When the Michigan Humane Society took in a 5 week old kitten who had been rescued from a drain pipe last month, the multi-million dollar organization wanted to make sure everybody knew about it. There was an article in the Detroit Free Press, the local CBS affiliate covered the story, ABC ran it nationally, MHS posted the news on its website and put a video of the rescue on YouTube. I have no problem with any of this except for the fact that, while MHS was basking in all the good press – and presumably donations – associated with saving this kitten, nobody mentioned this this kitten being saved is the exception, not the rule, at MHS. In 2011, MHS killed 67% of the dogs and cats in its care despite the fact that it does not hold an animal control contract.
In a separate article unrelated to the drainpipe kitten, the Detroit Free Press writes:
Another criticism of the organization is of fund-raising stories of sick and severely injured animals nursed back to health by MHS. The ads are misleading, the critics said, because donors believe such lifesaving measures are standard, even as the euthanasia numbers do not support that message.
And as we so often see, a commitment to killing goes hand in hand with a commitment to hiding the truth:
In February, MHS hired Cornell University’s shelter medicine program to evaluate medical assessment, disease containment, caretaking and cleanliness of the shelters.
The Free Press requested copies of the full reports from the Cornell team and another consultant, as the [publicly available] summaries lack full findings. Last year, the Free Press requested multiple times to view animal records, to better understand euthanasia decisions. All requests were denied.
Secrecy in the animal shelter business is a hallmark of needless pet killing and related wrongdoings. As always, remember to perform due diligence in researching any animal group before donating or offering other support. Donors to MHS are primarily funding pet killing, not milk for fuzzy little drainpipe kittens.