Sunday, July 25, 2010

KY Shelter Mistakes Pet Dog for Coyote, Releases into the Wild

Terrible treatment of animal in KY Capital by local shelter and
Beloved pet called a coyote, sent into the wild
By Kay Harrod
Copper, a female Shebu Inu, is still missing after being released behind Home
Depot off U.S. 127, after the Humane Society mistook her for a coyote.
A little lost dog named Copper is in the middle of a bureaucratic snafu stemming
from a mistaken identity that involves city and county governments, Frankfort
police and others.
"We don"t take coyotes," a Frankfort Humane Society employee told a Frankfort
police officer, who brought an animal later identified as Copper to the Kentucky
Avenue shelter.
"If it's a coyote, either shoot it or release it back to the wild," Wildlife
Solutions told a police sergeant who called the business for advice after Copper
was turned away.
Animal activist Trudi Johnson summed up Copper"s dilemma: "This story just goes
downhill and at the bottom of that hill lays the Humane Society's inability to
recognize a dog from a coyote."

"People would say when Copper was young, she looked like a fox with her pointy
ears and red coloring," said Copper's owner, Lori Goodlett, about her Sheba Inu,
a female officially registered with the AKC.
"But no one has ever mistaken her for a coyote."
The debacle, which could end badly, began Saturday, July 3.
Goodlett said she returned to her Cloverdale home around 3 p.m. after being away
for the night to find Copper gone from her fenced yard. A veterinarian friend
told her to call the Humane Society to see if Copper had been turned in.
Goodlett says the person who answered said, "We haven't gotten a stray dog
today," and that ended the conversation.
Goodlett phoned again to leave her name, number and Copper's breed.
"I was able to get out the breed of the dog, but the person reiterated they
didn't have one and once again hung up."
Goodlett says she's unsure how Copper could have escaped since the gate of the
chain-link fence has a clip that has to be released to open it. She also checked
to see if Copper had wiggled under the fence but found nothing.
"I've had her 11 years, and she has never jumped the fence."
On Sunday, Goodlett posted missing signs along with Copper's picture around the
west Frankfort neighborhood.
Monday, Goodlett said she was gone with her children to King's Island for most
of the day.
A Frankfort Police officer patrolling Cloverdale saw Goodlett's posted signs and
took one to the downtown station.
According to Maj. Fred Deaton, Copper was indeed the dog picked up by a police
The veteran officer and his captain drove to the Goodlett home and related the
chain of events.
"Honestly, if the police had not come to my house I would have not known any of
the events," Goodlett said. "They have been so forthcoming and offered so much
A Frankfort police officer had been summoned to a Gramma Drive address on
Saturday morning to take a dog from a woman's yard. The officer put the dog in
his car and waited until after noon when the humane society opened and took the
dog there.
According to Deaton, the dog did not wear any identification or a collar.
However, he said he doubted if the animal were a coyote it would have gone
peacefully with the officer.
Animal Control Officer Mark Pardi, who normally responds to calls, was on
vacation that weekend.
The officer left the dog at the Humane Society only to be called back and told
the animal had to be removed from the shelter because it was against the law to
shelter a coyote.
The police officer, currently on military leave, refused to take the dog back.
His captain, Ray Kinney, was called and was told by the Humane Society Director
Regina McDaniel that the coyote had to go, according to Deaton.
In the meantime the police, since the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Resources was closed, contacted Wildlife Solutions, a private business, and were
told a coyote was considered a nuisance and could be shot or returned to the
The officer took Copper to the open fields behind Home Depot, removed her from
her carrier and let him go.
According to Goodlett, the captain and the veteran officer at her door were
upset with the chain of events.
"They continuously apologized, and they gave me a computer disc with all the
pictures that had been taken to document the event."
"Fortunately," Deaton said, "The officer had the foresight to photograph the
On Tuesday, Goodlett was joined by several police officers in a field search
behind Home Depot. Pardi, back from his vacation, also went looking for Copper
