Baton Rouge Pound Oops-Kills Another Pet

Brittany Seelmann left her beloved 4 year old dog Thrall in the care of a friend last month. When Thrall reportedly bit a repairman at the house, AC took him to the Baton Rouge pound for a 10 day quarantine. The facility is managed by a pet killing group called Companion Animal Alliance.

Ms. Seelmann says she called and spoke with someone from CAA daily about Thrall – making sure he was eating and re-verifying that the release date on his paperwork, July 29, was correct. On July 28, someone from CAA called Ms. Seelmann to tell her they’d killed her dog by mistake. Oops.

“I was just devastated when she called me. I immediately started crying,” Seelmann said.

CAA director Beth Brewster released a generic Oops-Kill statement from the Crappy Pound Manual:

“My staff and I are devastated we failed Thrall while he was in our care. He was brought to us after a bite case occurred for quarantine as required by ordinance. Our protocols are based on national standards, but unfortunately human error does occur. Everyone involved has been reprimanded, we are retraining staff on procedures and working on tightening our vigilance to ensure that this will not happen again.”

So yeah it’s sad but don’t forget he was a BAD DOG and we were just following the law and we’re only human and what human hasn’t oops-killed someone’s pet, you know?

Also, retraining and the usual blah.  Which apparently does not include transparency:

CAA would not comment further on how many people were disciplined and how.

thrall memorial

Shelter pet advocacy, courtesy of the irresponsible public. (Image via WAFB)

Ms. Seelmann held a memorial for Thrall at the pound and set up a table to raise awareness about some of the other owned animals CAA has killed. That took guts.  And she had to dig down past her grief in order to harness that power.  Good on you, Ms. Seelmann.  I am glad someone is advocating for the right of shelter pets to live, since no one at the shelter seems to care.  I hope more local animal lovers will join you in calling for reform at this pet killing facility.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Philly ACCT Gives Lost Pet Away, Tries to Blame Finder

jake

Jake, as shown on Philly.com.

A dog named Jake got lost on July 13 in Philadelphia. His owners, Vickie and Mark Remolde, began looking for him immediately. Meanwhile, a good Samaritan had found Jake running loose and taken him to the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) so that his owners could find him. It didn’t work out so well:

[Chris Ferraro] says he took the dog to ACCT and filed a report with the shelter and provided his contact information. That’s when he says another man in the lobby approached workers about taking care of the dog until the owners came forward.

ACCT staff gave Jake to Man in Lobby. When the Remoldes came to the pound looking for their lost pet, they didn’t find him. Because staff had given him to Man in Lobby. Who then disappeared.

“It was a complete and total joke,” Ferraro said. “As a dog owner myself, it gives me great concern that God forbid if I ever lost my dog, it’d just be given to some random person off the street.”

Vickie Remolde says she asked ACCT to send someone to the address provided by Man in Lobby but when they did, it was Some Other Guy who lived there so shrug.

ACCT issued this statement regarding Jake:

“The dog that we believe to be Jake was never relinquished into ACCT Philly’s care. An individual who found a dog that matched Jake’s description brought the dog to ACCT Philly on July 13th, but before filing a lost report, passed the dog to another person, and left. We do not know why the original finder chose to do this, and we do not condone this kind of interaction between members of the public, but do not have the authority to restrict it. The second individual, who now has the dog that matches Jake’s description, provided identification and completed a found animal report, which is in line with ACCT Philly policy and procedure.

When an owner that matched the description and circumstances of the dog on this report came forward, ACCT Philly reached out to the individual who filed the lost report in order to reunite the family. Attempts at contact over the phone and in person have proven unsuccessful, but we are continuing to do everything in our power to reunite Jake and his family.

48 hour stray holds begin when a dog is taken into our facility. We do not have ownership of animals that have not been formally relinquished into our care and are unable to seize or force them to be turned over.”

Basically: We know nothing of this, how you say, doog and even if we did, nothing is our fault and that good Samaritan sucks so hard, amirite?

That explanation went over like a rock tied to a bigger rock and the owners began investigating the circumstances of Jake’s disappearance themselves. They connected with Mr. Ferraro and got some additional details:

Ferraro said he was giving his information to a woman at the [ACCT] counter when another man walked in and asked if Jake was his dog.

When Ferraro said no, the other man asked if he could have Jake.

“No,” Ferraro replied. “He’s someone else’s dog.”

