Friday, March 5, 2010

NC: Owner Tries to Redeem Pets, Animal Control Shrugs

Two family pets got out of their yard through a hole in the fence last week in North Carolina. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control picked them up and told the owner he needed to fix the fence before he could take his dogs home. Since it was raining, it took the owner a couple of days to get the repairs done. Once completed, the owner showed up to redeem his Pitbulls but the shelter had killed them. AC characterizes killing the dogs as "a mistake".

Make that two mistakes.

Mistakes happen. When you're in the business of killing pets, your mistakes are going to involve oops killings. This is one of the many reasons I oppose kill shelters. At any rate, here is the thing that pushed me over the edge: AC staff reportedly said to the owner by way of explanation, "No one knows what happened". Now I am willing to grant that killing the first dog was a mistake. And even that killing the second dog was a mistake. But no one knows what happened? That's no mistake. And it's inexcusable.

I think even an outsider such as a myself can put together a reasonable start to determining what happened in about 30 seconds. I would think the paid staff at AC could do at least a little better than what I can come up with but here goes:
  • How many people are authorized at your shelter to kill dogs?
  • Of those, who was working on the days the dogs were being held?
  • Who, if anyone, normally assists in killing dogs at your shelter and of those, who was at work on the days in question?
So right there we've got a short list of people to talk to. I'm assuming the individuals on that short list were at work at the time it was discovered the dogs had been mistakenly killed. If not, I further assume AC has their contact information and could reach them. After a few brief interviews, the basics of how these mistakes occurred should have been clear. Fleshing out the details, probably including locating paperwork on the dogs, would take a little more time. But to my mind, at least the basics of what happened could have and should have been determined quickly.
Now, [Will] Harlee [the dogs' owner] says Animal Care and Control needs to be held accountable for its mistake, and he still has questions without answers.

"I need to know why and who," he said. "I want somebody to lose their job over this. I need an impression that this can't happen to anybody else."

I would take it a step further and say the community needs to be reassured that in fact, the shelter knows what is going on under its own roof. Otherwise, what are taxpayers paying for?

Animal Care and Control says it's working on better communication.
Are we talking smoke signals and carrier pigeons or what? It really isn't that hard to find out how these two dogs were killed. If nothing else, the AC supervisor could jump up on the counter and yell out, "Raise your hand if you killed 2 Pitbulls recently!". That should get the ball rolling.

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