Stokes Co Officials Decide Sheltering Animals is Too Much Like Work

In 2015, the troubled Stokes Co pound in North Carolina took in 1029 dogs and cats, killing 473 of them.  The county’s adoption rate was 36%, return to owner rate was 7% and kill rate was 46%.  Dogs and cats coming in the front door of the Stokes Co pound had a better chance of going out the back door in a garbage bag than anything else.

This month, county manager Rick Morris says Stokes is “overwhelmed with strays and surrenders”, there are funding issues and staff turnover as well.  To address these issues, county leaders voted to not address them at all:

“We will no longer […] take in animal surrenders by the owners or stray animals,” said county manager, Rick Morris.

Morris added that he expects his county’s failure to do their jobs with regard to community pets will leak onto surrounding counties actually trying to do their jobs. And he’s fine with that.  Let other shelters take care of Stokes Co animals because we’re not going to do it.  I guess sucks being you, other counties.

Then there’s this:

“It’s just unbelievable the number of animals people just want to give up,” said County Manager Rick Morris.

[Refusing to shelter strays and surrenders in need is] a change Morris says will cut costs for cleaning supplies and spay and neutering.

Right. Reduced spay-neuter should certainly help reduce your county’s animal population.  I have no idea how that would work but hey, less paper towels!

They are changes Morris hopes will save many animals from having to be euthanized.

“It’s doing a favor to the animals by not putting them in there,” he said.

tanya tucker

Critical cat photo by Casey Post

The most likely outcome for animals at the Stokes Co pound is killing. Because the staff kills them instead of doing their jobs to shelter them. So it’s a favor to the animals to not put them in a place where people kill them. I see what you did there.

Stokes County manager Rick Morris hopes by changing the way the shelter operates, it will make people around the area more responsible with their pets.

Yeah I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. Lead by example. By taking no responsibility for the challenges involved in sheltering animals, the job taxpayers are paying you to do, the public will learn – wait.

What the public actually did:

Several Stokes County residents stood before county commissioners Monday night, demanding to pay higher taxes to help offset costs for much-needed services like EMS, funding for schools and the county animal shelter.

Oh snap.  For some reason, the public seems to find the whole non-solution solution to be less desirable than paying higher taxes.  Let that sink in for a sec.

Nice try Stokes Co but it seems like taxpayers still want you to do your jobs.  And they are paying attention.  Quick – look busy while you try to think up another stellar plan to avoid work.


Action Alert: Animals Suffering in Clinton Co Shelter

No food or water, crammed in filthy cages, sick and dying.  These are a few of the photos taken at the Tri County Animal Shelter in Albany, KY and posted on Facebook.  Warning: There are additional photos and some videos at the links.  They are very disturbing and some appear to show dead animals.

If animals were suffering in these conditions at a citizen’s home, HSUS and/or ASPCA would be there with their logo jackets on, media in tow, bringing animals out for the cameras (before dumping them on the local rescue community after they got their fundraising ops).  I have been checking online since these photos were posted and have seen no reporting on this so-called shelter.  HSUS and ASPCA will never go there with the media and remove the animals because they enable this behavior and call us troublemakers when we demand the workers do their jobs.  They tell us to bring them cupcakes in appreciation for the work they do.  Fuck their worse than useless platitudes.

Contact Clinton Co.  Tell them to treat this emergency situation in their shelter exactly as they would if animals in these conditions were found in a citizen’s home.  The animals need immediate vet care and charges must be brought against those responsible for the neglect and abuse:

Clinton Count Judge Executive Office
Richard C. Armstrong
(606) 387-5234

County Sheriff
Jim Guffey
(606) 387-5111

The idea that a meeting could be held and changes proposed is unacceptable in this situation.  This is a life and death emergency.  The animals need help NOW and the people responsible need to be put in the back of a police car and taken to jail.  This is institutionalized animal abuse, paid for by taxpayers, and overseen by Clinton Co officials.  Shame on all of them.

Weekend Jade

062616 jadenewt


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Treats on the Internets

The city of Norfolk impounded a dog from his new owner after the dog killed a cat last month. The rescue that had arranged the adoption immediately called the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center to claim ownership of the dog but the city quickly killed him anyway. The city claimed they had researched the dog’s background and found he’d been adopted via out of state groups multiple times but those adoptions didn’t work out. Also a rabies certificate had the dog’s age wrong. So kill. (Thanks Leigh for the link.)


After the troubled Fitchburg Animal Control in MA was shut down in 2014, the fired managers opened up a dog training business.  Both were charged with felony animal cruelty this month in connection with a client’s dog they allegedly left muzzled for several days, causing injury.  (Thanks Anne.)


Someone tied a starving dog to a post at the pound in Lubbock, TX. Problem One: The pound has been closed for years since the city built a new facility in a different location. Problem Two: Anyone bringing a pet there after-hours would have no way of knowing the place was abandoned since the signs are still up and there are no signs advising visitors of the new location. Fortunately, a member of the irresponsible public helped the dog and she is now in rescue. In response to social media postings about the incident, the city finally removed the signs at the vacant shelter.


