Which of the following would you think might be factors in determining whether a shelter allows an impounded kitten to live?
- Veterinary assessment of health
- Ability to eat without human assistance
- Available space at the shelter
- Available space in the shelter’s foster home network
- Potential for owner redemption or adoption
If you are an ACO in Anne Arundel Co, MD – your answer would be None of the Above. County ACOs have been under official order for more than a year to immediately kill all impounded pets based on a single criteria: weight. Specifically, 1.5 pounds. Any animals weighing less that that must be killed. Even if they are healthy and friendly. Even if they can eat regular pet food just like an older pet. Even if there is room at the shelter. Even if someone is willing to take them home to foster or adopt them. Just weigh ’em and kill ’em.
Apparently ACOs were leaving the killing of the baby pets to the vet techs so a memo was issued that any ACO who failed to immediately kill pets under the weight limit would face disciplinary action. A group of ACOs were recently fired by the county and exposed the policy to a local animal advocate who went to the paper.
Lt. Glenn Shanahan, the county police officer who oversees AC, says the policy is appropriate because small kittens could become sick and infect other cats at the shelter. He fails to mention that small kittens could also not get sick and end up getting adopted in short order. When the paper asked how many pets had been killed under the policy, he told them to file a Public Information Act request. They did. Stay tuned.
Thank you to reader Kelley S. for the tip.