Jackson Co: Out of the Frying Pan
January 26, 2012
…and into the Fire of Stupid. I recently blogged about the pound in Jackson Co Oregon where they sometimes kill microchipped pets. One of those pets was a cat named Max, whom the shelter deemed aggressive while in the trap, and killed. This was an easily preventable tragedy and can be prevented from ever happening again: Jackson Co must check ALL PETS for microchips, regardless of the pet’s behavior. They must contact owners of microchipped pets and post them online so that owners can find them. Further, they must cease impounding feral cats.
But at a recent Animal Control Advisory Committee meeting, these items didn’t get much attention. Instead, misinformed attendees clamored for mandatory spay-neuter (MSN) laws and even tossed in some wildly misleading (and I’m being generous here) information:
More than 32 states have mandatory spay/neuter laws, with a minimum requirement that all animals adopted from a shelter be spayed or neutered, said Lisa Frost, an Ashland attorney and shelter volunteer.
Frost urged the committee to move forward in implementing a mandatory spay/neuter program to help curb pet overpopulation and reduce the numbers of feral, stray and abandoned animals who are euthanized.
Where to begin? There is no such thing as pet overpopulation. The danger to community pets in this country lies primarily with the agencies designated to protect them which are instead killing them.
MSN does not reduce/eliminate shelter pet killing and it’s failed everywhere it’s been enacted. Some examples:
- The city of Los Angeles enacted MSN in 2008 and after the first year, shelter intake and killings were up. Killings increased after the second year as well. The third year was yet another failure.
- Intakes and killings increased in Las Vegas after the city enacted MSN in 2010.
- When CA was considering statewide MSN legislation in 2007, the past president of the California Veterinary Medical Association wrote a lengthy letter to the Board detailing his opposition.
- Killings and costs both went up in King Co, WA after MSN was passed in 1992.
As a result, most every major animal welfare group in the country opposes MSN. That list includes:
- The No Kill Advocacy Center explains “Why Punitive Legislation Fails”
- Alley Cat Allies points out that MSN does not reach most intact cats
- “Best Friends does not support mandatory spay-neuter legislation as a method of pet population control.”
- The “ASPCA is not aware of any credible evidence demonstrating a statistically significant enhancement in the reduction of shelter intake or euthanasia as a result of the implementation of a mandatory spay/neuter law.”
- The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes MSN.
32 states do not have statewide MSN as the article leads the reader to believe. In fact no states have statewide MSN. There are various cities and counties around the country which have enacted MSN but they have all failed. All.
To be clear, MSN is completely different than requiring shelter pets to be neutered. The article makes it seem as if the two are related. They are not.
Also during the meeting, another resident told how her cat Max (incredibly, a different cat) had also been trapped by a cat hater, brought to the pound, deemed agggressive and killed before she could find him.
More mess o’ stupid:
There is no county ordinance forbidding cats to be “at large,” said Colleen Macuk, shelter director. But owners are responsible for their animals’ actions. It is also legal for others to bait and trap “nuisance” cats and take them to the county shelter. In fact, it is required that trapped cats be taken to the shelter to prevent the possibility of animal abuse, said Macuk.
“We don’t turn them away because of the alternative,” Macuk said.
Well gee, I wish you would turn them away. Because the alternative is that they might, ya know - live. (It’s just this little thing I’m fond of.)
The director explained that Max (the recently killed cat) was deemed aggressive while in the trap so they stuck him with a needle on the end of a pole to kill him. He was never checked for a microchip.
With the county’s resources, wild and aggressive cats cannot be safely or humanely held to perform this task [of checking for chips] without putting staff at risk of bites or scratches or injury to the cat, Macuk said.
Heaven forfend the poor cat might get injured. Better to go straight for the kill stick.
Adding to the problem is the lack of manufacturer uniformity regarding chips and scanners. The shelter has two scanners, which are capable of reading all but two types of chips, she said.
Gee, all but two. That sounds… inadequate.
In 2011, the shelter received 2,883 cats. Only eight were microchipped, Macuk said.
Well but – how do you know, right? I mean, you’re not checking them all so maybe 8 had chips or maybe 800 did. Or maybe 2800. Nobody knows.
“One thing we’ve committed to is that we’re going to scan them all after they’ve been euthanized,” Macuk said, referring to cats that were deemed unsafe for staff to handle.
An excellent plan with only one possible drawback…