.

Pet Overpopulation

A Thank you to DCAC, HOPE Volunteers, DCHS, Rescues, Buisnesses that offered space for adoption events, and many others who have helped our lovable orphaned pets in Douglas County.

During the period of February 16, 2013, through February 25, 2013, Douglas County Animal Control staff and HOPE (Helping Orphan Pets Everywhere) in Douglas County volunteers adopted, fostered out, redeemed toowner, or transferred to rescues 60 animals. Congratulations to ALL for a jobwell done!!! A special thanks to the Rescues who made a world of difference inthe lives of 12 animals. Working together we can and did make a difference.

Unfortunately, our work is not over. During this same period the shelter received 56 animals, that figures to be approximately 6 animals per-day.

Until animal welfare advocates and the community focuses on holding irresponsible pet owners accountable for allowing their pets to roam and breed indiscriminately,this issue of pet overpopulation is not going to be resolved anytime soon. Douglas County Animal Control has been doing the same old same old, impoundingstray animals and working endlessly to find the owners (who usually fail tocome redeem their pet) or find the animal a new home. Unfortunately, they arestill getting the same old results, impounding one animal for every one adopted. While the past nine days were considered successful in that more animals were adopted than impounded, that isn’t the case every week. Usually more animals are received than adopted, rescued, fostered, or redeemed by their owners.

Society in general accepts the fact that “irresponsible pet owners will allow their
pets to roam, be injured by automobiles, catch or spread diseases, attack
another domestic animal or human”. When an animal becomes a nuisance or a
threat; citizens call Animal Control and not only expect the problem to be
resolved immediately, but demand it. Little or no accountability is ever placed
on the animal owner by the complainant. In society’s eyes, it has now become the animal control officer and shelter worker’s responsibility to “resolve” the
issue. Once an animal is impounded it becomes the responsibility of the kennel
worker to care for and find the animal (that has not been socialized,
vaccinated, or spayed/neutered), a new home. Often when an animal is impoundedit is an adult, many times people prefer to adopt puppies or kittens  opposed to an older pet.  Older animals make wonderful pets; unfortunately, they are not in big demand in today’s society.

Pet overpopulation must be addressed. Irresponsible pet owners must be held accountable. Animals must be altered at an early age to prevent an unwanted
litter that will keep producing offspring, that will produce more offspring and
the cycle continues. Pet overpopulation is placing an undue burden and hardship
on taxpayers and shelter workers. Animals are suffering or being euthanized as
a result the IRRESPONSIBLE PET OWNER. Attitudes and directions must change to end this National crisis. Blaming the shelter’s staff is NOT the answer!

Ask yourself “what did I do this past week to help a homeless animal”? If you
complained that your shelter isn’t doing enough, or you criticized the shelter
staff for not caring, then you aren’t part of the solution, but indeed part of
the problem. I assure you the staff does care that includes Rick Smith,
Director of DCAC.

I challenge YOU to DO YOUR PART! Support your local shelter and the many wonderful animals that need saving.

