Open Thread

Share links and talk about anything animal related in the comments.


Also: Last call for alcohol on submitting pix for the Xmas Day post.

Puppy Stops Breathing after Surgery at MAS, is Left Alone

Puppy #259882 at MAS, as photographed by Memphis Pets Alive on October 8, 2013.

Puppy #259882 at MAS, as photographed by Memphis Pets Alive on October 8, 2013.

Puppy #259882 at Memphis Animal Services was approximately 8 weeks old and had rescue lined up but MAS spayed her on October 14, 2013 prior to release. The puppy was dead before 1o o’clock that night. Let’s take a look at what happened.  Keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian and as such, I will be asking lots of questions.

Portion of records from Memphis Animal Services for puppy #259882

Portion of records from Memphis Animal Services for puppy #259882

Portion of

Portion of records from Memphis Animal Services for puppy #259882

Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance with known recreational uses.

Xylazine is a Schedule IV, prescription-only drug with known recreational uses.  The label for xylazine includes the warning: “Do not use xylazine in conjunction with tranquilizers.”

Acepromazine is a tranquilizer.

Combi-Pen is an antibiotic and anaphylactic reactions are listed as a side effect.

Yobine is a reversing agent for xylazine.

This puppy could not possibly have weighed 98.5 pounds as indicated in the veterinary record.  Clearly an error was made in recording the dog’s weight.  Drug dosages are based on an animal’s weight.  A FOIA request filed with the city of Memphis revealed MAS does not maintain drug logs for any drug other than Fatal Plus.  If an overdose of Xylazine was administered to this puppy, the drug log would reflect that but since no such log exists, there is no way to check and the dosages listed above are the only records available, which we know contain at least one glaring error.  Yobine, the antidote for xylazine, was administered three times according to the records.

  • Why was epinephrine given when there is no note of cardiac arrest?
  • Why was Combi-Pen administered at the start of surgery instead of after the patient had demonstrated the ability to recover?

Here is where things go tragically wrong:

259882 vet record3

The puppy, who had gone into respiratory arrest while recovering from surgery and should have been considered a high risk patient from that point on, was apparently left alone after the tech punched out at 5pm.  At 8pm, the puppy was found seizing and her body temperature had dropped to an alarming 94 degrees.  Between 5 and 8pm, I would guess she was convulsing and that her tongue was probably white or blue.  How could this have possibly gone unnoticed for hours in a high risk patient at the “state of the art vet clinic” inside MAS?

Finding a puppy in this state would indicate emergency procedures – that is, the crash cart would be hauled out – intubation, lifesaving drugs, heated IV fluids and a warm water enema might all be immediately administered. Karo syrup and heated corn bags are not emergency medicine from a veterinarian in a “state of the art vet clinic” but rather something that panicked pet owners might try at home if they wake up to a seizing puppy in the middle of the night.

One note indicates that the “state of the art vet clinic” had no IV dextrose available.  I found it online for $2.29.

  • Why was 250ml of fluid administered to this tiny puppy (perhaps weighing 10 pounds) in a 5 hour period?  AAHA guidelines appear to recommend significantly lower rates.  Did fluid overload lead to this pups’ death?
  • Why wasn’t the puppy’s temperature taken as soon as she recovered from surgery and regularly thereafter?  Instead, the temperature was apparently never taken until someone noticed she was seizing and vocalizing at 8 o’clock at night.  By that time it was an extremely dangerous 94 degrees.  Did the failure to recognize and treat a possible low body temperature in this pup lead to her death?
  • Was the puppy given a dangerous drug combination (ketamine, xylazine and acepromazine) and/or possibly an overdose of one or more of these drugs based upon a wildly inaccurate weight listed in the record?
  • Why was this high risk pup apparently left alone for hours?  Did failure to monitor this pup as she was deteriorating lead to her death?
  • How does  $7.2 million shelter with a “start of the art vet clinic” not have IV dextrose on hand and why is the vet relying on things like karo syrup and heated corn bags to save lives?  Did Memphis Animal Services’ failure to secure appropriate clinic supplies and/or follow standard veterinary emergency medicine protocols lead to this pup’s death?

