Dallas Pound Tries Out a “You Think You Hate Us Now? Just Wait!” Stance

When the public won’t stop clamoring for their public animal shelter to do the job they’re paying them for, the only reasonable thing to do is punish the public.  That’s the approach the long-troubled Dallas pound is taking in a briefing posted this week to the city’s website.  Among the proposed punishments:

  • Slap pet owners who fail to license, fail to keep a rabies tag on their pets at all times, or fail at some other horrible thing with criminal fines and civil fines.  If they can’t pay, sue them.
  • Impound pets belonging to anyone who hasn’t gotten them neutered and hasn’t bought a special permit.
  • Eliminate holding period protections for cats picked up outdoors.
  • Eliminate holding period protections for dogs picked up from areas “with high incidence of injury by animals”.

A dog for adoption at Dallas Animal Services, as shown on PetFinder.

What’s that you say?  You are a taxpayer and if your cat or dog gets lost and impounded by Dallas Animal Services, you want the chance to reclaim him and you don’t want pound staff disposing of him as they see fit before you even get home from work?

You don’t see how increasing impounds and breaking up families by imposing hefty fines many owners won’t be able to pay qualifies as “sheltering”?

You sound like a troublemaker.  We have punishments for you.

DAS killed more than 9000 dogs last year.  But don’t worry, that’s “the hard part of the job.”  I guess thinking up ways to increase intake and take pets out of homes is the easy part.  Good going DAS.

(Thanks Nathan.)



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.

Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals: Jackson, MS Edition

As we so often hear from killing apologists, people who take jobs at the pound do it out of a love for pets and of course, they don’t want to kill animals.  And other fairy tales.

Some yahoo from Jackson AC in MS is riding around in the back of a pickup truck, armed with a shotgun, shooting dogs in their yards.

One man who says he occasionally fed a stray female dog in the neighborhood was at home when the armed sadist killed her:

“She came in my yard. I was sitting there watching the dog and there was a loud boom,” he said. And when the bullet hit the dog, the force pushed the body down, knocked it over, pushed it over. The dog was screaming, making a lot of noise.”

The injured dog made it down the street and collapsed.

A woman down the street had just let her dog Charley outside when the nutter came for him:

“Charley is not going to growl at you, Charley is going to wag his tail even if one of you guys walked up, he would just wag his tail,” said Charley’s owner. “So they could have just got out of the truck and picked him up. Instead, they shot him.”

Charley’s owner describes the behavior of the armed and violent public servant as that of a sniper:

“Yes, he was in the back of the truck, like he was a sniper cause he didn’t get out,” she said.

Neither eyewitness account makes mention of even a minor attempt to capture the dogs or knock on the doors of the homes where they were to inquire about their status.  Just an armed ACO riding around in the back of a truck, shooting pets to death.  But don’t fret, it’s perfectly reasonable:

We went to Jackson Animal Control to get their response. Paul Perry, the manager, said his officers followed policy,that they can use lethal force after all peaceful means of capturing an animal have been exhausted.

Apparently in Jackson, “all peaceful means of capturing an animal have been exhausted” equates with loading the shotgun.

Oh but we can’t understand how hard the job is and compassion fatigue and fuck all.  So don’t judge unless you’re willing to go down there and start randomly gunning down pets yourself.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Caldwell Co: Fail, Six Ways from Sunday

In the face of feline disease outbreak in a shelter, when is it appropriate to kill every exposed cat in the place?  How about never?  Does never work for you?  It works for me.

The Caldwell Co pound in NC had several cats die.  Preliminary testing on two of them indicated Calicivirus.  Then the story gets weird:

More samples were sent off for extensive tests and those results are not back yet. The virus is usually passed though the air from cat to cat, said Veterinarian Dr. John Thuss. “It normally is just a moderate illness, sort of like the flu in humans,” he said.
Thuss thinks there could be other factors involved in this case but cannot be sure until all the test results are back.

The Koret Shelter Medicine Program has an information sheet on Calicivirus:

Feline calicivirus is shed primarily in saliva and oculonasal discharge, but can be found in all body secretions during acute disease. Although FCV can be spread by droplets sneezed out to a distance of ~ 4 feet, true aerosol transmission of FCV is unlikely.

