We recently created an alert regarding the arrest of Carly Jo Underwood, of Midland, Texas. Carly was arrested in December for having left her foreclosed-upon house eight months previously with sixteen dogs inside, some loose in the house, others caged, to die the horrid deaths of dehydration and hunger. Upon further review, it's become increasingly apparent that this simply wouldn't have happened with better shelter management and/or procedures in place. We must act now to ensure nothing like this happens ever again at a shelter aspiring to the high standards of a "no kill" facility.
News of the gruesome findings and Carly's arrest included information that Carly had been on the board of the Dust Bowl Animal Shelter (DBAS) in Texas and a foster to its animals. Mesha Randolph, President of DBAS, a "no kill" facility, was interviewed following Carly's arrest. According to news reports, Mesha aided with the investigation and told media that she couldn't imagine why Carly had acted as she had, that it was "uncharacteristic" of her. Equally troubling is the lack of a working animal tracking system, as when asked to help identify the dead dogs, Mesha said that she was unable to distinguish between, or identify the dogs as there was, "just fur, fur everywhere." With proper policies, identification records, and tracking, there's absolutely no way that sixteen dogs would go unaccounted for over such a long period of eight months when the person fostering them had left the state.
We have also studied Dust Bowl Animal Shelter's foster home application. It is thorough, except that it contains only one reference to a home check that appears to refer to an initial visit when the organization inspects a potential home as a condition of approval for the application. The form also addresses reporting changes in the home, like the number of animals kept, but lacks mention of follow up home checks.
Because Mesha Randolph disclosed that she was unable to identify the dogs, and because they were somehow "lost" in the system at the Shelter for eight months after Carly left the state, we have taken the position that the Shelter, and the President, Mesha Randolph share some of the responsibility for the vile death of each of these precious, defenseless lives. How could a "no kill" shelter, of all shelters, allow a volunteer, foster caregiver, or board member to foster so many animals without keeping up with their status for more than half a year?
Why, when Carly did not report the dogs as being adopted, or adopt some of them herself, did they not check on their welfare? We hold that the organization is culpable in the death of the dogs by either failure of policy or of a failure to follow policy.
Please join us in writing the board members of Dust Bowl Animal Shelter to ask that they ask for the resignation of DBAS President Mesha Randolph and that they review all Shelter adoption and fostering policies to identify exactly how such a grossly negligent and horrific incident was allowed to happen on their watch. A "no kill" shelter should set standards for the highest concern for and supervision of fostered and adopted animals.
Ensure Prolonged Suffering and Death of Dogs Never Happens Again
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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