NC Shelter Kills Microchipped Lost Dog While Owners Search for Her

It seems like I’ve written this post a thousand times.  Maybe I need to develop a template where I can simply fill in the lost pet’s name, the name of the shelter that killed him, the list of screw-ups that lead up to the killing and the list of people being blamed (which as it happens, never includes those doing the actual killing).  Every one of these needless killings is heartbreaking.  And here we are again.

Bella, as pictured on the abc11 website.

Bella, as pictured on the ABC11 website.

A social media post from Donna Sugar says that her chow mix Bella got lost while they were visiting friends in Durham, NC on November 2.  Bella was 14 years old and, like most large dogs her age, had a little trouble with her rear legs.

The family immediately went searching for her, posted fliers, hired two trackers, listed her as lost on the Animal Protection Society of Durham website and visited the shelter.  They never found Bella, even though she was at APS at the time they visited and she was microchipped.  APS killed Bella 26 hours after impound, citing health reasons.

A Good Samaritan found Bella wandering on the street shortly after she’d gotten lost.  She took the dog to a local vet the next day to have her scanned for a chip.  The phone number registered to the chip was no good and the Good Sam was not allowed to have a dog at her apartment so she called the sheriff’s office to pick up Bella.  A deputy took Bella to APS around 9pm.  He noted in his report that he had scanned Bella for a chip and contacted the registration company for contact info but they only had old info.  (The owner says this is incorrect as her home address was current.)  He also listed the owner’s name as Peggy Edwards which again, is not what the chip registration company had on file, nor is it the name of any known person connected with Bella.  When filling out the impound receipt, which was left with Bella at APS, the deputy left the microchip portion blank.

Bella was left, reportedly friendly and healthy, but with incorrect information on her impound receipt, at APS on the night of November 3.  By the morning of November 4, Bella was having extreme difficulty getting up and walking, per APS staff.  No one scanned her for a chip.

Ms. Sugar’s daughter had visited APS looking for Bella on November 3 and returned on November 4.  She brought a large picture of Bella with her to see if anyone at APS recognized her.  No one did.  She again searched the shelter but did not see her dog.  APS had Bella hidden from view in an area off limits to the public, due to her difficulty walking.

That night, APS staff made the determination that Bella was suffering and, instead of bringing her to a vet, they chose to kill her.  The tech reportedly scanned for a chip prior to the killing but did not find one.

Bella’s family is heartbroken.  Aside from forgetting to update the phone number listed with the chip registration company, they believe they did everything right.  I agree.  And even if they hadn’t, it was still APS’s responsibility to get Bella home.  It’s no good for APS to point fingers at the deputy for the bad info he supplied on Bella’s paperwork. He was at fault, but he didn’t kill Bella.

APS should have checked the lost dog listings on their own website against strays in their shelter.  APS should have scanned for and found Bella’s chip upon impound.  APS should have sent a letter (or a person, if feasible) to the address listed on Bella’s chip.  APS should have recognized Bella from her picture when the owner came searching for her (and even if they didn’t, they should have shown the owner every dog who they thought bore even the vaguest resemblance to the one in the photo).  APS should have shown the owner every dog in the facility when she was searching – even those who couldn’t walk or were being hidden from the public for any other reason.  APS should have taken Bella to a veterinarian when they determined she was in dire need of medical care. APS should have found the chip during the scan that was supposedly performed prior to killing Bella.

And for our standard ending: No one is being fired for killing Bella, the shelter will modify its protocols, blahcetera.

Killing shelter pets is not a thing that just happens. It’s a choice made by shelter directors. And it shouldn’t even be an option.

(Thanks Lisa.)

Polk Co Pound Kills Microchipped Lost Pet Upon Impound

lefty

Lefty, as shown on WTSP.com

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.)

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.)

Police Facilitate Business for CA Dog Flippers

NBC Los Angeles described a story run on May 9 this way:

A man was reunited with his lost dog but was questioning why he was put up for adoption during his disappearance.

After reading the story, my take is uh, rather different.

jack

Jack, as shown in a video on the NBC Los Angeles website.

A woman was caught on surveillance video stealing a purebred Havanese puppy who slipped out of his owner’s workplace.  She takes him inside a neighboring business and neither are seen again.  The owner, Lou Gotowski, immediately began searching for his puppy Jack on numerous fronts.  Jack has two microchips.

The owner found Jack listed for adoption on a website belonging to a non-profit called Pet Match Rescue, 40 miles from where Jack was last seen.  In checking the website for this group, I noticed they have mainly white & fluffies, many of them pups.  Which seems odd.  As is this:

Gotowski said the minute he tried to claim the dog, his ad disappeared from the website. He also tried to catch up with the rescue group during an adoption event at a Petco, but Jack wasn’t there.

