Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vet Sarah Pizano Fires Whistleblower and Turns off the Cameras After Employee Videotaped Performing Cruel, Deadly "Heartsticks" on Cats

Veterinarian Sarah Pizano has been the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services since 2005. Tthe shelter she runs has come under harsh criticism from concerned members of the community and animal lovers.

A recent news investigation has exposed an unthinkable horror at the shelter -- and it may indicate that "heartsticks" -- a cruel, painful method of killing animals which cannot rightly be considered "euthanasia -- are more prevalent and widespread in the veterinary community than we would ever have realized, even after the revolting defense of Dr. William Baber by the President of the Tennessee Veterinary Board.

Again on horrifying video (you can watch it as a part of the news investigation here), we have the proof: Someone referred to as a "vet tech" -- an employee of Sarah Pizano -- shoving a needle with poisonous deadly fluid directly into the chest cavity and heart of conscious, aware, struggling, flailing, desperate homeless cats whose fates were entrusted to this "shelter."

Pizano's public statements would seem to indicate that she claims neither to have known that this was going on, or to support it. But where, I'd like to know, did her "vet tech" learn to do this barbaric technique -- done solely to make the killing go faster?

Luckily for the community, Grace Avila, a worker at the shelter, blew the whistle on this activity, which she described as painful - which was caught on tape and made available through the news investigations.

After she blew the whistle, Avila was fired.

And the guy who did the heartsticks? He was "demoted" and lost just $50 a week in pay.

Let's see, what message does that send from Pizano?

(Even though she CLAIMS her firing Avila had nothing to do with the whistleblowing).

What actions has Pizano taken since this revelation?

Well, she removed the cameras that tape what goes on at a facility a local animal activist called "a concentration camp."

She expressed concern about the community REACTION to what happened.

To me, this indicates that it's all about PR for the apparently camera loving Pizano, who, on her YouTube video, said "I make a difference for animals and people."

In that same video, Pizano said that one of her jobs is reuniting animals with their families. Well, I guess someone ought to ask the grieving owners of "Cowboy" about that.

Cowboy, who ran off during a storm that frightened him, was held at Miami-Dade in August 2005. (Pizano on her Youtube video said she began her tenure there in summer of 2005 which means she likely presided over this heartbreaking fiasco.) According to a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court, the owner called the shelter and described her dog, but the shelter wrongly told her that no dog matching that description was there. Two days in a row. Finally, someone at the shelter in a stroke of brilliance scanned his microchip, and phoned Cowboy's owners. Cowboy's owners attempted, according to the lawsuit, to make arrangements to pick him up the next day, but the shelter asserted one and then another set of administrative requirements upon the owners. They were told they could not pick up their dog not only without proof of rabies vaccine from their vet, but then were required to produce a notarized letter (according to the suit).

By the time his owners showed up that very same day to get him, with the handfuls of papers the shelter demanded, the shelter had killed their dog.

According to the lawsuit, a May 2004 evaluation (which to be fair, would have predated Pizano's term as director which started in 2005, the same year Cowboy was killed) conducted by the Humane Society of the United States concluded that the overall management, organization, and handling of animals at this shelter was "appalling."

It seems that under Pizano's tenure, things remain appalling.

There are now petition drives on both Facebook and the Petition Site for her removal as director.

Carmel on the Case: Video of Cats Being Given Heartsticks, and Pizano's Maddening Monotone Interview

New Horror Story about Miami-Dade

Petitions for the removal of Pizano:

Petition Site


Lawsuit Filed Against Miami-Dade for Unauthorized Euthanasia of a Dog Before the Owner had a Chance to Pick Him Up