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:
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.)