Cynthia Smith

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tracy Thompson February 27, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Cyd, answer the questions posed. Also explain how the new volunteer rules put forth yesterday help animals? You say we should all work together for the animals but you and your husband do nothing but put up road blocks to prevent people from helping the animals. Answer Lori's questions. Why are you there? Why are you in charge? It certainly is not becuase you earned the title. You have put in no time compared to other volunteers that have diligently dedicated their time and money to saving animals in Douglas County. Why you? Does that seem fair? Since you are not an employee but are being placed in a position of power, how does someone complain if they do not like the way you treat them? Are they to complain to your husband? I am sure he would be objective there, not. Why are you allowed to use the county computers even though you are not an employee? Why are you allowed acess to the personal information of any citizen that has been logged into that county system because they have adopted, reclaimed, had a complaint on them or made a complaint? Does this seem normal? Can anyone that volunteers at the shelter gain acess to all of this information? If so how can citizens feel safe giving the county this information? Once you are in the system you can see and/or change any information that is legal public record. This seems wrong on so many levels. Unless you can explain.
Lori February 27, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Aside from the pets accepted for euthanasia from the public, the numbers are the numbers. I highly doubt that those pets accounted for the huge difference in the euthanasia rate. I would very much like to see those records indicating that Smith's adoption rate was twice the national average. The adoption records requested and provided by his former employers showed a LARGE KILL rate. I'm very concerned that only 16 animals went to rescue in one year. You state DCAC "does not accept owner surrenders. Therefore, they end up being abandoned to starve and breed"...WHAT?!! DCAC accepted owner surrenders until Rick Smith changed the policy unless the shelter was at capacity. It always has. Why would Smith change the policy allowing those declined pets to "starve and breed." This makes NO sense whatsoever. As far as animals being unaltered prior to adoption, a LARGE majority were, thanks to the sponsorship program and other volunteer organizations that helped previously. This is a common goal among area shelters and was the progressive move being made. Follow up on altering adopted pets was enforced. You have access to personnel records? I would think that not allowed by a volunteer, but if you say so. Think I'll come down and ask to take a look since it seems anyone can "have at it" regarding county records. Try to put your agendas and lashing out aside and work together to CONTINUE making a difference!
Faustino Vincent DeJohn February 27, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Got quiet in here... That's good. I needed to gather my thoughts. As I read all the post over and over again(kinda extreme I know, I lived with 24 dog) I didn't hear the disrespect and hatetrid I heard the first time the more I read the louder it got. It wasn't disrespect and hatetrid it was crying and sadness, every post. I think we are on the cutting edge, the dawn of a new ear. Forever euthanasia number belonged solely to the Commissioners, their cross to bare. Now it seems to be a coveted sword of power. That leaves us with an unprecedented problem. That number is now a product of uncompensated human labor, can ya see were I'm goin with this, this labor is voluntary as opposed involentary. That would be slavery. Slavery can loosely be defined as a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market. Please understand that opinions are place holder for unanswered questions. Although the numbers are his, and can be held to his acclaim, he can not barter with them. I would fear the latter. I wish you all comfort in you quest for truth...
Tracy Thompson February 28, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Well I see no real questions are going to be answered. Cyd seems more than happy to jump on any forum to use that old, worn out mantra of "it''s not our fault it is everyone else!" First off it should not be her putting this information out there. Does the Director of any other Department bring their wife to work everyday? I think if they all did it would get pretty crowded. If they will not answer the questions then the citizens should demand an answer from someone. Why bring in your wife (or anyone that has not been involved before), push all others out of the way and allow her access to all county information? It is not right. In an era of identity theft, this seems reckless. Who will hold her accountable?
Lisa Levesque February 28, 2013 at 03:08 PM
I agree Tracy, and I raised the identity theft issue at recent BOC work session. Of course, you were there and you know how they paid little to no attention to those of us that came before them with our concerns...playing with phones and computers. Yes people, pay attention, the ones you elected to office care very little about what you have to say beyond how they feel it might benefit them politically. Otherwise, it seems you receive meaningless lip service. Anyway, I came over to see if Cyd answered the many questions raised of her..., as I expected, the answer is no. She nor her husband, Rick Smith, can defend the indefensible. Their worn out euthanize apologist philosophies are not playing well in Douglas county, GA because people have seen that it is not necessary when progressive steps are taken.
