Sheltered animals remain in limbo after loss of vet

Sterilizations needed for adoptions halted

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:15 PM
Last updated Wednesday, June 4, 2014 9:11 AM
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Dozens of adoptable dogs and cats remain in limbo at Augusta Animal Services since the shelter lost its part-time veterinarian last month and now has no way to spay and neuter the animals, a procedure the director requires before they can be adopted out.

Georgia law was revised last year to require public shelters sterilize animals before relinquishing them to rescue groups or private citizens. But the law also allows shelters to enter into written contracts with the person or group acquiring the animal, guaranteeing that person would spay or neuter the pet within 30 days.

Animal Services Director Sharon Broady said even during this interim period without a vet to perform sterilizations, she is not willing to enter contracts with rescue groups, who could foster the unaltered animals and get them out of the shelter.

Broady said the shelter tried that arrangement before but only 20 percent of adopters spayed or neutered the animal, and the shelter does not have enough staff to make sure the rescues are complying with the law.

Several members of the Animal Services Advisory Board say this unwillingness is preventing healthy animals from finding homes and increasing their chances of euthanasia – a fate 70 percent of animals that enter the shelter meet.

In 2013, the shelter euthanized by lethal injection 6,578 of the 9,340 animals admitted to the facility, according to records.

“If you’re responsible for an animal dying, you need to make sure you’ve exhausted every avenue possible to prevent that,” said advisory board member Aimee Murphy. “There are many avenues that would be just so much more promising than the avenue they’re taking.”
Broady said no animals have been spayed or neutered at the shelter since the part-time veterinarian resigned May 14, and none will be unless private vets volunteer time and services. On Tuesday, the Augusta Commission approved hiring a full-time veterinarian for the shelter, but the position will not be filled until the end of the year so the roughly $95,000 salary can be included in the 2015 budget.

Until then, Broady said she hopes several veterinarians who have made verbal commitments to help will follow through with their offers. An active veterinarian at the shelter also allows injured animals to receive faster treatment.

“A full-time vet allows us to send out more animals altered, and it would also allow us to keep down disease within the shelter, making sure we send out healthier animals,” she told commissioners Tuesday.

Minutes to the advisory board’s May 21 meeting also indicate more systemic problems at the shelter.

Board members are upset that kittens, puppies and their mothers are unable to be fostered to rescue groups because they are too young to be sterilized and Broady’s policy does not allow them to leave the shelter unaltered.

The shelter also submitted a draft county ordinance regarding animal tethering, roaming and other safety issues to the Augusta law department more than a year ago, but it has still not been approved or addressed.

On Tuesday, the commission directed the law department to present the ordinance at next month’s board meeting and to provide a reason for the delay.

Board member Lorna Barrett also said the shelter missed out on a $10,000 grant that could have paid for adoption events, equipment and advertising because of tension between Broady and the board.

According to the minutes, the board had four days to submit adoption statistics and other information for the grant application by the May 15 deadline. The information was collected in time, but Broady rejected the grant because details had to be discussed at the following board meeting on May 21, which would have been past the deadline.

Murphy said the combination of tension at the shelter, disagreement over adopting out unaltered animals to rescue groups under a contract, and a need for more community outreach has stalled life-saving efforts at the shelter.

“We feel like we’re beating our heads against the wall sometimes,” she said.

Commissioners on Tuesday urged Broady to look at all options for saving animals, to increase adoptions and prevent thousands from being killed each year. They did not, however, direct her to allow the shelter to adopt out or foster unsterilized animals to rescue groups, even under a contractual agreement to follow through.

“We have to find a solution today about how to proceed to keep from killing 6,000 animals in our community,” said Commissioner Donnie Smith.

Comments (12) Add comment
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sassylassie 06/04/14 - 01:00 am
It's disgusting to think that

It's disgusting to think that one hard-headed individual is hindering the progress that these animal activists are trying to make. What sense is it making when hundreds of animals are dying and there are individuals in foster groups willing to take them and find them homes? Work with the ones who have proven in the past that they will spay and neuter according to state guidelines. Don't make a blanket policy that you won't work with ANYONE. I fail to understand how such an individual to can hold up progress. And SHAME ON HER for not following through on the grant which could have allowed a number of these animals to find a home!!!
How about a private individual who comes in, adopts an animal, and takes it within 48 hours to be neutered/spayed? Why not? Are we saving a life or are we the ones responsible for its unfortunate, selfish demise? SHE NEEDS TO ASK HERSELF THIS QUESTION! Bureaucracy STINKS. Thanks, Commissioner Smith, for holding her feet to the fire.
THIS TOWN IS SO FAR BEHIND OTHERS BECAUSE OF INDIVIDUALS SUCH AS HERSELF! And Lord knows we need laws against "tethering" or let's just call it what it is, tying up animals or chaining them up. It's DISGUSTING and barbaric. THAT needs to end as well as this animal services' director's tenure!

sassylassie 06/04/14 - 01:03 am
I have adopted three

I have adopted three incredible pets from this shelter. I wish others in Augusta would turn out in force, adopt a wonderful lifetime pet and DEMAND changes be made!

corgimom 06/04/14 - 06:56 am
Broady wasn't being

Broady wasn't being hardheaded, she was following the bylaws of the shelter, which she is required to do.

