GA Pound Oops-Kills Owned Dog Because Math

The Whitfield Co pound in GA has some “animal facts” on its webpage that the county likes so much, it printed them twice. They read, in part:

Dogs and cats out number humans in this country at a ratio of about 6 to 1. […]

Pet overpopulation is a serious and growing problem in the United States. It is estimated that between 10 to 20 million companion animals are unwanted and put to death every year.

The U.S. Census Bureau says there are approximately 318,649,000 people in the US. If dogs and cats outnumbered humans 6 to 1 in this country, that would indicate a dog and cat population of roughly 2 billion. Which would make it a tad difficult to get to work, what with all the freeways piled high with kittens, let alone the mountains of puppies covering the sidewalks.

The ASPCA says there are an estimated 144 – 176 million owned dogs and cats in the U.S. and that each year, shelters kill approximately 2.7 million pets.

I guess no one at the Whitfield Co pound majored in math. Or Google.  Or reality.

Wiz and family member, as pictured on the Dalton Daily citizen website.
Wiz and family member, as pictured on the Dalton Daily Citizen website.

Last month, a dog named Wiz bit a kid in Whitfield Co. Wiz was not current on his rabies vaccination so he was impounded by the county for a standard 10 day rabies quarantine.  After the holding period expired, the owner called the pound to make arrangements to bring Wiz back home.  But Whitfield Co had already killed Wiz because the person doing the killing couldn’t count to 10.  Because math is hard:

[County administrator Mark] Gibson said the employee claimed to have made a mathematical mistake in adding up the number of days since the dog had been brought in. So he euthanized the wrong dog.

Oops.  All two of the Whitfield Co pound employees have been suspended by the board of commissioners as a result of the killing – the director for 5 days and the guy who killed Wiz for 2 days.  And the county has instituted several changes at the pound to prevent a similar type of oops-killing from happening in future.  Specifically:

  1. Owners will be called at the end of the quarantine period to let them know their pet will be killed if not reclaimed.
  2. Animals being held on rabies quarantine will be separated from the general population and have their cages marked with the date the quarantine expires.
  3. The one guy who attempts to count to 10 to determine when the holding period ends needs to turn in his homework to the other guy for a double check.  Hopefully between the two of them, they might get it right.

The fact that they weren’t calling owners before killing their quarantined pets or separating rabies holds from other animals is shocking. The math thing is just frightening.

The director and the other employee both said they feel their punishment for killing Wiz is fair. The chairman of the board of commissioners also thinks it’s fair. As does commissioner Harold Brooker, third cousin to the pound director. No word from Wiz’s family on how fair they feel the punishment is but it’s swell to know the good ol’ boys are all satisfied.

(Thanks Arlene for the link.)

14 thoughts on “GA Pound Oops-Kills Owned Dog Because Math

  1. You know me…I’m always pissed at “shelters”. And I don’t think the “humans” who run them and work at them like animals. BUT…a very large dog that bites children and is not current on his rabies shots isn’t a very good poster child for my favorite cause—shelter bashing.
    I know—the point is the fact that the executioner was too bloodthirsty to think straight. It would have (has, I’m sure) happened to any dog or cat in their jail. It’s all tragic. Some consolation that they seem to regret their murderous error. But no undo button. :-(

    1. Your comment leads one to believe you have more information than what is available at the linked article. Please provide your sources. Otherwise, blaming the victim for biting “children” is unfounded. It matters not whether the dog was “very large” or some other size. He is in the landfill now.
      I don’t engage in “shelter bashing” here. I make my best effort to tell the truth, provide sources for the information and express my opinions honestly.

    2. If you have details about the bite incident or about Wiz’s actual rabies vax status, please share. I have no idea what may have provoked the bite or how severe it was. If it broke skin at all, even a scrape, then the quarantine was required by law. Also please note that in many places in the US, annual rabies vaccinations are required by law, despite the fact that in most cases every 3 years should be considered adequate. Therefore a dog may be current in reality but considered legally out of compliance. I don’t know exactly what the case is here. Do you? In any case, this was somebody’s dog, they wanted him back, and he was “oops killed” before they had that opportunity. That’s a problem, regardless of how nice or how worthy you think he was.

      1. I did find some more info from another article. It was a “small laceration,” and it doesn’t actually say he was unvaxed, just that the caretaker couldn’t provide proof of vaccination.

        “A report from the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office stated the biting incident happened in the 700 block of Reed Pond Road on Thursday, July 3. The dog caused a small laceration to the girl’s right leg. Deputies contacted Smith, who reported the dog belonged to her son but that she was caring for him. Smith was cited for having an animal at large and no proof of rabies vaccination.”

  2. If you will do your research on dog bites, true research, you will find some common elements that should not result in a dog being killed. (See KC Dog Blog for some honest conversations and facts, not which is nothing more than an excuse for killing “pits”) This dog had a family who wanted to take him home and now he is dead because of the incompetence (giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was just stupid and not mean) of humans. The dog should be home with his family and the people involved (the whole lot of them) should be taking remedial math and reading classes at the local elementary school.
    RIP Wiz – you did not deserve to die.

  3. I didn’t mean to argue with you. The last thing I want to do is offend you. I am a huge fan. Please remove my comment. I so appreciate the good you do for animals. I’m sorry.

    1. I wasn’t scrounging for an apology. Your comment is fine. I just want to make sure we stick to the facts as we know them and that we don’t reserve advocacy for pets we like as opposed to all pets. This dog, like all dogs, had a right to live. The shelter, which should be a place of protection for pets, violated that right.

  4. You’re preaching to the choir. I was only saying that, given the kill-prone nature of municipalities, their contracted shelters, and dog-shooting cops, pet owners need to be on our toes. And I absolutely did not call you a shelter basher. That was a reference to ME. I never hear much good about them . Just delete this. I’m completely OK with that. You’re awesome.

  5. A 2009 survey of GA shelters revealed that Whitfield County, GA has a kill rate of 92%. Yes, that is 92%. Took in 3901 animals, killed 3572. I do not know if these numbers have changed, but, given this incident and the lack of any news about a dramatic reduction in kill rate that I am aware of, I doubt it. These numbers would make Whitfield County among the worst-performing “shelters” in a state where there is a lot of competition for that title.

  6. And now the kid who was bitten gets to live with the fact that the dog was killed. For all we know, he is a playmate of the family’s child. Or he really liked that dog. But now the onus of the dog’s death is on him and that’s just damned unfair.

    But yeah, let the shelter staff feel all bad for screwing up and reward them with a few days off to try to learn how to work a calculator or something, that’ll fix it.

  7. So, if they couldn’t count, and they killed the dog too early, did the kid then have to get rabies shots?

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