Faustino Vincent DeJohn February 28, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Why is everyone dismissing the possibility that the Smith's are only honoring their end of the deal. Wortham may have given Mrs. Smith that 16%. She didn't ask to help, so I assume she had permission.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 07:21 PM
" During the period of February 16, 2013, through February 25, 2013, Douglas County Animal Control staff and HOPE (Helping Orphan Pets Everywhere) in Douglas County volunteers adopted, fostered out, redeemed toowner, or transferred to rescues 60 animals. Congratulations to ALL for a jobwell done!!! A special thanks to the Rescues who made a world of difference inthe lives of 12 animals. Working together we can and did make a difference. Unfortunately, our work is not over. During this same period the shelter received 56 animals, that figures to be approximately 6 animals per-day." Congratulations on getting the animals in need either adopted, rescued and returned to their owner. Very nice to see you all have fosters for some of the homeless animals of DCAC.. Does Douglas County now have a state approved foster program in place? That would be information to pass along to the public, I am sure there are many people who would be willing to participate. And how does one sign up for that new program if they are interested? The work of finding homes or rescues for the homeless and abandoned pets is never done. It is an ongoing issue but well worth the effort for those who truly care about the welfare of the animals.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 07:42 PM
"Until animal welfare advocates and the community focuses on holding irresponsible pet owners accountable for allowing their pets to roam and breed indiscriminately,this issue of pet overpopulation is not going to be resolved anytime soon. Douglas County Animal Control has been doing the same old same old, impoundingstray animals and working endlessly to find the owners (who usually fail tocome redeem their pet) or find the animal a new home. Unfortunately, they arestill getting the same old results, impounding one animal for every one adopted. While the past nine days were considered successful in that more animals were adopted than impounded, that isn’t the case every week. Usually more animals are received than adopted, rescued, fostered, or redeemed by their owners." I do not think anyone disagrees that "irresponsible pet owners" should be held accountable. Strengthen and enforce penalties for irresponsible dog owners. Rather than create dangerous dog laws, we should instead focus on true "irresponsible owner" laws. The problem is the result of irresponsible, negligent and careless owners, and greater focus on the cause of the problem will result in a community that experiences less issues with both "irresponsible owners" and their dogs.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 07:43 PM
If they are getting the same "old results", then they are not working hard enough to find positive solutions and other avenues for adoption and rescues of the unwanted, homeless and abandoned animals of DCAC. It takes a lot of dedicated people working very hard to make it work. It takes time, money and the willingness to want to make it happen. It can be done. I know that for a fact.
Faustino Vincent DeJohn February 28, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Mrs. Pyrdum, Point well taken.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 07:59 PM
"Pet overpopulation must be addressed. Irresponsible pet owners must be held accountable. Animals must be altered at an early age to prevent an unwanted litter that will keep producing offspring, that will produce more offspring and the cycle continues. Pet overpopulation is placing an undue burden and hardship on taxpayers and shelter workers. Animals are suffering or being euthanized as a result the IRRESPONSIBLE PET OWNER. Attitudes and directions must change to end this National crisis. Blaming the shelter’s staff is NOT the answer!" Your argument is a tautology, "a series of self-reinforcing statements that cannot be disproved because they depend on the assumption that they are already correct." In other words, to say a shelter can't improve by putting in place better policies and more innovative ways to find homes and rescues for the homeless is absurd. Would you claim that improving sheltering practices wouldn't be enough to save most of our healthy and treatable homeless pets?
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 08:02 PM
If there is no "pet over-population" to blame, why are the shelters killing? It's either due to a lack of innovation, leadership, and adaptability -- which certainly no one wants to believe or take responsibility for under their watch..
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 08:27 PM
