American Humane Association brings the drama:
The numbers are sobering: Every year, some 7-8 million animals end up in our nation’s shelters, which struggle valiantly to provide life-saving services to them. Nearly 4 million are euthanized. Now, new research published by American Humane Association indicates that hundreds of thousands of animals who manage to get adopted from the nation’s shelters are no longer in their homes six months later. These staggering statistics do not even factor in the number of homeless pets abandoned by their former owners to the streets, who wander aimlessly without a roof over their heads, unsure of when their next meal will be. What can be done to get these animals in to loving, forever homes?
Oh noes! This sounds terrible. Hundreds of thousands of shelter pets being jettisoned from their homes in addition to the untold hordes of pets already turned out into the streets. It’s little wonder any of us can make it out to the mailbox without wading through a sea of homeless pets. Adoption is pointless. There’s no way out. I see that now. Oh! This is the big one! I’m coming, Elizabeth!
Before I depart this mortal coil though, let’s take a look at the AHA study. The survey included 572 recent adopters from 3 cities – Charlotte, Ft. Worth and Denver. In each city, adopters were selected from one municipal facility and one private shelter. Results determined that roughly 90% of the adopters still had their pets after 6 months. Approximately 5% had returned the pets to the shelter and the remaining pets had been rehomed, gotten lost or died.
Gee, when I type it all out, it doesn’t sound so TerribleHorribleReallyQuiteBad anymore.
Let’s go back to that dreadful news on the AHA website:
New study: 1 in 10 adopted pets gone within six months
“Gone” sounds so, I don’t know – final. Like they were sold for use in the slave trade in some faraway land. Or they were fitted with cement shoes and tossed into the river because they couldn’t repay their gambling debts. But really, what the AHA study found was that 90% of adopters kept their pets. Isn’t that kinda yay? And 5% returned the pets to the shelter – the safe haven, if you will – presumably because the pet wasn’t a good fit for their family. Isn’t that kind of expected? And the remaining 5% either had a pet get lost or die or gave them to someone else. Again, this falls under the expected category to me, not the Hair on Fire Emergency that AHA seems to think it is. Things happen. Pets get lost. Pets die. People die. Pets need to be rehomed. No need to deploy the National Guard.
I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t read most of the rest of the study. You might like to read it in full. In the main, I don’t trust AHA since they kill dogs and cats. But with this study specifically, they seem to be making a mountain – a fiery, ash-spewing type of mountain – out of a molehill. I am concerned though that AHA may attempt to use the findings to encourage shelters to restrict adoptions even further. Better dead than taking a chance on anything else, right?
Overall, my take on this study is this:
- 90% pet retention 6 months post adoption=pretty good.
- 5% return rate=about what I’d expect.
- 5% other life stuff happens rate=about what I’d expect.
Stand down. Unbunch your panties. Keep calm and keep adopting.
August 16, 2012
Authorities on Jan. 3 seized 200 cats from Whiskerville Animal Sanctuary Inc. in Texas City after finding them in squalid living conditions. Caring for the surviving 170 cats, including those that were sick, soaked in urine and covered in feces, overwhelmed the county’s animal resource center, which sought help from three other organizations.
In May, just one week after legal custody of the cats was transferred to the county, a jury awarded $231,884 to the shelters caring for the cats.
But that was then, this is now:
The [Galveston County Animal Resources Center] will begin humanely euthanizing the remaining Whiskerville cats Aug. 22.
Kurt Koopmann, spokesman for the Galveston County Health District, says the 30 cats may be killed due to space, not because they are medically hopeless and suffering. In fact, it’s quite the opposite:
They are healthy again after spending the last eight months recuperating, Koopmann said.
“There’s such a big difference between when we found them in the shelter in January and now,” Koopmann said.
Aw, touching. They’ve come so far. Time to throw them in the dumpster. Oh and, of course:
“We’d love to see them adopted,” Koopmann said. “The last thing we want to do is euthanize the cats.”
Totally. We don’t want to kill them so much that we scheduled a date for it, marked on the calendar with sparkly balloon stickers next to the sign up sheet for cake and soda.
Charlotte-Mecklenberg ACC seized 45 cats last week from a Mint Hill, NC man who was taking care of them in his home but couldn’t afford to have them all neutered and vaccinated. Char-Meck “had to” kill most of the cats – not because they were medically hopeless and suffering, in fact not even a sniffle was reported by the pound, but “due to lack of socialization.” As you know, cats who are appear scared or withdrawn when removed from the only home they’ve ever known and dropped on the stainless steel table at a pet killing facility are deviant beasts who don’t deserve to live.
It must be gratifying for the staff at Char-Meck to know that, instead of offering to neuter, vaccinate and assist in rehoming these healthy, owned cats, they have done the community a service by putting pets who
refused to tap dance on demand didn’t pass their behavioral evaluations into the freezer. There, they can hone their social skills while awaiting the Dead Cat Man who rummages through cat carcasses at NC pounds and picks out which ones he’ll pay $5 for in order to supply his dissection specimen business.
