KY Pound Leaves Five Dogs to Die in the Heat

A dog listed on the website for the McCracken Co pound in KY.

A dog pictured on the website for the McCracken Co pound in KY.

After employees at the McCracken Co Humane Society in KY were found guilty of animal cruelty in 2012, the county severed ties with the organization and has been operating the pound on its own.  On its website, McCracken Co promises to shelter animals in need “until such time as they are redeemed, adopted or humanely dealt with.” (It’s swell that mafia overtones mesh so well with kill shelter-speak.)

Last Monday morning, 5 dogs were found dead at the pound.  The pound is closed on Sundays.  The McCracken Co sheriff’s office sent a detective to the scene to determine if foul play was involved.  The dead dogs were sent to a university vet center for necropsy.

Preliminary necropsy results released Wednesday indicated the dogs died of heat stroke.  Toxicology results are not yet back but assuming they are negative and no poison is found in the dead dogs, it sounds as if the sheriff’s office is ready to file the agonizing and needless deaths of 5 dogs under meh:

If toxicology results are clear, the department’s preliminary investigation would probably end, since there would be no indication of intent to harm the animals.

It’s only summer in Kentucky.  Who knew that dogs needed shade and water in order to survive?  Not the county.  Plus the place is closed on Sundays so:  humanely dealt with FTW!

But wait, there’s more:  McCracken Co is considering re-establishing an agreement with the HS to run the pound again.  On the one hand, animal cruelty convictions, on the other, malignant neglect ignored by the police.  Geez, so hard to pick just one.  Why not simply hang an Animal Abusers Welcome sign on the front door?

(Thanks Devry for sending me this story.)

Weekend Jade

The sweetest, prettiest pitbull in the world. Plus: eyelashes.

jade 062914

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your best guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Thanks Melissa for sending me this animal.)

Lubbock Pound Oops-Kills Microchipped Pet After Turning Owner Away Twice

Rahzz, as shown on the WFSA website.

Rahzz, as shown on the WFSA website.

When Damon Hughes’ 6 year old microchipped cat named Rahzz went missing, he visited the Lubbock, TX pound to look for her.  He found her sitting in a cage last Friday.  No one from the pound had scanned her for a chip and notified him she was there.  Missed opportunity number one.

It turns out, a neighbor had trapped Rahzz and turned her in to the pound.  Mr. Hughes reassured his pet:

I looked down and told her, ‘Alright, sweetheart, I’ll be right back. I’ll come get you, I’ll be right back.'”

But when he told the pound staff he’d found his pet and wanted to take her home, workers refused, telling him he needed to bring in her vet records from home.  Oh and the pound would be closed for the weekend so he had to wait until Monday.  Missed opportunity number two.

Mr. Hughes returned for Rahzz on Monday but pound workers again turned him away, citing the need for a booster on the cat’s rabies vaccine.  He was told to come back Tuesday and by then, the pound would have given Rahzz the vaccine.  Missed opportunity number three.

That night, he and his family prepared for her homecoming, getting new cat food, a litter box and new bed.

When Mr. Hughes went back to the pound on Tuesday, he was forced to wait for an agonizing hour while staff searched for his pet.  He feared the worst.  And he was right.

After another hour, a supervisor told Mr. Hughes that despite Rahzz being microchipped and her records being marked as having an owner wanting to redeem her, staff had killed her after she was placed in a cage marked for killing during routine cleaning.  Oops.

“There were three steps that they were supposed to follow,” Hughes said, “as far as making sure this pet doesn’t belong to anybody before we actually euthanize it, and none of that was done and he couldn’t give me an exact reason why it didn’t happen. He just pretty much told me that they dropped the ball.”

And straight out of the oops-kill playbook, the supervisor offered Mr. Hughes a free replacement cat, if he wanted one.  Hey, a cat’s a cat, amirite?

The mandatory final chip scan that should have been done in the kill room prior to injection represents missed opportunity number four, for anyone keeping track.

Shelter supervisor Shawn Bird told a local reporter:

Something like this hasn’t happened in a very long time.

First off, once is one time too many.  No credit for your 16 Days Without an Oops-Kill sign on the wall.  Secondly, how do you know?  It’s clear that in the case of Rahzz, no one was doing their jobs – not the intake staffer who didn’t scan for the chip and contact the owner, not the multiple staffers who turned the owner away, not the worker who put Rahzz into a cage marked for killing, and not the kill techs who also failed to scan her.  So if no one at the Lubbock pound is doing their jobs, how do you know you aren’t killing owned pets every goddamn day of the week?  You don’t know what you don’t know.

The Lubbock pound had 4 opportunities to return Rahzz to her family who wanted her.  They couldn’t be bothered to put forth the minuscule amount of effort it would have taken for them to take any of these opportunities.  Instead, they killed her.

