Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime. New Open Threads are posted weekly.
All posts for the month February, 2015
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 28, 2015
When we last checked in with the Town of Islip Animal Shelter in NY, it was to report on one of the employees there pocketing hundreds of dollars in cash from a pet owner who wanted to rehome her two little dogs. Instead of taking the dogs to the shelter as promised, the employee tied one dog up in a garbage bag and left her in a dumpster while turning the other pet loose on the street. He was charged with felony animal cruelty. I don’t know the status on that case. This week, the Town of Islip Animal Shelter again made the news and again, not in a good way.
The owners of an eight year old King Charles Cavalier called Lucky had to leave the country to care for a terminally ill family member. They left Lucky with a dog sitter but he somehow got lost and was taken to the Islip facility. The dog sitter attempted to reclaim the dog but was turned away. Friends of the family also attempted to intervene but they too were refused. At issue was proof of ownership:
The shelter released a statement on its Facebook page Monday, saying “Since the dog has no form of ID, no tags or microchip, their is no proof of ownership. Legally we have to put the dog up for adoption after being held for 5 days if no owner steps up.”
According to the Islip Animal Shelter, to properly claim one’s dog the owner needs to go to the shelter in person with photo ID and proof of ownership. The owner should also have veterinary information, medical records and family photos.
While this sounds like a fair policy in general, it seems obvious that not everyone is going to be able to meet all these requirements – especially if the person reclaiming the pet is a temporary caretaker and the actual owners are on another continent. Each individual case should be processed with due consideration given to the circumstances at hand.
Lucky’s owners called the shelter to plead for their pet’s return but to no avail. The shelter’s statement verifies that staff did speak with the owners:
“We do know who the owner is, and that they are out of the country. They have been contacted and they have been made aware that the dog will be put up for adoption and placed with a good home.”
What the effing eff? How is this not just plain evil? We know who the owner is but screw them, they just pay our salaries. And screw the dog too. We’re going to break up this family. Because that’s what animal sheltering is all about.
I can’t help but notice that Lucky is a purebred dog of a very popular breed. It makes me wonder if Islip is one of those places that charges extra for certain “high demand” pets. Is Islip this stringent on proof of ownership for every mangy shepherd mix and lame pitbull whose owners or caretakers try to reclaim them?
Lucky’s friends contacted the local news which aired a story and made the rounds on social media. Public outcry was swift. And the next day, the shelter was shamed into returning Lucky to his caretaker. Thank you irresponsible public for demanding the Islip shelter workers do their jobs and for advocating for Lucky while he was being held prisoner by these people.
What the hell goes on at the Islip facility when the news cameras are not around? How many other owned pets have been stolen by Islip? I bet every heartbroken owner who ever lost a pet in this town and resigned themselves to life without their family member is now wondering if Islip might have had their animal. Something is seriously wrong with this place.
(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 27, 2015
In 2009, a woman wrote a letter to Klein Animal Shelter in Texas and sent copies to the AC offices in the cities of Jacksonville and Tyler as well as Smith Co – all of which contracted with Klein. In the letter, she mourned the needless death of a kitten she had adopted from Klein. Klein sold her as a 9 week old kitten but the adopter’s vet said she was actually a severely malnourished 4 month old. The kitten, named Twiggy by the adopter, succumbed to the effects of starvation just 4 days after the adoption. In the letter, the woman asked that Klein re-examine its practices and stated that Twiggy would have been better off on the street than at Klein. In 2015, three employees of the facility were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
Case update: Two ACOs from Orange Co, CA who slit an injured deer’s throat while refusing help from a veterinarian at the scene have been fired from their jobs. The DA declined to bring charges against either man. (Thank you Clarice for the link.)
Case update: In an agreement with prosecutors, the animal cruelty charges against the former director of the Hunterdon Co Humane Animal Shelter in NJ will be dropped in 12 months so long as she gives up managerial control of the facility and agrees to other unnamed conditions. She will remain on the board and continue fundraising for the wealthy organization. (Thanks Clarice.)
Two of the dogs “rescued” from the troubled Helmetta pound in NJ were sent to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area where they were reportedly killed for behavior despite evaluations from a behaviorist who determined the dogs were not aggressive outside their cages. (Thanks Clarice.)
