About 70 shelter dogs were killed in a fire at the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.
About 200 animals were being housed at the shelter and, according to various reports, anywhere between 67 and 74 of them died in the Tuesday night fire, all of them dogs.
Beaumont Fire Department Captain Brad Penisson told KHOU the fire was apparently sparked by malfunctioning dryer.
The Humane Society of Southeast Texas reported what happened early yesterday on its Facebook page.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of the great loss we suffered tonight. Earlier this evening our facility caught on fire. Though the fire and police department did everything in their power to save all of our animals a total of 67 dogs died in the fire.
“There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling right now. Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, veterinarians, and service men and women who came and assisted us tonight. We will be walking through the shelter in the morning to assess the damage and to make decisions on the best way to move forward.”
While foster homes have been found for the cats and the 11 dogs that survived, the society is taking names of those interested, and it is accepting donations to help in recovery efforts.
Donations of money can be made through The Humane Society of Southeast Texas website.
These scenes of the fire’s aftermath are from a Beaumont Enterprise photo gallery.
(Photos: At top, one of the surviving dogs; at center, the dryer where the fire is believed to have started; at bottom, two shelter staff members console each other; by Ryan Pelham / The Beaumont Enterprise)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, beaumont, cats, cause, deaths, dogs, donations, dryer, fire, foster homes, humane society of southeast texas, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, texas, tragedy, tragic
Many of those 650 dogs and cats removed six weeks ago from an unlicensed shelter in Hoke County, North Carolina, will be available for adoption, starting this Friday.
In what sounds like it could be the mother of all adoption events, the ASPCA will make the dogs and cats available through the weekend at the temporary shelter in which the animals have been living in Sanford.
Adoption fees will be waived during the event, and each animal will have been micro-chipped, and spayed or neutered.
Adoption counselors, as well as behavioral and veterinary experts, will be staffing the event, and adoptions will take place between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 2215 Nash St. in Sanford.
Those wanting to adopt a dog or cat should bring identification, proof of address and an appropriate-size carrier for the animal they adopt.
The ASPCA and Hoke County authorities seized nearly 700 dogs, cats, birds and horses in January from The Haven – Friends for Life shelter.
Its operators, Linden Spear and her husband, Stephen, were charged with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance, stemming from an animal medication not authorized on the property.
The Haven failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
During the seizure, dozens of animals were found buried on the property. One dog and one cat had to be euthanized because of health problems.
Numerous animals were treated for emaciation, open wounds, ringworm, respiratory illnesses and other issues.
ASPCA officials said the raid at The Haven was the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
(Photo: Courtesy of ASPCA)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, adopt, adoptable, adoption, adoptions, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, fee, free, friends for life, hoke county, lindan spear, no fee, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spear, the haven, unlicensed, waived
The number of animals taken from a no-kill shelter in Hoke County, N.C., has risen to nearly 700.
Hoke County sheriff’s deputies and about 140 ASPCA staff members cleared the last of the animals off the 122-acre property Saturday, officials said Monday.
The state shut down The Haven – Friends for Life shelter on Jan. 27, charging its owners, Linden and Stephen Spears, with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of possession of a controlled substance.
The Spears, who had been barred from their home by court order, are now able to return, said sheriff’s Capt. John Kivett.
“The investigation is still continuing, and possibly more charges will be brought in the very near future,” Kivett told the Fayetteville Observer.
The ASPCA has taken temporary custody of the animals — more than 300 dogs, 250 cats, as well as horses, birds and pigs — and they are being cared for at undisclosed locations across North Carolina.
Investigators also found the remains of 15 dogs buried on the property.
As of Monday, about half of the adult dogs and 182 cats were in isolation due to respiratory illnesses and other contagious conditions. Ten veterinarians have been treating the animals, some of which have open wounds and some of which appeared malnourished.
“Hopefully, they’ll continue to recover,” ASPCA spokeswoman Kelly Krause said. “We will be making sure they are staying healthy, treating them and making sure they have care.”
Once healthy the ASPCA hopes to make the dogs and cats available for adoption, but that can’t happen until a court determines the custody of the animals, she said.
The next court appearance for the Spears is scheduled for Feb. 10.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 3rd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal shelter, aspca, birds, cats, court, cruelty, dogs, friends for life, hoke county, horses, investigation, linden spears, neglect, north carolina, pets, pigs, raeford, seized, shelter, stephen spears, the haven
In the perpetual debate over which makes a better pet — dog or cat — cats have been taking a drubbing lately.
It’s a silly argument to begin with: Why must we deem one species superior? What possible good does that serve? And it’s mostly a waste of time. Converting a dyed-in-the-wool dog lover to a staunch cat lover is about as likely as getting someone to switch from Donald to Hillary.
Yet, conflict seems to be something we humans require, or at least enjoy. And the endless argument does provide fodder for bloggers. And, every now and then, something interesting comes up.
