Ed Langston’s little 10-year-old Chihuahua, Rascal, went to work with him every day, they were always together until December 7th when the door to his business was left open and Rascal escaped.  Now this Orangeburg County, SC man is mourning the loss of his beloved dog because animal control killed Rascal just hours after he was turned in by the couple who found the dog.

A county ordinance enacted just 24 hours previously stipulates that “any animal not identifiable or without rabies shots must be impounded for a period of five days after public notice is posted.”

Rascal was turned in to animal control around noon on December 8 and within hours he was dead. On December 9 an email to Langston confirmed the fact that Rascal was euthanized.

“When the dog was delivered to the animal control facility on (Dec. 8), the facility was full to capacity. There was no identification on the dog, and the staff was unable to determine who the owner was,” Orangeburg County Administrator Bill Clark said. “The dog was offered to the SPCA for adoption but was not accepted. With no space available and no opportunity for adoption, the dog was euthanized.”

But Langston says when he went to look for Rascal’s body that didn’t seem to be the case.

“There’s no way it could have been at capacity,” Langston said. “When we were looking for Rascal’s body, I turned around and walked into the back. There were only two dogs there, and the rest of the cages were empty.”

“Mrs. Palazzi said after she turned Rascal in, she asked an animal control officer if they would try to find the owner,” Langford said. “He told her that an ad would be run on the county Web site and in the paper. But when I got there, the officer said he thought the dog was an owner turn-in, which is why it was put down.”

“The animal was taken to them, and they are supposed to make a reasonable effort to identify the owner before making final disposition of the animal and they didn’t do that,” Orangeburg attorney Clyde Dean, who Langston has retained,  said. “I told my client that what we want to get across is very simple: Follow the rules.”

What the hell is the problem that shelters cannot follow the most simple basic rules?!  Yes, legally dogs may be considered property but to many pet owners, they are a beloved member of their family!  They are not “just a dog” regardless of how many people seem to think so and care so little.  There must be some accountability for rules and regulations.

Ed Langston made every effort to find Rascal; calling, visiting the shelter, running an ad. Even the people who found Rascal and turned him into the shelter tried to make sure his family could find him, not only inquiring at the shelter abut their procedures but also running an ad on Craigslist and posting fliers in the neighborhood.

“I went to Animal Control three times (Dec. 11) and showed the two ladies his picture, asking if he was there,” Langston said. “The last time I was there Ben (Boensch, animal control director) told me proper protocol hadn’t been followed, and it appeared the dog had been put down within hours of the time he was turned in.”

Langston say, “This just isn’t right,” but I say it’s much more than that, yet another case of an animal shelter screwing up and who pays? The innocent of course: Rascal, beloved by his owner and Ed Langston who is left to mourn the loss of his companion!

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