Virginia ACO Charged with Felony Cruelty

Nottoway County, Virginia pays one man to care for the county’s lost and homeless animals.  That man is now on unpaid leave after being charged with two felony counts of animal abuse.  Both charges stem from shelter pets the ACO allegedly left to suffer without veterinary care until they were near death.

In one case, a terrier who was unable to stand was left in a cage without treatment or pain medication for two weeks before a rescuer transported him to a group willing to take the dog to a vet.  A court document indicates the ACO claimed he took the dog to a vet initially, received a $2000 estimate but opted instead to leave the dog at the pound for the five day holding period before killing him.  I wonder if he thinks fulfilling the holding period requirement earns him extra credit on the test.  When the rescuer requested copies of the vet records at the time the dog was being transferred, the ACO reportedly said he had thrown them out since he was just going to kill the dog anyway.  WRIC reports the dog had to be euthanized.

In the second case, a kitten was impounded with serious wounds and injuries which became infected as he sat in a filthy cage at the pound for at least five days without veterinary care.  The ACO reportedly said he had placed, then removed, a splint on the kitten’s leg (playing vet hospital is yay) and that he was holding the kitten while waiting for a feline leukemia test to arrive.  Which you know, testing for FeLV is important but not HOLD IT HOLD EVERYTHING THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD important.  The ACO reportedly told the rescuer not to post the kitten’s photo on social media.  Red flag, anyone?  Sure would be a shame if someone saw what state the kitten was in and offered to take him to a vet and ruin the ACO’s fun, I guess.  When the rescuer finally took the kitten to a vet, it was determined he had a badly infected leg wound, his pelvis was fractured and there was nerve damage to the bladder and rectum.  The kitten was unable to stand or urinate and had to be euthanized.

The Nottoway Co shelter pets are currently being cared for by a neighboring county while the ACO is on leave.  Hopefully the other county has some sort of checks and balances in place so that one horrible person can’t harm animals as the whim strikes him.  Shame on the elected officials of Nottoway Co for having zero interest in what the actual hell was going on in their shelter – which was actual hell, to be accurate.

(Thanks Nathan.)

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.)

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.)

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

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.)

Action Alert: Animals Suffering in Clinton Co Shelter

No food or water, crammed in filthy cages, sick and dying.  These are a few of the photos taken at the Tri County Animal Shelter in Albany, KY and posted on Facebook.  Warning: There are additional photos and some videos at the links.  They are very disturbing and some appear to show dead animals.

If animals were suffering in these conditions at a citizen’s home, HSUS and/or ASPCA would be there with their logo jackets on, media in tow, bringing animals out for the cameras (before dumping them on the local rescue community after they got their fundraising ops).  I have been checking online since these photos were posted and have seen no reporting on this so-called shelter.  HSUS and ASPCA will never go there with the media and remove the animals because they enable this behavior and call us troublemakers when we demand the workers do their jobs.  They tell us to bring them cupcakes in appreciation for the work they do.  Fuck their worse than useless platitudes.

Contact Clinton Co.  Tell them to treat this emergency situation in their shelter exactly as they would if animals in these conditions were found in a citizen’s home.  The animals need immediate vet care and charges must be brought against those responsible for the neglect and abuse:

Clinton Count Judge Executive Office
Richard C. Armstrong
(606) 387-5234
judgearmstrong@windstream.net

County Sheriff
Jim Guffey
(606) 387-5111

The idea that a meeting could be held and changes proposed is unacceptable in this situation.  This is a life and death emergency.  The animals need help NOW and the people responsible need to be put in the back of a police car and taken to jail.  This is institutionalized animal abuse, paid for by taxpayers, and overseen by Clinton Co officials.  Shame on all of them.

Hillsborough Co Shelter: News Roundup

Last month, the shelter director at Hillsborough Co reported an 89% live release rate to county commissioners.  Florida animal advocates are concerned that pets are being sold without appropriate screening and cite examples of dog flipping and a dog who cyclically got adopted then impounded as a stray again within weeks before ultimately being killed after a bite.

