Kill the Phones! Kill the Rescue Lifelines! Kill the Kitty!

The deeply troubled animal shelter for the Town of Hempstead, NY continues its downward spiral, unabated.  First they banned the rescuers who spoke out about alleged abuse at the shelter.  It was then revealed that the shelter had a $7.1 million annual budget but took in less than 3500 pets last year – many of which were allegedly allowed to suffer without vet care or needlessly killed.

Now in an astonishing move, the shelter has announced it will no longer provide information by phone about pets in their care.  Inquiries from the public, including rescuers, must be in written form and submitted via e-mail or snail mail.  Mind you, there are 29 full time employees at this animal shelter.  Nine of them made over $100,000 last year.  And they now refuse to answer the phone?

Even worse:

The Shelter will no longer accept requests for “Do Not Destroy” (DND) tags on animals.  With DNDs, animal rescuers were able to “buy” an animal time at the Shelter while searching for placement at a foster/permanent home or an alternative no-kill shelter, at no cost to the Shelter.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is an undated video clip that has surfaced on YouTube, allegedly showing staff members, including the acting director (then kennel supervisor), preparing to kill a kitten.  The kitten is lifted out of a box via a choke pole around his neck while someone chants “Kill the kitty!”.

There is a group working on shelter reform and their website contains action alerts and a call to protest:

CALLING ALL RESCUERS, ADVOCATES & ANIMAL LOVERS TO ATTEND HOPE FOR HEMPSTEAD SHELTERS PROTEST ON MARCH 19 AT 12:00

3320 BELTAGH AVE WANTAGH , NY

I have reached out to Town Supervisor Kate Murray for comment.  If I receive a response, I will update this post.

Thanks to Karen and mtnhiker for sending me links on this story.

Update:  In response to my e-mail inquiry, I received the following (which is apparently what everyone who inquired received):

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray has reacted with shock and dismay over the actions contained in a 17-year-old video filmed at the township’s animal shelter. The Supervisor has responded swiftly, reassigning the shelter’s acting director Pat Horan to a position outside of the shelter pending the outcome of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the video.

Supervisor Murray stated that she has taken immediate action on this matter to ensure that animals at the town’s shelter receive the highest quality of care.

The video shows a former private (non-town) animal hospital employee handling a cat and a town kennel worker who has not worked for the town in over 16 years.  An off-camera voice is heard uttering an ugly and unacceptable phrase.  An interview with Pat Horan, titled as the source of the off-camera phrase, has been met with an emphatic denial that her voice was on the video.  Clearly, Ms. Horan can be seen walking out of the room, while the voice on camera seems to be in very close proximity to the camera’s microphone.

Additionally, the town will be conducting a search for an animal shelter director immediately.

57 thoughts on “Kill the Phones! Kill the Rescue Lifelines! Kill the Kitty!

  1. This is crazy, the fat bitch and the dick head both need choke chaines, and if i lived close enough they
    would have one. she should not be within 10 ft. of
    any animal…I’m sorry this just upsets me so bad.

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  2. Now I am positive that we live in an insane world!

    How can the tax payers of this are continue to put up with this? Is everyone MAD?

    The people of this are have the power to stop this if they will only take action. I pray that they do.

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    1. Yes, and they look like they think it’s a joke. Would like to know more about how this video was made. It reminds me of the photos Char-Meck employees put on FB.

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  3. I cannot bear to watch the video. Hempstead was bad in the past, but many years ago when I lived in Long Island, they had some really good outreach people who really advocated for rescue. NOw, what in hell is going on there???? This is nothing less than a total outrage! Can Nathan call these assholes????

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    1. To clarify for everyone, the video does not show the kitten being killed but does show him being choked. As far as Nathan calling, I can’t imagine that would do much good since they no longer answer the phones…

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  4. I did reach out to them. I did write them a letter, with lots of information and offered to help. I also followed up by telephone with one of the commissioners. See my letter at http://bit.ly/gkf5Sq. But they chose to clamp down.

    I urge everyone to watch the video clip. Watch lazy and inept animal control officers laughing, making obscene gestures, and goofing off. Then watch as a very frightened cat is brought into the room, hung from the neck with a catchpole (which should NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER be used on cats) and while he struggles to escape, listen as they chant “kill the kitty, kill the kitty.”

    Then remember that this is in NYS, where if Oreo’s Law had passed, the shelter would be prohibited by law to “kill the kitty, kill the kitty” if a rescue group offered to save him. But Oreo’s Law is not in place. It was killed by the ASPCA. It was killed by the Maddie’s-funded Mayor’s Alliance of New York City. It was killed by Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition. It was killed by Best Friends Animal Society. And it was killed by the silence of the Humane Society of the United States.

