Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control

Cats rescued from abuser and  hoarder Westcott
Cats rescued from abuser and hoarder Westcott
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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).

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

117 thoughts on “Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control”

  1. I have nothing to do with implementing the countdown to zero plan . I happen to live in Palm Beach county now and have been an advocate for strays since childhood. Suggest maybe someone call either Diane Sauve or Rich Anderson from the non profit Peggy Adams who both gave the presentation to the Commissioners and ask them whether they started using the 250,000 yet. I do know an adoption event was held but that was before the Commission approved the money which is for spay neuter not adoption events.

    here is a story about the event

    perhaps whoever is writing this blog will ask them for an interview. then you can bring up all the concerns posted here.

    1. Caretaker, Please understand where we are “coming from”. Almost 30 cats whose only “crime” was belonging to a hoarder, were killed without a chance for rescue. Much as some say they were promoted and given every chance (?) to be saved, I saw otherwise. And that doesn’t include the kittens we saw who were labeled “feral” and “bite animal”, which of course in PBC means death. What evidence in these specific cases do you have or know of that says otherwise?

      1. Why haven’t you brought your concerns to the newspapers here are the stories about the cats and the reporters names: i’m sure they’d be interested in a follow up story if you have inside information about these cats.

        There are cats sitting right now on death row at the shelter. If someone is claiming that there would have been placement for these cats, then save the ones sill alive at ACC today. where are the individuals and local non profits that claim they could have saved the cats? Why aren’t they taking them? Why hasn’t a non profit bought land, cat fenced it in built shelters and placed cats on acc death row there?

        http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-09-10/news/fl-dead-frozen-cats-found-20140910_1_many-dead-cats-animal-control-neighbor

        http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/50-Dead-Cats-Found-in-Freezers-of-Florida-Home-274697661.html

        http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2014/09/cops_find_50_dead_cats_in_freezer_belonging_to_child_porn_suspect.php

  2. and by the way, I’m sure I don’t need to explain to cat people how spaying and neutering cats today does have an immediate effect (as immediate as the gestation period for cats) on preventing more suffering and adding more unwanted competition for cats already here.

    so that 250,000 funding for free spay neuter is a good place to start even if that’s all the county commissioners would approve.

    1. Hi, thanks. I’m not sure you are following what I;m saying.

      Do you have the means to spell out the specifics in Countdown 2 Zero? What is their step-by-step approach? And, what are their accomplishments to date?

    1. Thank you. I will read every one of the links in search of what the plan really is for Countdown 2 Zero. The plan is what I am really in search of. My findings turn up nothing.

      1. There is no “plan” for Countdown 2 Zero, so you won’t find it Dee. You are right that a step by step plan is non-exist. The only thing you will find is a mission statement that almost mimics No Kill. There is no step by step plan, no financial plan, no nothing on the website or any of the other links posted. Ready away but it will just take you round and a round.

        As far as what the director said in the video, it contradicts what she does and also contradicts a statement she made to me, in person, last year. She’s about as trustworthy as a snake.

  3. Exactly. It was passed and then nothing happened to fund it until advocates such as myself and many others started demanding it be funded. I hope more people speak up next year b/c it’s in jeopardy of not being funded and the 250000 surplus used for free spay neuter this year might not replenished. They need at least 500,000 added to the pot for this. and they need to add more to do more free spay neuter and fund the other items listed in goals. without money from county, it’s not going to happen. I am not a cheerleader for the county. far from it. but what can you do when most of the community has sat silently for years and not demanded change? The squeaking wheel gets the grease. But even in Miami Dade when they voted themselves a property tax increase, it was not implemented by elected officials. So I consider Countdown to Zero and the actual of funding 250,000 a minor miracle. B/c it could have been Zero funding. If you listen to the meetings, they mention calls and emails from the public. That’s why they went along with it. They respond b/c people like me contacted them. Don’t know why you are targeting THE acc DIRECTOR when she is the one who is presenting the countdown to zero effort and she presented the breeder registration ordinance a few years ago. This was not a citizen’s initiative. if it was it would have been through a commissioner’s proposed resolution. Her countdown to zero presentation i think is also somewhere on you tube. Her breeder ordinance presentation is at this link

    http://www.slideshare.net/jlandsman/pet-overpopulation-politics-and-mandatory-sterilization-spay-usa-presentation

    originally she tried to get mandatory sterilization but the dog breeders got involved and killed that.

