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.)

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10 Comments

  1. D Erb

     /  January 29, 2015

    What a lame excuse…dogs get treated for heart worm all the time and because all the money was available to help this dog (who was beautiful) it it unconsionable and just plain wrong

    Reply
  2. db

     /  January 29, 2015

    Oh my goodness, fleas and ticks on an 8 year old dog? Hope the “vet” that decides to kill a dog that people wanted based on that criteria finds another line of work. And those good old boys who won’t bother to think this through for themselves are no better. RIP Riley, you deserved better, so much better!

    Reply
  3. SMW

     /  January 29, 2015

    This vet needs to have their license to practice revokes – what happened to do no harm? These killing vets get paid (with tax payer $$’s) to kill adoptable companion animals.

    Reply
  4. vida

     /  January 29, 2015

    The fact that they killed a dog who had a waiting adopter and medical care paid for adds a whole nasty layer of sadism. Some shelters seem to really enjoy killing dogs who are wanted, who are loved.
    I am not sure what has gone wrong with their hearts that make them that twisted but I would surely keep any children or owned animals well out of their way.

    Reply
  5. If the dog had been in the pound’s custody for 13 days, *why did it have fleas and ticks?!*

    Reply
  6. Alice

     /  January 29, 2015

    I also ask why she had fleas and ticks if she had been there 13 days. Isn’t it standard procedure to put frontline or the like on upon intake? Even if it isn’t ticks don’t generally stay on for two weeks, they get full and fall off before then.

    And since when is HW a public health risk? If you’re going to come up with excuses, you might want to find something that doesn’t make it obvious you’re an idiot. But then, citing “aggression” as a reason when the dog in question already passed a temperament test isn’t overly bright anyway.

    Reply
  7. Betty Ferro

     /  January 29, 2015

    These people need to examine their conscience and own the truth? How do they sleep nights? NO REMORSE!! Someone without humanity should not be employed at an animal shelter!! A better facility might be a JAIL?

    Reply
  8. we’d like to initiate a recall for Walker and Hoover and we’d like to also rescind the shelter levy that was just passed a year ago or something I can’t remember when they asked for $11 for 3 years for every property owner… because of this… I feel like our tax dollars are being stolen from us; this isn’t what the animal shelter is supposed to do… we put forth the tax dollars so that it WOULD help cases like this NOT KILL!

    Either that or shut down the shelter completely and open more no kill shelters…

    Reply
  9. Ken

     /  January 31, 2015

    The next time that vet gets a head cold, they should get a needle in the arm to put them out of their” misery”.. After all, we don’t want to start an epidemic ! Freakin morons !!!

    Reply

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