Galveston County Pound Under Investigation by Sheriff’s Office

Stacy Lee, a volunteer at the 5 million dollar Galveston County Animal Resource Center in Texas City, took photos documenting overcrowded conditions and what she describes as neglect and abuse of pets by staff:

“These dogs were walking around their own feces, their own urine, peeing in their water bowls, drinking their own urine,” Lee said. “I saw puppies eating their own fecal matter.”

Ms. Lee showed the photos to the county health department which runs the pound.

“We’re disturbed by some of the photos that we have seen. We do know that we had a visit from the Texas Department of State Health Services, and we were in compliance,” said Kurt Koopman with the Galveston Co. Health District.

Well yippy damn skippy for you.  And yet the Health District told local media “the facility took in 1,156 animals between June 3 and July 16 and euthanized 785 of them.”  That’s a 68% kill rate for that time period.

According to the Galveston County Health District, the shelter is trying to do what it can to find all of the dogs and cats homes.

Find homes where – at the landfill?

Ms. Lee claims that after she exposed the inhumane conditions at the facility, the director went on a retaliatory killing spree, designed to free up space and fool investigators from the county sheriff’s department who are looking into the cruelty allegations:

She said on July 13 a dump truck filled with euthanized animals pulled away from the shelter. She claims after that, the shelter tried to put on a front that it has “cleaned up its act”.

Killing animals to hide the evidence isn’t the only tomfoolery being alleged at the pound:

Whenever shelter director Dana Beckham is mentioned on the shelter’s  website DVM follows her name.

That would lead most people to think she’s a licensed vet.

When we asked Koopman if Beckham was a licensed vet he replied yes, she is a veterinarian.

But according to the Texas Veterinary Board Dana Beckham is not or ever has been a licensed vet in the state of Texas.

Oops.  Ms. Beckham had to publicly respond this week:

She began a Thursday meeting by acknowledging an allegation that was apparently made to the state’s vet board.

“I want it to be known that I’m not a licensed veterinarian,” Beckham told the packed crowd. “I do have a doctorate of veterinary medicine degree.”

Ms. Beckham claimed she has not been practicing veterinary medicine without a license and denied she had used her husband’s vet license to purchase pre-kill sedatives used at the pound.  Those sedatives were confiscated by investigators on Wednesday.

On Friday, the Galveston Co pound posted an update on its website, stating it won’t be administering the sedative any longer, nor will it vaccinate pets upon intake.  Both changes are reportedly being made in order to bring the pound into compliance with Texas Veterinary Board rules.  Which supposedly it wasn’t violating.  Oops.

Failure to vaccinate upon intake is poor shelter management.  The standard of care requires vaccination prior to or immediately upon impound in order to prevent the spread of disease.  At a facility already under investigation for stuffing too many animals into filthy cages, one would think disease prevention would be a priority.  The announcement strikes me as retaliatory in nature, further victimizing the animals the shelter is accused of harming.

The Galveston Co pound does not adopt out Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Chows or any other dog it deems “aggressive”.  This policy, not based in science, also gives me the impression that the director is not interested in saving pets’ lives but rather enjoys abusing power.

Best of luck to local advocates pushing for shelter reform.  Let us know if you need help.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Treats on the Internets

For those who have been following the sordid case at the Campbell Co pound, the TN Bureau of Investigation presented its findings to a grand jury this month.  The grand jury determined no criminal wrongdoing took place.  The former director has quit and no one will be charged.  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

A private citizen posted a threatened kill list of one on Craigslist and people freaked out.  Pet killing facilities all over the country continue to threaten and kill millions of healthy/treatable pets every year – some in secret.  Killing pets – and threatening to kill pets – is wrong regardless of who does it, how it’s done or how it’s announced or hidden.  (Thanks Heather for the link.)

Bloomberg estimates there are 50,000 stray dogs on the streets of Detroit – a figure which seems incredible to me.

Santa Cruz Bullies and Buddies gives some simple tips for photographing shelter dogs.

The state of MA used to pay fishermen $5 per seal nose but that practice ended in 1965 and in 1972, seals gained federal protection under the law.  Seal populations have since made a comeback, especially in the last decade.  Nantucket fishermen consider them a nuisance because they eat fish but those who earn a living taking people out on seal watching excursions are enjoying the increased numbers.

All sorts of art that includes dogs (Thanks Clarice.)

Humane Society of Fremont Co Under Investigation by State of CO

Canon City contracts the Humane Society of Fremont County in Colorado for animal control.  In 2012, the Humane Society of Fremont Co had a roughly 56% live release rate for dogs and cats.  The state report includes a category called “Other” to list animals described as “missing, stolen, etc.” and the facility listed 464 dogs and cats in that category which is troubling.  (Fair warning:  It gets worse.  Way.)

