Arizona Humane Society to Review Payment Policies After Killing Former Heroin Addict's Cat

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A recovering heroin addict took his cat to the Arizona Humane Society for treatment earlier this month after the cat was injured while crawling through some razor wire. That turned out to be a mistake -- because Daniel Dockery was unable to immediately pay for the cat's treatment, the AHS killed it.

Now, after taking a beating in the media and on its Facebook page, the AHS says it will review its payment policies.

Dockery, who says he's been off of heroin for about a year -- much thanks to the 9-month-old cat -- brought the animal, "Scruffy," to an AHS facility on December 8. He couldn't pay for the cat's treatment -- and the AHS refused to allow his mother to pay for it using her credit card over the phone -- so the AHS told him they would only treat the animal if he signed ownership rights over to the organization, which he did.

Dockery says he went to the AHS to find out about his cat several times over the past three weeks, but was ignored or not given any information (the AHS says Dockery was given phone numbers to call but he never actually made the call).

On Tuesday, the AHS told Dockery the cat was dead -- and a media shit-storm followed.

The story has since gone national -- even Fox News posted an Associated Press story about the dead cat on its website.

In response to the negative ink, the AHS posted the following note on its website:

Scruffy's story is heartbreaking, and underscores the worst-case-scenario of need eclipsing resources available. Despite recent media coverage, AHS has always done what is best for the animals and the people in their lives.
 
Scruffy was brought to AHS after getting tangled in razor or barbed wire. Her injuries were significant. She was suffering, her muscles were exposed. Her owner could not pay for treatment himself, and allowing a day to pass without treatment was inhumane. AHS is not allowed by law to hold an animal until payment is made. Scruffy was in urgent need; therefore Mr. Dockery made the heart-wrenching decision to surrender his pet on Dec 8th.
 
AHS transported Scruffy from the vet clinic to its Second Chance Animal Hospital™, with the hope of treating her extensive wounds. Unfortunately on this same day AHS took in 178 animals, many of whom also required urgent medical care.  
 
Each of the animals was medically evaluated. Some were cruelty cases, seized in cooperation with police, and required to be held for 17 days with urgent care required by law. The Arizona Humane Society did its best to treat all of the animals that came to the shelter that day. Again, all were in need and their treatment couldn't wait. AHS took the most compassionate action with the animals it couldn't treat that day. Scruffy was euthanized.
 
On Dec. 13, Daniel Dockery visited the Sunnyslope shelter to check on Scruffy's whereabouts and staff provided the direct phone number to the Director of Shelter Operations who did not receive a call from Daniel. On Friday, Dec. 16, AHS received a letter from Daniel's mother. On Monday, Dec. 19, after speaking with his staff and learning the status of Scruffy, AHS Executive Director Guy Collison called Daniel and left a message. Daniel didn't return his call. On Dec. 21, the media called, and given the sensitive nature of this particular situation, AHS was not comfortable releasing details about Scruffy to the reporter before speaking to Daniel himself. Tuesday, Dec. 27, after repeated attempts, Guy finally reached Daniel and explained that due to Scruffy's extensive injuries she was euthanized. Although we know Scruffy can not be replaced, we empathized with his loss, offered grief support resources, and encouraged him to visit the shelter when he was ready for another companion.  With Daniel's permission, AHS also resumed dialog with the media.
 
AHS again expresses its most sincere condolences to Daniel Dockery. In addition, AHS is committed to reviewing its policy of not taking payment for services over the phone.
 
Since 1957, the Arizona Humane Society has fostered the belief that every pet deserves a good life and we are passionately committed to doing what's best for pets and the people in their lives. Ultimately, this is the worst case scenario for the AHS staff, volunteers, donors and friends. We are heartbroken that need continues to overshadow resources available and again, express our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Dockery.

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27 comments
Allstarmuzz272
Allstarmuzz272

I bet they would've accepted cc donations over the phone...

Disgusted
Disgusted

The Arizona Humane Society has a long history of wrongly killing cats who have loving owners. Just last year they killed a deployed soldiers cat "by accident"... he had left the animal with them as part of their Operation Active Duty (a program that arranges foster care for active duty military personnel) and they "confused" it with another animal, and killed it. I also think it was last year that they fired the stars of their Animal Planet show Animal Cops Phoenix (Staci and AJ) for breaking a cats neck on purpose. What I don't understand is they are so quick to confiscate peoples pets and press animal cruelty charges on the people of phoenix, but they have no internal repercussions for the same acts committed by their staff.   