"Ask yourself “what did I do this past week to help a homeless animal”? If you complained that your shelter isn’t doing enough, or you criticized the shelter staff for not caring, then you aren’t part of the solution, but indeed part of the problem. I assure you the staff does care that includes Rick Smith, Director of DCAC.I challenge YOU to DO YOUR PART! Support your local shelter and the many wonderful animals that need saving." Because people have the audacity to raise questions, express concerns or outright not agree with the current policy and practices of the current leadership at the shelter; they/we are the problem? What PART is it that people are supposed to do? And what is your definition of supporting the animals that need saving. Would that include walking, socializing an networking the animals? Would that include paying for spay/neuter or animal to make it more adoptable? Would that include volunteering at the shelter? Would that include helping with offsite adoption events? Would that include loving on the animals to let them know somebody cares enough to spend time with them?
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 08:42 PM
There are plenty of people who are or are willing to their part. However, they are not willing to have their "freedom of speech" taken away from them by having to sign up for the HOPE organization and not being allowed to speak on behalf of the animals. This is not a communist country and last time I check we ALL still have that right under the Constitution of the United States. I for one am a bit tired of the games being played and the blame game being put forth that it is somehow "everyone " else who is being unreasonable. Those interested in "saving the animals" now have to make an appointment and be babysat by an employee or HOPE volunteer in order to walk and socialize the animals. Or take pictures in order to network , promote and help find them homes or rescues. And only if there is "someone" available they will be given 10 minutes to accomplish this task. Who is being unreasonable? Seriously. And the new rules or policies have to be obtained by filing an open records request. Maybe you would be well serve to post them at the shelter, provided EVERYONE has to abide by the same rules.
Marsi Thrash February 28, 2013 at 08:43 PM
I cannot begin to express my disappointment that this blog is being used to air dirty laundry and insult the citizens of Douglas County and Metro Atlanta. I am neither defending nor criticizing policies or changes. However, the responses from a shelter volunteer coordinator, whom I do not know and have never met, are alarmingly unprofessional, potentially causing even further damage for the image of the shelter. There needs to be a serious regard for Public Relations, crisis management, community relations, and sensitivity. It is counter productive at the very least otherwise.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum February 28, 2013 at 09:37 PM
There are many, many people who having been doing their part to save the animals at DCAC and the results speak for themselves. 82% of the animals went out of DCAC last year alive. Is that good enough? No way. Can the numbers be better? Absolutely. I challenge DCAC to make sure that happens. Is it hard work, you bet it is. Be prepared. I can only speak for myself. I will continue to do what I can to promote, network and be a voice for the voiceless. They deserve every chance to have a wonderful life and be loved unconditionally. As you said "Be part of the problem or part of the solution" Everyone has to make a choice the lives of innocent animals are at stake. After all this is about the animals who have no voice.
Lisa Levesque March 01, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Sadly, because the volunteer coordinator is appointed by her husband (Rick Smith, shelter director), she seems to say and do as she pleases and is not held accoutable.
Lisa Levesque March 01, 2013 at 11:58 AM
As 2012 came to an end, I looked forward to continuing to improve on successes of the year into 2013. I feared a dark cloud was hovering over out heads and wrote to county commissioners about my concerns late in December, yet they chose to ignore me and as yet have not responded. I remain faithful in my fight to save lives, so Cyd's remarks show nothing more than a lame attempt to discredit the very people that moved mountains in 2012 simply because we refuse to join her HOPE...an alleged non-profit where one evidently gives up their right to freedom of speech as soon as they join. Not me...the animals deserve better.
Lisa Levesque March 01, 2013 at 12:00 PM
She is appointed by her husband, and I can assure you...based on my observations a VERY WILLING party to promote her husband's agenda.
Lisa Levesque March 01, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Tracy asked, "Who will hold her accountable?" The answer is quite simple: the shelter director, Rick Smith, her husband. Hmmm...let me see, does that sound like a conflict of interest to anyone? Since Rick Smith gave no one else any consideration AND his wife is developing a non-profit (this appointment puts her in an advantageous position to further that cause), does that sound like nepotism to anyone? Well, it most certainly does on both counts to me. Further, I feel certain they will closely guard one another's back, so that raises a host of other issues. Nonetheless, our county commissioners see no problem with this arrangement. They must be held accountable for this "good ole boy" politics come election...I am just sorry these things were not known this past November.
Pat Evans March 01, 2013 at 02:01 PM
