Jacksonville Pound: Never Too Busy to Kill

Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services in FL was very busy on Friday after issuing a public appeal for help on Thursday due to the shelter being over capacity:

The shelter, which has a capacity of 390 animals, had 466 animals Thursday morning. By closing time at 4 p.m. Friday, 186 animals had been adopted, fostered or taken by rescue groups over the two-day period, [city spokeswoman Monica] Landeros said.

Amidst all the lifesaving, courtesy of the so-called irresponsible public, the kill techs were apparently patrolling the halls, looking for victims.  An employee recognized a pair of bottle baby kittens who had been sent out to foster.  The foster had brought them back to the pound Friday in order to transfer them to another foster, who was on the way to pick them up.  The employee reportedly did not know the new foster was on the way and I guess the prospect of killing healthy newborn kittens was too exciting to take the time to ask.  The kittens were killed before the new foster could get in the front door.

Characterizing the killings of two healthy kittens the public was willing to save as an “unfortunate miscommunication,” Ms. Landeros said the pound “has begun necessary improvements” to avoid similar killings in future.  When the local paper asked her for specifics on these improvements, she refused to answer.  Because why do anything to reassure the public, right?  And next time the pound issues a plea for help and people don’t show up for fear of having pets they cared for immediately taken to the kill room with no questions asked, the city of Jacksonville can tell the media they “have to” kill because the irresponsible public won’t help.

(Thanks Eucritta and Clarice.)

16 thoughts on “Jacksonville Pound: Never Too Busy to Kill

  1. I doubt there was any excitement involved. I think animal control facilities like this have become so devoted to killing, it’s become so routine, that they do it on autopilot. As I commented in the Open Threat, you’d *think* that – given the public’s response – they’d lock up the Fatal-Plus, shut the kill room door, and get those babies into homes. Heck, I would’ve thought they’d’ve been eager and excited to do so, and that everyone would’ve been so happily busy processing adoptions & fosters they wouldn’t have had time to pick up the damn needle anyway.

    Clearly not. Indeed, it seems painfully evident that the excitement – which apparently got over a hundred pets out the front door in two days – never reached so far as the back corridor.

  2. So depressing. But it goes back to the kill shelter culture – killing is the default, it’s expected, it’s “normal”. Life saving is the outlier, the unusual thing, the sporadic event.

    As long as your shelter has leadership that considers killing to be “normal”, you will have this culture among the staff. And tragedies like this will continue to happen.

    I really would like to see a long term study of people who work in kill shelters. Because the one that I knew well was a very broken person. She was in charge of labeling animals to die the next morning. She would put an orange sticker on the cages of those the tech was to kill. She used to go home at night, angst over her choices, then rush back to the shelter and move the stickers around to try and keep certain animals alive a little longer.

    She really needed the job, but it destroyed her. I have to wonder how many shelter workers are similarly destroyed by having their souls chipped away at every day?

    Kill shelters are bad for people, bad for animals. Why are we still doing it?

    1. I can only imagine what the killing does to compassionate people who really care about the animals. It’s not good for anyone, so what will it take to stop it?
      It is so sad that those two kittens had someone to take them, but never got the chance. I am really angry that the director, though, referred to it in such a nonchalant manner – oh well, these things happen – sort of way.
      Thanks for all those of the “irresponsible public” who stepped up to help the animals. Do those in charge not see what’s really going on here?
      Hoping those kittens will not have died in vain and that something positive will come out of their untimely deaths that will save others.

  3. I am not a mathematician, but 466 animals and room for only 390. Appeal to the public adopted 186. 466-186=280 (I used a calculator to be sure, as I said I am not a mathematician.) This means they have room for 390 and had only 280 pets. So they were not even overcrowded (although that is still no excuse). Someone should tell that killing time at work means something different than they think.

    1. Davyd,

      I’ll complete the math for you though — because there is one number you did not include.

      So yes, they started with 466 animals, and got 186 to safety — 466-186 =280. However, they’re an open admission shelter that takes in right at 20,000 animals a year — so that is 55 animals a day (on average). If we assume that these were average intake days, they took in 110 animals in those two days. So 280 + 110 = 390 — which is exactly at capacity. I don’t think anyone should be under the false impression that there would be more than 100 open kennels in the shelter when this happened — as that was likely not the case.

      Not defending their mistake…clearly it was a terrible mistake but at least they do seem to be owning up to it and wanting to fix it.

      1. The point wasn’t really the math. Cage space is not an excuse as you pointed out. But back to math, these kittens had people coming to save them. They could have been held in basket tor ares hours. They didn’t need a single cage. Just better organization at the shelter

  4. Is this place open on weekends and holidays, or closed on those days, like the one in Hernando County, Florida?

  5. It seems very disturbing that euthanasia technicians can make this decisions by them self. But I guess a high kill shelter does not have the time to get the permission from the shelter manager or director.

  6. I truly believe most people working in kill shelters are there because they get enjoyment from the legalized killing. Where else could they work and make literal life & death decisions & kill on a regular basis? I don’t want to imagine what goes on behind the kill room doors prior to their final last breaths.

