Tuesday Morning September 5, 2006

Gem of the Day: God loved you the moment he saw you. It was love at first sight.
~As Seen on a Church Marquis~

See Vet Bills Paid for August of 2006 Totaling $33, 617.95

See Previous Vet Bills Paid by Small Paws Rescue in 2005 Totaling $438,467.30

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They say you may vote as often as you like!)

Dear Small Pawsers,

Welcome to the newest members of our online mailing list, especially if you have seen us featured in one of our recently updated media articles , read about us in the best selling book "Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul", or if you saw Small Paws on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams!

Small Pawsers everywhere welcome you with open arms! We sincerely hope that you enjoy "Small Pawsing and reading Small Paws!"

If you are new to Small Pawsing®, this may look as if it is coming only to you but really it is going out to fellow Small Pawsers all across our country and in 20 foreign countries as well!

Adoption information is posted below. Turn up your speakers!
We have music for you!

If you missed our last newsletter, here it is. http://www.smallpawsrescue.org/pup3/august2906.html

This isn't a newsletter that you will need to respond too, but I wanted to give you an update on little Irving, from Irving, Texas.

You guys, we have been both in shock at accusations of the City of Irving, and at the other end of the spectrum, in awe over the inspirational responses from all of you, and from the citizens of Irving Tx., over this whole nightmare with little Irving, and the way he was neglected at this shelter. Evidently, according to shelter volunteers, and other citizens, this has been a Pandora's box waiting to be opened.

Irving has torn the box wide open and all of the horror inside has come spilling out.

More about that in a moment, but first, I want to show you some recent pictures of little Irving, and ask you to please pray for a miracle.

You see, his liver biopsy came back last Thursday, and his Internist told us that he has end stage liver disease, and he has only a few months to live. Between 2-6.

I can tell you this. For whatever time he has left, he will be loved, fed, cuddled, fed, snuggled, fed, and prayed over like there is no tomorrow!

To read about the whole unbelievable story of Irving from Irving, click here.

This is little Irving from Irving, the little dog that the Irving City Shelter deemed "healthy and ready for adoption", and that's why he laid there for 2 1/2 days, while they refused to let Small Paws take him to the hospital, because he was deemed "healthy" by the shelter veterinarian, and therefore could not be released to rescue.

He was laying in his own urine, cause by two huge bladder stones which had obstructed his kidneys. He hadn't eaten for God only knows how long, and yet they wanted to adopt him out, and therefore, rescue would not be allowed to take him.

These two huge stones have been removed, and he is feeling better now. He has all of you to thank for that!

Claire Morris, a member of the Irving Shelter Reform Group, (made up of 12 Irving Texas citizens) and Diana Wood, a local attorney and Small Pawser, gasp to see Irving in person at the hospital last Thursday afternoon. Everyone who walked by gasped.

I've never seen a dog this thin and sickly, and still breathing, and you all know that I have seen a lot.

His little spine is so predominant, and yet this precious little boy is one of the most affectionate little guys we have ever had.

Ok, down to business now.

You would think that if hundreds of people wrote or called a City Government, informing them of the travesty which happened to little Irving from Irving, that they would step forward, say they are sorry, are investigating, and would promise it would never happen again, right?

Evidently not.:(

The press followed us for two hours last Thursday and we ALL sang like canaries, while holding in our arms the evidence himself, little Irving from Irving, the bag of skin and bones that he is.

After the cameras left, Marilyn Brewster, Vickie Furstenburg, and I gathered round to pray with and for Irving, and his Internist asked if she could back in join us in prayer, and she did.

We asked the dogtor if it was time to let Irving go home to God, and she said it wasn't yet, but that she would let us know when it was.

She wants him to enjoy some food, gain some weight, give and exchange some cuddling with some of us, and before he leaves us, know that he was loved beyond measure by thousands.

Ok, about the press~are ya ready?!

First of all, this appeared in the Dallas Morning News, on one of the blog sites.

Scroll down to little Irving's picture. The shelter had him listed as Henry, but it is our little guy.

"HEADS UP, IRVING: We hear from sources in the animal rescue community that folks have grown weary of dealing with the hired hands in trying to get changes at the Irving animal shelter and will soon be dealing with the elected officials to try to get more sensitivity to care of animals and cooperation with rescue groups. Stay tuned.

Latest big complaint was the shape in which this little dog, Henry, was recovered from the shelter. (See his story in the Aug. 28 post.)

Our hope is that everything will be settled in a fashion that works for the animals, works for the rescuers and works for the city. Irving is losing the Cowboys, but could add to its image by becoming an extraordinarily sensitive city when it comes to animals. Just a thought."

This is what was aired on the local Dallas Tx. news, Fox 4 news. It was their lead story on the 9 and 10 Oclock news. It was a wonderful article for rescue and for Small Paws!

But notice that in the article,
"the city says the rescue group has misrepresented the facts of the case."

Our attorney will be requesting a public retraction from the City of Irving, for this is an outright misleading and false statement, and they darn well know it.

