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July 23, 2021

Kittens & Puppies: Tra-La-La
Let me warn you at the outset... you are about to read something unsettling. If you want to avoid having your innocent holiday wonder and exuberant Christmas spirit crushed, then you should move on to a different article. On the other hand, if you continue reading, maybe you will be able to help find a solution to a critical problem that exists right here in Shelby County.

Many Shelby County children will receive a new kitten or puppy for Christmas this year. While visions of playful puppies and cuddly kittens with big red bows and jingle bell collars create irresistible holiday images, the fact is, the future for those real-life balls of fur are pretty bleak.

Unfortunately, it's not unusual for well-meaning parents to introduce new pets into a family at Christmastime but fail to realize the ongoing responsibility attached to pet ownership. In far too many cases, the novelty of a new pet soon wears off. When that occurs, the young animal will be ignored and will be likely to develop behavioral problems. In addition, new owners often learn too late that they can't afford to own pets because they failed to recognize that animals require additional expenses for food and veterinary services.

What happens next is grim.

An alarming number of new pets, usually between the ages of 7-14 months, are brought to an animal shelter because they are considered to be "mean" cats or "uncontrollable" dogs. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a majority of healthy kittens and puppies born in this country will never reach their second birthdays. These young animals will be put to death solely because their owners did not understand what is involved in owning and raising a pet.

Shelby County Statistics:

Each year, nearly 1,300 cats and dogs are euthanized by the Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter which is operated by the Shelbyville Police Department. I am fully convinced that the employees and staff of the animal shelter are dedicated individuals who are passionate about saving the lives of domestic animals. However, the fact remains that thousands of pets are killed annually right here in Shelby County.

For every ten strays or relinquished pets entering the local animal shelter, six will not leave alive. Animal control is a matter of serious concern but it is not entirely free of controversy. Municipal shelters are especially vulnerable to scrutiny. One local pet advocate requested daily animal reports from the Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter and posted them at Animal Outreach of Shelby County

Feel free to offer input or submit comments. Maybe we can learn from each other and figure out how to save some animals in the process. The Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter is located at 705 Hale Road, Shelbyville, Indiana. A list of adoptable pets are listed on their website Here

I'll end with the following Christmas poem (origin unknown):

Tis the night before Christmas and all through the town,

every shelter is full - we are lost but not found.

Our numbers are hung on our kennels so bare,

we hope every minute that someone will care,

They'll come to adopt us and give us the call,

"Come here, Max and Sparkie - come fetch your new ball!!

But now we sit here and think of the days

we were treated so fondly - we had cute, baby ways,

Once we were little, then we grew and we grew -

now we're no longer young and we're no longer new.

So out the back door we were thrown like the trash,

they reacted so quickly - why were they so rash?

We "jump on the children:, "don't come when they call",

we "bark when they leave us", climb over the wall.

We should have been neutered, we should have been spayed,

now we suffer the consequence of the errors THEY made.

If only they'd trained us, if only we knew...

we'd have done what they asked us and worshiped them, too.

We were left in the backyard,or worse - let to roam -

now we're tired and lonely and out of a home.

They dropped us off here and they kissed us good-bye...

"Maybe someone else will give you a try."

So now here we are, all confused and alone...

in a shelter with others who long for a home.

The kind workers come through with a meal and a pat,

with so many to care for,

they can't stay to chat,

They move to the next kennel,

giving each of us cheer...

we know that they wonder how long we'll be here.

We lay down to sleep

and sweet dreams fill our heads..

of a home filled with love and our own cozy beds.

Then we wake to see sad eyes, brimming with tears --

our friends filled with emptiness, worry, and fear.

If you can't adopt us and there's no room at the Inn --

could you help with the bills and fill our food bin?

We count on your kindness each day of the year --

can you give more than hope to everyone here?

Please make a donation to pay for the heat...

and help get us something special to eat.

The shelter that cares for us wants us to live,

and more of us will, if more people will give.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 19, 2009
Article comment by: Go Kerry Ann!

Kerry Ann, I am so impressed with your efforts. Our city officials, mayor included, always whine that no one wants to get involved or come to meetings. When people show up with concerns that the City does not want to acknowledge, deal with or wants to ignore, they shut down the taxpayer and hush up the situation. People have given up because the city only wants people to care about what they deem important. This is possible because our mayor and his family have their hands in everything in the city. Most importantly they “run” the local newspaper behind the scenes. Every day, I ask my wife why we continue to pay for a paper that has nothing in it. She tells me for the obituaries. (The worthlessness of the newspaper is another whole issue I won’t get started on, that is a whole other topic).

