Killing is not the mission

It's way past time for county officials to make changes at Animal Services

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Augusta-Richmond County is needlessly killing animals – dozens a day, hundreds a week, thousands a year.

All because leaders at the county’s Animal Services department refuse to work with volunteer rescue groups who help find homes for the dogs and cats that turn up at the animal shelter.

Apparently, it’s simply easier for Animal Services Director Sharon Broady and her staff to warehouse, kill and dispose of the animals than to process the paperwork needed to get them into caring homes.

Rescue groups citywide – and even representatives of Broady’s own Animal Services advisory board – say her resistance to working with rescue volunteers borders on hostility.

Why?

THAT’S A FAIR QUESTION, considering that Augusta’s reported 70-percent kill rate – which some say may actually be closer to 90 percent at times – far outpaces the national average of 50 percent.

There’s no reason for Augusta to be killing so many animals when well-connected rescue volunteers can help find them homes around the nation – particularly in the animal-underpopulated Northeast, where people line up to wait for van-loads of adoptable Southern dogs.

Georgia law requires public shelters such as Augusta’s to sterilize animals before relinquishing them to rescue groups or private citizens. But it also allows shelters to enter into written contracts with individuals or groups that allow them to spay or neuter the pet within 30 days.

Such contracts would benefit Augusta Animal Services by reducing the number of animals in custody while it waits for its full-time veterinarian position to be filled in January. But Broady has done nothing to facilitate or promote the 30-day provision, citing the lack of a contract as an excuse.

So the Animal Services’ advisory board stepped in and spent months with the county’s legal department to draft an amenable contract over the spring. Yet when Broady was presented with a ready-made agreement, she still refused to work with volunteers.

The question bears repeating: Why?

WHAT POSSIBLE REASON would one have to be dismissive of unpaid volunteers whose only agenda is to unite unwanted animals with loving owners? One doesn’t need to be an animal lover to run an animal services department – Broady was deputy warden at the Richmond County Correctional Institution before taking the job in 2010 – but shouldn’t anyone in that position want to reduce the number of animals that have to be put down?

Why is Broady’s default setting on “kill”?

She told The Augusta Chronicle via email interview that she is open to exploring options of lowering euthanasia rates. We suggest she consult a dictionary if her idea of “open” is to refuse to cooperate with rescue volunteers and blindly adhere to a policy that sends dozens of animals to the county landfill each day.

About 6,500 dogs and cats were killed last year.

Broady says lowering the kill rate would require “a new facility, additional staff, to include another veterinarian, vet techs and a much larger budget.”

She needs more resources? We don’t buy that facile argument for a split second. Broady has volunteers practically kicking her door in, begging to take these animals off her hands.

There are likely plenty of policy changes she can make to cut the kill rate that don’t require a bigger budget. Social media blasts are about the cheapest way to get the word out about animals available to be adopted. Hint: The volunteers Broady doesn’t want to work with are already doing it.

It’s not that Broady can’t do anything. She won’t do anything. For a city official whose job it is to do right by these animals, that’s unforgivable.

If new protocols and a battalion of volunteers still can’t save more animals, then by all means she should make the case to city administrators and let them determine just how much, if any, additional resources are needed.

But don’t try to sell the story that a new facility and a fat budget is the only solution to Animal Services’ kill problem.

LOOK AT THE Georgia cities of Columbus and Macon, both of which lowered their kill rates by more closely working with volunteer groups.

Look at operations in Columbia County, whose kill rate is half of Augusta’s, despite also not having a full-time vet on staff.

Look at Kansas City, Mo., which flipped its animal control operations from a mostly taxpayer-funded government model to a mostly nonprofit volunteer one that drastically lowered the kill rate.

Look long and hard at all these other agencies that are correctly and humanely executing their duties without executing tons of animals. Start doing what they do. Check your pride at the door. The animals whose life or death depends on us deserve that much.

Augusta Animal Services’ problem isn’t financial. It’s about attitude. And this agency has precisely the wrong attitude to fulfill a successful mission of caring for and adopting out Augusta’s most vulnerable animals.

No one – including the most die-hard animal lovers – expects Augusta to have a 0-percent kill rate. That’s simply not possible. But it’s not too much to ask the county to meet rescue volunteers halfway so that more animals are saved instead of killed.

ONE OF THE LISTED primary responsibilities of Animal Services is the “humane euthanization” of animals – but only ones that are “sick, injured, diseased and unadoptable” (emphasis added).

If Broady is trying to tell the entire CSRA that fully 70 percent – and possibly more – of the animals that enter her shelter are flat-out unadoptable, we’ll be the first to stand up and say it: It’s simply not true.

