I’ve written about the alarming number of animals who reportedly die in their cages at the Bulloch Co pound in GA. The Statesboro Herald recently ran a piece detailing the cost to taxpayers for the animals the pound kills:
Bulloch County spent $52,878.33 of taxpayer money from Jan. 1, 2011, to Oct. 29, 2013, euthanizing 4,379 animals[.]
From a fiscal responsibility standpoint, I wonder how taxpayers feel about their money being used to kill so many pets. Imagine if the pound had adopted out these 4379 animals instead of killing them. Even if they only charged $3 for each animal, it would represent more than $13,000 in revenue for the county instead of the nearly $53 grand spent on the drugs used to kill them.
The paper talked to pound manager Wendy Ivey about the killings:
But Ivey said that the number of animals the shelter has had to put down wasn’t always what it is now.
“Our numbers used to be lower, but with the economy and people not being able to afford pets like they used to — and they lose their homes, and they have to move, and then they have to move into places where they can no longer have their pets — and, unfortunately, they have to be surrendered into the animal shelter,” Ivey said.
But the records obtained by the paper via FOIA request do not support Ivey’s statements. In fact, although 2013 figures were not completely tallied at the time of the report, they appear on track to reflect decreases both in the number of total animals killed and in the money spent on the drugs to kill them in comparison to 2012. I hope the manager is not only aware of these details but is also scrutinizing them. For example, what percentage of total intake do the killings represent and what about all those dogs and cats falling over dead in their cages? What should the pound be doing differently to save them so they can be adopted out and generate additional revenue for the county?
Besides the financial costs associated with the pound failing to do its job, there are emotional costs as well:
For people who go into these professions to protect and help animals, having to put them down on a regular basis can take a toll.
“It’s difficult to do,” [veterinarian Stan] Lee said. “Psychologically and emotionally, sometimes, it can be very difficult to do but … if it must be done, which it must be, you want to be sure it’s done right and you want to be sure it’s done correctly.”
For Ivey, the shelter manager, it can be tough to decide what animals should be put down, but she tries to see the positive side of things.
“A lot of people don’t realize how stressful it can be because I’m the sole one who makes the decision on who stays and who goes. But, I also look at it as rewarding because I keep more than I do put down, so I feel I am the one that’s able to give them that chance,” Ivey said. “If someone else was in that position, it might be different.
Sometimes you do have people that feel we don’t have time for this, we’ve got to go by policy, and I have the privilege that I get to make that decision.”
Good news, Bulloch Co: There are hundreds of communities all over the country that are saving 90% or more of their shelter animals. So no one in Bulloch Co has to be burdened with the “privilege” (?) of deciding to kill healthy/treatable dogs and cats anymore or ever again. Bulloch Co will hopefully want to stop needlessly killing animals today and start doing its job to shelter them while also generating revenue for the county. If not, Bulloch Co needs needs new leadership. Because “if someone else was in that position, it might be different.”
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)