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.)
11 thoughts on “Polk Co Pound Kills Microchipped Lost Pet Upon Impound”
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RIGHT you are, Such assholes, give her another pet. She had one till you idiot’s
killed it. You people are just horrible creatures……..
That is the most inhuman and terrible thing that I’ve ever heard done, pity and shame on any animal shelter that would do such a cold hearted thing to an animal that they knew was someone family pet ,no excuse no lieing about it they knew the special dog was someone’s loved baby ,again shame on those people that did this horrible thing to this precious baby ,they deserve the same thing done to them ,just maybe they don’t deserve to live either. I am so so sorry to the owner of this precious dog . I would not stop until I got justice for my baby although nothing can be enough to replace your baby but maybe you should take another puppy not in replacement of your beloved baby but just to save another precious baby of going through the same terrible thing ,KILL, KILL ,that’s all these worthless people think about ,not to love and care for a pet and try to find it a loving home ,no one no shelter no where should be allowed to kill!!! Don’t stop people until they have paid dearly for the wrong they have done you ,don’t stop!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is the most inhuman and terrible thing that I’ve ever heard done, pity and shame on any animal shelter that would do such a cold hearted thing to an animal that they knew was someone family pet ,no excuse no lieing about it they knew the special dog was someone’s loved baby ,again shame on those people that did this horrible thing to this precious baby ,they deserve the same thing done to them ,just maybe they don’t deserve to live either. I am so so sorry to the owner of this precious dog . I would not stop until I got justice for my baby although nothing can be enough to replace your baby but maybe you should take another puppy not in replacement of your beloved baby but just to save another precious baby of going through the same terrible thing ,KILL, KILL ,that’s all these worthless people think about ,not to love and care for a pet and try to find it a loving home ,no one no shelter no where should be allowed to kill!!! Don’t stop people until they have paid dearly for the wrong they have done you ,don’t stop!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow I’d say 20min is long enough to mess with trying to find an owner of a mirochiped pet that someone took the time and money to put into their pet because people that go to that much trouble to get a microchip put into their dog must really care a lot about that baby ,you know what I call this person at the animal shelter that ordered this dog to be killed after working so hard for 20 whole minutes to find its owner ,I’d say they are a pretty BIG idiot with no compassion nor love for any animal and sure not smart enough to run any thing , especially something as important as a shelter for precious animals ,fire that idiot so maybe this really won’t happen again ,although it still won’t replace their beloved baby ,and you no what there is nothing that will !!!!!!
What fuckin assholes. Them and the vet need a good punch in the face.
Hiding behind the vet? Nope, sorry. The dog had a chip. It was their job to contact the owner. “Not a good quality of life” and “irredeemably suffering in this very instant such that immediate euthanasia is required” are two very different things.
Sue their asses off. It’s the only thing they understand.
Nothing more than a ho hum convenience killing. They never really made much effort to find the owner. Just more cover your ass excuses. (Do they have a class in that for animal control director candidates?)
Agree with mikken ~ sue!
I’m going to start out by pointing out a couple of things about this place: They use more than one vet and one isn’t there 24/7. They are normally only around in the morning when alteration surgeries take place. So I personally doubt Lefty even saw a vet at all.
Now, I have a personal story about this place.
Several years ago before I parted ways from the “rescue” from hell, I went to Polk county to pick up a unaltered female Beagle.
I get there and was told they altered her at no additional charge and gave her a microchip. So far, so good. I am taken back to the stray hold area (which is easily six times as big as the adoption area. You do the math). They take a Beagle out, scan for the chip and says this is the dog I was there for. They give me a leash, the paperwork, and I head back to my car.
When I get to my car and pick the Beagle up, I notice something that really shouldn’t be there. My female is most definitely a male. I also notice his collar (which was in the picture they sent out to the rescues) is on the last notch and is still far too tight. You can tell by the collar it was kept on two notches down for a very extended amount of time and if it had been on this dog for that long, he would have major injuries if he was alive at all. Looking back at the picture, you can tell the collar was worn at the smaller size and the dog pictured isn’t in any distress.
I go back in and point this out to them. I fully intended on taking the dog I was given with me, even if I had to pay an adoption fee myself. But I didn’t want the dog I was sent for to die because of a mix up. I was told the chips match, so this had to be the right dog. They must have gotten the sex wrong on paperwork. I try to point out there was no way this dog could have been spayed and the difference in the collar, but I am brushed off. I left then since I had no idea what else to do.
Side note, I still have him. Why? When I called the “rescue” the adoption coordinator freaked out. She had no place for a male. Now, why an altered male was so much worse than an unaltered female, I don’t know. But I do know she told me point blank to take him back. Even after I pointed out that would mean his death more than once. I took him, and not as a foster. I said flat out I was adopting him. Because I didn’t trust them with him at that point. Stupidly, this did not cause me to walk away from them but it did set me well on the path.
Back to Polk Co. I email around an finally find someone who works there who agrees that the dog I was given was not the dog they took in. She goes back over six months, there are ZERO dogs that fit the dog I was given. He doesn’t exist at all. She also puts me in touch with the vet that did the surgeries on the day my dog’s so called alteration took place. She remembers the female clearly. Yes, she was in fact a female. She also did not alter a male Beagle that day. So, there was a female Beagle there. But in the 24 hours between the alteration and when I picked my dog up someone swapped out dogs and left no records as to why.
I never did find out what happened the female. I also posted my dog and watched lost pets sites for three months, but no one came forward looking for my dog. So I also have no idea where he came from
Sounds like a full audit of the place is desperately overdue. Along with mass firings.
What happened to the stray hold/owner reclaim time frame?