Mr. Hughes says he made up a story for his child as to why Rahzz wasn’t coming him so he didn’t have to explain the horrors of a pet killing facility and its lazy staff to a 4 year old.  He also says a city official called him after he went public with his story and told him there would be changes implemented at the pound.  Unless those changes include an immediate directive to stop killing healthy/treatable animals – and I doubt they do – it won’t be enough.  There is a culture of killing at the pound and it’s obviously infected the staff to the point where killing friendly pets is blasé.

The Lubbock pound staff had a man who had come to them to get his cat when they should have been the ones contacting him.  He stood right in front of them and asked to take his family member home, twice,  but they refused because of paperwork when they could have simply given him his pet and dealt with the rabies shot issue later.  Obviously no one in the kill room at the Lubbock pound batted an eye when a healthy cat was placed in front of them for killing.  They didn’t even bother performing the final scan for a chip because hey – living cat, dead cat – what’s the diff?

Fire all their lazy asses and get people in there willing to do their jobs, Lubbock.  Anything less is unacceptable.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

F-Star-Star-Star Yeah Augusta Chronicle

Although many newspapers feel comfortable endorsing political candidates in the lead up to an election, most do not weigh in on the needless killing of dogs and cats at their local shelter.  Of those that do, the editorials tend at best to nudge the shelter director with a kindly worded request for improvement and at worst blame the so-called irresponsible public for the killing and demand MSN enforcement.  But in a piece published yesterday, the editorial staff at the Augusta Chronicle in GA has changed all that.  They go to eleven:

Augusta-Richmond County is needlessly killing animals – dozens a day, hundreds a week, thousands a year.

All because leaders at the county’s Animal Services department refuse to work with volunteer rescue groups who help find homes for the dogs and cats that turn up at the animal shelter.

Apparently, it’s simply easier for Animal Services Director Sharon Broady and her staff to warehouse, kill and dispose of the animals than to process the paperwork needed to get them into caring homes.

The piece goes on to question why the Augusta pound is killing 70% of its animals while turning away rescuers and volunteers and why the director refuses to adopt out intact animals with spay-neuter agreements when the only alternative she allows is death.

Why is Broady’s default setting on “kill”?

She told The Augusta Chronicle via email interview that she is open to exploring options of lowering euthanasia rates. We suggest she consult a dictionary if her idea of “open” is to refuse to cooperate with rescue volunteers and blindly adhere to a policy that sends dozens of animals to the county landfill each day.

About 6,500 dogs and cats were killed last year.

Broady says lowering the kill rate would require “a new facility, additional staff, to include another veterinarian, vet techs and a much larger budget.”

She needs more resources? We don’t buy that facile argument for a split second. Broady has volunteers practically kicking her door in, begging to take these animals off her hands.

There are likely plenty of policy changes she can make to cut the kill rate that don’t require a bigger budget.

I’ll have what they’re having.

Referring to the Augusta pound as a “sick, sad death house”, the Chronicle offers up examples of places such as Kansas City where the killing of healthy/treatable pets has been drastically reduced after compassionate animal lovers committed to lifesaving took charge of operations.

Look long and hard at all these other agencies that are correctly and humanely executing their duties without executing tons of animals. Start doing what they do. Check your pride at the door. The animals whose life or death depends on us deserve that much.

Augusta Animal Services’ problem isn’t financial. It’s about attitude. And this agency has precisely the wrong attitude to fulfill a successful mission of caring for and adopting out Augusta’s most vulnerable animals.

While the editorial staff does not mention the No Kill Equation or the fact that there are hundreds of open admission shelters saving more than 90% of their pets all over the country, they clearly get the idea that a shelter should shelter, not kill, animals and that the need for meaningful reform is urgent:

Augusta Commissioners have ultimate authority for this slaughter. They have the responsibility to put an end to it. Commissioners, a compassionate and caring community is looking to you now. Do your jobs, and either make Ms. Broady do hers, or find someone else who will.

Out with the old, in with the editorial staff at the Augusta Chronicle. Someone should send them a copy of Redemption and a link to the No Kill Advocacy Center so that they can see what’s achievable in Augusta.  Local animal advocates, you’ve got the newspaper editorial staff on your side.  No small thing.  Seize the moment and publicly demand an end to the killing of healthy/treatable animals at the pound.  And then keep demanding it, six ways from Sunday, loudly, until it happens.

(Thanks Jodi for the link.)

No Kill Advocacy via Media Outreach in Huntsville, AL

Following the recent news that the city of Huntsville, AL is researching the No Kill Equation for possible implementation at the pound, the group No Kill Huntsville is engaging the community by putting up some digital billboards:

No Kill Shelter astronaut

Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

No Kill Shelter salon #2

Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

No Kill Shelter girl  dog

Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

Aubrie Kavanaugh of No Kill Huntsville writes:

No Kill Huntsville continues to push local elected and appointed officials to embrace no kill programs and to end the destruction of healthy and treatable pets using tax dollars. John Hamilton, the new city administrator, told a media outlet recently that the city is exploring the possibility of becoming a no kill community. This is a degree of forward progress in a city which has known about, but chosen not to implement, the No Kill Equation for more than five years.

