It’s National Animal Shelter Reform Week. Why do we need reform in so many of our nation’s shelters? Here are a few examples.
New York: An outside investigation into the practices at the Niagara Co SPCA revealed:
- The techs were killing conscious pets via heartstick, using a drug called Rompun first which caused the pets to vomit but did not sedate them.
- The director never reviewed data on intakes, killings or RTOs – only adoptions.
- The cat room at the shelter was kept locked to keep the public out.
- The shelter accepted feral cats, held them for the stray holding period, then killed them. The director did not want to stop accepting feral cats from the people who regularly brought them in as it would mean a loss of income.
Georgia: Records obtained via FOIA request from the Catoosa Co pound indicate that many pets were being killed with multiple injections of Fatal Plus. Records further show a number of stray pets killed upon impound, in violation of the mandatory holding period required by law.
A reporter in Atlanta exposed a scam at the Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter where the shelter would pressure donors to send money quickly in order to save a pet in the Lucky Dog program then, with cash in pocket, would take the “lucky dog” to the county pound to be killed.
Tennessee: Security camera footage obtained via FOIA request from the Memphis pound shows animal abuse. In an unrelated police investigation, workers at the pound were charged with animal cruelty after an undercover officer observed them torturing pets in the kill room. The pound’s vet left a degloved cat to suffer in a cage for 5 days before he was finally killed. A starving puppy cannibalized his littermate in an attempt to stay alive at the pound.
Louisiana: A volunteer at the Companion Animal Alliance in Baton Rouge reports needless suffering and death among the feline population. The shelter is unable to locate records of specific animals who have died. Other records appear to have been doctored. Photographs document the decline of cats in shelter care while records are riddled with discrepancies.
As things stand, most of our public shelters kill the pets we pay them to protect and then blame the public – we who adopt, foster, donate and volunteer – for the killing. This week, and so long as the need remains, I will continue to support those working towards reform.