The Harford County Humane Society in MD kills a lot of the cats in its care – most of them actually:
[Humane Society’s board president, David] Fang said the shelter took in just over 3,000 cats in 2012. Of those, 581 were euthanized because they were feral, 637 were euthanized for medical reasons, 222 were put down because of their temperament, 65 were returned to owners and 876 were adopted. The remaining cats were either dead on arrival, given to rescue groups or put down because of lack of space or at the owners’ request.
On June 28 the Harford Co HS impounded a frightened elderly cat. She had been found by an area resident who described her as friendly and assumed she was a lost pet. He was right. The cat, named Mistoffelees, had been an indoor pet for 18 years and lived in the neighborhood, unbeknownst to the man who found her. She had been spayed and declawed. Mistoffelees accidentally got outside when her owner, Robert Brooks, was out of town.
At the Harford Co HS, Mistoffelees was understandably scared. She had spent 18 years living indoors and now found herself in a cage at an animal shelter. Rather than leave her alone and give her some quiet time while searching lost pet reports and posting her information online so she could be reunited with her owner, the staff immediately and repeatedly approached her in the cage.
Astonishingly, workers did not take a cue from the cat’s initial hisses and swats but instead began poking her with a fake hand on a stick. In what will come as a surprise to no one with a brain, Mistoffelees didn’t respond well to that either. So the Harford Co HS sedated her, scanned her for a microchip (which she did not have), failed to find her spay scar or note that she was declawed, deemed her feral and killed her. All within one hour of impound.
For its part, the HS board blames the owner for not microchipping his cat and defends the staff as dedicated, hard working and blah. There is a plan to discuss the facility’s holding policies. The article states:
Harford County code does allow for immediate euthanasia when an animal is deemed violent or dangerous.
But the Harford Co HS website gives a rather different impression about how long owners have to find their lost pets:
Q: For how long do you keep animals?
A: HSHC meets State and County mandated holding periods for stray dogs and cats. These holding periods are designed so that pet owners have a reasonable amount of time to find lost pets. The stray hold periods are:10 days for dogs wearing a license, 4 days for dogs with no identification and 3 days for cats, excluding Sundays and holidays, Once the holding period is up the pet becomes the property of HSHC. HSHC then determines the best course of action, which often means making that pet available for adoption as soon as we have completed some basic medical screening, vaccinations, and whatever else the animal might need to fit this criteria.
Depending on the situation, HSHC might hold an animal longer than even our stray hold period or place them into foster care.
I don’t see anything about one hour in there.
Mr. Brooks is heartbroken. Mistoffelees was a family member. He has retained an attorney.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)