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Hearts Break at Kodak's Needless Death and Controversy Flares

Photo via In Memory of Kodak on Facebook.
Image created by Myléne Karina López Mafúz

 

I remember seeing Kodak’s photograph at Facebook when he was being networked for rescue in recent days. His sweet face with the odd little expression, due to his blindness, reached out from the screen, touching those who viewed the photo that would mean the difference between life and death as he sat at the shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Kodak was in the stray cat room at the shelter run by Companion Animal Alliance, a nonprofit organization that contracts with the Baton Rouge City-Parish to run the city’s municipal open admission shelter.

An update to Kodak’s networking photo said, “Kodak is a precious feral that is in a shelter in Baton Rouge. He is being pulled under Don’t Be Cruel and vetted and is going to be boarded for a little while. We are trying to figure out the best place for him to live out his life. It may just be at the sanctuary. Over 2000 people shared him on Facebook!”

Don’t Be Cruel Sanctuary, of Albany, Louisiana, was a key player in the effort to rescue Kodak from the shelter and save his life. They raised money for his care through donations and were set to pull him from the shelter.

Homeless Animal Lifeline, from New Jersey (Facebook page, Homeless Animal Lifeline) , was one of the rescues offering to pull Kodak for rescue, and to act as backup if needed. Kodak was widely shared, widely known, and had a large support network in place to save him. He was safe, and CAA publicly acknowledged that he would be spared and pulled.

Shelter Animal Allies of Louisiana saved a screen shot from last Friday, February 15 where CAA responded to an inquiry on a comment thread at Facebook, confirming that Kodak was safe and would leave the shelter with a rescuer.

Detail from Shelter Animal Allies of Louisiana‘s screen shot.

 

Another Facebook screen capture confirms that CAA planned to release Kodak for rescue:

 

Everything was in place for Kodak, then something went wrong. Despite all arrangements being in place, he was killed by the shelter on Monday, the day he was scheduled for release. That same day, news spread among rescues and their supporters that Kodak had been killed by Companion Animal Alliance before he could be saved. Controversy and criticism also spread, and negative comments on CAA’s Facebook page were deleted. CAA has variously cited aggressive behavior and miscommunication to explain Kodak’s needless death.

Advocacy blog YesBiscuit! wrote about Kodak’s killing yesterday, in Was it in writing? Why yes, it was!.

An In Memory of Kodak Facebook page has been set up “as a place to remember Kodak and discuss ways to make positive changes to the current animal shelter system.” The page is the locus of remembrance and discussion in the painful aftermath of Kodak’s needless death.

CAA Executive Director Beth Brewster responded to the backlash over Kodak’s death at Facebook today, saying:

Thank you for all caring about the animals in our care and especially Kodak. Due to miscommunication that a rescue was indeed coming for him after holding him for 21 days, Kodak was put down. He had become extremely aggressive to staff and was hurting himself in the cage and I made the decision. We are working on structuring our process so that this does not happen again. We have identification cards made for each cat’s cage identifying rescue group, person rescuing and date for pick up. We take in over 9000 animals a year and my goal is to save as many as possible. We set up the memorial fund in his name to help other cats in our care and to purchase feral boxes that protect the animal as well as the staff.

Sincerely,

Beth Brewster
Executive Director

 

A newly uploaded video tells the story of Kodak’s death and the resultant controversy:

The video creator writes:

Kodak was a blind cat located at the Companion Animal Alliance shelter in Baton Rouge, LA. Despite having one confirmed rescue organization (and plenty of others on standby) ready and willing to pull him, he was euthanized on February 18, 2013, the day that he was supposed to be pulled from the shelter. The CAA’s reasons for doing so have changed constantly in the days since his death, and they have been doing everything in their power to make this go away, including deleting Facebook posts they had made confirming that Kodak had, indeed, been claimed by another rescue organization. We are not going to let this go away, and I hope this video helps serve that purpose – please share Kodak’s story!

