Be Seeing You, Randi

Randi was my longest lived Flatcoat.  She remained very active and healthy until just recently and I am thankful for that.  Yesterday, we had to make the singularly difficult decision to euthanize our beloved pet.  The emergency clinic placed her in a cardboard coffin for us to take home.  As always, we allow the other dogs to see the body of the dog who has died as it seems to help give them closure.  They have all been very anxious since Randi took a downward turn last week and we wanted them to know she is now at peace.  Our dogs typically spend a few moments sniffing the body of their friend then move along – except Patty.  She has stayed at the graveside of every dog who has died, keeping vigil until they are completely buried and we all go back inside. Watching Patty grieve for those who have passed helps me with my own grief.  Pets are family.

patty4patty5patty21We love and miss you Randi.

Randi, September 29, 2002 - December 30 2014

Randi, September 29, 2002 – December 30, 2014

Memphis Bans the Public from Giving Treats to Shelter Pets

Memphis Animal Services, which functions primarily as a pet killing facility and does not vaccinate all animals upon intake as per standard shelter best practices, is suddenly concerned that treats given to doomed dogs might compromise their health. As such, the public has been banned from giving out treats at the pound. This email is from La Sonya Harris Hall, Deputy Director of the Division of Parks & Neighborhoods in Memphis:

From: Hall, LaSonya
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 8:30 AM
To: Boyd, Bill; Brown, Joe; Cain, Pam; Clark, Dynisha; Collins, Harold; Conrad, Kemp; Flinn, Shea; Ford Jr., Edmund; Fullilove, Janis; Garcia, Rebecca; Geater, Lisa; Halbert, Wanda; Harris, Lee; Hedgepeth, Reid; Hooks, Director Janet; Keplinger, Juaness; Little, George; Lowery, Myron; Milam, Judy; Morrison, Bill; Spears, Danielle; Strickland, Jim; Sullivan, Maura; Turner, Ann; Wordlaw, Sophia
Cc: Little, George; Sullivan, Maura; Hooks, Director Janet; Rogers, James; Coleman, Rebecca
Subject: MAS takes precaution with pet treats

Good Morning Councilmembers:

As a precautionary measure and based on observations by Dr. Rebecca Coleman noted below, Memphis Animal Services has temporarily suspended visitors from providing treats to the animals in our care. We will research this matter over the holidays and develop a plan that will be in the best interest of the pets.

Recently MAS encountered a situation involving several dogs that were vomiting and experiencing diarrhea after they had been fed treats.  The partially eaten treats were found in each dog’s cage that became ill. Unfortunately no one was able to identify who gave the treats.  As there are multiple visitors to the shelter each day, some type of control needs to be in place to ensure that the health of the pets is not compromised.  Not knowing what a pet has been fed adds an element of complexity to treating the pet if complications arise.

Rebecca Coleman, DVM

Veterinary Medical Director

Memphis Animal Services

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Happy Holidays!

La Sonya Harris Hall, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Division of Parks & Neighborhoods

lasonya.hall@memphistn.gov

125 N. Main Street, Suite 200

Memphis, TN 38103

901-576-6206

The most basic thing that could be done to protect the health of the animals at MAS is across the board vaccination upon intake.  That’s not being done.

Most of these animals are going into the dumpster, as fast as MAS can legally (?) put them there. But the city says there’s a risk of harm in the dogs receiving a bit of kindness from the public before being snuffed.

The biggest threat to the health of animals at MAS is Fatal Plus.  It’s got dog cookies beat by a mile.  Can we get a ban on that?

No doubt everyone in this email has been researching this issue over the holidays and is developing a plan to protect the best interests of the pets.  Who are going out the back door in garbage bags by the truckload.

Well done as usual, Memphis.

Police Officer Fired after Standing Up to City Officials and Refusing to Shoot Loose Dogs

Walker Co, AL used to have a pound but the place closed a few years ago after it was exposed as a dog killing hole.  Since then, the city of Carbon Hill in Walker Co has apparently been trying to avoid the issue of homeless pets on the streets.  That brilliant plan did not work out for some reason and this month the city attempted to address the issue:

Carbon Hill City Councilor Billy Jenkins says the dog problem there is out of control, and people are complaining.

He thinks it’s time the city revisited an ordinance that was passed in 1991 but never enforced.

[…]

The ordinance references the responsibilities of a dogcatcher, but Carbon Hill Police say the city doesn’t have a dogcatcher and officers feel they’re being pressured to shoot strays because of Section 8 of the ordinance.

“It says the police department shall have the authority to destroy any stray domestic animal running at large within the city limits of the city. When in the opinion of the (Carbon Hill Police Department) such animal constitutes a public nuisance or is a danger or a menace to the life or health of the citizens of the city,” said Jenkins.

