Last month, reader Jamie contacted me for help regarding a puppy she had been trying to rescue from the Catoosa Co AC shelter in GA. Jamie wrote:
It was Thursday [January 26, 2012], late afternoon when I was sent a picture of him in the shelter. The shelter staff told my contact that was there that they only euthanized on Wednesday and so it would be another week before any dogs were put down. I sent someone down Friday to get this puppy out and she arrived at 12:30pm. Apparently the shelter had chosen to close at 12pm that day, despite the fact that they are closed all weekend.
When the pound re-opened on Monday, Jamie asked another person to go down and pull the pup. That person was told the puppy had already been rescued. The details weren’t adding up so I helped Jamie with FOIA requests for the pound’s kill log and Jackson’ records. Those documents revealed that Jackson was in fact killed by Catoosa Co AC the same day they had closed 4 hours early – the day Jamie’s agent was there trying to pull him. [Note: Astute readers will note that the kill date on Jackson's records is 1-27 but he is listed on the 1-25 kill log. Jamie did follow up with the pound on this discrepancy and they verified the puppy had been killed on the 27th.]
As sad as it was to see that the Catoosa Co pound killed Jackson only 2 days after he was eligible for adoption, closing early to do it with a rescuer waiting outside and then lying about it after the fact, something else caught my eye on the kill log. Specifically, dog #000075 appears to have received three injections of Fatal Plus using three different routes – one intravenous (IV), a second intraperitoneal (IP), and a third intracardiac (IC). The kill log for the cats for that same day also shows two cats, both listed as feral, receiving more than one injection of Fatal Plus: cat #000103 and cat #000111 each received an IP injection followed by an IC injection.
I have never seen any kill log entries like this before. Standard practice dictates that the kill tech use sufficient quantity of Fatal Plus to kill the pet on the first injection. I know it can happen that an additional injection may be required on occasion however in all three cases on this day, the animals who apparently required additional Fatal Plus had it injected into their hearts. Georgia law is very specific on this route of administration: the pet must be unconscious.
TITLE 4. ANIMALS
CHAPTER 11. ANIMAL PROTECTION
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
O.C.G.A. § 4-11-5.1 (2011)
§ 4-11-5.1. Euthanasia of dogs and cats by animal shelters or facilities operated for collection of stray, neglected, abandoned, or unwanted animals
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, the use of sodium pentobarbital or a derivative of it shall be the exclusive method for euthanasia of dogs and cats by animal shelters or other facilities which are operated for the collection and care of stray, neglected, abandoned, or unwanted animals. A lethal solution shall be used in the following order of preference:
(1) Intravenous injection by hypodermic needle;
(2) Intraperitoneal injection by hypodermic needle; or
(3) If the dog or cat is unconscious, intracardial injection by hypodermic needle.
Not wanting to jump to conclusions based upon one day’s worth of kill log entries for the pound, I filed a FOIA request for the kill logs for the month of December 2011. Those documents show that numerous pets at the Catoosa Co facility were killed via more than one injection of Fatal Plus including the following animals who are noted as receiving IC injections:
Dog #002005 – IP and IC injections
Cat #001975 – IP and IC injections
Cat #001976 – IP and IC injections
Cat #001979 – IP and IC injections
Cat #002017 – IP and IC injections
Cat #002031 – IP and IC injections
Cat #002032 – IP and IC injections
Dog #002027 – IV and IC injections
Dog #002038 – IV and IC injections
Dog #002044 – IP and IC injections
Cat #002104 – IP and IC injections
and these dogs:
This is what it says on the package insert that comes with the bottle of Fatal Plus:
As an average guide, the volume of FATAL-PLUS required for euthanasia is 1 ml. of solution per 10 lbs of body weight of the animal. Intravenous injection is preferred. The calculated dosage should be given in a single injection. An uninterrupted injection is the most comfortable for the animal. For intravenous injection a needle of suitable gauge to insure intravenous placement of the entire dose should be used. Intraperitoneal or intracardiac injection may be made when intravenous injection is impractical, as in very small or comatose animals with impaired vascular functions. Good injection skill is necessary for intracardiac injection.
I am merely a layman and am not qualified to say if the practices at Catoosa Co as evident in the linked kill logs indicate a violation of GA law. But it certainly doesn’t seem right to me. If a GA shelter wants to kill pets via IC injection, the kill techs need to render the animals unconscious via an injection of a sedative (such as xylazine) first. Is the kill tech at Catoosa attempting to sedate pets using Fatal Plus? If so, that makes no sense. If you have the skill to do an IV or IP injection, why not simply inject the pet with sufficient amount of Fatal Plus to kill him with one shot? If the initial injection is not an attempt to sedate the pet using Fatal Plus, do all these records indicate botched killings?
I don’t have the answers but I hope readers will contact the Georgia Attorney General and the Georgia Department of Agriculture and ask them to investigate. If pets are being made to suffer while being needlessly killed at the Catoosa Co pound, that needs to be stopped immediately.