    In Broward county the same thing happened. But they got no funds. Did you see this article

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/animal-group-starts-kill-dog-campaign-euthanasia-article-1.1942884

    and this website http://killthisdog.com/

    here is an editorial from palm beach post about the breeder ordinance

  4. Where is “reply” when you need it?

    Thanks for the info, Caretaker. I read everything I could about the Countdown 2 Zero. The plan was approved almost 9 months ago and has a decent, but generic mission statement.

    What I’m not finding are the specific steps being taken to accomplish the mission and how it is being worked today.

    For me, it’s not acceptable to voice an initiative and not have a step-by-step action plan, with deadlines, that are clear and made public. Afterall, this initiative is being funded by the people.

    Nine months is a long time for the Commissioners not to be asking about the progress of Countdown 2 Zero, which leads me to believe that it is a wall of fog (don’t want to say farce).

    Yes, I am not in PBC; but, as an outsider Floridian looking in, I believe that the cat welfare there would be best served by dismissing Diane Sauve and appointing someone else with the capabilities of making the vision a reality.

    I’ll make my opinion known to each Commissioner.
    http://www.pbcgov.com/countycommissioners/

  5. Elisa, Dee & Tonya: I really admire you ladies for everything you do to help cats in need. I don’t know where you find the strength to keep fighting what seems to be a never ending battle. I see a lot of supportive comments on FB, but do the majority of the general public know what goes on behind the scenes, or do they not care enough to put pressure on the respective authorities and organisations?

    We are very fortunate in the UK that the majority of cat rescues are no-kill, nor do we have AC. Admittedly rescues don’t always have the space or resources to take in every cat or kitten that needs re-homing, but our situation is nowhere near as bad as in the USA. I suspect that may in part be due to the widespread tolerance of free-roaming cats here. Lack of a permanent home is not an automatic death sentence, because living outdoors is not considered an unacceptable lifestyle, provided that the cat has a regular source of food, a warm, dry shelter and access to medical care when required. If they’re full, most rescues here ask people to feed the cat(s) until they have the space to take them in for re-homing.

    1. I have a big mouth and a unique talent for pissing people off, which apparently I inherited from both sides of my family. I’ve turned into a 53 year old widow who does “homework” on a daily basis but must choose my topics carefully because God forbid this to feel like work. If I don’t have an interest in a topic I can’t write on it. That’s the secret to writing. If it doesn’t flow freely, you’re not writing with passion.:)

    2. Thank you so much for that, Michele.
      It’s so hard here with so many, but the fight is always on. I’ll never give up. And, I doubt that Elisa or Tonya ever will either.
      You live in a whole different world and so wish that attitudes were the same here. But, our country is huge and so divided about everything, including animal welfare. So many cats, no homes; nobody can agree on anything.
      I appreciate that someone has an understanding of why we cry ourselves to sleep.

      1. I just don’t know where you find the energy to keep fighting. I take my hat off to you ladies for that alone.

        The more I read on-line about the situation in other countries, the more I am truly thankful to live in a fairly cat-friendly culture. These articles have really brought it home to me how very fortunate we are.

        Has the attitude towards cats always been that way in the USA, or has it changed over the years? Is it driven by an increase in the cat population? (I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard that the USA has a disproportionate number of stray/feral cats compared to the UK.)

        1. 2-3 million rescue cats are killed in cat “shelters” annually in the USA and most are perfectly adoptable. We don’t know the precise figure and not everyone is counting and that alone speaks volumes.

          Yet, there are tens of millions of cat lovers in the US and some great cat ladies too.

    3. Thank you Michele. What keeps me going is knowing things will change. Any information put out there, especially articles like this do have an impact. We don’t have an animal problem here, we have a people problem. Awareness is extremely important and is the first step to change. The attitude and belief system held by the “leaders” is negative, regressive and acts like a noxious gas permeating throughout the shelter building and into our community. Killing is a choice. The same millions of dollars, work and energy that has gone into killing in the past 12 years could have been used to save lives instead. It always comes down to beliefs, values and attitude. Always there is a choice.

  6. Attacking me is unproductive and I will continue to speak for the cats. Your excuses are very much in line with the shelters for why they kill. There are other ways and killing is a choice.

