A Litany of Failures
September 22, 2011
Failure #1: Two county commissioners visited the Mercer Co Animal Shelter in WV last week after receiving complaints about overcrowding. They discovered the shelter was housing more than 350 pets and ordered that all pets who had been there more than 10 days be killed. They did not bring the matter to the county commissioners’ meeting nor was any public hearing held. Per the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, this is a violation of the state’s Sunshine Laws:
When asked about this by the Daily Telegraph, [Mike] Vinciguerra said, “Two county commissioners — Jay Mills and myself — toured the shelter and made the decision to enforce the regulations. There was no commission meeting. We just talked about it together. We didn’t take a vote or have a meeting.”
Failure #2: No appeals were made to the public for help in saving the pets. A group of local volunteers were able to get 165 pets to safety with very little notice.
Failure #3: The reason why the shelter had stopped killing pets after the normal 10 day hold period was not because the director, staff and volunteers were committed to saving lives, but rather because there is no county administrator to oversee the pound. (Is the director incapable of supervisory duties?) As such, matters such as killing fell through the cracks, as Mr. Vinciguerra explains:
We also had a staff member who left and that was the person responsible for ordering the medicine that they use to euthanize the animals. We had to wait for another staff member to come back from vacation before we could resume euthanizations.
Failure #4: The director and volunteers come across as killing apologists with the director refusing to tell the paper how many pets were killed. (Just what sort of Sunshine Laws does WV have anyway?) Throwing their lot in with Mr. Vinciguerra, they whip up a little Blame the Public storm to justify the secret number of pets killed:
“People were just tired of taking care of their animals, I guess.” – Mike Vinciguerra, county commissioner
“People aren’t spaying and neutering.” – Lori Nisbit, director
“I don’t know the county commission’s side, and we aren’t trying to slam them, but I don’t think they went about this in the proper way,” Young said. “They didn’t seek any help from the public. They did it on a Friday when people were caught off guard, and it’s hard to get a hold of people on the weekends. I don’t think they realize that euthanizing these animals is a really hard job.” – Cheryl Young, volunteer
Once the locals get done not slamming anybody and blaming the public and feeling sorry for themselves because killing is hard, maybe we could get somebody (anybody?) there to step up and demand reform. If not, I suppose they will simply carry on in their failing ways, in violation of the law and against all ethical obligations to stop the killing.