At this point, Ferraro said an ACCT kennel attendant came over and told the second man that if he wanted to have the dog, he could. Ferraro said he protested.

The attendant said the second man could have Jake as long as the owner had a chance to reclaim him.

The second man’s information was taken by ACCT and he was allowed to leave with Jake.

None of this was related to Mark less than 48 hours later, when he arrived at ACCT. [emphasis added]

Oh snap.

You_Sit_On_A_Throne_Of_Lies

The Remoldes did not give up. They returned again and again to ACCT, demanding accountability and the return of their pet. When it was determined that Man in Lobby had given a phony address, they worried that Jake had been taken for nefarious purposes. They asked ACCT to show them video footage of Man in Lobby, hoping for an additional clue. ACCT refused. The owners got a lawyer.

Suddenly, magically even, Man in Lobby produced Jake and the Remoldes got him back. He’d lost a considerable amount of weight, had a red rash on his neck and his tail was burned “black, like charcoal.” No longer his playful self, Jake is now reportedly fearful. The owners spent $175 at the vet getting their pet fixed up.

ACCT waived its usual fees for Jake, the dog they tried to claim they didn’t really know, because they’re cool like that. But that public, soooo irresponsible:

[ACCT executive director Vincent] Medley said that if Ferraro was uncomfortable with the proceedings, which Ferraro protested, he should have asked for a supervisor.

I assume the good Sam was drunk at the time and wearing a slutty short skirt. You stay classy, ACCT.

Kinda makes you wonder why Man in Lobby types would feel comfortable hanging out at ACCT, scoping out dogs and why ACCT would pass them dogs so casually, then lie about it and hide evidence.

No mention of any criminal charges for anyone.

I also wonder how many other lost pets ACCT gave to Man in Lobby types. Pets whose owners couldn’t afford a lawyer or didn’t realize they needed one.  Pets whose tails may have been burned and then whatever else happens when there is no owner going on TV and raising holy hell, fighting for the return of their pet.

No mention of any criminal charges for anyone?

 

(Thanks Clarice.)

Pets Suffering at OK Pound

When June Woodall went to the El Reno pound in Oklahoma to reclaim her family’s lost dog, she found him in terrible condition and took him to her vet.  The vet determined he was extremely dehydrated.  The dog’s urine was black.  He had been at the pound for 2 days because the place is not staffed, making it difficult for the public to get inside.

Ms. Woodall went back to the facility later that week, concerned for the welfare of the pets still housed there.  She took video of caged pets in filthy conditions with no water or a very small amount of dirty water.  Outside, there were animal bones and piles of fur on the ground near the dumpster.

“So, I posted on Facebook trying to get some help. I called the after-hours number, and they said there’s nothing they can do. The police department answered. They said the guy was off work,” Woodall said.

The police department is responsible for running the pound:

“It’s not manned here, but we have two full-time animal control officers. They’re in and out, dropping off animals and then back out on calls,” said Lt. Greg Meeks with El Reno PD.

With one of those officers on vacation, Meeks said it’s been a tough week.

[..]

He said the animals are fed and provided water daily.

If a dog in your care for 2 days is pissing black, your “daily” watering would appear to be insufficient.

Lt. Meeks also told KFOR that people tie animals outside the facility since it’s usually closed.  He says the remains filmed by Ms. Woodall may have been dumped there too.

Maybe, although it seems extremely implausible to me that someone would dump bones and piles of fur next to a dumpster at a pound.  Most likely the pets were left there in some other state, prior to the extensive decomposition evident on the video.  I guess my question is:  How do they know that one or more of those pets were not left there ALIVE, perhaps tied to the dumpster or immobile from injury or old age?  They say people leave pets there regularly and they don’t know anything about how the bones got there.

In fact Lt. Meeks told News9:

“People will drop off animals, tie them up to the poles in front of the shelter or just tie them to the door knob or dump them off at the dumpster and we asked they don’t just dump the animals because it may be an hour or so before an animal control officer gets back and we want to make sure the animals are left in a safe manner,” El Reno police Lt. Greg Meeks said.

