ID Shelter Conducting Mass Cat Killing Due to Upper Respiratory Infection

Emily, one of 52 cats from a hoarding case taken in with a URI by the SPCA.
Emily, one of 52 cats from a hoarding case taken in with a URI by the Medina Co SPCA in Ohio.  (Photo by Casey Post)

When some cats at the Pocatello Animal Shelter in Idaho got sick last month, the shelter tried treating them for one week, then conducted lab tests.  The results showed an upper respiratory infection caused by the feline herpes virus and a mycoplasma infection.  After consulting with local vets, shelter officials decided to kill the entire population of cats – approximately 100 pets.

“It’s like a really nasty cold,” said [Pocatello Public Information Officer Logan] McDougall. “You have sneezing, you have coughing, eventually you have a high grade fever, and ultimately it can lead to dehydration and death.”

It can lead to death.  Which means it can also lead to life.  You know what definitely always 100% absolutely leads to death?  Killing.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make. It was something that took a lot of thought, and decided this was the best course of action for all the animals of Pocatello.”

Can we poll the cats on that?

Officials say it wasn’t cost effective to try and treat the cats because their survival is very slim even with treatment.

So some would have survived with treatment but dollars.  And issuing a plea to the public for donations to cover the cost of treatment sounds like work.  So, best course of action is to kill the sick cats, the asymptomatic cats, even the cats in foster homes:

Logan McDougall […] said some of the cats have already been put down and others are still being returned from foster homes.

Emily, after being treated at the Medina Co SPCA.  Her vision is permanently impaired but her desire to be held and loved is perfectly intact.  (Photo by Casey Post)
Emily, after being treated for her URI at the Medina Co SPCA in Ohio. Her vision is permanently impaired but her desire to be held and loved is perfectly intact. (Photo by Casey Post)

Imagine fostering a cat for the Pocatello Animal Shelter and receiving a call to bring in your cat – not because there is a potential adopter who wants to meet her – but to be killed.  Even if she doesn’t have any signs of illness.  Because we’re killing ALL THE CATS.  Sign me up for that foster list.

I hope local animal advocates are taking action.  The cats clearly have no voice at the shelter.

(Thanks Clarice and Anne for the links.)

19 thoughts on “ID Shelter Conducting Mass Cat Killing Due to Upper Respiratory Infection

  1. “It’s like a really nasty cold” Wow, they didn’t even try to make it sound reasonable, did they?

  2. Name me a shelter cat that HASN’T been exposed to the feline herpes virus! It’s absolutely outrageous that a shelter would slaughter cats for this.

    They’ve completely broken trust with the community. And they want sympathy for it? NO.

  3. Poor kitties. :-( Our shelter cat Beau thankfully didn’t come to us with any issues from substandard care, but it also grieves my heart to think of the animals that that can’t be said for. To lighten the mood a little, I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award — it’s supposed to be 15 people, but I have only two. Better than none I suppose. You deserve it.

  4. The kitten with cataracts I asked about last week had a very bad URI for the first couple months of his life. It did impact his vision (he will likely be blind), but he survived it outside without meds because he was fed and watered and had basic shelter. I’ve just had him neutered (and his 2 sisters spayed), and meds were given to me to clear up lingering symptoms, but he’s getting through the “really nasty cold” with minimal care. Imagine if minimal care had been given to the cats in that pound – clean cages, good food, fresh water, decent temperature surroundings, and some simple quarantine protocols to prevent ridiculous spreading of germs – an appeal for donations to pay for Clavamox for staff & volunteers (if they have any) to dose them would have ensured a pretty high survival rate – and any kitties in foster care could have gotten Clavamox at home, and there would have been no need to become a mass killing ground. Absolutely f’ing ridiculous behavior by jerks who couldn’t be bothered to do the teensiest research and put a little effort into actually SHELTERING animals in their facility. – I sit and give the of disgust.

  5. If I were a foster, no way in Hell would I obey the order to turn my animal over for euthanasia. I’d rather be barred from fostering again than have murder on my conscience.

  6. My veterinarian had a male orange kitten with two really bad eye infections (someone found the kitten and brought him to my vet to be euthanized) – the kitten eventually lost both eyes as a result of the infections but my vet wanted to give the now blind kitten a chance to live (the kitten was so lively, fun-loving and it was hard to believe he had no vision.) He loved life.
    I fostered the kitten – we called him Stevie-Ray (after Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles) he was the most incredible little guy – he used his whiskers to navigate rooms and anyone who met him thought he could see.
    He eventually got a great home in Seattle (the adoptive Mom called with wonderful stories about how he took charge of his new home with a new buddy cat)

    I’m telling this because this can happen with so many animals that need a little help from a person or two and a SHELTER that won’t kill them.

