This is an in-depth article concerning the sad fate of the cats rescued from the home of paedophile Douglas Westcott back in September and how a new initiative to try to end euthanasia of adoptable cats failed to assist them. I covered the initial Westcott story here on PoC.
Palm Beach County’s initiative to end euthanasia of adoptable cats
Today I’d like to talk about Countdown 2 Zero, a public-private community collaboration, initiated by Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, the Board of County Commissioners, and Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, to bring animal welfare organizations together to end the euthanasia of adoptable animals in Palm Beach County. The focus of this article is Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.
Back on February 4, 2014, the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners met to approve Countdown 2 Zero. The plan basically aims to end the unnecessary killing of adoptable animals by 2024. Dianne Sauve, director of the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control stated in a September 27 article published in the Sun Sentinel
“Funding is instrumental in helping to lower the euthanasia of animals.”
From what I understand, $500,000 in funds had been cut in the animal care budget over the last several years. On September 23, the council approved to spend an additional $250,000 to fund spaying and neutering programs.
According to their Facebook: Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control page:
“Palm Beach “Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control” is comprised of a dedicated group of animal-loving staff and volunteers who aid in the adoption of homeless pets in Palm Beach County. We keep the community up-to-date on events, adoption promotions, and pets in need at our local county shelter.”
There’s a lengthy YouTube video here where the statement is made by Diane Sauve, director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control at 2:44, that “Trapping and killing does not address the root cause.” and “Trap and Kill does not solve the problem.”
In the video, shelter statistics are provided: 80% are euthanized, 1% reclaimed by owner and 19% are adopted. Trap, neuter, vaccinate and return will reduce the number of cats euthanized in a shelter. It’s also stated that most stray cats will eventually find their way home, provided they aren’t caught by animal control and taken to the shelter.
Impact on “Westcott Cats”
So what does all of this have to do with the cats belonging to Douglas Westcott? It’s with deep sadness that I must report only 12 of those cats got out of the shelter alive. There was no promotion of these cats on the Facebook: Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, despite the cats being healthy, despite their living conditions. From what I’ve heard, no out of state adoptions were allowed.
One of my Facebook friends was able to save a few of the cats, thanks to Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue. Only two of the cats tested positive for FeLV/FIV, and Puffy Paws Kitty Haven in Englewood, Florida had spoken up and offered those cats a home. The cats were killed anyway, along with roughly 16 others who were killed for space. An email sent by the shelter stating the cats would be killed to make room for other cats after being contacted by an individual saying rescue was being arranged wasn’t enough to save the cats. They were killed within a few hours after the email was sent.
It’s understandable that a shelter has to make room for incoming cats, but to make so many restrictions on who can take the cats….well…it does raise a lot of questions. Especially since the email stated rescues and adopters were being contacted to take the remaining cats.
If you look at the volunteer Facebook: Urgent Cats of Palm Beach County page, you’ll see a LOT of feral cats are euthanized. Or should I say a lot of NON-feral cats? It’s a possibility cats may be determined as feral just so they can be killed. Cats (yes, even kittens) are killed when they exhibit fear. This is recorded as “behavioral problems” or “feral.” Many more are killed for minor upper respiratory infections, which are totally treatable.
To see some of the cats who lost their lives at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, after the statement was made where they talked a good game of saving lives, can be found here on the Rainbow Bridge Album here.
This goes against everything said at the September 23 meeting. In checking the photo albums on the county Facebook page, Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, I also found that dogs are promoted with much more emphasis than cats. Does this shelter have a dislike for cats? Just asking…
Regardless, those in charge, especially Diane (who has to sign off on the euthanasia orders) appear to be preaching one thing and doing the total opposite. Diane, how do you explain the murder of cats with a mild illness, terrified cats, and cats that may or may not be feral? Are you killing cats lost by residents in the Palm Beach community before their owners even have time to visit the shelter? And it IS murder, to kill a cat that can be healed or rehabilitated and go on to make someone a good pet.
Dahlia, Dianthus, Daucus, Daisy, Daphne, Lexi & Hope are the remaining survivors still looking for a forever home. If interested in adopting any of these beauties, please contact Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue.
Please go to this page for some links (opens a new window).