City Officials Refuse to Release Elijah to the Rescue that Saved His Life *FREE ELIJAH*
Elijah is still being held at the Columbus Animal Care & Control in Georgia. You can read my previous blog about his back
story. The Mayor wants everybody to believe he is safe. One concerned citizen contacted her after hearing about Elijah’s plea. The Mayor’s response began with “YOU NEED TO GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT…. Everything you’ve read is LIES and you’ve been misled”. From the citizen she was responding to, “I asked her to release him to Animal Ark but she says he leaves Tuesday for a treatment facility…“. I am not so naive as to think he is out of danger from being killed, and the same question remains, WHY CAN’T HE GO BACK TO ANIMAL ARK?
At Columbus Animal Care & Control, their “treatment” of sick animals involves an injection of Fatal-Plus. Unconfirmed rumors are still circulating about Elijah being transferred to Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah but I am not optimistic. The “adopter” who is requesting/demanding that he go there, even told Animal Ark that she would personally drive Elijah to Utah to prevent him from being released back into their care. I, for one, do not believe Best Friends will even take Elijah, and wonder why somebody that is claiming to have been “attacked” by him, would then volunteer to drive him over half-way across the country.
The Lexus Project is a law firm that provides legal defense on a case by case basis for dogs believed to be improperly or unfairly facing dangerous dog designations or euthanasia. From their facebook page, “We want every dog brought to safety and we will help.” It is my belief that Elijah has been wrongfully classified as a “potentially dangerous dog”, warranting their help.
When asked if they will be helping Elijah on their facebook page, they share with us that the woman that adopted Elijah, a Ms. Ramsey, “stated she had just gotten of the phone with one of the Board people who also told her Elijah would be going for evaluation and for behavioral work. From all these conversations it appears that Elijah is indeed safe and on his way to a facility which can evaluate him. He is in good shape according to Ms. Ramsey who stated that she goes to visit him everyday. Lexus Project focuses on getting dogs safe… this now appears to be a custody issue over who really owns Elijah, which we do not get involved in. TLP applauds that they are doing the right thing and will follow the situation and looks forward to hearing when Elijah Finally goes to his permanent forever home.”
I find it very interesting, that while the Rescue that saved Elijah, networked for his care, and provided his medical treatment, is barred from even SEEING Elijah during his hold, this woman who had him in her home for less than 24 hours, who claims that he “attacked” her, and who then relinquished ownership to the city, is allowed to visit him every day. For what reason are they hiding him from the people who truly care about his well-being? I also wonder what sort of evaluation process this mysterious treatment facility will use, and what training the evaluators have been through. Something should be said about evaluating such a severely emaciated and unhealthy dog. It is not uncommon for some evaluators to use behavior problems such as food guarding to classify dogs as “unadoptable”, resulting in their untimely and unneccessary death. In reality, it is a behavior problem that can be easily modified, and certainly no reason for classification as a “potentially dangerous dog”.
Looking back at what happened that day, and considering the definition of a “potentially dangerous dog”, once again I do NOT believe that Elijah attacked unprovoked. HE is the one with bite wounds from the other resident dog. Ms. Ramsey herself stated on her own facebook page that her dog received no bite wounds, just a scratch, reason to believe it was HER dog that redirected toward her during the dog fight.
Regardless, if this is in fact a custody issue, should CACC be required to hold Elijah until it is sorted out? Is it fair for them to quickly ship him off to some undisclosed “treatment facility”? One thing we know for certain, the longer he stays at Animal Control, the longer he goes untreated.
Who does Elijah “belong” to?
As many of you had already mentioned, Animal Ark Rescue’s adoption contract does, in fact, state that the adopter must “not sell or give the Animal away for any reason. If it becomes necessary to find the Animal another home, the Rescue will be contacted and the Animal shall be returned to them. Meaning, if for any reason during the entire lifespan of the animal, the Adopter is unable to care for or keep the animal; it must be returned to Animal Ark.” Obviously the adopter failed to uphold these conditions, instead of contacting the rescue (who was actually trying to reach her after the first phone call requesting 2nd Ave Animal Hospital’s phone number), she surrendered Elijah to Animal Control.
In all bite quarantine cases, an owner is given the option to either board the dog at a veterinary clinic throughout the quarantine period, or to keep them at Animal Control. One may argue that Elijah should have been able to serve his quarantine at 2nd Ave, where treatment could be provided. Elijah was not given this option because his life and soul were surrendered into the custody of the city. For the past 26 days, they have refused him the care that he needs, care that a rescue is willing and able to pay for. If it were a citizen refusing medical care for a dog in his condition, they could be cited for animal cruelty and neglect. As I’ve said before, Columbus city officials and shelter leaders are apparently above the law. And again, according to Mayor Tomlinson, “We are fortunate to have such a compassionate Director, staff and Advisors!”
