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.)