California – Remember when Orange Co Animal Care Director and Chief Veterinarian Jennifer Hawkins was crusading for the right to kill a service dog named Karma because dogs are descended from wolves? Well she’s got more wacky up her sleeve. Like reportedly killing an adolescent puppy for being “bratty”. And in response to two scathing grand jury reports which cited filthy conditions causing animals to get sick and “poor management practices and lack of effective leadership” as the root of many of the facility’s problems, Hawkins addressed animal advocates at a public meeting in September:
As for euthanasia practices, the shelter’s director said the policy is to only put down animals that have health or behaviors that are beyond staff’s ability to manage. Euthanasia rates are down to less than 6 percent this year, said Dr. Jennifer Hawkins[.]
Apparently teen puppy brattiness is beyond her staff’s ability to manage. But reducing the kill rate to less than six percent sounds good, yes? I mean, if it weren’t a big fat lie:
Of the 2,050 animals entering the county government’s sole shelter in October, 725 were euthanized, according to data from shelter officials. That makes for a euthanasia rate of 35 percent[.]
Ah, I see. Probably a lot of brats in there though.
Then there’s this:
Lake Forest Councilman James Gardner, who is active on animal issues, says the high euthanasia rate is an indicator of major problems with the way Orange County shelters animals.
While the shelter has many documents and policies about how to kill animals, “they have almost nothing on how do you care for animals. Almost nothing on how do you make [them] marketable to the people,” Gardner said.
The documents include advice on how many animals to put on table at a time when killing them, he added. “Just the worst shit that you’ve ever seen in your life.”
How many animalS? What the mother flippin’ pancake? No animal should be killed in view of another animal, at any distance, never mind on the same table. What kind of kill room horror show is going on at Orange Co?
When the shelter is killing as many animals as it does, Gardner said, it makes it harder to get volunteers to care for them.
Gosh, ya think? I can’t understand why there isn’t a line of animal lovers around the block waiting for their chance to hold down animals on the kill table while they watch their buddies getting snuffed.
“Orange County kills animals because they’re scared – honestly, because animals are scared, they’re put to death.”
Look, I am a human being, thousands of miles away from the Orange Co pound and thinking about that kill room makes *me* scared. I can only imagine how the animal victims locked up in the place feel.
This month, animal advocates spoke at the Orange Co Board of Supervisors meeting about their ongoing concerns. Advocates say the shelter manipulates data to give the appearance of a lower kill rate, e.g. counting the killing of an entire litter of kittens as one animal. Hawkins tried giving advocates the silent treatment at the meeting:
There was no response from county staff to the claims. Hawkins was watching the comments in the audience, but did not respond. Her spokeswoman didn’t have further comment when asked about the claims after the meeting.
The following day, Hawkins released a short statement saying her agency will be complying with a directive from county supervisors to respond to the claims by an unspecified date.
The county has previously stated that it’s not management’s fault that morale is low among shelter staff – it’s those pesky animal advocates who keep speaking up and demanding transparency and the implementation of proven lifesaving methods and yadda yadda. I look forward to the next non-response at an unspecified date. Meantime, go Team Pesky.