Man Upset after Humane Society Euthanizes Dog
By Candice Freeland
PADUCAH, KY - A McCracken County man says he's upset because the McCracken County Humane Society euthanized one of his puppies even though he asked them to call if there were any problems with the animals he turned over to them around at the beginning of the month. But the Humane Society says there's no record of any such agreement with the man.
Austin Fairfield says he turned over four lab/schnauzer puppies to the shelter after he could not find homes for them. He says the society found a home for one of the dogs almost immediately. But another one, a puppy named Gunther, did not do well at the shelter, and was euthanized earlier this week.
Fairfield says, "We're very skeptical, but when we took them over there, we talked to them...we made sure. We were told over and over again that they are a no-kill shelter and that if we leave our puppies there, they will not be put down in any way."
But shelter director Terry Vannerson says that, while the society would be willing to work with an animal owner in this type of situation, there is no policy in place regarding such arrangements, and no record of any sort of agreement between Fairfield and the shelter.
She says that, "when people relenquish their dogs and sign a release, that's exactly what they're doing. And once they leave the premises, they've basically relinquished their dog. They've surrendered their dog, so they've lost their rights to that dog."
In regards to Gunther, Vannerson said the decision to euthanize was made after consulting with a Paducah veterinary group. She said Gunther changed after a couple of days at the shelter, and became aggressive with other puppies. She said they separated him, but he continued to be vicious, and got to the point that he could not be handled or treated. It was at that point that the shelter took him to the veterinarian, and he was euthanized.
Still, Fairfield says he's heartbroken because he left with the understanding that any of the dogs would be returned to him under any circumstance, including if they became vicious.
Also, shelter employee Jeremiah Robertson was fired on Friday. He says he was told it was for a violation of policy. But Robertson says he believes he was fired for agreeing that Fairfield had been told that none of his animals would be euthanized, and for advising Fairfield that his dog had been put down. He added that he has never seen an employee policy manual, and was not told what policy he violated.
Vannerson would not comment on Robertson's employment. But she did say that no-kill may mean diferent things to diferent people. As an example, Vannerson says the McCracken County Humane Society does not put down animals for such issues as overcrowding, and not before consulting a veterinarian.
President James Shumaker told the Paducah Sun that the Humane Society's Board will meet Monday to discuss the issue, and make a final decsion on Robertson's employment. He added that Robertson has been contentious for the past year, and his behavior needs to be addressed.
"Terry Vannerson is the director there. He just works there. She's the boss. He challenges her on everything," Shumaker told the newspaper.
Robertson recorded euthanizations at the shelter last year that resulted in state charges being filed agains Beau Anderson and Delana Hall for the way animals were euthanized at the shelter. Anderson pled guilty to animal cruelty charges (for euthanizing animals that had not been sedated) in September and received a sentence of twelve months in jail. Ten of those months have been probated, so he is serving two months. He pled guilty to falsifying business records in August, because he filled out paperwork to show he euthanized animals, when Hall had actually performed the procedures.
Hall was sentenced in August to euthanizing animals without a license, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Hall is still an employee at the society, which is holding an open house October 27 to introduce new board members, show off remodeled facilities, and celebrate "new policies and procedures".