Florida Animal Advocates Ask State Officials to Investigate Putnam Co Pound

A group of 12 shelter animal advocates in Florida sent a letter to the governor and the state attorney general requesting an investigation of Putnam Co Animal Control for animal cruelty and other illegal acts.  Among the allegations made in the letter:

  • Animals are left to suffer in cages without treatment for serious injuries and illnesses.  Some of them have suffered to death.
  • Animals are killed via “cruel and barbaric methods” including heartstick without sedation.
  • Dogs are left in the cages while they are being pressure washed.
  • ACOs have taken pets from their yards and listed them as stray.
  • Animals are not scanned for microchips upon intake.
  • Microchipped/tagged animals are “routinely” killed without ever contacting the owners.
  • Friendly animals are labeled aggressive and killed.
  • Animals who have rescues or adopters on the way are killed.
  • Animals are killed while cages sit empty.
  • Sick animals are not isolated and the facility is not properly cleaned on a daily basis.
  • Donated vaccines were left untouched in the refrigerator until they expired while county officials claimed that consistent vaccination upon intake has not been possible due to lack of vaccines.
  • Repeated offers of veterinary care from various members of the community have been refused.
  • Donated medicine and equipment have gone unused.

The letter specifically mentions that previous efforts to address the issues on a local level have failed.  It sounds like at least one local official has read the complaint and swiftly issued a meh:

Brian Hammons, the director of Putnam County planning and development services who oversee the animal shelter says it has received the letter and had no plans on acting on it. And had no further comment.

I am not a public official so maybe I’ve got this all wrong buuuut:  If I received a letter signed by 12 of my constituents alleging criminal acts being committed on a daily basis at a facility I’m in charge of, I’d be inclined to say something to the media that at least gave the impression I was vaguely concerned.  Even if I wasn’t.  Even if I had zero intention of performing due diligence and was content to let the alleged criminal acts continue unchecked.  Even if my only action plan in response to the letter was to fold it up and use it as a coaster for my coffee, I do believe I’d try to avoid letting on about that publicly.  Just to keep my job maybe.  Or is Brian Hammons the One True King of Putnam Co?

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Be Seeing You, Patty

Patty in 2013

Patty in 2013

We said goodbye to Patty today. She had been declining at a rapid pace recently and the vet determined she was riddled with cancer with no reasonable options for treatment. She was 9 years old.

Nicknamed Peanut Butter Patty because of her love of skillfully polishing the insides of peanut butter jars, she was very special to us. She never had a harsh word for anyone and despite being the former target of Linus’s aggression, she remained his only friend until her death. Patty vigilantly mourned at the graveside of each of our dogs as we buried them over the years. Today it is her turn to rest. We already miss her loving nature and kind heart. She was one of those dogs who make you want to be a better human.

Weekend Jade

First bling.

First bling.

Open Thread

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



WA Shelter Director: Public Too Dumb to Get Weather, Too Irresponsible to Have Pets. Also: Why Doesn’t the Public Like Me?

inoriteThe director of the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter in Pasco, Washington is saying things again.  This time, pound director Angela Zilar blamesplains to KEPR why the facility typically sees an increase in stray dog intake at this time of year:

“As soon as the weather starts to change, people that have all of these outdoor dogs that they wanted to keep as outdoor pets, they realize that maybe it’s going to be too cold for them.

They tend to start to get rid of them because what was easy for them possibly for the summer is now going to be different or problematic for them for the winter,” said Zilar.

The second reason being the start of the hunting season.

“They determine they’re not going to be a hunting dog so the rise in hunting breeds goes up because now they don’t want these dogs because now they don’t work for what they want them for,” adds Zilar.

The third reason… the agricultural industry.

“The workers have animals when they come to the Tri-Cities- they tend to get animals- and then when they leave they can’t take them with them,” said Zilar.

Shorter: The pound takes in more stray dogs in September and October because the public is too stupid to understand how seasons work, hunters suck and so do the Mexicans.

