CA Rescuer Charged with Cruelty, Pound Manager Not Charged with Irony

buell case dog
One of the dogs seized in the felony cruelty case against Buell, as shown on the NBC Los Angeles website.

In April 2015, Apple Valley Animal Services seized 13 starving dogs from rescuer Sherre Kay Buell.  One dog was dead in a trash can on the property, one died on the way to the vet, and two had to be euthanized due to their poor condition.  Buell has been charged with 12 counts of felony animal cruelty in Apple Valley and 3 counts in Hesperia (where she reportedly used to live).  A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 3.

Starving dogs is unacceptable.  Full stop.  There is video at the link of a little girl trying to comfort a severely emaciated dog who is too weak to stand.  It’s heartbreaking.

Killing pets, which is what they do at Apple Valley Animal Services, is also unacceptable.  And there is no hope of recovery from death.  Which puts the manager’s comments on the case in rather a – what’s the word – stupid light:

“I think that’s one of the most difficult things for any of us in the animal welfare position. Why do people hurt animals?” asked Gina Whiteside, the manager at the Town of Apple Valley Animal Services.

Yes please killsplain to us why people hurt animals while I browse through page after page of all the animals killed at your facility every month.

“There needs to be some animal action at the state level that regulates animal rescuing,” Whiteside said.
While shelters are regulated by law to humanely care and provide for the animals they take in, the same rules are not in place for rescue groups or the people who foster, explained Whiteside.

The Real Problem. Identified.

So we want to hold rescuers to the same legal standards as shelters that hide and kill animals. Because that would be better, somehow.


Whiteside acknowledged animal cruelty issues extend beyond the cases against any one individual, calling for progress to be made in laws and procedures dealing with general animal services.
“In my opinion, anything short of changing the ‘status quo’ when it comes to ‘saving animals lives’ does not signal that we (shelters, rescues, the community) want better outcomes for animals in need of our services (at every level),” she wrote.

*Mother of All Coffee Spews*

Being starved and alive with the hope that someone might save you is actually a better outcome than the “services” offered in Apple Valley’s kill room.  The status quo at far too many so-called shelters like Apple Valley is convenience killing. Any interest in changing that?

The Apple Valley Municipal Animal Shelter dealt with its own controversy this summer after Richard Marx and other celebrities on social media criticized the shelter for euthanizing four puppies, which officials had first unsuccessfully tried to house in foster homes. Whiteside said the criticisms, however, were the result of misinformation and distorted facts.

Probably the case for the many, many, really a lot many animals killed at Apple Valley.  Just a bunch of hooey.  If only we had harsher laws for rescuers!

(Thanks Clarice.)

2 thoughts on “CA Rescuer Charged with Cruelty, Pound Manager Not Charged with Irony

  1. Right on! Sharp & witty as always. But it brings up another troubling question: having defended several rescuers who got overextended, I am wondering what we can do to strengthen the rescue community so that those who need help can safely ask for & receive it. Besides the obvious problems like lack of resources & organization, we have to recognize that some rescuers are fiercely independent & resist involvement with others. Yet it is very hard to go it alone — sooner or later one runs into trouble, it seems. But there have to be solutions short of prosecution — maybe looking at what social services departments do could provide some ideas.

  2. This is a prime example of why all shelters and rescues that transfer pets to other orgs really need to check out the places they send these poor animals to because as you can see, sometimes they end up in horrible places. Just because someone claims to be a “rescuer” does not automatically make them worthy of taking on the responsibility of caring for these pets. Some rogue rescues will take on animals because they come with donations from the caring public but once they’re sent to their destination, there is no follow up or even prescreening of the people or so called orgs they are sent to. State regulations in Ga require only licensed rescues can take animals and by licensed I mean they are inspected twice annually by the state ag department’s Animal Protection division. All foster homes affiliated with licensed rescues are also required to be inspected by a corp officer of the licensed org that is on record with state ag dept and sec of state’s office twice a year and those inspection records are required to be kept on file so the state can inspect records. This way someone is held accountable and to prevent this type of thing as best possible. This type of situation is why I would recommend only sending to known reputable orgs that can be easily verified (like North Shore Animal League for example). If sending to another state where logistics makes it difficult to inspect, is strongly suggest contacting a known humane org in that state and ask them to do a courtesy routine inspection at least twice a year to make sure the animals you rescue are not being sent to a house of horrors. If you can’t inspect or have a contact in that state that can, then by all means don’t blindly send animals off to God knows where. These animals have already been let down by owners so they shouldn’t be let down by those who vow to save them, too. These animals deserve better than that. I wish every state would adopt regulations to monitor shelters, rescues, breeders and anyone else caring for companion pets to ensure they receive humane care. Nothing is fool proof and there will still be rogues out there but at least it will help eliminate a good number of bad guys out there that prey on these poor animals.

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