Worcester County Animal Control Kill Cats As a First Measure

In Worcester County, USA, there are too many stray cats. That’s what they say. The sheriff says that domestic animals must be under the control of the owner and all times. If they allow their pets to wonder they will be fined. However, he does say that if stray cats are picked up by animal control owners have 10 days to claim them.

This is not the case. The 10 day rule is abused at Worcester County Animal Control. By which it is meant that animals are killed well before the 10 days are up. In addition, animal control make it almost impossible for a cat owner to recover their cat. They put up barriers with the intention of euthanising cats to reduce stay cat numbers in the area. And the reason for that harsh, inhumane policy is because the authorities don’t want to upset tourists.

There appears to be a hidden agenda in Worcester County which brings to mind the policy of the Beijing authorities before the Olympic Games when they cleaned up all the streets of stray cats and dogs so as not to upset foreign tourists.

Jessica Summers of Worcester County Humane Society
Jessica Summers of Worcester County Humane Society.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Susan Coleman, the director of the Community Cat Coalition talks about a cat whose name was Oliver. Oliver had been through a trap-neuter-release programme. His ear had been tipped and therefore animal control would have known that he had been neutered and was disease-free.

Oliver had been picked up by animal control, who had ostensibly stopped him being reclaimed by Susan Coleman to allow her to return him to his outdoor colony.

She said:

“He still alive, but he’s scheduled to be killed, let’s just call it what it is, in 10 days… They won’t give us our cat, just in case it came in contact with a rabid cat, which it hasn’t. This happens all the time.”

What Susan said is echoed by a woman she refers to. A woman had telephoned her crying because her cat had been trapped in her neighbourhood. The woman saw her cat in the trap. She was told that she could not touch the trap because it was government property. She told them that her cat was domesticated and part of her family but it did not make any difference.

Worcester County Animal Control
Worcester County Animal Control

Animal control told her that they needed to take the cat and impound it and that she should come and claim her cat for a charge of hundred dollars. She rushed down to animal control to claim her cat but they had already put her cat down.

Clearly that story indicates that the 10 day policy is a fiction. It is not in anyway complied with. It strongly indicates that the policy of Worcester Animal Control is to clean up the streets. It doesn’t matter if the cats are feral, stray or outside domestic cats.

Worcester County Animal Control put up barriers when a person tries to reclaim their cat by asking for a large amount of information such as a certificate and all the cat’s records. The person is not allowed to see the cat during this process. This prevents the person identifying their cat. This creates a situation where it is impossible to reclaim a cat.

It would seem that Worcester County Animal Control are putting up barriers to give them time to kill cats. Although, that said, they do not adhere to the 10 day policy anyway. The 10 day rule follows the guidelines of CDC for animal to be quarantined for 10 days for observation to check for rabies.

Worcester County Humane Society has a completely different policy which is in conflict with Worcester County Animal Control. The humane society is no kill whereas animal control’s policy is to kill.

There is a problem, however, in the area in that there are too many unwanted cats. The humane society struggle with a lack of funding. They are not supported financially by Worcester County.

To return to Oliver. People have protested over his death. People congregated in front of the town hall in Snow Hill. Banners read “Oliver Deserved To Live”. He did. If the policy had been adhered to properly he would have lived. If animal control was not playing games and was not carrying out a killing agenda he would have lived.

To me, what is going on in Worcester County reflects the disparate attitudes of the population in general regarding cats that wander outdoors. Some people want rid of them at any cost which means killing them while other people want to deal with the problem in a far more humane way if indeed it is a problem. Some people believe that feral cats are useful.

No matter which side of the fence you are on it is very hard to to deny that Oliver’s death was unnecessary. He had been processed properly and was being dealt with humanely. He wasn’t a danger to people. He deserved to live out his life. The ruthless attitude to kill him was inhumane. The cat becomes the victim, the innocent victim of human failure both to satisfactorily care for a domestic cat on the one hand and to kill cats unnecessarily on the other.