In the past year, scientific and semi-scientific studies comparing dogs and cats have come down more squarely on the side of dogs — enough so that you’ve got to wonder if some cat-hater is behind it all.
One such study was conducted as part of a new BBC2 documentary called “Cats v. Dogs: Which is Better” — a silly concept for a TV show, though we admit some of what they bring to light is thought provoking.
Dr. Paul Zak, a California neuroscientist, compared how much oxytocin dogs produce compared to cats, and he concluded that dogs love humans more than cats do. Five times as much to be exact.
It has been well documented that bonding, petting and having eye contact with your dog produces increased levels of the oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, in both dog and human.
“It’s one of the chemical measures of love in mammals,” Zak said. “Humans produce the hormone in our brains when we care about someone. For example, when we see our spouse or child the levels in our bloodstream typically rise by 40-60 percent.”
The neuroscientist checked the oxytocin levels in both cats and dogs, taking saliva samples from 10 cats and 10 dogs on two occasions – 10 minutes before a playtime session with their owners and immediately after.
“I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin .. The dog level of 57.2 percent is a very powerful response. It shows these dogs really care about their owners,” he said.
Zak, also known as “Dr.Love,” believes upping our oxytocin (and hugging more) could change the world. He once took blood from an entire wedding party and a sampling of guests, to see how their oxytocin levels went up during the ceremony.
He also spent two years trying to get the Food and Drug Administration to approve his use of oxytocin inhalers on experimental subjects. (In the meantime, as reported in The Guardian, he used one on himself.)
Zak’s determination that canines love us more than felines do was just the latest bit of bad press for cats.
Another recent study, at Manhattanville College in New York, found canines provide humans with more benefits than cats.
The research suggested dog owners are more conscientious, less neurotic and more agreeable than cat owners. Dog owners scored higher in well-being than cat owners on all measures.
Last year, a study at the University of California, Berkeley, found, through web-based surveying, that cat owners were more anxious than cat owners.
If you still don’t believe cats have been getting some bad press, check out this headline on a story about a study of cats last year: “Study: Your cat might be trying to kill you.”
The story dealt with a study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Bronx Zoo that compared the personality of the domestic cat with bigger, wilder members of the cat species.
The headline … well, it’s what happens when you try to condense a 40-page study into eight catchy words.
So if you find yourself reading/listening to/watching the latest account of which is better, cats or dogs — whether it’s labeled science or not — be at least a little wary.
And if it stresses you out, go pet your dog. Or cat.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, argument, bbc 2, cat or dog, cat people, cats, debate, documentary, dog people, dogs, levels, oxytocin, paul zak, pets, science, studies, study, which is better
Authorities in Hoke County, N.C., yesterday unearthed the remains of 15 dogs on the grounds of a “no-kill” animal shelter from which 600 animals were seized this week.
A day after Hoke County deputies and the ASPCA raided The Haven — Friends for Life shelter near Raeford, authorities on Thursday dug up the remains of 15 dogs that had been buried on the property.
Shelters owners Stephen and Linden Spears were released on bond after appearing in court on charges of neglect and possession of a controlled substance, but authorities says more charges against them are possible.
They’ve been banned from returning to the shelter.
Representatives of the ASPCA continued to remove some of the more than 600 neglected animals from the shelter yesterday, taking them to a warehouse near Raleigh where they could be checked by veterinarians and cared for.
ASPCA officials called the raid the largest companion-animal raid they’ve conducted nationwide in the last 20 years.
More than 300 dogs, 250 cats, 40 horses and numerous farm animals were living at the 122-acre shelter in Raeford, the ASPCA said in a press release.
“What we found today at this facility — self-described as ‘North Carolina’s most successful no-kill shelter’ — is unacceptable,” said Tim Rickey, senior vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
“This is one of the largest animal seizures the ASPCA has ever conducted in our 150 years as an organization,” he added. “We have a team of nearly 140 responders on the ground to remove and care for these hundreds of neglected animals who have clearly not been receiving adequate care. Our goal is to help them become healthy and ultimately find them homes.”
The ASPCA’s assistance was requested by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, which began an investigation into the shelter after receiving complaints about sick animals and unsanitary conditions.
The Haven was operating without a license for about a decade, according to the ASPCA, and past inspections by the state Department of Agriculture had deemed the facility “inadequate.”
The population at the facility has fluctuated over the years, reaching more than 1,000 animals.
According to the shelter’s Facebook page, it was often seeking donations to improve the shelter, and had recently launched a GoFundMe drive to build roofs over the outdoor pens where dogs were kept.
The seized dogs, cats and other animals will be held at an undisclosed location, and the ASPCA will continue to care for them until custody is determined by the court,
“The condition of these animals is pressing and required immediate attention,” said Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin. “In addition to protecting Hoke County citizens, law enforcement has an obligation to ensure the safety and well being of Hoke County animals at all times. We cannot and will not allow this type of mistreatment to continue any longer. All persons involved will be held accountable.”
