Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Pet shelter story just scratched surface

Guest Writer
Guest Opinion

The Tucson Citizen’s March 26 article “Fewer pets euthanized at local shelters” focused on a slight improvement but glossed over the overall dismal statistics of local animal shelters.

Despite a slight reduction, the county-run Pima Animal Care Center kills more than 60 percent of dogs and cats taken in – more than 13,000 every year.

PACC does not participate in feral cat trap-neuter-return, even though the agency knows that the process saves lives.

It does not have a foster program, even though it knows that foster homes save lives.

And it does not provide veterinary medical care for animals with treatable ailments, even though it knows that treatment saves lives.

Very few of the animals being killed at PACC each day have untreatable conditions.

Some are puppies and kittens younger than 8 weeks old that just need a place to stay for a few weeks until they are old enough to be adopted.

Some are cats with ringworm and colds, and dogs with kennel cough and mange – all treatable with a simple course of antibiotics, anti- fungals or other relatively inexpensive medications.

Some are cats that don’t live long enough at the shelter to be seriously evaluated, because they are immediately deemed “feral” and killed for no reason.

These animals and many others can and should be saved.

“Euthanasia” is a humane death for untreatably suffering animals. What is happening at PACC is not “euthanasia.” It is a conscious refusal to implement lifesaving programs and services that have been proven to save lives in other shelters around the country.

The current management at PACC continues to make excuses to justify its dismal 39 percent save rate. This is unacceptable.

No-kill alternatives do exist, and shelter leaders know about them. Yet little is being done to implement them.

This is an abysmal failure not only to the animals entrusted to shelter care, but also to county taxpayers.

Our community should not be applauding while nearly 17,000 dogs and cats are being killed every year in Tucson’s two traditional shelters. We should be demanding effective change.

More than half of the animals that enter PACC each day will end up being killed when they could have been saved.

No, a few percentage points of improvement are certainly not enough – not when there are proven ways to save the vast majority of dogs and cats in our community’s shelters.

Our animal shelters can do much better. We as a community can do much better by not accepting what is happening. No-kill has been achieved in other cities, and it can be done here.

Cynthia Barstad is the founder and president of the local nonprofit group The Center for Animal Rescue and Adoption and a participant in the No Kill Animal Alliance.

Pet shelter story just scratched the surface


• The Center for Animal Rescue and Adoption, 237-2331


• HOPE Animal Shelter, 792-9200 www.hopeanimalshelter.net

• Casa de los Gatos, 881-0900


• Spay and Neuter Solutions, 247-6469

www.spayandneuter solutions.org

• Tucson Cold Wet Noses, 235-6309

www.petfinder.com/shelters/ AZ275.html

• Tucson CARES, 990-8912

www.petfinder.com/shelters/ AZ282.html

• Citizens for a No-Kill Tucson


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