A fact of life — or should we say death? — in this country is that whether or not you, as a human, get executed for a crime can depend largely on where your trial is held.
The same is kind of true of impounded dogs — one big difference being they get no trial, there’s usually no crime involved, and, having been surrendered or abandoned, they’re more often victims than criminals.
With dogs, most executions are not a matter of justice, but population control; and the likelihood of that fate varies not just from state to state, but from county to county. By and large, a dog’s chance of getting out of a county-run shelter alive depends primarily on what county they happen to be held in.
Just how much of a toss of the dice it can be was shown in a story Sunday by the Columbus Dispatch. It analyzed data from 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and found that, in 2011, they had kill rates varying from 1 percent to 81 percent.
Dogs who enter the shelter in Lawrence County, in southeastern Ohio, have less than a two in ten chance of getting out alive. Meanwhile, in Carroll County, in northeastern Ohio, only 1 percent of dogs were destroyed, the lowest rate in the state.
The story included a county-by-county interactive map, showing kill and adoption rates.
It’s some exceptional reporting — the kind newspapers should be doing more of — and it clearly shows that, even when they’re right next door, some places value dogs’ lives more than others, and work harder to place and save them.
Statewide, more than 100,000 dogs are impounded annually in Ohio’s county-run animal shelters, and roughly 30 percent, or 30,000, were euthanized in 2011. (Nationally, it’s estimated that 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized a year.)
“It looks bad. That’s awful,” Lawrence County Dog Warden Bill Click said of the data showing his shelter had the highest kill rate in the state. He added that the county is working to improve those numbers. Lawrence County, like many others, often euthanizes dogs when the shelter gets too crowded.
The best dog wardens, the story points out, are more than wardens. (Is it time to change that outdated term?) They publicize their county shelters, welcome volunteers and visitors, post photos and profiles of their adoptable online and work with rescue groups.
But while some fight daily to keep euthanasia rates low, it seems a lower priority in many counties: 13 have kill rates higher than 50 percent.
Some dog wardens question whether it’s fair to compare the rates of urban and rural dog shelters, saying urban areas generally take in more aggressive animals that have been trained to guard property or fight other dogs, as well as more dogs that have been injured by cars.
But even among urban areas, some county shelters do a far better job than others.
Of Ohio’s urban areas, Hamilton County had the lowest kill rate, at 30 percent. The county contracts with the Cincinnati SPCA, which has worked to reduce adoption prices, extend foster care and bring animals with heartworm and other medical problems back to health, rather than putting them down.
Pit bulls have been most often destined for euthanasia — at least until Ohio dropped its ban and put a new law in place in May of this year that no longer automatically brands them vicious.
Animal welfare advocates have also succeeded in pressuring two counties, Athens and Fairfield, to stop using the gas chamber to euthanize dogs.
They were less successful in Hocking County, where, despite demonstrations and a call to switch to lethal injection, county commissioners decided to continue using gas.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption rates, animal control, animal welfare, animals, carroll county, chances, columbus, control, counties, county, death, death penalty, dispatch, dog wardens, dogs, euthanasia, euthanized, execution, gas chambers, interactive, justice, kill rates, lawrence county, lethal injection, life, location, map, news, newspaper, ohio, pets, population, rescues, shelters, survival, wardens
Dog wardens, working with the Humane League of Lancaster County, shut down an illegal dog kennel Wednesday in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and removed 20 dogs from the facility.
The owner, Aaron Lapp, will not be permitted to obtain a kennel license in the future and will be required to keep fewer than 25 dogs per year. In Pennsylvania, any kennel housing more than 25 dogs per year is required to be licensed and inspected.
Wardens first became aware of the illegal kennel from a consumer tip and cited the kennel in August for operating without a license. Lapp pleaded guilty to those charges and was told he could not own or keep more than 25 dogs in a year.
A follow-up inspection of the kennel Wednesday showed a decline in sanitary conditions and dogs in the kennel were found to have matted fur. Wardens contacted the Humane League, which removed the dogs.
“Our state dog wardens are following up on any information about illegal kennels and they are making sure that those facilities come into compliance with the law or are shut down,” said Jessie Smith, Pennsylvania’s special deputy secretary of dog law enforcement. ”
Smith said all dogs in commercial breeding kennels will be better protected under Pennsylvania’s recently signed dog law. The new law doubles the minimum floor space for dogs, eliminates wire flooring, and requires exercise that is at least as good as unfettered access to an exercise area twice the size of the primary enclosure. The previous law did not require that dogs ever be taken out of cages.
In July, the state launched a toll-free hotline, 1-877-DOG-TIP1, to help anyone wishing to offer confidential tips about unsatisfactory or illegal kennels.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 31st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breeder, breeding, closed, conditions, hotline, humane league, illegal, inspection, kennel, lancaster county, pennsylvania, puppy mills, tips, wardens