National Animal Shelter Reform Week

The No Kill Advocacy Center launched National Animal Shelter Reform Week this week in direct response to HSUS’s National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.

Inga Fricke of HSUS:

“A shelter is a safe haven for animals, and a great place to adopt a new family pet. Shelters also provide critical services like investigating cruelty and neglect, reuniting lost pets with their families, teaching kids to care about animals, and providing spay/neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation in their communities.”

No Kill Advocacy Center:

National Animal Shelter Reform Week is designed to confront the tragic truth about how most shelters in this country operate and to increase public awareness about how animal lovers can fight back. Despite the uphill battle many shelter reformers face, they are succeeding through ingenuity, perseverance, and because the American public loves animals.

HSUS says we should use this week “to honor animal shelters and the dedicated people who work to protect animals”.  The No Kill Advocacy Center counters that this week is dedicated to animal lovers who are fighting back against shelter abuse and that we should “support their reform campaigns and honor their tireless efforts”.

The No Kill Advocacy Center gives some examples of shelter abuse but the HSUS press release is notably lacking any examples of the “safe havens” deserving of our reverence.  Since posting stories of abuse at animal shelters has become a focus of this blog, please allow me to provide some specific examples of a larger pattern that concerns me:

The Coweta Co Animal Control shelter in GA was no “safe haven” for an impounded dog with severe injuries who was left without veterinary care to suffer on the cold cement floor.  Small kittens – even healthy, friendly ones that the public will often readily foster or adopt – are killed at the county shelter in Anne Arundel, MD because they might get sick.  At the Marshall Co Animal Shelter in WV, the director goes on TV and advertises her Friday night kitten killing spree – while blaming the public for being irresponsible.

A “culture of fear” at the Dallas Animal Shelter kept workers from bringing concerns about a cat, trapped in the shelter wall and left to die, to superiors.  In that case, a grand jury indicted the shelter manager, who allowed the cat to die an agonizing death, on felony cruelty charges.  Taxpayers continue to pay his salary while he’s on “administrative leave”.  I have trouble reconciling the terms “culture of fear” and “safe haven”.

Many people already know that a shelter is “a great place to adopt a new family pet”.  In fact, sometimes people try to adopt pets, but shelters kill them instead.  Mark and Anita Painter desperately wanted to adopt a dog at the Gaston Co AC shelter in NC and made repeated calls to the shelter to make sure the dog was not accidentally killed during the required holding period.  The shelter killed the dog anyway.  The Memphis Animal Shelter in TN has killed several dogs with adopters waiting in just the past year.  L.A. Co shelters in CA have killed both pets with adopters waiting and those with owners attempting to redeem them.  A woman in Craven Co, NC wanted so badly to adopt a puppy she had fallen in love with at the shelter, she contacted a local politician to intervene.  The shelter killed the puppy anyway.

The so-called “dedicated people who work to protect animals” at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control in NC apparently drugged some shelter cats, posed them for offensive photos and then posted the pictures on Facebook.  The director at Miami-Dade Animal Services in FL describes killing healthy, friendly pets as “what we all do to our best friend” while the director of the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC says, “We kill our friend every day”.  Dedicated people protecting animals?

As far as providing “critical services”, HSUS may be unaware that many shelters end up investigating themselves for cruelty and neglect.  Among them, the Abbeville Animal Shelter in SC where a whistleblower exposed dogs living in their own waste – some without water and others with buckets of green water.  In NC, animal advocates took it upon themselves to document and expose evidence of neglect and cruelty at the Robeson Co Animal Shelter.  In response, the bureaucrats in charge severely restricted the public’s access to their own shelter.

HSUS says that shelters reunite lost pets with their families.  They may have missed the story of Tyson who was lost in Providence, RI.  His family and friends began looking for him immediately while ACOs at the shelter repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the dog.  When the truth was finally uncovered by those who cared about Tyson, the ACOs admitted they had impounded and killed him the day he went missing and that the entire time searchers were pounding the pavement, Tyson’s lifeless body was in the shelter’s freezer.

In the case of a tragic death of one dog and injuries to several others at the Forrest City Animal Shelter in AR, HSUS was most certainly aware of the circumstances of the incident and even sent a representative to defend the ACOs responsible for the needless death and injuries.

As far as “teaching kids to care about animals” – sure the Walker Co Humane Society in AL offers to do that but seeing as the shelter director was caught killing someone’s pet upon intake and then lying about it afterward, I’m not sure that’s such a great idea.  When you excuse the killing of 97% of the pets that come in your door, what could you possibly teach a child about caring about animals?

Of course there are truly good shelters out there and I do appreciate them.  And even within public kill shelters there are individual staff members and volunteers trying to save pets.  But let’s be clear:  As things stand, most of our public shelters kill the pets we pay them to protect and then blame us, the public, for the killing.  I don’t appreciate that.  And so long as the need remains, I will continue to support those working towards reform.

So here is to you reformers! :::clink:::  Please know that while HSUS with its massive political power and obscene bank account chooses to honor those who do the killing, we little people who love our pets and want to see a no kill nation in our lifetimes, honor you.  We appreciate all your hard work, done without fanfare on shoestring budgets in your homes and apartments.  You are making a difference.  You are our heroes.  And we’ve got your backs.

