In 2011, the Wexford Co Animal Shelter in MI killed 44% of the pets in its care. The 2012 statistics have not yet been published by the state but the county definitely continued killing pets last year. The method by which those pets were killed was the subject of a contentious public meeting with county commissioners on Thursday. A former shelter employee and 2 volunteers are speaking out about what they say they witnessed numerous times in the kill room: animal cruelty and intra-cardiac injections (aka “heartsticking”) without sedation.
“I will never get those images out of my head,” said Kathy Dennis, former Wexford County Shelter Employee.
Kris Corwin, also a former Wexford Co Shelter employee, told the local news that Ms. Dennis fabricated these stories because she is “bitter with the way things turned out with her new job.”
Rachel Shook, a former volunteer, stated she witnessed a female staffer drag a beagle into the kill room on a chokepole, jam the dog’s head under the freezer while holding the rest of the dog down with her boot and heartstick the pet before Ms. Shook could even get the noose off his neck. Ms. Corwin did not offer an explanation for why Ms. Shook would tell the commissioners this story but I presume she must be “bitter” too.
For now, the sheriff has appointed a volunteer vet to supervise all pet killings at Wexford Co. The state is investigating the allegations and the commissioners will address the issue again at the next meeting.
There is video of the public meeting on YouTube. One of the first speakers (and I didn’t watch them all but I think this lady is the 3rd speaker) does an excellent job and I highly recommend all pet advocates watch her presentation to the commissioners. She represents a group of concerned citizens and outlines the group’s concerns which include heartsticking without sedation, lack of qualifications on the part of those deciding which pets will be killed and those doing the killing, lack of vet care, and improper record keeping. She references the state statutes covering these areas and makes several specific requests for action by the commissioners. Those requests include an investigation of the allegations, the immediate transfer of supervision of shelter operations during the investigation and the permanent transfer from the sheriff’s office to an independent entity within 2 weeks. This is an example of effective animal advocacy.
I hope Wexford Co doesn’t attempt to sweep these allegations under the rug and that charges will be brought against any and all individuals found to have violated the law. There appears to be a lot of community support for reform in the county which is essential. I wish the locals all the best.
(Thank you Clarice for sending me links on this story.)