The Thomaston-Upson County Humane Society has sent a letter to the Upson County Commissioners and County Manager Kyle Hood requesting “certain protocols” be followed at the Animal Shelter for the protection of animals during euthanasia of an animal prior to disposal in the incinerator.
The Animal Shelter and Director Smart Web have been the focus of citizens over the past few weeks in regards to the safety and health of animals housed at the shelters, and the euthanization of animals there. There has been an online petition circulated by a group calling itself Paws for Faith and Hope, and Upson County citizens, calling for the resignation of Web and for “answers and accountability” on the issues of over euthanizing animals and lack of volunteers allowed at the shelter.
County Manager Kyle Hood has stated that both the county and the Department of Agriculture have performed inspections of the shelter and its staff and found everything and everyone to be in compliance with state regulations and county ordinances. He said that the shelter has used volunteers in the past, but found there are often too many volunteers there with nothing to do. Hood added that the county is also following the state mandated minimum of waiting three days before putting an animal down.
In the Humane Society letter, dated April 23, 2012, and signed by William H. Howell, President, they request the following procedures be implemented at the shelter during euthanasia:
1. That an independent observer be present every time euthanasia is performed, preferably someone with a medical background, i.e., a veterinarian, a vet tech or other qualified medical person. If that is not feasible, then an independent observer. But with three veterinary practices in our area, Hannah’s Mill, Thomaston Animal Hospital, and Dr. Jennifer Gardner, we would like to think this could be done on a volunteer, rotating basis and would not overburden any one person or practice. And with the use of rescues and transports, hopefully, the number of animals being put down would be greatly reduced, and euthanasia could be limited to no more than once a week. If one or two at an odd time needed to be done, then they could be taken to the vet’s office for the observation.
2. That a stethoscope be used to verify death.
3. That a waiting period of 24 hours be employed before any animal is put into the incinerator, and that it is rechecked with a stethoscope before going in.
4. That the official observer would also personally witness that every animal is scanned for a microchip prior to lethal injection. Of course, every animal should be scanned as it enters the shelter.\
The letter goes on to state:
“The Humane Society is looking into prices of a stethoscope and new scanners with the idea of helping to share the cost with the county.
“In addition, the Humane Society requests that a standard procedure be established when an animal enters the shelter injured or sick or develops an illness while housed at the shelter or Petsense. The Humane Society is willing to offer financial aid to help an animal in need or to at least have a veterinarian determine the need of the animal. Some illnesses only require minimal treatment that we could pay for and with cats, the workers at Petsense are usually willing to help treat the cats there. Our volunteers could transport cats to the veterinarian’s office. This could possibly prevent unnecessary euthanasia.
“The Humane Society will appreciate an answer to these questions as quickly as possible. Thank you in advance for your consideration of these matters.”