June 10, 2013
The Healdsburg Animal Shelter in CA is a hot mess. The outdated facility is located across the street from a new $3.5 million shelter, built using funds from a single donor, which sits empty due to design defects and may have to be torn down. Resignations and controversy have plagued the shelter.
Despite boasting a 94% save rate, Healdsburg is now threatening to kill shelter pets due to a drop in donations. Which will no doubt encourage donors to whip out their wallets. I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to throw money at people who threaten shelter pets with violence, amirite?
The Healdsburg shelter’s board of directors says the cost per animal is more than $750. This seems awfully high to me. By comparison, the Cornelius Animal Shelter in NC has a 97% save rate and spends $96.79 per animal handled. The Foothills HS in Polk Co, NC saves 99% of its animals, spending $342.85 per animal handled. And the Alleghany Co shelter in NC has an 87% save rate at a cost of $92.25 per animal handled.
Why is Healdsburg spending so much money per animal? Does the shelter need to replace someone who green lights expenditures? Has an audit been performed to track where all this money is going? Can they learn from other shelters who are spending significantly less to save approximately the same ratio of animals? All of these questions should be answered before anyone threatens to kill shelter animals to lower costs.
The new facility sitting vacant, the threat to kill animals over money and the extremely high amount of money being spent per animal are all red flags to me. I hope Healdsburg taxpayers and donors get answers.
(Thanks Eucritta for posting about this shelter in the last Open Thread.)
January 22, 2013
Ipsos Marketing conducted studies for Petsmart Charities on a variety of issues related to pet adoption in 2009 and 2011. The results contain a lot of interesting information which I will look at in upcoming posts. In this post, I am going to focus on page 14 of the report which asked the question: What were the reasons you chose not to adopt your cat or dog?
The base for the respondents to this question were owners who had acquired a pet within the past 12 months from a source other than a shelter or rescue group. Petsmart Charities draws attention on the page to the most common answers given which basically amount to people wanting a purebred pet and/or one with a known history. But what caught my eye were several of the less popular responses which, to my mind, all fall under the same category and could be combined to reflect more significance:
- Adoption process too difficult
- Organization too depressing
- Inconvenient hours
- Poor customer service
These were all obstacles to adoption for the respondents that shelters and rescues could address today:
- Streamline the adoption process. Most owners try to do right by their pets and most adopters can be trusted.
- Don’t threaten to kill pets. Don’t make assumptions that the pet was abused in the absence of clear evidence.
- Open up the facility when most people can get there – evenings and weekends.
- Answer the phone. Reply to e-mail and social media inquiries. Treat potential adopters like they are celebrities.
In short, a significant reason people didn’t adopt their last pet was suckage on the part of the shelter or rescue. Fixable suckage. Take heed.
(Thank you Joni for bringing this study to my attention.)
January 4, 2013
Reuters is reporting that 136 unclaimed pets at the emergency Hurricane Sandy shelter operated by the ASPCA in Brooklyn may be in danger:
Most of the owners that the ASPCA has identified live in temporary housing or with family and friends, environments that prevent them from bringing their animals home, [ASPCA spokeswoman Kelly] Krause said. A majority of the owners who had yet to claim their pets lived in the hard-hit Rockaways neighborhood in Queens.
It was too early to say whether any of the pets that remain left behind would be put down, Krause said.
Another possibility for the unclaimed pets, besides the death thing, is the ASPCA dropping them off at the pound. Which, you know, pffft.
Gee, if only the ASPCA could scrounge up the funds to take care of these pets for as long as needed. But I guess their multi-million dollar bank account is just too small to pay for actual pet care. There are more one-eyed pet TV commercials to be produced and salaries to be paid and pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
(Thank you Arlene for sending me this link.)
December 20, 2012
The Kanawha Charleston Humane Association in WV posted on its Facebook page yesterday that 2 dogs had tested positive for distemper. Although initial reports from the shelter indicated a plan to kill every pet in the building (there is reportedly a simultaneous outbreak of panleukopenia with the cats), later statements were modified. As of this morning, the shelter has killed 16 dogs and 8 cats and has arranged to have vets assess the rest of the population to determine if any can be saved. An emergency meeting has been called, per the shelter’s FB page:
Emergency board meeting, Thursday, December 20th, at 9 a.m. at the shelter. We will be reviewing the situation and seeing if we can come up with alternatives to putting all 80 animals to sleep. The public is welcome, but please note, public comment is limited to 30 minutes.
As is so often the case, the shelter director is blaming the public.
“What we get here is everyone’s throwaways,” [director Donna] Clark said. “You get dogs that never have vaccines, dogs running loose.”
And on Facebook:
Distemper is a result of the public not vaccinating their animals, not something KCHA did. [...] This is a very hard time for the shelter staff, as they have to put these animals to sleep, support instead of criticism from the public is greatly appreciated.
