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« Fat pets: Do they need tough love, or medical care? | Main | Scared or feral: How do you know? »

22 October 2010


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David S. Greene

The ASPCA staffer shares an illness with so many people these days. She suffers from a failure of imagination. She sees a desperate situation and leaps to a lethal remedy without considering options.

Thinking creatively, questioning "what if"...those synapses never fired.

Deb Wolfe

Did you notice the banner above the article says, "Shelter's Edge/We're talking about saving animals lives here."

We are?


I went to an AdoptionOptions seminar this summer and the ASPCA vet drove me nuts with her "herd management" advice/suggestions/rules.

I mean, when you send your kid to school and they come home with a runny nose, do you kill them?!

Really, what's a life worth? Is one sick puppy not worth making changes? So if there are FIVE sick puppies, I'm thinking the Universe is just talking louder to get our attention.

The thing that made it possible to sit through her entire presentation was she kept that caveat: "Of course, you should always work with the advice and knowledge of your local veterinarian..." and when I got home I quizzed my vet and realized that she's the reason that this lecture drove me nuts! She's not a one vs all sorta gal, and I really like that. Thank you Dr. Olson.

And thank you Christie Kieth for sharing... together maybe we can all work to keep exploding heads to a minimum.


This must be why the ASPCA didn't support Oreo's Law - it would throw a cog in the puppy killing machine.


i mean, i guess i can understand that conclusion if that litter had parvo, or distemper, or something virulent and fatal.

But seriously -

step 1 - first, move the puppies!

Step 2 - find out what's wrong with the puppies.

Step 3 - then make a decision about what should be done with the puppies, whether it's treatment or euthanasia.


In my own community the ONLY care the dogs imprisoned there receive is from a dedicated and competent group of volunteers. They are forced to watch helplessly as the Union deputy thugs allow food to mold, animals to go thirsty, and to see the thugs whose jobs are secure use snare poles to heave 50+ pound dogs to upper kennels. After much protest a new warden was hired only to make the situation worse. We are at wits end. Politicians (commissioners responsible for dog pound hires) are all talk and no action. The new warden has convinced them that a 20% kill rate is something to be proud of. Before this warden the kill rate was hardly over 100 dogs in an entire year. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


First off, I understand it's tragic to have to euthanize any animal. It breaks my heart. Here are a few questions:

1) If a shelter is full, has sick animals, has members of the community/animal control waiting at the door to bring in more animals, and has utilized all current available resources, what options are available to ensure that all animals needing assistance through the sheltering system are treated humanely?

2) I understand that there are support systems to put in place to assist increasing the number of lives saved. I love that! Successful support systems take time to implement, so how do you address the animals currently at risk in the shelter and in the community?

It seems to me that everyone has the same goal. Save lives! I think that the steps of getting there need to be addressed. Creativity is a MUST, but it doesn't always address the immediate situation in shelters.

Christie Keith

AWP, I'm not aware of any organizations that have "utilized all current available resources" that have not been able to save all the healthy and treatable animals. So I reject the premise of your first question.

The rest are loaded questions. You are assuming it "takes time." It doesn't "take time" in the way you're implying. The "time" has already been taken, in the sense that the programs and policies have already been discovered and detailed; they just have to be adopted.

The decision to take killing healthy and treatable animals off the table comes first; the systems changes have to happen at the same time. Susanne Kogut of Charlottesville, VA, a No kill community, spoke about that at the No Kill Conference this spring.

Christie Keith

AWP wrote:

I understand it’s tragic to have to euthanize any animal.

EUTHANIZING animals is sad, but it's not "tragic."

KILLING healthy and treatable animals is, indeed a tragedy. A senseless, avoidable tragedy.


All I can say is.. Damnnnnn.

You have a staffer from the ASPCA that would appear to not only be in their own little world, but apparently appears to be under the influence of some hallucinogenic drug. This is evidensed here "In my head that hose grew fangs and horns…it was evil..."

To look at it, it seems as this moron was in the shelter for maybe, what; 15 minutes? and Suddenly this staffer can make medical diagnoses from a distance, has sole authority to say "slaughter the puppies" and will get PAID to do this. Some people should just never reproduce. This ASPCA staffer should be a poster child for prophylactics.

Christie Keith

Ronin, let's stick to issues and not bashing individuals. Thank you.

