Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fastest Kill in the East: AL Shelter Breaks Record

A lost Boxer wearing a collar was found Tuesday by a couple of good Samaritans who brought the dog to the shelter in Walker Co, AL at 4:00. The relieved owner was waiting to redeem the dog the next morning prior to the shelter's opening. But shelter staff had "evaluated" the dog and killed him by 4:30 the previous day. The shelter director explains:

"We can have any individual bring a dog in. It's a family pet. It's never bitten anybody. It's really nice, but I guarantee you if it tries to bite one of us while we're reaching for it, we cannot and will not put that animal up for adoption."

Where to begin?

A dog wearing a collar that is turned in to the shelter may well be owned by someone looking for him. That's just common sense. Evaluating whether to put the animal up for adoption is a non-issue until the owner has had a chance to redeem the dog. Typically that's at least a few days. What is this shelter's policy for holding dogs for redemption - 14 seconds?

Temperament evaluations are a useful tool when conducted by a qualified individual with an understanding of dog behavior in a shelter environment. I'm pretty sure if I was lost and on the run, and somebody brought me to this shelter and introduced me to this shelter director, I would not be on my best behavior. Or even my normal behavior. And I can talk.

The evaluation is a guide to determining what type of training and home environment best suits the dog's needs. It's a chance for the dog to be placed successfully in a home either now, or hopefully at some time in future after some rehab. It is NOT a Pass/Fail with Fail equaling Death. That is not an evaluation. That is a lazy and cowardly excuse for killing.

Every shelter dog deserves a fair evaluation. And you know, shelter too.

Added: Thank you Heather for posting the link to an additional story on this case in the comments. In that piece, the shelter Director, finding herself in a hole, keeps digging:

The dog would not come out of the carrier so we had to use a capture pole. That is when he became aggressive.”

According to [shelter Director, Lane] Reno most animals brought to the Humane Society become frightened or agitated, which she said could explain Boost’s reaction.

“Some of the friendliest dogs change their demeanor as soon as they get here,” Reno said. “They smell the smells and hear all the dogs barking and it scares them. It changes their mind about cooperating.”

She acknowledges that dogs are often scared and not behaving in their normal manner when they arrive at the shelter. And yet inexplicably, she stands behind her decision to immediately kill the dog. In fact, she seems to be upset only at the allegation that she possibly sold the dog and lied about it. Apparently selling someone else's dog is rude but killing him=A-OK.
“Mr. Campbell [the Boxer's owner] wants to say I sold his dog or gave him away to someone, which just isn’t true,” Reno said. “I hate the Humane Society is getting a black eye over this, but we have a lot of animals brought in on a daily basis and many of them have to be euthanized. But no one here stole his dog.”

Reno alleges the Humane Society did not have any room for the boxer, despite Campbell’s claim of three empty pens. Reno said the pens to which Campbell referred are useless because of damage.

Gee, if only they would invent some kind of thing which could be done to fix damaged runs - something like a "repair". That could be useful for a shelter I would imagine in my La La Land of Fantasy Animal Shelter World. In reality, I guess the only answer is to kill dogs.

When confronted with AL law specifying that impounded dogs must be held for at least 7 days, Ms. FancyShelterDirectorPants has an answer for that too:
“That doesn’t apply to us, We aren’t a pound. We are a animal shelter,” Reno said when read the code. “The only pound that is in this building is on the city side. The building belongs to us, but the City of Jasper has Animal Control. When you have animal control you have to provide impound. Impound is what ever the city want’s to make it. Jasper City has a 72-hour hold. Jasper City pays us to feed and house their city impound dogs. Anything else that gets directly turned into us becomes our dogs. This is a not-for-profit organization, and is privately owned and operated by a board.”

Unless your business sign that reads "Humane Society" is actually made up of characters from some now defunct language which translate to "Dog Killin' Hole", I'd say you've got some kinda problem. We are the real humane society and we don't kill people's pets. I don't care what part of the building you're in (?!) or who pays your salary. You are not above the law lady, even if'n ya thinks so.

Contact info for the Walker Co Humane Society:

JASPER, AL 35501
PHONE: (205) 221-6621


Susan said...

This is outrageous. As a general rule, even IF your dog bites someone (which is what is implied here, but I'm not ready to take it as truth), unless the dog has killed or done grievous bodily harm, the penalty is not death. That is not the law in most states. This was a dog with tags. I think this shelter had a duty to give the owners a chance to claim the dog. They might have had some authority to report the dog as being vicious and start a case, but they did not at that point have the right to be judge, jury and executioner.

YesBiscuit! said...

My impression from the article was the dog *may have snapped at* the shelter director. I am guessing if the dog had actually bitten anyone, she would have said so specifically. In any case, I agree with your point. Most shelters have a policy of holding dogs turned in as strays for X number of days to allow the owner to redeem them. If they wanted to pursue some sort of dangerous dog designation, that would be their right.
I feel sorry too for the couple who brought the dog in. They probably figured they were helping the dog to be reunited with the owner.

Heather Houlahan said...

This is EXACTLY why I don't turn found dogs into the shelter or animal control.

So far I've always been able to locate the owner. That's luck and insider knowledge and perseverance on my part -- most regular good samaritans may not have the second, and be stuck with a dog they don't want if they don't take it to the pound or shelter.

