Shelter Pet of the Day

This cat in a litter box in a cage at a GA shelter was pulled from a well at Thanksgiving. He may be killed "for space" for New Year's.

Henry County Animal Control Shelter

527 Hamption Street
McDonough, GA

770-288-PETS (7387)

This shelter’s kill rate for 2007 was 54%

Submitted by reader Valerie.

23 thoughts on “Shelter Pet of the Day

    1. I’m not sure if you are directing your comment at my post or the pet’s listing on Petfinder. If at my post, my intention was to point out the irony in the Petfinder listing: We rescued him at Thanksgiving and now we may kill him. (And again, interesting definition of rescue.) If your comment was meant for the Petfinder listing, I didn’t write that so can’t speak to it except to say I find it very sad.

      1. It wasn’t clear to me that you were highlighting the known ineffective description.

      2. I’m sorry if I was vague in this particular post. I make it a habit, much to some people’s annoyance, of highlighting exactly this sort of thing regularly. It’s arguably the point of the entire blog. If you are not a regular reader, you wouldn’t have that background knowledge and so perhaps this came across to you differently than I intended. I suppose that’s the risk for someone new coming in to any of my posts. They’re like potato chips – you can’t take just one. ; )

  1. The reality is that this kitten is in this situation. I could submit only pets who are safely ensconced in one of GA’s many no-kill rescue organizations, and I have submitted a few of those. I wish that this shelter would implement the No Kill Equation, and positive and effective marketing strategies along with it.

    This is an animal control pound:

    Henry County also has a humane society:

    Thanks to Grace’s Law, Henry County’s gas chamber is now illegal.

    1. I’m not suggesting that you do not submit this pet, but rather that whoever wrote the description should know that the “adopt this animal or we’ll kill it” kind of description doesn’t work.

    2. I’m glad to post pets in *any* shelter. Just because somebody at this shelter thinks it’s ok to fish a cat out of a well one month and (potentially) kill him the next isn’t anyone’s fault except those who think that way. You and I don’t think that way. Maybe by sharing this kitten’s plight we could possibly not only help him find a home but also influence more people to reflect upon the tragedy of this kind of “rescue”.

  2. This got me wondering. Henry County has a local paper, and lo and behold, they have a ‘Pet of the Week’ feature (though it was last updated 12/22):
    This indicates that the paper is trying to do something for the shelter pets. Not all papers do this. This actually makes me sadder, since it suggests that they might help out even more and print a story about a kitten pulled out of a well on Thanksgiving.

  3. I’m a regular reader and have been for over a year. I was surprised that you would post such a caption. Maybe my irony detector is on the fritz. Or maybe I just need to be hit over the head with a hammer.

    1. See, I thought I was in full-on hammer mode. I guess I’m just going to have to step up my game in the skull cracking department.

      And thank you for reading!

  4. OK, so:
    1. Stop the killing, and
    2. Write pet listings such as:

    “Hi, my name is Jet and I’d like to start off the New Year with a New Home. I had a rough 2010. On Thanksgiving, I fell down a 15 foot well. That was really scary. Thankfully, I was rescued, but then I had to spend Christmas at the shelter, which means that I never got to play with a Christmas tree, even though I heard that they are the best cat toys ever. I’m six months old and way too cute to be living in a tiny cage. It’s a real drag. I need room to run and jump and play and have adventures. I like attention and toys and treats and all the other things we kittens are supposed to like and I’m almost old enough to appreciate catnip, so come on down to the shelter and adopt me today!”

    1. Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Have you thought of writing these descriptions for a job? Because I know of a whole bunch of shelters that need you.

  5. You know, your post sounds awesome but the truth is that he will be killed if no one steps up for him. It is a fact, not a scare tactic. While the above post sounds great it does not get the urgency across. These animals usually only have 4 days, 4! and that is it! The shelter workers probably favor this kitty but eventually will have to kill him whether they like him or not.