Sounds legit.  Ultimately two women from the group contacted the owner and told him he could buy his dog back for $525.  They met at the local police station and instead of arresting the dognappers, police supervised the ransom exchange while an ACO scanned Jack’s chip to verify it was him.

An officer brought the fuzzy 6-month-old pup out, and Jack began squirming in excitement at the sight of Gotowski.

Jack kissed his owner and wriggled in joy, clearly happy to see a familiar face.

Gotowski wondered why the microchip wasn’t scanned earlier – it could have saved weeks of heartache.

Or:  I wonder why dognappers/puppy flippers would not comply with the law and scan their victims before resale.  Hmmmm.

From California Penal Code section 597.1:

(m) It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane society
officers, and animal control officers to use all currently acceptable
methods of identification, both electronic and otherwise, to
determine the lawful owner or caretaker of any seized or impounded
animal. It shall also be their duty to make reasonable efforts to
notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and
any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal and,
upon the owner’s and caretaker’s initiation of recovery procedures,
retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow
for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact
the owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to
be the owner or caretaker shall be recorded and maintained and be
made available for public inspection.

Just leaving that there.

The women from the nonprofit told NBC4 there was no dispute, but would not say how Jack came to them.

And to reiterate, this was at the effing police station.

“I got Jack back, and forever am I grateful but my big deal is how many other people have lost their dog in this type of situation? That’s the scary part,” Gotowski said.

Ya think?

(Thanks Clarice and Nathan.)

Microchip Saves Dog’s Life After He Gets Adopted by Total Jerk

A dog owned by Jason Dotson of Hamilton Co, Ohio reportedly attacked and nearly killed a leashed service dog who was being walked by his owner in October 2015.  The service dog was forced to retire as a result of the attack.  The court ordered Dotson to have his dog killed at the local SPCA.

Dotson instead went to the SPCA and adopted a dog who resembled his own pet then returned two days later and presented the newly adopted dog for killing under the court order.  It happened that an employee recognized the recently adopted dog and therefore scanned him for a microchip.  The chip confirmed that Dotson had just adopted the dog and he was not the same animal ordered killed by the court.

He faced the judge yesterday:

“In my 10 years as a judge I can’t recall a more cold and heartless act,” Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg said in court Tuesday. “If I could give you more time, legally, I would.” Jason Dotson, 32, was sentenced to 30 days at the Hamilton County Justice Center without probation or work release. His bond was set at $50,000.
[…]
“It’s one thing for you to ignore a court order, it’s quite another thing to try to perpetrate a fraud on this court,” Greenberg said. “And you tried to have an innocent dog killed.”

The attacking dog has since been killed. The article doesn’t mention what happened to the dog Dotson tried to have killed but presumably the SPCA would have taken him back.

I’m glad in this case that a shelter employee recognized the dog and thought to grab the scanner.  A life was saved. We have far too many stories on this blog about shelters failing to scan animals for chips and the tragic outcomes that follow.  I hope this story motivates more shelters to scan ALL animals before killing – even if they’ve been previously scanned and no chip detected, even if the person requesting the killing says he is the owner of the pet, and even if the animal comes with a court order to be killed.  Things are not always as they seem.

If the shelter worker had not happened to recognize the dog Dotson brought in for killing, apparently there would have been no scan, just as there often isn’t any scan when a supposed owner takes a pet to a shelter to be killed.  Had Dotson been bright enough to get a dog from any other facility besides the one he was ordered to bring his dog to, there would have been no possibility of the dog being recognized, which is what prompted the scan.

Scanning for a microchip takes just a minute and does not require any advanced training.  Finding a chip could save an animal’s life.  There is simply no excuse for shelters not scanning every animal before killing, regardless of circumstances.

NJ Pound Kills Owned, Microchipped Cat Upon Impound

Photo from the Justice for Moe page on Facebook.

Photo from the Justice for Moe page on Facebook.

Warning:  There are images of a deceased cat at the links.  They are not graphic but still very sad.

***

In 2013, an engaged couple adopted a kitten from a NJ shelter and named him Moe. They completed the adoption paperwork jointly.  After the couple separated, Moe remained with owner Stephanie Radlinger. Moe’s microchip contact information was for Ms. Radlinger’s ex-fiance Mike Sedges. So when Moe got lost and was impounded by the Gloucester Co pound on September 30, it was Mr. Sedges who received the call from the microchip company. He gave them Ms. Radlinger’s contact information and the company left a message for her right away. Then things got weird:

Sedges said a shelter worker called him the same morning, instructed him to come to the shelter to identify Moe, and either take him home or surrender the animal to the shelter.

