Weekend Jade


Jade and Surrey

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

clark gable and dachshunds

Cats Castrated in High School Agriculture Class

In early November, the teacher of an agriculture class at Stephens Co High School in Georgia brought 2 cats into class and castrated them without anesthetic, having students hold the pets down.  One student was bitten.

So that happened.

The teacher, Daniel Hebert, is not a licensed veterinarian and I was unable to find any information as to whether the cats had been vaccinated against rabies prior to the incident.  I am guessing he owned the cats although I couldn’t find a source for that information.

The state department of agriculture investigated and said nothing illegal had happened.  Which is swell news for every wannabe vet yahoo looking for a place to set up shop – Georgia is your destination.  You can play vet there, and apparently there are no rabies laws either.

The ACO from the Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter was asked to investigate and determined there was cause to issue a summons for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.  The pound director, Jeff Roberts, seems apologetic about having to do his job:

“I can’t really go into specifics of the case, other than to say that we have investigated it. We’re required to enforce county codes, and as part of our investigation we made the determination that it was warranted to issue a summons for 2 counts of animal cruelty, Then, it will be up to the judge to make the final determination in this case.”

I am not sure why the pound director seems hesitant to call out animal cruelty when in fact he should be the one leading the charge for justice for the poor cats.  Maybe it’s because the director realizes no one in the community has his back.

At the Stephens Co commission meeting this week, people came out in support of Hebert and things got ugly:

A host of people who spoke to the county commission Tuesday night questioned where animal control received its authority to issue the summons.

“He has not been sworn in,” said Revonda Seymour. “I talked to all the judges. Where is he getting his authority from?”

In fact, county code specifies that an ACO is empowered to enforce the animal cruelty laws in Stephens Co.

Becky Deitz-Payne said what has happened to Hebert is ridiculous and has been blown out of proportion.

“He is a wonderful teacher,” she said. “I think what he did in class is completely okay. They would not have been able to see that under any other circumstance unless they went to college if they were going for some type of degree in that field.”

The kids would never have been able to witness the miracle of animal cruelty if the teacher hadn’t tortured the cats in class.  And don’t worry about obtaining “some type of degree in that field” – the state department of agriculture says it’s unnecessary!

A fellow agriculture teacher from Stephens Co Middle School also spoke in support of Hebert, decrying the social media exposure the case has received and condemning those annoying people who oppose cat torture:

“Just because we have animal rights activists out there that get all bent out of shape.”

And then there’s this guy:

Stephens County Commission Chair Dean Scarborough told the students that came to show their support for Hebert to take this as a lesson of the dangers of social media, noting that once you put something out there on social media, it is out there and can be as harmful as something that is said face to face.

Let this be a lesson to you, kids.  Torture animals discreetly and ixnay on the acebook-fay.

Hebert resigned immediately after the incident went public then yoinked his resignation and decided to stay until the end of the school year in June.  Apparently the school is fine with that.  The department of agriculture is fine with it.  County officials are fine with it.  And the animal shelter staff is just sorry they had to do their jobs and follow the law.

Has anyone checked the lesson plans for Hebert’s class over the next 6 months?  Maybe somebody should – I mean, if they’ve been sworn in and they ask super nice and all the county judges say it’s ok and they don’t talk about it online or anything.

Way to make the south look progressive there, Stephens Co.  Thanks.  Hebert is scheduled to appear before the magistrate on December 18.  I’m sure those proceedings too will reflect positively on all of us here in the south.

Geez, twice in one week.  What are the odds?  Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

(Thank you to the reader who sent me this story.)

Name That Animal

I do realize this one is going to be extra hard since the mystery animal is still inside the egg but it’s a holiday so everything is just a little worse today, you know?

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your best guesses in the comments.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.


SC Pound Director Suspended After Cat Suffers Botched Surgery

Sylvester, as depicted on the WIS-TV website.

Sylvester, as depicted on the WIS-TV website.

After seeing a story on the news about overcrowding at the Lee Co pound in SC, 12 year old Luke Giddings began volunteering at the facility.  In the course of caring for a cat named Sylvester, the pair became best friends:

“Really, we bonded when I was giving him his medicine,” Luke said. “He was mad at me. Then, he just finally got over it and he was one of the most loving animals to me.”

