Mar 182016
 

letter

Letter to the Editor:

The Upper Keys animal shelter still has the highest kill rate of all the animal shelters in the Keys. By far. According to numbers submitted to Monroe County, the Upper Keys took in 736 cats and dogs in 2015. They euthanized 468 or 64%.

Compare that to the Middle Keys shelter which euthanized only 19% percent of370 cats and dogs received or to the Lower Keys shelter which euthanized only 22% of 1025 cats and dogs received.

Why is there such a huge difference in the kill rates?

Last year, when this issue first came to light, County Administrator, Roman Gastesi, said that he would have someone “look into it”. Nobody ever did. There’s plenty of speculation about why the kill rate is so much higher, but no real answers. Certainly no solutions.

Commissioner Sylvia Murphy said she was “perfectly happy with the services at the clinic” when asked about the situation last year. Really? A kill rate three times higher than the other shelters is something to be “perfectly happy” about?

As it turns out, Monroe County government isn’t content simply being heartless about the issue, they’ve chosen to distort the facts as well. Theyhave actually published misleading numbers in their latest State of the County report.

In the “Animal Control” section, the county claims that the Upper Keys shelter handled 736 animals, which is substantiated by the monthly reports submitted. However, the county also claims that the Middle Keys shelter handled 800-1000 animals. According to monthly reports, the number is actually 370. The county claims the Lower Keys shelter handled 1,888 animals, while the reports indicate 1,025.

I asked the county to explain these inconsistencies. The information provided made it very clear that county staff made no attempt to make a fair comparison.Unsurprisingly, the shelter with the highest kill rate also has the lowest amount of funding per animal when you look at comparable numbers.The Upper Keys shelter receives about 58% of what the Middle Keys shelter receives and 77% of what the Lower Keys shelter receives.

I don’t know what the solution to the high kill rate is, but I do know that lazy government officials and phony numberswon’t help. The county needs to take an honest look at this issue.

For more information, see http://www.therealpoop.org/animal-control.

Margaret Blank

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Margaret Blank
Margaret Blank is the former General Manager of the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District. Read more about Margaret, her experience, her research, her opinions on sewering the Keys and more in her blog: therealpoop.
 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #158, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

  6 Responses to “Animal Control”

  1. Margaret,

    Thank you so very much for taking a look at this. A bevy of ‘letters to the editor’ and newspaper articles have recently been written regarding this troublesome concern. Your added clarity is sincerely appreciated.

    Law Firms disturbed by the excessive kill rate and other abuses associated with the aforementioned cruel and inhumane conduct, have met with some concerned parties.

    Politically, federal and state inroads are being developed to curb the violence and killing.

    Science and civilized societies do not wantonly kill, particularly, when other merciful alternatives are available and being practiced, at no cost to the taxpayer.

    Blessings & Respect…

  2. As an animal lover I never like seeing any killed. Maybe if they could be adopted for free then fewer would die. Just ask them for a donation and suggest an amount but let them just drop it into a jar. They are about to die anyways so nothing lost and saves some.

    The problem can also be that many can not have pets because of landlord rules. So location could be a factor.

  3. Yes maybe free adoptions would help, but the money for that has to come from somewhere.

    A huge part of the problem is that nobody seems to know what is behind this high kill rate. It’s all guess work at this point. Effective solutions won’t start to emerge until the county (or somebody) takes an honest look at the issue.

    Right now it’s all about justifying the status quo. If the county thinks the status quo is so wonderful, as Comm. Murphy apparently does, why distort the facts? Just tell the truth. Compare apples to apples using real numbers. They lie because they have no way to justify the lower funding level especially when that lower funding level results in a high kill rate.

    Bottom line – the county doesn’t want to address the problem so they lie about it and nothing improves. It’s very aggravating.

  4. Would assume a high kill rate is do to a low adoption rate. Yes needs money to operate and that could partially be funded by a donation. Use some of the community hours that dished out by courts. That is free help and has added advantage might cut down on crimes if punishment is cleaning up after dogs and cats.
    Yes we need some real numbers to compare.

  5. Might add that often landlords must say no pets because liability insurance will not cover dogs. And with such a high demand for rentals people just might be forced to let a pet go. They should be required to have a reason to hand a pet over to them. Lets get someone to look at the paper work.