Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's Going on at the Charleston, MO Dog Pound?

Lots of online chatter about this story as well as a local news piece:

A local animal rescue group says their eye-opening investigation could put Charleston City leaders in the hot seat.

In the wake of that investigation, Charleston Police shut down the city pound.


Here's what members of the group say about conditions inside the pound:

"They were horrendous. They were soaking in their urine, two small dogs were in the cage together covered in feces."

Alanna Downey heads the group, and says she posted the photographs she took online, raising cries of protests from animal lovers across the country. 

"There were multiple slabs of meat in the large dogs cage. Raw meat. They had a bluish purple tint to some of them," Downey said. 

"We feed the dogs dog food. But we have been giving them raw meat on and off for years as a treat," Police Chief Robert Hearnes said. 

For now the pound is empty, shut down pending an investigation by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. 

Authorities there say the city did not have a license to operate the pound and that is a violation of state law. 

Another Charleston resident says it's about time someone's stepping up to speak up for the animals. 

He says he found his dog in a pit, one day after the animal went missing. 

"He had been shot," Jesse Alexander said. "You could see scratch marks where they throwed the dog in the hole and shot him." 

Chief Hearnes said earlier in the day the city buried the dogs they shot. However he would not return calls to confirm if the junk pit Heartland News found is where the dogs are tossed into, but we did spot two partially burned dog carcasses inside.

What is shocking to me about this situation is the apparent casual stance the police chief has regarding the allegations.  I don't see any denials, just sort of a vague *shrug*.  Presumably an officer of the law is familiar with the law and aware that it applies to him too:

Authorities at the Missouri Department of Agriculture say once they wrap up their investigation it will be up to the Mississippi County prosecutor to decide whether to file charges against the city. 

Under Missouri law, those who operate shelters, pounds, kennels must euthanize animals under guidelines governed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The law says they also have to provide their animals with proper shelter, food and healthcare, as well as pay an annual license fee and be subject to inspections at least once a year.

They must also hold the dogs for at least five days before deciding what to do with them.

More blog coverage here and a Craigslist posting here.

If these allegations are true - and again, I'm not reading any denials - what part of "animal shelter" does this police chief fail to comprehend?  Stray pets are completely reliant upon the human caregivers who get them off the streets to provide them with quality care, food, clean and safe shelter as well as every possible opportunity for adoption into a loving home.  Homeless pets are part of the community we pay you to protect and to serve.  Personal responsibility, anyone?   


Barb said...

If they had been breeding dogs - heck, if they were just a private owner whether breeding or not - and treated their animals this way the HSUS would be all over it, screaming to the high heavens, pushing for maximum punishment AND using the case to support a push for some sort of new onerous legislation. But since they're a city pound we don't hear a peep from any of the big AR organizations.
Just goes to show, that to the ARs once an animal enters the shelter system they think it should be dead anyway.

YesBiscuit! said...

Good point Barb. Usually the "until there are none, adopt one" crowd would seize upon dogs forced to live in live traps, covered in urine/feces, being shot and dumped in a ditch... But in this case, the city pound is furthering their "until there are none" efforts.

Anonymous said...

I live near the town. The TV story was misleading, but there were some problems at the pound. The "pit" where the dead dogs were is where all animals are disposed of, road kill and from the pound. The city was shooting the dogs and had been doing so for 20 or more years.

The woman who "exposed" this is just trying to get the City to pay her to take care of the dogs like she is in the neighboring town.