Lexington-Fayette AC & C Illegally Oops-Kills Beloved Pet

On the home page of the Lexington-Fayette Animal Care & Control website, it says “EVERY DAY, the dedicated staff of lfacc… Provides safe shelter and care to stray and homeless animals.”  Apparently Sunday was not “EVERY DAY” because on Sunday, the KY pound picked up a lost Chihuahua named Peanut and killed him.

Saturday night, Peanut had followed his little girl down the street to a friend’s house.  From there, he got lost.  The family searched for him and ultimately learned the public agency charged with protecting Peanut had instead oops-killed him:

Animal Control is supposed to keep stray dogs for five days. Peanut was euthanized after one. Animal Care and Control officials didn’t want to talk on camera, but they said over the phone that when they brought Peanut in, he failed a health and temperament screening, then someone mistakenly thought he’d already been there for five days. That’s when the decision was made to euthanize him.

No animal coming into a shelter should receive a temperament test immediately since pets are naturally scared and out of sorts upon impound.  No temperament test should be used as an excuse to kill a pet under any circumstances.  And mandatory holding periods are in place for a reason – so families can find their missing family members.

Although the pound refused to speak about Peanut’s killing on camera, they offered an entirely vague reassurance that some unnamed person is to blame and has been fired.  Put me down in the NOT REASSURED column on that.  If the pound is contending that the decision to kill animals rests solely with one employee, that is yet another failure to provide true shelter to pets.

Pets are family.  Any questions?

pets are family

The little girl’s father, seen in this screengrab from the WKYT website comforting his daughter, describes Peanut as being like a son to him.

Fair Warning:  Anyone who attempts to come on the blog and blame the owners for Peanut’s killing for not keeping him confined, not having him chipped or any other reason is going to be on the receiving end of a virtual boot.  Whatever anyone’s opinion of Peanut’s owners, they loved him and they did not kill him.  The pound did that – illegally and immorally.  The pound is supposed to be there to protect pets when they are in need.  Instead of offering Peanut protection, Lexington-Fayette AC & C killed him.

No one has been criminally charged for the illegal killing of Peanut as far as I know, nor do I expect that to happen.  Because in our broken shelter system, killing is the default and failure of shelter personnel to follow the mandatory holding period laws is looked upon as nothing more than oops.  Moreover, your standard fare pet killing in so-called shelters is exempt from the normal animal cruelty laws applicable to the so-called irresponsible public.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

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46 Comments

  1. Lou Ann

     /  May 2, 2013

    Sounds familiar . . . anyone at that shelter a former MAS employee?

    Reply
    • Some days I wonder if there isn’t a gestalt “Pound Employee” being in this world.

      Reply
      • There’s a reason it’s a derogatory statement to say someone ‘Couldn’t even be elected Dogcatcher’. The standards for most AC jobs are so low anyway, that if you manage to suck that bad, you have to be -really- bad.

  2. mikken

     /  May 2, 2013

    I’m sorry, do they get so many Chihuahuas in that they “forget” how long they’ve been there? Or…more likely…a small dog terrified in a shelter got snappy and some asshole was like, “Kill room for you because that’ll teach you who is in charge here.”

    Sorry, no. I hope the family files a lawsuit and sues their asses off because that is the ONLY way these monsters will change. You cannot count on them for competence, compassion, or even professionalism. You can count on them to be self-serving, though.

    That poor family. Tell me again how shelter workers are “doing the best they can”. Oh, maybe a new building will help, right?

    Reply
    • I was thinking of a scenario along very similar lines. The thing that made me suspicious was when they said he failed a health AND a temp test. First off, any little yipper dog who gets impounded and does NOT try to bite the pet killers is probably too sick to bite. They are trying to have it both ways – and I doubt a veterinarian or a behaviorist ever saw this dog.

      Reply
      • mikken

         /  May 2, 2013

        Oh yeah, definitely a CYA move to try to justify the killing. Not.Buying.It.