Remember folks, don’t criticize anyone who enables these types of
killings rescues. We all want the same thing. We’re all on the same team. They have a hard job killing rescuing pets and you’re not allowed to judge unless you are willing to do their jobs for them for free. No one wants to kill pets. They have to because the public is irresponsible and the only two choices are kill or – oh wait, I guess there is only one choice. Yay Team Killing Rescue!
(Thanks Lisa for the links to the Char-Meck story.)
June 27, 2012
Yup. It’s a promo for a stray horse they named MEATY. They are auctioning him. Aren’t these folks just fall down funny?
May 13, 2012
April 17, 2012
April 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm
FYI, the shelter holds free rabies and s/n clinics every second saturday of the month. Those who avail themselves of this clinic don’t go past the front of the facility and don’t go anywhere near the adoption kennels.
To my knowledge, there is one public entrance to the pound. All visitors bringing in strays or owned pets (sick, healthy, vaccinated or unvaccinated) as well as potential adopters come through this entrance. I don’t know if the ACOs have a separate entrance for their impounds but regardless, the front entryway is obviously an area where the spread of disease would be a concern. Standard shelter cleaning protocols for disease prevention should be utilized.
This is one of the pound’s listings on PetHarbor. It appears to show a puddle of urine and a cat left in a trap in the entryway of the facility – the same area the public would bring their dogs for the rabies clinic:
In addition to the previously stated concerns about the pound failing to disclose the occurrence of parvo, I wanted to make a comment on the poor cat in this listing. For starters, who is either going to recognize their lost cat or fall in love with this cat for adoption based upon this photo? No one. Further, I HATE seeing cats in traps on the floor. This is psychologically cruel in my opinion. They are already scared out of their minds and a trap provides no place to hide or even a solid floor. At the very least, set the trap up somewhere elevated to provide a slight feeling of safety for the cat. All around FAIL.
Earlier this month, Char-Meck ACC in NC held an offsite adoption event at SouthPark Mall. One of the dogs who was adopted, Ginger, broke with parvo shortly after the new owners brought her home. The owners wisely contacted the pound to advise them of the deadly disease.
The pound’s vet Dr. Mary Blinn says Char-Meck does “everything in our power” to prevent incidents such as this from happening, including vaccination. When asked specifically about testing dogs at adoption events for parvo, she explains that testing isn’t the valuable tool some might think:
“That doesn’t guarantee they were not exposed to parvo and won’t break with it later,” Blinn said. “It just means when I did the test that day, it was negative.”
Fair enough. Dr. Blinn’s opinion seems to be that even if a dog is vaccinated and appears healthy, it doesn’t mean the dog might not already have been exposed to parvo and will become symptomatic after adoption. So what about the other 14 dogs who were with Ginger at the adoption event that day?
[...] Blinn said animal control has decided not to notify the owners of other dogs adopted out with Ginger at SouthPark Mall.
Wow. Not even a heads up, these are the symptoms to watch for, don’t take your dog to the park type phone call? Is this doing “everything in our power” to keep the community’s dogs healthy?
Blinn said parvovirus is most often spread through feces, and officials don’t think any of the dogs went to the bathroom inside the mall over the weekend.
We don’t think any dogs pottied at the mall. For real? I guess Ginger was the only dog at Char-Meck to have parvo and was kept isolated from every other dog there including being walked at a separate location? Does that seem at all plausible?
Not only is Char-Meck not giving a heads up to the other new owners whose dogs were with Ginger, they went on TV to invite the general public to bring their dogs to the pound the weekend after the adoption event for a free rabies shot.
In recent months (March is not posted at this time), Char-Meck has been killing roughly 40% of the dogs in its care. Everything in our power, blah.
February 1, 2012
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg ACC pound in NC took in 18,203 animals last year, killing 11,625 of them. That’s a kill rate of 64%. The Char-Meck pound also likes to pose drugged cats for photos, torture cats with chokepoles and kill pets assembly line style, forcing living pets to watch others being killed and tossed into a wheelbarrow until it’s their turn to die. The pound doesn’t adopt Pitbulls to the public.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise to learn that HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle thinks the Char-Meck pound is swell. And according to an e-mail sent out by Char-Meck director Mark Balestra, Mr. Pacelle is going to stop by for a visit tomorrow before heading to an area book signing:
We have confirmed that HSUS President/CEO Wayne Pacelle will be at our facility this Thursday February 2nd at 4:30 PM for a Shelter tour. He has heard many great things about our organization and community outreach efforts to reduce euthanasia and decrease the over population of companion pets.
Please ensure that we and the facility are well prepared for this tour and uphold the standards that we represent.
In other words, dust off your chokepoles, spit-shine the wheelbarrows and get your cats drugged and posed in delightfully witty settings because the Animal Welfare Scammer in Chief is in town!