    And so they can continue to chant “kill the kitty, kill the kitty” and rescuers are turned away. Betrayed by those who were supposed to be the animal’s protectors.

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    1. Thank you for at least trying to reach out to them. With them not responding to you and “clamping down” instead it speaks volumes to me. They don’t WANT to change. They don’t CARE about the animals. They are ALL SICK.

      Praying that things change here…and soon. Removal of volunteers & rescues, no phone calls, and no more DND tags – they have done nothing more than sentence each and every animal to death. While their website looks great and it ‘appears’ that this place is a great shelter…we know better. UGH! What more can be said!

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    2. Nathan, Oreo’s Law was unsupported by ASPCA, Maddie’s-funded Mayor’s Alliance of New York City,Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition, and even Best Friends Animal Society? I know of the Humane Society of the United States. I can’t believe how they could betray the animals so horribly.

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      1. Daniela – You are right and I did forget about them…

        We really need to reach out to our congressmen and press them to support Oreo’s Law. It is so VERY important that we get them to pass the law so that places like TOHAS can’t stop rescuers from doing the work they do – which is placing animals in homes and keeping them from being killed. The animals need us now more than ever before. So PLEASE everyone write those e-mails, makes those phone calls and pressure them to support it so that we can see it become a reality and so that all the Oreo’s of our nation are given a chance at life…instead of nothing more than the prospect of being killed.

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  5. holy christ. wtf is wrong with these people? My shelter practices euthanasia (and have gotten flak for it), but no one on our staff has EVER taken such a cavalier attitude towards it. I mean, people who are practicing euthanasia (and don’t want to) would never use the word ‘kill’ when referring to what they’re doing- or treat an animal so poorly (pretty sure catch poles aren’t for use on cats)
    Did she give the camera a middle finger in the beginning?
    and that ACO in the video should be neutered

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    1. Anne, most shelters have policies banning catch poles being utilized on felines. Certainly in the case of a kitten, and one being selected for euthanasia. This is simply medieval practice.

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  6. BAH!

    What our local AC wouldn’t give to have a $7 million+ budget.

    We currently spend 3.5 million which covers about 700,000 people and takes in about 12,000 pets every year (10,000 of which are killed). An added 3 million just for one year would buy us an adoption center (currently the only way out of AC is by the original owner, a rescue or the SPCA – all others are killed).

    3 million a year would be enough to fully fund a FREE spay and neuter clinic.

    I couldn’t watch the video today, perhaps tomorrow, I’m still digesting the numbers. What a load of crap. 29 staff members?? Our AC has THIRTEEN. TOTAL. They make an average of $40,000 a year (CDN) and they answer the damn phone 24/7… even if they’re not generally very helpful.

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  7. We need to get Oreo’s law passed this year. I am not going to watch the video but I am going to write a letter for the campaign and I will do what I can to help. I don’t believe in euthanizing healthy pets, but if you are going to do it then you have to do it in a humane way. There is no excuse for torturing and humiliating an animal before you kill them. And everyone who participated needs to go to counseling because there is something wrong with someone who is willing to participate in something like that.

    Daniela

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  8. The shelter has told a rescue friend of mine that the video is 17 years old. Even if so, Pat Horan (supposedly in the video) is still there and has been promoted, and the volunteer ban and other things mentioned are still in place.

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  9. I don’t care whether the video is 17 years old or 17 minutes old–when something like this surfaces, the agency must get out in front of it rather than battening down the hatches (“Oh, we don’t have time to answer the phones–we’re too busy killing kitties!”). We all know that entire organizations can become corrupt and the only solution is to clean house completely. Why not transfer all the shelter staff to work at the county nursing home (if there is one?) THEN you would hear the public outrage that seems to be missing when it is “only” animals being mistreated!

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    1. True, it doesn’t matter if it is 17 years old. She was the kennel supervisor! She supervised the employees who were making gestures and laughing and CHOKING a kitten. Can you imagine what other atrocities took place if they were willing to do this on film with their supervisor chanting “kill the kitty.” OMG! I can’t go there.