If he failed to do either within seven days, he would be charged with animal neglect, Sedges claims an animal control officer told him.

By 10:30 a.m., he was in Clayton filling out paperwork and paying the $10 surrender fee. Sedges was of the understanding surrendering the cat to the shelter would make it easier for Radlinger to readopt the cat, he claimed.

[…]

“When I was in the room with the cat it seemed like the same nice animal, a little skinnier, but it was rolling on its back and stretching and being a goofball,” Sedges claimed.

That afternoon, Ms. Radlinger picked up the message from the pound and immediately called to reclaim her cat.  She says a staff member instructed her to complete an adoption application and, if approved, pay $95 to adopt her own cat.  She did as she was told.  But Moe was already dead – killed by the shelter staff for behavior.  NJ law requires shelters to hold all animals for at least 7 days.  Moe was held for less than one.  Ms. Radlinger is heartbroken:

“The situation doesn’t make sense to me,” Radlinger, of Stratford, told the Courier-Post. “I thought the microchip was the safeguard against these things.”

Yeah, so they like to say.

Gloucester Co spokeswoman Debra Sellitto told the local paper that killing Moe “wasn’t a random decision.” That would seem to be true since last year, the Gloucester Co pound killed roughly 70% of its cats. Hard to call that random. More like Killing R Us.

Ms. Sellitto has more excuses in her hat too:

The shelter based ownership on the microchip information, according to Sellitto.

However, a microchip does not prove ownership under New Jersey law.

Oops. So that’s two violations of state law. Back to the hat:

“Since this incident, the animal shelter is going to be reviewing its procedures. If something is found to have been done improperly, staff persons will be dealt with accordingly,” Sellitto said.

IF something was done improperly?  Does she mean besides the two violations of state law?  Sounds like Gloucester Co looks out for its own.  Has anyone checked under the sidewalks and parking lots lately?

Anyhoo, the Gloucester Co pound apparently felt this whole story was lacking in awful so they rectified that:

On Oct. 2, 24 hours after Moe was euthanized, shelter staff notified Radlinger by phone she was fit to adopt from the shelter.

She declined.

“I just wanted my cat they already put down.”

Oh hey, we killed your cat but we’ll let you buy another one.  Good things cats are interchangeable.  Otherwise shelter staff might have been embarrassed and ashamed to make that phone call.

Ms. Radlinger is sharing her story on social media in order to raise awareness about needless killings at the Gloucester Co pound.  She is reportedly considering a lawsuit against the facility.  I wish her all the luck in the world.

(Thank you for the links Clarice.)

Lost, Microchipped Pets – Emphasis on LOST

In theory, microchipping your pet is an excellent way to help get him back home should he ever get lost.  In reality, microchips are useless if the organization taking in lost pets doesn’t scan for them or contact the registered owner (and the alternate contacts, if necessary).  There have been a spate of stories recently involving microchipped lost pets being found and the owner not being contacted.

A Pennsylvania family who left their microchipped German shepherd Sophie with a relative while they went on vacation this month only found out she had gotten lost on July 4th after they returned home on the 13th.  They immediately called the HS of Westmoreland Co and learned their pet had been impounded on July 6 and adopted to a new owner six days later.  The HS says it tried to reach the registered owner (whom the family obtained the dog from) listed on Sophie’s microchip but the voicemail at that number was not set up.  After the 48 hour holding period elapsed, they offered the dog for adoption.  The original owner disputes the shelter’s claim about her voicemail.

Either way, if a chip’s first phone number doesn’t yield results, there are always the alternate contacts as well as registered mail and good old knocking on door.  But I guess that sounds like work.  The HS claims the adoption is legal and that the family never legally owned Sophie anyway because they hadn’t licensed her.  So stuff it, basically.

***

In Sonoma Co, CA, a lawsuit has been filed by the original owner of a 10 year old tuxedo cat who was microchipped at the time he went missing several years ago.  The current owner, who says she bought the cat 5 years ago from a rescuer she met through her veterinarian, only found out the cat was chipped last year when she took him to a new vet who scanned him.  She attempted to register the chip in her own name, prompting the chip company to contact the original owner.  The original owner says she bottle fed the kitten from birth, searched for him extensively when he got lost and still wants him back.  The current owner loves him too and doesn’t want to give him up.

Had either the rescuer or the first vet scanned the cat at the time he was found, he could have been returned to the original owner.  Now two people are heartbroken over the matter and a cat is caught in the middle.