An ACO from the Memphis pound was called to help stray dogs living at an abandoned property near Mayor Wharton’s home. One of the dogs was reportedly in desperate need of veterinary care. The ACO initially refused to do her job and only finally removed the one dying dog after an animal advocate begged her for help. But when the local news called the mayor’s office about the story, Memphis ACOs were quickly sent to the property where they captured one dog and set traps for the remainder. The ACOs will supposedly monitor the traps so the dogs don’t suffer and/or freeze to death in the inclement weather. (Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)
Hunt Co, TX – Some manly man with a gun shot his neighbor’s two dogs when they came into his yard, photographed their bodies, then bragged about it on Facebook. He has been suspended from his job with the Union Valley Fire Department and a county constable is investigating the case. (Thanks Mike.)
A therapy dog who visits veterans in a transitional housing program in Pittsburgh uses his whole body to help heal people he meets. (Thanks Steve.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 26, 2015
Toto, a band well known for a string of hits in the 80s including the song “I Won’t Hold You Back”, was fronted by singer Bobby Kimball. Kimball and his wife, Jasmin Gabay, formed a rescue group called Saving K9 Lives in California in 2011. The group’s website has a number of pleas posted for more foster homes in the Los Angeles area. Rescues typically ask for more fosters so that they can pull more pets from area pounds to save them from being killed.
Saving K9 Lives recently received an offer even better than a foster home – an area pet owner fell in love with one of the group’s dogs and offered to give the dog, called Eloise, a permanent, loving home. Criss Keeler filled out an adoption application, sent photos of her home and of her 10 year old dog Finnegan. She was initially approved for the adoption and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new family member:
The one remaining step was a home inspection to be conducted the day Saving K9 Lives Plus delivered the dog to her “forever home.”
According to Keeler, the trouble started the moment the group’s founder, Jasmin Gabay, stepped out of her car in front of the apartment building.
“She said ‘I’m just not comfortable in this neighborhood.’ That was kind of the first words out of her mouth. Not even ‘hi’ or anything,” Keeler recalled. “She then went on to say that if she had known this wasn’t West Hollywood, she wouldn’t have gone this far in the adoption process.”
Gabay took Eloise and left. An hour later, Keeler checked the group’s website and saw that Eloise had been re-listed as a dog in need of a home. She immediately emailed Gabay to again offer to give Eloise a good home. Gabay replied stating that the adopters were good, but the neighborhood was not and therefore – no pet for you.
Gabay confirmed that she felt Keeler’s neighborhood wasn’t safe for Eloise. The rescue group founder also issued a written statement defending her group’s adoption standards.
“Our adoption process follows the standard of most rescues. There is an application requesting information, reference check, a phone interview, followed by a home visit. Home visits are an important part of the process,” the statement said.
“If an adopter has never had a five pound dog, they won’t know that the space between their fence and front gate is wide enough for that dog to escape. It’s our responsibility to look for any possible dangers before an adoption takes place and to work with an adopter to remedy those dangers. Of course we also endeavor to match our dogs to an adopter based on activity levels, long term medical needs, training experience and personalities. We have to consider whether a dog will do well in a home with small children and/or if they are compatible with the other animals in the home or if the dog can handle the new adopter’s work schedule.”
Right. But none of those things were a factor here. So I assume the only reason any of those issues are being brought up is because the first draft yo-hood-so-skanky didn’t pass muster with the group’s PR peeps.
So let’s tally up:
- Saving K9 Lives prevented an adopter who wanted to rescue a dog in need from saving one. Now that person may be soured on the process and will perhaps seek another source for a dog. Maybe it will be a source we all think is wonderful. Maybe not. I’m guessing she’ll probably look for a source that isn’t so snooty. I can think of several. And she’ll perhaps tell her friends and family that applying for a rescue dog is a bad experience and recommend they find alternative sources for their next pets.
- Saving K9 Lives prevented Eloise, who is in a foster home, from going to a permanent home. Now Eloise is back in limbo instead of learning to feel secure and comfortable in her new life. But at least she doesn’t have to set her paws down on those inferior sidewalks in East Hollywood, I guess.
