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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.)

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