    1. Sorry, can’t let this accusation that I’m attacking Tonya go unreplied. Nowhere in any of my comments was she “attacked” . I only encouraged her to bring her information about concerns about ACC into a forum where they can be loudly heard and addressed before the elected officials.

      All other posts had to do with providing information about recent Countdown to Zero initiative and recent funding for free spay neuter and tragedy of pet overpopulation and lack of homes and places for people finding cats but unable to keep them b/c all non profit cat rescues are always full.

      Where was the attack?

      1. and if anyone doesn’t think elected official or ACC will respond appropriate to valid complaints, concerns, there is always the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General http://www.pbcgov.com/oig/

        Their website says : The OIG needs your help. To report allegations or see illustrations of suspected waste, fraud, misconduct, mismanagement or other abuses, click the icon above.

      2. Why don’t you just reveal who you are instead of hiding behind an alias? Whether YOU think the article or me posting here is unproductive is your opinion. Why don’t you tell us what you are doing to get funding for spay/neuter as you posted above? Rather than tell me what I should be doing, tell us exactly what you have been doing.

        1. This is why it’s unproductive to try to post and make suggestions, as long as some want to pretend they are being attacked in order to avoid having an intelligent discussion about how to be a more effective advocate. And trying to “out me”, really? another evasive tactic.

          1. if you post on sites like this you have to allow everyone to say what they want, for example, the comment to me by Dee “Where is the kitten now? Dead? Did you have him killed?”

            Despite being accused of being a cat killer, I calmly replied to her. the kitten, now a cat is very much alive, no thanks to local non profit cat rescues or non profit spay neuter clinics who refused to, if they returned my call at all, help me place him or even neuter him (due to liability issues) He was neutered at my expense at a private veterinarian.

            1. I appreciated your polite reply CC. I didn’t intend to come across in an accusing way.

              Here, in the USA, it’s pretty common to have less than perfect cats destroyed, as I’m sure you know.

              I can’t tell you how many people recommended that I have my blind cat PTS when it, tragically, happened to her.

              I have a big beef with many of the no-kill shelters and rescues as well – always full and not even a bit of help or advise for anything.

              HSUS is the worse in my book. It took years before I discovered what a secret organization they really were. They keep their no-kill status by sending their overflow to the county kill shelter. Then, they can accept a new influx and don’t do any killings themselves.

              I would love to be able to focus more on the no-kills, but I have my hands full with the assembly line killings going on in taxpayer supported counties.

              1. Thank you for your reply. I had two blind cats over my lifetime. One a childhood pet. One a feral that was taken in after he became blind. The reason I advocate to get changes in taxpayer supported shelters is b/c the non profits have no regulation and are not accountable to anyone. Unless you are an insider there, you don’t know what goes on behind the doors or with the finances. So my advocacy time is spent fighting for free spay neuter to prevent the births b/c I know there are not enough homes and if the non profits admit they have no space, what do they want the county shelter to do with the overflow. I digest all the info and try to come to a logical conclusion. In this instance my reasoning says, if non profits say they can’t help me find a home or a cat or a positive kitten, then what do they want the county shelter to do with all the unwanted ones? And by the way, the ACC director publicly stated in her presentation that the best thing for cats is TNR. I’m supporting the current effort to focus on spay neuter and for all rescues to work together with the county b/c that sends a positive message to the community that they have to also do their part. I’m not happy, despite intensive lobbying during the last budget process, the elected commissioners did not allocate more money to this effort and in fact next year may not fund it all or even replenish the 250,000 surplus that they approved use of by the ACC Director to fund free spay neuter this year. Its all in the video of the meeting link i provided. Nothing is hidden. See also the public comment period where two citizens asked very good questions. I don’t have information about any inside goings on at the shelter, that’s why I suggested to posters here if they do know something is wrong or have suggested improvements to make them known in places like the public comment hearings at commission meetings like those two individuals did.

                Since many nonprofits locally have joined in this effort and they all held an adoption event together as the first event of the group, I’m willing to give it a chance of success although if properly funded the end of killing could be accomplished much sooner. If interested go to which has the details of the initiative

            2. If you have information that would genuinely help the cats at PBC, why do you feel the need to disguise your identity? That only heightens our suspicion that the director would not be above retaliation against those who help the cats at PBC. Of course, the other thought I have is that you are of no help to the cats, and merely defending the status quo at PBC.

