From: "Michelle Rogowski"
Subject: please help those who cannot help themselves. Crosspost
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 11:05:07 -0600
PLEASE CROSSPOST WIDELY. WE NEED THE HELP OF ALL RESCUERS AND ANIMAL LOVERS EVERYWHERE.
Last night (3/6/03) on our local ABC station, News Channel 9, the first of a three part expose was aired on the Chattanooga Humane Educational Society.
This shelter PTS over 20,000 dogs in the last 2 years, and many days (the expose indicated) they euthanized over 100 a day. Rescue organizations want to help more, want to minimize the wasteful destruction of precious life, but the shelter does not welcome the efforts of rescue.
Tonight's expose segment focused on Private pen 17 which is where puppies are held for euthanasia. Film footage showed over 20 puppies in the pen with one puppy lying dead on the ground being trampled by the others. The pens are not supposed to have so many puppies in them, even as they wait to be killed... The dead puppy was smaller and weaker and therefore trampled by the others.
On the expose the HES Executive Director, Dr. Oogie Martin, was asked why they kill so many. He said ... "Sixty percent of them I'd say are not truly adoptable... some are just ugly. You can't.... people ain't gonna look at them..."
How appalling! We are outraged! Some people may think they are ugly; but we feel loves makes them beautiful. Our rescue group has pulled many an 'ugly dog' from this shelter. These dogs were adopted and are now living a wonderful life, maybe in YOUR home?
Humane Secret Society: Destined to Die
Story by Mike Dello Stritto on Thu, Mar 6th 2003 (7:21 PM)
"Humane? There's no humane in this society- not the way they're doing it," says Humane Society euthanasia technician Lisa Waters. She's living what she calls the horror every day. You won't believe what happens to some animals inside the Humane Secret Society where an insider reveals, they're destined to die...
It's a story of mismanagement, potential abuse, and death. A NewsChannel 9 investigation reveals what two employees say the Humane Society doesn't want you to see.
They're supposed to champion animal rights. The Humane Society collects a !$1 million in taxpayer money each year. They're supposed to help find a new beginning for thousands of cats and dogs. Instead, it's often the end.
The kennel called private 17 is where puppies come to die. It's a juvenile death row, packed with puppy after puppy.
Meet the executioners.
"It's whatever they can do to euthanize something. It don't matter. It's like they're trying to get the numbers up," Lisa Waters says.
"The word humane sometimes just doesn't seem right. Dog pound is more appropriate at times," fellow euthanasia technician Tonya Hinders tells NewsChannel 9.
Lisa and Tonya say they put down up to 100 animals a day. Records show 20,000 were put down during the last two years.
We wanted to see for ourselves what happen behind closed doors. After walking in, we're told we can't go back to the private kennels.
They wouldn't let us in, but they did call their boss, Superintendent Don Adams.
DON ADAMS: "We don't try to hide anything."
MIKE DELLO STRITTO: "If you're not trying to hide anything then why don't you let us back into the private kennels?"
ADAMS: "Because you did not notify us you were coming over,"
DELLO STRITTO: "And you're telling me everything is running as it should be in private kennels?"
ADAMS: "That's right."
DELLO STRITTO: "How many puppies could be in private 17 at any one point?"
ADAMS: "It depends. It could be ten, eight, seven."
DELLO STRITTO: "Never 30?"
ADAMS: "No, never 30 puppies- not in one pen alone."
PUPPY AFTER PUPPY
Our hidden camera video in private 17 reveals at least 20 puppies. Lisa Waters says there are more we can't see on the videotape. One is already dead.
"Private 17 is usually mangy, worms everywhere. There could be as many as 30 puppies in there at one time and a lot of times there is," Waters says.
"They do get trampled when it comes to feeding. There are fights. They get mauled. Sometimes they don't even get fed enough," Tonya Hinders adds.
Humane Society Executive Director Dr. Walter Martin tells NewsChannel 9 records show only 17 puppies inside.
"Now 17 dogs in one kennel is too many. To me there's no difference between 17 and 35 except that's too many," Dr. Martin says.
Changes came a day after our first visit when we weren't allowed inside. Dr. Martin's son and Humane Society employee Gary Martin took us on a tour of the private kennels.
They're are almost spotless.
"That was cleaning that was done because you were there," Hinders tells us.
"And you haven't seen that in the three years you've worked there?" Dello Stritto asks.
"Not spot cleaning in the private kennel," Hinders responds.
It's not just a scrubdown. Two more puppy kennels were just added. Only five puppies sit in private 17.
Everything looks clean during our visit, but only after our hidden cameras caught what happens when we're not expected to drop by.
"No, they don't want the public to see it, because it's inhumane to keep a dog that way. We would go after people that keep a dog that way," Waters explains.
On NewsChannel9.com Friday:
This is only the beginning of what's happening behind closed doors. We asked Humane Society Executive Director Dr. Martin why so many animals are being killed.
"60% of them I'd say really would not be truly adoptable. Some are just ugly. People ain't going to look at them."
Do those thousands of animals ever get a chance? Also, clerical errors that could cost you your family pet.
