Cache Humane Society Kills Owned Pets

The Cache Humane Society in UT made news a few weeks ago regarding a Great Pyrenees puppy named Whitey.  In June, Whitey had wandered onto a ranch belonging to Hans Peterson.  He was emaciated and had been shot in the mouth.  Mr. Peterson took him to the vet for care and Whitey had surgery on his badly wounded jaw.  Mr. Peterson fed Whitey from a spoon during the recovery period.  Although the dog’s jaw was permanently disfigured by the trauma, the vet determined he could still eat and drink and function normally.  Everyone who met Whitey marveled at how friendly he was, including a horse vet who came to the ranch on September 9 and was amazed to see the incredible recovery Mr. Peterson had helped Whitey make.

On September 12, Mr. Peterson fed Whitey then left the ranch for a few hours.  When he returned, Whitey was gone.  He immediately called the local ACO and learned that Whitey had been picked up by a neighbor and taken to the Cache HS where he was immediately killed.  The well intentioned neighbor, Shelly Hoppie, did not know Whitey had a home in the area although she assumed he had an owner since he was wearing a rabies tag:

Hoppie said she took the dog there with the belief they would care for him for a few days while they tracked down the owner.

“I am just sick to my stomach,” she said. “If had known, I would have taken him back home and found the owner myself.”

Hoppie said she remained at the Humane Society for about 45 minutes, and during that time, she was not aware of the staff attempting to trace the dog’s owner. She said Whitey was acting calm and very friendly, with no trace of pain in his demeanor.

The ACO and 2 vet techs at the Cache HS had visually assessed Whitey and determined he was in extreme pain for which immediate death was the only answer.  No attempts were made to contact a vet to see if the pain the non-vets believed Whitey was in could be relieved by non-fatal means and no attempts were made to track down the owner via the rabies tag.  Whitey was just immediately killed.  Dr. Clay Robinson, the horse vet who had seen Whitey just a few days prior to the killing, told the local paper:

“Something is not quite right about this whole scenario,” Robinson said. “Clinically, that dog was as healthy as can be.”

The executive director of Cache HS, Brenda Smith, posted a statement in response to the news story on the shelter’s website.  She has lots of blame to spread around in that statement, including:

[R]abies tags are not a form of identification for animals.


Based upon the condition Whitey was in when he came to the shelter, the animal control officer made this decision and requested our staff to assist him with the procedure.  The decision was made by animal control, who at that point had responsibility for the animal.


The staff at the Cache Humane Society are professionals who are trained to give vaccines, implant microchips, and yes, perform euthansias.  As I am sure most people understand, this is not something that our staff enjoys doing.  However, it is a reality when animals are injured or there are more animals then there are homes and funding for.  I am thankful every day for our staff who continually and professionally work with a small budget, believing that their actions make a difference for animals that would not have a place to go if our shelter did not exist.  This is why we advocate that everyone get their animals spayed and neutered and make sure they are wearing proper identification.

Ms. Smith also boasted to the media that the Cache HS has a 97% save rate for dogs which reflects the shelter’s mission:

While they are trained to administer the [euthanasia] injections, that is not the mission of the CHS, said Smith.

The organization’s vision statement is to “work until homelessness and abuse are no longer issues within our community and our adoption services are no longer needed. Through our example and work, we will affect and influence similar activity throughout Utah and the region.”

“Basically, our goal is to put ourselves out of business,” said Smith. “We are only here to respond to a need.”

Last week, Cache HS again responded to a local pet in need.  A cat hating neighbor trapped an 8 year old boy’s pet and gave him to the police who took him to the Cache HS.  The little boy knocked on every door in the neighborhood, including that of the trapper, asking if anyone had seen his missing kitty.  The cat hater told him “No.”  The child’s father went to the Cache HS to look for the pet and found him.  But the staff refused to release the cat to the owner because the redemption fee had to be paid elsewhere and it was after hours.  The owner was told to return in the morning to pick up the cat.  When he did return the following morning, he found that Cache HS had oops-killed the cat because nobody had put a note on the records not to kill him.  The owner asked for the remains so the pet could be buried, presumably to help the family in their grieving process, but the shelter refused.

The above link is a letter the 8 year old boy wrote to the local paper about the needless killing of his pet.  It serves as a tragic reminder that shelter services are perhaps more accurately described as “family services” since their actions impact families.  In the words of the heartbroken 8 year old boy:

She had just forgotten to write a note to save a member of my family. They killed him and I don’t know why.

