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Rescue groups say dogs fare poorly in Augusta shelter

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 9:49 PM
Last updated Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 1:04 AM
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When Molly’s Militia volunteer Kathlyn Hallinan saw the Rottweiler mix at Augusta Animal Services on Aug. 12, she was certain the dog was near death.

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Georgie Girl, a Rottweiler mix being fostered by the Molly's Militia rescue group, was called "emaciated" by an Evans clinic after leaving Augusta Animal Services.   SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Georgie Girl, a Rottweiler mix being fostered by the Molly's Militia rescue group, was called "emaciated" by an Evans clinic after leaving Augusta Animal Services.

Three weeks after arriving at the shelter, the dog’s hips and ribs were protruding, discharge was running from her nose, she was heartworm-positive and needed veterinary attention fast.

Because the dog, named Georgie Girl, was not spayed, Hallinan could not remove her from the shelter outright. Even though Geor­gia law would have allowed her to take the dog home and return with proof that she had been spayed within 30 days, Animal Services Director Sharon Broady has said no animal can be surrendered to a rescue or individual until it is sterilized.

It took a week for Animal Services to make arrangements to drive the dog to a vet for surgery, but by the time Georgie Girl arrived at Evans Animal Hospital, she was too sick to undergo the procedure.

“She was emaciated thin, she was coughing, she had nasal discharge and a temperature of 104.7,” said Evans Animal Hospital manager Beth Bakkal. “I tend to think that if Richmond County went to someone’s house and found dogs in these conditions, they would prosecute.”

Several rescue groups say they are facing hurdles in trying to adopt animals from Au­gusta’s municipal shelter, and once they do, some animals are in desperate conditions.

With the shelter now surpassing 500 animals, about 100 over capacity, as many as five dogs are crammed into kennels together, and some dogs are leaving emaciated, infested with fleas and with infections.

Several rescue groups blame the shelter’s policy of not releasing any unaltered animals, even though state law allows rescues and individuals to adopt these dogs and cats and provide proof later that they had been spayed or neutered.

Broady refused repeated requests for an interview to discuss these issues but e-mailed a response to only part of a reporter’s questions.

“Animal shelters are like day cares in that sickness is often passed between children in day cares and between animals in shelters,” Broady wrote. “Molly’s Mili­tia knew the Rottweiler was sick and under our veterinarians care and wanted the dog anyway.”

After the Evans vet said she could not perform the surgery on Georgie Girl, Hal­linan and Evans Animal Hos­pi­tal were required to return the dog to Animal Services because she was not spayed.

Hallinan said Broady agreed to take the dog to a vet the shelter uses, Westside Ani­mal Hospital, where Gary Wilkes performed the spay surgery so the dog could stand a chance. A foster family picked the dog up Wednes­day, Hallinan said.

Monika Mobley of Girard, Ga., who volunteers for Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida, picked up a Maltese poodle mix from the Augusta shelter in July and found him “emaciated,” with his back and face covered in fleas, scabs and excrement.

Mobley arranged for the Mal­tese mix, named Patrick, and five other dogs to be altered at Dogwood Spay and Neu­ter Clinic in Grovetown, but when Augusta Animal Ser­vices dropped the group there, the vet found that Pat­rick was already sterilized.

Patrick was so ill he needed two blood transfusions before he could be driven to a foster home in Florida with the five other Poodle and Pooch rescues, Mobley said.

Mobley returned to Ani­mal Services the next week, hoping to select up to 30 more dogs for Poodle and Pooch to adopt. Mobley said she was at first allowed only to view about 50 of the almost 500 dogs at the shelter.

After discussions among Broady, another animal rescue coordinator and Mobley, Mobley said Broady allowed her to view the rest of the population, but she was not allowed to take pictures.

When Mobley the next day submitted a list of almost 30 dogs Poodle and Pooch wanted to adopt, she said she was told her rescue group could not take two of the dogs because “the shelter thought they could adopt them out themselves,” she said.

“You’ve got this fantastic rescue that’s going to take these dogs and give them great care, and you’ve got over 500 animals in here and you’re going to say no?” Mobley said.

Although volunteers with Poo­dle and Pooch took 28 dogs to Florida foster homes Aug. 2, the rescue’s special needs director, Michele Wacker, said the experience was daunting.

She said most shelters are happy to sell animals to her rescue, which specializes in ill and elderly small dogs, because it’s a way to combat overpopulation problems in communities – but there was resistance from Augusta Animal Services.

“The dogs we were getting out of Richmond County looked worse and worse,” Wacker said. “We have no problem with (rehabilitating) dogs that look bad. That’s what we do. The problem is fighting for the right to do it. The dogs looked worse and worse and our volunteer was having less and less success in getting these dogs out.”

Hayley Zielinski, the founder of Dog Networking Agents of Georgia, which helps find foster homes for dogs from Animal Services, said much of the problem lies in the endless supply of animals flowing into the shelter.

She said adoptions have slowed in recent weeks, and that the public must step up and help the cause.

“There’s just nowhere for them to go, and it’s heartbreaking,” she said. “There’s times when you feel like you’re making a tiny bit of difference, and then they just keep coming. It’s going to take help. It’s going to take teamwork.”

WANT TO ADOPT?

Augusta Animal Services euthanizes 70 percent of the dogs and cats it takes in each year because of the area’s high overpopulation and low adoptions. The shelter is now over capacity.

If you’re interested in adopting a dog or cat from Augusta Animal Services, the shelter, at 4164 Mack Lane, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (706) 790-6836 or go to augustaga.gov/602/Adoption-Information.

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dichotomy
36290
Points
dichotomy 08/23/14 - 11:08 pm
20
0
The Augusta Animal Services

The Augusta Animal Services shelter has gone WAY down hill under Broady. Broady is NOT the right person to be running an animal shelter. Wrong attitude, no compassion, totally incompetent. She is an embarrassment to Richmond County. I cannot believe our commissioners are leaving her in charge of that operation.

Our commissioners seem to always have $500,000 dollars to give a consultant to "study" a project that they already know they cannot afford to do, but they FAIL to properly staff and fund a BASIC SERVICE like Animal Services. And that is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me furious with the leadership in this county. Stop with the pie in the sky projects and DO THE BASICS FIRST AND DO THEM CORRECTLY.

febdeb
17
Points
febdeb 08/24/14 - 04:48 am
15
0
I called last week about

I called last week about adopting a dog. I was told to leave my number and they would call in three months when the dog was ready. This is ridiculous. An animal should not have to wait 3 months for a home when someone wants to adopt!

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 08/24/14 - 04:51 am
0
17
Wait a minute.

After negotiations, an agreement was made that the rescue groups would choose the animals they wanted, pay the modest adoption fee, then Animal Control personnel would deliver the animals for sterilization to the private vet chosen by the rescue groups, and the rescue groups would pay the vet and pick up the animals from the vet.

But, in typical liberal fashion, we see the rescue groups trying to move the goalposts. Now, like spoiled children, they are whining that they cannot have everything their own way, contrary to the negotiated deal.

The reason that the Animal Control director will not release unaltered animals is because they have years of bitter experience that adopters do not honor their promise to have the animals fixed in thirty days. They do not come back and deliver the proof.

Stick with the agreement, Ms. Hallinan. Don't use the Chronicle to welsh on your agreement.

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 08/24/14 - 05:14 am
0
11
Standards

There seems to be a story here:

After the Evans vet said she could not perform the surgery on Georgie Girl, Hal­linan and Evans Animal Hos­pi­tal were required to return the dog to Animal Services because she was not spayed. Hallinan said Broady agreed to take the dog to a vet the shelter uses, Westside Ani­mal Hospital, where Gary Wilkes performed the spay surgery so the dog could stand a chance. A foster family picked the dog up Wednes­day, Hallinan said.

So the Evans vet said it would be too dangerous to spay the dog, but the Westside vet did the spaying and all turned out well.

corgimom
36806
Points
corgimom 08/24/14 - 06:35 am
4
0
I'd say that the Evans vet

I'd say that the Evans vet did the right thing.

And it's not the shelter's fault that the animal was heartworm positive, and thin and sick- blame the irresponsible owner that owned that poor, mistreated dog.

