Stormy was a beautiful dog whose life unfortunately was ended too soon.
The first two years of Stormy’s life were unknown. She was found as a stray when she was two years old and was brought to the Cincinnati SPCA. Upon her arrival Stormy became a great roommate to two other dogs. Not one complaint was made about her temperament. No matter how bubbly her personality is, no matter how much her tail wagged, she was never adopted. The only reason Stormy continued to be overlooked was because she had “Black Dog Syndrome.” Black dogs are regularly overlooked during the adoption process and are usually passed over for lighter colored dogs. Although unfair, that was the life she knew. She began to deteriorate, losing weight and losing her spirit.
The longer Stormy spent at the shelter, the closer she became with a volunteer that worked with her. The volunteer, Kristi, worked diligently to find a foster for sweet Stormy. She could not stand to see her continuing to decline. Kristi was ecstatic when she found a woman who was willing to open her home and foster Stormy. Her new foster mom, Robin, brought her home and it didn’t take long for Stormy to make herself at home. She enjoyed having a human sibling and found her new “spot” was curled up in bed with her new favorite human. She was silly, she was bubbly, her personality was finally back.
One day in May, 2018 her teenage human sibling was taking Stormy out for a walk around the neighborhood when a dachshund came running up towards Stormy. The other dog was not on a leash and the owner was too far away to control their dog. The dachshund continued to jump at and torment Stormy. When Stormy had enough, she picked the other dog up with her mouth and with a shake, unfortunately the other dog did not survive because of the injuries sustained.
The police arrived at the scene and had Robin put Stormy in her car while they worked the investigation. Not realizing how long the investigation would take, Robin complied. The investigation took two hours – Robin begged the officers to allow her to check on Stormy, begged them to let her crack the windows, begged them to let her give Stormy water, but to no avail. After they concluded the investigation, the owner of the dachshund was cited for not having his dog properly restrained, and Stormy was sent to Montgomery County ARC.
Because Stormy was just a foster, her foster mom was cited by the police, but Cincinnati SPCA was technically her true “owner.” It didn’t take long for them to wash their hands of it and sign Stormy over to ARC. They quickly put Stormy on the euthanasia list.
Word began to spread about Stormy online. The sweet pitbull who just had her boundaries encroached on by a dog who wasn’t on a leash. The dog who could be safe at home with her foster family if another pet owner had been more responsible. It was unfair!
Through it all, one of Stormy’s biggest advocates, Lisa, encouraged Kristi and Robin to continue to fight for Stormy. Lisa contacted the Animal Justice League of America and our team quickly took action. We sent our mobile command center out to Dayton, Ohio to meet with Montgomery County ARC. We held press conferences, we worked with government officials, but it was too late. ARC had made up their minds about Stormy – She was put to death before we even had the chance to save her.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Although Stormy left this earth prematurely, her story has opened the Animal Justice League of America’s eyes on a corrupt system that is known as the Montgomery County ARC. It brought light to the fact that their live release rate was under 57% in 2017. The SPCA in Cincinnati that intakes almost four times the amount of ARC had a live release rate of 90.8. We found that the internal record keeping was mismanaged, and internal practices were corrupt. There were regular instances that animals would not be fed daily because the records did not show the last time the animals had been fed. The ARC was also notorious for neglecting to scan incoming strays for microchips, undermining the system put in place to reunite pets with their families. ARC refused to return phone calls and emails from pet owners searching for their lost fur babies. This ill managed practice was lazy and could have prevented the euthanasia of hundreds of animals.
The director of ARC, Mark Kumpf, with help from an ARC veterinarian, would regularly classify animals that could have been medically treated as untreatable. There were also several complaints to AJLA that Mark would approve euthanasia for a treatable family pet instead of working with their resources and providing the proper treatment.
With all this information, AJLA knew we had to be involved. We are continuing to work with ARC to have volunteers step in and help fix this corrupt system. We will work closely with the volunteers that are put in place to provide adoption assistance, help with adoption events, and continue to make improvements. We are also continuing our work with local government agencies to put pressure on them to remove Mark Kumpf and the corrupt employees from ARC.
Stormy’s life, although short, brought light to a corrupt system. Her life legacy will be that with her story, she was able to save the lives of hundreds of other pets.