The St. George pound in Utah is a division of the police department. In response to complaints from pet advocates regarding David Vane, the director of the pound, the police department decided to investigate itself. Deputy Chief Richard Farnsworth conducted the investigation and wrote a report. Below are a number of snippets from that report. Read the entire report here.
Several people alleged that Vane has been very disrespectful and at times has been threatening or aggressive to people in the animal advocacy groups.
I found no incidents where Vane made threats to people or specifically threatened to hurt an animal. I did find several examples of Vane making statements to animal advocacy groups regarding the pending euthanasia of animals in the Shelter if the groups did not come take custody of them.
Apparently threatening to kill a pet if a rescue doesn’t come and pick him up is not threatening to “hurt an animal”.
I believe many of the claims of “abuse” are related to the methods he uses when cleaning the kennels and his refusal to provide the animals comfort items such as bedding or toys. The investigation indicates that some statements he has made to people may have aggravated the perception of the alleged abuses. Many people have expressed displeasure that the kennels were being cleaned with the animals inside and the reports of Vane spraying dogs in the face with water to stop them from barking are also disconcerting. These incidents do not necessarily indicate abuse but are consistent with other poor management decisions.
Poor management decisions sounds so much better than AIRQUOTES-abuse, doesn’t it?
It appears that Vane used this method of euthanasia [heart stick without sedation] for more than 20 years and he has been reluctant or unwilling to change or update his method of euthanasia.
But it’s not against the law in Utah. And astonishingly, some vet assistant told the police captain it’s not standard practice to sedate pets prior to heartsticking. Based on this, the report adopts the stance that there is no standard agreement on sedation prior to heartsticking among professionals.
Regarding hosing down kennels with dogs inside and the permanent removal of the grates over the drains which makes it impossible to provide the dogs with basic comfort items:
It appears that Vane made a decision to do the quickest and easiest thing he could rather than looking for a more appropriate solution. I do not believe that Vane made the decision to clean the kennels with the intent of mistreating the animals; however, I do not believe the decision was the most appropriate solution to that problem.
Many people have expressed a desire to donate time and work with the animals. It appears that Vane has seen this as a burden and has tried to all but halt the practice.
Vane was left to make some decisions that probably should have been made by his direct supervisor or the Administration. Better supervision and policies would more than likely have eliminated some of the issues.
The burden of people wanting to help save animals at the pound is so tedious. Let’s just file it under poor management decisions and move on.
Despite these findings, I get the impression Vane would have been allowed to remain in charge at the St. George pound. But then things got personal for the police captain:
Capt. McCracken spoke to Vane on July 26, 2013 and told him that the practice of cleaning kennels with the animals inside was to be halted immediately.
On Saturday July 27, 2013, we received a report that shelter employee, Kristeen Checketts, cleaned the kennels with the animals still inside. Capt. McCracken spoke with the employees at the shelter and it appeared that Vane had not changed the cleaning processes at the shelter.
And so, having pissed off the wrong person finally, Vane was demoted to ACO and suspended for 2 days without pay. A police sergeant has taken over the day to day operations at the St. George pound.
The report ends with a number of suggested improvements for the pound. Killing has been halted “except under extreme circumstances” and only with approval from Deputy Chief Farnsworth. The issue of heartsticking without sedation has not been resolved.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)