“We need a public outcry.” Augusta Animal Services’ advisory board member Aimee Murphy said. “This is urgent. There are literally places up North clamoring for them, and we’re killing them.”

Augusta Commissioners have ultimate authority for this slaughter. They have the responsibility to put an end to it. Commissioners, a compassionate and caring community is looking to you now. Do your jobs, and either make Ms. Broady do hers, or find someone else who will.

Calling Animal Services’ facility a “shelter” is painfully inaccurate. A “shelter” implies a place where precious objects can be kept safe.

What’s so safe about the city’s shelter? It’s nothing less than a sick, sad death house. And most of the condemned animals are guilty of nothing more than falling into the hands of an Animal Services department staffed by people who can’t summon up enough creative thinking – or even simple humanity – to work meaningfully to save these poor creatures’ lives.

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sassylassie
517
Points
sassylassie 06/25/14 - 01:59 pm
13
0
Amen a million times

Amen a million times over--what a selfish individual is running the animal services facility--obviously one who has no intent to make things better for the community she serves or the animals entrusted to her care. Our tax dollars are paying her salary--and she needs to be held accountable for the mindless, selfish way she is acting! Rescue groups, continue your awesome work-- I support several of you with my dollars, time, food, etcetera and will continue to do do because I know you are working your behinds off for change. It's about time a change in management is held at the shelter-- perhaps a sit- in, march for changes to be made, or something!
Thanks to the Chronicle for calling it what it is--senseless killing of adoptable pets!!!!

specialist
209
Points
specialist 06/25/14 - 02:39 pm
15
0
Demonstration

I will volunteer the use of my property in the 2700 block of Washington road for the demonstration if any rescue groups want to take me up on it.
Molly's Militia used it very effectively to get the new animal shelter built several years ago. Of course this was during the Masters week. I may be contacted at 706 294 0287 (cell). Property fronts Washington road beside Arby's and Peking Restuarant.

Stunned 2
7073
Points
Stunned 2 06/25/14 - 03:23 pm
13
1
Broady needs to fired immediately. She is a failure at her job.

All too frequently government agencies waste resources and taxpayer money because of incompetent managers that are given secured positions, and not held accountable for their performance. Another disastrous common factor within governmental endlessly- publicly funded agencies is the lack of cooperation between different levels of government, not just the lack of cooperation with the private sector. The CSRA suffered tremendously when the arrogant managers at the Georgia Department of Agriculture nit picked and forced our largest non-profit animal rescue to surrender it's license last year. State officials acted recklessly and venomously. Where were the local officials while this was going on? Did Columbia County Animal Control or Richmond County Animal Control officials, Commissioners, Board Members, etc. challenge the state officials? No. The local folks - living on the public payroll kept quiet. Private Citizens plead, begged, rallied and did everything they could to try to reason with anyone and everyone in government. The 'fat cats' in government turned a deaf ear. They don't appreciate the sacrifice or dedication of volunteers. They still get their paycheck if they perform their job or not.

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/25/14 - 03:54 pm
11
0
Finally!!!

Finally a ray of hope for all those unwanted and helpless creatures at the so called Animal Shelter. The volunteers - God bless them all - are fighting a battle against a human being that thinks she can do no wrong because she is right. WRONG!!! And her place at the Animal Shelter should be short lived. The Shelter is not a run down shack - it is new by our standards, it has hours that are unbelievable - people can't try to adopt as the times are so limited. Make the Shelter stay open many more hours than they are. What important work is going on in the office behind the scene??? I don't know what it takes to get those hours extended to give animal lovers a chance to visit the shelter but that should be done soon - like next week - and then a big announcement by all local news media to inform people.
And what can we as individuals that can't come straight out as volunteers for various reasons do??? I plan to be one of the ones that will obtain the email addresses of all the commissioners in Augusta/Richmond County and call their attention to what is going on, they may not be aware of it - and insist that they make an effort to straighten out the personnel mess at the Animal Shelter. I know of one person for sure that needs to be straightened out - right out the door!
My age prohibits me from getting bodily involved but I had done what I could over the past 45 years. When visiting the animal shelter in the past I noticed that some of the personnel had attitudes that made me think they wished I would go away - I got my dog anyhow. I turned in two precious pups that I was unable to keep - gave the clerk a $10 bill to help out a bit. Wonder where that money went. I am not accusing but the way this facility is operated one has to wonder.
Folks - animal lovers - let's give a horrendous try to get this whole mess cleaned up and keep as many healty and loving animals alive.
I shall be looking for the emails of those various officials, lets all do it or make calls. God bless the staff of the Augusta Chronicle that wrote this eye opening article about this major problem - I feel like I just got a birthday present!!God bless all you animal lovers! Animals are God's creatures too.