Contact Companion Animal Alliance

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25 comments

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    February 20, 2013 11:57 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Mike

    CAA=SNAFU (situation normal all F’D up).
    Many cats, kittens, dogs, pups, seniors and lost pets whose owners come to reclaim them have been “accidently” PTS by CAA. Also, 3 inept directors in 2 years, CAA board has no accountablity. This shelter is a DEATH camp.

    Reply
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    February 21, 2013 8:07 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Becky McCarty

    I do not believe that the CAA Executive Director did not know that rescue was coming for Kodak. CAA would not have kept Kodak alive for 21 days being that he was labeled feral and aggressive if they didn’t think rescue was imminent. I find it very hard to believe that the CAA Executive Director was miscommunicated to about this fact as it related to Kodak. The official public statement by the CAA Executive Director is a good tactic for taking responsibility for what happens under her reign. That Kodak was killed by CAA on the very day that he was scheduled to be picked up by rescue is too coincidental. I am not sure that CAA’s stated remediation plan will be effective if those in charge continue to have authority over breaking “Holds” placed on the the animals located in the facility. CAA’s reputation has been tarnished over this poor judgment. People across the country who banded together to help a blind black scared kitty with the odds stacked against him will now think twice before supporting CAA and the animals in their care. I don’t believe that CAA understands that public perception is monumental to their success and that the public is their customer. There are certainly other places for people to put their focus and donation dollars where it will do some good and a difference can be realized. No-kill can be achieved. It is the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to set strategy and ensure the non-profit is managed appropriately. I think the Board needs to re-evaluate strategy, KPI’s, KRI’s, and critical success factor metrics. Kodak did not have to be killed and should not have been. Mistakes like this are completely unacceptable so tell me why they continue.

    Reply
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      March 13, 2014 11:52 amPosted 4 months ago
      Tim Devlin

      Becky I agree this director of this murdering place knew that a rescue was coming to save Kodak, Becky there is no way that this stupid director did not know that this cat was going to be picked up by a rescue. It seems that people like her and her staff enjoy killing animals, and should be removed from there jobs RIGHT AWAY.

      Reply
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    February 21, 2013 8:39 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Kristen

    We should all throw Beth and the other “caretakers” in crate and cages, put them in an as unfamiliar place and make lots of noises. And once that is done we euthanize them like they did this poor, sweet precious baby. This makes me cry every single time and it makes me sick! Us as humans, we are the mean, heartless, nasty inhumane creatures, not this cat, or any other cat or animal. This CAA should be downright ashamed of themselves!

    This was not fair AT ALL! He deserved a fair chance to live, but you all cut that short.

    I hope you can all live with yourselves, and all of the guilt, that is if you heartless, worthless pieces of scum at CAA have any

    Reply
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    February 21, 2013 10:12 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Jadzia Nerys

    Under most circumstances, I can annoy *myself* with my d*mned objectivity, my calls to not rush to judgement in the absence of facts…and my urgings to not be unnecessarily cruel. But there are plenty of facts here. And sometimes, cruelty needs to be met with cruelty. I have said it numerous times…and I will keep saying it…this needs to be a career ending event for the (paid) staff at this “shelter”.

    To me, the name of that “shelter” and the names of the staff members are synonyms for the word “shit”. We all put a lot of time, effort and emotion into saving Kodak. If someone would have said “he’s out of control and if someone doesn’t get him *now*, he’ll be put down” there would have been any number of people who would have immediately hit the road, even from hours away, to get him. Everybody knew that he was scared and that it was causing him to be aggressive. *Anybody*, two or four legged, would get hostile under those circumstances. He’s dead because they *wanted* him dead. 21 days he lived in that hell hole…and on the day he’s going to be rescued, they kill him. Somebody there hated him and was determined that all of the stress and fear Kodak experienced would only end when he died.

    They lied, they deceived…they murdered.

    I have not been so upset…so heartbroken and *pissed*…in a very long time and I look forward to whatever concentrated efforts we engage in to make sure that things like this don’t happen again…and if it makes it difficult for certain people to *ever* get a job with any shelter *anywhere*, that would just be icing on the cake….

