Weekend Jade

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I just love beagles’ optimism.

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

sea-monsters

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Name That Animal

This is just for fun and the only rule is:  no researching.  Post your answers in the comments.  Reading other people’s answers before posting your own is Actually, I was only kidding. You can get that baby out of here. optional.  Answer will be posted in the comments tonight.

nta

Be Seeing You, Wendy

Wendy was diagnosed with kidney failure in May and, though she did very well all summer, she declined rapidly over the past week and it was time to let her go.  I held her in my lap as our vet gave her the injections and the last thing Wendy felt in this world was a kiss from Billy.  We only had her for 3 and a half years and wish it could have been much longer but we are so thankful for the time she was with us.

Wendy was a very calming presence in our home, so much that Billy sometimes called her Zendy.  She loved to eat and to sleep, which made us kindred spirits, and she was the only dog I’ve ever known to fake sleep by squeezing her eyes shut when she was clearly awake but didn’t want to be bothered in her bed.  I miss her dear heart already.

This snippet of her playing ball, taken earlier this year, makes me happy:

 

Treats on the Internets

A photo of adorable puppies at the Jackson Co shelter in NC accompanies an article based upon the flawed premise that shelters up north are no kill and that there are strict spay-neuter laws in northern states.  The county recently purchased a cargo van for $23,000 in order to regularly ship dogs up north.

To be clear, there is no state in this country that has publicly available statistics to back up any claim that healthy/treatable animals are not killed in its shelters.  Further, there is no state that has mandatory spay-neuter for all dogs and cats.  AFAIK, shelter animals are killed in all 50 states and driving them hundreds of miles causes displacement killing and perpetuates myths about shelter animals, in addition to a host of other serious issues.  (Thanks Lisa for the link.)

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A terrible op-ed defending the Miami-Dade pound appeared in the Miami Herald last week.  Perhaps the worst bit:

Nearly 100 animals a day come into MDAS. This strains the ability of our community to care for adoptable, salvageable animals by having to keep the community’s old, infirm and injured pets alive, or networking them and using resources that might best be utilized elsewhere.

Gee, so sorry your shelter is expected to keep imperfect (in your eyes) pets alive which compromises (in your opinion) the shelter’s ability to keep “salvageable” (as in, junkyard?) pets alive.  How awful that resources are spent on the elderly and infirm when it would obviously be better to use them for the young and beautiful.  Yeah, that’s what sheltering is all about.

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Dallas seems to be facing up to the fact that “catch and kill” isn’t going to solve its loose dog problem because it does nothing to address poverty – the root cause of the issue.  (Thanks Karen.)

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A dozen shelter dogs in Santa Barbara Co got to go running with members of a local high school cross country team.  What an excellent idea!  (Thanks Claire.)

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The smallest wild cat, the Arabian Sand Cat, was spotted for the first time in 10 years via baited camera traps set up by scientists in Abu Dhabi.  (Thanks Steven.)

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Capybaras are friends with everybody.  (Thanks Billy.)

Labor Day Newt

Beach towels are on clearance at Walmart.  They make excellent crate beds for busy little beagles who have shredded all the nice dogs beds in the house:

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Busy little beagles need lots of quality sleep so they can start being very active and very vocal at 4 am every day, including weekends and holidays:

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*demon eyes*

I mean IF anyone knows any beagles like that.

Weekend Jade

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Blockhead Belle

Open Thread

Post anything animal related in the comments, anytime.  New Open Threads are posted weekly.

LeonBonvin TheLittleDog

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While Sandy Suffered, Rescue Group Exploited Him

I’m for no kill.  I’m for rescue.  But this is neither.

The SPCA Los Angeles conducted an investigation into the care of a cat named Sandy based upon a tip.  Sandy lived in a warehouse rescue facility operated by Furrever Grateful Rescue (FGR) in Long Beach, CA. Medical records indicate FGR began taking Sandy to veterinarian Ryan James Whitney in September 2014. Sandy had a tumor on the side of his face. Over the next 6 months, Whitney performed multiple gruesome surgeries on Sandy, gouging away at his eye until it was finally gone as well as portions of his nose and mouth. The deeply invasive tumor continued to grow and Whitney continued to drain the cat’s face of massive infection in between the surgeries. Whitney never submitted any of the surgically removed tissue to a lab for testing. Sandy was never diagnosed or given any prognosis. He was unable to eat normally and was suffering tremendously. He wasted away.

In February 2015, FGR took Sandy to a different vet. The second vet saw the giant tumor consuming Sandy’s face, his emaciated frame and his inability to eat adequately and diagnosed him with end stage squamous cell carcinoma. The prognosis was grave as the cancer is untreatable. Combined with Sandy’s immense suffering and extremely poor quality of life, the vet recommended immediate euthanasia to end Sandy’s needless agony.

Instead of releasing Sandy from his suffering, FGR took him back to the warehouse and continued posting photos of him on Facebook, soliciting donations. The second vet, deeply disturbed by Sandy’s condition, contacted SPCA LA and the state veterinary board.  The SPCA LA notified FGR that they needed to have Sandy euthanized immediately.  FGR took Sandy back to Whitney for the euthanasia.  An investigation was conducted:

In its investigation, spcaLA discovered that FGR had been using Sandy’s worsening condition for fundraising for Sandy on social media, a practice not uncommon, and meant to pull at the heart and purse strings of donors. “It is unclear why Whitney or Furrever Grateful Rescue allowed the miserable suffering of this animal,” said spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein. “Whatever their intentions, whether motivated by naiveté or greed, this kind of cruelty is beyond words. No living being should ever suffer like that.”

The California Veterinary Medical Board revoked Whitney’s license so he can’t harm any more animals under the guise of “medical care” in the state.

FGR however, may face no legal consequences for their part in Sandy’s extended suffering:

Because the rescue is within the letter of the law and “provided medical care,” there are no animal cruelty charges pending against FGR at this time, however the Attorney General is looking into whether they are compliant with annual nonprofit regulations.

Get them on that, if they are in violation. Get them on any legal thing where they are found to be in violation. Kind of like sending Al Capone to prison for tax evasion – do what needs to be done within the law in order to stop these horrible people. How many other animals are in that warehouse of horrors right now? Are they too receiving “medical care”?

There are photos of Sandy at this link but the reason I am posting it here on its own is because readers need to be warned:  these photos are upsetting.  I didn’t make it past the first few myself so I can’t say specifically how many or how awful they are as a whole but knowing how Sandy suffered and that he was used in these photos as a fundraising prop for a so-called rescue, it’s almost too much to bear.  Click with caution.

Animals advocates work with a lot of rescues, many of which are known only via social media.  It feels natural to assume that the people saving animals from pet killing facilities are the good guys.  Usually, they are.  Let this serve as a reminder that there are evil people in all walks of life.  They are a tiny minority, thankfully.  But it is on us to perform our due diligence when donating or otherwise supporting animal groups.  That can be tricky, especially when faced with certain death for an animal at a pound.

It’s completely unacceptable that our public animal shelters put us in this position.  We need our government shelters to be safe havens for pets.  That is not at all the case in far too many facilities across the country.  Which leaves animal advocates in constant crisis mode, forever scrambling to find someone, anyone with an open space for a pet we are desperate to save.  No animal advocate wants a shelter pet killed.  No animal advocate wants what happened to Sandy to happen to any sentient being.  These should not be the choices we face.

Shelter reform, now.

(Thanks Clarice.)

Rowan Co Pound Gets a Million Dollar Donation and Totally Blows It

rowan co cat

Cat ID #A103582 at the Rowan Co pound, as pictured on Petfinder.

In February 2016, the Rowan Co pound in NC unveiled a new cat wing.  The $1.1 million, 160 cage area of the facility was supposed to be an enormous upgrade for cats who were previously housed in groups inside dog runs. Anti-microbial floors, an isolation area and separate ventilation systems for each room were designed to keep cats healthy. Donor Christine Morykwas paid the bill but she didn’t simply hand over the money and hope for the best. She demanded better care for the cats:

[…]Morykwas required Rowan County to adopt specific medical treatment and sanitation protocols.
[…]
[F]our full-time staff members and four part-time staff members who are specifically responsible for cleaning the cat wing [were added].

On August 23, the state of NC failed Rowan Co on its routine inspection, primarily because of the suck-ass conditions in the cat wing:

The inspection found feces smeared on the inside of cat cages, dirty and wet cage surfaces, a generally messy cat isolation room, a record keeping system that makes it hard to identify cats, peeling paint in dog holding areas and other issues.
[…]
In the stray cat room, an inspector found three cat cages that were “very dirty.” One of the cages contained a mother cat and five kittens and was streaked with feces and litter.

Upon seeing all the filth in the cat wing, the inspector asked when the afternoon cleaning begins. The director responded with a reassuring *shrug*. Another staffer offered that the inspector happened to be there on the only weekday when they actually have no afternoon cleaning crew but said the staff did do spot cleaning. The inspector, who was there more than 2 hours that afternoon, noted that she did not see any evidence of spot cleaning. In fact, no one bothered to clean up even the most egregious offenses the inspector was pointing out during the time she was there.