Also of concern is the HS of Fremont County’s June 7, 2013 state inspection which documents a number of violations including:

  • Adopting out puppies and kittens under 8 weeks of age
  • Keeping cats in cages that were too small
  • Keeping cats in cages with mesh flooring
  • Using the surgery room as a cat intake/holding area as well as an isolation area for sick cats
  • Failure to inspect the one foster home of record

The HS of Fremont County’s whiny ass response, dated June 25, 2013, appears to be the work of an 8 year old.  The facility blames an employee by name for repeated mistakes in recording ages on puppies and kittens and basically says management will start babysitting him.  The HS also states it will no longer accept orphaned puppies and kittens under the age of 8 weeks and as such, won’t be needing its foster home any longer so voila! – no inspection required.  Problems solved, I guess.

Not so fast.  The July 22, 2013 state inspection reveals even more violations including:

  • Failure to remove dogs from cages during cleaning with pressure hose
  • Leaving dirty water bowls in place to be used by the next dog after a dog is removed from the kennel
  • Killing animals before their legal holding period expired
  • Inhumane killing procedures including heartstick done by untrained staff
  • Sick and injured animals being left to suffer without immediate vet care
  • Failure to keep records of animal treatments

As if these violations aren’t awful enough, there’s this:  A complaint filed with the state by a group of former volunteers (the facility shut down its volunteer program at the beginning of June) states that the part time vet used by the HS of Fremont Co neuters dogs using a technique normally reserved for farm animals and that unsupervised, untrained staff are treating pets.  Here are a couple of excerpts from the complaint:

Excerpt from volunteers' complaint against the HS of Fremont Co (click to enlarge)

Excerpt from volunteers’ complaint against the HS of Fremont Co (click to enlarge)

Excerpt from volunteers' complaint against the HS of Fremont Co (click to enlarge)

Excerpt from volunteers’ complaint against the HS of Fremont Co (click to enlarge)

Additional allegations outlined in the former volunteers’ complaint to the state:

  • Live animals being placed into the freezer and incinerator
  • Animals being killed in full view of live cats and dogs in the room used for surgery
  • Cats determined “feral” being killed upon impound including the mother of a litter of kittens
  • Killing of dogs to create space for imported dogs from another state
  • Kicking and hitting dogs by staff members
  • Theft of donated food by staff members
  • Shelter director convicted of animal cruelty in 1998 while employed at the HS of Fremont Co and remains on the job to this day

There are some disturbing details of the suffering of the HS of Fremont Co pets at the Canon City Daily Record and some hard-to-look-at photos on Facebook.  A former volunteer wrote this first hand account of animals being killed at the HS of Fremont Co but be advised – the material may be too disturbing for some readers.

Local advocates are pushing for the HS of Fremont Co director to be replaced  and the state is continuing to investigate.  Rescue One Dog has been covering the story as well.

(Thank you Veda, Davyd and everyone who sent me links on this story.)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is: no researching.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is optional.  If you don’t have a serious guess, unserious guesses are welcome.  Answer will be posted in the comments later today.


Hundreds of Dogs Seized in Multi-State Dogfighting Bust

Several of you have sent in links pertaining to the recent multi-state seizure of 367 dogs in connection with a dogfighting bust.  And almost everyone who did also asked the question:  What will happen to the dogs?

Since the ASPCA and HSUS are involved, I will speculate based on past performance:  Already overburdened rescue groups will be tasked with saving many of these dogs, forcing them to stretch their meager resources even further and to create space where none currently exists.  Local dogs in need of rescue will be displaced.   ASPCA and/or HSUS will probably leave some of the dogs at pet killing facilities under cover of night and will never reveal what happened to the dogs.  But none of this will occur until after ASPCA and HSUS feel they have sufficient video and photos of the dogs featuring people dressed in logo’d attire, for future exploitation purposes aimed at suckering compassionate animal lovers into padding their enormous bank accounts.

In short, the only ones likely to come out of this situation in the WIN column are those who get their paychecks from ASPCA and HSUS.  For everyone else involved, both human and canine, it’s a crapshoot, at best.

CT Animal Control Officer Charged with Animal Cruelty

The Wolcott police department in CT runs the local pound.  After shelter workers and citizens complained that the animals were being mistreated by Joseph Ouimet, the town’s ACO, the police chief advised Mr. Ouimet that a camera was being installed at the facility.  This is the point when a smart animal abuser would have thought, “Well all that previous abuse was a freebie but now I’ve got to find a new place to hurt pets so I don’t get caught.”  Joseph Ouimet is not a smart animal abuser.  He reportedly kept right on hurting pets at the pound and it’s all on video.

