I think we can all appreciate the frustrations of a shelter director seeing “a record number of dropoffs” in a two day period. This was the challenge facing the director of the Marshall County Animal Shelter in West Virginia last week when at least 41 kittens were brought to the shelter in 2 days. Time to dig deep into your reserves, think outside the box and recruit the public for assistance in saving lives. Or:
“The only solution I have at this point is I have to euthanize to make room for incoming cats,” said Cindy Brautigan, director of the Marshall County Animal Shelter.
And so, with that mindset, it’s not surprising a media opportunity with the local news was squandered and begins thusly:
Dozens of kittens will be euthanized in Marshall County on Friday night[…]
Ms. Brautigan apparently feels justified in killing kittens:
Brautigan said the county has low-cost options to prevent homeless animals, but it’s up to the community to take advantage of the resources.
The shelter will spay or neuter a cat for just $10-$15, so she said there’s no reason for people to be irresponsible.
“There’s no excuse.”
There’s no excuse. Hmm. Do people in the community know about these low cost cat neuter services? Or are media opportunities to promote the services squandered, as illustrated above? Or maybe the public doesn’t want to bring their cats to this shelter for fear of being judged harshly. And does the shelter have a strong TNR program in place?
She said many of the kittens came from people who don’t want them to be euthanized, so they dropped them off at the shelter under the impression there’s a no-kill policy there.
Gee, that doesn’t sound irresponsible to me. On the contrary, it sounds compassionate – as if these people want to do the right thing. Perhaps they could benefit from education and public outreach on the part of the shelter. Less judgment, more understanding.
“We do not turn anyone away ever, because horrible things happen to them when you turn them away.”
Please define “horrible things”. From where I sit, getting the local news to report on your Friday night kitten killing spree is about as bad as it gets. I wonder how many people seeing that story will be inclined to go to the shelter with a litter of homeless kittens or an intact mama cat for spaying now?
Come on. We’re not talking about 41 cats over the age of 13 with missing eyes and chronic health problems. These are kittens! You get the local TV news out there and you put the kittens in a basket with brightly colored yarn and a gigantic FREE sign. You let the public know there’s a sale on kittens this weekend with prices so low, you’re practically giving them away – in fact, you are giving them away! They’ve all been examined by a vet and had their first shots. You hold up li’l Tigger to the camera and let him wriggle his nose at the lens. You let kittens crawl on your shoulders and lick your neck and bite your hair while encouraging the public to come on down because the price is right!
This isn’t rocket science. Waiving adoption fees in times of crisis gets pets adopted. And it creates a positive image in the community’s mind about the shelter. It gives the shelter an opportunity to advertise their low cost spay-neuter services and encourage responsible pet ownership. Plus who knows, maybe someone will see another shelter pet while there that they fall in love with and want to adopt too.
Instead, we have a shelter director who sees only one solution: kitten killing. And she gets on the local news to advertise it and scold the public for being irresponsible to boot. I’m giving a grade of “F” for Imagination.