May 7, 2022

#Multinomah County, #Oregon : Intentional sabotage of the animal shelter's mission - From saving lives to a killing efficiency

Gail O'connell-Babcock has been a faithful, eloquent watchdog of Mulltinomah County Animal Services for many years. She sent an update re the dog T'Challa to County officials and others. RIP T'Challa. Condolences to his homeless, addicted owner Kayla 😡💔. What is wrong with the so-called supportive services that do not care to help?

T'Challa, MCAS 265462, a scared dog beaten up by life

The intentional sabotage of  MCAS's shelter mission:

 From saving lives to a killing efficiency
 Case Study:  T'Challa 265462, a young dog killed by MCAS, who did not have to be killed,  belonging to a Indigenous Black citizen, a  victim of domestic  abuse, traumatic brain injury,  
Killing at MCAS is significantly  continuing to escalate  under interim leadership. Even the slightest constraints have been released and the management freed of constraints is more aggressive, judging and killing swiftly after animals enter a toxic environment marked by fear, illnesses contracted at MCAS, an utter lack of expertise , compassion and caring. No one is going to stop them.  
Welcome to the new world order when the humane shelter mission decided by the public years ago  has been  over turned by employees who want to run MCAS their way: no pet redemption programs, no pet retention programs, take the dogs of the poor, re-name, and process them quickly and adopt out sight unseen to anyone who has a passing  interest. There is a 30 day return policy just like the Dollar Store. Adoption returns harm animals but only the bottom line matters, not the animals: Adopt or kill. Permit few to go to rescue.  
Killing the demographic it serves
The demographic MCAS is killing is the one they are assigned to for which they receive 12 million dollars in public funding. It is like getting funding to run a Head Start Program then running a private school for the children of the wealthy. Their job is to address the needs of  an open shelter population whose significant demographic is compromised of animals from the poor, of town, the houseless, those in protective custody for eviction, hospitalization or in crisis.  
Towards undoing that assigned mission, all the programs and efforts once in place have been removed  (training on site; going to town to training, the inclusion of professional expertise, that might challenge management preferences; park visits, overnights, community involvement)  and the hoped for Behavior and Training Department that was denied.
Like all authoritarian regimes that foster self care superiority,  their goal is to eliminate the weak, those in need,  from the population: too much trouble to find resources but also we do not want any resources. We have nothing to learn.   
MCAS is systematically killing off that population, those unfortunate because they come from  poverty, mental illness, physical disability, membership in a minority group who come to an open shelter.   It is not because these animals  are a public safety risk. They just don't want to be bothered. A constant complaint is they have to kill because there is a worker shortage. There is a worker shortage because no  one really wants to work here.
T'Challa lost his life at MCAS.
T'Challa,  the latest demographic victim,  killed  on April 29, described by workers who once knew him as funny, goofy and in their view as they worked with him  wholly treatable. T'Challa  just needed a stable home. His owner was/is an individual with an untreated heroin addiction evidenced by frequent  psychotic episodes who herself needed sheltering and care. The apartment management who reported her  hoped MCAS would take T'Challa into protective custody and find him a stable home.
Despite an offer from a finder to adopt him  who planned to work with a trainer, T'Challa was immediately killed after  Kayla Schumacher did not  promptly appear to redeem him at the end of quarantine and accept a Level 1 citation.   She is homeless and suffers from frequent heroin psychotic episodes. She cannot even take care of herself ? Where are her services? Why is protective custody so often about seizing and killing the animals of those in need of protective custody and care  themselves ?  
MCAS record notes:
T'Challa  while on bite quarantine beginning 04.16, due date out 04.26, killed 3 days later on 04.29. He  was in protective custody while his  owner was jailed for a psychotic incident, then evicted the same  day she was released from jail April 19. She had nowhere to go.    She had no home.
" 4/16/2022 As owner had been arrested I placed K9 under EB [emergency board] .As a precaution the dog has been placed under shelter quarantine for causing a minor scratch/wound that was unknown to have bleed [sic] or not. K9 can finish home quarantine if owner comes forward. "
The attached records do not include the euthanasia report or more recent entries. . I will send those on later.
The recorded  behavior reports support what the workers who knew T'Challa reported:  
3.30.2022 " Behavior check/Monitor Sheet  Readily approaches front of kennel, relaxed, barking. ..Lifted up his head and began wagging tail when I called his name...Readily took offered treats from my hand. Easy to leash…Lots of barking and pulling towards other dogs barking in kennel. .Allowed all handling by me and then got the zoomies and began zipping around on leash and jumping up in my face to give me kisses. "
T'Challa's  single dog reactive incident at the apartment ended when his owner or someone yelled at him to stop. During the times when his owner was psychotic or unwell  he received inadequate care. The apartment managers  expressed repeated concerns  about his welfare.  
So MCAS took him in and killed him instead of addressing and helping him, a victim of circumstances.
At MCAS  the only behavior challenge noted was that  T'Challa demonstrated mild reactivity towards other dogs in an environment where he was surrounded by barking dogs and steeped in  shelter induced toxic stress, , nothing that could not be managed and/or resolved.
He was killed because MCAS  does not want to deal with its  assigned demographic and killing and mislabeling what they do not want to  deal with is an efficient short cut. T'Challa  was killed as "unhealthy and untreatable" when he was not to get themselves off the hook they put themselves on.
The elections are soon. Hopefully a County Chair will be elected who does not endorse government  sponsored animal abuse and cruelty  at this   publicly funded  only "open door" shelter. 

Gail O'Connell-Babcock, PhD

Citizens for Humane Animal Legislation/Watchdog