New MAS Director Writes “I approve humane euthanasia for this pet” an Awful Lot

Below are some of the many pets killed at the Memphis pound on July 12, 2016.  The complete records, as provided by the city via FOIA request, can be found here (part 1) and here (part two).

This is one of four kittens who lived at MAS for a week. Records indicate the kittens were housed in FERAL 01, were eating cat food well and would sleep together in a pile. There are no notes indicating any of the kittens were sick, malnourished, or losing weight. All four were killed on July 12 when MAS suddenly determined, after they’d been apparently thriving for a week, they were too young to survive.  Oops?:

mas kitten too young

This cat’s intake condition was listed as “injured” on July 7 but there are no notes that any veterinary care – even an examination – was ever provided. It’s unclear if he truly was injured.  Romeo was killed for “time/space” on July 12.  Oops?:

mas cat time

Kitten ID 288617 was part of a litter surrendered to MAS.  The family was housed in cage number ER 04:

mas 288617 card

All the kittens’ medical notes are identical and were presumably copied and pasted into each individual record on July 9:

mas 288617 med

The family was killed on July 12 because three of the kittens had colds:

mas 288617 kill

This would appear to be the kittens’ mother, Mona.  Her record indicates she was housed in cage number ER 04, with her litter:

mas mona card

MAS provided no medical notes for Mona so presumably, none exist.  (She was not the only pet killed by MAS on July 12 for whom no medical notes were provided.)  Mona was killed on July 12 for having a cold.  There appear to be no records supporting this claim:

mas mona

This is Molly, kitten ID 288616 at MAS.  She was housed in cage number FERAL 01, just like the kittens who were killed for being “too young”:

mas 288616 card

Molly’s age is listed on her cage card as 2 months. Her medical notes on July 9 appear to have been copied and pasted from records belonging to Mona’s litter of kittens who were described as newborns and housed in ER 04. Note that on July 9, Molly’s apparently incorrect notes state she has a cold but on July 10, “none noted” appears next to URTI, seeming to reaffirm that Molly was indeed healthy:

mas 288616 med

Molly, who was apparently healthy and whose records appear to contain notes from a different litter of kittens, was killed for having a cold on July 12.  Oops?:

mas kitten 288616

These are two of four pups who were killed despite having a rescue offer to take them after MAS determined they had been exposed to parvo. Note that their “outcome” indicates “transfer – rescue”.  Oops?:

rescue pup mas
rescue pup2 mas

Local animal advocates report that the Memphis pound has never once filled all of its roughly 550 cages since its opening several years ago. There are always many empty cages at MAS, yet animals are still killed for space which, like the overwhelming majority of killings at MAS, seems to make no sense.

In the fall, MAS will reportedly bring in Target Zero, a group which has targeted and created zero no kill communities and which advocates for dumping lost cats lacking identification back on the streets instead of sheltering them. Afterward, MAS will reportedly adopt a plan to continue killing pets for time/space (or not) for another 3 years before ending the practice. Killing for being too young/or not, having a cold/or not, being injured/or not and for having a rescue on the way will continue forever, I guess, since none of these excuses are being addressed by the new director.  And in fact, she’s signing off on them left and right.

Look, I don’t know if some or all of the animals killed by MAS on July 12 were killed by mistake. Maybe some or all were killed intentionally – despite being healthy or in some cases, treatable, despite cage space being available, despite having rescue on the way – whatever. What I do know is that killing shelter pets is wrong.

Euthanasia to end the suffering of medically hopeless pets who have been given a poor/grave prognosis by a veterinarian is something completely different than killing. It’s part of animal sheltering – a very small part. Words matter. Attempting to whitewash the needless killing, by mistake or by design, of healthy/treatable pets by referring to it as “humane euthanasia” is wrong.

The main focus of any animal shelter should be lifesaving – immediate and responsible lifesaving. If that is ever to be the focus at MAS, it must start with a director immediately and responsibly committed to it. It appears that MAS, as ever, is lacking in this area.

Some in Memphis want to excuse the new director’s killing by claiming “these things take time”. To my mind, that is nothing more than enabling the behavior. I don’t need to wait and see how many more animals MAS puts into the dumpster over the next three months, three years or three anything. Molly is too many. Mona is too many. Romeo is too many. Every pet at MAS who is left to die in his cage or is killed under the guise of “humane euthanasia” when he isn’t medically hopeless and suffering is too many.

