assume the cat is a lost pet and start reviewing your shelter’s current lost cat reports as well as Craigslist and the Facebook page for lost pets in your area.  Contact all owners whose descriptions even vaguely match the kitty.
  5. Let your ACOs in the field know that anyone going by the area where the cat was found needs to look for Lost Cat fliers and knock on some doors.
  6. Hold the kitty at your shelter for the period mandated by state law.
  7. If no owner reclaims him, contact anyone who expressed interest in adopting him during his hold period and offer him for adoption.

These tasks clearly take several days and possibly longer to complete.  But the first five should generally be completed within the cat’s first hour or two at the shelter.

Kaitlyn Hughes gave her cat Porkchop a bath one day in January.  Porkchop was a neutered, vaccinated orange tabby cat.  The next day, he slipped out the door without the owner realizing it as she left her apartment.  When she returned home, she figured out what must have happened.  Ms. Hughes put out wet and dry food, water, a toy, and a pair of her shoes hoping to attract Porkchop.  She searched the apartment complex where they lived and began putting up fliers.  A neighbor told her the next morning that he had mistaken Porkchop for a stray and taken him to the Mobile Co pound.  Ms. Hughes immediately went to the pound to reclaim her pet.  It turns out, the Mobile Co pound killed Porkchop less than 10 minutes after receiving him from the Good Sam.

I don’t see any possible explanation for this killing other than someone at the Mobile Co pound was eager to kill Porkchop.  There is no way anyone can claim they did everything they could for him – indeed, they appear to have done nothing at all for him.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to consider the possibility that there was some sort of clerical error or other mix up.  Porkchop was only alive at the pound for a few minutes, hardly enough time to get him confused with another cat.  Nor do I think laziness is a plausible explanation.  We have heard sometimes that shelter staff are too lazy to set up a cage for an incoming pet so instead of doing their job, they will simply take the pet to the kill room.  But in Porkchop’s case, immediate action was taken upon his arrival which doesn’t strike me as the behavior of a lazy person.  I would posit that whoever killed Porkchop  was very eager to do so and the swift death could possibly be described as a thrill kill.  No other explanation strikes me as plausible.

But don’t criticize shelter workers because we all want the same thing and nobody wants to kill pets and people don’t spay-neuter…

Ms. Hughes was understandably distraught over the needless killing of her beloved pet.  Someone at the pound suggested she take home another orange tabby, because he looked just like Porkchop.  Animal Services=Family Services.  Which part of that equation does the Mobile Co pound not get?

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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25 Comments

  1. Janipurr

     /  February 26, 2013

    Does this area have a mandatory stray hold law? If it does, she could sue the pound. Which is what I would do.

    Reply
    • The article states:

      “Shelter policy clearly states all animals brought in are given a seven day window to be picked up, just in case they’re a pet.”

      and

      “When we contacted the shelter, they declined to speak with us on camera. When asked over the phone about the seven day waiting period, an employee told us she wasn’t sure if that was policy or not.”

      I don’t know what local or state law says about holding periods for strays.

      Reply
      • I hope whoever called the shelter got that persons name. Aren’t they supposed to know what the State laws are?

  2. State law says 7 days. I’ll poke around and see what I can find. this is the same place that killed a couple dozen dogs when one was thought to have distemper.

    Reply
  3. Per Municode, the hold period in Mobile City is 5 days. I don’t have a way to check the county hold period. I know that a suit will not bring back this cat but there’s nothing quite like litigation, with an added dose of media coverage, to get a municipality to change. People don’t like to hear that beloved pets are treated like bags of trash. Outrage is long overdue in this area.

    Reply
  4. Horrible for Porkchop’s family! Stories like this make me angry for more then the obvious loss of life reason. They make me angry because it gives all municipal animal shelters a bad rap. A lot of people already think of shelter staffers as blood thirsty, heartless and cold blooded. I’m so proud to be associated with a municipal shelter where the staff members are compassionate and loving; often fostering the sickest or most frightened animals in their own homes. Sadly, those stories never get told.

    Rest in peace Porkchop.

    Reply
    • Cee

       /  February 26, 2013

      This story does not give no-kill municipal shelters a bad rap.

      There ARE open-admission, real no-kill municipal shelters among the almost 100 places being documented in this independent blog: http://www.no-killnews.com Some are in the Deep South, so that isn’t an excuse.

      Stories of awesome work by good shelters DOES get told, because they make a point of working with the media when they have Public Relations/Community Involvement policies, especially when they need help. That is part of the No Kill Equation, http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/shelter-reform/no-kill-equation/

      Reply
      • Cee

         /  February 26, 2013

        “Why are you blaming shelters? — Christie Keith notes that many accuse the No Kill movement of blaming shelters for the problem, and Christie notes that it’s because that’s where the animals are dying. See http://www.doggedblog.com/doggedblog/2013/02/know-the-opposition-why-are-you-blaming-the-shelters.html .

      • Mary

         /  February 26, 2013

        Actually, it does kind of stereo-type shelter workers as lazy and uncaring.
        It should be underscored that clearly THIS shelter has a problem. This shelter has and admin problem, a staffing problem, a screening for hire problem, training problem, and over-sight problem.
        I’ve visited shelters where people taking “care” of the animals were inmates or they have people who are on some kind of work program or they are paid minimum wage. You don’t want those people working in your shelter.
        I work in a municipal shelter and we often have to hear idiots say that moronic line “I could never work in a shelter because I love animals too much.” Well, surprise surprise! People who love animals are exactly who you WANT to work in your shelter. You want them to volunteer. You want people who are drawn there as a calling to help make things better. That is the typical animal care giver that I meet and work with.