- Saving K9 Lives returned Eloise to her foster home, which they say they need more of, so now there is no free space available there. I’m sure the dogs currently waiting to be killed at area pounds all completely understand why Eloise had to take up that foster space. It will surely be a great comfort in the kill room.
Everybody loses. Congratulations.
Pets do not know or care about their neighborhood status. They want to love their people and feel loved in return. Eloise had a chance for that but was denied because of an unfounded bias against poor people.
Discriminating against “good adopters” because they don’t have a fancy zip code holds us all back. If Saving K9 Lives truly wants to save pets from being killed at the pound, the group needs an attitude adjustment. Otherwise, a name change may be in order – something like “Saving K9 Lives from Being Wrecked by Having to Suck the Same Air as the Poors” might more accurately reflect the group’s mission.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 25, 2015
A video posted online shows a whimpering dog being dragged by a leash around the neck at the Hesperia pound in CA:
The video was reportedly taken by a member of the public who was looking for her lost dog at the pound when she saw what appears to be one staff member dragging a dog behind her like a bag of trash while two other city employees have a chat. But I guess they are all talked out now because they have nothing to say to the local news:
Victor Valley News reporters reached out to the Hesperia Animal Shelter staff, the operator simply said, “The department is aware of it and investigating it”. A message was also left for Cheryl Lewis, a shelter supervisor, who is not yet available for comment on this matter.
Gosh, I wonder how long before Ms. Lewis becomes available for comment:
A past shelter employee, who asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons has identified the alleged people in the video. Victor Valley News will withhold from publishing the name of the person seen dragging the dog until the investigation is complete. The former employee alleged the two other’s who stood by in the video are Officer Osvaldo Montes and Supervisor Cheryl Lewis. The former employee, also shared that she was let go from her position only after speaking out about some of the happenings at the shelter.
The Hesperia pound reportedly will only allow rescuers to save animals from being killed if they sign an agreement waiving their First Amendment rights with regards to speaking up about abuse at the pound. That has kept many from going public with their concerns. In spite of the threats against rescuers, 60 people showed up at an emergency city hall meeting last night.
When the city council was asked about the legality of violating the Constitutional rights of rescuers, the city attorney responded, “This might not be satisfactory” and said he’d look into the matter.
The meeting went four and a half hours, with most of the speakers advocating on behalf of the shelter pets:
Stephanie Lonsdale, an animal advocate that is known in the community for speaking up for the well-being of animals mentioned that the Hesperia Animal Shelter currently has a 70% kill rate. The 70% kill rate equals 7 out of 10 animals entering the shelter being euthanized rather than reunited or adopted. “The shelters do not utilize the free sites that are available to them to place these animals,” said Lonsdale.
Of course there’s one in every bunch:
“I believe it was misjudgment, not abuse. Ideally the dog would not be there or the dog would have been socialized,” said Lisa Wilson.
Yeah, the slutty whoredog was prolly drunk and asking for it and the owners are all the suck too.
Oh and the unwashed owners, who have since irresponsibly reclaimed their pet, showed up to speak for their dog:
Of all the speakers, the most touching, bringing tears to the speaker as well as, much of the crowd was the dog’s owner, Tracie Carpenter.
“I don’t have fancy things to tell you, like a lot of the people here. I am not going to use crazy big words or rescue terminology. I am here on behalf of Mia, who is my dog. She is not a 60 pound dog that can not be carried, she is 47 pounds. She is not unsociable, she is a beautiful girl and very lovable, she was scared, the floor was slippery,” said Carpenter with her voice cracking due to her emotions on the treatment of her dog.
“She was in the shelter for just over 24 hours and I have no idea how the rest of her stay was there. If it is going to happen to a dog that belongs to somebody, that is loved, that has a good home, that has someone to care for them, it can also happen to the ones that have no one to speak for them, the dogs that are being euthanized, the ones that are being put to sleep, the ones you don’t hear anything about, the ones who do not have anyone to come here and stand before you gentlemen to explain that they do not have any behavioral issues, it was a good dog, she is a wonderful dog.”
Any questions as to where the haters can stick their “misjudgment”?
The city council says they love animals and will take the matter seriously and blah:
The city is encouraging anyone with concerns to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right. Funnel all the concerns to one faceless email account where they can sit and rot.