Note: this article contains both fact and opinion – my opinion which is premised the concept that cats and humans are equal.

18 thoughts on “Worcester County Animal Control Kill Cats As a First Measure”

  1. A 10-day holding period is only to see if the cat was able to transmit rabies during the 2 weeks before it dies from rabies. The 10-day period in no way is any indication that the cat is rabies-free, only that it couldn’t infect anyone while it was at-large. Any cat (or any animal) suspected of having come in contact with any other rabid animal MUST, BY ALL FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS, AND INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL-TRANSPORT AND PET-TRADE LAWS, be quarantined in a government-supervised double-walled enclosure system for NO LESS THAN 6 MONTHS to somewhat guarantee that that animal does not harbor rabies now. (For pet-owners, this cost averages about $1,000 per each month of mandatory quarantine. Or you can also choose to have your animal destroyed and tested for rabies. Some are left no option but to have their animal destroyed due to costs alone.)

    Rabies has an incubation period of 21 to 240 days, sometimes as much as 11 months. In one rare case an animal harbored rabies SIX YEARS before it eventually succumbed and died from rabies. The 6-month quarantine period is still not a 100% guarantee that that animal is rabies-free, it’s only “safer” — the 6-month holding period just being beyond the average peak in this rabies-incubation range-curve.

    Please educate your sorry selves so more cats and other animals don’t have to be senselessly killed due to your own pathetic ignorance and criminal negligence.

    • Woody this article is not about rabies… it is about the breach of their own rules in order to kill cats. Please for once put away you searing anger and think about attending a anger management course.

      • It is very much about rabies. It is due to a rabies outbreak that that cat had to be destroyed because they could not make a 100% positive identification to know with 100% certainty if it had ever received any previous vaccination or when. Oh? Didn’t your manipulative and deceitful gossip-train tell you all the important back-story about it? Then again, they never do. Why should they start now.

        Just like all the other cats in that area that were and are being trapped and destroyed. This is just one of many (one of the last few of some 30 or so cats from TNR colonies). But just like all of you cat-loving sociopaths you would rather save the life of an unwanted and expendable rabid cat that will eventually attack children, adults, and other animals.

        You must be so proud of your blatant sociopathic values.

        • You may have been making a valid point up until you called any animal expendable and resorted to personal attacks. And I assume the cat in question had his brain examined for the rabies virus ?

  2. Many communities, mine included, don’t consider it a high priority to return all possible stray pets to their homes. There are still barriers. My city DOES have policies now which allows trap, neuter, return, TNR, and does not accept feral cats admission to the city animal services shelter/pound. TNRd cats are registered with the one TNR group and some microchipped if their caretaker pays extra for that. Since the cats are not owned pets, they are not licenced. If one DOES end up at the pound, the caretaker or group is contacted and the cat is usually returned to them. I’m not sure if fees are charged or not. This is also good for public safety in case someone corners a TNRd and microchipped feral cat and gets bitten, vaccination history is on file. This happened in my city.

    All stray animals are posted online. They limit their intake of cats and don’t kill to make room for more animals. They allow several approved rescue groups to pull animals. The groups can choose to pull an animal at no charge or they can pay the adoption fee so they are eligible for the city’s $75 spay/neuter rebate. My community doesn’t have all the programs, services and policies in place yet of the No Kill Equation but these changes they HAVE made are saving nearly all lives possible.

    The laws governing pounds and shelters set out by the province I live in needs to be changed. Like many places, it allows pounds to essentially hold pets hostage and demand ransom for their return. If your bicycle is found by police you can reclaim it at no charge but pets are treated like impounded motor vehicles. This is usually referred to as the “parking enforcement model”, as noted by Mitch Schneider, former director of Washoe County animal services in Reno, Nevada. This is not in keeping with our values or actions we expect and want our cities to promote and base policies on. PDF artcle with Mitch Scneider, http://bit.ly/2a03GPZ

    Knowing the history of animal sheltering helps everyone understand how it needs to evolve from animal control to providing comprehensive animal services. The function of animal control was to protect people from animals. While we still need this feature, the public also wants animals to be valued and protected too. Humane societies originally existed to protect animals from people.