              1. i really don’t care about your suspicions. I owe you nothing, no information. nothing. I don’t care who you are or even if your name is really Brenda or Tonya. I’m not testifying in court or lobbying to elected officials where my identity is needed.

                This blog does not require personal identity to be posted to participate. If it did, I wouldn’t primarily b/c of people who for some reason want personal information about posters to do who knows what with. the information and links i give are for info. i leave it up to intelligent people to decide where my posts contribute anything or not. If not, just ignore them.

                Believe me after this experience, there probably won’t be many more.

  7. To anyone who might want to know, the feline leukemia kitten is alive. my point in telling the story about the kitten was to demonstrate that Palm Beach and neighboring cat rescue groups are not accepting every cat or imperfect kitten from the public who finds them and contacts them for help. So most who can not keep the cat or kitten will then either turn it over to ACC which is open admission or leave it to die in the streets. So it they can’t take in cats or kittens when people call them first before then end up at ACC, then how to they expect ACC to keep every cat or kitten left there as more come in?

    1. Grateful that the kitten is alive.
      Is she with you or not?

      Ofcourse all no-kill shelters are full.
      I’ve tried for over 20 years to get any kitten dropped on my deck admitted without success. They are always full. Mostly full with dogs. So, there is no room for cats.
      The answer for me with an FIV positive kitten is to keep them myself. I have a houseful of cats, but the only thing an FIV cat needs is their own litter box.
      If I can monitor that, anyone can.

    2. Is the kitten with you or not?
      So, if you keep her/him yourself and adopt out. What’s the [roblem?
      You only have one cat, correct? Not 20?

  8. Tonya: since you are directing comments to me, my comment about the the rescue that would not take the Feline leukemia cat had nothing to do with ACC. I am an individual, never have volunteered for any ACC. Did rescue on my own. No local rescue would help me place the feline leukemia positive kitten I found. So where are all these homes for all the cats in South Florida?

    And why is a local non profit flying in puppies when there are local dogs that are being euthanized every day?

    were you at the budget workshop where the funding was discussed b/c I didn’t see you appear as a speaker at the public comment period when all this could have been brought up and the ACC director and the commissioners would have had to respond. Posting on this site is not going to get results.

    regarding my comment of photos of cats and dogs. I’m referring to the official link to the county shelter page. I don’t know anything about the other site you referred to. Are you saying the county has another site?

    Please post a number where people finding cats or kittens can bring them where they will be cared for if you don’t want any cats being dumped on the streets of South Florida or at the county shelter.

  9. So many things wrong in PB as well as all over.

    Foremost in my mind is that Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is in charge of all programs relevant to cats. Of course, they answer to the County Commissioners; but, they carry heavy weight with them unless there is strong opposition in the audience. I attend every County Commissioner meeting I can when the subject of animals is on the agenda.

    It appears that PB County incorporated a TNR program into their ordinances in 2012 and feral colonies are registered with ACC. Now, there is this Countdown 2 Zero initiative which really says nothing about how it works. I don’t understand how the $250,000 funded for the spaying and neutering program is going to reduce the euthanasia rate for adoptable cats TODAY.

    From my readings, both of these programs lack substance and structure.
    They are both manned by ACC which lacks the time and resources to oversee successfully. It would have behooved them to research such programs in other counties. They would have discovered that, at least, county animal services do not manage community cat programs. A private rescue group generally does.

    The poor cats in PB have the wolf in charge of the hen house.

  10. Here is a photo of Grace who “did not respond to treatment” according to the shelter after only 10 days with me.

  11. Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control and Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League are Countdown 2 Zero partners. With the recent dog hoarding cases they both jumped to their immediate rescue. Peggy Adams even helped in the most recent one in another county HOURS away. How can they be a CountDown2Zero partner, turn their backs on these cats and then turn right around and head hours away to go help a dog hoarder case in another county? That is like a slap in the face. See full article here http://raycomgroup.worldnow.com/story/26687315/eighty-dogs-resc

    The next cat hoarder case, which is inevitable just like dog hoarding cases, needs to be handled compassionately and professionally in a COLLABORATIVE manner.

