Over the past 6 weeks there have been several major stories on the OC Watchdog Blog, of the Orange County Register newspaper, that ought to raise alarm bells among local members of Felinity Assembled, and our Humans.
The writer of these reports, staff writer Teri Sforza, has put together a detailed, yet, very troubling, story.
( See Update at End of Report! )
Let's begin with the Jan. 31 report entitled "Fewer animals killed at OC animal shelter in 2011."
We live just a mile from the HQ on City Dr., in Orange.
The county handles 18 of the 34 cities, plus unincorporated areas, and while the number of animals impounded, in 2011, fell by 4.2%, and the number euthanized by 3%...about HALF the creatures who end up there don't make it out alive.
The truly disturbing aspect of this is the vast difference between the situation for Dogs, as opposed to Cats, and what this says about life on the streets, and as animal companions, for both species.
OC Animal Care Director Ryan Drabek reports some interesting stats regarding the fate of animals that come to them with, and without some form of ID:
More than 50% with ID are returned to their Forever Home, while 17% are euthanized.
No ID? Then you are up Poop Creek with no paddle, as daddy Kiril might say.
8% returned, more than 50% euthanized.
The agency claims to want to increase public education with regards to pet care, in 2012, and I will have some thoughts on this at the end of this post.
For more on this story go here.
In 2011 the number of Dogs impounded fell by 5.3%, the number euthanized dropped by 5.4%, and the number returned to their Humans fell by almost 10%.
What this means is 1 out of 4 Dogs don't make it out alive.
So, what about local members of Felinity Assembled?
The tale is a very bleak one.
While fewer Cats entered the system last year the shocking euthanasia rate is absolutely mindboggling...
74%...a rate that has been pretty much the same for years.
The total number of Cats entering the system fell by 5% = Cool!
The total euthanized fell by 4% = Also Cool!
But the total muber of Cats adopted fell by 14% (Only 17% were adopted, and 2% returned to their Human, in 2011)= Absolutely NOT Cool!
So what's the take away on this news that 3 out of 4 Cats don't make it out alive?
“Feral cats and neonatal kittens have consistently combined for approximately 7,000 cat euthanasia’s a year at OC Animal Care since 2009,” Drabek said. “Meaning, healthy and friendly domestic cats have a very good chance of adoption from our shelter, but without much-needed programs for feral and neonatal kittens, programs like TNR (trap-neuter-release), our cat euthanasia rate will remain high.”
The shelter ran a small pilot trap-neuter-release program for feral cats back in 2009, but that funding is gone.
The Orange County SPCA has long had such programs, and the County hopes to rejoin the fight eventually.
What is really troubling is the shockingly low "Return to Owner" rate.
I mean, it's kinda hard for you to find your way back to your Forever Home after a misguided night out on the town, if you have no form of ID.
1% of Kitties entering the system have ID? Wassup with that?
I've never had ID because I've always been a strickly Indoor Cat, but afte reading these reports Daddy is considering having me join Elvira Mistress of Felinity, also an Indoor Kitty since we rescued her as a Kitten off our front porch in 2010, with a Microchip.
The first 3 articles have received many comments, especially concerning the fate of Cats.
There have been discussions about the good, and bad, regarding the serices, and efforts, of the County Shelter over its long history.
And there have been some Human Wise-Asses with nothing better to do than to leave comments recommending, among other things, that
"Cats should be sold to French Vietnamese Sandwhich stores to help defray the costs of keeping them! Woof I've probably woofed a few down without knowing where the meats come from :) "
So much for being civil, and on topic. :-D
I tried to leave a comment taking this Human to task for such poor taste, and hatred of Cats, even refraining, with difficulty, from calling him a Dimbulb (I deleted, and reposted, my own comment! Hee, hee!), but it appears my comment was deleted. :-D
The question becomes just how long do Cats have before they are killed?
The 4th report tries to answer that.
In this article Drabek, the Shelter Director, answered questions such as “What percentage of animals that are micro-chipped are killed?” and “How many days are cats kept before being killed?” and “What defines an underage/neonatal kitten and why are they automatically killed (as is implied in the Cat article)? What are the rules regarding that?”
Other questions related to checking for ID, and how do TNR Programs work?
So how long do Cats have?
Q. How many days are cats kept before being killed?
A. It’s important to note here that our shelter does not have a policy for ‘maximum holding periods’. State law requires that we hold all dogs and cats for a minimum of 4 days and dogs and cats wearing ID’s are held for a minimum of 7 days. Currently, our average length of stay for all animals is 8 days. However, we’ve maintained animals for as long as 8-9 months before they’ve been adopted. That’s certainly not the norm, but our volunteers do a wonderful job of getting the animals out every day, exercised, accustomed to some basic training, and keeping them happy!
One other item of interest relates to Feral Cats...
The Director proudly notes that "UC Davis’ Koret Shelter Medicine program was very complimentary of our feral cat housing, noting it as one of our “greatest strengths”, and its ability to decipher between a feral cat and a scared domestic cat."
Read more, including the answers to the other questions, here.
Some time ago, in the early days of this blog, I sent out by Snail Mail, a flier, to almost all the Shelters, and Rescues, in our sidebar, most of whom are in LA & Orange County, letting them know about the existence of this blog, what it is about, its resource rich sidebar, and its interest in helping to spread the word about Feline Adoption, and Rescue, efforts...
We have yet to hear back from anyone.
Aside from the Pet Bloggers at the OC Register, who called us "A Blog We Dig", back in early 2010, we have no idea how many local people, or organizations, know we exist, or what they may think of us if they do, and the same goes for further afield.
****UPDATE - 3/12/12****
Daddy Kiril, & I, went to my fine vet, The Cat Care Clinic, and put down $39.24 to have an Avid ID FriendChip Microchip installed, just as he had done on Elvira Mistress of Felinity back in 2010, when she entered our lives.
I spent the few minutes waiting for the tech to come wandering around the floor, under the chair, not hiding mind you, just stretching the legs after spending an hr. in the Stroller on the bus ride over. :-D
The procedure was quick, and painless, and I even had a weight check that showed I was at 13.9 lbs, a slight loss since the last check, but nothing to worry about.