Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Tempers flare over Augusta Animal Services

  • Follow City Ink

Members of the Augusta Animal Services advisory board are up in arms over the number of animals being killed – or euthanized, if you prefer euphemisms – at animal control on Mack Lane.

A new state law requires animals to be spayed or neutered before they can be adopted, and since the facility lost its part-time veterinarian about three weeks ago, very few are adopted out, says board member Lor­na Barrett.

“They just euthanize them,” she said. “If people only knew. I’m just going crazy. Most other animal control facilities in the state are working with rescue groups to have more animals released alive. The owners just have to show proof they’ve been neutered or spayed within a certain amount of time.”

Barrett has friends trying to get animals out of the Augusta facility to place in foster homes and with animal welfare groups, but they’ve become discouraged because Animal Control Di­rec­tor Sharon Broady won’t let them and charges them full adoption fees, she says.

Barrett also said she and others have been trying to get ordinances changed through the city law department for more than a year.

“The Augusta Law De­part­ment has been sitting on their butts,” she said.

Augusta Commission members Grady Smith and Don­nie Smith attended a recent advisory board meeting where tempers flared because of the frustration some feel over what they see as Broady’s lack of leadership.

IN AN EMERGENCY, CALL 911: At a little after 6 p.m. last Sunday, McDuffie County resident Anthony Coleman was working on his farm on George McDuffie Road when suddenly he felt tremendous pressure on his chest and pain down his left arm.

He’d had a heart attack a few years ago, so he knew he was having another one. He called his wife, Kay, and told her he was going to the emergency room at Uni­ver­sity Hospital McDuffie.

When he got there, he told the woman at the admissions desk he was having a heart attack. She told him that somebody would be with him in a minute. He waited, and the pain got worse, so he went back to the window and asked for help again. She said somebody would be with him in just a minute.

When nobody came, he returned a third time, and she said, “Sir, somebody will be with you in a minute.”

“By then, I was in such pain, I hit my knees and was holding onto the counter, and I called 911, and they told me I was where I needed to be,” Coleman said. “A nurse came out who recognized me and took me on back. They loaded me up with nitroglycerin, and the EMTs put me in an ambulance and took me to Uni­versity Hospital in Augusta.”

Coleman said he doesn’t know how long he was in the emergency room because he was in such pain, but it was longer than he wanted it to be.

“I’ve never hurt that bad,” he said.

URA BUNCH OF BLABBER­MOUTHS: Since city officials learned a few weeks ago that three Urban Re­devel­opment Agency members were ineligible because they already serve on other boards, they’ve talked about appointing new ones so they can vote to issue bonds for the ongoing Municipal Building renovation.

A March vote that took forever and a day to get done was deemed null and void because of the ineligible trio.

The matter of who should come up with the new names remained unclear until they talked about it again Tuesday and finally got a ruling from city Attorney Andrew MacKenzie that seemed to satisfy. They still didn’t approve nominees Isaac McKinney, T.L. Clark, Bonnie Ruben and Amanda Bryant, opting to wait on the appointments until the candidates could complete a “talent bank” application.

They’ll probably talk about it again so much Tuesday that they’ll get confused and postpone voting.

HIGH FINANCE: At a city finance committee meeting, when the matter of issuing $160 million in bonds to refund the city’s water and revenue bonds came up, Com­mis­sioner Bill Fennoy had a question about the term “refund.”

“Just for clarity on my part,” he said. “You mention refunding. And when I hear the word ‘refunding,’ I think about my taxes. I’m going to get a refund. But this is not what we’re talking about.”

“This is like a refinancing of your home mortgage,” said the city’s financial consultant, Dianne McNabb. “It’s a refinancing.”

“Not necessarily a refund,” said Fennoy.

“Right,” said McNabb. “Re­finan­cing would be a better colloquial word for it.”

“For clarity, could you use refinancing as opposed to refunding?” Fennoy asked.

“Good point,” she replied.

20/20 HINDSIGHT IN 2014: Quite a few bad ideas have come our way this year, and as there’s not much boiling over at City Hall except in the pots Commissioner Ma­rion Williams keeps stirring, it’s time for an almost-mid-year review.