      • Yes, if this dog was picked up on a weekend, the likelihood that a vet was on premises to do a health exam are pretty slim. Sad fact is, Kentucky has one of the worst track records with regards to the treatment of pets. I worked at a shelter in Illinois and have seen hundreds of animals that were transported from the high-kill Kentucky shelters to no-kill shelters in the north, many of them in pretty poor health. Kentucky is also infamous for the number of puppy mills that freely operate in that state. So I am, unfortunately, not surprised to hear this.

    • When people stop caring, that’s when they get a new job. Period.

      Reply
  3. Sharon Corrado

     /  May 2, 2013

    There is no excuse for what happened, Kennels have cards on them or suppose to with date of intake, stray or surrender, and date out meaning the 5 days. This is totally the fault of the entire operation and they should be sued for what they did to this family and kids. this Crap has to stop.

    Reply
  4. You are either an animal shelter or slaughter house. Which is it?

    Reply
  5. Temperament testing at most places is a joke anyway and they set the dog up to fail. Even the most responsible, loving guardian can’t control everything so people should think twice and then a few more times before judging the family. The shelter probably kills animals prior to the 5 day grace period being up constantly too. As the mom of a Pit, who is extremely diligent with his care, this and fear of him being shot by some ignorant cop are two of my nightmares.

    Reply
  6. This is soo so wrong..Murdered in one day.. Is there a way to get a list of the empolyees and see who is now NOT on the payroll.
    I am so sorry for the family’s loss

    Reply
  7. Elma Lutman

     /  May 2, 2013

    Heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how terrible this family feels.

    Reply
  8. SuziS

     /  May 2, 2013

    Poor, poor family – a terrible loss and such sorrow. They should go door to door in the neighborhood and find out the story. I feel sure that someone found their little dog and called animal control to come and get it, thinking that the shelter would keep him safe for the owners to find. People all over the nation have their heads in the sand and believe that the “shelter” is a safe place for lost pets. I find it heartbreaking that people are too lazy to know their neighbors, the families, the kids, the pets – the sense of community has been lost in so many places. Especially heartbreaking that a person doesn’t offer shelter for a lost pet for a night or two and then beat the street asking if anyone knows whose dog it is and put up a few flyers. Calling the “shelter” to deal with any animal is so wrong.

    Reply
    • No, sorry, whoever called animal control or turned the dog in didn’t kill Peanut either. Calling Animal Control SHOULD have been the right thing to do.

      It was the pet killers at the pound that turned it into a mistake–and they broke the law to do it.

      Reply
    • Therese

       /  May 2, 2013

      SuziS, I’ve had friends injured by neighborhood strays, one friend had her elderly dog killed by a stray her kid brought home. Not every stray dog is safe to take into your home, which means calling the shelter. This has nothing to do with a loss of community. I knew the neighbor of the dog that bit me. I was trying to do the right thing until she got home from work, and ended up needing 2 dozen stitches in my hand. Gack, I thought, as I sat in the ER – does her family know their dog is SUCH a fear biter. Turns out they did.

      To be honest, I’ve seen too many heartbroken people search for their dogs in a climate where dogs are sometimes sheltered in people’s homes – how in the world are they supposed to find their dog, especially if it wandered pretty far from home? I’ve had friends find their lost dogs on Craigslist with a made up story of neglect and abuse, free to a good home where no effort was made to reunite dog and owner. It’s like the wild west out there.

      I get why some folks are hesitant to call animal control. But strays should be brought to a centralized location where they can be truly sheltered until their owners can find them, or they can be rehomed after an appropriate holding period. And policies where a single person can decide that a dog dies (if that’s what happened here) need to be changed.

      Reply
    • Jeri

       /  May 2, 2013

      Until we are “no kill” calling the pound is the LAST thing I do. Part of what needs to happen is educating the public on what the shelter is NOT doing to help animals. What people “should be able to do” and what they can expect are worlds apart here. Maybe one day it will be a safe option for the animal to go to the shelter. Until then…..

