Lie of the Day: Carroll Co is “a great, safe place for all animals”

Someone using the name and photo of an ACO at the Humane Society of Carroll Co in MD (Ed Smith) posted a message on the pound’s Facebook page yesterday.  It’s one long… thing so I will be breaking it up with my responses.  The text from the FB posting is in italics below.

A message to all. Hope I don’t get in trouble or offend

This is what people say when they are about to say something offensive.

but, please don’t believe that NO KILL Shelters work, They simply do not.

Attention open admission shelters in Austin, Reno, Duluth and dozens of other places saving 90% or more of incoming pets:  You simply do not work.  Please don’t believe that you do.

On the surface they sound like a great idea (Like no child left behind), but in reality many of them end up neglecting the animals as much as they were treated before. You simply can not lock an animal up in a cage 22-23 hours a day and expect them to have a QUALITY” life all in the name of “SAVING” them. This is exactly the mentality of horders. I believe in Quality over Quantity.

No doubt.  Because if you believed in quantity, you might be obligated to explain the killing of 2457 of the 3053 cats your facility took in last year.  Awkward.

I take abuse from misinformed people everyday in this business who are under the delusion that everybody at our shelter enjoys killing animals

You’re abused?  I wonder how the 2457 cats in your kill room last year felt.

(We do not kill, we eunthanize- look up the definition).

And if you find a definition under that spelling, please share with the class.

NOTHING could be farther from the truth. We ALL wish we never had to do it, but ignorance is bliss in this country when it comes to the animal laws and respect of all life. We DO NOT torture animals, we do not gas, electrocute, suffocate, drown, hang, or shoot (unless in very specific wildlife/large farm animals cases that require that type of action). We do not (can’t believe I even have to say this, but there are idiots who believe it) WE DO NOT NOR HAVE WE EVER thrown them in the pond on the shelter property to drown. (BTW Mikey from the Life cereal commercials also did not die from eating Pop Rocks with Coke). We use them same method and protocols that vets use when HUMANELY putting an animal to sleep.

Anyone have a vet whose “protocols” include the killing of friendly, healthy pets?  I guess I better check with mine.

We also do not send the body out to a rendering company (a company that uses the animals fats for the very products, the people who complain about killing animals use everyday.) We send the unclaimed bodies to a Pet Memorial service that cremate the remains and mass bury them.We offer reduced rates to those who choose to have the ashes returned and place bodies in very professional body bags (suitable for burial) if a person chooses to bury their pet on their property.

What a delightful sounding death business you’ve got there.  Maybe you should change the pound’s name to Very Professional Body Bags R Us.

I’m curious though – on the pound’s 2010 tax form, there are itemized expenses on page 10, one of which is $22,213 for “rendering and trash removal”.  So when you say the pound does not send the bodies of pets to be rendered, what was the $22 grand spent on?  The rendering company doesn’t charge you to NOT render animals, does it?

Portion of the Carroll Co pound’s 990 form showing a $22k expense for rendering services in 2010 (click to enlarge).

This ,by the way; on a small (in comparision to other agencies) budget.

The total revenue on page 1 of the pound’s tax form is listed as $914,596.  Or wait – are you pulling a Mitt Romney on us there?

The people I have the privilege to work with are hard working and dedicated to EVERY animal that passes through our doors.

Hard working.  Well, it is hard work.  I mean 80% of your cats aren’t just going to kill themselves, right?

Local advocate Laura Shenk inquired about taking cats to offsite adoption events in order to try and save their lives since the pound offers limited hours to adopters (9:00 am – 3:30 pm weekdays and 9:00 am – 11:30 am Saturdays).  She says her offer was refused by the director who cited a concern for the cats’ health.  I get that.  Because they might get exposed to germs at an adoption event.  Ew, germs.  And a germy cat will totally mess up the very professional body bags.