    There are those who are emotionally scarred & those who enjoy the horror, but either way, there’s something seriously wrong with unnecessarily killing innocent lives.

  7. It’s certainly a shame that clearly a huge mistake was made. It should be noted that the new leadership in Jacksonville took over a major mess and are making progress there. In 2007, the shelter had a live release rate of only 17% — and killed nearly 20,000 animals.

    Last year (2011), they had a live release rate of 57%, killing less than 8,000. (keep in mind, with their intake, they would still euthanize around 2,000 animals even at a 90% save rate).

    Here are their stats: http://www.coj.net/departments/neighborhoods/docs/animal-care—protective-services/charts-2001-to-2010-eu-and-lr.aspx

    While there is certainly a long way to go (obviously), they do seem to be headed in the right direction at least in terms of increasing their working with rescue groups (where the majority of the positive outcomes have come). It really is a shame — that normally their work to move 186 animals out of the shelter (positively) in 2 days would normally be something to celebrate — it’s a shame for all involved that poor communication ended up in the death of these two kittens. I’m glad they are at least taking responsibility for the problem and making a pledge to try to prevent it happening again.

  8. It is disturbing enough to know that some shelters get such pleasure out of killing that they do it so much, but it’s even more so to know that when they have so many other cages open, and the animals in questions are KITTENS. Those poor babies! So unfortunate.

  9. Whooped de do-they are taking responsibility- but two innocent lives were needlessly killed-
    This is a MAJOR FUp by their administration- at least there should have been a bolded
    HOLD note Placed on the kennel- in fact those neonates should have been safely tucked in someone’s nice plush office at their new multimillion $$$ facility awaiting the foster.
    I understand the person who had been doing this job for a gracious $20k a year was
    Recently replaced with a $40 k a year must hire coming down from the powers of the City Commission-
    Don’t want To lose that City funding – eh Scott??!

  10. As someone who fosters botte baby kittens for two different shelters and volunteers my graphic art to another one, I find it just plain wrong that two kitens – who were simply there waiting for someone else to pick up – were SLAUGHTERED. What does that say to the dedicated person who initially fostered them? Who I would imagine took time out of their schedule to care for bottle babies and then TRUSTED the shelter staff to give them to the next foster mommy…. I hope the press picks this up and spreads it far and wide. If this happened to any animal I fostered, I would be trying everything in my power to get it on tv, radio, internet, and newspapers – when you foster you give your time, your heart, your love and yes, very often, you purchase your own foods and supplies, so that the the shelter will be able to provide those things to a foster momma, who may not have as much to share in the way of those things. These shelter scum freaks scream about us “irresponsible public” – BUT what about the total IRRESPONSIBLITY shown on the part of the shelter staff who took the chance to kill two infant kittens, who most probably were healthy and well fed….I can’t stand much more of this stuff. The AR’s want to regulate us “irresponsible public” out of the ability to own a pet, but they turn blind eyes to the animals who end up in these hell hole death camps that they misname as shelters.

    So now to settle myself down, and get my heart rate back to normal, I will go (like all imrresponsible public do) and feed my little bottle baby kitten.

  11.      I had the displeasure of visiting Jacksonville twice.  My father married a woman that lived there and she didn’t want to move to the Mountains of Virginia, so he moved there.    the thing is I despise this city!  The whole place if full of crooked politicians and police department employees!  My father had an accident and the EMT’s were trying to get him out of the car and at the same time, the police were asking him for his insurance information.  He kept telling them it was in the dash of the car and his license was in his back pocket.  The State Policeman now instead of waiting until they got my father out of the car so that he could get him the information, he went ahead and gave my father a ticket for having no insurance.  Later on after my father go out of the hospital and got home, his next door neighbor had seen this policeman bring my father license and insurance card and just dropped it on the sidewalk in front of  his house.  The neighbor was nice enough to go retrieve the items and give them to my father after he got home.  But…..  I digress here. The point is… Jacksonville just has no time for HUMANS much less ANIMALS!  I now have my father living with me back in these beautiful Virginia mountains and plans to stay until it’s his time to pass.  I know on my two visits to the city I was rude to, honked at, pulled over for no reason (and no,I didn’t get a ticket) and just plain out treated badly.  So I sympathize with the poor animals in the city that just plain out don’t give a damn for anything or anyone.  Including life itself.   There needs to be allot of changes going on down there.  Looks like especially in the animal control sector.   All  I know is my last visit to Jacksonville,  Fla. was my last.   The only way I would go back would be to meet someone with a foster that I was able to get or a pet that I was going to adopt and then I would try my best to get someone to bring it to the Georgia border so I could pick it up there.. other wise, if I had to go to this pound to get the pet, I just might have more than a mouth full to say to these wretched people!  

    Hopefully one day someone that lives there will have the courage to get up and go do something about the killing fields in that city.  Hopefully SOON.. before things like this happen again.  It is just simply unacceptable behavior.  Period.  

    Off my soapbox,

    Katherine               “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened”                               Kathie


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