Pup found by hiker killed by Clackamus County Animal Shelter while people waited to adopt

Pup found by hiker killed by Clackamus County Animal Shelter while people waited to adopt

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Petition to
The People of Clackamas County and

Why this petition matters

Started by Meredith Nachtigal

Be Warned!
I am telling Winston's story because this may be the only way to shed light on a heartbreaking and avoidable experience at the Clackamas County Animal Shelter.
The result of this story is that Clackamas County has euthanized a dog despite the efforts, mine and of several licensed dog rescue organizations, to save his life.
I recently (May 30th, 2018) went on a hike to Abiqua Falls in Marion County with my friend Amanda Luce and, upon reaching the falls, came upon a family with three with three dogs. They asked if this was our dog, referring to a roughly two year old grey/white American pit bull. When we replied he wasn’t our dog, we learned that he had followed the family and their two dogs down from the trail head.
They didn’t have enough room in their car so I offered to take him. I cut some rope I found nearby and leashed him. He did great on the hike up and on the car ride home... Incredibly affectionate pup. Once we had cell service we attempted to locate a shelter that was open, but, as it was past 5pm and they were closed. Fortunately, we found a vet open (Banfield) and had him scanned for a chip. He was chip-less so we took him to a bathe-your-own-dog place and gave him a bath where I removed a tick from behind his ear. After washing him we brought him to my house to shelter him for the night where he and my elderly dog got along well. Throughout the entire night and the following day this dog was nothing but loving and appreciative of our care.  Unfortunately, Winston (the name we gave him) wasn’t neutered and got a little frisky with my older dog. I couldn’t shelter Winston and had to pursue other options. My friend Amanda volunteers at Multnomah County which is where she took him, but she was told we had to take him to Clackamas because that was the county where he was found.
After reluctantly leaving Winston at Clackamas County, Amanda and I were contacted by an Animal Control Officer (Officer Bray) who threatened to investigate us for abandoning this dog and insinuated that we knew more than what we had told the shelter. She was very rude and accusatory. After a lot of convincing I asked to be kept up to date on Winston because I was actively seeking a permanent home for him. Officer Bray told me that Winston would most likely be euthanized and would never be released to me.
I left feeling incredibly angry, shocked and dejected. I called the shelter daily to inquire about Winston and his progress, but they were annoyed and not inclined to offer any information. On Friday, June 8th Amanda called once again to check on his progress towards adoption and she was told he was due to be euthanized as he had failed his behavioral assessment. When Amanda pressed them for details they said he had snapped at a handler when they were attempting to brush his teeth. I was unaware shelters did teeth cleanings for stray animals, but it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for a terrified animal to react that way to a stranger putting hands in their mouths. This seemed extreme, especially since they further explained that he didn’t break the skin.
I went to the shelter the morning of June 9th to see how I could save Winston. I was incredibly emotional assuming I might already be too late. I demanded that Winston be released to my custody and they told me that there was nothing I could do, that he would be euthanized. They also insinuated I was Winston’s original owner and that it was my fault he was being put down. I lost my cool at that comment and on my way out called them murderers and let some expletives fly. Before I left I asked them if he was still alive at that moment. They confirmed he was.
I realized the urgency to act fast and deliberately. Winston was still alive. There was still a chance. I called every rescue I could within a 50 mile radius and got calls back from a few. The few I spoke to said they could attempt a rescue pull for him, a common practice for dogs facing euthanasia. Not only did Clackamas County refuse,  they also changed their story quite a bit. The original “reason” (Winston’s outburst during his teeth cleaning ) for putting him down changed to a claim of  “constant aggression” toward all of his handlers. Clackamas even told one rescue that he had bitten the people who brought him in. I’m that person and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Winston was nothing but sweet and loving during my time with him and certainly never bit Amanda or I.
I failed to save Winston. My efforts were futile. In reaching out to several advocacy groups and other county shelters during this process, I have learned that Clackamas County is known for this behavior. While keeping myself updated about Winston I found it odd that they only have three dogs available for adoption. All the rest of the lost or stray dogs are held in the same holding pattern that doomed Winston.
I can only hope that Winston’s death will help shed light on what appears to be, at best, a poorly run shelter and at the worst, a killing center for lost animals of Clackamas County. Please help us look into this and help save innocent lives. There are multiple accounts of this shelter mishandling dogs and putting good dogs down without anything close to a fair shake.
Wouldn’t taxpayers like to know that their money is being misappropriated and, instead of helping to save lives, this shelter is actively seeking to end them? The fact is that as of Sunday the 11th, there are only 2 dogs available for adoption at this shelter… How is that even remotely possible? After discussing with multiple other people and resources (rescues, other shelters, even the Sheriff's Dept of Clackamas), the general consensus is this shelter's negligence and deliberate indifference is well-known. There is no oversight and complacence due to union protection and again, a deliberate desire to euthanize animals.
 Thank you for your time,
 Trevor Prins


1,072 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!