I am the one who knocks.

Subject: Request for stats
From: <eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com>
Date: Sun, September 22, 2013 10:40 am
To: info@conwayshelter.org

Is your shelter open admission? Your website gives that impression but I wanted to ask to be certain. Would you please send me a copy of your most recent year’s statistics detailing intakes and outcomes?

Thank you,
Shirley Thistlethwaite


Subject: Request for stats
From: <eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com>
Date: Mon, September 30, 2013
To: info@conwayshelter.org

I haven’t received a reply to this e-mail so am re-sending.

Thank you,
Shirley Thistlethwaite


Subject: Re: Request for stats
From: Virginia Moore <vmoore@conwayshelter.org>
Date: Mon, September 30, 2013 11:37 am
To: “<eiderdown@yesbiscuit.com>”

I just googled her. She looks like trouble….




Open Thread

Share comments, updates, links and anything else animal related.

If I vacuum my horse, do I still have to vacuum my house? [Via]

If I vacuum my horse, do I still have to vacuum my house? [Via]

More Misery for Animals in Merced County, CA

On June 26, 2013, Merced County authorities served a search warrant at Last Hope Cat Kingdom – a pet sanctuary in California.  Merced County Spokesman Mike North was on site during the raid and later talked to the local ABC affiliate:

He said many of the animals were severely emaciated, some had their eyes swollen shut, and others were infected with diseases. A team of veterinarians from across the state evaluated the pets and euthanized about two hundred of them on site.

Approximately 100 additional pets were removed from the property.  North indicated that Merced Co AC had been monitoring the sanctuary and that prior inspections had all been satisfactory:

County officials said they have received past complaints about the non-profit, but inspections never revealed any problems, until last week.

“Spot checks were done by Merced County animal control and confirmed the poor conditions of the facility and the animals that were housed in them,” said North.

But on September 20, reporting in the Merced Sun-Star painted a very different picture:

A Sun-Star review of Animal Control records revealed the agency transferred close to 2,000 kittens to Last Hope Cat Kingdom over a five-year period, nearly four times the number allowed by the rescue’s county-issued permit.


Last Hope Cat Kingdom’s permit allowed a maximum of 125 cats, but the county’s Animal Control sent 1,969 kittens to the facility through its foster group from 2009 to 2013, an average of 393 animals per year.

According to the Animal Control foster and rescue reports, the agency continued giving kittens to Last Hope Cat Kingdom’s volunteers up until the day of the search, June 25. Six kittens were transferred to the rescue group on the same day authorities raided the facility.

The average age of the cats given to Last Hope by Merced Co AC was 2 weeks.  Last Hope was reportedly the only group that would accept bottle baby kittens and it was widely known that if Last Hope didn’t take the kittens, AC would kill the them.  The pound would call Last Hope to pick up bottle babies an estimated 4 times a day during kitten season each year.  Last Hope co-founder Renate Schmitz faced the same predicament as many other overburdened rescuers in areas where the local shelter doesn’t do its job:

Schmitz said her rescue sometimes stopped taking animals from the public, but said it was hard to say “no” to Animal Control. “If you don’t take them, you know they will be killed or euthanized,” she said.
Animal Services Manager Rick Blackwell acknowledged using Last Hope Cat Kingdom as the agency’s main rescue group for bottle babies, but said the nonprofit could have stopped accepting more animals.

Or the shelter could have stopped killing baby cats and started doing its job.  Expanding the foster network jumps to mind, as does issuing pleas to the public on social media as bottle babies arrive at the shelter.

Dave Robinson, county Animal Control director, said in a recent interview that he was unaware the agency was sending that many kittens to Last Hope.
“One thing you have to remember about bottle babies is you probably have about 8 percent of them surviving,” Robinson said.

Say what now? Maddie’s Fund has rather different figures:

The veterinary literature reports intimidating mortality rates for orphaned kittens up to 12 weeks of age, ranging from 15% to 40%.

15, 40, 92 – whatevah, whatevs.  It sounds like the director is attempting to whitewash his pound’s failure with orphaned kittens by implying they were going to die anyway but that is outright false.  Many good shelters scramble during kitten season to get fosters and rescuers lined up for bottle feeding duty because it’s their job and because most of those animals survive.

And remember those “spot checks” and inspections the county spokesman had said AC was conducting at Last Hope?  In light of the fact that the Sun-Star exposed AC had been giving the sanctuary kittens hand over fist, including the day of the raid, I wondered if the county was going to walk those inspections claims back:

“We would never knowingly create a problem,” Blackwell said. “If we had knowledge there was an issue, we would stop sending animals there.”


Blackwell confirmed that animal control officers visited Last Hope only when there was a complaint. The most recent complaint was filed in 2010, so it had been almost three years since a thorough inspection.