Smarter: If you know that your facility is going to see an increase in stray dogs in the fall, prepare for it. Be proactive. If people who have outdoor dogs in your area typically abandon them when the weather turns colder due to lack of resources, reach out to them while it’s still warm. Apply for grants and ask for donations so you can supply those in need with appropriate winter housing materials for their dogs. Educate owners whose dogs are not good candidates for being housed outdoors year round about alternatives while it’s still warm.

Engage the members of the hunting community in order to build a relationship with them so that they aren’t turning unwanted dogs loose in the woods every fall instead of utilizing humane rehoming alternatives. Educate hunters about these alternatives during your “Free nail trims for hunting dogs” weekend and other outreach events.

Seasonal workers are most likely not buying dogs. They are taking in strays in need of homes, even though they themselves only have a temporary home to offer these pets. They are sorta doing your job for you. Reach out to them. Offer free spay-neuter and vaccinations (using grant money and donations) to their temporary pets so the population doesn’t increase and remains free of diseases which are a serious threat in the shelter. Make yourselves the good guys. Educate the workers on humane options for rehoming long before the end of the agricultural season. Keep in touch. Let them know you are there to help and, if a shelter of last resort ends up being needed, that’s your job. They should feel welcome to turn to the shelter instead of abandoning the animal.

It sounds like a large number of people in the community think that pets are better off on the streets than at the Tri-Cities shelter. That is a problem. And it’s Angela Zilar’s job to fix it. Instead, she pours gasoline on the fire:

Gabby is a stray dog who just gave birth and was abandoned in a Pet Smart parking lot.

“They are trading her in for a younger generation they probably kept the puppy and now don’t want her,” said Zilar.

Wow. Apparently Gabby came with a backstory pinned to her collar. Or she can talk.

You know who abandons a dog in the Petsmart parking lot? Someone who thinks that people who love animals will see her and hopefully care for her. And obviously that’s not what people think of the Tri-Cities pound. Which again, is a problem.

Angela says they haven’t turned anyone away in the last four years and encourage owners to come in and ask for help when they don’t know what to do with their pet.

I guess I’ll just go with lol on that one. This from the lady who threatened to prosecute owners who surrender their pets to her facility and who blames the community for the many failings of that facility. Sure, walk into my parlor.

(Thanks Mary for the link.)

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 just not done in polite society optional. Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.


Animal Advocates Say Their Offer of Free Beds to Huntsville Shelter is Refused

I received this letter yesterday from no kill advocate Brie Kavanaugh in Alabama regarding a Kuranda bed drive offered to Huntsville Animal Services. I edited the letter for space and clarity:

The shelter dogs are on concrete floors with some towels and blankets. The public is asked to help with laundry, leading to what must be incredibly high utility bills. The shelter has a 2 million dollar annual budget with a line item for “food and care of animals” which is less than 3 percent of the overall budget. The shelter was recently offered donated dog beds by my no kill advocacy group through the Kuranda Shelter Bed Program. This is a public service program sponsored by Kuranda to help private citizens and welfare groups facilitate donations of beds to shelters at a reduced cost. A web page is set up on the Kuranda site and people are directed to that page to buy a bed which is then shipped directly to the shelter. The beds in the program are considered the gold standard for shelters nationally.

In our case, the shelter need do nothing at all for the drive other than to assemble donated beds once they arrive, perhaps hosting a “slumber party” event to bring people to the shelter to help put beds together. Media was told about our plans in hopes of getting some positive news coverage. A local business leader said that not only will she buy some beds, she’ll go to the shelter to help assemble them. A flyer was readied, the public was primed on social media and we waited for the “okay” to launch the drive.

