South Bend Animal Care and Control in Indiana has had the same director, Gary Libbey, for 17 years. The shelter used to be in an old fire house but moved to a new $1.5 million building last year. WSBT.com reports the pound’s kill rate for 2012 was 66%. The director offered the standard excuses for the fact that he has operated the “shelter” primarily as a pet killing facility:
- The pound is open admission.
- They’re doing the best they can to get pets adopted.
- Shelter pet killing is unavoidable.
- There are too many animals, not enough homes.
But here’s something you don’t read every day: The city fired the director this month and is looking to move in a different direction.
Reacting to the news Wednesday, local animal activist Bill Sykes, who often butted heads with Libbey over the issue of euthanasia, stated, “I’m just glad things are headed in a new direction now.”
“We need someone in there who is compassionate and has empathy for discriminated against animals,” including feral cats and “pit bull-type” dogs, Sykes said.
Sounds good. But I couldn’t help but be concerned when I read this bit:
Common Council member Valerie Schey, president of Community Animal Rescue Effort, or CARE, of South Bend and a volunteer at the city’s animal shelter, agreed.
“Even though we’ve made significant strides in the care we provide with the new building, I still don’t feel the (euthanasia) numbers are where they need to be,” Schey said.
Schey said the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a coalition of animal rescue groups and shelters that works with Animal Care and Control in that city, serves as a good model for lowering the euthanasia rate here.
I dislike hearing talk of getting kill numbers “where they need to be”. It could be simply a matter of word choice but I am partial to terms such as “ending the killing” and “saving every healthy/treatable pet”. But if you are looking toward to the Mayor’s Alliance as your model for less killing, that’s not word choice, that’s just a really bad idea.
I hope for the sake of South Bend’s lost and homeless pets, the change in leadership brings about meaningful reform. The director position remains vacant as far as I can tell. The pound’s website still has the former director’s name and contact number listed.
(Thank you Clarice for the link.)