Saturday, August 7, 2010

How Not To Become No-Kill, Spotlight on Robeson County Animal Shelter

Robeson County Animal Control in North Carolina has been mired in controversy for some time. They have a history of mismanaging their shelter and, dare I say it, abusing the animals in their care. For years, the shelter killed animals via heart stick, a notoriously painful and poor way to die (animal welfare advocates filed a complaint in 2001, later losing their claim). They only stopped recently. Even though the interim manager claims "Our desire is to become a no-kill facility", a recent attempt at getting a dog placed leads me to believe otherwise.

This post is about brown dog. I learned about her on Facebook.

This is the first posting, August 2, 2010. It's a plea to help a sweet, gentle-looking shepherd in Robeson County Animal Control. The poster did not merely post about this dog, she vested extensive time and effort to try and help this dog. She contacted rescues. She even found a home and was figuring out transport, when the adopter backed out on Thursday, August 5. She contacted the shelter and told them she would work on finding a home if they would just give her some more time. Later on Thursday, August 5th, the shelter was contacted and told all fees would be paid for, including pull and transport, if they could just give a bit of time figuring out how to get the dog out of the shelter.

Friday, August 6th, this is what I read. It turns out that the dog had been killed August 3rd, Tuesday, a full two days before this woman was told the dog was alive and would be held. The shelter either lied or did not update their records to indicate this dog was actually dead, killed by a shelter whose manager wants it to go no-kill. Suggestion from this blogger is to stop killing adoptable dogs.

As of today, August 7th, a full 72+ hours after this dog's death, she is still listed as available on Petfinder.

How is this possible? This is a shelter that recently claimed the animals were "suffering" because they weren't killing them. Yet they have someone willing to go twenty extra miles for a dog, and they kill her.

This is what the petfinder page says about "43430" (probably makes it easier to kill them without names): Id# 43430 This girl is very friendly & loving would surely make a great dog for someone. She is waiting for her furrrrever owners to come get her & give her a good furrrrever home with them.

Such cutesy language for a dead dog! Add insult to injury, why don't you?

This isn't new. Robeson County Animal Shelter kills animals all the time, they have at least an 80% kill rate. They kill animals who have adopters. A lawsuit was filed earlier this year, which was later dropped but led to some changes in how the shelter deals with "flagged"dogs. Those are dogs rescue agencies would be interested in taking but may need enough time to pick up the dogs. Clearly the changes didn't much help this dog who should not be dead, who had an advocate, who had a chance. Had being the key word.

This is a shelter that blames the community for its problems, yet kills dogs the community wants to adopt. This is a shelter that blames an overpopulation of dogs for its problems, yet leaves cages empty for ease of cleaning. This is a shelter that blames lack of money and participation, yet limits its adoption hours and does not require an adoption period for animals (they can be killed after the legal 120 hour hold period, five days) or fundraise actively for donations through a legal non-profit. This is a shelter that does not wish to accept any responsibility for, oh I don't know, running a shelter. Blaming everyone else doesn't get you far, it just gets you alone and angry, and if no one was hurt but yourself, fine, but dogs and cats are dying.

It isn't my responsibility to post dogs on Facebook. It isn't my responsibility to call rescuers and arrange transport. It isn't my responsibility to do everything in my power to place brown dog. It isn't my responsibility to save her life. That so many people who aren't in the shelter community MAKE it their responsibility is a testament to their compassion and tenacious, driven desire to save lives. In the end, it still isn't their responsibility. Robeson County, it's your responsibility. You are funded by the taxpayers, and your job entails managing a shelter in an efficient, humane manner. It does not involve heart sticks. It does not involve killing adoptable animals, especially when people are trying to place them. It does not involve bitching and whining about all the things other people aren't doing and start campaigning and speaking about the things YOU, the shelter, ARE doing.

First step, don't kill adoptable dogs.

It's smooth-sailing from there.

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