Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Letter to the editor

The euthanasia of the St. Anthony cats removed from a hoarding situation without taking time to properly evaluate their condition or the options for their care is, unfortunately, just another instance of the death of adoptable pets given over to the care of the Animal Humane Society.

Organizations and individuals were offering their assistance as soon as they were aware of the problem. No effort was made by AHS to even contact their own foster caregivers to see if they could help with these cats in this lightest cat season of the year.

It is very clear that these cats were used as a vehicle for advertising AHS and raising funds. My hope is that these cats have not died in vain and will finally reveal to the public at large the policies of AHS.

There are numerous misconceptions about the Animal Humane Society. Many mistakenly believe that AHS is associated with a larger national organization such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Many also mistakenly believe that AHS is an “official” or governmental controlled or approved organization. Many would be shocked at the percentage of the funds they donate to you in the multiple millions of dollars each year that are spent on highly paid administrators.

Finally, most assume that AHS is a “humane” organization and that the stray, sick, and unwanted animals that come in to you will be evaluated, cared for and adoptable animals will be offered for adoption. The public is not aware that 40-60% of the animals surrendered to AHS are euthanized immediately. Only the young and healthy and desirable even get a chance. Occasionally, a young and desirable injured animal gets special treatment with a dramatic surgery like removal of an infected eye or amputation of an injured limb, but I have come to believe that those acts of seeming generosity are simply fundraising gimmicks like the St. Anthony cats. Wonderful rescue stories keep those donations rolling in.

It's time the Twin Cities became a "no-kill" zone which simply means all adoptable animals go up for adoption. Only suffering and truly unsocialized animals are euthanized. Much larger metropolitan areas than the Twin Cities (New York City, for instance) have already made the commitment. It won’t happen overnight, but it's time for all the animal rescue organizations to work together to make the changes necessary to achieve that goal.

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