Although the city’s recently stated position is seen in a positive light, the members of No Kill Huntsville plan to continue to push the issue in the community and to be the group which seeks to hold city leaders accountable. A huge part of that is reaching the public, many of whom either don’t know what happens at the local shelter or may not realize that there are other ways to function. The latest tool in the toolbox is a digital billboard campaign which is set to run during the months of July and August (thanks to some help from a local sponsor and an animal-friendly advertising company) and a new television PSA (below) getting air time on the local network stations. Although the group has a fully developed web site and is very active on social media, the members acknowledge that the key to change is connecting with the very people who can be educated on what is taking place using their tax dollars and then encouraged to speak out to local officials in support of change.

The hope is to reach a wider audience using visual content which goes beyond the computer screen. No Kill Huntsville is using a degree of humor to reach the community, but there is a method to the madness. Since Huntsville is home to the Marshall Space Flight Center and does, in fact, have a host of rocket scientists living in the community, the group is taking advantage of that. Here in Huntsville, we call ourselves the Rocket City and the Star of Alabama. This region is smart, proud, progressive and creative. If we can support the space program and the international space station, surely we are smart enough to learn from successful no kill communities and stop killing healthy and treatable pets.

Thank you Aubrie for the update. Keep going.

 

Grand Jury Findings in Mendocino Co, CA Shelter Investigation

A recent investigation by the Mendocino Co grand jury into the county shelter in Ukiah, CA revealed some troubling findings:

  • Owners attempting to surrender pets at the shelter are regularly turned away, in violation of CA law.
  • The shelter is overcrowded and overflow animals are kept in crates.  Some animals have lived at the shelter for more than a year.
  • The shelter is infested with rats.
  • There is a contentious relationship between shelter staff and ACOs, each falling under separate departments.  The ACOs feel the staff doesn’t want them bringing animals to the facility.  As a result, ACOs tend to work with animal abusers over extended periods of time rather than seize their animals.

Additional grand jury findings:

  • Some veterinarians refuse to work with ACOs because they don’t believe the ACOs seize abused animals in a timely manner and the abusers are not barred from immediately obtaining more animals.
  • ACOs in the field do not have access to the computer system containing licensing information and therefore must use their personal cell phones to call shelter staff when they pick up stray animals.  Because cell service is spotty and the staff only answer the phones some of the time, the ACOs don’t bother trying to get the information they need to return lost pets in the field.  These animals are all brought to the overcrowded, rat infested shelter.

Although it’s stated in the Mendocino Co ACO manual that they are required to maintain confidentiality in their duties, the grand jury found ACOs were telling animal abusers the names of people who complained about them.  As a result, many tipsters and their children were harassed in retaliation.

The grand jury made a number of recommendations including placing ACOs and shelter staff under the same department, training for shelter management, third party inspections at the shelter on a quarterly basis, annual ethics training for ACOs, computer access in the ACO vehicles, and the development of protocols for handling abuse cases.  The Mendocino Co shelter manager, the county sheriff, and the county board of supervisors are just some of the people required to respond to the grand jury findings.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Treats on the Internets

A tragic story about a cat in NJ who was severely injured after being tortured by a group of children, saved by other kids, then turned away by every public facility that could have helped him.  The cat suffered for 2 days before finally being euthanized by a vet.  (Thank you Karen for the link.)

The Young-Williams Animal Center in TN killed more than 100 cats in response to a panleukopenia outbreak.  The CEO blames the virus on the pound’s open admission status but doesn’t mention what, if any, measures the facility takes to avoid and minimize exposure.  (Thank you Luke for the link.)

An article centered on transporting homeless dogs from the south to the north which fails to mention why that sucks and gets everything else wrong too.  (Thanks Valerie for the link.)

The Humane Society of Fremont Co in CO announced it will no longer be paying its board of directors.  Hopefully that money will be put into lifesaving efforts.  (Thanks Davyd.)

Henry Co AC in GA is somehow quarantining an entire neighborhood for 31 days after several rabid raccoons and foxes were found in the area.  (Thanks Valerie.)

Never mind the bird predation hysteria (billions and billions!) from feral cat haters, the US government killed 4 million animals, mostly birds, last year under the guise of eradicating threats from wildlife.

Weekend Jade

Lying around in one place, wherever someone lays you, is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Jade quickly graduated to dragging herself to where she’d like to be and this week moved on to hobbling.  Next:  world domination.

Hobbler in Chief

Hobbler in Chief

Open Thread

Share your animal related links, stories, questions and news in the comments.

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