    1. Kristi,

      The point is that “adopt this kitty or we’ll kill her” ads don’t work as well. They may be the truth, but it is not effective nor is it relevant to the potential adopter. “Adopt-or-kill” ads drive potential adopters away, not just from adopting the pet in question, but from the shelter entirely. So the question to you is whether the goal is for the kitty to be adopted or to threaten the public. If it is to get the kitty adopted then don’t write “adopt or kill” ads because they don’t work.

      You’ve been around here long enough to know the response to your assertion that “the shelter workers … eventually will have to kill him.” I’ll summarize; They don’t *have* to.

  6. The cat (he didn’t even get a name) is no longer listed on pet finder. So I called the shelter and all I was told was “His card is not here so all I can say is he is not here”. Which I am going to guess means he was euthanized. :-(


    1. Was he medically hopeless and suffering? If so, that’s very sad but I’m glad he could be prevented from further suffering. If not, I don’t call that “euthanasia” – I call it killing.

      W H Y did the ACO fish this kitten out the well only to take him to a place that kills adoptable baby cats? I hate the thought of leaving a kitten down a well but at least while there the poor thing had a chance that someone might help him who wouldn’t take him to a place that kills pets.


  7. This is the original email to try to save him. I do not believe he was injured. This shelter gets alot of cats and kittens and has to euthanize for space. Unfortunately, at this time shelters have not come up with another solution. This shelter crossposts as many as they can and many go to rescue but many have no where else to go.

    The little black kitten ID 11/26-4886 has an amazing story. He was 15 feet down in a narrow well shaft, our on call officer rescued him over the Thanksgiving holiday by lowering a net with a can of cat food it in…….I have one well photo but it just looks like a light in a black tunnel, it was an amazing story though. We hope he makes it out of the shelter alive!

    1. Kristi – IDK how well, if at all, you know any of the folks who work at this shelter but do you think they’d be open to learning about the No Kill Conference in Washington D.C.? If they attend, they could learn from other shelters about how they save pets instead of killing them.

      Also, would anyone there be receptive to the suggestion of reading Nathan Winograd’s book Redemption? It’s very enlightening on the subject of “other solutions” besides killing.

      1. Okay. I can tell you a couple of things about the kitten and why he died there. He was a beautiful little kitty and NOT injured. The kill rate for cats in 2009 at the shelter was around 76%–no better now. He was a black kitten and that’s the same as being a black dog–the rescues have quotas for black cats and kittens (and plain tabbies and torties). He didn’t have a chance. The day before he died there, someone who works at the shelter said a lot of cats and kittens had upper respiratory infections–so many that she wasn’t going to update PF until after they put down the cats and dogs. As I expected, nearly ALL the cats and kittens who had been listed on PF were gone. They weren’t adopted–they were killed. This shelter kills for space. They kill in anticipation of needing space. They kill for upper respiratory infections and other treatable illnesses. I could go on but won’t. Just one more thing–don’t bother to recommend Redemption because Nathan Winograd WENT THERE several years ago as a consultant. They claim that he was very critical of the shelter (oh, really? Can’t imagine why–it was a gas shelter until the end of Dec. by the way).
        They say he made no recommendations. And you can be sure they made no changes. None. Not a single one.

      2. So they’re saying Nathan Winograd went there and basically said “You guys suck”, shrugged his shoulders and left? Hmm, seems a tad unbelievable.

        Next time the ACO there “rescues” a kitten from a well or any other place, I hope he/she either follows through on saving his life or at least just sets him loose in the street for someone compassionate to find and truly rescue.

  8. Oh, I don’t believe a word they say. Other people in the shelter and rescue community have said he made a full report with recommendations but the county and shelter decided it would “cost too much” to make any changes. The current director is very hardened in her views. She posts on a rescue forum that I co-moderate and when I post something encouraging or informative about no-kill (like a link to Valerie’s Haynes’ article on the transition at Tompkins),she comes on with comments about the “Nathan Winograd kool-aid.” Logic is futile and I can’t throw her off the forum for complicated reasons. The person who does the PF listings for that shelter said she read Redemption and threw it in the trash. One day these people will retire or move on. And then there will be some hope for positive change.

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