The first one was starting the year off with a $3.5 million deficit in the city’s general fund budget, balanced with money from the rainy-day fund.

Not to worry, though. Everybody can just let a smile be their umbrella on a rainy, rainy day.

Then, former City Ad­min­­istrator Fred Russell announced that he would run for mayor but backed out before qualifying. Which of those actions might have been a bad idea is open to speculation.

Letting the wish list for the next round of the special purpose local option sales tax balloon to $721.7 million was such a shocker that some folks never stopped saying No to SPLOST even though Mayor Deke Copenhaver pared it to $194 million. It was too late. The damage was done.

Then in a push to get the tax package together to go on the May 20 ballot, the mayor said the community had to have $12 million in local money – $8 million of it from Augusta taxpayers – committed before the end of June in order to access $48 million in state funding for a cancer center.

The sales tax didn’t pass; the state money isn’t going away; the Boy King’s credibility took a licking, but he keeps on ticking.

Mayoral candidates attended so many forums, repeating the same campaign rhetoric, that they actually started believing it.

Helen Blocker-Adams described herself as an entrepreneur so many times, she thought she was debt free. Charles Cummings talked so much about the wonders of transit, he boarded a Greyhound for Mexico when the election was over. Alvin Mason boasted about his military career at Fort Gordon so much, he started expecting a 21-gun salute when he drove into his driveway. And Lori Myles talked about improving infrastructure to the point of becoming infrastructure: She had her driveway paved.

It might not have been a bad idea. In fact, it might have been a very good idea from Augusta Hou­sing and Neigh­borhood De­vel­op­ment Director Chester Wheeler’s point of view. However, it was a conflict of interest for Wheeler’s Laney-Walker/Bethlehem revitalization project, which ran out of money sooner than expected, to be reviewed by a team of experts who’d given the project a major award last year.

The team also recommended using general-fund money to keep the project from being “crippled in the long run.” That’s in addition to the $750,000 a year it receives from the $1 bed tax.

WORDS OF WISDOM: “When you let the fox guard the henhouse, all the chickens are going to be gone.” – Commissioner Marion Williams

Comments (22) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jpbrig
183
Points
jpbrig 05/31/14 - 08:47 pm
6
1
check

You might want to check Marion's hen house first, when looking for the chickens. He already got 250,000 of them.

itsanotherday1
43317
Points
itsanotherday1 05/31/14 - 08:54 pm
12
1
That clerk should have been fired yesterday

if that man's assertions are accurate.

"Coleman said he doesn’t know how long he was in the emergency room because he was in such pain, but it was longer than he wanted it to be."

Gage Creed
17259
Points
Gage Creed 05/31/14 - 09:24 pm
4
1
Records

What I want to know is... what records the clerk of court is listening to...there was a great deal of discussion of keeping records in her office.

I sometimes like records too... they have a different sonic signature than CD's or other digital media. Record storage is always difficult, you have to have the correct temperature and humidity to protect the artwork on the cover...

corgimom
32611
Points
corgimom 05/31/14 - 09:33 pm
3
15
Itsa, those clinics have only

Itsa, those clinics have only a very limited staff. When several emergencies come in at once, SOMEBODY has to wait.

People think it's like it is on tv, where a doctor is available as soon as somebody comes through the door, but that's just not true.

But you wonder at the foolishness of somebody who KNEW they were having a heart attack, and DIDN"T CALL 911 FOR AN AMBULANCE.

HOLY COW!

Because if he had, the paramedics, after starting treatment, could inform the hospital that he was coming.

Who calls 911 AFTER they get to the hospital?

He was lucky that he didn't die- and that was because of his own foolishness.

Although the story didn't say, I am HOPING that he didn't drive himself to the hospital.

It's people like him, that do incredibly FOOLISH things that endanger their lives- and then want to blame a hospital, when the hospital wasn't at fault. Admissions desk personnel hear stuff like that all the time.

If I thought I was having a heart attack, oh yeah, I"D CALL 911.

Next time- if he's lucky enough to have a next time- he needs to call 911 if he thinks he's having a heart attack!

