When Randi Hileman came upon a trail of dead dogs and cats on the highway in North Carolina, she did what most folks do nowadays. She got out her phone and took some pictures.
She was distressed enough by the scene that, after moving the corpses to the side of the road, she posted the photos on Facebook and called the news media — all in search of some sort of explanation.
And when, earlier this month, the explanation came, she — and a lot of other people — got even angrier.
What little official response there was went something like this: Someone failed to properly latch the tailgate of a truck transporting dogs and cats that had been euthanized at the Davidson County Animal Shelter.
Rather than ending up at their destination, a landfill, their bodies were left strewn along U.S 64, near Interstate 85.
Judy Lanier, the shelter’s director, told inquiring reporters it was a non-story, and apparently convinced a lot of them of that.
Not too many accounts of what happened can be easily found on the Internet, other than this one in the Winston-Salem Journal.
“It was an internal employee mistake that’s been dealt with in less than 30 minutes,” Lanier told columnist Scott Sexton. “Basically it’s a nonstory. There is one thread on one Facebook page where you’ve got less than 10 people beating a dead horse.”
Between being one of only eight counties backwards enough to still use gas chambers to put down dogs, the public opposition to that, the county’s dismal adoptions figures (it reportedly euthanizes 6,000 dogs a year), Lanier’s defensive reaction and the vivid images of what her employee left, however briefly, on the highway, it’s not too surprising that some people are calling for the shelter director’s resignation.
Lanier, while she’s not granting many interviews with the media, is responding to what people are saying on Facebook.
“I never took it lightly,” she says in one comment. “I dealt with it a week ago in a professional expedient fashion … I take issue with this non story that was simply an error of equipment usage being used as another platform for attacking our shelter, our staff and our ethics … Not one cat was adopted due to this story being spread all over face book. Not one of these so called activists stepped through the door to help lessen the overcrowding that requires that truck to make that trip several times a week. Shame on those who criticize that which they don’t understand and those who don’t intend to put their words into action. Journalism when practiced honestly does not require ambushing and exploitation. That’s just his personnel (sic) self aggrandizement in print.
Lanier wrote that none of the animals found on the road had been put down in the gas chamber, and said the shelter uses lethal injection three times more often than it uses its gas chamber. Opponents of the gas chamber, she said, are using the dead animal spill to fuel their campaign against the use of gas.
“Those animals are the visual picture of what happens in a community that does not spay/nueter (sic), thinks of animals as disposable property and expects a small shelter to absorb their decisions and re home each one. That’s a fact not an excuse but reality.
In another comment, she gets in a shot at the reporter: ”Must be a slow day in the newspaper world when a columnist can only report week old news and quote a no comment voice mail to make a punch line … Mr. Sexton burnt a bridge he won’t ever cross again today.”
Lanier further states that she wishes people criticizing the shelter would spend that energy instead on volunteering at the shelter, helping get dogs adopted and educating the public on spaying and neutering.
Amid her comments, an apology can be found.
“The incident where animals were found on Highway 64 on Tuesday, August 8, 2014 was an unfortunate error caused by the tailgate on the animal shelter truck being inadequately secured. The animal shelter truck was in route to the county landfill at the time of the incident. The animal shelter staff acted as soon as possible to correct this error and the staff member involved was extremely sorry and devastated that this had occurred. The shelter staff member is an excellent employee who performs above and beyond every day at the shelter. Measures have been taken by the staff to make sure this never occurs again.
“The Davidson County Animal Shelter apologizes to the public who witnessed this incident. We are aware of the impact this has had on our citizens. The entire incident was due to human error and is regrettable.”
Probably she should have provided that statement to reporters and stopped there, rather than telling them they were “beating a dead horse.” And probably she should have held back on criticizing animal advocates who want to see the gas chamber dismantled.
Criticizing those who see the issues differently is bad for public relations. Badmouthing reporters is bad for public relations. The gas chamber is bad for public relations. Dead dogs on the highway is bad for public relations.
Davidson County officials have the power to do something about one or two of those, or perhaps all four.
(Photos from Randi Hileman’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption rates, animals, bodies, carcasses, cats, davidson county, dead, director, dogs, euthanized, facebook, gas chamber, judy lanier, lethal injection, neuter, north carolina, pets, photos, put down, rescues, shelters, spay, spill, tailgate, truck
This public service announcement from the Shelter Pet Project totally captured the attention of my dog, Ace.
