When you show courage, it inspires courage in others.

The following was sent to Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin, who have spearheaded their own “Save-A-Pet Program” after a proposal with the programs and services of the No Kill Equation was submitted by the grassroots organization, No Kill Columbus GA. This is a letter written by a concerned citizen that has recently joined the new volunteer force at Columbus Animal Care & Control here in Georgia.


I volunteered at Colulmbus Animal Control this past Saturday, and I witnessed an incident that I feel is very important to share with you.

What I am referring to is the violent way in which an A.C. employee dragged both of the small dogs pictured here on a chokepole, from one end of the kennels all the way down to the other (to put them in a different pen). He drug each dog as it was on its back, feet up in the air, while they writhed around and gasped and hacked, trying to get air because the chokepole noose was so tight. He literally threw each one of them in the pen. They had to have been all bruised up after that.

A few minutes later I asked why he had handled such small dogs (they couldn’t have weighed more than 15-20 pounds each) so violently, and on the chokepole—had that really been necessary? He responded that he would get written up for a safety violation, if he didn’t use a chokepole on aggressive dogs.

You can see from this picture that the black and white one was dripping blood from his nose or mouth (not sure which) after this ordeal.

You can see the blood dripping from either the dogs nose or mouth onto the cement floor.

These dogs were so terrified after this, that they huddled together, absolutely quivering with fear. I knelt down and petted the b&w one through the cage (on his back–he did not turn around to face me) with no problem. Since he showed no aggression, I then went in the cage to kneel down and see if I could talk to him softly for a few minutes and see where the blood was coming from. Another employee saw me in there and said, “Maam PLEASE don’t go in that cage!” (They were letting me go in other cages to clean, in fact, I had already been in cages with most of the other dogs there, to use the “pooper scooper” and to mop.)

These two small dogs never did appear on the Animal Control website so I can only surmise they were both killed after closing at 5 p.m. Both staff members acted like these dogs were so viscious and dangerous, and I don’t know why. But even if they WERE aggressive, they STILL deserve to be treated humanely. It is a certainty that these dogs were dragged back to the “kill room” in the same violent manner. In what I saw happen, there was only one “aggressor,” and it was the AC staffperson. It really sickened me to see someone entrusted with the care of our society’s most helpless—companion animals who end up in the pound—treating them so heartlessly.

Unfortunately I can’t do anything for those dogs now, but what I can do is report to those in authority what I saw happen to them.

Thank you for your time.

While I applaud her courage to speak up for the animals, this brings up a topic familiar to too many animal advocates, which Nathan Winograd wrote about in his September 30, 2011 blog, Courage & Cowardice in the Fight for a No Kill Nation (<~ click there to read his blog in it’s entirety). Nathan Winograd “would meet with the rescuers and volunteers privately. In order to get them to come and speak candidly, I had to promise them confidentiality, though I encouraged them to speak up and go on record. I always asked them:

Do you look the other way at inhumane treatment of animals in the shelter for fear you will lose your ability to rescue/volunteer?

And the answer, invariably, was “Yes.” They described how other rescuers [and volunteers] were barred from saving animals as retaliation for complaining about the shelter, even if they first offered suggestions and when those were ignored, went public. And so rather than see the animals killed, rescuers have learned to keep quiet. To see the dog bleeding in his cage but not complain.”

“When you speak the truth, when you stand up to bullies and expose them for who and what they really are, there may be some hardships, but there are also plenty of rewards. That the neglect and abuse ends and that the animals live instead of die goes without saying. Moreover, when you show courage, it inspires courage in others and you find you are not alone. A movement grows. History vindicates you. And you become a leader.”

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson replied with the following:
“I appreciate you sharing this with us.  I can assure you that as described the violent treatment of an animal is forbidden.  We will investigate and if substantiated will take immediate action.  Thank you for volunteering at the shelter.  You are making a difference and we are committed to the fact that our staff will humanely facilitate the adoption of every adoptable animal.  Thank you again.

