Cats Chemically Burned by Unsupervised Inmates at Memphis Pound

On May 31, 2015, a kitten named Snowflake, ID # 277907, was sprayed with an undiluted cleaning chemical (San-O-128) by an unsupervised inmate at Memphis Animal Services.  She suffered painful chemical burns on her legs, tongue and mouth.  She was treated by an outside veterinarian and survived.  This is security camera footage, obtained via FOIA request, of Snowflake being burned with the chemical by the unsupervised inmate at MAS.  (Note:  I edited this video to show both incidences of the kitten being sprayed with the chemical.)

On June 1, 2015, a one year old cat named Sydney, ID #277271, was also abused by the same unsupervised inmate at MAS.  She suffered painful chemical burns on her eyes, tongue, mouth and ears.  Sydney was treated by an outside veterinarian and survived.  (Warning: The video below depicts animal abuse and readers will find it disturbing.)

A month and a half later, it was noted in Sydney’s medical record by the MAS vet that she has a corneal defect:

Portion of MAS records for cat ID #277271.

Portion of MAS records for cat ID #277271.

On June 5, 2015, an owner was trying to reclaim his spayed, 10 year old cat called Uptimus (ID #278237) from MAS.  Due to the mandatory spay-neuter law in Memphis, MAS refused to release the cat without verifying a spay scar.  Uptimus had spent her whole life as an indoor pet and was very scared at the pound.  She would not allow a stranger to shave and examine her abdomen and so MAS continued to hold her until the veterinary staff could sedate her for an exam.

While Uptimus was waiting to go home, another inmate, also unsupervised, intentionally sprayed her with the same undiluted cleaning chemical used by the inmate in the previous videos to hurt the other 2 cats.  Uptimus was trapped in her cage and could not escape her torturer.  (Warning:  Although Uptimus can not be seen in the video, some readers will find it disturbing.)

Uptimus, her face swollen as a result of chemical burns, at MAS.

Uptimus, her face swollen as a result of chemical burns, at MAS.

Uptimus was found on June 6 wedged between the feral box and the side of her cage with severe facial swelling, severe drooling, and suffering from severe dehydration.  MAS staff determined she had been exposed to the undiluted cleaning chemical and sent her to an emergency vet clinic.  At the emergency clinic, Uptimus had an IV catheter placed as well as a feeding tube as her mouth was so swollen, she was unable to eat normally.  X-rays revealed she was suffering from chemical pneumonia.  She was found dead in her cage at 2am.

In light of the abuse which MAS failed to prevent and the terrible suffering endured by Uptimus as a result of this abuse, it is very difficult to read the notes from MAS staff members regarding their interactions with the pet’s owner, Mr. Kotee:

Portion of MAS records for Uptimus, cat ID #278237.

Portion of MAS records for Uptimus, cat ID #278237.

MAS staff wasn’t any nicer to Mr. Kotee after his pet died either:

Portion of MAS records for Uptimus, cat ID #278237.

Portion of MAS records for Uptimus, cat ID #278237.

I am so sorry for the needless heartbreak Mr. Kotee must be suffering. MAS management should have followed protocol and supervised inmates at all times. Instead inmates were left alone with cats to hurt them. And then MAS staff treated the owner like he was second class. I can absolutely understand Mr. Kotee not wanting to give these people his ID. MAS staff are apparently sticklers for following the rules when it comes to EVERYONE EXCEPT THEMSELVES.

Records for Snowflake and Uptimus, obtained via FOIA request, can be read here.  Additional records on Snowflake and Uptimus, as well as records for Sydney, can be read here.

A local paper reported that both inmates were charged with animal cruelty.  On July 11, a shelter supervisor who allowed the inmates to work unsupervised – a failure which resulted in the torture and death of a beloved pet and painful injuries to two other cats – received a written reprimand from MAS.  A second supervisor also received a written reprimand but it was rescinded 2 weeks later by MAS director James Rogers.

Number of cats chemically burned by inmates whom MAS staff failed to supervise:  three.  Number of cats who died as a result of their injuries:  one.  Number of MAS staffers who lost their job as a result:  zero.

How many more, Memphis?

State of NC Finds Violations at Transylvania Co Shelter, Assesses Penalty

Last week, the NC Department of Agriculture issued a letter regarding its investigation of the Transylvania Co shelter.  The findings include:

  • During the period from September 1, 2014 through July 21, 2015, 205 animals were killed by staff members who were not certified as euthanasia technicians.
  • 81 stray animals who were neither seriously ill nor injured were killed prior to the expiration of the mandated 72 hour holding period.
  • The director was suspended for a month in 2014.  Upon his return, he falsified the kill log for 5 animals.
  • The records of more than 100 animals who were killed contained conflicting or incorrect information.

The state assessed a civil penalty of more than $10,000 against the Transylvania Co shelter as a result of these violations.