How many more, Memphis?

(Thanks Lou Ann.)

Baton Rouge Pound Oops-Kills Another Pet

Brittany Seelmann left her beloved 4 year old dog Thrall in the care of a friend last month. When Thrall reportedly bit a repairman at the house, AC took him to the Baton Rouge pound for a 10 day quarantine. The facility is managed by a pet killing group called Companion Animal Alliance.

Ms. Seelmann says she called and spoke with someone from CAA daily about Thrall – making sure he was eating and re-verifying that the release date on his paperwork, July 29, was correct. On July 28, someone from CAA called Ms. Seelmann to tell her they’d killed her dog by mistake. Oops.

“I was just devastated when she called me. I immediately started crying,” Seelmann said.

CAA director Beth Brewster released a generic Oops-Kill statement from the Crappy Pound Manual:

“My staff and I are devastated we failed Thrall while he was in our care. He was brought to us after a bite case occurred for quarantine as required by ordinance. Our protocols are based on national standards, but unfortunately human error does occur. Everyone involved has been reprimanded, we are retraining staff on procedures and working on tightening our vigilance to ensure that this will not happen again.”

So yeah it’s sad but don’t forget he was a BAD DOG and we were just following the law and we’re only human and what human hasn’t oops-killed someone’s pet, you know?

Also, retraining and the usual blah.  Which apparently does not include transparency:

CAA would not comment further on how many people were disciplined and how.

thrall memorial

Shelter pet advocacy, courtesy of the irresponsible public. (Image via WAFB)

Ms. Seelmann held a memorial for Thrall at the pound and set up a table to raise awareness about some of the other owned animals CAA has killed. That took guts.  And she had to dig down past her grief in order to harness that power.  Good on you, Ms. Seelmann.  I am glad someone is advocating for the right of shelter pets to live, since no one at the shelter seems to care.  I hope more local animal lovers will join you in calling for reform at this pet killing facility.

(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.)

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

drake

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.)

Texas Shelter Oops-Kills Agility Dog

peppy

Peppy, as pictured on the CBSDFW website.

Chris Swain’s competition agility dog Peppy bit someone on May 24. He was seized by the Mesquite Animal Shelter for a mandatory 10 day rabies quarantine, despite proof that he was fully vaccinated. From there, things began careening downhill:

“They told me I had to release the dog to them. I was instructed to put Peppy into this kennel,” Swain explained. “He still had his collar and all of his identification tags on him at that time. There was no documentation, and I was told I could not have any contact with him.”

No documentation was given to her or placed on the kennel as to his status or release date, she added.

What could possibly go wrong?

When the Swain family called to check on their beloved pet 3 days into the quarantine, they learned that Peppy had been mistaken for another dog and killed.  Oops.

Ms. Swain and a number of local animal advocates addressed the city council this week to complain about Peppy’s killing and a generally suckass environment at the shelter:

Among other issues cited by speakers were a lack of professionalism, a laisse-faire attitude by some shelter employees, failure to properly care for baby kittens, lack of cleanliness and improper care of isolated pets.

All this at a place that tosses a loved pet into a cage with no cage card or paper trail then kills him because hey, little yappy dogs, so interchangeable.  I mean, I’m assuming the dog he was mistaken for was another little yappy dog.  For all I know the dog actually on the kill list was a lab or an Irish Setter or a… Siamese.  But yeah, I can imagine how they do orphaned kittens.

The city is investigating itself in the matter of Peppy’s killing and in case you are in need of even more super reassurances, the city is on it:

“We made a mistake, and we apologized for that mistake,” said [City Spokesman Wayne] Larson. “And we are learning from that mistake.”

Just to clarify, “that mistake” was the needless killing of someone’s healthy, trained pet who was wearing ID tags that the shelter was supposedly holding in order to protect the public health. Since the dog was oops-killed before the quarantine expired, the bite victim probably had to choose whether to undergo treatment for rabies exposure or risk getting the disease. And the dog’s family is now saddled with a heartbreak that will last a lifetime. That’s what “that mistake” was.

Super-er:

“We are going to make some efforts to beef up our training and do what needs to be done to provide a quality service,” [City Manager Cliff Keheley] said.