OR, you can contact the Hesperia city council members directly and ask that a complete and transparent investigation be conducted and all applicable criminal charges filed:
Eric Schmidt, Mayor; email
Bill Holland, Mayor Pro Tem; email email@example.com.
Russell “Russ” Blewett, Council Member; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Leonard, Council Member; email email@example.com.
Paul Russ, Council Member; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Thank you Clarice for the links.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 24, 2015
Martin Co Animal Control on Landfill Road in Williamston, NC is open from 8:30 – 10:00 am and 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The website says, with a straight face:
The Martin County Animal encourages animal adoption. […] Please come by during the hours above to consider pets for adoption.
There do not appear to be any listings for lost or adoptable pets on the website.
On February 9, 2015, Brock allegedly attempted to kill a cat then placed the pet in a freezer. The animal was found alive the next morning. Three days later, Brock allegedly attempted to kill another cat then left the facility. An ACO found the pet still alive and brought the animal to a vet where he was re-killed. The first cat is reportedly still alive. The NC Department of Agriculture has suspended Brock’s kill license while it investigates.
An agriculture department spokesman said they have also notified other authorities of possible missing narcotics at the animal shelter. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office referred questions back to the county manager on whether they were also conducting an investigation.
Based upon Brock’s alleged failure to lock up and account for the controlled substances used to kill animals as well as the two botched attempts at cat killings, Martin Co fired Brock. Sounds like he took it well:
WITN News has learned that Brock was arrested today by deputies on a charge of communicating threats. The victim was a former co-worker of Brock’s, according to deputies.
Brock has bonded out of jail. I hope once the state’s (and possibly the county sheriff’s) investigation is complete, all applicable criminal charges related to Brock’s activities at the pound will be brought. Right now, he is not charged with any animal-related crimes. And I’m not holding my breath while waiting.
Respectful letters demanding a complete and transparent investigation into all possible criminal activities at the Martin Co pound may be sent to:
- Martin Co Sheriff Dan Gibbs: email@example.com
- NC Department of Agriculture: Online contact form
Do better, Martin Co. On everything.
(Thanks Clarice and Lisa for the links.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 23, 2015
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 22, 2015
Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime. New Open Threads are posted weekly.
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 21, 2015
Bill 1381 in Virginia is aimed at stopping PETA from hiding its massive pet killing facility in Norfolk behind the name “shelter”:
The bill would amend section 3.2-6500 of the Code of Virginia, adding language stating a private animal shelter “means a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes for animals.”
PETA kills almost all of the animals it gets its hands on and in 2014, had just a 1% adoption rate. So while PETA’s pet killing facility clearly doesn’t qualify as a shelter by any stretch of the imagination, it continues to operate as one legally in VA. Bill 1381 will change that. The bill has already passed in the State Senate and the House is scheduled to vote on it today.
Why it matters: If PETA can no longer dupe the public with claims that their surrendered animals are being taken to a “shelter” and will be rehomed when in fact the animals will most likely be killed, that’s a win for animals and a win for public awareness. If the bill becomes law, it seems highly unlikely PETA would apply for a license to operate a slaughterhouse, which is basically the business they have been running there for homeless dogs and cats. So unless PETA wants to begin actually doing the hard work of sheltering animals by finding them new homes, the group will presumably be forced out of the pet killing business. Again: a win for animals.
If you are a Virginia resident, contact your delegate in the House to voice your support for Bill 1381.
As soon as anyone sees news about the vote, please leave a comment.
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 20, 2015
This week, the Houston Press took an in-depth look at the issue of transporting dogs from the city’s BARC shelter to CO. A well funded group called Rescued Pets Movement (RPM) pulled more than 4300 dogs from the Houston city pound in 2013 and shipped them to rescues in CO. What happened to the dogs later is unknown:
No one can say with certainty what will happen to all of this shipment’s animals, nor can every other animal transferred to the groups be accounted for.
It’s no matter, though, because neither Mayor Annise Parker nor BARC Director Greg Damianoff appears to be concerned where the animals wind up, as long as they’re not Houston’s problem anymore.