The Giddings family decided to adopt Sylvester but the Lee Co pound director, Doris Winstead, said he had to be neutered first.  After the surgery, Sylvester stopped eating and using the litter box and was very lethargic.  Ms. Giddings contacted Doris Winstead to ask for details about the surgery.  She says Ms. Winstead advised that Sylvester had been taken to a local vet, Dr. Ken Currie, and a tumor had been found and removed during the neuter.  Ms. Giddings called Dr. Currie’s office to let them know she was bringing Sylvester in right away for a post-op check as he appeared to be very sick.  Dr. Currie said he’d never seen Sylvester before, let alone performed neuter or tumor removal surgery on the cat.

Dr. Currie did examine Sylvester and was unable to definitively determine whether the cat had been neutered as the swelling was so great.  Sylvester had a gaping wound which was infected and still bleeding.

Ms. Giddings says she asked Ms. Winstead again who did the surgery on Sylvester but she refused to say.  Ms. Giddings filed a report with the police and the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating.  Ms. Winstead has been suspended from the Lee Co pound.  Media outlets have been unable to reach her for comment.

I hope SLED not only looks at Sylvester’s case but every other animal who has been “neutered” and/or shipped up north by the Lee Co pound under Ms. Winstead’s direction.  If crimes have been committed, I hope the issue isn’t swept under the rug as we so often see in cases involving “just animals” and the “good people who do a hard job” who abuse them at so-called shelters.

Twelve year old Luke has been crying over his beloved cat who was needlessly butchered.  I wonder if he’ll ever volunteer at a pound again or adopt another shelter pet.  I hope Sylvester is able to fully recover in the care of his family and that no more pets will meet this same fate in Lee Co.  I hate to think of the ones who went before.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Indianapolis Pound May Be Unlawfully Neglecting Animals

damning report on Indianpolis Animal Care and Control commissioned by the Department of Public Safety was released last month.  Among the findings:

  • Conditions at the pound may violate the city’s animal cruelty ordinances.
  • The city does not budget for food for the animals at the pound.
  • The position of veterinarian has been vacant since March and there are no vet techs or assistants since these positions are not budgeted.
  • Decisions to kill animals for medical reasons are made by staff with no veterinary training and made without the most basic medical information.
  • The director position has been vacant since April.  In the past 12 years, 10 directors have quit.
  • The pound needs at least twice the number of animal care techs it currently has in order to meet bare minimum shelter standards.
  • Dogs do not get walked unless it’s by volunteers.
  • The pound lacks quarantine areas to separate sick animals from healthy ones.
  • The city won’t purchase the appropriate cleaning agents needed to prevent and minimize disease outbreaks at the facility due to cost.
  • Volunteers bring in bleach and rags from home to clean cages.
  • The pound’s 500+ animals are left alone overnight.

And yet the city charges owners with cruelty who fail to provide “food in adequate amounts to maintain good health”, provide proper veterinary care and/or separate sick animals from healthy ones in order to prevent the spread of disease:

“The city is charged to investigate cruelty,” said John Aleshire, CEO of the Humane Society of Indianapolis. “How ironic it is that we would bring an animal back to a shelter that is not properly staffed, that does not have proper medical care and (where) the staff has to scrounge around for food.”

The report’s findings echo those of previous task forces that have examined the pound.  The lack of results over the years has ground expectations into the dirt:

“We’ve known this since at least 2000,” said Sue Hobbs, chair of an advisory board that oversees Animal Care and Control. “There have been committees and studies and panels, and nothing ever changes. It just doesn’t. It’s seriously like Groundhog’s Day.”


“If we could just get it up to miserable,” she said, “I’d be happy.”

Sorry but this isn’t one of those Everybody Gets to Play teams.  Every little improvement is not worth celebrating, nor should it be considered acceptable to neglect animals and leave them to die.  If the Indianapolis pound is in violation of the city’s own cruelty laws, people need to be arrested and charged with crimes.  The whole “Gee, there isn’t anyone in charge so whatevs” thing does not work when animals are suffering and dying.   The animals need to be sheltered.  That’s what taxpayers are paying for.  Enough with the task forces and reports already, Indianapolis.  Do something.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Allegations of Neglect and Needless Death at IL Pound

The town of Cicero, IL has a pound mired in what appears to be political corruption.  Fox 32 News lays it out:

[T]he shelter’s previous director, Sharon Starczyk, […] was fired in 2009 after she accused town president Dominick of sexual harassment. The town, though, said she was fired for poor management.