      Reply
    • No, it is absolutely not the fault of the person who called AC. You don’t know anything about the circumstances, and even a “nice” dog can seem like a threat under certain circumstances. For example, my next-door neighbors have a dog who is wonderful if you’re a person, ok if you’re a female dog, and an asshole if you happen to be another male dog. Because he lives next door and I know his people well, I do know that he has excellent bite inhibition and in all of his fights has never caused any real injuries. However, if I lived a mile away and didn’t know that, and I saw this dog snarling and snapping at my dog, I would probably call AC. It is not “lazy” to not know every single detail of every single dog within a 1 mile radius. A lost dog may in fact travel several miles and end up in an area where it simply cannot be reasonably expected that anybody would know them.

      Reply
  9. That poor family. That poor dog (and apparently all those poor dogs). Even sadder is that this wouldn’t have been a news story except for the fact that this dog had a family who cared. I’m sure that shelter kills dogs just like this one every day.

    Reply
  10. marsha marcia marsha

     /  May 2, 2013

    This is an outrage. My Mother had severe dementia and would let my dog loose. He was chipped and thankfully never wandered far, but things beyond our control happen and never, ever should a dog be pts without every effort made to give owner time to locate. My deepest sympathy to the family </3

    Reply
  11. Absolutely appalling. I don’t understand how some people operate, if this was my dog I would not rest till I had avenged my pet.

    Reply
  12. jc

     /  May 2, 2013

    That picture says it all. I hope every ‘shelter’ worker involved in this is haunted forever by it. (And it should be posted on all the walls at every KILL ‘shelter’)

    Reply
  13. Tammy

     /  May 2, 2013

    I am going to go out on a limb here because this is the city I live in. I am very familiar with MAS and Lexington-Fayette AC is nothing like MAS and I am here to defend them. I am not defending their actions in wrongfully killing the poor dog. That is tragic and I am very sorry for the family. What I am defending is them against the comments above that are wrongfully accusing them or implying of them being some slaughterhouse of innocent animals. They are not. For the record, Lexington-Fayette has an exemplary Animal Control and the Lexington- Fayette Humane Society is top of the line with their volunteers, advocacy for animals and commitment to the community. What I dislike about this blog the most and the main reason why I do not comment on here anymore is because many of you are ready to be judge and jury before you know what you are talking about. Yes, the animal control was wrong. Yes, an innocent dog was killed. It makes me angry too, but I hope AC learns from their error, sincerely apologizes to the family and moves forward because what they do right for this community far outweighs what they have done wrong. You can’t put a price on someone’s beloved pet that is wrongfully killed. I know that. You also can’t put a price on all the beloved pets that they rescue every day that are reunited with their family or put into the safe shelter environment in this area. Furthermore, MAS IS a slaughterhouse of innocent animals and your efforts would be better focused on them. All I am saying is know what you are reporting on, know the statisctics and facts behind what your are reporting on and don’t assume that all animal control facilities and shelters are the same.

    Reply
    • There are no statistics posted on the pound’s website. I checked. The other claims on the website don’t seem to jive with the killing of Peanut. Not all places that kill pets are the same but they all kill pets. Any differences beyond that are moot for the dead animals in their dumpsters.

      Reply
      • jc

         /  May 2, 2013

        NO Tammy they are NOT exemplary…
        -They gave a health/temperament test to a scared, confused pet, then used the useless results as some kind of ‘justification. Was Peanut irremediably suffering? No.
        -Even if Peanut was ill or ‘aggressive’ (highly doubtful for a dog following a little girl around), it is his FAMILY’S right to make this decision, NOT theirs! (Again, unless he was irremediably suffering).
        -Was any effort at all, much less an honest, proactive one, made to locate his family? In 24 hours? NO WAY.
        -Despite all this, Peanut was only there for ONE DAY before they killed (NOT euthanized) him. Besides morally wrong, this is in fact ILLEGAL. Is anyone being held responsible? Maybe, but who knows, because . . .
        -Now they are stonewalling with vague excuses, ‘assurances’, and statements (and hoping it will all blow over).