By the way, for anyone who didn’t catch the punch line at the end of the pup’s record, the vet attributes the pup’s death to a suspected liver disorder.  In other words:  I take no responsibility whatsoever, go Memphis yourself.

This isn’t the first time a dog has died at MAS post surgery because no one was monitoring the pet per standard veterinary protocols.  The city of Memphis has been a running a tab on neglect and cruelty at its pound for years. How many more pets must pay this debt with their lives before a local group takes meaningful action and demands reform?

Fire.  Them.  All.

Cat Drools, NC Vet Gets Frothy

Matthews, NCFamily:  Hi.  Our 2 year old cat has never been been outdoors or even been around another animal.  He seems to be drooling.

Vet:  OK, he probably just got into something he shouldn’t have.  Here’s some medicine.

Family:  Coolio.  By the way, we had him vaccinated when he was a kitten.  Are we supposed to get him a booster shot at some point?

Vet:  RABIES!  Your cat is rabid!  He must die!

Family:  Dude.  You just said –

Vet: This is a hair-on-fire emergency. I’m calling the Health Department.

County Health Department (on phone to Vet):  Too many people have potentially been exposed to rabies from this cat.  Cat must die!

Family:  No see, our cat’s never been outside or been around other animals, like we said.  There’s no risk of rabies here.

Vet:  Rabies Will Robinson!

So the vet killed the family’s pet, cut off his head and sent it to the state lab for rabies testing.  The results were negative.

Drooling is a very common reaction in cats and stems from a wide variety of possible causes.  Some cats drool when they are being pet, for example.  But maybe they are all rabid too.  And the rabies vaccine this cat had received may still have been offering protection anyway – not that he needed it, since he was strictly indoors-only.  But yeah, rabies.  I mean:  RABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And if all the violent hysteria associated with a drooling cat isn’t enough for you, WCNC in Charlotte ends their story with this tidbit:

NBC Charlotte checked with the county and looked over the law. Officials say quarantine was not an option because too many people were potentially exposed to rabies, and rabies is 100-percent fatal.

Why is the number of people potentially exposed even an issue?  The cat didn’t walk across the laps of a stadium full of people between home and the vet’s office, did he?  If the size of this family was smaller, would the cat still be alive today?  And since “rabies is 100% fatal”, which gives the impression that extreme measures must be taken even in highly questionable cases, I guess somebody should let the CDC know they may as well chuck their post-exposure vaccination protocols since everyone is going to die.  No exceptions.  Least of all for cats who drool and their families who love them.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Tiny Dog Dies at Coffee Co Pound, Mayor Produces a Thermometer

Nicky Bandy wanted to adopt a Chihuahua at the Coffee Co pound in TN.  The pound has indoor/outdoor concrete runs and Ms. Bandy was concerned about the temperature of the concrete floor – the only surface on which the dog could stand or lay.  She says she offered a blanket for the dog’s run but the director refused to accept it.  She was so concerned the dog would freeze to death on the concrete, she returned to the pound daily to check on the pet.  Last Friday, Ms. Bandy was told the dog had died.

Local animal lovers complained to the mayor and he reportedly visited the shelter personally on Monday to determine the temperature of the inside portion of the run in which the dog died.

“At 7:30 this morning I rolled in here, we shot another temperature – the same pen that the little animal was in. It was 62.6 degrees. It was 28 degrees outside,” said county Mayor David Pennington.

I am guessing the mayor checked the temperature of the air while standing in the kennel.  This would not be the same temperature as the concrete on which the short-coated toy breed dog was sleeping.  This should be obvious to someone smart enough to run a county.

Chihuahuas are not farm dogs, sled dogs nor any of the other types of dog who are equipped to survive winter temperatures without protection.  They require human intervention if they are to survive such conditions and any shelter director should know that.  But the director at the Coffee Co pound offered this keen insight:

“I don’t know who made the statement the dog was froze to death, but it was not,” said Coffee County Animal Control Director Kevin Brown. “I really don’t know why it died other than old age.”

