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.