I want to show you just a very a few of the letters written to the Mayor of Irving, the City Manager of Irving, and to other city officials on little Irving's behalf, on behalf of any animal who finds themselves sitting in this animal shelter.

According to the writers of these emails, there have been many too accusations of instances of questionable treatment of animals, controlled drugs disappearing, dozens of animals being needlessly or mistakenly euthanized, all happening at this shelter. It has gone on for far too long.

It appears that anyone who tries to bring these "problems" to the City's attention, is either accused of being misleading, or told that they have been misinformed.

I know you will be in disbelief when you read these emails, all of which are shared with permission of the writers.

Little Irving is going to be the one to bring this to the public's attention in Irving, and we hope and pray that after the public learns about the things I am about to share with 6000 of my closest friends, they will insist on change at this shelter. Change in management and change in staff.

I hope that reading about what little Irving has caused will cause you to swell with pride to be a Small Pawser. We have been working on this Irving Shelter issue, both night and day since it happened.

Marilyn Brewster and Vicki Furstenburg, Small Paws Rescue Co-Team Leaders of North Texas, have been amazing warriors for this cause. They have truly made us all extremely proud! I believe them of their accounts with this shelter 100%. They have not misled anyone, nor have any of you been misinformed.

I would like to ask you to give these two fine ladies a standing ovation for their very public work in trying to bring about change at this shelter!

I'll be joining this citizen's group for the Irving Animal Shelter Reform, on Thursday night, in Irving Tx., when Irving and I will address their city council.

Numerous media and press folks will be in attendance. We request your prayers to be in attendance as well!

If you are a Small Pawser, please come and join us at the Irving City Hall at 7:00 P.M. this Thursday night.

If you are another rescuer and have specific knowledge of dealing with this shelter, please come and tell the city counsel about it. Each person is allowed three minutes to speak.

Since this has happened, we understand that the city has "fired" all of the volunteers who used to walk the shelter and take pictures to put online, in order to get the animals adopted, instead of them being euthanized. They are no longer being allowed in the shelter, since it was they who told us about Irving, and showed us his picture. You know, shoot the messenger! These shelter walkers and photo takers are coming to speak at Thursday's City Counsel Meeting as well.

In my experience, there is just WAYYYY too much smoke here for there not to be some fire, or maybe even a raging inferno.

That's all for tonight. We have some unbelievable new medical cases just into rescue right now with Small Paws, and I will try to tell you about them tomorrow or Wednesday. One of them is Elmo, who is only six weeks old and is in emergency tonight at Texas A&M.

Thank you all for helping us to make Irving from Irving more comfortable in his final days. Thank you for making his cry the one that has been heard around the world. And we have not yet begun to fight. On that, you have my word.

I was once advised to choose my fights well. I have chosen this one, on behalf of a little waif of a dog, whose pain filled eyes begged for help for three days, all the time being deemed healthy and ready for adoption.

He may not have much time left here on earth, but his picture will be his legacy, and is going to be worth hundreds of thousands of words, on the behalf of shelter animals everywhere. All My Love, Robin

P.S. There are too many email addies here for me to convert to HTML, but you can see who they are from and to.

09/01/2006 04:18 PM
From Tom.Morris@TrinityLearning.com
To tgonzalez@ci.irving.tx.us, mayor@ci.irving.tx.us, ccouncil@ci.irving.tx.us, cmiller@ci.irving.tx.us, sstokes@ci.irving.tx.us
cc pfowler@ci.irving.tx.us
Subject: Appalling Incidents At The Irving Animal "Shelter"

Mr. Mayor and Other Honorable Citizens:

I am a member of the Irving Shelter Reform Group. I became aware of the terrible conditions at the Shelter last Fall when I first went to visit. Since then my wife, Clare, and I have worked diligently to do what we can to improve conditions in the Shelter and improve the adoption rate of healthy animals that end up in the Shelter.

I am not a “screaming animal rights activist”. I am a senior officer in a large public company where I am charged with making high level decisions daily. I think others would tell you that I am objective and level-headed. And I understand the mission statement of a city animal control operation starts with “control”.

With that being said, I have been REPEATEDLY disgusted by incidents that have occurred over the past year where it has been obvious that the Shelter management and staff have ignored the welfare of dogs and cats that have ended up in the facility while making it as difficult as possible for volunteers willing to give of their own time and resources to ASSIST THE CITY in getting more animals out of the facility alive.

The most recent incident in this sad saga is the case where the needs of the little dog named “Irving” were ignored based simply on rigid adherence to bureaucracy. But unfortunately – and needlessly – what occurred in this case is merely the latest in a LONG series of other totally senseless and avoidable cases of inhumane treatment and/or flagrant disregard for the well-being of the animals by the staff.

Until recently I had been of the opinion that it would be better to work with Shelter senior management (Mssrs. Fowler and Teel) in the hopes that by pointing out these issues to them things would get better.

But they haven’t. Things are getting worse. The Shelter staff continues to BLATANTLY ignore the welfare of the animals and needlessly put restraints on volunteers who only want to help turn this hellhole into a better place.

There are many issues/problems to be resolved in the facility. But four must be addressed immediately if things are ever going to get better.

