The smiling and gentle beauty, pictured here behind bars, was a 4-year-old female Golden who was being held at the Bay County Animal Control Facility in Bay County, Florida. This photo was taken by Bill Hyde, Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue's Newsletter Editor the day before she was killed. The Rescue did attempt to save her, but to no avail.

On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, Emerald Coast was not allowed to remove this Golden because the facility’s computers were down. The Rescue was told to come back the next day. Facility staff wrote “hold for rescue” on the paperwork attached to her kennel door.

Yet, tragically, on Wednesday, June 20, 2007, the facility destroyed this young Golden along with 20 other dogs to make space. Clearly, she never had a chance.

Bill Hyde informed us of this tragedy so that we could pass on the story to others. He hoped that this sweet girl's unnecessary death could somehow help prevent others from ever taking place. Bill wanted to focus on the event and get the word out so that folks would have a better understanding of just how much at risk Goldens (and other dogs) are at so-called shelters.

The rescue did manage to garner some support from a local radio station. Bill appearing June 25th on the Burnie Thompson Show discussing the incident and its broader implications. (You can click here to listen to the discussion). However, the rescue was unable to generate interest from various television and newspaper media outlets. Instead, they chose to ignore the issue of gross incompetence shown at this county run facility. 

Below, is the newsletter article, written by Bill Hyde, that went out to the Rescue's supporters.


We had a very sad event happen this week and I wanted to pass on the details to all our friends and supporters.

On Sunday, June 17th I was looking at area shelter/animal control facility websites for goldens. On the Bay County Animal Control, Florida listing I found a listing for a 4-year-old female. The facility was closed Sunday and Monday, but I did see one of the control officers at a vet’s office on Monday and asked that he pass my card on to the supervisor. I wanted to talk to her regarding a golden they were holding and some other issues. and asked that she call as soon as she had a chance.

On Tuesday, no call back from the supervisor, and my call to the facility resulted in a recording saying the voice mailbox was full.

I drove to the facility and confirmed the golden female was indeed there. She was petite, listed as 46lbs and definitely a golden. I went in the cage with her and she was the sweetest thing, but did have some serious matting on the back and a possible flea allergy. I spent a few moments with her and told her that I would be getting her out. I walked back to the facility's office area to arrange for her release.

At the time this animal control facility was without power. It was reported that lightening had struck nearby on Saturday and the building had been without power since then. Some floor fans were running off a generator, but there was no power arranged for the facilities computers or phones.

The animal control officer I was dealing with said that he could not release the dog to us (
ECGRR) since they had no way to access the computer and verify her status. I would have to wait until tomorrow when the supervisor was in to get a release. I said fine, and I watched as he wrote in large letters, HOLD FOR RETRIEVER RESCUE across the paperwork that was on this golden girl's cage. I scratched her head and told her I would be back tomorrow.

I returned the next day to pick her up and noticed the power was still out. I was informed by the supervisor that the golden was no longer there. I asked, what that meant, and she said she was destroyed that morning. I was speechless as well as furious. I asked the supervisor why the dog was destroyed? Hadn’t she seen the note to hold her for our rescue?!

The animal control supervisor said they needed the space and that she did see the note, but since there was no date on it she simply ignored it. I then asked why the dog could not be released to me on Tuesday because the computer was down, but they could destroy dogs without looking the computer file Wednesday morning? There was no satisfactory answer and the supervisor simply said, “I wish I could bring her back”.

There is a bit more to the story as to my actions and whom I contacted after this, but the above description of this incident is what I wanted to pass on. I have a very heavy heart over this and personally feel that I failed this golden girl – I had told her I would get her out of there.

Please pass this story on to others. Maybe this sweet girl's unnecessary death can somehow help prevent some others.

Best Regards from your
ECGRR newsletter editor, Bill Hyde