Friday, September 3, 2010

Polk County Animal Control - New Policy Says We'll Kill Surrendered Animals Quickly

Polk County Animal Control is changing their policy about immediately killing animals.

No, they aren't going to STOP immediately killing some animals. Instead, they'll just let you know it might happen.

The "honest killing" policy change occurred after a woman dropped off 6-week-old healthy kittens at the overcrowded shelter. She was told the kittens would have 7 days before being put up for adoption. The woman told them she would take the kittens back if, after 7 days, no one claimed them or they were going to be killed.

Instead, the shelter killed them immediately, because taking 7 days to care for a few healthy kittens was a monumental task for the shelter.

This isn't a novel policy. Every shelter in California, for example, is legally permitted to kill healthy puppies and kittens who are without a mother and under the age of 8-weeks. I'm sure there are situations in which incoming puppies and kittens are egregiously unhealthy and euthanasia is what the name implies, a good death.

But this wasn't one of them, and I find it implausible that there wasn't a foster home available, adopters ready to take in cute kittens after the hold period, or a radio or television personality ready to publicize the plight of the kittens or other animals at the shelter.

Honesty can be a great thing. Still, it boggles my mind that instead of changing to a policy that doesn't needlessly kill healthy animals, no matter their age, Polk County Animal Control instead chooses to just tell people they might kill animals the moment they step paw through the door.

I get they may be under-funded and under-staffed. I appreciate this greatly. Still, I have faith people can do better than this, that we can create a kinder, more compassionate world with just a smidgen of effort. That is all I ask of places like Polk County - put in a tiny bit of effort, go that extra foot, and feel good knowing you saved lives, gave opportunities for permanent placement, rather than cut short the lives of healthy kittens.

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