The Saving and Killing of Skittles

I had previously awarded Walker Co Humane Society in AL the coveted Fastest Kill in the East title.  We now have another contender.

A lady in PA, Nancy Nies, found a stray cat in March who wasn’t in good shape.  She nursed her back to health and then figured out kitty was pregnant.  She raised the litter of 5 with Skittles, the mama cat, and then tried to find homes for everyone.  Ms. Nies successfully placed 3 kittens but had no luck after that.  Since Ms. Nies already had several pets and felt unable to provide long term care for 3 more, she decided it would be best to take Skittles and her remaining two kittens to the local shelter where she figured they would have a much better chance at being adopted.

After walking into the Animal Rescue League of Berks County with Skittles and explaining the story, Ms. Nies handed Skittles to a staff member and returned to her car to get the two kittens.  By the time she got back inside, the shelter had killed Skittles:

Harry D. Brown III, executive director of the Rescue League, said the female staff member who was holding Skittles got scared when the cat became “wiry and out of control.”

She was afraid of being scratched or bitten and asked other staff members to take the cat, Brown said. Believing that the cat was a stray, as Nies initially said, they decided to euthanize her.

It’s not unusual for cats to become “out of control” when handed over to a stranger in an unfamiliar place full of barking dogs.  This used to happen sometimes when I worked in veterinary clinics.  When it would happen to me, I didn’t want to get scratched or bitten if at all possible so I developed a magical method of handling kitty freak outs:  I placed them quickly into a cage.  This allowed them to settle down.  In extreme cases, I would place a towel over the front of the cage in order to facilitate the calming.  Granted, I worked in a vet clinic so I didn’t have the option of instant killing of spaz kitties, but gosh, if only the Animal Rescue League could have known of this magical method and if only they had such a thing as a cat cage, I can’t help but wonder if this needless killing could have been avoided.

As it turns out, the shelter does have people surrendering pets sign a release indicating the pet might be killed but Ms. Nies hadn’t even had a chance to fill out her paperwork yet since, you know, she had just walked in the freaking door.  Nevertheless, the director casts blame on the good Samaritan:

If Nies had not told the staff that Skittles was a stray, Brown said, the situation might have been handled differently.

Right.  She was a stray, before Ms. Nies nursed her back to health and took care of her for 6 months, and before Ms. Nies thought she was helping Skittles find a home by taking her to your shelter.  The shelter president ramps up the blame, hinting that Skittles might have been rabid:

Barrie A. Pease, president of the Rescue League board, said the shelter is the only one in Berks that will take stray cats, and staff can’t be sure if the cats carry disease or have been vaccinated.

“If a cat is acting like that, we can’t take a chance on one of our staff getting bitten or scratched,” Pease said.

Newsflash:  Your staff members are at risk of getting scratched or bitten by nature of their work.  Further, cats that get handed over to them are sometimes going to freak.  Handling that is part of the job.  If you can’t deal with those basics, I don’t see much of a future for you in animal sheltering.

The shelter receives 800 to 900 cats a month, Brown said, adding that about 90 percent are strays. About 20 percent end up being adopted, and the rest have to be put down.

“I wish we could keep every animal for a couple of days, but we don’t have the space, the finances or the funds to do that,” Brown said.

How about a couple of minutes – do you have the resources to do that?  I mean like, long enough for somebody to go out to their car and come back?

“It would be nice if we could go to no-kill,” Pease said. “I could go to the board and we could make that decision tomorrow. But if we did that, there would be 800 to 900 stray cats a month that municipalities would have to figure out what to do with.”

Municipalities would have to figure that out.  Not us obviously.  Because if we go no kill, that means we go no admittance.  If you’re going to accept pets, you have to kill them.  There’s just no other way.

After Ms. Nies worked out that the Animal Rescue League was a front for a cat killing hole, she abruptly left with Skittles’ two kittens.  They are now up for adoption at a place called One by One, Inc which is apparently some kind of deviant outfit that actually shelters cats until they find homes and stuff.  Donate, if you feel so inclined and are able.

