Workers at CA Shelter Allege Neglect Causing Animal Injury and Death

The non-profit Peninsula Humane Society is contracted by San Mateo Co in California for animal control.  Sixteen PHS employees held a press conference in the shelter’s parking lot this week. The workers allege that sub-standard conditions, understaffing and neglect have led to the injury and death of several animals at the facility.

ACO Dylin Skiles said a dog named Max was recently put into a kennel that had a hole in it:

[I]t had not been fixed despite the fact that we had asked several times.

The workers have video of Max with his head and leg stuck through the hole along with blood beneath the dog. A still from that video:


Lisa Van Buskirk, Sr. VP of Community Engagement with the Peninsula HS, said the kennel did not have a hole in it at the time Max was placed inside:

That dog had recently come in and clearly wanted to get out – was biting at the fence. It did cause his mouth to get scratched up.

That dog.  So apparently it was just a mouth scratch and it was the dog’s fault anyway. Got it.

Except the ACO is not having any of it:

“What I saw was a dog that had [his] neck cut,” Animal Control Officer Dylan Skiles said.
Skiles said he requested management inspect all of the kennels weeks before the incident, after a previous incident where a dog was injured trying to escape a broken cage.

The workers further allege that several kittens died in foster care over the summer because they weren’t fed properly.  Van Buskirk again defended the shelter stating basically eh, kittens die. But others lived so, where’s the love?

Employees say a dog was oops-killed at the facility last December due to chronic understaffing. Van Buskirk says the employees involved failed to follow proper procedures and were fired.

Another employee reportedly left an overheated dog who had been rescued from a hot car in the back of the animal control truck until he finally died. That ACO was also fired, which appears to be a satisfactory resolution for Van Buskirk, but workers say the lack of air conditioning in the truck has never been addressed.

And then there’s this:

The whistle blowers said they have tried to have a conversation with Ken White, the president of the shelter, but said he has requested meetings without a union representative present.

Van Buskirk said White was on an extended vacation overseas and the timing of the allegations is suspicious considering the group has been in ongoing contract negotiations with the union for more than a year.

Speaking of suspicious, Mr. Extended Overseas Vacation gets paid more than a half million dollars a year to run the non-profit (I mean: non-nudge-nudge-wink-wink-profit). He has reportedly promised improvements to the 60 year old buildings but failed to deliver.  To be fair, it’s probably pretty difficult scrounging up motivation to tell someone to fix broken stuff in a CA shelter while sipping drinks on the French Riviera.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Polk Co Pound Kills Microchipped Lost Pet Upon Impound


Lefty, as shown on

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.)

Mass Killing at Ohio Pound is Just One of Many Awful Responses to Crisis

The Franklin County dog pound in Ohio received test results positive for distemper on one dog on September 3.  The facility remained open and adopted out 67 dogs before finally closing on September 9.

Franklin Co has since killed 84 dogs due to “distemper concerns” and 6 more dogs “for unrelated reasons”.  Rescue groups who tried to save some of the exposed dogs from being killed, including mama dogs with litters, were turned away despite having appropriate quarantine and medical care arranged.  All while enabling the killing which, you know, is weird:

Misti Martin-Fuller is the executive director of the I Have a Dream Rescue.
“The staff who are actually having to hold these dogs, walking them down the aisle, and actually administer the drugs? They’re not at fault,” Martin-Fuller said.

The ones doing the actual killing who won’t let us save the dogs? Oh heavens no, not to blame.

Also weird:  Rescue groups went to a county judge to obtain a temporary restraining order to stop the killings.  The judge granted the order but is requiring rescues to post a $100,000 bond which they are unable to do.  The county’s response, natch:  we’ll stop killing if rescues cough up the cash.

Donald Winstel, who just took over as shelter director, wants everyone to know that killing is hard:

For now, he said, counselors have been made available for shelter employees.

“Imagine what it would be like to be the caregivers of these dogs, and then, in some cases, to be involved with the process of euthanizing them,” Winstel said. “We understand those feelings. We’re going through that, too.”

They understand those feelings and they’ve got counselors for themselves but locals who recently adopted dogs are having to find out from the news that their pets might be contagious, might get sick and that if they do, it might be serious:

The shelter is not notifying those who were recently adopted of distemper but they are providing care and consultation at no cost to people concerned.

And I think with that, congratulations are in order:  Well done, Franklin Co.  If only you’d been able to squeeze in a reference to the irresponsible public, you would have had Kill Shelter yahtzee.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Long Beach Shelter Kills Dog Who Was Wanted by an Adopter and a Rescue

A Belgian Malinois named Thor lived at Long Beach Animal Care Services for 6 weeks this summer. A family who had another Mal applied to adopt him on July 13 but was turned away when the staff decided on July 14 that Thor had suddenly become too big a threat to society to be released to anyone but rescue. So a rescue placed a hold on Thor but Long Beach ACS killed him anyway, an apparent violation of California’s Hayden Act. Then Long Beach ACS began shoveling the excuses.

