Hempstead Shelter Kills Lost Pet While Under Audit for Needless Killing

In February, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos announced his department would conduct an audit of the long troubled Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in NY. The audit was prompted by a number of complaints from local residents and animal advocates:

Among the complaints to be investigated are animal neglect and abuse, unnecessary deaths, unsanitary conditions and unqualified staff.

Diane Madden, president of Hope for Hempstead Animal Shelter, spoke at Maragos’s presser:

“Shame on Supervisor Santino, that we are here again, just a few short years later after the first audit,” Madden charged. “There was an audit done by New York State [Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office in 2012] and the [Nassau County] district attorney at the time [Kathleen Rice] called it a case study in mismanagement. …we’ll have to retrace those steps, because that audit has basically been shredded.

“Since Supervisor Santino took over, the animal shelter has worsened,” she added. “He’s brought in more patronage, he’s bullied out more experts and he’s provided no-show jobs for his [Republican] party. And the people that complained about their experiences—rescuers, current staff, past staff and volunteers—all of their pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” she added. “It’s critical that this audit be done, not just financially but operationally…Taxpayers are being cheated, and it’s long overdue that [this] is stopped.”

Maragos was asked why he chose to pursue this audit when OTHER THINGS BE HAPPENING. (I’m sorry but this excuse for neglecting shelters always gets me. As if there is a rule that we can only care about and/or do one thing at a time and shelter pets should automatically go to the bottom of any list.)

“Usually we don’t jump on the first complaint,” Maragos responded. “[In this case} we have people coming to us where life or death is involved. I think we have a responsibility to move very expeditiously and that’s what we’re trying to do here. We could not have ignored his audit. It’s within our power to care, and to represent the residents of Sullivan County.”

It’s within our power to care. That is a very good answer.

The town’s attorneys are arguing that the comptroller has no authority to examine animal treatment or anything else outside the purview of financial matters. The comptroller is willing to issue subpoenas, if necessary, to get the information the town is apparently desperate to keep hidden.

Earlier this month, a 13 year old dog named Oso who had suffered a back injury last year but was still getting around, got out of his yard and was taken to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter. Veterinary tests were requested by town officials because “Oso was not eating and walking oddly.” A bladder tumor was discovered by a vet. Oso was reportedly monitored overnight but had not improved by morning so they killed him.

In the meantime, owner Jessica De La Rosa had seen a posting on social media Friday night about Oso being taken to the Hempstead shelter. She called when the place opened the next morning to claim her dog:

[S]helter employees told her that her dog was put down and she needed to come to the shelter to identify him.

So basically, “Fuck you, fuck your whole family and fuck you.”

Ms. De La Rosa is calling for shelter reform:

“I didn’t know he was sick. Everyone loved him and he was able to walk on his own,” De La Rosa said tearfully during a news conference Thursday. “There’s no need to put down a dog without their owner’s consent.”

The Town of Hempstead, which has a history of killing owned pets, whipped out the Blame the Owner manual in response to this poor woman’s heartbreak:

Town officials at the animal shelter said they found no reports of a missing dog before he was euthanized the next morning. The dog had no collar or microchip.

They seem nice.

You know, having a 13 year old dog generally means you are not too terrible of a dog owner. An odd walk, an undiscovered bladder tumor, a refusal to eat in a strange place when lost and confused and in the care of strangers – these are all very normal things for a 13 year old dog. One who was loved, by the way. In case that matters to anyone at the Hempstead shelter.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Desperately Seeking Shelter: Corpus Christi Edition

corpuschristidog

Dog being cared for by the “irresponsible public” as shown on the Corpus Christi Caller-Times website.

A dog owner in Corpus Christi, Texas apparently tried to help his young dog via a home splinting/bandaging job on both front legs. He ended up causing additional harm to the dog and decided to leave him in a highly visible location, presumably in hopes that someone with the means to obtain proper vet care would help the dog.  That happened via a good Samaritan and a local rescue group.

The treating vet says that upon bandage removal, one of the dog’s front legs fell off due to gangrene and they are working to save the other leg.  He told the local paper:

“Money is not as important as trying to do the right thing for unfortunate dogs or cats,” he said. “I would never put a dog to sleep for lack of funding.”

