Private Citizens Save Dozens of Cats at CT Shelter

On July 29, a local TV news report indicated Bridgeport AC in CT was threatening to kill cats due to being over capacity.  A rescue group offered to pay the adoption fees for the cats in an effort to encourage people to adopt.  The next day, the same TV station reported that people waited in line for a chance to adopt the free cats:

Yesterday, the shelter had about 75 cats.

The shelter says all but one of the cats have now been adopted, but they get new cats in all the time.

Thank you to the so-called irresponsible public, yet again – both the rescue group that paid the fees and the adopters who opened up their hearts and homes.

I hope next time Bridgeport AC needs help from compassionate people, it won’t resort to threats of violence against the pets in its care.  The public wants to save pets and will respond to pleas for assistance but any shelter wanting to build a lasting relationship with supporters needs to do its job and avoid threats to hurt animals.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Abuse of Power at Virginia Beach AC

This is one of those stories where I know some compassionate person who isn’t a regular reader is going to stumble across it and feel certain I’ve made it up.  For what it’s worth, I’m not making it up.

Virginia Beach animal lover Tiffany D’Andrea says 3 pregnant mama cats showed up in her yard one day this spring and shortly thereafter had kittens in her garage.  She fed and watered them while they raised the newborn kittens and left the door open so they could come and go at will.  After about 6 weeks, Ms. D’Andrea was preparing to go back to work and wanted to be sure the families were looked after in her absence so she  brought them to VA Beach AC.  She describes the kittens as generally healthy:

Once there, D’Andrea and her daughter said they didn’t want to turn over the cats until they could speak to someone about euthanasia policies, so that they could be sure the kittens wouldn’t be put down.

“He went to grab the box and my daughter said no we’re waiting for someone to come out and talk to us first,” D’Andrea said.

Smart thinking.  However another worker talked them into handing over the cat families.  When that employee returned 2 minutes later and began whispering to her co-workers , Ms. D’Andrea overheard the word “euthanized”.  All 6 kittens had been immediately killed upon impound.

But in their haste to kill kittens, VA Beach staff failed to follow protocol and get Ms. D’Andrea to sign over the 9 cats so they weren’t officially impounded.  Once the kittens were dead, an ACO repeatedly attempted to obtain Ms. D’Andrea’s signature on a surrender form but she refused.  She says a worker told her she had no legal rights to the cats since they were strays:

“Once they realized that I hadn’t signed anything, they were in trouble. They just killed 6 kittens illegally.”

After failing to cover their asses legally, the pound tried a new tactic:  charging the good Samaritan with animal cruelty.  The worker changed her stance from “you don’t own them because they’re strays” to “you own them because you fed them” and charged Ms. D’Andrea with 6 animal cruelty charges and 3 counts each of failure to obtain a city license and failure to obtain rabies vaccines.

I reiterate:  not making this up.

For its part, the pound claims its vet evaluated the 6 kittens and determined all were in need of killing within 2 minutes.  In court, Ms. D’Andrea obtained a favorable ruling at the initial hearing and was able to get the 3 mama cats back.  She took them to a different shelter.  But the 12 charges against her have been continued until September.

(Thanks Jan for the link.)

Jefferson City Vets Who Love the Gas Chamber

The Jefferson City pound in Missouri puts wildlife and some cats into the gas chamber.  One of the cats gassed at the facility in December was an owned pet named Stella.  Her heartbroken owner asked the city to change its gas chamber policy and the shelter vet quit over its use in June.  On June 9, Jefferson City hired veterinarian Corey McCann and put him in charge of everything.  Gassing continues under his leadership.

The pound has 3 vets on its advisory committee and one of them, Jim Crago, recently sent a letter to the local paper supporting the gassing of animals at the pound.  Dr. Crago offers several seemingly absurd justifications for putting animals into the gas chamber to die:

Crago said the Department of Conservation advises the animal control officers to euthanize the wild animals rather than release them into the wild at another location, because of concerns that the animals will not adjust to their new environment or will not be accepted by other wildlife in the environment.

