NC Pound Closes to the Public Due to Weather but Heroically Keeps Kill Room Open

little boy

Little Boy, as pictured on the ABC 11 website.

There are levels of appalling.  This story is all top tier appalling.  It’s the appallingest.

On Monday, January 18, Teresa Panameno let her cat outside.  Little Boy never came home.  He was trapped by a neighbor and Wake Co ACOs picked him up the next day.  Like many pets who get trapped by cat hating neighbors and taken to places that kill roughly half the cats they are supposed to be sheltering, Little Boy was not in a ball of yarn playing mood.  Instead of recognizing his behavior as normal under the circumstances, the Wake Co pound rushed to deem him unowned and unadoptable:

Dr. Jennifer Federico, Director of Wake County Animal Services told ABC11 that the cat was immediately deemed feral for his aggressive nature, and given the state-mandated stray hold of 72 hours.

Meanwhile Ms. Panameno continued searching for Little Boy, including looking at the animals listed on the Wake Co pound’s website. She finally saw his picture posted on the site on Thursday, January 21 and began calling the shelter.  No one was answering the phone so she sent an email.  But no one was answering emails either.  The office staff had gone home in preparation for a storm that was moving through the area.  The front office stayed closed on Friday due to inclement weather but Wake Co kept the kill room up and running for business as usual.  Little Boy was killed on Friday, while his owner was trying to get him back.

Someone from the pound finally answered Ms. Panameno’s email on Sunday, advising that her pet could not be handled at the time he was impounded, failing to mention that he had been killed while the place was closed to the public.  So the next day, Ms. Panameno drove to the pound, cat carrier in hand, to bring Little Boy home.  Gee, I bet that was a swell conversation to have.

But the director is all NO REGRETS:

Federico maintains the shelter followed procedure[.]
“It’s just sad all around,” Federico said.

Noooo.  When you wait by the mailbox for weeks for your Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring and then it finally arrives and you figure out the special message Little Orphan Annie had for you was a crummy commercial, that’s just sad all around.  When you accept an owned pet from a cat hating neighbor, immediately label him unowned, then close for business due to weather but keep your kill room open, then fail to admit to the owner what you’ve done so that she walks into your facility full of hope, expecting to take her beloved family member home, that’s unconditionally appalling.  Your precious procedure sucks.  If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

600 Animals Seized from Unlicensed NC Shelter

The state of NC has known for years that a private shelter in Hoke Co was being operated so far below minimum acceptable standards that animals were suffering.  Animals at the Haven were not receiving necessary veterinary care, food, water, exercise, or socialization – and there were way too many for the small number of staff to take proper care of.  During the state’s October 2009 inspection, there were more than 1300 animals at the facility:

Portion of a 2009 inspection of the Haven by the state of NC

Portion of a 2009 inspection of the Haven by the state of NC

State inspectors took dozens of photos documenting neglect during their October 2013 visit to the Haven.  Animals were stacked in dirty cages everywhere including the “isolation” area, inside the dog runs, in the barn and in a lean-to:

Some animals were sick, others were left without food and/or water:

So it would have come as a surprise to no one at the state level when the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the Haven yesterday pursuant to public complaints. The ASPCA was brought in. More than 600 animals have been seized:

“You’ve got animals out here with open wounds…obvious skin conditions…animals that appear to be malnourished,” [Capt. John] Kivett said.

According to the ASPCA, the animals were kept in dirty kennels, cages, outdoor pens and paddocks, many without protection from the elements.

The owners have been charged with animal cruelty and possession of a controlled substance used for animals. Additional charges are likely as the investigation continues.

Thank you to the complainers for not giving up on the animals and to the local authorities for taking action. I dread to think how many more years the state would have kept documenting the suffering of animals at this place without doing anything to help.

(Thanks Lisa for the links.)

NC Rescuer Charged with Crime by Pet Killing Facility

rowan co ph jan152016

Screengrab from PetHarbor of the Rowan Co pound’s cat listings on January 15, 2016.  They’re doing the best they can, prolly.

A woman in NC has been trying to do the Rowan Co pound’s job for them since they are so terribly awful at it.  Jennifer Frasier regularly pulls cats from the pound and gets them adopted to permanent homes.  Pound staff say that Ms. Frasier has come in more than once and taken every single cat on the kill list.  She also pulls for other rescues when they want to save cats from being killed but can’t physically get there before the buzzer sounds.

