“Human Error” Blamed for Oops-Killing in Prince George’s Co

Screengrab from the WUSA website.

Screengrab from the WUSA website.

Prince George’s County in MD has had a body shape based ban on dogs since 1997.  Like every other similar ban, it tears families apart and offers no benefit of any kind.  But Prince George’s Co continues to uphold the ban.  Because AHHH Pitbulls!

When a bully breed type dog was surrendered at the Prince George’s Co pound by her owner last week, a local rescue group moved swiftly to save her.  Within hours, they found a foster home where the healthy dog, who was about to give birth to a litter of puppies, could raise her family in safety and comfort.  The rescue advised the pound they were sending a volunteer to pick her up.  But someone at the pound failed to mark the dog’s record with a DO NOT KILL so Prince George’s Co killed her before the rescuer arrived.  Oops.

Lisa Marie Czop, the rescue volunteer who tried to save this dog, told me she received a text message from a pound worker that read, “Don’t worry about the pregnant dog I emailed you about” which she soon learned meant the dog had been oops-killed.

The Public Information Specialist for Prince George’s Co told the local news:

[T]he animal was selected for euthanasia due to the lack of space at the Facility and her condition.

Her condition was reportedly healthy.  I believe that the county spokesman is using the word “condition” to indicate that the dog was pregnant and had a body shape deemed illegal by the county.

Lisa Marie Czop wrote to me in an e-mail:

The issue is the leadership at the shelter, and specifically in this case, the kennel manager who makes the decisions to euthanize, does not have life-saving as the top priority of the shelter.

In my opinion, the best outcome would be to remove leadership from this shelter, specifically Chief Taylor. However, a more realistic goal in light of all of this media attention may be to establish some oversight by the County of this shelter so that they can answer to the fact that they are euthanizing significantly more animals than the shelters around them.

County Executive Rushern Baker is the highest level of County leadership that the shelter reports to, and his office phone number is 301-952-4131.

When a pregnant dog who is near term is injected with Fatal Plus, she dies.  But her puppies remain alive inside her uterus, forced to slowly suffocate to death.  This dog had a right to live, as did her unborn puppies.  This dog and her unborn puppies were wanted and a rescue group had advised Prince George’s Co they were coming to pick her up.  But the county killed her anyway, blaming “human error”.

I would offer that the human error at the Prince George’s Co pound is the systematic killing of healthy pets and harboring bias against certain dogs based on body shape.  Within this culture of killing, pound workers view discrimination and death as standard operating procedure which is why no one jumped up and down screaming, “No, this is not right!” when this dog was taken to the kill room.  If Prince George’s Co was doing its job and saving every healthy/treatable animal in its care, that’s exactly what would have happened because no compassionate worker committed to protecting pets’ lives would stand by and allow this dog to be killed and her puppies, who likely could have survived outside the uterus, to smother.

I’ve been hearing for years that shelter works do not want to kill animals.  I’m tired of hearing it.  Show me.  Start doing your jobs and providing shelter to the animals in your care.  Follow the example set by the hundreds of open admission shelters in this country that are saving more than 90% of their animals.  Stop the excuses.  Stop the killing.

(Thank you Anne T. for the link.)

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15 Comments

  1. Katherine Goard

     /  February 20, 2014

    It’s always “HUMAN ERROR” isn’t it? ERROR my ASS! They just want the dog gone so they don’t have to fool with it! These kind of people do not need to be working in a pound or a shelter.. It makes me want to slap them and shake them and ask just what the hell are you thinking!! These animals have real hearts, feelings and they even FORGIVE you for what you do do them!! Arrgh! this makes me so mad!!!

    Reply
  2. Once again, the only thing they are interested in is killing and quickly getting into CYA mode. My heart breaks for this beautiful mama and her pups who never even had a chance. As far as those who are in charge and make those decisions (for her and i’m sure so many others) – they can go to hell. I’m sick at heart to know how prevalent the killing is – everywhere.

    Reply
  3. Clarice

     /  February 20, 2014

    Does the person responsible even receive a reprimand? If only the animals in these county pounds were protected as well as the workers who commit these irreversible errors. Tragic consequences for the animals and business as usual for the staff.

    Reply
  4. That is a horrible way to die, not just for the mom but for the babies. In a perfect world the person who euthanized her would be facing charges along with all those that didn’t take action to stop it.

    Reply
  5. Deb Lancaster

     /  February 20, 2014

    I’ve seen this “shelter” in the news and their policies. It reaches across the United States and “human error”? How many times? Obviously this human needs to be replaced. For the sake and compassion of the animals which is not a priority here.

    Reply
  6. elaine

     /  February 20, 2014

    @the fact that they are euthanizing significantly more animals than the shelters around them.
    Well, that’s the problem, right there! If the neighboring shelters were doing THEIR share of the killing, this one would not have to take up the slack! [sarcasm off]
    It is just sickening to read of this over and over again. I so wish you didn’t have to do more than your share of exposing this mindless indifference.

    Reply
    • Katherine Goard

       /  February 20, 2014

      I agree with you, elaine.. and you know these people KNEW this dog was pregnant so it seems to me that they had to have been doing this for a long time before now. It just makes me sick to my stomach to know that there are sub-humans on this earth living among us that have this piece of iron for a heart. Hopefully one of these days they’ll get what’s coming to them. I just know in my heart that God has a special place reserved in a very special HELL for them to spend eternity…. and eternity never ends… they will suffer always.. I’m just glad that the dog and her pups didn’t have to hurt for a long long time. But these people, they will never ever through eternity get any reprieve from the pain.

