Discussion: Catch and Kill Pounds

Among the many shelters which I refer to as pet killing facilities, due to the primary outcome for animals there being death, there is a sub-category of places I call catch and kill pounds.  Some people call them “kill only shelters”.  But there is nothing shelter-y about them.

Basically – and I am making generalizations here for the sake of brevity – catch and kill pounds are municipal facilities used to house stray pets for the legally mandated holding period.  The facilities typically have one or more ACOs who will respond to loose dog complaints, set traps for pets, and possibly pick up owner surrenders within the jurisdiction.  There is no pretense of sheltering these animals.  The pets are not marketed for adoption in any way and they may not even be photographed.  The facility is not generally open to the public and adopters wanting to look at pets would never know these animals were in need of homes.  Owners searching for lost pets usually have to track down the ACO personally and arrange a time to meet at the pound in order look at the animals.  There may or may not be any relationship with rescuers or other pet advocates within the community.  But really, who would want to volunteer at a place that makes no effort to get pets adopted?

In the state of NC, legislators took the time to write and pass legislation requiring municipal shelters to be open to the public and to make unclaimed pets available for adoption:

(a1) Before an animal may be sold or put to death, it shall be made available for adoption under procedures that enable members of the public to inspect the animal, except in cases in which the animal is found by the operator of the shelter to be unadoptable due to injury or defects of health or temperament. An animal that is seriously ill or injured may be euthanized if the manager of the animal shelter determines, in writing, that it is appropriate to do so. Nothing in this subsection shall supercede (i) any rules adopted by the Board of Agriculture which specify the number of animals allowed for kennel space in animal shelters, or (ii) the duration of impoundment established by the county board of commissioners, or the 72‑hour holding period, as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(a2) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person who comes to an animal shelter attempting to locate a lost pet is entitled to view every animal held at the shelter, subject to rules providing for such viewing during at least four hours a day, three days a week. If the shelter is housing animals that must be kept apart from the general public for health reasons, public safety concerns, or in order to preserve evidence for criminal proceedings, the shelter shall make reasonable arrangements that allow pet owners to determine whether their lost pets are among those animals.

And yet there are reports of catch and kill pounds in the state of NC which are not in compliance with the law.  With no state entity apparently willing to enforce the law, municipalities get away with running a pet killing operation on the taxpayers’ dime.  These are your public animal shelters.  The ones who claim nobody wants to kill animals, they’re trying their best, and that the public is to blame for shelter pet killing.

Are there any catch and kill pounds in your state?  Do you have a state law requiring animal shelters to be open to the public and/or to make unclaimed pets available for adoption?

(Thank you Lisa B. for the link.)

9 thoughts on “Discussion: Catch and Kill Pounds

  1. Smaller towns in Pennsylvania contract animal control to commercial entities. The one with the most local contracts here employs released felons as “ACO’s” and is owned by a felon, who has been caught falsifying records to steal from the state.

    There has never been any pretense to running it as a shelter, and the local humane enforcement officers and dog law enforcement pretty much pretended it wasn’t happening until their hands were forced.

    He’s only been punished for not killing dogs that he didn’t kill that didn’t exist, not for killing people’s pets that are locked up in a building in a dodgy neighborhood where they don’t open the door or answer the phone.


    The dogs that were “overcrowding” the local shelters after Triangle was shut down in the fall? Those represent the kill stats of “animal control” for the suburbs.

  2. Three NC catch-and-kill pounds I know off the top of my head are Montgomery County, Halifax County and Bertie County, but I’m pretty sure there are a few more. Bertie County, which is under the department of “animal and littler control,” allows the Bertie County Humane Society to have unlimited access to the pound. The BCHS markets all the animals online and will meet an adopter or rescuer at the pound just about any time. the other two are reportedly much. much harder to adopt or rescue from.

  3. Stockton Animal Control is segregated; with cats and pit bulls in the “catch and kill” category and cute and fluffy or otherwise highly adoptable dogs held in what is basically a pet wholesale distribution facility and sent to retailers in San Francisco and Seattle. SF SPCA and PUP of Issaquah call themselves shelters or rescues, but they are almost exclusively for the animals that bring in the high adoption fees or the PR.

  4. “With no state entity apparently willing to enforce the law, municipalities get away with running a pet killing operation on the taxpayers’ dime.”