and set cages in hopes of capturing him.
Deaton says Kinney returned a second time "off the clock" to continue looking
for Copper.
"I in no way blame neither the officer nor the city police," Goodlett said. "The
officer tried to do the right thing. Throughout this whole matter, the police
department has been forthcoming, honest and deeply apologetic."
Goodlett does blame the Humane Society.
"How anyone there could have mistaken Copper for a coyote is beyond me. If
nothing else every employee needs training in breed recognition. They also need
training in responding to the public; the handling of my two phone calls was
totally unprofessional and inappropriate."
Goodlett said she has also made a trip to the Humane Society in hopes of at
least getting an apology.
"That visit went about as badly as my phone calls."
As it turns out, according to a police report on the matter, Goodlett's calls to
the shelter looking for Copper fell into the same time frame that the police
officer was there with her.
There's another dimension to the story. Copper was purchased years ago as a
friend to Goodlett's other Sheba Inu, Trigger. He's now 15, with a serious heart
murmur and, according to Goodlett, mourns for his little lost friend.
"Both dogs split time between being inside and outside. But when I leave for
just an overnight, they remain outside, since Trigger has grown incontinent.
Neither of them has ever left the fence unless a gate has been left open."
Goodlett has since talked with the woman on nearby Gramma Drive who called the
police. She told Goodlett she had no idea how the dog wound up inside her fence.
She also told Goodlett because she too was leaving town, she did not want to
leave Copper fenced in her yard.
Second District Magistrate Phillip Kring says there's a breakdown in the
"Normally if Mark (Pardi) is out of town, the county's animal control officer is
called," Kring said.
According to Kring that officer is attached to the sheriff's office.
"Plus we (Fiscal Court) pay an assistant. Someone had to be on call."
Kring said to his knowledge Fiscal Court does not have any oversight of the
shelter nor does it require accountability from it.
"We pay the animal control officers and give the Humane Society roughly $50,000
a year to take the animals that are picked up in the county."
Otherwise, according to Kring, the Humane Society is a private non-profit that
has its own board of directors and hires its own manager.
City Commissioner Sellus Wilder said the city provides $55,000 to the Humane
Society out of its police budget.
"The city needs to hold the Humane Society more accountable for the public funds
they receive," Wilder said.
According to Joe Johnson, a board member of the Humane Society, to his knowledge
the board is totally unaware of the situation that occurred in early July.
"We just held a board meeting Saturday and none of this was brought to our
John Forbes, board president, said he stands behind the decision made by the
"If our manager (McDaniel) assessed the animal to be a coyote, then it is
against the law for it to be at the shelter. We rely on the people who work
there," Forbes said.
Trudi Johnson, the animal activist, sent a letter to the county judge, fiscal
court members, mayor and city commissioners advocating that both bodies request
a designee be placed on the Humane Society board to provide accountability.
"I advised them of the latest incident that has occurred and hope they will be
responsive to this latest situation," Trudi Johnson said.
"There was no reason for this situation to occur, except someone did not
recognize a dog from a coyote. That is a stretch for people who are supposed to
be professionals."
Johnson said there is a local group organizing who will do another search in the
area behind Home Depot.
"I know in my head Copper is gone for good, but in my heart I would like to
think some nice family found her and took her in," Goodlett said.
Anyone who might have any information about Copper may call Goodlett at (502)
226-2580 or Frankfort Police.
Outrage must be voiced to/demonstrated in Frankfort/Franklin County KY!
Franklin County officials -
Frankfort City officials -
Franklin County Humane Society President: John Forbes -
Franklin County Humane Society Shelter Director "Regina McDaniel -
State officials (they live here, too!) -
Governor -
First Lady - - (502-564-2611)
KY Dept Ag Comm - (502-564-5126)

JoAnn Dimon
"It's better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a
Zack de la Rocha

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