Teresa Pike Tomlinson
Columbus Consolidated Government”

I will be sharing information as it develops. I hope this very serious issue is addressed by the city, and the staff member responsible is held accountable.

If you want to join the conversation and speak up for the animals in Columbus, join us at the next No Kill Meeting this Sunday, October 9th, at Kirkland Memorial Baptist Church (6304 Lynridge Ave). The location had changed, so it will NOT be held at the public library. I hope to see you all there!

20 Responses to “When you show courage, it inspires courage in others.

  • This just makes me sick! Those poor abimals. Thak you so much for reporting this! Please follow up and let us know what happens next, whether the man gets fired, or policy changes, etc. If the dog was bleeding after being dragged…that is ANIMAL ABUSE and the man should be prosecuted!

  • Thank you for sharing this Stefani…the public needs to know.

  • This brought me to tears! This is NOT acceptable!!!

  • This is horrible I hope the city employee will get fired. How sick must one be to abuse little puppies that way.

  • These employees salaries are paid with taxpayers dollars so as a taxpayer and a shelter volunteer, you have every right to voice your opinion and you should report abusive employee behavior to Chris Brown, the mayor, the city manager and the city council members.

  • The employees will probably cover it up and nothing done. Thank God there were pictures of these poor babies. My heart hurts so bad and everytime I read this I cry:( This better be investigated and appropriate action taken against the SOB that takes his anger out on poor animals. Animal abuse is against the law and this jerk should be prosecuted and pulled by his neck… I would love to do to him the same way he did it to those two pups. We the tax payers have a say and I say FIRE this POS that did this. If no action is taken can we bring this to the media? It has to STOP!

  • Oh my god. This is so cruel. This is an incident that was witnessed, what are they doing when nobody is around!!!!! The response of Mayor Tomlinson is typical for her. Act concerned. Really don’t give a dam and will just help to cover it up.

  • There is no excuse for animal abuse and even though i live in north-dakota we have a no-kill shelter here in bismarck,which i support.there are some shelters that use the heart-stick to put animals to sleep,which i think should be banned.some even use gas-chambers which is just a horrible way for an animal to die.america needs to stop the killing.in also a vet-tech student,and it breaks my heart to see these poor things just tossed aside like trash.animal abuse angers alot of people and people are the problem because they wount spay or neuter their pets.and when they become pregnant who do they blame?the animal.we should have a law passed to make spay and neuter mantory.

  • What strikes me about this letter and many other things I read about shelters is this presumption that so many/most shelter dogs are aggressive and deadly dangerous to humans. That’s an attitude in shelters that has to change – NOW! These animals are just terrified of their new strange surroundings. I mean, the idea that it would be safety violation if a dog wasn’t dragged around by choke pole???!!! And the admonition not to go into a cage with a dog? What’s even more absurd is that if you really are worried about getting bitten by a dog, you can certainly find/wear some protective clothing (e.g., boots, leggings, and heavy sleeved garments). This is an absolute failure of shelter management! Volunteers and taxpayers need to speak up! Now!

  • I worked for a great Vet for 5 years full time. The only time he “allowed” the pole collar on was when a pit bull, bull mastiff, rottie, came in. He would approach the dog and put it on him/her for transportation to and from kennel to kennel. It was a insurance thing with him. But I’ll tell you he treated all animals the way they should have been treated. This man needs to not only loose his job but to be prosecuted. Bastard. like to have 5 minutes with him and a bat.

    • Me second. If they get what they give, we’ll find they’re just cowards and won’t be able to stand up to opposition! What are the Mayors, City Council and other powers that be doing. We have so much dirt, it’s time they paid attention or find themselves out of a job! They aren’t doing what they were elected to do and it’s time they listened to the People. We won’t be put off anymore!

