F-Star-Star-Star Yeah Augusta Chronicle

Although many newspapers feel comfortable endorsing political candidates in the lead up to an election, most do not weigh in on the needless killing of dogs and cats at their local shelter.  Of those that do, the editorials tend at best to nudge the shelter director with a kindly worded request for improvement and at worst blame the so-called irresponsible public for the killing and demand MSN enforcement.  But in a piece published yesterday, the editorial staff at the Augusta Chronicle in GA has changed all that.  They go to eleven:

Augusta-Richmond County is needlessly killing animals – dozens a day, hundreds a week, thousands a year.

All because leaders at the county’s Animal Services department refuse to work with volunteer rescue groups who help find homes for the dogs and cats that turn up at the animal shelter.

Apparently, it’s simply easier for Animal Services Director Sharon Broady and her staff to warehouse, kill and dispose of the animals than to process the paperwork needed to get them into caring homes.

The piece goes on to question why the Augusta pound is killing 70% of its animals while turning away rescuers and volunteers and why the director refuses to adopt out intact animals with spay-neuter agreements when the only alternative she allows is death.

Why is Broady’s default setting on “kill”?

She told The Augusta Chronicle via email interview that she is open to exploring options of lowering euthanasia rates. We suggest she consult a dictionary if her idea of “open” is to refuse to cooperate with rescue volunteers and blindly adhere to a policy that sends dozens of animals to the county landfill each day.

About 6,500 dogs and cats were killed last year.

Broady says lowering the kill rate would require “a new facility, additional staff, to include another veterinarian, vet techs and a much larger budget.”

She needs more resources? We don’t buy that facile argument for a split second. Broady has volunteers practically kicking her door in, begging to take these animals off her hands.

There are likely plenty of policy changes she can make to cut the kill rate that don’t require a bigger budget.

I’ll have what they’re having.

Referring to the Augusta pound as a “sick, sad death house”, the Chronicle offers up examples of places such as Kansas City where the killing of healthy/treatable pets has been drastically reduced after compassionate animal lovers committed to lifesaving took charge of operations.

Look long and hard at all these other agencies that are correctly and humanely executing their duties without executing tons of animals. Start doing what they do. Check your pride at the door. The animals whose life or death depends on us deserve that much.

Augusta Animal Services’ problem isn’t financial. It’s about attitude. And this agency has precisely the wrong attitude to fulfill a successful mission of caring for and adopting out Augusta’s most vulnerable animals.

While the editorial staff does not mention the No Kill Equation or the fact that there are hundreds of open admission shelters saving more than 90% of their pets all over the country, they clearly get the idea that a shelter should shelter, not kill, animals and that the need for meaningful reform is urgent:

Augusta Commissioners have ultimate authority for this slaughter. They have the responsibility to put an end to it. Commissioners, a compassionate and caring community is looking to you now. Do your jobs, and either make Ms. Broady do hers, or find someone else who will.

Out with the old, in with the editorial staff at the Augusta Chronicle. Someone should send them a copy of Redemption and a link to the No Kill Advocacy Center so that they can see what’s achievable in Augusta.  Local animal advocates, you’ve got the newspaper editorial staff on your side.  No small thing.  Seize the moment and publicly demand an end to the killing of healthy/treatable animals at the pound.  And then keep demanding it, six ways from Sunday, loudly, until it happens.

(Thanks Jodi for the link.)

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12 Comments

  1. Jody

     /  June 26, 2014

    I wish someone from the Commercial Appeal, in Memphis, had the “you-know-whats” to write such an editorial about Memphis Animal Services! Sounds like Augusta and Memphis have so much in common with their “shelters!”

    Reply
  2. db

     /  June 26, 2014

    Posted a bit of opinion and information on the FB page, since I had to register to comment on the article. Some of the ususal straw man arguments (irresponsible public, why are we more concerned about animals than people, etc) but many agree that what is happening is very wrong. Agree that Memphis needs someone(s) with the courage and integrity to write a similar editorial about MAS – but Wharton would probably have to approve it first.

    Hope this is the first of many editorials calling out incompetent (at best) directors and staff.

    Reply
  3. mikken

     /  June 26, 2014

    What an article! Laying the truth out for all to see. Amazing. Big points to them! Let’s hope it rallies the people to action!

    Reply
  4. I have posted this question several times, on several services and have yet to get the answer. These people in Atlanta feel it is (cheaper) to kill than to re home an animal, as they say they would need more buildings, employees, and funding (money). OK, then the question is: How much does this facility get paid for killing versus re homing a cat or dog? Say, it costs $150 to house, and adopt out an animal for the duration of the time it is in the facility. And that is being very generous. Is this what they are being paid to kill the same animal, or is it more…much more? The fact I cannot get an answer shows that there probably is a big difference, here. Other than the obvious, then there is less poop to clean up, fewer litter boxes to take care of, fewer animals to feed, and less paperwork to do. The less work there is to do to care for the animals, the happier the employees are. So, is the bottom line to keep the employees happy by reducing their work load, or is it to re home abandoned and rescued dogs and cars? Anyone have the answer?

    Reply
    • Please be more specific that “the people in Atlanta”. There are several counties in/around Atlanta. Some are making strides in the right direction, some are adamantly refusing to change. It is definitely not homogeneous. Which shelter(s), exactly are you talking about?

      Reply
      • Actually, ANY shelter. They seem too eager to kill rather than to rehome any cat, dog, or other animal.

    • This may help? No Kill Advocacy’s Center Dollar and Sense argument – http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=8985 . According to the article there are rescues willing to take these animals so the cost to the shelter is really nothing but the time it takes to fill out paperwork.

      Many shelters have foster homes which expand their capacity without having to build a new shelter and the fosters usually cover the food and supplies so all that the shelter covers is the vetting. The shelter then recoups some to all of that money through the adoption fee.

      But from the article, it seems that the shelter directly doesn’t want to work with rescues or volunteers and demands that they need more money to stop the killing. Clearly lifesaving isn’t her priority, nor is maximizing her resources or minimizing costs. If so, she would be taking up the free help that has been offered and started working to show results from the ground up.

      Kudos to Augusta Chronicle for leading the charge to save animals and being the watchdog for the community. It’s nice to see a newspaper call a spade, a spade for once instead of echoing whatever the shelter director says.

      Reply
    • The system is broken and it’s up to us to force change! Contact legislators and firmly tell them we won’t tolerate all the killing of innocent animals! Also, I have to wonder who supervises Directors and what checks and balances are in place! They need to be managed, not allowed to kill at will!

      Reply
  5. This article is just awesome! Makes my day : )

    Reply
  6. Kittypurr

     /  June 30, 2014

    I couldn’t log in to tell the editorial staff that they “Rock”

    But did notice all the killing apologists all over the comment section. What a bunch of evil old bags they are.

    Reply

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