Animal Control & Rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1993:

The Connecticut Humane Society,
long under fire from local no-kill groups for a
“high” euthanasia rate that is in fact better than
average for big shelters, has ceased accepting
animals from other shelters for euthanasia, and
is accepting animals for euthanasia from res-
cuers only by special arrangement. “I don’t
want to be in the business of euthanasia,” pres-
ident Richard Johnson told ANIMAL PEO-
PLE. “I want to do saving and adoption.”
CHS will now pay for neutering any animal
adopted by anyone from any municipal shelter
in Connecticut, Johnson said.

The American Humane Assoc-
iation has given the new Republic Pictures
film Tomcat a rare negative rating because
scenes of surgery on a cat were not produced
under humane society supervision, and the
producers have refused to provide technical
details about whatever they did.
The Dallas, Texas, Animal
Control Division expects shelter intakes to
increase from 36,000 to 40,000 next
year––because it is hiring five more field offi-
cers, boosting its total pickup force to 29. The
present euthanasia rate of 83% will probably
jump as well, but in the long run, planners
expect, the numbers will drop because more
staff doing pickups means fewer animals at
large to breed. The Dallas Animal Control
Division primarily handles dogs.
Mission Viejo, California, opened
a new $2.3 million animal shelter October 11,
including skylights, heated floors, and a park
where prospective adoptors can romp with
would-be pets. To house up to 36 dogs and 64
cats, the shelter has caught political flak
because it will cost $329,000 a year to run,
$129,000 more than the city’s center for the
aged––but the improved adoption facilities
may substantially reduce euthanasias, now
averaging about 250 animals per year.
An investigation of the Humane
Society of Greater Miami conducted at the
request of the Florida Attorney General’s
Office by Nicholas Gilman of the Humane
Society of the U.S. last January was released to
the press in October. The report listed numer-
ous problems at the shelter, including poor liv-
ing conditions for the animals and charged
executive director Elton Gissendanner, DVM,
with breeching ethical boundaries by serving
as both volunteer head of the organization and
one of several paid staff veterinarians.
Gissendanner responded that he only became
executive director a few months before the
report was prepared, has cut the shelter budget
by $250,000 a year, and has modernized oper-
ations since Gilman visited. He added that
HSUS produced a biased report because it
competes for donations with local humane
societies, although it does no sheltering itself
and contributes no funds to local shelters.
Gilman is due to revisit the facility this winter.
Louisiana judge Jules Edwards on
October 18 granted Legislation In Support of
Animals a permanent injunction against the
continued operation of the Vermilion Parish
Animal Pound, ruling that the substandard
pound conditions constitute a criminal viola-
tion of the state anti-cruelty statutes.
Pennsylvania Amish have cut deeply into the
traffic from midwestern puppy mills. In the
last year alone, the number of federally
licensed breeding kennels in Pennsylvania has
grown from 72 to 104, 65% of them in heavily
Amish parts of Lancaster County. According
to Chester County SPCA director Dr. Michael
Moyer, one consequence is that 40% of the
dogs the shelter receives are purebreds, far
above the national average of about 25%. A
breeder front group, the 1,900-member
Pennsylvania Kennel Committee for Higher
Ethics, has so far beaten back legislation that
would force breeders to cover veterinary costs
resulting from the sale of sick puppies, or to
refund the cost of those who die. PKCHE head
Robert Yarnall says the provisions should be
extended to animal shelters as well as breeders,
and that the seller rather than the buyer should
choose the attending veterinarian, as otherwise
vets would have no incentive to hold costs
Faced with the expiry of legislation
authorizing licensing and inspection of pet
shops and kennels, the Colorado Joint
Legislative Sunrise/Sunset Committee on
October 6 recommended passage of a new Pet
Animal Care and Facilities Act, to be intro-
duced in January, which would transfer regu-
lation of pet facilities from the Department of
Health, which has refused to do the job with-
out more money, to the Bureau of Animal
Protection within the state Department of
Agriculture. The new bill was drafted by a
coalition of animal control officers, shelter
staff, breeders, rescuers, and pet dealers.
The Los Angeles Department of
Animal Regulation has announced that the
number of animals it impounded dropped
11.8% in fiscal year 1992-1993, while the
euthanasia rate fell 10.9%. The LADAR cred-
its the improvement to the replacement of a
20-year-old system of public neutering clinics
with a more cost-efficient voucher program.
The Atlanta Humane Society rais-
es $16,000 a year by setting up $20 photo
appointments for pets each holiday season,
according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The local Fox Photo Lab donates labor and
supplies. For details, contact Cardin Wyatt,
community relations coordinator for Atlanta
Humane, 981 Howell Mill Rd. NW, Atlanta,
GA 30318; 404-873-5564.
Teamsters Local 244 began a rare
s t r i k e against the Cuyahoga County Kennels
on September 27, seeking a 5% raise. Two
shelter workers make circa $10.50 an hour,
one gets $9.96, and four get $7.40––below
average even in an underpaid line of work.
A New Jersey appeals court o n
October 19 upheld a death sentence given to
an Akita who allegedly attacked a 10-year-old
girl on Christmas Day, 1990. Owners Lonnie
and Sandy Lehrer immediately appealed again,
to the state Supreme Court. The dog previous-
ly killed another dog in a fight, but was
neutered before the girl was injured––by a
paw that accidentally snagged her lip, the
Lehrers claim, not a bite. The Lehrers have
spent $25,000 defending the dog, Bergen
County has spent $60,000 on the prosecution,
and impoundment costs total over $18,000. At
stake is not just the life of the dog, but the
enforceability of the New Jersey vicious dog
law. Like vicious dog laws in many other
states, it allows a dog one unprovoked attack
before imposing a death sentence.
Public animal shelters in Saratoga
County, New York, are severely under-
staffed following the adoption of a new coun-
ty law requiring all personnel to be vaccinated
against rabies. The requirement means the
county shelters can no longer get help from
volunteers and jail inmates––unless they can
afford to have themselves vaccinated.
Copies of the Cat Fanciers’
Association policies on neuter/release a r e
available for a SASE from Joan Miller, 6257
Gordon Valley Road, Suisun, CA 94585.
The guidelines are quite similar to those pre-
sented by ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim
Bartlett and Massachusetts SPCA vice presi-
dent Carter Luke in our June issue.
Lennoxville on October 12 became
the first city in Quebec to require cat licens-
ing. The fee is $5.00. Cats must be vaccinat-
ed, and cats in heat must be kept indoors.
There is neither a neutering differential nor an
identification requirement. Progress toward
instituting ID for cats is reported from other
quarters, however. September 7, the Central
Vermont Humane Society began ear-tagging
all cats adopted out––apparently the first shel-
ter in the state with a system of permanent
feline ID. September 18, the San Diego
County Department of Animal Control
began microchipping all cats as well as dogs
adopted from the county shelter. October 6,
the Peninsula Humane Society a n n o u n c e d
that it had identified more than 100 lost ani-
mals in one year of using microchip implants;
1,274 dogs and 1,687 cats were microchipped
during the time. Director Penny Cistaro said
the rate of identification and return of lost pets
could only go up, as more animals get the ID
The TribuneReview, of Pitts-
burgh, Pennsylvania, and the News-Sun of
Waukegan, Illinois, have markedly boost-
ed adoptions of older pets from shelters in
their communities by first publishing photos
of the homeless candidates for adoption, as
many papers do––and then publishing the pho-
tos again, with the names of the adopting
families. The quarterly TribuneReview pro-
motion has placed 500 pets in three years,
while the News-Sun version placed 30 animals
the first time it was tried.
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