From May 5 to July 10, Mr. Ouimet allegedly failed to properly clean cages and bowls, sprayed caged dogs with the hose, used the cage doors to slam dogs repeatedly, and sprayed dogs in the face with a cleaning chemical.  None of the video containing those actions has been publicly released but there is a snippet of the following:

In video released to Eyewitness news, you can see Ouimet taunting one of the dogs with food while feeding the other animals. Finally, he throws the food over the top of the cage and onto the dirty floor around the dog.

In July, the police chief and town attorney met with Mr. Ouimet to advise him they would be investigating what was seen on the video.  He quit.  Mr. Ouimet was arrested last week and charged with 4 counts of animal cruelty.  He is due to appear in court on September 6.

Wolcott has since merged its pound with another town and it’s being run by someone new.  The dogs reportedly harmed by Mr. Ouimet have been adopted.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Open Thread

Post anything animal related.


Treats on the Internets

The director of the Franklin Co pound in NC is under investigation after he admitted shooting a Basset Hound to death on shelter property.  He reportedly examined the dog’s injured paw, determined immediate killing was required but did not call a vet or the pound’s certified kill techs.  Instead, he shot the dog with a 22 caliber rifle.  More at Fix NC.

Carson City Animal Services, the place that killed Rollie, has fired its director.  (Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Dozens of cats and a few dogs are in need of homes in the Visalia, CA area due to a home based shelter undergoing foreclosure.  The shelter recently sent some dogs with Tulare County AC but fears the cats will be killed if AC takes them.  Any cats not adopted at the time the owner is forced to move will be cared for outside until placement can be found.  (Someone posted this link in the comments but I failed to note who or where.  Thank you.)

The ASPCA is getting out of the law enforcement business in New York City.

The White House has issued an official position against BSL.

New blog from reader CyborgSuzy keeps an eye on conditions at the Humane Society of Eastern Oregon.

Circle of Life – 1, Satanic Cults – 0:  Pony ‘killed by Satanists’ died of natural causes

Housekeeping:  I installed a new theme on the blog this morning.  If anyone has trouble reading anything because of the new theme, please let me know.

Unshakable Faith

Many people think of pets as intuitive in the sense that they know when they are in the hands of people who would hurt them.  We often see pets housed in so-called shelters who appear fearful, depressed or extremely anxious and agitated – behaviors indicative of pets under stress.  But some shelter pets don’t seem to pick up on the the fact that the people around them may commit the ultimate act of violence against them at any moment.  Maybe they had an owner who only ever showed them love and affection.  Maybe even if they were strays, the only humans these pets have ever known were kind and compassionate.  Maybe they have an unshakable faith in our species.  Who can say?

This dog and cat, listed on PetHarbor as being held at the Iredell Co pound in NC, don’t seem to realize they are headed for the gas chamber if someone at the pound decides to kill them.

iredell A161083iredell A161120

Paraphrasing Nathan Winograd: When your pet dies, you will grieve. When you die, your pet will grieve. That alone should take killing off the table.

There ought to be a law against the arbitrary killing of pets in shelters.

There ought to be a law against gas chambers.

As compassionate human beings, we must endeavor to deserve that unshakable faith.

What will happen to hundreds of animals at the Kern Co pound?

Kern County, CA has leased property from the city of Bakersfield for its pound since the 1970s but the relationship has been a contentious one, at least lately.  Both the city and the county have complaints but as far as the animals are concerned, the Kern Co pound is killing more animals now than it has in many years.  Unable to negotiate an agreement, the city is evicting the county from the property on September 30, with an offer of a December 1 extension if the county needs more time to relocate.

The city manager said it’s vital for the city to take control, citing animal rights groups’ complaints against the level of care the shelter has been providing.

At issue now is the fate of nearly 900 animals at the Kern Co pound:

According to county officials, there are three options.

“One of which is to move the animals. One of which is to release them, and in releasing them we can use some of the rescue agencies, that sort of thing. Or third, those animals would have to be destroyed,” [County administrative officer John] Nilon continued.

The Kern Co pound director seems to have a plan in mind but given the county’s stated intention to decline the extension on the eviction, I’m not sure how realistic that plan may be:

“When we get to the day that we have to move, we literally have to take every animal in the facility, which includes dogs, cats, horses, pigs, everything we have so we leave an empty facility behind,” said Kern County Animal Control Director Jen Woodard.

If the Kern Co pound staff can move nearly 900 animals by September 30, that’s great.  But if their plan is to simply continue killing at the current horrifying rate or possibly even worse in order to reduce the population needing to be relocated, I hope they’ll reconsider.  If there is to be a positive outcome from this awful situation, I suspect it will fall to the so-called irresponsible public to do the heavy lifting, as usual.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)