Beloved Pet Fast Tracked to Kill Room at Hillsborough Co Pound

Besides the most obvious reason shelters should not fast track owner surrendered animals to the kill room – that is, these pets have the right to live – there’s this:  The person presenting himself as the owner may in fact not own the pet being surrendered.  People who are most likely to pose as owners when taking someone else’s animal to a pet killing facility include pet hating neighbors, abusive spouses, and spiteful family members.

Such appears to have been the case with Bella, a Florida cat surrendered to Hillsborough County Animal Services by a family member of the owners in July.  Bella was fast tracked for killing because she was an “owner surrender” even though the real owners loved her very much and were looking for her.  Bella’s owners arrived at the shelter within 48 hours of her surrender but it was too late as Hillsborough Co had already killed her.

Local pet advocates are using Bella’s case to shine a spotlight on needless cat killings and bad policies at the Hillsborough Co pound.  Director Ian Hallett responded to critics in this Tampa Tribune article:

[…] Hallett ended a practice of allowing rescue groups to put after-hours holds on individual animals scheduled to be killed the next day. Bella could have been saved by an email or phone message the night before she was euthanized because animal rescue groups were aware she was there.

In fact, members of two rescue groups were looking for Bella late on the afternoon the day before she was put down, but shelter employees said they couldn’t find her in the cages. Time ran out and there was no after-hours option.


Hallett said he initiated the overnight holds on a pilot basis but it didn’t work out.

“In one week, 80 cats were placed on hold without any subsequent plans to get them out of the shelter,” Hallett said. “That caused a bout of illness in the shelter.”

Let’s be clear:  Allowing rescuers to place overnight holds on cats does not cause cats to get sick.  And killing to prevent the possibility of illness is unethical.

Local advocates want Hallett to end the 2 cat limit on adoptions which he seems to believe prevents rescue groups from hoarding.  Newsflash:  The overwhelming majority of rescuers do not hoard animals and the tiny fraction who do will not be cured by your 2 cat limit.  Another policy which animal advocates take issue with is the killing of pets while cages sit empty.  Hallett defends this practice using the outdated notion that empty cages prevent disease.  Yeesh.  It’s 2013.  We have hundreds of open admission shelters all over the country saving 90% or more of their animals.  And the Hillsborough Co director is stuck on Dead Pets Don’t Sneeze.  This from the guy Hillsborough Co brought in from Austin to reduce the killing.

Hallett defended his policies Thursday, saying he had reduced the cat euthanasia rate this year to 68 percent from 80 percent last year. The shelter takes in about 10,000 cats a year and, Hallett said, the numbers on any given day must be kept down to prevent disease.

As for the five-day hold period on stray animals, Hallett said it is required by state law.

“But if the owner brings it to us there is not a legal requirement to hold the animals,” Hallett said. “At that time, the shelter makes the best possible decision given the available resources.”

If killing is your best possible decision, I would say your best possible decisions suck.

I hope local advocates continue to push for reform at the pound.  Killing a little less is better than killing a little more but it’s still killing – which is the opposite of what shelters are supposed to do.

(Thank you Clarice for the links.)

PETA Partners with a Local AC Unit in Killing 19,000 Animals

PETA strikes again – this time in Lake Elsinore, CA at a facility breeding rodents and reptiles.  One of PETA’s infamous undercover investigations documenting alleged cruelty was brought to the city government.  The city partnered with PETA, local animal control and a number of other organizations to investigate the facility.  On December 16, city spokesman Justin Carlson “said experts will treat any of the reptiles or rodents if they are found to be ill.”

From a series of press releases on the city’s website:

December 13:

Yesterday, the City inspected the facility and found evidence of animal neglect.


PETA spokeswoman Daphna Nachminovitch commented that PETA’s mission in this case is to ensure all animals receive necessary treatment[.]

December 17:

As of noon today, approximately 600 reptiles and 18,400 rodents have been identified and assessed by a team of veterinary experts, rat and reptile specialists, and animal cruelty investigation professionals. Willa Bagwell (Executive Director of Animal Friends of the Valleys) stated “we are continuing to inventory and evaluate the rodent population. The reptile counts have been confirmed and we continue to assess their situation as well.”

Upon entrance to the building, inspectors identified a dire situation. According to Willa Bagwell, “what we saw was horrific animal conditions involving thousands of dead animals in various states of decay as well as dying in their enclosures. In my 25 years of conducting animal control this is the most horrific case of animal cruelty, neglect, and suffering that I have encountered.”

