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
When a friend had to put her dog down a week ago, Houston photographer Robyn Arouty joined her to provide some moral support, and to document Duke’s bittersweet last day with her camera.
Arouty, who is also an animal rescuer and advocate, joined her friend Jordan Roberts on July 7 as she let Duke feast on hamburgers and visit a water park before he received a lethal injection — all while surrounded by friends.
Duke, a black Lab, was diagnosed a few years ago with osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor, and had his right front leg removed. The cancer came back, though, and was spreading.
“His tumor was growing rapidly and we were out of options,” Roberts said. “He would rally during the day, but his nights were increasingly uncomfortable as his tumor started to separate his ribs. We struggled with the decision to let Dukey go, but ultimately did everything in our power to protect him from further pain.”
She made an appointment with a vet to have him euthanized on Monday, July 7. Then she called Arouty, who had taken photos for her before. She told her about her plans for Duke’s last day and asked her to photograph it.
Arouty’s photos show Duke and friends eating hamburgers in the morning, visiting a water park, and cuddling with friends.
Along with the photos, Arouty told the story of Duke (narrated from his point of view) on her blog . (Note: At the time of this writing, it was having some technical difficulties.)
“Jordan let me know she had scheduled the appointment with the vet and the words just came,” Arouty told KSL.com. “See, I have lost three of my own dogs in the past year and a half.”
“With the help from our friends, Dukey had a beautiful day filled with love and happiness,” his owner said. “We should all be so lucky.”
(Photos: From Robyn Arouty’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 15th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black, cancer, death, dog, dogs, duke, dukes last day, euthanasia, euthanized, jordan roberts, lab, labrador, last day, loss, osteosarcoma, pets, photographer, photography, photos, put down, retriever, robyn arouty
Sid, the Leonberger, apparently wasn’t the only dog a Fort Worth veterinarian promised to euthanize, then kept alive for the purpose of harvesting blood.
Millard “Lou” Tierce III, owner of Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, told investigators in a written statement that there were at least five dogs that — after assuring owners he was going to euthanize their pets — he secretly kept alive for blood transfusions and experimentation.
The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has scheduled a hearing on whether Tierce, whose license has been temporarily suspended, should face permanent suspension.
That’s scheduled for May 9 in Austin, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The investigations of Tierce began when Sid’s owners filed a complaint against him.
Marian and James Harris said they took their 170-pound Leonberger to Tierce’s clinic in May 2013 for a minor gland problem. Tierce kept the dog at his clinic for six months, during which time he performed cold laser therapy. In October, though, he told the couple the dog should be euthanized due to a birth defect in his spine.
The couple agreed to have Sid euthanized, and Tierce promised to bury the dog at his farm.
Last month, though, a former clinic employee told the Harrises that Sid was still alive, and being kept in a cage for all but 30 minutes a day.
Upon learning that, the Harrises went to the clinic and removed their dog.
On April 29, the board conducted a clinic inspection and found ”animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous material were strewn about the examination rooms, hallways, stairwells, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic.”
Board investigators received a signed, handwritten statement from Tierce that he had accepted five animals for euthanasia and had kept them at his clinic without euthanizing them, the report stated.
Fort Worth police also went to the clinic on April 29, along with an outside veterinarian who concluded three other dogs being held there were suffering so much they should have been euthanized — including one who belonged to Tierce.
According to Tierce’s arrest warrant, a clinic employee told police that Tierce’s dog, a border collie, had been lying on a pallet in the same spot since she started work in June, without receiving medical treatment.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 6th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, arrest, blood, board of veterinary medical examiners, border collie, charges, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, experimentation, experiments, fort worth, harvesting, health, hearing, inspection, investigation, james harris, leonberger, lou tierce, marian harris, pets, promise, sid, suspension, texas, transfusions, veterinarian, veterinary, warrant
Imagine being told by your vet that your dog had an incurable condition and had to be euthanized.
Imagine saying your goodbyes and agreeing to let the vet put the dog down, with the promise that he would bury him on his farm.
Now imagine learning — six months later — that your dog never died, and the vet was keeping him alive to use him for blood transfusions.
A veterinary clinic in Fort Worth is under investigation for just such a Frankenstein-like scenario, NBC 5 reports.
Fort Worth police, the city of Fort Worth and state officials are involved in an investigation that started when a client of the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic found out his “euthanized” dog, a 5-year-old Leonberger named Sid, was alive.
Alive and well, in fact — except for being kept in a cage around the clock, and apparently being periodically tapped for blood at the clinic.
Jamie and Marian Harris said they took their dog to the vet for a minor anal gland issue.
After getting treated, Sid had trouble walking.
They say the vet, Lou Tierce, told them their dog had a spinal condition that was only going to get worse, and recommended he be put down. The couple and the son agreed to let the clinic bury Sid on the vet’s farm.
Six months later, the Harrises received a call from a veterinary technician, Mary Brewer, who told them Sid was alive and being used for blood transfusions while being kept in a cage most of the day.
“I told her, ‘He’s still here,’ and she’s like, ‘Can he walk?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, he’s here waiting on you. If you came today, he’d walk out and jump in your car,’” Brewer told News 5.
“It was like getting punched in the stomach and then some,” said Marian Harris. “This has rocked our world. My kids are like, ‘How does somebody do this?’ How does this happen?”
The couple went to the clinic, found Sid and freed him.
State and local authorities went to the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic Tuesday and seized several animals as evidence.
Sid, now back home, is being treated by other veterinarians. They’ve found he has mange, and shows signs of being used for blood transfusions, as well as being “abusively kenneled,” according to the Harrises’ lawyer, Jim Eggleston.
Eggleston says allegations have surfaced that more dogs and cats — some with serious illnesses — were being kept alive for blood transfusions and other experimental treatments, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“You have a vet keeping dogs under false pretenses,” he said. “You have family pets that people thought were cremated or put down peacefully that may still be alive.”
Tierce has not been responding to media requests for his side of the story.
When the Harrises drove to the clinic to pick up their dog, they found Sid in a cage behind the building. Tierce came outside, according to their complaint, and explained that he had not euthanized Sid because some of his employees had threatened to quit if he did.
An investigator from the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners met with Fort Worth police and the Tarrant County District Attorney yesterday to discuss whether criminal animal abuse charges will be filed.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 1st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alive, animals, blood, camp bowie animal clinic, complaint, dog, dogs, ethics, euthanized, fort worth, frankenstein, harris, investigation, jamie, kept, kept alive, leonberger, liar, lied, lou tierce, marian, pets, put down, sid, texas, transfusions, vet, veterinarian
(Warning: The video above, which begins after a commercial message, is graphic and disturbing)
In January, a pit bull named Tiger was surrendered to a Louisiana shelter by an owner who complained the dog was behaving aggressively.
Last month, sheriff’s officers in St. Bernard’s Parish arrested the man seen in the video above, Asani Woods — Tiger’s owner.
And people wonder why some pit bulls turn mean.
Woods was videotaped beating Tiger in December. She was surrendered in January, and put down at the shelter that month.
In March, the video was found on cellphone of a man arrested on drug charges — a friend of Woods.
An investigation led to the arrest late last month of Woods, 21, of Violet, on charges of animal cruelty, according to the Times-Picayune
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann released the video, which shows Woods scolding the dog for getting into the trash, choking her, hitting her with boxing gloves and slamming her to the ground.
Pohlmann on Monday called the video “graphic” and “disturbing … In my 30 years of law enforcement I never saw an incident such as this captured on video.”
He added, “You hear often times about pit bulls attacking individuals, you know, well, this is probably one case where you would like to see the pit bull defend himself, with such a brutal attack.”
Woods was arrested March 28, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and was being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
Under questioning from sheriff’s officials, Woods said he was only disciplining his dog: “Yeah that was me. What you going to arrest me because I beat my dog because it shit and pissed all over my house?” Woods is reported to have said to the arrresting officer.
