Friday, June 20, 2008

Wouldn't Want to Confuse Them With the Facts

Dawn Little from Gratiot County Animal Control Shelter thinks "we are going above and beyond what we need to do . . . If owners would keep their animals confined we wouldn't have to be here". Morning Sun, June 20, 2008, Complaint Filed Against Gratiot Animal Shelter. Little also claims that the complaint I filed is without merit, that they follow the law and that they do not sell or in this case give 20% of the animals to R & R Research in Howard City. Instead of she said/she said, I'll let you judge the facts for yourself.

Violation of Federal Law
Shelters that sell/give animals to research dealers must comply with 7 USC 2158. The statute provides:
2158. Protection of pets
(a) Holding period
(1) Requirement
In the case of each dog or cat
acquired by an entity described in paragraph (2), such entity shall hold and
care for such dog or cat for a period of not less than five days to enable such
dog or cat to be recovered by its original owner or adopted by other individuals
before such entity sells such dog or cat to a dealer.
(2) Entities
An entity subject to paragraph (1) is--
(A) each State, county, or city owned and operated
pound or shelter;
(B) each private entity
established for the purpose of caring for animals, such as a humane society, or
other organization that is under contract with a State, county, or city that
operates as a pound or shelter and that releases animals on a voluntary basis;
(C) each research facility licensed by the
Department of Agriculture.

Gratiot County holds strays for only 4 days. The Gratiot County Animal Control website provides:
If your pet is impounded and not wearing a collar it will
be held at the shelter for 4 days. If your pet is wearing a collar or other
identification it will be held for 7 days. An exception may be made if the
animal is sick or injured to the extent that holding the pet would cause undo
suffering or if the animal has an infectious or contagious disease. Animal
Control will attempt to contact the owner of animals wearing licenses or other
identification by telephone, or mail whenever possible.

The violation of federal law as reported to the USDA is obvious and not refutable.

Violation of Michigan Stray Hold Statutes
MCL 287.388 provides:
287.388 Disposition of dogs or cats; time; notice; record; exceptions.
8. A dealer, a county, city, village, or township operating a dog pound or
animal shelter shall not sell or otherwise dispose of a dog or cat within 4 days
after its acquisition. If the dog or cat has a collar, license, or other
evidence of ownership, the operator of the pound or shelter shall notify the
owner in writing and disposition of the animal shall not be made within 7 days
from the date of mailing the notice. Each operator of a pound or shelter shall
be required to maintain a record on each identifiable dog or cat acquired,
indicating a basic description of the animal, the date it was acquired and under
what circumstances. The record shall also indicate the date of notice sent to
the owner of an animal and subsequent disposition.
This section does not
apply to animals which are sick or injured to the extent that the holding period
would cause undue suffering, or to animals whose owners request immediate
History: 1969, Act 224, Eff. Mar. 20, 1970;--Am. 1973, Act 31, Imd.
Eff. June 14, 1973;--Am. 1974, Act 132, Imd. Eff. May 29, 1974

Little in a telephone interview admitted that Gratiot Animal Control only held identified dogs for 7 days and never, not once sent a letter to an owner.

Illegal Euthanasia
In the Morning Sun article Little claimed that using carbon dioxide to kill shelter animals is legal. Again, she is wrong. In an interview conducted via email, Dr. Halstead, the Michigan State Veterinarian, admitted that American Veterinary Medicine Association protocols applied to euthanasia conducted in Michigan animal shelters. Michigan Shelters Using Illegal Euthanasia Methods. The AVMA protocols recommend against using carbon dioxide as a euthanasia method, but if it is used, it may be for small dogs and cats only. AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia.

Little is wrong, the Gratiot County Animal Shelter is killing animals using an illegal method.

Gratiot County Gives 20% of the Animals to a Class B Dealer
Little claims that the shelter gives 9% of the shelter animals to Class B Dealer R & R Research.
Little is simply wrong again. These are the numbers submitted by Gratiot County Animal Control to the State of Michigan Department of Agriculture for 2007:

Total Number of Animals Admitted: 1439
Returned to Owners: 172
Adopted: 115 (7.9%)
Sold to Class B Research Dealer 287 (20%)
Killed by CO2 845 (58.7%)

For further detail from the State of Michigan Shelter Activity Report visit: Gratiot County Animal Control Shelter Profile.

Question is What do Gratiot County Citizens Deserve?
Instead of blaming the citizens she is supposed to serve, Little might want to put forth some actual effort to find pets homes and stop just shuffling them to a for profit business. The citizens of Gratiot County deserve a shelter that actually is humane in the way animals are treated. The citizens deserve a shelter that will work hard to reunite families with their pets. The citizens of Gratiot county deserve a shelter that will work with rescue groups and on line services such as to find new homes for animals. Finally, the citizens of Gratiot county deserve an animal shelter that humanely euthanizes animals who cannot find a home, not stuffing them into a barrel for a horrid death.


D 4 dogs said...

If Gratiot County "is" posting the animals on the web... WHERE ARE THEY? I have looked on their so called site and NOTHING, I have checked petfinder and NOTHING! I and sickened and at the same tome thakful I nolonger live in Gratiot County. I am with a Rescue group that works with several County Animal Controls, There has to be rescues in the surrounding counties that can help!

Anonymous said...

I am writing a letter to government officials about these problems. What this shelter does is sick and I'm glad that you were able to expose them for what they are. I, too, have been on the website, and it consists of one page. No animal adoption information. However, how could they provide information when they are only open three days a week or when they get rid of the dogs and cats too fast for people to see on the website and come in to get.
I am absolutely disgusted by this.

Kelev said...

We cannot stop the letters, calls and emails. These dogs and cats have no one but us to speak for them. Although their recent disgusting decision betrayed the animals, and they ignored the pleas for the animal's lives - we cannot give up. Until these animals are afforded adequate and TRUE shelter and the practice of selling hopeless dogs and cats to gruesome research labs via monster dog dealers, we will speak for the voiceless exploited and suffering animals. Thank you for your work.