We may argue and pick amohg ourselves at times (Stress relief), but my respect to them is without measure because of how long they have continued to make at least this county a great, safe place for all animals. It is why I feel luck and honored to have been selected to work there. Thank You All. – Ed

By all means, do something to relieve the stress of needlessly killing thousands of friendly pets every year.  I hear finding a new job far, far away from animals is a good remedy.

A message to all.  Hope I make trouble for those defending the killing in Carroll Co – or at least offend their sensibilities – and please don’t believe that posting lies about no kill works.  It simply does not.

32 thoughts on “Lie of the Day: Carroll Co is “a great, safe place for all animals”

  1. Excuse me if this starts out seemingly off topic, but as someone who knows of the shelter in question as well as the Head Honcho there it troubles me that no good deed goes unpunished and her history of effective humane training and an ever evolving rescue effort for the betterment of the animals has been gravely misstated.

    I believe in rescue work to the core of my soul, but I have questions that go unanswered with the big “No Kill” facilities that I know volunteers from and there statements are troubling.

    Washoe County
    Do the 900 foster homes count as part of the live release rate?

    Are their fosters and adopters begging to bring animals back because of aggression, litter box issues, medical issues etc.? Are these animals refused by the shelter?

    Is the foster solely responsible for finding the animal a new home without help from the shelter?

    Does the help desk that reads like the greatest thing in the world really act as a way to turn animals away from the shelter?

    If the animals are in fact turned away are they then walked right next door and turned in as a stray at Animal Services? (Unfortunately my volunteer friend has witnessed this, but I have not seen it first hand, but he is a reliable source)

    Is Washoe truly a “No Kill” community or just one “No Kill” shelter, The other shelter in the area is limited admission that pulls from NHS and Animal Services and not from the public. Where is the public openly able to surrender their pets if needed?

    Is the air quality maintained for the health of the animals as the building was designed?

    Is TNR being practiced as intended by the national organization or has it morphed into abandonment without caretakers after the spay / neuter and vaccinations has been performed or are they meaning left to fend for themselves. This is suffering in my hubble opinion and I do this work to avoid suffering and enlist the programs that offer the animals the opportunity to thrive.

    Tompkins Shelter (the very first no kill community). They admit that Open Admissions does not mean immediate admission. Has the definition of helping animals in need immediately by an Open Admission changed?

    The true definition in the “No Kill” movement is that the dog has been deemed by a court to be of that designation where does that leave strays?

    I wish I had the funds to visit each one of these “No Kill” shelters because they all look and feel like heaven on earth on paper, but the realities seem they need some of the same reform as all other shelters that struggle with population control and creative programs to help place sound animals.

    I write this post because I believe in the public and do not feel play the blame game. I love all the shelters in my community that work together and no one shelter is demonized
    I embrace my community that meets monthly to identify the gaps so that we can create a community that adresses all the issues old and new that challenge our animal community.

    1. Also, is “No Kill” truly cost saving? The Austin budget has me literally freaked out, but I give them the benefit of the doubt that the money needed was needed all along, but that is still a hard statement to make before the councils that are crunching the nunbers.

      “No Kill” can be accomplished, but everybody needs to sit at the table and discuss the programs that existed prior to the NKE and thrived when compiled in one printed book. The realities of true cost should be addressed as well as the definition of Animal Services, Humane Society, Limited Admission, Sanctuary etc. so that the community is clear of the role of each of the agencies. Knowing that not only the community and its citizens are called to the task to help, but the agencies themselves are working together and evolving and identifying the needs of the community I hope this will be our the future. Of course I am a true optomist that believe optomism combined with realism can come to fruition.

      Let us bring the human component back to the table and back into the shelters to see the NKE in action and identify what is needed to be true, as it me the true optomist is coming to question the internet for accurately depicting what is occuring.

