Letters to the Editor
December 19, 2011

To the Editor
I was so outraged when I read the email below, forwarded to me by a friend, that I wanted the citizens of VC to be able to read it also. The citizens of VC should understand how their tax dollars are being "used" by the Camarillo Animal Shelter, (Ventura County Animal Services) in their treatment of homeless impounded dogs.
For additional information contact Linda Nelson directly at the email address at the very bottom of this article.
Joan Farber
Ventura (since 1993), CA.
(805) 659-5145

On November 4th, Tiny Loving Canines pulled a small demodex Chihuahua pup out of VCAS. I myself had not seen the dog in person, but I approved the pull sight unseen. The dog was transported from Camarillo by one of our volunteers and when I first saw the dog in person, I was beyond shocked --- the dog looked nothing like the impound photo and was now severely emaciated.
According to the medical records (attached), this dog weighed 3 pounds at impound on 10/24/11 - twelve days later when we got him, he weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce. If you review the attached medical records, you will note that the respiratory distress was not notated until 11/4/11 - the day we pulled the dog out of VCAS. As serious as an URI or 'kennel cough', a bigger battle this dog had to overcome was severe malnutrition and loss of weight - not notated on the medical records.
Twelve days later, Rooney still could not stand up under his own power well, nor could he walk - please see the photos on a blog posting from November 16th here - http://tlc-doghouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-for-faint-of-heart.html
On November 22nd, Rooney stood up and walked on his own for the first time since we pulled him out of Camarillo - prior to that time he slept curled up in a ball in between the feedings every 3 hours, nebulizer treatments, skin treatments, etc. And on November 23rd, he walked to the kibble dish on his own for the first time and ate. Note the severe loss of muscle weight and tone in this dog still, despite all of the high quality nutrition and care given (he had gained 1/2 pound during the 19 days with TLC):
Unfortunately, in my opinion too much had happened to this pup's body - between being low in body weight and losing 1/3 of his body weight at VCAS during his 12 day stay there, the demodex, advanced upper respiratory illnesses - he passed away on Saturday, 11/26/11.
Why am I bringing Rooney's story to the Board of Supervisors?
Because I have LONG protested the low quality care that animals receive at VCAS. I could write a laundry's list of dogs we have pulled from there that receive minimal attention, no attention or attention detrimental to the health of the dog. This includes a dog we pulled about a month ago that was prescribed eye treatment by Dr. Koehner that was causing the dog's eye even more harm (and our vet described to us as a 'classic case of malpractice if the vet were in private practice!'). Our vet immediately switched medications - she may or may not lose her sight... we have yet to know if she will recover her sight from the misdiagnosis of Dr. Koehner.
On Friday we were called to take two dogs or they would be euthanized. We were told one dog had 'kennel cough' and we still agreed to take the dog. Looking at her records, she was given the DAPPL2 vaccine on 10/18, 11/1 and 11/17 (when she was spayed)... but NO vaccination for kennel cough.
Refusal to vaccinate for kennel cough at VCAS has LONG been a problem, especially in a facility that states it is always over its limit and is euthanizing for space. It has long been a misguided position of VCAS that they are limiting the amount of diseases by not allowing communal living.
Although many of us have complained about this policy of not vaccinating for kennel cough, we have also advocated for communal housing to lower the number of dogs being euthanzied. Now I understand the policy of pairing dogs died when Denise Callaway did, and so the numbers will once again continue to rise in euthanasia at VCAS.
In summary:
Rooney caught an URI in the VCAS medical ward - a place where there is no communal housing but should have extreme sterile conditions
Rooney also lost 1/3 of his weight in 12 days in the medical ward
Gracie, a dog in general population, is diagnosed with kennel cough, but has no signs of kennel cough after 3 days' observation
Gracie was going to be euthanized because of lack of space in a facility that once again is refusing to do communal housing because of a perceived kennel cough treat
Gracie received three vaccinations of DAPPL2 in less than a month, but NO bordetella vaccine at all - even the AVMA does not recommend re-vaccinating this close together
Someone, some where needs to address what goes on at VCAS and stop brushing this stuff under the carpet. If the county is going to pay for a full time veterinarian to be on staff, there needs to be one that abides by the code of "first do no harm".
When does the Ventura County Board of Supervisors step up and clean house at VCAS to stop this needless suffering and carnage, gross poor mismanagement and institute modern medical practices, efficient space management and improvement of the overall quality of this taxpayer funded facility????
Linda Nelson
Director -TLC