Escambia County Pound: Oops, Oops, Oops

The Escambia Co pound in Florida can’t stop oops-killing owned pets. Two months ago they oops-killed Cowgirl, then a few weeks later they oops-killed Maggie. Yesterday, a report surfaced of a third lost pet being oops-killed by Escambia County.

Details are sketchy but apparently the dog had been impounded as a stray, held at the pound for a week and put on the kill list as unadoptable. A scan determined he had a microchip but the pound says the phone number was not current. As part of its service, the company with which the chip was registered e-mailed the owner. She responded to the e-mail and called the Escambia Co pound to reclaim her lost dog. But the pound had already killed her pet. Oops.

The shelter says it’s not typical policy to put down a dog who is micro chipped, but they’re looking into the incident and will revamp its procedures.

I hate to get technical but apparently “typical policy” at the Escambia Co pound is KILL, KILL, KILL. A revamping of procedures is not going to cut it if meaningful change is desired. They need to throw out the SOP handbook, burn it and have everyone at the pound dance around the fire to underscore that the old policies are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.

Here’s your ugh-frosting on the beater:

And one thing the shelter did say was for all pet owners out there to make sure they have updated information on their micro chips.

When shelters oops-kill pets whose owners are looking for them instead of doing their jobs and reuniting families, they are failing at the most fundamental level. In attempting to hide this fact, these places typically blame the owner. If the owned pet they oops-killed wasn’t microchipped, they blame the owner for failing to have chipped the pet. If the phone number has been changed, they blame the owner for not updating it. I swear to the Great Pumpkin, if an owner taught a pet to write “Do not kill me. My owner will pay your ransom. She lives at 111 Main St.”, the shelter would blame the owner for not attaching a sharpened pencil and notepad to the collar after oops-killing him.

The presence of a microchip means someone, somewhere, sometime loved this pet enough to try and protect him from being needlessly killed by a shelter that won’t do its job.  Somehow the presence of a microchip means “Try one phone number then kill him” to Escambia Co.  What about alternate contact phone numbers registered on the chip?  What about e-mail?  What about registered U.S. mail?  What about driving to the person’s house and knocking on the door to announce the good news that the pet has been found and is being returned home?  But apparently all that sounds too much like work to Escambia Co, where they just keep going with KILL instead.

I often rely upon the notion that it takes three points to draw a line.  Three oops-killings in two months at this pound (at least, three that we know about and have made the news).  Escambia County, here is your line:  You are failing your community, utterly and completely.  Quit blaming the victims, forget reviewing your protocols and start doing your job to shelter the animals in your care.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

17 thoughts on “Escambia County Pound: Oops, Oops, Oops

  1. They all use that ecuse, here too in georgia, we called, me let me call no you dont work here. Give me the number, i will call home agian them, cant do that bastards all of them

  2. Left a rather honest message on the link provided. The locals need to do something or the oops killing and blaming will continue. If the people working at this facility really cared, it wouldn’t be happening again and again. So sick of hearing about the awfulness that animals have to endure at the hands of people.

  3. How many times is an “oops” killing going to happen before they change? Sadly, I think it will continue to happen until someone sues their asses off. THAT is what makes this sort change.

  4. This shit needs to stop. There is no excuse. If these people running the shelters don’t have the sense or compassion to keep records correctly and care enough to do the right thing, they should not be working for a “humane society or animal control (not destroy). They should be unemployed, living on the streets like these poor strays that they have no regard for. What comes around goes around. Things need to change now. No more tolerance for this bullshit.

  5. I’d like to know how/why they determined that he was “unadoptable.” Was it just because he was a “pit bull,” or did they think they could actually evaluate a dog who was likely scared and disoriented, or what?

      1. Yep, sadly, that kind of circular logic would make sense coming from the same people who kill an owned dog whose owner responded to an email and then imply that it was the owner’s fault for not updating her contact info.

  6. these are not ooppss … these killings are on purpose from cruel heart people who have no compassion. it is easier to kill than to give them a chance. laziness

  7. I have asked this question, before, but never got an answer from anyone, anywhere. It appears that Escambia County might be a place to demand this answer. My question is…how much does the Escambia pound (kill “shelter”) get PAID to kill an animal, versus reuniting it with its owner? It appears to be a money-thing, and that more money can be made to kill rather than reunite or rehome an animal. Answer, please?!

    1. IDK the answer to your question but basically, I assume the staff gets paid the same whether they shelter animals or kill them. Some places, such as Memphis, offer a bonus to those who work in the kill room so they are compensated at a higher rate.

      On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM, YesBiscuit!