So all this sounds pretty bad.  But wait – we have enablers on standby!

“It’s important to note that these violations are administrative and have nothing to do with the way animals are treated at the shelter,” said Dr. Clyde Brooks, a veterinarian with Brevard Animal Hospital who led the effort to relocate the shelter to an improved facility two years ago.

This will surely be a great comfort to the 81 stray animals who were killed without ever being given a chance at redemption or adoption.  It’s an administrative thing!  Also the county manager says most of those animals were feral cats so piffle.  As far as why the director was suspended for a month last year, the county manager says we don’t need to know about that.  The vet goes even further:

Brooks doubted that the violations would affect [Paul] Vis’ role as shelter director, saying Vis has been instrumental in developing TCAS into a “state-of-the-art” shelter that has gone “from a 75 percent euthanasia rate to a 75 percent adoption rate.”

Let’s see if that’s true.

Nope.

Portion of the state of NC's 2014 shelter report showing a 44% kill rate at Transylvania Co.

Portion of the state of NC’s 2014 shelter report showing a 44% kill rate at Transylvania Co.

The county is currently being sued by the owners of a dog who was at the facility for a 10 day rabies quarantine but was oops-killed.  Apparently the owners loved their pet more than administratively.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice for the link.)

Weekend Jade

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

[x]

[x]

Orange Co Shelter Director Intent on Killing Service Dog

Karma, a service dog trained to help with PTSD, as shown on the Orang Co Register website.

Karma, a service dog trained to help with PTSD, as shown on the Orange Co Register website.

An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled this month that a service dog named Karma must be killed at the Orange Co shelter in CA before October 20. The ruling was based upon the recommendation of the shelter’s director/veterinarian:

OC Animal Care Director and Chief Veterinarian Jennifer Hawkins has deemed the husky mix too dangerous to be released in the community or to live at an animal sanctuary. OC Animal Care designated Karma a vicious animal because the dog killed at least one cat in 2012 in Anaheim, and because of the dog’s partial wolf ancestry, the effectiveness of required rabies vaccinations is unknown.

The “partial wolf ancestry” being referenced:

Animal Care ordered a genetic test on the dog – the first ever by the agency – after her owners were arrested and family members told police the dog was part wolf. The genetic test suggested that Karma likely had a wolf ancestor two or three generations back.

Suggested? Gee, that sounds… inconclusive. To complicate matters further, the CA Veterinary Medical Association says:

The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) requires that if an animal contains any wolf, even 1 percent, it must be considered a wolf hybrid and handled as an exotic animal. The California Department of Fish and Game, however, only requires a permit for the animal if it is 50 percent or more wolf. According to CDHS, a veterinarian can vaccinate the animal with canine rabies vaccine, but if it bites someone or is bitten by a rabid animal, it will be treated as unvaccinated.
[…]
The AVMA Trust cautions veterinarians to inform owners that the vaccine is not licensed for use in wolf hybrids, and no studies have proven efficacy of the vaccine in the animals.

It appears that in CA, owners of any animal designated a wolf hybrid run the risk of having the animal ordered killed if the animal bites a person or is exposed to a rabid animal due to the unknown efficacy of rabies vaccine on hybrids. But as far as I can tell, Karma has neither bitten a person nor has she been exposed to a rabid animal. It’s unclear to me why the OC shelter director is recommending she be killed.

Orange Co Supervisor Todd Spitzer also questioned the director’s recommendation and asked the Board of Supervisors to override the director at a hearing this week:

Spitzer argued that a liability release drafted by county lawyers Friday and approved by OC Animal Care outlining the requirements of how Karma must be kept should be enough to spare the dog from death.

But Hawkins would not relent:

“I stand by my recommendation that euthanasia is a reasonable means to assure public safety,” Hawkins said during the Board of Supervisors meeting. “I don’t know if it will distinguish between domestic animals or a small child.”

Oh geez. So let’s kill the dog because the director doesn’t understand canine behavior and can’t predict the future. Sounds like solid reasoning. Spitzer was apparently caught off guard:

“When county counsel gave me a draft of what it would take, I believed, mistakenly, she supported that,” Spitzer said. “I had no idea even if a rescue (group) signed the agreement she would not support it. The fate rested in the board’s hands. We’re the only ones who have the authority to overrule the recommendation of our Animal Care director.”

Spitzer was the only board member advocating for Karma’s right to live. None of the other members were willing to support Spitzer. The wolf sanctuary that originally agreed to take Karma backed out. Because Karma is a dog. There are reportedly several other rescues willing to take her. But it sounds as if the OC shelter director is committed to killing Karma, despite all offers and all reason. I dread to think how the director applies her form of logic to saving – or ending – the lives of other pets at the shelter.

(Thanks Kellee for the link.)

