Wise County Sheriff Bans Photos Of Animals At Shelter

DECATUR (CBSDFW.COM) – You can visit, you just can’t take photographs to remember it by at the Wise County animal shelter.

Sheriff David Walker has banned photographs of dogs, cats and any other animals at the facility in a move designed to keep unflattering photos of the animals from making their way onto the Internet.

“It makes them look like they’re in jail,” Sgt. Asa Mosely said Tuesday.

Rescue groups regularly take photos and post them on email lists and Facebook pages in order to find interest in animals beyond county lines.

But Mosely said some of the photos were leading to complaint calls and unwarranted criticism on social networking sites.

The sheriff made the decision, Mosely said, for shelter staff to take all the photos and then encourage groups to repost them if they wanted to.

That’s an unacceptable option for Melinda Feickert.

As a liaison for Shelter to Rescue, a group that finds certain breeds inside shelters and gets them to larger rescue groups, she has rescued three to four dogs a day from the shelter before the photo ban.

Now she said she is lucky to find interest in one a day.

She said pictures aren’t updated regularly, and there aren’t enough to garner interest from prospective adopters.

“If we can’t take pictures of it, they can’t see that it’s healthy, can’t see it’s a good acting dog,” she said.

Mosely said the shelter wants to work with rescues and just convinced the county commission to officially waive the $25 adoption fee for the groups.

He would not release numbers on how many animals come in each month and how many are adopted and euthanized, saying there is no running tally of the numbers.

But he estimated 500 dogs came in during the last three months, and about 25 percent were adopted.

  • http://fortworthinsight.com/news/wise-county-sheriff-bans-photos-of-animals-at-shelter/ Wise County Sheriff Bans Photos Of Animals At Shelter « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Wise County Sheriff Bans Photos Of Animals At Shelter The Wise County sheriff has banned photographs of dogs, cats and any other animals at the facility in a move designed to keep unflattering photos of the animals from making their way onto the Internet. Go to News Source […]

  • Lisa Gilmore

    This is ridiculous. Volunteers taking pictures and posting them on Facebook saves lifes. Wise County is one of the worst as far as enthanesia rates, but instead of lowering the rates with networking animals, he prefers to not let volunteers take pictures. His excuse of why he won’t let pictures be taken didn’t even make sense…

  • ShameOnSheriff

    Dear Sgt. Mosely they are in jail and many get the death sentence from the sounds of it.
    Pictures do help in getting people to adopt them no matter how unflattering the picture is.
    Those who complain have no reason to, they can adopt them if they think it’s so bad and as for those posts on sites you’ll find them all over the net on all kinds of topics so just get use to a society that is full of such people. Don’t take it personal, unless you see they are right and then change things but don’t hide things.
    Due to public funds being used to kill these animals with, you should have a complete record of how many are killed in order to prove your not skimming funds from the public. Plus it tells them exactly how big of a problem not having cheap spay/neuter is causing them.

  • Kristine Zwiefel Huebner

    The volunteers never posted unflattering pictures, and certainly never made them look like they are in JAIL…which they are! Their decision has drastically slashed interest in the poor Wise County animals! Asa needs to put beaurocracy aside, swallow his pride and do what is right! I live in Ohio, and am an avid animal “crossposter” on FB. I help with animals all over the country, but more than 80% of my networking is the Wise County Animals! Why? I guess it’s because the animals there need all of the help they can get with the red tape that has been put in place. The largest shelter in the country, in Manhattan, puts out a “To be destroyed tomorrow” list every night. You would be amazed at how that tugs on peoples’ hearts and how that motivates people to be there in the morning before they open, to rescue animals from certain death. It works, PERIOD! The folks at wise county won’t even let us know who was euthanized and who was adopted. They are fearful of threats. There are stupid people everywhere, in every city, and if they don’t like something, they will call and complain, with a few “choice words”. It happens in every kill shelter across the nation. They should learn to just roll their eyes and do their job, which is to save animals, and what they are doing is not working very well. They would rather more animals be killed than saved, that is what it seems with how they run the place. Look at what works at other shelters, and take notes, and apply them. The animals have only YOU to depend on!

