Some NY Shelters Hiding Their Killed Animals at Veterinary Offices

The Journal News submitted a FOIA request to the state of NY to find out how many animals are killed by shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley, along with a request for the controlled substances logs from each facility. The state sort of shrugged:

The state Department of Health, which is required by law to maintain records of all animals put to sleep at animal shelters or animal-control centers, only has a fraction of the mandatory quarterly reports it is supposed to collect. That means that, in addition to not keeping track of most animals that are euthanized by shelters, the state also has no record on how much sodium pentobarbital — the lethal chemical used to put animals to sleep — some shelters have in stock.

State health officials said they conducted “a diligent search” that lasted three months after The Journal News requested the records. But the department only produced partial records for just three of the seven active animal shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley — and no records for other types of animal-control facilities.

A spokesman for the Health Department did not reply to repeated requests for comment over the past two weeks.

Some of the shelters take their animals to private veterinary offices for killing.  Vets fall under different reporting requirements than shelters and when they dispose of dead animals, they don’t have to specify whether the pet belonged to a client or came from a shelter.  Five of the seven shelters contract with a crematory in Hartsdale, which estimates it cremates 30,000 pets a year with 1450 of those coming from area shelters.

The Yonkers Animal Shelter did have records on file with the state but the documents, which indicate only 5 dogs and zero cats were killed during a one year period, are clearly useless:

In 2015, [director of the Yonkers shelter Almira] Simpson said, 71 cats and 11 dogs from the shelter, including the five Yonkers reported to the state, were put down.

The shelter only reported five dogs to the state since the other 77 pets were killed at veterinary offices.

The Journal News, unable to obtain the actual records sought on pets killed in shelters, tried asking some of the non-compliant shelters for numbers:

[Robert] Kelly, the Mount Vernon police commissioner who acknowledged that the department had failed to file the state reports, said his city’s shelter euthanized 53 cats and 12 dogs last year.

M’kay. Not that there is any way to verify that with the state.

The Hudson Valley Humane Society said it only euthanized one animal, a dog, last year.

MMM’Kaaay. So they couldn’t fill out the form to report that ONE DOG?

The SPCA of Westchester did not return calls for comment.

Sounds legit. I checked the shelter’s website and it says:

The SPCA contracts with 13 different municipalities to accept delivery of their stray cats and dogs for return to owners or to arrange for adoption. Lost dogs and cats are held at the shelter for at least eight days before becoming available for adoption.

So 13 municipalities in NY are contracting with a facility that doesn’t follow the law by reporting to the state and doesn’t answer calls from media about pet killing.  I wonder if they take calls from owners looking for their lost pets.

But let’s definitely keep shipping our shelter animals to the magical north where everything is obscenely dandy, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Microchip Saves Dog’s Life After He Gets Adopted by Total Jerk

A dog owned by Jason Dotson of Hamilton Co, Ohio reportedly attacked and nearly killed a leashed service dog who was being walked by his owner in October 2015.  The service dog was forced to retire as a result of the attack.  The court ordered Dotson to have his dog killed at the local SPCA.

Dotson instead went to the SPCA and adopted a dog who resembled his own pet then returned two days later and presented the newly adopted dog for killing under the court order.  It happened that an employee recognized the recently adopted dog and therefore scanned him for a microchip.  The chip confirmed that Dotson had just adopted the dog and he was not the same animal ordered killed by the court.

He faced the judge yesterday:

“In my 10 years as a judge I can’t recall a more cold and heartless act,” Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg said in court Tuesday. “If I could give you more time, legally, I would.” Jason Dotson, 32, was sentenced to 30 days at the Hamilton County Justice Center without probation or work release. His bond was set at $50,000.
[…]
“It’s one thing for you to ignore a court order, it’s quite another thing to try to perpetrate a fraud on this court,” Greenberg said. “And you tried to have an innocent dog killed.”

The attacking dog has since been killed. The article doesn’t mention what happened to the dog Dotson tried to have killed but presumably the SPCA would have taken him back.