Sam
Sam

oadsjhlfdb 

NoMoreAHS
NoMoreAHS

I just emailed the following letter to a local news organization.I will also be contacting the NATIONAL MEDIA and other Phoenix-area news media, with the same information. Here is the letter:Dear Mr. _______________:A number of us were planning to email and call the Arizona "Humane" Society's "Corporate Partners," to protest their continuing support of AHS.However, AHS apparently got wind of our plan and has removed their website page, which specifically listed their Corporate Partners!Please inform the general public of this fact.Could you also please publicize a list of all of AHS's Corporate Partners.Thanks very much.In addition, I wish to inform you of the following:What the Arizona "Humane" Society did to this little cat (Scruffy) and its owner was just business, as usual; i.e., standard operating procedure. My family, friends, co-workers and I have had numerous dealings with AHS, over a period of many years.I can tell you that AHS does this kind of thing on a regular basis! This is nothing out of the ordinary, at all. It has been going on, for years. They just happened to finally get caught.I have heard from former AHS volunteers with regard to what actually goes on, behind the scenes, at AHS.Here is something to ponder:Sixty percent (60%) of all animals turned in to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (the Phoenix, Arizona "Pound") leave there, ALIVE!Only forty-five percent (45%) of all animals turned in to the Arizona Humane Society leave there, ALIVE!The Arizona "Humane" Society states, "We care for over 46,000 animals annually."What AHS fails to mention is that they KILL the majority of those animals!That means that out of the 46,000 animals that AHS "cares for" every year, approximately 55% of them DIE, while they are in the custody of the Arizona "Humane" Society!(Some people claim that the number is higher than 55%.)AHS' nonchalant, casual, uncaring attitude toward euthanasia is shocking and disgusting.AHS needs to be put out of business. We need to donate our hard-earned money to reputable, honest, compassionate, caring animal shelters, instead.Also, AHS is constantly begging for money. Yet, they took in almost $13 MILLION DOLLARS, last year!AHS also has $31 MILLION, in assets!Plus, AHS Director Guy Collison's salary (in 2010) was $118,492![I guess that Guy Collison needed the $400 that AHS was going to charge for that poor cat, to supplement his salary.]Think about your hard-earned, monetary donations being used to pay huge salaries for the AHS Director (and the rest of the AHS Executive Staff), as well as to pay thousands of dollars for AHS' administrative costs.To add insult to injury, AHS uses a large number of COMPLETELY UNPAID volunteers, which leaves AHS even more money for so-called administrative costs and for the giant salaries of their over-paid Director and other Executive Staff!Lastly, while some other Arizona animal-rescue organizations have a four-star rating, AHS only squeaked by with a three-star rating.Why is AHS' rating so low?PLEASE DO A FOLLOW-UP STORY AND AN INVESTIGATIVE STORY ON THE ARIZONA "HUMANE" SOCIETY.Thank you.

U S Animal Protection
U S Animal Protection

U.S. Animal Protection's animal shelter reform division is inundated weekly with news of shelters killing people's beloved pets as well as euthanizing inhumanely. Exorbitant salaries taken in by so called humane societies yet, mass killings continue and in many shelters there is evidence of inhumane killing. There is a shelter/sanctuary located in North West Arizona that I would like to see brought to the attention of Arizona residents that receives little to no funding takes no salaries yet receives hundreds of animals per year worthy of contributions and support. This shelter/sanctuary is in dire need of help yet has seen very little. It's hard to see so many unaware people send money to shelters that kill. This is not a solution. Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends Foundation is a save haven for animals and nearly 300 reside here with over 10,000 that have been adopted. All animals are spayed and neutered as well as vaccinated upon their arrival while they await for their forever homes or live out their lives in comfort and love. This rescue/sanctuary is battling the county bureaucracy and continue saving the lives of these precious animals and are not killed. This is a no kill rescue/shelter/sanctuary. RUFFF believes every life is valuable and not disposable.

