By now many have heard about the mass extermination of lives at the Franklin County Dog Shelter that took place last night. (Sunday 9.11.16)
I am heartbroken. We are all heartbroken.
So many innocent lives were wrongfully taken. We knew these lives. We took walks with them, bonded with them, played games with them, hugged and kissed all over them, photographed them in silly outfits which they thought was fun, and we gave them hope that their tomorrow would be happier than their yesterday.
You see, many of these precious lives came from abusive and neglectful environments. Many suffered unspeakable cruelty at the hands of bad people. But they finally broke free of that and made it to the shelter – where they should have been given a fresh start, a loving family, a safe forever home. They truly believed the best was yet to come.
But instead, last night those smiling faces were walked down a hallway, tails wagging, filled with hope and optimism, where they were betrayed and murdered by those they trusted to save them. They were then thrown into a dumpster out back with dozens of other precious angels who never got a chance to live the lives they dreamed of.
Yes, I am heartbroken.
But I am also heartbroken for FCDS staff who were also victimized by this tragedy. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that so many wonderful men and women (both shelter staff and volunteers) had to witness this atrocity up close and could do nothing to stop it even though they tried desperately. Please don’t forget that they are suffering also to an extent most of us can’t imagine or understand. They were forced against their will to watch these horrors play out. We need to rally behind these good people. They should feel our support, our empathy and our love.
The culprits of this heinous act would not hear their pleas. And these guilty parties should hear our outrage. They should face the consequences of their wrong actions. We the people must hold them accountable. I refuse to allow those precious lives to die in vain. They deserve better. They deserve so much better.
SO PLEASE JOIN US THIS TUESDAY AT NOON outside the county building (373 S High Street) and let’s hold the guilty parties responsible.
Let’s tell them (in front of the local and national press) that their decisions (and indecisions) which directly led to these senseless deaths are not acceptable and will never be forgotten. Let’s remind them that elected officials work for the people, not the other way around. Let’s remind them that the people of Franklin County demand real transparency.
Let’s ask them why this was covered up in the first place. Let’s ask them why they knew about a distemper outbreak in August and refused to tell the public until weeks later after hundreds of county residents and their dogs were exposed to it. We must show the world who is watching that every life has value and deserves a champion even the life of a single shelter dog.
Commissioner John O’Grady and Director Don Winstel, you owe your public an explanation! Your silence is a disgrace.
Time for all decent people to rally together and speak in a unified voice for those who can’t speak for themselves. This was preventable.
60 dogs euthanized at Franklin Co. Dog Shelter amid respiratory disease outbreak (UPDATED)
The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center euthanized 52 dogs since Friday because of a respiratory disease outbreak. The shelter has been closed since Friday because of the diseases. In a statement the shelter said, “So far 52 dogs already showing severe clinical signs of respiratory disease combined with other physical, mental and emotional factors which would make an extended quarantine inhumane have been humanely euthanized” The shelter director, Don Winstel, said he doubled the medical staff since Friday to try to prevent the spread of the diseases.
The remaining dogs are in quarantine at the shelter on Tamarack Boulevard and all dogs at the shelter are considered to have been exposed to the virus. Grief counselors are at the facility to speak with staff members. On Friday, shelter officials confirmed one case of distemper after an adopted dog was brought back to the shelter and showed symptoms. The dog was euthanized. The shelter says a second dog was also euthanized on Friday. Winstel says that dog was not confirmed to have had distemper, but showed deathly symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms of distemper initially look like kennel cough. Symptoms like fever and discharge from the nose and eyes eventually begin to impact the animals respiratory and nervous systems. Winstel said the shelter will open Monday at 11:00 a.m., but there will be no adoptions. The shelter will be open for for lost dog services only. People gathered at the shelter Sunday to protest the shelter’s decision to euthanize the animals.
In a statement released Sunday night, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners said:
The Board of Commissioners is aware of the respiratory infection outbreak at the Franklin County Dog Shelter, and has been closely monitoring the situation. County Administration and newly appointed Shelter Director Don Winstel acted quickly to assemble a team of the community’s best minds in both public health and veterinary medicine including consultants from The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical College, Capital Area Humane Society and Columbus Public Health. These experts are advising the Board and County administration on addressing the infectious disease outbreak, and have kept the media informed as we can confirm, without question, the facts of the situation. Shelter staff, medical staff and this team of experts continue to work to address the outbreak. The Commissioners rely on their expertise and that of the Director of Animal Care and Control to make decisions concerning animal welfare, and have asked administrators to provide updates to the public on this situation.
Additionally, the Board, County Administration, and Director Winstel are launching, in consultation with these experts, a comprehensive review of existing infectious disease protocols to ensure that Franklin County is still in line with the nation’s best practices.
Franklin County Dog Shelter Policy for Infectious Diseases
A team of experts from the Franklin County Dog Shelter, Capital Area Humane Society, and the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine will examine every dog in the shelter.
The vets will designate every animal as either exposed or unexposed based on their time in the shelter and proximity to dogs potentially infected with distemper based on clinical signs.
For those considered exposed, the vets will further classify each dog as low risk, moderate risk, or high risk based on a combination of factors which includes but is not limited to: type and severity of clinical signs, vaccination history, age, and other medical or behavioral factors that would make an extended quarantine period inhumane for the dog
Quarantine for exposed dogs is typically 4 to 6 weeks and involves restrictions for contact with people and other dogs that make cage confinement a much bigger concern compared dogs who can benefit from the activities and enrichments provided during non-quarantine conditions.
Classification of clinical signs of respiratory disease:
- Mild = slight serous (clear) nasal discharge, no sneeze, no cough
- Moderate = serous nasal discharge, +/- sneeze, no cough
- Severe = mucopurulent or cloudy nasal discharge, or cough, or mucoid ocular discharge, +/- sneeze
Unexposed dogs. This group of dogs will be held in separate wards from those that are exposed and additional steps will be taken to prevent cross contamination. They can be made ready for adoption.
- Dogs that, due to lack of proximity, were not considered exposed to distemper
Exposed dogs high risk – This group of dogs should be euthanized.
- those with moderate or severe signs of respiratory disease
- those < 6 months regardless of vaccination status
- those with 1 vaccine and mild signs
- those with two vaccines and mild to moderate signs
- those who would suffer from an extended quarantine period due to pre-existing medical or behavioral conditions.
Exposed dogs moderate risk. This group of dogs should be quarantined for 4 to 6 weeks provided they are otherwise deemed adoptable.
- those with 2 vaccines and mild to moderate signs of respiratory disease
- those with 1 vaccine that are > 1 year of age with mild signs of respiratory disease
Exposed dogs low risk. This group of dogs should receive further risk assessment to determine whether they should be quarantined or made ready for rescue/transfer out
- those > 6 years who were s/n at the time of intake with mild signs of respiratory disease
- those > 1 year who were surrendered with documentation of vaccination with mild signs of respiratory disease
- those with 2 vaccinations and mild signs of respiratory disease