Most people that adopt a shelter animal agree to spay/neuter and then once they find out how much it costs, don't do it.

There needs to be a low-cost spay/neuter program for the requirement to be effective.

Of my 3 dogs, two are Pound Hounds, and they are both wonderful dogs.

curly123053 06/04/14 - 08:15 am
Sorry State of Affairs

Until a FT vet is on the staff of the shelter there needs to be some changes in the operation to SAVE animals from being unnecessarily euthanized simply because of no vet being available. The bylaws need amending for these situations. Maybe have people furnish proof to the shelter that an appointment with a private vet has been made to spay/neuter the pet. This is just one idea. There are all kinds of things that can be done if they were REALLY concerned about saving the lives of these animals. Bureaucracies do not work well under a crisis, and this case is proof. Having worked in an animal shelter for 11 months tells me that this is a crisis situation and RC needs to be moving on it.

nocnoc 06/04/14 - 08:32 am
I still remember the ridicule of a poster last year,

by several people all supporting and defending the ARC Animal Pound.

A few saying the comment calling it a KILLING FACTORY that was totally wrong.

Well 70+/- percent of animals that enter meet Death.

"In 2013, the shelter euthanized by lethal injection 6,578 of the 9,340 animals admitted to the facility, according to records."

phoebe27 06/04/14 - 09:23 am
It is shocking and sad that

It is shocking and sad that someone in Ms. Broady's position is obviously not putting the well being of these animals first. When you have groups that are begging you to let them help but you would rather euthanize these animals than try and find a way to work with others, that raises a huge concern. It sounds to me like Ms. Broady needs to do some soul searching on what is motivating her decisions. Is it her ego or is it her desire to make sure all of these animals have a chance at a happy life?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/04/14 - 10:09 am
From the story: Broady said

From the story:

Broady said no animals have been spayed or neutered at the shelter since the part-time veterinarian resigned May 14, and none will be unless private vets volunteer time and services Until then, Broady said she hopes several veterinarians who have made verbal commitments to help will follow through with their offers.

Hopefully, veterinarians will do some sterilizations out there pro bono. Maybe Ms. Broady could get some publicity by asking former governor Sonny Perdue (who was a vet in his former life) to come to town to do a little snipping.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/04/14 - 10:16 am

Commenter phoebe27 asked:

Is it her ego or is it her desire to make sure all of these animals have a chance at a happy life?

Many, many animals at the pound can make good pets, but not all! Some are not healthy enough. Some are too diseased to be adopted. Some have bad dispositions.

Commissioner Donnie Smith said:

We have to find a solution today about how to proceed about killing 6,000 animals in our community,

Okay, Donnie, if 6,000 is too many, then tell us what number you think is acceptable. There are more animals coming into the pound than there are people willing to adopt them. That's just a fact.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/04/14 - 11:34 am
Vet Director

At one time, Augusta hired a licensed veterinarian to be the director of animal control. It wasn't long until calls came in from the rescue groups for her to be fired. I think she did a good job, but you just can't please some people, and the rescue people have megaphones. Here is a Chronicle editorial with a good analysis of the situation:

Pet Adoptions

Here is a story about the commission preparing to hire her.

New Hire

Adopt Don't Shop
Adopt Don't Shop 06/04/14 - 08:02 pm
Little Lamb, you seem to have

Little Lamb, you seem to have a lot of opinions, especially ones directed at other commenters. I hate to dignify you with a response, so I will just refer to the old saying "You can't argue with stupid."

The fact is the Director of Augusta Animal Services has chosen not to work with rescue groups for one reason or another when it is perfectly LEGAL. Anyone who would resort to euthanasia as a first resort rather than a last resort, is a person who is simply in this position for a paycheck and not working from the heart. AAS is not a department like all the rest. It is a department where lives are at stake and should be handled with the utmost compassion. As commenter Phoebe27 stated, the Director is making decisions purely from EGO and that is not the type of leader AAS should have. A 70% euthanasia rate is UNACCEPTABLE when their are rescue groups willing and able to step in and help.

Richmond County Commissioners, I hope you are paying attention and realize this Director is an embarrassment and a failure to our community.

And Little Lamb, chime in again if you so desire, but comments from the peanut gallery are often from one's who do not fact check first.

flcracker 06/05/14 - 07:07 am
Shelter needs to be revamped

Sounds like the shelter needs to be revamped. I called last year about volunteering but they only volunteers in the shelter for a few hours every afternoon. They are not open on the weekends for working folks to come by and adopt animals. AAS has a Facebook page but they hardly ever update it. They do bring animals to Petsmart for adoption but it's very few. They need a strong volunteer program, extended hours and they need to be out in the community more raising awareness.

jmho 06/13/14 - 03:34 pm
Call it like it is...

: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of
hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic
animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.

Call it like it is....KILLING

RCAS (Broady) is killing these animals because it is conveniant and, she thinks, costs less than saving them.

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