Cicero paid Starczyk $500,000 to settle her lawsuit. Dominick then appointed a woman named Erika Rosas to run the shelter, who was working as chief of staff to democratic state representative Lisa Hernandez.

Election records show Rosas has contributed more than $11,000 to Dominick’s political campaign since 2006, including a $5,000 donation two years before she got the job. Rosas has also earned thousands of dollars doing political work for Hernandez, Dominick, and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

cicero kitten

Kitten suffering at the Cicero pound, as shown on the Fox 32 News website.

If you’re not too dizzy, you can start preparing yourself to be sick.  (Warning:  there is a slideshow at both news links in this post that contains images of suffering and dead animals at the Cicero pound.  It’s bad.  Even the rats are dying at this place.)

Angela and Cindy, two former volunteers at the Cicero pound, aka the Waggin Tails Animal Shelter, went to the media with 2 months worth of recent photos and videos documenting what look like neglected, dying and dead animals at the facility:

“Parvo, animals dying, animals with infections, upper respiratory, eye infections. They didn’t have water. They didn’t have food. They would sleep in their feces,” Angela said.

Angela shot video on her cellphone when she said she went in one morning and found none of the dogs had water in their bowls and feces filling the cages.

Another video shows a kitten barely able to walk that later died and a nearly dead cat found lying behind its cage.

Angela and Cindy also said rats are rampant and dirty laundry went unwashed for weeks. Angela said she watched a cat give birth to five kittens without any staff attention.

“I came back the next morning, all five of her kittens were dead and they were still laying in the cage with her,” Angela added.

A former part time worker at the pound was horrified at the large number of animals dying there.  That is in addition to the increasing number being killed:

State records show Waggin’ Tails reported euthanizing only eight dogs in fiscal year 2012. That jumped to 66 dogs in 2013 and 338 dogs in fiscal 2014.

Fox 32 News showed the disturbing photos to Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.  He told the reporter that the people who have come forward with allegations of neglect are lying.  And that they are all involved in a political smear campaign orchestrated by the previous director, Sharon Starczyk.  The current director refused to speak to the reporter.

But after the story aired on the local news, more people came forward alleging neglect at the pound and providing photographic evidence to back up the claims.  Hanania now says Cicero will investigate itself in the matter by bringing in “some professionals to help us look at it.”  He released a statement stating that the town president “is sickened about how Cicero’s Animal Shelter is being mis-portrayed.”  Also that things used to be even worse so shut up.  Oh and the pound is “no kill”.

Congrats on getting every single thing wrong, sir.  A clean sweep is hard to find in politics.

The people of Cicero are paying for this corruption at the expense of defenseless animals.  I hope many more of them exercise their First Amendment rights and their right to vote as well.  Don’t count on the state department of agriculture for help.  Animal advocates have complained repeatedly to the state over conditions at the pound and the state has inspected and passed the pound three times in the past two months.  If change is to happen, it will be up to the so-called irresponsible public, as usual.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

Click to enlarge and to speak French.

Click to enlarge and to speak French.

Case Update: Rally for Maya on Monday, November 24

There is video evidence and an admission by PETA that two representatives of the group stole an owned chihuahua called Maya from her home on October 20 and killed her.  Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin brought charges against the two women but the commonwealth’s attorney has declined to prosecute the case. At issue for the commonwealth’s attorney is “intent”.

The video, which can be seen in this news story as well as on this Facebook page, appears to show the PETA van backing into the owner’s driveway, one of the women getting out and attempting to coax Maya off her porch by tossing treats toward her, then walking onto the porch and taking Maya away to the van.

The mobile home park owner reportedly had authorized PETA to pick up stray dogs in the mobile home park.  But Maya was obviously not a stray, refusing to venture far from her own porch, even when lured with treats.  To my mind, the video shows criminal intent:  the PETA employees know they are only authorized to pick up strays and since Maya clearly isn’t one, they attempt to legitimize her theft by luring her away from her porch, presumably so they can claim they found her wandering in the mobile home park and deemed her to be stray.

There is a rally outside the commonwealth attorney’s office slated for Monday at 10am in the town of Accomac.  If you attend, please let us know how it goes. For those outside the area, respectful letters requesting the commonwealth’s attorney, Gary Agar, pursue charges against PETA for the theft and killing of Maya can be e-mailed to commatt@verizon.net.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me links on this story.)