Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Dark Ages (A Rant)

I've been rescuing from that "high kill" shelter for 10 years now. Over the 10 years I've seen some improvements made - mainly in the past 2 years. Certainly less euthanasia and less cats coming in. But it's still astounding that in the year 2012 this shelter STILL does not permit the public to come in and adopt cats!

I think it's a cop out to say, "Things don't happen overnight". In fact, I'm really sick of hearing that.

In the old days of this shelter, they used to kill 100 cats EVERY WEEK. I was told stories about the dead little bodies piled up in the garage area to be sent out for cremation or whatever they do with discarded animals. The SPCA is in the next building next door. The City seems to think that THEIR adoptions are enough. The City Animal Services doesn't need to open their shelter for adoptions, because the SPCA next door has cats available for adoption.


Until no adoptable cats are being killed at Animal Services, the shelter and animals can benefit from an adoption program.

One answer for the lack of an adoption program is, that there is a virus that goes through that shelter like the plague and the majority of the cats get extremely ill within a few days of entering. 

I will NEVER EVER forget meeting a woman in the front lobby who was bringing her beloved kittens with hope they would find wonderful homes.  Apparently, she took in a pregnant stray cat and lovingly raised the kittens.  She was a lovely human being and was in tears to give these kittens to a shelter.  I told her point blank that this was the height of kitten season and there are NO ADOPTIONS.  Even though her surrender form from the shelter said that the kittens have a chance to be adopted.  (Liars)  She was sobbing but felt she had no choice.  My rescue was full and I had no room.  These kittens were fluffy, healthy, robust and adorable.  I promised the woman that I would take them in about 5 days after I had a few adoptions.

In 5 days the kittens were horribly ill with the Upper Respiratory Virus that runs through that shelter.  On the 7th day, the city saw fit to kill them all rather than save them. 

To this day, I feel responsible for their deaths.

There is no doubt that the shelter is better than it used to be.  The cats are getting better medical care and they are triaged when they arrive.  I heard that central air conditioning is being installed so the poor animals don't bake in their cages this summer like they have done for the past dozen+ years.  "We want them comfortable before they die."

But the truth is that this shelter is in the DARK AGES of animal shelters.  Even the shitty rural shelter I used to write about lets the public in their building to adopt cats.  I was astounding to hear that the manager of the "high kill shelter" shelter presented to the city council  a special program designed to improve the shelter and the City Council TURNED IT DOWN!  What kind of red neck city is this????

 I'm watching the "Crazy Protesters" go out and try to do *something* for these animals and so few residents from the city are showing up to their rallies.  Now the protesters are trying to raise money for the rescues who are taking sick cats out of there.  It's RIDICULOUS that they feel like they have to do that - they're losing sight of their mission and their energy should be spent keeping their eye on the ball. 

There is NO OTHER SHELTER in North American that allows the public to discard their unwanted animals where the animals have NO CHANCE to be adopted directly.  The city is relying on the goodness of rescues like mine and I'm sick of being taken advantage of by a city that doesn't give a shit about the animals or the volunteers that are trying to help them.

Saying that "Things don't happen overnight", might be true.  Why don't these city council members realize that their lack of care for these discarded animals only makes the city for which they serve look like a bunch of uneducated rednecks??     Believe me - you can point fingers all you want to about the staff - but the staff isn't the problem. 

Honestly, I don't know what the problem is anymore.  I used to think I knew.  I used to think if the public were made aware of what happened at this shelter that they would be up in arms about it.  They would demand change!  They would burn torches and march into City Hall!  The public would be humiliated at the thought that the city where they pay taxes, raise their families and go to work was killing adoptable cats and dogs by the thousands each year!

I'm the one that feels humiliated for them and I don't even live in that city.  It isn't right. 


Random Felines said...

I couldn't agree more. And honestly, adding an adoption program won't make things harder - it will be easier (not to mention the ease to the staff knowing they have options). It blows my mind that their surrender form is a lie - and yet I can't be too surprised. You are right - until the tax paying public says or does something, government will think it is right. it big cities like LA can even consider going no-kill then this town can consider adoptions of any kind. there is no excuse.... I am sorry you have to deal with this....

Eva M said...