  • unknown

    Normal bureaucracy, especially not uncommon for Wise County. Does this mean the animals that have been abused or that may not be photogenic will be ignored and killed instead? I think if CBS spends a little more time following the practices and excuses from most of the cities in and around Metroplex, they’ll find that the overall concern for the well being of animals in the shelter, doesn’t go far beyond those who work there and have to face these animals on a daily basis. Fort Worth, Irving and Arlington are prime examples of that, the exceptions are the small ones like Carrollton, where the people who do the job are involved and they are completely transparent as well as willing to work with most if not all rescues. This is definitely a story that shouldn’t end in Wise County.

  • Andrea Maunder

    The Sheriff is despicable! He might as well be saying ” We just need to get rid of all these damn animals and have less to Deal With “. This is SOOO Upsetting to me I can hardly Stand It!! The Sheriff needs To Be Done With!

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/06/wise-county-sheriff-bans-photos-of-animals-at-shelter-2/ Wise County Sheriff Bans Photos Of Animals At Shelter — Me and the Chicks

    […] a move designed to keep unflattering photos of the animals from making their way onto the Internet. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… PreviousPost […]

  • Ester

    This is ridiculous. The photo’s allow people to see the animals so they can be adopted. This man just wants everybody to turn a blind eye and not know of all the horrible things going on in the shelters. And so by the way these poor animals are in jail.

  • Donna Cannon Jett

    Sounds like Sheriff David Walker wants all the animals killed. And yes they are in jail Sgt Asa Mosely. More like on death row. I’ve been in on trying to save animals, sharing them, offering to transport. What is going on at the shelter you’re trying to hide? Here’s hoping your time as Sheriff will be short!



  • Is this Legal?

    I want to know the legality of this ban? Does the sheriff’s office really have the authority to ban a person taking photographs at a shelter?

    • Kathy Thompson

      I don’t think so. I did encounter a situation like this at one time and I remember that it is not legal for anyone to retalliate against volunteers who take photos of animals in shelters. I don’t think it’s just a Colorado law, and I wouldn’t begin to know where to look. Sorry I can’t be more helpful…..

    • Jennifer Newman


  • RussP

    Sounds like a bad idea to me just having the sheriff in charge of the animal shelter and this decision shows he is incapable of the job. Anything that helps get the animals adopted out should be welcomed and encouraged.

  • RussP


    Here’s the link to all the commisoners emails. Let’s let them know how we feel about the sheriif’s decision.

    • Brian

      I have emailed the Judge, Commisioners, Attorneys and Justices and cc’d the Sheriff. He’s responded to me asking why I was so hostile when I said I didn’t want to discuss the issue with him as I didn’t want to get into a protracted email argument. He thinks that’s hostile? I urge everyone to write emails and letters. He told me that he asn’t going to let pictures be taken of animals that aren’t “adoptable.”
      I spend some time every week advocating for animals in shelters and I just think the Sheriff’s office should be willing to work more closely with the rescue groups. It’s in everyones best interst to adopt as many animals out as possible and a 75% kill rate is unacceptable.
      For the record, I don’t live in Texas, but I have worked there. I think the shelter issues in this country are a national issue. We euthanize far too many healthy dogs and cats and we can do better as a society if we oull together.

      • Brian

        I apologize for any typos. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be and I occasionally miss things!

  • Isa for animals

    Doesnt our tax money pay for this moron’s salary????? Get him out! We dont need stupid people making stupid rules! And I thought the intake numbers were public information, and legally need to be kept!!!!

  • Mary E

    So you’re killing 75% of the animals you take in and you think that’s fine and your biggest problem is unflattering photographs? I hope the taxpayers of your county have a few issues with this.