        So, NO Tammy, your ‘shelter’ may not be the hellhole Memphis is, but it is very far from exemplary. Just because other pets make it out of there does NOT excuse this. May I suggest you demand they go No-Kill? If they’re so good. This would never have happened if they already were a No-Kill.

  14. Ell

     /  May 2, 2013

    sorry for the families loss. :(

    Reply
  15. A Nightmare is all I can utter after reading such……

    Reply
  16. Sharon Benea

     /  May 2, 2013

    I agree it was not the families fault. Shelters should all be held accountable. How dare you do a temperament test immediately. Come in. These poor animals are scared and everyone grabbing them and being rough with them is going to make any animal nervous and nippy. Start making the shelters No Kill and give these poor babies time to adjust and get a new loving home. Also get some shelter workers that are compassionate and love animals and are willing to give these poor innocent babies reassurance and time to adjust

    Reply
  17. I find no fault with the family in this incident. Thousands of family pets are lost daily in America. If the owners are lucky their pets are quickly located and returned to them. If they are not lucky, these pets can roam the streets, be killed or end up in an animal control facility without their families ever knowing their fate. An animal control facility (a pound) is a place where in most cases, they will be quickly killed if not located and reclaimed by their families. (case in point).

    “The pound is supposed to be there to protect pets when they are in need.”

    I have to disagree with that assertion. Pounds are not animal shelters. Government managed animal control facilities as a rule have absolutely no interest in sheltering or protecting companion animals period. Regardless of whether the word “shelter” appears in their official name on the door or not. Pounds are just that, they are pounds. They are government run facilities where impounded animals are brought to be temporarily warehoused and ultimately disposed of. Pounds do not exist to protect animals or people’s lost pets, pounds exist to deal with stray animals and efficiently dispose of them.

    I have seen numerous incidents where impounded animals were brought into my local animal control facility with microchips that were not discovered until they were being scanned days or weeks later for adoption or rescue. No one scanned them on intake (obviously), no ever one followed up and tried to locate their owners, no one cared. The animal was given a number and a shelf life date and remanded to an isolated kennel or steel box to await their fate. Pounds are not shelters, they are warehouses for the lost before they are killed.

    No one really knows how many micro chipped pets are destroyed in animal control facilities each year, or how missing and lost family pets are destroyed. Regardless of laws that require scanning in most states, most animal control employees get to bury their mistakes in the landfill. After which, they carry on with the same failed system and the same failed policies that perpetuate the same antiquated system of “animal control.” Lost or stray animal populations are controlled by the sanctioned and approved death of these animal in most communities in America.

    The tragedy of this little dog is representative of thousands who are put down weekly in animal control facilities across this county. They are brought in scared and traumatized, tossed into deplorable housing conditions, given a number and assigned a shelf life date to be killed. No attempts are ever made to locate their owners or families. Their families and owners never knowing what happened to them.

    The system is broken. It can never be made right until people stand up, speak out and declare to their elected officials that the government sponsored death of healthy companion animals is wrong. As long as the preferred method of animal welfare management is death, these same tragedies will continue to occur.

    Reply
    • jc

       /  May 2, 2013

      The =No-Kill community is trying to do this (force reform, to make these POUNDS into actual shelters). Unfortunately, and maybe surprisingly, two orgs 99% of people assume would be behind these efforts, actually spend millions FIGHTING them. Those orgs? HSUS and ASPCA. DO NOT GIVE TO THEM. Give to rescues instead! Or to No-Kill shelters.