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  10. I watched the video…wish I hadn’t…and am STILL crying about what I saw. I understand that in some “shelters” that they get an “I-don’t-care” attitude because they kill so many animals. But to sit there and joke around about it – they knew they were being videotaped – once they saw the camera they made obscence gestures and then pulled the kitten out of the cage with a choke collar. These people are NUTS. After the incident last year with the puppy being drowned in the bucket of bleach and it being brought to Ms. Murray’s attention – after numerous town mettings in which people spoke up – after all the phone calls & letters…the “acting” director is still in place and it sounded as if it was her chanting “kill the kitty” in the video. She also mvoed out of the way of the camera so that the video showed clearly while the ACO removed the kitten with the choke pole. These are some VERY sick people.

    With that kind of a budget – there is NO REASON why this couldn’t be a No Kill shelter. Fire the director and a few of the ACO’s – along with any shelter workers that refuse to get on board with change within TOHAS. I wrote e-mail after e-mail this morning. I doubt anything will come of it, but I did it anyways. I don’t even live in NY and I am sick to my stomach at watching the video. While the video doesn’t show the kitten being killed – there is enough in the video to show the cavalier attitudes and non-caring of the staff.

    I could do a better job at running this place – with no background at running a shelter than these morons ever could. No vet on staff…yet 9 employees making $100k or more a year! Having 29 employees total….yet not one vet?!?! I just don’t understand this place…or these people in charge. This animals would be better off being let loose to fend for themselves than they are in this “shelter”. This place is nothing more than a kill center. Maybe they should call PETA and let them take it over…at least then maybe 3% would have a chance at getting out! (Ok – I really don’t mean that, but seriously this place just keeps getting worse and worse.)

    All I can say is that Oreo’s Law need to be re-introduced and passed. If HSUS, ASPCA, Best Friends, and all the other big-wigs can’t/won’t/ don’t support Oreo’s Law then they are no better than these “shelter” employees. When we have people being paid with taxpayers money – they have a responsibility to those same taxpayers. If they think they can get away with this kind of stuff then the people of NY need to stand up and say they won’t accept it anymore. Remove these people from their offices and replace them with people who WILL do the right thing. That may be the only way to get change to take place.

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  11. I don’t know which is worse this story or the one about the poor cat trapped in a wall at an animal shelter in I believe Texas (I read about it on Nathan’s blog) and the director and staff did nothing to save the crying and helpless cat. Only after it died from starvation or dehydration, a slow and horrible death, did they make a hole in the wall and removed the deceased cat. They did this because it started to smell bad. I have come to the conclusion that the majority of people who work in shelters today that refuse to use Nathan’s life saving programs to stop the killing are true sociopaths and are evil to the core. The public has bought the lie that the killing is neccessary so they keep turning a blind eye. Meanwhile every year more and more helpless animals fill the shelter cages and most will end up in trash bags and barrels. What can be done to stop this? Nathan’s blog can only do so much he is not getting the funding he needs or the publicity. He works tirelessly I am sure but No Kill is not spreading quickly enough. Citizens need to protest in front of their shelters, hand out his literature and educate the public that their shelter is killing animals because they refuse to adopt no kill policies that have been proven to work. I am afraid ten years from now there will be some progress but millions of animals in sheltes will still be facing a needless death. The No Kill movement has to go to the next level if we want to reach No Kill in the near future.

    http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org I urge you to read Nathan’s website and tell your animal loving friends about it too.

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    1. Now *that* is good news. I certainly hope this town cleans house thoroughly and quickly at its’ AC “shelter;” there is no excuse for this behavior.

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  12. Here is the response I got to one of my e-mails. I am posting it here for everyone to see. Don’t know what to make of it, if anything. It appears to be positive but after the puppy/bleach incident I doubt that it will have a positive outcome. It is claimed the Pat walked out of the room…to me it appeared she just moved out of the way of the camera. Good news is they SAY they are looking for a new director!!! Anyone with No Kill background in NY interested in the position????

    Here goes:

    Hempstead Town Response to Animal Shelter Video

    Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray has reacted with shock and dismay over the actions contained in a 17-year-old video filmed at the township’s animal shelter. The Supervisor has responded swiftly, reassigning the shelter’s acting director Pat Horan to a position outside of the shelter pending the outcome of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the video.

    Supervisor Murray stated that she has taken immediate action on this matter to ensure that animals at the town’s shelter receive the highest quality of care.

    The video shows a former private (non-town) animal hospital employee handling a cat and a town kennel worker who has not worked for the town in over 16 years. An off-camera voice is heard uttering an ugly and unacceptable phrase. An interview with Pat Horan, titled as the source of the off-camera phrase, has been met with an emphatic denial that her voice was on the video. Clearly, Ms. Horan can be seen walking out of the room, while the voice on camera seems to be in very close proximity to the camera’s microphone.