The first is to fire Susie Williamson, the Shelter Supervisor. She does not possess the leadership skills or temperament to hold that position. Her demeanor is usually surly or harassed. Her negative, bureaucratic attitude and public moodiness combined with her lack of compassion is a disgrace to the City. Her lack of interest in aiding “Irving” is not atypical. She should be removed immediately.

Second, you should demand that senior City staff answer some very serious questions, such as:
· Why does your staff continue to deny accusations of mistreatment of animals when there are multiple eyewitness accounts of these abuses taking place regularly?
· Why do these incidents continue to occur despite the promises of senior City management that “they are committed to making things better”?
· Why are needless obstacles and petty regulations being put in place to make it even more difficult for volunteers to assist in increasing the adoption rate? For example, why is the Shelter (acknowledging that they are already short of staff) going to take on the task of taking photos of the animals for Petfinders when motivated, qualified volunteers have been doing the job? I suspect it is because management does not want volunteers to know what is really going on with disposition of the animals.

Third, you should demand an outside audit of the Shelter. Bad things are happening in the facility daily. You and your fellow citizens of Irving deserve an impartial third party evaluation by nationally recognized animal control professionals to delve into current practices so that YOU can better understand what is going right – and wrong – with this facility. Once you really know what is happening, you will be in a better position to take corrective action.

Lastly, you should demand to review the credentials of the part-time veterinarian recently added to the staff. Too many reputable vets who practice in Irving have already found fault with many of her diagnostic conclusions. There is a real question as to her competence.

As leaders of our City you have an obligation to make Irving a model of civic excellence. How we manage the Shelter is a direct indicator of success or failure on this barometer. Currently, we are failing. As a citizen of Irving, I am appealing to you to take action now to make the Shelter what it should be – a “shelter” for unfortunate animals that end up there – and not a holding pen where the staff just counts the days until they can euthanize another homeless pet.

Thomas E. Morris>

<Subj: A Little Dog named Irving
Date: 9/1/2006 3:38:40 PM Central Standard Time
From: bettyy3@earthlink.net (Betty is the President of the citizen's group for Animal Shelter Reform)
To: mayor@ci.irving.tx.us, ccouncil@ci.irving.tx.us, tgonzalez@cityofirving.us, pfowler@ci.irving.tx.us
CC: jcarroll@ci.irving.tx.us

Mr. Mayor, Member of the City Council, City Manager, and Pat Fowler,

This has been a banner week at the shelter and, quite frankly, I have not been able to put my feelings into words until now.

I do not know about the State of Oklahoma, but here in our great State of Texas, a veterinarian is sworn to uphold the following oath as adopted by the House of Delegates in 1969:

"Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I will accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence."

Yesterday, Clare Morris and I made a trip to Dallas where the little dog Irving lay in a diagnostic hospital for animals.
We felt it necessary to be introduced to this little guy personally and make certain we had not been misinformed, as the shelter staff is saying. Trust me on this one, Herb. We were not misinformed. I held Irving in my own arms, wrapped in a towel so as not to bruise his protruding ribs, and looked into his face. In my own hands they placed a solid stone removed from his bladder: it was the size of a golf ball (picture attached). He had a second stone they did not show me; however, the medical staff said it was somewhat larger than the one I held. A healthy dog? You do not need the use of sophisticated equipment to see that this dog was suffering. (my own picture attached)

Some may consider me silly when I tell you that I whispered "I'm sorry this happened to you on my watch" into his ear. He was a tough little guy - he licked my face and wagged his tail: he was going to be okay. Small Paws would see to it. They delight in helping animals who are Hospice patients and to quote one of the rescuers there with me yesterday "we hold their little paw until they cross over Rainbow Bridge." This group enjoys more than 6,000 members internationally: when they flex, it shows.

Not only did Dr. King make a serious mistake in evaluating this dog's medical condition; but the shelter supervisor failed to recognize distinct and basic symptoms of extreme distress. This surprises me due to Ms. Williamson's experience as a competitive dog breeder. To deem this critically ill dog healthy and place a "I'm ready for adoption" card (picture attached) on his cage was ludicrous!

I believe if anyone mentions the 72 hour hold period one more time I will scream. This is not about the 72 hour hold period. This is about the fact a skilled veterinarian and shelter supervisor failed to see an animal in extreme pain, the fact those individuals were willing to let this emaciated and suffering dog stay in that cage unmedicated and urinating on itself from August 24th until August 31st, and the fact that one of those individuals was so focused on control that they refused a renowned group of rescuers the opportunity to pull the dog for emergency care! How many times do I have to say it? We are NOT the enemy. We've been told the shelter staff has named themselves and our group the "Hatfields and McCoys". That, sir, is what we deal with as we spend countless volunteer hours, such as yourself and the council, to help OUR city shelter because the staff cannot possibly do it all! Unfortunately, you get what you ask for. Yesterday at 2:45 p.m., with a small little dog in my arms, I became a Hatfield and the shelter became a McCoy. They labeled us; we drew a line in the sand; and they stepped over it. It is unfortunate, because we are more determined and more dedicated than ever before to oversee our shelter until it is a polished jewel. Only then, will we rest.

