Open Thread

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Perry, OK Asplains Pile of Dead Dogs Behind Pound

After photos of dirty kennels and decomposing dog carcasses behind the pound in Perry, Oklahoma were posted on social media, area residents were outraged.  The Perry ACO explained to the local news that he normally buries the dogs killed at the pound but the hole digging thingy broke so he had to use a pit to toss the bodies in and wait until the pit was full before covering it over.  Also:  he took the job to “help animals”.

Not to be outdone, the city manager issued the following statement:

There have been some disturbing and disgusting photos from the City of Perry’s animal shelter posted on Facebook, the worst being dead dogs in various states of decomposition. I want to assure Perry residents that the these conditions are being addressed.

For the last several months, the city of Perry has been working with a group of local volunteers to improve the conditions at the shelter. This volunteer group is now organized as the Perry Humane Society, and their concern for humane treatment of animals is to be commended. Their willingness to be part of the solution in addressing issues at the shelter is very welcome. With the help of city funding, private donations, and volunteer time and effort, an addition to the existing animal shelter building is under construction. When the addition in completed, there will be runs to allow the animals to go in and out of the building and will be a major improvement over what we have now.

The City of Perry encourages responsible pet ownership. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. When Animal Control picks up animals, their goal is to reunite animals with their owners or find new responsible owners. Euthanizing animals is done as a last resort and is handled by a local veterinarian. As I understand the procedure, two injections are given. One to sedate the animal and the second to put it to sleep. It is done as humanely as possible, but is not a pleasant part of their job.

The City has been exploring alternatives to disposing of euthanized animals. I was contacted by the city of Stillwater about a month ago offering Perry their old incinerator that is due to be replaced. We will evaluate its condition and whether it is a viable and cost-effective alternative. Other alternatives for disposing of euthanized animals are also being discussed.

The Perry Humane Society has also been assisting Animal Control by helping advertise animals at the shelter available for adoption. Animal Control has also been releasing animals to the Humane Society that are available for adoption to responsible owners instead of having to be euthanized. Unfortunately, not all dogs are good candidates to be released for adoption. Because of the liability that the City of Perry bears for animals that are released to someone other than their owner, we use our best judgment and a lot depends on the age of the animal. If we err, it is going to be on the side of caution.

My message today is to let Perry citizens know that the City of Perry has been addressing the conditions at the Animal Control Shelter and will continue that effort with the help and involvement of the Perry Humane Society.

So basically:

  • There’s going to be a new addition to the killhole.  (New things fix everything, even lack of compassion!)
  • The public is irresponsible.
  • The homeless animals are killed humanely, probably.
  • The city might start incinerating dead pets instead of leaving them out back to rot, if it’s cheap enough.  If not, they’ll find some other cheap way to get rid of the bodies.  Because there are gonna be bodies.  Lots.
  • The city is letting rescuers save some dogs but is refusing to allow other dogs a chance to live, based mainly upon age.  If the city makes a mistake in its most excellent judgment (on age, I guess), better to kill an animal than risk allowing him to live and uh, age.
  • Everything’s fine, move along.

Welp, totes reassured over here.  Sounds like the experts are ON IT.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Memphis Pound Fails to List Animals Online for 10 Days

Screenshot of the last 4 dogs listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Screenshot of the last 4 dogs listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Screenshot of the last 4 cats listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Screenshot of the last 4 cats listed on the MAS PetHarbor website, taken October 29, 2015.

Animal advocates are concerned that once again, Memphis Animal Services is not updating the only online listings the city does for animals at the facility:  PetHarbor.  These listings, while far from ideal, are essential since MAS has limited hours, limited services, and lots of locked doors where animals are hidden from view.  In some cases, the online listing is the only way for anyone to know an animal is being kept at the facility.  As usual, MAS director James Rogers blames technical difficulties and wants everyone to please stand by:

From: Lou Ann Selves
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 3:06 PM
To: Rogers, James; Tunstall, DeKeishia Masha; Dunlap, Tracy
Subject: Pet Harbor

PetHarbor shows the last dogs that came into the shelter were on October 19. No dogs have been brought in since that date or has no one updated? Considering review dates are critical, some have a small chance of getting out of there if their info is not available.

Lou Ann Selves

***

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:41 PM, <James.Rogers@memphistn.gov> wrote:
Good afternoon Lou Ann,

We are aware of the issue and working with our IS department and Chameleon customer service to correct. Your patience is appreciated.

Thank you

James M. Rogers
Administrator, MAS

***

From: Lou Ann Selves
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 3:54 PM
To: Rogers, James
Cc: Tunstall, DeKeishia Masha; Dunlap, Tracy
Subject: Re: Pet Harbor

How will this “issue” affect the animals’ review dates who are coming into the shelter and have no chance to be posted to PetHarbor?