    1. The same thing happened in Anderson with the Julianne Westberry cats. Rescues had over the 4th of July weekend to save 30 cats due to space. Yet last year when a puppy mill was busted the shelter even called in the National Guard (seriously) and public works to restore power to the old closed down facility. Public outcry saved the cats.

      1. It is very sad that a shelter considers the life of one animal more important than another. This is why it is so important to not only speak up, but follow up on these cases. That is how all change occurs. It begins with awareness. Most people in this county don’t even know we have a high kill shelter or that cats are trapped daily, even their own. I have had more and more people write to me and thank me for helping to create this awareness because they had no idea what is going on. They are now not only sharing the information with their friends, family, neighbors and co-workders, some of them have gone to the shelter and adopted both cats and dogs. Another is volunteering and so on….. People can’t help if they don’t even know what is going on or how things work – or in this case “don’t work.”

      1. The shelter in Greenville that I work with ALWAYS gives the dog or cat a name. I adopted one named Oozy after an oozing abscess. Even if it’s a stupid name the animal still gets a name ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, we left him as Oozy, as it seemed to suit him. And his oozing abscess healed.

        We also rescued and adopted a severely injured cat named Sealy, who had his whopped off by a car fan blade. Even the injured are given a chance in Greenville, with emergency emails and Facebook postings going out to save a life. Then we work on raising the vet funds after the animal is out of the shelter. Maybe Palm Beach could learn from Greenville. Their kill rate is only 40%, which I thought was high before learning Palm Beach is 80%.

  12. So many of the shelters are completely dog-centric. At “my” county shelter, the cats are housed, sometimes 50 at a time, in a very small, cramped, smelly, hot room situated between the dog kennels (endless barking) and the enclosed driveway. The doorway to the dog kennels must be kept open, otherwise sewage fumes collect in the cat room. The driveway is where all new animals are delivered. It is also where euthanasia is performed (heartstick and IP). Can you imagine the stress level? Last winter there was no heat in the cat room. The shelter was cited for that but I am betting it has not been repaired. In the area where cats are held before they go to the adoption floor, there is no climate control at all and the State of North Carolina (which has egregious animal protection laws) doesn’t really care because, you know, they’re just cats.

  13. Whenever I speak up about the atrocities at Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, I’m attacked not only by the shelter, but by some volunteers as well. I am told to “foster MORE” “do MORE” “donate MORE” etc. Those of you who know me, know that I have been working around the clock for two years fostering, rescuing, transporting, donating, taking up collections and delivering cat food and other supplies to the shelter. I even spent hours taking and uploading videos of the cats for adoption to help promote them but both the Urgent Cats page and the County page refuse to post them. I saved as many of the cats from the hoarder case as I possibly could, but yet the problem is not with the shelter, it’s because I don’t “DO MORE.” Other fosters and volunteers are getting the same reply “DO MORE.” No amount of “DOING MORE” can ever make up for a shelter whose policies and procedures are hell bent on killing.

    As long as people keep defending what the shelter has been doing with millions of dollars of tax payer’s money in the last 12 years, it will continue. Are you really wanting to save the cats or kiss the director’s ass? Diane Sauve has had TWELVE years to make a difference and her goal is to ride it out another TEN until her retirement. If you want to continue kissing her ass then please do so, but cat fosters and volunteers are walking away in droves because they are so worn down, heartbroken and feel defeated. No matter what they do, they are told it’s “not enough” and are treated as nuisances while the dog volunteers are treated like Gods. Are you going to turn your back on the cats now or speak up and tell the truth for all of the innocent animals sitting in the cages and traps right now scared and wondering what is going to happen to them? What is more important? People pleasing or saving scared innocent cats?

    1. Shout Tonya! And, keep shouting!
      Bring a crowd into the meetings.
      My opinion is that Diane needs to get booted out.

      1. I agree Dee. The difficulty I’ve had here is that fosters and volunteers will complain to me about what they witness and experience with the shelter, but they won’t speak out. The responses are always “I don’t want to offend anyone”, “The rescue world is small and I don’t want to burn any bridges” et. etc. HELLO!!! Why are you in rescue? To save lives! You can’t do that by trying to please everyone and walk on eggshells. What is interesting is I have had more support in getting the word out and finding help for the cats in Palm Beach County from people out of area than from the people who actually live here. I am so thankful that there are people who care and who are willing to write about this situation. The Palm Beach Post and The Sun Sentinel will write about the hoarder cases initially for the sensationalism but won’t follow up and specifically The Palm Beach Post will not write anything that goes against the shelter’s current practices.