      Reply
      • Jeri

         /  May 2, 2013

        Excellent post above, jc. Thank you for it. You said it beautifully.

  18. This seriously ticks me off!! How dare them think this is an “oops”! You took a life and just because it wasn’t human they (the animals) deserve to have protection from the dumb butts that pick them up. If there is a petition or anything going around for these dummies please let me know I want to sign!
    <3 goes out to this family and their loss

    Reply
  19. I am sorry to hear about this story but not every shelter can be a no kill shelter. In your opinion no kill shelters may be a better option but try and take a stray dog to one and see if they will take it most have no room for many dogs because they are holding dogs that are unadoptible due to illness or behavior and will most likely be at those shelters for the rest of their days.

    Reply
    • This is not a question of a shelter killing a dog for space when they couldn’t find the owner. These people BROKE THE LAW by killing this dog within twenty-four hours of intake, and are claiming a bogus temperament test (because you can’t do a valid temperament tast on a scared dog on intake) plus a “mistake” by one employee as justification.

      You are ignorant of how true NoKill shelters really operate, but that isn’t even the issue here.

      Reply
      • Jeri

         /  May 3, 2013

        So true. Every shelter CAN be a ‘no kill’ shelter, but, again, that’s not the issue here. And as for animals who will be at the shelters “for the rest of their days”, that’s liable to be quite a short span of time considering the rate at which most shelters kill. (And, actually, a shelter director who is doing his/her job correctly would be networking and marketing like crazy to get sanctuaries and rescues lined up for those harder cases. Having available rescues and sanctuaries isn’t the issue for shelters — it’s being willing to release those animals to them that is the problem. Many had rather kill those animals than see them somewhere else. Sick but sadly true and well-documented.)

    • jc

       /  May 3, 2013

      Bull. All it taes is people willing to do it.; It’s been proven over a hundred times now. No-Kill shelters WILL take in ANY dog (or cat), BY DEFINITION. Complacent, naysaying drones are what holds it back.

      Reply
  20. To blame the parents would only make them feel worse than they already do for not having taken every precaution, for being too trusting of the world or perhaps believing god is going to keep you all safe. It’s a harsh lesson, but I’m certain they won’t allow such a thing to ever happen again. It was an accident. Like a traffic accident, we learn there should have been a stop sign there, so we install one. I know the family will take measures in the future to keep their family even safer. And it’s a sad day indeed when we have to take measures to keep our family safe from the government!

    It may only be a bit of cold comfort to know that it could have been much worse. As someone who works everyday to rescue dogs, or a monkey in South America, or an elephant on the other side of the world, (the list is endless)– it seems I’m on everyone’s list. I see news every day of all the worst, the unspeakable things “humans” do to dogs and other animals. (I once asked someone why god didn’t take better care of “his” helpless creatures. She told me “we can’t blame god for the things WE do.” I was very offended by that and I’ll bet you would be too. I guess she includes herself among these monsters who we call humans but probably shouldn’t.) I get reports of kids snatching dogs who only wandered out of their owner’s sight for two seconds, taking the dogs off to another location, torturing them to death or almost to death for fun, and right here in these united states. Adults capture strays and use them for bait in dog fighting rings, whole societies that believe the more an animal is tortured before it dies, the better it tastes.

    It is true that I am damaged, that I need therapy. Anyone would. The ASPCA actually offers therapy to people who do what I do. They see more than me. They understand. And the news gets worse every day. Just so you know, the shelter is the least of your worries.

    But this crime has a certain insidiousness about it: This is a crime committed by a governmental agency that is supposed to offer sanctuary and shelter to strays and lost dogs, to give their caring family time to find their pet. So we trust them. Not being chipped is not a reason to execute the little dog! It’s not a crime not to chip your dog. There didn’t used to BE chips, there used to be good, honest people working at shelters because they wanted to do good. But what they did is a crime. And what they’ve turned into cannot be trusted for a moment.