In contrast, the website for the Corpus Christi pound states that they only accept surrendered animals by appointment – which requires an in-person visit to the pound in order to fill out a form requesting said appointment – and only when they have space.  And they may kill the pet immediately upon intake “if inadequate space exists, if the animal is not highly adoptable, or if the animal appears to be ill or injured.”  “Inadequate space” is not “no space” but they don’t define what pound employees consider “inadequate”.  “Highly adoptable” is another subjective term which they also fail to define: if a pet is not adopted within an hour of surrender, is he no longer “highly adoptable” because duh, no one rushed to adopt him?  Where does a scruffy little dog with falling off legs rank in the adoptability spectrum?  And “appears to be ill or injured” is also vague and also scary.  Is illness or injury something you can tell just by looking? A cough is an illness, a torn toenail is an injury – exactly who is eyeballing the appearance of the animals and making these assessments?

The city of Corpus Christi is not operating a shelter.  Instead they are using taxpayer funds to run a pet killing facility.  People do not want to take pets, no matter how dire the circumstances, to pet killing facilities.  Rescue groups and animal lovers are willing to partner with municipal facilities to save lives.  Implementing the proven programs of the No Kill Equation saves lives.  Corpus Christi could provide true shelter to animals in need and get them adopted but the city chooses not to do that.

Any questions as to why a compassionate owner in Corpus Christi would think it’s better to tie his leg-falling-off dog to a row of mailboxes rather than take him to the so-called shelter?

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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.)

LA Pound Kills Two Lost Dogs While Telling Owner They Aren’t There

rufus-and-mikey

Rufus (top) and Mikey, as shown on the KTBS website.

When Amber McMillan’s dogs, Rufus and Mikey, got lost last month, she went to the long troubled Caddo Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana looking for them. She brought photos of her pets to show staff and was escorted around the kennels. After not finding the dogs on her first visit, she filled out two lost pet reports. She returned to the shelter two days later to again show pictures and look for her pets. Three days after that, same. Then two days later. Even her parents visited the facility looking for Rufus and Mikey. But the staff repeatedly said they had not seen the dogs. When Ms. McMillan went to the shelter again, 12 days after her first visit, she was finally informed her dogs had been at the facility but were killed after the four day holding period expired. No staff member had ever contacted her about the dogs.

When asked by local media for an interview about the killing of Rufus and Mikey, pound director Chuck Wilson refused. But in a statement issued by the parish, the pound accepted full responsibility for their violent actions which needlessly and permanently ripped a family apart. Only joking. They complimented themselves and blamed the owner:

[I]n their press statement, the parish says “no paperwork pertaining to Ms. McMillan’s missing pet report was misplaced or improperly located.” The statement goes on to say, “proper protocol and procedure was followed.”
[…]
“Unfortunately, [Ms. McMillan] did not identify her pets after each visit.”

So to recap, they HAD the lost pet reports with the descriptions of the dogs and the owner’s contact information the entire time, they just never contacted her. And the lady was too dingy to recognize her own dogs so shrug.

Ms. McMillan posted a response on social media, describing herself as heartbroken:

They were my babies for over 10 years.
[…]
Every time I went in and showed pictures they claimed [the dogs] hadn’t come in and had no record of them being there.
[…]
I did not overlook my dogs that I have had for over 10 years. They were not in the areas I was shown.

I believe you Ms. McMillan. And I’m sorry your beloved pets fell prey to monsters who kill the very animals they are paid to protect from harm.

(Thank you Clarice.)

I’m Going to Stop You Right There

As most pet owners know, end of life decisions are heartbreaking.  When a beloved family member has been diagnosed as medically hopeless by a veterinarian or even when suffering is evident, it is not uncommon to hold onto hope.  Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe she could feel well enough to go for one last walk or play ball one more time.

In some cases, that hope is not realistic and as painful as it is, we must face the truth and make the decision to let the pet go.  In other cases, very rare ones in my experience, we do get that chance for one more moment in the sun together.  We might spend it at the pet’s favorite hang-out spot in the yard or at a park.  We might share a cupcake or some other special treat because hey, smoke ’em if ya got ’em.

But inevitably, we all face that final goodbye, where we hold our friend in our arms or stroke their fur and talk to them about good things while the vet gives the injection.  It’s the final kindness we can bestow upon our faithful companion.  One last act of love before we part ways in this life with all the hope of seeing each other again someday.

That is euthanasia.

This is killing:

From: “Rescue, MAS” <MAS.Rescue@memphistn.gov>
Date: November 3, 2016 at 9:26:33 AM CDT
Subject: Critical List 110316

Good morning everyone-

WE ARE FULL!!!

This morning I have had an amazing dog hanging out in my office, which technically is against the rules. You see, she has been here for an entire month. She is a generic, non descript, heartworm positive, quirky dog and despite me buying her extra time repeatedly, it isn’t fair to her to house her in a kennel any longer, nor is it fair to the other dogs whose spot she takes in the building. Tomorrow morning, I am putting her on the euthanasia list. I will take her outside for a final romp, give her some delicious treats and I will hold her when it is time. It is not something I want to do, she is my wiggly girl, we talk every day while I do rounds and she dances at me. I cannot take her home, my pack already includes too many quirky dogs. I have sent video of her in my lap to various people. She has been pinned to the top of a highly active rescue page. She has been on the critical list for far too long. I have done absolutely everything I can do to avoid this outcome for her. She is extremely quirky with other dogs, which I know played a large factor in why she hasn’t been pulled by a rescue. I hate it but I also understand it. So while it will break my heart, as well as the hearts of others she has charmed, I will move forward tomorrow with it, unless someone pulls her. She is hanging out, enjoying kongs of kibble and other treats, getting loved on by everyone who comes by my office and just enjoying her time in here.

[snipped]

Whitney Van Zandt, Shelter Supervisor

The above is a portion of a guilt-trip email sent to rescuers this week by Memphis Animal Services – a place that does almost no offsite adoptions, keeps “stray” dogs behind locked doors, leaves cages empty, and opens to the public begrudgingly and relatively rarely. A facility serving a community the size of Memphis should be holding several offsite adoption events daily, getting pets featured on TV and radio daily, unlocking all the doors in the facility so the public can see and fall in love with all the animals, using every available cage for lifesaving, and staying open for adoptions 7 days a week, including evenings. They don’t do the bare minimum to get pets adopted at MAS, never mind “absolutely everything” they can do.

Despite their many failings though, they don’t have to kill animals. That’s a choice they make. And if it’s the best they can offer, they should get out of the animal sheltering business because it’s unacceptable.

And as far as taking the dog out for a last romp, feeding her treats and holding her while she is killed – no. Fuck no. You don’t get to say that. You don’t get to lay the burden of that loaded image on weary rescuers who are kept in constant crisis mode via your “only you can stop us from killing by doing our jobs for us” emails.  We who are committed to lifesaving and to love for animals, we who believe where there’s life there’s hope, we who understand what a precious gift a healthy, happy pet represents – we own that. We own all that. You have no right.

Virginia Dog Warden Kills Dog Who Had Adopter Coming

sam-appomattox-co

Sam as pictured on WTVR.

Sam was a 3 year old dog who had been living at the Appomattox Co shelter in Virginia since February. Volunteers who cared for Sam during his stay report that he was a healthy and “extremely gentle” dog. They found an adopter for Sam who had adopted a similar dog from the facility a few years earlier. But when the adopter came to pick Sam up last week, she learned he’d been killed.

Oops. Or not. No one seems to know. But have faith, the county investigated itself:

In a news release Wednesday afternoon, County Attorney J.G. Overstreet said: “it appears that the matter was handled properly and in accordance with state law.”

Because the dog’s holding period had expired. Therefore, kill at will. All legal.  Yay.

Then there’s this, apparently pulled out of someone’s ass:

“From staff’s perspective, you had a dog that was becoming more anti-social over time,” Piney Mountain Supervisor Sara Carter said of Sam […]. “They didn’t know of any adopter … the decision was made to euthanize.”

