A fact of life — or should we say death? — in this country is that whether or not you, as a human, get executed for a crime can depend largely on where your trial is held.
The same is kind of true of impounded dogs — one big difference being they get no trial, there’s usually no crime involved, and, having been surrendered or abandoned, they’re more often victims than criminals.
With dogs, most executions are not a matter of justice, but population control; and the likelihood of that fate varies not just from state to state, but from county to county. By and large, a dog’s chance of getting out of a county-run shelter alive depends primarily on what county they happen to be held in.
Just how much of a toss of the dice it can be was shown in a story Sunday by the Columbus Dispatch. It analyzed data from 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and found that, in 2011, they had kill rates varying from 1 percent to 81 percent.
Dogs who enter the shelter in Lawrence County, in southeastern Ohio, have less than a two in ten chance of getting out alive. Meanwhile, in Carroll County, in northeastern Ohio, only 1 percent of dogs were destroyed, the lowest rate in the state.
The story included a county-by-county interactive map, showing kill and adoption rates.
It’s some exceptional reporting — the kind newspapers should be doing more of — and it clearly shows that, even when they’re right next door, some places value dogs’ lives more than others, and work harder to place and save them.
Statewide, more than 100,000 dogs are impounded annually in Ohio’s county-run animal shelters, and roughly 30 percent, or 30,000, were euthanized in 2011. (Nationally, it’s estimated that 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized a year.)
“It looks bad. That’s awful,” Lawrence County Dog Warden Bill Click said of the data showing his shelter had the highest kill rate in the state. He added that the county is working to improve those numbers. Lawrence County, like many others, often euthanizes dogs when the shelter gets too crowded.
The best dog wardens, the story points out, are more than wardens. (Is it time to change that outdated term?) They publicize their county shelters, welcome volunteers and visitors, post photos and profiles of their adoptable online and work with rescue groups.
But while some fight daily to keep euthanasia rates low, it seems a lower priority in many counties: 13 have kill rates higher than 50 percent.
Some dog wardens question whether it’s fair to compare the rates of urban and rural dog shelters, saying urban areas generally take in more aggressive animals that have been trained to guard property or fight other dogs, as well as more dogs that have been injured by cars.
But even among urban areas, some county shelters do a far better job than others.
Of Ohio’s urban areas, Hamilton County had the lowest kill rate, at 30 percent. The county contracts with the Cincinnati SPCA, which has worked to reduce adoption prices, extend foster care and bring animals with heartworm and other medical problems back to health, rather than putting them down.
Pit bulls have been most often destined for euthanasia — at least until Ohio dropped its ban and put a new law in place in May of this year that no longer automatically brands them vicious.
Animal welfare advocates have also succeeded in pressuring two counties, Athens and Fairfield, to stop using the gas chamber to euthanize dogs.
They were less successful in Hocking County, where, despite demonstrations and a call to switch to lethal injection, county commissioners decided to continue using gas.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption rates, animal control, animal welfare, animals, carroll county, chances, columbus, control, counties, county, death, death penalty, dispatch, dog wardens, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, execution, gas chambers, interactive, justice, kill rates, lawrence county, lethal injection, life, location, map, news, newspaper, ohio, pets, population, rescues, shelters, survival, wardens
The cat, named Mittens, was trapped by two teenage boys in a milk crate, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire last January.
She managed to escape from the crate, extinguish the flames and return to what she had been doing — nursing her newborn kittens.
Mittens was rescued by police and animal control officers and, along with her kittens, brought to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), where she slowly recovered from the loss of her ears as well as third and fourth-degree burns covering 70 percent of her body.
Despite her injuries, Mittens continued to care for her kittens during recovery. Her story resulted in extensive media coverage and helped lead to stronger animal welfare laws in Maryland. Named the ASPCA’s Cat of the Year, she now resides in the home of Cindy Wright.
After a pit bull named Phoenix was doused with gasoline and set on fire in West Baltimore in 2009, Griffin, who previously had a private law practice, devoted her life to advocating for changes in Baltimore’s policies and procedures to better protect animals and prosecute their abusers. She was appointed by then-mayor Sheila Dixon to chair a new Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force, which went on to become a permanent standing Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the country.
Griffin’s work heightened media and public awareness of animal abuse, and let to increased coordination and cooperation between agencies and individuals concerned about the problem.
“Through Caroline’s unrelenting work, the Commission has not only helped Baltimore become a more humane community, but also serves as a model for other cities across the country,” the ASPCA said in a press release.
Griffin is one of two recipients of the ASPCA Presidential Service Award. Also receiving the honor is Subaru of America, Inc. for its unprecedented commitment to animal welfare. Through the Subaru “Love a Pet” Adoption Drive program, the ASPCA works with Subaru dealers across the country to team them up with local shelters to host co-branded ‘Love a Pet’ adoption events.
“The ASPCA is humbled by the commitment and compassion displayed by this year’s Humane Awards winners,” ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres said. “The distinguished achievements of these advocates are prime examples of the ASPCA’s mission of preventing cruelty to animals. This year’s event will be a celebration of all that has been done to bring us closer to our goal while reminding us that there is still much work ahead.”
The ASPCA’s Annual Humane Awards Luncheon — sponsored by the Hartville Group, Inc., provider of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance — will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.