I am sorry to read that you think we are still the Crazy Protesters Beth. Yes, it is very sad that so few people turned out for the last Rally. There will however be another one. We are not giving up until this barbaric practice is stopped. Besides being "crazy" protesters as you call us, we also help in any way that we can - we adopt, foster, transport, donate, and share, share, share. We do not feel obligated to help the rescues - we WANT to. The plight of the Hamilton animals is of great importance to us, even though most of us don't live there. We know that there are better ways - proven methods to stop this killing. Perhaps you want to join us - share our petition, share our rally info with your followers? We would be happy to have the support and there is strength in numbers.

BeckyH said...

Their SPCA neighbor should be taking animals out of this "shelter" for adoption.

My local animal services also does not do adoptions. But they also have a Humane Society neighbor that takes most of the animals from the animal services for adoption. Together they have a 90+ save rate.


House of the Discarded said...

Becky: Wow! Where????

Eva: You may have missed my blog post where I started putting "Crazy Protesters" in quotes and have retracted as such. I don't think you're crazy, but I *DO* think you've got a couple of VERY visible over-the-top people in your midst that are hurting your ability to get credibility. That's one of the reasons I haven't joined in. My Registered Charity status prohibits me from identifying with anything political.


Sparkle said...

What a heartbreaking situation. Clearly there needs to be a change at the city level - politicos and the public must be educated and heads should roll at the very top of that shelter.

This is why we support some of the larger animal nonprofits along with the smaller rescues - the biggies are the ones that do the lobbying and education. The smaller rescues, like yours, are too busy trying to save lives to be able to do much on their own to effect change by themselves.

Anonymous said...

We need to get the word out to the city that we want changes. We all need to join forces. Each of us should send a letter....and tell two friends....and they should tell two friends...and so on...and so on. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. If not enough people complain then this concern gets pushed to the bottom of the pile and isn't important enough to deal with. STAND UP AND MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Even our animal control does adoptions. They have a donated space at a local mall and they allow in other shelters to rescue. They're on Facebook, twitter and pet harbor constantly talking up the animals in their care! All they need do is post once and it gets shared...easy. They also get more money thru donations and adoption fees. No one wants to donate to a place that is just going to buy more Lethal+ with the funds.

Anonymous said...

City council refused that?? That's BS. I'm just wondering what they think they have an Animal Services department for, if not to help animals. I realize that in most cities, shelters like that are supposedly for lost pets. But I'm wondering why the shelter even takes owner surrenders if they know the pets will just be euthanized? If the shelter staff cares and it's city council that's hampering them, couldn't the shelter staff be upfront with people coming in to surrender and tell them point-blank to take adoptable pets to the SPCA?

I don't live in that particular city (don't think you've outright identified it, but I know it's not Toronto), but if there's anything non-monetary to be done, I'm interested.

Debbie said...

Just wondering , has anyone gone to the paper to get the would out and maybe get more people involed.
I would think someone from "that city" would have done this by now
You do the best you can Beth, but it is a bandaid on a gapeing wound!

House of the Discarded said...

Debbie: Oh yes...the media has been contacted, but nobody seems to care. :(


House of the Discarded said...

Anonymous: Sadly, the majority of the people who try to dump their cats SPCA (because it's no-kill) are sent to Animal Services. By law, Animal Services can NOT reject incoming animals. Their mandate isn't to help animals - their mandate is to protect human beings FROM the animals. Totally eff'd up.

BeckyH said...

To answer your question -
Reno, Nevada - Washoe County Regional Animal Services and the Nevada Humane Society.

An open admission no-kill shelter, by the way. And WCRAS also has a high return to owner rate.

Anonymous said...

This pound should implement practices like here
The Municipality of Almirante Brown Argentina Ethical Animal Control Program

or here:

and then this shelter could be listed here, among other no kill communities:

Good luck!
And YES, I have signed that petition!
As it makes sense.
Many people think that no kill means that there will be thousands of cats weiting and waiting and waiting... and not enough adoptive families. That is NOT true as the no kill approach does not only mean no unnecessary killings but it also means public education and a massive spay/neuter of all cats in the municipality.

Take a look at Argentina... which country is richer? Argentina or Canada???
Canada CAN do it and that means Hamilton CAN implement the new system!!
Only the shelter boss and the City MUST BE COMMITTED to do this!

... and yes, in the meantime I have an adult foster cat from there, he would be dead otherwise and he is fine now!
He was vaccinated, neutered, well socialized and lovely looking but I had to call 5 rescues 4 of them are listed on the website of the Hamilton facility until one of the official partner rescues did the right thing and get the cat out of there. It was Karen's Special Ones Cat Rescue...