  • Keep going public! Thank you for speaking up! Everyone, please step up and follow in this brave volunteers footsteps! The author of this blog is right, the inhumanity will stop when the power of the many overcome it! A bully is nothing more than a scared punk who needs a good ass-whoopin’…
    I learned this first hand early in my own life, when I got fed up one day, and turned around and kicked my abusive former husband’s ass into the next Thursday (it helped that he was home recuperating from surgery. It was a simple out-patient surgery! “wimp”). But, he crumbled like a little boy and I saw him (for the first time) for what he truly was, a coward! From that time forward, 27 years later, of course, I divorced from him immediately after that; I never again was afraid of another bully and never will be! Mean-spirited people like this only continue to make others suffer when others do nothing to stop them.

  • I’m sick to my stomach that this goes on and on. There is no excuse for animal abuse. This is also no place to play I’m in control and you can’t save that animal because I say so. We know who and where they are and it’s time to put a stop to it. We need a plan as we are not right to let this continue. I’ll be glad to raise all the hell you need just to make this stop!

  • I hope the mayor is a decent person and realizes that when the citizens find out what is happening with their tax dollars they will not support this behavior. I am sickened to hear that such sadistic persons found employment at this so-called shelter, which is a shelter for incompetent people and not for the animals. I hope this is not tolerated and justice will be served. There is no way this can be put right if the dogs in question were already killed. Unfortunately, they didn’t have anyone in their corner. I commend the person who reported this crime. Thank you.

  • I am an animal lover, and it sickens me to think for one minute this is allowed in any shelter. I would be willing to bet there are no hard and fast rules at this shelter for using a choke pole on every animal. If this dog had been adopted, would they have brought it out to the adopter on a chokepole? I think not. Those who lie to cover their misdeeds deserve the harshest punishment of all. Termination and a fine at the least. Perhaps community service, but not with animals or small children. Perhaps picking up garbage. I simply cannot understand why someone would even want to work in an animal shelter if they don’t love animals. Please take action against this person. Investigation may lead to covering this act up, and if the person in question is allowed to remain in this postion, who knows what may happen next. Consider this when making your decision.

  • Animals are living beings, and need to be treated as living beings!
    They were on this planet long before us!!!
    So treat them with Respect!
    We are the Perputrators, not them!
    Our human race is nothing but INHUMANE!!!!

  • I hope something is done about this. Too many shelters allow this abuse and the public has no idea of the truth. There is a rescue shelter in North Creek, NY where the dogs are serverly abused daily yet nothing is done about it and they continue to tourture and kill dogs as they put on a phoney front to the public.

  • I am ashamed of our city leaders for letting this continue. How many times does this kind of abuse have to be brought to your attention before you people get it. Lets see how many of you feel come election time! Our tax dollars were used to build this new facility, and it is a very nice place but you cant put a pretty face on what you are allowing to happen inside when the tax payers arent looking. You all better see this as a problem you cant afford not to fix. And that doesnt mean covering it up! These are animals we are suposed to be protecting not abusing. And as far as Paws goes. I know alot of people like to feel all warm and fuzzy by saying “Oh yes ,we are a big supporters of Paws Humane” Well you are part of the problem. It takes more than money to fix these problems. You see, people are angry and fed up with the way our city handles Gods creatures. They are just like us but they dont have a voice …….We are their voice. People who do bad things will answer for them one day, well Mayor and city leaders we want some answers now. Not a bunch of sugar coated BS to make it look like you give a flip. How would you like to be treated like some of the animals in our city, at Animal Control. Your public, the tax payers, the voters, are all watching.

  • Lori,
    While mandatory spay/neuter sounds like a good idea, killing has increased wherever such a law has been passed. This is because when an animal becomes a financial liability, many people will either not act and the animal is seized by the kill-shelter, or the animal is relinquished for financial reasons. Free or extremely low-cost s/n has shown to actually get the result we want, and that is what needs to be implemented, preferably free. These programs do exist in many areas, you can do a search. Also remember that s/n saves animals who are never born, but even sterilized animals die frequently in kill shelters. Without stepped up marketing, adoption, intake reduction, owner return and rehab of dogs with issues, spayed and neutered dogs die anyway. Here is the current status of successful No-Kill programs— http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org Here is what shelters should and will be instead of the current prison model which causes such problems for the inmates. http://www.shelterrevolution.org Peace!

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