Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

“World Class” city — Third World animal care: Indianapolis

Monday, November 14th, 2011

A flurry of media attention has recently been focused on Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, the most perpetually neglected municipal division in the self-anointed “world class” city (not!) of Indianapolis — host to the 2012 Super Bowl. This is a city with an administration that can (and does) spend 50% of the division’s budget to complacently kill one animal per hour without remorse.

According to Indianapolis Mayor Ballard in a channel 6 interview, “You do what you can with the resources given.”

It seems the city can materialize the resources of millions of taxpayer dollars where desired: $33.5M for a basketball team, $100M for a “North South” development deal, $12M to renovate a downtown street with heated sidewalks for a single upcoming football game, finance (with tax dollars) and give away a Broad Ripple parking garage to the contractor, and support a unilateral decision by the city council president to sign a secret near-$250K redistricting contract.

At the September 4th Public Safety committee budget hearing, it was made patently clear that the city can and will co-mingle the precious resources of public donations for IACC into the city budget. Clever accounting, eh?

The city of Indianapolis suffers not from an overpopulation of animals, but from an overpopulation of memory-impaired politicians who do what they want with private and public money and have no concern about killing 9,000 animals a year. The city suffers not from insufficient money, but from the absence of a moral compass.

The true signature of our “world class city” is the graphic footage in the October 27th news report of animal carcasses rolling off a conveyor belt into a dump truck headed for the landfill.

Surely we can do better than that with “the resources given”.

Thanks to Channel 6 and Kara Kenney, who investigated and reported on the abysmal conditions and operations of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

Oct 27
City Without Solution for ‘Horrible’ Animal Problem
Record Shows Shelter Kills 1 Animal Every Hour

Oct 28
Advocates: Indy’s Animal Overpopulation 100% Preventable
City Euthanized More Than 8,000 Animals Last Year, Records Show

Nov 5
*Buffy The Microchipped Dog
(See letter below, printed with permission from a reTails board member)

Nov 8
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is re-elected Mayor.

Nov 9
Indy Animal Care and Control Head Stepping Down

Nov 11
Lost Dog Nearly Euthanized Despite Microchip
Animal Care and Control Policies Questioned

* Behalf Of Maureen Owen?
Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2011 11:37 AM?
To: reTails list?Cc:
?Subject: [reTails List] Buffy the microchipped dog?

I wanted to share with all of you the saga of Buffy and the letter I sent to?Teri Kendrick, Administrator of IACC. If the city had to be accountable to the same ordinances taxpayers are, and if they would provide the same?level of humane treatment to the animals under their care as they mandate to pet owners, reTails would never have had to be in existence. In the meantime, though, we will continue to save as many ‘Buffys’ as our limited resources and funding allows. A huge thank-you to both of the reTails?fosters that saved this dog. ??

A few days ago, reTails transferred a stray dog from Darcie Kurtz, kennel manager of IACC. The dog was in imminent danger of euthanasia, per Ms. Kurtz. The dog was taken to Allisonville Animal Hospital where it was examined for arthritis, and as a matter of routine, was also scanned for a microchip. A microchip was found immediately, and the information led directly to the owner. The owner was even a client of AAH, and the dog had been in for treatment as recently as last month. The dog had been missing for 2 weeks, lost during a storm, and the owners were overjoyed to get their dog back, but appalled that the dog was not scanned at IACC, and because of not being scanned, was going to be put down.??

This is not the first time I have presented the problem of animals not being scanned for microchips to IACC staff, and Ms. Kurtz in particular. Each?time, I am told that all animals are scanned, and the problem will be addressed. The owners of pets in the city are required by law to have microchip or tag identification on their pets. They are penalized if they fail to follow the law. When IACC fails to uphold their legal duty to scan each animals for a microchip, the shelter or staff is not penalized; the animals, owners and taxpayers are.?

There is absolutely no excuse for this to happen. Scanning requires only 30?seconds and it is just waving a wand over the animal. My granddaughter, who is 9 years old, is able to do it without help. This doesn’t take extra manpower and whoever brings the dog back to a kennel could easily scan for a chip. If a dog is able to be killed, it is able to be scanned. ??

I have been asked time and time again what my problem is with IACC, and time and time again I tell them there is no accountability for any actions, any infractions, any abuse or neglect that has occurred to an animal at IACC. The city does not abide by its own ordinances and yet they are not fined. No one is held accountable. Animals die when people fail to do their jobs at IACC. You have even stated that you would have issues releasing a dog to an owner that has not picked up an animal within a certain time, you have said you have problems with owners who have lost their pets and don’t think of them as kindly as we would. Any animal can get lost and life happens…kids open doors, gates get opened, petsitters don’t know the routines of the dogs and dogs scamper off. This can happen to diligent owners, and though there are irresponsible pet owners, it is not acceptable to treat the public as irresponsible. They are taxpayers and they expect competence and respect from you, and they expect humane treatment with their pets and they expect city workers to do their jobs. ???

It is extremely difficult to find a lost pet in this city. There is no centralized lost/found location, and going to ACC to find their pet is almost worthless, as it requires searching every kennel and even offices every day. Who can take time off work every day for weeks to go search the facility for their dog? After the 4-day wait, the animal can be killed and many are. Most people are not even aware their animal could be there. Most dogs do not wander far from their homes, but the dogcatchers don’t make any effort to ask, or even leave any handouts in the area. Think of the tax dollars and animals’ lives that could be saved with a few minutes of the dogcatcher’s time. Preserving the life of a pet is secondary to punishing the owners for their pet being loose.

The excuse is always that IACC has no time or money for this. Think of the time, manpower and tax money wasted hauling the animal, housing, paperwork, fining the owner and ultimately, killing/disposing of the animal.

Channel 6 bravely showed graphic video of the killed animals at IACC, being dropped off the conveyor belt into the garbage truck. This is one of the repercussions a pet owner faces when their dog is lost, and it is inexcusable.

What is needed at IACC is a caring, compassionate and passionate director, such as we had with Doug Rae. It was the city’s only hope. He was willing to go the distance to fight the union and make the drastic changes that need to occur to stop the killing of over 9,000 animals a year, and he was discarded for “too many MAC stray dog calls”. Despite having more dogcatchers, Ms. Kendrick, stray dog calls still seem to be the number one call to the MAC, according to the story presented by Channel 6 last week. Mr. Rae was given only 8 months to solve decades of bad sheltering practices and you’ve had two years and have made NO progress.

This isn’t about the firing of Doug Rae, though. It is about the city not doing its job and animals dying as a result.

Maureen Owen Board Member, reTails, Inc.