The animals at the long troubled gassing pound in Shawnee, OK have been getting some help from area rescuers. With a paltry 48 hour holding period, rescuers must continually scramble to get pets out alive. They have reportedly been able to pull every dog at the small pound since May. But that streak ended last week when the city gassed three dogs, one of whom was reportedly slated to be pulled that morning. Tragically, the public outcry is being directed at the former owners (who may or may not be known) instead of those who actually killed the animals.
The Shawnee city manager, Justin Erickson, says the pound will, at some unspecified time, stop gassing and start killing via injection. He plans to talk more about that next year. Cause I mean, what’s the hurry, right? As for embracing the proven programs used by hundreds of open admission no kill shelters around the country, that’s a no:
“We are not able to transition to no kill at this time,” said Erickson during Monday’s city council meeting.
I assume that explanation will satisfy everyone paying for the shelter to not shelter animals. If not, maybe local animal advocates can stop dreaming up Evil Former Owner fantasies and start pressuring public officials to do their jobs. Or just let the city keep rescuers in continual crisis mode, with them gassing the occasional pet because they can, and enabling them by failing to unequivocally blame those doing the killing. The more the city is able to distract advocates, the more things stay the same.
Let’s be clear: Some shelter pets are lost. Their owners want them back. Others are in between homes. It doesn’t matter who used to own a shelter pet or how that animal arrived at the shelter. There is only now. Now is an opportunity to help the animal, starting with protecting his right to live. Everything else is a distraction.