I’m glad in this case that a shelter employee recognized the dog and thought to grab the scanner.  A life was saved. We have far too many stories on this blog about shelters failing to scan animals for chips and the tragic outcomes that follow.  I hope this story motivates more shelters to scan ALL animals before killing – even if they’ve been previously scanned and no chip detected, even if the person requesting the killing says he is the owner of the pet, and even if the animal comes with a court order to be killed.  Things are not always as they seem.

If the shelter worker had not happened to recognize the dog Dotson brought in for killing, apparently there would have been no scan, just as there often isn’t any scan when a supposed owner takes a pet to a shelter to be killed.  Had Dotson been bright enough to get a dog from any other facility besides the one he was ordered to bring his dog to, there would have been no possibility of the dog being recognized, which is what prompted the scan.

Scanning for a microchip takes just a minute and does not require any advanced training.  Finding a chip could save an animal’s life.  There is simply no excuse for shelters not scanning every animal before killing, regardless of circumstances.

Louisiana Pound Employees Under Investigation by Police

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations of wrongdoing by the director and three other employees of the Ouachita Parish pound in LA. The facility falls under the Ouachita Parish Police Jury:

Scotty Robinson, Police Jury President, says, “we had someone within the animal shelter come in and raise some concerns.”
Concerns surrounding allegations the director and other employees were using an inmate who had trustee status to work on their private projects, projects that the police jury’s attorney says are not allowed.
Jay Mitchell, OPPJ Attorney, says, “…constructed a barbeque grill…and also did some welding on some trailers Uh private trailers that were apparently may have been used sometimes in animal control work, But they were not owned by the parish.”

All four of the employees reportedly resigned rather than face termination by the parish.

In 2014, the pound killed approximately 63% of the animals in its care.  The only other online statistics I could find were from 2011 when the pound killed 60% of its dogs and 85% of its cats, according to a local volunteer group.  The group has a page detailing the thousands of pets needlessly killed each year at the pound along with all the standard excuses about how there aren’t enough homes, they “have to” kill every single day of the year, the irresponsible public blows, killing isn’t as much fun as it should be and smack in the middle, in boldface, is this:

ouachita parish enablers

Screengrab from a PAWS of NE LA webpage.

Oof.

So apparently this institutionalized killing for convenience has been going on for years, maybe since the pound’s inception, I don’t know, and it’s a total package complete with a band of enablers.  The director and staff don’t do their jobs to shelter animals but kill them instead while the volunteers stand ready to defend the killing and blame the public.  Maybe no one has ever done their jobs at this place, I don’t know.

But recently, “someone within the animal shelter” was moved to take action.  Not because the place is an epic fail and the bodies are really starting to pile up, not because there are proven alternatives which could be put into place to save the animals but continue to be ignored in favor of daily kill-fests – but because somebody got a grill built by an inmate.  And there was WELDING.

Enough is enough, you know?  I mean killing animals hand over fist every day of the year instead of doing our jobs is one thing but getting a grill made and having welding on some trailers Uh private trailers that were apparently may have been used sometimes in animal control work, But they were not owned by the parish – well that’s just objectionable.  There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s got to take a stand and this is that time.

But do not fear, the mission endures:

[A]lthough down four employees, Robinson says it hasn’t seriously affected the shelter.
[…]
“Our treasurer office has kind of taking over the day to day operations as far as the financial and the money and things that go on.”

Things that go on. I dread to think.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Recipe: Vegan Dog Treats

This is a basic recipe I’ve made many times, varying the ingredients to fit what I have on hand.  (I also make a chocolate version for myself.)  I’ve used different kitchen tools and methods to mix up the batter, which is a sticky paste in the end, and there doesn’t seem to be any significant difference.  So use what ingredients and tools you have as I’m just outlining one basic recipe and method here.

Vegan Dog Treats

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 C peanut butter

1/2 C blackstrap molasses

1/2 C unsweetened applesauce

1 C rice flour

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 C almond meal

1/2 C flaxseed meal

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

Place all ingredients into a food processor and run until thoroughly mixed.  Run your fingertips under the faucet then press the batter into a greased pan, about 1/2 inch thick.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 mins, shut off the oven, run through with a pizza wheel to create desired sized pieces and place back in the oven for several hours.

