FL Pound Kills 16 Dogs in Response to Parvo Outbreak, Cites ASPCA Guidelines

Last Monday, Lake County commissioners “began investigating the deaths of several puppies which appear not to have received the proper vaccinations before they were cleared for adoption” at the pound.  On Tuesday, one dog, followed by several more at the Lake Co pound, reportedly began exhibiting parvo-like symptoms.  On Wednesday, the county veterinarian recommended shutting down the facility – dog adoptions and intakes were both halted.  That night, asymptomatic dogs were given booster vaccinations.  By Thursday, cat adoptions had also been suspended.  Somewhere in there, 16 symptomatic dogs were killed.  I have found no publicly available information indicating any dog was ever tested for parvo or diagnosed by a veterinarian.

The county claims that all animals are vaccinated upon intake but given the current investigation, that appears to be questionable.  When asked why the 16 dogs did not receive supportive care, Brian Sheahan, Lake Co community safety and compliance director, offered 2 justifications for the killings:  treatment is “extraordinarily expensive” (not necessarily) and the county is “following the ASPCA guidelines” regarding parvo.  That second thing appears to be accurate, tragically.

The ASPCA recommendations for shelters which have one dog diagnosed with parvo are the same for those with more than one dog diagnosed:

Dogs that are owned by the shelter but not strong adoption candidates are immediately euthanized.

As for the definition of “not strong adoption candidates” – it’s anything goes.  And if that’s not broad enough for you, the ASPCA gives additional leeway:

Dogs and puppies diagnosed with CPV may be euthanized for the following reasons:

1) No space at veterinary clinic to treat
2) Not adoption candidate
3) Failure to improve with treatment (defined by shelter veterinary discretion)
4) Parvo in addition to other illness

It’s disappointing to see that the ASPCA is not only providing cover for the needless killing of shelter pets but hasn’t updated its guidelines to reflect lifesaving as a priority for shelters dealing with parvo.  Diagnosis of disease is never a license to kill pets.  Decisions must be made on an individual basis utilizing the prognosis for each animal provided by a veterinarian.  It’s unclear if testing even occurred at Lake Co, let alone obtaining a prognosis for each individual dog from a vet.

Lake Co is no stranger to failure.  The public has long been critical of the needless pet killing at the facility.  The current director, on the job for just months, is quitting.  The county manager stated last week that he would request an audit of the pound’s intake and vaccination protocols.  Wow, you really want to go that far?  Color me underwhelmed.

Apparently the county politicians are only interested in scraping the tip of the iceberg then applying a band-aid to the pound’s image.  I hope the public will continue to demand meaningful reform at the Lake Co pound, including the implementation of the proven programs of the No Kill Equation.  Continued killing while hiding behind the skirts of the ASPCA is not going to cut it.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

8 thoughts on “FL Pound Kills 16 Dogs in Response to Parvo Outbreak, Cites ASPCA Guidelines

  1. the ASPCA is a wicked organization and not in the good “Boston” sense. They advocate for killing dogs an cats daily. Between HSUS/ASPCA and their “front man” to take the heat off PETA, they kill thousands of animals yearly. When will people wake up and stop giving them $$ they cannot exist without their life blood of “only 19.00 a month. I truly believe that animals would be better off without these “big three”

  2. ASPCA could do great work if they stuck to disaster mitigation/recovery. They don’t have much shelter experience *cough* New York *cough* and what experience they have, isn’t exactly cutting edge in the whole “life saving” department.

    How an organization fights animal cruelty with one hand while simultaneously telling shelters to just go ahead and kill any and all puppies they want with the other is beyond me.

    As for these guys, why “booster” dogs if they’d already gotten the vaccinations (and were adults, apparently)? Sounds more like, “Ooops, we weren’t vaccinating on intake and now we’re screwed – better do something and try to make it look good.”

  3. There is so much new information out there on saving animals exposed to parvo. Why do these people insist on ignoring new and improved information, progressive sheltering, continuing education, etc.? So frustrating! http://www.maddiesfund.org/Maddies_Institute/Videos/Parvovirus_an_Integrated_Communication_Strategy.html


  4. These ‘people’ (aspca peta hsus) should all be charged with cruelty to animals – that is what their “policies and guidelines” promote. If you or I denied treatment to a sick dog we would be charged with animal cruelty/neglect. These “shelters” should be charged with that and for fraud for even calling themselves a “shelter”.

    The good news is……I saw where hsus donations were down by $20 million last year – keep spreading the word!

  5. Dr. Ellen Jefferson, DVM, at Austin Pets Alive is treating parvo cases for around $150 for severe cases, and only about $50 for mild cases (not the cost-prohibitive “thousands of dollars” of intensive emergency clinic care that this shelter is obviously alluding to. Here’s a video of Dr. Jefferson’s presentation on the very inexpensive treatment protocols, complete with drugs and dosages, at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2g-cUuyFeQ

    There’s also the recent recommendation from Dr. Sullivan at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital that parvo can be treated at home in owned animals at far less expense, especially for those who can’t afford hospitalization. Check out an article about this at: http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/pages/parvo-puppies-new-protocal.aspx

    Finally, Dr. Ronald Schultz, leading world expert on veterinary immunology has outlined how you can use titer testing to halt/control shelter outbreaks and avoid needlessly killing animals. New titer tests are not quite inexpensive and can be done inhouse. See online video of his presentation from the Maddie’s Institute at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXg4SxtDcbc

    Not only is parvo virus highly treatable (about 85% survival rate or better), but the animals are highly adoptable — cute puppies!!!

    This is what happens when a shelter director and shelter vet DO NOT STAY ABREAST OF NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THEIR VERY OWN FIELD. Shame on all of them!

  6. I wish they weren’t so quick to kill! They don’t care. They just kill! Why, to lessen the work load? There has to be a better way to help our animals! Stop this already; it’s disgusting!

Leave a Reply