An employee of the Person County, NC, pound last night sprayed a two-year-old male Shih-Tzu, sick and feverish with parvo, with cold water from a hose because he had bloody diarrhea on him and he stank. Then she left the dog soaking wet and trembling in the puddle of cold water.
That’s how he was found by a rescuer who arrived after being called to pull a dog who was very sick and needed immediate veterinary care. The dog was taken directly to a vet, where they were unable to measure his body temperature, which means it had dropped below 92 degrees. The cold water hose had shocked the poor little guy’s already very fragile system.
It’s hard to even imagine what the employee, who worked as the the adoption agent/volunteer coordinator*, was thinking before spraying a feverish, clearly very ill dog with cold water. Was it deliberate cruelty, or was it just the nonchalant, negligent disregard that comes from being immersed in a culture of killing, where pets are just “work” and not seen as thinking, feeling beings? What’s one more animal suffering and dying when Person County feeds 1,573 of them through its gas chamber over the course of a year, a rate of roughly 30 animals per week?
It’s a very sad irony that, as Nathan Winograd has observed, “For many animals, the first time they experience neglect or cruelty is at the ‘shelter’ that is supposed to protect them from it.” Indeed, if a private citizen were to hose down a sick family pet with cold water and send it into shock, it would be considered cruelty and he or she would be reviled and possibly face criminal charges. Yet somehow, the Person County Animal “Shelter” employee thought it was within the scope of her job of “sheltering” animals to inflict such suffering on a small, scared and sick dog.
Is this sort of thing business as usual at the Person County pound? Perhaps not, but at many pounds it is. And although rescuers and volunteers see it all the time, they rarely speak up because they are afraid they will be banned from helping the animals or getting them out alive.
In this case, courageous rescuer Jen Whaley of Sheltered Hearts Animal Rescue and Education decided this abuse should be known. She took the photos, pulled the dog and got him to the vet and then shared his story.
As for the little shih tzu, he is now fighting for his life under veterinary care.
UPDATE 7/13/12, 7:08 pm: Unfortunately, the shih tzu, who was named “Justice” in his last hours by rescuer Jen Whaley, didn’t win the fight for his life. He died earlier this afternoon.
NOTE ON COMMENTS: I am removing, editing or not approving comments that call for doing any harm to people. The purpose of FixNC is not to exact retribution on individuals, it’s to reform the shelters of North Carolina and make them safe places for pets who need homes. Yes, some people should be fired, in shelters all over the state. Lots of them, actually. But to call for bodily harm to another person is unacceptable and does nothing to protect the shelter pets in North Carolina.
AND ANOTHER NOTE ON COMMENTS: Comments on this article are now closed because moderating them has become a full-time job. If you think you have something important to add, you can write to me at crashtestmoonpie (at) gmail (dot) com. I may or may not reply.
*Because the person in question has been removed from working at the Person County pound, I have chosen not to continue publishing her name and have removed it from previous posts and comments (in most cases it has been replaced by [the employee] or [employee]). That will not, of course, remove it from public record or the rest of the internet, and anyone who wants to find it will. Many will disagree with this decision, but the purpose of FixNC is to make shelters safe places for pets in need, not to promote vindictiveness against people.