NY Dog Control Officer Charged in Connection with Dog Death

Shaheen R. Shaheen, the dog control officer for the Town of Tupper Lake, was arrested by NY state police this week and charged with “one count of torturing or injuring animals or failure to provide sustenance, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of neglect of an impound animal, a class U misdemeanor.”

Shaheen had reportedly picked up a stray dog on October 2 after receiving a call about a loose dog in need of help from a neighborhood resident.  He took the dog, who police say was in rough shape, to the Tupper Lake Animal Shelter.  It’s not clear what else, if anything, Shaheen did for the dog after leaving him in a cage:

“The dog was in poor health at the time of confiscation, and its health continued to deteriorate while at the shelter,” the [state police press] release said.
“Shaheen failed to provide the dog with proper care and needed veterinary service.”

The dog was found dead at the shelter on October 26. The town council met with Shaheen about the death on October 27 and the town supervisor requested his resignation. He resigned his position, effective October 31.

Shaheen is due to appear in court on November 25.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Remembering Pets Who Died in Their Cages at the Memphis Pound: September 2015

Animals impounded by Memphis Animal Services fall over dead in their cages every month.  Here are the records for the pets who died in anonymity in September at MAS.

I am using this post to memorialize one of those pets who was impounded in “normal” condition then died in his cage the next day.  There are no notes to indicate why an apparently healthy dog suddenly died and no notes indicating anyone at MAS took the slightest interest:

281650 cage card  281650 med records

I’m sorry your last hours on this earth were spent alone in a cage at a pet killing facility. You are loved and you are not forgotten.

How many more, Memphis?

Victoria Co Pound Has a 6% Adoption Rate, Zero Tolerance for Rescues

romo victoria co romo info

The Victoria Co pound in Texas, where a dog who had an adopter waiting was recently oops-killed because not killing is hard, is back in the news:

Since November 2014, 3,515 dogs and cats have entered the shelter, according to records. Of those, 238 were adopted.

238 adopted. *sound of balloon deflating*

Glass half full: That number is 30 more than the 208 pets who fell over dead in their cages during that time period. And way more than the 54 animals who went “missing” from the place. You run, Fluffy. You run and don’t ever look back.

Aaaaaaanyway, they don’t need help, especially not from people who ask questions like Why are the animals forced to live in filth? and such:

Victoria County Animal Control has cut ties with a foster group it has been working with for almost three years.

County officials say the group was given the boot for “bullying and unprofessional behaviors.”

However, Kim Cole, the administrator of the foster group Shelter Pets, said the real issue is her attempt to hold the department accountable for what she considers to be inappropriate and inadequate treatment of animals housed at the facility.
Before receiving the letter, Cole said, she had a meeting with Animal Control and the Victoria County Public Health Department, where she brought up issues including the condition of kennels filled with animal feces.

How unprofessional. Bully.

The Victoria Co pound is doing the best they can, probably. But haters gonna hate.

28261872 victoria co28261872 info

It’s a glove. And a kitten. In some sort of cylinder. That’s my best guess. Can I use a lifeline?

(Thanks Clarice.)

Weekend Jade

Whoomp there it is.

Whoomp there it is.

Open Thread

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

Bela Lugosi in The Black Cat.

Bela Lugosi in The Black Cat.

45 Dogs Removed from Abandoned Property by Rescue Before Police Arrive

An odd story out of New Mexico:

An Alamogordo animal rescue group says it saved dozens of dogs from an abandoned puppy mill. The group claims the local sheriff’s department wasn’t doing anything to help but the sheriff’s department says that’s just not true.

The allegedly abandoned puppy mill appears to have housed bulldogs and a number of mixed breeds. Approximately 45 dogs and puppies were taken by the rescue. The director of the group says she contacted the Dona Ana Co sheriff’s office about the dogs but was told flat out that no one would be coming, which seems strange.

A sheriff’s office spokesman says a supervisor was dispatched in response to the call and arrived to find no one on the property and all the animals gone. Because the dogs had been removed by the rescue, the sheriff’s office says it was unable to conduct an investigation which may have resulted in charges against the dogs’ owner.

The director describes “very badly wounded dogs” who were dying on the property but doesn’t elaborate on the nature of the injuries.  A video posted by the rescue appears to show dogs in good condition.

The group is selling the puppies for $2200 and has a Go Fund Me set up aiming to raise $25,000 for care of the dogs.

Without a police investigation (due to the removal of evidence), there is no way of knowing whether the dogs were better off before or after being rescued – or if their situation is pretty much unchanged.  This type of head-scratching case underscores the importance of transparency.  We demand it of our public shelters (although we don’t always get it) and we should expect it from non-profit (?) charities as well.  People busy scratching their heads are not writing checks.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your answers in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is a personal red cup spiritual crisis you’re going to have to work out for yourself optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.


Texas Shelter Oops-Kills Dog with Adopter Waiting

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Tiffany Smith regularly picks up pets she finds roaming loose in her area.  The dog she found wandering her neighborhood on October 30 was different – her family fell in love with the dog and named her Loretta:

“She just hopped in my car,” said Smith[.] “She was so loving.”
“She was a sweetie,” Smith said. “She got along with our kids. She got along with our dog.”

Ms. Smith turned Loretta over to police for transport to Victoria City-County Animal Control. She then called the shelter and asked an employee to note that her family wanted to adopt Loretta if no one claimed her.  The employee told her to call back on November 2.  When she did, she was told Loretta has already been killed.  Oops:

“There was a miscommunication,” [chief officer for AC Brecka] Tieken said. “That definitely has given us an opportunity to establish … a policy/protocol.”