Robinson acknowledged that Animal Control hadn’t inspected the rescue annually. “I think going forward we realized we do need to have a role in the process,” he said.


Robinson said it’s possible that Animal Control officers were unaware Last Hope could have no more than 125 animals since the permit was issued in 2003 and by the Planning Department.

“Back in 2003, Animal Control knew what that number was, but over the midst of time, I think the number got lost,” Robinson said.

Oh please.  More like:  We weren’t doing our jobs but instead foisting our failures onto an overburdened rescue group.  We tried to kill our way out of it with 200 on site kitten kills and lie our way out of it with claims of inspections and ignorance but then we were exposed by the local paper.  So now, uh The Midst of Time and stuff.

No charges have yet been filed against Renate Schmitz or anyone at Last Hope Cat Kingdom.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

What is going on at the shelter in Bulloch Co, GA?

Something new caught my eye this month in my Google Alerts. The Statesboro Herald, a Georgia newspaper, was including weekly statistics from its local animal shelter in a section titled “Police Report”. I’m always interested in looking at shelter stats so I started monitoring these entries. Here is what the paper reported for a 3 week period:

I had never come across the Bulloch Co shelter before so I looked them up online. The facility’s webpage is on the county government’s website. It indicates the shelter is closed on weekends and describes what appears to be a limited admission status:

Sometimes the Shelter may not be opening at the exact normal time due to unforeseen circumstances that may arise with the animals, so we ask that you always call the shelter first before coming. Especially, if you are surrendering in a animal. Even with a new and larger facility, we still fill up very quickly. Each space is on a first come first serve bases, and we keep a high demand for them daily. If we don’t have the space available we can not take the animal in.

Apparently Bulloch Co taxpayers are funding a limited admission animal shelter which is not only killing dogs and cats regularly but has pets falling over dead in their cages at an alarming rate.  Surrenders outnumber strays impounded by ACOs for each of the three weeks chronicled in the above snippets.  So if Bulloch Co is limiting owner surrenders, why are they killing pets?

For this three week period, the Bulloch Co shelter took in 177 dogs and cats, killed 97 of them and saw another 41 (4 dogs and 37 cats) die in their cages.  The live release rate for this three week period was roughly 22%.  What on earth is happening at this LIMITED ADMISSION facility and why are Bulloch Co taxpayers funding this death house?

New Reduced Cost Parvo Treatment Protocol Announced

Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital has announced a new protocol for treating parvo puppies at home at a greatly reduced cost. This will be welcome news for owners, rescuers and shelter directors who want to save the lives of sick pets but in some cases are unable to pay for the hospitalization costs at the veterinary clinic. The treatment was tested in a recent study of 40 parvo pups which found similar survival rates between puppies who underwent veterinary hospitalization and those treated at home.  Continual care is required during the home treatment, just as it is for the in-hospital treatment:

The treatment relies on two drugs recently released by Pfizer Animal Health (which funded the CSU parvovirus study): Maropitant, a strong anti-nausea medication given under the skin once a day; and Convenia, an antibiotic given under the skin once, and lasting two weeks; as well as administration of fluids under the skin three times daily.

CSU estimates the costs per puppy for in-hospital treatment of parvo at $1500 – $3000 while the home treatment is in the $250 range.

Parvo used to be considered a death sentence for puppies and many shelters automatically killed any pup suspected of having the disease or even having been exposed to it.  Widespread vaccination has helped to reduce the number of cases, even in shelter environments. And with advances in veterinary medicine, parvo is now considered a treatable illness with an excellent survival rate.

Sadly there are still too many shelter directors who continue in 1970s mode – offering neither routine vaccination upon impound nor treatment for dogs who get sick with parvo.  Mass killings in the face of outbreaks still occur in shelters around the country, even though the practice is inconsistent with current science.  This new reduced cost parvo protocol from CSU is yet another proven alternative to killing.  As more and more of these alternatives continue to develop, shelter directors still clinging to old-think will eventually be forced to either change or get out of the way.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

Mental Health Break: Vid

It’s been a “Mental health break?” “Make mine a double.” kind of day so here is your MHB Numero Dos:

Mental Health Break: Cattitude


PA Rescue Group Prevails in Court after PSPCA Seizes Dogs

In April 2010, a Pennsylvania dog warden reportedly stopped a vehicle transporting 16 dogs from the south to a group called Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue.  The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized the dogs, releasing all but 3 of them to other parties.

The final 3 dogs belonged to Sixth Angel – a PSPCA approved rescue group – and were kept in crates and not properly cared for while at the shelter, according to a lawsuit brought by Sixth Angel.  The PSPCA reportedly advised Sixth Angel that the 3 dogs would only be released to another rescue group or adopter.