Dog Dies After Being Left in Hot Van by ACOs in PA

On September 1, ACOs employed by Upper Darby Township in Delaware Co, PA delivered two dogs and one cat to the Chester County SPCA.  All three pets were suffering from symptoms related to excessive heat after riding in the back of the AC van which has no air conditioning or ventilation.  The temperature that day was 94 degrees.  Two of the animals were treated and saved.  The dog who had been in the van the longest, about two hours, was too far gone to respond to treatment.  Chester Co SPCA executive director Adam Lamb issued a press release regarding the incident:

The dog, later named “Baby Blue” by the staff because he was a blue pit bull, was “… listless, his pupils were unresponsive to light, he was panting for air, and he was bleeding from his rectum.”

Lamb said the dog was immediately brought into the shelter and was examined by medical staff, which started treatment for what was likely heat stroke. The dog’s temperature was 107 degrees Fahrenheit before the thermometer indicated that the rising temperature was too high to read.

Baby Blue had been left in the hot van without so much as an ounce of water, to suffer and die a horrible, entirely preventable death while the ACOs sat up front enjoying the air conditioning. An assistant DA with Chester Co is reviewing the case for possible cruelty charges:

The manner in which the dog was transported to the shelter facility was cruel and inhumane, Lamb said.

“Everyone must be held to the same standards with respect to the humane treatment of animals, including those providing animal control services,” said Lamb.
[…]
As a result of the incident, Chester County SPCA officials said they will stop accepting stray animals from Upper Darby Township until the shelter has inspected and approved of the vehicles being used to transport animals to their facility.

Thomas Judge Jr., the township’s chief administrative officer, concedes that the pets were stuck in the back of the hot van but is not willing to make the giant leap to associating Baby Blue’s death with heatstroke. And he’s got reasons!

The animal had problems when we picked it up. It was tied to a post in the area of St. Laurence. We don’t know who it belongs to.
[…]
And the two other animals in the van survived.

Judge noted the township has been operating with only one van because one of the two animal transport vans was out of service. A new van with air conditioning with individual cages in the back is on order.
[…]
There is no law that says we have to have air conditioning in the back of the van.

Everyone knows if you find a dog tied to a post, he’s probably going to fall over dead within a couple of hours regardless of whether you leave him in an unventilated metal box in the summer heat. It’s just like, a thing that happens. And how about a little credit for not killing the other two?  Plus who is this mysterious owner? I mean, that is also very relevant. Anyway one van is out of service and another one’s on order so *shrug*. And there isn’t any law that specifies our ACOs have to share their air conditioning with animals or even provide them with a survivable environment for two hours. Is there? But hey, we’re not monsters:

We are going to drill holes in the back of the van to have air-conditioning in the back.

They’re going to make air holes for the pets. Because they killed one.  Maybe I’m naive but I thought this was a lesson we all learned when we were kids catching fireflies in jars.  (My dad always poked holes in the metal lids for my caterpillars and other temporary pets.)  Or if you didn’t learn it then, I would have thought maybe ANY OTHER TIME BEFORE YOU GOT CERTIFIED AS AN ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER.  Apparently an air hole law is needed in PA.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Maine ACO Receives Summons for Animal Cruelty, Reacts with Mass Slaughter

The town of Orrington, Maine has one ACO on the payroll.  Until September 10, that ACO was Carla Damon, who was reportedly on the job for many years.  She resigned in lieu of being voted out by the town’s selectmen after receiving a summons for animal cruelty.

Responding to a complaint about the conditions of Damon’s herd of ten goats, an animal welfare agent with the state gave her a list of items requiring immediate attention on September 3.  One of the items was a requirement to have a vet examine the herd within five days.  Since one of those five days was a holiday and since there is a shortage of vets in the area according to Damon, she thought it was unlikely she’d be able to arrange a visit.

Damon frequently volunteered at events to educate the public about small livestock husbandry.  Presumably one of the responsibilities she explained to people was the importance of having an established relationship with a vet, which is often helpful when emergencies arise which require immediate veterinary care.  I don’t know if Damon had a relationship with a vet for her pets but it doesn’t sound like it.

At issue with the animal welfare agent were some housing deficiencies and the care of three particular goats:

“There was a long list of things that needed to be corrected, some structural things and some complaints about lack of care and lack of feeding because I had two that were a little on the thin side, but they were older goats that had been bred every year,” Damon said in a telephone interview.

One goat was 16 years old and the other 13, she said. Another goat had a slight nasal discharge that could have been treated with an antibiotic.

Could have but wasn’t, apparently.  The other seven goats were described by Damon as “fat, healthy and sassy.”

