Animal Abuse Allegations Draw Concerned Crowd

2 02 2011

Cumberland County Residents: We were alerted to this story and thought it would be interesting to you. If you can get involved – we encourage it – for Bruno’s sake!

By CookevilleTimes

Story Published: Feb 2, 2011 at 12:23 AM CST

Story Updated: Feb 2, 2011 at 12:23 AM CST

The crowd of over 100 people in the Cumberland County Courthouse last Thursday were hoping for change, or, at least an opportunity to talk about change.   But the committee chairman of the building and grounds committee, Mike Harvel (7th District Commissioner), told the assembled crowd that discussion of officers, shootings or investigations were not appropriate to the Thursday meeting and encouraged the crowd to focus on policy and procedures at Cumberland County’s Animal Control facility.

The assembled citizens, carrying signs that sad “Shame On You” were present as a result of two weeks of petitions and discussions related to the alledged abusive behavior of Animal Control Officers in Cumberland County. 

The allegations as discussions crossed in email over the past two weeks spurred an investigative reporting piece on Knoxville’s WATE station.  Photographs of a blood-spattered dog pen and a blood-soaked snow path were chilling as volunteers told reporters about “Brutus,”  a dog that had been scheduled for rescue the day after he was shot in his kennel.   Volunteers believe that the dog was eating and that he was shot in the top of his head, and state that the claim that he was viscious and charging the officer is not credible. 

Animal Control Officer behavior has been under fire as these volunteers and others have exchanged information over the past two weeks.  Allegations include the shooting of a schnauzer type dog fleeing capture, who was hiding under a car, rough handling, and gross neglect of animals in need of urgent medical care.

According to the leadership Thursday night, county attorney Randal Boston is reviewing state policies and will make recommendations following his investigation of the matter.

Asked to review the current policies of the facility, Harvel said that there was no policy in place today, but that state law regulations were followed.  Those regulations state that animals will be held from three to five days before they are euthanized. 

One woman in the meeting quesitoned the need for Animal Control Officers to carry guns, suggesting that they should carry tranquilizer guns instead.  When several people began to shout and cheer, Harvel said “We’re not going to get into that tonight.” 

After some discussion about the liabilities should a volunteer be bitten (a matter raised by the commissioners, not by the crowd), a motion was made by Commissioner Presley to ban volunteers from working at the county animal shelter.  Commissioner Seiber supported the motion, which prompted an eruption by the crowd holding the “shame on you” signs.

The motion failed, though Presley and Seiber continued to support it.  Voting against that motion were Commissioners Safdie, Carter, Harvel, Rimmer and Lynch.

Harvel indicated that the matter would be on the agenda next month, when an update from the attorney would be expected.


Police: Woman Loses 9 Dogs in Animal Rescue Fraud Probe

1 02 2011

Can someone please tell me how things like this continue to happen?  This post is being reprinted from The Shelby Star out of Shelby, North Carolina.

SHELBY — Authorities say a woman who claims to rescue unwanted animals is doing more harm than good.

Lisa Lewis Hendren, 26, was charged Sunday after police say she posed as the head of a nonprofit called Liz and Lizards in order to get nine dogs.

But it’s not the first time Hendren’s love for animals have put her at the core of a multi-county investigation. Her legal troubles span at least two years.

 “She has sold puppies, claiming they are humane society puppies and that she is foster caring for us,” said Marguerite Mebane, president of the Cleveland County Humane Society. “Many have been sick and some have died soon after they have been purchased from her.”

Craigslist ad sought adoption

 On Saturday, two men from Gaston County came to Shelby to drop off nine mixed-breed dogs to Hendren’s home on Dodd Street, believing they were placing them in a good home, police said. The men posted an ad on Craigslist earlier that week stating they needed to place the dogs because they could no longer care for them, according to police.

“They were reaching out for some type of animal rescue organization to take the dogs,” said Shelby Police Officer Jake Zaludek. “Their biggest concern was that they didn’t want them to go to a kill shelter.”

But when the men met Hendren at her Dodd Street home with the dogs, food, shelter and fencing, they grew suspicious, Zaludek said. They eventually left, but had concerns about the dogs’ welfare and contacted police the next day, according to the report.