Little Lamb
46052
Points
Little Lamb 05/31/14 - 09:34 pm
4
4
Aspirin

If you don't have nitroglycerine handy, then if you think you are having a heart attack, the first thing you should take is two or three aspirin.

Why would not the hospital have some handy?

Still, it is not the hospital's responsibility. McDuffie County resident Anthony Coleman should always carry some aspirin in his pocket.

Little Lamb
46052
Points
Little Lamb 05/31/14 - 10:20 pm
2
1
Animal Rescue Zealots

From the story:

Augusta Animal Services board member Lor­na Barrett said, “They just euthanize them,” she said. “If people only knew. I’m just going crazy. Most other animal control facilities in the state are working with rescue groups to have more animals released alive. The owners just have to show proof they’ve been neutered or spayed within a certain amount of time.”

I’m sorry, but in this case activist Lorna Barrett is wrong, and Augusta Animal Control Di­rec­tor Sharon Broady is right. When these rescue groups politely tell the adoptee that they need to provide vet receipts that a spay/neuter has been performed after the adoption, it almost never happens. The spay/neuter must be done up front, and the adopter needs to pay the bill. If you won't pay for neutering your new adopted pet, then you likely will not pay for vaccinations and other vet care after the adoption.

IBeDogGone
3014
Points
IBeDogGone 06/01/14 - 12:58 am
12
1
TRIAGE

Any Healthcare Facility that treats emergency's should have clerks trained to triage patients. If he told her he thought he was having a heart attack it is in the best interest of University that she have a professional attend to him ASAP, liability insurance is high enough. I agree it might have been better to call 911 but Mr. Coleman probably was not thinking as clearly as usual due to the situation. I do not think a woman in labor with her water breaking would have been made to wait.

Riverman1
84123
Points
Riverman1 06/01/14 - 06:41 am
8
2
University Hospital McDuffie and Columbia County

Sylvia's comments about the University Hospital branch hospital with the poor service will make Columbia County residents take pause as the battle to see who opens a new hospital there is under way.

nocnoc
42733
Points
nocnoc 06/01/14 - 07:33 am
6
1
MY SIMPLE SUGGESTION

Change the LAW requiring FIXING all animals BEFORE Adoption.

The adopted animals are already RFID tagged and the new owner is responsible for the animal. It should be the owners choice... and not surprisingly many will chose to fix the animal anyway.

The law was written with good intentions but too many pets are being killed for what seems the adoption related costs.

nocnoc
42733
Points
nocnoc 06/01/14 - 07:46 am
3
1
Refi'ing the ARC water and revenue bonds

Questions:

When they RE-FI the bonds are they with the SAME DUE DATE?
or are the bonds RE-FI'ed and extended?

What is the estimated Cost Saving or LOSS of this $$$$ Shuffle?

itsanotherday1
43317
Points
itsanotherday1 06/01/14 - 09:14 am
2
1
Supply and demand

Unfortunately there are more animals than people who want them. It breaks an animal lover's heart to see so much euthanasia, but the only way to break this cycle is to address the root cause; which would require more regulation in the pet industry. We need to pick our poison.

Bizkit
31519
Points
Bizkit 06/01/14 - 10:19 am
1
1
Wild dogs and ferrel cats are

Wild dogs and ferrel cats are a problem in many areas of the country, which besides havoc on habitats they can breed disease too. We created these mutations of the wolf by domestication and selective breeding and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of our meddling with nature by treating them humanely and maintaining healthy populations. But there is a limit to for the need of pets and the extras sadly enough do need to be put down. That said that isn't the problem here-they need a vet so they can get things rolling again for adoptions.

LillyfromtheMills
13309
Points
LillyfromtheMills 06/01/14 - 11:22 am
6
1
McDuffie Co Hosp

We around here think of it as a first aid station.

Navy Gary
1615
Points
Navy Gary 06/01/14 - 11:47 am
3
1
Ummm,

I don't think you can call it a "shelter" if they are killing animals.

itsanotherday1
43317
Points
itsanotherday1 06/01/14 - 12:51 pm
1
1
I am retired and would enjoy

I am retired and would enjoy being a "dogcatcher", but I just couldn't take the "putting them down" part.

jdsgirl63
2419
Points
jdsgirl63 06/01/14 - 02:49 pm
2
1
Corgi you are completely wrong on this account...

