Lancaster Co AC in SC kills 80% of its dogs and 90% of its cats. The numbers alone are horrifying but recently shelter director Joel Hinson put up some roadblocks for rescuers who were previously saving some of the pets from the dumpster – for the protection of the animals, natch. Specifically he has disallowed shelter pet photos by rescuers (photos are now allowed only by staff) and is turning away any rescuers who don’t have a federal 501(c)3 status:
[R]ecently, he said, it has been difficult to distinguish between legitimate nonprofit rescue groups and “people looking for a cheap animal to sell and make money off of.”
He explained his reasoning for the added requirement to the local paper:
“When you apply for these credentials they have to have a mission statement. They’re saying they’re going to get them sterilized, get them their shots and get them to a good home,” Hinson said. “We think if you take your time to spend the money, and do the paperwork through a lawyer, to get your 501, they’ve taken the time and commitment to make this all happen.”
Whether you agree, disagree or remain undecided about the idea that IRS status is a good indicator of rescuer behavior, I think we can all agree that any shelter director killing more than 80% of the pets in his care should be looking for ways to increase the live release rate, not winnow it down further. Sure it sucks if there are some rescue groups going into the Lancaster pound “looking for a cheap animal to sell and make money off of.” But you know what sucks worse? Killing those animals instead. Although Mr. Hinson doesn’t see his new rules as negatively impacting the number of pets who get rescued:
“If people really care about the animals, the same people can still pull the animals as long as they are affiliated with a 501(c)3,” he said.
Got that rescuers? If you really care about the animals, you will come up with $1000, get a lawyer and invest the time needed to acquire federal non-profit status. If you don’t have the money, or the lawyer or the time – apparently you don’t really care about the animals. Unlike say, Joel Hinson, I guess.
Animal control has also stopped letting rescue groups take photos of the animals in the shelter because, Hinson said, some groups would post the photos with inaccurate information about when the dog or cat would be euthanized. The photos would create uproar on Facebook and prompt dozens of calls to animal control begging them not to kill the dog or cat, Hinson said.
Yeah, I bet that’s annoying. Callers begging to save the lives of pets and they might even have the kill date wrong! Sounds too much like work. The solution is of course to bar all rescuers from photographing animals at the pound. Then no one will post any erroneous information on Facebook ever. And surely the staff at the pound has nothing else to do besides getting good quality photos of the animals and promptly posting them online with accurate info.
And then there’s the concern from rescuers that if they spend $1000 on getting a 501(c)3 status, they won’t be able to afford parvo treatment for the puppies they save from Lancaster pound. Mr. Hinson has a solution for that too. You’re probably thinking it’s vaccination upon intake for all animals, right? Oh but you are so wrong:
The biggest help preventing the spread of diseases, he added, would be a larger shelter that allowed officials to separate puppies from dogs and keep the animals away from people during the quarantine period.
Keep the animals away from those filthy, parvo-carrying people. Dang, I hate people. Especially the kind that complain about pet killing with the wrong dates in mind and the ones who have no 501(c)3 for their rescue group. They don’t really care about the animals. They just want to come in and touch them with their grubby little hands and take their pictures to post online. It’s gross.
(Thank you Stella for sending me the link to this story.)