Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shelter Access

The Jersey Shore Animal Center is set to kill a mother cat and five kittens today. Normally this would not be news, as shelters kill animals all the time. What is news is that there is a No Kill rescue with a wonderful setup for cats that's willing to take them in and save their lives - and has been told no.

The mother cat has been tested for, and is positive for, FIV - a slow moving immunodeficiency virus. FIV is certainly not a death sentence in cats and many FIV positive cats live very long and happy lives. It's also fairly difficult for cats to transmit to each other - it's most commonly transmitted through deep bite wounds - and does not infect any other species. There's really no reason to kill an FIV positive cat, any more than there's a reason to kill for diabetes, blindness, or a skin condition - it's just something to be aware of and educated about.

The Jersey Shore Animal Center missed the memo on that one. They consider FIV cats "sick", and when a rescuer brought in a mother cat and her newborn litter for care and the mother cat tested positive, they slated them for killing (although FIV is not always transmitted to kittens, they didn't bother to test the kittens - presumably because they didn't know that). When their rescuer found out the fate of the cats, she asked to take them back and was told she couldn't have them. When their rescuer called Pets Alive for help and they offered to take the cats - and provide them with lifetime care if necessary, they were told no because killing all FIV positive cats is the policy of the Jersey Shore Animal Center, logic be damned.

This is what shelter access laws such as California's Hayden Law, Delaware's Companion Animal Protection Act, and the proposed Oreo's Law of New York are designed to prevent, and why it's so very important to continue working for shelter access laws across the country.

The number one cause of death for dogs and cats in the United States isn't cancer, or being hit by cars, or neglect by hoarders, or any exotic disease. It's shelter killing. Shelter access laws like Oreo's Law guarantee access to animals in immediate danger of being killed (what shelters usually call "euthanasia") and give rescuers a chance to save their lives. Period.

Much has been made over protections and safeguards in these laws to make sure that only the "right" people get them, and certainly some level of safeguarding is a good idea. It's important, however, not to lose sight of the overall risk/reward scenario: the animals that these access laws usually are designed to help are the ones in immediate danger of death, and opposing laws giving rescuers access to animals based on the objection of what theoretically might happen to them in order to send them to a certain death is quite simply idiotic. Indeed, if we were to follow this logic to its end no organization would ever adopt out a dog or cat - they would simply kill them all. Although I'm in favor of some level of safeguarding in these laws, even a bill with no safeguards at all has the potential to save a tremendous number of lives by virtue of providing a chance to go on living versus a near certain death.

With shelters out there like the Jersey Shore Animal Center - and they're not at all uncommon - we need all the help we can get.


Blogger Kelly said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! Even when there is a rescue group to take them off the shelters hands, they STILL won't turn them over!! So much for looking after and "SHELTERING" that little family!! Kittens don't always get FIV from the mom anyway, and were not even tested!! Heartless, ridiculous, and senseless!!!! GET A CLUE!!!

12:44 AM  
Blogger Katzenwoofers Pet Rescue said...

It is HIGHLY unlikely that the FIV was transmitted to the kittens. Chances are less than 1% that even ONE of them contracted it from their mother. There's absolutely NO reason to euth these babies - or their mother! FIV+ cats often remain healthy all their lives, and live normal lifespans. And unless mom is seriously aggressive to other cats, there's no reason she can't be placed in a home with other cats.

Jersey Shore Animal Center, SHAME ON YOU!!!!

1:15 PM  
Blogger -J. said...

Good to know! I'm mostly a dog guy but I've picked up a few cat tidbits over the years, it's good to hear from people who know more about it!

2:16 PM  
Blogger -J. said...

THANK YOU ALL: word directly from the board of the JSAC is that the kittens will all be released to rescue and the mother will be made available for local adoption. If there's anyone looking to adopt a cat in the Brick, NJ area - now would be a great time to get her out!

2:46 PM  
Blogger Boris Kitty said...

I iz so glad to hear dem idiots did change der minds n allow dem cute lil kittehs to go to da rescue!

Specailly dat one wot looks like me!

2:24 PM  

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