I hope area animal advocates will visit the Char-Meck facility on Thursday, February 2 at 4:30pm to speak for the 11,625 pets killed by the pound last year. Cos I somehow doubt anyone inside the place is going to mention them. Make a sign to speak for the victims of Char-Meck ACC and protest peacefully during Mr. Pacelle’s visit. Contact the local news to let them know what you’re doing and why.
11,625 dead pets is not an achievement to be praised or rewarded. HSUS is not humane and Char-Meck ACC is not a shelter. Stand up for the truth. Stand up for the voiceless pets in Charlotte.
April 5, 2011
Anna Kooiman: “Do you guys have a pretty big surge of cats in the shelter at the moment?”
Julia Conner: “At the moment we are kind of, uh, low on kitties but kitten season is coming and within the next month or so we will be filled with kittens… very, very soon.”
Last Tuesday, a Charlotte Pitbull owner lost his dog Diesel when a repairman left the gate open in Diesel’s yard. The owner, Joe Gibson, immediately started searching for Diesel. He posted over 150 fliers around the area. He checked the Char-Meck ACC website for lost dogs. He went to the shelter in person to search for Diesel – every day. While at the shelter, he posted one of his fliers on their lost dogs bulletin board. No luck.
On Monday, a friend who was helping Mr. Gibson search the CMPD-ACC website came across a photo of a dog that could possibly be Diesel – it was hard to tell from the photo. The owner went to the shelter again to ask about the dog in the photo:
“I walked around the corner and I see my dog laying there, dead,” he said.
Char-Meck had killed Diesel because his mandatory hold time as a stray had expired and he was a Pitbull, which the shelter does not adopt out. Diesel had apparently been injured at the time ACC picked him up and so was left in a kennel area off limits to the public. And there he suffered, day after day while his owner looked for him. Diesel’s injuries were treatable.
Rather than trot out the old “Oops” excuse that Char-Meck has used in the past when they’ve killed people’s Pitbulls, they went with a new approach on this one:
Mark Balestra, the director of Animal Care and Control, told Eyewitness News that Gibson is to blame because he never got a microchip for his dog. He said that’s a responsibility of dog owners and makes it much easier to find dogs.
Balestra also said a picture of Diesel was on the website since Feb. 2 and that if Gibson pointed out pictures that could have been Diesel to employees, they would have looked into each one.
Wow. How do ya like them apples?
And, for the final zing!:
[CMPD-ACC] also say that right now, they have no record of Gibson showing up to look for the dog.
Thanks Valerie and Lisa for the links on this story.
January 31, 2011
An Examiner article looks at the recent case of 13 Pitbulls that were surrendered by the owner to Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C and immediately killed. The author mentions the popularity of Pitbulls as pets in Charlotte and the lack of options for those rescued:
Sadly, many of the dogs that are rescued do not find their way into homes because most dog-owning homes in the area already have a Pit bull.
Wait, what? While there certainly are myriad challenges facing rescued Pitbulls in the Charlotte area, to my knowledge, this isn’t one of them. The main challenge comes from the county policy prohibiting the adoption of Pitbulls from Char-Meck AC & C. Strays of any breed, including Pitbulls, must be held at the shelter for 3 days which makes it necessary to vaccinate all Pitbulls on intake, even though most will be killed. Taxpayers spend about $12,000 a year on vaccinations for Pitbulls who end up in the wheelbarrow of the kill room at CMPD-ACC. In addition, the shelter further devalues the breed in the public’s eyes through oops-killings followed by the promise of a thorough investigation, followed by tumbleweeds and coyote howls.
Then there is the issue of rescue:
A very small percentage of pit bulls are spared whenever there’s room for them with an approved rescue group, which can screen applicants more thoroughly.
But Rhonda Thomas, who runs Project Halo, said it’s not easy.
“I love the breed, but finding a good home for a pit bull has always been a challenge for us,” she said.
That’s the nature of rescue – handling the challenge of finding the right home for your pets, regardless of breed.
She said many people who want to adopt pit bulls aren’t the type who should adopt them.
Oh. Uh-oh. My Potential Pisser Ahead light is flashing.
“In the 12 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve placed two.”
Aw, crud. So I guess the right “type” of Pitbull adopter only comes along once every 6 years or so. Or maybe it’s just that every dog owner in Charlotte already has a Pitbull. I can’t keep track.
At any rate, even if advocates convinced the county to change its policy on banning Pitbull adoptions from the shelter, many of the dogs would end up in the wheelbarrow anyway since Char-Meck kills more pets than it saves. And though I hope the rescue rep quoted above is not typical, I think it is generally true that we need more education and outreach to help “iffy” adopters cross over into “good” adopters. And as always, less judgment, more understanding. Most pet owners want to do right by their pets and even if they do things differently than you or I, are still deserving of adopting a pet. Rescues and shelters who maintain ridiculously high standards simply drive adopters to other sources for pets and sour the possibility of future adoptions.
Since we know the status quo is a fail, let’s think in terms of change. What changes would have the greatest positive impact on Pitbulls in the Charlotte area?