Letters: Notification legislation could prevent unnecessary animal deaths

To the editor:

In August 2019, I found an abandoned German Shepherd puppy (named Floppy) tied to a fence in the Tenderloin. The dog was absolutely terrified and behaving like he had been abused. I stayed with him for over two hours and made a dozen calls to local dog rescues and animal shelters. Eventually, SF Animal Care and Control came to pick Floppy up, but only after a local dog rescue and I committed to take the puppy if he was deemed “unadoptable.” I called no less than 6 times over the next two weeks reiterating that a dog rescue and I were both willing to take on this dog’s care if he was at risk. Instead of calling me or the dog rescue nonprofit back, SFACC killed that puppy in the face of humane alternatives.

Dozens and dozens of animals are killed every month at SFACC. The majority of them are healthy, simply too frightened and stressed in the shelter to show their true selves, or able to recover with some additional care. The legislation being proposed (“Advocates want more public notice before SF euthanizes an animal,” Joshua Sabatini, May 24, 2020) to mandate rescue organization notification and social media publicity of at-risk animals 48 hours before “euthanasia” would have saved the puppy Floppy. If introduced and passed, it promises to be a safety net for countless other animals.

SFACC would do well to leave the dark ages and remember their obligations to the people and animals of SF. Our Mayor and Board of Supervisors should legislate to make acting on those obligations mandatory. This common sense legislation is good place to begin.

Peter J. McKosky

San Francisco

Dear editor:

We are pleased to see this critical issue getting media attention. I’d like to address the use of the word “euthanasia” in your recent article about shelter reform legislation being sought is misleading.

There is a difference between true euthanasia (the ending of a life that is irremediably suffering, done in the interest of the individual animal) and killing for convenience or other reasons not solely about the animal in question. No one is trying to prevent legitimate euthanasia of irreparably suffering animals. We are, however, seeking change for the hundreds of animals who are healthy, scared, trainable, but currently somewhat unruly, sick, and injured—but treatable with veterinary care who continue to be killed at SF Animal Care & Control.

The proposed legislation seeks to bring to light the most vulnerable members of our community: the animals at risk of shelter killing. If enacted, this legislation will increase transparency and networking so more animals can get the care they need and deserve. We want more animals leaving the shelter in loving arms rather than body bags. This legislation is a necessary step in reaching that goal.

Maria Conlon

Co-Director, Give Me Shelter Cat Rescue

To the editor:

I was born and raised in a city named after St. Francis, and I find it strange that there isn’t ALREADY legislation that requires our local animal shelter (SF/ACC), to inform the public about animals ACC is planning to kill so that those animals are given an opportunity to be rescued or adopted.

Even the best animal shelters can be terrifying places, and animals often get sick and do not behave normally there.

As a person who has done animal rescue for 20 years, I have seen cats who were about to be killed, because the shelter deemed them aggressive and/or sick and therefore “unadoptable”, blossom into happy, loving companions once they were out of the shelter and in the right home. These animals deserve a chance at life and safety in a loving home.

Legislation requiring the timely publication of information about animals at risk of being unnecessarily killed gives cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals a chance at finding help and a home. These precious beings should not continue to die unnecessary, invisible deaths at the hands of an agency that exists to PROTECT animals in our wonderful City.

Nadine May

San Francisco

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