Char-Meck: Cats, Scarce; Chokepoles, Plentiful

Last week, an ACO from Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C took a cat on a local morning news show to promote an offsite adoption event.  This exchange between the news anchor and ACO Conner caught my attention:

Anna Kooiman: “Do you guys have a pretty big surge of cats in the shelter at the moment?”

Julia Conner: “At the moment we are kind of, uh, low on kitties but kitten season is coming and within the next month or so we will be filled with kittens… very, very soon.”

Low on kitties?  Oh hullo – what?  In 2010, Char-Meck killed 79% of the cats in their care.  The shelter hasn’t posted their kill stats for the past couple of months but, unless there has been a dramatic change for the better, one might assume they have continued to kill roughly 8 out of every 10 cats in their care.

New Rule:  You can not claim to be low on kitties when you are killing nearly 80% of the cats in your facility.

If anyone is interested in looking at the precious few cats Char-Meck does have at the moment, you can visit their Choke Pole Kitty Gallery listings on PetHarbor:
This one doesn’t look too fractious:
Added – Here is a named kitty, listed as adoptable, sitting in a chokepole noose:

48 thoughts on “Char-Meck: Cats, Scarce; Chokepoles, Plentiful

  1. Send their previous stats to the tv station reporter who did the interview, and offer someone to come on who knows the truth there!!!

  2. I have to say that I am shocked. I thought I saw the worst shelter pet photos, but these have just won the blue ribbon on the worst shelter pet photos!

    These ckoke-pole photos practically guarantee NOT to get these cats saved unless a cat rescuer takes pity on them. A family looking for a nice pet will probably avoid even checking this shelters pets ever again and sure wouldn’t allow their children to scan for pets.

    And once again a shelter is just giving pets numbers instead of names. Studies show that just naming shelter pets instead of numbering them increases adoptions. It is almost like that are doing all they can to prevent adoptions of their animals. This is so sad and so preventable if the people working there actually cared (actions not words!).

  3. So is posting a photo of a cat fighting a catch pole the new way to advertise a pet for adoption? Maybe they are going for the “Save me from the saviors” approach so someone will feel sorry for the cat and adopt it?? If it will not be handled then how can it be adopted? Mind boggling.

  4. Are.You.Shitting.Me?

    They are showing photos of cats on chokepoles??? This tells me that these people are completely ignorant of the wrong they are doing. SOMEONE didn’t train them properly and SOMEONE needs to be held accountable to that.

    1. I would hazard a guess that, like so many behaviors we see among shelter staff, it comes back to the director. If you were the director Mikken, would you make sure your staff knew that chokepoles were never, ever to be used on cats? Would you fire someone you found using a chokepole on a cat? I’m thinking yes to both. Therefore, no one in your shelter would dare use one on a cat, let alone photograph the poor animal being held down on the floor with one. But then again, these are the same folks who think posing drugged cats with knives for photos before killing is the same as putting a Halloween costume on the family pet.

      Time for someone to pull a ferret out of a car to distract the media?

      1. “would you make sure your staff knew that chokepoles were never, ever to be used on cats? Would you fire someone you found using a chokepole on a cat?”

        You bet your ass I would. That’s where the accountability comes in – shelter workers are accountable for their behavior and shelter directors are accountable for the workers.

        But no one wants to take responsibility. LynnO is right – let’s blame the public! It’s so much easier than … you know… doing OUR jobs.

  5. OMG. And now they’re going to complain that posting animals is a waste of time because the irresponsible public never comes in to adopt and of their mean and stupid cats anyway…
    Obviously, they HAVE to kill them! (head-desk)

  6. They changed the photos. So are we now to think that they have stopped using chokepoles on cats or that they’ve just woken up to the fact that they shouldn’t PHOTOGRAPH THEMSELVES USING CHOKEPOLES ON CATS?

    Par for the course for them – don’t fix the problem, just stop putting pictures of it up on the internet.

      1. Thanks. So to bring the stats current, the Jan/Feb/Mar kill rates for cats were 72%/75%/73% (I rounded to the nearest whole number). So the shelter is still killing most of the cats they take in, but they’re low on kitties.

      2. Is it ‘normal’ for the numbers to NOT add up – when looking at just the top totals and percentages I come up with 96.4% for March? When checking out the break downs I am coming up with only 98.7% for dogs and 97.8% for cats…..