In addition, the Hillsborough Co shelter is reportedly failing to maintain its Do Not Adopt list – a list of people who are not allowed to own animals by order of the courts.  When asked in January why the list hadn’t been updated since 2014, the director blamed a glitch in the system.  In April, it was reported that the 4 people convicted of torturing a dog named Cabela, a reject from the dogfighting ring 2 of the men operated, still weren’t on the DNA list.  Cabela was turned over to a pair of teens for killing in 2015 because she wouldn’t fight.  They shot her and left her tied to railroad tracks.  She was rescued by police and received treatment from a vet.  Any of the 4 people involved in the case could walk into the Hillsborough Co facility and adopt a dog today.

Also in April, a worker at the secret shelter maintained by Hillsborough Co to house court case dogs reportedly mixed two cleaning agents together which created toxic fumes.  Four workers at the secret location got sick.  But the director maintained the animals, who breathed the same air as the workers, were unaffected.

Lastly, as regular readers may recall, Hillsborough Co recently disciplined an ACO for brainsticking roosters seized from a cockfighting ring.  A former supervisor at the shelter says she witnessed the current director willfully violate the county’s euthanasia protocols for roosters and kill non-sedated birds via injection of Fatal Plus into their necks.

These recent news tidbits provide a disturbing backdrop to an otherwise admirably improved live release rate.  And it makes me wonder what else is going on at the shelter that hasn’t made it on to the local news.

(Thanks Clarice.)

 

Ebony’s Owner Requested Euthanasia at MAS, All Ebony Got was a Cage to Suffer In

End of life decisions for pets are painful and difficult.  None of us wants to take a pet in for euthanasia too soon and at the same time we don’t want to wait too long.  On the one hand, there is hope the pet could possibly rally once more and have a little bit more quality time in this life.  On the other hand, when the vet has told you there is no reasonable hope for recovery and you believe your beloved family member has no rallies left in her, you don’t want her to needlessly suffer through to the natural end of life.  Nature can be cruel.  Euthanasia is the final kindness we can offer to our pets.

Speaking for myself, once I’ve made the decision that it’s time, I don’t want to delay.  I want the suffering to end as soon as possible.  My vet has always been very good about moving us to the front of the line in these cases.

This is one of the reasons why, when reviewing the records for the many animals who die in their cages at the Memphis pound each month, I found Ebony’s story so heartbreaking.  Ebony was a 15 year old pitbull whose health was failing.  She had stopped eating, which is one of the ways dogs prepare themselves for death.  She had wasted away to a mere 20 pounds.  Her owner decided it was time.  He brought her to Memphis Animal Services on the afternoon of May 10 and requested euthanasia.  It was a Tuesday, when MAS was open for “all services” from 1pm to 7pm.

ebony cage card

Copy of Ebony’s cage card at MAS, obtained via FOIA request.

Rather than immediately get a vet to look at Ebony and then, assuming the vet agreed that she was medically hopeless and suffering, perform the euthanasia, MAS staff put her on a dolly, wheeled her to a cage in the kill-holding room and left her there.  A staff member entered a note in her records indicating she was a “high priority euthanasia”.  But it was after 4 pm and apparently high priority means something other than HIGH PRIORITY at MAS, at least after 4pm.  Ebony was left alone in a cage to suffer until she finally died at some point before someone on the next morning shift noted she was dead.

I have held my own elderly, frail, weak dogs in my arms at the end of their lives.  I have carried them, sometimes in blankets, as gently as possible, knowing every movement is painful for them.  It makes my stomach turn to think of MAS putting 20 pound Ebony on a dolly and wheeling her to a cage. Leaving her there alone, in pain, surrounded by the smells and sounds of fear from the other dogs awaiting death, makes my heart hurt.  She must have been confused and frightened on top of her physical torment.  I dread to think how long every minute of those dark hours must have seemed before death finally arose from the cold concrete to embrace her.

