Las Vegas Shelter killed 1,000 Pets Last Week

ANIMAL SHELTER: Lied ending its 'low-kill' policy; after 72 hours, animals will be euthanized .

Lied Animal Shelter officials said Wednesday that they will end the facility's "low-kill" policy, which they said had led to overcrowded and diseased conditions. Since last week, the shelter has euthanized 1,000 cats and dogs that had highly contagious diseases.

"Our policies were written to save every animal we possibly could," said a weeping Janie Greenspun Gale, chairwoman of the board of the Animal Foundation, the private nonprofit group that operates Lied. "In that misguided policy, we caused animals pain."

Greenspun Gale said the shelter will adopt a policy toward keeping animals for only 72 hours. Its current low-kill policy is to keep animals for 120 days before euthanizing them.

"We're not a hotel for pets," she said.

Greenspun Gale, with elected officials and Lied administrators, spoke to animal rights supporters Wednesday evening to address what some called a "state of emergency" at the regional pound.

Lied was closed briefly last week after veterinarians from the Humane Society of the United States inspecting the facility discovered an outbreak of several diseases in cats and dogs. Roughly 800 cats and dogs at the facility have not been euthanized.

The shelter is now accepting stray cats and dogs, but not animals that pet owners want to leave at the facility.

Pet owners who come to the facility to get rid of their pets are being told that if they do so, their pet will be euthanized, not adopted, Lied spokesman Mark Fierro said.

He said the facility is encouraging owners to keep their pets until the shelter fully reopens, possibly by Friday. They're also directing owners to private rescue organizations that might be able to assist them.

Greenspun Gale said overcrowding at the facility helped the spread of distemper and Parvovirus in dogs and panleukopenia in cats.

The 11-year-old shelter, which has contracted with Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, also has used vaccines and immunizations that were ineffective, Greenspun Gale said. The vaccines utilized dead viruses and took up to 10 days to become effective.

Lied has frequently been overcrowded because of its policy of keeping animals longer in hopes they will be adopted.

"Humane sheltering is a very new movement," Greenspun Gale said. "We have been flying by the seat of our pants."

The facility doesn't keep any of the roughly 7,000 animals it sees each year if they run out of space at its animal Karen Layne, president of the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society, said Lied's policy as a low-kill facility "was a mirage" that led residents to believe it was OK for their dogs and cats to have offspring.

Layne said people dropped off pets at the animal shelter because they had the false belief that those pets were certain to be adopted.

"I would hope that we would be more honest with the population," Layne said.But city and county officials didn't want to start placing blame with Lied administrators. They said ultimate blame rests with pet owners who don't spay or neuter their animals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from
"During a Thursday news conference, a tearful Greenspun Gale acknowledged that the shelter hadn't followed Humane Society policies, and though the animals were immunized, "we were using the wrong immunizations," KTNV reported."

Excerpt from MSNBC NEWS:
"One huge change they've recommended to the Animal Foundation is to immunize animals coming in with a new, more effective vaccine different from what the shelter has been administering."

Vaccinating animals entering a shelter in a timely manner and with quality pharmaceuticals is a very basic requirement that any shelter manager should be aware of. Even commercial boarding kennels, which in the normal course of business do not house potentially sick animals but those that have been well cared for, generally have a requirement that all animals admitted to their facility are vaccinated before they will be accepted as guests. Vaccinations require approximately 48 hours to be effective. Not following through with this most basic requirement for the safety and well-being of the animals in the charge of the Lied Animal Shelter is disgraceful. Properly vaccinating the animals in a shelter environment is a responsibility. Not doing so is sheer negligence.

Now, to add insult to injury, rather than rectifying the situation and moving forward despite the tragic and preventable loss of companion animal life, the "shelter," according to reports, has indicated that in the future they will not keep animals longer than 72 hours, at which time they will kill them if they are not adopted. So, effectively, not only have approximately 1,000 animals been killed due to the negligence of the shelter staff, animals that have the misfortune of landing inside the walls of this "shelter" in the future will also have to pay for the negligence of the shelter staff with their precious lives.

In my opinion, the shelter staff should have an obligation to educate themselves, make the necessary improvements, rectify this situation and honor the poor animals that were needlessly killed by doing a much better job for the animals in their charge in the future.

Sloppy decisions in the past resulted in this tragic loss of life and now the same sloppy "technique" is being used to regress back to the stone age killing cycle. This hasty over-reaction and lack of moral fortitude to rectify the situation and press on is a coward's exit. I hope that these shelter administrators will regain their composure and make the only proper decision - to honor the animals that were needlessly killed by doing a better job in the future. Their current course of action, retreating back to the killing cycle, is detrimental to every companion animal in the nation. It sends a misguided message to the nation that animals are expendable and a no-kill environment is not worth pursuing. What a poor example this sets for the entire nation.

The Lied Animal Shelter should press on with the mission of a no-kill environment and do a proper job of it. The loving animals that have been killed due to their mistakes will forgive them and the companion animals of the future would undoubtedly be very grateful for their perseverance.