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
Houston’s homeless dogs are the subject of a photo exhibit opening this weekend.
The two-week exhibition, entitled, “No One’s Dog,” is aimed at bringing attention to the animal overpopulation crisis in Houston, where shelters generally operate at capacity and an estimated 1 million dogs and cats are living as strays.
Three non-profit agencies are supporting the project – DiverseWorks, Barrio Dogs and Box 13.
The public was invited — and supplied with disposable cameras — to capture images of homeless dogs. The images were uploaded to Flickr (you can see them all here) and the best were chosen for the exhibit, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The exhibit runs from July 26 to Aug. 9 at DiverseWorks, 4102 Fannin Street in Houston.
(Credits: Top photo by Emily Crossley; second photo by Page Moore; third and fourth photos by Gina Damian)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 22nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, art, Barrio Dogs, Box 13, cats, DiverseWorks, dogs, exhibit, homeless, houston, no one's dog, pets, photography, population, public, strays
That 22-pound cat whose aggressive behavior forced an entire Oregon family (including the dog) to take refuge in a locked bedroom is going to get some therapy, according to its owner.
Lee Palmer, of Portland, says the 4-year-old part-Himalayan cat, named Lux, is scheduled to see a veterinarian and to get a house call from a pet psychologist, according to the Associated Press.
Palmer called 911 Sunday to report that the cat had “gone over the edge,” scratching his infant son and chasing the family into a bedroom.
“We’re trapped in our bedroom and he won’t let us out of the door,” Palmer told the emergency dispatcher.
“He’s trying to attack us. He’s very, very, very, very hostile. He’s at our door. He’s charging us.”
You can download an MP3 of the 911 call here.
Palmer says Lux attacked his 7-month-old son, inflicting several scratches, after the baby pulled its tail. He said he kicked the cat in the rear to make it stop, which only led the cat to get angrier.
Officers arrived at the home around 8 p.m., according to the Portland Oregonian, and used a catchpole to snare the cat, who had darted into the kitchen and jumped atop a refrigerator.
Police issued a press release about the incident Monday and by Wednesday it had gained international attention.
Palmer says the family has received proposals from people wanting to adopt Lux, but the family is not taking them up on it
While Palmer told officers the cat has a history of violent behavior, the family plans to keep him, and keep a close eye on him, he said.
“We’re not getting rid of him right now. He’s been part of our family for a long time.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 22 pounds, aggressive, angry, animal control, animals, baby, cat, cats, dog, dogs, family, held, himalayan, hostage, lux, oregon, pets, police, portland, psychologist, scratched, therapy, veterinarian, violent
Most dogs, when they chase a cat up a tree, leave it at that.
Some walk away, deeming their mission accomplished. Some might skulk away, feeling, or so we’d guess, outwitted. And some might stand sentry at the base of the tree, waiting hours for the cat to come down.
Bella followed this cat right up the trunk — and about two-thirds of the way to the top of the tree — before reaching a point where going any higher would have been dangerous, and getting down was pretty much impossible.
Her owner, Heather Evans, called the Garner, N.C., Fire Department.
Then she took some photos — of her dog’s predicament, and her dog’s rescue.
The photos appeared on ABC11, which reported the dog was stuck for about an hour and a half before firefighters arrived and, with a ladder, helped her down.
Bella was not hurt, and neither was the cat, who we assume got down by itself.
(Photos by Heather Evans, via WTVD)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 5th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bella, cats, chase, climbing, climbing trees, dogs, follow, garner, heather evans, north carolina, owner, pets, photos, tree climbing dogs, trees, up a tree
The Knox-Whitley County Animal Shelter in Kentucky is looking for a new home after a Friday night fire destroyed the facility, killing at least one dog and most of its cats.
A volunteer with the shelter told WBIR on Sunday that 34 of 37 cats passed away.
One dog was killed by smoke inhalation and one is still unaccounted for. Twenty-three other dogs made it out safely before the roof of the shelter collapsed.
”[Sassy] greeted everyone who would come in. She would go to nursing homes. She would go to all of the events. She was the ambassador for the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter,” a spokesperson said.
A sheriff’s deputy and firefighters attempted to rescue as many animals as possible, unlocking kennel gates to free the dogs at the shelter, located in the town of Woodbine, south of Corbin. Only a few cats, kept in an interior room of the shelter, had been rescued when the shelter’s roof started to collapse, according to WKYT
The displaced animals have been taken in by community members.
The shelter is looking into borrowing or leasing a building for 3-6 months to house new dogs and cats. Anyone with information on a possible building is asked to contact Chuck Ledford at 606-627-9477.
More information can be found on the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Facebook page.
An IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign has also been set up.
(Photo of fire scene from WKYT; photo of Sassy courtesy of Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 2nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelter, animals, building, cats, dogs, fire, kentucky, killed, knox, knox county, knox-whitley animal shelter, needed, new, pets, shelter, whitley, whitley county
Time.com says this video shows some interspecies teamwork.
I’m not seeing it.
I’m seeing a dog (Gizmo) waiting patiently for a cat (Dexter) to open the kitchen door.
If that’s teamwork, then I, from the comfort of my couch, am a professional football player. (I’ll take my salary now please.) Then again, I guess spectators do their part, simply by spectating.
This video was the result of a camera set up by a couple trying to figure out how their pets were escaping from the kitchen.
Turned out the cat was both the apparent mastermind and the door-opener, which is no big surprise given Dexter, being a cat, is more conniving than Gizmo — not too mention far more dexterous.
Does that mean Dexter is smarter than Gizmo?
Not necessarily. We think Gizmo is the wiser one, taking an approach that says, “You take the risks, you make the play; I’ll sit back and watch. If you’re successful, I’ll say say ‘yay!’ and reap whatever bounties lay beyond the kitchen door.”
Posted by John Woestendiek October 23rd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, camera, cat opens door for dog, cats, dexter, dexterous, dogs, door, doorknob, gizmo, open, opening, opens, pets, skills, smarter, teamwork, video, viral, viral video
Paws4ever is holding its 8th annual Walk for Animal Protection next month.
The event raises funds for the guaranteed-adoption animal shelter and sanctuary, located on 50 acres in western Orange County, N.C.
Paws4ever is dedicated to improving the lives of cats and dogs through adoption, training and education.
The event starts at noon on Oct. 6, with the 2-mile walk scheduled to start at 2 p.m. It is held at Southern Village in Chapel Hill.
Other activities include live music, agility and flyball demonstrations, a blessing of the animals, over 20 vendor booths and performances by the Paws4ever Canine Drill Team.
Walkers pledge $30 and kids under 10 are free. Each walker receives a gift and all proceeds benefit the lifesaving work at Paws4ever.
Paws4ever’s Waggin Wagon, the only food truck for dogs will also be on site.
Here’s where you can pre-register.
The walk is hosted by Southern Village and sponsors include Animal Hospital of Carrboro, Auto Logic, Carrboro Plaza Veterinary Clinic, Chapel Hill Mobile Veterinary Housecalls, Copperline Books, East Coast Veterinary Imaging, Erickson Advisors, Falconbridge Animal Hospital, Hillsborough Veterinary Clinic, Lucky Dogs Daycare and Grooming, Phydeaux and Saratoga Grill.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cats, chapel hill, dog, dogs, event, fundraiser, north carolina, orange county, paws4ever, pets, protection, sanctuary, shelter, southern village, walk, walk for animal protection