    2. As the former director of an open admission, animal control shelter in a close by county I can tell you that most if not all of your questions do hold up in a well run shelter. Fosters are part of the live release rate. Fosters may return animals to the shelter at any time for any reason. The shelter is absolutely responsible for marketing and adopting out animals however many foster families appreciate being part of the process. The point being, as someone who has actually transitioned a high kill shelter to a low kill shelter I know it can be done. And we did it on roughly the same budget as Carroll while taking in almost double the animals

  2. Thank you very much for shedding some light on some of the problems at our local shelter. This post by Ed Smith was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read.
    $811,000 of that budget you mentioned comes directly from the tax payers of this county, which means we are being forced to fund all of this killing. Anyone who has a problem with that can email all 5 of our county commissioners at
    People in our community who are interested in doing more to help pets may want to join our group, the Animal Advocates of Carroll Co. You can find us on Facebook, here- If you are not on Facebook, you can email us at, for more info.

  3. Uh… has this idiot lost his mind?  Or is he just trying to make himself feel better about what he loves to do  for a living?  Good grief.. does he think we’re all that ignorant?  No Kill Shelters DO WORK!!  and they work wonderfully!!  You have to actually get the animal out of it’s confinement and allow the public to SEE it and give people time to work out arrangements to have a place for the animal to be comfortable or hey, I just got an idea….have someone to actually go out and make sure the animal will have a forever home and it fits with the family, then WOW!  LEt them come and get the animal or just even deliver it!!  It works. I know it does. I’ve seen it in action.  Just ask your LOCAL NO KILL SHELTER!!   

    That man makes me mad just thinking about what he does for a living.. He should be working in a prison as the executioner!! That should satisfy his need to kill!              “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened”                               Kathie


    1. I will ignore the idiot part. These are real questions. My community thrives on all the NKE program with even more life saving and follow up, offering training classes, reaching to our first time adopters and giving them a great experience so they come back and send everyone they know to start looking at their local shelter first as we all know that pets adopt us most of the time. We even have a huge spay/neuter program for rabbits and rats beyond just the cats and dogs in our care. We practice low stress practices and to maintain healthy happy pets. My questions are real and I truly was only seeking answers from beyond the volunteers I know in other states that feel betrayed by the glossed over version the internet is communicating

      1. This in no way is talking about some of atrocious places that have more than a little catching up to do, but this blog covers boths sides of the spectrum, and I thought the great minds here might have some answers.

  4. How can you say that your county is “a great safe place for animals” while you kill 80% of your incoming cats? How does that even work in your brain?

  5. dogedog, you write –

    “Excuse me if this starts out seemingly off topic, but as someone who knows of the shelter in question as well as the Head Honcho there it troubles me that no good deed goes unpunished and her history of effective humane training and an ever evolving rescue effort for the betterment of the animals has been gravely misstated.”

    Can you clarify, please?

  6. The comments are interesting on the FB page. Note how the first 2 commenters praise the “shelter”. Then Lynn comes in with her much needed voice on what a shitty job Ed is doing. Ed gets nasty. Then the first 2 commenters start the change their opinions. It really doesn’t take much to get people to understand and want no-kill. It’s assholes like Ed who think that he can “enlighten” all of us idiots about how killing animals is a must.

  7. This seems to be a very one-sided story and the writer apparently is angry about something.

    1) Your rebuttals to this original story while interesting and creative seems to be correct half the time – when looking at the 990 form you compared total expenses to total revenue. I don’t claim to be an account but from what I recall from business school they are two different things – like comparing apples to oranges.

    2) If you don’t like that these tens of thousands of cats are euthanized then take them in yourself. How the heck can you blame this shelter for euthanizing animals that it doesn’t have the budget or capacity to care for?!?! If you don’t like it, then open up your own shelter and stop complaining about it. If you can’t open a shelter than donate – I’m sorry but it’s the fault of the thousands of people who let their cats have litters, and then not care for those litters… plain and simple.

    1. The writer may be angry about how Carroll County is supposedly a “great and safe place for animals” unless, of course, those animals end up at the animal shelter…in which case, not so great or safe.

