Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Houston, We Has a Problem

The Houston, Alaska animal shelter that shot to death four dogs and four cats because they had apparently overstayed their welcome has been shut down.

Two animal control officers have been fired and one police officer is under scrutiny.

But really, who's at fault here?

The shelter stopped receiving funding, courtesy of Wasilla, in 2009. Then they lost a grant. And then they stopped being able to subsidize the cost of animal control. Why they didn't seek help from the state, another non-profit, another grant agency (there *is* more than one grant-maker) or the public is beyond me. Maybe they did and it wasn't reported.

After the budget cut, the animal control officer in charge had a harsh pay and hour cut - 40 to 20 hours. A technician would come in 10-2 pm to clean. Meeting with the public and adopting animals out became difficult.

And then the mayor stopped by and he said it was too crowded and something "needed to be done" about those dogs and cats who had been there the longest. And by "long", I mean three months. But the animal control officer in charge was never trained on proper euthanasia so, even though he didn't have permission, he did have pressure to "do something". He did. Soon thereafter, he shot and killed eight animals, which in its own sad way, brought to light the tragedy of what happens when there's a fault line in the system.

The shelter is shut down. For now. All animals are going to a boarding facility where, I can only hope, they will be given a chance at adoption with regular business hours. And that they won't be shot. No animal should be killed for not having enough food at the shelter. No healthy animal should be taken out back and shot. It's wrong.

1 comment:

Kari in WeHo said...

Ive been there before when I lived in AK and even with full funding it wasn't a well run operation and most didn't know what they were doing. The only animals I saw get out of there were with rescue groups