    Reply
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    February 22, 2013 1:56 amPosted 1 year ago
    Jane Duc

    Has anyone gotten proof that Kodiak really existed and was really in the care of CAA? Could this have been fraud? Somehow, the “give us money for his care, oops he’s gone, give us more money” posts just don’t sound right. Maybe it’s time for an investigation by the authorities.

    Reply
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      February 24, 2014 9:50 pmPosted 5 months ago
      Rosemary Wayman

      I have many times considered the same things that you mentioned… There is a lot of money involved in these pleas for helpless animals and have sat back and watched people being emotionally raped and robbed of their money because their tender hearts were being stroked by greedy so-called rescues or shelters…This hurts the causes for the legitimate ones..

      Reply
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      February 25, 2014 7:40 amPosted 5 months ago
      Barbara E. Mozo

      Yes, this absolutely happened. All took place live on Facebook. There is A Facebook page, If I remember correctly, The Shelter Pet Project. Where they post photos of “Last Chance Pets”. Those that are signed up for this page with get these photos, with the opportunity to share with there friends, in turn that person will receive updates on that pet. I am such a person. Being I at the time owned 6 black cats and lived in nearby, Alabama, I was watching Kodak closely. Yes, there was interest in Kodak. Yes, I was one, not THE one, but I was one, that was interested in Kodak. Yes, I put in my name. I was waiting to hear word. Word came via Facebook, a home was found for Kodak. No, it was no with me, they was now looking for transporters. Transporters were all lined up and rolling. That is the back story on Kodak leading up to his rescue that did not happen as it happened via Facebook. Hope this helps for any doubters. I would have adopted Kodak, someone beat me to it. I have since lost two to old age (18 and 19 years old) and since adopted three. The latest black black baby last Thursday 2/20/14, in memory of my Dad 2/3/14. My Dad would take cats that was dropped off on his street into his home. RIP Kodak

      Reply
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    February 22, 2013 3:58 amPosted 1 year ago
    Sunny

    This is absolutely unacceptable!!! There was no reason for this to happen. Miscommunication is one thing but to add aggression to it makes it something else altogether.Which was it? Miscommunication or aggression? There is no way it could be both! The cat was blind and scared. Of course it is going to be aggressive. Cats or any other animals get that way when they are hurt and scared. One of my cats hurt his tail and actually hissed and growled at me when I tried to pick up. But I calmed him down just by stroking him and talking to him. I sure would not have him put to sleep because of it! This is just an excuse and I for one am not buying it! You call yourselves a shelter? Not hardly! You are just a killing machine!

    Reply
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    February 22, 2013 10:21 amPosted 1 year ago
    Siobhan

    This was so cruel and unecessary! ! This rescue shd be charged!

    Reply
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    February 22, 2013 6:43 pmPosted 1 year ago
    adi

    This picture broke the hearts of thousands,I personally just wanted
    to hug and protect that poor innocent animal ,yet the people who had him in their care( and were supposed to protect him) were not moved at all and killed him. Isn’t this saying that those people are in the wrong business and should not be working with animals? This shows clearly that,animals are just a business for some.

    How can you put to sleep a traumatized little soul especially when people offer to adopt him? I think their behavior is just plain vicious,these people should loose their right to deal with animals. How ironic is that they call themselves “shelters”! Aren’t they supposed to actually shelter?

    You people who run this kind of activity should think if you can help,if not don’t make it worst than already is! That animal if left in the street could have found in few days a good human to take him in,but you people think you’re doing animals a favor by taking them in and then killing them .Shame on you! You’re just killers with a license. There should be mandatory that people who work with animals have solid knowledge of animal behavior not all amateurs playing god with innocent and defenseless animals. You cannot create that life,so don’t take it,you’re not in charge with anybody’s life but yours and should respect any life form because it is unique

    and cannot be recreated. What was the rush to wipe that animal out of this world?

    Really we don’t have anymore enough space on this planet to share it with animals? We want everything for ourselves?

    And then we call it “humane euthanasia .You made the word “humane ” sound just scary and disgusting.