He was laying with his back to the television, watching me eat, when the jangling collar led him to turn his head a full 180 degrees to see what was going on.
Ace generally ignores television (I’ve yet to achieve that), so I was surprised when, about the time the dog knocks on the screen, Ace got up, walked over to the TV, sniffed a few times and then gave the dog’s image a big lick.
I guess that’s a paws up from him.
And I give the series of announcements, which feature former shelter dogs and are intended to encourage adoptions, a big thumbs up, too.
Jules — the dog in this one — was adopted by a family in 2010, and has since become a world traveler, going as far away as South Africa.
You can see the full series of announcements here.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 2nd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, adopt, adoption, ads, animals, awareness, dog, dogs, jules, marketing, pets, psa, public service announcement, rescue, screen, shelter, shelter pet project, shelters, television
Hank, the former stray dog who has become the unofficial mascot for the Milwaukee Brewers, has gotten his own house inside Miller Park.
The dog, adopted by the team after he wandered into their spring training camp in Arizona, will use the house for appearances, photo opps, and perhaps to get some rest — in between his duties – when he’s inside the stadium.
While Hank goes home at night with Marti Wronski, vice president and general counsel for the Brewers, the team considers him the fan’s dog. So he needed someplace cozy to stay during games — a home base, so to speak.
The “Hank House” is a one-bedroom, Cape Cod-style, with an attached yellow slide. It was built by the Brewers architect.
“It took about two weeks to construct, and I think people will have fun with it,” Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger told WISN. “People just love Hank (and we’re) trying to make it a more habitable environment for him at Miller Park. And I think he’s going to like his house very much.”
The doghouse will be moved during the season to various parts of the stadium, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Hank, who has been a huge hit with Brewers fans, will soon be starring in a video, and, along with all the Hank merchandise already available, a bobblehead version of him is expected to go on sale in September.
(Photo: Top, Hank’s new doghouse inside Milwaukee’s Miller Park / WISN; bottom, Hank in Arizona, by Morry Gash / Associated Press )
Posted by John Woestendiek April 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, architect, arizona, bobblehead, design, dog, doghouse, dogs, hank, hank aaron, mercandise, miller park, milwaukee brewers, pets, phoenix, rescue, spring training, stadium, stray
Ten more Sochi strays — saved from the streets by rescue groups in Russia — arrived in the U.S. last week.
The dogs were among those rounded up by rescue organizations before and during the Winter Olympics in an effort to save them from being poisoned and killed by authorities who considered them a menace, or at least an embarassment.
“These 10 are representative of some of the dogs that have been removed from the streets and are now up for adoption in Sochi,” said Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for Humane Society International. “They’re the sweetest, most interactive, very friendly dogs, very adoptable, that just happen to be unfortunate enough to be living on the street.”
The dogs landed at Dulles Airport Thursday. They were taken to the Washington Animal Rescue League, which will be responsible for finding them new homes.
More are expected to be arriving in coming days.
HSI worked with PovoDog Animal Shelter in Sochi and two other organizations to arrange vaccination, documentation and travel for the dogs, who spent two days in transit.
“We are excited to make the connection for homeless Sochi dogs with loving homes in the United States, with our focus on helping street dogs in Russia and around the world,” O’Meara said. “Our goal is to protect street dogs from cruel and unnecessary killing programs — like the one employed by Sochi officials to ‘clean up’ in advance of the Olympics — by working with governments to create humane and effective dog population management programs.”
HSI had urged the International Olympic Committee and Sochi authorities last year not to conduct a pre-Olympic “cull” of street dogs, and got some assurances that would be the case.
When it was exposed before the Olympics started that the program was underway, HSI petitioned President Vladimir Putin to put an end to it. The organization has offered its assistance in creating a humane program to control the population of street dogs.
HSI assisted American skier Gus Kenworthy, an Olympic silver medalist, in bringing home four strays.
It is also pushing the International Olympic Committee to mandate humane animal control standards when identifying a host country for future Olympics.
Each of the arriving dogs will get a medical evaluation, and they could be available for adoption within weeks, said Bob Ramin, CEO of the Washington Animal Rescue League.
“These animals are seeing a lot of new things and experiencing a lot of new things, so they’re kind of stressed out,” Ramin said. “We want to make sure they know they’re in a safe place so we’ve got our staff working with them one on one.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 31st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopt sochi dogs, adoption, animals, dogs, Gus Kenworthy, hsi, humane society international, olympics, pets, rescue, rescued, russia, Sochi, sochi strays, strays, street, washington animal rescue league, winter
The note said it all.