        Does this mean that the other 1.3% of dogs and 2.2% of cats are still at the shelter? The total numbers for each month of incoming is lower than outgoing – except for Jan, Nov & Dec of last year?

        Sorry I am trying to understand their record keeping – my shelter does it totally different than this.

        (And Shirley – it does appear someone from there is watching you – they have changed their photos AND posted their records since you blogged about them! Can’t believe the difference YOU are making just by blogging about this!)

  7. IGNORANT. But on a good note – at least they are reaching out to the media to get people to adopt animals. And thankfully they did change the friggin photos….now if we can only get them to name the animals and maybe you know – stop killing the little buggers and give them a chance to find homes prior to killing them. BUT then again, kitten season starts soon so they’ll have an overabundance of them to kill…I mean, adopt out.

  8. Oh how nice. Vermin for adoption? No idea about life after death, but if there’s a hell hope there’s space reserved for the director and employees of Char-Meck. Special–just for you! I got it some time ago that you lacked compassion, but do you also lack COMMON SENSE?!
    You actually think someone is going to see these photos on PF and come on down to adopt?!

    1. If I was looking for my lost kitty online and saw him in a chokepole, I’d be down there to reclaim my cat immediately and give the director what-for. Hell, I didn’t even lose a cat and seeing these pictures pissed me off.

      1. Ya, the reclaim rate at this shelter is abysmal. Poor kitties. Hope their owners check online for them and they’re not already dead by the time they go to pick them up. The choke pole is a disgrace, ANOTHER disgrace to add to the Char-Meck

  9. Charlotte, thanks for that link! While their adoption rates are disturbingly low, I have to wonder what happened in Dec/Jan that doubled the adoption rate for cats? What did they do and can they do it again?

    1. To be honest I believe we have a case of CYA & creative accounting. The outgoing cats for 2011 fiscal YTD = 5192.. the sum of Adopted (573), Transferred (321), Reclaimed (154) and Euthanized (4075) equals 5123.. where are the other 69? same formula within dog data results in 87 dogs short.. data online for FY 2010 and FY 2009 also does not add up, down or across..

      1. Ok – so I’m NOT losing it! I should have read further down before I posted my comment above. The figures weren’t adding up to me and I thought I was doing something wrong…guess it wasn’t JUST me. Whew! Thought I’d been looking at numbers too much today…and was getting confused.

  10. FYI- The shelter is going through renovations at this time to increase their adoptable cat population. They will soon have a cattery.
    That is why they don’t have that many on hand at this time. The cats pictured are strays, which have to be held 72 hrs, therefore they are not named. Once kept and put up for adoption that is when the animal will be named.

    1. Instead of spending money on a cattery to increase the number of adoptable cats on hand, why don’t they use the money to expand their foster program, implement a TNR program and KILL FEWER CATS?

    2. Not to be Debbie Downer, but they just might have a better chance at increasing their adoptable cats by starting with NOT killing anymore….

      1. Well it LOOKS like a cat to me and the shelter listed it as a DMH tortie… It isn’t a good photo by any means but it does appear to me to be a cat.

    1. I am thankful Smokey beat the odds by landing within the live and adoptable column but WTF, intake Feb 10th and nobody (employee or volunteer) has updated this photo. Thanks to YB I imagine Char-Meck has whisked Smokey off to grooming for a proper fluff and puff Glamour Shot..

      1. YIPPEE, Smokey just returned from grooming and has a new photo, it is not quite a Glamour Shot but better than the “Help!!I am about to be choked out” previously posted one.

  11. It was a grant that designated where the money could be used, everything listed is being worked on.

    1. “That is why they don’t have that many on hand at this time”
      So, since a staff person who would be cleaning & caring for the cats now has nothing to do, maybe they could get some nice pictures of the cats that are there and say….Put them on the website? Maybe network out to rescues about the ones that WILL be killed in >72 hours? Justa thought…..

    2. So they plan on stopping killing all the kitties? Because that should be at the top of their list of things to do. Don’t get me wrong – the cattery sounds like a lovely idea…but if you kill all the cats then there isn’t much use for a cattery, is there? Also the entire “chokepole” isse – is the cattery going to fix that one too?