Little Lamb
50764
Points
Little Lamb 06/25/14 - 03:55 pm
3
8
Follow Through

Sure, these rescue groups say they will spay or neuter the animals and then they don't do it. I'm sure Ms. Broady has been burned by some of these groups in the past, and she is suspicious of their signatures on what they "promise" to do.

Remember, Wimpy promised to pay on Tuesday for the hamburger he ate today.

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/25/14 - 04:47 pm
9
0
Save the animals

Here are the email addresses for our County Commissioners for those that want to contact them:

Our Mayor - MayorDeke@augustaga.gov
District #1 Wm. Fennoy fennoy@augustaga.gov
District #2 Corey Johnson cjohnson5@augustaga.gov
District #3 Mary Davis mfdavis@augustaga.gov
District #4 Alvin Mason amason@augustaga.gov
District #5 Bill Lockett wlockett@augustaga.gov
District #6 Joe Jackson jtjackson@augustaga.gov
District #7 Donnie Smith ddsmith@augustaga.gov
District #8 Wayne Guilfoyle CWayneGuilfoyle@augustaga.gov
District #9 Marion Williams mfwilliams@augustaga.gov
District #10 Grady Smith No e-mail Phone 706-825-9473 cell
706-733-9473 work
706-821-1838 fax

Now I only hope that people will try to help by forwarding their opinions and requests to the commissioners listed above and I hope that the lady and gentlemen will have a heart, read the messages, and then take the
appropriate actions. If they don't or can't - who can??

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/25/14 - 04:53 pm
9
1
Short comment to LL

LL -I am sorry but your comment does not help this situation at all!

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/25/14 - 05:11 pm
10
0
Help for the animals

per TV report at the 6PM news, local veterinarians are stepping in and helping with the spaying and neutering on a voluntary basis! Thank you and God bless all of you!

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/25/14 - 07:07 pm
10
0
Help for the animals

the editorial staff of the Augusta Chronicle can get a lot of credit for what they caused with their kill animals article on June 25th. I believe that things will start looking up shortly - hopefully so shortly that it will save a lot of little creatures. Hopefully it will also change the hours and the attitude at that shelter. Thank you guys!!!

rette090
11
Points
rette090 06/25/14 - 07:57 pm
9
0
Killing is not the mission

Awesome article that tells it like it is. It's time for the public to really see what is happening at the animal shelter; a director that is not willing to make necessary changes to save lives of thousands of dogs and cats. We need to stand up and say enough! Our tax dollars pays the salary of the director and shelter operation budget, it's time for change. If she is not willing to change then let's find someone else.

corgimom
41319
Points
corgimom 06/25/14 - 08:11 pm
1
11
What LL said. I agree with

What LL said. I agree with her 100%.

The Animal Control Director is legally responsible for those shelter animals, and too many of them wind up in pet hoarders' homes or in rescues that have too many animals and too few funds, and don't get them spayed or neutered.

Don't blame the director. Blame the people that allow their pets to multiply and blame the County Commissioners for not allocating the funds for the shelter to be open for extended hours.

I don't believe for one minute that the Northeast is short on animals. Because if that were true, all of the rescues in the South would be empty, and they aren't.

You look at any Northeast city, and it's overrun with cats. And there are plenty of dogs, too.

Any director of any shelter has a very tough job. Nobody enjoys euthanizing animals. But she didn't tell people to let their animals irresponsibly breed, she didn't tell them to drop them off at the shelters. She is doing exactly what she is hired to do, and that's control the stray animal population of Richmond County, for public health and safety reasons. It's not about warm fuzzies and Sarah McLaughlan singing on a commercial, it's about the safety and sanitation of RC citizens.

While it makes people feel good to support those rescue groups, they would be a lot better off to be talking to their County Commissioner and urging them to allocate more money to the shelter.

I've had pound hounds for years. Most have turned out well, a few have not; but if the RC shelter is like most city shelters, she has a bunch of pit bulls and pit bull mixes that nobody wants, and not much of anything else. And there's no shortage of pit bulls up North, either.

corgimom
41319
Points
corgimom 06/25/14 - 08:12 pm
1
11
If Ms. Broady reads this, she

If Ms. Broady reads this, she is a special person doing a thankless job, and she is to be commended, not criticized.