13 thoughts on “The Saving and Killing of Skittles

  1. Unbelievable…or, well, actually rather typical. Which is also totally unacceptable! My apologies to Skittles on behalf of the human race. My thanks to Ms. Nies for trying. I went to the One by One website, but I couldn’t tell which two kittens were Skittles. They have more cats available than our municipality. (But then both of the cat rescues in our town place more cats than Animal Control does.)

  2. Pease said that the shelter thought the cat was a stray. I am sure that there is a law in that state, like other states, that require a shelter to hold strays a certain amount of time, generally 3 days, sometimes longer. That means this “shelter” broke that law.

    Generally, it is the “owner turn ins” that can be killed the same day. I’ve never heard of an animal being killed before a person could walk to their car and back. Good grief.

    Also, considering how quickly they performed that killing, I highly doubt that they could have performed it in a humane manner i.e. an injection in the vein. I would bet money they did a heart stick which is very inhumane.

    The people working at this “shelter” are more dinosaurs that need to go extinct.

  3. If this isn’t further proof that a lot of shelters are staffed by complete incompetents who have no clue how to even HANDLE animals let alone get them adopted, I don’t know what is. This is just pathetic — killing a cat because they were afraid of getting scratched?!

  4. I thought almost all shelters had to hold strays for a certain time period so that their owners could find them. On the other hand, if the lady had said that the cats belonged to her most shelters would not need to hold owner turn ins and would be legally able to euthanize them immediately. So basically this shelter can euthanize any animal at any time, including before the paperwork is signed?!!!! Have they never handled a cat? I have four cats and have had to wrangle them when they are scared for baths or medication and it’s not easy but there are ways to do it with minimal risk of injury as well as minimal stress on the cat. I suspect this cat was not as bad as they claimed but that instead they just did not want to deal with more animals so they killed her.

  5. Incredible. Dead before the paperwork was even signed. At the very least these folks need someone to help them set up more animal-friendly surrender procedures (have surrendering party place animal in cage? Just an idea) Perhaps they’re unaware that there are other animal shelters in America who might be able to bounce some ideas around with.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  6. In my area the sign in the front desk area states something close to, “owner surrendered animals are subject to “EUTHANIZATION” within or up to 24 hours from drop off time. There are several, way too many cases I have heard of the shelter worker taking the animal from it’s “owner” and walking straight to the E room. Florida definitely has a problem. The No Kill Nation is presenting the BUILDING A NO KILL SOUTH FLORIDA in hopes the people wake up, realize the problem and come together to work oh the solution. Come and hear the nation’s experts in the NO KILL Movement so together we can eradicate our problem.

  7. So…did she ever sign the paperwork? Because if she didn’t, surely they killed an animal that was not legally theirs to kill? Sounds like a lawsuit to me…

  8. Numerous children in Doctors offices have kicked Doctors in the cojones, bitten their fingers, scratched them, etc., out of the same fear that a cat or dog would, yet you never hear about the child being murdered in the Doctor’s office.

    Once again SPECIESISM rears it’s butt ugly head.

    (Speciesism: the belief in the inherent superiority of one species over another.)

    That is why we need laws put into place that protect cats and dogs from this kind of murderous crap. Take the power to murder cats and dogs out of the hands of the murderers, by passing laws, and subject the would be murderers to criminal charges if they defy the laws, and things will definitely definitely change.

    Let your local City Council Members know about this…tell them to support it, because this is a nice way to start:


    “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as now they look upon the murder of men”

    ~Attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, and other intelligent men.

  9. What a terrible thing to do to this scared cat!Like cats (or dogs for that matter) don’t get nervous in vet’s offices for the love of God! Hearing dogs barking, the scents of other animals, stress..come on!! This cat Skittles had been worked with and on her way to finding a home, and in a few minutes a worker jumps to euthanizing her…shame on you excuse for this to happen. Only took a few minutes too!!
    WRONG WRONG…Shame on Animal Rescue League of Berks County!!! I am so angry about this…

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