 27-dog capacity

Hendren’s boyfriend, Demario Ross, said their home is one of many foster homes under the nonprofit Liz and Lizards. Ross said they take in unwanted animals with a maximum capacity of 27 dogs.

 “This man said he wanted these dogs to have a good home,” he said.  “We wanted to provide them with a good home.”

Hendren remains in jail under a $25,000 secured bond.

Ross said Hendren “loves animals to death” and agrees to take in and care for breeds that most people don’t want.

 Dogs still in need of homes

Hendren’s claims of being a foster home for the Humane Society angers Mebane, who has worked in the business in for 20 years.

“We work so hard to have a good reputation of placing healthy animals,” Mebane said. “We are regulated by the state and licensed by the state. They are high standards of care.”

Police were able to return the nine dogs to the men on Saturday. Mebane said she has been in contact with the Humane Society of the United States, which is on standby to help place those dogs into good homes.

 “We would love to be able to get a hold of these animals and get them placed into rescue programs,” she said.

 Reach reporter Olivia Neeley at 704-669-3332  

Hendren has history of animal complaints, investigations

Several complaints have been filed with Cleveland County Animal Control in reference to Lisa Hendren selling “very sick dogs,” according to a police report. In one case, an animal died an hour after the adoption took place, according to the report.

  One woman told police that Hendren advertised full-blooded black Labrador puppies on Craigslist. When the hopeful buyer made the trip in March from Charlotte to adopt, the puppy was not the same one that was in the photograph online, according to the report.

  The buyer told police the puppies were in very poor health. The woman bought two puppies and took them to her veterinarian for treatment, but they remained in poor health.

  In December 2010, Hendren was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals after police say she wounded and starved a horse.

Animal control officers got a complaint about the horse not being cared for properly, said County Health Services Coordinator Sam Lockridge.

“The horse kept wrapping itself in the chain that it was tethered with, causing injury to its hooves,” Lockridge said. “The animal did not have adequate food or water.”

The horse was seized, but died the next day, according to police.

In June 2009, a state employee found a flier in Gaston County that advertised vaccinations offered by Hendren, state investigators have said. But Hendren moved out of the county and disappeared until investigators learned she resurfaced in Cleveland County the following year.

Police arrested and charged Hendren with two counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license in both Cleveland and Gaston counties in April 2010 after a state undercover investigation.

Authorities said Hendren ran an illegal animal rescue group, giving vaccines without a license. They also found 21 dogs, 11 belonging to Hendren, according to police.

State investigators said at the time, they didn’t know how many animals she vaccinated over a two-year period or adopted out because Hendren was so mobile.

Gaston County Animal Control has also investigated multiple complaints against Hendren — four of which resulted in civil fines for failing to comply with the county’s ordinances, according to previous reports. Those fines amounted to more than $2,000.

Winter Weather Hitting Shelters Hard

1 02 2011

With the east coast seeing the worst winter in years and still more storms bringing debilitating snow, ice and cold on the way, finding places to put the piles of snow isn’t the only problem. Animals shelters are suffering which means more animals being put down daily.

Since the storms began to hit the east coast in December, adoptions are on the decrease – meaning animals are staying in the shelters longer and shelters are limited in what they can do for new animals who need their services.

While we encourage careful consideration before choosing a new companion pet to bring into your family, if you have been considering adopting a dog or cat, now is as good of a time as any. With the shelters already bursting at the seams, the longer the animals are left, the higher the risk of them being euthanized simply because there’s no room at the inn. For each animal that is successfully adopted, another animal can add an extra day to their life in the shelter- giving them time to be placed in a loving and forever home.

Unsure about what animal is best for you? See our previous posts on adopting the right animal for you. Still confused? Contact us and we can help you find the right animal for your family from a reputable organization.

POLL: Is the winter weather in your area affecting animal adoptions and shelter overcrowding?

1 02 2011

POLL: Do You Think The Airline That Let The Kitten Freeze To Death Should Lose Their Transport Privileges?

31 01 2011

Hairless Kitten Freezes To Death At Bradley

31 01 2011

This post was originally written by Christine Church: Hartford Cats Examiner.  Being an animal transport organization, I felt this post while most definitely tragic, was worth sharing. It is important to consider the weather situation throughout your entire transport, not just your starting and ending destinations. This is a tragedy that certainly could have been avoided had the airline taken a few necessary precautions. Here is Christine’s entire post:

What an absolutely tragic situation. An 11 week old Sphynx kitten that was being flown from Utah to Bradley International Airport  in Connecticut, was left in the cargo hold while the plane was on the ground for an hour, the airplane’s climate control shut off.