  14. Regarding CareTakers comments that cats and dogs are shared equally, NO THEY ARE NOT. The article specifically states the Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control official government facebook page. Here is the link to the page and also throughout the page you will find dozens of comments from concerned citizens like the one here. Finally, last week they posted an album with 7 cats in it to shut people up. Since then? only dog posts
    Here is the link to the page – feel free to scroll through it https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Palm-Beach-County-Animal-Care-and-Control/116168078444016

  15. Regarding CareTakers comment. The rescue upstate did not deny the rescue, the shelter did. The rescue had been set in place weeks before according to a prior post on Urgent Cats of Palm Beach County. Then in the screen shot here, they asked for help with transport. SUDDENLY with no warning the cats were killed. They had rescue, they had transport – “The SHELTER did not approve.”

  16. Regarding giving names this is the official adoption page of the shelter they seem to alternate posting dogs and cats and all have names.

    http://www.pbcgov.com/publicsafety/animalcare/adopting_pet.htm

    Here is a recent cat one

    Hope people start addressing their elected officials about their concerns about the killing of so many animals in our communities and copy all local newspapers, and other media at the same time. And tell your family, friends and neighbors to stop breeding their pets, even if they claim they find “free to good homes” for them all. These soon grow up also unspayed unneutered and continue the cycle of suffering and death.

    The pet overpopulation situation is horrendous. The workshop where the ACC budget presentation allowed public comments. Wish those commenting here would have spoken up there to have their concerns addressed or at least put on record for the public to hear them. Hope that happens at future meetings.

  17. Wow. Elisa, this is one of your finest pieces ever. You have addressed and called to light what other journalists have totally missed or ignored.

    1. Most cases I know what’s going on but can’t get the proof. I have to be very careful that what I write can be backed up. I’m not as good as YesBisquit but I’m working on it. The thing to keep in mind is this is going on in shelters across the country. Just wait for my next one. I believe it’s about contaminated vaccines.

    1. Elisa, I think you’re right that shelters and AC over-diagnose “behavioural problems” as a get out clause for euthanising more cats and kittens.

      Any genuine cat lover would feel sorry for those kittens, because they would recognise that’s fear they’re exhibiting, not aggression.

      When I went on holiday for a week I put my Sophie in a boarding cattery. When I went to collect her and enquired how she’d been, I was very angry and unhappy to be told “she behaved like a feral cat”. Apparently she’d spent the first few days trying to claw her way out of the pen and the rest of the week hiding from the staff. Sophie was clearly very stressed by the experience and I was annoyed that the owner simply didn’t understand that, and I said as much to the owner. She can’t be very familiar with cats if she didn’t realise that they all have their own personalities and some of them don’t obligingly sit there like a stuffed toy.

      1. I think it would have been more accurate if the boarding cattery owner had said, “your cat behaved like a domestic cat who very much wanted to be at home in her own territory”. The behaviour was normal amongst a whole range of possible behaviours. Boarding catteries can be stressful for cats.

        1. True Michael. It was the first and last time I’ll ever put her in a cattery. I’ll go back to using a pet-sitter in future.

          Sophie appears to become very distressed whenever confined. After an overnight stay at the emergency vet I was told by the vet’s receptionist that she’d “made a nuisance of herself, thrashing around in the cage all night.” I was fuming, but at 7am in the morning having worried all night about Sophie, I was not in the mood for a fight. I was just relieved to have Sophie back and that the suspected poisoning was a false alarm. I did tell my regular vet about it and he wasn’t very impressed either.

          It worries me greatly to think that people working with cats understand so little of their behaviours and emotions. No wonder cats can’t shake off the negative stereotypes.

          1. I’m fortunate to have a vet who will send the cats home after a procedure. I have 2 large cages so they don’t hurt themselves after waking up. Vets here are gone from 5pm until 8am so the cats are really safer at home.

      2. My feral Renny escaped in the shelter for 2 days. He’s still timid and you can’t look at him the wrong way but he’s a very loving bed buddy. Got him when he was 6 weeks old or so and he’s 3 now.