Well it’s not impossible, although it seems highly unlikely to me.  The answer could be determined via necropsy, if anyone on the county payroll wanted the truth:

The county says it has no plans to get a necropsy to determine why the dog died.

I guess that answers the question of whether anyone pocketing their paychecks courtesy of county taxpayers wants the truth.

When a pet owner in Coffee Co is accused of allowing a dog to freeze to death, does the mayor whip out his thermometer and decide that no investigation or charges are appropriate based upon the reading?  If not, there appears to be a double standard between what the county requires of citizens and what it requires of itself.

It will be up to local advocates to push the county for reform and demand the pound be held to a higher standard than the mayor’s dog and pony show with the thermometer.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Chicago Pound Transferred More Than 1200 Cats to a Small Rescue Group

Chicago Animal Care & Control killed more than 8000 animals in 2012. Since 2006, the pound’s rescue transfer program, Homeward Bound, has seen a 230% increase in the number of animals transferred.

Chicago ACC gave an average of more than 200 cats every month for 6 months in a row this year to a rescue group called Purrs from the Heart which participates in the Homeward Bound program. They stopped giving cats to the group after a written complaint was received by the city in September, alleging mistreatment of cats left at an apartment. The state has opened an investigation:

Now, a week into its inquiry, the state says it cannot account for 1,216 cats that Purrs From The Heart took between April and September. The number of animals involved, spokesman Jeff Squibb said, ranks the case among the largest animal welfare investigations ever conducted by the department.

Like many rescue groups, Purrs from the Heart uses a network of foster homes to care for the cats it saves from death row at the pound. The group’s state license allows for it to use up to 7 foster homes in order to provide care for a maximum of 28 animals. The rescue has spoken with state investigators to explain their side of the story:

As many as 150 cats were left at the South Side apartment at a given time, said Brian Przybylski, one of the shelter’s founders, in an interview. Its tenants agreed to care for the animals in exchange for weekly payments of $150, he said.
The founders said they learned some cats in that apartment were killed or starved, but that others were adopted or too sick to survive.
Brian Przybylski also blamed the city for allowing the organization to take too many cats from the shelter.
“We were trying to save as many as we could,” he said. “Basically we had too many people who had the authorization to (rescue cats).”

State investigators visited the apartment in question and found no cats there. The rescue group also referred investigators to a rural barn where they said a large number of cats were being housed but it too was empty.

Neither the apartment nor rural barn were authorized foster providers, the Department of Agriculture said.

The Chicago ACC spokesman declined to comment on the pound’s transfer and subsequent failure to track more than 1200 cats via Purrs from the Heart.

Purrs from the Heart reportedly intends to dissolve and transfer the cats who remain in the group’s care by the end of the month.

Clearly the overriding issue at this point is determining what happened to the 1200 cats and getting help to any still living.  Local shelter pet advocates will need to hold the Chicago pound accountable.  At the very least, Chicago ACC should be made to answer for why it transferred so many cats to a group it knew was licensed to care for only 28 pets at a time and why it failed to follow up on the fate of these animals.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for sending me this story.)

Seven People Apply to Save “VERY FRIENDLY!” Pitbull from Memphis Pound

Dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 8, 2013.

Dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 8, 2013.

Dog #259497 was impounded as a stray by the Memphis pound on September 25, 2013. A note appears on his cage card: VERY FRIENDLY!

259497 MAS cage card

MAS records for the dog, obtained via FOIA request, indicate a member of the public expressed an interest in adopting this dog on September 28 and gave his name and phone number. Records state that a few months prior, the potential adopter had passed the background check and fence inspection required by MAS. I assume he was not allowed to take the dog home that day because the holding period had not expired.

On October 1st, both a member of an approved rescue group and a second member of the public placed their names on this dog.  MAS conducted the background check on October 2 for this second potential adopter but the yard check had still not been completed by October 8 when the applicant informed MAS he had found another pet.  There are no notes indicating why the dog was not released to the first applicant or the rescuer, both pre-approved, after the holding period expired on October 1st.  For whatever reason, the dog was forced to continue living in a cage at the pet killing facility.  And people continued to fall in love with him.