So maybe no regular vet and maybe it might be hard to get one over a holiday weekend so – what to do?  Instead of getting on the phone and trying to get a vet to see the goats, perhaps explaining that she’s the town ACO and would really appreciate being worked in on short notice as a professional courtesy, and/or asking the state inspector for an extension (“I couldn’t get a vet visit before the 8th but I have one scheduled for the 9th, can you work with me?”) or taking three seconds to think up any other reasonable thing, Damon came up with this plan:

“So I looked at the animal welfare person and said, ‘So, I do have the right — and correct me if I’m wrong — to destroy my own animals because if I destroy my animals, there is no longer a problem?’

The state inspector reportedly agreed that Damon had the right to kill the goats.

“So it was with a heavy heart that I chose to put down animals that I brought into this world because a lot of them, I helped deliver,” she said[.]

[…]

Damon said she would have preferred to have the goats processed for meat but she was unable to find an opening before late December.

[…]

Some of the goats were buried and others became coyote bait, she said.

Damon says she “sat down and bawled” after killing her pets.  Whom she cradled at birth.  Whom she would have liked to eat.  Whom she left to rot as coyote bait.

Regarding the town’s request for her resignation:

She said that she was asked to leave the post “because of things that went on in my own personal life regarding the goats. They do not feel it looks kosher for an animal control officer to be reported and to possibly be facing animal cruelty charges, regardless of the fact that they were my own personal animals.”

Uh, regardless?  I was thinking especially because.  The town’s enforcer of animal cruelty statutes thinks she should be above the law apparently.

“I feel that what I had to do to my own animals should not reflect upon how I treated other people’s animals in my line of work as far as being the animal control officer,” she said.

So I see on your resume that you have had your parental rights terminated for beating your kids but you believe you’d be a good fit for our daycare center?

The parting shot:

Now that she has lost her job, she might have to downsize her flock of 16 chickens, she said.

And by downsize, I assume she means rehoming to greener pastures something awful.

The last AC call that Damon appears to have responded to is a bizarre and tragic bite report involving a man who hanged a ten month old puppy after Damon left his home then called her back to come pick up the body.  The incident was later reported to the sheriff by another resident of the home, not Damon.  I can’t help but wonder what counsel she offered in that case.

Damon is scheduled to appear in court on October 15 on the animal cruelty summons (the same date the puppy hanger is set to appear).  She has not been charged for killing her pets.  The town of Orrington is currently looking for a new ACO and having police officers perform those duties in the interim.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your guesses in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is like ordering a bagel and getting one of those Lender’s things optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

nta

TZI: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Can I see some ID?

Can I see some ID?

The troubling Target Zero Institute, one of the sham “no kill” consultants that participates in the war on cats, is being called on the carpet by a no kill advocate in Huntsville, AL. At issue are the do-nothing tactics and general fakiness of the group:

Target Zero is actually a nonprofit called First Coast No More Homeless Pets which is based in Jacksonville, Florida. The name of the organization has flip-flopped in the last few years but it was last changed from Target Zero to FCNMHP in May of 2014; it has received numerous grants over the years, two of the largest being from the Best Friends Animal Society (a 2012 grant for $340,000 and a 2013 grant for $280,000).
[…]
Target Zero was in Huntsville in early September of 2014. We found out in early March of 2015 that the City had signed a contract with Target Zero on January 15, 2015. When I contacted Cameron Moore of Target Zero in March of 2015 to inquire about plans moving forward, I was told that a Town Hall meeting would be held at some point. Beyond that, there were no specific plans shared with me during our hour-long phone conversation. When I expressed the opinion of our coalition that the city should make a commitment to become a no kill community in order to obtain an in-kind commitment from the public, I was told this position is “silly.”
[…]
Target Zero has yet to become visible in this community, to hold a Town Hall meeting here or to otherwise inform the public of how it plans to make ours a no kill community.

As a backdrop to the Huntsville fraud, the shelter in the city of Jacksonville, TZI’s home base, is in disarray. The division chief is quitting her job while under investigation for falsifying records to make it look like the facility has achieved “no kill”:

The city’s inspector general confirmed Thursday that the chief of Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services Division who resigned Wednesday is under investigation.
Nikki Harris’ resignation came a month after at least two whistleblowers made allegations that the shelter was being mismanaged and possibly putting animals’ lives in danger.
[…]
Harris personnel file shows that she came to ACPS from First Coast No More Homeless Pets in 2013. She was appointed chief the next year and given a salary of $90,000.

Gee, I’d like to keep a salary that size too, if I had one. Although I’d be inclined to actually do my job in order to keep the salary – not kill animals and lie about it. But I guess I’m “silly” too.

The emperor will presumably continue to show off his invisible clothes. The question is, how much longer must the animals being victimized by this chicanery, especially cats, wait for Best Friends, the Jacksonville Humane Society and the other enablers to start protecting their interests.  Because waiting is lethal.

(Thanks Brie and Clarice for the links.)

Weekend Jade

Our best pitbull.

Our best pitbull.