        1. Renny sounds lovely. Sophie isn’t much of a cuddler, but she does like to stay close by.

          She was rescued as a 6-8 week old street kitten in Cyprus. No mother cat or other kittens around so I really don’t know where she suddenly appeared from. She wasn’t feral, but she’s always been very easily spooked by the slightest thing and quick to lash out in response. I love her all the same though.

  18. PS: Three years ago I found a kitten, took him to the vet and he tested positive for feline leukemia. Having other cat I called every cat rescue in Palm Beach County. Those who actually returned my call said they could not help. The referral to the non profit up state that says it does take positive cats said they had no room. The local non profit spay neuter clinic would not neuter a positive cat.

    The reality in Palm Beach County and all over the world is that there are too many cats and not enough homes.

    1. So, a positive kitty….
      Deal with it.
      The worse scenario would be that your current cat is at a very small risk. Have we not learned anything from human HIV?
      Separate boxes, yes. Separate feeders and closeness aren’t necessary.
      Where is the kitten now? Dead? Did you have him killed?
      Do you think you are alone?

  19. The commissioners had to approve use of that 250,000 surplus money. I have no personal connection with the county shelter but the budget is controlled by the county commission and they need to be lobbied to fund more. What does the ACC Director have to gain from making a public presentation if her goals are not to try to improve conditions?

    Suggestion to the person who posted information here. Have you presented your information to the Palm Beach Post or the Sun Sentinel? Either seeking out a reporter or by writing a letter to the editor? perhaps that would help publicize these things and get more of the public involved in wanting to end this tragedy.
    Iโ€™m sure the press would want to write an update on what happened to the cats seized by the alleged pedophile.
    I do have a question about local rescues who fly in dogs from other states when dogs are being killed locally at the county shelter.

    I also suggest you do some research and write about veterinary opposition to government funding of free and local cost spay which has prevented progress in reducing pet overpopulation for decades now. It’s going on in Alabama now and it happened in Miami after voters voted themselves a higher property tax to fund programs.

    1. “I have no personal connection with the county shelter”

      Why? Please explain.
      In my mind, any taxpayor has a solid connection when their tax monies support that county shelter.

      “Suggestion to the person who posted information here. Have you presented your information to the Palm Beach Post or the Sun Sentinel?”

      Have you? Please submit any article you have written.

      This is very important to me. I’m very passionate about kill shelters. We are Americans and have the right to voice our opinions without fear of retribution…ever.

      I try to earn my right to complain because of my actions and birdseye view of what’s going on.

      Please tell me about your presence at meetings, postings, etc. I know that it is beneficial to sit behind a computer and try to make a difference. But, in person, presence is impressive.

      1. This is my last comment on this blog b/c it’s not productive. when i said personal connection, I meant I don’t volunteer there and I don’t work with any rescue groups who work with them or against them. My issue is to get government funding for free spay neuter to prevent the birth, thus preventing the deaths b/c I learned from my own personal rescue work that there is a never ending supply. Goodbye.

        1. Sorry if you felt offended.
          So, your cause is to get free spay/neuter services.
          Commendable.
          Please explain how you are proceeding.

          1. Yes, please explain how you are proceeding. Access to free spay/neuter services is a large part of the equation. It is not the complete answer though as a large percentage of the cats killed at the shelter are already spayed/neutered and I have even seen a large number of ear tipped cats who are brought in and killed.

            Most of the hoarder case cats were already spayed/neutered even though the shelter said they weren’t. When they went to spay Hope and Lexi, they were already spayed. When they went to spay my adopted cat Butter, who was a 3 year old owner surrender, she was already spayed.

            My point with this is that they don’t care if they are spayed/neutered or not, they will still catch and kill them. We can spend a billion dollars on spay/neuter and they will trap as many of them as they can after they have been TNR’d and keep killing them.

            We need leadership that is compassionate, creative, open minded and is not only willing, but wanting to save lives. There was an offer to do a free spay/neuter marathon at PBCACC by a non-profit this year. They wanted to offer it to everyone regardless of zip code, owned cat, community cat etc. but the director did not want to.

            She wanted it to be only for “ferals” so the non-profit walked away not wanting her to tell them how they should be spending their own money or what restrictions she could put on them.

            So where do people who live on minimum wage, are struggling financially or have come upon hard times go? Or rescuers who work independently and rehome themselves and don’t want them ear tipped? I was told by PBCACC that local veterinarians do not want these services offered to the general public, they are not even happy about people finding out that they can go to PBCACC not just for a rabies shot and tag but also for boosters.