***

The city of Alton, IL recently eliminated funding for its ACO position, turning those duties over to police.  This week, Alton police responded to a call about an injured dog in a store parking lot.  The 15 year old dog, called Buster, had wandered away from home and apparently hurt his rear leg.  His owner had filed a missing pet report with the police department including a description of Buster and his microchip information.

A witness says she saw police coax him into their car with bologna.  State law requires the officers to take the dog to a vet’s office to be scanned for a microchip.  Once the chip’s information had been read, the owner could have been contacted.  Instead, the officers reportedly drove the dog to the AC facility where one shot him twice with a .12 gauge shotgun and the other put two bullets from his .40 caliber Glock 23 into the pet.  After Buster was dead, a chip scan provided his owner’s information and the owner was notified of his pet’s killing.  Oh and the police love animals:

“We know what our protocol has been up to this point,” said Emily Hejna, public information officer for the Alton Police Department. “We were presented yesterday with some law saying something that might contradict what what we have been using as practice.”

Rather than task the police department with figuring out how to work compliance with some law into their protocol, the city voted to reinstate the ACO.  Hopefully the ACO has – and uses – a chip scanner.  While animals are still alive.

***

(Thanks to everyone who sent me links for this post.)

Shelter Sold Owned, Microchipped Lost Dog to Strangers While Owner Searched

Jingle and Toby, a pair of Schnauzers owned by Anita Sloan in Bedford, Texas, wandered away when someone accidentally left a gate open at the family’s home.  Ms. Sloan raised the pair from pups and considers them family.  She began searching for them immediately, hoping the microchip she had implanted in Jingle would help the family get reunited.

Ms. Sloan visited Bedford Animal Services but did not find her pets.  She was given a lengthy list of shelters to search.  She dutifully visited each one although there was some confusion about the two shelters in Keller:

Sloan explains she visited all but one shelter in Keller. The number printed for the shelter on the list she has, got her nowhere.

“The person you are trying to reach is not available,” a recording says when she dials the number.

The city apparently has two shelters:  Keller Animal Services and Keller Regional Adoption Center.  As it turns out, Jingle and Toby had been picked up by police and left at Keller Animal Services.  The city says it checked both dogs for chips but found none.  After the mandatory holding period, the dogs were transferred to the Keller Regional Adoption Center which is run by the HS of North Texas.  Staff there did detect Jingle’s chip but sold the dogs to a new owner anyway.  Because it’s not their job to return dogs to owners:

“At that particular facility we don’t handle lost and found animals. We just handle adoptions,” says Whitney Hanson, Director of Development & Communications.

Hanson explains that the facility would have only been looking at finding homes for the pets since Keller Animal Services had already processed the animals.

[…]

The Humane Society of North Texas says there is no existing system that allows all municipalities to communicate.

There is no existing system which allows all municipalities to communicate.  Fair enough.  But the HS knew Jingle was chipped.  Finding that chip should have prompted the HS to check the transfer paperwork and see if Keller Animal Services had followed up on the chip and what the outcome was.  The HS had an obligation to verify that the chip was a dead end before proceeding.  A statewide communication system is not required for that – just a phone call or email to Keller Animal Services to ask about the chip’s status.

And while it may not be the Humane Society’s job to return animals to their owners, common sense would dictate that a pair of schnauzers, typically a professionally groomed breed purchased from a breeder, aren’t walking the streets because they are homeless and just happened to meet each other in an alley and decided to pal around.  There would be every reason to suspect Jingle and Toby were owned, likely by the person who registered the chip, whom the HS never bothered to call.

Jingle and Toby are now living with people in Houston.  The HS of North Texas says that “according to Texas law, the schnauzers are the legal property of their new owners”.  The situation has been explained to the new owners and Ms. Sloan has offered to reimburse them for any expenses if they would return her family members.  They are reportedly considering what to do with the dogs.

Keller Animal Services failed to detect a lost dog’s microchip.  The HS of Texas detected the chip but made no effort to find out if Keller Animal Services had attempted to reach the registered owner.  The city says no one is at fault.  The situation looks bad.  It looks like the first shelter is either incompetent or lying and the second shelter is a money-grubbing doggie retail outfit where no one could be bothered to slow down in the rush to sell a bonded pair of little purebred dogs.

It’s 2015, Keller.  Time to step outside the Only This Thing is My Job and I Do Only This Thing box.  You may not have a statewide shelter communication system but I’m guessing there is such a thing as phone service in Keller.  Shame on everyone involved in the needless break up of this family because apparently no one at either shelter knows what the right thing to do is when it comes to pets.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

St Johns Co Kills Lost, Microchipped Service Dog Without Contacting Owners

In December 2014, St Johns Co Department of Animal Control in Florida reports on its website that the facility took in 322 animals, killing 225 of them. Here are a couple of screengrabs from the full report:
stjohnsco intakesstjohnsco outcomes

Babygirl, as shown on actionnewsjax.com.

