The Mobile Co pound in AL has been in the news a lot this year. First it was reported that the facility conducted a mass killing in response to one sick dog. Then we learned the pound killed a freshly bathed, neutered cat named Porkchop upon arrival before his owner could find him. The pound investigated itself to determine why the cat wasn’t held for the mandated holding period and decided the killing was A-OK because the pet was “feral”.
Now the local NBC affiliate reports that killing pets upon arrival appears to be commonplace at the Mobile Co pound:
We combed through nearly 600 pages of shelter records and policies and found that in the first two months of this year, 400 animals were euthanized. Nearly a third of them were put down on the same day they were brought in, and many within just a few minutes. The reasons given were varied: medical conditions, sickness and injury, aggressive animal, bite animal, feral animal, too young, too old.
I hate to nitpick but every one of the Mobile Co pound’s “reasons” for killing pets upon arrival is bullshit. Nearly all medical conditions are treatable. Aggression is impossible to determine upon arrival at a pet killing facility. The purpose of impounding bite animals is to hold them in quarantine to see if symptoms of rabies develop. Feral cats already have a place to live – the community. There is no such thing as being too young or too old – a pet is either alive, with an inherent right to continue living, or dead. And it’s mostly the latter after they get picked up by Mobile Co.
The shelter’s own policy states all stray animals are to be held for a mandatory seven-day period before any action is taken. Their policy also states the staff will explore “every option available before euthanization.”
Shelter records show many cases where the animal was never scanned for a microchip before being put down. Shelter policy states animals up for euthanization should be scanned not once, but twice for a microchip prior to the injection.
Everyone make sure you spell M-O-B-I-L-E C-O-U-N-T-Y correctly when submitting your nomination ballots for the Fail Awards.
The reporter went to county spokesperson Nancy Johnson with the above concerns and donchaknow – she had a pat answer for everything.
“If they are very sick, if they are suffering, for medical reasons,” Johnson says, “We get a vet to verify that they are in duress.”
[…] Johnson says the 7-day hold policy does not apply to cats deemed ‘feral’ because it’s inhumane to hold them.
“Feral cats, by definition, don’t have owners and can’t be owned,” Johnson says.
The county says some animals are too aggressive and unmanageable to be scanned.
Johnson says the county deals with an overwhelming number of stray and abandoned animals. They are required by law to pick up strays, unlike no-kill shelters.
I’m not sure which is more terrifying – the swiftness with which she offered these utterly lame/outright false explanations or the notion that she may actually believe them.
When asked by the reporter why the shelter is failing to follow its own policy limiting pet killings to 2 hours per day, 3 days a week, Ms. Johnson finally admitted there’s cause to change a policy – to open it up for more killing, natch. Mobile Co – all killing, all the time. (If the county commissioners are reading this and realize they are in need of a new tourism slogan, call me!)
“We do a big job,” Johnson says.
Yes. And you need a big shovel to manage it.
A rescue group called SouthBARK, which was banned from the pound last year, is currently suing the county for $500k. The group asked the court to put a halt on killings at the pound until the case is decided. The judge didn’t even wait for the county’s response before rejecting the request. A hearing has been scheduled for June 18.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)