Update: Response from GCACS at the bottom of the article. Their defense is spaying a pregnant cat is much safer for the cat than carrying a litter to full term at the shelter or in foster care.
A personal message conversation between a member of the cat advocacy community and Greenville County Animal Care Services (a kill shelter in Upstate South Carolina) has created havoc on social media after it was learned pregnant cats entering the shelter had their kittens aborted rather than GCACS asking for fosters to step up. I’m not as ‘in the loop’ as those who work with the shelter, so I’ll rely on comments for this article to gather more information on what’s happening to the pregnant cats at the shelter.
The conversation began with GCACS saying
“Allowing pregnant animals to give birth in a shelter or in foster care goes against our mission of life saving and being responsible for the animals already in the shelter system. An animal shelter is not a suitable place to give birth and properly care for newborns.”
GCACS went on to explain their position, mostly relying on their opinion that community cats are unadoptable. Notice they don’t call them ‘feral cats.’ Community cats are a different type of cat, and many cats turned in by the public as strays used to go to forever homes. Greenville has always been very good at networking the cats using both social media and email.
Project Zero (AKA Target Zero) and The Community Cat Diversion Program, which can be downloaded from here as a PDF document, are supposed to reduce the number of cats in the community capable of producing kittens. From what I’m hearing, there are some bad things going on. I won’t go into them, as there are others out there who know more than myself on this topic. I’m even hearing that kittens under two pounds are being spayed/neutered. Is this correct?
The end result, however, is clear. Greenville County tax dollars are being used to kill unborn kittens. You may or may not agree with the shelter philosophy on this, but that’s what’s happening, from what I gather.
As for their Facebook page posting adoptable cats, a statement has been issued.
“These are all the cats- they are being adopted, which is why they are not in the albums as needing rescue and as of right now intake is slow on cats. thank you for all your support.”
The shelter says they’re being adopted and that they have rescue partners who are taking the cats. I’m wondering whether feral AND community cats are being spayed/neutered and dumped back out.
The shelter has offered the cat advocate the opportunity these messages were passed back and forth from the opportunity to visit the shelter and talk with the staff. Too bad the volunteers sign a paper when they agree to work for the shelter that no bad publicity will be spoken of.
County Council is really the only government organization who can put a stop to anything you disagree with. You can find information on them on the Greenville County website. Animal advocates personally attending county council meetings are responsible for improvements that have been made at the Greenville shelter thus far.
Please, those of you who know more, please comment in the Facebook comment section of this article. Moderated comments take longer to post, as they have to be cleared. Feel free to post any screenshots you have taken if they can help resolve this issue.
I apologize for not knowing more. This is a very confusing issue. For a shelter trying to eventually go ‘no-kill,’ it would appear there’s a lot of killing taking place there.
RESPONSE FROM GCACS:
The pet rescue team forwarded your email to me. Thank you for reaching out to us about your concerns. Of course, we want to save every savable animal and we are working hard towards that goal. We must always think first of what is in the best interest of the animals in our care. All of the situations that ultimately bring pregnant cats to our shelter in need of our help also creates an incredible amount of stress for them. Spaying a pregnant cat is usually safer for her health than going through gestation and birth of a litter under stressful circumstances of living in a shelter or foster home while pregnant. Successfully managing a pregnant animal through birth and delivery and then helping her raise the kittens to an age when they can be adopted is a labor-intensive and resource-intensive endeavor. The transition to “No Kill” in a community is a difficult and sometimes heartbreaking time for everyone because we are committed to saving every savable animal but we don’t yet have all of the resources or the capacity to accomplish this. We are working through each step of the life-saving pyramid, as suggested and outlined to us by Target Zero. At the very top tier of that life-saving pyramid are young kittens. It’s still a very discouraging fact that 3 out of every 4 kittens that people bring to Greenville County Animal Care are too young to be here. THIS is where we are focusing our efforts right now. All available resources—whether that’s foster homes, rescue groups, or financial support—need to go to the animals already here and who need these resources the most right now. Once we are successfully saving 90% or more of the kittens people bring to Animal Care for help, then we can implement more life-saving programs that would help unborn kittens. We realize this is a tough and emotional subject for our community to think about, and that’s why it’s absolutely critical that our community continues to support us as we work through each life-saving tier. Every person who works at Greenville County Animal Care considers every life important and we want the same thing that you want—to help all animals live well and have good homes. Criticizing the Animal Care staff and it’s policy to spay pregnant cats risks destruction of our No-Kill efforts by making it harder for us to raise money and find these vital resources necessary to implement more life-saving programs. I hope that I’ve answered your questions, but if you have others, please feel free to call me at 864-467-3953.