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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