A [July 14] report from ACS’s Behavior and Rehoming Coordinator Jill Prout said the dog was exhibiting signs of “kennel deterioration,” was “spinning in kennel & jumping off kennel wall,” attempted to bite his leash and his handler’s arm, was “lunging at members of the public” and appeared to “have become highly stressed and anxious,” a behavior “not seen upon intake.”

OK for starters, any dog living in a shelter for 6 weeks who wasn’t spinning, jumping, and pulling the dog walker’s arm off trying to visit people had probably emotionally shut down and given up on life.  Be thankful that didn’t happen to Thor. Secondly, any Mal in a shelter for 6 weeks who hadn’t eaten his way through the chain link, opened all the cages and put together a competition canine wrestling team sounds like a highly extremely super adoptable pet, especially for a family that knows the breed.  Thirdly, a dog who “attempts” to interact with people and things orally may have an oral fixation – common in retriever breeds as well as many high drive dogs (which is why in training they are often rewarded with oral-oriented play such as tug toys).  None of the behavior described in this isolated incident, coming on the heels of 6 weeks of normal behavior, should have disqualified Thor from being adopted, let alone gotten him killed.  So I’m going with NO on that line of reasoning.

Then there’s this response to the shelter operations supervisor who asked the manager why Thor, whom she describes as one of her favorite dogs, was killed even though a rescue placed a hold on him:


Rescue hold placed after Thor was killed. That’s checkable. Let’s check.

Here is a copy of the rescue hold, timestamped 12:41 pm:


And here are two entries in Thor’s records regarding his killing: one from the tech who administered the pre-kill sedative and the other from the tech who did the killing. The entries are timestamped 1:02pm and 1:05pm respectively:


So the time excuse is also a NO.  But there’s an excuse for that excuse:

ACS director Ted Stevens, though, says Thor was put to sleep hours earlier than the 1:05 p.m. official time.

“Staff began euthanizing the animals around 10 a.m. and they were finished by noon. They do that, then they come back later and enter them in the log.”

OK so Long Beach routinely kills animals without checking the computer records for those animals. Gee, that sounds reckless, at best.

But to put the whole time issue in perspective, Thor’s behavior that landed him on the kill list happened Thursday morning, July 14th and was entered into his records at 10:29am:


So Long Beach apparently changed him to rescue-only the morning of July 14th, after killing had already started for the day, and then rushed him to the kill room as fast as they could.  What kind of chance does that give an animal to be rescued?  It’s just another gigantic NO.

The pre-kill sedative that was used on Thor, and is presumably used on other animals at the Long Beach shelter, is not recommended for use as a pre-kill sedative in the HSUS killing manual. Specifically on pages 35 – 36, HSUS says “ace should never be used alone” as a sedative “because it’s a tranquilizer, not an anesthetic” and carries a number of risks with it as well. HSUS further states that when given orally, it takes 30 – 40 minutes to take full effect. Thor was given ace just 3 minutes prior to being killed according to the records. Except the times are all wrong, I guess. So does anyone know if Thor and all the other animals being killed at Long Beach are given ace 40 minutes prior to being killed? Because apparently we can’t rely on the shelter’s records to provide that information. And why are they using ace anyway?

But enough with the questions because the manager wants everyone to know that Thor’s would-be family adopted a different dog. And Long Beach removed one dog from the kill list on July 14 and put Thor in his place. So it’s all good. Because dogs are widgets and entirely interchangeable. Put one in this column, one in that column, mark them as rescue-only while holding them down on the kill table, give them some sort of drug, whatever time you like, who cares?

Stayin’ Alive Long Beach has filed a complaint over Thor’s killing with the city attorney.

(Thanks Nathan.)

Philly ACCT Gives Lost Pet Away, Tries to Blame Finder


Jake, as shown on

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.


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.)

A Lesson in Empathy

mrchops ktnv

Mr. Chops, as pictured on the KTNV website.

What sucks:

A Good Samaritan picked up a lost dog in Henderson, Nevada last month and brought him to a local vet.  The vet scanned him for a chip and determined he had an owner.  The vet then called AC to pick up the dog.  Right then and there, either the vet or the ACO (or both) should have contacted the owner.  But that did not happen.  Instead, the ACO loaded the dog onto his truck then went on several other calls.

Meanwhile the dog’s family, Jim Whipple and his 17 year old son Brandon, were actively searching for him.  Mr. Chops had been rescued by the Whipples many years ago and was well-loved:

The Whipples say Mr. Chops loved to play with socks and was full of energy.
“If something was going on, he was always there to comfort you.”

At 4:30 pm, the ACO returned to the shelter, parked the truck and left for the day.  It was 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mr. Chops suffered in the heat, trying to claw his way out of the cage, until he finally died.  His remains were discovered the next day when the ACO returned to work.  The police department, which runs AC in Henderson, is investigating itself in the matter and won’t comment on the investigation.  They will say however that in future, the policy will be to brings dogs back to the shelter in a more timely manner and to check the truck to verify there are no animals on it before leaving for the day.  Ya think?