    Reply
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    February 23, 2013 7:11 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Christy McClain

    I am beside myself with sadness at what happened to this poor cat! I can’t even see his poor sweet little face without almost vomiting KNOWING that he suffered at the hands of people like that. This shelter is NOT a shelter…these people or at least ONE person DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT about this cat. Whoever made the decision to go ahead and kill him was just a mean $uck*&g a$$hole that WANTED him dead. Maybe he bit that person…whatever dude…karma is a BITCH..people that can do things like that to animals deserve a special place in hell. Actually hell is too good for people like you. I am literally SICK to my stomach over this.

    Reply
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    February 24, 2014 9:06 pmPosted 5 months ago
    Brandi

    Beth Brewster your an evil bitch and wish the worst on you

    Reply
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    February 24, 2014 9:47 pmPosted 5 months ago
    Former Volunteer at CAA

    Kodiak was 100% real, I saw him with my own eyes while pulling non feral cats for a rescue organization.
    I volunteered at CAA for a few years before moving away, it still baffles me that a semi feral adult being euthanized draws more attention than the fact that high intake shelters (like CAA) euthanize lots of super friendly and healthy cats! There is so much more to this story than what this article provides. Kodiak stayed in their stray room for 2 months! Why keep him in that situation for so long just to euthanize him once a way out was found? This whole situation was a terrible mess :(

    Reply
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    February 25, 2014 12:56 amPosted 5 months ago
    KIMBERLY PRATIMA KITTY BISWAS

    THEY ARE A SORRY BUNCH OF IDIOTS FOR KILLING THIS BABY HE WAS BLIND /SUCH BIG HEROS /I HATE THESE PEOPLE THEY ARE ANIMAL ABUSERS EVIL EVIL HELL WAITS FOR THEM

    Reply
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    February 25, 2014 12:57 amPosted 5 months ago
    KIMBERLY PRATIMA KITTY BISWAS

    I HATE THEM FOR KILLING A BLIND CAT POOR KODAK NEVER STOOD A CHANCE

    Reply
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    February 25, 2014 7:01 amPosted 5 months ago
    Laura P

    Cruel, heartless assholes. I’m wondering if one of these idiots has a child that is born blind, would they opt to kill their “human” kid??? Doubt it–Remember, God see all++++

    Reply
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    February 25, 2014 6:51 pmPosted 4 months ago
    Jaime Cowley

    Such an act of evil!!!

    Reply
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    February 25, 2014 7:11 pmPosted 4 months ago
    Ruth

    You are absolutely disgusting,why the fuck work with animals when you treat them like that,you are not GOD!!!! remember that you heartless bastards !!!!!!

    Reply
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    February 25, 2014 11:24 pmPosted 4 months ago
    Rita Lawson

    Someone wanted this precious baby; but it was needlessly killed. Shame on them.

    Reply
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    February 26, 2014 12:42 amPosted 4 months ago
    Lyndsay

    I have a newly blind dog. It takes adjustment. Surprisingly he has done better than I ever would have dreamed.
    It’s a shame that cat was put down. He deserved a chance.

    Reply
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    February 26, 2014 3:18 pmPosted 4 months ago
    vicki

    Please CONTACT ASPCA AND GOVERNOR ! STOP THIS!

    Reply
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    February 26, 2014 10:01 pmPosted 4 months ago
    david nadelson

    shame on you for taking this innocent life… he was ready for new life… there was nothing ‘humane’ about any of this!!!

    Reply
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    February 27, 2014 10:49 amPosted 4 months ago
    Deb Thomas

    I have heard of this happening 6 times. Seems like they want to kill the animals who have rescues coming for them. This needs to be investigated so it never happens again. The killing needs to stop now.

    Reply
  • February 27, 2014 2:49 pmPosted 4 months ago
    Deborah White

    CAA should be “humanly euthanized” for aggressive behavior themselves. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this. Ignorance is not an acceptable claim. If Beth was ignorant of her employees behavior she should not be the director…PERIOD. This DEATH CAMP needs to be SHUT DOWN. Kill shelters should not exist. Every life is precious and only GOD has the right to take that life away. The CAA is not God. No-kill is achievable, especially since Kodak’s little life had such promise ahead of him. CAA should hang their head’s in shame. Jail for animal abuse seems like a pretty good option to me as well!

    Reply

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