I don’t know why either.  The Cache HS reports that it saves only 37% of the cats in its care.  In this case, they had an opportunity to save one pet by returning him to his family.  They refused, apparently over money and protocol.  When Mr. Peterson spoke to the local paper about Whitey’s killing, he said:

“If this is in fact protocol, then protocol needs to change[.]”

I agree with Mr. Peterson.  The Cache HS director says they are working to put themselves out of business.  Please Ms. Smith, do it.  Today.  The protocols employed by the Cache HS are putting families out of the happiness business and putting beloved pets out of the life business.  Do the families in your region a favor and close your doors today.  Demand that the community leaders in your service area come up with a true shelter to address the needs of lost and homeless pets by implementing the programs of the No Kill Equation.  The community can not endure much more of your “mission”.

20 thoughts on “Cache Humane Society Kills Owned Pets

  1. Why is it that the combination of being uncompassionate and incompetent, more times than not, describes shelter directors?? If you can’t do your job and are causing your community pain then RESIGN!

    1. when a shelter does not give you back the remains it makes you wonder if perhaps they are selling animals to labs an just saying they wher put down.. i have see it happen befor sadly.

  2. Okay, I am thinking about a post on another thread that said we need to start sending mass emails when these things happen. I agree and hope we can muster a call to the troops to start emailing the places that do these things every time we read about it. Perhaps if enough of us do it, things will change (somewhere?).

    1. I wrote something like that on another thread DB and I whole heartedly agree. Nothing gets done when we sit back and whine about it. Yeah, nothing is getting done at MAS, for example, but other shelters are not MAS. We cant focus on only one shelter and say “well, if it doesnt work there, it wont work anywhere”, we need to focus our energies on all of them. What if Nathan said that about Reno, Thompkins County or Austin? Come on people!

  3. shame on all these people that work there. I am so sorry for the losses the families have had due such callousness. Some one’s head or alot of heads need to roll and be fired. Even if you’re not a cat or dog lover these animals have people who do love them. No kindness or compassion in these people. This happens a lot of places where poor animals are picked up.We all have to answer to our God when we stand before him one day.

    1. Okay, I get it. I understand your sentiment Dot, but, ummm, Really? Why is making life miserable for the shelter what you want?! How will THAT help?
      I hate this. I hate that so many Animal Control and inHumane Societies, and faux shelters do this stuff. Yes, I recognize the excuses and the blame.
      But I don’t think that making life miserable for them will prove helpful. I’d like us all to recall the post about Shelter Love. (Where is the Love?!) Making *shelter* workers/managers miserable will get you a couple of things.

      1) enemies
      2) dead animals (or just more neglected animals which might actually be worse!)

      Remember when the staff at MAS feared for their lives because us evil blog readers called, wrote and emailed? They used US as an excuse to shut down the cameras and hide. Locally a rescue spent $35K on legal fees fighting local Animal Control and the Borough Government over their raid of her facility. They killed one of her dogs and a couple of cats. She got 23 cats back, and the other two or three dogs back, but BOTH parties actually *lost.* Only the lawyers made money.

      Please people. Can we NOT react with hate and threats? Can we be honest, polite, assertive and clear? Can we provide logical reasoning and cost effective suggestions without resorting to name calling and hate mail?

      Yea, I know, they’re gonna say: *Well, why don’t YOU come down here and volunteer if you don’t like the way we do things…*

      If anybody would like to hear some GOOD news, I have (finally) been approved as an authorized volunteer and foster home for our local Animal Control. I took possession of a small husky momma and her four babies on Tuesday! (Yea!!! Rancid Puppy Breath!) The family will be staying with me until the babies are old enough to be adopted. I’m hoping they get a veterinary wavier so they don’t have to be spayed or neutered at eight weeks. I’ll keep mom longer, probably until she’s done lactating and can be spayed herself.

      No Kill is a COMMUNITY effort! We can’t do it without Animal Control any more than they can do it without us. Making them miserable will only burn the bridges we need to be crossing in order to implement ALL of the steps of the No Kill Equation. (I actually think they’ve figured out that if they can rile us up and piss us off, and get us snarking at each other—or at them– then they are justified in calling us *difficult to work with* *Divisive* and all those other things that make it simple for them to ignore, exclude, and shut us down and out. No Kill ain’t gonna work that way!

      Okay, I’ll be quiet now. Rant Over. Thanks for letting me vent…

      And Thank You Shirley for ALL your posts. I appreciate being informed, and I especially like the way you manage to snark while being somewhat polite and professional, and you ALWAYS offer options for a better way. I find that very hopeful and empowering.