If Dr. Thuss believed the disease that was killing cats at the pound was transmitted by air, it wasn’t Calicivirus.  This underscores the need for the additional test results.  One area where Koret and Dr. Thuss are in sync is the potential involvement of other factors.  Again from the Koret information sheet:

The obvious first step in deciding whether outbreak control measures are necessary is to definitely diagnose FCV and rule out other common causes of the observed signs, such as feline panleukopenia. Even if FCV is a contributing factor, the outbreak can often be resolved by controlling the co-factor, which may be more amenable to intervention. […]

I can’t stress this enough: the vast majority of suspected [Virulent Systemic Feline Calicivirus] cases or outbreaks we are contacted about turn out to have another primary cause such as panleukopenia, disinfectant toxicity, or the cumulative effects of severe crowding, poor sanitation, problems with air quality and rampant disease from many causes adding up to a picture that looks a lot like VS-FCV.

So additional testing is critical to determine the true cause of the illness so that informed treatment decisions can be made.  Koret adds:

In the meantime, of course, affected and exposed cats should be isolated as with any possibly infectious outbreak.

Sounds like a reasonable plan.  Instead, the Caldwell Co pound killed all the “exposed” cats (exposed to air?), stopped accepting cats from the community and cleaned the cages (and I guess, the air?).  All this before the needed test results were back.  No informed decisions, no isolation, no treatment – just needless killing.  And then they started taking in cats again – before the test results were back.

So Caldwell Co never knew what they were dealing with, killed 15 cats anyway, closed their doors to community cats in need, then re-opened, still ignorant of which virus(es) may have been killing cats in their facility.

If you watch the video at the link, the pound apparently houses cats in dog runs, which has got to increase the stress level for the cats and weaken their ability to fight disease.  Oh and the coup de grace:  the shelter says the public is at fault for not vaccinating their cats.  No mention from the shelter on whether they vaccinate all cats upon intake, as per standard disease prevention protocol.

(Thank you Lisa for the link.)

Congratulations on Getting Everything Wrong

This recent article in L.A. Weekly starts off with a terrible title and goes downhill from there:

Bad Dogs Die in L.A.’s Pound

Are they really so “bad” that they must be killed?  According to whom?  What about the “good” dogs – what happens to them?

Regarding manager Brenda Barnette who has reportedly driven some volunteers away from the pound:

“From the beginning, the people engaged in animal issues were deeply divided on Brenda,” says Ron Kaye, former editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, who as a blogger at ronkayela.com has kept a watch on Animal Services. “She won over some segments — the classier segments.”

So anyone who doesn’t support the person in charge of needless pet killing at the pound has no class.  Nice.

Official “volunteers” work with specific shelters, and are generally calmer than “rescuers,” who tend to be older, single white women with boundless energy — and often uneasy relations with paid staff.

Oh gee, speaking of no class…

“I think she’s doing the best she can,” says Cheri Shankar, a donor and activist, who argues, with plenty of facts behind her, that zealous rescuers have hated every general manager the department’s ever had, from Dan Knapp to Jerry Greenwalt to Ed Boks. “If St. Francis of Assisi came to Los Angeles to run the shelter, rescuers would complain about him.”

Right.  Because rescuers just hate.  It’s not that all the previous managers have also killed pets instead of doing their jobs, inviting condemnation from people who believe they are wrong to kill, it’s that hysterical old white women who can’t find husbands just hate.

No-kill means killing 15 percent or so of animals.

No kill means saving every healthy/treatable pet at the shelter.  It’s not tied to a specific percentage although Nathan Winograd, director of the No Kill Advocacy Center, recently used the phrase “saving upwards of 95% of all animals” to describe the dozens of open admission no kill shelters in the U.S.

To reduce the killing, L.A. would have to persuade city residents to spay and neuter to prevent litters of animals. That means Animal Services — and by extension the City Council and Villaraigosa, who have cut its budget — would have to pay to better publicize and enforce a mandatory city spay-and-neuter law that’s widely ignored.

Right, MSN is failing in L.A. because it’s ignored.  Because otherwise, MSN would totally be working, even though it has never worked to significantly reduce the killing of shelter pets anywhere it’s been tried.  Ever.

“You can’t adopt your way out of the problem,” says Shawn Simons, who runs Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats[.]

Well yeah, you can – if anyone wanted to quit regurgitating the tired excuses of the past and open their eyes to the successes of the present.  No kill is happening – in the north, south, east and west.  It’s happening in large cities and rural communities.  It could be happening in L.A. – today, if anyone involved wanted it.

