Shelter staff bragged about taking surrender fee and killing dogs

This is about the attitude of shelter staff and therefore, going one step back, it is about how shelter managers select and hire shelter staff which in turn depends on the quality of the manager. The “voice of America’s displaced pets and the conscience of the animal sheltering industry”, Nathan Winograd, has provided me with a story in an email about four puppies killed at an animal shelter in Waycross, Georgia, USA.

Stressed and anxious shelter dog
Stressed and anxious shelter dog. Image: MikeB based on an image from The Dodo.

He says that the puppies were killed by animal control despite the fact that rescue groups were ready and asking to take the animals in. And worryingly (to say the least) he says that “a staff member bragged that staff collect shelter fees and then ‘stick ’em all with a needle’.

Some shelters charge a surrender fee and in America that might be between $50-$100. And if they are in a particularly callous frame of mind, they might think that they can simply take the surrender fee and then kill the animal thereby avoiding any work whatsoever. It’s all ‘profit’.

And the reference in that story to sticking the dogs with a needle is, as you might know, a method of killing shelter animals (euphemistically called ‘euthanasia’). Normally euthanasia is achieved with an overdose of barbiturates with the fluids administered through an intravenous catheter or an injection.

An alternative is called ‘heartsticking’. This involves plunging a syringe through the chest wall and several layers of muscle into the animal’s heart. Nathan Winograd describes it as a cruel process which involves the animal struggling and under restraint. The animal suffers immense stress and fear.

And he tells us that it hurts a lot. He says that animals killed this way at certain shelters (one US shelter still uses a gas chamber by the way) feel extreme, severe pain. This is because the needle passes through nerves into the heart. The animal suffers a heart attack. Does this process save on the costs of sodium pentobarbital?

In the disturbing words of Nathan Winograd “the needle would have to penetrate skin, body wall with costal musculature, costal pleura, pleural cavity, pericardial pleura/mediastinal pleura, fibrous pericardium, serous pericardium, pericardial cavity, epicardium, myocardium, endocardium, and ventricular chamber. If the lung is penetrated, the needle must pass through the pulmonary pleura and lung tissue itself”.

It is heavy language, and it is medical language and difficult to read which makes it all the more shocking because it is carried out by a veterinarian who was under oath to do no harm to an animal. If an animal is euthanised without justifiable reason namely to end suffering, then it is killing and it is causing harm. Under these circumstances a veterinarian is in breach of their oath.

Nathan Winograd makes this clear by saying that “the actions of private veterinarians are incompatible with the animals’ best interests. These are veterinarians killing healthy individuals out of convenience and expediency, even if done at the behest of a local shelter”.

Animals have to be “irredeemably suffering” before they are euthanised in the classic way. Many shelter animals are killed under the euphemistic banner of euthanasia. Winograd wants veterinarians who kill healthy animals to lose their licence. I agree but there’s no chance of it. Veterinarians in America are in breach of their oath millions of times annually. They nearly always declaw cats for non-therapeutic reasons. That’s a clear breach of oath and no one gets the sack.

Below are some more articles on shelters.

Terrified dog at animal shelter

Classic example of terrified dog at an animal shelter as seen in a video

I think all people should see this little video. It is uncomfortable to see. Perhaps many people already realise what ...
Dog shelter worker

California’s municipal shelters must release dogs to animal rescue organizations

Shelter dogs are normally restless and stressed for at least 12 days from entry at the shelter. Photo: Pixabay. The ...
Chloe Mitchell and Puka her female tabby

Woman who paid $900 to adopt a shelter cat claims that she was scammed

NEWS AND VIEWS - SOMEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES: Chloe Mitchell adopted a female tabby cat from a shelter. We ...
Camilla's coronation gown

Queen Camilla’s hand embroidered coronation gown included her 2 dogs but at what cost?

NEWS AND OPINION: Queen Camilla's coronation dress was hand embroidered and it included two dogs as you can see in ...
Paul O'Grady

Paul O’Grady has died aged 67. The world has lost a great animal lover and equality rights campaigner

I, like millions of others, are shocked this morning to learn that Paul O'Grady's partner Andre Portasio has announced to ...
Tough for animal shelter staffers

Emotionally battered but driven to help, animal shelter worker is at the end of her tether

Mel A works at an animal shelter. She does not tell us where but I think it's in America. I ...
Shelter Friends, Dnipro

Poland supplies Ukrainian animal shelter where the workers will never abandon their animals

NEWS AND COMMENT: I am pleased to report that Poland supplied enough food and essentials to the Shelter Friend animal ...
Andrea Cisternino

Animal shelter owner in Kyiv, Ukraine refuses to leave his 400 animals during Russian invasion

NEWS AND COMMENT-KYIV, UKRAINE: Andrea Cisternino, a former photographer from Italy, is being described as a hero for remaining at ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.