The plaintiffs sued under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, alleging that the defendants took the dogs in violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to property and liberty with procedural and substantive due process.


The record shows that on April 21, 2010, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction based on the conversion claim, and ordered the defendants to return the dogs to the plaintiffs.

The trial judge did not address the merits of the plaintiffs’ Section 1983 claims.

The PSPCA appealed the decision but it was ultimately upheld.  Sixth Angel then went after the PSPCA in U.S. District Court for attorney’s fees and court costs.

[Berle M.] Schiller, the judge, noted that while attorney’s fees are typically not recoverable on a conversion claim in Pennsylvania, they can be awarded to a prevailing party in an action to enforce Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act.

There was much haggling over the dollar amounts on both sides, including:

The PSPCA also asked the court to reduce the attorney’s fees by $6,919.06, which represented the cost of the veterinary care administered to the plaintiffs’ dogs after their confiscation.

Sixth Angel prevailed in a decision announced this week:

“The Court found that ‘[d]efendants unquestionably deprived Plaintiffs of their right in their property, an intrusion to which Plaintiffs certainly did not consent, and for which Defendants fail to offer any lawful justification,’” the judicial memorandum states.


Schiller also declined the defense request to take off the more than $6,000 for the veterinary care given to the dogs, writing that the court would not “reward Defendants for improperly confiscating Plaintiffs’ dogs.”

The PSPCA has been ordered to pay more than $50,000 to Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue in attorney fees and litigation costs.


Related Reading:  Section 1983 to the Rescue

(Thanks Arlene for sending me this story.)

Hillsborough Co TNR = WTF?

When Hillsborough Co Animal Services in Florida gained official political support for its new Trap Neuter Return program in May, the news was widely celebrated. But this week Janet Gill, a caregiver in Hillsborough Co who maintains a colony of TNR’d cats, sent me two of three notices she says she’s received from Hillsborough Co Animal Services in recent weeks. Read them and weep.

First notice received by colony caregiver in Hillsborough Co:

1st notice hillsborough co

Third notice received by colony caregiver in Hillsborough Co:

3rd notice hillsborough co

If the Hillsborough Co pound’s plan is to have a TNR program and then beat compassionate TNR colony caregivers over the head with their citation book, I’d say their plan sucks.  Like some other things at the pound.

Work in Progress: List of Open Admission Shelters in NH

In response to some unsupported claims I’ve seen online about New Hampshire being a “no kill state”, I have endeavored to compile a list of every open admission shelter in the state and the 2012 kill rate for each. If I am able to compile such a list, it can serve as a reference for those wanting to see documentation of how New Hampshire’s open admission shelters are doing.

I need your help. Please take a look at what I’ve got so far and let me know if there are any errors. I also need additions for the open admission list.  If anyone knows of any NH open admission shelters not yet on the list, please leave a comment. If you have any pet advocate contacts in NH, please share the open admission list with them and ask if they know of any other open admission shelters.  I am hoping to make it a comprehensive list for accuracy’s sake.

Open admission shelters in NH –  These shelters accept all animals in need.  They may require an appointment for owner surrenders but there is no waiting list.

1.  Upper Valley Humane Society
300 Old Route 10
Enfield, NH 03748

(603) 448-6888
e-mail: info@uvhs.org

Open admission statement and 2012 stats here.

11.5% kill rate in 2012.


2.  New Hampshire SPCA
PO Box 196
Stratham, NH 03885

Phone: 603-772-2921
Email: info@nhspca.org

Open admission claim here.

Most recent stats:  2011 (Note: Although these are Asilomar stats, the NH SPCA failed to categorize any of the animals killed in 2011 so it’s unclear from this report whether any of those animals were healthy/treatable.)

Current stats requested 9-22-13, response not yet received.


3.  New Hampshire Humane Society
PO Box 572
Laconia, NH 03246

(603) 524-3252
e-mail: marydimaria@nhhumane.org

Open admission statement here.

Current stats requested 9-22-13, response not yet received.


4.  Conway Area Humane Society
P.O. Box 260
Conway, NH  03818-0260

e-mail: info@conwayshelter.org

No specific open admission claim but the website gives the impression they are.

Current stats and admission status requested 9-22-13, response not yet received.


Limited admission shelters in NH –  These shelters have waiting lists at some or all times for pet surrender and they may decline to accept animals in need.  I have added them simply for informational purposes:

Animal Rescue League of NH

Cocheco Valley Humane Society

Concord Merrimack Co SPCA

Franklin Animal Shelter

Manchester Animal Shelter

Lakes Region Humane Society

Monadnock Humane Society

Salem Animal Rescue League


Humane Society for Greater Nashua  (Admission status and current stats requested 9-22-13, response not yet received.)