“Many of these animals will die due to this stress imposed upon them,” Crago said.

Possible death by stress is too cruel to risk but definite death by suffering in the gas chamber is A-OK?  Oh and the right of these animals to live is not even worth mentioning apparently.

“Anyone who believes that injecting these animals through a cage and watching them struggle is less stressful than the use of the gas chamber should witness what I have had to do during the last month for the shelter,” Crago said in the letter.

He said that on one occasion he had to give a groundhog three injections before it was sedated enough to handle. The process took nearly 20 minutes of struggle. A raccoon the veterinarian injected bled profusely before becoming sedated, he said.

“It is not uncommon that multiple injections are needed due to the valiant efforts they (wildlife) make to avoid getting injected,” Crago said in the letter.

He said that on that particular day, two raccoons, two groundhogs and a cat were euthanized.

The animals make valiant efforts to live but, meh.  It sounds like Dr. Crago regularly botches killings and is annoyed at the effort required to conduct them.  So gas chamber obviously.

He said in an interview that when euthanizing with the gas chamber, the cage that trapped the wildlife is placed inside the chamber, so animals are separated during the process. Occasionally when two animals are trapped in one cage, they are both euthanized in that cage.

I think I’m going to be sick.

When asked if there is a way to tell if an animal is feral, Crago said, “No.”

“That’s where the microchip comes in,” he said. “If people would microchip their animals, they would be checked before they are euthanized. They always are.”

He said the animals could then be identified as domestic.

“Unfortunately, cats can be very kind and nice at home, warm and fuzzy,” Crago said. “Then when you trap them by accident, or otherwise, or put them in an enclosed area, they become very vicious and you can’t tell the difference between that vicious and a feral animal that is vicious just because it’s a wild cat.”

He said microchipping animals is the best solution.

So there’s no way to tell if a cat is feral and as Dr. Crago likely knows, less than 2% of pets entering shelters are chipped.  But it’s the best solution.  And if not, gas chamber.

It’s up to Jefferson City taxpayers to demand the gas chamber be removed from the pound and the needless killing of impounded wildlife and pets be put to an end.  I hope no pet owners in Jefferson City take their animals to any of these vets in love with the gas chamber.  That awkward moment when you realize your vet gassed your cat to death?  It’s coming, if it hasn’t already happened.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Anyone Minding the Store, Memphis?

Remember when those MAS killing cheerleaders also known as the do nothing advisory board decided to lock the public out of most of their meetings because the unwashed masses wanted to speak up for the right of shelter pets to live?  Well here are the minutes from one of the recent super secret meetings.   It seems the advisory board members can’t be bothered to do the jobs they volunteered for and neither can the workers paid by taxpayers. But killing is the public’s fault, don’t forget.

Fair warning:  Do not take a large swig of any beverage while reading.

MAS advisory board notes from May meeting

MAS advisory board notes from May meeting (click to enlarge)

The only reasonable response, clearly:

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

In Memoriam: Faye Hunter

If you were following the wave of Southern indie bands in the 80s, Let’s Active was one of your listening staples.  Let’s Active co-founder, co-vocalist and bass player Faye Hunter influenced at least one of my high school friends to start playing bass and I’m sure there are many other female bassists out there who would say the same.  Her musical clout was epic.

In addition to being an influential musician, Faye Hunter was also more recently a live-in caregiver for her mother, a Beagle owner and a devoted friend to animals.  She regularly posted photos on Facebook of the donkey sanctuary near her home in Advance, NC where she volunteered:

faye and donkey I

Faye Hunter with child and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye Hunter with child and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye Hunter with child and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye also posted many shots of her beloved Beagle, Toby:

Toby (via Facebook)

Toby (via Facebook)

Toby (via Facebook)

Toby (via Facebook)

On June 25, Toby died and Faye posted the following on her Facebook page:

Please promise to run free and happy in doggie heaven, my most precious and good and adored little Toby. You suffered so much early in life, but once you found my house you were safe and showered with kindness and love. I love you, I love you forever and always, and my heart hurts. R.I.P.

and on July 2:

It has rained every single day since my Toby left us. In my heart it has too.