The GA vet who blamed a dog for burning to death inside a hyperbaric chamber at his clinic is now wanted by police in Cherokee Co for an apparently unrelated incident.  He is considered armed and dangerous.  (Thanks Clarice.)


Five PA high school football players have been cited for illegally killing wild animals after they posted photos of themselves on social media posing with baseball bats and bloodied animal corpses.  The animals they apparently sought out for the purpose of torturing them to death included frogs, pigeons and possums as well as a snake and a raccoon.  The recent graduates and star athletes got an assist from Coach Enabler:

Jim Roth, the head football coach at Southern Columbia, said, “Some kids that are good kids … made a bad decision.”

He added that “Some of these kids are not even aware of all the laws as far as small animals.”

Well gosh, I wonder what other laws these good kids might not be fully aware of – because we’ll want to give them a pass when they break those too, obviously.

Hillsborough Co Shelter: News Roundup

Last month, the shelter director at Hillsborough Co reported an 89% live release rate to county commissioners.  Florida animal advocates are concerned that pets are being sold without appropriate screening and cite examples of dog flipping and a dog who cyclically got adopted then impounded as a stray again within weeks before ultimately being killed after a bite.

In addition, the Hillsborough Co shelter is reportedly failing to maintain its Do Not Adopt list – a list of people who are not allowed to own animals by order of the courts.  When asked in January why the list hadn’t been updated since 2014, the director blamed a glitch in the system.  In April, it was reported that the 4 people convicted of torturing a dog named Cabela, a reject from the dogfighting ring 2 of the men operated, still weren’t on the DNA list.  Cabela was turned over to a pair of teens for killing in 2015 because she wouldn’t fight.  They shot her and left her tied to railroad tracks.  She was rescued by police and received treatment from a vet.  Any of the 4 people involved in the case could walk into the Hillsborough Co facility and adopt a dog today.

Also in April, a worker at the secret shelter maintained by Hillsborough Co to house court case dogs reportedly mixed two cleaning agents together which created toxic fumes.  Four workers at the secret location got sick.  But the director maintained the animals, who breathed the same air as the workers, were unaffected.

Lastly, as regular readers may recall, Hillsborough Co recently disciplined an ACO for brainsticking roosters seized from a cockfighting ring.  A former supervisor at the shelter says she witnessed the current director willfully violate the county’s euthanasia protocols for roosters and kill non-sedated birds via injection of Fatal Plus into their necks.

These recent news tidbits provide a disturbing backdrop to an otherwise admirably improved live release rate.  And it makes me wonder what else is going on at the shelter that hasn’t made it on to the local news.

(Thanks Clarice.)


Ebony’s Owner Requested Euthanasia at MAS, All Ebony Got was a Cage to Suffer In

End of life decisions for pets are painful and difficult.  None of us wants to take a pet in for euthanasia too soon and at the same time we don’t want to wait too long.  On the one hand, there is hope the pet could possibly rally once more and have a little bit more quality time in this life.  On the other hand, when the vet has told you there is no reasonable hope for recovery and you believe your beloved family member has no rallies left in her, you don’t want her to needlessly suffer through to the natural end of life.  Nature can be cruel.  Euthanasia is the final kindness we can offer to our pets.

Speaking for myself, once I’ve made the decision that it’s time, I don’t want to delay.  I want the suffering to end as soon as possible.  My vet has always been very good about moving us to the front of the line in these cases.

This is one of the reasons why, when reviewing the records for the many animals who die in their cages at the Memphis pound each month, I found Ebony’s story so heartbreaking.  Ebony was a 15 year old pitbull whose health was failing.  She had stopped eating, which is one of the ways dogs prepare themselves for death.  She had wasted away to a mere 20 pounds.  Her owner decided it was time.  He brought her to Memphis Animal Services on the afternoon of May 10 and requested euthanasia.  It was a Tuesday, when MAS was open for “all services” from 1pm to 7pm.

ebony cage card

Copy of Ebony’s cage card at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Rather than immediately get a vet to look at Ebony and then, assuming the vet agreed that she was medically hopeless and suffering, perform the euthanasia, MAS staff put her on a dolly, wheeled her to a cage in the kill-holding room and left her there.  A staff member entered a note in her records indicating she was a “high priority euthanasia”.  But it was after 4 pm and apparently high priority means something other than HIGH PRIORITY at MAS, at least after 4pm.  Ebony was left alone in a cage to suffer until she finally died at some point before someone on the next morning shift noted she was dead.

I have held my own elderly, frail, weak dogs in my arms at the end of their lives.  I have carried them, sometimes in blankets, as gently as possible, knowing every movement is painful for them.  It makes my stomach turn to think of MAS putting 20 pound Ebony on a dolly and wheeling her to a cage. Leaving her there alone, in pain, surrounded by the smells and sounds of fear from the other dogs awaiting death, makes my heart hurt.  She must have been confused and frightened on top of her physical torment.  I dread to think how long every minute of those dark hours must have seemed before death finally arose from the cold concrete to embrace her.