  • Sue Little

    This is representative of the problems many rescuers and shelter walkers face on a daily basis. I would prefer animals have pictures taken outside of the kennel too and to have a more flattering photograph but that is not always possible and the truth is, there are thousands of animals all across this nation taken in kennels. That is better than no photograph at all!!!! And yes, he should be keeping statistics on the animals! It has been proven that for every $1 spent on low or no cost s/n initiatives, it saves animal control $10 in cost. Tell the taxpayers of Wise County that. A lot can be gleaned from what a county or city thinks of their animals by what department is in charge of them. Public Health~a health threat. Sanitation~yep, you got it TRASH! And I agree, Sheriff’s Department. They are on death row!

  • Jim Hoadley

    Isn’t the shelter a publicly funded facility?
    If the sheriff is in charge, does he consider the animals subjects of active criminal investigations?
    From a legal standing, does this policy being put in place violate the Constitution?
    Sounds like it is time for some local folks to file a law suit against the sheriff, his department and the county, the monies gained from said suit then applied to better facilities and capabilities for the shelter.

    • LOLmyFACE

      I was thinking the same exact thing. The Sheriff has absolutely no right to create laws. Thsi would be an easy one.

  • Lynne Parker

    “It makes them look like they’re in jail,” Sgt. Asa Mosely said Tuesday.

    That’s because they are in jail, you tool. And with a 75% kill rate, they are on death row. You really need to move on to another job where you can’t inflict damage, something like a parking meter reader.

  • Lil Johnson

    If we care, let’s make a plan as a community. Hold a meeting for those who care to get involved, work with the shelters, build a better system utilizing resources. Build up this shelter’s volunteer program to be able to take pictures and distribute to rescue groups. I live in New Orleans but would support locals there in doing something for our animals. Set a time and a place and get going. Kansas City’s system may be a good place to start to get an idea of how shelters work together and how to leverage community resources.

  • Donna Hayles Price

    Dear Jason Allen,
    PLEASE don’t stop. There is more to the story. Dig for it. Talk to the shelter volunteers – or FORMER volunteers, people in the community and area who have tried to help. This is much deeper than photos, or lack thereof. This sheriff doesn’t WANT volunteers or community involvement. Why?

  • Name Withheld

    I agree. The problems at Wise County Shelter extend far beyond this latest debacle. When the other ACO was there, many people attempted to talk to the sheriff about the deplorable conditions at the shelter and the shelter’s tolerance of cruelty to animals in the community. Now we know why there was such an astounding lack of response.

    Many caring people came forward to do all they could to help and were met with nothing but resistance. For a time, those people were grudgingly allowed to help, with the caveat that they were not and could not be called “volunteers,” because the shelter uses trustees for that.

    Even PETA’s cruelty division was involved earlier in the year and this sheriff flatly lied to them. With all the transgressions these officials have committed over the course of time, the banning of photos seems like a small drop in the bucket. The shelter BELONGS to the people of Wise County, the same people who pay this man’s salary, which makes his arrogance all the more reprehensible.

    The Wise County Animal Shelter is a public entity and as such should be accountable and mostly transparent.

  • http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retrievers-main-discussion/99569-photography-ban-animal-shelter-pets.html#post1473447 Photography Ban for Animal Shelter Pets - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums

    […] […]

  • Tom Hool

    What a bunch of losers — Next thing you know the excuse will be that we don’t have the time to take the pictures cause “Were catchin bad guys”. Stick to doughnut patrol and leave the animal control to someone that can take a possible negative comment and will do anything to get the information out to save the lives of the animals.


    A Sheriff does not have the authority to create laws. It is really that simple!

  • CB Butler

    Could someone please try to contact one of the Boston Terrier rescue units in Ft. Worth!!! Wise County has a Boston in their shelter and the rescue will pick it up. I am with one of the groups in Dallas but have had a very serious heart attack and can no longer (or at this time) get involved with picking him up. I have contacted Dallas but am afraid he will be put down before anyone can get there.
    I hope Wise County will review what they are doing and do their job which is to try and get these animals adopted. It is very upsetting.

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