County Responds to Criticism of Animal Shelter, New Director

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners responds to recent criticism of the Animal Shelter after hiring a new director and seeing two resignations.

(Editor's note: the following is a press release sent to Douglasville Patch today by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.)

The Douglas County Animal Shelter/Animal Control Department has undergone many changes over the past year in an effort to increase the number of animal adoptions/decrease the euthanasia rate, provide better citizen service, and plan for the future.

The current Douglas County Animal Shelter was constructed in the mid-1980s to meet the needs of the suburban population of the County which was about 55,000 people. The Shelter had 20 dog kennels that could contain two dogs each, and 30 cat cages. A puppy room had the capacity of 16 small dog cage enclosures. The Animal Shelter was run by the independent not-for-profit Douglas County Humane Society to which Douglas County contributed funds to provide this service.

Outdoor sheltered dog areas were later added to handle larger breeds of dogs, but no significant changes have been made in the shelter since its original construction.

Douglas County took over operations of the Animal Shelter/Animal Control in 2004 and placed the operations under the direction of the Government Services Department. Animal populations continued to grow as residential population grew in the County. The 2010 Census estimate is 132,403.

It became obvious to Douglas County officials that the capacity for care for the animals coming into the Animal Shelter/Animal Control was being exceeded.  Adoptions and placements through rescue organizations were being far outnumbered by the drop-offs at the Shelter and pick-ups by Animal Control.  Due to the limited space at the Shelter after adoptions and transfers, the County had a fairly high euthanasia rate, particularly with sick animals, those considered to be unadoptable, and those considered unsociable.  Government-run Animal Shelters do not have the option to turn away animals.  When the Shelter is full, decisions have to be made. Euthanasia is a sad fact.

Douglas County established an Animal Control Advisory Board (ACAB) in 2007 to aid County officials in determining policies and procedures for the Shelter, and to aid in planning for an eventual new facility. The ACAB is composed of seven voting citizen members (5 appointed by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners and two by the City of Douglasville Mayor and Council) and a consultant veterinarian (non-voting). The ACAB is not a governing body, but exists to recommend action items to the Board of Commissioners. Very few such boards exist anywhere else in the State to provide such public involvement.

In 2012, the Board of Commissioners engaged the services of Life Line Animal Project to perform a comprehensive evaluation of Shelter and Animal Control operations. The document was presented to the ACAB and the Board of Commissioners in April and listed many positives and negatives. The evaluator, Susan Feingold, acted as temporary Shelter Manager during the evaluation and for a few months afterwards to begin the implementation of some of the actions.

In his 2012 State of the County address, Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan pledged to begin the process of planning a new Animal Shelter.  Chairman Worthan created a lunch event for the State of the County and the proceeds from the lunch went to pay for half of the Life Line evaluation; the remaining half was funded by the Douglas County Humane Society.  While the new shelter is being planned, the Board of Commissioners has and is making  improvements to the existing Shelter and Animal Control, including improvements to the HVAC system, a new Road Officer truck ($35,000 with heating and cooling for the animals); a used Road Officer truck with conversions ($19,000); septic system improvements ($26,000), a new puppy room with the help of Leadership Douglas ($1,700), computers, ceiling tiles, light fixtures and other items.  Microchip scanners will soon be placed on all Road Officer vehicles. A new two-way radio system is being installed for improved efficiency in responding to animal concerns; and staff will soon be in uniforms for public identification and professionalism.

In November 2012, after a Nationwide search, the Board of Commissioners employed Rick Smith as Animal Control Director.  At that time, Animal Control became a designated stand-alone County department with its Director reporting directly to the County Administrator.  This was done to give more direct and closer attention to the facility and programs by the County Administrator and Board of Commissioners.  This may be unique because animal control facilities are usually placed under the direction and control of law enforcement or public health departments.

Director Smith had been previously employed since September 1979 by the City of St. Joseph, Missouri, as its Animal Control and Rescue Manager. He holds certifications in law enforcement from the City of St. Joseph; animal control from the Missouri Animal Control Association; and euthanasia certification training from the Humane Society of the United States. Mr. Smith was a Board Member of the Missouri Animal Control Association multiple times since 1979, and served in numerous offices in that organization. His Shelter was the recipient of the 2007 and 2009 Shelter of the Year Awards from the Missouri Animal Control Association. Mr. Smith wrote the first breeder and animal litter permit ordinances in the State of Missouri; started a pre-release adoption spay/neuter and vaccination program; established a 24-hour operation to meet the needs of the public; renovated the St. Joseph Animal Shelter; and developed standard operating procedures for the Shelter - all needs identified in the Life Line report.  References for Mr. Smith included the Friends of the Animal Shelter who stated that he was an animal welfare advocate always working to better the conditions for all animals” and the Missouri State Public Health Veterinarian who recommended “without any reservation his selection.”

