Chester Co SPCA Described as “Kill Factory” by Former Staffers and Vols

In reviewing the website for the Chester Co SPCA in PA, I see the shelter sells county licenses, conducts cruelty investigations and accepts stray pets. These are often attributes of a taxpayer funded shelter although the Chester Co facility does not indicate whether it is a public or private facility, which is odd.  The reason I was looking is because an article on Philly.com seems to clearly indicate the shelter is funded in part by taxpayers:

The shelter takes in stray animals brought in from the county’s municipalities, and it also has a five-year, $30,000-a-month contract with Delaware County to accept strays from 46 of its municipalities.

As such, it would appear Chester Co SPCA is subject to FOIA requests for their kill numbers.  But Philly.com reports:

The shelter will not share its euthanasia numbers but acknowledges they are climbing.

Hiding the killing is always a bad sign.  Volunteers and staffers are jumping ship with alarming frequency and many have spoken out publicly about the killing at the facility:

[T]he Chester County SPCA shelter has become a “kill factory,” say SPCA volunteers, a former board member, and ex-staff members.

[…]

More than a dozen volunteers have formed a group to push for a change in leadership and more effective programming. They are troubled when dogs are euthanized for what they see as easily corrected behavioral issues or treatable medical problems.

[…]

Volunteers say some cats are taken from the intake counter directly to the euthanasia room.

The Chester Co SPCA recently terminated a program to adopt out cats from pet supply stores, reportedly due to the “hassle” of saving cats’ lives. Some rescues are reporting trouble working with the facility.

The Chester Co SPCA sells puppies for $225 according to its website and Philly.com reports that the shelter has been importing puppies from other states which is unfathomable considering the secret killing taking place there.  A state inspection in May faulted the shelter for failing to obtain the required health certificates on the imported puppies.  Unsanitary cage conditions and pest control problems were also noted.

Board president Conrad Muhly paints critics as a few bad apples:

“I am thrilled with the people that work there. The staff does an excellent job,” Muhly said.

So excellent apparently, that the shelter has to hide the body count from the public.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

8 thoughts on “Chester Co SPCA Described as “Kill Factory” by Former Staffers and Vols

  1. I can’t speak for the CCSPCA, but as a shelter worker In the general region, I want to mention something glossed over in the article. The reason CCSPCA is taking in stray pets from adjacent Delaware County is that the Delaware County SPCA (which had been handling animal control) went no-kill in 2012, leaving the county without any open admission shelter. (We’re constantly getting calls from people in Delco who are trying to surrender owned pets and simply have nowhere to go. (Well, there’s open-admission us). Some of the complaints in the article – some cats aren’t put up for adoption, dogs with behavioral or health issues are being put to sleep – are at least potentially simply the unfortunate reality of animal control in most of the country – especially in a shelter taking up the slack for its neighboring county as well, without any additional explanation or bad intent needed. Now, there are some other things that *are* more worrying, and if they can improve things that will be awesome. But (without criticizing Delco SPCA, which is doing great work for the pets they are able to take in), I wanted to highlight one downside of the push for no-kill in situations where there isn’t an actual no-kill community in place – it basically ends up just outsourcing the problem.

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    1. Implementing the proven programs of the No Kill Equation would solve the problems for everyone by allowing the shelters to stay open admission and the pets to stay alive.

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      1. Yes. And there’s also enough food being produced to make sure no one in the world – especially not kids – ever goes hungry. And yet… (Eg, yes, but.)

        Another post on the CCSPCA situation, with some unfortunately good questions: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pets/Volunteers-Chester-Co-SPCA-has-become-a-kill-factory.html Whatever else is going on, sounds like they’re having all sorts of upheaval. And the animals lose out as always. :(

        It may well be that they’re not be even trying to work with rescues – thing is, at this point almost everybody *we’re* contacting would love to help, but …

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    2. Thanks for your comments, but there are open-admission no kill/low kill facilities who are making the decision to not kill animals and succeeding. It can be done, but a conscious choice to not kill must be made first.

      Cats don’t do well in shelter settings, especially if they are community cats to start with. They can be neutered, vetted and released and at least have a chance at life that way. Once they are dead, they are dead forever.

      I hope that the good people who are concerned can find a way to save animals who deserve life.

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  2. It’s clear the Chesco SPCA needs transparency and a Director to run the shelter. Without those things the shelter can’t reach it potential. The county has a lot of resourses but without being open it puts off organziations and donors who could help. It makes you wonder why it so secret. I hope it’s donors request an audit of thier finances.

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  3. It looks like the Chester County SPCA can’t even get the critics to donate much needed cat food and toys for the animals in the shelter, doesn’t seem like the people bashing them are stepping up to help adopt or foster them either. Not sure what the solution is to what I would think is hundreds of cats and dogs dropped off/picked up by the shelter each year. Would be nice if they each got a home but doesn’t seem realistic. From what I’ve heard these people are hurting the animals by scaring away adopters not sure you can call that a true animal lover, just seems spiteful.

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