Prince George’s County in MD has had a body shape based ban on dogs since 1997. Like every other similar ban, it tears families apart and offers no benefit of any kind. But Prince George’s Co continues to uphold the ban. Because AHHH Pitbulls!
When a bully breed type dog was surrendered at the Prince George’s Co pound by her owner last week, a local rescue group moved swiftly to save her. Within hours, they found a foster home where the healthy dog, who was about to give birth to a litter of puppies, could raise her family in safety and comfort. The rescue advised the pound they were sending a volunteer to pick her up. But someone at the pound failed to mark the dog’s record with a DO NOT KILL so Prince George’s Co killed her before the rescuer arrived. Oops.
Lisa Marie Czop, the rescue volunteer who tried to save this dog, told me she received a text message from a pound worker that read, “Don’t worry about the pregnant dog I emailed you about” which she soon learned meant the dog had been oops-killed.
The Public Information Specialist for Prince George’s Co told the local news:
[T]he animal was selected for euthanasia due to the lack of space at the Facility and her condition.
Her condition was reportedly healthy. I believe that the county spokesman is using the word “condition” to indicate that the dog was pregnant and had a body shape deemed illegal by the county.
Lisa Marie Czop wrote to me in an e-mail:
The issue is the leadership at the shelter, and specifically in this case, the kennel manager who makes the decisions to euthanize, does not have life-saving as the top priority of the shelter.
In my opinion, the best outcome would be to remove leadership from this shelter, specifically Chief Taylor. However, a more realistic goal in light of all of this media attention may be to establish some oversight by the County of this shelter so that they can answer to the fact that they are euthanizing significantly more animals than the shelters around them.
County Executive Rushern Baker is the highest level of County leadership that the shelter reports to, and his office phone number is 301-952-4131.
When a pregnant dog who is near term is injected with Fatal Plus, she dies. But her puppies remain alive inside her uterus, forced to slowly suffocate to death. This dog had a right to live, as did her unborn puppies. This dog and her unborn puppies were wanted and a rescue group had advised Prince George’s Co they were coming to pick her up. But the county killed her anyway, blaming “human error”.
I would offer that the human error at the Prince George’s Co pound is the systematic killing of healthy pets and harboring bias against certain dogs based on body shape. Within this culture of killing, pound workers view discrimination and death as standard operating procedure which is why no one jumped up and down screaming, “No, this is not right!” when this dog was taken to the kill room. If Prince George’s Co was doing its job and saving every healthy/treatable animal in its care, that’s exactly what would have happened because no compassionate worker committed to protecting pets’ lives would stand by and allow this dog to be killed and her puppies, who likely could have survived outside the uterus, to smother.
I’ve been hearing for years that shelter works do not want to kill animals. I’m tired of hearing it. Show me. Start doing your jobs and providing shelter to the animals in your care. Follow the example set by the hundreds of open admission shelters in this country that are saving more than 90% of their animals. Stop the excuses. Stop the killing.
(Thank you Anne T. for the link.)