A dog doesn't get thin overnight, and they don't recover overnight, either.

corgimom
36806
Points
corgimom 08/24/14 - 06:37 am
8
0
But LL, I don't see this as a

But LL, I don't see this as a "liberal" vs "conservative" thing.

I don't know of any responsible, competent, ethical vet that would do an elective surgery on a sick dog. Get the animal well first, then do the surgery.

That's the humane thing to do.

nocnoc
47354
Points
nocnoc 08/24/14 - 09:53 am
6
0
In some defense of the shelter

many of the animals they get in or pull in are either neglected or dumped. In other words, a Dog that some Anal Orifice with no sense or humanity did not want, take care of, under fed, never heart wormed, or vaccinated. Likely the same way they treat their kids.

BUT !
When was the last time we read about a person arrested and fined for dumping their animal in Richmond Co.?

nocnoc
47354
Points
nocnoc 08/24/14 - 06:47 am
6
0
Surround the wagons

If I was in the position of Dog Catcher right now I too would refuse to answer EVERY LOADED QUESTION presented to me by a lynch mob feeding media.

I say this and many of you might remember I was repeatedly flamed 18+ months ago, here in the comments for calling the ARC Animal Shelter a Kill Factory.

McLeod
63
Points
McLeod 08/24/14 - 08:13 am
12
0
Sad Situation Indeed

Why can other shelters work with rescue groups with great success, and Augusta's won't? It is run like a prison. The animals go in and do their time until they die at her hands. Wouldn't you think that Ms. Brody would be elated to get dogs/cats out of the shelter to good homes? And the reasoning that she doesn't trust the rescuers to spay/neuter is crazy. Does she think they want an unneutered animal going to a home just to possibly reproduce and start the process all over again. I don't think so. I also realize that something has to be done to educate people in this area out of their mindset that letting their animals run loose unneutered to breed indiscriminately is OK. They are the root cause of this problem, but Ms Brody isn't doing anything to help it either. So sad, because it is the animals who pay the price.

itsanotherday1
47011
Points
itsanotherday1 08/24/14 - 09:00 am
11
0
That is what stands out to me:

"Why can other shelters work with rescue groups with great success, and Augusta's won't?"

jimmymac
45780
Points
jimmymac 08/24/14 - 09:30 am
0
0
BROADY
Unpublished

The director Ms. Broady is a political appointee and as usual you see they are grossly incompetent. She should be replaced immediately with a person who has compassion for animals. She used to work in the jail and unfortunately she believes the poor animals are inmates.

nocnoc
47354
Points
nocnoc 08/24/14 - 10:06 am
6
0
Shelter Director is likely the Commissions Scape Goat.

Many of you have seen or personally know how ARC government works.
Directors are encourage at the risk of their jobs to keep their heads down.

This director has ARC Policies and procedures that be followed in order to run the Dog Pound.

IF the Dir. violated those policies , FIRE the Director.

If the Director followed the established policies, CHANGE THE POLICIES.

If the Dog Pound needs a more realistic budget allot it.

But it is time to start levying some serious fines and charges on area Animal dumpers and persons with animals w/o vac's tags.

michele wacker
120
Points
michele wacker 08/24/14 - 10:53 am
11
0
Augusta Georgia Animal Prison

I'm Michele Wacker from Poodle and Pooch Rescue in Florida. We work with animal controls from Miami to Georgia and have never seen such cruelty and mismanagement. Sharon Broady's likening of this animal hoarding facility to a children's day care is reprehensible and shows her disregard for or ignorance of the suffering that she inflicts. We are not talking about colds, Sharon! We are talking about pneumonia, disease, starvation, injuries, infection, pain and slow deaths. Our rescue group wanted to pay for more dogs, but Sharon said "No". We did get the privilege of paying for a Sheltie mix, but oops, he died on our way to save him. We begged for a Yorkie with an abscess on July 11th, but were told "No". On August 1 we got permission, but oops, when we arrived she was "too sick to travel" and is now presumed dead. We begged for another dying dog and Sharon said "No, he's adoptable", after he had already spent 5 weeks there. He was starving and literally eaten alive by fleas. Click "Next" on the Rottweiler photo above to see this dog and go to www.pprfl.org to see it today. Sharon finally relented and we payed ransom for this dog, who was too weak to walk. Sharon, when was the last time that happened in day care? Your taxpayer money is funding a house of horrors. Reputable rescue groups want to pay the taxpayers of Augusta to rescue these animals. Georgia Law allows this, Sharon does not. She keeps the animals in her overcrowded kingdom at your expense. She's turned animal control into a prison. A city that is famous for the Masters Tournament is gaining national attention for cruelty. Email me at glasswacker@gmail.com for a copy of the email that we sent to your government officials. Taxpayers-- THIS IS YOUR ANIMAL CONTROL! Go there and demand to see BEHIND EVERY CLOSED DOOR! Don't accept any excuse. Take photos! This is YOUR building, not Sharon's.