There is not a company, not a legitimate company anyway, that would have their employees or volunteers sign a waiver that they would not report wrong doings or violations to a higher authority if they saw them happening as a condition of empolyment. IF there is one, I for one would never be working there, plus I would report that very "fact of employment" to whomever needed to know it. I feel for those that are working under that very condition, along with the animals that are suffering through no fault of their own. I also would like to know what happens to those assigned to community service at the DCAS, how is CYD presenting herself to a Judge's order? Surely they are not made to sign her "application" process. You also don't run a business on, "file an open records request" everytime someone asks a question either. Makes things appear "questionable" at that point. 2012 credit belongs to the staff, volunteers, and rescue organizations that were previously working for the DCAS and no one else! The blame for the senseless euthanized animals belongs SOLELY to the Management of the shelter. NOT the volunteers and usually not the staff (prior staff anyway). That's one decision he can take the credit for all by himself.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum March 09, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Here are his numbers from 2008-2012 , provided by the St.Jo Mo Department of Health , Mr. Smith's former boss. Animals Reclaimed 2706, Animals Adopted 3490, Animals Rescued 144, Animals Euthanized 9658. The percentages are as follows: 15.8% Reclaimed, 20.41% Adopted, 6.44% DOA,.843 % Rescued and 56.48% Euthanized. The stats no not lie. Over a five year period almost 57% of the animals at the St. Joesph Mo shelter were euthanized. Only 144 were rescued during that time period. There is NOTHING acceptable about the above numbers. More than HALF of the animals that came into the shelter during that time period were put down. Very sad for the animals. After the killing of 30 animals this week, Douglas County is headed in the same direction.
Cyd March 11, 2013 at 01:57 PM
How many of the animals euthanized were un-adoptable? Sick and or injured or deemed aggressive etc..
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum March 11, 2013 at 02:46 PM
The above numbers and percentages are for animals only listed as "available for adoption". The animals not available for adoption were not factored into the equation, if they had been the percentages would be even higher.
Faustino Vincent DeJohn March 11, 2013 at 07:11 PM
I posted my story as a response to this same article on the HOPE page. Mrs. Smith posted a responce... "Thst are my hero's too". referring to Julie Poole and Jason Flatts. That was harsh. HOPE is a false prophet who's reach in the community extends no further then the kill room door. By comparison, Beat The Heat has generated 100 likes in it's four day existence.
Rebekah Mattox March 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Faustina & Tammy: Thanks for telling the TRUTH.
Rebekah Mattox March 11, 2013 at 07:35 PM
If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi. /The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."Mohandas Gandhi(1869-1948) WE ARE "CALLED" to be great--to do OUR BEST with and to what God has entrusted to humans. HAVE A CONSCIENCE PLEASE! Look at what your neighbors at the Paulding Co shelter are doing which, in short, is emphasizing by contrasting the poor quality operation at DCAS.
Faustino Vincent DeJohn March 11, 2013 at 08:12 PM
The difference between Paulding County and Douglas County is leadership. Paulding Countys success is a direct result of it's community efforts and leadership that understands that fact. This is what the leadership in Paulding County embraces, https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=624071864275208&id=100000172014925&refid=7&_ft_=qid.5854178812944474297%3Amf_story_key.3042454272193102870
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum March 12, 2013 at 09:24 PM
The killing of animals at animal control facilities has long been used as a means of animal control. Euphemisms have long since been used to justify the killings, terms like "putting them to sleep", euthanasia, and of course, "humane death." The newest one is "unadoptable". And what exactly does that mean? Is a cat with an upper respiratory , "unadoptable"? Is a cat that is scared in the shelter, "unadoptable."? Is a a dog that is scared, "unadoptable."? By putting these labels on animals they ignore people who want to save these animals that someone else failed in the past. It is much easier to kill them than treat them or find them a rescue or loving home. After all they must have a "manageable capacity" in the shelter they run.
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum March 12, 2013 at 09:26 PM
To most, "unadoptable" means an animal who is hopelessly sick or severely injured. Or in the case of vicious or aggressive would cause a public safety risk. This is what many of these shelters expect people to believe, that they are meeting the definition of true euthanasia when they deem an animal "unadoptable'". As a result, they are using the labeling of 'unadoptable" to justify the killing. Why do animal shelters continue the killing? It's either due to a lack of innovation, leadership, and adaptability -- which certainly no one wants to believe about themselves or their management skills -- and/or denial due to fear, grief, and shame that they've been killing pets unnecessarily. There is another way , but how many have to die before those with the authority to make those changes either understand or care.

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