The Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter gets new leadership this month, with kennel manager Mindy Naticchioni taking the reins May 28, after volunteer coordinator Cynthia Breda joins the staff May 21.
While Naticchioni has never managed an animal shelter before, her bachelors degree in business administration and experience in accounting and budgeting will be put to immediate use addressing the many problems found during a recent audit of the shelters policies and practices. (See the Internal Audit Report in the Document Cloud below.)
The Cuyahoga County Department of Internal Auditing discovered the kennel, from Jan. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012, failed to obey multiple state laws, lacked organization and mishandled revenue and records.
Deficiencies detailed in the 34-page report include:
Failure to weigh dogs before injecting them with a euthanasia drug that must be given based on weight, according to a federal regulation.
Over- and under-worked employees and some who werent sure of their duties.
Lax security and nonfunctioning security cameras.
Failure to verify that employees who drive county vehicles have drivers licenses and auto insurance.
Missing financial and dog records.
Failure to safeguard Social Security and checking account numbers of adopters.
Failure to comply with the state law that requires dog wardens to regularly patrol their county to find and capture loose dogs.
Incomplete records on surgeries and dogs being held.
Faulty donation records that prevented auditors from determining whether donations had been misappropriated.
Failure to issue dog licenses in sequential order.
Missing dog licenses and license sales records, which could result in a dog not being reunited with its owner.
Charging $1 or $2 to replace a lost dog tag, while state law requires a $5 fee.
Overcharging for licenses because of a faulty website.
Paying unapproved overtime and an employee who failed to use a time card.
Failure to lock up medications and keep records on their use.
Ten horses, a pony and a mule have been turned over to the Florence Area Humane Society and Florence County Environmental Services.
They were seized yesterday from the Harden Road home of Lynn Schaeffer, 65, and her daughter Wendy Desarbo, 39.
The two were arrested at their home in Pamplico and charged with Ill Treatment of Animals.
A veterinarian is expected to visit all the animals Thursday afternoon to see what vaccinations they need and what, if any, underlying medical conditions they have.
A spokesperson for the Florence Area Humane Society said yesterday that the animals seemed extremely malnourished.
A preliminary court hearing for Schaeffer and Desarbo is scheduled for June 18.
The Kolb family discovered Saturday night that someone had stolen two batteries from some equipment at their Gray Road farm near the Ohio/Indiana state line in Reily Township.
Photos: Animals attacked
But when they looked further, they found that four lambs had been killed and three others injured. Two horses also had wounds to their necks.
Its very deep, its to the bone, its through the muscle, said Brittany Kolb.
The family said it appeared that many, if not all the wounds may have been caused by a hatchet.
If they hurt animals like this and this severely, what they would do to human beings? Kolb said. I mean, that was bad enough to think that somebody came on to your property and stole, but then to realize not only did they steal, they gruesomely injured your animals.
Kolb said one horse was still under veterinary care after a deep cut to its jugular vein.
"From his jaw, down the length of his neck about 16 inches, he has a gash that is very bad," Kolb said.
She said that on Saturday, when they believe the mutilations occurred, rain prevented them from getting close or noticing the animals' wounds.
Meerkats have one of the animal kingdoms most efficient security operations. A sentinel stands guard, watching for any potential threats. Should an intruder approach, an entire clan -- from elderly grandmas to younger dads -- mob the unwelcome visitor.
Non-dangerous terrestrial animals most often ran away when they were approached and mobbed by the meerkats, explained Beke Graw and Marta Manser of the University of Zurich. More threatening animals, such as poisonous snakes, were also mobbed, but the meerkats often had to back down and leave, knowing they might be safer doing so.
The researchers hope the technology can help make daily tasks quicker and
easier for the animals in the same way it has transformed the lives of
THE first four-legged animals colonised land 400 million years ago, but it took them 80 million years to lose their fishy heads.
Marcello Ruta of the University of Lincoln, UK, and colleagues examined the lower jaws of 89 tetrapod fossils, dating from 410 to 295 million years ago. During this period, fish fins evolved into limbs, allowing their owners to crawl out of the water onto land.
The team found that all the animals had jaws of roughly the same shape. Major changes only started around 320 million years ago, mostly occurring in reptiles (Integrative and Comparative Biology, doi.org/mfd).
The animals early fish-like jaws were suited to tearing flesh rather than chewing plants. Rutas finding supports the theory that reptiles evolved their jaws only after they had mastered breathing using their ribs, allowing them to devote their mouths to chewing.
This article appeared in print under the headline First land dwellers kept fish faces
The way some people pursue passions to live their dreams takes your breath away. So it is with the family that runs Tamp;Ds Cats of the World in Penns Creek.