Just yesterday, Clare and I went to the shelter at 4:40 p.m. to conduct a "head count" of the cats and kittens. This was my first time to actually experience a roll call of this sort, and in that short amount of time I assisted, I found two cats missing and unaccounted for (again); and a cage with four kittens with an identification card marked "three". I see why animals cannot be found; I see why an entire litter of unweaned kittens were lost in July; and I see how a box of unweaned babies could be placed on a top shelf and forgotten. By the way, at one minute until 5 p.m., Clare warned me to hurry for Leticia would come and tell us to leave when the clock struck 5. With 30 seconds to go; there were several uniformed ASOs gathered at the front desk, and just as Clare warned, the door opened and Leticia announced "are you girls ready to go?" Of course we were, just let us make one more note of one more mistake on the tracking system. We finished our tally outside OUR shelter, standing on the sidewalk. A young ASO walked past me carrying a "live animal" box marked "Justin's Cat" - I am hoping it is one of the missing ones: I'd rather it be in the box and not properly logged out, than MIA.

I should have pushed harder at City Hall; but because of the respect I have for my home town, for you Herb, and for my friends on city council; I failed to focus as clearly as I should have. My mistake. This is MY shelter, run by MY taxes; and I am taking ownership from this day forward. This is YOUR shelter, run by YOUR taxes too - I'm asking that you take ownership with me.

As a core member of the Irving Animal Shelter Reform, I am asking for a full outside audit from the Humane Society of the United States - now. It would be very honorable for the city to send them an invitation and put a stop to all the negative publicity and ill feelings from citizens.

The cost of an audit will probably be comparable to a K-9 police officer that is imported from another country, which is approximately $20,000. I would prefer the next K-9 officer be recruited from our own city shelter's Death Row as seen in other cities, and the money used to fund the audit. The result would be an excellent blueprint of shelter procedures to be used for Irving's new state-of-the-art animal shelter.

I would appreciate a call, an e-mail, a cup of coffee? Just something would be wonderful.


Betty Yarbrough
Citizen of Irving>


Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 08:48:12
From: clemmiegirl1@yahoo.com>
Subject: A VISIT TO SEE IRVING AKA Henry the little dog
To: mayor@ci.irving.tx.us, Tommy Gonzalez <tgonzalez@cityofirving.us>,
ccouncil@ci.irving.tx.us, Pat Fowler <pfowler@ci.irving.tx.us>
Cc: cmiller@ci.irving.tx.us, sstokes@cityofirving.us

Mr. Mayor, Mr. Gonzalez, City Council Members and Pat Fowler,

How do I begin this letter.

First I have to stop crying and take a deep breath.

To say I am APPALLED, would be an understatement. When I first heard of the little dog, IRVING, I just could not imagine it could be true. Not in MY SHELTER, the one that I and the rest of our group have tried so hard to have changes made including having a part time vet. When the vet came on board I said to myself, finally the animals will be taken care of. I did not realize at the time how WRONG I would be.

As you are aware I go to the shelter EVERY DAY that it is open. Every day I see something that is not 'right'. When I make this statement I am referring to: cards on the cages that are incorrect i.e. 4 kittens in a cage but only the #3 noted on the card, dates wrong on the card i.e. arrival date of the end of Aug. however the adoption date and disposition date were the first part of Aug. instead of the first week of Sept. Minor you will say but still wrong. Cats with eye infections, coughing cats, runny noses--yes, I know the answer is upper respiratory infection and
I also know that 21 cats were put down on Tues. morning Aug. 29th around 10-11am per Lettie. I happened to do my rounds at 1:30pm and was informed of that. I question the time of putting the cats down since Pat and John had informed Betty, Tom and I recently that no animal is put down during the hours the shelter is open to the public. I am just amazed that with a vet on staff some medication could have been given to prevent this. I ask myself WHY? and cannot come up with an answer.

I did not have time to go and see the dogs last week so you can just imagine, when I found out about the condition of IRVING aka Henry, I was in SHOCK. This could not happen, how could it have happened--was everyone BLIND! I am told that the employees are to check the cages 3 times a day and sign a card/sheet of paper that they have done so. I ask you, who were these people who signed the cards? Please do not tell me all they are to do is make sure food and water is available to the animals. There is NO WAY anyone could have missed seeing the shape this little dog was in NO WAY. I have been informed that the vet, Dr. King looked at Irving 3 times and said he was healthy and ready for adoption. I would ask you to look at the photos again and HONESTLY, look me in the eyes and tell me this dog was healthy.

