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Local Government’s New Plan Means Death Sentence For Animals

It’s been in the news for a little while now. Henderson County & City government officials have applied and been approved for a $250,000 from the state of Kentucky that they plan to use to build a new Animal Control Facility. At first glance, this doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but when you look more closely…

I have spoken with The Humane Society of Henderson County as well as Henderson’s current Animal Control Officers. As of right now, the two agencies WORK TOGETHER and this works really well for everyone involved, including the animals that are being helped, healed, and re-homed. Working together, HSHC and Animal control have managed to bring Henderson County’s euthanasia rate into the single digits. If the local government has their way, the proposed split would mean a euthanasia rate of nearly 80%! Animal Control Officer Jason King tells me:

Our euthanasia rates are in the single digits…something unheard of with animal control and the Humane Society being together….I’ve had other organizations tell me how impressive that is….with this split you will see those numbers skyrocket….

This new proposed split will sign the death certificate for thousands of animals. Something we have worked very hard to stop. We are interested in saving lives. Not trying to save money

Think about this for a minute… Under the proposed new way to manage Animal Control, strays dogs would be held by law for 5 days, and then euthanized. Now let’s suppose you go on vacation, and your loving, loyal, little ‘Fido’ manages to escape the house and yard. There is a chance that ‘Fido’ won’t be alive when you return from vacation. What about cats you ask? There is NO minimum hold for cats. This means that if your cat, “Fluffy” sneaks past you when you’re bringing in the groceries, and gets picked up by Animal Control before you can find her, Animal Control can, by law, euthanize immediately. Is this really the right way to do things?

 

Boo
The kitty on the left is Boo. I adopted her from HSHC. Under the proposed changes, I may never have found her, and she may never have known the joys of a loving home & sister kitty. Photo: Kat Mykals/106.1 KISS-FM

 

In a recent article in The Gleaner, Henderson County Judge-executive Hugh McCormick discussed the hope to build the facility near the Henderson County Detention Center, utilizing inmates at the new facility. The way this article reads to me is that it’s all about the bottom line, and saving money. The article talks about Animal Control (McCormick refers to them as ‘shelter workers’) being underpaid & too busy to do investigations resulting in a great deal of turnover.

McCormick said he envisions the city and county training some personnel in euthanasia and the use of dart guns. “We want to have people we can keep on staff and get out and do the job — maybe some retired officers to do investigations and get (the dogfighting ring) closed. More From The Gleaner

If that’s the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to give current Animal Control Officers the tools that they need and the wages they deserve to reduce turnover and allow for tougher actions against the dog-fighting rings? Perhaps THAT would be a better use of $250,000 in Taxpayer money… Jason King, Animal Control, told me:

We are already trained in euthanasia and I’ve asked them to get us the chemical immobilization training (dart guns)….I told then you don’t send police out without the tools to do their jobs…we are no different…we need the tools….they proposed training a police officer rather than us to do it…I told them that makes no sense when you have them saying we need trained personnel

As of right now, Animal Control is and would continue to be funded by city & county government. The Humane Society of Henderson County is and would continue to be funded by private donations. You can donate to HSHC here.  HSHC is strictly a non-profit that receives NO MONEY from government agencies. The two organizations have been working together as partners for a long time, and it works! It works for Animal Control. It works for the HSHC, and most importantly it works for the animals in Henderson County.

 

Sammy Before/After
This is Sammy. He was part of the dog-fighting ring that Mr. McCormick references in the Gleaner article. The photo on the left is how Sammy was found by ACO Jason King. On the right, after HSHC found Sammy a loving home. Photo: Facebook

 

To put things into perspective, the most recent statistics published by the National Council are from 1997, and only 1,000 shelters replied to the survey at that time. Using the National Council’s numbers from 1997 and estimating the number of operating shelters in the United States to be 3,500 (the exact number of animal shelters operating in the United States does not exist), these estimates were made:

  • Of the 1,000 shelters that replied to the National Council’s survey, 4.3 million animals were handled.
  • In 1997, roughly 64 percent of the total number of animals that entered shelters were euthanized — approximately 2.7 million animals in just these 1,000 shelters. These animals may have been euthanized due to overcrowding, but may also have been sick, aggressive, injured or suffering from something else.
  • 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. More cats are euthanized than dogs because they are more likely to enter a shelter without any owner identification.
  • Only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners.
  • 25 percent of dogs and 24 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are adopted.

We have the opportunity to continue to make the Henderson Animal the exception, NOT the rule. Let YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!! Sign the petition online and let the local Henderson Government know that this is NOT OK!
I have already signed it.

Every day dozens of animals are taken in by Animal Control and The Humane Society of Henderson County. Working TOGETHER they have been able to make a huge difference. Don’t they deserve to continue making a difference?

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” – Unknown

Contact Info for State Government:

Contact Governor Beshear

700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Phone: (502) 564-2611

 

Congressman Ed Whitfield

Henderson

222 First Street, Ste. 224

Henderson, KY 42420

Phone: (270) 826-4180

Fax: (270) 826-6783

 

Senator Mitch McConnell

317 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING

WASHINGTON DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2541

EMAIL Mitch McConnell

 

Senator Rand Paul

208 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING

WASHINGTON DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-4343

Email Rand Paul

 

 

 

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