Faye died on July 21, 2013 at her home, a victim of suicide.  An obituary in the Winston-Salem Journal indicates she wanted any donations made in her memory to go to The Elephant Sanctuary in TN or an area animal shelter.  Let’s Active co-founder Mitch Easter told NC public radio:

“She was definitely artistic, but every bit as much as that she was a deeply kind person and she was an animal person,” Easter said. “There wasn’t a single animal of the face of the earth that she wouldn’t try to help if it needed help. She was just a great person, a really great person. Very distinctive, bright, interesting person.”

Faye and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye and donkey (via Facebook)

***

If you need to talk to someone, call 1-800-273-8255 anytime, day or night.  You can also Google other help centers.

Open Thread

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No Good News Out of Genesee Co Pet Killing Facility

The Genesee Co pound in Flint, MI has gone back and forth from frying pan to fire in recent years. Stepheni Lazar, the Animal Control head from 2009 through early 2012, killed roughly 16,000 dogs and cats during her tenure according to the state’s annual reports:

  • 2009:  8009 dogs and cats killed of 10,090 taken in – 79% kill rate
  • 2010:  6062 dogs and cats killed of 8072 taken in – 75% kill rate
  • 2011:  1766 dogs and cats killed of 2477 taken in – 51% kill rate

Ms. Lazar was replaced in March 2012 by Walt Rodabaugh. He too killed most of the animals entrusted to his care:

  • 2012:  3957 dogs and cats killed of 6125 taken in – 65% kill rate

In May 2012, Mr. Rodabaugh dragged 28 Pitbulls on chokepoles from a home and then killed them.  In September, he suspended the pound’s volunteer program claiming his employees felt threatened.  Earlier this month, a citizen filed a complaint after he says he tried to surrender 2 dogs to the pound and was told by an employee the only way the county would accept them is if he signed an owner requested “euthanasia” form.

A county commissioner ordered a temporary halt to killings while the matter was investigated.  While I don’t know the outcome of that investigation, Mr. Rodabaugh resigned this week.  County commissioners immediately appointed Ms. Lazar to replace him without consulting the citizen advisory committee pushing for reform at the pound.

Frying pan, fire – it’s hard to distinguish sometimes, ain’t it?

Treats on the Internets

In NC, the Gaston Co AC supervisor says he’ll do “whatever it takes” to get pets out alive.  But it was a member of the so-called irresponsible public who recently sought out a major TV station’s help to promote the 60 pets on the kill list.  And so many blaggards stepped up to adopt, the pound was left with only 10 pets to kill – which they did, of course.  Whatever it takes.

Georgia Department of Agriculture ordered 87 cats quarantined at the DeKalb Co pound and 48 dogs quarantined at Cobb Co due to disease.

Police in Henrico Co, VA visited the home of a murdered 33 year old man to inform family members of his death.  While there, they shot the family’s dog to death.

PETA’s lies rebutted by Rescue One Dog.

File under:  ACO doing good:  An ACO in Anderson, SC found a stray Shih Tzu in a ravine nursing an orphaned kitten.  BuzzFeed has the adorable photos.  I love that the kitten looks very much like the surrogate mama.

And again:  An ACO in Clark Co, WA climbed a ladder and sat on a roof tossing hot dog bits to successfully lure a small dog who’d gotten trapped there somehow.  (Thanks Danny for the link.)

Headline of the Week: Why Won’t This Cat Answer My Questions About Climate Change?

MS Holding Facility Gone but What Will Take Its Place?

The hellhole where stray dogs and cats were being kept by the city of Ellisville, MS has been demolished.  That is a good first step and wholly attributable to compassionate people who voiced their concerns about the plight of the pets kept in that structure.  But more work remains to be done and it falls to area residents to do it.