      Reply
  7. We have been fighting and fighting this shelter and its practices for years. The level of contempt they have for the residents of the county, whom the shelter management feel are not worthy of being pet owners is flabbergasting. I have been a member of a round table organized to “make changes” at the shelter but the volunteer-apologists fight those changes as much as the management. We have been begging them to employ life saving practices for two administrations now. This was in no way an oops killing. You can’t accidentally kill an obviously pregnant, about-to-pop dog….it has to be something you USUALLY do and don’t have a problem doing. Do they not know those puppies will suffocate in utero? They don’t care…they’re USED to doing it. They just got caught doing it. This was no big deal. After all, it was JUST a pit bull. And those puppies were JUST pit bull puppies. I hope the life of this dog and her puppies, abused at the hands of Prince George’s Animal Management, was not extinguished in vain.

    Reply
    • Katherine Goard

       /  February 20, 2014

      Usually “volunteer apologists” that fight those changes do not fight them unless they are nearly as bad as what’s going on now. Could this possibly be the reason they are screaming? I really do hope not! Get your round table together and figure out a way to raise money to make this a NO KILL SHELTER instead of a killing POUND. There are so many people willing and able to give to things like this. All you have to do is find them and that’s not that hard. Put ads on the internet.. in the papers.. ask for help! Don’t be ashamed to ask a philanthropist to help! They will do it!! Get your stuff together and see if there is not just one or two reasons these people are screaming about the changes you are talking about making. They might not be as good as you think. Just trying to help the animals of your county.. I lived in Maryland for a few months and it seemed to be a nice place for animals to live.. my little community had pets running around the neighborhood but they all had collars and tags. I never once saw a “stray” dog running around the neighborhood. Something is not quite right with this picture to me. Do some more thinking and then think about finding employees that will NOT kill just because it’s a Pit Bull. The only thing that makes these dogs mean is inbreeding for fighting. If that is stopped, the stigma against this dog will also disappear just like it did with the other ones that used to be “killer dogs” . Thank you for listening. I truly hope you all can find a resolution to this situation before any more dogs are killed by “Human Error”.

      Reply
  8. Anne Thomas

     /  February 21, 2014

    There are groups in Prince George’s County that are working toward making the shelter no-kill, like Prince George’s Feral Friends. But although Maryland does appear to be pretty friendly toward animals, there are still pockets of resistance, as could be seen by the miserable progress of the bill regarding pit bulls that has been going through the state legislature.

    Reply
  9. This story has gotten very good, responsible local media coverage (I am in DC). One station even cited the euthanasia rates for PG Co (60%) compared to WashHumane(20%) and several other local shelters. I don’t remember hearing “pit bull” either.

    Reply
    • Katherine Goard

       /  February 21, 2014

      Finally! Very very good to hear! Glad something finally got on the local media in DC! But it’s like anything else.. out of sight, out of mind. Our government doesn’t give a fat rats behind about the way the animals are treated in this country. If they did, they’d be doing something about it. Like what’s happening to the moose in Yellowstone. I hope like hell it does wake some people up, up there. They sure do need a good shaking!! If people would just STOP INBREEDING THESE DOGS they would revert back to their “Babysitter” status! This is the only way these dogs went from people actually leaving their children with the Pit Bull to them being the worst thing on earth.. Stop your inbreeding and stop the DOG FIGHTING! There are going to have to be some real consequences for the actions of these people before they stop doing this. Just my2cents worth…

      Reply
  10. I’m disgusted over and over! When will this cruelty end? Are people in shelters so cruel they don’t give a damn? What about the residents? What was their response to the media coverage?

    Reply
  11. Everyone. Are you REALLY looking for change in the Prince George’s Shelter? Then support HB422. HB422 prohibits breed specific laws in the entire state of Maryland, Prince George’s included. We need your help. Please send an email TODAY to the members of the Maryland House Judicary Committee and ask each of them to please move HB422 FAVORABLY out of committee:

    Joseph.vallario@house.state.md.us
    Kathleen.dumais@house.state.md.us
    Curt.anderson@house.state.md.us
    Sam.arora@house.state.md.us
    Jill.carter@house.state.md.us
    Luke.clippinger@house.state.md.us
    John.cluster@house.state.md.us
    Frank.conaway@house.state.md.us
    Glen.glass@house.state.md.us
    Michael.hough@house.state.md.us
    Kevin.kelly@house.state.md.us
    Susan.lee@house.state.md.us
    Susan.mccomas@house.state.md.us
    Mike.mcdermott@house.state.md.us
    Keiffer.mitchell@house.state.md.us
    Neil.parrott@house.state.md.us
    Samuel.rosenberg@house.state.md.us
    Luiz.simmons@house.state.md.us
    Michael.smigiel@house.state.md.us
    Kris.valderrama@house.state.md.us
    Geraldine.valentino.smith@house.state.md.us
    Jeff.waldstreicher@house.state.md.us

    Again, we need your support to stop BSL in Prince George’s County and all of Maryland once and for all! HB422 stops dogs from being declared dangerous simply by their breed, type, or heritage. HB22 stops the entire state and local governments from declaring dogs dangerous by breed, type, or heritage, AND prevents landlords, HOAs and condo associations from discriminating against dogs in their leases, deeds, covenants and contracts.

    Reply

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