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Alaska shelter shoots all its animals

The animal shelter run by the town of Houston, Alaska, says its eight residents — four dogs and four cats — were just too difficult to adopt out.

So, according to police Sgt. Charlie Seidl, under orders, he shot them all.

Seidl said some of the animals had been at the city’s “Animal Protection and Safety Shelter” since November — unclaimed and unadopted.

“We stretched out as long as we could,” Seidl said. “At one point in time, we were completely full. So we were able to adopt out the animals that we could adopt out, but with these ones that were left we weren’t able to do that. And like I said, we can’t hang on to them indefinitely.”

Even in Alaska — a state with, to put it nicely, different sensibilities — the event sparked outrage.

“This is barbaric,” said shelter volunteer Evelyn Rohr. “I think there are better ways to handle it.” Rohr told the Anchorage Daily News she managed to get six or seven cats out before the culling and planned to deliver them to rescue facilities in Anchorage, about 30 miles south.

The Alaska Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now there’s a tough job) said it would have tried to help find homes for the animals, but Houston animal control hadn’t contacted the agency.

“There are more humane ways of killing animals than taking them out and shooting them,” said Cindy Liggett, who operates Kitty and K-9 Connection animal rescue in Anchorage “We are not a poor society. We are not a backwoods community. There is a vet clinic there.”

Rohr said Mayor Roger Purcell ordered police to kill the animals after an officer at the shelter refused to do it, and police Sgt. Seidl said he carried out the shootings under the mayor’s orders.

Purcell denied issuing any such order. “Animal control keeps them for three to five days and then they’re disposed of in a legal way. But I don’t get told when they dispose of dogs,” he said. “I know our officers try really hard to find homes and we keep dogs longer than any other.”

Purcell said the city was working to have its animal control officer licensed by the state to euthanize animals by lethal injection rather than having a veterinarian do it at greater cost. He said euthanizing by gun is common in rural areas around the state.

Sally Clampitt, executive director of the Alaska SPCA, said lethal injections are for more humane than is terminating a dog’s life by gunshot. “I think that’s really horrible, frankly,” she said. “Our position is that euthanasia done by a licensed veterinarian is the preferred and most humane way.”


Comment from Lynne Schlumpf
Time February 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm

The story (the truth):
The animals had been kept since November by the shelter because they didn’t have the heart to put them down after 3 days (they are required to do so).

The shelter did not have anyone certified by the state of Alaska (required) to administer lethal injection.

The shelter didn’t have 65.00 per animal to take them to a vet to have it done.

They could not find homes.

They made the only decision they could.

We love our animals more than you’ll ever know.

Anchorage has the best animal control facility (and so does Wasilla) that I have ever seen.

You should see how animals are treated in shelters in Texas and Oklahoma, just to name a few.

We never see animals hit by cars here because hardly anyone lets their animals run loose.

When I lived in the south, every other mile had a dead dog or cat.

Live here. Then judge us.

Comment from Ron
Time February 7, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Alaska is a welfare state filled to the brim with self-righteous, God-drunk, hillbillies who eat up our tax dollars at an insane rate. In a perfect world, we would force such a despicable place to secede so we would no longer have to tolerate them as “Americans”. I’m just surprised that these ya-hoos didn’t eat the dogs after they shot them.

Comment from JB
Time March 5, 2010 at 4:57 am

Because California, New York, Louisiana and other such states AREN’T wellfair states….Wonder if anyone crying about this knows exactly what goes into lethal injectsions and how they actually aren’t always quite as fast of a way to kill an animal than, say, a bullet to the head. (Even when vets do it). Not that I live in alaska…