Jackson Co Animal Control in Oregon had a live release rate in 2010 of just 36%. Its vision statement on its website begins:
A time when Jackson County neighborhoods will be safe from the dangers and nuisances of irresponsible pet ownership.
Notably missing is Jackson Co pet owners’ vision for a time when their pets will be safe from the dangers of irresponsible animal control practices.
Last month, a Jackson Co couple lost their much loved cat named Max. The owners had microchipped Max to help him get back home just in case he ever got lost. But when they visited the pound while searching for Max, they learned that a cat hater had been trapping cats in their gated community (where cats are not allowed outdoors) and bringing them to the pound. Max was one of those cats. The pound killed him upon impound without ever checking for a microchip.
One theory as to the reason for the killing is that Max behaved aggressively after being trapped and turned in at the killing facility. When the local news contacted the pound regarding Max’s killing, the pound had no comment. (There is a heart-wrenching video interview with the owners here.)
This month, news of another beloved pet with a microchip, another senseless killing and another broken-hearted family. Jake, a 6 year old Pitbull with a microchip, was the constant companion of an 11 year old boy. Jake and his boy had a very special relationship and Jake helped the kid through some hard times last year including the death of his grandmother and his father being a victim of violent crime. When Jake got lost last fall, the family searched for him and ultimately learned he was at the pound.
With the child’s mom being out of work and unemployment benefits having run out, the family was unable to come up with the $150 redemption fee right away. The grandmother called the pound to explain the circumstances. Jackson Co AC’s response? “Rules are rules.” The pound did offer an alternative: They’d be willing to sell Jake to someone else.
Suddenly though, the pound called the boy’s mother to advise they had deemed Jake aggressive and killed him. In the video, you can see Jake playing with his boy and another child. The news station asked the pound for comment on Jake’s killing but did not receive a response.
I guess they ran out of room to fit the words “to kill” before the words “them all”.
Max and Jake had homes that wanted them back. The owners microchipped their pets to protect them in case of emergency. But when Jackson Co AC got their hands on Max and Jake, no microchip was going to get in the way of their kill room.
With a 36% live release rate, it really makes me wonder about all the other pets Jackson Co AC kills. Especially the ones deemed “aggressive”.