    The founder of the ASPCA, Henry Bergh, was offered the contract to take over the New York City pound but refused because killing animals who weren’t suffering or a danger to the public was in conflict with his values and those of his organization. He was afraid the ASPCA would lose its way after his death, and that’s what happened. Humane societies got used to being paid to kill animals and viewing it as a necessary evil so it became the status quo. More about Henry and the history and future of animal sheltering – http://bit.ly/2ac9vLs

    With the data we have on potential homes, the availability of spay/neuter and the alternatives to killing, and growing number of successful communities, we know that convenience euthanasia isn’t necessary. We know life-saving policies work and are in keeping with public values and needs. It’s just a matter of time before all shelters are reformed to be safe places that see pets like the majority do, as much loved family members who deserve to be reunited with us if they get lost or stolen.

    • Thanks Chris for a super comment. It is more than a comment. It’s an article. Would you let me convert it to an article? If so please suggest a title 🙂

      You city seems to be thoughtful and organised as to dealing with stray cats.

  3. you know im of 2 minds with this issue, or at least the larger issue being pets that are allowed to roam free. i feel like once u get a pet it is YOUR responsibility to keep that pet out of harms way. to do that an owner needs to either keep their pet inside, keep them on a leash, or build an enclosure so they can wander outside while still staying on YOUR property. cuz if they get out & caught, or injured, etc as a result of getting out it is the owners fault.
    i say that cuz when i had kids if they got injured in MY house cuz I never baby-proofed it then its MY fault NOT the manufacturer of the table they got hurt on. their injury wouldve been MY fault cuz I didnt do MY job as a parent, & i feel its the same with pets. i live in an largely hispanic area where they feel ALL pets should roam free & others just have to deal with the consequences. that attitude is unacceptable & i have said so on numerous occasions when lines get crossed. just because an animal is spayed or neutered & is NOT feral does NOT mean that its not going to be or encounter problems when it leave YOUR house. dogs pooping on peoples yards & driveways, darting out into traffic, getting injured & dying on someone elses property let alone IF they DO come into contact with a sick or rabid animal on their travels & bring that home or to a safely penned animal could easily be avoided if people truly treated their pets as friends, companions, &/or family. we do all we can to keep our families safe, but let our animals out to fend for themselves out of some sense of letting them recapture their “wild” side(which has been bred out of them over SEVERAL generations, which is also why they are considered DOMESTICATED & became our pets in the first place). im sure im pissing people off by what im saying, & im sorry for that, but we have to realize that if we say these people are bad for doing what theyre doing we also need to check OURSELVES to make sure WE arent contributing to that same problem by our attitudes or arrogance saying, “its ok for MY cat to roam free, get into peoples things, defecate in their yard, etc cuz THEY have a tag so the authorities should know better(cuz its not like people dont abandon their cats on the street, WITH TAGS ON, everyday).
    so, no i dont like whats being done about the animal problem in Worchester, but if owners are letting their animals roam free instead of keeping them safe at home in the house, on a leash, or in an enclosure, then they are partially to blame in my book. i love my cat Lex almost as much as i do my little girls, & ill do my damnedest to keep them safe. that means rules & a safe, welcoming environment for my girls, & a safe, welcoming environment for my cat. my kitty may WANT to go outside & roam free(WANT but not NEED), but i love him too much to allow THAT do to the potential hazards. my girls would LOVE to go out whenever & wherever THEY want as much as he does, but i love them too much to allow THAT too. thats part of being a parent, & part of being a pet caretaker/owner.
    this is, of course, just MY opinion. i apologize for those ive pissed off by saying it, but sometimes these things NEED to be said. thats how change starts. thx 🙂

    • Policies like those in Worchester County not only affect owners that let their pets astray but those moments when YOUR pet gets out. It may never happen. But if it does and AC picks up YOUR pet and it is vaccinated, collard, chipped you want someone to call or at least let you have them back if you inquire.

