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.)

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21 Comments

  1. betty gale

     /  August 29, 2013

    so sad no respect for life, endless suffering, animals being killed in treatment room, in front of healthy ones, that still happens in ANIMAL CARE CHARLOTTE MECK. NC, Lets hope when ASPCA comes to help them SAVE LIVES. they educate this facility.

    Reply
  2. mikken

     /  August 29, 2013

    My God.

    Places like this not only attract monsters, they MAKE them.

    Killing facilities are bad for people. Say it with me. Killing facilities are bad for PEOPLE. Bad for the community, bad for the animals, bad for everyone.

    Thank you to the volunteers and whistleblowers who bang the pots and complain and fight and fight against the tide of apathy and cruelty.

    You are the only thing between the darkness and the light of change.

    Reply
    • vida

       /  August 29, 2013

      Exactly! People aren’t made to remain mentally sound and compassionate while killing innocents, to do that takes a certain skewing of the mind and heart and it leads to terrible ugliness like this. Or maybe both creates and attracts those who are already broken?
      About this vet, I have no words, it’s horrific.

      Reply
  3. db

     /  August 29, 2013

    I feel sick to my stomach – there are no words.

    Reply
  4. Such egregious abuse!!!!

    Reply
  5. Kittypurr

     /  August 29, 2013

    Citizens funding these Aushwitzes must be mortified.
    I find it so egregious from any angle that I can’t believe the State of Co is allowing it to remain open during their investigation.
    Shut it down and the Vet Assoc of CO yank Dr. Menglia’s license.

    Reply
  6. Tonya

     /  August 29, 2013

    I am glad that they are doing something about this one, which is a good thing. I am frustrated that I the same complaints with PAWS in Pueblo and they were ignored. But, we need to keep to speaking for shelter reform.

    Reply
  7. How the hell do you botch a neuter so badly that animals are routinely DYING?

    Reply
  8. These local volunteers are amazing. I have been working with them to get rid of the current shelter management and get compassionate, hard working director in place to start saving lives. We believe the shelter is full which is really bad. Without volunteers, the shelter sim-ply cannot save lives. And the board has still not fired the director…yet. Please feel free to like and comment at https://www.facebook.com/stoptheHSFC as well We know the board is reading everything there and it is helping energize the community. Thanks YesBiscuit! for covering this story!

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

     /  August 29, 2013

    I have always wondered how much training kennel attendents need. I understand that if they are doing euthanasia then they usually need to be licensed by the state. I do not think they are allowed to give prescription medications unless they are a vet tech but perhaps I am wrong. One needs to keep water bowls filled and cleaned, feed and clean the bowls, walk and socialize the animals, and let someone know if an animal looks ill, has an injury or not eating/urinating, etc. There is also paperwork to fill out. It sounds like the hiring practices leave a lot to be desired. I guess for people who want to abuse animals, many of these shelters are easy to get employed at and easy not to get fired!

    I hope animals are not being stolen from the shelter for dog fighting!

    Reply
  10. Jamie

     /  August 30, 2013

    Just the fact that the kennel attendents are buying and using controlled substances with the vet’s DEA license should be enough to get all of them fired. And the state of CO should pull that vet’s license. But it seems that when the vet is for a shelter and not for “real” pets there is a lot less scrutiny about how they operate.

    This just made me sick this morning and whenever it’s a story about somewhere closer to home it just feels worse. They kill dogs to make room for ones imported from other states. It makes me worry that in my transport and rescue work I may have been involved in helping send animals there. I have never been the final decider of where animals go so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

    It is just so frustrating and horrifying that these types of kill facilities continue to run with absolutely no accountability.

    Reply
  11. so sad that the people who are to keep and protect these poor animals are the ones abusing them…they should all loose their jobs and all pay fines for harming and murdering animals…really a pressure washer while still in the cages …..how cruel and horrible….if u can’t do the job u are paid for and do it right…then your fired…..horrible horrible people and not exceptable by any means….

    Reply
  12. Jan Mitchell

     /  September 2, 2013

    Please everyone write to the Chamber of Commerce and city officials about how horrified you are. This is not how or tax dollars should be spent. I though Humane Society of Boulder Valley was bad because they call many adoptable animals unadoptable and then euthanize them. I have watched HSBV for years and received letters from volunteers about their horrid practices. Canon City is worse. This is not a shelter at all, but rather a killing field.

    Reply
  13. Doug

     /  September 4, 2013

    I have personally been involved with two dogs whose neuters were botched in this butcher shop. Luckily they lived. The management and vet have to go. Unfortunately the board continues to stonewall and deny.

    Reply
    • Tonya

       /  September 6, 2013

      That is one of the main problems, boards. There should be a way to remove the entire board.

      Reply
      • I wonder what kind of language would be good to include in the mission statement (or whatever) at the time the board is being formed that could address this. How can a group protect itself from a rogue board that doesn’t have the group’s originally intended mission at heart?

      • Tonya

         /  September 7, 2013

        I’m not sure but there should be a safe guard in place, just like PAWS, you cant remove the board , you can’t remove the problem and make changes, same for Fremont County.

  14. on june 28th i was told that fremont county sherriffs office had picked up my cats from my adress and takin to this horrible shelter. when i got to the shelter to check on them no one had a clue to what i was talking about. i talkedto the animal control officer & she said that she never brought any cats in that morning {9:30 am} and she then called on a deputy to come and assist me.we i spoke to every employee that was in that facilityabout two cat exspecially, one being a crippled cat i had adopted from that same shelter 8years ago!as i stand there frantically balling my eyes out, the deputry sent the animal control women to the address to locate the two cats. mind you my poor crippeled cat manny cant run at all he wobbles so there should not have been a problem finding him at all! then there was my black cat named baby. hes been fixed hes very heathly & loves the out doors. the deputy told the women to get the cats & bring them both to me. i get a call saying shes on her way but she only has one for right now. thinking its manny i was relieved cuz he cant defend himself & so on. when she pulled up i was in total shock cuz she had baby. i sked her what the deal was & she said she couldnt find him BUT she had set traps? for him! not even an hour after all this had taken place, two individuals both whom i know walked into the shelter with manny gave there names & the address of where the cat came from & the employees took my poor cat & PUT HIM TO SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW what kind of punishment does that deserve? Im devestated, hurt, shocked & PISSED OFF! the deputy was informed about the tragedy and was pretty upset, but nothing as far as i know has been done untill now! I WANT JUSTICE DONE FOR MY POOR MANNY, THAT POOR ANIMAL TRUSTED ONLY ME & BECUASE OF THEM COLD HEARTED CRUEL UNPROFESSINALS AT THAT KILL SHELTER, I COULDNT EVEN SAY GOODBYE OR FUNiURAL! i want justic for manny!

    Reply
    • Darlene,

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Did they walk you through the facility and allow you to look at every cat in the place at the time of your visit? Did they take a LOST PET report from you with the description of Manny? Did anyone explain to you why they killed your cat?

      Reply
  15. Darlene, I am so sorry about your Manny. I believe you need to write down exactly what happened and contact the appropriate authorities. That probably won’t work, since they tend to protect themselves from the truth. Maybe that’s the time to find some like-minded folks who are trying to make necessary changes and help them to help the animals. I hope you don’t let this drop. If enough people know about the awful things that happen there, then hopefully, hopefully changes will happen.
    Again, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply

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