Animal Control & Rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1994:

The Canadian SPCA
was stunned February 3 when it
lost the Montreal pound contract
to a private bidder, Berger Blanc,
for at least a two-month trial period.
Berger Blanc handles animal control
for several Montreal suburbs, but
has been accused of selling animals
to biomedical research. The
Montreal contract forbids such sales.
The CSPCA was nearly bankrupted
under its previous two-year pound
contract, loosely modeled after the
contract New York City has long
had with the ASPCA, under which
it was expected to provide pound
service at a substantial loss––
$450,000 in 1993––in exchange for
the proceeds from all dog licenses
sold after the first 10,000.

According to information officer
Kathleen Porter, the CSPCA hoped
to sell 50,000 licenses but actually
sold only 18,000, not enough to
even cover the staff time involved.
The CSPCA asked Montreal for
$31,500 per month; Berger Blanc
bid $23,500 per month; and a third
bidder, ServiCon, bid $12,000 per
month. That bid was rejected as
unrealistic. If the Montreal contract
remains with Berger Blanc after the
trial period expires April 1, the
CSPCA may be obliged to under-
take major layoffs and perhaps reor-
ganize. However, Montrealers
aren’t placing bets: the suburb of
Ville St. Laurent contracted with
Berger Blanc briefly in 1992, but
went back to the CSPCA when resi-
dents complained of impounded
dogs disappearing and inconvenient
kennel facilities.
Coburg, Australia, a
suburb of Melbourne, has adopted
mandatory cat licensing, steriliza-
tion except by special permit, and a
limit of four cats per household with
special waivers required to keep
more. Subsidized neutering is to be
introduced later this year. Victoria
state, meanwhile, is considering
adopting statewide pet licensing,
with a 200% differential for
unneutered animals.
The Kansas Corrections
D e p a r t m e n t has begun training
female inmates at the Topeka state
prison to groom animals for the
Topeka Helping Hands Humane
Society, at the initiative of correc-
tions department volunteer coordi-
nator Gloria Logan. Male inmates
of the Wichita and Winfield prisons
already help Kansas Special Dog
Services to train puppies to assist the
blind and disabled.
The Labette County
Humane Society, in Parsons,
Kansas, will soon be turned over to
new management, after two and a
half years under Cole McFarland of
the Compassion for Animals
Foundation. CAF president Gil
Michaels sent McFarland to Parsons
in September 1991, after “trying to
find the worst place in the country,”
McFarland told ANIMAL PEO-
P L E, in order to demonstrate turn-
around techniques. In 1991 the
financially struggling shelter took in
1,023 animals, adopting out 76. In
1993, it took in 843, adopting out
487. Intakes were cut via neutering
promotions, including Barn Cat
Allies, a neuter/release project.
However, McFarland has been
unable to get Parsons to adopt dif-
ferential licensing, the fees from
which would support the shelter.
Differential licensing nearly passed
once, but local commercial cat-
breeders then generated “950 calls to
the five city commissioners in one
day,” McFarland said, after scaring
the community of 12,000 with a
mass mailing. McFarland hopes his
successors will be able to break the
impasse, as without guaranteed rev-
enue, the shelter may have to close
and the recent gains could be lost.
Five thousand dollars in
debt, the Hunt County Humane
Society of Greenville, Texas, was
five days from permanent closure on
January 26 when president Charlene
Denny called ANIMAL PEOPLE
with what she thought was just a sad
news item. Noting that the no-kill
facility is 48 miles from any other
humane shelter, operates the only
low-cost neutering program in the
county, adopted out 793 of the 800
animals it received in 1993, and had
received emergency aid from the
well-reputed Summerlee Found-
ation, the Editor recommended a
call to the North Shore Animal
League’s International Division.
Within 24 hours, NSAL Inter-
national Division director Bob
Commisso called to confirm that
Hunt County Humane had qualified
for rescue: the bills would be paid,
the doors would stay open, and the
staff would get needed training in
fundraising and promotion.
There were no miracles,
however, for Humane Services of
Middle Georgia, whose patron,
Emmett Barnes, 73, is in the midst
of one of the biggest personal bank-
ruptcies in Georgia history.