The Life Line report and Director Smith’s initial observations noted that there was no strong direction being given at the Shelter and that employees and volunteers had no structure, management, or procedures.  He began to implement management that did not sit well with two of the employees, and they resigned on their own accord and under no pressure to do so.  A third employee resigned due to personal reasons that had nothing to do with Shelter operations.  No employees were terminated.  The employment vacancies have placed a strain on the Shelter’s functions until the positions are advertised and filled, and all current employees are working overtime.  At present, there are 5 vacancies.  All have been advertised and applicants are being interviewed at the present time.

Some of the duties of the personnel who resigned have had to be temporarily suspended, including the production of the “in danger” list of Shelter animals.  Before the end of February, the “in danger” list will again be available to the public through a weekly posting on the Animal Shelter page of the Douglas County web site, www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com; the list will be posted no later than Wednesday of each week, but usually on Tuesdays. These are not animals that automatically will be euthanized if not adopted, but have reasons to be on the list, such as length of time at the Shelter, condition, etc.

The euthanization rate for the Douglas County Animal Shelter in 2012 was approximately 16 percent. The County Administrator has instructed Director Smith to keep this rate as low as possible. Current euthanizations have been limited to un-rescued feral cats which have been in isolation, rabies specimen dogs, and sick animals.

Last year (2012), a total of 3,187 animals were in the Douglas County Animal Shelter. Of that number, 38 percent were adopted; 33 percent went to rescue agencies; 11 percent were returned to their owner; and 16 percent were euthanized. The euthanization rate in Cherokee County last year was 57 percent, and about 30 percent in Henry County. Nationally, approximately 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats are euthanized.

Some Shelter functions, such as kennel cleaning and pet exercise, are currently being done with Community Service workers.  An organization for volunteers is in the formative stages, and the new organization will have structure and specific duties for volunteers, as opposed to volunteers showing up at unspecified, unscheduled times for uncoordinated contributions of time and effort. There are necessary tasks that need to be daily performed and volunteers can help with these tasks but there needs to be a calendar, an assignment of responsibility, and a definitive completion.  Volunteers are also being recruited to host off-site pet adoption events for the Shelter.  Best management practices require an orderly and much-needed volunteer effort that addresses training of volunteers, education, community outreach and coordination of efforts to benefit the animals - not personal egos.  Director Smith’s wife, Cynthia, has volunteered many unpaid hours to help put together the organization. Mrs. Smith has extensive experience with the formation of this type of support group and her expertise will be invaluable in getting the new volunteer organization running in a short time period.

The hours for public visitation to the Shelter for animal adoptions were modified to be more citizen-friendly and to give the staff more time to clean and care for the animals. A review of the hours in effect was made to choose which were popular and which had low or no attendance.  Sunday hours were extended.  The weekday hours were set so that the actual kennel personnel - the staff who know and work daily with each animal - will be available to work with the public for adoptions and rescues personally and answer all questions. The Shelter is open on Tuesday and Thursday nights until 6:30 p.m. to facilitate visitation and adoptions for those persons who work until 5 p.m.

The County has brought in two classroom trailers so that the cramped quarters of the Shelter can be temporarily alleviated. The trailers were modified to be ADA-compliant and Code-compliant as required by law. One of the trailers will house the offices for the director and the road officers, and the other will be used for storage. This will allow more room for the animals in the shelter, and allow for more separation between animals for sanitation and disease control.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners continues its location planning and facility research for a new animal shelter.  The Commissioners have visited other shelters in Georgia and are weighing the merits of each to design the best shelter for the County’s needs. The Commissioners anticipate placing a referendum on the November 2013 ballot for the residents to decide if bonds should be issued for the construction of a new animal shelter.  The estimated cost is $4 million.