Eyewitness News reports, “By the time kitten and owner united, Snickers was icy cold and couldn’t move her head or paws, Lombardi said. The kitten died a short time later.”

The kitten’s owner, Heather Lombardi, payed almost $300.00 to have her new kitten flown in special and cared for properly. This tragic death should never have happened. If the airline had done their job, the kitten would still be alive. Temperatures in CT, especially this winter (which has been especially brutal) have been ranging well below normal and a hairless kitten wouldn’t have a chance in this kind of cold, even for one hour! It would have been rough on any kitten to be confined in sub freezing temperatures for an hour, but one without hair just doesn’t have a chance.

The price of Snickers the kitten’s air fare included a fee to ensure her safe removal from the plane the moment it landed. This was neglected. Delta Airlines will be held accountable for the kitten’s death, but that won’t bring poor little Snickers back to life, nor does it even the score for the suffering she endured.

Lombardi and her daughter took the kitten to the vet immediately, but despite the heat of the car, the kitten let out a terrible cry and went limp. Hypothermia can cause the body’s organs to shut down and after a time, nerves go numb. The sudden heat on the kitten’s cold body brought nerves back to life causing extreme pain and shock. Ultimately, the kitten should have been warmed back up slowly, but chances are she was too far gone to have made it anyway.

In accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, the airline could potentially face revocation of its license to transport animals. “The impact of cold on pets depends on body type, health, coat, where the breed was developed and for what purpose,” said veterinarian Louise Murray, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City. “For example, a greyhound will get colder faster than a cocker spaniel.”

Be careful when planning to transport pets by air. Check up with the airlines and be diligent about making sure the safety of your pet is top priority. If you suspect anything might not be right, ask!

Continue reading on Hairless Kitten Freezes to Death at Bradley – Hartford Cats |

Foreclosure Horror: Home Filled With Dead Pets

27 01 2011

This blog post is being reprinted in its entirety from a story published on We want to warn you that parts of this post are extremely graphic and while we appreciate the fact that some may not be able to read the entire story, we ask that this post be shared far and wide to bring futher attention to the ever growing problem of pet hoarding.

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Police on Monday arrested an elderly woman and her son on charges of animal cruelty for the starvation deaths of over 30 pets, mostly cats, whose decayed carcasses were found in their foreclosed home north of Seattle.

The remains of 29 cats and two dogs, some of which had been dead for six months and were skeletonized, were discovered on Friday strewn about the vacant home littered with animal feces, empty beer cans and trash. Three surviving but emaciated cats also were found amid the squalor.

Dennis Taylor, the police chief of Granite Falls, Washington, 40 miles northeast of Seattle, said authorities were alerted by a worker who had gone to the house to change the locks and reported a “horrible odor” coming from inside.

“There were enough beer cans to build a whole car,” Taylor said. “Hundreds and hundreds.”

The police chief said the woman, who apparently slept for months in one room covered with pet feces, told him she had attempted to care for the animals, “but there’s no evidence.”

“For me, it’s absolute neglect. They said they didn’t have money, but they didn’t have a reasonable explanation for the treatment of these animals. They apparently had enough for beer and cigarettes,” Taylor told Reuters.

The former homeowner, Diane Cowling, 65, and her son, Michael Cowling, 36, were taken into custody at an apartment they had recently moved to in nearby Lake Stevens. Each was charged with 34 counts of felony animal cruelty, an offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Police also seized a pet dog and two cats the Cowlings had with them at the time and turned them over to an animal shelter.

Taylor said the pair had told him the mother was employed but suffered from various medical problems.

Workers from a pet rescue and animal sanctuary assisted police in removing animal remains from the foreclosed home over the weekend, filling several black plastic garbage bags.

Cowling told TV station KOMO News in Seattle that she had been undergoing radiation therapy, was constantly exhausted and thought the animals died from a massive flea infestation in the house. After her pets died, she said she lost the will to remove their bodies.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton)