CT Shelter Refuses to Help Dog in Need

A woman recently attempted to surrender a pitbull to AC in West Haven, CT.  She allegedly told ACOs that she was moving and the dog was aggressive.  The ACOs refused to take the dog and gave the woman a list of rescues she could try.  Good luck with that.  Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

An hour later, AC received a call about a pitbull running loose in the road:

The animal control officer who responded tried setting a trap for the dog and realized it was the same dog brought to the shelter earlier that day.

Golly gee willickers, you don’t say!  It’s almost like a desperate person took desperate action which, as far as I know, has never happened in the history of the world making this event totally unforeseeable.

The dog was killed by a car that afternoon. Which is you know, fine:

“Especially if someone comes in and says my dog is vicious. That’s not the city’s responsibility to take your dog that was mis-trained. Obviously the shelter can’t release that to somebody who wants to accept a pet, adopt a pet, because the liability is tremendous,” said West Haven Police Sgt. David Tammaro.

Not the city’s responsibility to shelter a dog in need. So what exactly are taxpayers paying for at the shelter that won’t shelter?

And I hate to blow anyone’s mind but sometimes people surrendering pets at the shelter are not truthful about the reason they are there. Who knows if the dog was truly aggressive or if the surrendering party thought that sounded like a more valid reason to leave a pet than just “I’m moving.”? I’ll tell you who does NOT know: the West Haven shelter staff. Because they didn’t take the dog. He never got a chance to settle in and be evaluated.

Even if the dog had some aggression issues, it’s possible they were issues which could be identified and managed through simple practices. But no one bothered to do their job. Here’s a list of private rescues which are all overburdened and operating on shoestring budgets already, see ya.

In explaining why West Haven AC refused to help the pitbull in need, Sgt. Tammaro also cited a lack of resources.

This is the same facility where an ACO was arrested and charged with larceny in July.  The now fired ACO had been serving as treasurer of a non-profit group collecting donations from the public to help pay medical expenses for animals at the shelter.  He was allegedly pocketing the cash for himself.

But the city did get off its ass to track down the woman who tried to surrender the pitbull via the surveillance camera footage they had of her at the shelter:

After posting photos on Wednesday morning, West Haven’s Animal Control office said it has received a number of tips saying that the woman lived in West Haven and is now in Florida.
Police said the woman told them she left the dog with a friend before heading south, but police are trying to figure out whether or not she is telling the truth.

If police had tried to figure out whether she was telling the truth about the dog being aggressive by taking the dog in and sheltering him, which is their job, this whole thing would have been avoided and the dog would still be alive. I wonder how many other pets are dead at the side of the road in West Haven because the shelter staff won’t do their jobs.  But yeah, let’s definitely keep shipping our southern shelter pets to the Magical North where everything is grand.

(Thanks Clarice.)



11 thoughts on “CT Shelter Refuses to Help Dog in Need

  1. Well, in my part of the Magical North, I can tell you that my local county pound will NOT take an aggressive owner surrender, either. They too will turn you away if your dog so much as growls, lifts a lip, or looks at them funny. Because they’re “not required” to take owner surrenders and they don’t want the hassle of any dog who is going to be the least bit difficult or reactive at them.

    If they find such a dog running stray, they will just kill it. Because…aggressive. Public threat. Etc., etc.

  2. As far as I’m concerned, ALL! parties in this tragic situation are *equally* guilty. The *owner* is not fit to *own* a dog! When the shelter failed–I’m sure they were aware that the dog would not be taken in by the rescues on the list–the *owner* should have taken the dog to the vet to be euthanized. I’m sure the owner is content to lay blame for her despicable cruel choice.

  3. What about an OWNERS RESPONSIBILITY for DOING THE RIGHT THING! Why is it the Shelter and taxpayers job to pay to have an unadoptable dog Euthanized while he is terrified and surrounded by strangers!!! “if you [can’t] keep him/her, then ‘do the right thing’ and let yours be the last face he sees before letting him cross over the bridge.”
    See it from the Shelters Perspective
    Read that article and see that the shelters and rescues just want people to do the right thing for the animal that they decided to keep as a pet and then decided it was someone else’s responsibility!

  4. I’m afraid that you’re mistaking a municipal shelter for an animal rescue. Let me tell you the difference. A municipal shelter is a by-product of the animal control division. It houses dogs and the occasional cat that have been impounded for various law infractions. I.E. Roaming, animal abuse cases, dog bites, sudden death cases where there’s no next of kin to take care of the animals, house fires etc. no where is there a requirement to take owner surrendered dogs. An animal rescue is a place that takes in unwanted pets. LEGALLY speaking, everything that could be done WAS. Also, if they took the dog in, based off the owner’s description of the dog as being aggressive (and our own behavioral analysis), they would have had no choice but to euthanize . They DO NOT have staff to deal with behavioral issues. They DO NOT have a formal temperament test, nor do they have access to such things readily. If that angers people, please go to a city budget meeting and lobby for more funds. So that dog would either be put to sleep immediately or it would sit in the shelter for a year, then be PTS.

    1. In this one case, being immediately PTS would perhaps have been preferable. If I had to choose being hit by a car, or lethal injection, well, I would have to choose lethal injection. And yes, by all rights lets debate “Animal Rescue” vs “Animal Control”. The difference is that often-times the local Animal Control is BETTER FUNDED than the local Animal Rescues. And on YOUR DIME. And there are many, many steps that could be taken for FREE or at A VERY MINIMAL COST to reduce death and warehousing by Animal Control.

  5. To clarify, I do not work for the specific shelter in question, but I have adopted multiple furkids from them and I am familiar with the staff, and this specific caseThey all work incredibly hard, and do everything they can for the animals at the shelter. Please consider all aspects of a case. Nothing is black and white.

  6. I’m sorry, but how can they charge her with anything if she tried to surrender the dog to authorities? If she is already in Florida that means she was on her way out of town. Something I’m sure she told them. How could get the dog to a rescue, even if one would take the dog?

    Personally, I place more blame on animal control than the woman. They are an open access, government operated facility. They were obligated to take the dog. You don’t get to refuse to do your job then charge a woman with no other options because of your failure.

    As far as taking the dog to the vet to be put down, that is actually very hard to do. Very few vets that I know of will put animals down for behavior issues. And even the ones who do usually require years of well documented training attempts before even considering it.

  7. I’ve said it before, and I will undoubtedly say it again: There will always be those among us who, for whatever reason, either cannot or do not care for their pets as we would have them do. There will always be people who are overwhelmed, and people who are irresponsible. There will always be liars and monsters and fools, and there will always be people who just can’t cope.

    We can’t legislate or educate them all away. We CAN, however, change how we, ourselves, respond to them.

    I don’t much care which of these the woman was or how much she was to blame, and I don’t give a hummingbird’s fart in a windstorm if what the shelter did was lawful, within official policy, or common practice. They knew the dog was in need, they could’ve taken him in, and they chose not to do so. As an open-admission public shelter they had an ethical if not legal obligation to aid him, and they turned him away because he would’ve been inconvenient and an expense.

    This poor dog was failed by everyone, but that moment, the shelter had an opportunity to extend a hand, and snatched it back instead.

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