Orange Co Pound Oops-Kills Dog with Adopter Waiting, Rescuer Demands Answers

Florida – After Orange County Animal Services oops-killed a 2 year old dog named Hershey who had an adopter waiting to take him home, the facility’s spokesman refused to disclose exactly how the communication breakdown occurred.   Local rescuer Christina Duncan didn’t accept the brush-off and contacted several individuals in positions of leadership at the pound to demand answers.  Here is the e-mail she wrote to the pound’s vet, Robert Ridgway (click to enlarge):

duncan letter

Here is Dr. Ridgway’s response:

ridgway letter

If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. And like the spokesman for the Orange Co pound, Dr. Ridgway definitely can’t own it.

(Thanks for the links Clarice.)

41 thoughts on “Orange Co Pound Oops-Kills Dog with Adopter Waiting, Rescuer Demands Answers

  1. Wow…I don’t think I’ve ever seem a more sarcastic letter written by a so-called “professional”. He is paid by the taxpayers, and they deserve far better than this kind of reply. But it certainly does point to Dr. Ridgway’s lack of empathy and concern. I notice not once in his reply does he actually ADDRESS ANY of the rescuer’s questions or concerns. And the tone of his reply is beyond unacceptable. If he treats people this way, I have no problem believing he cares nothing for the animals. He sounds like he HATES his job. Perhaps he does. In which case, he serves no one’s interest.

    1. This snarky reply letter from the veterinarian is very, very similar to email responses we used to receive in Kansas City from a terrible vet who ran the city shelter. It was everyone else’s fault all the time that 60% of the animals that entered that hell hole never made it out, and any animals who made it out was only by the efforts of determined rescuers. A campaign was organized, a case presented to the city government – he was booted out – a non-profit took over and in the past twelve consecutive months they have achieved No Kill save rates in a high intake open admission shelter. It took a while to accomplish this change, but until the people of Florida get angry enough, this situation will remain the same. I hope they raise an army of citizens to change things in Orange County….people always say “someone needs to do something!” Well, people of Orange County….it’s on you to make this happen. Do it for the future of homeless animals in your area!

  2. Holeeeee shit.

    That is some kind of response, there. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that autocorrect is the reason for the fact that “maladies” is misspelled.

    But damn. Not only do you NOT address that actual matter at hand Dr. Ridgway, you are defensive and snide and actively alienating a supporting member of your community. Bravo on the extreme unprofessionalism.

    The man clearly needs to be replaced immediately. This behavior is completely unacceptable.

      1. One can only hope that he has more attention to detail when he is doing surgeries, but honestly…it does not bode well.

  3. I think it would be a terrific idea to publish this pompous idiot a**hole’s email/phone number so that other “intelligent” members of the public could share their super natural knowledge thoughts with him. Let him know that the world is watching!

    Interesting that his answer was all about “him” and nothing about the situation, the dog, the potential adopters or the “miscommunication”,

    What a dick!

    1. The only problem with giving out personal info is that there are a few people out there who might/will take it to the extreme and threaten this man or his family and/or do other stuff that falls outside the law. I’m all for calling out via email, and online, and even getting a petition going to draw attention to it etc, but not digging for more info.

      That being said, that email seriously made me cry for the animals in his care. I get that “the public” is frustrating, and there are plenty of people who are not nice to him for what he does and he probably doesn’t get paid much, and you get burnout, and all that… but this email did NOT warrant that kind of sarcasm and vitriol. And then of course the not addressing the questions thing.

  4. Here is the number one problem at this shelter. How can he call himself a professional and send off an extremely rude and sarcastic response. Sounds like he needs to get some people skills and some compassion. Until people in authority like him are removed, these poor animals are at a certain death.

    1. I can certainly understand the need to use snark as a coping mechanism when the plain spoken reality is too much to bear. That said, a dog who had an adopter waiting was killed here. For a vet to fail to even acknowledge the needless killing and instead belittle the rescuer who demanded a response does not strike me in any way as an animal lover suffering from compassion fatigue. The dog’s killing didn’t even register on his radar. How could he possibly be the right person for this job?

      On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:05 PM, YesBiscuit!

  5. Vets have access to DEA controlled substances.

    They have very high levels of abuse. It’s pretty easy for a pound vet to record something as having gone to a patient who never received it. Who’s gonna tell, the dog? Hell, the dog is dead, he ain’t talking.

    Also, vets are not immune from being raging assholes.

    I think we got ourselves a convergence of a coupla factors here. One of ’em the DEA may want to look into. The other one is just a fact of life.

  6. This “Dr. Ridgeway” sounds like a real “quack”. Totally unprofessional. I hope you forward the letter he/she sent you to the county. No wonder this kill shelter is in the mess it is. Good luck on finding another forever friend.

  7. This SOB should have his license revoked, if he even has one! God pity the animals in this messed up Country. The Politicians won’t even take this problem on! That is really messed up!

  8. Dear God, get that man away from animals and other living beings. I hope this story gets out to the media and that the powers that be fire his sorry ass right now!

  9. He has doesn’t even attempt to find out why an animal that had a home lined up, was killed. Obviously, it is not important enough to him to even bother with a response. No, he turns on the “blame the public” song and dance. So typical.

    This person needs to go. He should not have the power of life and death. He is failing miserably and is too egotistical to see it.

  10. I’m surprised he could actually type this email what with his suffering painful hands and all. And wow, he managed to not only be insulting and nasty but never once even got within a mile of answering the questions posed. Extra points for reading about a needlessly killed dog and more or less shouting What About My Suffering? It is all about him, his inner toddler needs a long time out.