The fancy anti-microbial floors hadn’t been swept or mopped, apparently in some time.

There were no cage cards or any other animal records in the cat wing.  When the inspector asked to see records for cats under medical care, she was told there were no paper records as everything was done on the computer.  When she asked to see the computer records, the staff was unable to access them.

The Salisbury Post asked Rowan County Manager Aaron Church about the failed inspection and he issued this really swell statement:

“Summer brings an increase of animals,” he said in an emailed response. “This is our first summer with the cat wing and issues during the beginning are to be expected. However, we have excellent staff and fully expect that things will continue to improve while providing a service to the citizens and animals of Rowan County.”

Your “excellent” staff members are not doing their jobs. The “issues” are negligence and/or incompetence. In order to “continue to improve” you have to have some improvement to start with. It’s been 6 months.  How much longer do you need to figure out that shit smeared cages are supposed to be cleaned?  Did Rowan Co think the anti-microbial floors were going to sweep themselves?

The county manager told WCCB that the pound’s veterinarian, Dr. Robert Krawczyk, was fired on August 23 – the date of the failed inspection. He’d only been on the job for 3 weeks:

Church tells me the decision to terminate Krawczyk was, in part due to the inspection, as well as previous issues.
The termination letter (see pictures) accuses Krawczyk of “improper comments to staff and visitors,” “failure to properly document medications,” “failure to complete an assigned daily task,” and “lack of attention to detail in applying medical treatment and evaluations.”

Yes, he definitely sounds excellent. You know who else is excellent?

Church tells me he and Shelter Director Bob Pendergrass talked about the inspection for three hours today. He says, “Bob doing an excellent job,” and, “Bob is new to the position and we have a lot of employees.”
To be exact, there are 8 animal control enforcement officers, 4 full time shelter attendants and 4 part time shelter attendants as well as the director and the shelter vet (now vacant; the search for a new shelter vet is already underway, says Church.).

Oh man, it’s a hard job.  I feel sooooooooo sorry for people who have hard jobs.  It sounds like work.  Oh the humanity!  Somehow, presumably during the never ending toil of hard labor and beneath a sweaty brow, the director managed a response:

Pendergrass sent me a statement today, that says, “The purpose of the state inspections is to help us be aware of and address any issues that their experience reveals during the inspection so that we can to do a better job. Staff is meeting internally and working hard to come up with a plan to address those concerns with a plan of action. We have a great staff and will make sure that they are addressed thoroughly.”

Great staff? Why I’ve heard they’re excellent!

But let’s get one thing straight, bub:  The purpose of the state inspections is not to babysit you and remind you to wash your hands before dinner and make your bed.  The purpose of the state inspections is to hold you accountable – to reassure taxpayers that you are at least meeting the bare minimum standards required to prevent you from being shut down.  You failed.  You should be exceeding these rock bottom minimums by a mile – because it’s your job.

Three days after the failed inspection, the Salisbury Post published a piece from the Rowan Co pound director.  In it, he perpetuates the long debunked myth of pet overpopulation and touts his facility’s “outstanding record” which you know, long live irony.

And since we have just enough room left for one more enabler, enter County Commissioner Craig Pierce:

Despite the improvements, he said county officials “aren’t sitting on our laurels” and continue to pursue animal-related policy changes. The alternative, he said, is for the Rowan County Animal Shelter to euthanize a larger percentage of its animals.

“If all we had to do was euthanize the animals, we could have the cleanest shelter ever,” Pierce said.

Oh dear.  Maybe you should just go sit on your laurels.  In that corner over there.  No waaaaay over there.  Keep going.  I’ll tell you when to stop.

Ms. Morykwas is not pleased:

“Just like you can lead a horse to water, you give these people a million-dollar cat wing, and they still can’t do it right,” she said in an interview with the Salisbury Post. “I don’t regret it, but I’m saddened by what’s going on. It would convince me not to invest anything else.”

[…]

“There just needs to be a complete overhaul,” she said. “Maybe one of these centuries, we will finally get someone in there that knows what they’re doing.”

Rowan Co is not committed to lifesaving.  Taxpayers need to demand better – starting with their county officials all the way down to part-time shelter staff.  It takes a special kind of incompetence to completely screw up a million dollar donation in a matter of months (or weeks, in the vet’s case).  I’d hate to think what these people are capable of over the long term – and what their enablers are capable of attempting to justify.

(Thanks Lisa.)