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Shortcomings at MADACC - The Veterinary Care

Inadequate veterinary care provided to homeless animals is in direct contradiction of MADACC's contract with the nineteen municipalities of Milwaukee County.

This is the first entry in a series of 10 blogs that will focus on current shortcomings (an understatement) at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC).

 In no particular order, I will try to highlight some of the apparent problems that have been brought forth by multiple sources that are in direct contradiction of MADACC's contract for services with the 19 municipalities of Milwaukee County.

As a sidenote, I would like to point out that the volunteers and rescues that are coming forward to me with this information are caught between a rock and a hard place. They fear that exposing the truth will either get them banned from the facility or prevent their rescue from being able to pull and help more animals. I truly appreciate their courage to come forth and share their stories.

1. Veterinary Care

MADACC's Domestic Animal Control Services Agreement states:

The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) will be established with the following service framework to be provided to the municipalities participating in MADACC and their residents:

1. Provide shelter for stray and running-at-large dogs and cats, also safekeeping and quarantine.

a. Include housing, feeding, veterinary care.

This sounds nice and is in line with the American Shelter Veterinary Medical Association (ASVMA) Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters (published in 2010) which states:

"An emergency medical plan must be in place to provide appropriate and timely veterinary medical care for any animal who is injured, in distress  or showing signs of significant illness.  Staff should be trained to recognize conditions that require emergency care. The emergency care plan must ensure that animals can receive proper veterinary medical care and pain management promptly (either on site or through transfer to another facility) or be humanely euthanized by qualified personnel as permitted by law."

These guidelines are endorsed by the National Animal Control Association, The ASPCA, the HSUS and several other national organizations.

Yet, apparently MADACC isn't providing veterinary care and is even having problems diagnosing when it is required. Here are two examples from two different rescues this fall.

I have attached two pictures with this blog post. Please take a minute to click and look at them both. 

1. An xray of a cat pulled by a local rescue was held at MADACC for at least seven days with this fracture without treatment. Apparently they knew of the injury but did not treat it and when she was finally released to a rescue, she was sent with antibiotics but no pain medication. The rescue immediately took the cat to their veterinarian who took this xray and recommended that the cat have emergency surgery to repair the broken femur.

2. A photograph of a small dog pulled by a rescue after having been at MADACC for 10 days. When she was transferred to the rescue there was no mention of her injuries, other than a note in her paperwork that they suspected she had luxating patellas. But she couldn't walk without dragging her legs. The rescue immediately took her to their veterinarian where xrays showed that she had a broken back and she had to be humanely euthanized. She had sat untreated for 10 days at MADACC with a broken spine.

In the summer of 2010, an independent agency - the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program was brought in to evaluate the procedures at MADAAC. The result is a 140-page document full of their observations of problems and recommendations to help MADACC improve their procedures.

Here is an excerpt of the numerous problems that were noted in the veterinary department:

"Although physical exams are performed, they were sometimes cursory and may overlook significant conditions."

"Medical protocols and training manuals are either non-existent or inadequate." 

"In effect, there is no veterinary oversight present which is leading the technical department to address animal health in a manner that is inefficient, substandard, and potentially dangerous to animals."

When I questioned the president of the MADACC board in early November 2012 if the UC Davis Report recommendations had been addressed and implemented he said "No, they had been put on the backburner".  I also brought up the report at the November Operating Committee meeting but I received no response from any of the members of the committee.

I would think that the responsibility of the Board of Directors is to see that MADACC is fulfilling its contractual obligations and its mission to the municipalities.

In summary, although the contract that MADACC holds with the municipalities clearly states that animals will receive veterinary care, I believe that both anecdotal and documented evidence from a qualified third party (UC Davis) clearly shows that the veterinary care is inadequate.

If you are a resident of Milwaukee County and are concerned about how your tax dollars are being spent and how your community's animals are being treated I suggest that you contact your alderman or elected official. Thank you for caring.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kathy Pobloskie December 08, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I wonder Taoist Crocodile, how you will explain the 82 communities in America that are saving over 90% of the animals in their care? Some of them are major cities. Dozens of others are saving over 80%. Are their citizens more responsible? Are there less animals? Are there more people willing to save them? Or, just maybe, is it because there is better leadership in place that is interested in saving money AND lives. Better animal control does not cost more - it costs less. Why don't you do some reading and get informed? Try these websites www.no-killnews.com and www.nokilladvocacycenter.org, www.maddiesfund.org.
Taoist Crocodile December 08, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Kathy, I hear you saying that the high rate of euthanasia is, simply, MADACC's fault. If leadership is the issue, then by all means - why don't you do some leading? I've been to your blog, and I think it's telling that you allow your supporters to post anonymously, while those who disagree with you have to give their names. That's not how leaders act - however, it fits the profile of someone with a vendetta.
Kathy Pobloskie December 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I notice that you never give your name, Taoist Crocodile. What are you afraid of? I am allowing those people who have stories to tell to comment anonymously now because they are the volunteers and rescuers who are afraid if they speak out will be banned from helping more animals. The defenders of shelter killing have been doing it anonymously for years. It's time we pull back the curtains on animal control in Milwaukee County. I won't waste any more time on you T.C. You have nothing better in your life to do than troll the Patch and comment on every subject and blog. If you are not concerned about how your tax dollars are spent and how animals are treated, that is fine. That is your business. But there are plenty of other citizens that are concerned. I'll spend my time on them.
Taoist Crocodile December 09, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Please. "You have nothing better in your life to do than troll the Patch and comment on every subject and blog." - Actually, Kathy, I've got plenty to do, but that doesn't stop me from taking 5 minutes to register my opinion about your little grudge against MADACC. And, as should be clear by now, I'm perfectly fine with my tax dollars being used to exterminate stray, unwanted, or dangerous animals. What I'm -against- is my tax dollars being squandered in service of some crusade to euthanize fewer animals. And I just want to let you know that I disagree with your premise; specifically, that euthanizing animals is bad in itself. You aren't standing up for the taxpayers; you're acting on some need that you have to paint yourself as a defender of the defenseless. And hey, that's your right - I'm just registering my disagreement of the importance of your activities. As to why I don't give my name - it's because hard-core animal rights people are crazier than the general population. I commented on a piece about pit bulls, and there were people on your side suggesting that it would be good for me, somehow, if my infant daughter was attacked by a dangerous dog, Now, just see if you can bring yourself to condemn that type of statement, if only to support your argument that I shouldn't be afraid to identify myself. I won't hold my breath.
Rachel December 19, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Taoist Crocodile - you need some help, you should go and try and get some.

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