    Which state entities were contacted? And can we light a small fire under their asses? (metaphorically speaking)

    1. In NC, the particular law cited above is with the rabies law under the Dept. of Health and Human Services, which does not inspect pounds. The Department that DOES inspect pounds, NCDA&CS, operates under a DIFFERENT law, the NC Animal Welfare law, which does not stipulate that animals must be put up for adoption and that the public must have access to the pounds. So there are a bunch of rules regarding pounds that are “orphaned” under the jurisdiction of DHHS and not enforced. So, contacting the NC DHHS would be the place to start, I think.

  5. Off the top of my head, Vermilion Parish Rabies Control. They will release the doomed animals to rescue groups, but do not adopt pets to the public. They also only stopped gassing animals to death at the beginning of the year because a new law forced them to stop.

  6. Biscuit, thanks for further explaining what you meant in the references i’ve seen you make here to ‘catch and kill’ facilities…I THOUGHT this was what you meant, were referring to, but not entirely sure. And, I am sometimes hesitant to mention such places to animal people in other parts of the country, or that are all wrapped up in rescue stuff, because I’m never sure they know about or would even believe me or anyone if we bring them up. But these ARE what have been “standards” AC facilities all my life living here in SE Texas, though over the years I’ve seen those in many of the major cities and more heavily pupulated metro/suburban areas at least start moving toward a shelter/rescue image, but…it is STILL the norm for many, maybe even most, outlying small town and more rural counties here in Texas. It is at times like some horrible nighmare when in, for example, Houston/Harris county, dog, cat, and even horse breeders get raided and animal confiscated when the animals may not have the most posh lives, but are by no means actually being neglected or abused (one raid of a very dedicated and reputable Borzoi and Saluki breeder/exhibitor was shown on tv with it being pointed out how skinny the obviously starving dogs were, when they were in SHOW CONDITION!) while at the same time, less than 50 miles away, those such as myself living in surrounding counties have NOTHING BUT these catch and kill municiple pounds in the small towns around us, and absolutely NOTHING at all in unincorporated areas! No AC, no shelters. Got a problem with a stray dog? Sherrif’s deputies shrug, tell you, well, if its bothering you, just shoot it!
    The two small towns I live in between have such catch and kill AC, but also, a couple interesting “twists” they’ve come up with to deal with animals they get stuck with in their town pounds. One town has an unofficial ongoing arrangement with a private so-called ‘rescue shelter’ that is more like something of a combination of animal hoarder and entrepreneural flipper buiness, with a dose of extortionist thrown in for good measure, by which I mean, if your animal ends up there, which is often where they go straight of the dog catcher’s truck, you are going to get hit with outrageous ‘fees and and charges’ for supposed vet care, vaccinations (including rabies even if the animal is wearing a collar with a current rabies tag!), board, food, etc etc. The only animals that go to the town’s actual pound (not open to public, does not adopt out) are ones in really bad shape or vicious that the private ‘shelter’ won’t take.
    In the other town, the pound isn’t open to the public, does not adopt out, but several connected to it, the dog catcher and ones that work there, routinely ‘cherry-pick’ (supposedly unclaimed) animals they or members of their families then sell! Just several weeks ago, I actually witnessed a transaction in which the dog catcher met a person in a public parking lot, with a nice looking obviouly purebred and decently well bred German Shepherd that had been picked up, that was sold to that person for $150 cash! and if questioned about the practice, if they admit it, its with a shrug, well, isn’t that better than just killing them all? But NO effort is ever made to find or contact owners, even when animals are wearing ID tags. THAT gets the response, well they obviusly didn’t care about it if they let it run loose!

    1. and just in case anyone’s train of reasoning about those situations arive at the question, might some of those more ‘marketable’ animals have had a little ‘help’ getting out of their home fenced yards, well, yes, that question is raised pretty regularly in connection to both those town’s AC situation….but who’s anyone going to say anything to about it that could get action? That transaction I mentioned witnessing te sale of the nice German Shepherd dog? I know the buyer…he’s a deputy sherrif in a neighboring county. :/

  7. Yes! I and some local rescuers are trying to get the public(taxpayers), and county board to implement the No Kill Eqation in Logan County, Ill. The first step is to make sure the facility has more functioning operating hours!! Right now, their hours are 10:30-5p weekly and 10-12 on Saturdays!!! The director refuses to spend anymore time there than she needs too! the only public exposure the animals get is from the local rescue group that pulls and transports, they post these animals on their website and fb page! The AC has a website that is last ulpdated in 2011?? Go figure:(We hope 2013 will be live saving changes for these dogs and cats!

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