    More and more it seems small, local governments are aligning with the criminal element. And if it’s anyone “fault”, it is a society that allows such a governmental agency to continue to recklessly take the lives of a family’s beloved pet, among other much worse crimes. And it might get worse before it gets better.

    I hope this family’s eyes have been opened and will use this experience to join with a currently growing “army of angels” that fight against kill shelters as well as every kind of animal abuse imaginable. Against this “animal holocaust”. And my heart breaks, again, for their tragic loss. And if anyone says to them, or to that little girl “It was just a dog…” that’s whose virtual ass should be kicked. That’s how you’ll know your enemy.

    Reply
  21. Liz

     /  May 2, 2013

    Sue their @&&$$. Off. They are stupid people. Just plain stupid. R.i.p peanut. So sorry to the lil girl. I have 4 chihuahuas and they follow my kids every where.

    Reply
  22. Shirlz Australia

     /  May 2, 2013

    dreadful deed! poor little dog. i don’t think the pound hires well trained staff. anyone who works with animals can tell the difference between fear and bad temperament. and ant animal lover would understand that some animals are naturally introvert. so they are affectionate to their families, but aggressive with strangers. i hope this family are able to give another pet a furever home, one day. xo

    Reply
  23. Erin

     /  May 2, 2013

    Why don’t we just let these animals roam the streets like they do in 3rd world countries and close down these so called shelters. They’d be safer on the street anyway. They can eat from dumpsters from all the food we throw away and get water from any where. And most important……no monster coming at them with a needle to end their life!!!! I’m sick of this. If u can’t afford to let the animals live in the shelter…..then don’t open one and let that animal live free and let nature take its course!

    Reply
  24. caroline

     /  May 2, 2013

    i am so sorry to hear this and send so much to that little girl, i had the same thing happen to me a few years back in Tucson, AZ at the (in)Humane Society of Southern AZ. i followed all the rules, filed a missing pet report,etc. they killed my kitty less than one hour after he was brought in by a neighbor who found him. i had the cat for 17 years and it still hurts, especially when i see stories like these.

    Reply
  25. Pam

     /  May 3, 2013

    There is never a good reason for a “mistake” like this. I hope this so-called “shelter” gets every bit of the bad publicity it deserves. One day is ridiculous, but even five days is not long enough for a terrified little dog to adjust. This shelter IS an absolute slaughterhouse. If this were my dog, I would be talking to an attorney.

    Reply
  26. Angela Lovett

     /  May 3, 2013

    Am so very sorry to hear this. I don’t know how aa lot of these “shelters” call even call themselves shelters….by definition a shelter is supposed to be “a place of refuge”. Putting down a healthy animal after 1 day is just deplorable. And the normal “hold for 5 days” is just not enough time to find most animals adoptions anyways! Add to that that a lot of shelters allow injured, &/or sick animals to just sit there in cages without any, or proper, medical attention which is also deplorable. So many shelters are really just “death camps”, & not shelters at all!! Please start a petition that we all can sign.

    Reply
  27. Megean

     /  May 5, 2013

    id like to know how a dog brought into a shelter in the evening or morning wouldnt be recognized less the 24 hours later as a dog that recently came in. i worked at a shelter and i know for a fact all animals are scared and need some time to trust the surroundings. SORRY but this is terribly wrong. more then ONE employee would have seen that dog, more then ONE employee knew when he came in and more then ONE employee would have handled or dealt with the euthanization of that animal. i dont buy it and thats why no one is taking. i dont trust humane societies or big shelters. i know they do alot but lets face it. if its stay its dead. if its not perfect when it comes in its dead. end of story they dont have the time or space to deal with less the perfect animals. unless they plan on using said animal for publicity. ( hey look how we spend all this time saving this poor sick animal) the inevitable truth is more animals get put down then they are saved. the shelter is in the wrong. i feel terrible for this family, and what they have to go through.

    Reply

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