nocnoc
47354
Points
nocnoc 08/24/14 - 11:22 am
3
4
Mistreating 4 legged animals is a HOT BUTTON for me.

But right next to that hot button is
Animal Rights groups that descend on various owners, businesses and yes county dog pounds for political Hay and say and profits.

How about everybody work to figure out the problem and fix it instead tossing gas on the problem. (myself included)

A government run dog pound cannot just hand over dogs to every
group showing up claiming the champion protecting animals.

Because as we have seen over the years too many have HIDDEN AGENDAS which seem to rake in massive amounts of Donation$$$$$$
for their stunts.

Has any body dug into the shelter making the accusations?

I plan to ... Operating Miami to Atlanta must cost a lot of $$$$$ and require a lot $$$$$ in donations.

sassylassie
503
Points
sassylassie 08/24/14 - 11:27 am
9
0
Nocnoc---are you

Nocnoc---are you serious?????
Have you even remotely been following the issues at the animal shelter??? Have you been there to see for yourself?? I have done both. Get on board and help-- please-- we don't need any more naysayers. This issue is REAL. The rescue groups are trying to help --they need our support, not negative attitudes!

historylover
14486
Points
historylover 08/24/14 - 11:39 am
7
0
Nocnoc

For goodness sakes, who cares if the rescue groups make money? The point is the dog or cats life! By the way, note that there are no cat rescue groups. As many of you would say, hmmmm.

I say that the treatment of animals at this shelter is criminal. If Ms. Broady is just trying to keep her job, then she needs to look for another one. What she is allowing to happen is criminal and eventually she will be the scapegoat for it all.

historylover
14486
Points
historylover 08/24/14 - 11:42 am
7
0
Molly's Militia

is an extremely reputable, well trusted group who has been operating in our area for many years. They should never, ever be denied the right to adopt a pet out of the shelter. God, I hate using that word shelter. It implies safe haven. This makes me sick! I do not live in RC. Sure wish I did so I could make a true difference in this situation.

bpeita
80
Points
bpeita 08/24/14 - 11:54 am
7
0
No Kill is possible

The No Kill Advocacy Center has FREE material on their website ( nokilladvocacycenter.org ) that shows how shelters can become no-kill in less than a year. The most important factor is a director who is totally committed to saving every animal that comes through the door. I recently attended a movie in Charlotte that was sponsored by the Center. Large and small cities, low socioeconomic areas, and everything in between have become no-kill (saving at least 90% of all animals). It can be done and there are many examples of cities and counties who have made the commitment and have been successful. Chester County in South Carolina went from an appalling shelter that shot dogs in the woods to one that now has an 88% save rate - all because of the new director's commitment to the animals. If Sharon Broady isn't willing to work with rescues and commit to saving animals, she needs to go. The animals of the CSRA deserve better.

bpeita
80
Points
bpeita 08/24/14 - 12:01 pm
9
0
Rescue Group Fees

Rescue groups charge adoption fees for their animals because those animals often cost the groups money. Many, especially ones pulled from deplorable shelters like RCAC, have major health issues that need to be addressed before the animal is ready for adoption. I help many different rescue groups in the area and none of them have huge bank accounts - they usually owe more to the vets than they have in the bank. Every rescue group I work with is in it because they have a passion for the animal, not for profit.