But as awful as all of that is to imagine, the thing that pissed me off was the solitary vet note entered in Ebony’s records:

ebony med note Passed while sleeping.  Excuse fucking me?  THIS is the vet note?  Not, “none of us here are doing our jobs so we just left this pet to rot” or “appears to have groaned in agony all night long, alone in the dark while we cashed our paychecks” but the ever so peaceful sounding “passed while sleeping”.  So tranquil.  Almost like a service at a spa.  A spa for death.

That is some first class enabling/criminal cover up there.  I guess practice makes perfect.

Fire these outrageous excuses for animal care professionals already.  Every one of them.  Then prosecute them using the same standards as would be used against any citizen who intentionally left a dog to suffer like this.  This is hardly the first time.  And until the citizens of Memphis take a stand, it won’t be the last.

I hope your 15 years on this earth were beautiful and happy, Ebony.  I’m sorry your death at MAS was so needlessly cruel.  There are such things as monsters and you should not have had to find that out at the hour of your greatest need.  How many more, Memphis?

(Thanks Lou Ann.)

Weekend Jade


Sometimes it’s nice to touch your favorite chew toys together.  (Photo by resident Dog Dad.  Happy Father’s Day to all the Pet Dads!)

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imam with cat


Donors Pay for the Killing of Thousands of Animals a Year at Private CA Shelter

The SPCA for Monterey County in CA has a bunch of lies about no kill on its website in a feeble attempt to make killing more palatable to donors. We don’t turn animals away, killing is a kindness, blah blah bullshit.

The private non-profit could turn animals away, since it doesn’t appear to hold any animal control contracts, but instead chooses to accept every animal that comes through its front doors.  Tragically, the SPCA then sends roughly half of them out the back door, their bodies piled in barrels which get stored in a walk-in freezer.

The Monterey County Weekly published a lengthy piece on the SPCA for Monterey County and specifically, the killing that goes on in a room they refused to allow the paper to see.  The director, who gets paid close to $300 grand a year, is retiring after 16 years on the job:

“We save many of these animals but as of yet, we cannot save all of them,” outgoing SPCA Executive Director Gary Tiscornia says. “These are the decisions we have to make.”

Not have to – choose to. They choose to take in all these animals then choose to kill more than 2700 of them a year.

Euthanasia rates increased along with the intake of animals into the shelter. […] Every year, numbers steadily increased, and Tiscornia alludes to the policies of Monterey County’s and Salinas’ animal shelters as possible culprits, in addition to an influx of feral cats, which are almost always euthanized at the SPCA due to behavioral issues.
Tiscornia says it’s important to look at external factors influencing his organization’s numbers, not just the policies within his nonprofit. Here he is referring to a sterilization program run out of the Salinas animal services shelter that releases feral cats back into the wild after being spayed and neutered.

This, he says, has influenced the nonprofit’s high euthanasia record, as it received more feral cats.

So Salinas is doing its job by neutering and returning feral cats to their home in the community. I get that part. Is Tiscornia saying that his organization then takes those cats, which it has zero obligation to accept, and kills them, because yay killing I guess, so don’t blame us for our kill rate because it’s Salinas’s fault actually?  Three. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars.

And while we’re dazzling the public with the Chewbacca Defense, have you seen our newly remodeled, super fancy adoption center with filtered air, classical music and kitty condos?

But beautifying the adoption center has not been enough. In 2014, nearly 1,000 more animals were put down than adopted. Last year, the number of animals euthanized was just 20 fewer than those who found a loving home.

Tiscornia […] explains those ratios this way: “At the end of the day, the pet’s adoptability determines its fate,” he says.
“We have only euthanized sick and behaviorally damaged pets,” he says.

The Weekly obtained kill records from the SPCA which are not available on the SPCA website. The paper cites respiratory issues and “hissing when touched” as two of the reasons animals are killed at the facility.

“One of the key reasons for euthanasia is behavior,” Tiscornia says. “Issues like jumping on people, obnoxious behavior.”

Well crappity doo, he just killed every single one of my dogs.

When discussing puppies with mange, Tiscornia again attempts to justify killing:

“If this were a 9-year-old dog with the possibility of recurring mange, the public would not adopt him,” Tiscornia says. “These are the decisions we need to make.”

Not need to – choose to. And who the monkey fighting snake is this guy to decide that no one could possibly love a 9 year old dog who might get mange at some unknown future time?  Better to kill the dog than to take the chance someone might want him and be willing to give him medicine if he ever needs it, I guess.  Three. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars.

Still, the nonprofit continues to pride itself in its open-door policy: taking all animals in need – wild, neglected or sick as they may be – into their care.

“We never turn down an animal,” Dawn Fenton, the SPCA’s education and outreach manager, says. “We make it work.”

And by “we make it work,” she apparently means we totally do not make it work at all because we are killing half the animals. Has it occurred to anyone at the SPCA that if the best they can offer is a spot in the freezer barrel, they not only should but in fact have a moral obligation to turn away animals?

“If we closed, could you imagine what would happen?” SPCA spokesperson Beth Brookhouser says.

Dance party at my house?  Feral cats sipping champagne out of glass slippers?  A parade?

(Thanks Clarice.)