      1. Very well said Lynn. Change for the better is from fixing and building, while throwing stones only tears it apart. No, Lynn, you were not ranting…you were thinking. And I have seen what a concerted group of local volunteers, working together, can do to reduce the kill rate, while simple complaints change nothing.

      2. While I understand what you are saying, and get the “more flies with honey” there comes a time when the reality of what’s happening in many of these places needs to be brought to light. Too many people have no clue about the ineptitude (at best) or the abuse, neglect and killing (at worst) and without awareness and transparencies things will not change. I believe the single biggest factor is the commitment of a facility director to stop killing and to find ways to make that happen. Easy? Nope. Possible? Yes.

  4. In Portugal it´s the same thing
    and in Cascais, they “poison” them – not even humanely euthanise them…. by so called “vets” –
    What kind of human beings are behind these places? Cannot understand…………..

  5. I have to doubt this place has a 97% save rate. That statement must be some sort of spin. I could very well be wrong, but based on the above happenings…

    1. I could not find any stats published on the shelter’s website so I have no verification of the director’s claims. Every shelter should post its stats online.

  6. Arbitrary “fees” for the time that an animal is incarcerated are another way to kill pets… the fees charged by most places are outrageous to say the least… AND a way to prevent the poor (often regarded as extremely irresponsible) from recovering a pet… doe it really take $10 per day or more to take care of one cat? Think about the outrageous fees they charge people to retreive a pet…and do the math – sorry this is totally wrong. The rightful owner was there, something should have been worked out…and if they say the are low kill, (which they are not if they kill the number of cat the other article says – 63%) then they are just another pet killing facility… so sorry for this young child who had to learn the hardest way that people are evil.

  7. This all makes me wonder what incidents of killing do we not know about that get swept under the rug. If we are making mistakes that end a life it’s not something we can just explain away with excuses and treat it as if someone got there sack lunch thrown away. Not once did we hear what they are going to do so that this never happens again. I heard a bunch of justification on why it’s not too big if a deal. These problems will never get fixed until those involved see the problem also. I guess the whole point is these lives are not garbage or a consumable. It should be as cherished as any life. We as humans need to be better at cherishing even human lives at times and I find that sad

  8. I am just coming across this article now in relation to a class assignment so forgive my tardiness to the discussion. However I had to leave a comment about how terrible this article is. This entire article is based off of TWO events that have been manipulated into serving a benign purpose and causes more problems than solutions. If anyone reading this article takes it at face value then you have done yourselves a great disservice. The author of this article has demonstrated and EXTREME lack of knowledge surrounding the “shelter” programs throughout the country and should not continue writing about them. Poorly used quotes from news mediums where people actually did research instead of just aimlessly attacking a good organization that appeared to be vulnerable. It is easy to feel empathy towards the owners of these pets, so go write an article about that. Write about how the policies could be changed, write about solutions. Stop writing this poorly researched junk and posting it on the internet for online “animal lovers” to read about and spread around.
    NO response is necessary to my comment, if you are interested in how the system works then go volunteer at CHS, they are very friendly and work very well with volunteers. You will see that there are literally countless examples of them changing the lives of animals and the people that adopt them. What a waste of an article yesbiscuit, you could have done more. please think about your ultimate intentions before writing more articles.

    1. “The author of this article has demonstrated and EXTREME lack of knowledge surrounding the “shelter” programs throughout the country and should not continue writing about them. ”

      And the reader of this comment just spit tea all over her keyboard. I thought April Fools’ Day was over?

    2. You really need to read a LOT MORE about how places that are supposed to help animals and people DON’T DO THEIR JOBS. Read this part again: “The ACO and 2 vet techs at the Cache HS had visually assessed Whitey and determined he was in extreme pain for which immediate death was the only answer. No attempts were made to contact a vet to see if the pain the non-vets believed Whitey was in could be relieved by non-fatal means and no attempts were made to track down the owner via the rabies tag. Whitey was just immediately killed.”

      Right there the problem is stated clearly – there are NO justifications that should count one damn bit in your idea of what a ‘good job’ is being done at CHS, but since you’re claiming you’re writing something for a class assignment, I’m guessing that you are a know-it-all 18 to 22 year old without a foundation in critical thinking skills. Until you have read and experienced more of the absolute bullshit that many so-called ‘shelters’ and ‘humane societies’ shovel out every time they kill animals, your opinions really aren’t up being called knowledge.

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