The County is striving to take the Shelter to a professional level and adhere to the “Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters”, and that requires change.  Due in part to the unstructured management and operation of the Animal Shelter prior to Director Smith’s arrival, there are individuals who no longer have “their way” at the Shelter.  Two were the employees who resigned; others are volunteers; one was a member of the ACAB, Mr. Carl Pyrdum, Jr.

As a member of the ACAB, Mr. Pyrdum was instrumental in bringing needs of the Animal Shelter to the attention of the Board of Commissioners and his service was appreciated. However, Mr. Pyrdum openly challenged Director Smith after his employment and the County because Mr. Pyrdum no longer could have “his way” at the Shelter.  Mr. Pyrdum does not like the new Shelter hours, and Mr. Pyrdum does not like the new structure for volunteers.  He is openly hostile and has been threatening to Director Smith, other employees, other members of the ACAB, and to the public who support the changes. In addition, Mr. Pyrdum has solicited local businesses and animal welfare agencies to stop supporting the County and its Animal Shelter and to instead support his personal efforts. Mr. Pyrdum’s efforts, were they to be successful, would hurt the animals by increasing the euthanasia rate. The Board of Commissioners relieved Mr. Pyrdum of his ACAB appointment since the County is going in a different direction than Mr. Pyrdum desires. Mr. Pyrdum is a former law enforcement officer with the City of Atlanta Police Department who regularly relates to others that he carries a pistol and is not afraid to use it. He has posted videos on his blog opposing City of Atlanta policies.

Mr. Pyrdum has posted on numerous Internet blogs and other social media petitions and information in an effort to have Director Smith fired. These on-line postings and petitions have resulted in massive misinformation being distributed, and also threats to Director Smith, including the threat of personal harm.  hese threats have been forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Many threats came after the Board of Commissioners recently adopted the State of Georgia’s “Responsible Dog Ownership Law”, a requirement of local governments if local animal control officials are to enforce it. Some of the language in the law seems ambiguous, and the County’s legal staff asked Director Smith to review it and provide feedback to the ACAB.  He authored suggestions to the local ordinance to particularly clarify how a dog could be declared “dangerous.” The amendments were not breed-specific, and proposed clarification that would limit some dogs, due to their actions, from being declared “dangerous.” The declaration of a dog as “dangerous” does not mean euthanization.  Director Smith’s suggestions have to go through the ACAB, which would hear/modify/reject the proposal, and make a recommendation on it to the Board of Commissioners. There is also a judicial review provision in the existing State law that precludes Director Smith from making unilateral decisions on “dangerous” dogs.  The ordinance review process is only in the beginning stages with the ACAB and may result in no changes to the local Ordinance at all.

Emails and telephone messages received by the Board of Commissioners complain about everything from the German Shepherd breed being declared “dangerous” by Director Smith (no dog has yet been declared “dangerous” and no breed can be declared “dangerous”) to feral cats not being allowed to be viewed by the public (feral cats are wild and can attack).

The ACAB and the Board of Commissioners are committed to moving forward in a positive direction with the Douglas County Animal Shelter and Animal Control Department.  Constructive criticism is appreciated; viral misinformation and personal attacks due to the loss of influence and control are not and will not be tolerated. Director Smith has the strong support of the Board of Commissioners and many local animal welfare advocates.


Responses to Specific Allegations Received by Douglas County

Allegation: Douglas County spent $5,000 for a private rest room and shower for Director Smith in the renovated classroom trailer set up for offices at the Animal Shelter.

Response: The classroom trailers are required to be in compliance with the American for Disabilities Act and local and State Building Codes. A rest room with shower was installed in the office trailer and is accessible to the public who visit the trailer. The rest room will be used by all staff, including Road Officers and Kennel staff who may need to shower after working with the animals and being sprayed on. The $5,000 figure is roughly the total cost of siting the trailers, building the ADA-required ramps, plumbing, electrical and general modifications to convert the space into offices.

Allegation: Director Smith reduced the number of cages in the Shelter and therefore the number of animals able to be housed in the Shelter.

Response: Some temporary wire cages were removed due to their unacceptability in controlling aerosol diseases (i.e., upper respiratory infections) and due to their non-compliance with the “Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters” because of health risks to animals.

Allegation: Director Smith no longer provides a weekly “in danger” list to animal welfare advocates and rescue organizations.

Response: Due to the resignations of staff members whose responsibility it was to develop the “in danger” list, it was not produced for a couple of weeks.  The “in danger” list is now being posted weekly on the Animal Control Department page of the Douglas County web site, www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com, and on the Animal Control Department’s facebook page with allowances and encouragement for ”sharing.”