  4. I’ve studied this topic for a few years now, taken courses on it, contributed to a city committee, and continue to study it and related laws. I can vouch for evidence-based, proven solutions, meaning success can be copied and adapted.

    This example you’ve provided is of a typically regressive shelter with poor leadership. They are in serious need of reform. Local residents there are taxpayers who have the right to shelter statistics, budget and policy info. They have the right under US law to access and volunteer at their shelter, share info about it, organize and demand accountability and progressive programs and services. Fortunately there are many communities who’ve changed and there are great resources online. There might already be groups in the community there who are using up to date information to organize and advocate for change.

    The public and animals deserve better. The leadership should be setting the example that cats, dogs and pets are NOT disposable since there are so many successful alternatives to killing. When leadership fails to do what the public needs and expects, it’s necessary for a group to organize for effective reform and political advocacy to educate policy makers and engage the public and media.

    Expert information comes from those who’ve actually reformed their community, maintained it while improving animal welfare and services, and who are transparent with their statistics.

    Those who fight reform usually say success isn’t possible, make excuses to maintain the status quo, and fail to take into account the growing number of documented successful communities with high live release rates, improved welfare, increased donations and other improvements.

    Surveys show the public is already on board and waiting for good leadership. Data from communities shows killing for arbitrary reasons can stop immediately or at most within six months. Success doesn’t appear to depend on high average income level or geographic location. While implementing all essential programs and services is best for long term success, communities have been able to stop arbitrary killing before all such things were in place.

    Info available from the No Kill Advocacy Center, Maddiesfund.org, Best Friends Animal Society, HumaneNetwork.org (3 formerly with Nevada Humane Society), NoKillLearning.net, No Kill Nation, NoKillNow.org, oisforonward.org (appellate attorney, Austin, TX reformer), http://btoellner.typepad.com (President of the shelters in Kansas City, MO) and from additional successful communities.

    See updated map of successful US communities on Saving90.org

    Examples of shelters in need of reform can be seen on yesbiscuit.wordpress.com

  5. If I seen my cat in a trap I would get it out no matter what the consequence to myself. If my cat is in the house I have possession of it. I’m fine with being sent to jail. Spent a few hours handcuffed in a sheriffs car for helping a horse once.
    So ? Are they killing dogs at the same rate ? Seriously if the AC here started treating the stray dog problem we have the way this bunch of troglodytes are handling cats I can see fences going up right and left. I might even be able to take a walk without a bat or a golf club. I have heard of this going on in New Mexico. Animals being euthanized even when the owners have contacted the shelter multiple times looking for them.

    • Me too. If I was the lady I’d have taken the trap and cut it open and then taken the consequences. She had a defence in the appalling history of AC. She could have pleaded in court that she had to break open the trap to save the life of her cat.

      • Unless she had a criminal record it would likely not even make it to court. If the cat had proof or rabies in home quarantine is almost universal in the US.
        Realistically the most she could have faced is having a pet astray.
        I was a pretty normal person in regards to social behavior until the vet murdered my cat. Normal people assume the law will protect them.
        I should have made a stink on social media
        Called the police on her, another customer did.
        Called the news papers.
        One bad vet has made me an activist. I took the heat more than once on horse rescues. I don’t know why it didn’t kick into place with Kitten. I guess we never think that the abuse is going to come from the professionals we pay to keep them safe and healthy.
        So if someone had control of my pet that would have gotten out by accident and I knew there was a good chance they would kill her rather than return her even with medical records, chips and tags, I’d chew, claw through the cage or take the whole damn thing.

  6. Michael__I don’t have the words.but given this same scenario I am sure I’d find my voice and so would the authorities.Eva_

    We’ve become a world people hell bent on selfish pursuits to ensure our own comforts for the moment. while the tragedies we create thru our lazy apathetic nature go unchecked. So our dirty laundry gets swept under the rug along with the innocent tag along’s whom get in our way?

    What_clean up the streets?
    Clean out your own dirty closets first _I say !


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