On October 12, a third member of the public applied to adopt this dog.  MAS completed the background check for that potential adopter on October 15 – the same day a fourth person submitted her information in hopes of taking this dog home.  The background check was completed for the fourth applicant on October 16.  MAS never conducted the fence inspections for either of these applicants according to the records even though both passed the background check.    There are no notes indicating why the dog was not released to the first applicant or the rescuer, both pre-approved, after the holding period expired on October 1st.  For whatever reason, the dog was forced to continue living in a cage at the pet killing facility.  And people continued to meet him and fall in love.

On October 19, a fifth person submitted information in hopes of adopting this dog.  MAS completed this applicant’s background check on October 22.  MAS never conducted the fence inspection for this applicant according to the records even though he passed the background check.    There are no notes indicating why the dog was not released to the first applicant or the rescuer, both pre-approved, after the holding period expired on October 1st.  For whatever reason, the dog was forced to continue living in a cage at the pet killing facility while MAS staff did nothing to get him out alive.  Meanwhile, this note appears in the dog’s records on October 21:

mas note 10 21 13

To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Coleman is not a behaviorist.  There are no notes indicating a behaviorist ever saw this dog.  There are no notes indicating this dog was ever walked and no behavioral notes beyond the one above.  The dog who was “VERY FRIENDLY!” may have started going kennel crazy inside the pet killing facility, I don’t know.  With two pre-approved safe places to go and several other applicants just waiting for MAS to complete the fence inspection, this dog could have been released long before this date.  Meanwhile,the dog continued to be housed in an area visible to the public and people continued to meet and fall in love with him.

On October 24th, a sixth person applied to adopt this pet.  There are no notes indicating MAS conducted either the background check or the fence inspection for this applicant.  On October 25th, the records contain this note:

mas very friendly

Despite having 6 members of the public plus an approved rescuer who each offered to save this “VERY FRIENDLY!” dog, MAS killed him on October 26, 2013.

MAS dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 22, 2013.

MAS dog #259497 as pictured on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook, October 22, 2013.

Adoption applicant #1 was pre-approved.  The rescuer was also pre-approved.  Why didn’t MAS send this dog home with either one of these people as soon as the hold period expired?

Applicant #2 waited for MAS to do a fence check for more than a week and finally adopted another pet.  Another missed opportunity to save this dog’s life.

Applicants #3, 4 and 5 each passed a background check but MAS could not be bothered to perform the fence checks for any of them.  Three more opportunities wasted.

Applicant #6 did not have either check performed by staff and MAS killed the dog two days after the applicant’s information was submitted.

The Memphis pound requires Pitbull adopters to jump through special hoops in order to save pets from their kill room.  But MAS can’t be bothered to perform the inspections they themselves require.  Even when a pre-approved applicant and a pre-approved rescuer were willing to save this dog, MAS couldn’t be bothered to release him.  Why?

This pet had seven chances to get out of MAS alive and MAS dropped the ball seven times.  And instead of finally doing right by the dog, they sent him to the kill room where he was probably tortured in the squeeze device on the wall before ultimately being dropped in a garbage bag.  Seven people fell in love with this dog while one vet with a notorious track record made one negative behavioral note and that trumps everything?  Nobody WANTS to kill animals?  Seriously MAS, you people are creeping me the math out.

Memphis Animal Services: Bruno Hauptmann Couldn’t Hold a Candle to You

On Saturday November 2, 2013, Memphis Animal Services impounded 3 Pitbulls estimated to be 12 months, 7 months and under 6 months of age respectively.   MAS is closed on Sundays and Mondays.  On Tuesday, November 5, the owner of the 3 dogs came to the pound to reclaim his pets.  MAS advised the owner that it would cost him $363 for each of the dogs over the age of 6 months and $163 for the puppy who was less than 6 months old.  This would be a total of $889 to get back his 3 pets that he came promptly to reclaim.  How many of you could come up with this kind of cash?  I could not.  The owner paid the ransom for the least expensive dog and signed a surrender form for the other two, who were both apparently healthy according to pound records.  MAS killed them both.  Their names were Beauty and Rocko.