Allegation: The hours for public visitation/adoption at the Animal Shelter have been reduced.

Response: Shelter hours were changed so that (1) the kennel staff would have sufficient time to clean kennels, feed animals, exercise the animals, and interact with them in the mornings before the public arrived; and (2) the kennel staff who know the animals best would be available during public hours to help the public with adoptions and provide to the new owners specific knowledge on the animals due to the time they spent with them in the mornings.  Shelter hours were analyzed for low and no visitation times, and those days with higher attendance had times extended.

Allegation: Mr. Smith is unqualified and was given his job because he is related to another County employee.

Response: Director Smith is eminently qualified for the position and is not related to any County employee.

Allegation: Mr. Smith canceled a sponsorship program for vetting animals.

Response: Sponsorships are welcome to pay for the expenses of spay/neutering animals. However, the sponsors cannot put conditions on their sponsorship such as infinite stay at the Shelter, to whom the animal can be adopted, etc.

A related Douglasville Patch article:

Controversy Rages Over New Animal Shelter Director

Douglasville Patch blogs written by Carl Pyrdum:

Susan Knight February 17, 2013 at 02:25 AM
FYI everyone: I received a reply to an email I sent to Mike Mulcare with no personal response (coward). All he did was attach a Word document of the BOC's response to the outrage. I replyed with this: "I’ve read this from the Douglasville Patch. It is nothing more than a bunch of defensive lies. What do YOU, personally, have to say about any of this, humm? You can take that and put it where the sun doesn’t shine. I will still NOT VOTE FOR YOU and will tell everyone I can about the horrendous management and misrepresentations of Rick Smith and anyone who supports him. Regards,"
Tracy Thompson February 17, 2013 at 04:35 AM
I am one of the employees that left. The county says I left because I could no longer have "my way". Well my way was to give every animal a chance, use all available space to allow them long enough to stay, expect staff to all pull together to care for the animals, come in early on my own time and take animals to the vet, stay late on my own time to take animals to rescue, come in on my day off to assist a rescue or adopter, communicate and know what rescues take what and make sure and call them when we had animals needing rescue, monitor Facebook for anyone looking for lost animals or wanting an animal and matching them up the best I could, getting animals to the vet when needed, asking rescue friends to help with medications so we could medicate all animals needing it without over burdening the budget, use resources sparingly to save funds, do anything in my power to save as many animals as possible. As you can tell in the counties response this is not the "Way" of the new leadership or the county leaders.
Tracy Thompson February 17, 2013 at 04:43 AM
I also can attest that Mr. Pyrdum is a wonderful person, respectful to a fault. He did nothing but spend his own time and money helping the innocent animals that everyone else forgot. For the county officials to attack him in this way is beyond wrong and words cannot express how shocked and disappointed I am in this turn. It makes me ashamed to have been an employee of Douglas County. This reponse should make all citizens of this county furious and they should demand an immediate retraction, apology and the job of whomever is responsible for this display.
Lisa Levesque February 17, 2013 at 12:42 PM
To be clear, Tracy Thompson selflessly served the animals and community. The county lost a true advocate, and her notations above only reference the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her contribution. You are sorely missed Tracy! The personal attacks on Carl Pyrdum, which have no merit, should be an indicator to all what kind of people we elected into office. We will do well to remember this when they come up for election, as the county deserves better. Rick Smith does not hold a candle to Tracy or Carl. I believe the real reason he was brought to Douglas county, GA was to push for greater animal control to generate more $$$$. This is the only thing that makes sense to me, as I find no other justification and his actions since being here are indicative of this. So, citizens beware...and keep your animals secure!!!
Rebekah Mattox February 17, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Rebekah Mattox February 17, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Melanie, you're right, & it seems that the DCHS is condoning the BOC and shamimg & shunning HS volunteers who do NOT want to reinforce the surreptition & corruption. THE DCHS is declining to put in writing what they want to say to volunteers ["Please call"], nor will they MEET in person: WHY?
Rebekah Mattox February 17, 2013 at 08:34 PM
I am shocked and saddened that DCHS is intimidating volunteers in support of the SLANDEROUS, FALSE BOC statement and in support of someone whose published track record of kill rate is over 50%.
Susan Lance February 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Thank you for your service Tracy. You were a huge asset to the people who were trying to save lives.
