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Monday, September 22, 2008


posted by on September 22 at 21:44 PM

Last week, the Seattle Times reported that a group of veterenarians were refusing to volunteer at King County animal shelters, “citing a lack of accountability and a reluctance from shelter staff to fix a broken system.” In the story, Times reporter Sonia Krishnan quoted vet Brad Crauer, medical director of the Redmond Animal Hospital, who said that he had stopped offering his services at the Kent and Bellevue animal shelters because “I did not want to act as enablers to the proven failed procedures.

Crauer, the only named source to denounce King County’s shelter practices (the only other quoted anti-county sources are surveys filled out by anonymous veterinarians ), claims in the story that King County did nothing to improve problems at the shelters; isolated animals; and did nothing to help sick animals.

Last week, County Executive Ron Sims responded to the Times story—via Twitter, which he used recently to announce that King County’s budget deficit had increased from $85 million to $90 million. Sims’s understated post read simply, “Dear Seattle Times and KOMO - Here is a blog story regarding King County’s Animal Control that is worth reading.” A link went to a blog post at King County Animal Shelter Creatures, titled, “Pain and muscle relaxants prescribed by the vet for himself using name of his dead dog.”

The “vet,” in this case, would be Crauer—who, the post goes on to contend, also wrongly accused King County of falsifying euthanasia numbers and faking discrepancies in the logs documenting use of controlled drugs at the shelter, among other misdeeds. The clear implication: Why should the Times (and KOMO, which also reported on the vets’ defection) listen to Dr. Crauer, when he had falsified records and prescribed himself controlled substances under his dead dog’s name?

While I’m not sure if Sims’s criticisms are on point (Crauer certainly seems like a less than reliable source; on the other hand, do his alleged drug problems and supposed false cremation documents negate other vets’ claims that there were real problems at King County shelters?), his method (Twitter) and tone (combative) are noteworthy. And they certainly got the attention of the King County Council, which is planning to release a response later this week (a lengthy request for information about the shelters’ 2008 work, sent last Friday, has reportedly been in the works for some time) to Sims’s Twitter attack on Crauer. I’ll post their response as soon as I get it.

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This isn't exactly the first time the Times purposely played up certain facts over others for a story angle.

Posted by J. Whorfin | September 22, 2008 10:33 PM

So we shouldn't pay attention to people who post brief combative statements?

Time to stop watching this blog then.

Posted by darkmane | September 22, 2008 10:57 PM

The veterinary services provided by KCAC are inadequate, and I don't know why Sims would try to downplay that fact. If the govm't is going to be in the business of animal control, they at least need to have adequate funding to provide humane care, and they don't! When I was an officer there, I had to fight for proper sedatives, fight for decent pain control. . . watch animals recover from surgery outdoors, exposed to weather and flies. . . OMG, it was not pretty. Not sure why Sims would try to pretend otherwise; these problems are widely known at this point.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | September 22, 2008 11:59 PM

This is very sad.

Posted by Aislinn | September 23, 2008 12:17 AM

I'm with Aislinn. It's just sad, no matter how you look at it. The line workers in shelters bust their ass for very little monetary or moral reward; it just grinds you down after awhile. There's also lots of ugly politics when it comes to management of animal shelters/humane societies, that flies under most peoples' radar. None of the players in this issue are clean, by any means. At the end of the day it's about the ANIMALS, who are often victims of circumstance and poor human judgment, and pay a terrible price for such.

Posted by laterite | September 23, 2008 12:47 AM

I agree, this is sad. Animal shelters are sad places. I have no doubt that criticism should be leveled against the county for poor treatment of animals in the shelter system. I can't believe our County Executive is using TWITTER, for god's sake, to announce anything serious in the first place. His defensiveness proves that we should question the county's ability to properly care for shelter animals.
P.S. adopt pets, don't buy them :(

Posted by ugh | September 23, 2008 6:51 AM

Ron Sims needs to be thrown out of office.
His demeanor is as bad as Cheney only showing up on Fox and Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by K X One | September 23, 2008 9:02 AM

I wish more elected officials used Twitter.

Posted by jackie treehorn | September 23, 2008 10:24 AM

Folks, before you dismiss Sims, take a look at what Crauer's handlers are actually attempting, and the consequences that will come of it should they succeed:

Posted by No Kill is no good | September 23, 2008 10:54 AM

Pay no attention to these boring animal shelter problems. Fixing the animal shelter is going to require time, money and expertise. In a word, zzzzzzzzzzz...

The real story is pit bulls! Run for your lives! Eeeeeee!

Posted by elenchos | September 23, 2008 12:35 PM

Animal shelters are sad places. This sroty just made me sad.

Posted by Dog Names | September 23, 2008 12:55 PM

Crauer also was, and still is, involved with Kim Sgro.

When they were doing Hurricane Katrina rescues with no kill shelter Pasado's Safe Haven, Sgro and Crauer sent rescued dogs to die horribly here

despite the fact that they had been warned by many that this Hansen was a hoarder and animal abuser.

She claimed to be running a no kill sanctuary.

Crauer and his friends just threatened the whistleblowers and called them names, and sent the dogs anyway.

Some dogs died, still stuck in their crates, and it was the whistleblowers who got this hoarder Hansen arrested and freed the other dogs from sure death.

Crauer didn't do anything but threaten the whistleblowers

Crauer has a very negative past history.

And this no kill scam is even worse.

No kill just means the animals die terribly, and off the statistics, instead of being humanely euthanized.

Vets make more money through no kill, though.

Posted by Tanya | September 23, 2008 5:14 PM

Ron Sims is morally and politically corrupt.

He's run this county into the ground (remember the elections shitbag? now animal control. Oh, and the deficit...anyone? anyone?)

The emperor is nekkid and his toadies tell him he's looks mahvelous.

Posted by janedoe | September 23, 2008 9:49 PM

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