Beef up our training.  I guess I’ll just go with lol there.  And doing what needs to be done is so ambiguous, it makes the “that mistake” guy seem slightly competent.

Keep raising hell, Mesquite animal advocates.  These people are not going to change one damn thing or do one damn thing or care one damn bit.  Get them out of the shelter and away from your animals.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Dallas Pound: Stop Me If You’ve Killed This One Before

SpencerTracy

Spencer Tracy, as shown on the Dallas Morning News website.

When a Good Samaritan in Texas saw a dog running in traffic, she whistled for him.  Michelle Henderson got the friendly, 84 pound dog into her car while he slobbered kisses on her.  She brought him to the Dallas pound and gave staff her contact information for his record to make sure he wasn’t killed as she intended to find a foster home for the dog, whom she named Spencer Tracy.  After lining up a foster, she called the pound to check on the dog only to learn staff had already killed him.  Oops.

But hold up, there’s REASONS:

  1.  In addition to Ms. Henderson, another person had asked to have his/her contact info posted in the dog’s records.  Staff did contact that person before killing the pet but didn’t bother contacting Ms. Henderson because “staffers believed the two were the same person.”
  2. Pound staff decided the dog was unadoptable because he was “shy and withdrawn” and as such, put him on the kill list.

Gosh, a dog acting shy and withdrawn in a cage at a pet killing facility? Weird. Plus the two people asking to be contacted are really the same person. I just know it. No need to call.

Last summer, when the Dallas pound oops-killed a bucket full of kittens who had a foster home lined up, management expressed regret that staff never bothered to call the rescuer who had asked to be contacted about the kittens:

“[S]he should have gotten that phone call, and we’re devastated that we failed her and those animals.”

Several months earlier, the Dallas pound oops-killed 4 dogs slated for rescue and issued a statement which read, in part:

Euthanasia of animals is tough enough for employees. To know that four dogs may have been euthanized in error has devastated staff, and they are also eager to look for ways to prevent incidents like this in the future. We mourn the loss of homeless animals that can be saved. DAS prides itself on caring for thousands of animals that staff members come into contact with each year. The City, DAS and community remain committed to our life-saving efforts and continued progress in this area.

Now it’s a new year but the same old song and dance:

Shelter manager Teresa Cleek apologized for Spencer Tracy’s death in an email to an animal advocate. She called the death “unfortunate” and promised to remind staff of proper procedures.
“We are sorry we failed this pup and appreciate the opportunity for our continued improvement,” she said in the email, which was forwarded to The Dallas Morning News.

Here’s the thing about continued progress and continued improvement – you actually have to have some progress and some improvement to continue.  All the Dallas pound seems to have is workers too lazy to give a flying fuck, too willing to kill animals whose records have been flagged with DO NOT KILL notes and management too quick to dispense platitudes about how the staff has all the sads.  The Dallas pound staff needs to stop being sorry about failing animals and start doing their jobs.  Maybe if they actually sheltered animals instead of killing them, their dogs wouldn’t be “shy and withdrawn” in their cages.

(Thanks Nathan.)

El Paso Shelter Oops-Kills Dogs and They Can’t They Won’t and They Don’t Stop

fox and person

Fox and his person, as shown on the KTSM NBC website.

In October, Juan Gudino was worrying over his lost dog, Fox.  The five year old German shepherd had been missing for two days and to Mr. Gudino, he was family.  He was very relieved when he received a call from El Paso Animal Services letting him know Fox was at the shelter.  He dropped what he was doing in order to immediately head to the shelter to pick up Fox and bring him home.  Upon arrival, Mr. Gudino was shown three German shepherds, none of whom was Fox.  There could not have been any mix-up as Fox had been impounded wearing his collar and ID tag and the shelter had called the owner from that info.  So where was Fox?

It turns out, despite Fox having his ID tag, despite the shelter calling the owner and despite the fact that the owner was on his way to reclaim his pet, the vet at El Paso decided to kill Fox because of a fractured leg and a lack of professionalism communication compassion everything:

Guanina De La Torre is the veterinarian who authorized the euthanization. She says Fox’s death is a result of miscommunication between the office.
“If I had known that there was an owner, I would have not made the decision on my own. And we’re working on systems to improve our communication within the shelter,” says De La Torre.