While Jenkins specifies that the city is not asking officers to shoot dogs on the streets, the police chief says his department has no resources to catch and transport dogs, even if a new Walker Co shelter opens as planned next year.  He says lethal force against a dog is only a last resort:

“We just don’t go around firing our weapons off in town. You know I mean if our weapons are ever then it’s a threat to us or to someone else, you know someone’s life. We’re just not going to go out and shoot a dog for no reason just because it’s a stray,” said Chief Jason Richardson, Carbon Hill Police Department.

“Things have changed since 91 this is 2014 fixing to be 2015. There’s a lot of things changed. You just don’t go around, you don’t go around killing dogs,” said Richardson. “In my eyes that’s animal cruelty.”

Well say, that’s refreshing.  And it looks like the chief isn’t the only one with that attitude:

Carbon Hill’s mayor says alleged statements from city leaders that stray dogs should be shot to eliminate the problem are not true.

However, the city’s acting assistant police chief tells Alabama’s 13 city leaders did make such statements[.]

[…]

[A]cting assistant police chief Johnathan Yerby says he notified city leaders last week that state law prevents officers from shooting stray dogs. A week later, he’s out of a job for what the city says is budget cuts, but Yerby says the timing is no coincidence.

“I was the one chosen to be laid off because I’m the one that stood up and printed out the state law and told them that we couldn’t shoot dogs,” Yerby explains.

The police chief is reportedly very upset at Yerby’s firing and the mayor has no comment.  The mayor did however offer this greatly comforting reassurance:

“There ain’t going to be no dogs shot,” Mayor Chambers stresses. “We’ll catch them and try to give them away, adopt them out, or do whatever we got to to please everybody.”

Sounds like a well thought out plan of action there.  I can’t imagine how it’s not going to succeed, especially when the police officers charged with the catching and the giving away or the doing whatever say they lack the resources for the job and now they’re down an officer.  Stay tuned for success, I guess.

(Thanks Clarice for the story.)

Weekend Jade

artistic phase

Open Thread

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

[x]

[x]

Knock, Knock: Santa’s at the Door and He’s Got a Puppy

Pets make great gifts and I’m glad to see many shelters are finally coming around to that view, even if some only embrace the concept once a year.  Christmas deliveries of adopted shelter pets to their new families has grown in popularity and along with it, some long overdue myth-busting.

Staff from the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals dressed up as elves and delivered six kittens to adopters on Christmas Day:

“Studies show that animals given as gifts are much less likely to be surrendered or given up because of the emotional attachment they give to the owner,” [director Jen] Corbin said.

Dressed as Santa and his helpers, staff from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey delivered adopted pets in wrapped boxes to adopters on Christmas:

The holidays can be a great time to adopt, [CEO Heather] Camissa says, because families are often at home and have time to spend with the pets and to acclimate them to their new home.

Also delivering pets to their new homes on Christmas morning were the Fairfax Co shelter in VA, volunteers from the Nevada Humane Society in Reno, the Charleston Animal Society in SC, and the Franklin Co shelter and the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Maine.  And an adorable 9 year old girl in New Jersey got a pair of pitbull puppies delivered to her home on Christmas morning, courtesy of the Cumberland Co SPCA.  The pictures will cure what ails ya.

Did your local shelter deliver pets on Christmas?

Merry Christmas

Celebrating the human-animal bond with photos and captions submitted by readers:

"Anne and Redd in West Virginia"

“Anne and Redd in West Virginia”

"Peter Masloch) and (now former) shelter dog Mikey.  The story of Mikey can be found here."

“Peter Masloch and (now former) shelter dog Mikey. The story of Mikey can be found here.”

"Jeanne and Midnight in Covington, NY"

“Jeanne and Midnight in Covington, NY”

"My friend Tim relaxing with Dobbs. Alpine Lake, WV"  (Photo submitted by Anne D.)

“My friend Tim relaxing with Dobbs. Alpine Lake, WV” (Photo submitted by Anne D.)

"My dear friend Dennis with the love of his life, Augie. Sebastopol, CA"  (Photo submitted by Anne D.)

“My dear friend Dennis with the love of his life, Augie. Sebastopol, CA” (Photo submitted by Anne D.)

"Lisa and Talladega, Durham, NC. Talladega was adopted from Surry Animal Rescue, Mt. Airy, NC"

“Lisa and Talladega, Durham, NC. Talladega was adopted from Surry Animal Rescue, Mt. Airy, NC”

"My grandmother Frances in Memphis, TN greeting her FIV+ foster  Rockette saved from “the list” at Memphis Animal Services."  (Photo submitted by Angie W.)

“My grandmother Frances in Memphis, TN greeting her FIV+ foster Rockette saved from “the list” at Memphis Animal Services.” (Photo submitted by Angie W.)

"Me and my dogs 10 years ago, after a long walk. I'm happy to add that today, when walking the same dogs, I got stopped and asked about my 'puppies'!"  (Photo submitted by Connie.)

“Me and my dogs 10 years ago, after a long walk. I’m happy to add that today, when walking the same dogs, I got stopped and asked about my ‘puppies’!” (Photo submitted by Connie.)

