In Richmond Co, Georgia, Augusta Animal Services has been killing 70% of its animals for the past two years. And that tragic kill rate appears to be the result of a hot mess perpetuated by local leaders.
An animal advocate recently told the Augusta Chronicle that Augusta pound director Sharon Broady refuses to work with rescues and charges them full adoption fees. In addition, with the loss last month of the pound’s part-time vet, animals are apparently being single-tracked to the kill room, with the state spay-neuter law being cited as the reason. No vet=no neuters=no live releases.
Georgia state law and Richmond County ordinance both require shelters to either neuter pets prior to adoption or have the adopter sign an agreement that the pet will be neutered within 30 days (for adult animals). It is unclear to me why the Augusta pound is not utilizing the latter option in order to save lives. The director cites a lack of compliance in past on the part of owners who adopted intact pets but fails to mention that the alternative choice she is making, instead of working to increase compliance, is death.
The pound’s adoption program appears to be suspended and the facility is killing more than 100 pets a week. The director won’t reopen the adoption program until a veterinarian is hired. City commissioners recently approved hiring a full time vet for the pound but there is no sense of urgency to fill the position, which the city estimates may take as long as 6 months. No rush I guess, as long as the city has the landfill space for the mountain of dead animals it’s creating.
The city commissioners bring the blame:
“This is a community wide problem and not strictly to our animal control director. It goes all the way down to people who have pets and don’t take care of them,” Commissioner Donnie Smith said.
It is the director’s choice to kill animals instead of allowing rescues and adopters to save them. That choice is not in any way reflective of the behavior of area pet owners. Naming the problem is the first step to finding a solution.
Then there’s this guy:
“I wish we had more debate about abortions. I mean nobody has talked about that. animals are animals and I love animals. We don’t have the funds and I approved to have a veterinarian. At some point we need to have responsible pet owners,” Commissioner Joe Jackson said.
Mmmmkaaaay. I wish we had a debate about foxes wearing pajamas. Maybe I’ll get my wish someday and maybe Commissioner Jackson will get his. In the meantime, the director of the Augusta pound is choosing to operate the place primarily as a pet killing facility while turning away rescuers and adopters. While we’re waiting for our debate wish lists to be fulfilled, maybe we could talk about that.
(Thanks Clarice and Kim for sending me links on this story.)