joey casey February 18, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Douglas Co is a joke, and so is the patch for printing a press release rather than doing their job of reporting. There is no way smith will maintain a low kill rate and his past record proves this. And Tracy and Karl deserve a huge apology as well as the staff who have remained. And then the commissioners and staff need to go! Criminals, liars and murderers! Great job once again government! If you pay off douglas co then you can open up a business there. And then to keep your doors open keep buying the commisioners their favorite expensive wine!
Rebekah Mattox February 18, 2013 at 02:38 PM
It is clear that the slander and overall professionalism in this article is part of the lazy, corrupt collusion among leaders in our community. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. http://www.swaylove.org/shelter-retaliation-against-volunteers-is-illegal-unconstitutional
Bruce February 18, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Hey folks, remember that the Special Purpose Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) finally passed by 34 votes after 2 failed attempts? Hey folks, remember all those flyers that urged you to VOTE? Hey folks, Douglas County SPLOST was used entirely for one of the largest prisons in the United States, but not a penny went to improving the animal shelter or anything else in the county. Congratulations to Chairman Worthan, the commissioners and the sheriff! Thanks to all the people who did not bother to vote and who voted for the prison--YOU GOT WHAT YOU DESERVE!!!!!!!!!!!
Alison Hector February 18, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Exactly Tracy. Thanks for speaking up. You should have been promoted. These are the qualities animal control leadership requires.
Fred February 19, 2013 at 03:06 AM
You are right about the margin of the vote. You are right about the apathy of the voters. You are right about where the proceeds of the SPLOST are spent. You are right about getting what we deserve. You are way wrong about the DC jail being "one of the largest prisions in the United States". First there is a difference in what a jail is and what a prison is, and the new DC Jail is not even in the top 50 for size nationally - probably not even in the top 100. It is a shame that the vote did not pass by 100 votes so the backers of the SPLOST could claim a "landslide" win as the backers of the president have with their 51% popular vote victory.
Bruce February 20, 2013 at 09:55 PM
I like the way you think, Fred. However, I disagree about the definition of a jail and a prison. The new facility is not a county jail. A county jail would have been built within size and cost for what is necessary for Douglas County. That is not what was done. Sheriff Miller repeatedly stated at public meetings, which have been recorded, that there would be so much empty space at the new facility that he wanted to bring in state and federal prisoners and board them at the new facility to make MONEY. Therefore, the new prison is just that, a prison. Too bad there's no room to board and take care of the animals.
James Bell February 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Mr. Editor, was this document signed by all board members? Was it even signed?
John Barker (Editor) February 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM
No. It was not signed.
James Bell February 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM
@BOC - so you want $4 million for an animal shelter? I might consider $2 million if you will consider $2 million for a shelter for homeless humans. DEAL?
James Bell February 22, 2013 at 01:09 PM
The best way to facilitate policy change is the change those who are making the policy. The BOC will use the $4 million bond referendum this fall to extinguish criticism and to bring the animal rights folk "into line". The $4 million bond will mean another property tax increase. Do you think the voters will support another tax increase? What alternative are there?
S. R. Shelton February 22, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Clearly the ACAB, the BOC, and the Smiths know they have something to hide. If they were honest people, they would conduct themselves in an open, forthright manner. They are fully aware that they are in the wrong. High school student councils have more maturity than this bunch. And more professionalism. And if the BOC continues to dismiss the opinions of those of us who live outside of Douglas County, they are also dismissing the value of our money spent in Douglas County businesses, and the sales taxes collected thereof. We are not only fully capable of networking for the animals at DCAC, but also for any political opponents they may face for the next election. And we will.
Rebekah Mattox February 22, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Rebekah Mattox February 22, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I remain agahast at this slanderous, unprofessional letter with no identified author and no signatures. It is appalling how reckless and cold the BOC & HS r acting. Additionally, there continues to b pressure for quietness. WHY? Thankfully, Kelly Robinson has called to light his own governing body about the WRONG way Carl was "voted out" of the Animal Ad. Bd which is resulting n an investigation. Further, Tom Worthan at his weekly chat either did not kno or was not truthful n saying he did not kno--claiming that "Southern Hope" just pulled the Fix'Em-Free program without communication ; however, a letter is available dated Feb. 1st from "Southern Hope" explaining the free program was stopped due to R. Smith. The HS did not notify members w/everybody un-informed probably hoping it'd not b learned that this free program was stopped due to R. Smith. This collusion is puzzling & appalling.