        Regarding your list of 7 things that should happen when an animal is processed into a shelter. We do the first 3, and some of us may do the 4th but don’t count on it. Last year we took in almost 6000 dogs and 4000 cats. On an average day we have about 6 animal care techs that clean after all the animals every morning, process in all the animals and kennel them appropriately, do all customer service calls (adoptions, lost pet walk throughs, etc) and work on rescue and fosters. We have 2 or 3 officers that, sadly, spend most of their day dealing w/ aggressive calls or injured calls. The 3 or 4 front staff people handle all the licensing, cites, handle the money from return to owners, adoption calls, follow up on any ID w/ ACT’s may find on incoming animals (you can’t imagine how far we go to get info on an unregistered microchip in hopes it will take us to someone), and so much more I can’t even list it here.
        If you want all 7 things done then stop referring to people who work in shelters as lazy, love to kill animal sociopaths. This article caters to the misinformed people out there that haven’t walked into a shelter….. ever.
        How about an article that calls this shelter to task, names the director and supervisors, then asks for people to contact the over seeing county board of sups or whoever to rehaul this shelter. Be sure that everyone understands this may mean giving this shelter to more money so they can hire a caring staff, knowledgeable supervisors, and a director that cares. I almost want to bet money that this agency is probably under the umbrella of local law enforcement or code enforcement – not generally people who have knowledge about animals and don’t oversee the animal care/control employees quite like they should.

  5. Tonya

     /  February 26, 2013

    This is a very sad trend and happens way too often and yet it is the public’s fault. i feel the pain of Porkchop’s family-to have their the life of their cat just snuffed out. My heart goes out to them.

    Reply
    • Waterdogn

       /  February 26, 2013

      Could you elaborate on your blanket statement that this “is the public’s fault”?

      Reply
    • It’s the public’s fault?! How? Porkchop’s family IS “the public”, and it most certainly is NOT their fault. The neighbor who took Porkchop to the pound (which is SUPPOSED to reunite lost pets with their rightful owners) is “the public”. The “shelter” where Porkchop was taken should just change their name to “Mobile County Pet Charnel House” or “Mobile County Pet Killers” to give the public a better idea about what they actually do there.

      Reply
    • I just realized perhaps (I hope) you were saying it’s sad that the shelter blames the public.

      Reply
      • That was my interpretation of the comment – that shelters needlessly kill pets and then blame the public for it.

  6. mikken

     /  February 26, 2013

    Damn it all to hell. First they kill her cat, then suggest that she takes home one that looks similar??? There are many things I would say here, but they are…unkind.

    Reply
    • One of my dogs died not long ago and the last thing I would want is another dog that looked like mine to remind me of that horrible situation.

      Reply
  7. Cindy Grace

     /  February 26, 2013

    They should take the “thug” who killed Porkchop and put them in the kill room. That’s just down right out “SORRY” Fire that sucker.

    Reply
  8. Your suggestions are great to bad the people who are hired are not interested in actually doing their job or take suggestions . They are more concerned with do as less as possible then collect pay check . These are the kind of people they hire because the people that are hiring them are the same way. A coup of our animal shelter system is in order. We need people who can make a difference to start applying for these jobs to help with making change.

    Reply
  9. Dr Betty Schueler

     /  February 26, 2013

    When I lost my munchkin cat I called our local shelter to see if he had ended up there. I was told I would have to come in and look everyday, rather than call, because they apparently don’t make a list of the pets reported lost, stolen, or found. But when you go in there, they don’t show you all the animals they have so you may never know if they have your animal or not. I think it is really sad when they don’t know if they have a large, long-haired, brown and white tabby cat with short legs.

    Reply
  10. I normally do not approve of, suing as legal action that will costs the taxpayers. In this case, a suit directed at the person responsible as well as, his or her supervisor might be in order..
    This is clearly a, criminal act..Allowing people to be exempt from prosecution because of, the fact that they work at any level for the government is just wrong. Get this case before a jury of 12 and we will find that most people are really fed up with this: Repetitious and
    reprehensible crime..

    Reply
  11. I would be holding them responsible in a heart beat!! They clearly violated the law!! So why shouldn’t they be held responsible?? I’d also be taking it to the local newspaper and television station as well!! If need be..I’d be picketing outside their place as well. ( on public ground of course) shame shame on them!! My prayers for the owner and porkchop! (terrible name for a cat btw)

    Reply
  12. I blame the Shelters! When a senior dog named Shasta is killed for diarrhea and has 3 fosters and two senior rescues coming to take her away from the Shelter. And you add 5 or 6 Shelter staff members knew this, but could not stop themselves from completing their “task”. Which was kill Shasta. There is something horribly wrong and so dysfunctional with that Shelter that not one person could yell or say “STOP”. Even when the Shelter Director herself was in the Kill Room.

    No dog or cat is safe in these Shelters when the staff acts like robots to complete their task or is just following directions. And a life is lost for absolutely nothing.

    This Shelter is Sonoma County Animal Shelter. One that breaks the California Hayden Law and has no problem doing it. There are no repercussions. Only volunteers get fired there, no employees.

    Reply
  13. Shawn

     /  February 27, 2013

    That breaks my heart.

    Reply
  14. Oh my god!How horrific!

    Reply

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