      Thought exercise – I advertise on Craigslist that I would like to have adopt some cats. People give me their cats for free. I take those cats to the vet and have 80% of them killed. Then I advertise again the next week that I’d like more cats.

      Word gets around that I’m just taking in cats and killing all the ones with green eyes. I don’t like cats with green eyes. It’s too bad that 80% of the cats people give me have green eyes, but that’s the way it is. People are outraged. But hey, I don’t have the resources to care for all of them…

      Why is it distressing when a private citizen chooses to do exactly what the your-tax-dollars-at-work shelters do, but somehow get away with every single day?

      Are the cats in Carroll County being aggressively marketed? Do they have a Barn Cats or Working Cats program? Is there support for TNR through the shelter? Are ear-tipped ferals released back into their native area? Is there low cost/free S/N available? If not, why isn’t the shelter fighting for it?

      In short, what is this shelter doing to get cats out alive? Because this whole “blame the irresponsible public” thing is so old and unhelpful, I can’t even begin to say. We’ve been blaming the irresponsible public for decades and all it’s gotten us is dead pets. Time to move on from that.

    2. The no kill shelters you mention operate as auxiliary shelters. They do receive tax supported funding. As the former director of an open admission shelter with an animal control contract in a nearby MD county served by our singular shelter and with similar demographics I know it can be done.

  8. “If … motherless kittens are killed because the shelter doesn’t have a comprehensive foster care program, that’s not pet overpopulation [or a lack of good homes]. That’s the lack of a foster care program.

    “If adoptions are low because people are getting those dogs and cats from other places, because the shelter isn’t doing outside adoptions (adoptions done off the shelter premises), that’s a failure to do outside adoptions, not pet overpopulation.

    “And you can go down the list. If animals are killed because working with rescue groups is discouraged, again, that’s not pet overpopulation. If dogs are going cage-crazy because volunteers and staff aren’t allowed to socialize them, and then those dogs are killed because they’re quote-unquote “cage crazy,” because the shelter doesn’t have a behavior rehabilitation program in place, once again, that’s not pet overpopulation; that’s the lack of programs and services that save lives.

    “And you can say that about feral cats being killed because a shelter doesn’t have a trap-neuter-return program. You can say that about shy or scared dogs because the shelter is doing this bogus temperament testing that’s killing shy dogs and claiming they are unadoptable. It goes on and on and on.”

    Winograd’s not just talking about something that could happen, but something that has already happened many times in a number of American communities”
    – [see the growing list of real no-kill communities at

    From “Is pet overpopulation a myth? Inside Nathan Winograd’s “Redemption”. By Christie Keith

    Read more:

  9. My B.S. meter went off when I read what that ACO posted. He is certainly not an expert on the No Kill Equation or aware of the growing number of successful communities (

    Appellate lawyer Ryan Clinton writes: “…When your shelter director claims that it is “impossible” for a shelter to save 90% of impounded dogs and cats, call it “ipse dixit”, because that opinion is contrary to the undisputable fact that there are communities all over the country that are already saving 90% (or more) of impounded dogs and cats.

    When your county officials claim that saving lives requires becoming limited-admission, call it “ipse dixit”, because that opinion is not tied to the objective, verifiable facts that No Kill reforms can work in open-admission shelters.

    When your elected leaders claim that shelters cannot save lives until the “irresponsible public” rights itself and magically becomes responsible, call it ipse dixit, because that opinion is based on nothing more than subjective belief and unsupported speculation.

    Do not hesitate to challenge the opinions of self-appointed experts— especially those coming from organizations that claim to know better than you, but in reality know nothing about No Kill reforms, policies, and programs. When you demonstrate that their baseless opinions wouldn’t even be considered in court, you will undermine the authority they claim to have, and you will level the playing field to enable a real, meaningful, fact-based discussion on what is best for sheltered animals. And when you can have a real conversation— based on actual facts— to determine what is best for animals, the animals win.”

