Texas ACO Drags Suffering Dog Across Gravel

alice tx aco

Photo posted on social media

On April 30, pet owner Tara Garcia found a dog in her driveway in Alice, Texas.  The mixed breed dog had been shot three times but was very friendly as Ms. Garcia and her stepfather petted and offered water to the dog.  Ms. Garcia called 911 and waited on an ACO to come help the pet.  Instead, an Alice ACO arrived, strung the bleeding dog up in a chokepole and dragged him through dirt and gravel to her truck.  Ms. Garcia offered to carry the dog to the truck but the ACO refused.

KIII reports that the dog “had to be euthanized because of [his] injuries” although they don’t specify whether they mean the gunshots or injuries which would likely result from dragging a severely wounded dog by the neck.

Ms. Garcia was disturbed by how the dog was mistreated by the ACO and snapped a photo.  Some days later, AC is knocking at her door, warning her that she needs to take better care of her pets if she wants to keep them.  You stay classy, Alice AC.

After Ms. Garcia posted the photos of the injured dog on social media, outraged citizens began calling the city to demand action.  The city manager told KIII the city is investigating itself in the matter, procedures may need to be reviewed, blah.

I think this is one of those times when we all need a reminder that the only reason people work at a shelter is because they love animals, we all want the same thing, you can’t criticize unless you are willing to do their jobs for them, if only the irresponsible public would spay and neuter and all like that.

(Thanks Susan.)

Florida ACO Under Investigation After Details of Disturbing Bird Killings Emerge

So this happened.

On February 27, 2016, Hillsborough Co deputies raided a cockfight in progress.  A dozen men ran off, abandoning “numerous dead and live caged chickens”, and no arrests were made. ACOs from the county pound were called in to kill the roosters.

Yay, we’re saved.  *Four seconds later*  Oh FML.

Hillsborough Co pound manager Morgan Woodward apparently sat ACO Sgt. Steve Scanlon down before sending him to the site.  He was supplied with sodium pentobarbital and needles and told not to kill the birds by sticking them in the brain.  Why such a conversation was necessary – well, readers can draw their own conclusions.

According to [Hillsborough Co pound director Scott] Trebatoski, county policy is that roosters should be euthanized with an injection of sodium pentobarbital into the body cavity. The county generally tranquilizes the birds first.

Gee, that’s generally nice.

Upon arrival at the scene of the raid, ACO Scanlon apparently told his staff to stick the birds in the brain. When word got out, the county investigated itself. From a taped interview conducted in connection with the investigation:

“The only thing that I violated ma’am, was I violated our county policy. I did not treat any rooster in a cruel manner,” Scanlon [said].

Scanlon admitted that the method utilized to euthanize (injecting sodium pentobarbital in the back of the head) was the wrong method.

Before we get too far down the rabbit hole here, I guess it needs to be clarified that jamming a needle of Fatal Plus into a bird’s brain is not a method.  There is no such thing as – uh, brainsticking.  He’s making it sound as if he didn’t have a uniform clean for work so he wore street clothes.  Uniforms and street clothes are both actual clothes.  Heartsticking, when performed on an animal already rendered unconscious via drugs, is a recognized method of animal killing.  Brainsticking is a thing made up, presumably by some horrible person, in order to (and I’m guessing here) inflict extreme pain while killing an animal.  ACO Scanlon’s claim that he did not treat any rooster in a cruel manner would have to be false considering the suffering every one of those birds would have endured after having a needle jabbed in his head.

ACO Scanlon has been placed on desk duty while the county continues to investigate itself.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Rowan Co ACO Who Broke Cat’s Face Cleared by State

The NC Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal shelters, investigated the brutal microchipping (wait – WTF did I just write?) of a cat by a Rowan Co pound employee which resulted in the cat’s jaw being broken in two places.  The severely injured cat, Cooper, was reportedly uncooperative during the bloody torture.  Cooper is currently undergoing lengthy veterinary treatment and is being fed a liquid diet.  The state has completed its investigation and determined that the ACO did not violate the NC Animal Welfare Act:

According to the investigation report from the Department of Agriculture, “The statements of the shelter staff, rescue personnel and veterinarians, the veterinary medical records and the shelter records have been reviewed. This review concludes that as Cooper was provided with access to veterinary care within 30 minutes of injury. Therefore veterinary care was provided as required by 02 N. C. Administration Code .0210 (c). Consequently, the findings of this investigation do not substantiate a violation of the N. C. Animal Welfare Act. The investigation findings have been turned over to the Rowan County Manager’s Office and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department.”

