Monday, September 7, 2009

Bay County Animal Control, euth rates up

In February of 2008, Jim Crosby took over as director of animal control in Bay County. In only a few months, he managed to reduce the rate of euthanasia from 78% to 56% (partly by allowing the adoption out of pit bulls).

I wanted to know how they're doing now.

Well, not so great. They are still doing better than the pre-Crosby rates of 78-84% kill rate but 2009 looks like almost 65% of the animals who enter the Bay County shelter won't leave alive. In 2007, the shelter took in 7200; in 2008, it was 9,500 and they're expecting to reach 12,000 in 2009. That's a rate of a 1 dog for every 14 residnets in Bay County being dumped at the shelter. Ridiculous.

I'm amazed that neither Bay County Animal Control nor the Humane Society of Bay County list services associated with low-cost spay/neuter. And while I'm on the fence as far as when to neuter is concerned, it *is* a viable preventative measure to reduce one's population of unwanted animals. The adoption fees are pretty affordable, $75 for the county shelter and $100 for the humane society - both includes spay/neuter.

Bay County animal control is trying through outreach and off-site adoptions, great. But there isn't any mention of becoming a foster parent for a needy dog and cat until placement can be found. This isn't to say they don't have one, but it isn't intuitive, you can't look at the government website and go hey! here's how I sign up to help through fostering. Their "adoptable animal" list isn't intuitive, either. Make it easy for people to see who you have up for adoption. Get volunteers, get the community involved - I'm just not seeing how Bay County is doing that - or if they are, it isn't being promoted on their website.

There are a lot of things they could be doing. I'm not an expert, by any stretch, I don't think it would be easy for me to go into a shelter and change things overnight. So I don't want to cast aspersions too harshly. It's just that killing half the animals who come into your shelters is off-putting and wrong.

Oh. And, even though I was duly impressed with Mr. Crosby's awesome euth reduction the first year, I can't say I'm pleased with comments like this:

“We have lots of people coming in because they’ve lost their jobs,” he said. “It’s, ‘Do I keep the animal or do I buy the kids shoes?’ Guess which one has to win? It’s sad.

I'm sorry, shoes? Go to Payless, for cripes sake. A shoe is a non-entity. It can be purchased at thrift shops or at cheap stores. Choosing to buy a pair of shoes versus caring for a living, thinking, feeling being is creepy, at best. Don't give people a cop-out for their irresponsible behavior; give them alternatives and ways to KEEP their animals at home rather than give them up. Don't tell them that a pair of shoes is more important than a dog or cat. 

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