But the face said more.
A 13-year-old dachshund was left outside the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter last week, tied to a basket, along with the note seen above.
His unidentified owners, an elderly couple who said they could no longer afford to care for the sickly dog, asked that he be put down:
“We are both seniors, sick with no money. We cannot pay for vet bills, or to put him to sleep. He has never been away from us in all those years, he cannot function without us, please put him to sleep.”
The Los Angeles County-operated shelter, before carrying out that wish, contacted Leave No Paws Behind, a nonprofit rescue, which picked the dachshund up, named him Harley and took him to East Valley Veterinary Clinic in Sun Valley, according to KTLA.
He tested positive for noncontagious demodectic mange, but his blood work came back fine, according to Toby Wisneski, head of the rescue group.
“He is as cute as can be, he had a bath, he has been started on medication, he is eating, he is as happy as can be,” Wisneski posted on the Leave No Paws Behind Facebook page.
Wisneski said if she can can identify and locate the owners, she’d like to try and have Harley return to his home. If the couple is able to care for him, Leave No Paws Behind would pay for Harley’s medical expenses, she said.
If she can’t locate them, she plans to finding Harley a foster home, and put him up for adoption.
If you’re interested, contact Leave No Paws Behind at email@example.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 10th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animals, baldwin park, basket, california, dachshund, dogs, elderly, elderly couple, euthanasia, foster home, harley, leave no paws behind, los angeles, mange, note, pets, rescue, shelter, sick, surrendered
A walk-on has joined the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training in Arizona, and there’s a good chance he may go back to Milwaukee with them — as a mascot.
A small stray dog who appears to be a bichon frise, or mix thereof, wandered on to the team’s complex Feb. 17, with an injured tail and other signs he might have been hit by a car.
After team employees took him to a veterinarian for a checkup and a bath, he was brought back to the stadium and has been there almost every day since.
They’ve named him Hank, after baseball great Hank Aaron, who began his career in Milwaukee.
“Yeah, he’s making a pretty big impact, which I’ve got to say is pretty cool,” pitcher Yovani Gallardo told Newsday.
Believed to be around 2 years old, Hank was assigned No. 1 for his team jersey, and team reports about him on social media have made a local celebrity.
The team has posted signs in the area reporting the found dog, but no owner has stepped forward yet, and different members of the Brewer’s organization are vying for a chance to adopt him.
Team owner Mark Attanasio said his wife wants to adopt the dog, and some players have voiced a desire to keep him on the roster and have him travel with the team. “We want to do what’s right for the team,” Attanasio said. “I think he’s really an asset.”
Meanwhile, staff members are taking turns housing Hank for the evening.
During the day he watches practice from the stands at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, or from the dugout, and sometimes he takes to the field.
“Most of the guys here I’m sure we all have dogs back home and not everyone can bring em out because were out were working, pitcher Gallardo told Fox 10 News in Phoenix, “but to have this little guy out here running around with us it’s fun, spring training gets long and this makes us enjoy it a little more.”
(Photos: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 26th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, arizona, baseball, bichon frise, brewers, dog, dogs, hank, hank aaron, major league, maryvale baseball park, mascot, milwaukee, milwaukee brewers, mix, pets, phoenix, practice, rescue, spring training, stadium, stray, wandering
That stray dog who was found toting an old black and white photo in his collar has a new home.
But there’s still no answer to who the mystery man in the photo is, or was.
The 2-year-old pit bull mix, nicknamed Soldier, was found in Greenville, S.C., on Jan. 13. He was adopted by a new owner Sunday, Fox News reports.
Back in January, the dog was picked up and brought to Greenville County Animal Care. While checking him for ID, animal control officers found an old black and white photo stuck inside a pouch in his collar.
The photo was of a man, possibly in uniform, leaning against a fence post.
Animal Care staff named the dog Soldier, posted the old photo and photos of the dog on its Facebook page, and hoped to find some answers.
Instead, they mostly got questions – as in “can I adopt him?”
Hundreds of calls were received — none identifying the dog or man, but many from people interested in adopting Soldier.
The best fit was determined to be Julie Hensley, who saw him on Facebook and drove from her home in Virginia, in the snow, to pick him up.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal care, animal control, animals, black and white, collar, dog, dogs, facebook, found, greenville, greenville county, lost, mix, new home, pets, photo, photograph, pit bull, rescue, shelter, soldier, south carolina, stray