Overextended after investing heavi-
ly in trying to save downtown
Macon from urban blight, Barnes
recently sold the Humane Services
neutering clinic to the staff veteri-
narian, Dr. Ronald Amsterdam,
leaving Humane Services itself still
$65,000 in debt. The only humane
shelter in Macon closed due to lack
of community support nearly five
years ago.
AB 302, the California
bill mandating that outdoor cats
be neutered, was formally with-
drawn on January 14, as the
National Audubon Society, the
major sponsor, resisted amend-
ments that would have protected
pracitioners of neuter/release from
being fined or jailed for failing to
neuter cats they were feeding but
hadn’t yet lured into a humane trap.
Audubon rejects neuter/release
because of “the devastating impact
of feral and domestic outdoor cats on
birds and wildlife.” But Audubon
also supports efforts in many locales
to eradicate nonnative species––and
studies have shown that about 75%
of all birds killed by cats are English
house sparrows, a nonnative species
that competes with native songbirds
for habitat. Thus the net effect of cat
predation on birds may actually help
fulfill Audubon goals. A new
mandatory neutering bill is to be
introduced later this year.
The Pet Industry Joint
Advisory Council is pouring effort
into defeating a New Hampshire bill
that would impose a 2% sales tax on
pet food to finance a statewide dis-
count neutering program. Adam-
antly opposed to any special taxes on
pet food, PIJAC has killed similar
proposals in several other states.
Legislation In Support of
Animals, profiled in the January/
February edition of ANIMAL PEO-
PLE, continued to demonstrate the
carrot-and-stick approach to reform-
ing the state’s animal control agen-
cies in January, giving Washington
Parish Sheriff’s deputy Denver
Miller a Golden Heart Award for
outstanding effort in accomplishing
a horse rescue and securing a guilty
plea to cruelty charges from former
Winnfield animal control officer
Monty Phelps for allowing dogs to
starve in their cages in 1992. Phelps
was fined $500 and ordered to do
200 hours of community service.
The Italian government
has withdrawn a plan to license cat-
feeders, which would have been
used to help finance a state-spon-
sored neuter/release program under-
way in Rome for about five years.
PetsMart, the biggest of
the several pet chains that operate
adoption centers for local shelters
rather than selling purpose-bred ani-
mals, on January 28 bought the
Petzazz chain. If each of the 138
PetsMart stores (including the new
acquisitions) adopts out just one ani-
mal per business day, for an annual
total of 41,400 per year, PetsMart
could rival the North Shore Animal
League (43,000+) as the world
leader in animal placements.
Official interpretation of
the zoning law forbidding “ani-
mal production” within the city
limits of Dallas, Texas, has con-
firmed that it does forbid “breeding
of cats and dogs for commercial
purposes,” and that “commercial
purposes” means any activity “con-
ducted with intent to make a profit.”
The ruling provides a means of
putting backyard breeders who
advertise dogs and cats for sale out
of business.
A bill to mandate steril-
ization of all animals adopted from
public shelters, HB 1181, is now
before the Georgia legislature.
Bombay, India, recent-
ly advertised 70 openings for rat-
catchers––and got 40,000 applica-
tions, half of them from college
graduates who apparently saw the
work as a much coveted entry into
financially secure civil service.
New Cleveland safety
director William Denihan is inves-
tigating complaints about conditions
at the city pound, issued by a frus-
trated advisory panel appointed two
years ago by mayor Michael White
and virtually ignored by the city
council ever since. The Animal
Protective League recently donated
half a ton of kibble to the pound
after learning from the activist
group Berea Rescue that the dogs
there were badly underfed. Denihan
is reportedly considering contract-
ing out pound services, rather than
spend $150,000 to bring the venti-
lation system up to par––just the
start of the work needed, according
to advisory panel members.
The Anaheim chapter of
the House Rabbit Society was kept
jumping in January even before the
Los Angeles earthquake hit by the
necessity of finding homes for about
75 domestic rabbits descended from
former pets who were abandoned
behind a pair of local restaurants.
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