Notes:  I make my own version of rice flour by grinding uncooked rice in a blender.  Some of the other ingredients which I’ve used in this recipe include different types of beans, honey (if you want to stray outside the vegan label) , carob chips, oats, pumpkin, and vanilla.

Weekend Jade

20160117jade

Breaking the news that it’s too cold and rainy for a walk this morning.

Open Thread

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

The contact sheet for the Diamond Dogs album cover shoot

[x]

NC Rescuer Charged with Crime by Pet Killing Facility

rowan co ph jan152016

Screengrab from PetHarbor of the Rowan Co pound’s cat listings on January 15, 2016.  They’re doing the best they can, prolly.

A woman in NC has been trying to do the Rowan Co pound’s job for them since they are so terribly awful at it.  Jennifer Frasier regularly pulls cats from the pound and gets them adopted to permanent homes.  Pound staff say that Ms. Frasier has come in more than once and taken every single cat on the kill list.  She also pulls for other rescues when they want to save cats from being killed but can’t physically get there before the buzzer sounds.

In November 2015, a group of cats was found abandoned in Iredell Co, which neighbors Rowan Co.  Some of the cats were traced back via microchips to Ms. Frasier’s father (the article is a bit confusing on the details here and of course the county won’t provide any information). Ms. Frasier says she had pulled some of the cats from the Rowan Co pound for another rescue.  She says she turned them over to that rescue the same day she pulled them and has documentation to verify her claim.  The cats were picked up, sent back to Rowan Co then returned to Ms. Frasier’s father.

Last month, Iredell Co Animal Services had police arrest Ms. Frasier and her father on charges of animal abandonment.  Subsequent to the arrest, Ms. Frasier has been attacked on social media and her rescue’s adoption center has been vandalized.  The adoption center is now closed.  Both Ms. Frasier and her father are due in Iredell Co court on February 1.

I will grant you the details of this case are clear as mud but what is known is that both the pounds in Rowan Co and Iredell Co are the suck.  In 2014, Iredell Co killed roughly 3 out of 4 of its cats.

iredell co ph jan152016

Screengrab from PetHarbor showing a cat listed by Iredell Co.

Anyone who walks into a pound and says, “Give me every cat on your kill list” is ok by me. I don’t know why Rowan Co didn’t intervene and tell Iredell Co to back off when this unfortunate situation arose but the whole thing sounds like a bunch of slackers got together with some cat haters and threw a party.  I hope the county withdraws the charges before the court date.  If they can take time out of their cat hating day I mean.

(Thanks Lisa 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 You want to be careful. People will think you’re… up to something. optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tomorrow.

nta

A Response to Some Comments on Yesterday’s Post

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are likely a supporter of no kill, unless you just come here to hate read which – hey, we take all comers.  But if you are for no kill, you are a compassionate person who believes that shelter directors should do their jobs and not kill the animals in their care.  And it’s likely you do more than read about ending the killing – whether you have adopted an animal to save his life, addressed your local politicians about no kill, volunteered at a shelter or any number of other ways you might be engaged.

If you work with (or for) the director and staff of your local shelter for any length of time, you may come to consider them friends.  You may come to feel that, even though they kill animals, they are basically good people in a bad situation.  And you may be right.  Every pet killing facility that transitioned to no kill had some well-intentioned people working there who needed education and had a willingness to change.  You might be working with people like that.

Here’s the thing:  education and change don’t fall from the sky and bathe you in their glory.  There has to be someone to speak up and demand reform.  It can be demanded in polite terms.  It can be demanded respectfully.  It can be demanded with a bouquet of daisies.  But someone has to do it.

People are hesitant to bring criticism to their friends, especially when they have developed and want to maintain the relationship.  And many pet killing facilities make it clear on social media or even in their policy handbooks that criticism is not allowed.  Animal advocates sometimes have the concern, and rightfully so, that their ability to help animals at the shelter will be taken away if they speak up against the killing.  I get all of that.

fb posting valencia co

Portion of a Facebook posting

Still, someone has to do it.  If no one stands up and says unequivocally that killing is wrong and it needs to stop immediately, no one will hear it.  And if no one hears it, those good people you are working with, sympathizing with, making excuses for, enabling – whatever you want to call it – will maintain the status quo.  They will keep killing animals while you keep silent.

vera

Love comes in many forms.  (Photo by Casey Post)

I have no problem being the bad guy.  I will call out every director failing to shelter animals and killing them instead.  Every last one.  The ones who say they hate it, the ones who seem to enjoy it, and every one in between.  If they never hear it from anyone else, they will hear it from me:  killing shelter animals, including the unborn, is wrong.