Susan Fox

So, it apparently never occurred to the ASPCA vet, whose post seemed very emotionally disconnected from what she saw, to go find a staffer and say "Hey, you need to move those sick puppies so they don't infect the healthy ones. AND I'LL HELP YOU DO IT RIGHT NOW." Shameful.

H. Houlahan

Here's an interesting detail:

The staff smiled and told me where I was permitted to go (I did not introduce myself as someone from the ASPCA) and they ran off to get back to work.

Because if you had announced yourself as one of the anointed, an Olympian slumming in mortal garb among the wee shelter folk, you would naturally expect to be invited to go anywhere?

Christie Keith

I'll tell you what you "missed," Ronin.

You missed that a single blog post can't define an entire person. I resent it enormously when I write a few paragraphs on a subject I've been covering for years or even decades and have someone come in and school me on things I was aware of when they were in kindergarten.

However, if you simply stick with the ISSUES, then being familiar with the entire body of work of the person who wrote about the issues doesn't matter. But when you start making it be about the person, then you have a responsibility to go beyond those few paragraphs and take a look at the bigger picture of who that person is, what they've written and done in the past, and the context of their remarks.

In this case, you either are already familiar with Dr. Weiss and have an agenda to trash her, or you hate the A and have an agenda to trash anything related to them, or you're just too lazy and uncaring to do the homework necessary to make a reasoned critique of someone's professional or cultural presence or contribution.

So either stick to the issues and leave individuals and your armchair mental health diagnoses out of it, or do the homework to back up your allegations. Or post somewhere else.


Kind of reminds me of certain commercials where we should send money to help "save the children." While the child walks barefoot through the muck and broken glass, the man,(standing right NEXT to her and speaking into the camera) tells us her family can't afford shoes, etc. I always wish he would just PICK HER THE HECK UP.

Instead of rushing home to write the article, get the puppies quarantined and treated. Immediate solutions seem to be beyond some people.



That's Fine, No bashing. Now can you get the specific details of how this staffer from the ASPCA is qualified to make diagnoses on presumably sick animals without a close physical examination or bloodwork?

Can you explain the mental detachment from reality in their description of the Hose?

Based on psychology and psychiatry of abnormal persons, it would indicate that this staffer is in dire need of professional mental evaluation and possibly treatment. The staffer appears to be mentally Ill given your recounting of events. Or did you forget to add pertinent details?

Dr. Patty Khuly

When you have a hammer everything starts to look like a nail.


Why would ASPCA want to help with these puppies? Makes a great commercial for them to beg for more money to come into Missouri and try to pass laws to make breeding illegal.

This is what these BIG organizations are all about - MONEY. They way to make it is to let things like this continue so they can point out how they are the only ones that are doing anything.

Shame on ASPCA - they are associating a little too close with HSUS lately and are becoming one of them. I just wonder when the merger will be announced.

mary frances

A mistaken conclusion at least by me was that the Nazi's really had their stuff together that is organized to the max...thus enabling them to carry out mass killings...I read an account once where the endtimes of the Nazi regime was littered by drunks shooting out light bulbs, carrying on in chaos with no one really giving a damn about the camps or prisoners....then sanity came with the Allied troops and WWII ended.

This compares to what I have seen at Animal's insanity...and I'm working towards and waiting for sanity to prevail.


The real problem is the "can't do" mindset. I know a lot of that is the particular culture (that is the organization, not the staffer's personal background). What needs to be done - on the organizational level - is a "can do" mindset. I think the staffer in this case is heartbroken and means well, just doesn't know any different. And it's amazing the changes that happen when people are *helped* instead of bashed.

So instead of "OMG there are sick puppies lying in their own green mucus and spreading infection. This is not acceptable. KILL THEM NOW! It's the only way!" change it to "There are sick puppies lying in their own green mucus and spreading infection. This is not acceptable. Killing them is *also not acceptable.* What can we do about it? How do we prevent infection in puppies and disease from spreading? What do we need to accomplish this? How do we find it out? Who can help us?"


Now you are making my head explode. Maybe it's as simple as teaching them cross contamination prevention procedures? How to locate the pens, disinfect items, quarantine sick animals, etc. The hose doesn't have horns, lack of education does. I have worked professionally with many different types of animals but proper procedures to prevent/minimize the possibility of disease transfer and cross contamination applied to all. I've had to teach basics like "no, you can't use one scrubby pad to scrub every aquarium in the room" and "food bowls must be sanitized daily, not just refilled and put in a different cage."

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