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Discussion: Why is Kern Co Failing?

There is a story in a local paper about the Kern Co pound’s ongoing failure to shelter animals.  The pound has been functioning primarily as a pet killing facility for years with no significant improvements.  The article characterizes the problem and attempted solutions this way:

The efforts by community leaders, animal advocates and the Kern County Animal Control Department to find solutions have included encouraging owners to spay or neuter their pets, increasing enforcement of licensing laws, prosecuting animal abusers and attracting help from nonprofit groups.

Robust relationships have been built with animal rescue groups that, in 2012, saved 4,468 lives. Shelter workers have begun driving adoptable animals out of Kern County.

Such efforts have paid off in other communities.

But the sheer size of Kern County’s problem dwarfs the solutions that have been attempted.

The pound’s director, Jen Woodard, told the paper:

“We’re never going to adopt our way out of this problem,” she said. But rescues and adoptions “are what’s keeping us alive.”

The article highlights some specific records at the pound, including those of a 4 month old black Lab puppy who had 3 people wanting to adopt him when Kern Co killed him for coughing.  There is also a photo of a pound supervisor carrying a little dog to the kill room.  The dog is kissing the supervisor, who refused to be identified.  As I often say, if you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

Based upon the information available, why do you think Kern Co continues to fail as a shelter?  Is it the size of the problem dwarfing the solutions, as the article suggests?  Is there a failure of leadership?  How would you advise Kern Co?  What could the pet killing facility start doing today that would have a meaningful, lasting impact on lifesaving in the community?

(Thank you Clarice for the link.)

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