Animals are not considered an important issue to them because:
1. Animals don't vote.
2. Animals at the shelter are considered a pain in the A**.
3. The shelter’s thought is that the more they kill - the less they will have to deal with.
4. The guy in charge has no formal training or experience. He was hired by ex-police Chief West, (they are related somehow like brother in-law or his sister's boyfriend).
5. Under Ferguson's administration, a complete change took place in the rules regarding how the shelter was to be operated and how the volunteers were allowed to be involved. Misty Wilkins Elliott (yes, the current police chief's wife), past shelter director and Ferguson ran off most of the shelter's long time and hard working volunteers. These volunteers made the shelter run for years. These volunteers saved the city tons of manpower and kept the number of employee’s down. Wilkins/Elliott worked with these volunteers when she was an employee and there were some personality conflicts. When she became boss, she didn’t like to be questioned nor have a volunteer know more then she did about the shelter, so out went the volunteers.
6. What we don’t know won’t hurt us.
7. After the skunk ordeal, they try to keep the animal shelter off the radar.

Thanks for your efforts on this subject. Keep working at it and don’t let them silence you. There are people in town that can be motivated to speak out if they think the group is big enough so remember that there is strength in numbers. Please keep us updated on here sp people can help you spread the word.

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009
Article comment by: Death shelter?

Sounds to me as if they WANT to kill cats at the local animal shelter.

Whatever motive would there be for them to refuse your offer to save the lives of those animals?

Just one more example that this town is run by a bunch of numbskulls who would never survive in jobs outside of the ones they have destroying Shelbyville.

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009
Article comment by: KerryAnn May

Sure. In the winter, we generally have less cats and kittens in our rescue. It’s just the nature of things. Even if we don’t have cats ready for adoption, we still have 3 cages at the PetSmart in Greenwood throughout the winter. Winter 2008, our cages would sit empty sometimes. On those occasions, we allowed the other rescue group we share the space with to use them until we had cats ready for adoption.
Seems silly to have empty cages when our local shelter is killing anywhere between 54% and 89% of the cats during that time. So planning for Winter 2009, we asked if we could pull cats who otherwise are scheduled for euthanasia, place them in a foster home, treat them for sickness (we assumed we would be pulling mostly sick cats), fully vet them (meaning spay/neuter BEFORE adoption, vaccinations, deworming, and microchipping) and adopt them out to inside only homes. We made no distinction on the type of cat. We didn’t ask for only Siamese or Siamese-mixes or Persians (both highly adoptable), cute and cuddly kittens, no black (hardest to adopt out), etc. We only asked to be able to pull cats from the euthanasia list.
We were told they are not interested in working with us. Period. No reason. No hoops we have to jump through first. Nothing.
We have rescued more than 150 cats from the street since we started our adoption program in July 2008. In April 2009, they adopted out only 4 cats. We adopted out 10. We’ve done this with no tax dollars, no shelter, no paid staff.
We have paid for and treated upper respiratory infections, foreign body removals (bb’s and shotgun pellets), enucleations (eye removal due to significant infection), ringworm, abscesses, coccidia and ghiardia, and a whole host of other ailments.

But they would rather kill the cats than save them. How does this make sense?

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009
Article comment by: I Don't Eat Animals

"A local cat rescue organization offered to take cats scheduled for euthanasia from the shelter, foster them, vet them, and adopt them out. All on our own dime…no taxpayer dollars whatsoever. We have been denied access. They would rather kill cats than save lives. Does that sound passionate about saving lives?"

Quite interesting, KerryAnn. And quite sad.
I would suggest you going to our local news media with your story, but that would probably just be a waste of your time.

Can you share more details about this here?

Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2009
Article comment by: KerryAnn May

I disagree that they are passionate about saving animals. If they are passionate about saving animals, why do they continue to kill on such a grand scale?
As Nathan Winograd so eloquently put it, “They kill because they do not want to care for sick animals. They kill because they do not effectively use the Internet and the media to promote their pets. They kill because they think volunteers are more trouble than they are worth, even though those volunteers would help eliminate the “need” for killing. They kill because they don’t want a foster care program. They kill because they are only open for adoption when people are at work and families have their children in school. They kill because they discourage visitors with their poor customer service. They kill because they do not help people overcome problems that can reduce impounds. They kill because they refuse to work with rescue groups. They kill because they haven’t embraced TNR [Trap, Neuter, Release] for feral cats. They kill because they won’t socialize feral kittens. They kill because they don’t walk the dogs which makes the dogs so highly stressed that they become “cage crazy.” They kill them for being “cage crazy.” They kill because their shoddy tests allow them to claim that animals are “unadoptable.” They kill because their draconian laws empower them to kill.
Some kill because they are steeped in a culture of defeatism, or because they are under the thumb of regressive health or police department oversight. But they still kill. They never say, “we kill because we have accepted killing in lieu of having to put in place foster care, pet retention, volunteer TNR, public relations, and other programs.” In short, they kill because they have failed to do what is necessary to stop killing.””
A local cat rescue organization offered to take cats scheduled for euthanasia from the shelter, foster them, vet them, and adopt them out. All on our own dime…no taxpayer dollars whatsoever. We have been denied access. They would rather kill cats than save lives. Does that sound passionate about saving lives?

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