When people know that "shelters" do this sort of thing, they are reluctant to turn in the dog, which makes it MUCH HARDER for the owner to find him.

Shelters need to be safe places for lost animals to be reunited with their owners. THIS SHOULD BE THEIR #1 JOB. There should be no doubt in the mind of anyone who finds a dog that taking him to the shelter is the best, safest way to get him home.

YesBiscuit! said...

Amen sister. First, do no harm.

Heather Houlahan said...

More story here:

MuleKist / ErthMa said...

Here is another same sad story that will make you MadAngry like me;


-J. said...

A dog that's scared nipping? Not only not a surprise, but in a shelter situation barely worthy of note. Comes with the territory. Doesn't mean you get a revenge killing with your band-aid. Learn some calming signals or have an employee better qualified - or with a better temperament - do the handling.

Heather B said...

This lunatic needs to learn what her job description means.
Shelter:A structure that provides privacy and protection from danger.
Director:Someone who controls resources and expenditures
Nothing in there about murdering animals for no reason.
She needs to be fired after she makes restitution to the grieving family.

Calsidyrose said...

The "dog became aggressive" after the employee utilized a capture pole because the frightened animal would not exit the carrier.

Okay--frightened dog+cowering in a carrier or cage (location and size of carrier not specified)+shelter chaos+CAPTURE POLE equals a bad situation.

The capture pole generally has a cable-wire noose that tightens around the neck, putting intense pressure on the trachea.

I'd like to know what the training protocol is for the employee with the capture pole.

Every time I see the capture pole used at our shelter, the dogs thrash, twist, gargle and snap at the pole (of course I've never seen a dog get the animal control officer because he/she is protected by four feet of fiberglass pole.

What did the Shelter employee expect the dog to do when the noose tightened? Do a calm sit-stay?

What else would you do if someone was throttling your neck?

Heather Houlahan said...

Oh, if the dog had actually bitten anyone, the law would have required a rabies quarantine.

Maybe the best advice to any dog dragged into that shelter on a snare pole is "sink your teeth into the nearest shelter director."

That may give your owner the needed time to come get you out.

YesBiscuit! said...

Yeah preferably the hand with the syringe. Don't let go!

YesBiscuit! said...

Mulekist - your link yields a "page not found".

Katie said...

It is a scary freaking world in which to be a dog. My god. Shelters don't have to shelter, don't have to make any effort at all to reunite the dog with his owners. That is astoundingly bogus.

Bamagirl said...

A lawsuit against this director, the shelter and the county will be filed next week. We will not tolerate this kind of animal cruelty in our town any longer!!!

Anonymous said...

This type of animal cruelty on the part of the Walker County Humane Society has been commonplace for years.

tkkgo1 said...

Remeber folks we are above dogs on the food chain, its time to stop treating them like human beings.

YesBiscuit! said...

tkkgo1 - Where on Earth did you get anything about the food chain from this post? Regardless of your position on it, you do not have the right to kill pets. Thanks for trolling by.

tkkgo1 said...

i agree we should not kill dogs for no reason but i believe the money we spend on these animal shelters could be better spent on helping people first and then animals.

YesBiscuit! said...

The money "we" spend on shelters? This shelter, as the director states in the article, is privately funded. So your tax dollars do not support it. If you choose to donate your charitable dollars towards programs that help people, good on you. Others may choose differently. Thankfully, there is enough space in this world to allow for different charities and different points of view. I'm not going to get into your whole "people first" argument because I feel it's a personal decision on how we each spend our money. But as for tax dollars, mine go partially to paying for other people's kids' public schooling and I'm not complaining. I have a sense of community - one which includes kids, pets, the elderly, and everyone else commonly considered FAMILY.

Falen said...

Holy Crap that's horrible.
I mean, i can understand not putting a dog up for adoption if it attemtped to bite an employee - i may not agree with it, but i understand their liability argument.
But even shelters i know that won't adopt out animals with a bite history still keep dogs during their stray hold and happily return them to their owners if/when they show up.

at the very least wouldn't it be cheaper to return the dog than euth it?

Falen said...


Here's a nice link for tkkgo1 to check out:

Anonymous said...

You people have no idea what you're talking about. Try spending the day at a local shelter and see how the public acts when they bring in an animal. Cat or dog, doesn't make any difference, they're thrilled that it's not their problem anymore. The fact that the shelter is full and cannot hold anymore animals is the least of their concerns. What you haven't seen is the video of the old lady turning in the dog. she didn't mind getting rid of it at all. And if you think they're fast, you ought to see it when a feral cat comes in. They don't make it 5 minutes here. If all you do gooders would come off you ass and wallet and donate instead of bitching then maybe things will change. And don't believe these no kill places. When they get full, they send them to a place that does kill. Ask any of them. If they tell you different they're lying.

Casandra said...

I don't understand why they put the dog to sleep regardless, if the dog had tags then obviously he belongs to somebody..

They should of had enough brains to let the dog come out of the carrier on his own, what did they expect the poor thing was scared so he felt safe inside the carrier.. And the only reason he acted aggressive towards the staff member is because he's scared and it's basically a fight or flight thing for him. And he chose to fight because he's scared and unsure of this new surrounding.