AZ Shelter Oops-Kills Family Pet

Hollie in a screengrab from the KGUN online report

Hollie in a screengrab from the KGUN online report

On Christmas Day 2013, an ACO impounded a dog named Hollie for a rabies quarantine at the Pima Animal Care Center in AZ after she reportedly chased a child on a bike and bit his leg.  Owner Tammy Porter was given a form to sign indicating she would redeem Hollie as soon as the quarantine expired.  The Porters were prepared to meet with shelter staff for education on how to keep Hollie reliably contained and prevent another incident.

When Ms. Porter arrived at the shelter to take Hollie home, she learned the impounding officer had failed to properly communicate to the staff that the owner intended to redeem Hollie.  So they killed her.  Oops.

“It devastated us.” Hollie was part of our family for six years.”

The news really hurt Tammy’s 12-year-old daughter Rachel Porter.

“I was really close to her,” said Rachel.

Manager Kim Janes comes across as lackadaisical in his response to the killing of an owned pet:

“We always review our procedures when these kinds of things happen,” he said. “And we just doubled up on some of the double checks we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Ho hum. Just another day at the office.

In its 2012-2013 annual report, the Pima Animal Care Center claims its live release rate was 64% (without providing the detailed numbers behind this figure).  Shelters that do their jobs have live release rates in the 95% range.  Pima is falling short.  “These kinds of things” don’t happen in a vacuum.  They happen as a result of a culture of killing – where controlling the shelter population by violence is an accepted standard and owned pets sometimes inadvertently wind up in the vast swath of death deemed acceptable and normal.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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17 Comments

  1. Wow. That’s terrible for the family to find out. I would be devastated if my furry family member was oops killed. Just horrible to know about the culture of killing at shelters.

    Reply
  2. Mikken

     /  February 19, 2014

    Shameful.

    All of the “double checks” in the world won’t prevent this kind of fatal mistake when wholesale slaughter is the norm.

    Reply
    • sarahjaneb

       /  February 19, 2014

      Exactly. They reviewed their procedures and it never occurred to them that one procedure – killing healthy dogs – is the biggest source of the problem?

      Reply
  3. paigeandspaniels

     /  February 19, 2014

    That’s so disturbing.

    Whoops! We killed your dog. Promise we will try to not do it again.

    Reply
  4. Yeah, the manager doesn’t seem all that bothered. Until they stop killing, these things will continue to happen, I don’t care how many procedures they put in place. My sympathy to Hollie and to her family who will live without her now. THIS NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    Reply
  5. Debbie Tucker-Smith

     /  February 19, 2014

    Always so disgraceful to have the ‘oops’ dogs, and this crap would not happen if it was not ‘the usual’ for them to kill healthy pets. More jackasses. Yes, for them, ‘just another day at the office’ – killing some nice animals. Like listening to Ian Hallett, the now EX director of the Tampa shelter (Hillsborough County Animal Shelter), saying that he could not wait for cat rescuers to come in at the last minute or the day after the time was up for some cats, because it created ‘a hiccup in the daily operations’. Asshole. And a heartless asshole.

    Wanted to send you a couple of links about a case in Connecticut that needs some pressure, if you are so inclined. Here is one link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200560597777013&set=o.134397299923522&type=1&theater

    Here is another with a good photo, dog is in Bridgeport, CT: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200560604137172&set=o.134397299923522&type=1&theater

    Reply
  6. AmberK

     /  February 20, 2014

    It is not usually the fault of the ACOs that they are required to euthanize healthy animals. There are too many dogs and cats in our communities and when government run facilities are required to take in every animal that comes to them or is requested to be picked up, euthanasia sometimes has to happen. Yes, this is a terrible mistake that should never happen, but euthanasia in shelters in general is not the fault of the shelter workers, but of the public who does not spay or neuter their animals, and irresponsible backyard breeders.

    Reply
    • The blame for killing healthy/treatable animals lies with those doing the killing. Once the animal arrives at the shelter, it’s the staff’s job to SHELTER the animal, not kill him. It doesn’t matter how the animal got there.

      Reply
    • Over 80% of owned dogs and cats are spayed/neutered, and you can check that number with HSUS and ASPCA.

      Many of the animals taken into shelters are spayed/neutered.

      This healthy, owned pet whose family was scheduled to pick her up and meet with shelter officials to discuss better containment was not killed because she was not spayed. She was killed because their normal routine is killing animals, not sheltering and saving them.

      That’s even without addressing your false beliefs about the “necessity” of killing healthy animals because of the Irresponsible Public.

      This dog had a home and owners known to the shelter, and an appointment to pick her up and meet with shelter people. There is no amount of hand-waving that will make this just an honest inevitable mistake. AT BEST, it’s major incompetence. At worst, they simply decided to kill her anyway.