Becoming more anti-social over time.  Could you please be a little more vague?  The dog lived in a shelter for 7 months.  Was there some expectation that he would grow cheerier over time?  Didn’t know of any adopter.  Did anyone uh, ask?  Because knowledge does not always fall upon you from the sky like you’d hope.

In response to public outcry over Sam’s killing, the county closed the shelter to the public, citing unspecified threats that were not reported to police.  They also tried a different assplanation for the killing:

We apologize for it and we now have got a policy in place to correct it,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sam Carter.

[…]

Carter told ABC 13 that the county is conducting an internal investigation into the matter and that “there will be corrections made.”

As to what those will be, Carter would not comment specifically.

When I put this into my bureaucracy translator, all that comes up is, “Blah, blah, blah.”

More:

Carter also said, that a text sent to one of the shelter staff on September 6th, regarding Sam’s potential adopter coming to get him, was not confirmation of a firm adoption.

So staff got a text saying an adopter was coming to get Sam but staff “didn’t know of any adopter” because a text is not “confirmation”.  Is there a blood ceremony required to confirm an adoption?  What did the text do, just put it in staff’s mind that an adopter was coming for the dog but it wasn’t confirmed therefore, go right ahead and kill?  Dang, I think *I* am becoming more anti-social over time.

The county animal warden, Micki Caifano, on the job since July 1st, reportedly authorized Sam’s killing and took him to a private vet to have it done. The warden has not provided any reason for the killing. Animal advocates want an explanation. And:

[Advocates] are disturbed because they say shelter cameras were turned off at the time and they want proof from the county as to how Sam spent his last hours.

Turning off the security cameras at the time you are taking a dog you know has an adopter out for killing sounds legit. Especially with the NO REASON explanation.

I hope animal advocates in Appomattox keep after these chuckleheads.  They clearly need it.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice.)

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

thor-cage-card
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:

ted-stevens-email

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:

thor-rescue-email

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:

thor-ace
thor-kill-rec

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:

thor-behavior

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.)

Donors Pay for the Killing of Thousands of Animals a Year at Private CA Shelter

The SPCA for Monterey County in CA has a bunch of lies about no kill on its website in a feeble attempt to make killing more palatable to donors. We don’t turn animals away, killing is a kindness, blah blah bullshit.

The private non-profit could turn animals away, since it doesn’t appear to hold any animal control contracts, but instead chooses to accept every animal that comes through its front doors.  Tragically, the SPCA then sends roughly half of them out the back door, their bodies piled in barrels which get stored in a walk-in freezer.

The Monterey County Weekly published a lengthy piece on the SPCA for Monterey County and specifically, the killing that goes on in a room they refused to allow the paper to see.  The director, who gets paid close to $300 grand a year, is retiring after 16 years on the job:

“We save many of these animals but as of yet, we cannot save all of them,” outgoing SPCA Executive Director Gary Tiscornia says. “These are the decisions we have to make.”

Not have to – choose to. They choose to take in all these animals then choose to kill more than 2700 of them a year.

Euthanasia rates increased along with the intake of animals into the shelter. […] Every year, numbers steadily increased, and Tiscornia alludes to the policies of Monterey County’s and Salinas’ animal shelters as possible culprits, in addition to an influx of feral cats, which are almost always euthanized at the SPCA due to behavioral issues.
[…]
Tiscornia says it’s important to look at external factors influencing his organization’s numbers, not just the policies within his nonprofit. Here he is referring to a sterilization program run out of the Salinas animal services shelter that releases feral cats back into the wild after being spayed and neutered.

This, he says, has influenced the nonprofit’s high euthanasia record, as it received more feral cats.

So Salinas is doing its job by neutering and returning feral cats to their home in the community. I get that part. Is Tiscornia saying that his organization then takes those cats, which it has zero obligation to accept, and kills them, because yay killing I guess, so don’t blame us for our kill rate because it’s Salinas’s fault actually?  Three. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars.

And while we’re dazzling the public with the Chewbacca Defense, have you seen our newly remodeled, super fancy adoption center with filtered air, classical music and kitty condos?

But beautifying the adoption center has not been enough. In 2014, nearly 1,000 more animals were put down than adopted. Last year, the number of animals euthanized was just 20 fewer than those who found a loving home.

Tiscornia […] explains those ratios this way: “At the end of the day, the pet’s adoptability determines its fate,” he says.
[…]
“We have only euthanized sick and behaviorally damaged pets,” he says.

The Weekly obtained kill records from the SPCA which are not available on the SPCA website. The paper cites respiratory issues and “hissing when touched” as two of the reasons animals are killed at the facility.

“One of the key reasons for euthanasia is behavior,” Tiscornia says. “Issues like jumping on people, obnoxious behavior.”

Well crappity doo, he just killed every single one of my dogs.

When discussing puppies with mange, Tiscornia again attempts to justify killing:

“If this were a 9-year-old dog with the possibility of recurring mange, the public would not adopt him,” Tiscornia says. “These are the decisions we need to make.”

Not need to – choose to. And who the monkey fighting snake is this guy to decide that no one could possibly love a 9 year old dog who might get mange at some unknown future time?  Better to kill the dog than to take the chance someone might want him and be willing to give him medicine if he ever needs it, I guess.  Three. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars.

Still, the nonprofit continues to pride itself in its open-door policy: taking all animals in need – wild, neglected or sick as they may be – into their care.

“We never turn down an animal,” Dawn Fenton, the SPCA’s education and outreach manager, says. “We make it work.”

And by “we make it work,” she apparently means we totally do not make it work at all because we are killing half the animals. Has it occurred to anyone at the SPCA that if the best they can offer is a spot in the freezer barrel, they not only should but in fact have a moral obligation to turn away animals?

“If we closed, could you imagine what would happen?” SPCA spokesperson Beth Brookhouser says.

Dance party at my house?  Feral cats sipping champagne out of glass slippers?  A parade?

(Thanks Clarice.)

The War on Cats: Hawaii Edition

You don’t have to be nationally recognized as a feline behavior expert to know that if you box up a cat, take him to a pet killing facility and leave him surrounded by the smells and sounds of despair and death, the cat is not going to be in the mood to play tea party.  Any cat owner could tell you this.  So one would think that people working in an animal shelter would know this fo shizzle.  And yet DOT DOT DOT.

A good Samaritan named Alexis Boyett took in a stray cat, named her Pesh, fed, tamed, played with and loved her for six months and had her spayed.  When Ms. Boyett felt Pesh was ready for a permanent home, she called the Hawaii Island Humane Society in Keaau to inquire about surrendering a cat for adoption. She felt reassured after speaking with shelter staff and made the very difficult decision to take Pesh to the shelter so she could get the permanent home she deserved.

Ms. Boyett says she made it “very clear” to shelter staff that there was no way she wanted Pesh to be killed. If killing became a consideration, she told them to call her and she would pick Pesh up. She tearfully said goodbye, leaving Pesh’s favorite toys with her, believing Pesh would be sheltered.

Shortly after Ms. Boyett left, staff at the Hawaii Island Humane Society killed Pesh. No one bothered to call Ms. Boyett. In fact, it was she who called the shelter the next day to find out how Pesh was doing only to find out the cat was dead. She was given no reason for the killing. Then the local paper got involved:

In a statement to the Tribune-Herald, HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker said Pesh’s “behavior did not meet socialization standards.”

HIHS evaluates and tests arriving animals “as soon as possible,” Whitaker said in the statement, and feral cats and “cats that are not socialized” are euthanized “as soon as practicable,” contingent on staff availability.

So basically, despite all standards of care and common sense, the Hawaii Island Humane Society forces newly impounded, scared cats out of their cages as soon as a cat death sentencer becomes available, requires the cats to play tea party and when they don’t, kills them as soon as a cat killer becomes available.  And going by the stats, a cat killer seems to be available pretty regularly:

Statistics show HIHS, an open-admission shelter that accepts all animals regardless of breed, age or other factors, euthanized about 80 percent of its 6,568 cats in 2015.

But(t):

[A]t least 75 percent were feral or “unhealthy,” the society reports[.]

Like Pesh, I guess.

The Hawaii Island Humane Society holds a nearly $2 million AC contract with the county.  That contract reportedly does not specify any holding period.  So it’s a pretty sweet get cat/deem feral/kill/collect $2 million scam they got going there.  I wonder how the local taxpayers enjoy being defrauded by this “humane society”.

Speaking of which, the newspaper reached out to Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the major players trying to reduce/eliminate holding periods for shelter cats nationwide:

She thinks Boyett’s incident could be a learning opportunity and a chance to make changes.

“We need public trust and confidence in the local shelters,” Gibson said. “So we encourage shelters to always be evaluating and reevaluating their policy or protocols. Regardless of the details, should something have been done different to prevent this?

Just to be clear, the “details” of this case, which Gibson so readily dismisses, involve the needless killing of a loved cat who had a safe place to go. But yeah, let’s have a beer summit and discuss whether something should have been done differently. Because I mean, the place is killing 80% of its cats as quickly as they can get them from the front door to the kill room so you know, it’s a head-scratcher.

And while yammering rhetorical, Gibson takes time to spank the good Samaritan:

And Boyett relinquished her legal rights to Pesh when she surrendered her, Gibson said.

“It’s standard practice. When someone surrenders, they won’t be contacted,” she said. “That’s why (surrendering) is a pretty serious decision.”

Yeah I hate the way that lady took in a stray cat even though she couldn’t keep her long term, got her spayed, took care of her and taught her that human beings are nice then flippantly made a call to the shelter to verify the cat would be put up for adoption, packed up her toys and brought her to a place she thought was a safe haven so she could find a permanent home. Only a terribly insincere person would do all those things.  Thanks for pointing that out, HSUS.

(Thanks Anne for posting this link in the Open Thread.)

OH Shelter Clings to Its Terrible Behavioral Assessments and Its Fatal Plus

SideeyeThat asinine plastic hand is waving more shelter dogs into the kill room – this time at the Franklin Co Dog Shelter in Ohio.  Just how many dogs are being killed because they don’t wag their tails and exclaim, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” when someone jabs them in the face with a fake hand on a stick while they are trying to eat is a matter of dispute.  Volunteers say way too many.  The assistant director says zero. Then there are the numbers:

Last year, [Franklin Co] recorded an 82 percent success rate of adopting, rescuing, or reclaiming dogs.
[…]
In March alone, 139 [dogs] were euthanized. Debbie Finelli, Assistant Director Franklin County Dog Shelter says that’s because 52 out of the 140 dogs that came in were terminally ill or terminally injured. “I couldn’t do anything for those,” she explains.

If I’m reading this correctly, 140 dogs came in and 139 were killed in March. Of the 139, 87 were apparently either healthy or possibly had some treatable minor illness/injury. So she “couldn’t do anything” for 52 of the dogs and didn’t do anything, except killing, for the other 87. BUTOFCOURSE:

“I don’t like to euthanize. (I) wish I never had to, but we’re an open shelter (and) have to take every dog that comes in here.”

*drink*

Several shelter vols who spoke with the local news on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution (stellar indicator of a progressive shelter) say that many dogs are needlessly killed after failing to bow to the Fake Hand of God. Which has mercifully declined in use over the years:

The ASPCA tells 10TV “We have determined that food guarding assessments are not useful tools for shelter dogs because they are not reliable predictors of overall behavior in the home.”

The Franklin County dog shelter uses the ASPCA guidelines to run its shelter, but says it has no plans to remove the assessment.

“Maybe when a new director comes in they’ll have the ability to take that out of the behavioral assessment, but at this point, I don’t have the authority to take it out of the assessment, Finelli explains.

Really?  Is that the hill you want to die on?  I wonder what is supposedly necessary for Franklin Co to bring itself into compliance with the guidelines it claims to follow – Act of Congress? Presidential executive order? Directive from a burning bush?

Soooooo we follow the ASPCA guidelines, except for the one that would prevent us from needlessly killing good dogs, which is mostly who we kill, but we don’t like to kill but we kill as many as we take in but we have an 82% save rate.  I guess.

Franklin Co needs to stop putting healthy, friendly dogs in the dumpster and put its pokey-in-the-face-stick there instead.

(Thanks Clarice.)