In November 2015, a group of cats was found abandoned in Iredell Co, which neighbors Rowan Co.  Some of the cats were traced back via microchips to Ms. Frasier’s father (the article is a bit confusing on the details here and of course the county won’t provide any information). Ms. Frasier says she had pulled some of the cats from the Rowan Co pound for another rescue.  She says she turned them over to that rescue the same day she pulled them and has documentation to verify her claim.  The cats were picked up, sent back to Rowan Co then returned to Ms. Frasier’s father.

Last month, Iredell Co Animal Services had police arrest Ms. Frasier and her father on charges of animal abandonment.  Subsequent to the arrest, Ms. Frasier has been attacked on social media and her rescue’s adoption center has been vandalized.  The adoption center is now closed.  Both Ms. Frasier and her father are due in Iredell Co court on February 1.

I will grant you the details of this case are clear as mud but what is known is that both the pounds in Rowan Co and Iredell Co are the suck.  In 2014, Iredell Co killed roughly 3 out of 4 of its cats.

iredell co ph jan152016

Screengrab from PetHarbor showing a cat listed by Iredell Co.

Anyone who walks into a pound and says, “Give me every cat on your kill list” is ok by me. I don’t know why Rowan Co didn’t intervene and tell Iredell Co to back off when this unfortunate situation arose but the whole thing sounds like a bunch of slackers got together with some cat haters and threw a party.  I hope the county withdraws the charges before the court date.  If they can take time out of their cat hating day I mean.

(Thanks Lisa for the link.)

Lincoln Co Pound Director Wants to Speed Up the Whole Dead Animal Thing

David Workman, director of the Lincoln Co pound which was recently fined by the state of NC after more than 200 animals were left to suffer to death during a 6 month period, wants to kill animals faster – before they have the chance to keel over in their cages presumably.

A proposal introduced at Monday night’s county commissioner meeting could soon impose a time limit on healthy animals in the Lincoln County Animal Shelter.
LCAS Director David Workman suggested [a policy change] which would give animals 10 days to be adopted or rescued before facing mandatory euthanization.

Some animals might be allowed to live past the 10 days, at the discretion of the director. The one who wants the power to kill faster. Animal advocates side-eyed the guy:

Members of animal advocacy group Helping Animals To Survive were in attendance, and board member Tim O’Brien said his group does not support the proposal.
Workman said when he approached HATS members with the idea at one of their recent board meetings, they “did not seem to be quite on board with it.”

An animal advocacy group not quite on board with killing animals faster – well my stars, what will they think of next?  Oh wait:

[Workman also] proposed limiting drop-off times to between 1-3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“Limiting the intake, that’s something that we talked to David and (County Manager) Kelly (Atkins) months and months and months ago about,” O’Brien said. “It should be limited. It’s too easy to just drop off a stray animal. Limiting those animals absolutely will help that.”

So apparently everyone agrees that it should be harder to drop off stray pets at the Lincoln Co shelter. Super. I can’t think of any possible negative repercussions from that. I mean no more than a dozen. Twenty at most.

Limited intake is not open admission, which is what taxpayers are paying for in Lincoln Co. Managed intake, which is different from limited admission, can be successfully utilized by shelters while still offering full open admission services to the community. But making it harder for people to bring strays to the local safe haven is a terrible idea and not consistent with no kill, which the county supposedly hearts:

Lincoln County adopted a no-kill philosophy in 2013, and while live-release rates have risen since, the shelter hasn’t yet saved enough animals to officially qualify as a no-kill shelter.

And the shelter never will, so long as it has a director fighting to kill animals faster and local advocates who want to make it harder for residents to help stray animals.

(Thanks Lisa for the link.)

Lincoln Co Pound Fined for Harming Pets, Pound Says Public Not Trustworthy

The NC Department of Agriculture has issued a civil penalty notice to Lincoln Co Animal Services:

lincoln co civil penalties

The $7500 in penalties stem from an inspection by the state on October 27 subsequent to the receipt of a complaint about the pound. The state reviewed the records for the facility and found that from May 1 through October 27, 195 cats and 15 dogs were found dead in their cages. The staggering number of deaths are indicative of rampant disease and yet not only was there no written protocol from a veterinarian addressing any disease management, the contracted vet said no one had told her about the animals dying in their cages.

