Citrus Co: If It Ain’t Broke, Break It

Volunteers at the Citrus Co shelter in Florida say they have been instrumental in increasing the save rate and decreasing the length of stay at the facility.  This week, the board of county commissioners held a workshop regarding the shelter and there was a packet of information posted online which included various statistics.

Portion of material presented at the Citrus Co Board of Commissioners meeting on April 21, 2015.
Portion of material presented at the Citrus Co Board of Commissioners workshop on April 21, 2015.
Portion of material presented at the Citrus Co Board of Commissioners workshop on April 21, 2015
Portion of material presented at the Citrus Co Board of Commissioners workshop on April 21, 2015

Volunteers were stunned to learn during the workshop that the county is considering a change in policy that would almost certainly result in increased killing at the shelter and that county commissioners appear to be in favor of it.  I requested a copy of this policy change from Citrus Co Public Information Officer Tobey Phillips but haven’t received any response.  However Ms. Phillips appeared on the local news to explain the proposal:  Kill animals after 10 days.  Since the average length of stay for both dogs and cats at the shelter is currently more than 10 days, the likely result of this change would be a significant rise in pets leaving the shelter in garbage bags.

The packet presented at the workshop looks like it was put together by someone who hates animals.  There is support for MSN (a punitive law which has failed to decrease killing everywhere it’s been tried), opposition to TNR (in the form of old articles from cat hating groups), and documentation of a minor incident between a child and a dog at an offsite adoption event (which is the reason the county has suspended the offsite adoption program).  Much of the remainder is focused on money.

What the Citrus Co board of commissioners doesn’t seem to be taking into account here is that increased killing goes hand in hand with decreased community support.  If the volunteers who have worked so hard to get more animals adopted and rescued start watching their animals go into the dumpster, they aren’t likely to continue raising money and donating their time to the shelter.  The public will likewise be turned off, as is commonly found in many communities where the residents know the local shelter is a depressing death house.  Compassionate donors don’t like to give money to places that kill animals.

Shelter volunteers are advocating for the animals by speaking out publicly and contacting the board of commissioners with their concerns about the proposed change.  Let’s hope it’s enough to force the board to see reason.  Citrus Co has some good things going for it at the shelter, no need to flush it all away.  And while continued improvements would be the preferred route, even if all the board manages is to do nothing at all, that would be better than implementing this arbitrary kill order.

6 thoughts on “Citrus Co: If It Ain’t Broke, Break It

  1. Hey, I’ve got an idea – how about we work to reduce the time spent at the shelter by…gasp…adopting out animals faster? That way, we can have our cake and eat it, too – without all the death stuff.


  2. In addition to the time limit of 10 days they are considering doing away with the Veterinarian. I suppose that means we would have to rely upon a consulting vet to stop by once a week. No timely vaccinations or medical care. Very bad ideas coming from this group! This was dropped on us during a workshop so they couldn’t vote that day but plan to vote at a meeting on May 12th. They all verbally expressed their agreement of the idea.

    Here are the emails for the persons responsible. Please take a moment to send them an email. It’s not yet too late! .
    County Commissioners:

  3. they need to re establish the “off site adoption events”.. Reportedly resulted in many adoptions.

  4. It seems like their numbers are trending in the right direction, why implement policies
    that would halt that progress? (Because it’s “cheaper” or “easier” to just kill?) SAD. VERY SAD. ONE incident at an off side event is not an acceptable reason to scrap the whole thing.
    It’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. :-( Why not look at & change the current procedures to PREVENT it from happening again? It reminds me of a shelter that suspended ALL volunteer activities / programs because of two incidents involving a few poorly trained, improperly supervised volunteers. FIX the problem, address the issues, don’t suspend it ALL. When my car tire is flat, I FIX it, I don’t go out and buy a new car because it’s too hard to fix.

    It seems like in this case, they are looking for the “easy” way out of doing the work that is required to increase adoptions, and decrease the killing. It seems like they are proposing implementing policies that will justify killing.

    When it comes to the expense: a solid volunteer program, outreach, TNR programs, community support, increased adoptions, and decreased length of stay COSTS LESS in the long run. OH, AND IT SAVES LIVES TOO! Cheap & easy is NEVER the best option.

  5. This is a chicken sh*t way of getting out.of taking care of these animals. Animals have feelings too!!!

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