Sooooo brutal microchipping is a thing and it’s condoned by the state so long as the victim is given to someone who takes him to a vet within 30 minutes of the torture.  If that truly falls within the Animal Welfare Act, I’m thinking the Animal Welfare Act sucks and needs to be changed to be a little more welfare-y and a little less legal-cover-for-animal-shelter-torture-y.

Rowan County Manager Aaron Church won’t say whether the unnamed ACO is still on paid administrative leave or back at uh, work.

Clai Martin, longtime pound director at Rowan Co, is being shifted to a related position in a county consolidation move:

As part of the consolidation, current Rowan County Animal Control Director Clai Martin will be moved into another position — manager of the animal enforcement division.
[…]
The consolidation would create a new department called Rowan County Animal Services. Church said Bob Pendergrass, the current director of the Nature Center at Dan Nicholas Park, would be promoted to oversee the new, consolidated department.

They’ve set a pretty low bar for you, Nature Center Guy. I hope you will raise it.  Anything above “We don’t break cat faces for hissing during microchipping here” would be a good start.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice for the links.)

Rowan Co ACO on Paid Leave During State Investigation

The American Veterinary Medical Association states that cats should be microchipped “by a licensed veterinarian or under supervision of a licensed veterinarian” via subcutaneous injection in the area between the shoulder blades.  I don’t know whether the terrible Rowan Co pound in NC follows the recommendations of the AVMA regarding microchipping but since the procedure is pretty straightforward, any significant deviation being part of the protocol seems highly unlikely.  And yet, somehow a cat named Cooper had his jaw broken reportedly during the injection of a microchip at the Rowan Co pound on Tuesday. Cooper is being fostered by Debbie Orbison:

Orbison said Cooper was healthy when shelter staff brought the cat into a closed-to-the-public area of the shelter. Cooper was bleeding from the mouth after being microchipped, Orbison said.

“I can’t say what happened, but when he went back to get microchipped he was fine,” she said. “He came back with a fractured jaw.”

cooper

Cooper, as pictured on Facebook.

A state inspector is investigating the incident and Rowan Co has placed an ACO on paid leave during the investigation. The county has refused to name the ACO.

Cooper has already undergone one surgery on his jaw and will require additional surgeries.

While we wait for the state to conclude its investigation, it’s hard not to imagine what sort of obscene cruelty might have resulted in this cat’s jaw being fractured in two places.  It puts me in mind of former Memphis pound employee Frank Lightfoot who was observed by an undercover police officer stepping on a cat with both feet after he failed to kill the cat via injection.  And of the Chesterfield Co, SC pound workers who reportedly beat cats in the head with pipes “to knock them out.”

And I can’t help but wonder what type of an environment exists at the Rowan Co pound that someone capable of this cruelty would be employed.  What else has happened on this director’s watch?  I mean, besides mandatory cat killing, dragging an injured dog on a chokepole then throwing him in the gas chamber, and deeming most animals “unadoptable” as an excuse for killing them.  What else has gone on in that closed-to-the-public area of the shelter?

But of course of course OF COURSE we must remember that these folks wouldn’t work there if they didn’t love animals and it’s a hard job and if only the public would spay and neuter, shelter cats wouldn’t have to get their jaws broken during a routine injection under the skin.  Dang that irresponsible public!

(Thanks Lisa for the links.)

I Deleted Almost All the Profanity From This Post and It Took Me an Hour

A now former ACO with Indianapolis AC & C allegedly stole ketamine, a drug which immobilizes animals but still allows them to feel pain, from her job and used it on puppies at her house.  Specifically, she would allegedly inject a puppy with ketamine, place him on her washing machine, tape his mouth shut so he couldn’t defend himself, then cut up his ears.  One of these puppies reportedly threw up after having his first ear cut up and because his mouth was taped shut, choked to death on his vomit.  She allegedly tried to hide the evidence:

Ashley Chastain, a commander with animal control at the time, then buried the body of the 2-month-old puppy in her backyard, the affidavit says.

