Open Thread

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



Treats on the Internets

The owner of a PA kennel which serves as a destination for shelter pets shipped from the south was cited by the state for failing to maintain humane conditions, not having health certificates on imported dogs, doing business with an unlicensed out of state dealer and other violations.  (Thank you Clarice for the link.)


Australia – The government is investigating the North Melbourne Lost Dogs’ Home after numerous complaints about needless killing, including a lost dog called Fonzie whose owner called to reclaim him but the pound killed him anyway.  The money quote, from chair Dr. Andrew Tribe:

Dr Tribe said the incident was a “lesson for all of us to register and identify our dogs better”.

And not to be outdone, Lost Dogs’ Home has announced it will also investigate itself.  (Thanks Kerry.)


The death of 23 dogs at an Arizona boarding facility last year has been receiving new attention from sports media outlets recently as one of the owners whose pets died there plays for a team in the Super Bowl.  (Thanks Arlene.)


New research at Kansas State University may lead to a change in the way pets whose vaccines are overdue and who are exposed to rabies are handled in future.  Basically, vaccinating a pet whose rabies vaccine has expired boosts immunity sufficiently to avoid a six month quarantine or killing.  (Thanks Clarice.)


Three cotton-top tamarin monkeys, which weigh less than a pound, were left out in sub-freezing temperatures in a Louisiana zoo when their caretaker “overlooked” the endangered animals.  Two of the three froze to death.  The caretaker resigned.


A photo from the Montgomery Co shelter in TX proves why the haters who refuse to adopt pets to the elderly are so wrong.  (Thank you Lisa.)


In case of emergency, this gif.

Nobody Wants to Kill Animals: Josephine Co Edition

Screengrab from KTVL showing a portion of a protest sign held by a Riley supporter.

Screengrab from KTVL showing a portion of a protest sign held by a Riley supporter.

A dog reportedly wandered into a family’s yard in Grant’s Pass, Oregon last month.  The family kept the dog for 3 weeks, calling her Riley, while area animal advocates networked her to find her possible owner.  Riley was reportedly a friendly dog who got along well with humans of all ages, canines and chickens.

On January 10, Riley got lost and was picked up by the Josephine Co pound.  Those who had been working to help the dog attempted to get her out but were refused.  First the county said Riley had to be held for a minimum of 3 days for possible owner redemption.  Then the county said they had to keep her for a veterinary evaluation, which took another week.  Riley reportedly tested positive for heartworm and passed a temperament test while at the pound.  Her advocates raised money from the community for heartworm treatment, found an adopter and continued to seek her release from the pound.

Making no headway, a protest was organized for Monday, January 26.  Protesters showed up at the county courthouse with signs saying “Save Riley”.  But the pound had already killed Riley on Friday, January 23.  County commissioner Cherryl Walker issued a statement that day in response to the public outcry.  She states Riley was killed upon recommendation of a vet because the dog:

  • had fleas and ticks
  • was over 8 years old
  • had tested positive for heartworm
  • had “demonstrated aggressive behavior”

Obviously failing to sell even herself on her lame excuses, Ms. Walker goes on to imply that heartworm is as frightening a public health issue as malaria and that Riley may have died undergoing treatment anyway.  So to protect the community from malaria heartworm and since you know, dog could have fallen over dead anytime, anywhere, anyway, the county decided to kill her.  She makes no mention of the rescuers trying to adopt the dog, that it wouldn’t have cost the county any resources to save Riley or that Riley had a right to live, even if she wasn’t young and even though she had parasites.

Diane Hoover, director of the county health department which oversees the pound, is totally fine with Riley’s killing:

“I don’t feel like overriding a vet’s recommendation, when he’s a licensed professional,” Hoover said.

Yeah sometimes I don’t feel like putting forth effort at my job either.  But then I worry maybe my boss won’t feel like paying me if I don’t do a decent job.  I guess Ms. Hoover doesn’t have that concern.  No need to seek a second opinion from another vet or let the dog go to the adopter who wanted her or anything at all actually.

[The Josephine Co pound] typically has to euthanize more than 500 dogs a year. More than 700 dogs are adopted out to good homes in an average year.

Has to?  Because Riley’s case makes it seem more like WANTS TO.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Page 15 in Wednesday’s Virginian-Pilot Newspaper

Photo of a full page ad in the Virginian-Pilot.  Click here to for a scanned version of the ad which is easily readable.