Located on 35 acres in the middle of a Pennsylvania woods, the Mattive family -- Terry and Donna, daughter Jennifer and son TJ -- has created a safe, peaceful home for 300 animals who have been abused, neglected or abandoned because they should not have been pets in the first place.
Were Not Talking Kitty Cats
Were not talking cats and dogs. Were talking lions and tigers, monkeys and bears and other exotic animals who can never be returned to the wild because theyve been raised by humans. Many of them have had claws or teeth removed.
These animals would have been euthanized if I didnt make a home for them, said Terry Mattive, a retired state trooper who opened Tamp;Ds Cats 23 years ago after getting his first bobcat and cougar. They didnt ask to be born.
28 Tiny Animals That I Want To Put In My Pocket
Cute things come in small packages, and I have the pictures to prove it. Add yours in the comment...
"And it's been a slow month, so far," said Marsha Williams, director of the shelter.
The News Record talked to more than a dozen pet owners who surrendered their animals this week. They asked that their names not be used.
Ricky's owner brushed away tears in the shelter parking lot Thursday as her dog sat patiently on a leash at her side. She was trying to work up the nerve to walk through the door.
"I'm really ashamed, but we've got no choice at this point," she said. "We just can't take of him the way we should."
In a struggling economy the cost of pet ownership -- feeding, grooming, vaccines and proper medical care -- can become overwhelming.
Ricky's owners used to think nothing of the $30-$50 per month it cost to keep him. He has a skin condition and allergies, which led to big veterinary bills, but he was part of the family.
After pay cuts at work and then a layoff, it became harder.
"Finally, it's like you have to choose between kids' clothes and food and rent or taking care of him," his owner said. "It just breaks your heart."
Williams said it's a common story -- and one about which most owners feel deep shame.
"Some people come in and tell us that it's not their dog," Williams said. "They'll say they found it and have been keeping it. But you can tell from how emotional they get, and how attached the dog is, that it's theirs. They just can't admit it.
"We get emotional right with them. It's hard."
For some owners, the shelter represents a last hope. They can no longer care for their pet -- but maybe their pet can find a new, more stable family.
Sadly, many pets will never be adopted.
Last year, the local nonprofit shelter took in more than 14,000 dogs and cats -- strays and voluntary surrenders. About 1,000 of those were returned to their owners. A little more than 4,000 were adopted. More than 7,000 were euthanized.
The shelter keeps, with no time limit, any animal that officials believe can be successfully adopted. Some animals have been there more than a year.
But the shelter doesn't adopt out more aggressive breeds of dogs -- pit bulls, Rottweilers and chows. Between concerns about safety and the fear they might be used for animal fights, Williams said, the shelter can't take the chance. They work with local rescue groups to find homes for some of those dogs -- but these days the volume is too much.
"When people surrender those dogs, we tell them we'll try to work with rescues to find them homes," Williams said. "But we let them know, with the number we get, they're likely to be euthanized."
The same goes for animals whose behavior makes them dangerous or who are too sick to be adopted.
The shelter is doing what it can to help poor families with pets. Last year, the shelter began a low-cost spay and neuter program and it offers free and reduced-cost vaccines during special events. Last month, the shelter started a pet food bank for low-income families.
But the problem is growing. As of Thursday, there were nearly 1,000 animals in the small shelter off West Wendover Avenue. The space is cramped and the program has really outgrown it, Williams said. But the county leases the site to the shelter for $1 a year and the nonprofit can't afford the expansion.
In fact, the spectre of a budget cut is ever present. Guilford County contracts with the United Animal Coalition to run the shelter, providing a little more than $1.5 million for them to do their work.
That's 10 percent less than in 2010, when the contract was last negotiated. There are two years left on the current five-year contract, but the contract can be terminated without cause with 90 days' notice.
The new, fiscally conservative majority on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has made it clear that all departments and programs are on the table for cuts as they try to close a $14 million budget gap. Non-mandated services and taxpayer funding for nonprofits have been especially criticized.
Williams said the shelter and its partners are constantly working to find new funding. They received more than $200,000 in donations this year and about $300,000 in donated food for the animals, she said.
"They cut the funding from the county before we signed our last contract, and I'm sure they're going to cut it again once this contract ends," Williams said. "We're going to just keep thinking outside the box to try to keep improving with help from the community."
Contact Joe Killian at 373-7023, and follow @joekillian on Twitter.
SOLAS' Temporary Adoption Foster Care program was developed to help get the litters of puppies and kittens out of the shelter and into a home until the litter is old enough to be permanently adopted.
Loving homes help socialize the animals and give them a chance to be adopted in a healthy state. We also use the foster care program as a place for injured or sick adult shelter animals that have received veterinary care to go to recover in a less stressful environment.