Someone who knows Chastain apparently went to the police, providing them with photos of bloodied puppies on the uh, washing machine surgical suite. He also gave police a bag of ears.

Well fuck. After all the horrifying things I’ve had to write on this blog now I’ve got to add bag of ears to the list.

Chastain has been charged by Marion Co with three counts of torturing an animal. News of her arrest spread on social media and one heartbroken man says he recognized her as the ACO who stole his puppy.

But let’s not be part of the problem by complaining with our keyboards.  Remember, it’s a hard job and nobody wants to kill animals and they’re doing the best they can and instead of hating you should donate some money so the shelter can buy more ketamine.  I hear they’re running low.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

CT Shelter Refuses to Help Dog in Need

A woman recently attempted to surrender a pitbull to AC in West Haven, CT.  She allegedly told ACOs that she was moving and the dog was aggressive.  The ACOs refused to take the dog and gave the woman a list of rescues she could try.  Good luck with that.  Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

An hour later, AC received a call about a pitbull running loose in the road:

The animal control officer who responded tried setting a trap for the dog and realized it was the same dog brought to the shelter earlier that day.

Golly gee willickers, you don’t say!  It’s almost like a desperate person took desperate action which, as far as I know, has never happened in the history of the world making this event totally unforeseeable.

The dog was killed by a car that afternoon. Which is you know, fine:

“Especially if someone comes in and says my dog is vicious. That’s not the city’s responsibility to take your dog that was mis-trained. Obviously the shelter can’t release that to somebody who wants to accept a pet, adopt a pet, because the liability is tremendous,” said West Haven Police Sgt. David Tammaro.

Not the city’s responsibility to shelter a dog in need. So what exactly are taxpayers paying for at the shelter that won’t shelter?

And I hate to blow anyone’s mind but sometimes people surrendering pets at the shelter are not truthful about the reason they are there. Who knows if the dog was truly aggressive or if the surrendering party thought that sounded like a more valid reason to leave a pet than just “I’m moving.”? I’ll tell you who does NOT know: the West Haven shelter staff. Because they didn’t take the dog. He never got a chance to settle in and be evaluated.

Even if the dog had some aggression issues, it’s possible they were issues which could be identified and managed through simple practices. But no one bothered to do their job. Here’s a list of private rescues which are all overburdened and operating on shoestring budgets already, see ya.

In explaining why West Haven AC refused to help the pitbull in need, Sgt. Tammaro also cited a lack of resources.

This is the same facility where an ACO was arrested and charged with larceny in July.  The now fired ACO had been serving as treasurer of a non-profit group collecting donations from the public to help pay medical expenses for animals at the shelter.  He was allegedly pocketing the cash for himself.

But the city did get off its ass to track down the woman who tried to surrender the pitbull via the surveillance camera footage they had of her at the shelter:

After posting photos on Wednesday morning, West Haven’s Animal Control office said it has received a number of tips saying that the woman lived in West Haven and is now in Florida.
Police said the woman told them she left the dog with a friend before heading south, but police are trying to figure out whether or not she is telling the truth.

If police had tried to figure out whether she was telling the truth about the dog being aggressive by taking the dog in and sheltering him, which is their job, this whole thing would have been avoided and the dog would still be alive. I wonder how many other pets are dead at the side of the road in West Haven because the shelter staff won’t do their jobs.  But yeah, let’s definitely keep shipping our southern shelter pets to the Magical North where everything is grand.

(Thanks Clarice.)

 

 

NY Dog Control Officer Charged in Connection with Dog Death

Shaheen R. Shaheen, the dog control officer for the Town of Tupper Lake, was arrested by NY state police this week and charged with “one count of torturing or injuring animals or failure to provide sustenance, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of neglect of an impound animal, a class U misdemeanor.”

Shaheen had reportedly picked up a stray dog on October 2 after receiving a call about a loose dog in need of help from a neighborhood resident.  He took the dog, who police say was in rough shape, to the Tupper Lake Animal Shelter.  It’s not clear what else, if anything, Shaheen did for the dog after leaving him in a cage:

“The dog was in poor health at the time of confiscation, and its health continued to deteriorate while at the shelter,” the [state police press] release said.
“Shaheen failed to provide the dog with proper care and needed veterinary service.”