Photo of a full page ad appearing in the Virginian-Pilot on January 28, 2015. Click here to for a scanned version of the ad which is easily readable.

Maya’s story is here.

(Thanks Jean for sending me these images.)

Crazy Town, Georgia in the News Again

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Toccoa, Georgia – Remember late last year when a high school teacher in Stephens Co brought two cats to class and had students hold them down while he neutered them?  The community rallied behind the teacher’s actions and the pound director seemed very apologetic about doing his job with regard to issuing a summons for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.  The message was clear:  Toccoa is the place to play vet and get away with it, if you feel so inclined.

Another Stephens Co resident apparently felt so inclined and reportedly performed a do-it-yourself castration on her dog this month. Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley met with a judge and determined no criminal charges would be brought because the owner’s employment history includes work in the medical field. She reportedly made some effort to reduce the pain experienced by the dog as well as to minimize risk of infection. The article doesn’t provide any specifics but maybe she gave the dog an aspirin and washed her hands before cutting the dog open, I don’t know. The sheriff also found:

There is no direct evidence supporting the dog felt any particular level of pain during or after the procedure.

Translation: dogs can’t talk and cutting out testicles isn’t painful, probably.

But don’t try this at home:

However, Shirley says that while there may not be enough probable cause for a criminal charge in this particular case, he would like to remind everyone that this is not a procedure that just anyone should undertake.

Right. You should at least be a file clerk in a hospital or something. Then just strap your pets down and start cutting because it’s anything goes in Stephens Co I guess.

There is no mention of local animal control being involved in this investigation.  Maybe they’ve given up any pretense of doing their jobs.  And like the cat case, there is no mention of rabies vaccination and whether the state’s rabies law has been violated by these Vet for a Day yahoos.

How long before the dangerous precedent that has been set by local authorities results in someone attempting an at-home spay on some poor pet?  Why isn’t AC acting as the voice of reason here and working to protect pets from harm in Stephens Co?  Where is the area veterinary association to condemn these failures in the strongest possible terms and explain why pets should never be castrated by people who haven’t been to vet school?

(Thank you Teresa for sending me this story.)

St Johns Co Kills Lost, Microchipped Service Dog Without Contacting Owners

In December 2014, St Johns Co Department of Animal Control in Florida reports on its website that the facility took in 322 animals, killing 225 of them. Here are a couple of screengrabs from the full report:
stjohnsco intakesstjohnsco outcomes

Babygirl, as shown on

Baby Girl, as shown on

One of those killed that month was a lost, microchipped pet named Baby Girl whose owners were looking for her.  When Baby Girl’s owners went out of state, they left her in the care of a friend but the dog became lost and was taken to St Johns Co AC.  JoAnn and Brian Williams went door-to-door, searching for their dog.  Baby Girl was a registered service dog who helped the couple by alerting prior to seizures and providing comfort during episodes of bipolar disorder.  When they found out Baby Girl had been at the county pound, they called and were told that pound workers had killed her:

Brian Williams said their dog had a microchip inside of her but said they were never contacted by animal control.

“They said evidently our chip machine wasn’t working that day, like ‘oh my bad, we killed your dog!’” Brian Williams said.

Action News went to Animal Control for answers but we were turned away and told to contact county spokesperson Michael Ryan regarding this issue.

Mr. Ryan issued a statement indicating Baby Girl had “no identification” and which concludes:

After being housed for three additional days past the standard holding period, the dog was euthanized in accordance with county ordinance. While the loss of any pet is tragic, facility space limitations prevent us from housing stray animals indefinitely, and unfortunately we were not notified of the missing dog until 34 days after an animal with similar characteristics was received.

So “no identification”, because microchips only count when AC can use them to blame the owner for failing to have them on their lost pets, and the owners took too long to find out where their pet had been taken so they must be horrible people and oh yeah, the county kept the dog alive for 3 days longer than it legally had to so obviously sainthood is imminent.

The family asked for Baby Girl’s body and collar but have received neither.  They were told the remains were hauled to a Georgia landfill along with a truckload of other pets killed by the county.

Action News reached out to county officials, who said, “The body was disposed of according to county policy and procedure.”