      Reply
    • mikken

       /  February 21, 2014

      “uthanasia in shelters in general is not the fault of the shelter workers, but of the public who does not spay or neuter their animals, and irresponsible backyard breeders”

      Well then, I guess all of those s/n dogs and cats that got killed today in shelters are really glad that their owners were responsible enough to s/n them…not that it saved their lives or anything, just…you know…responsible ownership.

      Sorry, but it absolutely IS the fault of the shelter workers who are doing the killing. They aren’t working to change it, to stop it, or to not do it. Suppose, just suppose someone saw this dog as she was being led to the kill room and said, “Stop. This is a healthy, friendly animal. Why are we killing her? What have we done to save her?” All it takes is someone to stand up and say, “No. I will not kill today. I will do whatever it takes to NOT KILL TODAY.”

      Reply
      • AmberK

         /  February 22, 2014

        I actually run a “no kill” shelter which is great, but we have to turn away dozens of dogs and cats every week because they cannot be adopted fast enough to take in every pet who is found or displaced. Those dogs and cats we turn away often have to go to the county facility and, yes, when they run out of cages, and there are no adopters or rescues stepping up to take the pets, they have to euthanize some to make space for more who are being turned in. So what if the ACO says, “I will not kill today”, they should just let the poor critters pile up, get sick, and eventually die of the issues involved with overcrowding? PS if you don’t live in the rural south, you may not have this problem with uneducated people not neutering their pets and letting them run everywhere dropping babies on every corner, but even in the educated rural areas, I know lots of places who have not been able to go “no kill” yet. Again, this is a horrible mistake that shouldn’t have happened, but don’t just gripe about the “culture of killing” unless you are actively involved in an animal rescue organization and doing your part to help! If you are really involved, you would know that it isn’t that simple. I’ve never met a euthanasia tech who liked euthanizing animals!
        There is no harder job in the animal fields than being a euthanasia technician and it takes a special kind of person to compassionately and humanely euthanize animals when they have no other place to go. I have known people who cry every scheduled euthanasia day on their way to work, they dry their tears and act cheerful to do their jobs without unduly frightening the dogs and cats, then they cry all the way home, but they CARE enough to get back up and do it again.
        I feel the need to stand up for them with the people who DON’T know the whole story and who don’t see the big picture of animal overpopulation.

      • mikken

         /  February 22, 2014

        So again, I have to ask, what are they doing to AVOID killing? Because there IS an answer out there – the No Kill Equation has been proven to work. No Kill Communities are happening – more are added to the list every year. So WHY aren’t all shelters embracing it (or at least TRYING it)?

        We’ve been “killing to make space for the incoming” for DECADES. It doesn’t work to end the killing, it just keeps the cycle going. I think it’s safe to say that we cannot and will never kill our way to equilibrium.

        And yes, killing should be HARD. It should be hard like cutting off one of your own fingers is hard. And people who find it HARD, should be looking in EVERY direction to find a way to not do it…

        No shelter can go it alone. No shelter can just decide to stop killing and hope that everything will turn out ok. It takes a community effort. It takes working WITH your community to make it happen. And yes, that will mean (among other things) extensive educational outreach in some areas of the country. But if you don’t start somewhere, you’re not going get anywhere.

        I’m working to stop the killing in my county. What are you doing to stop the killing in yours?

      • AmberK who runs a “no kill” shelter which is great (lawl) but then hits on every disproven cliche espoused by the anti-no kill folks has been banned for trolling. And now I must return to my uneducated life in the rural south, letting my unneutered pets drop litters on every corner.

  7. Many places do a home quarantine so they don’t have to take a cage space and there’s no chance of “oops” killing your pet. Just a thought.

    Reply
    • Yes this is a reasonable option for quarantine, especially when so many of these facilities can’t seem to slow down their killing assembly line enough to sort out who they are and are not supposed to be killing.

      Reply
  8. Martha Edwards

     /  July 15, 2014

    I spent from 3 p.m. to 5:30 waiting for the intake of a cat that someone irresponsibly left at my home. I could not keep him. Before that I called many places but all were full to the brim. Pima Animal care were glad to take the cat, Snaggel Tooth. There were about 9 people signed before me. 14 wild baby kittens were brought in, then same amount of puppies arrived. There was the tiniest kitten with its mouth open. My 10 year old granddaughter wanted all of them. The next best thing is to go there and volunteer. Pima Animal Care intake workers were awesome. They took Snagel’s photo and allowed my grand daughter to fluff his pillow, blanket and stuffy toys in his cage. After being checked he turns out to be a very o;d cat with missing and broken teeth. I was told by cat nurse that despite it’s condition efforts would be made to find him a home as long as he hadn’t bit a person. What more could anyone want. They were so kind and humane.

    Reply

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