Oops.

De La Torre said that while she doesn’t regret making the decision to kill Fox, she would not have done so if she had known he had an owner.  Here’s the problem.  Here are all the problems:

  • Fractured legs in dogs are generally treatable.  You know who treats them?  Vets.
  • Euthanasia is only appropriate when an animal is deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian.  Had De La Torre examined Fox and determined he was medically hopeless and suffering?  If not, why did she kill the dog?
  • Does the vet at El Paso Animal Services you know, check with anyone before killing a dog to ask any questions like say, is any owner racing over here right now thinking he’s going to be reunited with his lost family member?  Protocol should dictate a system of checks with multiple shelter staff being involved in verifying a pet’s identity before any action is taken against an animal which can’t be undone.  Does El Paso adopt out pets without verifying there isn’t any known owner?  I hope not.  And if they don’t, why do they kill pets without verifying same?  The former is not easily reversed and the latter – not at all.
  • What the hell is up with the staff showing the owner three other German shepherds before figuring out their vet had killed his?  Oh you’re here for a GSD?  Here are some.  They are interchangeable, yes?
  • How many other pets have been killed at El Paso because of this unprofessional and outright alarming lack of communication?

I don’t know the answer to that last question except to say:  at least one.

tank el paso

Tank, as shown on the Fox Baltimore website.

A few weeks ago, a dog owner received a call from El Paso Animal Services advising her that her brown pitbull, Tank, had gotten out of his yard and bitten a person.  He would have to be quarantined for ten days.  The owner waited ten days then went to the shelter on March 6 to reclaim Tank.  After the proper paperwork was completed, staff brought out a brown pitbull and gave him to the family:

“Right away my husband said this is not our dog, you need to take him back and give us back our dog.”
She said the dog was a skinny, dark brown and looked different than her dog, Tank.
“I pulled out my phone. I showed them a picture of my dog and the veterinarian came out and said, ‘OK we’re sorry we’ll go ahead and find your dog.'”
She said she was told they couldn’t find her dog, but to come back tomorrow.

Dang, these owners must be the snooty, “only our dog will do” type. Apparently brown pitbulls are not as interchangeable as German shepherds.

The owner returned and met with a supervisor:

“As soon as we sat down, he said that there was no easy way of telling me, but that they had accidentally euthanized the wrong dog,” she said. “That they had confused him with another pit bull that was brown and had killed him.”

Oops. El Paso had killed Tank before his ten day quarantine had expired:

She was told her dog got moved from his cage and switched with another dog scheduled to be euthanized.

Oops.  The owner is understandably distraught and considering legal action:

“I believe they should have a better system. Maybe separate the quarantine animals from the animals that need to be euthanized,” she said.

Ya think?  El Paso’s multi-person, multi-check system to verify pets’ identification before killing appears to be non-existent. Like their sense of responsibility:

KDBC requested an on-camera interview with the City of El Paso, but they declined. Instead they issued the following statement:
“Animal Services did erroneously euthanize a dog that had been quarantined at the shelter as a result of a biting incident. We sincerely apologize to the family for the loss of their pet. Animal Services is investigating the incident and will take corrective measures necessary to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”

Similar incidents. I like that. It’s not killing someone’s family member out of incompetence, it’s an incident. Like the cashier getting your coffee order wrong after you told him twice. Although they presumably meant to say “similar more again incidents that we can’t stop doing” but that’s probably just me being picky. Oh and nice taunt putting that “biting incident” right there in the first sentence to make sure everyone knows Tank was not a good dog so no big whoop. Just taking out the trash for you, El Paso.  You’re welcome.

I hope the owner sues their lazy, inept asses.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Texas Shelter Oops-Kills Dog with Adopter Waiting

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Loretta, as pictured on the Victoria Advocate website.

Tiffany Smith regularly picks up pets she finds roaming loose in her area.  The dog she found wandering her neighborhood on October 30 was different – her family fell in love with the dog and named her Loretta:

“She just hopped in my car,” said Smith[.] “She was so loving.”
[…]
“She was a sweetie,” Smith said. “She got along with our kids. She got along with our dog.”