Thanksgiving night 2013 my friends seemingly healthy 36 year old son was taken by AMBULANCE to the McDuffie County medical facility. His blood sugar was off the charts (he was not a diabetic) and incoherent. It was 11:30pm or soon thereafter... one other person was in the ER being treated for a heart attack.

They left my friends son unattended for a good 15 minutes, my friend and I realized he wasn't breathing and she began screaming for somebody, anybody to come and help her son... there wasn't a soul to be found for several more minutes.

Finally "help" came and began CPR, my friends husband arrived at the facility about the same time (he came from Fort Gordon to Thomson, so do the math on how long all this took), he is a physician and took over their inept attempts at reviving him. They stood back and let him try for over 30 minutes... while we just cried and held each other, and until he pronounced him deceased.

My friends son died... unbelievably, he was just gone. I can't say that immediate attention would have changed that outcome as the autopsy results are pending still. What I can say is that he got NO attention, they KNEW he was coming and in critical condition, yet they made NO attempt to do anything until my friend became hysterical... and for the 30 minutes while they watched her husband try to revive their son, guess what? They left the man with the heart attack ALL ALONE. I don't know if he survived or not.

It seems to me that you enjoy blaming the victims, while sometimes they put themselves in harms way, this time you're wrong as you possibly can be.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 06/01/14 - 02:49 pm
1
1
Natural gas for the crematory is cheap but it should be costed

out with spay and neuter vet fees and the so called adoption fee. What is the adoption fee and why not just do away with it? I'm sure people at Animal Control would say that it is to cover paperwork etc. but the people are already on staff and on the clock so just get rid of it.

Little Lamb
46052
Points
Little Lamb 06/01/14 - 03:02 pm
1
1
Fee

The adoption fee covers the sterilizing of the animal so no more reproduction that animal. The adoption fee also covers the initial set of testing for diseases, and the initial set of vaccinations if the animal does not have serious diseases. The adoption fee also serves as a barrier to people who think they want a pet but who do not want to spend any money on pet care. Pets are not cheap.

Little Lamb
46052
Points
Little Lamb 06/01/14 - 03:07 pm
2
2
Staffing

Does it surprise anyone that a person is likely to get lower quality emergency care at a small facility such as McDuffie or Waynesboro compared to a full-service facility such as MCG or University in downtown Augusta? It seems perfectly logical to me. The small facility cannot afford to have dozens of doctors and nurses around the clock like a big facility can.

rebellious
20780
Points
rebellious 06/02/14 - 12:22 am
2
0
And Obamacare

hasn't even kicked into top gear.

Best advice....If you live in the sticks, as i do, brush up on those old fashioned emergency remedies. Learn tourniquet techniques. Keep aspirin on hand. Maybe some catgut and sterile heavy needles. be prepared to stay alive!

Folks, it is time to return to a higher level of self sufficiency. No,, I am not one of those survivalist. I am simply a realist!

Beachgal
357
Points
Beachgal 06/02/14 - 09:56 am
0
0
RE: McDuffie ED

#1 - Keep aspirin available. Unless it is contraindicated in your case (allergy, other medications, bleeding risk), take 325 mg when you think you are having a heart attack. If you have 81 mg on hand, take four of them. Tell the EMS or the ED that you took it.

#2 - If at all possible, when you think you are having a heart attack DO NOT drive yourself to the ER. I realize that there may be a circumstance where you must drive yourself, but please call 911 otherwise. Consider if you lost consciousness while driving..devastating results.

#3 - Whenever a patient comes in with chest pain, ED triage personnel should immediately perform an EKG to determine if the patient is having an heart attack. The standard of the American College of Cardiology states that a patient should have an EKG within 10 minutes of arrival to the ED. I know that the personnel at McDuffie have been taught that.

Little Lamb
46052
Points
Little Lamb 06/02/14 - 05:37 pm
0
0
Next Time

I'm guessing that next time Anthony Coleman has chest pains, he's not stopping at University Hospital McDuffie. He's heading straight for Augusta.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs