Kristi Durham adopted a special needs beagle who circled to the left and named him Lefty. She moved from Kentucky to Polk Co, FL in August and the following month, Lefty accidentally got out of his yard. A good Samaritan saw him in the road and reportedly took him to a vet. The vet reportedly instructed the finder to take the dog to Polk Co Animal Control. The pound vet determined Lefty needed to be killed immediately but there was a pesky problem of him having a microchip:
“We did make, I feel, a reasonable amount of effort to locate this owner, unfortunately the [microchip registration] service gave us a bad number [with two digits reversed],” said [Polk County Sheriff’s spokesperson Carrie] Horstman, who said animal control staff spent at least 20 minutes calling the microchip company and a disconnected number.
Twenty minutes. Then they killed the dog. A dog whose owner had already called Polk Co to ask if they had, within the last hour, impounded any left-circling beagles. Pound staff said no. Lefty’s family gave their contact information to staff and asked to be called if any left-circling beagles were brought in. They never received a call. The county explains it this way:
[T]he dog was not entered into their database because it was not entered into the kennel – it was euthanized due to the Vet examination.
Even though the microchip’s first contact number was off by two digits, there was a secondary contact number which the owner says was her cell phone, still in service, even though she’d moved. Had Polk Co called the secondary number, or called in response to the lost dog report filed by the family minutes before Lefty was impounded, they could have reached the owner. I guess it might have taken 23 or 24 minutes or some other time that is apparently too damn long.
And yet somehow, the county considers that a “reasonable amount of effort” was made to find Lefty’s people. Plus the pound vet provided them with cover:
“In our vet’s expert opinion the dog didn’t have a good quality of life,” explained Horstman.
Hmm, doesn’t seem like he has a good quality of life. Let’s kill him and see how his quality of life is after that. Otherwise, we’ll have to actually set up a kennel and enter him into the system which sounds too much like work.
Polk Co stands by its actions in the killing of Lefty but is willing to toss the heartbroken family a crumb:
She’s welcome to come to animal control and we’ll give her a pet for free. We certainly don’t want this to ever happen again,” said Carrie Horstman[.]
Hey, free pet. Because they are interchangeable. And we don’t want this to happen again. Not that we have admitted any wrongdoing or made any changes to prevent it happening again. I guess what I’m saying is, we don’t want to get caught killing someone’s beloved lost pet upon impound again. Yeah, that’s it.
(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)