Common sense would dictate that upon being offered free beds, to be purchased by private citizens, the shelter director would enthusiastically say, “Yes! Please.” She did not. She first said she wanted plastic beds made by a company in Italy. She then said she wanted mesh beds because “the dogs like them better.” Never mind that a mesh bed is incredibly difficult to clean, will quickly be destroyed by dogs in a shelter environment and simply will not last. Because in the end, it is apparently more important to be in control and act like you care about the dogs than it is to be gracious about support from the community you serve and get the dogs up off of the floor.

The representative at Kuranda told me she had seen this type of resistance only once from a shelter in Arizona and even that shelter was honest enough to simply say, “The dogs don’t need beds.” Kuranda went above and beyond here, spending hours on phone calls and in email messages, ultimately unable to persuade the shelter to simply accept donated and durable beds.

Shame on Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard, the shelter director. Shame on Karen Buchan, the Animal Care Supervisor. Shame on city officials in Huntsville, Alabama, who have been alerted to this situation and have done nothing to intervene, while applauding the shelter director for doing such a wonderful job with taxpayer dollars.

Who refuses free, donated dog beds which are considered the gold standard for animal shelters? People who just don’t give a damn.

We have since turned our attention to another shelter which, when the offer of free beds was made said, “Yes! Please!”

Aubrie Kavanaugh

Henry sleeping on a Kuranda bed at the National Mill Dog Rescue Kennel in Peyton, Colorado.  (Photo submitted by Brie Kavanaugh)

Henry sleeping on a Kuranda bed at the National Mill Dog Rescue Kennel in Peyton, Colorado. (Photo submitted by Brie Kavanaugh)

While it’s sad to know that the Huntsville shelter dogs are still needlessly languishing on concrete, Brie says that the group’s drive to benefit The Ark has been very successful – meeting its goal to get a bed for every dog kennel in the first week.  Any additional donated beds will now be used in the shelter’s outside dog areas.  Awesome.

NJ Pound Kills Owned, Microchipped Cat Upon Impound

Photo from the Justice for Moe page on Facebook.

Photo from the Justice for Moe page on Facebook.

Warning:  There are images of a deceased cat at the links.  They are not graphic but still very sad.


In 2013, an engaged couple adopted a kitten from a NJ shelter and named him Moe. They completed the adoption paperwork jointly.  After the couple separated, Moe remained with owner Stephanie Radlinger. Moe’s microchip contact information was for Ms. Radlinger’s ex-fiance Mike Sedges. So when Moe got lost and was impounded by the Gloucester Co pound on September 30, it was Mr. Sedges who received the call from the microchip company. He gave them Ms. Radlinger’s contact information and the company left a message for her right away. Then things got weird:

Sedges said a shelter worker called him the same morning, instructed him to come to the shelter to identify Moe, and either take him home or surrender the animal to the shelter.

If he failed to do either within seven days, he would be charged with animal neglect, Sedges claims an animal control officer told him.

By 10:30 a.m., he was in Clayton filling out paperwork and paying the $10 surrender fee. Sedges was of the understanding surrendering the cat to the shelter would make it easier for Radlinger to readopt the cat, he claimed.


“When I was in the room with the cat it seemed like the same nice animal, a little skinnier, but it was rolling on its back and stretching and being a goofball,” Sedges claimed.

That afternoon, Ms. Radlinger picked up the message from the pound and immediately called to reclaim her cat.  She says a staff member instructed her to complete an adoption application and, if approved, pay $95 to adopt her own cat.  She did as she was told.  But Moe was already dead – killed by the shelter staff for behavior.  NJ law requires shelters to hold all animals for at least 7 days.  Moe was held for less than one.  Ms. Radlinger is heartbroken:

“The situation doesn’t make sense to me,” Radlinger, of Stratford, told the Courier-Post. “I thought the microchip was the safeguard against these things.”

Yeah, so they like to say.

Gloucester Co spokeswoman Debra Sellitto told the local paper that killing Moe “wasn’t a random decision.” That would seem to be true since last year, the Gloucester Co pound killed roughly 70% of its cats. Hard to call that random. More like Killing R Us.