Rebekah Mattox February 22, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Shelton: I hope the BOC cares enough to read comments under their own press release bc your comments are starkingly superb. Thanks!
Fred February 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM
How about this alternative to spending $4M (plus the ongoing operating costs and personnel costs) on a new shelter: Leave the existing shelter as is. New County Ordinances: All pets in the county require a license - with a condition of the license being that the pet be spayed/neutered and micro-chipped. $2500 fine for possession of a pet without a license. $1000 fine for second pickup of a pet found wandering within the county within a 12 month period. $1000 surrender fee. Have all breeders get a license and post a $20,000 bond - require all pets born under the breeder's control to be chipped within 3 weeks of birth. Euthanize all feral cats & dogs upon apprehension by Animal Control. These animals would be unadoptable anyway. No chip = feral. Pets found wandering would be identified by their chip and returned to the owner. Within a generation (animal, not human) all pets would be registered, sterile and have a home. Animal Control would be limited to collecting and euthanizing feral animals, collecting and returning loose pets and administering the program instituted by the ordinances. Surrendered pets could be offered to the general public and rescue organizations. At $1000 per pet the program should pay for itself. I would think that the shelter would be nearly empty in a few years. Since there is no Constitutional right to keep and bear a pet, the ordinances will hold up to legal challenge. Problem solved.
Fred February 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM
By the way - All these electrons spent on commenting about an animal shelter. I wish people would get half as worked up about human homelessness and hunger.
S. R. Shelton February 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM
You are comparing apples to oranges. Just because people are vocal in their concern over homeless animals does not mean they are not equally concerned about human suffering. There is no law, logic, or moral obligation to chose one cause or issue over the other. If the BOC, as entities and as individual members, has shown so little regard for defenseless animals in Douglas County, then they most certainly are incapable of having any for genuine concern or compassion for human suffering either. Why would the BOC care? There's nothing in it for them. After all, homeless people and homeless animals don't vote or pay taxes.
Fred February 23, 2013 at 05:42 PM
There is a limited amount of money that can be spent on anything. The county spends public funds on the animal shelter and staffing it. Yet there is no county funding equal to what is spent on the animal shelter for sheltering/feeding humans in this county and no one is vocal about it at all. The "little regard for defenseless animals" starts with the citizens who allow their pets to remain unsterilized. This entire animal control situation is a COST to the citizens of the county imposed because of uncontrolled pet breeding. Bob Barker is right - get your pet spayed or neutered today - it should be a requirement of ownership just like car insurance is a requirement to operate a vehicle. As far as the BOC not caring - their job is to manage the County's money as efficiently as possible and to be responsible to the citizens of the County desire for government services. When the ballot issue passes for the $4M shelter - because it will - then the BOC will be responding to the will of citizens. "Caring" does not have anything to do with it. It is logical and a morally right to choose people over animals. Every time. If you had one bowl of food to feed either a hungry child or a hungry dog what would you do? What would be better for everyone in Douglas County: A 0% kill animal control situation. or A 0% homeless and hungry human situation.
Rebekah Mattox February 23, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Fred: Come out of the clouds away from your idealism. Of course, u r correct on many points, but we have reality not the ideal. We can't even get the BOC to operate in transparency & in many cases to be truthfully forthcoming, so corruption and overall ignorance "trickles down." The tail is like the head! If Worthan dares to say the majority doesn't agree w/animal concerns, he is really saying the majority does not CARE--as does not he. "SOUTHERN HOPE" discontinued the free spay-neuter program because of Rick Smith--he and the BOC should MAKE THAT RIGHT and re-HIRE MIKE POPE since his job performaance was excellent--IN ADDITION TO MS. TRACY of course. YES INDEED SPAY-NEUTER IS ESSENTIAL as r many of your other points which is NOT the topic HERE.
Rebekah Mattox February 23, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Fred: The "SOUTHERN HOPE" letter is available--this is not just an arbitrary claim. Thanks again.
Bruce February 23, 2013 at 09:39 PM
This is GREAT! Here you are seeing democracy in action, instead of just an unsigned letter purporting to be from the BOC. And look at the suggestions! What we are talking about is prioritizing spending, spending money where it is needed!
Tammy Rakestraw Pyrdum March 09, 2013 at 03:21 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.


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