CA ACO Stands By While Dog Suffers and Dies

A tethered dog in need of help, as pictured on the ABC30 website.
A tethered dog in need of help, as pictured on the ABC30 website.

The Central California SPCA (CCSPCA) is contracted by the city of Fresno for animal control services.  On July 7, a concerned citizen took a photo of a tethered dog standing atop a fence – clearly a dangerous situation – and sent it to the CCSPCA and the police department along with a complaint.  The next day, an ACO from the CCSPCA went to the home where another dog had been seized on July 6 after the owners failed to respond to a citation left by AC.

Upon arrival, the ACO found the dog hanging from his tether with his feet touching the ground but unable to move.  He was being strangled to death.  The ACO reportedly called the police for back up and waited for several minutes for officers to arrive.  During that time, the dog died.

Neighbors say the animal control officer did nothing but wait until FPD arrived.

The CCSPCA was ready with excuses when the local news came knocking:

The CCSPCA says it has authority to enter a property to seize a dog only 48 hours after it’s cited the owner.


Animal control can step in if there is immediate danger. “There is protocol that we have to follow and authorization and approvals,” [CCSPCA spokesman Walter] Salvari said. “We’re still waiting to see if that’s what the officer was waiting for instead of stepping in and saving the animal’s life.”

Protocol.  Turns out, it’s actually not proper protocol for an ACO to stand around while a dog hangs itself to death.  Who knew, right?  And straight from The Handbook, here’s your spoonful of reassurance:

The SPCA said that “appropriate disciplinary actions” have been taken with the animal control officer responsible, and that “proper procedural training will be reinforced with all animal control staff to help prevent such a tragedy from happening again.”

The owner who left the dog in that dangerous situation may be charged with animal abuse.  But the ACO who could have saved the dog but chose not to –  appropriate disciplinary actions, yeah. And no doubt residents will find it comforting to know that the ACOs in Fresno have to be reminded that when dispatched on a cruelty call, you don’t actually contribute to the cruelty.  If the animal is alive when you get there, your job is to keep him alive, not wait while he dies.

Prevention of cruelty to animals:  you’re doing it wrong.

(Thanks Bonnie for sending me this story.)

8 thoughts on “CA ACO Stands By While Dog Suffers and Dies

  1. 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😁😁 is all I can say. And WHY. I dont care what the rules are a dog was dying….I would have risked my job and acted immediately.

  2. Clearly, these are people who are happy to no do their jobs and have been getting away with it without any accountability. Fire this guy and whomever is supervising him because clearly, there needs to be some serious shake up there.

  3. The dumbasses at AC need to be fired – preferably AFTER getting giant kicks in their lazy asses by concerned citizens wearing steel-toed boots, but honest to christ, WHY THE HELL did NO ONE in the immediate vicinity not do anything other than calling the dumbasses? Is EVERYONE in the neighborhood a bunch of mindless idiots too? Screw any law that would be used to go after someone who cut the dog’s collar or did anything else to get it out of immediate danger (or, even not-so-immediate danger!). I know it’s supposed to be AC’s job to do that, but the are obviously incompetent fools, so why someone with a couple more brain cells and a quarter-inch more spine didn’t step up is also pathetic. Would no one step up to right any other wrong in that ridiculous place?


  5. While I’m not excusing the ACO’s lack of action, I think it would be good to remember that a dog of that size in distress could be quite dangerous. I dog hanging by it’s neck, thrashing around, and panicking could really injure someone. Just walking up and doing “something” might not have been an option. Even so, did none of the neighbors have a ladder or a large board they could have lifted up under this dog? Did no one have any long-handled cutting devices in their garages? Apparently the neighbors just watched this and let it happen too. I’m glad I don’t live there.

    1. The moment an animal loses consciousness from lack of oxygen, you can act in safety. We often hear that if a dog is choking on something and panicking, you’re better off waiting until the dog passes out to stick your hand in his mouth than to try it while the dog is in full panic mode.

      Surely even a “professional” like this ACO would have felt perfectly safe assisting an unconscious animal? But…I guess not. Let’s wait for back up…I guess to help us haul the body away so no one strains themselves in the process.

  6. I think it’s important to note that while it would have been great if any neighbors were physically able, felt confident enough and scrounged up some makeshift tools to render emergency assistance to the dog – and that’s assuming they knew that emergency assistance from a member of the public was needed even though an ACO was on the scene – that’s not the job they are paid to do. That job belongs to the ACO who has the physical ability and legal authority along with the professional training and tools necessary to safely help dogs. I don’t fault the public for not attempting aid in this situation. Trespassing on private property is an excellent way to get shot, especially when pets, which cause emotions to run high in many people, are involved. I don’t know enough about the specifics of what was happening at that moment to guess how I might have reacted had I been nearby and I hope I am never in such a situation to find out. I do know that the ACO was there and not only could have but SHOULD HAVE at least tried to save the dog’s life because it’s his job.

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