Sandy Christiansen, director of the Spartanburg Humane Society (SHS) in South Carolina, has written an article for GoUpstate.com where he provides his pound’s 2010 statistics. This is the first time the public has had access to these numbers as far as I know. (There are some figures posted on the SHS website now but they were not there when I’ve checked in the past.) That’s the end of the good news.
- 2010 Total Intake: 18,195
- 2010 RTO Rate: 3%
- 2010 Kill Rate: 77%
If you haven’t already clicked through to the article to find the director’s explanation for his facility’s failing stats, I’ll give you three guesses as to who is at fault. Here are some hints from the piece:
- Pets allowed to roam free and stray from home
- Unwanted litters
- Costs, moving and “too much responsibility”
- By the time the majority of the animals arrive at the shelter, we are unable to compensate for what they have not received in the past either medically, behaviorally, or both.
Have you figured out who the SHS director blames for his facility’s failure to save lives? I knew you would. But Mr. Christiansen also wants readers to know that they have come up with a justification for most of the pets they kill:
In fact, medical and behavioral issues represent 68 percent of dog euthanasia decisions. For cats, this percentage is 83 percent and includes those that are feral, or wild.
Wow. Whereas no kill communities in Charlottesville, VA and Shelby Co, KY find that less than 10% of their shelter pets are medically hopeless and suffering or dogs deemed vicious with a poor prognosis for ever living safely with people, apparently Spartanburg sees things differently. Almost all their pets must be killed due to medical issues or in consideration of the danger they present to society. I guess anyone looking for a pet should steer clear of Spartanburg.
These statistics should not imply that all animals at the SHS are sick or aggressive.
Right. Not ALL. Just almost every single one.
If you are ready to add a pet to your life, adopt from the SHS or another adoption placement group. You will be amazed by the incredible animals you meet.
Hell, I’d be amazed if I met any pet at SHS who wasn’t medically hopeless and suffering or a danger to society. Because it sounds like that’s mostly what they get there. Which is bizarre, to put it mildly.
Also strange: When I added up the numbers provided in the article, I came up with a discrepancy – specifically, 787 pets who appear to be unaccounted for. I understand some number of pets might be listed as “on hand” at year’s end but not 787. I contacted SHS for clarification on the status of these 787 pets but haven’t yet received a reply. I will update this post if I do.
Local advocates have been circulating word of a public meeting of the Spartanburg County Council scheduled for October 17. Public participation is always encouraged. Unfortunately, I have seen some talk of bringing up mandatory spay-neuter (MSN). MSN kills pets. I hope that anyone considering speaking about MSN does their homework first. MSN has never succeeded in significantly reducing the kill rate anywhere it’s been tried. Ever. In some cases, the killing has increased after MSN has been enacted. A compassionate director willing to implement the programs of the No Kill Equation is what would save pets’ lives in Spartanburg Co, not MSN. In fact, the programs of the No Kill Equation are the only programs that have created no kill communities throughout the country and MSN is not among them.
I contacted the Spartanburg County Council department head, Debbie Ziegler to get some specifics on the October 17 meeting. Here is what she told me:
Yes, the next County Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 17th. I’m not sure it the Spartanburg Humane Society will be discussed at this time. The final agenda has not been set. An Ordinance is on the agenda relating to Animal Holding Period under Old Business and Public Hearing at the 5:30 p.m. meeting.
The meeting is held in County Council Chambers in the County Administration Building located at 366 North Church Street. You could speak during the public hearing if your comments are related to the draft Ordinance.
I’ve put up a copy of the draft Ordinance for anyone interested in reading. If you attend the meeting, please let us know how it goes. I hope some pet advocates challenge the claim that almost all the pets in Spartanburg Co must be killed due to medical or behavioral considerations. I’ve visited Spartanburg a number of times and the pets I’ve met there all appeared to fall within normal parameters. That is, they wanted and deserved to live.