Animal control & rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

The Whidbey Animal Shelter, of
Coupeville, Washington, is staggering under a
77% increase in owner-surrendered cats and kittens
this year, and a 48% overall increase in feline
intakes, despite the apparent huge popularity of
the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation
low-cost neutering, fostering, and supervised
neuter/release programs. In Louisiana, the
Jefferson Animal Shelter, of Jefferson Parish,
with a 6% rise in dog and cat intakes after a 10%
decline in 1994, and the New Orleans SPCA,
with an 11% rise after a 10% decline in 1995, are
experiencing similar, amid publicity about a 28%
increase in adoptions in Jefferson Parish and the
expansion of neutering programs at both shelters.

The phenomenon is familiar to San Francisco
S P C A president Richard Avanzino, Animal
Foundation International president Mary Herro
of Las Vegas, and others who have instituted similar
programs: when the public gains confidence
that animals delivered to the shelter won’t be
killed, turn-ins rise until increased neutering cuts
the pet birth rate to less than natural attrition––at
which point intakes plummet. The time required to
get to lower intake is typically from one year to
three years, depending on what the animal population
demographics were at the start of the program.
Maricopa County, Arizona, serving
the Phoenix area, fired public health director Steve
Englander and rabies/animal control director Lee
San Miguel in early August for allegedly failing to
appropriately discipline dogcatcher Marc McGill,
who was eventually suspended for two days after
the second of two incidents in which he was
accused by witnesses of beating dogs to death. San
Miguel was succeeded by former Tucson Humane
Society executive director Carol Monroe.
The no-kill Nevada SPCA, of Las
Vegas, is split by a dispute over whether or not it
should move into space at the privately operated
Dewey Animal Control Center, left vacant when
Animal Foundation International won away the
Las Vegas animal control contract last winter.
Founder and president Jennifer Palombi announced
in the organization’s July/August newsletter that it
would make the move; the majority of board
members signed a September 5 letter to members
saying the move had been voted down on June 20.
Carol Rathmann, shelter manager for
the Humane Society of Sonoma County’s main
shelter in Santa Rosa, California, was on
August 11 named recipient of the American
Veterinary Medical Association’s 1996 Humane
Award, for her Forget-Me-Not Farms Program.
“Using gardens and resident farm animals,”
explained HSSC president Dan Knapp, “the program
teaches at-risk children the skills of empathy,
kindness, and compassion.”
Laramie Masonic Lodge #3 recently
honored Sherman and Lois Mast for 30 years of
service to the Wyoming Humane Society, the
Animal Care Center shelter, which they founded
in 1973, and the Humane Federation of Wyoming,
which they founded the following year. Their
accomplishments include the abolition of killing
animals in decompression chambers, the passage
of a law requiring a separate fine for each animal
harmed in abuse cases, and the enforcement of
rabies vaccination requirements so successfully
that Albany County, including Laramie, has never
had a case of dog rabies.
Actors and Others for Animals, of Los
Angeles, in June spent $100,000 to neuter 1,747
dogs and 1,253 cats belonging to low-income residents,
who were provided with shuttle service as
needed to get their animals to and from participating
veterinary hospitals. The project was largely
financed through auctioning items autographed by
member celebrities.
Citing a 1959 Kentucky Court of
Appeals ruling that held individual fiscal court
members in counties without dog pounds liable for
livestock damage done by dogs, Randy Skaggs of
the no-kill Trixie Foundation shelter demanded in
mid-August that shelters be founded in the 30
counties in the state which still have none.
Jim Barney, executive director of the
Capital Area Humane Society in Toledo for less
than four months, resigned effective September 20
to become the Toledo director of natural resources.
The new post pays $78,500 a year, with benefits;
Barney was making $65,000, without benefits.
Twenty-five new animal control officers
on August 14 completed training and commenced
duties with the Los Angeles Department of
Animal Regulation––the first to be hired in five
years, during which time the department lost a
third of its field staff via budget cuts. The recruits
will be paid from $24,638 to $28,188 a year.
At request of mayor Richard Riordan
and the four other members of the Los Angeles
Animal Regulation Commission, the L.A. City
Council on August 20 replaced commissioner Russ
Cook with former commissioner Camille ‘Mimi’
Robbins. “Cook has had a history of problems in
the department in terms of dealing with issues of
personnel,” explained commission president
Steven Afriat. About 40 local animal rights
activists attended the meeting to support Cook.
The city council in San Antonio,
Texas, on August 5 agreed to sell 10,000 carcasses
of cats euthanized by city animal control to
Sargeant’s Wholesale Biologicals during the next
year, resuming a deal it had previously from 1992
to 1994. The city will receive $25,000 for the cats,
and will save landfill costs of $2,000 to $3,000.
San Antonio animal control director William
Lammers expects to take in 52,000 animals this
year, up from 49,000 in 1995, including about
14,000 cats. Sargeant’s resells the dead cats to a
Tennessee firm that supplies school dissection laboratories.
Killing 556 dogs and cats per 10,000
residents, San Antonio has the highest per capita
euthanasia rate of any major U.S. city, 10 times as
high as the rate in New York City, which has the
lowest. More than seven times bigger than San
Antonio, New York City euthanizes fewer animals;
San Francisco, of comparable size to San
Antonio, euthanizes only 10% as many.
Salt Lake County, Utah, in August
increased fines for 21 animal-related municipal
code violations, but is restructuring a new animal
control ordinance sought for more than a year by
Salt Lake County Animal Control director Peggy
Hinnen and Humane Society of Utah director Gene
Beierschmidt, removing clauses they wanted that
would have imposed cat licensing and restricted
private sales of puppies and kittens.
A years-long battle over possibilities
for establishing an animal shelter to serve the 37
municipalities of Camden County, New Jersey,
appeared near resolution with the September
appointment of Lee Bernstein, director of the
Associated Humane Societies in Newark since
1967, as consultant to supervise the construction
of a $1.5 million facility with 200 dog runs, 80 cat
cages, adoption facilities, and an in-house veterinary
clinic. One catch: the county only has
$500,000 budgeted for a new shelter. A $1.2 million
budget was allocated for a new shelter in
1988, but was later diverted to other uses.
Pressured by the state of New Jersey
to hire a staff veterinarian in compliance with
state law by June 1 or lose licensing, the Hudson
County SPCA, of Jersey City, hired Gerald
Buchoff, DVM, on a two-month contract––and
fired him as soon as it expired for allegedly “getting
into micromanaging the operation.” Reported
Kirsten Danis of the Jersey Journal, “Buchoff said
soon after he started, he grew frustrated when
directors refused the delivery of medications,
fought plans for a volunteer program, and did not
tell him about sick animals. Jack Shaw, a political
consultant and chairman of the SPCA’s board of
directors, said Buchoff wanted too much too
soon.” Buchoff had gathered applications to
become volunteers from 40 members of the
Hudson County Animal Welfare League, which
along with other area animal welfare organizations
has often criticized Hudson County SPCA operations.
ANIMAL PEOPLE has received allegations
of poor conditions at the Hudson County
SPCA from a variety of sources since 1992.

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