The dog was found dead at the shelter on October 26. The town council met with Shaheen about the death on October 27 and the town supervisor requested his resignation. He resigned his position, effective October 31.

Shaheen is due to appear in court on November 25.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Dog Dies After Being Left in Hot Van by ACOs in PA

On September 1, ACOs employed by Upper Darby Township in Delaware Co, PA delivered two dogs and one cat to the Chester County SPCA.  All three pets were suffering from symptoms related to excessive heat after riding in the back of the AC van which has no air conditioning or ventilation.  The temperature that day was 94 degrees.  Two of the animals were treated and saved.  The dog who had been in the van the longest, about two hours, was too far gone to respond to treatment.  Chester Co SPCA executive director Adam Lamb issued a press release regarding the incident:

The dog, later named “Baby Blue” by the staff because he was a blue pit bull, was “… listless, his pupils were unresponsive to light, he was panting for air, and he was bleeding from his rectum.”

Lamb said the dog was immediately brought into the shelter and was examined by medical staff, which started treatment for what was likely heat stroke. The dog’s temperature was 107 degrees Fahrenheit before the thermometer indicated that the rising temperature was too high to read.

Baby Blue had been left in the hot van without so much as an ounce of water, to suffer and die a horrible, entirely preventable death while the ACOs sat up front enjoying the air conditioning. An assistant DA with Chester Co is reviewing the case for possible cruelty charges:

The manner in which the dog was transported to the shelter facility was cruel and inhumane, Lamb said.

“Everyone must be held to the same standards with respect to the humane treatment of animals, including those providing animal control services,” said Lamb.
[…]
As a result of the incident, Chester County SPCA officials said they will stop accepting stray animals from Upper Darby Township until the shelter has inspected and approved of the vehicles being used to transport animals to their facility.

Thomas Judge Jr., the township’s chief administrative officer, concedes that the pets were stuck in the back of the hot van but is not willing to make the giant leap to associating Baby Blue’s death with heatstroke. And he’s got reasons!

The animal had problems when we picked it up. It was tied to a post in the area of St. Laurence. We don’t know who it belongs to.
[…]
And the two other animals in the van survived.

Judge noted the township has been operating with only one van because one of the two animal transport vans was out of service. A new van with air conditioning with individual cages in the back is on order.
[…]
There is no law that says we have to have air conditioning in the back of the van.

Everyone knows if you find a dog tied to a post, he’s probably going to fall over dead within a couple of hours regardless of whether you leave him in an unventilated metal box in the summer heat. It’s just like, a thing that happens. And how about a little credit for not killing the other two?  Plus who is this mysterious owner? I mean, that is also very relevant. Anyway one van is out of service and another one’s on order so *shrug*. And there isn’t any law that specifies our ACOs have to share their air conditioning with animals or even provide them with a survivable environment for two hours. Is there? But hey, we’re not monsters:

We are going to drill holes in the back of the van to have air-conditioning in the back.

They’re going to make air holes for the pets. Because they killed one.  Maybe I’m naive but I thought this was a lesson we all learned when we were kids catching fireflies in jars.  (My dad always poked holes in the metal lids for my caterpillars and other temporary pets.)  Or if you didn’t learn it then, I would have thought maybe ANY OTHER TIME BEFORE YOU GOT CERTIFIED AS AN ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER.  Apparently an air hole law is needed in PA.

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

Maine ACO Receives Summons for Animal Cruelty, Reacts with Mass Slaughter

The town of Orrington, Maine has one ACO on the payroll.  Until September 10, that ACO was Carla Damon, who was reportedly on the job for many years.  She resigned in lieu of being voted out by the town’s selectmen after receiving a summons for animal cruelty.

Responding to a complaint about the conditions of Damon’s herd of ten goats, an animal welfare agent with the state gave her a list of items requiring immediate attention on September 3.  One of the items was a requirement to have a vet examine the herd within five days.  Since one of those five days was a holiday and since there is a shortage of vets in the area according to Damon, she thought it was unlikely she’d be able to arrange a visit.

Damon frequently volunteered at events to educate the public about small livestock husbandry.  Presumably one of the responsibilities she explained to people was the importance of having an established relationship with a vet, which is often helpful when emergencies arise which require immediate veterinary care.  I don’t know if Damon had a relationship with a vet for her pets but it doesn’t sound like it.