Baby Girl, as shown on actionnewsjax.com.

One of those killed that month was a lost, microchipped pet named Baby Girl whose owners were looking for her.  When Baby Girl’s owners went out of state, they left her in the care of a friend but the dog became lost and was taken to St Johns Co AC.  JoAnn and Brian Williams went door-to-door, searching for their dog.  Baby Girl was a registered service dog who helped the couple by alerting prior to seizures and providing comfort during episodes of bipolar disorder.  When they found out Baby Girl had been at the county pound, they called and were told that pound workers had killed her:

Brian Williams said their dog had a microchip inside of her but said they were never contacted by animal control.

“They said evidently our chip machine wasn’t working that day, like ‘oh my bad, we killed your dog!’” Brian Williams said.

Action News went to Animal Control for answers but we were turned away and told to contact county spokesperson Michael Ryan regarding this issue.

Mr. Ryan issued a statement indicating Baby Girl had “no identification” and which concludes:

After being housed for three additional days past the standard holding period, the dog was euthanized in accordance with county ordinance. While the loss of any pet is tragic, facility space limitations prevent us from housing stray animals indefinitely, and unfortunately we were not notified of the missing dog until 34 days after an animal with similar characteristics was received.

So “no identification”, because microchips only count when AC can use them to blame the owner for failing to have them on their lost pets, and the owners took too long to find out where their pet had been taken so they must be horrible people and oh yeah, the county kept the dog alive for 3 days longer than it legally had to so obviously sainthood is imminent.

The family asked for Baby Girl’s body and collar but have received neither.  They were told the remains were hauled to a Georgia landfill along with a truckload of other pets killed by the county.

Action News reached out to county officials, who said, “The body was disposed of according to county policy and procedure.”

Everything is legal therefore it must be all good.  No need to explain how or why the microchip was missed or offer an apology for killing a beloved pet and service dog or figure out how to prevent killing other owned pets in future.  Just hide and refer all questions to the county Procedures Were Followed guy.  No one in St Johns Co need lose any sleep over the fact that its procedures led to the needless killing of a family member.  Procedures=good.  Everything else, up to and including county employees failing to do their jobs=meh.  Evidently the chip machine that detects humanity in parts per million isn’t working in St Johns Co either since it hasn’t beeped in years.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

SC Pound Kills Microchipped Lost Dog Without Contacting Owner

Mocha, as shown on the WBTV website.

Mocha, as shown on the WBTV website.

On New Year’s Eve, a 10 year old chocolate Lab called Mocha got lost in York Co, SC.  Her family searched for her for 2 days, calling AC numerous times and posting fliers in the area.  A York Co pound worker finally told owner Mike Cunningham that Mocha had been brought in on December 31 and killed due to severe injury.  The county says Mocha had been hit by a car, “was barely breathing and was euthanized on the recommendation of a veterinarian.”

The Good Sam who found Mocha on New Year’s Eve painted a rather different picture, telling the owner Mocha did not appear to be seriously hurt and just had a “spot” on her hip:

“To listen to a story of a man that I don’t know tell me that he picked my dog up and he pet my dog and my dog was moving her head and was responsive. And then to be told that she was squashed like a grape. I find it hard to believe that there could be that big of an inconsistency in stories,” Cunningham said.

Even if we were to set aside the differing stories and the failure of the pound to tell the owner what they had done with his dog the first several times he called, Mr. Cunningham says Mocha was wearing a collar with identification and was microchipped.  So why didn’t York Co AC contact him?  On top of all this, Mr. Cunningham requested Mocha’s remains and was given a cardboard box filled with ashes of all the dogs the pound had killed and cremated at the same time they did Mocha.

Had the county done its job and contacted the owner off the ID tag or the microchip when she was brought in, the owner could have taken Mocha for veterinary treatment.  Had the county at least contacted the owner immediately after killing Mocha, the owner could have gotten the dog’s remains back and seen the extent of the injuries himself or had a necropsy performed by a vet. Failing both of these, had the county admitted to Mr. Cunningham they had killed Mocha when he first called, it’s still possible he could have obtained his pet’s remains.

Now I’m wondering about the other ashes in that cardboard box.  Were any of those pets owned and loved, wearing ID and microchipped when York Co killed them?  Are their owners still searching for them?  How long has this been going on in York Co?

York Co says it will investigate itself in the matter.  The owner says he plans to sue.  I hope he does.  There is no excuse.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for sending me this story.)