Hats off to the Toledo Blade for continuing it's pressure on Lucas County and its dog warden, Tom "Dog Killer" Skeldon. They've published a series of articles highlighting the utter indifference and apparent pleasure Skeldon and his cronies take in killing perfectly healthy, perfectly adoptable dogs.
What I love most is Skeldon's denial that anything is wrong. He even goes so far as to claim that no one could reduce the euthanasia rate at the shelter. Yet somehow, someway, every single shelter in neighboring areas have significantly lower kill rates. Depending on how you look at the statistics, Skeldon is responsible for killing 66-77% of all dogs who come into his shelter. My guess is that if any of the wardens from neighboring counties took over, they'd be able to reduce kill rates just like they've done at their own shelters. They'd do crazy stuff like work with all-breed rescue groups, breed-specific rescue groups, transfers, petfinder, putting up fliers, etc. ad naseum. If other wardens can have kill rates as low as 28%, how can Dog Killer Skeldon argue its impossibility at his own shelter?
He can because he doesn't believe increasing adoptions is anywhere near important. It's not really a part of his job description. According to him, his job is to improve public safety, not adopt out more and kill fewer animals. From 2007-2008, dog bites in Lucas County increased from 329 to 403. This is interesting on two levels. One, an increase in dog bites is hardly living up to Dog Killer Skeldon's motto it's about people, not animals (it's my made up motto for him). Two, 403 reported bites out of a population of 450,000 humans? I mean, can we call that a public health crisis?
Skeldon's big claim to fame is that he's reduced the kill rate by 11% in 30 years. Can we please give this guy an award now? Why yes, yes we can!! Thank goodness for the anti-dog zealots picking Tom Dog Killer Skeldon as their Dog Warden of the Year for 2008. I mean, really? I'm sure he'll have some tough competition this year with recently fired Memphis Animal Control's director Ernest Alexander who was responsible for the starvation of three dogs, mistreatment of dozens of animals, and the improper euthanasia of an owned animal who's owners would have loved to have picked up their dog (but alas, the shelter killed the dog without looking for them). The anti-dog zealots should really love Alexander who allowed the starvation of a pit bull puppy! At least Skeldon uses euthanol to kill the 1,300 pit bull look alikes who have the misfortune to end up in his shelter, right? Colleen has a tough decision to make!
Anyway, back to Skeldon. He's pretty much of the opinion that he is invincible. He's got a first cousin on the board of commissioners and no one seems keen on ousting the guy who hasn't improved public safety (as far as dog bites are concerned) and who's done little to improve the welfare of the animals in his care. According to him, he'll be fine until he retires sometime in 2011 after being dog warden since 1987. Think of all the dead dog and cat souls who will be cheering on that fortuitous day! There should be tens of thousands of them.
And if you think a 66-77% kill rate, a piddly 13% adoption rate or that killing 1,000+ pit bull look-a-likes a year are not signs of success, then consider yourself part of the criminal element. Nothing bolsters your argument like accusing your opponents of being gang-bangers or criminals. Really solidifies your claims, Skeldon. Seriously, Skeldon claims that anyone who opposes his killing of 1,000-1,300 pit bulls or his additional killing of another several hundred dogs, then they are of the criminal element. Because, hey, only the criminally inclined would ever be appalled at the killing of 46 0-3-mos-old pit bull puppies or the senseless killing of thousands of, even in Skeldon's words, friendly pit bulls. SEND ME TO JAIL NOW, PLEASE!
If the mayor of Memphis can oust a shelter director because of egregiously neglectful care of animals, certainly Lucas County can follow suit. There is no reason to retain the services of a man who takes pleasure in killing animals. He kills a lot of dogs when no other nearby warden does so. His discriminatory practices have lead to the death of thousands of pit bulls and Rottweilers. His lack of professionalism and dismissal of valid concerns indicates an ego the size of a small island nation and no conscience to speak fairly of. His kind has no place running a dog shelter.
Do shit, people:
The Toledo Blade accepts letters to the editor.
KC Dog Blog has a good post on it too.