To that end, a Jones Co group called Southern Cross Animal Rescue has formed and offered to meet with Ellisville Mayor Tim Waldrup about future care for the city’s lost and homeless pets.  The mayor doesn’t come across as enthusiastic about saving the lives of his community’s pets:

Mayor Tim Waldrup said he would listen to anyone who has a plan on how to improve things. But he said Southern Cross doesn’t have a facility and he won’t use taxpayer dollars to build one for them.

What about the funds the city was already allocating for animal control, including the mayor’s promise to build a new facility within a year – how will that money be spent now?

And then there’s this from the vet contracted by the city to kill pets:

[Veterinarian Kimberly Martin] said the only ones who are put down are dogs that bite and wild cats.

You must be joking.  Any dog who did *not* try to bite or any cat who did not act “wild” after being left in a hellhole for 5 days was probably already near death from the heat.  The notion that anyone would judge behavior on a dog or cat left to suffer in such inhumane conditions is outrageous and unacceptable – especially when a thumbs down means death.

Ellisville taxpayers must demand better from their elected officials.  The city came up with the funds to blow the place up pretty damn quickly when the public began registering complaints.  Why can’t they take steps toward actually sheltering pets in their community just as fast?  What is the plan to help lost and stray dogs and cats in Ellisville today?  Is there one?

(Thanks Larkin and Arlene for the links.)

An Uncomfortable Conversation

Note:  This post may be considered off topic by some and if you are interested only in how this post relates to the blog, skip to the final two paragraphs.

 

Access to healthcare is a right, not a privilege to my mind.  The U.S. is lagging shamefully behind such countries as Colombia, Iceland and Cuba when it comes to healthcare access.  To make matters worse, there is a social stigma associated with seeking mental healthcare in this country which reduces further the number of people who receive needed services.

The reason I bring this up is because there are likely many people in the animal welfare community, as there are in all walks of life, in need of mental healthcare.  And with severely diminished access due to governmental and societal failures, there are probably very few receiving the care they need.

I am not in any way qualified to diagnose the mental health status of individuals who target someone for harassment on social media outlets and create multiple fake profiles to “agree” with themselves.  But as a human being, I know it’s wrong.  And as a friend, I know that this tactic has caused serious pain to some individuals in the animal welfare community.

There is an expectation in social media venues that one must be willing to slough off the haters because no matter what, haters gonna hate, right?  I agree with that sentiment to an extent.  No one should expect that everyone is going to support all their viewpoints and speaking only for myself, I would not want that.  How else can I continue to grow and learn unless I am challenged to expand my worldview from time to time?  And I can certainly deal with the occasional odd duck.

But there is a difference between someone responding to an individual with a comment such as, “Have you ever considered X in addition to Y?” and someone making personal attacks and creating fake profiles to inflict greater hurt by posting additional personal attacks.  That difference is obvious to me as I suspect it is to many here.

What I am coming to is this:  I fear it is only a matter of time before someone in the animal welfare community commits suicide after being relentlessly targeted and harassed by these fake profile idiots.  That may sound extreme to some but on the other hand, how does anyone know it hasn’t already happened?  And if I don’t say it outright and plain, I’m just as guilty of stigmatizing mental health as those I blame for doing it.  So there it is.

The relevance to the blog is that I am going to start restricting comments from anyone I suspect of maintaining a fake profile for the purpose of harassing someone in the animal welfare community.  I don’t like limiting discussion but I don’t want my blog to be the place that someone who’s been victimized by these anonymous cowards comes only to find more of the same they are trying to escape elsewhere.  Differing opinions and disagreement is fine.  Targeting an individual for harassment, and especially using fake profiles to do it, is not.  There will be zero tolerance for this kind of thing from here on out – no warnings, no nothing.  If you engage in what I view as harassment, you are out of here.

And a personal note to anyone who has been targeted by these fake profile asshats – you are not alone.  There are more of us than there are of them – that’s why they have to make up fake names, yo.  If you need mental health care and have access to it, take care of yourself.  The animal welfare community needs you.  Don’t give up.