TrulyWorried
16067
Points
TrulyWorried 08/24/14 - 12:02 pm
9
0
An open letter to the Commissioners of Augusta/RC

Commissioners - when, and I say WHEN are you going to take serious action to get this horrendous problem with all these poor animals solved?
You seem to have plenty of money when it comes to things that are of interest or profit to you! Animals - dogs, cats and whatever are God's creatures that deserve love and affection not a PRISON in which to die or be killed.
You seem to have a huge problem in making certain decisions rapidly and this seems to be one of those and a BAD one!
Show the people of this area what can be done if only you put your heads together for a very good cause, rescue animals and maybe even make yourselves feel good because you accomplished something real and humane. The Director of Animal Services needs to be called on the carpet and either retired or sternly reminded that she is not God and has to do all she can to HELP not hinder the rescue of these dogs and nobody ever mentioned cats. I abhor people that think they know it all and can do no wrong! There has to be a way to solve this - and NOW!
How many times have laws been broken or "overlooked" and matters were solved. The Queen of the Shelter should do some overlooking!

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 08/24/14 - 12:08 pm
0
10
Agreement

McLeod posted:

Why can other shelters work with rescue groups with great success, and Augusta's won't?

Augusta's will work (and is working ) with rescue groups that abide by the principles of the negotiated agreement (one that was made will full knowledge of commission members). But it appears that some rescue groups want to deal under their terms only, and do not want to honor the negotiated agreement.

michele wacker
120
Points
michele wacker 08/24/14 - 12:35 pm
10
0
To nocnoc

Nocnoc, I really wish I had the time to educate you. I'm sorry, I just don't. My full time job as a governmental and non-profit auditor and my full time volunteer job as the Special Needs Director at Poodle and Pooch Rescue does not leave me with much time. But I will say this, Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida is an IRS approved 501c3 non profit organization run by volunteers. Nobody gets paid. We have been operating for 7 years and have a stellar reputation. We welcome anyone and everyone to "dig into us" because the more people that know about us, the more dogs we can save. Visit our website at poodleandpoochrescue.org in about 3 hours after we have added this week's new arrivals to the "In Recovery Page" -- an old cryptorchid Chihuahua with a testicular tumor and a bladderstone that will have surgery next week, a young Chihuahua with a ruptured cornea which we are treating with 4 medications including plasma but we still may have to enucleate her eye, a senior blind Poodle with mammary tumors who will have tumor surgery next week, and a 12 year old Pomeranian with a collapsing trachea and COPD. All of these dogs are from wonderful animal controls who begged us for help on behalf of their dogs. Oh and we would be adding a starving 1 lb 12 oz 10 week old puppy but despite our best efforts which included a blood transfusion, IV medications and bedside treatment by an amazing veterinarian until 10 pm on a Saturday night, this puppy died. How much profit exactly do you think we are making from these dogs? I wish I had time to respond to your answer, but I just don't.

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 08/24/14 - 12:12 pm
1
7
Not possible

bpeita posted:

The most important factor is a director who is totally committed to saving every animal that comes through the door.

This factor is not possible. Some animals are hopelessly not adoptable. Some are suffering from incurable diseases or syndromes. Some are picked up from highway accidents with broken bones or organ damage that cannot be surgically or medically repaired. Some have personality disorders that does not offer hope of adoption (i.e., viciousness and violence). The 100% demand cannot be met in the real world.

TrulyWorried
16067
Points
TrulyWorried 08/24/14 - 12:27 pm
8
0
Little Lamb needs a reply

LL - NOT ALL dogs are in the conditions that you just mentioned. True there are those beyond hope but there a hundreds that CAN BE helped.

letsgetreal
15
Points
letsgetreal 08/24/14 - 02:13 pm
8
0
Attitude Adjustment Needed

I know there are a few rescue groups that have sketchy reputations. P&P is not one. Most of these groups have compassionate, and yes, passionate volunteers that get their panties in a wad when they see the unconscionable mistreatment of animals in a municipal facility that translates into taxpayer funded abuse. I have not personally visited this shelter in several years, but have spoken to several volunteers that have been witness to the current deplorable conditions, and their separate stories all have the same common concerns. Common sense in matters of disease control, separating well and sick animals and, for goodness sake, if a reputable rescue offers the "shelter" money to take an animal off its hands, TAKE IT!!! I have issue with using untrained inmates ( who probably don't like dogs and may even be afraid of them) as shelter staff cleaning the kennels. You can't control disease by hosing down kennels with the dogs still in them, sometime as many as five in one. They must be disinfected properly and the dogs need to have someone with some knowledge and training observing their conditions to make decisions about needed care. This is becoming a national embarrassment for Augusta, and I dread the national attention this will undoubtedly bring if drastic changes are not made before April of next year. Commissioners, Mayor, think about it. Hate to make the love of animals a political thing, but that may be what it takes.

