Kent County SPCA should be ashamed of what happened in the case of Lady and the Uhde family. KCSPCA was going to kill Lady for “possible fear biting” after one of their infamous “temperament tests” even though the Uhdes wanted to adopt her. The Uhdes had already tested Lady in their home with their 3 year old grandchild, two dogs and five cats, and she had shown herself to be a sweetheart.
Instead of an easy adoption, Lady was put on death row and she surely would have been killed if not for the persistence of the Uhdes, other good-hearted people and a lawsuit: Drew Uhde v. Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The story starts when Drew Uhde set out food for a stray dog seen near his workplace. The dog was very fearful, but she slowly began to trust Drew, and after several weeks, she jumped into his truck. He took her home, and the family named her Lady.
At Petsmart the next day, they couldn’t find a microchip on Lady. Drew tells me that he thought to himself, “This dog is so sweet. Somebody is missing this dog.” Drew knows the pain of losing a pet. So he called Kent County SPCA, trusting that they would do the right thing, and allow him to adopt Lady if no owner came forward. When animal control picked Lady up on April 13, the officer wrote on the intake form “finder would like to adopt.” (See copy of form below.)
After the 5 day stray hold period was over, Drew was very concerned when told by “Ruth” at KCSPCA “that there was no guarantee that the dog could be adopted if it did not pass their ‘test.’ ” (p. 4, Uhde Complaint) Lady failed the “test,” and on April 24, she was officially on death row. The notice to rescue groups said ”Possible fear-biter. Some tumors on back” (see email below from Ruth Briggs). KCSPCA typically gives the rescue groups 48 hours to respond, and if nobody comes forward, the animal is killed.
One has to wonder why in the world KCSPCA just didn’t let Drew adopt Lady. Drew was calling KCSPCA so they knew he wanted to adopt her. Instead, KCPSPA rigid adherence to the “temperament test” process overcame compassion and common sense.
Drew sought help from his friend Nancy Horisk Sherr who made many calls to KCPSCA but she was “given the run-around.” On April 26, Nancy was told by “Amanda” that the dog “was in danger.” (Uhde Complaint, p. 5) No rescue group had come forward to pull her after the April 24 notice. Lady’s time was up.
That same day, Nancy called the new Director of Delaware SPCA, Al Mollica, who then contacted KCSPCA to ask that Lady be transferred to their shelter. That is a very good sign about the new Director at Delaware SPCA! He was told the dog had already been transferred to another rescue group. That was a lie. When Nancy called KCSPCA a few minutes after that, she was “told by ‘Lisa’ that the dog was still at KCSPCA and still alive. However, ‘Lisa’ didn’t know how long it would be until they ‘would do the procedure.” (Uhde Complaint, p. 5)
That call from the Delaware SPCA Director must have made KCSPCA Director Kevin Usilton think twice about killing Lady. But he wasn’t about to allow Delaware SPCA pull Lady and have the Uhdes adopt her. Nancy continued emailing and calling KCSPCA day after day, and finally Usilton wrote an email on April 29 stating: “This dog did not pass evaluation, so adoption is not possible. Thanks for your concern.” Letting the Uhdes adopt Lady would have been rational and decent, but instead KCSPCA refused to allow that. It was pure spite.
On April 29, Usilton personally posted on Facebook asking Kent County Humane in Chesterfield Maryland to take Lady. They agreed. Kent Humane calls itself a “low kill” shelter, so Lady still would still be at risk, but Usilton didn’t care about that.
Notice that in his Facebook message Usilton didn’t bother to mention that Lady failed the “test” and was a “possible fear biter.” No mention of that at all. What about KCSPCA’s concern about liability? That is typically their justification for killing “aggressive” animals.
When I talked to a staff person at Kent Humane who handled Lady’s eventual adoption, she knew nothing of the “fear biter” issue. Her comment was “I’d be a fear biter too if I was in a high kill shelter.”
Meanwhile, Drew and Nancy contacted Curtis Crowther, a Wilmington attorney who knows only too well how KCSCA operates, and he took the case pro bono in the hope of saving Lady’s life. (Julia M. Gittman-Crowther, et al v. Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). On May 1, he filed for injunctive relief mandating compliance with CAPA and stopping the unlawful killing of animals at KCSPCA. The fear was that Lady was already dead.
Nevertheless, Nancy Horisk-Sherr was searching all shelters and rescues anywhere near Delaware. Her persistence led to the discovery of the Petfinder listing for Lady, who was called Bindi by Kent Humane (at left). Drew applied to adopt her, mentioning the story of what had happened. The Director of Kent Humane called KCSPCA to ask why they had not let Drew adopt the dog. The answer was that they had never heard of Drew.
Kent Humane approved Drew’s adoption of Lady aka Bindi. They posted on their Faceboook page a happy tail about her adoption.
All’s well that ends well. Lady is with the Uhde family living the good life. But what a shame that Lady and her new family had to be put through the wringer like that! She could have been adopted by the Uhde family on April 18, the end of the 5 day stray hold. Instead, she was almost killed, and the Uhdes were worried sick for weeks.
I understand that Kevin Usilton is making some disparaging remarks about the Uhdes. That is an outrage. Drew Uhde is a man who is out there in trenches actually saving animals. One example of this is how he pays for neutering of feral cats at his workplace and gets them vet care when needed. He takes home the cats who need the most help.
This story shows the moral corruption of KCSPCA. The killing is bad enough, but the irrationality, coverups, and vindictiveness are pure poison that is going to destroy the institution. Kevin Usilton has now been the KCPSCA Director for about 17 months, and clearly things have gotten even worse under him. When will the KCSPCA Board open their eyes and do something?