Yesterday, Betty and I went to the Dallas Diagnostic Center to see for ourselves just what the little guy looked like.
Could the photos really be wrong, were we MISINFORMED as Pat is saying? Well, we saw, we held him, I got on the floor and let him give me a kiss, I put my hand over his BONEY yes BONEY body, I site I will never forget. NO NO NO AND NO WE WERE NOT MISINFORMED. I do not know if any of you have taken the time to go and see Irving for yourself. If you did, you would be sick. I thank the good Lord above that there were a couple people in the shelter that DID THE RIGHT THING and let Small Paws take Irving on Sat. I am terribly disturbed with Susie and how she acted that is another issue needing to be addressed. I know there are rules i.e. 72 hour hold BUT under these EXTREME circumstances the life of an animal comes before the 72 hours. Possibly some of the employees do not regard these dogs and cats has living breathing individuals. In the shelter they do not ask for much, a little water, some food, dry area to sleep and possibly now and then someone to pet them and give them a kind word. They did not ask to be there.

Because of Small Paws and their efforts Irving is now being taken care of. How long he has is yet to be seen. Hopefully it would be for a very long time but I'm afraid it is not, however he will have the best home with more love then he can imagine till the Lord calls him to a greater place.

I forgot to add that while at the Diagnostic Center yesterday I saw and held one of the 2 'stones' that was removed from is tiny body. How he made it thru the surgery is amazing and makes me more of a believer of the man above.

I am asking for an outside audit, an investigation into HOW this could have happened and I am asking for it now.

I realize that all of you are extremely busy, but I am a tax paying citizen and that shelter is mine as well as every citizen in Irving. I would certainly appreciate a response from any and all of you.


Most disturbed,

Clare Morris>

<-----Original Message-----
> From: bettyy3@earthlink.net
> Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 11:58 PM
> To: mayor@ci.irving.tx.us; ccouncil@ci.irving.tx.us;
> BOBDFW@aol.com;
(And also sent to too many email addies to list here of citizens of Irving. )
> Subject: Little White Dog named "Irving" and Small
> Paws Rescue Org.
> I know you get a lot of junk mail, but here we are
> again in a newsworthy
> situation!>
> I warned Pat about this one yesterday, but it was
> too late. The damage was
> done on Saturday.
> You know, I've spent countless hours and late
> nights trying to make a
> difference at the shelter, and all in all, I
> think our little group
> has done a great job. We've been most appreciative
> of all the monies given
> to such a pitiful little place. I feel great pride
> in our hard work, and
> tearful events, and tireless efforts - and just
> when I'm considering a new
> project to help the shelter staff: Boom!
> Another bomb hits.
> At first, when I began to hear negative comments
> about the veterinarian and
> when people questioned her decisions, I almost felt
> ashamed that our group
> begged for a veterinarian, and once she arrived,
> she wasn't good enough.
> After this weekend and the incident with "Irving",
> the dog rescued by Small
> Paws, I too question her ability.
> Dogs with "Hold" cards for rescue teams are being
> euthanized. Cats are
> missing from cages with no record of what happened
> to them. Tiny kittens
> are placed in a cardboard box on a shelf for over 18
> hours with no food or
> water. A citizen's cat was killed by mistake.
> Countless dogs are killed by
> mistake. Twenty-one cats were killed today because
> of Cat Flu, instead of
> a $5 bottle of amoxycillin with over 160 doses in
> the bottle! If there is
> time to clean bird cages, change fish water in the
> Beta fish tank on the
> counter, and maintain the big fish tank in the
> lobby- there is certainly
> time to give a drop of antibiotic to sneezing and
> wheezing cats!
> You know what? I have really tried to remain
> open-minded and at the least,
> remain a friendly adversary of the shelter - but
> not today. No, not
> today. Please take the time to look at the Small
> Paws website and really
> read it. Otherwise, you'll have no idea the
> severity of the incident and
> how these folks feel about our - MY shelter. It is
> an embarassment to me
> and what my group is trying to represent. The
> article about Irving starts
> with the salutation "Dear Small Pawsers" :
> > http://www.smallpawsrescue.org/pup3/august2606a.html
> > Scroll down the page and read the article - don't
> stop with just one
> hyperlink about little Irving - there are several
> stories about him on this
> site, for he is the newest member of the Small Paws
> family. You too, will
> be able to see why the public is so outraged. This
> is no small
> organization guys - this is a biggie and they think
> our shelter is
> inadequate. When you look at the pathetic shape of
> this little dog,
> remember that our shelter vet [Dr. King], along with
> our supervisor, Susie
> Williamson, deemed the dog healthy! The state's
> minimum vet care
> requirement is to control bleeding; control shock;
> and control pain.
> Please.
> This little dog suffered for days before a rescuer
> persisted with phone
> calls to Susie Williamson to release the dog.
> Something has to change!
> It is imperative the shelter policy change
> immediately to allow a rescue
> group to pull a sick or injured dog from the shelter
> I propose some sort
> of legal agreement be prepared between the shelter
> and the rescue group
> which allows a rescuer to remove a sick or injured
> dog from the shelter
> BEFORE the 72-hour stray hold has passed. During
> that 72-hour period, if
> the owner comes to claim the dog; the rescue group
> will be required to
> return the dog to the shelter or face legal action.
> In the interim, the
> dog will at the least have been treated and made
> comfortable. I would also
> like to know what type of medical care the new vet
> is to provide.
> Euthanizations is not the answer. We wanted a vet
> who would provide
> medical care to our animal citizens, or send them to
> an outside vet clinic
> if necessary. We were all too familiar with the
> "last resort" alternative
> before the vet arrived: we thought the vet was
> hired to help.
> Irving Animal Shelter Reform has dropped subtle
> hints to all levels of
> management, including Mayor and Council, and we've
> stayed quiet about
> atrocities that make us cry. It is now time for me
> to strongly recommend
> the city hire the Humane Society of the United
> States to conduct a full
> audit of the shelter immediately. The end result
> will be an excellent
> blueprint of success to be applied to the new
> state-of-the-art shelter.
> The citizens of Irving deserve their shelter to be
> the best of the best -
> the audit should be mandatory. I will be happy to
> share my idea of where
> the money for the audit will come from. Most happy.
> Several of our rescuers have mentioned that the
> shelter staff retaliates on
> them because of the demands of the Irving Shelter
> Reform volunteer group. I
> believe Susie Williamson should be removed from her
> position immediately,
> along with any other employee or member of
> management that deliberately
> retaliates or allows retaliation on an innocent
> animal due to dislike of an
> Irving Animal Shelter Reform volunteer or any other
> rescue organization
> trying to help the Irving Animal Shelter.
> I believe the actions and decisions of Dr. Elizabeth
> King should be
> re-evaluated immediately by someone with the
> knowledge to do so. No one at
> the Irving Animal Shelter is qualified to make that
> judgment call, nor would
> they be able to provide a fair opinion.
> It is with regret I send this letter. I'm weary;
> I'm downcast in spirit;
> and I'm fighting the urge to raise up my hand and
> yell "Charge"!
> Many times I've written - and many times I hear
> nothing. I'm asking as a
> citizen of Irving who works hard and stays faithful
> to this City, please at
> the very least , let me know you've reviewed my
> concerns.
> Betty Yarbrough
> 55 year resident of this fair city>