Portion of Beauty's records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request (owner's name and address redacted by me).

Portion of Beauty’s records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request (owner’s name and address redacted by me).

Portion of beauty's records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Portion of beauty’s records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Portion of Rocko's records at MAS, obtained via FOAI request (owner's name and address redacted by me).

Portion of Rocko’s records at MAS, obtained via FOIA request (owner’s name and address redacted by me).

This was a case where the dogs had a home and an owner who wanted them back. But due to the exorbitant fees charged by MAS, made even higher by the crappy MSN law in Memphis, 2 of the 3 dogs weren’t allowed to go home. Instead of sending the 3 dogs home, MAS sent 2 of them to the kill room. For what? To punish an owner because he didn’t have his dogs neutered? To set an example for the community?

MAS apparently has hundreds of empty cages.  But space is so desperately “needed” that even animals with homes must be killed – erm

Portion of records for beauty and Rocko at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Portion of records for Beauty and Rocko at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Good going Memphis. Your suckass MSN law and disgraced animal “shelter” have earned another spot on humanity’s wall of shame.

Beauty, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook

Beauty, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook

Rocko, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Rocko, as posted on the Memphis Pets Alive page on Facebook.

Nobody WANTS to kill animals.  Except when they totally obviously do.

Open Thread

Animal related links, stories, questions, etc go in the comments.

potato cat

When to Seek New Employment

After a shelter oops-kills someone’s pet, there is sometimes media coverage where the director defends the killing and attempts to blame the owner, adopter and/or the general public.  If you ever see a headline accurately naming the shelter where you work followed by the words “Defends Pet’s Killing”, you may want to find another job.  Because you aren’t working at a shelter, you are working at an excuse.


Records Reveal Dog’s Pain and Suffering at Petersburg Pound

Portion of records from Petersburg pound for dog #680-13

Portion of records from Petersburg pound for dog #680-13

Dog #680-13 was impounded by Petersburg Animal Care & Control in VA at approximately 1pm on Saturday, July 27, 2013.  His records indicate he was a 2 year old, white, male Shih-Tzu weighing 15 pounds who was “severely matted”.  There are no notes indicating he received an exam by a veterinarian.  Instead, he appears to have been sent to a place called Red Fox Farm which I take is a grooming facility.  The notes from the Petersburg pound employee indicate the dog was dematted and that his skin appeared scalded.  It is additionally stated the dog had maggots “in hole where testicle should be”, in his rectum and down the entire length of his left rear leg.  The maggots were removed and the dog was bathed in flea shampoo.  The notes state the dog should receive 500mg cephalexin (an antibiotic) twice daily.  Again, there are no notes to indicate a vet examined this dog or prescribed anything for him.  There are no notes to indicate any pain medications were prescribed for this dog who would obviously have been suffering tremendously.  I can only imagine the additional pain that would be caused by bathing a dog with flea killing chemicals who had massive gaping wounds and scalded skin.  The notes indicate the dog was given one cephalexin dose on 7/27 and another on 7/28 – not the twice a day dosage originally prescribed by I Don’t Know Who.

The dog was finally taken to see a vet on Monday, July 29.  The vet euthanized the dog.  The notes are hard to read because of the quality of the handwriting but common sense tells me the dog would have been suffering and in extremely poor condition:

Portion of records from Petersburg pound for dog #680-13

Portion of records from Petersburg pound for dog #680-13

Animal advocates are asking for an investigation into the treatment of this dog at the Petersburg pound and for any applicable cruelty or other charges to be filed against the appropriate parties. Contact info for respectful letters and phone calls requesting a complete and transparent investigation:

If you are local, there is a city council meeting tonight at 7:30pm at Vernon Johns Junior High School, 3101 Homestead Dr. in Petersburg.

(Thank you Jill for sending me this story.)