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Vet: Revise adoption rules

Carie Wisell, an Albany veterinarian, was recently irked by a disagreement between her animal hospital and the Albany Humane Society.

Carie Wisell, an Albany veterinarian, was recently irked by a disagreement between her animal hospital and the Albany Humane Society.

ALBANY — An Albany veterinarian doesn’t care for the Albany Humane Society’s pet adoption policies, and an unfortunate incident has thrown her disagreement into high gear.

According to Carie Wisell, a veterinarian and owner of Companion Animal Hospital on North Slappey Boulevard, a sick Labrador-mix puppy was presented for treatment at the clinic Monday by Tracey Gibney, who said she worked for the Humane Society. Wisell said Gibney told her she had adopted the dog and ultimately paid a $200 deposit toward the treatment for Parvo Virus, a life-threatening illness. The animal was left with Wisell and her staff, and treatment was begun.

Later that afternoon, the hospital was contacted by Tara Miller, who Wisell said identified herself as a person with a position of authority at the Humane Society. Wisell said Miller told her the puppy had not been adopted because it had not reached the age of three months. In addition, Wisell said, she was told by Miller that Gibney had taken the dog to the “wrong” vet and the animal would be picked up by the Humane Society and transported to Albany Pet Partners, a nonprofit, limited-service veterinary clinic.

Wisell said she was concerned with the health of the animal should its treatment be interrupted and offered to provide free treatment if the animal was allowed to stay. The offer was refused by Miller, Wisell said, and the dog was transported to Albany Pet Partners, owned and operated by Fred Freedland. Wisell was informed later that the dog’s treatment had been resumed there.

The Albany Humane Society responded to the incident by saying that taking the animal to Wisell’s facility had been a mistake by a new employee and that the mistake was corrected by transporting it to the veterinarian normally used.

At the heart of the matter, Wisell said, is the society’s policy of allowing dogs to be adopted only at three months of age or greater. According to Wisell, all surrounding humane societies allow adoption at eight weeks. Doing so saves money for the society and reduces the number of animals euthanized. She said other advantages of earlier adoptions would be lower staff requirements, a shorter time in which puppies are exposed to shelter diseases and earlier bonding to their adoptive owners.

“The goal of a shelter should be to get healthy animals adopted and in loving hands as quickly as possible,” Wisell said.

Wisell said that during the past two or more years she has made numerous attempts to discuss adoption policy with Donna Strickland, the executive director of the Albany Humane Society, but Strickland hasn’t returned any of her calls.

Wisell, who operates a certified shelter as part of her hospital and actively offers animals for adoption, said she has regularly offered to accept some overflow of animals from the Humane Society but has been turned down. At one point, AHS board president Jay Robertson said her hospital was viewed as competition, Wisell said.

On Thursday, Freedland called the puppy incident unfortunate and simply a case of hurt feelings between two individuals or groups.

“Where the puppy was treated has nothing to do with (Wisell’s) desire to change the adoption age,” Freedland said.

According to Freedland, the age at which a puppy is adopted is less important than the age at which it is entered into the shelter system.

“The problem of disease comes from waiting to vaccinate,” Freedland said. “Some shelters wait four days or so in the interest of saving money, but animals should be vaccinated on intake. If you wait even an hour, it’s not intake.”

Freedland said he was unaware of how AHS policy decisions are made but admits they could be out of date.

According to Freedland, the concept of shelter medicine has changed significantly in the last five to 10 years. In fact, he said, the field is among the fastest-growing specialties in veterinary medicine. A possible source for setting policy in the Albany Humane Society might be to contact the Department of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida, Freedland said.


chinaberry25 3 years, 2 months ago

I can promise you this is just like the good old boy system. They want their friends to get the future business. Plain and simple. But this vet about is one of the vets who uses This is where you can buy a coupon for around $50 to get your pet spayed or neutered. Look it up on the internet, it is wonderful!


FlunkyMonkey 3 years, 2 months ago

I have met Dr. Wizell. Hurt feelings between two groups? How about the fact that Dr. Wizell is daring to buck the AHS system and is standing up to the directors?


WeAreThey 3 years, 2 months ago

Whoa, Nelly ! Turn down free vet care? 'Competing' shelter? Aren't there enough stray animals to go around? Wait 3 months before adoption? Why? Guess that explains why you never see puppies or kittens when you browse their available pets online. Is this how you become a no-kill shelter?


