Estill County Judge Executive Bans Animal Rescue Group

Reported by: Ian Preston
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Updated: 9/26/2013 11:55 pm
Sarah Jone's group the Way Home Rescue Alliance saved more than 16-hundred animals from the Estill County Animal Shelter in 2012.

The WHRA even delivers the animals to their new homes that are sometimes hundreds of miles away.

However it looks as though the WHRA's days of helping  Estill County is over after Jones says five dogs were euthanized, two of which she says were set to be adopted.

"In my mind there's not really an excuse for the euthanasia of those five dogs, and when that occurred and we made it public 24 hours later received a notification that we were banned from the shelter," Jones said.

Estill County Judge Executive Wallace Taylor says after the WHRA posted that public message, he says he started receiving hate mail from as far away as Alaska.

Wallace says someone even posted a picture of him and his family on the site where that public message was posted.

He says after the issue became personal he decided to ban the WHRA from working with his county.

Taylor says he doesn't know what happened with those five dogs, but says they try to do everything they can to get all their animals adopted, and adds they only euthanizes when they feel the animal is either in too bad of health or a danger to others.
   
Jones says she had volunteers go down to the shelter two day prior to the dogs being put-down, and says they were in healthy and adoptable

Jones says they don't want to paint a negative picture on anyone in Estill County. She says all they want to do is get back down there and continue the work they were doing.

Judge Taylor says they had another group come in on Thursday and take 13 dogs that will all be adopted.

Jones says if they can't get back into Estill County, they will look to help other local shelters in the area.
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Sjones - 9/28/2013 12:21 PM
0 Votes
The Way Home Rescue Alliance would like to respond to this story - The Judge Executive claims “he doesn't know what happened with those five dogs, but says they try to do everything they can to get all their animals adopted, and adds they only euthanizes when they feel the animal is either in too bad of health or a danger to others.” As seen in the photos of the 5 dogs on our FB page, and as observed by one of our volunteers who met these 5 dogs 2 days prior to their death on Friday, this group was not ill or unhealthy in any way, and they were NOT aggressive in any manner. If it is the shelter's policy to euthanize ill or aggressive animals, why were their photos/info ever made available to our organization to try to find them placement? Also, based on the intake the shelter had sent us, there were only 11 dogs in the shelter total at that time; they were not overcrowded. In response to the Judge's claims that our organization (Sarah Jones, Lisa Schorr, Mary Pat Nixon, Jenny Neat) sent hate mail to he and his family, that is a blatant lie. In every communication that we have posted on our FB page, we have asked the public to NOT be hateful in their communications with the JE as that would be detrimental to our efforts. If the judge can produce an email, phone message, or identify any posting of he, his family, or shelter staff on our FB page or website, I would ask that he show such a communication. It does not exist. To give you an idea of the impact this will have on the animals that enter the Estill County Shelter, the total intake at the shelter in 2012 was 2628. 340 of those animals were adopted directly from the shelter. 2024 of those animals were saved by TWHRA in one of two ways - either by TWHRA coordinating and transporting the animals to other rescue groups or by bringing the animals into TWHRA's own foster program for adoption. Our volunteers drive approx. 600 miles per week to save these animals. Who is going to do that now?

Ellenf - 9/28/2013 6:47 AM
0 Votes
This whole issue has become a witch hunt. Animal control is not popular, the judge and MY COUNTY have stepped up to all its issues and continually evaluate them. The people who say they are taxpayers, are you paying taxes in Estill County? I live here and feel confident (not always happy) that this county truly tries to help all the animals that come into their shelter. All this media storm is like TWHRA has been fired. My personal opinion, from working with them first hand, is that they are very controversial, have threatened to stop pulling from this shelter due to illness, the judge instituted a shot and worming protocol which reduced illness to .014% -- or practically nothing, but for that needed to establish a pull fee which created yet another uproar and this group, yes very animal friendly and save a lot have no regard for the people involved. We all would have liked to continue to have everyone work together but all this negative publicity has caused a natural progression of events. All the shelters I've worked with ask for shelter references. Why do you think that is? Could you see that all the drama is taking away from issues of bigger magnitude? No one has time for all this and it is just divisive. Nothing good will come out of all this. Good is what I am looking for -- let's focus on the strengths the animal control/animal advocate groups and work together. One without the other is no where. This shelter will survive, will establish ANOTHER rescue source and move on. If you are willing to work amiably with the procedures set by the judge, we are willing to work with you. I am taking applications now. You can find out how to contact me on the Estill County Animal Shelter facebook page. I don't know how to make it plainer. I look forward to working with rescues -- it is what I did for years...now I want to continue helping animals through the judge and rescue to get to the homes we all want them to have. Thanks for your time.

TaxpayerReview - 9/27/2013 9:25 PM
1 Vote
Way Home Rescue Alliance (a NON-PROFIT, humane rescue) helps Estell County by finding homes for the counties abandoned pets by providing transportation and assistance at STATE-WIDE adoption events. Why is this "judge" targeting an agency that benefits the county without COST, when obviously taxpayer funds are need for education? If the "judge" felt threatened- it was probably by one of his one constituents, tired of taxpayer inaction!

hissking - 9/27/2013 8:43 PM
1 Vote
Is this some kind of joke? him kissing dogs after banning a rescue thats saved 1600 of them this year alone? Oh and FYI, he is not a "judge" in the legal sense of that word, you have to have a high school diploma to be a "County Judge Executive", and that it. "Judges" in the legal sense of that word have to have a law degree, last time I checked.

TaxpayerReview - 9/27/2013 1:39 PM
3 Votes
I hope the judge does a better job in the courtroom because he failed to address the issues of this case and acts very defensive with the media inquiry. He is a paid representative of his county taxpayers and he should investigate why healthy animals with prospective homes were destroyed. WHRA, like many volunteer humane rescues, transports healthy animals to portable adoptions at their own expense, thereby improving adoption rates and reducing county taxpayer funds for animal care. It's unfortunate the judge felt that his family was "threatened." Parents should block photos and family information, but it's often posted for political gain. The taxpayers of Estill County deserve answers and this judge should improve accountability of their "humane" society.

miskah - 9/27/2013 12:36 PM
3 Votes
"He says after the issue became personal he decided to ban the WHRA from working with his county" It became personal BECAUSE he banned them. I guess he got his feelings all hurty because some mean people said some mean things about him on the ol internet machine. Suck it up and act like an adult. Get over yourself. Just let them save the animals. Swallow hard and let them do their thing. You want to be painted in a good light? You're the only one who can turn this around. So do it and be loved by all for your graciousness!
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