When we checked in with Vermilion Parish Rabies Control in LA last week, the director was killing all cats deemed feral, killing pets before their legally mandated 4 day holding period expired, and killing pets tagged for rescue – all with the support of local politicians who appear to be too lazy to do their jobs and seem to like their own kind. Although the Vermilion Parish police jury protects the pound director from having to answer questions from the public she serves about all the killing she does, the jury did issue a statement in response to KATC’s allegations that pets are routinely being killed in violation of the law during their holding periods. You can read the statement here but basically, it says the mandatory holding period only applies when we say it applies, we’re all awesome and everything is sparkle-ponies.
While those being paid by taxpayers in Vermilion Parish appear to be on work hiatus in perpetuity, the KATC investigative team is still doing its job. A review of pound records by KATC found that at least 90 animals last year were listed as dying of “natural causes” when in fact they appear to have been illegally left to suffer in their cages until they fell over dead:
The Guidelines for Louisiana Public Animal Shelters by the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission requires that, “Veterinary care must be provided in a manner that prevents unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animals.”
But we found animals like Harmony, a stray cat thought to be sick when she was brought in December 2012. The person dropping her off even wrote, “afraid for my animals – could be sick,” on Harmony’s intake form. Harmony held on for a month before dying of “natural causes.” There’s no record that she ever saw a vet.
And then there’s Miracle, a white pug, that was thought to have been abused, was brought to animal control last year on Sept. 27. She died of “natural causes” three days later, and there were no records showing that she received any veterinary care.
Not providing animals with veterinary care is considered cruelty to animals, according to Louisiana law. It carries a fine of $1,000 and six months in jail.
An ex-employee verified to KATC that pets were regularly left without vet care at the pound, including a dog with a broken back who was forced to suffer for more than a week without seeing a vet before he was killed.
KATC’s review also found that the pound’s records “contained lots of incorrect information” and that drug logs did not match up with the kill records which, if true, represents another violation of the law.
The sheriff’s office is reportedly opening an investigation based upon the KATC findings. I wonder how much longer the parish police jury is going to stand behind the pound director. Is Team Kill going to stick together all the way to jail or will they start stabbing each other in the back to save their own asses before things get that far?
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)