(Thanks Jan for the link.)

After 2 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment, Belfast Pet to Die Alone

Image of Belfast protest in support of Lennox, via Facebook.

Official Statement From Lennox’s Family:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive “some” ashes in the mail.

Shame on you, Belfast City Council.


Looks like you’re going to need another logo contest MAS

Distracting the public from the way things are by focusing on the way things look doesn’t seem to be working.

Dog wearing padlock at Memphis pound on Saturday, June 30, 2012.

Jeanne, You Ignorant Slut!

I know you are probably thinking, “Shouldn’t that be JANE, you ignorant slut?”  But here’s the thing, Jeanne Chancellor, head of the “Friends of MAS” volunteer group, has used so many aliases while commenting on this blog, I can’t be sure if “Jane” was one of them.  A little background:

Yesterday someone commenting under the name “Cammy Linderman” posted a comment about an MAS volunteer who had come forward to speak to the media about the neglect at the pound.  The interview has not yet aired and was conducted under the agreement that the station would conceal the volunteer’s identity.  “Cammy Linderman” outed this person publicly on the blog in a very underhanded way.  This got my attention so I began running through my list of suspect IP addresses from those who have left comments defending the abuse and killing on MAS posts in the past.  In addition to Cammy Linderman, I found Anna Kallecter and Anna Kellecter, Amber Zeuss and Amber Seuss, Elizabeth Swafford and Eizabeth Swafford – all with several commonalities:  They were all one letter off in their spelling, the IP addresses were all from Memphis, they connected to the internet at times through Bellsouth and at other times through the City of Memphis, they used AOL e-mail addresses almost exclusively and they were all the same as “Jeanne100” – a commenter who posted three times in April 2011 using Jeanne Chancellor’s AOL e-mail address.  The City of Memphis server threw me momentarily until I learned that Jeanne Chancellor had been issued a laptop by the City of Memphis as head of the “Friends of MAS”.  So that about tears it.

Jeanne Chancellor appears to be all of these commenters and seems to be using her city issued laptop, paid for by taxpayers, to give virtual identities to the many confused voices in her head.  I could overlook all of that but when she outed the courageous volunteer who went to the media to speak for the neglected pets at MAS under the condition of anonymity – this I can not abide.

And so Jeanne Chancellor, you are now the one who is outed.

You are outed as someone willing to put a brave shelter volunteer in harm’s way and subject this person to vindictive retribution.

You are outed as a defender of one of the most abusive shelters in the country.

You are outed as a “Friend” only to the City of Memphis and its corrupt political culture.  You are no friend to the homeless animals in Memphis.

ABC24 reported that there was a meeting between volunteers and city leaders several weeks ago where some volunteers spoke up about the dogs not being fed and other concerns.  I am told that Jeanne Chancellor attended that meeting but remained silent.  This would be in line with her years of silence regarding the criminal activities at MAS.  She had the chance to speak for the pets at the pound but chose to let them suffer.  She used her knowledge of that meeting and subsequent events to attempt to put a volunteer in harm’s way by outing the person on this blog.  That person should be commended for speaking up.  That person had the courage and strength of character to come forward and take action when Jeanne did not.  That person deserves our thanks, not our betrayal.  When reform finally comes to MAS, it will be because compassionate people put action to their good conscience.

Jeanne Chancellor, you and all your aliases have been banned from this blog.  If you ever attempt to use my blog to hinder shelter reform at MAS again, I will not be so kind in my response as I was today.  Take that laptop that the caring citizens of Memphis paid for and get the hell out of the way.  Change is coming.

Jackson Co: Out of the Frying Pan

…and into the Fire of Stupid.  I recently blogged about the pound in Jackson Co Oregon where they sometimes kill microchipped pets.  One of those pets was a cat named Max, whom the shelter deemed aggressive while in the trap, and killed.  This was an easily preventable tragedy and can be prevented from ever happening again: Jackson Co must check ALL PETS for microchips, regardless of the pet’s behavior.  They must contact owners of microchipped pets and post them online so that owners can find them.  Further, they must cease impounding feral cats.

But at a recent Animal Control Advisory Committee meeting, these items didn’t get much attention.  Instead, misinformed attendees clamored for mandatory spay-neuter (MSN) laws and even tossed in some wildly misleading (and I’m being generous here) information:

More than 32 states have mandatory spay/neuter laws, with a minimum requirement that all animals adopted from a shelter be spayed or neutered, said Lisa Frost, an Ashland attorney and shelter volunteer.

