Back in October, we told you about the geniuses (sarcasm alert) in Clay County, Florida, who decided that the best way to figure out whether a dog had died from heatstroke when an animal control officer left her in a sweltering truck was to—wait for it—put another dog in the sweltering truck and see if that dog would suffer horribly too. (Fortunately, he survived and was returned to the city animal shelter.)
Like I said: geniuses.
As you might expect, we filed a criminal complaint, but the prosecutor’s office refused to take the case. So, because the Clay County brain trust had decided that they were qualified to conduct experiments on animals, we filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) because this impromptu experiment appeared to violate numerous Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations.
Now, the USDA has cited Clay County Animal Control for no less than five—count ’em, five—violations of the AWA. From the USDA’s memo:
Clay County Animal Control does not have an IACUC [Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee]. No protocol was prepared, and a veterinarian was not consulted for this project. There were no searches for alternatives, nor were there any attempts to demonstrate that this project did not unnecessarily duplicate previous experiments.
The animal control brainiacs said that they didn’t think that this kind of
atrocity experiment was regulated, but, as the USDA official dryly noted, “I explained to them that this was.” Apparently, the explanation was slow enough and used one-syllable words, because the violators understood it well enough to assure the USDA that “they will not perform any research activity in the future.” Phew!
Clay County’s dogs (and other animals) should be able to rest easier—and so should the human residents, as it’s now likely that county officials will think twice before deciding that they’re qualified to, say, perform open-heart surgery.
Written by Jeff Mackey