An hour or so. Bones and fur. Reconcile at will.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the video posted by Ms. Woodall.  The first shows kittens who appear to be sick and the second shows dogs in a dirty kennel with what appears to be a gaping hole in the floor, possibly an uncovered drain:

kittenselreno

dogselreno

I get someone going on vacation but come the hell on. This place either needs to be staffed properly, possibly with the help of volunteers if the police will unlock the doors, or they need to shut it down. Because this is unacceptable. I hope local residents will demand immediate reform in El Reno.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Eyewitnesses Report Seeing Maricopa Co Pound Worker Abuse Dogs

Arizona – Two sisters who went to Maricopa County’s West Valley Animal Care Center looking for pets to adopt say they heard a pound employee yelling at a pair of dogs he was trying to put into a kennel. They say they saw the worker repeatedly and violently kick the dogs, although one got most of the abuse, until the cage door was ripped off its hinges, pinning one of the dogs to the floor. The women say they filed a formal complaint at the pound regarding the incident.

Their eyewitness account of animal abuse at the Maricopa Co pound spread on social media. Kim Kulpa, an area rescuer who saw the post, went to the pound and pulled both dogs.  She says one was visibly shaken and injured:

“He was cowering on the ground as soon as I walked up and his eyes were bloodshot and his face kind of puffy, I knew something’s not right with this dog,” Kulpa said.
She decided to rescue the dogs and took Hugo to a veterinarian for x-rays and says that the injuries supported the sisters’ story.
“He had bruises on both sides of his face. She felt he had a concussion. His body had a little bit of swelling,” Kulpa said. “Consistent with blunt force or being thrown against a gate, possibly.”

The pound has placed the accused employee on administrative leave and is investigating itself in the matter. But:

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Phoenix Police tell ABC15 that they have no record of any reports being made.

Off to a good start.

Raise your paw if you have full confidence in the county’s ability to investigate itself with integrity and transparency regarding this abuse complaint which law enforcement denies exists.

Thank you to the irresponsible public for advocating for and rescuing these dogs.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Roanoke Pound Volunteers Locked Out by Management

Volunteers at the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection in Roanoke, Virginia were heartbroken when they found out two of their favorite dogs at the pound, Murray and Smokey, were suddenly killed on management’s order earlier this month. Smokey had a volunteer willing to take him if he was ever put on the kill list and although she had reportedly communicated that to staff, she was never called.  The killings represented a tipping point for volunteers, as they wrote in an opinion piece on Roanoke.com:

The concerns of volunteers go far beyond the deaths of the two dogs mentioned, as sad and unnecessary as they were. There is systemic mismanagement, high turnover with constant firings and people quitting because of the negative environment, hostility toward volunteers that emanates from RCACP executive director Dave Flagler himself, an atmosphere of distrust because employees are asked whether they are “with” the staff or the volunteers, poor customer service with regular complaints from the public that fall on deaf ears, outdated sheltering practices and an unwillingness to do anything different or beyond what has always been done.

Volunteers and local citizens regularly attend the quarterly meetings of RCACP’s executive committee […] to voice our concerns. They too fall on deaf ears.

Frustrated volunteers planned a peaceful protest after Murray and Smokey were killed.  When management found out about the planned protest, the volunteers were locked out of the pound.  The protest was canceled and management let the vols come back after a few days.

Flagler told WDBJ that volunteers must accept the fact that the facility kills animals:

“If they cannot accept that, then it’s quite possible that this isn’t the right place for them,” said Flagler.

And:

The facility director says the volunteers are overreacting to something that is in the day of a life of an animal shelter.

If killing animals has become so ingrained for Flagler that he literally locks out anyone who doesn’t agree that shelter pet killing is standard fare, he needs to find a new line of work.  Wanting to do better is supposed to be a laudable objective, not a contemptible machination.

Vols recently addressed the shelter’s board to call for Flagler’s ouster.  Instead, the board unanimously voted to have an advisory board conduct a study of animal killing at the pound and report back in 30 days. Flagler said he will only change if forced:

If the review […] finds his approach is out of step of modern practices, he said, then it will be time for him to change.

I’m less concerned about the degree to which this shelter director is out of step with modern practices and more concerned that he doesn’t seem to realize that killing a dog who has an adopter is wrong.  As is punishing those who disagree with you when they attempt to exercise their 1st Amendment rights and by extension, punishing the animals by locking out the people who meet their primary socialization needs.  This is basic human stuff.  You can be taught modern practices.  Compassion and humility, not so much.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice.)

 

Montgomery Co Vols Call for Shelter Reform

When a dog named Peggy Sue tried to break out of the terrible Montgomery Co pound in Texas, she wound up hanging by the neck, pinned between what appear to be metal grates shoddily fastened on top of her kennel.  She suffered there until a volunteer found her and saved her life.  This is a photo, posted on social media, of the dog being helped by the irresponsible public, while the staff was doing I don’t know what:

peggy sue montgomery co

The Montgomery Co pound is the same place where a sheriff’s deputy bashed a dog’s head in with a 2 X 4 then adopted another dog because the staff allegedly had no idea what was going on in their own facility.  And when they figured it out later, meh.