corgimom
36806
Points
corgimom 08/24/14 - 02:19 pm
2
7
The real reason for the

The real reason for the problems at the Animal Control shelter is that it is operated by a county that is nearly bankrupt. And people like Michele Wacker just don't get that.

The money JUST ISN"T THERE, and then Director Sharon Broady is vilified at every turn, and it's not her fault in the slightest.

I wonder why Michele Wacker, who supposedly is so kind-hearted, doesn't take her case to the COUNTY COMMISSIONERS and leave Ms. Broady, who is not a miracle worker, alone.

Ms. Broady is doing the very best she can without a vet on staff and without anywhere near the money that she needs. She has no control over how much money she receives to operate the shelter. But I find it interesting that many people on here that condemn her are the same ones that don't want a tax increase.

And what LL says is correct. Not every dog can, or should, be saved.

What is terrible to me is that these rescue groups take very sick dogs, and then adopt them out to unsuspecting pet owners that don't understand that they are buying a dog that, in all likelihood, will have a shortened life span.

I adopted a dog that had been found at a trash dump in Harlem. My vet in Augusta told me that I probably wouldn't have her long. She died young, of lymphatic cancer, caused by toxic materials found at the dump.

I adopted another starving stray, who had been living on her own for at least 1 1/2 years. My vet once again told me the same thing. I only had her a few years, too.

People that dump dogs at shelters usually don't give their dogs good food, medicines, or proper vet care.

I've learned. While I am a big fan of Pound Hounds- I have two right now- people need to go into it understanding that there is a good chance their pets are not going to live a full life span, and choose accordingly.

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 08/24/14 - 03:43 pm
0
4
Not Necessarily

letsgetreal posted:

. . . for goodness sake, if a reputable rescue offers the "shelter" money to take an animal off its hands, TAKE IT!!!

Haven't you read above that there is a negotiated settlement whereby Augusta Animal control will not just surrender all animals that people are willing to pay for. They have been burned in the past by people promising to spay or neuter the dogs or cats - - - - but then the people do not do it; and the animals wind up strays again, and/or back in the pound again.

The negotiated settlement says that Animal Control will deliver the animal to the vet who is going to do the neutering, NOT to someone at the pound. What is so hard to understand about that?

dwb619
101117
Points
dwb619 08/24/14 - 04:16 pm
3
0
Lawrenceville, Georgia

We rescued a young pitt from this SHELTER in March.
Since then I have learned that their "kill" ratio is less than 20%.
They have a large contingent of rescues they work with, plus a big presence on social media.

Connor Threlkeld
943
Points
Connor Threlkeld 08/24/14 - 06:11 pm
5
0
There was a story out of the

There was a story out of the Dallas area last week where dozens of shelters joined together to start an Empty The Shelter Day. They waived adoption fees (with the exception of fees required by the city to register animals, and more than 2,200 animals were adopted in one day. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20140816-update-2217-pets-adopted-o...

Thearkeeper
9
Points
Thearkeeper 08/24/14 - 08:35 pm
5
1
Sharon Broady

I would like to know how this individual qualified in any capacity for a position involving the health and welfare of poor, unwanted, sick, starving animals who are unfortunate enough to wind up at this facilty. It seems that for the most part, it has become a matter of public knowledge that this is the end of the road for most of them. This situation has become extremely INFLAMMED by the fact there are rescue groups willing to post bond/ bail to have them released and attempt to revive them, and ultimately adopt them. Who is this woman to deny these animals that chance? Who is responsible for placing her here? The solution is simple. Get rid of this woman! Send her on her way! Place her in a benign position where animals lives are not at stake! There are just too many local people in our community that could perform at a far higher level than this and get results. The results we are seeing here are nothing but death and dispare. No excuse for this!

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