    From “When to Call B.S. on an “Expert”,

    “Ryan Clinton is a Texas appellate attorney at the law firm Hankinson LLP. A former Assistant Solicitor General for the State of Texas, Ryan has handled some of the most high-profile appellate litigation in Texas—including state and federal litigation related to the tragic collapse of the Texas A&M Aggie Bonfire. Outside of work, Ryan is a committed community advocate and a sucker for homeless dogs and cats.

    Ryan lives and works in Austin, Texas, where he founded, an animal-advocacy organization aiming to make Austin a “No Kill” community. Ryan has seven times been named one of the best attorneys in Texas under the age of 40 in Texas Monthly magazine, has successfully argued in the Texas Supreme Court four times, and was named a finalist for the young professional of the year award by Austin Under 40…”

  10. So living many states away from Maryland, I did a quick looksee into the No Kills near Carrol Co. Correct me if I am wrong but there appear to be restrictions regarding surrender, with either dogs not allowed to be surrendered like the Montgomery SPCA, or appointment only fee required waiting list surrender like the Baltimore Humane Society. Carrol County takes EVERY ANIMAL. So of course you can be No Kill when you have such luxuries at your disposal. I also noticed that these No Kill do no law enforcement work, nor inspections of retailer either. So they don’t have the extra responsibility of that either.

    1. There are MANY no-kill facilities that ARE open admission. Killing because you are open admission is no longer a good excuse. It takes a director, first of all, who is committed to stop the killing and then to use the proven strategies of a no-kill community BUT the first decision that has to be made is to stop the killing. Until that happens, the killing (and it’s not euthanasia or putting an animal to sleep) will continue. Is it easy? Nope. Is it possible? Absolutely.

      1. Spot on. As the former director of an open admission shelter with animal control contract in a nearby and demographically similar shelter, I know that it can be done. I also know the current director in Carroll Co. is of an old school philosophy and unwilling to change. Sad as this is and while I have little to offer in terms of Mr. Smith’s behavior or seriously misguided statements, it is the BOD who was allowed the failure of this shelter to continue. They are failing the community by not holding their director accountable.

    2. The no kill shelters you mention operate as auxiliary shelters. They do receive tax supported funding. As the former director of an open admission shelter with an animal control contract in a nearby MD county served by our singular shelter and with similar demographics I know it can be done.

    3. No Kill open admission shelters don’t really mean NO KILL. They mean try as hard as you can to save as many animals as possible. It means working hard through advertising and community outreach and foster programs and rescues and Trap Neuter Release programs (TNR) for feral cats and decrease the killing by a lot. Of course there will be cases of very sick animals or viscous dogs that need to be euthanized. Most open admission shelters could do A LOT better than they are.

  11. This breaks my heart to know that those in charge of the “humane” society in my county aren’t even considering the No Kill option, much less other options to save the lives of innocent animals! The “humane” society needs to stop playing Hitler and exterminating the undesirables who don’t get adopted fast enough! I wish I could take in all the stray/unwanted animals, but we all know that is not realistic. I commute to the Baltimore Humane Society to volunteer even though I live in Carroll County because I do not believe in killing innocent, healthy animals. I think we need to start a petition to shed light on this issue to make Carroll County residents aware that there is a better way than dismissing and out right KILLING innocent, healthy, loving animals! We need to take charge and take a stand and hold the “humane” society accountable for explaining their lack of compassion for the animals they are entrusted to shelter! Who is able to adopt animals between 9-3:30 Monday through Friday? Most people are working during those hours! And 9-11:30 Saturday!?!? Are they serious!?!? They open for two and a half hours when most people are sleeping in on Saturday! And to deny a volunteer the option to take animals off site to increase the chance of adoption??? As a volunteer at the Baltimore Humane Society, a PRIVATELY FUNDED humane society that receives NO STATE/FEDERAL MONEY, I have been through several animal handling classes and am able to take a cat or dog off site… and the Carroll County “Humane” Society can’t do the same and does receive MY TAX MONEY to allow animals to sit in cages until they are put down, unless they are lucky enough to be adopted during the whole 35 hours the “humane” society is open each week… Ask said, it breaks my heart :-(

