Animal advocates call for Wake Pound director’s resignation over killing of “rescued” cats

When more than 90 cats were taken from the home of Raleigh resident Carol De Olloqui earlier this month, Wake County pound director Julie Federico, DVM, decided to kill 60 of them. Now animal advocates are calling for her resignation.

Dr. Federico said the cats were suffering from upper respiratory disease, and several were emaciated and dehydrated, had ringworm and/or nails grown into their feet. All of these conditions are treatable, as Dr. Federico, a veterinarian, should know. But instead of sheltering them, Dr. Federico killed them.

In their petition, the advocates point out several other factors that they believe were not taken into account before the mass cat killing:

  • Ms. De Olloqui was physically restrained and not allowed to provide veterinary documentation to support each animal
  • Four of Ms. De Olloqui’s personal cats were destroyed
  • Four of the cats present on the property at the time of the raid were being held as a courtesy for an owner that recently lost her home in a fire
  • Several of the cats euthanized were under various area veterinarians’ care. The veterinarians were available but not allowed to present any documentation at the time of the raid
  • Several of the cats euthanized were the property of other rescues
  • Calvin’s Paws Rescue and many other rescue fosters were in route to Ms. De Olloqui’s home to retrieve animals and provide them with shelter but were turned away. Many are approved partners of Wake County Animal Shelter.
  • Ms. De Olloqui granted access to Dr. Frederico and her team into the home of her own accord
  • Calvin’s Paws Rescue is an approved partner of the Wake County Animal Shelter

Dr. Federico deflected the blame for her pound’s killing of the cats onto Ms. De Olloqui. But while Ms De Olloqui almost definitely had more cats in her home than she could properly care for, those cats were alive when Federico took them, which means they all had a chance at health and a home where they were loved. Dr. Federico took away any chance of that by choosing to kill them.

Killing is the ultimate form of violence. While cruelty and suffering are abhorrent, while cruelty and suffering are painful, while cruelty and suffering should be condemned and rooted out, there is nothing worse than death, because death is final. An animal subjected to pain and suffering can be rescued. A traumatized animal subjected to savage cruelty can even be rehabilitated, as the dog fighting case against football player Michael Vick demonstrates. Dogs who the Humane Society of the United States lobbied to have killed because they claimed they were dangerous as a result of the abuse went on to loving, new homes and some even became therapy dogs, bringing comfort to cancer patients. Where there is life, there is hope, but death is hope’s total antithesis. It is the eclipse of hope because the animals never wake up, ever. It is the worst of the worst–a fact each and every one of us would immediately and unequivocally recognize if we were the ones being threatened with it.” ~Nathan Winograd, “Animal Lovers Need Not Apply.”

This is not the first time Dr. Federico has been quick to choose death for a pet who had other options. Almost a year ago, Danielle Miller says Wake pound staff assured her they would find a home for her dog Tucker. Instead, they killed him 45 minutes after his arrival, despite having told her in two previous phone calls that Tucker was doing just fine. “I told them I was coming back to get him, and they said, ‘Don’t bother. He’s already dead.’ I said there must be some mistake.”

Dr. Federico said the 45 minutes Tucker was given to “chill out” in his scary and strange new environment was actually longer than she and her staff usually give pets before deciding to end their lives.

Also during Dr. Federico’s watch: earlier this year a volunteer who had previously been a full-time employee was charged with molesting at least four dogs at the pound after he reportedly went to a website that features bestiality and posted at least three photos of himself  having sex with dogs.
Previous Wake pound director Dennis McMichael resigned after three months on the job amid controversy, including the killing of a TV station’s Pet of the Day on the same day the dog, Sassy, appeared on the newscast.

Wake County pound staff killed almost 50% of the dogs and cats who came into during 2012.

24 Comments

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24 responses to “Animal advocates call for Wake Pound director’s resignation over killing of “rescued” cats

  1. Susan

    Lisa, the justifications cited for killing these cats are specious at best. I pull cats from the shelter all the time who have those same conditions and worse. Carol had vet records. The shelter where I live does not even use a veterinarian except by telephone; no animal here ever sees a vet regardless of its illness or injury. Why are the animal shelters not also charged with animal cruelty if this is a basis for the charges against Carol? It seems to me that if there really were such egregious violations, Carol would have been charged with more than three counts. Perhaps there is a double standard here, or maybe it’s okay to have animals with medical conditions if you are going to kill them anyway. The action that was taken with these animals is so heartless that I can only conclude that a personal vendetta was carried out.

    People have asked why Carol did not request help. Carol WAS the “help.” Who was she going to ask when everyone was asking her? My bet is that she had expressed a need for help in the past, and people had agreed to help her, but then did nothing and she finally gave up.

    Rumor has it that Carol was asked to identify her personal pets, and these animals were then killed in her presence. Can you confirm that?

    • Wow, if your last sentence is true, that would be absolutely horrifying.

      I believe the blame for the entire situation rests on the high-kill “shelter” system in this state and the people who run these facilities. If animals were not placed in grave danger and killed daily by these people, then compassionate animal rescuers would not feel the need to take on far more animals than they can care for. Rescuers are daily faced with “URGENT! CODE RED! DIES TOMORROW” pleas to save pets from people like Dr. Federico, who kill them by the hundreds and then turn around and blame the “irresponsible public” instead of DOING THEIR JOBS and protecting the pets. These people will spout things like like “Animals are not garbage, don’t throw them away” while simultaneously filling dumpsters with the bodies of pets whose lives their “shelters” are supposed to be protecting. Situations like this will continue to occur as long as the so-called “shelters” are in the hands of callous and uncaring people who consider the lives of animals to be without value.

      And yes, I think there is definitely a double-standard regarding the cruelty that so called “shelters” dish out.

  2. Rachel

    Frederico admits that there is no protocol in place for these raids. Why not? We have emergency management plans for everything else.

    NC law requires that these animals be held in a shelter or other such facility. They knew from an informant that there was going to be a large number of animals, yet no such provisions were made.

    NC law also requires proof of ownership, but Wake AC and Dr. Frederico totally disregarded this law. No attempts were made to contact Calvin’s Paws or private owners of the other cats.

    Dr. Frederico did not perform due dilligence in checking vet records or consulting with the rescue vet although the offer was made.

    Wake county codes leave the sole decision in such cases to one person- the director of the county shelter. This decision should not be left up to one individual and leaving it up to a director of a high kill shelter is a conflict of interest.

    The animals saved were healthy and some have been adopted. Of the 60 destroyed, there has been no proof presented to the public that any of those animals were sick. Some were listed as sick by the rescue and pulled form the adoption floor so that Ms. DeOlloqui could medicate them and they were under the care of a veterinarian. But if all cats were terminally ill with highly infectious diseases, as Frederico alleges, then why are there 3 counts against Ms. DeOlloqui and not 60? Also, if the 30 sent to partner rescues were in the same area (which they had to have been in a home situation) then wouldn’t they also have been deathly ill from exposure to highly communicable disease?

    Finally, I can personally attest as a private rescuer that nearly every animal I have pulled on my own behalf or that of another rescue from the Wake County shelter has had upper respiratory infections. It occurs in shelter situations everywhere. So I am not buying Frederico’s story that all of the cats destroyed were deathly ill from it.

    A protocol needs to be put in place and followed, in accordance with NC law, in these cases. Wake County needs to change their local law allowinfg the decision of the fate of these animals such that it does not rest in the hands of one person.

    Rescues everywhere need to put limits in place on how many fosters a person can have, and need to follow up with volunteer home checks to make sure conditions for the animals are adequate.

    Ms. DeOlloqui was the president of this rescue. Typically when you are head fo the rescue, it is your responsibility by default to pick up the pieces when owners dump cats, adopters return cats suddenly with nowhere to immediately place them, or they get sick and no one else is wiling to step up.

    The root cause of this entire problem, which should not be forgotten, is that NC lacks a mandatory spay neuther law. It lacks resources for low income people to get thier pets altered at a reasonable cost statewide. Public education in these areas are lacking. And TNR is unfortunately not widely accepted by NC for management of existing feral populations. Until this occurs, shelters and rescuers will be flooded with more animals than can be adopted.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I have one disagreement, and that’s on the Mandatory spay/neuter laws. I will quote Texas animal advocate Ryan Clinton: “Laws that mandate persons in communities to alter their pets have been proven in an extensive academic analysis to be ineffective at both decreasing shelter intake and increasing community spay/neuter rates. Worse still, they have been proven to dramatically increase intake and killing in multiple communities as people who do not have access to spay/neuter resources have their animals removed from their homes (and families ripped apart). These laws do not work, are demonstrably counterproductive, and are often implemented in a discriminatory fashion against underserved and impoverished communities. Any animal lover who puts the animals and experience ahead of dogma must oppose these laws.” (More here: Why We Join the National Consensus Against Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws)

