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NC Shelter Works the Media

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, the animal shelter in Craven Co, NC killed 5300 pets.  Total intake was 6267:  2546 dogs and 3721 cats.  That would be an 85% kill rate.  The article notes that the shelter takes in “dead and diseased animals, unsocialized animals, and animals brought in by other shelters and their owners specifically to be euthanized” and states that “1,438 canines and 693 felines were suitable and available for adoption”.

These numbers indicate the shelter received 1108 dogs and 3028 cats that were sick, feral or otherwise unsuitable for adoption in the shelter’s opinion.  To put it another way, out of every 100 cats that came through the front doors, only 18-19 were suitable for adoption in the opinion of the shelter.  The rest were killed.  These numbers seem awfully high to my mind.

Of the pets the shelter deemed adoptable, only 967 left alive.  The kill rate of adoptable pets was 55%.  Of the 45% saved:

The shelter makes a routine practice of turning over purebred dogs to the specific breed’s rescue organization in North Carolina, [shelter supervisor Kathryn] Smith said.

In addition to the alarmingly low numbers of pets the shelter deems adoptable and the even lower number that actually get saved, the shelter draws fire from pet welfare groups because it kills about half of its pets in the gas chamber (the other half are killed via lethal injection).

Despite all of this, the shelter supervisor finds time to blame the public when the local paper shows up:

The biggest problem, Smith said, is not the euthanasia method, but rather the need for it at all. She is easily able to recall countless incidents when people have brought their family pets to the shelter with excuses why they can’t keep them.


Smith becomes animated as she tells the tales, all of which represent a lack of responsible pet ownership.

Gee, if only the shelter had someone in a leadership position who became animated about saving pets.

“It’s not the fact that we use carbon monoxide or lethal injection or what. The fact is we have to kill dogs and it’s not our fault,” said shelter supervisor Kathryn Smith. “I’m not going to take the blame for that.”

Yeah, I think you’re on to something there.  Use media opportunities to blame the public and deny responsibility for your own actions.  And don’t let those pesky pet advocates get you down.  You just keep right on doing what you’re doing – you know, since it’s going great so far.

Oh by the way, how many people came into the shelter wanting to adopt or volunteer following your interview?  I bet your phone lines were burning up with all the public interest you generated in saving pets.  But if that didn’t happen, I’m sure that’s not your fault either.

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