    1. Just to clarify, Roseanne, I am not a volunteer for the shelter. Actually, I also used to volunteer at the Baltimore Co. Humane Society, too, because I could not give hands on care to pets who may be killed, and chose instead to support an organization that was saving lives. After seeing what they did there, and looking at what was being done by the Animal Advocates of Howard County, I decided to put together a group of volunteers who would work with the shelter in a supportive role to implement the same live saving measures at the shelter here in Carroll Co. There was no doubt in my mind there was a need. Baltimore Co. AC is pretty awful, but w/ Bmore Humane and other orgs doing their thing there, they kill 4 pets per every 1,000 residents, annually. In Howard County, they kill 3.7 per every 1,000 residents. This is too many, but it is a whole hell of a lot better than Carroll Co., where we kill a whopping 18 pets per each 1,000 residents, annually.
      Unfortunately, when I called the shelter director to discuss this w/ her, I unwittingly made the mistake of using the phrase “No Kill Methods.” As soon as those words were out of my mouth, her whole tone changed, and it became obvious that I was now “the enemy.” She was not interested in working w/ us in any way.

  12. People like this make me sick. They’re killing roughly 7 cats a day and they sound like they’re ok with that, no, they actually sound proud of it. Too damn lazy to even try to get them adopted, even with volunteers willing to make the attempt. Sorry, cat-whackers,, we don’t want to hear your lame excuses. You enjoy killing, because you’re heartless unfeeling creatures just there to collect a paycheck.

  13. LOL. I love the snarkiness. Thank you for shedding light to the ignorant that cant seem to grasp the concept of how definite it is to help save animals’ lives. I think they don’t want to try, because its easier not to, so they make up excuses.

  14. I live in the area and had no idea about all this. I actually adopted a flea ridden old blind chihuahua from there last year. I have called the idiot out on this thread! I will probably be banned.

  15. I had yet another encounter with Mr. Ed Smith today at the humane society. He trapped one of my stray kittens. He said the kitten climbed his 6 ft privacy fence and was attacking his english bulldogs. When I went to pick the kitten up at the shelter today Mr. Smith came out yelling at me in front of my 4 year old daughter and my 6 yr old autistic son. They were excited to see there kitten and this raging man kept yelling at me. He was so loud another officer came out to see what was going on. I explained to the nice officer that I trap the stray cats and have them fixed. I pay for this out of my own pocket to try to help cut down on the number of feral cats in my area. Mr Smith said I was irresponsible for feeding the cats because I am only bringing in new cats. I tried to explain to him that I do not have any new cats coming in I am only feeding the same cats. He has expressed to the lady at our local 7-11 how much he hates cats. I am now trying to explain to my 4 year old daughter why this man was yelling at her mommy.

    1. Mr. Smith also trapped my cat and apparently posted things on Facebook about us. Please if any one has the postings I’d like a copy. My cat was taken the end of November. Sadly I even know his wife as a fellow employee, a nurse. He told my husband his wife was being attacked by the cats. When I spoke to the humane society he said Ed’s dogs were being attacked. Interesting two complete different stories. I would love to know what can be done about this man. Any comments are welcomed. Thank you. Sadly, Kelly

  16. I volunteer for a local rescue and recently (within the last several years) was informed of 5 animals who were going to “euthanized” by this shelter by a whistle blower. I called the shelter and asked if I could evaluate said animals and possibly take them into rescue. I was told the animals were too skittish and I would not be allowed to evaluate them or take them into rescue. They were not going up for adoption. They were “euthanized”.

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