Nathan Winograd tells people who receive his emails that “Pound directors often falsely claim dogs are aggressive to kill them. But experience and studies prove that more than 99% of dogs brought to shelters can be safely adopted.”
You get the same sort of issues with cat shelters, so this article covers both cats and dogs. And Winograd made his statement on the back of a story from Centerton, Arizona, USA where the pound director was Cody Wilson. Note the past tense.
Lt Keith Lawson of the Cave Springs Police Department said that two dogs were picked up on November 9. The police department kept them for seven days and then took them on Nov. 16th to the Centerton shelter.
While the dogs were under the care of the police, they did not demonstrate aggression. Lawson said: “We had them for a week and didn’t have any issues”. In fact, he describes the dogs as ‘friendly’. The dogs caused no damage while in their care.
The police took them to the shelter hoping that they would be able to reunite them with their owners.
Maj Bill Edwards (who I presume is on the city council) said that he was contacted by a Centerton resident on November 17 who told him that two dogs had been euthanised on Nov. 16th, the day that the dogs arrived at the shelter.
The dogs had been placed into separate kennels on their receipt. It is reported that the dogs damaged the indoor kennels. They were then placed outside and reportedly damaged the outdoor kennels.
Cody Wilson allegedly then decided to euthanise the two dogs the next day for being destructive.
Cody was suspended on November 17 and summarily dismissed in November 22. The report is that city officials believed that there were no other options but to kill the animals.
An investigation found that the dogs were not euthanised in accordance with city policy according to Brian Rabal, the city attorney.
The police currently supervise the shelter according to Capt. Christopher Kelly of the police department. He said that no dogs would be euthanised at the shelter. If it was deemed necessary to euthanize a dog, they will be taken to a veterinarian.
The city’s ordinance doesn’t allow animal to be euthanised for safety or health reasons. There have been no previous reports of dogs being killed under these sorts of circumstances.
There had been no previous reported issues such as the one currently under investigation concerning the shelter.
The police are continuing to investigate because they need to determine whether misdemeanour offences have been committed. There is a possibility that felony offences have been committed.
Cody Wilson had worked at the shelter for five years and received a five-year service award on November 10.
Comment: there is a big debate about killing shelter animals because of aggressive behaviour. Nathan Winograd who I mentioned at the top of the article is the world’s expert on animal shelter management. He knows the statistics so when he says that 99% of dogs brought to shelters can be adopted, he’s correct. If dogs are being killed for aggressivity, it is likely to be because of convenience and poor shelter management.
This investigation seems to be saying that if a shelter ‘euthanises’ a shelter animal unnecessarily it can be a crime. Have you heard that before? If so a lot of crimes are committed at shelters.
Perhaps another point worth making is that both shelter dogs and cats, particularly cats perhaps, can behave abnormally aggressively when placed in the shelter environment. These are good, adoptable cats who give the false impression that they are unadoptable. Account needs to be taken of the noisy and the natural environment and its effect upon the behaviour. This is a well-known issue but leaves the door open to unnecessary animal killings.
Source: Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Below are some more articles on shelters.