Lancaster Co SPCA Kills Dog for Growling, Because They Can

Scout and Josie, as shown on the NBC Philadelphia website.
Scout and Josie, as shown on the NBC Philadelphia website.

On July 1, a PA family surrendered their two healthy Australian shepherds to the Chester Co SPCA because they had been unable to rehome them after moving from a house to an apartment.  The 1 year old siblings, Scout and Josie, are described by owner Shana Goane as loving and friendly with no hint of any aggression issues.  Ms. Goane paid $500 to the Chester Co SPCA and asked that Scout and Josie be kept together, if possible.

Two days later, Ms. Goane called the Chester Co SPCA with good news:  she’d found a home for both pets.  But after pocketing the $500, Chester Co had shipped the dogs off to the Lancaster Co SPCA.  And the Lancaster Co SPCA killed Josie shortly after arrival for aggression.  Specifically, there was an alleged growl:

Josie began exhibiting aggression soon after she arrived, according to LCSPCA director Sue Martin.

“One of these instances included a senior staff having to remove the dog in order to clean the cage whereas the dog growled at them showing teeth,” Martin said. “Another staff member had to enter the kennel and remove the dog so the senior staff could safely exit the kennel.”


Martin emphasized that euthanasia is always a last resort[.]

Weak tea. I think I’ve seen this movie before. And it sucks.

Ms. Goane drove to the Lancaster Co SPCA to pick up Josie’s body and save Scout from all that prevention of cruelty and such.

That’s some racket they are running up there.  $500 to accept your friendly, young, healthy purebred dogs, only to ship them off to someplace else as soon as you leave the parking lot.  Then that place freaks the frell out when a dog who’s been taken from her home and housed inside two different shelters within a matter of hours says boo instead of doing backflips on command and immediately finding herself an adopter with cash in hand.

Oh but killing is always a last resort.  The first resort is the fabrication of crummy excuses to kill animals.  Then they go to the last resort.

There ought to be a law.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

38 thoughts on “Lancaster Co SPCA Kills Dog for Growling, Because They Can

  1. While I agree that this is horrific if these two dogs were from a responsible breeder why weren’t they returned to the breeder? Why not contact a breed rescue? As unfortunate as this situation is do people not realize the risk associated with surrendering a dog?

    1. I have no idea where the person got these dogs – the article didn’t specify. It also didn’t state whether they had contacted a breed rescue. I pass no judgment on the efforts of the owners to rehome them. It’s clear those efforts continued even after the surrender.

      What I do know to be a true generalization (not specific to this case) is that people tend to believe that places calling themselves SPCA and HS and “shelter” are good places for animals to find new homes. I can only imagine that belief is strongly reinforced when you drop $500 to leave your pets there.

      1. I guess if it were me I’d be doing as much research as possible before surrendering my dogs anywhere, or looking for advice. I’m not trying to be judgemental to the owner, but it’s an unfortunate reality that dogs get put down in most shelters/animal controls.

        Even her dog had shown no signs of aggression prior to being in the shelter plenty of dogs get stressed in that environment and their personalities change.

        I wish more people were educated on what to do or how to rehome their dog, and what they need to understand before leaving their dog with anyone.

      2. Maybe she did research, sought advice, etc – IDK. Maybe she simply couldn’t find a home for the dogs in the time she had. What I do know is that we have a need for shelters – and will always have a need for them – for situations such as these (and others). A shelter is supposed to be a safety net for our community’s dogs and cats. There should not be a stigma associated with making use of that safety net.

      3. “it’s an unfortunate reality that dogs get put down in most shelters/animal controls”

        Yes, and this is a problem with the so-called shelters, not a problem with the people surrendering the animals, and it needs to change.

        “Even her dog had shown no signs of aggression prior to being in the shelter plenty of dogs get stressed in that environment and their personalities change. ”

        Yes, and people who work in so-called shelters should be aware of this, and give the dogs time to get settled in before deciding they’re too “aggressive” to live.

  2. I get your point but what if they were mixed breeds. The shelter (POUND) actions are not acceptable by any means! Unfortunately your average person wants to believe that because their pet is sweet and adoptable that this is what will happen when they turn them in to these hell holes. I trust NO shelter. Period. What I don’t get is why people move to places where their pets aren’t allowed. My heart aches for what must have gone through these poor dog’s minds and hearts. So sad.

    1. The article doesn’t say why these people moved from their house to an apartment. But I’m sure you are aware of the economic crisis that’s been going on in this country which has caused many people to lose their homes and move to more affordable housing. IDK if that’s the case here but it’s one possible explanation.