Ms. Smith turned Loretta over to police for transport to Victoria City-County Animal Control. She then called the shelter and asked an employee to note that her family wanted to adopt Loretta if no one claimed her.  The employee told her to call back on November 2.  When she did, she was told Loretta has already been killed.  Oops:

“There was a miscommunication,” [chief officer for AC Brecka] Tieken said. “That definitely has given us an opportunity to establish … a policy/protocol.”

Ya think?

Tieken said because the protocol is still being developed, she could not release details of the changes.

It’s so innovative, even the developers don’t know what it is.  I’m guessing it’s some cutting edge policy where employees WRITE SHIT DOWN and READ IT.  I hope they can pull this off and blaze a trail for other shelters.  Imagine the possibilities.

Making earmarks for animals that have been chosen by adopters is harder than it seems, Tieken said.

No doubt.  Scrawling DO NOT KILL on a cage card involves penmanship skills, a background in 2nd grade spelling and the ability to procure a writing instrument.  It’s little wonder so many shelter workers burn out.

“You gotta realize, when there are so many animals coming in to Animal Control on a daily basis, it’s next to impossible” for one of the shelter workers to call someone when a specific animal is available, Tieken said.

Two points:  There are 8 dogs listed for adoption on the Victoria Co website today.  Just having a guess, there are likely no more than 1 or 2 of them who have adopters waiting on them.  So let’s not make this out to be Wal Mart on Black Friday.

Also:  No one said the shelter worker had to call Ms. Smith when Loretta was ready to be adopted (heaven forfend).  It was the other way around.  The worker told Ms. Smith it was her job to call back in 3 days and ask about the dog.  Which she did.  Only to be told the friendly dog was in the dumpster.

If you can’t take at least a passing interest in not killing the pets people have told you they want to take home, I’m not sure the bar can be lowered further. You are standing on it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Forsyth Co Oops-Kills Cherished Pet, meh

Maximus, as pictured on the Fox8 website.

Maximus, as pictured on the Fox8 website.

Forsyth Co forced the owner of a dog who scratched someone to surrender him for an 8 day quarantine at the pound.  Ashley Burton had adopted the border collie/labrador retriever mix, whom she named Maximus, as a puppy 5 years ago.  It was heartbreaking for her to surrender her pet:

“I was in tears and could barely speak with him because I just didn’t want to let him go,” Burton said.

After the 8 days expired on July 2, she went to the Forsyth Co pound to pick up her beloved Maximus.  Pound staff gave her a pitbull mix named Spike instead of her own pet.  She waited for 30 minutes while they looked for Maximus then was taken to the manager’s office:

“He said, I don’t want you to panic right now, but we can’t find your dog,” Burton said.
Burton was then told there was nothing else she could do, and to go home while the shelter investigated.

Yeah don’t panic.  And definitely don’t look at the numbers Forsyth Co reported to the state of NC last year, reflecting the killing of 63% of the dogs and cats in its care.  OK, do panic.  But please, do it at home.  We’re busy killing animals here.

Ms. Burton later received a phone call from the pound manager explaining that staff meant to kill Spike but killed Maximus instead.  Oops.  The local Fox affiliate went to the pound director, who never contacted Ms. Burton personally, to find out what happened:

“At some point, either the identifying kennel cards were switched, or the dogs themselves might have been switched,” said Tim Jennings, Director of Forsyth County Animal Control.

Jennings said, since the picture taken of Maximus was not clear, and their descriptions were similar, it resulted in the mistake.

“The photograph is to be the definitive security issue, and in this case we could have done a better job there,” Jennings said.

So basically something got switched, we don’t know what exactly, and we took a crappy picture which is our “definitive security issue” but whatevs, and big black dogs, and did I mention we kill 63% of the pets here?  So I mean, odds are…  Also:

Jennings also told FOX8 that this is not the first time the wrong dog has been euthanized at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter. He said a similar incident happened some time in 2014.

Some time in 2014, some incident, some thing.  Oh but don’t ask for any sort of reform because Forsyth Co is on it:

Jennings said the photograph issue, among others, has been addressed.

See, it’s a photograph issue.  Like cropping.  And it’s been addressed.  Whew.  So just forget about the oops-killing of an owned pet and whoever might have been responsible for that still working at the place and the fact that 63% of the pets who come through the front doors leave in garbage bags.  We’re keeping the public safe!

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

 

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