Animals who had been seen by a vet and been prescribed medication were not being given those meds by the pound staff according to the records. Cages were not being cleaned twice daily and baby animals were not being fed twice daily as required by the state. In fact, staff only worked from 7 – 11 on Sunday mornings then left the animals until Monday.

This sounds awful. But never fear, they are doing the best they can:

Channel 9 questioned the director of Lincoln County Animals Services about the violations.

David Workman said the deaths were the result of a respiratory disease that spread rapidly throughout the shelter.
Workman said his staff was overwhelmed and the shelter was overcrowded. The shelter is a kill shelter and Workman said they’ve been trying to find animals a home before they’re euthanized. Still, he vowed to make the necessary changes.

“We are doing our best here. We put a lot of new policies and procedures that we now have in place now as far medication administration,” said Workman.

New medication policy: uh, give it.

lincoln co pregnant dog

Holly, ID #A30355280, at the Lincoln Co pound in NC (photo from email issued by Lincoln Co)

As it happens, this story wasn’t the only email I received about the Lincoln Co pound this week.  Someone forwarded me a plea for several animals in need of rescue.  It reads, in part:

The animals on this plea are pregnant or the owner stated they were pregnant. Which that means they cannot be adopted by the public.

The unwashed masses apparently can’t be trusted with pregnant animals. Better that they stay at Lincoln Co where they can be neglected and/or left to suffer until they fall over dead in their cages or the staff kills them. Like they did the dogs they got from HSUS who were part of the “rescued” Alabama 44.

The plea ends with:

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are able to help us with these extra special shelter babies!

Good news: I can help. I can’t personally do your jobs for you but I can offer you some guidance. If you don’t find rescues who are able to take these pregnant animals, let them be adopted by the public with an agreement to have mama and the entire litter neutered when appropriate.  Offer to take the family back for adoption once the pups/kittens are old enough.  Promise that they won’t be killed so someone might actually be willing to raise the pets in their home and return them to you for adoption in good faith.  Or if the person wants to keep one or more of the family members, provide them with spay-neuter vouchers.  Alternatively, ask the state of NC if you can take the $7500 you owe for not doing your jobs and use it on doing your jobs – starting with sheltering these pets.  In short, do almost anything with these animals except neglect/kill them.

(Thank you to everyone who sent me links on this story.)

Sumner County’s State of the Art Shelter Stands on Crappy Floors

Sumner Co AC in TN is a hot mess.  After the pound’s vet was caught on hidden camera heartsticking fully conscious dogs in 2007, reform was promised and the pound was put under the control of the sheriff’s department.  Taxpayers spent $1.3 million to build a new facility in 2011.

The sheriff ended the volunteer program, won’t let anyone post pictures of the animals online and in fact, won’t let anyone past the lobby.  If you want to save an animal, you have to look at pictures the sheriff’s office provides in the lobby.  Despite all these swell reforms, killings are up and live release outcomes are down.  So weird, right?

And there’s more bad news:

When taxpayers spent $1.3 million dollars on this state of the art shelter in 2011, complete with its own flushing system, concrete crews poured a flat floor— a $52 thousand dollar mistake.

As a result, urine and feces pools on the kennel floors, which should have been built sloped in order to allow debris to drain into the flushing system.

A great dane named Chief was held at the Sumner Co pound for 10 days in August following a bite.  Owner Jason Corlew was on vacation but called several times to make sure his pet was ok.  He says none of his calls were returned.  When he picked Chief up from the pound, he was startled to see the dog’s condition:

“He comes out covered in feces, and has urine burns all over him,” recalled Corlew. “His paws, the skin was peeling off because he had been standing in feces for so long.”
Corlew estimated Chief lost about 40 pounds and also had a blood infection.

burned paw

One of Chief’s burned paws, as shown on the News Channel 5 website.

Mr. Corlew has filed a lawsuit against Sumner Co:

The lawsuit is seeking $1,000 to cover bills from the veterinarian. It is also asking the county to upgrade the facility to improve the floors so feces and urine will properly drain away from the animals.