 This is a shelter/sanctuary where people can feel comfortable donating and know they are not paying for euthanasia drugs that are killing animals. Please either call or visit the Sanctuary and Rescue shelter for animals in Golden Valley Arizona. You will see the way a shelter should be run. Mass killing is unnecessary and a lazy way out of finding a solution to overpopulation. There are many cases just like the Arizona humane every year where people lose there beloved family companion animals. Please check out RUFFF and direct locals to consider a donation to this wonderful shelter and wonderful woman doing all she can for animals and doing it far better without a salary let alone a six figure salary. Go to www.RUFFFHouse.org to find out more about this wonderful shelter/sanctuary.

NoMoreAHS
NoMoreAHS

 I just emailed the following letter to another local news organization.I will also be contacting the NATIONAL MEDIA and other Phoenix-area media, with this same information. Here is the letter:Dear Mr. ________________,A number of us were planning to email and call the Arizona "Humane" Society's "Corporate Partners," to protest their continuing support of AHS.However, AHS apparently got wind of our plan and has removed their website page, which specifically listed their Corporate Partners!Please inform the general public of this fact.Could you also please publicize a list of all of AHS's Corporate Partners.Thanks very much.In addition, I wish to inform you of the following:What the Arizona "Humane" Society did to this little cat (Scruffy) and its owner was just business, as usual; i.e., standard operating procedure. My family, friends, co-workers and I have had numerous dealings with AHS, over a period of many years.I can tell you that AHS does this kind of thing on a regular basis! This is nothing out of the ordinary, at all. It has been going on, for years. They just happened to finally get caught.I have heard from former AHS volunteers with regard to what actually goes on, behind the scenes, at AHS.Here is something to ponder:Sixty percent (60%) of all animals turned in to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (the Phoenix, Arizona "Pound") leave there, ALIVE!Only forty-five percent (45%) of all animals turned in to the Arizona Humane Society leave there, ALIVE!The Arizona "Humane" Society states, "We care for over 46,000 animals annually."What AHS fails to mention is that they KILL the majority of those animals!That means that out of the 46,000 animals that AHS "cares for" every year, approximately 55% of them DIE, while they are in the custody of the Arizona "Humane" Society!(Some people claim that the number is higher than 55%.)AHS' nonchalant, casual, uncaring attitude toward euthanasia is shocking and disgusting.AHS needs to be put out of business. We need to donate our hard-earned money to reputable, honest, compassionate, caring animal shelters, instead.Also, AHS is constantly begging for money. Yet, they took in almost $13 MILLION DOLLARS, last year!AHS also has $31 MILLION, in assets!Plus, AHS Director Guy Collison's salary (in 2010) was $118,492!Think about your hard-earned, monetary donations being used to pay huge salaries for the AHS Director (and the rest of the AHS Executive Staff), as well as to pay thousands of dollars for AHS' administrative costs.To add insult to injury, AHS uses a large number of COMPLETELY UNPAID volunteers, which leaves AHS even more money for so-called administrative costs and for the giant salaries of their over-paid Director and other Executive Staff!Lastly, while some other Arizona animal-rescue organizations have a four-star rating, AHS only squeaked by with a three-star rating.Why is AHS' rating so low?PLEASE DO A FOLLOW-UP STORY AND AN INVESTIGATIVE STORY ON THE ARIZONA "HUMANE" SOCIETY.Thank you.

Debra
Debra

I at one time worked for the Humane Society of New York..We didn't care how many cases came in..This was a special case..Here's a person who got  this kitten..hand fed it and loved it and you take it lightly and offer another animal from your shelter after what you did to his friend..I had a vet that if my animal was sick...he''d tell  me to bring the animal in....IT WAS TOTALLY  WRONG  and  this man is without his friend.his companion..something that kept him away from a habit..SHAME ON YOU...

Karen
Karen

My question is: Is the Arizona Humane Socieity a NO KILL FACILITY.  It does not seem like one.  Also even if this man surrendered his cat - it was obivous that he cared for the cat.  Human kindness means that when we have to handle the situation differently we contact the person who gave up the cat.  Some one should be held responsible for this action.  It seems the the head of the organization does not want to take responsiblity.  According to him - it was the man who dropped the cat off and it was the cat's fault.  We used to accept responsiblity when our actions were wrong - what happened to that America!

Carter7476
Carter7476

I have had a similarly bad experience with this group, in the late 1980s, they lied repeatedly about having my dog, an AKC registered English Bull Terrier.Then erroneously classified him as a pit and destroyed him.I'll never forget what these SOBs have done to me and my dog.Rest in peace Spud.