The video was found on the cell phone of a drug suspect who was one of Woods’ neighbors. Johnny Dominick, 21, admitted videotaping the beating, the sheriff said.
In addition to drug counts, Dominick was charged with aggravated cruelty.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 9th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, aggression, animals, arrest, asani woods, beating, brutal, cellphone, cruelty, disturbing, dog, dogs, euthanized, graphic, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, sheriff, surrendered, tiger, video
Two months after being put down, a little shih tzu named Rollie is still causing big problems for – and leading to some positive changes in — Carson City, Nevada.
On July 25, Jeraldine Archuleta’s lost dog was picked up and brought into Carson City Animal Services.
The next day, Archuleta tried to retrieve the dog but was told she needed to pay $100 within 72 hours.
Archuleta couldn’t come up with the money, and her requests for more time were denied. Rollie was euthanized by the shelter five days later.
The heartbroken pet owner wrote a letter to the editor about the incident to the Nevada Appeal, and its publishing prompting widespread public outrage. Last month, Gail Radtke, the manager of Carson City Animal Services, was fired. A health inspector was put in charge of the facility temporarily, and a second health department staff member was assigned to monitor front desk personnel.
All shelter staff are undergong new training, and policies are being reviewed as the city tries to ”refocus the directions and goals” of the department, it said in a press release.
This week, city supervisors voted to pay Archuleta $41,500 to settle a lawsuit she filed over Rollie’s euthanasia, according to the Reno Gazette Journal
Meanwhile another lawsuit is pending against the city, filed by Radtke, who says she was defamed and unfairly ousted from her job because of public outrage over Rollie’s death.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal services, animals, carson city, director, dog, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, fired, lawsuit, nevada, owner, pets, policies, rollie, shelter, shih-tzu, training, waiting period
A trooper agreed to tie the dogs to the bumper of a patrol car, but within 30 minutes, the trooper drove off to another call, dragging one of the dogs behind him.
Terry’s dog Lois had to be euthanized after suffering a broken pelvis and spine, according to the Albany Times Union.
The second dog survived.
“The trooper feels terrible,” said State Police Capt. William Keeler. “The owner is rightly upset.”
“I do plan on seeking justice for Lois,” said Terry, who was charged with driving with a suspended licensed. “She was the only innocent victim here.”
The incident happened Saturday as State Police conducted a roadblock to check on whether drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Terry, after he was stopped, was worried his dogs would overheat in his pickup truck, and asked a trooper if they could be let out. Because it was a shaded area, officials said, the trooper tied the dogs to his patrol car’s rear bumper, using the dog’s leashes.
When Terry learned he was being arrested for having a suspended license, he called his parents to pick up the dogs. Authorities said that the trooper, seeing Terry’s family had arrived, assumed they had taken the dogs when he returned to his vehicle and sped off to another call.
“He was under the belief that the dogs had been unsecured,” a state police spokesman said. “He proceeded approximately 10 feet. Unfortunately, the dogs were still secured.”
While the leash of the second dog, Liz, detached as the patrol car pulled away, the leash securing Lois to the patrol car did not. She was pulled under the Ford Crown Victoria cruiser and was run over by its rear wheels.
An internal investigation is being conducted, and the trooper will remain on duty pending its results.
When the accident occurred, Terry was handcuffed in a patrol car parked in front of the one to which his dogs were tied.
“I heard the screech of the car taking off,” he said. “I was in the cop car. There was nothing I could do. I was screaming ‘Get me out of here!’ A cop came over and let me out. I ran over and held Lois. I knew something was wrong. Lois was crying, and her legs weren’t moving,”
Another trooper picked her up and took her and Terry to the Latham Emergency Clinic, where veterinarians recommended euthanasia.
(Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, car, crushed, dogs, dragged, euthanized, james terry, law enforcement, leashed, liz, lois, overheated, patrol, pets, police, roadblock, siberian huskies, state, stop, tethered, tied, traffic, troopers