Ms. Sellitto has more excuses in her hat too:

The shelter based ownership on the microchip information, according to Sellitto.

However, a microchip does not prove ownership under New Jersey law.

Oops. So that’s two violations of state law. Back to the hat:

“Since this incident, the animal shelter is going to be reviewing its procedures. If something is found to have been done improperly, staff persons will be dealt with accordingly,” Sellitto said.

IF something was done improperly?  Does she mean besides the two violations of state law?  Sounds like Gloucester Co looks out for its own.  Has anyone checked under the sidewalks and parking lots lately?

Anyhoo, the Gloucester Co pound apparently felt this whole story was lacking in awful so they rectified that:

On Oct. 2, 24 hours after Moe was euthanized, shelter staff notified Radlinger by phone she was fit to adopt from the shelter.

She declined.

“I just wanted my cat they already put down.”

Oh hey, we killed your cat but we’ll let you buy another one.  Good things cats are interchangeable.  Otherwise shelter staff might have been embarrassed and ashamed to make that phone call.

Ms. Radlinger is sharing her story on social media in order to raise awareness about needless killings at the Gloucester Co pound.  She is reportedly considering a lawsuit against the facility.  I wish her all the luck in the world.

(Thank you for the links Clarice.)

NY Shelter Refuses to Return Elderly Lost Dog to Family

Manson, as pictured on the CBS 6 website.

Manson, as pictured on the CBS 6 website.

When Alysha VanDyke’s 13 year old min pin slipped his collar and got lost last month, she began looking for him but there were no sightings of the dog, named Manson, for weeks. She thought that because of his advanced age and poor health, Manson may have gone off to die. But then a friend saw a posting on Facebook of a dog being offered for adoption by the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley. The dog looked like Manson so the friend alerted his family:

“We were like, ‘Oh my God here he is!’ And we thought that this was the greatest ending and everyone would be happy. Only to find out that was not so,” VanDyke said.

VanDyke says the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley refused to give her dog back when she called and then showed up at the shelter the very next day.

“It felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. It’s like he’s here but I can’t see him? And now I can’t have him?” VanDyke said.

Ms. VanDyke says she showed photos of Manson to the shelter as proof of ownership. But shelter staff told her she wouldn’t be getting her dog back because he wasn’t neutered and therefore she’s obviously a crummy owner. Then they called the cops and had her escorted out of the place. The local CBS affiliate has repeatedly contacted the shelter and its attorney but their only response has been: Hide.

The shelter did post on Facebook about the situation with Manson. They basically say it’s the stupid owner’s fault she didn’t get her dog back because:

  • Didn’t reclaim him fast enough.
  • Not licensed.
  • The proof of ownership she provided was unacceptable.

Also, if the owner does somehow provide the sort of proof of ownership they fancy (while she’s being taken away by police, I guess), she’ll have to pay the extensive vet bills they’ve run up on the dog in addition to the other fees they charge.  Meanwhile, a feeble old dog is sitting in a shelter while his family is waiting for him at home.

So yeah the mandatory holding period expired.  But the shelter knows who the owners are NOW, knows they want their pet back, and knows how hard it is for old dogs removed from their home environment.  Why would you call the cops on someone trying to reclaim their pet – because they didn’t neuter the dog?  Why not use the opportunity to educate the owners, get the dog back home and look like heroes to the public?  Keeping the dog under these circumstances is just ugly.  I guess HIDE sounds like a reasonable plan for the shelter at this juncture.

(Thanks Clarice and Jan for the links.)

Weekend Jade

So of course this happened:

Pitbull. In a tree.

Pitbull. In a tree.

After She Who Will Not Be Contained got done laughing at our puny attempt to hurl additional fencing around the area damaged by the fallen tree, she decided to climb the damn thing. Sorry I didn’t get a better quality pic but it was one of those running-for-the-camera-while-rolling-my-eyes moments.