The director of the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter in New Orleans, Diane Guichard, has resigned. She is the latest in a series of directors to vacate the post in recent years. In 2007, the shelter’s then-director of one year quit after 13 dogs died from drinking insecticide which had been sprayed into their water bowls. Three more directors came and went before Ms. Guichard was hired seven months ago.
I was interested in learning more about the two shelters in Jefferson Parish and came across an evaluation report from HSUS dated January 2008. I’ve copied a few items from the report below:
- During the process of initial evaluation of new arrivals and vaccination, cats were scruffed, suspended without body support, and approached quickly and abruptly, which resulted in very frightened cats, and at least two staff members getting scratched. At one point, The HSUS team observed the veterinarian literally toss a cat into a cage from about two feet away. The cat had just been spayed and was still anesthetized when this occurred. (page 84)
- During routine euthanasia the team witnessed cats being handled with catch poles. Each cat was pulled from the cage hanging by the neck on the control pole; the staff member then flung the cat to the floor, stomped on the cat’s rear end, and held the cat down while the veterinarian injected anesthetic intramuscularly. Many of the cats were strangled so tightly with the control pole that they vocalized and one even turned blue. Several cats narrowly escaped through their cage doors; to prevent escape, doors were slammed shut regardless of whether or not the cat, or someone’s arm, was in the way. (page 84)
- During a routine euthanasia at the West Bank shelter, a staff member dragged an aggressive Pit Bull from one end of the Garage to the other using a control pole and then attempted to give an IC injection while the dog was still conscious. (page 85)
The section on Euthanasia Methods (starting on page 146) is too graphic to post here. Suffice to say, pets suffered during the process.
In response to the report, Jefferson Parish announced some changes at the shelters with the promise to “develop an action plan” over the next 30 days to implement more of the HSUS recommendations. There is nothing further posted as to whether that action plan was developed or additional changes were made but apparently, whatever they’ve been doing has resulted in their directors dropping like flies.