From another citizen, “Where was the compassionate Director when Elijah layed dying in her facility in the first place? He was but skin and bones and no afford was made to give him any care than. Now that someone else paid for his medical care you all wanna be Hero’s ? Please tell us where he is going?”
The adopter is also claiming that Animal Ark misrepresented Elijah. She has even threatened legal action against the rescue, claiming that she was unaware of any behavior problems. Well we know this is not true, as we have multiple witnesses saying that she was warned of his food aggression. As with EVERY RESCUE DOG, there is no guarantee as to how they will transition into their new home, and especially a dog in his condition. She failed to follow specific instructions to keep Elijah’s E-collar on, and she failed to follow canine introduction suggestions.
Despite all this, the city is believing her every word, and the only reasonable explanation is because they have finally found somebody that can help them with their own ulterior motives.
Past Instances of Retaliation
- A volunteers eyewitness of abuse at CACC, with photo. Two days later, the Volunteer Program was cancelled. This sign is now displayed prominently.
- Functioning PetFinder account run by volunteers, forced closed citing “failure to update”. You can read about that here and here. In truth, the facility was receiving too many phone calls inquiring about animals that may or may not still be there. Since then, CACC has restored their PetFinder account but I’m not aware of ANY volunteers that have access, they do not include any notes about the pets temperament or personality as the original volunteer had, and they STILL do not keep it up to date. Today, the 26th of March, this litter of 8 puppies that were rescued by Animal Ark last week, Hercules, formerly Tag #195, who was also rescued last Friday, the 23rd, and others that are no longer at the facility, are all still listed on PetFinder
- Caitlyn Townsend was the Volunteer Off-site Adoption Coordinator for CACC and the first to hold offsite adoption events, developing and implementing the entire off-site adoptions program and often holding events along with Animal Ark Rescue to increase traffic. On Feb. 28th, Caitlyn was relieved of her duties, with the Director verbally citing the comments made on her public facebook page, Happy Homes, which has been the catalyst for the recent demand for shelter reform as the reason for her termination. When asked for justification in writing, the city refused, stating “Yesterday afternoon, Drale discussed the reasons for the action being taken. City staff will not discuss this any further, either with you or anyone else. We consider the matter closed.” We are still petitioning signatures for the Reinstatement of offsite adoption coordinator Caitlyn Townsend before presenting to Columbus City Council. More on this in a blog to follow…
- It was in May that No Kill Columbus, GA presented Mayor Tomlinson with an action plan for Columbus, requestion the implementation of the No Kill Equation at CACC. She requested a meeting where, instead of utilizing the ONLY proven cost-effective solution to reaching a 90% of more save rate (where no more that 10% of the animals taken in are killed), she presented the Save-A-Pet Program. After pressing Mayor Tomlinson for an ultimate goal for her program, she refused. While the No Kill Equation has a goal of reaching a 90% save rate, she protested, quite rudely in fact, to setting an objective. This is because the Save A Pet Program has none, giving her an excuse to be so defensive when it is scrutinized. It, arguably, has resulted in some improvement (improvement that can truly be credited to Happy Homes, the new rescues, and the community networking for the animals, but the Mayor refuses to admit that), but Columbus wants more. We won’t stop at a 45% kill rate (which was only ONE MONTH, hardly a true figure for the average kill rate), and we need a genuinely compassionate director to get us there. One that doesn’t kill animals to spite those that criticize her, one with a backbone who will do whatever is needed in order to save these pets. These are pets that have people willing and able to save them, and this is a city that supports life-saving efforts. In attendance to represent No Kill Columbus at that meeting, was myself, Bob Stoddard (who is the father of Caitlyn Townsend, mentioned above), one local citizen, and… guess who… The Director for Animal Ark. Are you surprised to learn that the Director of Animal Ark is also a leading member of No Kill Columbus, Georgia, or is it all starting to make sense?
Let’s not forget, that while the city now claims that Elijah is “safe”, they had undoubtedly made the determination to kill him rather than release him to Animal Ark. It was only after Animal Ark requested the hearing to repeal the decision, our fight to save him has gone public, and now that the city is outraged, that they have decided to take the high road. They have no interest in his well-being, only in preventing Animal Ark from caring for him. One person commented, “Never in the History of the Animal Advisory Board has a dog been sentenced to death. Never has the surrendering owner given a voice as what is to happen with the animal. Just this week a dog that bit a 3 year old child was released back into the home, and never has the Mayor been involved in a biting case! Someone please tell us what makes Elijah so special to the City? Oh, its because Animal Ark is affiliated with the No Kill Movement that the Mayor hates so much. So, to punish the people….you kill the dog! Nice move Madam Mayor, may you always be remembered for your stance against life and as a hindrance to the movement.”