Group surprised in shelter visit

Published 9:28 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Representatives of the Pike Animal Shelter group took the Troy City Council on a field trip of sorts Tuesday, but all didn’t go as planned.

In efforts to seek funds for a new city animal shelter, the group came before the council for the second time, this time to take council members to see the current shelter facility. But they arrived to find only one dog remaining in the shelter instead of the 22 dogs reported earlier in the day. The others had been euthanized.

“I was disappointed the shelter dogs were all euthanized,” said Donna Schubert, chair of the founders society.

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The current city shelter is run by the Troy Police Department’s animal control officers, and Police Chief Anthony Everage said euthanization is a part of operating a shelter. Schubert also said the group’s policies are not for or against euthanization, though it is part of operating a shelter.

“We are required to keep dogs for a certain period of time, and if no one adopts them they are euthanized,” Everage said.

That required period of time is only seven days, but Everage said animal control keeps the dogs for months at times before resorting to euthanization. It has been at least two months since any dogs have been put down, Everage said.

Su Green, shelter vice president, said she takes inventory of the dogs that have come and gone every Friday. She said last Friday and again on Monday, she was unable to make an appointment with animal control officers. The last time she visited the shelter, which would be April 30, there were 15 dogs in the facility. She has been doing this task for the last two years and has never known so many dogs to be killed at one time.

Everage said there was no one who told the animal control officers to euthanize for the council visit. “It is absolutely absurd anybody would allege we prevent somebody from seeing dogs in the pound,” he said. “There was no order given, no suggestion made, no conversation about euthanizing dogs because of any visit today.”

Schubert said the situation was sad, but she wasn’t placing blame on anyone.

“There’s absolutely no blame to lay anywhere. Whatever the situation is, it’s not a good one, and that’s what has motivated us all along,” Schubert said. “Good people are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

“Our organization is committed to only be positive, and we ask we all do it together.”

Schubert and other shelter members came before the council two weeks ago and requested $81,000 in annual funding to operate a new shelter. That backing would be at least for 40 years, to cover the debt payments on a new building, one and a half jobs for the shelter and other operations. The shelter group has pledged to continue fundraising efforts, as well. Those efforts have generated about $100,000 since the group’s inception three years ago.

Council members made no decisions Tuesday. Councilman Charles Meeks said if the city did fund the project he might ask a council member be on the shelter board and help make hiring decisions.

Councilman Jason Reeves said if the project does come to fruition it would free up the animal control officers to perform other police duties. “We’ve got 49 sworn officers, and two of them are animal control,” Reeves said. “They can be policemen.”

Also in council business, the city accepted a piece of donated property on Murphree Street that will assist in right of way for the sewer project construction. The property is Lot 22 and would not require any additional upkeep.