The questions about why a Georgia animal shelter suddenly euthanized 64 dogs are not going away.
Dog lovers gathered Monday night in front of Clayton County Animal Control to protest the mass killing that took place last week. The shelter claims that the decision to put the dogs down was tragic but unavoidable due to an infection that could have spread to other animals. However, a veterinarian who works with the shelter says that she’s bewildered by the decision.
“I don’t know any veterinarian that’s going to recommend euthanasia versus treating an animal that’s sick,” Dr. Elizabeth Perry told television station WSB. “That’s not normally the way an infectious disease is handled.”
Perry wasn’t at the shelter when the dogs were killed, and says that she hasn’t been at the shelter for about a month. That’s one of the criticisms of the protestors: As of now, Animal Control doesn’t have a staff veterinarian. “There needs to be some transparency,” said Amy Adams, a member of animal rescue organization Partners for Pets. “I think that Animal Control needs to publicize who recommends that the dogs be put to sleep.” Others are calling for the shelter to be privatized.
Even though the shelter’s official stance remains that there was an extreme risk of infection to the other animals, it apparently continued to process adoptions even after the illness was identified. Volunteer Shelby Swatek told WSB, “Many of them could have been rescued, and they were put down anyway, which is unfathomable.”
Protester Karen Kelly told television station WXIA, “There are a lot of groups that want to help them. If they just work with the rescue groups, there are a lot more that want to be saved.”
While protestors had much to say about the deaths of the dogs, shelter officials have been very close-mouthed, other than to repeat that symptoms of coughing and sneezing made the decision unavoidable. Animal Control Commander Andre Jackson told WSB, “We have to maintain our focus to make sure these animals are healthy.”
According to WXIA, the controversy is also raising questions about the county’s allocation and use of funds. An election approved funds to build a new shelter in 2009, but that has yet to happen.
Read more news about dogs on Dogster: