Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ANSWERS TO A COMMENTER REGARDING TRANSPORTS FROM DEVORE

A comment came in and I did not publish it until I had answers to the questions asked. Keep in mind that Animal Control has to follow the law, just like any of us. If we don't like what we see, we need to focus our attention on changing the law, not on condemning the shelter that only carries out the law. I hope that your questions are answered, you may not like the answers but that is what they are. If those aren't the answers you want, then the next step is to campaign to change the law.

I have been asking people to look at this website and we have some questions. Would you please write back and, if you can, answer our questions, but if you do not know the answer to our questions, would you please tell us how to find out the answers to these questions. Thank you. Also thank you for telling us a different side of the story about shelters. Anonymous said that some rescues are coming to Devore and loading up 30 - 50 animals in a van and no one knows where they are going or what is happening to them. Why would Devore do that? California Food and Agriculture Code Section 31108 (b) states, “Except as provided in Section 17006, any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, prior to the euthanasia of that animal, be released to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organization if requested by the organization prior to the scheduled euthanasia of that animal. In summary, the County is required to release any dog or cat to a nonprofit rescue organization if requested by the organization, prior to euthanasia being performed. If rescue groups are not in full compliance with all laws in their respective jurisdiction, they can be denied pets, up until the time they come into full compliance. This California State law applies to all municipal animal shelters.


Do other shelters allow people to pick up van loads of animals without knowing where they are going or what is happening to them? See response above, yes other shelters in California must release animals to rescue groups prior to euthanasia being considered.

Are there laws to protect animals while they are being driven to where ever they go? Yes, there are a variety of laws which pertain to the humane transport of animals and the inter-state transport of animals. If animals are transported across state lines, they must be vaccinated and accompanied by a "health certificate” which certifies the animal is healthy. The laws pertaining to animal transport are regulated and enforced by the Federal Government.

How long are the animals in cages? The time period can vary. Do they have food and water while they are in cages? They should have access to water during their trip.

What if they go to the bathroom in their cage; how long do they sit there? Again, the time periods can vary. Do they have blankets? There is no state or federal law, that I am aware of, that requires animals transported in vehicles to be provided with blankets. People may elect to give the animals blankets, but it is not a legal requirement.

Is there a law that says the van must be air conditioned or ventilated? The van must have proper ventilation.

Who checks out the van? The interstate transportation of animals is regulated by the Federal Government, but State and Local law enforcement officials may also be empowered to enforce animal transportation regulations. The laws will vary in each respective State and jurisdiction.

How often is it checked out? Again, this can vary based upon each jurisdiction and the provisions available within that respective jurisdiction, city or State.

Are the animals checked out before they are put on the van? Animals transported across State lines must have an interstate health certificate signed by a State Licensed Veterinarian which declares the animal to be in good health.

What happens if an animal gets sick during the drive? The driver of the vehicle is the responsible party to ensure the animal’s needs are met during transport.

How is it separated from other animals? Again, this can vary based upon the individual who transports the animal and the provisions this individual has made to ensure the animal’s welfare and needs are addressed during transport.

Have any animals ever died while being driven from place to place? I do not believe any agency tracks this statistic. This question would need to be addressed with the specific transport individual and/or agency.

How many sick animals arrive at the new shelter? Again, I do not believe any individual agency tracks this statistic. This question would need to be addressed with the receiving animal shelter and/or agency that receives the animals from the respective transport program.

Have any animals ever died after arriving at the new shelter? Please see the response to the questions listed above.

Where does one stop to let 30 - 50 dogs go to the bathroom?! Again, locations can vary based upon route of transport and/or the individual or organization coordinating the transport.

What if one is sick?
This was addressed earlier in the similar question listed above.

Will the sickness stay in the ground so when they stop again the disease will spread to the other dogs or to other peoples' dogs? In theory, the animals should not be sick due to the fact that they receive a physical examination prior to transport and a State Licensed Veterinarian must sign a health certificate to certify the animal is healthy. If the examining veterinarian has provided the service required in this process, the animals should not have any contagious diseases. Those animals who have such diseases would not qualify to be issued a “health certificate.”

Why don't shelter workers go to where these dogs are supposed to be going to make sure they really got there and the animals are not being "hoarded"? In many cases, resources are not sufficient to allow shelter staff the opportunity to conduct this type of personal visit or examination. Most transport organizations are able to personally see the receiving facility and the animal control agency who provides services in the receiving facility’s jurisdiction would be the responsible entity for ensuring all laws are followed within their communities.

Administrator said dogs were taken from Devore to a hoarding kennel where they became sick and emaciated and no charges were filed. Why were they allowed to be taken there? As stated earlier, California State law requires government agencies to release animals to non-profit rescue organizations. If the agency has violated a law and has been convicted of a criminal violation involving animals, their rescue status can be suspended or denied. If the non-profit “animal rescue organization” is in good standing, local governments cannot deny the organization an animal that may be euthanized. California State law is very clear in this regard.

Why were no charges filed? It would be the responsibility of the animal control agency or local law enforcement agency to determine if sufficient evidence exists to warrant the filing of criminal charges. We think something needs to be done to protect these animals. We agree, but there are many “grey areas” within the law. Stronger laws should be considered or existing laws amended to address the concerns you have highlighted.

We hope your website will let the right people know there is a problem and someone needs to do something about it. You can do something about it. If you live in a State that is receiving animals and know of a situation that warrants investigation, please report it to your local animal control agency or humane society.

The bottom line is that Devore and any other shelter cannot tell these transporters no because of that horrid Hayden Act. I, too, have concerns over transports and have gotten a great deal of information about them from this blog,
www.workingtohelpanimalstodaytomorrow.blogspot.com
Just do a search on it for transport. The State of Connecticut expressed many of the above concerns and acted on it by passing regulations to govern these transports. New Jersey and Maine are considering the same.

2 comments:

  1. A reply and a challengeJanuary 15, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    Thank you for your very thorough answers and for your comments. Looks like we have a lot of work before us to protect animals that are being transported and that are NOT being protected by the "horrid Hayden Act."

    Why haven't all the animal shelter directors gotten together to ask their legislatures to change or overturn the Hayden Act?

    I looked at the new Connecticut law regarding the import and export of animals. Connecticut legislatures and veterinarians should be commended for their commitment to protecting animals. Their concern for people and animals serves as an example for veterinarians and legislatures in New Jersey and Maine - and hopefully California.

    It is not right that animals are lost in transit, that they die in transit or soon after being adopted. It is not right that animals are confined to their crates, unable to relieve themselves except in their crate, where they perhaps sit on a plastic crate floor, filled with their excrement. It is not right that they are not given any food or water or access to exercise.

    And no one really knows what is happening to them. Even some of the rescue groups who "pull" animals from the shelter do not know where they are going. Even people who donate hundreds of dollars to rescues to "pull" animals from a shelter do not know what is happening to the animals.

    I wonder if a person who is giving up their pet at a shelter is aware that their pet might be transported, sent to a "rescue group" that is hoarding animals, or to a "rescue group" that needs to be "rescued" by another rescue because they got in over their head and now can not care, feed or provide medical care to the animals they pulled from the shelter.

    Thank you again for your response. I will be referring veterinarians and politicians to your comments. Hopefully, they will follow in the caring footsteps of Connecticut veterinarians and legislatures.

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  2. Reply, can you imagine what would happen if the directors did that, stood against the Hayden? I wouldn't recommend that considering the atmosphere of present humane work.

    My opinion is that the humane community needs to police itself. So many times, rescues know about other rescues but say nothing in fear of retaliation. We just need to be more proactive by reporting the inadequate rescues who are doing this sort of "life saving", trading one life for another. That is not how rescue should be.

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