    Additionally, the town will be conducting a search for an animal shelter director immediately.

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    1. This statement is bullshit. Already attempting to make excuses and water it down. If Supervisor Murray was truly interested in seeing the shelter pets get the “highest quality of care”, she would have fired herself and the whole lot of these yahoos back when the disturbing allegations of abuse arose MONTHS AGO instead of dilly-dallying around with a self-investigation and banning the whistleblowers.

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      1. Yeah – I kinda had the same feeling when I read the e-mail. I had to stop myself from responding because I was not in the nicest of moods after watching the video, thinking about the bleach puppy, and still mourning the loss of my 18 yr old kitty. I had to take a step back and wait on it a day before I could even begin to contemplate calling their BS on THAT. I am still having a hard time thinking through a good response without sounding like a b*tch…maybe in a few hours I will be in a place where mentally I can handle it. All I keep thinking is they are looking for a new director…too bad I’m not in NY or I would apply, as it doesn’t appear like they really care who does it as long as they have a warm body in the position. Hell for almost $100k a year maybe I could talk the fiance into moving?

        I just keep having this thought going through my mind in regards to Kate Murray and this darn “shelter”…as per their ‘website’ I read the following:
        “While town officials cannot comment on the details of an ongoing town review, as well as a district attorney investigation that has commenced at the town’s request, Supervisor Murray indicated that the investigations are not the result of any reports of animal cruelty, neglect, abuse or mistreatment.” WTF is THAT? Either they ARE or they are NOT investigating the cruelty, neglect, abuse & mistreatment…can’t have it BOTH ways! To read more about that you can go here: http://townofhempstead.org/content/home/news/ashelteragenda.html

        AND, I have to agree with all those who keep talking about the quality of the video…while yes, the mullet would make you think this video is older I still see people with mullets today. The video quality is VERY clear and while I have seen a more updated ‘look’ with Pat’s new hair style cut a bit shorter the overall look still remains similar. Regardless of when the video was shot…she was joking about killing an animal and they STILL put her in charge of TOHAS. And we all know that since the rescues have chosen to speak out against the problems they witnessed – they have been banned. AND while hearing about an investigation Kate Murray REFUSES to admit the investigation has anything to do with cruelty or mistreatment and instead is in regards to administrative matters. THAT IN AND OF ITSELF SPEAKS VOLUMES – not only about the shelter but also about Kate Murray herself.

        I don’t care if they remove Pat (well I do care – I’m glad they did), but this problem appears to also be on of Kate herself…she needs to be replaces as well if the standards at the shelter are acceptable to her then she OBVIOUSLY isn’t the person to be overseeing ANYTHING in this town, or anywhere else for that matter.

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  13. She has been reassigned? Are you kidding me. This is how incompetant employees are protected NOT punished. She should be behind bars I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg of what she has done. If only the walls of that place could talk. If only the poor dead animals could talk!!! Is that her in the picture? Jeez, she’s as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside. Too bad she had to take it out on those beautiful animals. The public should picket outside that place until she gets proper punishment. God rest those poor souls.

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  14. I will light a candle in memory of the many animals that suffered needlessly. I will never understand why people hurt animals and especially those in animal control. Why is everything so backward?

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  15. Tonya, why is everything so backward? Because good people don’t do enough and so the bad ones get all the power and money.

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  16. THAT’s the defense? The video is 17 years old? Horan’s mullet may cause one to believe so, but the age of the video doesn’t hide the fact that this woman was having a gay old time at the impending death of an innocent, helpless kitten. I don’t care whose voice I heard, but I sure saw the smile on that woman’s face while in the presence of a doomed kitten. She did nothing to stop the immature behaviour of the others, who are also guilty. And IF the video is almost 2 decades old then it’s well past time these creeps got what they deserve. Let it haunt them the rest of their lives.

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  17. Supervisor Murray stated that she has taken immediate action on this matter to ensure that animals at the town’s shelter receive the highest quality of care.

    Have they gone No Kill? Because THAT is the highest quality and ONLY quality level of “care”.

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  18. Is there an insane asylum in the vicinity of this “shelter”?

    Because, if I didnt know any better, I’d say that some of the lunatics escaped, threw the real shelter personnel in the closet, locked the door, and took over operations.

    “Kill the Kitty”?

    Time for a straight jacket, you nutjob S.O.B’s.

    Some heads are gonna roll, and that piece of fecal matter with the “kill the kitty” syndrome (The Newkirk Syndrome?) is first to roll.