***

From: <James.Rogers@memphistn.gov>
Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:55 PM
Subject: RE: Pet Harbor
To: Louann Selves
Cc: DeKeishia.Tunstall@memphistn.gov, tracy.dunlap@memphistn.gov

MAS will adjust accordingly. Thanks
***

Adjust accordingly. So MAS has been no kill for 10 days or… erm, something else?  The animals must really be piling up.  MAS might finally have to use all those brand new cages that have been collecting dust since the place opened.  Or not – video of the Puppy(less) Room at MAS taken this week by Jody Fisher:

So where are all the animals who have been impounded by MAS over the last 10 days?  Where are all the animals whose review dates have been adjusted in order to compensate for the city’s failure to list them online so they can be reclaimed, rescued or adopted?  Why does MAS have so many technical difficulties using PetHarbor?  Is PetHarbor designed for rocket scientist use only?  I reached out to Chameleon for comment last time MAS was blaming the company for the failure to post photos of animals (not very long ago) but no one responded.  Hopefully they are more responsive to their customers who have com-pew-tor problems.  Ten days is an awfully long time to leave animals’ lives hanging in the balance – if in fact any are actually still alive.

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 going to force me to call the school resource officer in here optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

nta

Detroit Animal Control Being Sued by Everybody

Warning:  There are disturbing images at the links.

***

ACO Brittany Roberts has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Detroit Animal Control after she says she was fired in September for advocating for the animals in the facility.  Ms. Roberts says she saw seriously injured pets impounded and left to suffer without vet care until they died.  One dog who had been hit by a car was left in a wheelbarrow at the pound for days.  The wheelbarrow is normally used to transport dead bodies to the freezer.

In interviews with local media, Ms. Roberts said the dogs were never walked and were forced to live in their own waste.  Illness was rampant throughout the facility and she often saw healthy animals become sick very quickly.  Many animals died in their cages from illness or starvation.  Workers would walk around the facility each morning to count the number of animals that had survived the night.  Those still alive would get food thrown onto the feces and urine covered floors of their cages.

Ms. Roberts was appalled at the cruelty she observed but says no one in a position of leadership would listen to her concerns.  After she began documenting the inhumane practices, she was fired.

Among the other allegations made in the lawsuit:

  • Pets were not scanned for microchips.
  • Sick animals were housed with healthy animals.
  • Animals were cramped into cages which were too small for them.
  • A litter of six orphaned pups was impounded and the director refused to release them to rescue or allow another mama dog to nurse them.  They slowly starved to death.
  • A 7 pound dog was hanged in a chokepole by the neck while an ACO carried the pole around the facility.

The whistleblower lawsuit is just one of many currently filed against Detroit Animal Control.  Several owners whose dogs were impounded due to lack of licenses have also filed lawsuits.  The dogs are held at the pound until the owner can produce proof of ownership deemed acceptable by DAC and pay the penalty fees which accrue daily.  One owner says he was visiting from South Carolina when DAC took his dogs away for lack of Michigan licenses.  Another says her two dogs were licensed but she couldn’t produce the documentation to prove it so her dogs were impounded.  Both got sick at DAC and one died.

Then there’s this bit of say whaaaaa:

That brings us back to [pound director] Harry Ward. He also has a dog being held in the shelter. His 6-year-old Mastiff, Peaches, lives in the shelter, but he’s not paying the daily fees.

“It makes you want to do a better job with everybody’s dog, when you know that your dog is here too.” Ward said

Peaches will not be adopted out to a home, and will continue living in her cage. All the while, her food, room, and board is all being paid for by taxpayers.

And if you don’t like them apples, I guess you know, so what.

The city’s response to the lawsuits and allegations was initially uh, hide but when that failed to make the situation go away, they tried announcing that the pound will now super generously allow other groups besides the scammy Michigan Inhumane to pull animals.  So come on down to DAC and grab yerself some sick animals out the wheelbarrow to take to your vet for expensive treatment.  Just remember not to take the director’s dog.  Because she lives there.  Because I don’t know.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Wait.

Portion of a job listing on an HSUS website.

Portion of a job listing on an HSUS website.

If you were looking at job listings on the HSUS magazine website, saw this one for a PETA policy director and got all excited to apply, you are going to have all the disappoint.  First off, you won’t be finding homes for 6 – 8 million animals each year.  Possibly 6 or 8 animals, but I wouldn’t count on it.  Secondly, your new employer doesn’t actually find homes for homeless pets – they kill them, even going so far as to collect them from shelters and veterinarians in other states.  Sometimes they stalk owned pets right there in Virginia, wait until the owners leave for work, then steal the pets for killing.  A small percentage of the animals PETA logs in each year get transferred to other facilities which also kill pets but most are killed at the PETA facility or in the van on the way there.  And lastly, I sure hope you don’t like pitbulls even a teensy bit.  Because awkward.

