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shelter kills a family's dog

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
The shelter kills family's dog with out checking the dog's collar for ID

Family, Investigators Want Answers After Shelter Kills Pet

May 3, 2005 4:57 pm US/Eastern
Pittsburgh (KDKA) Just days after a local family's dog wandered away from home, a local shelter put the animal to sleep -- even though it had a collar with an active dog license; now state dog wardens are involved in the case.

Debbie Winters of Munhall says she and her family are devastated by what has happened.

"He was just like one of my kids... Twelve years. I've had him since he was little." -- Debbie Winters, Gizmo's owner

Three days after "Gizmo" accidentally got out of the house, their beloved pet was put down at the Animal Rescue League in East Liberty.

When Gizmo arrived at the shelter, he was wearing the proper license. A simple check of that license would have revealed the owner's name, the dog's name, as well as an address and phone number.

Now a series of mistakes are coming under the scrutiny of state regulators.

"They didn't notify the licensee or their agent that their dog was in their custody and so that's a violation of the Pennsylvania dog law." -- Brad Shields, PA Dog Law Supervisor

When state dog wardens arrived at the Animal Rescue League today to meet with administrators about the case, shelter administrators admitted that mistakes made by workers led to Gizmo's death.

Now the Animal Rescue League is facing charges.

"We will file charges with the district magistrate office.. It's definitely serious." -- Brad Shields, PA Dog Law Supervisor

Meanwhile, shelter administrators say Gizmo fell through the cracks; he was placed in lost and found and workers neither checked his license, nor tried to call his owner. After holding him for nearly four days, they ordered him to be put to sleep.

They say they're sorry for the mistake.

"This was a tragic mistake. It's an unfortunate mistake and we are deeply sorry... We can't replace Gizmo... We just can't do it. You can't bring back something, an animal that's been lost..."

"Policies were not followed and we have taken disciplinary action." -- Mark Berton, Animal Rescue League

The Animal Rescue League says they have disciplined the entire lost and found department and fired at least one employee. The shelter is also promising to overhaul its procedures for handling lost animals.

As for Winters, she says she's still very angry about what happened to Gizmo -- adding that the shelter never contacted her or apologized. "Somebody didn't do their job," Debbie Winters adds, "and my dog's dead because of it."

Winters met with an attorney today. She tells KDKA, "I'd like somebody to pay. My dog's dead and somebody should pay."
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburgess
Winters met with an attorney today. She tells KDKA, "I'd like somebody to pay. My dog's dead and somebody should pay."
How many will it take?
The article didn't mention if the dog's owner tried everything possible to locate Gizmo. Did they even contact the shelter?
I agree the shelter made a mistake but could the error have been avoided if the Winters called or visited the shelter during the 3 days Gizmo was missing?
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi
How many will it take?
The article didn't mention if the dog's owner tried everything possible to locate Gizmo. Did they even contact the shelter?
I agree the shelter made a mistake but could the error have been avoided if the Winters called or visited the shelter during the 3 days Gizmo was missing?
post #4 of 15
Wow, I was ready to add my opinion before I read the ones before me..I thought I was gonna get blasted for it...but I tend to agree!!

It's not always someone else's fault...

1) Why did the dog accidentally get out?? Ok, I know that accidents do happen (as in the shelter's case)..but what about "accidentally" letting your dog out? I have had dogs all my life and not one of them ended up in the pound because a) they were able to wander like so many dogs, or b) because I was negligent in keeping them contained. I would be this isn't the first time the dog has gotten out.

2) what you guys said!! A simple call to the shelter on the day he went missing could have prevented this!

Sigh..poor lil (or big?) guy...
post #5 of 15
If one of my pets escaped, I would be calling local shelters every hour on the hour. I'd be stopping by, too, with a photo of my missing pet & hounding the places about how important the pet is and he/she is not a stray & to be on the lookout. I'm wondering why they didn't call this shelter?

I think maybe it was just overconfidence, since the dog WAS licensed and WAS wearing an ID collar. They may have thought that wherever he ended up, the shelter or person in charge would have followed protocol and found the owner of this dog.

I do agree the shelter totally didn't follow the rules & if they had, they'd have called the owners after finding out he was licensed. The shelter did not check his collar or even try to call the owners... so I think the blame is totally placed on them. Altho if it was *my* dog (or cat) missing, I'd be camping out at the shelter & bugging them, etc. & beating every door in the neighborhood til he was found!
post #6 of 15
We have a similar problem here in Savannah....apparently, our Animal Control scans approximately one out of every ten animals for microchips (they do it completely at random). How many pets need to die befoer these systems are overhauled??
post #7 of 15
The shelter didn't keep the dog for very long did they? Is that normal? I'm pretty sure that even our police (if given a stray dog to care for) will keep it for at least a week, to give the owners a chance to catch up with their dog.

I feel most sorry for the dog, who had to have been frightened during his last days. Poor thing.

Sue
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi
How many will it take?
The article didn't mention if the dog's owner tried everything possible to locate Gizmo. Did they even contact the shelter?
I agree the shelter made a mistake but could the error have been avoided if the Winters called or visited the shelter during the 3 days Gizmo was missing?
The point is the shelter broke the law by not doing thier job and are being investigated by state officals for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by millyanddaisy
The shelter didn't keep the dog for very long did they? Is that normal? I'm pretty sure that even our police (if given a stray dog to care for) will keep it for at least a week, to give the owners a chance to catch up with their dog.
they kept the dog for 3 days. that's it. The shelters at home wait a month before puting the animal up for adoption, then they have another 3 months to be adopted.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by millyanddaisy
The shelter didn't keep the dog for very long did they? Is that normal? I'm pretty sure that even our police (if given a stray dog to care for) will keep it for at least a week, to give the owners a chance to catch up with their dog.

Sue
Sue, it all depends on the law of the state and the locality as to how long they are required to keep an animal that is found and apparently a lost pet before they can either put it up for adoption or put it down. I've seen laws as low as 3 days total, as good as 2 weeks. 4 days, though, isn't uncommon or unusual as a holding period.

The shelter staff was certainly to blame here, as they did not follow the procedures or the law. I'm glad they are being investigated.
post #10 of 15
to be honest, i wouldnt even think about it being taken to the shelter.
I would be searching for it, thinkign it would be dead, and it would take me a few days before id call the shelter
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ugaimes
We have a similar problem here in Savannah....apparently, our Animal Control scans approximately one out of every ten animals for microchips (they do it completely at random). How many pets need to die befoer these systems are overhauled??
There is NO EXCUSE for that! My vet showed me how they scan for microchips. It takes a second! EVERY animal should be scanned!!!
post #12 of 15
It is outrageous that a properly identified dog is dead because no one checked his tag. Stories like this make me want to cry.
post #13 of 15
the wsy they probably saw it is a mixed breed (assuming it is mixed breed) 12year old dog would not have a chance of being re-homed so did it to clear space.

its an awful thing and i cant believe they didnt check for id. i just hope the poor family find some peace from the policy changes and dont blame themsleves to much.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
The judge threw out the case against the shelter!!! They called it a "simply a mistake" I'm sorry but these people need to show some compassion to the family. They killed a dog with out contacting the owners. Someone needs to be fired and fine at the very least for this.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburgess
The judge threw out the case against the shelter!!! They called it a "simply a mistake" I'm sorry but these people need to show some compassion to the family. They killed a dog with out contacting the owners. Someone needs to be fired and fine at the very least for this.
That is an outrage!!! There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between a mistake and GROSS NEGLIGENCE!
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