      Instead, I propose that access to free and cheap Spay/Neuter be continually expanded. The truth of the matter is that Spay/Neuter alone is not the answer to the problem of high shelter kill rates. Dr. Ellen Jefferson, who started a spay/neuter program in Austin, TX, and later helped Austin Pet’s Alive make that city No Kill, discovered that by experience: “I had spent nine years pouring my heart and soul into spay/neuter and while I knew it was helping the community, I had expected a bigger measurable impact at the shelter. It bothered me that we had no real conclusive studies that showed the impact of spay/neuter on euthanasia in the shelter and that the labors of all my work were not something I could see an impact from in a decade. I felt strongly that there had to be a way to save more lives at the shelter and a more direct way to measure the work that provides that impact. If it takes longer than a decade to see an impact at the shelter euthanasia level through spay/neuter, the work can never be tweaked to have a bigger impact. There had to be a more direct method to save lives that could be measured month-to-month and tweaked quickly if the desired effect is not seen. It appeared that a new and different kind of work needed to be created to really get measurable results on euthanasia figures since it also appeared that all current resources were operating at their max. It was apparent to me that I needed to change what I was doing to effect faster change in the community.” (Using Data to Make Austin a No-Kill City)

      Spay Neuter is just one of eleven steps to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in “shelters.”

  3. Lynn

    Was going to leave a reply, but you girls said it all! I hate this whole deal of what happened to Carol. She was on the news almost daily with cats, and she dearly loved them all! Feel so bad for her! I did not know they wouldn’t take her vet records and killed her personal cats! What an a-hole that director is!

  4. Marianna Burt

    It’s probably a lost cause to seek Dr. Federico’s resignation — county gov’t. has to save face. But actions cited above were blatantly wrong & probably illegal. Talking about underlying overpopulation problem is relevant, but that doesn’t constitute justification or excuse for what was done & bringing it up may deflect from the task at hand. Overpopulation is a long term, even perpetual problem, but mishandling of this situation is something that can & should be addressed now. Rather than calling for her resignation, advocates should demand accountability in the form of a shelter advisory board (with some teeth) & development of clear standards for action in situations like this. Administrative discretion has its limits, and public employees have to be held accountable.

    • Pet overpopulation is a myth. Instead we have an overpopulation of lazy, uncaring pound directors like Dr. Federico who find killing far easier and quicker than saving lives. What Wake County needs is a compassionate shelter director dedicated to doing what it takes to actually SHELTER animals. Federico has proven she is not that person.

      • Marianna Burt

        Maybe, but changing the person won’t help unless we set up a system in which there is public oversight/control of shelter policies. It’s unlikely that resignation petition will succeed because that would be an admission. We do have a chance to get some sort of shelter commission set up.

      • Lots of pounds have reformed into No Kill shelters after a new director came in and decided to stop the killing. One example: Karl Bailey in Seagoeville, TX. Stopping the killing doesn’t take a bureaucracy, in fact waiting for a committee is more likely to slow everything way down. Yes, we need new laws/ordinances and oversight, but we can stop the killing RIGHT NOW without any of those things. It takes someone with the will and the compassion to take killing off the table. Wake County should show Federico the door and bring in someone who cares.

  5. lynn

    Does anyone know what happened to Carol? I have been unable to find out.

  6. Rose rosema

    I’m horrified at what I have just read! How is it possible that these people are allowed to get away with all these cases of abuse! Its a crime, isn’t it? They should be jailed for these crimes with no chance of bail or parole! Who has sex with an Animal?? Sick perverted bunch of retards! I wouldn’t be surprised if she sold all those poor Animals bodies to some pet food chain that recycles it into pet food!!!

  7. sirrom

    Isn’t this the same location as the one who wants Michael Vick as a keynote speaker for some official function ? Would certainly explain a lot….

  8. Rev. Peter J. Smith

    People like Dr. Federico are sociopaths. How else can one explain her obvious predilection for mass murder?

  9. adrineh

    stop killing animals in shelters……… this kind of shelters are not shelters or a safe place for poor animals.. they are hell !!!

  10. Eisha

    Stop killing animals!

  11. ana

    Replace all these employees of the city shelter in NC with animals lovers. The people who work on these kill shelters are animal abuser piriod. The peole on NC should not tolerate it anymore. The whole world are seen what is going on in NC’s animals shelters, all the polititians in this state shoul be all vote out.

  12. Pingback: The Killing of Retail Rescue Pets~Seized Animals | Top Cats Roar...

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