"Inana, AKA Banana, under a blanket in the Pacific Northwest last year. She loved to nap under soft, warm cloth and would pull and wrestle a towel or blanket into the position she wanted, even if it was on the floor in a high-traffic area or on the bed where you might accidentally sit on the innocent-looking lump. When one of us came upon her wrapped up like this, we would retrieve our already-written note and place it there for the other as a precaution. She died this summer. She was a once-in-a-lifetime cat, and we miss her more than we can express. My condolences to all who have lost pets in any manner this year. - Karen F."

“Inana, AKA Banana, under a blanket in the Pacific Northwest last year. She loved to nap under soft, warm cloth and would pull and wrestle a towel or blanket into the position she wanted, even if it was on the floor in a high-traffic area or on the bed where you might accidentally sit on the innocent-looking lump. When one of us came upon her wrapped up like this, we would retrieve our already-written note and place it there for the other as a precaution.
She died this summer. She was a once-in-a-lifetime cat, and we miss her more than we can express. My condolences to all who have lost pets in any manner this year. – Karen F.”

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos for this post. It was a pleasure putting these pictures together. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope everyone is having a happy day celebrating the bond we share with our animals. Pets are family.

Name That Animal – Rankin/Bass Edition

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Looking for actual names here, not the type of animal like we usually do.  Post your best guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own gets you coal in your stocking is optional.  Answers will be posted later today.

nta1

nta5 nta2 nta3 nta4

Ten Dogs Rescued from Missouri Pound

A dog at the Steelville pound in a photo from 2013 on Facebook.

A dog at the Steelville pound in a photo from 2013 on Facebook.

The city of Steelville, MO has closed its pound.  Ten dogs, one of them pregnant, were rescued from the pound by a group called Wayside Waifs yesterday:

Staff at Wayside Waifs said they were contacted by the Steelville shelter last week. Underfunded and lacking the ability to care for its animals, the shelter asked Wayside to take its current animals and give its leadership a chance to regroup.

The leadership?  That would be the police department.

Image via Facebook.

Image via Facebook.

The leadership has apparently been neglecting the animals at the pound for a very long time. Rescuers found the dogs standing in their own waste in pens without any beds, blankets or toys. One dog’s collar was embedded in his skin. The dogs have reportedly been living at the pound for at least a year.

The facility was shut down due to sanitary and structural issues. A renovation project at the shelter will start next week. It’s not clear whether the shelter will face sanctions.

Let me guess – the police department will investigate itself in the matter?  And the same legal standards will be rigorously applied to the actions of those who left these dogs to suffer as would be applied to a private citizen?  Oh let’s just fast forward and get to the no charges/no indictment part.  But yeah, renovations to the building will fix everything totally.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

MAS Kills Dog Good Samaritan Wanted to Adopt

Photo by Vickie Carter

Photo by Vickie Carter

On December 16, Vickie Carter was driving her car and saw two dogs attacking a third dog.  She stopped to help.  After breaking up the fight, the dog who was being attacked ran into her car through an open door.  Although he appeared to have minor injuries from the fight, he seemed to be in otherwise good shape.  Ms. Carter called the police for assistance and decided to take the dog to Memphis Animal Services, which was right across the street from where she found him.  She thought he must live in the neighborhood and his owners would be able to find him at MAS, where he could receive vet care for his wounds in the meantime.  Ms. Carter photographed the dog in her car in order to network him on social media before taking him to the pound.

Photo by Vickie Carter

Photo by Vickie Carter

At MAS, Ms. Carter says she was very clear in her communication with staff:  she asked them to make sure the dog was not killed because she planned to get him out one way or another if no owner reclaimed him.  She and a friend began networking the dog online and both women placed phone calls to MAS to reiterate the “do not kill” request.  Between the two of them, Vickie says they spoke with multiple staff members, a veterinarian and MAS director James Rogers.  Ms. Carter says that in a phone conversation with a staffer on December 18, she offered to personally adopt the dog if no one claimed him and was told she had to wait until December 20 because the dog was on mandatory hold until then.

But when Ms. Carter went to MAS to adopt the dog on Saturday the 20th, she couldn’t find him.  She asked a staffer about the dog and was finally told he had been killed.  Ms. Carter was understandably upset and says she asked many questions, including why the dog was killed.  But no one at MAS provided any answers of any kind beyond “I don’t know.”

Now Ms. Carter is heartbroken.  She says she plans to attend the next public meeting of the shelter advisory board and is working to get this dog’s story out to the public.  She wants to know why MAS killed this dog, despite her offer to adopt.  And she wants people to know that when she was at MAS, the place was half empty but they killed the dog she wanted to save anyway.

I wish I could say this is the first time we’ve ever seen a story like this out of MAS but tragically, it’s the So Many I’ve Lost Track time we’ve seen this same scenario.  MAS has always been primarily a pet killing facility.  And until someone is able to buck the status quo, fire the animal killers and send the enablers scurrying back under their rocks, it always will be.

How many more, Memphis?