In September, volunteers at the Wake Co Animal Center in NC went to the media with concerns over the increasing kill rate at the pound:
[...] Wake County shelter volunteers came to WRAL Investigates to report their belief that the shelter now is too quick to kill.
“Too many of the dogs that we’ve just taken photos of that seemed healthy are gone,” said volunteer Al Silverstein.
On Tuesday, the pound took a beautiful 8 month old Lab mix named Sassy to the WRAL TV studio to be featured as Pet of the Day at noon. She appears healthy in the video. The pound staff member indicated Sassy had already been spayed and was ready to go home right away. Volunteers report that a viewer who saw Sassy on TV that day wanted to adopt her. But the pound killed Sassy that afternoon because, according to the Wake Co Deputy Manager, she had “a honking cough and green nasal discharge”.
Our policy restricts infectious dogs from being placed on the adoption floor or placed in foster due to the risk of spreading infection to other animals both in the Center and in an adopter’s home.
Apparently Wake Co’s position is “We won’t treat coughing dogs and we won’t let anyone else do it either.” How does that position reconcile with the Deputy Manager’s statement that Sassy “needed to be euthanized”? She had an adopter wanting to take care of her. Sassy did not need to be killed, Wake Co chose to kill her even though options existed for treating her cough.
Wake Co is reportedly planning some changes after the public outcry over Sassy’s killing forced them into it. But you know what bothers me in addition to the needless killing of a dog who appeared to be healthy? The fact that the Deputy Manager used his press release on Sassy’s killing as an opportunity to announce the new director at the pound, who just started work on Monday. And when a reporter showed up for a scheduled interview with that director regarding Sassy’s killing, the director hid:
Animal Shelter Director Dennis McMichael, who started the job Monday, was scheduled to do an interview with WRAL News Wednesday to talk about Sassy’s death. When a reporter and photographer showed up, managers at the center said “things came up” and that they would not answer any questions.
WRAL tracked down McMichael, who said he was looking in to the issue. He declined to comment any further.
Is this the best Wake Co can do?