My hope though, is that by bringing attention to the individual shelters doing the killing, someone local will be motivated to take action to protect the animals.  I’m not saying anyone is going to chain themselves to the kill room door and chant “No more killing” into a bullhorn or anything, but maybe a meeting will be sought.  Perhaps a conversation will be had.  Even if it’s only to say what a jerk that YesBiscuit is and what does she know and we’re doing the best we can but oh I did notice that no kill checklist she posted and I wondered if one of those things might work for us.  It’s a start.

Complacency is the enemy of reform. If you find yourself defending the killing of shelter animals, you have become complacent about the failure at your shelter.  Snap out of it.  Do not wait for a mandatory spay-neuter law to magically solve your challenges – mainly because MSN has never eliminated or reduced the killing of shelter animals anywhere it’s been tried.  It’s a proven failure with some communities seeing an increase in killing after the passage of MSN.  This is why MSN is opposed by most every major animal welfare group in the country including the No Kill Advocacy Center, ASPCA, Alley Cat AlliesAVMA, and the American College of Theriogenologists.  There is no excuse for continuing the killing while waiting to implement a failed plan and ignoring those practices which have been proven to be successful in saving shelter pets.  The programs and policies that will help you long term to maintain no kill can also be relied upon to help you in your immediate crisis.

It all starts with a hard working, compassionate director committed to lifesaving for whom killing is not an option.  Do you have that at your shelter?  If yes, you’ve got a head start.  If no, you need one.  You can’t skip that one for now and expect to move ahead.  There is no shelter saving more than 90% of its animals being led by someone who kills animals for convenience.  And yes, that is the right word.  You can call it killing for space, time, resources, population control or any name you like but the animals are being killed for convenience – yours, obviously.  And it’s entirely inconsistent with no kill.

There is no easy to be had in this world, I’m convinced.  Sheltering pets instead of killing them takes extensive, continuous efforts from the director, staff, volunteers and the community.  I guess that’s why they call it work.

NM Shelter Killing 10 Dogs a Day for Convenience

KOB in New Mexico reports that the Valencia Co Animal Shelter is overcrowded with more than 240 dogs at the facility. In response, they are killing for convenience:

This week, the shelter has killed 8-10 dogs every single day and even that’s not nearly enough.
“I can’t bring myself to putting 40 to 50 dogs on that list at a time like I should be,” [supervisor Patty Mugan] said. “We’re getting to that point when we’re going to need to.”

Not need to – choose to. Killing is a choice, as is lifesaving, which is hard work:

“It’s not fair to the kennel techs to have to have twice the work to do to clean and walk dogs and feed them and everything else,” Mugan said.

I’m sorry but where in life do we sign up for FAIR? Because I have been wanting FAIR so hard all these years and I’ve never known where I go to get it. Is it Valencia Co, NM?

And the response to UNfair is kill, I guess.

“But it’s sure not fair to the animal sitting in a crate on borrowed time. It’s very hard for us mentally to watch day after day.”
[…]
“It’s not easy to be the one to look in their eyes and tell them goodbye,” she said.

Where does this sense of entitlement come from?  Life should be fair and easy and not require ironing.

I’m glad it’s not easy to kill animals you are supposed to be sheltering. It should be hard. It should be impossible really.

Staff is apparently trying to ship the problem out of state by getting rescue groups to transport dogs.  But since every state in the U.S. kills shelter animals, shipping shelter pets to other states is not a long term solution.  It just redistributes the killing.  Maybe that seems fair or easier to some people, I don’t know.

Instead of killing animals and making excuses for it, why not try implementing the proven programs of the No Kill Equation?  Start looking the animals entrusted to your care in the eyes and telling them hello.  Tell them you are committed to protecting them from harm and getting them into loving homes.  It requires hard work but seeing all your animals get out alive sounds pretty sweet.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)