Everything is legal therefore it must be all good.  No need to explain how or why the microchip was missed or offer an apology for killing a beloved pet and service dog or figure out how to prevent killing other owned pets in future.  Just hide and refer all questions to the county Procedures Were Followed guy.  No one in St Johns Co need lose any sleep over the fact that its procedures led to the needless killing of a family member.  Procedures=good.  Everything else, up to and including county employees failing to do their jobs=meh.  Evidently the chip machine that detects humanity in parts per million isn’t working in St Johns Co either since it hasn’t beeped in years.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

Pardon me sir, would you care to take a survey?

Pardon me sir, would you care to take a survey?

Open Thread

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


New Hanover Co Wants to Kill “Dangerous” Dog Who Has Never Bitten Anyone

Honey, as shown on the WECT website.

Honey, as shown on the WECT website.

New Hanover Co in NC killed roughly half of its dogs and cats in 2013.  And the pound wants to kill yet another dog, an owned pet named Honey who has never bitten anyone, because she allegedly sneaks and snarls:

[New Hanover Co] deemed Honey as a potentially dangerous dog in June after five separate civil and state citations were filed reporting the owner’s inability to keep the dog controlled.

“All of the different accounts have stated the dog is snarling. It sneaks around behind them. It does a sneak attack sort of situation,” said Steve Watson, of the New Hanover County Animals Services.

Emphasis on SORT OF, I guess.  No one has been bitten.  But for whatever reasons, Honey’s owners seem to have repeatedly failed in keeping her confined.  And after the county declared Honey potentially dangerous, she was picked up running loose again last November, making that a sixth citation against the owners.  As punishment, the county wants to kill the healthy 2 year old dog:

“We get to a point where it becomes an issue of public safety, and if the owner doesn’t comply then we have to take the dog from them,” Watson explained.

Well, SORT OF public safety, if you close one eye and squint with the other.  Again, no one has been bitten.

Owner Ashley Aiena is heartbroken:

“You’re not just taking away a dog, you ‘re taking away our child,” sniffled Aiena. “We love this dog with all of our heart. It’s been very, very stressful and I am loosing [sic] it over this. It’s not right.”

Ms. Aiena filed an appeal with the pound, requesting Honey be allowed to live but the pound denied the appeal.  The family has until January 29 to take the appeal to superior court.

Any dog with teeth could be described as a potentially dangerous dog.  It seems the real issue here is the owners’ failure to keep the dog confined.  What are the reasons for this?  Could the problem be solved with a fence?  Does Honey need a coyote roller bar on her fencing to prevent her from climbing?  If Honey is killed, will the owners get another dog and face similar confinement issues, effectively hitting reset on the six citation cycle?  How is the public served by killing Honey?

New Hanover Co needs to take a fresh look at how it handles owned dogs picked up running loose.  The current protocols aren’t making anyone safer and are violating the animals’ right to live, which New Hanover Co obviously doesn’t respect anyway.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice for the link.)

Helmetta Pound’s Former Director and Assistant Director Charged with Animal Cruelty

New Jersey – Late last year, both the Helmetta mayor and the then-director of the Helmetta pound dismissed complaints from animal advocates, despite the fact that multiple agencies had found serious faults with the facility including mixing sick animals in with healthy ones, animals living in filthy cages, and importing dogs from the south without health clearances.  Yesterday the former director and assistant director were charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty:

The New Jersey SPCA has charged Michal and Richard Cielesz with six counts apiece of animal cruelty. Half of the charges are third degree offenses, punishable by three to five years behind bars apiece.

The others are lesser disorderly persons offenses, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail apiece.

Details on the charges:

Authorities say that on the Cieleszs watch, three dogs were allegedly left outdoors for an extended period of time in poor weather conditions. Three disorderly persons charges have been filed against each for failing to provide proper care and shelter for the dogs. If found guilty, the Cieleszs could face a fine of up to $1000 per count, and up to six months in jail.

Three third-degree criminal charges have been filed against each Cielesz for failing to properly care for three cats, which were removed from the facility following the NJSPCA’s Nov. 13 inspection of the facility. All three cats died shortly after, with some ordered euthanized by a veterinarian.

The former director and assistant director, husband and wife, have been hiding from the media since the charges were filed, as has Helmetta’s mayor.  The future of the facility is unclear at this time but the NJSPCA says all the animals have been removed.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)