From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Animal control shelters and humane societies with animal control c o n t r a c t s across the U.S. flew into panic with the April/May onset of “kitten season” because Ganes Chemical Works o f Pennsfield, New Jersey, ran out of sodium pentobarbital, the standard injection euthanasia drug, while retooling facilities to comply with tightened Food and Drug Administration product control standards.

The Humane Society of the U . S., however, lobbied the FDA into allowing Ganes, the sole U.S. sodium pentobarbital supplier, to mix up a batch to meet the seasonal demand.

Brenda Barnette, executive director of the Pets In Need adoption shelter in Redwood City, California, was not impressed. “Instead of focusing on a restricted ability to kill,” she urged in an open letter, “let us focus on all the private shelters and rescue groups who are doing everything they can––including paying the tax-funded shelters for animals––to save the lives of dogs and cats. Lethal injections are used to kill thousands of animals who are suitable for rehoming,” Barnett charged.

“These innocent animals are neither seriously ill nor do they pose a public risk due to behavior problems. Pets In Need calculates that of the 22,983 dogs and cats put to death in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties last year, 8,698 were suitable for rehoming,” Barnett said. “If we find three good homes among each 1,000 people in our community, we can end the killing of all animals suitable for rehoming on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula (the region south of San Francisco) and in the Silicon Valley. Any lapse in the availability of the killing serum,” Barnett suggested, “gives communities more opportunites to place abandoned dogs and cats in new homes, not graves.”

“In 1956, the human population of the Greater Auckland area [ i n New Zealand] was 381,063,” J a c k i J e a n m o n o d of the Auckland SPCA recently wrote to ANIMAL PEOPLE. “We received 31 animals per 1,000 people, and killed 21. In 1976, the human population was up to 797,406. We received 18 animals per 1,000 people and killed 13. In 1999, the human population was 1.9 million. We received six animals per 1,000 people and killed only three. That’s a very encouraging trend, going against any preconceived ideas anyone may have had about our demography changing from a predominantly ‘animal-loving’ European/Maori population to the diverse ethnic mix Auckland has now.”

Plans by the Animal Founda t i o n of Nevada to build a much larger shelter and make Las Vegas a no-kill city got a boost in April with a grant of $2 million from the Lied Foundation toward the estimated $3.4 million shelter construction cost. The Animal Foundation introduced high-volume low-cost neutering to Nevada in 1989 with a clinic now emulated worldwide, and took over the Las Vegas animal control sheltering contract in 1995.

The Summerlee Foundation recently granted $60,000 to the SPCA of Texas to encourage a drive to spay or neuter all 50,000 feral cats believed to be living in the Dallas metropolitan area. The SPCA of Texas fixed only 133 feral cats in 1998, but fixed 604 in 1999, and fixed 237 during the first two months of 2000.

The Alaska SPCA, having cut Anchorage shelter killing to just 11.6 dogs and cats per 1,000 residents, has semi-permanently stationed its mobile neutering clinic in Matanuska-Sukitna Borough, where animal control officers in 1999 killed 38.2 dogs and cats per 1,000 residents.

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