Oldguy 3 years, 2 months ago

You hit the nail on the head. I suspect many of the kittens and pups are put down before reaching the 3 month age to save time and money for AHS.


Oldguy 3 years, 2 months ago

There is more to this story that reporter failed to include, probably to kep it on a higher level. I know from reliable sources that the Albany Humane Society has always trated Dr. Wisell as some sort of pirate trying to take their business. This is not true, Dr Wisell has a great love for animals and has her own adoption option, see or facebook for more information on this. .I also have been told that Ms. Miller was rude and very demanding when she contacted Companion Animal Hospiral about the situation, she threatened to call the police in an attemt to intimidate them. That is not the way to handle a situation crewated by your employee, tacky, rude and uncalled for in this situation. Dr. Wisell works with the other shelters in the area with great result for the animals and the shelter her profit margin is in negative number as her goal is happy healthy animals in good loving homes. A little background on Dr. Wisell, Bachelors degree from University of Maryland School of Business and of course Doctor of Veternary Medicine from University of Florida. She is retired from USAF with 20 years of service and a served in Desert Storm. Her life long desire has been to be a Veternarian as she has a true love for the animals and wish to help them in their times of need. In cosing Ms. Miller go to charm school to learn some manners.


Fletch 3 years, 2 months ago

....... Here's what I don't get ... a majority of these animal rights activists are big time liberals whom are big time "pro-abortionists" but, somehow seem to get all emotional over having to put an ANIMAL down. .... If they would just apply their same Democrat principals to the ANIMALS all would be fine and without all the emotional hand-wringing over .... an ANIMAL! ....


Oldguy 3 years, 2 months ago

Fletch. This not a political matter, simply the treatment of a helpless animal in a humane manner. I guess you do not know the importance of our pets, they become a family member and add to our life experence in a positive way. Simply just being a decent human being, after all we are animals too.


bubbavet 3 years, 2 months ago

The AHS has always been about money. They use the " non profit" crap. They would rather put an animal down than let it be adopted if you didn't have enough "money". If you found a stray and took it to them they would not accept it without you paying them unless it was a pure bred they could get some " money" for. Been there done that.


makeadifference 3 years, 2 months ago

This is Dr. Wisell and I wanted to thank everyone for their support. The article states Mrs. Miller told me the employee made a mistake by bringing it to my hospital and she was going to take the puppy to another vet. once she picked it up. This is not the case. When Tara Miller called to demand we stop all treatments, I told her I did not want to do this because the puppy will get worse without treatment and I suspected she was going to euthanize the puppy. She told me it was not my business and I did not know what she was going to do with the puppy. Also that I had to release it because it was the property of the AHS. It's true,..... I did not know what she was going to do, however as a veterinarian, I felt it was very much my business to do what I could to ensure the puppy was treated and not euthanized. IF.... Mrs. Miller would have told me they were taking the puppy to Dr. Freeland, I would not have had any issues. Had Mrs. Miller been professional and simply explained the situation instead of extremely rude to my staff, my Practice Manager and myself every time she spoke with us, this could have all been avoided. To threaten a veterinarian to call the police on them because she didn't want to release the puppy until it was well is extremely disrespectful, unprofessional and shows zero compasion for the puppy's life and my profession.

I received my training at University of Florida Shelter Medicine department (the recommended "possible source" for the AHS Dr. Freeland stated in the article). Many vets in the area are just as capable and willing to perform these surgeries.

I am not trying to anger or compete with the AHS by having my Adoption Option program. I am able to adopt these cats and dogs at a lower price because I do the spay and neuter at a loss. I too charge an intake fee, but I won't euthanize any animal I take into my program. "Yes," I am picky and "no," I do not accept them all. This is a privelage I'm afforded because I own my business. This is a passion of mine and I certainly did not intend it to have a negative impact on anyone. I adopt approx. 270-300 cats / kittens and about 30 dogs each year. AHS operates on a much larger scale and can not pick and choose the animals they take in, thus it is simply a reality they have to euthanize many animals each year. If we can save just a few hundred more lives by getting them into homes faster (at 8 weeks vs. 12 weeks), why wouldn't we? It will save money, allow more intake b/c space will be available a month earlier, decrease animals getting sick in the shelter while waiting, & decrease behavioral problems seen by the stressful shelter environment.

I hope the young lady that initially brought the puppy in is allowed to adopt her. She showed a lot of compassion for this little life. I'm so sorry this incident happened, however I do hope good will come from it & the puppy gets a great home. Humbly Yours, Dr. Carie Wisell


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