Feel notfree to ask questions:
The Press learned quickly that asking questions about Houston dumping thousands of animals on another state is a bit of a sore spot. Neither Parker nor Damianoff would talk to us for this story, and BARC delayed the release of public records for 14 days. We had asked for the names of groups RPM partners with — information we believe the public has the right to see, since the public is footing part of the bill.
If you in any way question RPM’s practices, you are branded a dog-killer.
When the Houston Press contacted one of the receiving rescues to ask for numbers on the dogs imported from Houston, they got the runaround:
[Becca] Orin said she didn’t have exact numbers at the ready for how many RPM dogs Farfel’s [Farm Rescue] received and adopted out in 2013, but that she could probably get them. But, she said, “I’ll have to talk to RPM and see what they want us to say.”
But RPM and BARC are quick to cite numbers regarding the dogs Houston has sent out of state while shining up their PARTICIPANT trophies:
On a recent Facebook post, RPM congratulated BARC — and technically itself — on a January 2015 live release rate of 80.6 percent.
The numbers are impressive. Hundreds of dogs have been saved from death row. Hundreds more will need saving next month. And RPM will transport those to Colorado. Hundreds more will need saving the month after, and the month after that.
RPM will continue to congratulate BARC on those fabulous percentages. And percentages are math — you just can’t argue with them. On paper, those percentages are damned impressive.
On paper, those percentages don’t point out the obvious: Those dogs and cats are going to Colorado because no city in Colorado is suffering animal overpopulation like Houston is. Those cities, like the cities that Rescue Waggin’ partners with, tackled those problems years ago. And they did not tackle them by sending thousands of animals to Texas or anywhere else.
While it’s true that Colorado is not killing as many shelter pets as Texas, Colorado does still kill animals. And many of them might have been saved had resources not been directed toward animals imported from other states.
If we take a look at the 2013 statistics (the most recent year available at this time) for all of Colorado’s registered shelters and rescues, we see the state started out the year with roughly 5000 dogs already in the system. Over the course of the year, shelters and rescues took in roughly 79,000 additional dogs and imported more than 17,000 dogs from out of state. Of the total reported dogs in the system, about 2000 were listed as DOA leaving roughly 82,000 dogs as potentially savable, excluding those imported from out of state. We know that not every dog is savable but there are a number of open admission shelters in the United States saving 99% of their dogs. In comparison, approximately 9% of the dogs in the CO system were killed or died in shelter care in 2013, excluding the imports. Instead of saving 99%, CO only saved 91% of its own dogs (and that’s including roughly 4000 dogs listed as “missing, stolen, etc.”), and then imported 17,000 more from other states.
I asked Davyd Smith of No Kill Colorado how both the importation of dogs and breed specific legislation (BSL), the discriminatory practice of banning dogs based on body shape, contributes to the needless killing of dogs in the state:
Colorado imported 17,000 dogs from out of state in 2013 and killed 7,000. Now even assuming that half of these dogs were truly euthanized, that means we passed an opportunity to save 3,500 because we imported too many dogs from other states.
BSL is still a problem in Colorado. Because of BSL there are many communities, including the single metro area of Denver, where Pit Bull types are not legal. 4,800 of the 7,000 dogs killed were Pit Bull type dogs. Clearly, they are not being assessed for temperament or health to land on the kill floor.
By shipping dogs to CO, Houston will not solve its shelter killing problems, which stem not from pet overpopulation (which has been debunked), but from a failure to fully implement the proven model used by successful open admission no kill shelters all over the country. And Colorado will presumably continue to kill its own dogs who are being displaced by dogs imported from out of state.
Colorado is in a position to help shelter pets in its neighboring states but has no right to take the lives of healthy/treatable dogs already in its shelter system while importing more. Colorado needs to get its house in order by saving every shelter animal who can be saved statewide, regardless of body shape. This might mean reducing the number of imported dogs in order to redirect resources toward those already in CO shelters, waiting for help. And it most certainly means directing resources toward the elimination of breed bans. Likewise, Houston could redirect the vast resources being spent on transport toward implementing the programs of the No Kill Equation in order to save its own shelter pets.
An unwavering commitment to saving the lives of every healthy/treatable animal in the shelter is the foundation of no kill. Start there.
(Thank you Clarice and Davyd for the links.)
Posted by YesBiscuit on February 19, 2015