Others to be honored are:
– Ricochet, the surfing golden retriever who raises money and helps the disabled. Rejected as a service dog, Ricochet and her owner, Judy Fridono, took another route to helping people. Ricochet is now a ‘SURFice’ dog for disabled surfers. On top of that, Ricochet has helped raise more than $125,000 for more than 150 human and animal causes, including childhood special needs, arthritis, breast cancer, canine cancer and animal rescue. Ricochet will be honored as the ASPCA Dog of the Year.
– Stevie Nelson, a five-year-old boy who raised more than $28,000 for the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society. After his family’s two black Labs went missing, Stevie, upon seeing an ASPCA commercial on television, decided he wanted to help needy animals find homes. He set out to raise $6,000 for the humane society’s campaign to build a new shelter, but to date has raised more than four times that. Stevie will receive the ASPCA’s Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year award — named after a nine year old boy who died trying to save his dog from a house fire in 2007.
– Sgt. David Hunt of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio. Hunt has served as a leader in uncovering the link between animal cruelty and other serious crimes such as drug dealing, gambling and racketeering. Since 2002, Sgt. Hunt has executed 51 search warrants resulting in 67 felony dogfighting arrests. He has trained law enforcement officers in 28 states, and helped make dogfighting a crime law enforcement and lawmakers take more seriously. Hunt is receiving the ASPCA Public Service Award.
– Green Chimneys, a New York organization that helps children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. A leader in animal-assisted activities, Green Chimneys operates an innovative special education school and residential treatment facility with programs to strengthen the emotional health and well being of children by promoting a harmonious relationship with animals and the environment. Green Chimneys is receiving the ASPCA Henry Bergh Award.
(Photo of Mittens, courtesy of BARCS; photo of Caroline Griffin by Mary Swift)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, anti-animal abuse task force, aspca, attention, awards, awareness, baltimore, barcs, caroline griffin, cat, cats, columbus, cruelty to animals, david hunt, dog, dogfighting, dogs, environment, green chimneys, honors, humane awards, judy fridono, law enforcement, lawyer, luncheon, mittens, nebraska, ohio, pets, phoenix, protect, ricochet, service dogs, set on fire, shelters, stevie nelson, surf, surfing, therapy dogs
An Ohio firefighter who was fired for executing his two dogs walked out of an appeal hearing yesterday in which he was seeking to get his job back.
Santuomo, 43, was waiting for the hearing to begin, but left after a television news crew set up a camera in the commission’s hearing room.
“He came here with the intention of going forward but changed his mind,” said Barbara McGrath, the commission’s executive director. The commission had agreed to postpone the original hearing in the fall and informed Santuomo that his appeal would be dismissed if he didn’t attend today’s hearing.
Santuomo was fired in July after being convicted of two counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of a criminal tool. Prosecutors say Santuomo tied his two mixed-breed dogs to a pipe in his basement and shot them so he wouldn’t have to put them in a kennel while he went on a vacation cruise with his girlfriend. He dumped the bodies in a trash bin behind his fire station
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $4,500.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeal, cameras, civil service commission, columbus, crew, david santuomo, dog, dogs, executed, fired, firefighter, firing, hearing, job, killed, news, ohio, pets, shooting, shot, television, two dogs, vacation
An Ohio firefighter sentenced to 90 days in jail for killing his dogs has now lost his fire department job.
Columbus Public Safety Director Mitchell Brown said today that he has decided to terminate 43-year-old David Santuomo on the recommendation of the fire chief, according to an Associated Press report.
The thousands of messages the department received demanding the firefighter be stripped of his job probably played a role as well.
Santuomo pleaded guilty last month to three misdemeanors, including two animal cruelty counts. Prosecutors say Santuomo tied his two mixed-breed dogs to a pipe in his basement and shot them in December so he wouldn’t have to put them up in a kennel while he went on vacation.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 16th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, columbus, david santuomo, dogs, fire department, fired, firefighter, guilty, job, killed, loses, news, ohio, ohmidog!, plea, public safety, shot, terminated, two dogs
A judge in Columbus imposed a 90-day jail sentence on an Ohio firefighter who pleaded guilty to killing his dogs to avoid boarding them while he went on vacation.
David Santuomo, 43, of Columbus pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of animal cruelty and one count of possession of a criminal tool — a homemade silencer he used on the end of a rifle, the Associated Press reports.
Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Robinson said Santuomo shot his two mixed-breed dogs, Sloopy and Skeeter, on Dec. 3 after tying them to a pipe in his basement. He dumped the remains in a trash bin behind his firehouse, she said.
Prosecutors have said he bragged about the killings to colleagues.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, bin, columbus, courts, david santuomo, dogs, dumped, firefighter, franklin county, killed, law, ohio, shot, skeeter, sloopy, trash, vacation
A 12-year veteran of the Columbus, Ohio fire department is under investigation for allegedly shooting and killing his two dogs.
Dave Santuomo is accused of shooting the animals several times and dumping their remains in a Dumpster outside his fire station, 10TV in Columbus reported. An anonymous tip led officers from the Capital Area Humane Society to the Dumpster, behind Station 27, where they found two bloody bags containing the dogs’ bodies.
Investigators believe Santuomo killed the dogs inside his home, and were looking into reports that Santuomo strung the dogs up on a beam in his basement before shooting them.
“This is a very grave, very horrific situation,” said Kerry Manion of the Capital Area Humane Society. “We’re treating it very seriously.” Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, antifreeze, columbus, dave santuomo, dog, dogs, dumpster, firefighter, gun, humane society, kills, ohio, pets, shot, toxic, vacation