Ya think?

Tieken said because the protocol is still being developed, she could not release details of the changes.

It’s so innovative, even the developers don’t know what it is.  I’m guessing it’s some cutting edge policy where employees WRITE SHIT DOWN and READ IT.  I hope they can pull this off and blaze a trail for other shelters.  Imagine the possibilities.

Making earmarks for animals that have been chosen by adopters is harder than it seems, Tieken said.

No doubt.  Scrawling DO NOT KILL on a cage card involves penmanship skills, a background in 2nd grade spelling and the ability to procure a writing instrument.  It’s little wonder so many shelter workers burn out.

“You gotta realize, when there are so many animals coming in to Animal Control on a daily basis, it’s next to impossible” for one of the shelter workers to call someone when a specific animal is available, Tieken said.

Two points:  There are 8 dogs listed for adoption on the Victoria Co website today.  Just having a guess, there are likely no more than 1 or 2 of them who have adopters waiting on them.  So let’s not make this out to be Wal Mart on Black Friday.

Also:  No one said the shelter worker had to call Ms. Smith when Loretta was ready to be adopted (heaven forfend).  It was the other way around.  The worker told Ms. Smith it was her job to call back in 3 days and ask about the dog.  Which she did.  Only to be told the friendly dog was in the dumpster.

If you can’t take at least a passing interest in not killing the pets people have told you they want to take home, I’m not sure the bar can be lowered further. You are standing on it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Dallas Animal Services: Skanks Gonna Get Themselves Locked Up If They Don’t Step Off

You may remember Dallas Animal Services from such knee-slapping exploits as oops killing a bucket of kittens while a foster home was being arranged, secretly killing 4 dogs slated for rescue and leaving a cat trapped inside the pound wall to suffer and die.  Now, more hilarity as compassionate citizens who care for strays at an area well known as a dumping ground for dogs who appear to have been abused are painted as criminals:

Are volunteers who feed stray dogs committing a crime? Public statements from the city’s own animal shelter agency and an officer in the Dallas City Marshal’s Office suggest that the volunteer group is breaking the law and possibly harming the animals. “You cannot feed in the city of Dallas,” an officer says in a recording taken by volunteers Marina Tarashevska and Leslie Ysuhuayles. He cites an unspecified “ordinance,” an ordinance that CBS-11 was unable to find when they followed up with a story on volunteers’ encounter with the marshal. Afterward, the city’s animal shelter and animal control agency weighed in. Dallas Animal Services posted a “clarification” on its Facebook page, defending the marshal. While there are no ordinances that actually ban people from feeding loose dogs, the shelter acknowledges, the volunteers may be guilty of littering. Dallas Animal Services also says that people who feed loose animals without doing anything else to help are doing more harm than good. “#IfYouFeedItFixIt,” the posts ends, implying that the volunteers confronted by the marshal were only “feeding” and not “fixing.”

Turns out, the people doing the feeding are also capturing, neutering and adopting out the dogs –  things DAS apparently knows little about.  In fact, DAS is more concerned with outsourcing the killing of its pets in order to “maintain stable workforce” than having its employees actually shelter animals.  (No takers so far, which is weird.)

But just so we’re straight:  The Dallas pound wants to clarify that, while there are people out there tying dogs’ legs together and dumping them (some dead, others still alive) at this one site, it’s the people feeding the dogs who are, in OJ terms, The Real Killers.

(Photo by Casey Post)

(Photo by Casey Post)

Blaming local rescuers, especially Ms. Tarashevska – an outspoken critic of DAS, is standard fare. The pound’s social media coordinator, Rebecca Poling, appears to get a paycheck for it:

In September, Poling shared [on her personal Facebook page] a screenshot of a post that Tarashevska had written that cites the Observer story and criticizes the way Jones runs Dallas’ animal shelter. A group of other rescuers responds with name-calling. Stacy Smith, a co-founder of the Humane Society of Flower Mound, writes of Tarashevska,”#rescuebarbie.” Kate Larkin, who operates a rescue group called Rag Tag Rescue in East Texas, follows with the short and simple “#bitch.”

Erin Schults, who operates Mazie’s Mission animal rescue in Frisco, writes in the thread that Tarashevska will “eventually fade away. When her face is chewed off by a dog she is ‘saving.'”

Others pounce on Tarashevska’s appearance.

Poling, for her part, doesn’t resort to name-calling, but she doesn’t discourage it, either. “Are people still listening to this skank?” Shults writes in another comment in the thread, to which Poling replies, “Unfortunately, yes.”

Neither Poling nor city spokesman Jeffrey Clapper have responded to an email requesting an interview about Poling’s social media strategy.

Social media strategy. #LOL #YouPeopleSeemNice

If I lived in a city where freaks were abusing dogs and dumping them in plastic bags, I’d be kinda worried.  And if it was my job to investigate animal cruelty in that city, I guess I’d get right on that start waving something shiny to distract the public and blame rescuers demanding I do my job for kibble littering.  Which is in fact, a gateway crime.  Every time someone gets their face chewed off, you can always trace it back to skanks putting out kibble.

Never change, DAS. You keep on trying to find someone to kill your animals for you and blaming the public for all the things and social media strategizing.  Your cultural blend of 1940s sheltering philosophy, criminal laziness and Texas sized hate is so uniquely you and becoming harder to find as the rest of the nation progresses unabashedly toward 2016.

(Thanks Nathan and Mike.)

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.)