            Therefore, the shelter can’t advertise these services that would not only help families care for their animals, but also keep their animals. In addition it is keeping out local citizens from coming to the shelter, who might then decide to volunteer, foster or adopt.

            1. Excellent comment. I can only look at it “in the round” and from an outsider’s perspective the key to saving lives is a commitment to save lives. People are not committed to it. Some people in the business of cat rescue don’t even want to save lives. The lives of rescue cats are of little value in the eyes of the public. Their value would rise if there were less cats.

            2. From what little detail I could find about the Countdown 2 Zero, the 1/4 million dollars was specifically allotted for reducing the euthanasia rate for adoptable pets. For Diane to have turned down the spay/neuter marathon offer you described (saying it’s for ferals), in no way complies with what the money is intended for.
              Don’t get me wrong. I would love to see that money go to ferals but that’s not what it is for.

              PBC has a TNVR program in place and on the books. For registered colony cats to be trapped and killed is in conflict with every principle there is for managed ferals. Why don’t they know that?

              Based on all I’ve read now, my opinion is that Diane lacks the knowledge and leadership skills to manage any animal program and funds in PBC.

    2. Send this article to Palm Beach area news media. I send stories I’ve written about SC animals to my local Fox Carolina News Facebook page all the time. I’ve even earned the private phone number of one of their lead reporters. This article is all true. I have the emails to back it up.

  20. Take a look at the kitten named Grace. The shelter said she wouldn’t respond to antibiotics. Well guess what? She responded to antibiotics and is well now.

    Dogs are also given a name when promoting them. Many of the cats are just given a number. Makes me wonder how many are really being killed since so many don’t get a spot they’re available via their Facebook page.

    1. Your article paints a disappointing picture of cat rescue in this county. There seems to be a lack of genuine commitment to save lives.

      At the end of the day it is about attitude more than money and attitudes cannot be changed over night even when money is available.

      1. It takes time to line up a rescue. I watch the shelter threads go back and forth finding out who has room for a new foster kitty. Shelters don’t recognize this and will often kill even where there are empty cages. Normal time seems to be around 3-5 days at the shelter I keep up with. Palm Beach seems to come up with more excuses to kill and kill asap. I have found a lot of the shelters don’t name the cats. Maybe its less guilt to kill AD10987 than to kill Miss Fluffy Pants.

    2. In most AC shelters cats take a back seat, not that all dogs are treated fairly either! Those poor cats lived through the hell with that pervert Douglas Westscott only to be betrayed again! AC NEEDS TO LEARN ABOUT DOING THE RIGHT THING! Rules can be changed and when you have a public watching you may not be giving those directives much longer!

      1. Absolutely Jan! They were betrayed again. I took videos of many of them and spent time visiting them. Despite what they had been through, they had been well fed, many were already spayed and neuter such as Hope and Lexi. They were ALL so sweet, loving and affectionate and had a strong desire to live and be a part of someone’s family. The lack of compassion at the shelter is disturbing.

      2. “Public watching” isn’t good enough, Jan.
        Public outcry is more effective.
        Every cat lover in PB needs to attend the county commissioner meeting any time animals are on the agenda. They need to pay visits to their kill shelters routinely to, actually, see how their tax money is being used and what the conditions are so they are informed at the meetings.
        The answer is action, ie. posting dates, times, and topics of meetings on public bulletin boards, light poles, distributing the agenda in parking lots.
        Complaining from afar is useless.

        1. Unfortunately I am in CONCORD NC dealing with the Cabarrus Shelter Cats dilemma. Where people think nothing of bringing them to the Cabarrus AC by the box full! But I watch other areas too!!!

            1. Thank you for commenting on this subject and speaking up for the cats Jan. Any time I speak up or others we are attacked and told to “do more.” I appreciate people from other areas speaking up, because if not for people in other areas I would not have been able to rescue the hoarder case cats and some other cats that I have helped. When no one in Palm Beach County shares the cats, helps find them homes, pledges for their rescues or transportation, people out of the area are the ones I can count on. On the Urgent Cats Page out of area people who share the cats, tag, pledge etc. are also attacked to “do more” and that’s not right. Many people have simply unliked and walked away from the page because of this attitude.

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