From: "Tom Morris" <morris2690@sbcglobal.net>
To: "Tommy Gonzalez" <tgonzalez@cityofirving.us>,
Cc: "Pat Fowler" <pfowler@ci.irving.tx.us>
Subject: Fw: Appalling Incidents At The Irving Animal "Shelter"
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 13:00:11 -0500

Mr. Mayor and Other Honorable Citizens:

Upon reflection, I realize there are other practices and issues you should be made aware of as you consider badly needed reforms at theIrving Animal Shelter.

The first is that the current Shjelter management authorizes the needless killing of healthy animals on a systematic basis. As you know, there are mandated "hold" times before the City can kill a dog or cat at the Shelter. What none of us in the volunteer ranks understand is why Shelter management insists on killing healthy, adoptable animals at the earliest "legal" opportunity when there are empty cages remaining unused in the facility. I understand that overcrowding is a real problem and in those situations it is necessary to follow the "letter of the law" when it comes to enforcing minimum hold times. But when there are empty cages this practice of killing healthy animals as soon as their minimum hold times are up is totally senseless and contributes the the feeling by those of us interested in seeing conditions Shelter conditions improve that management cares nothing about "animal welfare" and everything about "animal control".

I have asked Mssrs. Fowler and Teel why they feel they must adhere to this killing schedule if cages are open. They have never given me a logical response as to why they continue the practice.

Another equally senseless practice at the Shelter is killing animals on Sundays. The problem with this is that it makes it impossible for rescue groups to save an animal identified for rescue on a Saturday but not removed from the Shelter that day. John Teel's response to this is that it takes a long time to kill an animal, and they need the time to do so when the Shelter is not open. The reality is they currently kill animals when the Shelter is open. Several witnesses heard Shelter employees state that 21 cats were "put down" last week while the Shelter was open. If Shelter management is as committed to to animal welfare as they claim, you would think they would have policies in place designed to save lives, not destroy animals prematurely before they know if a dog or cat may have a home.

The last thing you should know - if you do not already - is that a former Shelter employee has filed a suit against the City of Irving pursuant to the Texas Whistleblower Act. The plaintiff is Tarah Baumgarter. She worked as an Officer at the Shelter for almost six months before being terminated. Ms. Baumgarter makes numerous allegations, including:
Controlled drugs missing from the Shelter
Dogs in Shelter not removed from cages during cleaning but instead soaked in chemicals and hit with hoses
Animal feces not cleaned from inside cages
Small dogs and puppies bounced around cages during cleaning by being hit by hoses
Injured dogs left in cages without veterinary care
Female dogs placed in cages with male dogs
Large dogs placed in cages with small dogs
Healthy dogs placed in cages with sick dogs
Cats killed in animal control trucks in the back of the facility instead of being logged into the Shelter and then euthanized
No sedation on cats killed in trucks
If person feeding dogs did not like a particular dog, it would not be fed each day
If three dogs were in a single cage, food only sufficient for one dog was placed in cage, resulting in dominant dog obtaining food and others going without
Plantiff was touched in a sexual manner on two occasions and upon report to Shelter supervisor no action was taken
Dogs not permitted to be placed in euthanasia room because an employee used room to eat his lunch
Dog pinned against back wall of cages with boot to be given initial shot for euthanasia
Re-use of same syring to euthanize several dogs and needle then repenetrated drug bottle so as to cause contamination
Improper drug log book used and when Plaintiff submitted proper form, Supervisor did not implement
Plaintiff compelled to remove head of dog to be tested for rabies by method of chopping head off with axe without proper protective devices, resulting in blood and body fluids flying into Plaintiff's face and mouth
One or more persons not certified carrying out euthanasia
Kicking dogs after brought into Shelter
Wild bobcat babies left in Shelter for two days without food
Healthy dogs that are noisy, dogs held by police department when owner arrested and when dogs seized on abandonment or cruelty, all placed in quarantine area with dogs suspected of rabies disease.
Rabies cages and room not properly secured
If too many rabies case dogs came in, one would be removed and place in general caging with other dogs, even though quarantine time not sufficient
No rabies quarantine policy/procedure manual present in or at room
On dog bite calls, if owner alleges rabies innoculation, proof not required
Cats placed in quarantine placed in cages without litter box, food or water for days