While it’s true that animal shelters do indeed take in some unvaccinated pets as well as “dogs running loose” – that is their job. We pay them for that. And certainly some of the pets they take in have been vaccinated previously, even if it’s unknown to the shelter, so it is not logical to assume that no pets in the population have immunity during an outbreak.
At any rate, while the shelter can not control the behavior of every pet owner in the community, they can, and must, do their job once they pick up a pet for impound. It begins with sanitizing every cage on the ACO truck in between animals. The officer too should change gloves or at least use hand sanitizer between handling animals. Before being brought into the building, or if that’s not possible then immediately upon entrance, all non-emergency pets should be vaccinated.
The shelter medicine program at UC Davis says distemper vaccine starts protecting dogs within minutes of administration:
Vaccines for canine distemper have been shown to provide very good protection, even when given only 15 minutes before exposure to the disease!
KCHA says they vaccinate all their pets:
Shelter employees vaccinate every animal that’s brought in, but the injections are useless if the dog or cat is already infected, according to Clark.
If KCHA is cleaning using standard disease prevention protocols and vaccinating all pets upon intake, there is absolutely no reason to be considering, or to have ever considered, killing the entire population because 2 dogs tested positive for distemper. It makes no sense. Some of the population is absolutely immune, if everyone at KCHA has been doing their job, which they say they have.
Instead of asking the public to support them killing pets, I think KCHA should reach out to the public for assistance with quarantine, which they will need in order to manage this outbreak. For example, are there any local cat owners willing to take in an asymptomatic dog for a few weeks to make sure he doesn’t break with distemper? Although the moronic pet limit law in the area might prevent some pet lovers from helping, for fear of being found to be over the limit. But again, I’m sure the public is to blame.
I will update this post today as warranted.
(Thanks Vicki, Kei and Clarice for alerting me to this story.)
Update: The shelter has posted on its FB page that the vets recommended only 4 dogs be euthanized. 40 dogs are asymptomatic and available for adoption. The remainder are being quarantined at the shelter. I could not find any information about the cats. If anyone sees any statements from the shelter about the cats, please share.
September 21, 2012
We set up a FB page which we use to berate you worthless people while we threaten to kill pets so damn – why isn’t everyone at the shelter right now
for some in-person abuse adopting?
Anyone care to asplain it to them?
I was trying to find the number of dead pets not one person is allowed to complain about at the Wise Co pound but apparently that number is unknowable. From an article dated June 2011:
[Sgt. Asa Mosely] would not release numbers on how many animals come in each month and how many are adopted and euthanized, saying there is no running tally of the numbers.
But he estimated 500 dogs came in during the last three months, and about 25 percent were adopted.
Wise Co has zero pets on Petfinder, although there is a note telling people to visit the shelter’s website for the complete list of adoptable pets. That website does not exist. The note also mentions seeing pets on Facebook but I could not find any animals for adoption there either. There are probably pets posted at the “Urgent Animals” FB page (from which the above screengrab was taken) but I didn’t want to scroll through for fear of being unable to suppress the urge to complain about dead pets, which not one of us is allowed to do.
Thank you to reader Natalie who says she has offered information about no kill and asked about getting Wise Co animals neutered before adoption. In response, she was removed as an administrator and banned from the “Urgent Animals” FB page and ordered to leave the shelter. Keep going, Natalie. You are hereby given permission to complain about pets being killed and offer no kill solutions to the county’s problems.
All the dogs and cats at Macon Animal Control in GA must be out of the facility before June 7 as it will close for treatment with pesticides for 3 to 5 days. Local rescuers are working hard to network animals:
Paws for Hope and Faith President, Shane Smith, slipped through the gates to snap pictures of the animals for his website where people from all over the country and Canada can see them.
“The in-state people can go to the shelter and adopt from the shelter. The out-of-state can go through a rescue. The rescue will come and pull the animal, set up transport, get it vetted, and get it delivered,” says Smith.
It’s a fight against time to save the animals and it’s all hands on deck. Anne Brennaman from Macon Purrs ‘n Paws encourages people to foster the animals. “A cat is a cat. It doesn’t matter if it’s the ugliest cat or the most beautiful. It’s worth saving,” she says.
The pound’s page on PetFinder (which has 25 animals listed as adoptable) states:
The city of Macon Animal Control Shelter is open Monday through Friday from 9:30am until 4:30pm. Our adoptions are based on a first come first serve basis and we are not allowed to place holds on any dogs or cats. We accept cash only and a photo ID is required.
Macon AC has 7 cats and 63 dogs listed on PetHarbor. Here are a few:
See the above listing on PetHarbor. I just don’t know.
See the above listing on PetHarbor.
See the above listing on PetHarbor.
These animals seem to need all the help they can get. If you would like to adopt, foster or rescue:
City of Macon Animal Control Department
1010 Eleventh Street
Macon, GA 31201
(Thank you Clarice for alerting me to this story.)