      1. I lost my home due to economic crisis in this country and had to move to an apartment and searched for months to find one that would let me bring 2 cats. But these people have 1 year old dogs…..the economy crashed 12 years ago, its coming back now. They had money to buy 2 pure bred pups less than a year ago and money to give $5oo to the aspca. Didn’t they know they were broke a year ago? No we don’t know the situation, but the sad thing is that people are so willing to give up their pets when they should realize that having a pet is having a member of the family. You wouldn’t give your kids away because of the economic crisis in this country.
        That aside the ASPCA should know that the animal is stressed from moving and not typically a violent animal. They will use the excuse that they can’t take the responsiblity for the “stressed” animal acting this way toward visitors or adoptors. It is and excuse to thin out the population because they are so full.

      2. Just because the economy is on an upswing doesn’t mean a particular individual can’t be worse off now than they were last year. Obviously she moved out of the house and into the apartment for a reason, and you don’t know what that reason is. You also don’t know where the dogs came from or where the $500 came from. You’re making a lot of assumptions, and yes, when things get really tough, some people DO give up their children so those children can have a better life.

    2. Sometimes people have no choice. Other than buying your own home, which simply isn’t an option financially for a lot of people (many have lost their homes in the last few years, which may be what happened in this case) there often aren’t a lot of housing options for people with large dogs, and by “large” I mean over 25-30 lbs. I know that’s not really a large dog, but a lot of rentals set very low weight limits if they allow dogs at all. They may also have breed restrictions as well as prohibitive pet deposits and fees.

  3. And I will bet you money that the first place was like, “Oh yeah, no problem, we’ll find a home for them.” And then took the money, ditched the dogs asap and went on with their day.

    Did the first shelter contact breed rescue? Did the second? Because the owners may not have had a clue what to do to rehome their dogs, but the shelters sure as hell should. Rehoming is supposed to be their business. Except…you know…killing.

  4. wow more “blame the public” and “I would never do that ( adjust halo)” syndrome . Thank you for educating me so that I never use the word “dump” and mostly put “shelter” in quotes because I think it is a hoax to think shelters actully do what they should and provide real shelter

  5. The $500 Ms. Goane gave to the Chester Co SPCA would’ve been put to better use by finding an apartment that accepts pets. What a horrible ordeal for both of those innocent animals. I’m sorry Josie that humans failed you.

    1. Right – because that was an option. Per you. She could have used the $500 to find an apartment that accepted pets, per you. Or she could have used it to secure them a safe space at the shelter. But she chose the shelter because she’s a horrible human being and too lazy to look for the apartment that takes pets. What a slob. If only she’d had a friend like you to guide her when she was going through all this. But it’s too late now and the stupid twat got what she deserved – a dead pet.

      1. Are you the moderator for this entire site? If so, I guess you don’t welcome all thoughts and opinions here in a professional manner. Sounds like you took this personally. A few years ago I was forced to downsize from a house to a condo after I lost my job, but abandoning my pets was never an option. Where I go, they go. It took some additional effort but I found someplace that allowed my 10 year German Shepherd. No, I don’t know what this owner’s situation is, but I do believe and will always believe that pets are family and accomodations should be made for them as well as humans. You can be as angry and condescending as you want, but your attitude doesn’t change my stance that pets are family.

      2. “It took some additional effort but I found someplace that allowed my 10 year German Shepherd.”

        Good for you. But you do not know what options were available to Ms. Goane. I don’t know if you’re getting this yet, but she is not you. And yes, pets are family, something that’s been said here about a million times. But sometimes doing what’s best for family members isn’t keeping them with you. Have you never heard of parents giving up children because it’s what’s best for the child? Putting parents in a home because it’s best for them? If Ms. Goane’s choices were to live on the street with the dogs or live with a relative in a pet free apartment and give the dogs a chance at a better life, who are you to say she made the wrong choice? Who are you to say what her choices were in the first place?

      3. Nice try.
        Go play your “compassion for me but not for thee” tune somewhere else.
        And yes, I take it personally. It’s like, my thing.

    2. And how do you know that? Do you know exactly what all of her options were and how much they cost, on both an initial and ongoing monthly basis?

    3. The article also doesn’t say why the two dogs couldn’t be kept at the apartment. I double-checked. It just says that the family sought to rehome them because of the move. With a couple young Aussies, it could as easily have been their unsuitability to a sedate, physically restricted life as issues with the apartment management. We just don’t know.

      It also doesn’t matter in this instance, because the real issue is that, on the basis of a highly questionable behavioral assessment – which appears to have been made off-the-cuff rather than formally, not that a formal test would have been any better – a young dog of a very smart, active breed, undoubtedly stressed out of her mind and (from the brief descriptions) possibly separated from her brother for the first time in her life, was killed almost immediately. Because it was more quick and convenient to do so than not.