But at least the tech posting the ad online has a sense of humor, placing it alongside a link to “The Flip Side of Fatigue”.

Alex, I’ll take Places to Work When You Have Zero Fucks Left to Give about Animals.

(Thanks Nathan for the link.)

Weekend Jade

We passed by a few Halloween displays set up at the park today:

oct 25 2015 jade lady scarecrowoct 25 2015 jade scarecrow

Open Thread

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

jetsons

A Sense of Belonging

Some of you may remember the story of a Boston man who was walking his dog in January when he was struck by a school bus.  The dog was killed and the man was seriously injured.  Many people were touched by the tragedy and the students on the bus were met by counselors when they finally arrived at school that day.

Today, the Boston Globe reported the rest of the story including background on the man, Jeff Schwartz, his dog Buddy, and the numerous obstacles Jeff has faced since losing his leg in the accident.  You might be tempted to skip the article for fear of it being too depressing but I would encourage everyone to read it.  It is a harrowing tale to be sure but it is peppered throughout with inspiration and hope, revolving around the special bond we share with our pets.

Pets are so many things to us.  Pets are our motivation to battle adversity, our source of comfort, and our sense of home.  When Jeff awoke from his month-long coma, he was unable to speak but could hold a pen, although writing was difficult.  He wrote down two questions for his wife who was at his bedside:

Where do we live, and did Buddy survive?

In that moment, Jeff’s sense of home was so limited that he could not even remember where he lived.  But he remembered Buddy.  Perhaps it was because memories can be dodgy in patients who awake from a coma but possibly there was something more at play:  a house is a physical structure which keeps the wind off, a pet is part of your identity.  A missing limb can be inquired about later.  Pets are family.  We belong.

Due to the physical limitations and setbacks which occurred during Jeff’s lengthy recovery, he was unable to care for a new dog as soon as he wanted one.  Amidst progress and despite the challenges, he and his wife recently decided to go ahead and adopt a dog from an area rescue which pulls pets from southern pounds.  Her name is Mandy.  Jeff has a walking partner again.  And so much more.

Mandy is reportedly shy and doesn’t like most men.  She would make a likely candidate for killing at many pounds based on those traits alone.  Or she might have been killed for space or because her mandatory holding period had expired or any other arbitrary reason.  But it is Mandy’s natural birthright to live.  And it was her destiny to help provide a sense of identity to Jeff.

For anyone working in a so-called shelter to violate Mandy’s right to live and rob her of her destiny should be a crime.  Instead it’s standard operating procedure at far too many public facilities.  That needs to change.  Lives are at risk – precious lives of all varieties interwoven with one another.  The fact that these needless killings are happening by the millions each year diminishes our collective identity.  The sense of loss is palpable.  What is needed though, in spite of the horror, is for it to be motivational too.  Start here.

Ontario Police Oops-Torture Pet, Meant to Torture Wild Animal

Merrick, as pictured on the CTV News website.

Merrick, as pictured on the CTV News website.

Residents in an Ontario neighborhood contacted police about a coyote roaming the area Monday night.  Ontario police sent a car in response and an animal approached the car:

“It just kept hanging around and it wasn’t afraid of the vehicle at all, of anything. It was just lurking around looking at the vehicle,” resident Kelly O’Neill told CTV Barrie on Tuesday. “It wasn’t afraid at all.”

Instead of capturing the animal, O’Neill said the police cruiser ran over it several times. One of the officers then got out of the car and shot it.

On Wednesday morning, OPP confirmed the animal was a dog, not a coyote.

Oops. I guess that’s why she wasn’t afraid. The 21 year old dog, called Merrick, was blind, deaf and suffered from dementia according to the owner. After a windstorm blew open a gate in Merrick’s yard, she wandered out. When she saw the police cruiser, she apparently ambled toward it before she was violently tortured to death.

The killing was caught on a cellphone video which was spread on social media. It caused a public outcry which resulted in the police having to admit that the animal was a pet dog, not a coyote.

But: EXCUSES FOR THE EXCUSE GOD.

The police commander wants to remind everyone that Merrick looked like a coyote. And as far as the standard police response to a report of a roaming coyote being Brutalize First, ID Later, that’s still fly:

The OPP “remain committed to destruction of wildlife that is an imminent threat to public safety,” the statement said.

To be clear, the “destruction” the Ontario police is committed to involves slow and deliberate cruelty to animals. Which sounds so crimey. Especially when it’s based on what the victim looks like. In the dark. From inside the car.

The historically awful Ontario SPCA has received requests from the public to investigate but has declined to lift a finger.  Police will investigate themselves in the matter.

(Thanks Jan for the link.)