SPCA under fire over ‘no-kill’ claim

August 18th, 2009 by

ST. PETERSBURG - A standing room only crowd gathered at the SPCA in Largo Monday night to discuss the shelter’s rate of euthanasia.

The Board of Directors called the meeting in response to an article in the St. Petersburg Times revealing that the SPCA Tampa Bay put down almost half of the dogs and cats that came through its doors last year. About 150 people attended the open forum.

“I have six kittens left now. I’m scrambling to get them spayed and neutered at my own expense because I’m afraid to bring them here,” Goldie Voorhees told the board.

The animal lovers met face to face with board members. One volunteer said euthanasia is not the answer.

“The answer is spay and neutering, passing stricter laws for that and responsible pet ownership,” she said.

Since October, the shelter has put down more than 5,000 animals. That includes more than 3,000 cats and kittens and 1,000 dogs and puppies.

“When I die, the SPCA was going to get my estate,” said Byron Mathis, who used to donate to the organization. “There’s no way I would give them a dime of my money now.”

The SPCA says it is reviewing its euthanasia policy. Board President Jeff Fox wishes the numbers were lower, but says it could be worse.

“If you look at our numbers and compare them to the animal shelters, they’re actually better,” said Fox.

Jean Acree surrendered a stray dog to the shelter in Largo. She says a volunteer promised it was a no-kill shelter. Many feel the organization operates under that misconception. To that, Fox admits communication is a problem.

SPCA board members say there are unsung victories.

“Last year more than 1,300 kitten and puppies lives were saved through our foster care program,” Fox told the crowd.

Board members say the task of saving animals is overwhelming and one that can’t be handled alone.

“We need your help. Don’t criticize us. Help us,” implored board member Dr. Jim Lutz.

SPCA says more volunteers could help alleviate some the problems.

2 Responses

  1. Michael Vick

    If the shelter needs volunteers to help euthanasize dogs then PLEASE send me an e-mail asap. I’ll even use my own: chains, baseball bats, brass knuckles, rusty saws, and a blow torch. I just want to be helpful.

  2. Michael Vick

    I feel so bad about misspelling “euthanize” that I’m even willng to euthanize a few kittens just to make up for my faux pas.

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