The shelter volunteers are fed up and calling for reform.  See their action alert here.

(Thanks Nathan.)

Action Alert: Harnett Co Shelter Pets Suffering in Heat

These videos were submitted by an animal advocate who wishes to remain anonymous. They were reportedly taken at the Harnett Co pound in NC this week and appear to show cats suffering in the summer heat:

I don’t know what type of system is in place to keep the animals cool during the summer months at Harnett Co but whatever it is, it appears to be terribly inadequate and may be a violation of state law.  It is my understanding that the NC Department of Agriculture, responsible for overseeing the state’s animal shelters, has already been advised of this situation.  Based upon the dates of the state’s inspections of the Harnett Co facility, it doesn’t look like the place has been inspected during the summer in years.

If you wish to take action on behalf of the animals:

Send polite, respectful letters requesting an immediate fix to the heat problem at the Harnett Co pound which does not involve further harm to the animals to:

Joseph Jeffries, County Manager
102 East Front Street
Lillington, NC 27546

Phone: 910-893-7555
Fax: 910-814-2662

jjeffries@harnett.org

“The Incident with Barbie”

barbie co co

Barbie with a toy, in a screengrab from a video apparently made by rescuers.

Contra Costa County Animal Services spokesman Steve Burdo says a 4 year old dog named Barbie was put on the June 18 kill list “after a series of evaluations by the department’s staff and medical team.”  She appeared to have a mammary tumor.  She also had two rescue groups who wanted to save her and had communicated that to the shelter.  But Contra Costa killed Barbie anyway – by mistake.  Oops.

“There were two rescues interested in this dog and the shelter manager overrode those notes and said to have her killed by the end of the day,” said Melissa Farley Law of Petaluma Pet Pals told CBS San Francisco on Thursday.

“I literally cried for three days,” she continued. “I couldn’t even look at her picture without crying. l just felt like I let her down.”

Rescues didn’t let her down. The people solely to blame for killing Barbie are the people who actually killed her – Contra Costa Co Animal Services.  And they did more than just fail Barbie – they appear to have broken the law.  Specifically the Hayden Act, which requires shelters to release pets to rescue groups willing to save them.

tommy co co

Tommy at Contra Costa Co Animal Services, as pictured on CBS SF.

In addition, a dog named Tommy who was killed around the same time, was reportedly also slated for rescue:

Rescue group member Melissa Farley Law said a second dog named Tommy had been pulled for adoption as well, but was instead euthanized.

Burdo said the department does not have any records confirming that a rescue group had shown interest in rescuing Tommy. He doesn’t believe there was a mistake.

No records.  Now.  So just punt, I guess.  But let’s be clear, unless Tommy was medically hopeless and suffering, which his completely adorable photo seems to refute, killing him was a mistake.  He had a right to live and it was Contra Costa County’s job to protect him from harm.  Instead of doing their job, they killed Tommy.  Just because the spokesman wants it known that the killing was intentional does not justify it in any way, shape or form.  Tommy is irreplaceable.

There are records confirming rescue holds on Barbie.  So there has been a two-pronged response by the county:

1. Distract with shiny thing.

Ironically, the “Barbie incident” comes on the heels of good news regarding the agency’s increasing live release rates. As of May 2016, around 80 percent of animals that were brought to the county shelter made it out alive, up from around 45 percent in 2011, CCAS spokesman Steve Burdo said.

“Not to take away from the incident with Barbie, but the situation with Barbie, if you’re asking me, seems more like the exception than the rule,” he said.

Breaking the law and killing dogs rescue groups are willing to save is not the rule at Contra Costa Co, it’s just the exception.  Gee, I’m glad it’s not the rule.  That would be bad.  Seeing as it’s just the exception, I guess we can let it slide.

Barbie’s death was not an incident or a situation, by the way.  It was a tragedy which a state law was enacted in order to prevent.  Barbie is irreplaceable.

2.  Investigate yourself!

“We’re going to take this opportunity to learn and improve our process so this never happens again.”
[…]
Burdo said the department is investigating the incident internally.

I can’t think of anything that would give me more confidence.  Except possibly an investigation by a specially appointed piece of cardboard with aspirations of higher office.

Anyway, if you feel like bawling your eyes out, watch this video of Barbie, apparently posted to social media by rescuers the day she was oops-killed, playing, being social and generally loving life.

Barbie had the right to live and to love.  So did Tommy, despite what recordkeeping, or lack thereof, may exist at Contra Costa Co.  Barbie’s needless and apparently unlawful killing is not “an opportunity” nor should it be waved off as merely “an exception.”  Barbie, like Tommy, and like every other shelter pet, was exceptional.  That’s the part too many shelters don’t get.  There are and will be other friendly, happy dogs in our broken shelter system.  But there will never be another Barbie.  Or Tommy.  Or any of the millions of others whose lives are snuffed out each year in the name of “animal services.”  Taxpayers of Contra Costa Co, this is your animal shelter.  Let your elected officials know exactly what services you want.  Demand that compassionate people are immediately put into place who are committed to treating every animal as exceptional.  Accept nothing less.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Whistleblower Photographs Dead Dogs All Over the Floor at CA Pound

stanislaus co

The kill room at the Stanislaus Co shelter, as shown on abc10.com.

A man on a work release program was working at the Stanislaus Co pound when he saw a number of dead dogs on the floor of the kill room. He snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook. People were upset by the photo, and rightly so. Taxpayers pay for community pets to be sheltered, not killed. Moreover, it is sinister to force pets about to be killed to see, hear and/or scent other animals who are being or have just been killed.

wicked witch of the west

The last to go will see the first three go before her, hahaha.

Stanislaus Co took to Facebook and spun the public backlash this way:

Stanislaus Animal Services says “Thank You” for the ongoing continued support we have received today from the community. We have received an overwhelming number of calls and messages for support of Animal Services expressing their concern and disbelief that an inmate in our community thought it was okay to post a picture on Face Book disrespecting deceased dogs and their owners. The picture is disrespectful to the families of these dogs and was posted purely for shock value. The picture was taken down by Facebook and this person in now in custody.

All good whistleblowers go to jail in Stanislaus Co apparently.  Also, nice smear on the “inmate”.  I guess we’re supposed to imagine he’s a kiddie rapist or a serial killer or something – you know, purely for shock value.

The local kool-aid drinkers ABC affiliate did a piece on the viral photo in which they asked such hard hitting questions as:

[W]ho would take such a picture?

Probably nobody ever again, after this guy was taken away to jail.

ABC 10 reassured the public that a bunch of dead dogs on the kill room floor is totally normal:

“What’s seen and depicted in that picture is that euthanasia is complete,” [director Phillip] Zimmerman said. “The employees do a double check to make sure these animals are expired. They are getting a gurney which you don’t see, and then they put them on that and take them to refrigeration.”

According to the Sacramento and Stockton Animal shelters, as long as a pet doesn’t have to see a fellow pet euthanized, this is the common practice.

And in the accompanying video, Annette Patton from the Stanislaus Co shelter says:

We never expose an animal coming into euthanasia to see other deceased dogs.

She also explains that pets are killed up on the table, not on the floor.

So ok. I didn’t go to journalism school but I am far less concerned about who took the damn picture than I am about all the dead dogs lined up on the floor. And I have questions:

  1.  Given that the shelter rep made clear that pets are killed in that room and on that table, can anyone come up with an even slightly plausible scenario that explains how these dogs did not see, hear and/or scent all these other dogs either being killed or having just been killed?  Because I can not think of A N Y T H I N G.
  2. Is this how 7248 animals were killed last year at the Stanislaus Co pound?
stanislaus co stats

Stanislaus Co stats, as posted on its website.

Depite what the killing apologists at ABC 10 say, having dead dogs all over the kill room floor is not totally normal. The standard, as specified by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, among others, is rather the opposite:

Animals should not be permitted to observe or hear the euthanasia of another animal, nor permitted to view the bodies of dead animals.

I don’t know if state or local statutes specifically address this issue but maybe, when the sheriff’s office is done tossing bread and water to whistleblowers in the clink, they could check into that.

You know what is “disrespectful” to these dogs and their families (including the families they might have had if the county had done their jobs and sheltered them until adopted)?  Killing.  You know who is doing the killing, in an apparently inhumane manner?  Stanislaus Co.  You know who hauled a whistleblower off to jail for exposing that reality?  Stanislaus Co.

Spin that, psychopaths.

(Thanks Clarice.)

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.

 

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