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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.)

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