No deceased animals were found on the property Wednesday, but yesterday investigators found at least 15 dead dogs and “dozens” of animals buried on the property, according to WRAL in Raleigh.
(Photos of shelter courtesy of ASPCA; photos of Spears family courtesy of Hoke sheriff’s department)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 600, animals, aspca, buried, cats, dead, department of agriculture, dog, dogs, friends for life, hoke county, linden spears, north carolina, pets, raeford, raid, remains, rescue, sanctuary, seized, shelter, sheriff, stephen spears, the haven, unlicensed
Another North Carolina animal shelter has come under fire from the state Department of Agriculture — this time the county-operated shelter in Stokes County, where an investigation found dogs were being inhumanely euthanized.
The Veterinary Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture released documents Friday showing inspectors found credible evidence that shelter director Phillip Handy and employee Darryl Sheppard “performed, participated in and/or witnessed the inhumane euthanasia of multiple animals that involved improper euthanasia administration.”
The allegations, now being investigated by the state Bureau of Investigation, include putting down one dog by gunshot, failing to confirm the death of an animal, and improper disposal of an animal. The report also accuses the two men of putting dogs down prior to the 72-hour holding period.
The shelter (pictured above) is located in a cinder block building in Germanton.
The division revoked both Handy and Sheppard’s certifications to perform euthanasia, and both have been relieved from duty, according to Stokes County Manager Rick Morris.
This summer has also seen the Department of Agriculture revoke the licenses of animal shelters in Guilford County and Davidson County, citing a “systemic failure to care for animals.” Both were run by the United Animal Coalition under contracts with the counties.
And last week, news surfaced of a dog at the Forsyth County Animal Shelter being mistakenly euthanized.
The Stokes County shelter was closed for two weeks in July, for what county officials said was state-ordered maintenance and repairs.
County Manager Morris assured the public then that animals housed there at the time would not be euthanized.
The revocation notice from the state — instructing the shelter to cease all euthanizations — was issued two days before the temporary closure.
Animal advocates in Stokes County have been working to improve the shelter and are raising funds to open a new no-kill shelter, with around $180,000 raised so far.
(Photo: By Jennifer Rotenizer / Winston-Salem Journal)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 31st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal shelters, animals, cats, cruel, death, department of agriculture, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, gunshot, inhumane, inspection, investigation, licenses, north carolina, pets, practices, premature, revocation, shelters, stokes county, stokes county animal shelter
Citing 75 incidents of animal cruelty and a “systemic failure to care for animals,” the N.C. Department of Agriculture on Monday yanked the United Animal Coalition’s license to run animal shelters in Davidson and Guilford counties.
The non-profit organization has been running Guilford County’s animal shelter since 1998, when it was hired by the county to improve conditions.
Seventeen years later, the same sort of allegations have resurfaced during continuing investigations by state and county officials as well as the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Department of Agriculture reports mention more than 100 cases of animals receiving inadequate medical care, including a cat with a broken leg and internal bleeding that went seven days without being seen by a vet and a dog with a gunshot wound to the face who went 12 days without medical attention before being euthanized.
The former shelter director in Guilford County, Marsha Williams, was suspended with pay earlier this month. As of yesterday, that pay was halted and Williams was officially terminated under the orders of the county commissioners.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners convened an emergency meeting Monday, voting unanimously to revoke the United Animal Coalition’s contract and to place the shelter under the county’s control on an interim basis.
A letter of revocation was delivered by hand to the shelter yesterday.
“The things we’ve learned are very disturbing and unacceptable, as I know it is for the community as a whole,” Commissioner Hank Henning, the board’s chairman, said at a press conference after the county commissioner’s meeting. “Our goal is to put transparency and a culture of efficiency back into the shelter, so the community at large can get the services and the shelter that it wants and deserves.”
The N.C. Department of Agriculture has been investigating both shelters for about a month following complaints about animal care and conditions, according to the Greensboro News & Record
The Davidson County investigation began after the state agency received a complaint that a dog had arrived at the shelter with a broken back but received no veterinary care.
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency continues to investigate potential unspecified violations at both facilities.
Also still investigating are the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington Police Department.
“To be quite frank with you, I expect to see criminal charges come out of this,” said Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes.
Deputy County Manager Clarence Grier will serve as interim director of the Guilford County shelter, which will remain closed the rest of the week.
The facility is expected to reopen Aug. 22.
(Photo: Former Guilford County Animal Shelter director Marsha Williams; by Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal cruelty, animals, care, cats, closed, contract, contracted, davidson county, director, dogs, greensboro, guilford county, inadequate, lexington, license, marsha williams, medical, non-profit, north carolina, pets, revoked, shelters, terminated, united animal coalition, veterinary