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Rescue
Rescue

As a person involved in the rescue community, the AZ Humane Society often irritates me.  They take in thousands of dollars every year with their campaigns yet they want to pass off the sick and old animals to the local, underfunded, rescue groups instead of treating them and placing them for adoption.  They only want "highly adoptable" animals in their shelters. The average person does not know the amount of animals they really euthanize every year.I also ask "How much of those donations really go to the animals?" 

And one more tidbit.  Just because you donate to the AZ Humane Society,   that does NOT mean you are helping the other Humane Societies within the state.  AZ Humane Society is Phoenix only.  Each H.S. is separate. So those shelters in Sedona, Payson, Cottonwood, Tucson, etc. are all on their own.  They get NOTHING from the AZ Humane Society.  So if you want your money to help your local H.S.  give it to them directly!

Milli Denney
Milli Denney

I'm not sure if I understand the story completely. So here's my burning question:

Did they want payment BEFORE treating the cat? And because that obviously wasn't possible, they let the cat sit there, suffering from all those wounds, without treating it? 

If I AM understanding it right then my question is:  which part of ANIMAL ABUSE don't they understand????

If I didn't understand it correctly, then I'm sorry. (I DID read it 3 times, but it is not my first language).

Pissedkitty
Pissedkitty

The definitely wanted payment first.

I don't get how if the SECOND CHANCE HOSPITAL wasn't able to take care of all of the animals based on resources and degree of injury, would it have made a difference if the cat was paid for or not? If Scruffy was in paid in full upon arrival would she have been taken care of on the spot or at a less crowded facility?

The Bastards.

Katy Mobley
Katy Mobley

I think all donations to this "Humane" place should be given elsewhere.  Let this facility go out of business because it's not kind to animals.  I don't take my cats to the Humane Societyin my area because I've had similar bad run-ins with them.

malasangre
malasangre

you probably would really hate battlefield triage where people are left to die. emotions and reality can be hard.  i am worried the addict could collapse from the hurt.

Thorfin44
Thorfin44

The problem I have with this story is not the story itself..  That's good journalism..  the problem I have is with the picture, That pic is well over ten years old and surfaced on a humor website called Ebaumsworld.   It went viral about then after a guy found the dead cat laying on the side of the road, and made the poster as a joke..   someone with a camera took the pic and it hit myspace (long before facebook was more than a concept)  I had that pic in my myspace stash of humor phots in the late 1990s..  so shame on the journalist for misleading the reader with that photo

Amanda Altamirano
Amanda Altamirano

I will never donate again to the AHS. Done. If they can take credit card donations but couldn't make that situation work, then they are dispicable and I'll give my money to a drug rehab facility charity instead.

Dannyg
Dannyg

Offering a new cat would be insulting! There is nothing they can do, the damage is done. When I was a teenager I was arrested and for my probation/community service hours I decided what better place then the humane society to volunteer at. That place is trecharous! From the time an animal is brought in or surrendered its never more then a day, for some reason I always assumed its 3 days, thats completely incorrect though

Pecee69
Pecee69

The question I want answered is why did they force this poor guy to sign over his cat if they couldn't or wouldn't treat it? They could have directed him to an animal hospital that might have accepted payment over the phone. At the very least they could offer him another one for free, they have plenty of them, Oh! and how about an apology.

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PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

that's sad. I would be pissed if they did that to my cat. So much for AZ being compassionate to animals. Next time Joke holds up a puppy I will think of this man's poor cat.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

read the story here on the New Times called "Dog Day Afternoon".  MCSO BURNS puppies!

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

yes. I was in jail at the same time as that guy. They burnt down his house with their APC. Er I think so let me re-read the article. (edit) I remember this one. All the got on the people the terrified was they arrested one of the Males on a suspended license charge and failure to appear.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

The was a woman on Ch 12 tonight from the AHS.  She was dancing so hard the building appeared to share!

She said that the AHS will now accept CCards for services, just like they have always accepted them for donations.

But, no mention of letting the guy pick a replacement kitten, one that had shots and was spayed (as was the case of the dead cat)

DPSnAZ
DPSnAZ

These emotionally crippled morons not only owe this man a "replacement" kitten - duuhh- but a free food supply  and free veterinarian care of his choice for the next 5 years.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

yeah that's the least they could do. When struggling with things like addiction often times pets are what can help keep the people clean.

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