My wife and I had occasion to interface with Ms. Baumgarter in the days just after we became active in assisting the Shelter and just after she had started her job as an Animals Services Officer. We found Ms. Baumgarter to be a very energetic, enthusiastic employee who was very excited to be working at the facility. In the short time we knew her we saw her do numerous things to assist the animals in her charge, inclusing arranging for animals to be transported to other facilities where they would have a better chance at adoption and repainting and carpeting a portion of the cat room to provide a play area for cats and kittens.

Strictly form a personal point-of-view, it is difficult for me to believe Ms. Baumgarter made all these allegations up. But that is strictly my opinion. However, as City leaders, you owe it to the citizens of Irving to keep trck of this case.
If even a fraction of her charges are found to be true, it certainly reinforces all the evidence others have brought forward about shoddy and negligent Shelter management.

I, and others like me who are fed up with excuses as to why provable acts of cruelty and negligence at the Shelter continue to be tolerated by our City, demand action by you on our behalf. If no satisfaction is forthcoming, I will personally pay for advertisng in the Irving Journal to inform the citizens of Irving about these issues and tha fact that elected officials are ignoring these concerns.

Thomas E. Morris>

From Small Pawser Bayn Carlson

Subj: Irving Shelter
Date: 9/4/2006 8:18:02 PM Central Standard Time
From: carlsonb@friscoisd.org

Mr. Mayor and Members of the City Council,

My name is Bayn Carlson. I am a resident of Frisco, and I'm an educator with the Frisco ISD. I'm a long time member of Small Paws Rescue, and own four Bichons that are all rescues from Small Paws. I also am, as many people involved with this story have claimed about our rescue organization, one of those bleeding heart liberal animal rights activists. As a volunteer for Small Paws I have fostered dogs, helped with transport, done shelter walks, given of my money and time, and most recently helped with the birth and rearing of seven beautiful Bichon puppies that are now all living with their loving adoptive families.

In January, I lost my little dog Riley. He did not have his collar on, but he was micro-chipped. I hoped and prayed someone would find him and take him to a shelter. I and Small Paws volunteers along with people from DFW Cares vigilantly walked the shelters of the metroplex daily in hopes he would turn up. Luckily he was found three weeks later hiding out on a ranch not far from my house. I was one of the fortunate ones.

I first learned of Irving's plight through our newsletter on August 28, 2006. I did nothing. I read more about it the following day, and still did nothing. I figured people in our group who lived closer to the city of Irving would have things under control. However, I was wrong. As you now know, no one had anything, with concern to this little dog, under control.

On August 26th I received another news letter with pictures of Irving. He was now in our care. I don't know if enraged even begins to describe how I felt when I saw the picture which I'm sure you have all seen by now. I decided it was now time for me to get involved. I called the Mayor's office to see if he was aware of the situation. Sadly, I don't believe his receptionist had been informed of the seriousness of the neglect and ineptness. She transferred me to the Community Liaison's office and I spoke with Susan Rose. She told me that she was familiar with the case and had me call John Teel, the manager of the city shelter.

I had to leave a message for Mr. Teel, and he returned my call very quickly. I explained to Mr. Teel who I was and the rescue group that I worked for. Surprisingly, Mr. Teel had a very calming effect on me, and we spoke for close to thirty minutes. After speaking with Mr. Teel, I felt that he was trying to make some serious changes at the shelter, and this was pretty much just an unfortunate incident that had slipped through the cracks.

That evening I called Robin Pressnall, the Executive Director of Small Paws. We talked for quite a while as I explained what Mr. Teel had told me. I told her numerous times I thought that he was trying to make a difference, and asked her to speak with Mr. Teel the following day. Several times I asked her to, "call off the dogs." Now, with the things that have come to light, I'm glad she didn't listen to me.