Although I said it at the beginning, it’s worth repeating:  all that sucks.  Mr. Chops’ agonizing death was entirely preventable.  The dog never should have been loaded onto the truck in the first place.  A microchip, as we are so often scolded by various AC outfits, is supposed to protect your pet.  But as has been reported way too frequently on this blog, microchips only work when AC does their job.  Government investigating itself is unacceptable.  The fact that there was no existing policy which required ACOs to check the trucks before leaving them for the day is inexcusable.

What doesn’t suck:

When the Henderson police realized that Mr. Chops was dead, they wanted to notify the owners:

The family was notified in person by a Henderson Police deputy chief, people from Animal Control and a grief counselor.

By sending these particular people to the Whipples’ home to deliver the tragic news, the Henderson PD not only demonstrated empathy for the family but also respect for the fact that to most owners, pets are family. They recognized that in all likelihood, the news would be heartbreaking for the Whipples.

And while many of us might be tempted to issue a call for someone’s head as a result of the needless suffering and death of our beloved family member, Mr. Chops’ people responded differently:

The Whipples say while they hope to see policy changes, they do not want to see the officer who left Mr. Chops in the back of the truck to lose his job.
The Whipple family was obviously devastated, but says they realize it was a tragic mistake.

“Honestly, I understand people make mistakes they can forget things. I often forget things, but it is a life. He is gone,” Brandon Whipple said.

“We as a family are concerned about the poor individual that made the mistake and left him in because they have the grief to live with,” Jim Whipple said.

Both father and son saying they hope that everyone can learn from Mr. Chops’ death.

Yes, I believe we all just did.  Thank you.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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

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.


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.)


Lexington-Fayette AC & C Oops-Kills Another Lost Dog


Drake, as shown on the ABC 36 website.

Kentucky – When a friendly, healthy 3 year old dog named Drake got lost, he wandered into a neighbor’s yard.  The neighbor brought him to Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control so that his owner could find him.  When Drake’s owner, Vanessa Kyle, went to the shelter to redeem her pet, she did not see him in the cages.  When she went back again, staff told her they had killed Drake by mistake.  Oops:

“Why would you kill a perfectly healthy dog?” says Vanessa Kyle.

Good question, especially since, as we are so often chided by shelter killing enablers, nobody wants to kill animals.

And here’s your answer:  computer glitch.  Those pesky computers.  I didn’t even know computers could speak sternly to shelter pets, never mind kill them.  Maybe their role in shelter management should be reviewed.  Or something.

ABC 36 news called the Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control for answers. No one wanted to talk on camera, but someone there told me what they told Kyle – there was a software glitch. We asked if this happens a lot. We were told once every five to six years.

Ho-hum. Once every 5 to 6 years we kill someone’s lost family member.

Drake’s killing reminded me of the time Lexington-Fayette AC & C oops-killed Peanut, another lost dog whose owner was trying to claim him. That was 3 years ago:

Animal Control is supposed to keep stray dogs for five days. Peanut was euthanized after one. Animal Care and Control officials didn’t want to talk on camera[.]

One day, five days, whatevs.  Capt. Tim Mitchell of Lexington-Fayette AC & C told the media at the time:

“I can’t remember the last time it happened,” he said.

Can’t remember. Once every 5 to 6 years. Maybe 3 years.  But we don’t want to talk on camera. So shrug, I guess.

Meanwhile, Ms. Kyle’s life has been forever changed by the needless violence against Drake:

“It’s awful, I have cried constantly. You know for the first two or three days, I didn’t eat,” Kyle says.


“I loved him, I loved him,” says Kyle.

Kyle says she received a one dog adoption and city license gift certificate. It has to be used within a year.

Because there is a time limit on grief and compassion. But don’t worry, these people apparently can’t tell time anyway.

(Thanks Lisa.)

“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.)

Dallas Pound Tries Out a “You Think You Hate Us Now? Just Wait!” Stance

When the public won’t stop clamoring for their public animal shelter to do the job they’re paying them for, the only reasonable thing to do is punish the public.  That’s the approach the long-troubled Dallas pound is taking in a briefing posted this week to the city’s website.  Among the proposed punishments:

  • Slap pet owners who fail to license, fail to keep a rabies tag on their pets at all times, or fail at some other horrible thing with criminal fines and civil fines.  If they can’t pay, sue them.
  • Impound pets belonging to anyone who hasn’t gotten them neutered and hasn’t bought a special permit.
  • Eliminate holding period protections for cats picked up outdoors.
  • Eliminate holding period protections for dogs picked up from areas “with high incidence of injury by animals”.

A dog for adoption at Dallas Animal Services, as shown on PetFinder.

What’s that you say?  You are a taxpayer and if your cat or dog gets lost and impounded by Dallas Animal Services, you want the chance to reclaim him and you don’t want pound staff disposing of him as they see fit before you even get home from work?

You don’t see how increasing impounds and breaking up families by imposing hefty fines many owners won’t be able to pay qualifies as “sheltering”?

You sound like a troublemaker.  We have punishments for you.

DAS killed more than 9000 dogs last year.  But don’t worry, that’s “the hard part of the job.”  I guess thinking up ways to increase intake and take pets out of homes is the easy part.  Good going DAS.

(Thanks Nathan.)