Humane Secret Society: the 'Unadoptable'
Story by Mike Dello Stritto on Fri, Mar 7th 2003 (10:40 PM)
"Nine out of ten times we catch an animal to be put to sleep before its time is up," Humane Society euthanasia technician Lisa Waters claims. Dogs and cats just seconds- and a needle away from losing their lives. And it's before their time is up...
Dozens of calls and e-mails are flooding NewsChannel 9 and Chattanooga city leaders about our investigation into the Hamilton County Humane Society. Councilman Jack Benson and Council Chairman Ron Littlefied dropped into the Humane Society for a surprise visit Friday.
NO SECOND CHANCE
Now, you know what even they couldn't see. We're focusing on clerical errors caught at the last minute, and adoptable animals that insiders say are never given a chance.
Part of the Humane Society's mission is to give animals a second chance at life. That's not the case for thousands of cats and dogs. They're never even up for adoption. They come in, and go right back to what's called death row, just waiting their turn to die inside the Humane Secret Society.
"There's someone who decides which animals will live and which animals will die?" Dello Stritto asks Humane Society Executive Director Dr. Walter Martin.
"That's correct. Somebody has to be the gatekeeper and decide who goes- if we have the space. If we don't have the space, then they all go," Dr. Martin responds.
Euthanasia technician Lisa Waters says she's heard clear direction on which animals stay up front and which animals go back to death row. "We've been told if he's skinny, if his ribs are showing, it don't look good. It don't need to be up front."
"That might be the case because somebody's got to make the decision- again we're limited for space. 60% are unadoptable. I don't care what you do. If you put a $100 bill around his neck and gave him to somebody, I'd doubt they'd get out of here," Dr. Martin admits.
Even when animals don't have a chance, a Chattanooga ordinance requires the Humane Society to keep them a certain number of days. Employees tell us that doesn't always happen.
We asked Superintendent Don Adams.
DELLO STRITTO: "We also have reason to believe there are animals being put down well before the end of a 3,5, or 10 day hold."
ADAMS: "Go in there and check it out."
DELLO STRITTO: "You're telling me that doesn't happen? That doesn't happen here?"
ADAMS: "This interview is going nowhere because you did not get permission and we'd like you to leave."
Dr. Martin talked to us two days later. "I can't recall any case where an animal is put down with owner identification except for the one case on Signal Mountain we made a mistake," Dr. Martin says.
"That is incorrect, because I have paperwork, which is proof of three dogs from the city that were evidence holds, and nothing was supposed to happen to them until it was in writing from the city and all three dogs ended up in my room for euthanasia," employee Tonya Hinders explains.
NewsChannel 9 has obtained records showing another almost fatal error just three months ago.
A hound/chow mix came in on November 27th with the owner's address on her.
A note is made to send a letter. That's supposed to go out to the owner within two business days. There is a letter, but it's not dated until five days later- December second.
That same day a supervisor approves euthanasia- more than a week before her time is up.
Euthanasia techs Tonya Hinders and Lisa Waters caught the mistake before it happened- this time.
"Nine out of ten times we catch an animal to be put to sleep before it's time is up," Waters tells NewsChannel 9.
"I'm sure we've probably put many dogs to sleep that's been down there and the owners have been looking for it," Hinders says.
Other dogs could have been saved- avoiding a certain death at the Humane Society.
"There's somebody that will take him. All you have to do is a phone call," Waters says. "They don't care. They ain't going to take five seconds to make that phone call."
GROUPS TO THE RESCUE
Waters speaks of a phone call to a rescue group. They adopt some animals days before death, but they can't rescue if they don't know what's there. And often they don't, because of the animals in private kennels- hidden from the public.
"Wouldn't you as the Executive Director want to see as many dogs and cats saved as possible, so if these rescue groups come in they can save an animal from being euthanized. Isn't that the goal?" Dello Stritto asks.
"Yes. Certainly. They'll rescue pets, pretty good pets, get them in good shape and sell them. I still don't have a problem with that," Dr. Martin says.
"You feel you all have a good relationship with all of the rescue groups?"
"Well, here lately, it went to hell. Excuse me."
The Humane Society has severed ties with two groups who've failed inspections. It's caused tension with many others in the well connected rescue circle and Humane Society managers.
"They treat them like they're in their way, like they're an inconvenience. They have stated several times we lose money on every animal that goes to rescue," Hinders tells us.
"I get a phone call from my supervisor telling me I'm not allowed to call her to come and save this dog," Waters says.
Dr. Martin questioned why Waters and Hinders are still working there. "If you talked to those two women down in the back that are so dissatisfied, I don't see why they don't find them another job."
"We get our satisfaction out of rescues and knowing that we've gotten a dog out that may have never had a chance," Hinders explains through tears. "When you go home and you say I've euthanized 70 animals, but I did save one, you know?"
Humane Society managers promised visiting city leaders councilman Jack Benson and Council Chairman Ron Littlefield they wouldn't fire Tonya and Lisa because of this NewsChannel 9 investigation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There is something everybody connected with the Humane Society agrees with. The overpopulation of animals is rampant here, and many places. The only way to avoid it- pet owners need to spay and neuter their animals.