Cat Needlessly Suffers at Fort Bend Co Pound

A004477 cage cardThe failing Fort Bend Co pound in Texas has claimed another victim.  Cat ID #A004477 was impounded as a stray on October 7, 2015.  On that date, his records show he received a vaccine and his condition was listed as “normal”:

Portion of medical records for cat ID #A004477 at Fort Bend Co.
Portion of medical records for cat ID #A004477 at Fort Bend Co.

At some unknown point, the cat’s condition became abnormal. What is known is that on October 29, animal advocate Elizabeth Welch was at the Fort Bend Co facility pulling a litter of kittens for a rescue group when she noticed cat ID #A004477 was sick. She notified 2 staff members who were in the room that the cat had diarrhea and needed to be seen by a vet.

On November 2, volunteer Taylor Cook found the cat limp, gasping for air, his body and cage covered in diarrhea with kittens housed below him. She alerted staff to the cat’s condition and snapped this photo:

Cat ID #A004477 at the Fort Bend Co pound. (Photo by Taylor Cook)
Cat ID #A004477 at the Fort Bend Co pound. (Photo by Taylor Cook)

Staff killed the suffering cat, later named Gabriel by a volunteer, and listed his condition as “severe”.

Records from Fort Bend Co, obtained via FOIA request, show that after the initial vaccination at time of impound, the cat was never treated again. No observations were recorded at any time. No notation was ever made that he was sick nor did he receive any vet care. He appears to have suffered, nearly to death, for at least 4 days while staff cashed their paychecks.

When outraged animal advocates complained to the county about the needless suffering and death of Gabriel, they all received the same form letter in response. The letter is basically the county patting itself on the back for all its “achievements” at the pound and refers to “marked improvement in the live release rate”, “a veterinarian walk through twice weekly” and donations earmarked for vet care for sick animals. And:

In addition to the improvements noted above, the staff has implemented a new schedule of monitoring all cages and all animals by senior staff three times each day. This is in addition to the usual walk-throughs by staff as they clean and feed the animals. This increased vigilance will assist the staff in identifying illness or other issues that can be promptly dealt with either by shelter staff or the volunteer community through their donations to rescues or 501(c)3 organizations. As always, we also appreciate volunteers and other visitors pointing out concerns as they see them to staff at the shelter at the time of their visit.

I interpret this letter to indicate that senior staff failed to note Gabriel’s desperate condition 3 times a day for at least 4 days. That’s 12 fails right there. Staff failed to note Gabriel’s deterioration every day during feeding and cleaning. More fails. And it seems logical to speculate there would have been at least one vet walk-through during those 4 critical days where no notes were made about Gabriel dying in his cage. Another fail.

But the county appreciates the public “pointing out concerns as they see them to staff” – so they can do nothing, apparently. Well staff did manage one note in the records – to list Gabriel’s condition as “severe” at the time they killed him. Gotta keep that marked improvement in the live release rate. Remember: euthanasia to relieve suffering is a kindness and we can’t blame staff. They’re doing the best they can, we’re all on the same team, blah cetera. I wonder how many other kindnesses Fort Bend Co has doled out to pets whose conditions are listed as “severe”.

(Thank you Elizabeth and Taylor for information in this post.)

11 thoughts on “Cat Needlessly Suffers at Fort Bend Co Pound

  1. This CYA, admit nothing mentality is so disgusting. Never acknowledge mistakes, never own shortcomings, just spew self-congratulatory crap while you stand by and permit a cat to starve to death in its own shit. Fuckers.

  2. I cannot understand why those who are supposed to be administrating these places allow them to continue.

    Do they not KNOW? Are those in charge of shitty shelters just that good at spinning the reality so the higher ups think that it’s all a bunch of nutty animal people who just like to cause trouble? Or are they okay with how things are going because “they’re just animals” and nobody really cares? After all, that cat isn’t going to sue you, is he? So what’s the big deal, right?

    I don’t know the answer to this. Except maybe for the advocates to raise a big enough stink for the county to start to give a rat’s ass about what is going on under their administration.

    If it were me… I’d be inclined to go through with a hidden video camera and document the hell out of this place. Of course, that’s the fast route to “NO MORE VOLUNTEERS”, isn’t it?

    I just don’t know.

    1. Just rated that place on facebook, with comments about this boy. That’s one thing I can do to get the word out locally. Breaks my heart.

  3. My heart breaks for this poor boy and all of the others who surely suffer there. I do not understand . . .

  4. Mikken, the county judge, comissioners , head and deputy head of the Health Dept. all know and have been connected repeatedly. I’ve called and e-mailed them and met with the two Health Dept. heads in June 2013. Big changes were promised!!!

    1. Oh, I’ve heard those promises in my area too. Let’s blow smoke at the naive, gullible animal rescuer so she will shut up and go away and we can resume doing whatever the hell we want with complete impunity.

    2. Then they have to be shamed into acting appropriately.

      We had a situation similar – the pound was using the gas chamber to kill cats. No one knew it – big secret. When it came out, people were shocked, but the commissioners all knew (and had stopped the use of the gas chamber for dogs because they found it “distasteful”, but cats, okey dokey).

      Well, I had zero access to the shelter, but I did have access to records via FOIA (big thanks to Shirley for her help there!) and my own knowledge and experiences of the place and how it functioned. So I stood up in the commissioners’ meetings week after week and detailed what was going on, how wrong it was, how unnecessary, etc. And I made it clear that I would keep coming back until change happened.

      Well, a pet-friendly newspaper reporter was more than happy to report on it – week after week.

      Eventually, the commissioners dreaded seeing me. Eventually, they gave up the gas chamber. I had to practically pry it out of their clutching fingers, but it’s gone. Because I spoke out and promised to keep speaking out until they actually did something.

      Start gathering information. FOIAs. Video, if possible. And use it. Get as much as you can and use it.

  5. I can’t even say what I want because people might think I was a psycho about how much I want to hurt those ‘alleged ‘ humans who walked by time after time and did nothing.

  6. How could anyone with a heart walk past that cat trying so hard to go in his litter pan—can’t even make it there, so sick, so tired, so forgotten—and not do something? They are heartless, and I don’t know if there is a hell, but I hope they burn.

  7. I was told recently that this facility has no vet on staff. That boggles my mind considering that we know that a percentage of the incoming animal population is going to be sick or injured, and need medical care yet there is no vet staff there to treat them. My fears about this place are realized reading about this cat. I also wonder if it is legal for staff there to be doing “euthanasia” without a vet on staff to oversee it and the blue juice used.

    And BTW this is not some “rural” community in the middle of nowhere. Ft. Bend Co is right next to Harris Co, where Houston is located. There are a lot of wealthy people living there, so the county has money to hire appropriate personnel.

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