I doubt a lawsuit will do what has clearly needed doing at the Sumner Co pound for many years – put a figurative match to the place, run the pet killers out of town on a rail and start doing the work to actually shelter animals.  Taxpayers need to make their voices heard if any not-fake reform is to ever happen there.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Animal Advocates Say Their Offer of Free Beds to Huntsville Shelter is Refused

I received this letter yesterday from no kill advocate Brie Kavanaugh in Alabama regarding a Kuranda bed drive offered to Huntsville Animal Services. I edited the letter for space and clarity:

The shelter dogs are on concrete floors with some towels and blankets. The public is asked to help with laundry, leading to what must be incredibly high utility bills. The shelter has a 2 million dollar annual budget with a line item for “food and care of animals” which is less than 3 percent of the overall budget. The shelter was recently offered donated dog beds by my no kill advocacy group through the Kuranda Shelter Bed Program. This is a public service program sponsored by Kuranda to help private citizens and welfare groups facilitate donations of beds to shelters at a reduced cost. A web page is set up on the Kuranda site and people are directed to that page to buy a bed which is then shipped directly to the shelter. The beds in the program are considered the gold standard for shelters nationally.

In our case, the shelter need do nothing at all for the drive other than to assemble donated beds once they arrive, perhaps hosting a “slumber party” event to bring people to the shelter to help put beds together. Media was told about our plans in hopes of getting some positive news coverage. A local business leader said that not only will she buy some beds, she’ll go to the shelter to help assemble them. A flyer was readied, the public was primed on social media and we waited for the “okay” to launch the drive.

Common sense would dictate that upon being offered free beds, to be purchased by private citizens, the shelter director would enthusiastically say, “Yes! Please.” She did not. She first said she wanted plastic beds made by a company in Italy. She then said she wanted mesh beds because “the dogs like them better.” Never mind that a mesh bed is incredibly difficult to clean, will quickly be destroyed by dogs in a shelter environment and simply will not last. Because in the end, it is apparently more important to be in control and act like you care about the dogs than it is to be gracious about support from the community you serve and get the dogs up off of the floor.

The representative at Kuranda told me she had seen this type of resistance only once from a shelter in Arizona and even that shelter was honest enough to simply say, “The dogs don’t need beds.” Kuranda went above and beyond here, spending hours on phone calls and in email messages, ultimately unable to persuade the shelter to simply accept donated and durable beds.

Shame on Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard, the shelter director. Shame on Karen Buchan, the Animal Care Supervisor. Shame on city officials in Huntsville, Alabama, who have been alerted to this situation and have done nothing to intervene, while applauding the shelter director for doing such a wonderful job with taxpayer dollars.

Who refuses free, donated dog beds which are considered the gold standard for animal shelters? People who just don’t give a damn.

We have since turned our attention to another shelter which, when the offer of free beds was made said, “Yes! Please!”

Aubrie Kavanaugh

Henry sleeping on a Kuranda bed at the National Mill Dog Rescue Kennel in Peyton, Colorado.  (Photo submitted by Brie Kavanaugh)

Henry sleeping on a Kuranda bed at the National Mill Dog Rescue Kennel in Peyton, Colorado. (Photo submitted by Brie Kavanaugh)

While it’s sad to know that the Huntsville shelter dogs are still needlessly languishing on concrete, Brie says that the group’s drive to benefit The Ark has been very successful – meeting its goal to get a bed for every dog kennel in the first week.  Any additional donated beds will now be used in the shelter’s outside dog areas.  Awesome.

Nashville Pound Kills Owned Dog with Rescue Hold

Sadie Mae, as shown on the WKRN website.

Sadie Mae, as shown on the WKRN website.

When Sadie Mae got lost late last month in Nashville, her family began looking for her.  Sadie Mae’s 6 year old girl made these posters to tack onto phone poles in the neighborhood:

Photo via WKRN website.

Photo via WKRN website.

Owner Janet Mabry checked lost and found pet postings on social media and came across a listing for Sadie Mae on a Saturday. Someone had found her and taken her to the Nashville pound the previous Thursday, placing a rescue hold on the dog if she went unclaimed.

The pound was closed at the time Ms. Mabry saw the listing for Sadie Mae and did not re-open until Tuesday morning. Ms. Mabry called to reclaim her pet as soon as the pound opened on Tuesday but was told Sadie Mae had been killed by staff:

“She kept saying her time was up, her time was up,” said Mabry.