But as awful as all of that is to imagine, the thing that pissed me off was the solitary vet note entered in Ebony’s records:

ebony med note Passed while sleeping.  Excuse fucking me?  THIS is the vet note?  Not, “none of us here are doing our jobs so we just left this pet to rot” or “appears to have groaned in agony all night long, alone in the dark while we cashed our paychecks” but the ever so peaceful sounding “passed while sleeping”.  So tranquil.  Almost like a service at a spa.  A spa for death.

That is some first class enabling/criminal cover up there.  I guess practice makes perfect.

Fire these outrageous excuses for animal care professionals already.  Every one of them.  Then prosecute them using the same standards as would be used against any citizen who intentionally left a dog to suffer like this.  This is hardly the first time.  And until the citizens of Memphis take a stand, it won’t be the last.

I hope your 15 years on this earth were beautiful and happy, Ebony.  I’m sorry your death at MAS was so needlessly cruel.  There are such things as monsters and you should not have had to find that out at the hour of your greatest need.  How many more, Memphis?

(Thanks Lou Ann.)

KY Shelter Director Charged with Cruelty

Cheryl Bartlett, an area rescuer, took her kids to the Edmonson County Animal Shelter in KY last week to pick up some dogs. One of her children noticed a dead dog in an outdoor pen with other dogs. Overall conditions at the facility were so awful, she called the police.

When state troopers arrived, they found 48 dogs, 1 dead, and 20 cats, 3 dead, suffering at the pound. Many of the animals had no water.  Cats were stacked in wire cages.  Three “feral” cats, covered in feces and flies, were crammed into a single cage.  One had visible urine burns.  Dogs appeared to have been starved, had feces matted in their fur and suffered from urine scalding and open sores.  Several animals were immediately killed, due to behavior or medical reasons.

edmonson co cat

A cat at the Edmonson Co pound, as pictured on Facebook.  Someday I am going to write a big, heavy book called Do Not House Cats on Wire Floors Ever Ever Ever You Assface.  It’s going to be big and heavy enough that it will make an impression.

State police issued a citation to, but did not arrest, Kim Carroll, the Edmonson Co shelter director, charging her with second degree animal cruelty.  The next day, she sent hubby over to the place to start destroying evidence:

“He got the water hose and started frantically watering the animals … and he removed the dead dog,” Bartlett said.

It’s unclear where that dead animal was taken.

Just having a guess: probably their usual spot, wherever that is.

The Edmonson shelter held 4 county contracts.  And apparently everyone knew it was a hellhole:

In 2015, a Daily News investigative team visited the shelter on multiple occasions, each time noting conditions that appeared to fall short of guidelines for shelters offered by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Animals were in cages that were too small, were underweight and some were without water.

[…]

At the time of the 2015 Daily News investigation, Edmonson County Judge-Executive Wil Cannon said he stood behind the operation of the shelter. Cannon, when reached Saturday on vacation, said he was not aware enough of the situation to comment.

[…]

Bartlett said she has been getting dogs from the shelter for about two years and said it’s hard to find the words to describe the conditions.

“It is reprehensible … disgusting,” she said.

Margie Patton is a board member of the Barren River Animal Welfare Association, a shelter which took many of the surviving animals from the Edmonson pound:

“It was not a good place at all, and it was kind of hurtful to see animals in that condition, just sitting there,” Patton said, describing what she witnessed when she went to the Edmonson County shelter. “I have been there several times in the past year and a half and it’s always horrendous.”
[…]
“They don’t do adoptions. They just let animals sit there and sit there,” she said, adding they either wait for help from another shelter or from a rescue group.

I hate to think of how many years animals literally wasted away in that place while the four contracting counties wrote checks, either knowing it was a shitshow or maintaining a willful ignorance of that fact, and the director’s hubby hid the bodies.  The photo of this dog, who needed help but got death, is heartbreaking.  Number of people arrested for any of this:  zero.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Jacked Up Shelter Staff Charged with Cruelty in VT

Warning:  This is some disturbing shit.

