I have to write a coherent essay if I can today. I can't sleep and I can't find the language to express how shocking MCAS behavior in this incident has been, all of it was.I have written before about Carla Couperthwaite and her two dogs impounded at MCAS (Multnomah County Animal Services Portland Oregon) since mid January taken on alleged neglect charges.
But Carla who is a senior citizen living on $700 a month is poor and fell into a hard financial spot. She did the best she could and Jack really had only minor concerns: flea dermatitis and a mild ear infection The veterinarian estimated his age as 8. He is 12. Vincent at 14 had a severe ear infection that had not responded to treatment Carla could provide. No one told her of PAW Team.
She takes very good care of her dogs, I have known her a long time. They come before her needs.The neglect, such as there was for Vincent, was secondary to her increasing poverty worse lately so she now qualifies for PAW Team. Jack is a Golden rottie; Vincent is a rottie. It was wholly fixable without taking her dogs to prison and a hearing..Carla has been visiting Jack at MCAS since his impoundment in January ( Vincent was placed in foster care where she cannot see him) every day permitted. She was going out to MCAS by bus and walking the rest of the way: allowed only the restricted time any visitor is allowed, 15 minutes inside the kennel while monitored by a staff person.
Carla and her dogs are very bonded. When she had to leave, Jack would cry and try to follow her. They did not allow her to walk him: no staff available was the excuse; hundreds of small humiliations but she went anyway.
Carla noted his depression to staff and concerns about his well being. They just put a sheet over his kennel to stop his barking at passer bys. He wanted to get out .But not even exercise is allowed.So just stop him from seeing: make his world even smaller.Last Wednesday Jack collapsed in the kennel . MCAS took him to VCA NW for diagnostics. At first they forbade her information about him. That was reversed by legal intervention.On Thursday I drove her out to see him at NW.. The diagnosis concerned some unidentified problem causing brain swelling and the prognosis was judged to be likely poor.
MCAS did not want to spend $1000 for an MRI given the likely poor prognosis..The specialist said there was perhaps a 5% chance of something curable.
After spending an hour with him reluctantly Carla agreed to his euthanasia. For two months he had been kept in jail: no exercise, no outings to the park, no affection; just solitary confinement.
I had driven Carla out earlier to VCA to learn the findings and to be with him.. What a beautiful dog! His tail thumped wildly when he saw her: a big headed Golden with curly fur and Rottie markings and a huge smile when he saw her.
You could see the love between them and I saw no signs of severe neglect. He always slept on her bed when he was home .Her home is very tidy and well kept. The dogs slept in her bedroom with her.During the time she was with him at VCA Carla began to speak of suicide. Her dogs are her whole life. Her depression severe especially without them.I told her we would take Jack and arrange a private cremation at Dignity Pets where she could spend all the rest of the time she needed to say good bye. Dignity Pets said they would stay open late, no after hours charge, given the circumstances.What happened next was unbelievable .
MCAS called and said a truck was on its way to claim Jack's body.
They wanted to take him from her even in death and they wanted a necropsy to exonerate themselves. Had they wanted to know what he had they should have conducted an MRI while he was alive and had a chance.
So Jack's body was held hostage while Carla was so distraught the staff at VCA and I were afraid for her life, concerned if hospitalization should be considered .It was 4 PM. I called the Department of Community Services and said no way.
You are not doing this.
Oswald told them when they called him to explain that it was so Carla could get a free cremation and learn what Jack had died from and wouldn't she like to know?.
But that was a disingenous lie. The lawyer told Reb they wanted a signed release from liability or they were keeping Jack's body.
So a negotiation occurred while we sat in the parking lot at VCA and the animal control truck was on its way ordered by Officer Michelle Luckey. MCAS said they would only release Jack's body to Carla if she agreed to sign away her rights to sue them over his death.
So Carla signed. It was the only way to get Jack back.
I said never mind we have Jack and it was signed under duress. I know he died of a broken heart. I know he had only minor problems: a bit of flea dermatitis and a mild ear infection when he went into MCAS under their "prison" care,
It was stated in the record. Jack died of a condition they never noticed until it was too late caused or exacerbated by their neglect.
They never pay attention and hold dogs in appalling social isolation and no or minimal care.
That's it. No exercise, no happy talk, just pacing back and forth in an isolated cell day after day after day: a tidy maximum security prison camp where animals are regarded as disposable nuisances, pests and potential liabilities.All they cared about when Jack died was how to hold onto his body to get out from under any potential liability lawsuit. If Carla died of grief and so did Jack, who cares. They only cared about skipping out.I have no words to express how anguishing this has been; how Carla now can barely make it through each day, I call every night to make sure she is alive and how sinful and evil they are.
The hearing has been postponed to April 8 but Jack is dead and Vincent kept away in foster care with a foster whose behavior, another subject, is hugely inappropriate and insensitive.How can this ever be stopped?
This is life at MCAS behind closed doors, day after day, the gulag, the jack booted Nazis, the cold hearts, the hurt, and the harm done, the lies told, the betrayal of trust, and no one who could do something about this, no one with power or authority, who sees or cares.Gail