Frost urged the committee to move forward in implementing a mandatory spay/neuter program to help curb pet overpopulation and reduce the numbers of feral, stray and abandoned animals who are euthanized.

Where to begin?  There is no such thing as pet overpopulation.  The danger to community pets in this country lies primarily with the agencies designated to protect them which are instead killing them.

MSN does not reduce/eliminate shelter pet killing and it’s failed everywhere it’s been enacted.  Some examples:

  • The city of Los Angeles enacted MSN in 2008 and after the first year, shelter intake and killings were up.  Killings increased after the second year as well.  The third year was yet another failure.
  • Intakes and killings increased in Las Vegas after the city enacted MSN in 2010.
  • When CA was considering statewide MSN legislation in 2007, the past president of the California Veterinary Medical Association wrote a lengthy letter to the Board detailing his opposition.
  • Killings and costs both went up in King Co, WA after MSN was passed in 1992.

As a result, most every major animal welfare group in the country opposes MSN.  That list includes:

32 states do not have statewide MSN as the article leads the reader to believe.  In fact no states have statewide MSN.  There are various cities and counties around the country which have enacted MSN but they have all failed.  All.

To be clear, MSN is completely different than requiring shelter pets to be neutered.  The article makes it seem as if the two are related.  They are not.

Also during the meeting, another resident told how her cat Max (incredibly, a different cat) had also been trapped by a cat hater, brought to the pound, deemed agggressive and killed before she could find him.

More mess o’ stupid:

There is no county ordinance forbidding cats to be “at large,” said Colleen Macuk, shelter director. But owners are responsible for their animals’ actions. It is also legal for others to bait and trap “nuisance” cats and take them to the county shelter. In fact, it is required that trapped cats be taken to the shelter to prevent the possibility of animal abuse, said Macuk.

“We don’t turn them away because of the alternative,” Macuk said.

Well gee, I wish you would turn them away.  Because the alternative is that they might, ya know – live.  (It’s just this little thing I’m fond of.)

The director explained that Max (the recently killed cat) was deemed aggressive while in the trap so they stuck him with a needle on the end of a pole to kill him.  He was never checked for a microchip.

With the county’s resources, wild and aggressive cats cannot be safely or humanely held to perform this task [of checking for chips] without putting staff at risk of bites or scratches or injury to the cat, Macuk said.

Heaven forfend the poor cat might get injured.  Better to go straight for the kill stick.

Adding to the problem is the lack of manufacturer uniformity regarding chips and scanners. The shelter has two scanners, which are capable of reading all but two types of chips, she said.

Gee, all but two.  That sounds… inadequate.

In 2011, the shelter received 2,883 cats. Only eight were microchipped, Macuk said.

Well but – how do you know, right?  I mean, you’re not checking them all so maybe 8 had chips or maybe 800 did.  Or maybe 2800.  Nobody knows.

“One thing we’ve committed to is that we’re going to scan them all after they’ve been euthanized,” Macuk said, referring to cats that were deemed unsafe for staff to handle.

An excellent plan with only one possible drawback…


I Want My Puppet Regime!

All this time, I’ve been typing away, trying to steer advocates toward step-by-step guides about reforming your local pound.  I’ve sent you here and there in hopes of motivating you to take on the challenging work of bringing change to your community.  Of course I know it’s a daunting prospect and all of you have full lives already.

But today, good news!  The ASPCA, that bastion of compassion, laid it all out for us on their website yesterday – and it’s easy!  The ASPCA quickly removed the online documents describing no kill advocates as “extremists” but as most of us know, there is no such thing as buying up every paper in town these days.  Once online, forever online.

And so it is with the ASPCA doc “The Tactics of the Extremist Agenda“, thanks to crazy people who saved the docs after the ASPCA began promoting them yesterday morning.  So thankfully we can all still read ASPCA’s guide to creating change.  Valerie has written a lengthy post on the subject so please go there to read the docs in all their glory.  But the Reader’s Digest version of the ASPCA’s description of how we operate is this:

  1. Find some schmuck to go around shrieking “No kill!” down at city hall.
  2. Single out the people who kill pets at your local pound and call them names.
  3. Install a “Puppet Regime”.

It’s so simple, even a filthy rich hypocrite could do it.  So no more excuses people – go out there and install your Puppet Regimes.  Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast!