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.