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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.)

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