Caring Protests

County animal shelter mistakenly kills family pet

September 3, 2013

Facebook and the web were lit up this weekend over the story of a family pet being killed at the Escambia County Animal Shelter due to a clerical error.

On August 29, a three-year-old Labrador retriever mix named Cowgirl was mistakenly euthanized by the shelter just hours before her owners were to bring her home. The dog’s intake card did not have an “arrow” drawn on the top right hand corner with the one word “over,” indicating the dog was claimed and going home, according to the Facebook group, Lost and Found Pets of Pensacola and Surrounding Areas.

According to the Facebook group, the owners did meet with shelter officials:

Lost and Found Pets of Pensacola & surrounding areas

Danielle Riggens response after meeting with the ECAS about Cowgirl:
OK- Brittany Ann Meade and I would like to give everyone an update on our meeting with the Shelter this morning.
We met with the Director and supervisor of the shelter, who did express their apologies for this tragedy. They accept responsibility for what happened to our girl, and are planning to change their procedures, as they were aware that there was a lack of efficiency in their current system. We accepted their apology, and appreciate their willingness to change.

HOWEVER- We need to now ensure that this does in fact change. Telling us what you will do is not proving it will happen. The higher ups need to know about this, and they need to regulate and ensure they are implementing the new policy. We want to make this known: Brit and I do not want slander or negativity against the shelter, but rather people to push for something to change. The director made us aware of public meeting with the board and county commissioners on Sept 17, where they will let us be heard! Channel 3 has contacted me, and will be doing a report to help us be the voice the animals.

Again- our mission is to not attack the shelter, but to push for change. Please help us in this fight! Thanks for the support again, as we are still heartbroken without out girl here. Please Please continue to share this story! We also would like the state of Florida to change the 3 day kill policy!!!! Thank you all soo sooooo much for everything. We read the article above and are truly amazed with the Pensacola Pet Community. We love you all.

Animal activist Patty Krakowski wants pet lovers to write letters of protest to the ECAS:

Cowgirl is a bit like my Marshall. She is a runner. She got away from her family and before they could catch up with her, Escambia County Animal Control arrested her. Cowgirl’s family had been in constant contact with the shelter and was going to bail her out. When one of Cowgirl’s family members arrived to pick her up today, they were informed that she had be “accidentally put down” because the shelter staff failed to read the notes on her paperwork. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!! Please call or write and tell them this kind of neglect and disregard is NOT OK!!!!!!
200 W Fairfield Dr Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 595-3075

This could be one of your babies!!! Cowgirl was someone’s family member. hearts are broken.

God Speed, Cowgirl. We will do our best to keep this from happening to another baby

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  • jeeperman September 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Went and read the PNJ article.
    If what is printed is true, this dogs death is on the owners.
    How about posting “the rest of the story”, Rick ?

    • Rick Outzen September 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Our reporter is at the county press conference.

  • CJ Lewis September 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Stella – Thanks. I asked because I once recall the Commissioners discussing making the shelter a no-kill shelter.

  • jeeperman September 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I agree 100% with Anna.
    I notice that there is no mention of a time line.
    i.e. when their dog was picked up and when the owners attempted to pick her up.
    I know if it were my dog, I would have been at the shelter within minutes or waiting on their doorstep when they opened the next day.

  • Anna September 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    When I read the PNJ article I was struck that maybe both sides could have done things to prevent this. If the owners found out that Cowgirl was at the shelter on Wednesday, was there a way to pick her up on Wednesday? Was she micro-chipped with current information? Was she wearing a collar with her tag on it when she got away from her owners? These are all things I learned that I needed to make sure that my dogs had after mine were let out, and I was fortunate enough to claim them after either me, a friend, or a family member was at the shelter three times a day for a week until they were brought in. I now have my dogs in a fenced yard, behind a gate with a padlock on it, and an electric wire at the top and bottom to keep them from digging out or jumping over. I crate trained my dogs so that if I had any fear, even though they have a dog door, I put them in the crates when I am not able to watch them when I am in the yard.

    The shelter has responsibility, but the ultimate responsibility is with the owners. As much as we would all like it to be otherwise. As pet owners, who feel like these are our children, we don’t let our children out of site, so we have to take the same responsibility with our animals. It is sad story, and I know the owners must be heartbroken. I am sure that the shelter staff is as well.

  • stella jones September 3, 2013 at 11:38 am

    there is no “state” 3 day kill policy, it is completely in the discretion of the county

  • CJ Lewis September 3, 2013 at 8:38 am

    What is the state’s three day kill policy?