Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals: Monroe Co Edition

Monroe Co, FL contracts with three animal shelters for services. Here are the 2014 kill stats for each:

Humane Animal Care Coalition (aka Upper Keys Animal Shelter)

Cat kill rate: 81%
Dog kill rate: 43%

Safe Harbor Animal Rescue of the Keys

Cat kill rate: 31%
Dog kill rate: 18%

Florida Keys SPCA

Cat kill rate: 47%
Dog kill rate: 18%

While none of these shelters is no kill, one is clearly failing worse than the others.  Local media sought an explanation:

Marsha Garrettson, director of the Upper Keys Animal Shelter, offered little explanation as to why the euthanasia trends in the Upper Keys were far above the rest of the island chain.

She told the Free Press her nonprofit organization is financially sound and can afford to provide surgeries and healthcare to any animal brought it. Her shelter also provides free spay and neuter services, which she says has reduced overall intake of cats and dogs over the years.

“This was never about the money,” Garrettson said. “It never has been.”

M’kaaay, so money is not now nor has it ever been a problem.  Upper Keys can pay for veterinary care for any animal at the facility.  But the staff is killing them instead.  Why?

[Garrettson] said her shelter never euthanizes an adoptable animal. With the exception of feral cats, every cat or dog put down is either too sick or aggressive for adoption, she said. However, she acknowledged that the higher euthanasia percentages in the Upper Keys do not indicate that animals there are sicker or more aggressive than those elsewhere in the county.

Wait, what?  Money to pay for vet care is no object yet 81% of cats and 43% of dogs impounded were killed for illness or behavior?  How is one county facility being allowed to fail so miserably while stats from its two neighboring shelters show that less killing is achievable?

Meet Enabler Number One:

 Monroe County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said she was not concerned by the difference in euthanasia percentages.

“I’m perfectly happy with the services at the clinic,” she told the Free Press.

Murphy reiterated that the Upper Keys shelter only euthanizes ill, diseased or aggressive animals.

To be clear, the “service” most animals at the Upper Keys facility receive is killing.  Which this elected official is perfectly happy with.

And Enabler Number Two:

Tammy Foxe, director of the Key West shelter, declined to speculate why percentages were lower in her region.

“I think the three county shelters are working very hard for this community,” she said.

There are hundreds of open admission shelters all over the country saving 90% and more of their pets.  Those shelters are working very hard for their communities.  These three, not so much.  And one of the three is lagging way behind the other two, clearly disproving the notion that all three are fabulous.  It almost sounds like this person is ashamed of her work saving lives.

Mercifully, there was a quote at the end of the article from the token Regular Person Who Says What I Am Thinking:

Nancy Warner, a member of Forgotten Felines of the Florida Keys, said she was appalled by the euthanasia data.


Warner said the county should find someone else to run the Key Largo shelter.

“It would be better for people to let their animal run out the door than take it to the shelter,” she said.

Thank you.

The Upper Keys shelter has the financial means to treat every animal under its roof.  But they are putting most of the animals into garbage bags.  What’s the money being spent on – Fatal Plus?  Compassion fatigue counseling for the staff?  Cheery posters for the kill room?

I hope Monroe Co taxpayers stand up and demand accountability from their shelters and elected officials.  Get rid of the pet killers and their enablers and put people in place who are willing to do their jobs, even when – and especially when – it means ruffling feathers. That’s why they call it work.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

6 thoughts on “Nobody WANTS to Kill Animals: Monroe Co Edition

  1. I’m so sick of this! Each day we sign petitions, notify our rulers and it still goes on! We must find an effective way to stop the killings now!

  2. So…the one resource they’re lacking is…compassion? Huh. Maybe they can get a grant or something for that.

  3. Our local animal control boasts that they never kill for space, but they have high kill statistics. Their rationale is that the ones they “euthanize” are sick or have behavior issues. A snotty nose will get an animal killed, as will be a “feral” cat. It’s all in the definition of “adoptable” and “healthy”. And the fact that so many are satisfied (even proud) with so many dead pets is beyond my ability to comprehend. Michigan Humane Society plays the same game. When I questioned them, the response I got was they aren’t going to do anything any different just to change the statistics. So, there . . . these aren’t living beings, they are just numbers.

  4. Among other things, Lake County Florida Animal Services (LCAS) is padding their numbers.

    There is a state law – FL 823.15, that makes it mandatory for any animal leaving a shelter be spayed/neutered. If not, the adopters have 30 days, after providing a refundable deposit ensuring they bring their pet back for altering, to either have a vet of their choice alter the animal or make an appointment at LCAS for the procedure. There is no record of any money being collected for at least the past year, although animals leave weekly without be altered. Animals are counted as “Intake” upon their initial arrival at the facility, whether it be as a stray, owner surrender, or another method. When the new adopter later returns to the facility – a week, a month, or several months later – with his/her new pet to be spayed/neutered, LCAS categorizes this as a new “Intake”, and when the owner picks up his/her pet that was just dropped off, they document that as “Returned to Owner,” thereby claiming two “Intakes” for the same animal and intentionally deceiving the public into believing they had a significant role in helping an owner recover their missing pet (“Returned to Owner”). This disgusting method of doctoring the books to make themselves appear to the public they supposedly represent is reprehensible and inexcusable. It falsely increases the facility Live Release Rate (LRR) by padding the number of “Intakes”, and misrepresents the facility’s actual “Return to Owner” numbers. The category LCAS is using in an attempt to get this past unsuspecting eyes is the category “SURGERY” under the monthly “Intakes”. There were 155 Intakes listed under the new “SURGERY category for the month of February. Public records requests confirm pets adopted were later returned for altering with LCAS documenting a new “Intake” when the pet is dropped off for surgery by its owner, and either later that same day or no later than the following day, after the same owner that dropped the pet off picks it up, LCAS pats itself on the back by claiming “Returned to Owner” on the monthly kennel report. Falsifying both the numerator and denominator of your overall Live Release Rate in their favor to increase the appearance of improved save rates for the LCAS facility is plainly deceptive. Using the Intake number with “SURGERY” documented and the total Euthanized” as 168, that gives LCAS a Live Release Rate (LRR) of 75%.Using the Intake number without “SURGERY” documented and the total Euthanized” as 168, that gives LCAS a Live Release Rate (LRR) of 68%. Disingenuous, dishonest, and deceitful on all levels by government officials running a taxpayer funded facility. Steve ShankMt. Dora, FL Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:09:48 +0000 To:

    1. They maybe learned that sneaky trick from PETA who did a very similar thing on their reports until the state told them to stop being dishonest.

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