The Nashville pound had held Sadie Mae for the minimum 3 day stray hold then killed her immediately after it expired. The director, Lauren Bluestone, told WKRN that Sadie Mae had been given a temperament test and failed the portion on dog aggression so: Kill. Immediately. The owner says her pet was sweet and had never exhibited any signs of aggression. The director also wants it noted that the owner is a slob and it’s all her fault the dog is dead anyway because:

  • Didn’t file a lost pet report.
  • Didn’t leave a message at the pound while it was closed.
  • Didn’t have the dog tagged or microchipped.

And as far as the finder who placed a rescue hold on Sadie Mae, it sounds like she’s a slob too:

“If truly what she had said was a miscommunication on our part as far as a rescue hold,” said Bluestone. “I’m getting two conflicting sides.”

Metro said it has nothing in writing to verify if there was a hold on the dog.

So many shady people wanting to keep dogs alive in Nashville, sounds like. Thank goodness the Nashville pound director is on duty to administer tests and monitor that 3 day hold clock and mete out punishment to keep everyone in line.

(Thanks Clarice and Arlene for the links.)

State of NC Finds Violations at Transylvania Co Shelter, Assesses Penalty

Last week, the NC Department of Agriculture issued a letter regarding its investigation of the Transylvania Co shelter.  The findings include:

  • During the period from September 1, 2014 through July 21, 2015, 205 animals were killed by staff members who were not certified as euthanasia technicians.
  • 81 stray animals who were neither seriously ill nor injured were killed prior to the expiration of the mandated 72 hour holding period.
  • The director was suspended for a month in 2014.  Upon his return, he falsified the kill log for 5 animals.
  • The records of more than 100 animals who were killed contained conflicting or incorrect information.

The state assessed a civil penalty of more than $10,000 against the Transylvania Co shelter as a result of these violations.

So all this sounds pretty bad.  But wait – we have enablers on standby!

“It’s important to note that these violations are administrative and have nothing to do with the way animals are treated at the shelter,” said Dr. Clyde Brooks, a veterinarian with Brevard Animal Hospital who led the effort to relocate the shelter to an improved facility two years ago.

This will surely be a great comfort to the 81 stray animals who were killed without ever being given a chance at redemption or adoption.  It’s an administrative thing!  Also the county manager says most of those animals were feral cats so piffle.  As far as why the director was suspended for a month last year, the county manager says we don’t need to know about that.  The vet goes even further:

Brooks doubted that the violations would affect [Paul] Vis’ role as shelter director, saying Vis has been instrumental in developing TCAS into a “state-of-the-art” shelter that has gone “from a 75 percent euthanasia rate to a 75 percent adoption rate.”

Let’s see if that’s true.


Portion of the state of NC's 2014 shelter report showing a 44% kill rate at Transylvania Co.

Portion of the state of NC’s 2014 shelter report showing a 44% kill rate at Transylvania Co.

The county is currently being sued by the owners of a dog who was at the facility for a 10 day rabies quarantine but was oops-killed.  Apparently the owners loved their pet more than administratively.

(Thanks Lisa and Clarice for the link.)

State of NC Revokes Certifications from Two ACOs

The NC Department of Agriculture received a complaint from a citizen in June regarding improper pet killings at the Stokes Co pound.  On July 2, the department revoked the euthanasia technician certifications from two ACOs at the facility. An investigation conducted by a state inspector found that Phillip Handy, then director of the Stokes Co pound:

  • killed animals before the required 72 hour holding period expired
  • improperly killed at least one animal in May 2015 “which involved the cruel and inhumane treatment of the animal”
  • “performed, participated in and/or witnessed” the inhumane killing of multiple animals
  • treated multiple animals cruelly and inhumanely causing them pain and suffering
  • shot an animal as “euthanasia” and failed to report it
  • failed to cooperate with the state during the investigation

The state further found that ACO Darryl Sheppard:

  • killed animals before the required 72 hour holding period expired
  • witnessed at least one inhumane pet killing incident in May 2015 and failed to report it
  • “performed, participated in and/or witnessed” the inhumane killing of multiple animals
  • shot or had knowledge of the shooting of an animal as “euthanasia” and failed to report it
  • failed to cooperate with the state during the investigation

Neither Sheppard nor Handy has been charged with any crime in connection with the department’s findings but the State Bureau of Investigation is investigating both men.  They no longer work for Stokes Co.  The facility failed its most recent inspection in late August.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)