December 19:

After careful analysis, a team […] determined […] euthanasia was the safest and most humane option[.]

Willa Bagwell said, […] “We are thankful […] to PETA and Marin Humane Society for providing us with the resources needed for this operation.”

Approximately 19,000 animals, most of them rodents, were killed.  Not one living creature was saved.  Not one mouse.  Not one baby rat.  Not one snake.  This is PETA’s mission – to administer their version of “necessary treatment” to animals.  And they provide the resources.

No charges have been filed in connection with the case as far as I know.

For a look at how PETA treats dogs and cats, click here.

The Killings of Samson and Epic

As with every story, there are two sides.  We’ll look at both after starting with a summary from the local paper on Ocala, Florida on the facts that appear to be undisputed:

What most people agree on is that at about 3 p.m. on Aug. 12, Samson, a male Great Dane, and Epic, a female, slipped through their owner’s yard when one of the family members accidentally left open a gate at their Pecan Drive Court home in Silver Springs Shores.


Between 5 and 5:30 p.m., Chris Monteiro fired two rounds from his Glock 9 mm pistol into Epic, striking the animal once in the back and once in the left side of the neck.

Epic died shortly thereafter.

What’s also known from veterinary and Marion County Sheriff’s reports is that Samson, the larger of the two dogs, was shot once in the nasal passage, after which the bullet lodged into the back of his neck.

Samson died at an emergency clinic later that night.

Monteiro first dialed 911 after he said the two dogs tried to attack him while he was working on his car in his garage.

He told the 911 operator that there were children outside in his neighborhood and he was afraid for his safety and theirs.

“And if I can’t get ’em out of here I’m gonna shoot one of them,” he told the operator, according to 911 transcripts.

The operator told him to stay inside his home and that someone would arrive to help.

But he didn’t stay inside. According to a statement he gave sheriff’s deputies and the Star-Banner, he went inside and came out again, but this time armed with the pistol. He continued to work on his car.

From there, we get divergent accounts.  Mr. Monteiro says the dogs began heading for the children who were playing outside.  He yelled for the mother to get the kids indoors and then the dogs turned and charged toward him.  He stayed in his yard and when they reached the edge of his property, he shot them both at a distance of about 10 feet.

“The dogs were full-on attacking me,” said the 32-year-old Monteiro.

Law enforcement investigators found that Mr. Monteiro acted appropriately.

An eyewitness to the killings, Kim Dethloff, has a different version of events.  She says there were no children playing outside (they were inside a screened-in porch where Ms. Dethloff was visiting).

Monteiro told the 911 operator during a second 911 call after shooting the dogs that “[the dogs] were chasing the kids down the street.”

According to Ms. Dethloff, the dogs left the neighbor’s yard and headed in Mr. Monteiro’s direction but toward a field, not directly at him.  Samson and Epic were not behaving in an aggressive manner nor were they bothering anyone.  Mr. Monteiro went out into the street and shot the dogs.

The dogs’ owner hired an attorney who claims there are other eyewitnesses who corroborate Ms. Dethloff’s story.  The lawyer is attempting to persuade the State Attorney’s Office to charge Mr. Monteiro.  As of September 3, there has been no response to the request.

From the information contained in the article, it seems to me that the entire situation would have been avoided if Mr. Monteiro had simply followed the instructions given him by the 911 dispatcher.  He could have remained safely in his home until authorities arrived and picked up the dogs.  If the dogs truly were menacing neighborhood children and chasing them down the street, we need to hear someone besides Mr. Monteiro say so.

To my mind, the fact that Mr. Monteiro ignored the simple directive to stay inside but chose instead to go back outside with a Glock, indicates there is reason to investigate the details of the case further.  In addition:

Necropsy photos and reports obtained by the Star-Banner showed one shot entered Epic’s back and exited the dog’s stomach area. The photos also show where the dog was shot on the side of the neck.

If Epic was 10 feet from Mr. Monteiro and charging toward him, how could she have been shot in the back and in the side of the neck?  That sounds like a dog running away, not charging straight at the shooter from a distance of 10 feet.

It’s unclear to me how law enforcement could have determined Mr. Monteiro’s actions were appropriate given that his version of events is contradicted by at least one eyewitness.  I hope authorities will at least conduct a more thorough investigation and share their findings with the public.