Why We Need Shelter Reform

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.

6 thoughts on “Why We Need Shelter Reform

  1. Yes, thanks to public outrage and protest, change DID happen at Niagara SPCA. They were forced to get rid of the offending director and the entire sitting board. They have an entirely new board of directors, who have declared a commitment to No Kill and who have installed a new Executive Director who is a strong No Kill advocate. It still struggles with its “legacy” animal control contracts, but at least last month (October), they had a raw live release rate of 98.7% for dogs, 86.9% for cats, 91.1% overall. The point to be made here is that EVERY community needs to look “behind the curtain” of their local shelter, rally the troops, and hold them accountable for the killing. Yes, we need shelter reform. But it starts with each and every one of YOU in YOUR community. And know that, though it may not be easy and will take some time, keep plugging away. People WILL start listening and taking notice, especially if you “show them the numbers.” FOIL/FOIA are your friend! Get that info and get it out there to the public.

  2. In Houston, we have Houston’s city funded pound, which has been a continual House of Horrors for years, with kill rates that have been steadily RISING ever since Houston’s mayor promised voters a No Kill city and animal lovers voted for her. See more about it here: http://www.examiner.com/article/this-is-your-local-animal-shelter

    And we have a county funded House of Horrors where the County Attorney confirmed that county employees were breaking state laws such as: 1) Killing animals in front of other animals;
    2) Reusing needles used to kill animals; 3) Placing live animals in freezers.
    Eight MONTHS after this report came out, absolutely nothing has been done.

    And on top of that, we have 3 “non-profit” kill shelters in Houston, all with high kill rates. Together, all five kill shelters are killing around 80,000 animals per year.

    Animals don’t have much of a chance in Houston “shelters”.

    So yes, we DEFINITELY need reform.

  3. The stories go on and on. The victories come slowly, but they do come and only we can make the difference. Stand up wherever you are and find out what is happening in a shelter near you. You can change stories like this, and if you reach out, you will be surprised how many people will join you.

  4. Well, at least the Niagra SPCA has now achieved a lot of progress. If only other shelters can do the same. If we had one person for each state be “designated” to reach out to others likeminded in their state in order to push for reform through laws and such, I think that would accomplish a lot.

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