      Again I see a “shelter” putting all these hopes into a new “buildling” and with no one looking to change policies/procedures then we have nothing mroe than a fancy new home for the kitties – but we’re still using chokepoles on them and killing them. Color me unimpressed.

      1. Oh, jeese, I know! My local pound doesn’t have a foster care program, or comprehensive adoption or volunteer programs, but somehow the new building will magically solve all their problems. Hey! It’s got great office space! So in the meantime, oh, next 5 years before it gets built, nothing changes.

  12. give me a break! think there’s just a little something wrong with their policies and “process”. is it not an “ANIMAL SHELTER”?? and choke poles on cats?!! this is totally unbelievable, and using the photos of this to try to get them adopted??? unbelievable.. i thought the whole idea was to ‘shelter’ them until they have homes– i hope u go ‘no kill’, as the so-called “trend” is going (as it should be). won’t say anymore to keep it civil

  13. What I don’t understand is the huge discrepancy between photos – some animals are carefully set with a background and all or lounging on furniture and some animals are obviously distressed in cages or struggling on chokepoles (dogs, too, btw).

    It’s like some people there care and others just don’t give a crap. Again, this comes down to leadership.

    There’s obviously no policy in place to market the animals appropriately. If the animals get out of there alive, it’s practically accidental…

  14. Granted, I think the gray tabby definitely looks like a laid back, easy going cat. “Catchpole? Whatevs. I will just lay here for the attention.”

    And the black one looks fun.

    If those choke poles were toys instead of dangerous implements they would be kind of cute pictures.

  15. Smokey’s picture has been updated. She still looks ticked off, but at least she’s identifiable as a cat, now…

  16. nothing ever changes there! all ANIMAL CONTROL CHARLOTTE, The ACO conner. has surrender personal animals. and still adopting more there. the cats?? why would they bother getting them adopted out. if they can sell their caarcasses .To a broker?? how much for each? much more than spending on vaccines food and wages on kennel workers. they KILL 20+ Dayly, must be working on filling up those freezers!

    1. They sell the dead cats to a broker? Would this also be a shelter that sells animals to labs? My brain is throbbing at the thought!

      Animal Control….just what are they controlling? I guess now I know where they got the cats my honors bio class used to disect…. Not only do they devalue animals lives with their crazy ass chokepoles, unnamed animals, bad pictures, BUT now we can add selling dead and/or live animals to a “broker”…..

      Good Lord – what’s next? Nevermind – I don’t really want to know.

    2. Carolina Biological Supply in Burlington, NC is probably the largest buyer of dead cats and dogs to be sold as lab specimens. There are some smaller ones around, too–also located in NC. Maybe Char-Meck sells the cats to them after killing them. Are they worth more dead than alive? Terrible and sad. And not much of an incentive to increase adoptions either.

  17. OMG-this so goes with Nathan’s post “Losing my relegion” When will people say enough is enough! It is not okay to treat animals cats, dogs, etc this way! We need reform across the board!!!

    1. if you’re talking about Smokey, he’s what’s called a “Tortoise shell”. Tabbies are striped, Calicos have the large solid multi color spots, and Tortoiseshells have the “brindle” look with mixed, multiple colors – if that’s what someone was talking about

      1. No, the second unnamed tabby cat is called “brindle” in the listing.

        Torties are always (with rare and notable historical exceptions) female, as the gene for mosaicism, which causes both tortoiseshell and calico, is sex-linked. So if Smokey was a “he” science would be interested.

        Brindle is a pattern in dogs of narrow, closely-spaced dark pigmented stripes over a light pigmented background, usually black on some background of brown/tan/yellow. Torties don’t look “brindle.” They are not striped.

      2. Derrr … misspoke. There is no “gene” for mosaicism. There are animals that are genetically mosaic, and if the two sets of genetics have alleles for different colors (ginger and black), the cat will be a tabby or tortie.

      1. I’m losing my marbles just thinking about this.
        While it is lovely that somebody with the method and the will is listening/watching and changing…I question if the changes are just superficial (new photos, and don’t stop torturing the animals before you kill them, just stop posting it on Facebook.)
        What needs to happen to make REAL changes at this sort of place?! (Still waiting for the web cams to come down at MAS.

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