  6. Here again we have proof that the majority of the animal loving public doesn’t know just how horrible our broken sheltering system is. They believe what the shelter staff tell them – and yes – dropping $500.00 would surely cement that belief. She continued to work to find a good home for her dogs even after surrender. Two days plus a few hours and one was already killed – while the $$$ coffers keep on growing… My experience is the same that Shirley stated in regard to believing that SPCA and HS means no kill…or low kill. Not even close to reality.

  7. The sad thing is, that no matter where you surrender your dogs to, the SPCA, HS or Animal Shelter. If its an owner surrender, it can be euthanized the moment the owner walks out the door. OS have no chance in these situations, some places actually tell the OS and they still sign over the dogs… Also its how shelters keep their adoption statistics in good standing, (especially of considered NK) if they deem the dog aggressive, it doesn’t count against the NK shelter, since they are not euth’ing what would be considered a healthy adoptable dog.

    1. Carol, can you explain what you mean? It’s my understanding that No Kill means a shelter saves a minimum of 90% of their total intake, because the assumption is that less than 10% will be too aggressive or too sick to save, and at least 90% will be healthy/treatable and adoptable. In other words, for a shelter to truly be considered No Kill, every kill counts, even if they claim the animal isn’t healthy and adoptable. Obviously there’s some wiggle room to come up with reasons for that 10% (Austin Animal Center does it all the time) but every kill still counts.

  8. Going by the comments, the house was a rental. Apparently, the owner decided to sell. It isn’t clear if they had little warning just couldn’t afford to rent another house on their own, but in the end they had to move in with a relative. That apartment did not allow pets at all.

    The dogs were transferred to a different facility within hours. So anyone saying they should have done their research is crossing a line. Even working within the “rescue world” many people wouldn’t know that could happen. And going by comments have made about the place they were taken to, it has a reputation.

    They paid $500 to a place they thought is upstanding. How in the hell can ANYONE say they didn’t care? Rather than blame the owners who did everything they could and were lied to, how about we blame these racketeering operations who take in large donations but yet do nothing for the animals they claim to aid.


  9. It’s awful to see from the article comments that owner-bashing still goes on. Can you imagine enduring such a loss and then reading the vicious, hateful, hurtful — and just plain wrong — things that people are saying?

    And so disappointing to see it here, too. No matter what the owners did or did not do, no matter what — both of these shelters failed. Although “failure” is really an inadequate term, because it’s too bureaucratic-sounding. It doesn’t capture the immorality of what the shelters chose to do.

    My heart goes out to the owners, and to Scout.

    1. It amazes me that people think they know every single detail of another person’s situation, even when only a few have been given. She could have done this! She could have done that! Really? How would you know that? Were you there? Do you have copies of her bank statement and her lease?

    2. Exactly, sarahjaneb, and I believe that kill shelters count on this mentality to help them resist change. Why should they reform their practices when they know members of the “animal-loving” public will HELP them shift the blame to pet-owners? Traditionalists are kill shelters’ best friends.

  10. The owner did all of the “right” things, I’m sure believing that the extra money would ensure her dogs went to a wonderful adoptive home together. The facility that killed Josie was the one responsible for her safety and well being (as well as the transfer facility) and there was no excuse for killing this precious, beautiful dog. They did not euthanize her – they killed her! As long as we continue to make excuses for the killing (and that means blaming owners or finders) the killing will continue. My heart hurts for the woman and her surviving dog, as well as for the last days of Josie’s life. Tragedy all the way around. Let’s start by holding the responsible parties responsible! Those at the facilities made the choice to kill this dog (and how many others suffer the same fate?) without letting her settle in, decompress, and at least keep her with her brother. Until killing truly becomes the last good option (for the animal, not the workers or the budget) then we have a lot of work to do.

  11. MONEY AND SHELTER! Those are the bad words in these situations! Shelters want the money they collect and they find it easier to kill! It’s all in a day’s work and they have excuses that would floor the most naïve people! We all agree Shelter reform is necessary, but where do we start to force this change! I don’t believe shelters are untouchable, but I don’t know where to start! Let’s get to work people! Animals are being cruelly treated and each day we don’t take action the killing continues! I’ve had more than enough; I want it stopped!

  12. Well I wrote a note to the Chester co SPCA. They responded in a pm that they never told the owner they would keep them and successfully blocked me from responding. This pounds receive public and private funds and transparency is a must. They should be issuing a public statement. They took the money and them dumped them. I am disgusted!

  13. You know, “rehoming” is such a pathetic euphemism. It just means you’re going to dump your pet. The time to consider what might happen to your pet(s) should you move is BEFORE you get a pet, not after. What do you do with your children when you move? As for the “shelter” that murdered the dog, that place needs closing down, one way or the other.


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