Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Concern for Animals Kills Them in San Bernardino County

In early November, 3 of a man's dogs attacked another one of his dogs. Animal control was called out and, per the traditional animal control paradigm, they confiscated the three dogs and killed them.

They gave the man a citation for an illegal cattery and told him he had to reduce the number of animals on-site. The article leaves much to be desired - did they give him access to spay/neuter clinics? Adoption assistance? What, in addition, to a citation did they offer this man with the illegal cattery and clearly way too many animals?

A week later, they came back and gave him a second citation. And told him, you know, reduce the numbers.

Something happened to the man that led him to relinquish all 114 animals to the county.

And, so far as I can tell, all of the dogs and cats were killed by their rescuers.

The animals were divided amongst four different shelters.

Yucca Valley Animal Shelter is the only shelter mentioned that says what they did with their new charges. They took in 38 cats and 7 dogs. And according to them, every single one of them couldn't keep their food down, and thus has to be killed. I find this highly implausible. The animals may very well have been sick, including animals who may have been irremediably ill. But the San Bernardino county region kills between 61-70% of the incoming animals. I could not find specific details for Yucca Valley Animal Shelter.

But I do have one suggestion for them: Do something about your petfinder page. It doesn't take you to your adoptable animal list. One more suggestion - profile a few adoptable animals on your homepage. Don't make the "adoptable animal" link small and obscure...unless not adopting animals is your top priority, because it's working! See? I can be critical AND helpful at the same time. Magic, poof!

Apple Valley animal shelter, another of the four shelters, has a functioning petfinder page but geez louise, at least include some fun information about the adoptable animals, give them names too! This is such an easy thing to do. For example, 37186 could be called George (in honor of Curious George) who left the mean streets of Apple Valley for a new destination with palm trees and his own personal masseuse. He looks like a monkey and is the class clown! That's two sentences, people. Heck, I'll write this stuff for you, Apple Valley, FREE OF CHARGE. Rocket science will certainly be my next foray.

One of the other shelters, Devore, kills 61% of incoming animals, so I can only assume their lot was killed too.

I have a little more hope for the animals who ended up at Twentynine Palms shelter. At least they name their dogs, give some of them cutesy stories and background information, and when you go their website, bam! adoptable animals right up in your face!

Can you at least see why no-kill advocates would be a smidgen frustrated with the current state of the animal shelter world? Really easy, really simplistic tactics - naming animals, profiling them on your home page, giving them background stories - aren't being implemented when they should be. There's no excuse for not doing that.

And this man who was certainly overwhelmed, but who probably loved his dogs and cats (which is not to say he makes for a great guardian, by any stretch) signed them over with the basic expectation that they'd have a chance at placement. I am not saying they were all adoptable animals, and I'm sure for some, euthanasia was the most humane option....but that cannot be statistically possible for all of them. These 114 animals were the only victims - they deserved to live their lives in a healthy and humane manner, and they were denied that by their owner AND their supposed rescuers.

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