In February 2016, the Vermont Department of Agriculture reportedly inspected a 16 year old cat shelter in Chester called Webster’s House and approved the facility for re-licensing.  In April, a local paper reported that Webster’s House was being evicted by its landlord, forcing the shelter to find homes for its 39 cats.  And:

In an unrelated situation, after a monthlong investigation, Chester Police have sent a report to the State’s Attorney’s office following a complaint of animal cruelty at Webster’s House.

At that time, shelter manager Mary Donaldson characterized the complaint as coming from “a disgruntled former volunteer who complained about the cats not getting proper medical care.”

This week, Donaldson and the vice president of the shelter’s board, Jessica “Remi” Fecteau, were charged with animal cruelty and lying to police. Both women are still living at the now-closed shelter and have pleaded innocent.

About that so-called disgruntled vol and lack of medical care:

The investigation started when one volunteer, Crystal Losee, a local nurse, was told not to go into the bathroom at the shelter and found a dead black cat in a bucket of water.

[…]

Crystal was told that they could not take the cat to the vet because of a $4,000 bill they already owed.”

Donaldson and Fecteau had allegedly been drowning sick cats in lieu of getting them veterinary care. And no, you’re not out of the woods yet:

Losee told police Donaldson had told her that “the cat had asked Mary to drown him but she just couldn’t do it so Remi did.”

“Remi told her that after the cat was done fighting, the cat apologized to Remi.

[…]

In addition, people at Webster’s House believed in “soul jumping” between the dying cats and the healthy cats, and that Donaldson told another volunteer that one of the cats was “destined to die to be reborn again.”

Court records reveal what appears to be a boatload of crazy-pants:

There were sworn statements from Donaldson and Fecteau, as well as others associated with the now-closed shelter, and it painted a picture of a deteriorating situation at the shelter and shelter volunteers endorsing “body jumping” to transfer the soul of a sick, dying cat into a healthy one.

At one point in December, there were an estimated 70 to 80 cats at the shelter, many of them sick. When the criminal investigation began in January, the number of cats was about half that number.

A state inspector noted the earlier cat population at 80, as did Ann Eddy of the Springfield Humane Society, who also counted about 80 cats, with sick and healthy cats intermingled.

So Webster’s House was drowning sick cats and kittens in order to transfer their souls into the bodies of healthy cats. At the same time, they were housing the sick cats, of which they reportedly had many, with the healthy cats which would obviously result in the healthy cats becoming sick and thereby guarantee a constant supply of souls for the drowning buckets.  Nice bananas system.

By the way, the Rutland Herald reports that Fecteau now works at a mental health facility.  So there’s that.

The lying to police charges likely stem from the various stories Donaldson and Fecteau allegedly told police when asked about the drownings.  They tried everything from “never happened” to “must have drowned in the water dish”.  And when volunteers from area shelters – at Webster’s House to take some of the cats for rehoming before they were evicted – found a freshly drowned cat, Donaldson tried playing the Bitch Set Me Up card:

But the afternoon’s events took a turn for the worse when humane society volunteers found a dead cat, wrapped in a plastic bag, floating in a bucket of water in back of the building. The bucket was covered by a litter box, weighed down by a large rock.

When volunteers confronted Mary Donaldson, the Webster’s House manager about the dead cat, she started yelling that it was a “plant,” and that it wasn’t one of her cats. She refused to look at the cat.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, the Vermont Department of Agriculture has regulations which shelters are required to meet.  A snippet from those regs:

vtwelfareregs

Portion of Vermont’s animal welfare regulations

I will grant you the state inspector might not have known about the soul jumping wackiness because maybe all the Webster’s House peeps were like Ix-nay on the cray-cray while the inspector was around. And maybe he didn’t think it was weird to see water buckets covered with litter boxes and weighed down with rocks. But the inspector would presumably have noted the missing cats, the sick cats housed with the healthy ones and the lack of veterinary care. The last two are clear violations.  So I guess I’m wondering:  How the fuck did the state wave this crackass horror show through for 16 years?  And what is going on at the other state licensed shelters in Vermont?  Can somebody lose their job now, please?

(Thanks Clarice.)