More than 40 concerned animal advocates attended a Hartnett County Board of Commissioners meeting last Monday to express their concerns about the poor management at Hartnett County Animal Shelter which led to the unnecessary euthanasia (killing) of 59 cats following an outbreak of feline panleukopenia (aka feline parvovirus) which could have been avoided with better management and better veterinary advice.
Animal advocates say that management failed miserably to protect the health and welfare of the rescue cats in its charge. With proper procedures such as vaccination, well thought through protocols, quarantine and proper warnings to rescues and adopters the death toll could have been greatly reduced. It is thought that many of the cats euthanized were not infected by the virus but the situation had become so desperate that it was decided to euthanised all the cats.
At these commissioners’ meetings the public are allowed three minutes to make their case during a 30 minute period. Often there are not enough speakers to fill the 30 minutes. On this occasion the public spoke for nearly 40 minutes demonstrating a great concern about this matter.
More than 10 people spoke and almost everyone spoke about the catastrophe at the Hartnett County Animal Shelter. Dr Lavonda Fowler (executive administrator to the Criminal Justice Information Network Governing Board for the State of North Carolina) had a hand in organising the attendance of the animal advocates at the meeting. These people should be commended and praised for being well organised and being prepared to give up their time in the interests of the welfare of rescued cats.
Also in attendance was Jennifer Mariner who had organised a petition on change.org which had gathered well over 2,000 signatures. The goal of the animal advocates was a change in leadership at the animal shelter. In addition they want the building renovated and improved public relations between the shelter, the public and animal rescue groups.
The photograph on this page shows Jennifer Mariner with a poster of the cats who were tragically killed at the shelter to stop the outbreak of feline parvovirus (highly contagious and often fatal).
“The failure to act was a direct responsibility of shelter management.”
She was referring to the Hartnett County Animal Shelter Director Steve Berube.
A change in management should lead to a change in protocols and methods in the best interests of the welfare of the cats at the shelter.
In addition, Dr Fowler asked the Board of Commissioners to look into the possibility of applications for grants to build a new animal shelter facility. Further, she asked that the board take into account the views of the community.
And she rightly stated:
“We are the voice of the animals and they are the innocent residents of this county.”
In response, the Board of Commissioners stated that they had already addressed many of the concerns raised at Monday night’s meeting.
The board of Commissioners stated:
“The ultimate goal of Hartnett County government and of Hartnett County Animal Services is to provide the best care possible to the animals that come into the shelter, and the best service possible to our citizens.”
A person who commented on The Daily Record website from which this article is based stated:
“The people of Hartnett County are tired of the good ole boy system it has in place and the animals of Hartnett County deserve so much better than what they have. It’s time for a change and a change for the better!”
Another person commented said that the veterinarian concerned, Dr Ralph Houser, was the creator of the gas chambers currently used in North Carolina. What she is impliedly stating is that he is not a good veterinarian who made poor decisions regarding this catastrophic outbreak of feline parvovirus.
I applaud all animal advocates. Great work. Their committment changes things.