Veterinarian speaks out against Richmond County Animal Shelter

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 11, October 4, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A veterinarian who works with the shelter is speaking out about what she says is a shelter on a killing spree.

Dr. Amber Polvere is a licensed vet who works in shelters across the state. She's worked part time at Richmond County's animal shelter for more than two years, and she says it's the worst she's ever seen.

She says the main problem really is the shelter's euthanization policy.

"Their euthanasia policy is insane. They euthanize everything that is sick, injured or scared when it comes in the door."

Dr. Polvere has been working at the shelter for two years, spaying and neutering animals every Wednesday. Now she says it's time to speak up for those who can't.

"There is no other county I'm associated with that would euthanize an animal for having matted hair when it walks in the door. A stray animal that could very well be someone's pet who got matted hair because it's been missing for three to four weeks, but they kill it right off the trucks there."

The shelter's director Diane Downs says the policy is to euthanize immediately only if an animal is in dire condition, or is incurable. Stray animals get three days, animals that may have an owner get five.
The animal is tested again, and if it's not viable for adoption it's put down.

Dr. Polvere says that's not true. "No. That is a policy that is adhered to only if the staff perceives the animal is perfectly healthy. Not a policy in the case of an animal with any sort of injury or illness."

Downs admits animals with heartworms or even a broken leg are put down nine times out of ten. She says that's because there is no vet on staff and no money to take sick animals to an outside vet.

That's why Dr. Polvere defends the Kennel Manager in question Priscilla Crisler. She says Crisler tried to buy some time for the two dogs giving their owners a chance to reclaim them, before they were put down.

"I don't think it's the kennel manager's fault the policy is bad. I think it goes higher than the kennel manager."

It's an opinion that Dr. Polvere admits could cost her her job at the shelter. "The honest truth is if I'm no longer employed there which i suspect may happen as a result of the information that i am providing that i won't be able to help all of the animals I've been able to help in the two years that i have been there."

The best advice Dr. Polvere has for pet owners in Richmond County is to get your animals an ID tag right away In her opinion, it's the only way to guarantee you'll get your pet back. And, she says if you have a problem with the shelter, speak up.

The Department of Agriculture will visit the shelter tomorrow (Friday, October 4) to further investigate the cruelty claims.


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  • by The Mom on Apr 21, 2009 at 04:26 PM
    Yes this is the same pound
  • by joanne Location: aiken sc on Apr 19, 2009 at 05:08 PM
    Is this the same shelter that has that young girls dog her mother was taking care of and because a neighbor called, he is not to killed., can't they wait while the girl gets the papers on the dog? what is the rush., this is an owner who wants her dog back. Her dad tried to adopt the dog., they wouldn't let him., they want to kill the dog End of story., Dr.Polvery, thank you for the courage to speak out., things should never be this bad for dogs who cannot speak for themselves. Where is the outrage of the city? Someone should be seeing and hearing this. In this country, it's like Germany, we have money for everything else., lotto, etc., just think what $1.00 would do if everyone who just didn't gamble donated I will be calling this shelter, someone should be helping this poor girl get her dog back. this is insane.
  • by cindy Location: augusta on Oct 13, 2007 at 08:33 PM
    I cannot see how the city government can allow this to happen. I know of some horror stories myself about these dog catchers. Maybe we should treat them like they treat the animals. I will be getting in touch with PETA myself.
  • by Rose Location: Wisconsin on Oct 12, 2007 at 06:06 AM
    I say fire Priscilla crisler!!! How can she walk right past the cages and do nothing?Charge her with animal cruelty what she did was cruelty to let not one dog suffer but two in her care.I am ticked off how she only gets a slap on the hand. Id slap her face !Fire the animal abuser prisilla crisler. This is cruelty when you animals suffer for days. One day is two long.They were paid FIFTY do;;ars to put them to sleep by the owners?If my dog was in a house fire i would take him to the vet not the pound. The owners of dogs who took them to the pound and not the vet are as bad as the shelter.Were they to cheap to take it to the vet YES. I hope they can sleep nite The house fire should of burned the owner not the dog. I hope she gets fired and charged with cruelty.The owners of the dogs i have a word or two for you i hope you never own onther pet you cant afford one. You cheap scapes. Get a stuffed dog would be ok for you to. Mad as hell about this.
  • by Val Location: Augusta on Oct 8, 2007 at 06:43 PM
    Dustin,I totally agree with you .I also have a pitbull mix who want bit a fly.An animal control officer came into my back yard which was unfenced and tried to get my dog.He was confronted and came back later about 10pm with a police officer and issue a citation which we had to go to court and pay over $1000.00 because a disguntle neighbor took a picture of my dog in his own yard .The system suck and i would like to see these people pay for abusing God's animals.Animal control has good employees that love animals keep them,but I think that whole department need to be restructured.
  • by Kelly Location: North Augusta on Oct 8, 2007 at 03:14 PM
    First off I love animals and its not our right to neglect or abuse them. I think that every employee that stood by and watched those two dogs suffer and being injured so severely, should be locked up for years, if we did the same to a human being we'd go to prison they need to go to prison as well, My heart goes out to the animals that are still in the shelter now they need love and help. I contacted PETA about this case and they already are aware of it and are investigating. I hope justice is served, I'm just glad im not the one handing out the justice. I'd lock them in a cage, suffering and in pain and see how they liked it. If I could personally do something to change this I would, I don't even live in Richmond county but we all have a responsibility to those that can't help themselves, and that would include animals. Furious in North Augusta.
  • by Kathleen Location: South Augusta on Oct 7, 2007 at 08:45 PM
    When we arrived here the "good ol' boy" regime was still running Animal Control, what a house of horrors that was! I had hoped that the new facility would mean a new perspective; apparently not. The guilt for the horrendouse situation faced by these dogs and cats here in Richmond Co. lies squarely with your County Commissioners... what a joke they are! I think it's about time the ASPCA was asked to come in to the county and take over. Frankly, I don't understand why they're not here to begin with. Also, the general attitudes of the people living here need to change. Too often I have been a firsthand witness to the attitude that these dogs and cats are seen as nothing more valuable than used kleenex. It's appalling! I've gotten to know a couple of the control officers over the years, usually as the complaintant in a matter of abuse/neglect and I can say I've seen that they, at least, do really care. What about the rest of the residents? It's your county... do something about this!
  • by Linda Location: Aiken on Oct 6, 2007 at 01:18 PM
    There is a lot of Senior"s that would like a pet as companion's. But can't afford $50.00 to $75.00 for a dog or cat. and afford medicine. Some animal shelter offer a week of adoption for $10.00 If the shelter's wasn't greedy they would accept that instead of killing them and getting nothing.
  • by catndogady Location: augusta on Oct 6, 2007 at 10:30 AM
    Thank you Lynnsey for bringing this to the CSRA's attention. I tried to get them to work with me when a neighbor's dog was picked up while he was on vacation. They refused----and put his dog down (on the third day)!!!
  • by bj Location: mitchell, ga on Oct 6, 2007 at 07:52 AM
    This kind of care ( lack of ) has been going on for years and has always been ignored by the powers that be. Nothing in it for the politicos. A loud cheer for the employees that have had the heart to get this out in the open. The managers should be jailed.
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