Rowan Co Institutes Mandatory Killing for Cats After 7 Days, Pretends It’s to Prevent Disease

The Rowan Co pound in NC group-houses cats in a dog run.  Kittens are in a neighboring dog run.  The pound sells all pets for $70 with no discount for rescue groups.  There is no foster program listed on the website.  Rowan Co killed 1452 cats in 2013 – more than half of all the cats they took in.  The pound currently has 11 pets listed on Petfinder – all dogs.

A dog named "60881" posted on Petfinder by Rowan Co and described as "**LAST DAY IS MONDAY 8/4/14!!**", as shown on the website on August 7, 2014.
A dog named “60881” posted on Petfinder by Rowan Co and described as “**LAST DAY IS MONDAY 8/4/14!!**”, as shown on the website on August 7, 2014.

Yesterday, Rowan Co issued a public notice via e-mail and social media that states the county wants to keep the pound free of feline panleukopenia virus and as such, has instituted some new cat policies. My summary:

  • Please don’t touch the cats.
  • In order to reduce “airborne dust particles”, the county is switching the kind of cat litter it uses.
  • All cats and kittens will be killed after 7 days.

The notice further asks that people help educate the public about the importance of vaccination and provides a link to an article on Wikipedia as well as one on the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program website. I clicked that link and snipped the following bits of information on panleukopenia:

  • [A]dult cats with current vaccinations are at very low risk.
  • Control is dependent on effective vaccination, keeping cats separate during the time they may be incubating the disease, and careful cleaning and disinfection of all areas in which cats are housed.
  • Vaccination for panleukopenia is highly effective if performed correctly. A good vaccine program can substantially reduce spread of infection in a shelter. […] All cats 4-5 weeks of age and older should receive a modified live panleukopenia vaccine immediately upon shelter entry.

I didn’t see anything about not touching cats or cat litter or arbitrary killing of all cats after 7 days on the Koret page.  Maybe they forgot.  Or maybe Rowan Co, whose pound primarily functions as a killing facility with regard to cats, is simply giving itself excuses to kill cats.  More.

It sounds to me as if Rowan Co should be implementing a vaccination upon intake policy for all cats, appropriately quarantining new arrivals, developing a foster program and conducting the prescribed housing and cleaning routines recommended by Koret.  The county’s newly announced protocols are not based on current shelter medicine science.  If the county truly wants to reduce the occurrence of panleukopenia in the pound, they might start by reading their own link and doing their jobs.  But that sounds like work.  And arbitrary killing is apparently so much easier.

(Thanks Jane for the story.)

15 thoughts on “Rowan Co Institutes Mandatory Killing for Cats After 7 Days, Pretends It’s to Prevent Disease

  1. After adopting out sick cats with Panleukopenia, this is the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area’s response posted on their web site at

    “Please be advised before adopting…
    Panleukopenia is a highly infectious viral disease. Signs include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, lethargy and fever, and death. It can range from mild diarrhea to fatal disease.
    Diarrhea in an otherwise bright, alert, eating, drinking kitten is more likely due to diet change, stress, parasites, or dietary indiscretion.
    Due to the high volume of STRAY cats we intake through this facility and not having a vet on site we are unable to catch all sickness issues that may arise. Our staff does everything that we can possible do to isolate all cats that are displaying obvious signs of illness. Please understand we highly recommend when adopting that the new pet be taken for a complete health exam and isolated from all other animals in the home until a clean bill of health is given by a veterinarian.
    All though we are treating to get out, and keep this awful disease out of the shelter, please be advised some cats may still have this or may be able to catch this and become ill!!!!!
    Thank you for your understanding and patronage in this matter.”

  2. The only “disease” they’re preventing is an attack of ethics. This is so obviously “we’re too lazy to do anything properly, so we’re just going to go with the wholesale slaughter of cats, instead”.

    If the cats cannot be properly housed and cared for, I say stop taking in cats. Let them take their chances on the streets and against predators. At least then, they’ll have some kind of chance.

  3. Church Plans Animal Fighting Contest 

    Church Plans Animal Fighting Contest STEPHENSVILLE, Wis. – St. Patrick’s Parish in Hortonville, Wisconsin plan to host an event this weekend in which pigs are punched in the face, kicked, body-slam View on Preview by Yahoo  

  4. Oh, wait. Maybe they should just NOT take in cats. It sounds like they don’t have the proper facilities to handle cats, so unless they are willing to build the proper facilities and actually care for cats properly, they shouldn’t be housing cats at all. But it also makes me wonder if they are going to adopt that policy for dogs once they have a case of Parvo. You know, if they’re all dead, they can’t get sick.

  5. Rowan is just hell for animals and particularly for cats. People all over the country work their tails off to try to get rescue for these animals and the Rowan shelter staff throw roadblocks in their paths at every turn. They are disgusting.

  6. It’s disturbing that the shelter made these decisions after “meeting with several veterinary professionals to develop new protocols to help reduce further and future transfer of the virus” (per the “Friends of” Facebook page).

    Did these vets not recommend vaccination on intake? And did they sign on to mandatory killing? Hard to believe either one. How disappointing that the vets — who have both special knowledge and credibility — are not speaking out about the shelter’s choices.

  7. Too many gov impound facilities seem to throw their hands in the air with the “We’re doing all we can” , especially when it comes to cats. No. No you’re not. You’re doing what you’ve always done. Killing them.

  8. What happened to the $500,000 grant to build a functional cat wing on this hell-hole of a “shelter”?? AT the very least these half-wit imbeciles should be vaccinating upon intake, and stop trapping!! AND they should GIVE the cats to rescues instead of charging them and making them jump through hoops to get cats out.

    How about a sit-in to get attention to this bullshit?

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