    Stevie-Ray needed us (as many helped him on his recovery and in finding him a home) and I rely on his story for inspiration of what can be.

  7. Hello all,
    I just recently moved to Idaho from Oregon and this story was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard… I wrote to some local shelters for help with rehoming my cats… This I just wrote today, trying to find homes for my beloved kitties. If any of you can help, please contact me at my email that I will leave below. Thank you for reading.
    Sent today to a local group. The lady who wrote back was very nice but didn’t have too many answers… Money and time is the answer but who has it??

    “I’ve had many, many cats left at my house in eastern Oregon, or had mother cats show up with babies in tow, or with pending babies, with no place to go…some were sick, most were terribly starved but all needed immediate help. I did what any “crazy cat woman” would do-I did my best to care for them and get them spayed and neutered…but not always were there funds to deal with the increasing problem. I have made the acquaintance of lots of abandoned grown cats, or named brand new arrivals – about 100 or so in all… In the last 15 years, I have rehomed or lost due to disease or age, over half of them. I still care for many cats, most of which are in their early senior years now, but I’ve recently had a suprise-a double litter of kittens that desperately need homes. The problem is that these kittens carry a respiratory virus. When I took all 10 babies to the vet here in Nampa, he said that it was most likely Calici even though we didn’t test for it, and that if I could keep them alive, they would probably thrive but would carry the virus and could relapse during times of stress. I kept them all alive, eyes and noses cleared and tummies full, and they are growing and fairly friendly, but I need to find homes for them in twos, because they are such little clingy babies. Do you know of any homes that would be willing to take babies or their mama’s knowing they have this bug? My own three house cats carry a respiratory bug but they live well inside and never relapse except one does sneeze now and then. And the vets tech said her cats have it as well, but when they are cared for and live in a low stress environment, they live pretty long and fairly healthy lives. Some of mine are 10 & 11 years old now-I just lost my oldest one, a cat that showed up in 1996 and he was grown then. That would have made him at least 19 years old…his name was Nabe, short for Neighborhood Cat… All they show is a teary eye now and then but I do have one 9 year old male who is just chronically sniffly/sneezy…He goes on meds occasionally to stabilize his system. Any ideas would be helpful. My husband is a commercial fisherman and I work full time, but I also work after work, on my own to care for the cats, without outside funds or resources, and my new husband just built them a fenced in run and new building in our back field. The building has AC and heat… these cats are loved, but they are going to become too crowded… When I got married I would not abandon them to Oregon so I brought my old cat family here with me, and my wonderful husband showed his huge soft heart by building them a sanctuary of their own, but I didn’t plan on having so many youngsters. I will have to extend the run if I cannot find homes for them, which is so expensive. Any ideas would be helpful. Thank you!

    (then I wrote back to her after she told me to contact the local shelters)

    I’m afraid to go to an actual shelter after what happened in Pocatello-they destroyed their whole cat population a couple weeks ago because they had the virus…over 100 cats…… It may be that I will just end up having to extend the run (we have a full acre out back) so the cats can just live and spread out. I will not let them loose upon the neighborhood. They have fenced in runs so nothing can get at them (we sometimes see dogs and raccoons, and we have large hawks and owls flying overhead now and then, and we’re building them scratching areas and perches, and outdoor sleeping boxes if they wish to go outside thru the pet doors, and we’re laying in sod this week so they have a new lawn-they have old pasture right now but they love it-they love the fresh air and the wind and sunshine and the birds flying overhead and the bugs buzzing around… I honestly thought I’d be able to rehome several of my cats once I moved down here but now I don’t think so… I feel badly that they most likely won’t have real homes, but the alternative is worse for them. I’ve had most of them since they were younger and some I’ve had since they were born, so they know no other situation. I have 3 that are intractable-I cannot handle them at all, but they are the exception to this group, thankfully not the rule. I appreciate all you are doing. I’m trying to do what I can. I have thought about just trying to get a non-profit status so we can at least write off some of our expenses, which you know are not small but wouldn’t know where to start.

    If anyone is interested in helping please send me an email at
    Thank you, and blessed be poor kitties who aren’t so lucky… >**<

  8. The potatoes in Idaho have a higher I. Q. than the dipsticks running the “shelter”. You see, how it works is: If someone has a cold, you TREAT THEIR SYMPTOMS BY GIVING THEM MEDICINE.

  9. What kind of idiots do we have making decisions at Shelters! Shelters are no longer safe for animals and an animal entering a shelter is an invitation to murder! We desperately need Shelter reform and management, but legislators would rather take care of insignificant issues which will probably result in another Government shut down! They’re like children who don’t get their way, they don’t want to play! We need strong leadership to manage all issues in our country, significantly Animal abuse in Shelters! It’s time for a big change, people!

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