We are the real humane society – small h, small sJoin us.

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7 Comments

  1. elaine morden

     /  November 8, 2010

    I live in Homestead,Fl. we have no shelters,and even if we did I would never take an animal there! Cats and small cute dogs become bag dogs to train the pitbulls on,Guard type dogs are often left in large areas with no human contact food thrown under a fence.The one no kill private shelter was run out of town,by complaints from 3 blocks away-REALLY!I have heard a rumor in the animal community that animal control is planning on killing everything closing down for 3 days blaming it on uncontrollable Parvo.I wish that anyone could check this out.Florida has elected 2 tea-partiers that want to bring back the gas chamber for cheap multiple kills!When I Rescue a dog or Cat the Kind people of Marrvelous Pet Rescue help me out,they are located in Key Largo,all volunteer Foster care,Really great people Thank You for you time Elaine Morden

    Reply
  2. Thank you for speaking out. Things are slowly changing as the internet’s influence brings this whole shelter issue out into the open.

    Our nation is going through some “growth pains,” but eventually the public will come to know that shelter and humane are not necessarily synonymous.

    It seems the only way to make this shelter reform happen, unfortunately, is to challenge the industry’s efforts to paint a smiley face on everything. The shelter industry has hidden its flaws for too long. Your work is helping a lot to expose these weaknesses so we can begin to work on them.

    Keep up the great work. Maybe some day in the near future we can genuinely celebrate shelters as the safe haven their name suggests.

    Reply
  3. Kim

     /  November 9, 2010

    I’m actually a quarter excited.

    I say a quarter because in my city AC and the SPCA are two separate entities. AC has NO adoption possibilities unless rescue or the SPCA pulls them out, and the SPCA was formerly known best for preaching about No-Kill – all the while simply sending pets who had worn out their welcome there back over to AC to be euthanized.

    After a massive overthrow of the Board of Directors, the SPCA is half better. They are 50% there.

    So, I’m a quarter happy.

    It’s a start – last year I wasn’t happy at all!

    Reply
  4. Brie

     /  November 9, 2010

    I’ve probably said this too many times, but I believe the title of “shelter” should be earned. Most of the so-called shelters I interact with are little more than disposal facilities and while they all lament the killing, they continue to blame the public and continue to ignore the methods being used to save lives across the country. And all of them I deal with, without exception, hide behind the cloak of the Accords and the HSUS standards by which they claim to operate, as if the HSUS somehow excuses the behavior.

    I hate knowing that the HSUS has the American public believing they do good with all that money when in my mind they are a self-perpetuating organization which is little more than a heartscam. (yes, I know that is not a real word).

    May we live to see the day when the HSUS essentially puts itself out of business because it has fully embraced no kill concepts and methods and shelters have become the safe havens we expect them to be. Put your money behind your message, Wayne, and stop the killing.

    Reply
  5. this is just what we keep trying to resolve and it just keeps getting swept under the table.
    When are we ever going to see results?

    Reply
  6. Matt

     /  November 10, 2010

    Inga Fricke of HSUS:

    “A shelter is a safe haven for animals, and a great place to adopt a new family pet. Shelters also provide critical services like investigating cruelty and neglect, reuniting lost pets with their families, teaching kids to care about animals, and providing spay/neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation in their communities.”

    Except for when the HSUS is an “advisor” to the “shelter”, then, due to the advice from the HSUS, it’s a death camp, and a cold, cruel place where cats and dogs’ cages are full of sh*t (much like the HSUS with that “Safe Haven” stuff.)

    Inga baby, talk to me…do you consider a place where someone is murdered, to be a “safe haven”?

    Your ultra-white toothed, always smiling, ultra- underachieving, cat and dog back stabbing, “Never felt a bond with any animal” leader, Wayne Pacelle thinks so.

    Tell him to see a shrink, because anyone who considers a pet slaughterhouse a “safe haven” has some serious mental problems and/or were raised by Jeffrey Dahmer or The Zodiac killer.

    Maybe Wayne “Always smiling although he hasnt accomplished anything to smile about” Pacelle, can get a group rate with Ingrid “murder is kind” Newkirk and Ed “I’ll make L.A. No kill by 2008″ Sayres.

    While your leader(s) are in therapy, bring in true pet lovers, and true leaders who are educated re: The No Kill Equation to lead the way. Then and only then will shelters be a “safe haven”.

    P.S. Spending less than one percent of your $140 Million dollars a year in donations to “shelters”, is disgusting and SHOULD be considered criminal.

    It makes you INhumane killers, and frauds.

    So save the “safe haven” B.S. for someone born yesterday.

    HSUS donors: You might as well use your cash as toilet paper…it’ll help just about as many pets that giving it to the HSUS does.

    Reply
  7. Matt

     /  November 10, 2010

    HSUS says we should use this week “to honor animal shelters and the dedicated people who work to protect animals”.

    Just one problem….. except for No Kill Shelters, “animal shelters” are dis-honorable sh*tholes full of DEAD-icated people….dedicated to murdering animals.

    P.S. Murdering someone is a horrible way of “protecting” them.

    P.P.S. Would HSUS members/donors want such “protection”?

    Didnt think so.

    Reply

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