  8. To start with, I am NOT an advocator for kill shelters in any way. i AM however, a logical person who doesn’t allow my emotions to trump my sensibility.

    In THIS particular case, I see no real “oops” on the part of the shelter. The dog was kept in stray holding for an entire week, before being put on the “kill list”–no detail as to how long between the stray hold was up and euthanasia actually occurred– but regardless, the dog was kept for an entire week, at least.

    The shelter did it’s part by scanning for the chip, then calling the chip company when one was found, only to find the number was out-of-date. Chances are good this was done immediately upon the dog coming in (or shortly thereafter). So some time had likely passed between the shelter contacting the chip agency, and the agency getting into contact via e-mail with the owners; whether that was because the chip agency stalled in sending said e-mail, the owners don’t check their e-mail regularly, or the owners DID get said e-mail in a timely fashion, but didn’t bother calling right away–who knows? There is also no mention of how long after the dog had been killed it took for the owner to call (or even receive the e-mail).

    How long would you expect a shelter to hold onto a dog who may very well NOT have had an owner looking to claim it? It’s more likely a dog with an out-of-date chip does NOT belong to the original owners anymore.

    The owners apparently did not care enough to update the chip’s info, and even MORE importantly, didn’t care enough to go to the shelter to actually look for their dog, or even to call until AFTER at least a week had passed. That doesn’t include however long the dog may have been loose before being brought in.

    Now, had this shelter jumped the gun and put the dog down PRIOR to the 7 day stray hold, then yes, I’d be pissed at them. But they didn’t. They did everything within reason to find the dog’s owner.

    My statement makes no reflection at all in regards to the state of killing animals in shelters as a whole (which I do not agree with in any way) but given the way things still are in many kill shelters at this point in time, I believe the shelter gave the owners every reasonable chance to claim their dog.

    1. The article does not say that “the dog was kept for an entire week, at least.” It says “about a week,” which could mean less than a week. Furthermore, there is no “out-of-date chip.” The chip itself is still good, and was apparently associated with a valid email address. Many of the services charge ridiculous amounts of money for you to update your info, and it’s not fair to say that the owner didn’t care because she didn’t do that.

      As for how long one would expect the shelter to hang onto the dog, that would be until the owner shows up, or until they can adopt the dog out, or until they can actually evaluate the dog and determine the dog unadoptable. You cannot determine that a dog is unadoptable when it’s been in the shelter for “about a week” unless there’s a serious attack or the dog has serious medical problems. As there’s no mention of any major illness or injury, it would seem that their determination of unadoptability is utter nonsense.

    2. Janine,
      You have no sources for your assumptions. The shelter may have called the chip company at a scan in the kill room. When they contacted the first number and found it was no longer valid, they may have killed the dog immediately. The owner may have responded promptly to the e-mail she received and called the shelter right away but no matter how fast she was, the dog was already dead.

      You said:

      The owners apparently did not care enough to update the chip’s info, and even MORE importantly, didn’t care enough to go to the shelter to actually look for their dog, or even to call until AFTER at least a week had passed.

      Again, you have no source for any of these assumptions. The owner may have visited and/or called the shelter. As far as updating the chip’s info, allow me to relate a personal experience.

      We are currently having our home phone permanently disconnected because we are unable to keep up the monthly payments. Like many people, we are struggling in the current economy and having to make sacrifices and the home phone, which has always been our main phone, is one of them. Our dogs are chipped and have our phone number as the main contact. Since we don’t have the money to pay our monthly phone bill, I’m sure you can understand we don’t have the money to pay the chip registration companies to change the phone number on all the chips. When we are back on our feet financially one day, we’ll take care of that. Until then, if one of my chipped dogs gets lost, I am relying on the finder to do more than try the primary phone number. The secondary phone number, e-mail and mailing address registered on the chips are still valid. I will be counting on someone to make use of those in the event they find my lost dog.

      For you to say the owners in this story didn’t care enough to update their phone number is not only baseless, it’s also heartless. Instead of passing judgment on heartbroken pet owners whose story you do not know, why not condemn the shelter for the needless killing of a healthy dog? That is an undisputed fact of the case. Even if there was no chip, it’s still wrong to kill shelter pets. Defending that in any way is enabling.

  9. What the hell is wrong with these lazy bastards! Are shelters hiring sociopaths who live for the kill? You couldn’t pay me enough money to kill an animal! They don’t care about going the extra mile and feel the satisfaction of helping reunite an animal with its owner! I want shelter reform now!!!!

  10. I think the dancing around the fire of the old policy manual is a good idea. Maybe that will help the employees. Maybe if their paychecks were next in the fire some improvements could be made.

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