    1. It does sound as if the contents of the “vet’s” email have been made available to the media and the public.
      I can’t imagine how that owner feels – not to mention those who were ready to adopt these dogs.
      Hopefully it will lead to some genuine changes at that particular facility, even though it will never replace those dogs.

    2. That’s just so wrong. How unbelievable sad; that BOTH their dogs were killed. I’m sure they didn’t know/expect that would happen.
      The public needs to be made aware of how shelters operate – and they shouldn’t be able to operate as their own little fiefdoms where they make arbitrary & punitive life & death decisions . . .

      1. CAPA has some wording in it (and I’m going on memory here so not an exact quote) that requires shelters to print the words “THIS ANIMAL MAY BE KILLED” on every surrender form. While I think that’s an important part of educating the public about the realities of what so-called shelters do, I would like to see it go further. Specifically that any place which has a live release rate of less than 50% be required to call itself a PET KILLING FACILITY and not a “shelter”, “humane society”, “society for the prevention of cruelty to animals” or “animal services”. I have other ideas as well.

      2. Okay, Shirley, I’d love to have you in charge. I can think of lots of places that would benefit from your perspective . . .

  11. As a shelter director, I “get” the public can be both pushy and rude, especially when it comes to responding to rumors instead of fact. But that never, ever gives a “professional” the right to respond in such an arrogant and heartless way. The e-mail that she sent the doctor was succinct and to the point, and she expressed her main concern which is the humane treatment of animals. Especially in such a heart-wrenching situation as this. At least express some regret that the incident took place at all. Express that the matter will be looked into (hopefully by law enforcement) and that wrong doers will be terminated and maybe even charged with cruelty. I wasn’t there, but if his negligence caused the death of this poor baby, it is obvious he does not care. He should care that it happened at all. I just don’t get that from his response. Shame!

  12. At NO time does he even address any of the questions in the email which tells me he knows they screwed up bad, has NO answers at all and instead of owning it and manning up decided being a dickhead was a better remedy… dead wrong, Doc! You could have answered the question politely and that would have been that but now you have pissed everyone off and that is NOT going to work for many of us!
    I say find out who his boss is or what regulatory committee or organization oversees this place and let THEM see what this jerk had to say… maybe we can get him the rest from working on animals he so desperately needs and he can find something better to do like an anger management course or better yet how to spell…
    The good doctor is living proof that you can’t fix stupid.

    1. Excellent response – “find out who his boss is or what regulatory committee or organization oversees this place and let THEM see what this jerk had to say… maybe we can get him the rest from working on animals he so desperately needs”

      “The good doctor is living proof that you can’t fix stupid.”

  13. the reason he works at the kill shelter is because he is NOT a good enough vet to run a respectable practice. Those who can do,, those who can’t,, murder dogs & cats at kill shelters. If anybody has his address,, feel free to send that ass my comment.

  14. This is a horrible event which has turned into a great opportunity to show the public what really happens in these shelters and who their tax dollars are paying for. This is disgusting from the time he starts where he stated that he was going to delete the email. Arrogance like this needs to be dealt with. Please send his response to your local papers or any papers to publish. Go to the town or cities counsel and protest. Why not set up a online protest against this so called vet (have to wonder if he still has a license).

  15. Did he really post that? Is he really in charge? He is what I like to call an idiot wrapped in a moron tied with an imbecile. I hope some individual or organization follows up on this travesty.

  16. I am appalled that this vet decided to go into personal vendetta against legit and really well explained, non threatening letter he received. He did not answer to any questions, neither did he give any reasons why this might have happened. He decided to do a very poorly written response (he should really work his skills on sarcasm to be honest) …and then what? He decides to take the responsibility of answering back and fails to explain the fact that he actually euthanized a dog that was already saved and rescued. He made a mistake and he decides to be a grown up man (not)and maliciously attack the person who dares to question his practice. Not only does he make a complete fool out of himself, he also tarnishes the name of vets by showing his incompetent, distorted, unprofessional and outright petty nature of thinking that just because he has gone through vet school AND works so hard, he is practically untouchable. There are hundreds of vets working with shelters, helping what they can without this kind of mistakes, without raising a voice of how much work it really is for they do it out of their good heart..or good money..but they do it anyway. Not to mention that when she purely states facts what happened, he turns his view on attacking her intelligence with endless rant of nonsense. With this letter, this person just revealed his true colors… luckily once it is in the internet, one cannot ever take it away! Good Luck Dr. Ridgeway…

  17. A member of the advisory panel that oversees Orange County Animal Services is recommending major changes to the agency after another alleged accident involving an animal has surfaced.

    Debbie Turner showed Local 6 a picture of a small dog that had its eyelids cut off while being groomed at the facility in Orlando.

  18. Google his name, you will find he has previous problems at other facilities. He needs to retire, or be fired.

    1. I just did and he doesn’t have a stellar record. This guy needs to retire. No more work with live animals (or even dead ones). Used to be a vivisectionist – how can you do that and keep your heart for animals? Killing animals must come pretty easy to this guy.

  19. This so-called “doctor” of veterinary medicine sure sounds like he has a God complex. In reality, he is a complete moron. If he has such disdain for helpless animals that are unable to put their needs, likes, and wishes into the English language, then perhaps this “doctor” should be forcibly locked into a cage in a kill shelter, so he can feel some empathy for those he so callously murders. Let him sit there, in his own filth, to listen to the barks, howls, and cries of those who unlike him, can actually sense and feel death among their cell mates, both known, and unknown. He needs to be fired from this job and he should be reported to the medical society to which he belongs. I can also imagine he is not much of a family man…

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