Thursday, January 31, 2013

Does No-Kill Believe in Prosecuting Animal Cruelty?

Substandard or Animal Cruelty??

When No-Kill Delaware wrote one of the first posts showing the condition of dogs under the care of Safe Haven during the tenure of their previous Executive Director Anne Gryczon, the blog described the situation merely as substandard.
This substandard level of care is entirely Safe Haven’s fault - No-Kill Delaware, Care of 100+ Safe Haven Dogs Fails to Meets Minimal Standard for No Kill Shelters

I'm personally at a loss as to how the situation described below can be considered just substandard by the no-kill movement, especially if the details below from their page are true and accurate.  Animals dying a slow painful death, losing half their body weight, not treating an animal vomiting blood, yet the No-Kill community in Delaware makes no mention of taking the case to the state Attorney General office to assist in prosecuting those responsible.  They merely mention taking their "whistleblower" report to a foundation representative and the Safe Haven Board of Directors with an ultimatum to fire the Executive Director.

And if the No-Kill movement is willing to allow these conditions to occur in one of their own shelters without prosecution, it seems entirely unlikely that they even believe in prosecuting animal cruelty anywhere else.  Maybe that's why Safe Haven and the Kent County Levy Court have so readily abandoned their duty to enforce humane care standards under Title 9.  Aren't animal shelters supposed to be the example to the community of how to treat animals humanely?

"Medical attention is often not given to those that need it or it’s delayed far too long.
  • Most of the dogs at ________ (name of private kennel where dogs are boarded)  have the runs.
  • When we boarded our dogs there before the shelter opened many of them ended up with Giardia of other internal parasites from the water there. It often pools in the yard and they had problems with the sewer backing up into the yard.
  • Many of the dogs at the off-site kennels are under weight. A few of them have drastically lost weight (some as much as half of their body weight). Staff at All Aboard called Anne about it on several occasions but she dismissed it. (Dogs that we know have lost the most are Cami, Moose, Louise, Hal, Spice, Latte and Zeus.)
  • Babe was sick for some time and nothing was done. She wasn’t vetted until a staff member took it upon himself to rush her to __________ (name of animal hospital). There they had to revive her but they were able to stabilize her to the point where they believed she had a chance. Once Anne found out Babe was at _______ she made the staff member take her to _________ (another vet) even though the vets at ________ advised against it. She died on the way there.
  • Jedidiah was diagnosed with a blood disorder and had open tumors all over his body. Multiple vets told Anne that it would be in the best interest of the animal to be put down. She refused and brought him back to the shelter where for 30 days he laid in a room dying a slow painful death
  • Jacob has been at the shelter for approximately 2 months (they conveniently left his intake date off the master list) with several huge tumors all over his body. He is finally scheduled to have them removed at the end of January.
  • When Challenger was vomiting blood, Gryczon refused to allow a vet appointment to be made. 
No-Kill Delaware - Safe Haven Whistleblower Report
We already know that Henderson Kentucky contributed to the situation in Delaware when they allowed the conditions that occurred in their shelter to go unprosecuted.  Will Delaware do the same?

Delaware Attorney General Office - Will it be complicit in the cruelty?

We've watched Delaware politics at it's worse throughout the last couple years.  From the typical Delaware style last minute passage of CAPA, to multiple FOIA requests against one shelter while shielding the No-Kill shelters based on the FOIA requests of the CAPA sponsoring senator.  So the question will be whether Beau Biden, our state Attorney General, has the leadership capacity to stand on his own and make sure this does not happen again, here or elsewhere?  Or whether he will succumb to politics as usual and subsequently allowed the animals referenced above to have suffered in vain?  More importantly, if Mr. Biden chooses to ignore what has happened, then he will also contribute to setting the example that this kind of treatment of animals is acceptable in Delaware?  That would be a sad legacy for his political career, and more importantly a sad precedent for future cases of animal cruelty.

Hopefully the changes being made at Safe Haven will be sufficient to change their course and provide a better outcome for the animals.  But that doesn't justify looking the other way to what has occurred.  Shelters need to be an example to the public, and unless we hold the shelters accountable when cruelty occurs, what chance do we have of prosecuting residents that do the same thing?