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  19. We need animal control control.I say put the cats and dogs in charge and throw the animal control and kill “shelter” scum in the cages.

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  20. Murray’s response is just lip service. She fears for her own position and needs to appease the masses.Pat Horan can’t be fired YET because that would violate civil service law. Certain steps have to be followed to protect her rights. She can and should be brought up on disciplinary charges which could ultimately lead to her dismissal or forced retirement.Murray states that there is a pending investigation. We shall see.

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  21. Am I the only one here who thinks that the video quality is awfully sharp for something from 1994? Remember, back then personal computers had a few megs of RAM, hard drives were …shoot…a couple of hundred megabytes? If you had a good computer? And home video cameras were big, clunky and did not use computer media.

    The story stinks.

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  22. Share the same info:

    THE COMPANION ANIMAL PROTECTION ACT: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/capa.html

    THE NO KILL EQUATION: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/nokillequation.html

    with these losers, and tell them to change their disgraceful ways:

    Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter
    3320 Beltagh Avenue
    Wantagh
    (516) 785-5220

    Animal Control officers respond to over 6,000 requests for service, including 500 night emergency calls, every year. If you have a problem concerning a loose or stray dog or an injured or sick cat contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220. After hours, contact the Department of Public Safety at (516) 538-1900.

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  23. I used to live on Long Island. Hempstead is in Nassau County. The political machine there is one of the most corrupt in the US. High paying political patronage jobs are par for the course. I doubt that all the demonstrating and attendance at meetings and every other thing that anyone can conceive to put pressure on the Town Supervisors will have any effect at all.

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    1. Marguerite,

      Oh, I don’t know…if the stink is strong enough, even political buddies will want to distance themselves lest they too become tainted.

      The key is to make the stink STRONG and very, very public. Who did what, who hired them, who did nothing, etc.

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      1. This isn’t just about political buddies. A former US Senator escaped indictment on federal corruption charges while he was in office because his cronies had successfully buried the evidence of his crimes until the statute of limitations ran out. The Nassau political machine makes the old Chicago under the first Mayor Daily look like a kindergarten playground. The corruption involves law makers, police, and the judiciary. The voting public grouses, the newspaper occasionally runs damning stories and nothing changes.

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  24. That woman in the video yelling “Kill the Kitty” should be fired!!!!! No investigation!!! It’s all on the tape…and also, the two men should be gone too! This is disgusting, pure animal abuse, and especially to take place at a animal shelter! Disgusting……………..

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  25. i’d like to choke and heartstick all these callous bitches! this has been going on for 17 years – BLOODY SHAME ON YOU ALL!!!! you care more about money than animals, you ignorant scum! and none of these low-life trash are fit to work with animals!

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  26. So sad the last thing these beautiful animals see is these losers ugly faces. I don’t live there but I would be protesting if I did. Pls let us know what happens with the protest and I hope the investigation of these thugs which if there is any justice left in this world, THEY will be the ones looking out from a cage. I’d give them life no parole let them rot in jail. We must stop this institutionalized killing it is a waste of innocent lives and OUR tax dollars! We have to perform at our jobs but these failures keep their jobs many times get promoted for not stopping the killing? It is time to get rid of them once and for all!

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  27. I think no animal which doesn’t suffer should be killed! What arrogance to decide this one we kill because it just exists… It is not the animals fault that it has become a stray or that an irresponsibel owner can simply hand it over to a kill shelter! For the human it is all done the easiest way – but for the animals… they are simply sentenced to death, because their owner abandoned them. What justice is that ??? They disturb , they are a nuisance – well, let’s kill them… WOW, great for such a progressive country like the USA !!!! Those animals can’t defend themselves, they are at the mercy of the human – and the human pays their loyality back with betrayal !! This is just unbelievable !!
    Luckily, we in Germany don’t have ANY kill shelters !! When we can do without – why can’t you ?????
    But we don’t have puppy mills (at least they are not allowed – there are always some black sheep!), dogs and cats are not allowed to be sold in shops ! We have several TV-shows for adoption. We don’t have strays on general. Sure there are some people who abandon their dog (specially at holiday time) so we are not angels. But when found the dog goes immediately to a shelter and after 2 weeks (waiting if an owner will ask for it) this dog is free for adoption. Unfortunaly we have stray cats and their situation is not so good. There are volunteers who feed them and if possible they go to shelters, but they are full. Now some towns started a law which says that every cat who is allowed to go out of the house, must be sterilized. The animal welfare organisations try to put this law through for all over Germany – and I hope they will have success.

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