Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals – Sumter Co Edition

buddy sumter co
Buddy, as pictured on Facebook.

A dog named Buddy was on the kill list at the Sumter Co pound in Florida this month.  Animal advocates say the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter Co, which partners with animal control, posted him with the wrong picture and an incorrect ID number, making his chances for rescue rather slim.  But thanks to the efforts of rescuers who did not give up on Buddy, a foster was found at the last minute.

A rescuer reportedly called the Sumter Co pound at 4:45pm on August 15 to let the staff know that Buddy was definitely going to be pulled.  The HS/SPCA, which has limited hours and is never open past 3pm, was already closed but someone reportedly did answer the call about Buddy:

Their response was he has to be out of the building by 5pm. Well the HSSPCA was closed and we were in Tampa. We told them he could be pulled in the morning and they said policy says he has to be out of the building by closing.

It was impossible for anyone to physically get to the facility to pull Buddy within the 15 minutes allotted by the pound.  Buddy was reportedly killed the next morning, immediately upon opening, before rescuers could get inside to save him.

This is usually where the people in charge issue some response along the lines of oops.  Not in this case.  In fact, the HS/SPCA board chair, Celine Petrie, not only made no attempt to claim the killing was in error, she went so far as to issue a general non-apology, not mentioning Buddy and by the way, she wants credit for the lives they did allow rescuers to save:

“While we regret every animal where a life is lost, we have saved 1,054 animals this year,” she said.

She can’t conjure up any fake sympathy for Buddy, specifically? Does she even know his name? She sure knows the exact number of lives rescuers have saved, which she wants credit for.  Just a vague “where a life is lost” – as if it’s something other than a friendly, healthy dog being held down on a kill table and having the life snuffed out of him by people who knew he was wanted.  Some cold brew there.

Fifty animal advocates attended the Sumter Co commissioners meeting this week seeking reform.  They asked the county to do more than respond to vicious dog calls during off-hours:

After hearing their concerns, commissioners asked County Administrator Bradley Arnold to work on addressing the problems in the next county budget, which will be enacted next month.

While it remains to be seen whether this leads to any improvement at the Sumter Co pound, it doesn’t address the real issue.  The county has people working at the pound who intentionally killed a pet whom they knew had a home waiting for him.  Until the county gets rid of all those capable of this kind of violence, along with everyone making excuses for them, there will be no meaningful reform in Sumter Co.

Buddy’s killing is a betrayal of public trust in Sumter Co.  Worse, it is a betrayal of the rescue community, on whose backs the animals are being saved.  Worst of all, it is a betrayal of Buddy, a sentient being who had a right to live but fell into the hands of public servants paid to protect him who, instead of doing their jobs, killed him with malice aforethought.

(Thanks Clarice.)

9 thoughts on “Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals – Sumter Co Edition

  1. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual happening. Apparently following the “rules” is much more important than the lives of the animals. HOW DO these folks end up in these position? I hope there are enough compassionate folks involved who will see that the changes are made immediately, although that won’t help sweet Buddy and all of the others who found death instead of shelter.

  2. Isn’t it interesting how protocols MUST BE FOLLOWED when killing is involved. Even if holding on to an animal for an extra hour or two will mean that that dog leaves the building alive – nope, can’t do it. MUST FOLLOW THE PROTOCOL, no exceptions.

    But things that are involved in life saving, like getting correct photos and ID numbers? Meh. Can’t really be bothered to do those by the book, can we?

  3. What is so heartbreaking is that these animals aren’t even acknowledged as individuals. It’s as though the shelter can’t think of them as sentient beings with lives that matter, they are things to them.

  4. When did MAS become a taxpayer funded playground for people like Whitney Jones, who would be unemployable with her track record in any other city. Come on, people. This whole situation is outrageous. The current MAS marketing plan consists of sending out an email outlining the dire consequences facing up to 50 dogs each week, most of them “Pit Bulls” or whatever MAS deems them, in their infinite wisdom. The email sets off panic in the rescue community, people start scrambling with a few dollars and foster pledges (if anyone has any space) and a few lives are saved. And then we do it all over again the next week. Whitney Jones was responsible for the Let Train Live campaign that cost HSMSC thousands in donor pledges and many volunteers their jobs, with her “assessment” of a dog based on the way that the dog looked at her child (which she chose to bring into an unauthorized area). And that is who is deciding whether dogs live or die, along with Alexis.

    I wrote a letter to Mayor Strickland and Doug McGowen after I had my own debacle at MAS with Ms. Pugh. I, too, responded to an urgent email regarding a dog with medical needs that “had until 2:45” on Monday. I went to see the dog, was brought an entirely different dog, who conveniently turned out to be a medical case and an emergency, and wound up rescuing two dogs that day, by the grace of God. Ms. Pugh acknowledged about 20 mistakes while I was standing there, assured me that no dogs would die because of their screw ups, but not once did she tell me that anyone would be reprimanded or retrained.

    Do I have all of the answers? No. I applied for an Animal Services Board vacancy; I’m sure my application will never see the light of day, even though I am a well qualified, tax paying citizen. Why? Because I dare to ask questions and challenge Ms. Pugh and her new henchwoman.


    1. How do they have medical emergencies when they have vets on staff and a surgical suite?

      Unless… no one wants to spend money on medical cases.

      In which case, why do we have vets on staff and a surgical suite? S/N could be sent to low cost clinics like so many other shelters do.

      MAS is a mess and it’s not getting any better. Pugh is a HUGE disappointment.

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