At issue with the animal welfare agent were some housing deficiencies and the care of three particular goats:

“There was a long list of things that needed to be corrected, some structural things and some complaints about lack of care and lack of feeding because I had two that were a little on the thin side, but they were older goats that had been bred every year,” Damon said in a telephone interview.

One goat was 16 years old and the other 13, she said. Another goat had a slight nasal discharge that could have been treated with an antibiotic.

Could have but wasn’t, apparently.  The other seven goats were described by Damon as “fat, healthy and sassy.”

So maybe no regular vet and maybe it might be hard to get one over a holiday weekend so – what to do?  Instead of getting on the phone and trying to get a vet to see the goats, perhaps explaining that she’s the town ACO and would really appreciate being worked in on short notice as a professional courtesy, and/or asking the state inspector for an extension (“I couldn’t get a vet visit before the 8th but I have one scheduled for the 9th, can you work with me?”) or taking three seconds to think up any other reasonable thing, Damon came up with this plan:

“So I looked at the animal welfare person and said, ‘So, I do have the right — and correct me if I’m wrong — to destroy my own animals because if I destroy my animals, there is no longer a problem?’

The state inspector reportedly agreed that Damon had the right to kill the goats.

“So it was with a heavy heart that I chose to put down animals that I brought into this world because a lot of them, I helped deliver,” she said[.]

[…]

Damon said she would have preferred to have the goats processed for meat but she was unable to find an opening before late December.

[…]

Some of the goats were buried and others became coyote bait, she said.

Damon says she “sat down and bawled” after killing her pets.  Whom she cradled at birth.  Whom she would have liked to eat.  Whom she left to rot as coyote bait.

Regarding the town’s request for her resignation:

She said that she was asked to leave the post “because of things that went on in my own personal life regarding the goats. They do not feel it looks kosher for an animal control officer to be reported and to possibly be facing animal cruelty charges, regardless of the fact that they were my own personal animals.”

Uh, regardless?  I was thinking especially because.  The town’s enforcer of animal cruelty statutes thinks she should be above the law apparently.

“I feel that what I had to do to my own animals should not reflect upon how I treated other people’s animals in my line of work as far as being the animal control officer,” she said.

So I see on your resume that you have had your parental rights terminated for beating your kids but you believe you’d be a good fit for our daycare center?

The parting shot:

Now that she has lost her job, she might have to downsize her flock of 16 chickens, she said.

And by downsize, I assume she means rehoming to greener pastures something awful.

The last AC call that Damon appears to have responded to is a bizarre and tragic bite report involving a man who hanged a ten month old puppy after Damon left his home then called her back to come pick up the body.  The incident was later reported to the sheriff by another resident of the home, not Damon.  I can’t help but wonder what counsel she offered in that case.

Damon is scheduled to appear in court on October 15 on the animal cruelty summons (the same date the puppy hanger is set to appear).  She has not been charged for killing her pets.  The town of Orrington is currently looking for a new ACO and having police officers perform those duties in the interim.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

State of NC Revokes Certifications from Two ACOs

The NC Department of Agriculture received a complaint from a citizen in June regarding improper pet killings at the Stokes Co pound.  On July 2, the department revoked the euthanasia technician certifications from two ACOs at the facility. An investigation conducted by a state inspector found that Phillip Handy, then director of the Stokes Co pound:

  • killed animals before the required 72 hour holding period expired
  • improperly killed at least one animal in May 2015 “which involved the cruel and inhumane treatment of the animal”
  • “performed, participated in and/or witnessed” the inhumane killing of multiple animals
  • treated multiple animals cruelly and inhumanely causing them pain and suffering
  • shot an animal as “euthanasia” and failed to report it
  • failed to cooperate with the state during the investigation

The state further found that ACO Darryl Sheppard:

  • killed animals before the required 72 hour holding period expired
  • witnessed at least one inhumane pet killing incident in May 2015 and failed to report it
  • “performed, participated in and/or witnessed” the inhumane killing of multiple animals
  • shot or had knowledge of the shooting of an animal as “euthanasia” and failed to report it
  • failed to cooperate with the state during the investigation

Neither Sheppard nor Handy has been charged with any crime in connection with the department’s findings but the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating both men.  They no longer work for Stokes Co.  The facility failed its most recent inspection in late August.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

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