I happen to be one of the people that's in the loop with regard to this case. I have read numerous e-mails that have been sent to Mr. Teel, Mr. Fowler, and all of you. After watching the Channel 4 news on Friday evening, I became more upset about Irving's case. During the news interview it was said that Small Paws is misrepresenting the facts of this case. This simply is not true. Personally, I'm not sure that you or Mr. Teel has been given all of the facts of this case, and feel that you need to find out what the facts truly are. For the life of me, I cannot understand why someone in authority hasn't said, "It's unfortunate, but we screwed up, and are looking into it so something like this never happens again." That hasn't happened. Instead people in authority are pointing fingers and are publicly stating that Small Paws is misrepresenting the facts of the case. Once again, this is not true.

In my conversation with Mr. Teel he apologized for having to refer to his notes of the case that I believe were given to him by Susie Willamson, the shelter supervisor. Mr. Teel told me the dog was picked up at an apartment complex as a stray. However, our rescue volunteers that originally tried to get Irving were told by shelter staff members he was an owner turn in. If he was an owner turn in, why was he not released immediately to our rescue group? If he was an owner turn in, no one would be coming for him.

Mr. Teel told me that animals are kept on a 72 hour hold before they are released or euthanized. Yet Ms. Williamson told our volunteer the dog could not be released until Thursday, which would have meant he was to be at the shelter for a full week. Why then was there a sign on his cage saying Irving was ready for adoption when our volunteers tried to take charge of the dog?

When I asked Mr. Teel why it took three of our people to go to the shelter before the dog was released into rescue, he referred to his notes and said the volunteers didn't have the proper paperwork. The fact is, the paperwork was e-mailed to the shelter.

Mr. Teel also said looking at the condition of the dog, he'd probably been running for sometime. I'm not sure if Mr. Teel saw the dog personally, or was going from his notes or from the picture that someone from Small Paws sent him. However, how could a trained veterinarian deem this dog healthy enough for adoption, let alone vaccinate and worm him? Did no one notice he was not eating, and that there was no urine or feces in his cage?

I have many other questions, but want to allow time for other people to be able to speak. But, I will be happy to share them with you at another time if you wish to hear them.

The mayor's comment on the news broadcast was something to the effect that it's unfortunate that this has come to light when so many changes are happening at the shelter. You are correct it is unfortunate. I cannot believe that it hasn't come to light before this. Volunteers and rescue organizations being turned away from any shelter is inexcusable. A twenty-one percent survival rate for your shelter is unforgivable. I unfortunately agree that there is pet overpopulation, and there are animals that are just not adoptable due to temperament, health, or age. However, with your shelter, for every four animals that enters, you are lucky if one is recovered, adopted, or rescued. I can't help to think that if my little Riley had ended up in your shelter, odds are he would have become just another one of your statistics.

I'm sure there are many people working for the city of Irving that hope and believe that this story will just go away. I'm here to tell you that it will not. Even if the grassroots group that is asking for shelter changes gives up in disgust, even if Small Paws puts this on the back burner, I will be here. Let me just add, I know Robin Pressnall very well. I can guarantee you she will be standing right next to me as will the Small Paws organization world wide. This is not going to go away, until changes are made.

You have a problem. I pray you will step up to the plate and fix it. You cannot wait for your bond election to pass, and then take the time to build a new shelter. Your problem is here today, and it's not getting any better. I will make a promise to you. If you choose to do nothing about your shelter, when election time comes around, I will be here helping your opposing candidate become elected to your seat. You owe it to yourself, your city, and to all the animals like Irving that do not have a voice, to make some drastic changes with your shelter today.

I'll leave you with a passage from Matthew 25:45
Then He will answer them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me."

Please do not do what I did originally and do nothing. I'm just one voice. You have the power. You can make a difference.

Thank you for your time. Bayn Carlson>

Subj: Fw: Fw: Little White Dog named "Irving" and Small Paws Rescue Org.
Date: 9/4/2006 11:09:15 PM Central Standard Time
From: don.ro@verizon.net
To: Pup3@aol.com
(This letter was copied to the Mayor and all Irving city officials.)


The Irving city council and government is out of control and spending its time and resources to make sure the illegal aliens are happy while ripping off the American citizens who live in Irving.

The poor little dog named "Irving" is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what is happening to the city.

The city council has called a bond election to sell $335,000,000 in bonds to finance more and more stuff for the illegal aliens who are findng the City of Irving specially kowtows to them at the expense of the American citizens who live in Irving.

The neighborhoods are going down the tubes as the city council and city management allow the illegal aliens to convert single family homes into "housetels." "Housetels" are single family homes that the illegal aliens have converted to hotels sleeping large numbers of non-related illegal aliens.

The major was quoted in the Dallas Morning News on Friday as being most happy that he has assisted in the "Mexicanizing" of Irving as he and the reporter put it.

It will take a concerted effort by citizens to bring the city council's attention back to what it should be doing such as seeing to it that the City of Irving animal pound is operated humanely.

Thank goodness for Small Paws Rescue Organization for bringing the terrible situation at the pound to the attention of the public. It is a shame that animals have to die and be abused before the city council is aroused. At the moment, I have not seen any indication the mayor and city council intend to fire the pound staff and replace it with employees who will handle the animals humanely.

Don R.>

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