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/25/14 - 09:49 pm
8
0
to Corgimom

Re: contacting their commissioners - I've given them the chance by consolidating all the emails I was able to obtain. So -go to it folks!
The Mayor is very much involved too now :>) things will get better and soon, I hope! Thank you to all the caring people!

Navy Gary
1615
Points
Navy Gary 06/25/14 - 10:38 pm
9
0
It is NOT

It is NOT a shelter if they are killing that many animals. It's a death mill. An Auschwitz for little puppy dogs. Sad.

allhans
25502
Points
allhans 06/26/14 - 08:10 pm
7
0
If the shelter has to work

If the shelter has to work with other groups, it might cause the employees more work and we wouldn't want that would we?

jrbfromga
448
Points
jrbfromga 06/26/14 - 06:29 am
0
0
The mission should be
Unpublished

Adopt out as many animals as possible, give pet owners time to find their pet before the pet is killed. The shelter should not be an Auschwitz for innocent animals.

deestafford
34438
Points
deestafford 06/26/14 - 06:45 am
8
0
What are this woman's qualifications for the job....

What are this woman's qualifications for the job? How did she get it? Who made the hiring decision? What are the qualification standards of the other cities animal shelters heads mentioned?

Just because someone may have been an assistant warden or whatever in a different facility that houses some two-legged animals does not mean she has the knowledge to handle a facility for innocent four-legged animals.

TrulyWorried
17822
Points
TrulyWorried 06/26/14 - 07:25 am
8
0
Animal Shelter

Oh I just hope that this will speed up and that snowball will grow quickly.
Every day counts.

avidreader
3683
Points
avidreader 06/26/14 - 07:27 am
9
0
To specialist:

Your offer sounds wonderful. It's nice to know that you truly care.

Maybe Lorna Barrett from the Village Deli will jump on your offer. She's one of Augusta's champions for animal rights.

dogs4me
121
Points
dogs4me 06/26/14 - 09:07 am
8
0
False statements

To What LL & Corgiemom said....As a rescue volunteer and I can vouch for the fact that we have spayed and neutered every single dog that we have ever had come through the rescue and it's been hundreds and more... and I am sure that most of the other rescues have done the same… When we were able to pull from Richmond County we spayed and neutered every single dog, we also took Heart Worm positive dogs and injured dogs that had laid there with broken legs etc.. for days until they got ready to put them down....As far as there is no shortage of dogs in the North East. I have personally transported our dogs to them and absolutely there is a shortage due to the stringent spay and neuter laws. There are very few unwanted animals there. We had people clambering to get our dogs and fighting to get our dogs every time we went up. There are no stray dogs on the streets. The shelters are not full! We still send our dogs up and they are almost always already adopted way before they get them and many people on waiting list to get one. I know this first hand! One shelter there has have placed over 115,000 cats and dogs since the doors opened most from southern rescues. Another rescue that we work with every month has adopted out over 3000 dogs and they only opened in late 2010….Still say there is no shortage? Do some research before making assumptions about northern shortages that are completely false!

itsanotherday1
50034
Points
itsanotherday1 06/26/14 - 08:54 am
5
0
What stunned said!

"Broady needs to fired immediately. She is a failure at her job."

Absolutely no excuses for this. Most all of the other shelters seem to make it work with the volunteer groups. Nope, no excuse.

itsanotherday1
50034
Points
itsanotherday1 06/26/14 - 08:57 am
5
0
As I stated on this subject

As I stated on this subject the other say; whatever is going on up north causing a shortage of pets, we need to copy. That is the root of the problem, not too many getting euthanized (a symptom).

Stunned 2
7073
Points
Stunned 2 06/26/14 - 09:25 am
7
0
Corgi Mom, those are grips, but part of the Director's job.

We all have grips about our own jobs, but we have to successfully fulfill our obligations and work through the frustrations. Pet owners need to be re-reminded (over & over) to Spay and Neuter. I have never had a pet or heard of any of the local recue groups NOT following thru with spaying & neutering their rescued pets. Our local Rescue groups and their volunteers are champions at preventing more litters of puppies and kittens. They stretch their limited funds, dip into their own pockets, share their homes, spend countless hours and do without for themselves to help as many dogs and cats as they can.

Stunned 2
7073
Points
Stunned 2 06/26/14 - 09:58 am
4
1
Tacky 'Designer 'Breeds'

What is with this??? I was at the animal 'discount' clinic with one of my rescues recently, and the waiting room filled up with Mal-Shi, Shih-Poo, Shih Tzu, Shorkie Tzu, Pom-Tzu, Shih Apso, etc. Fuzzy high maintenance dogs and they all had the same kinda' flat face. 8(!!) came in while me & my sweet, well-behaved, short haired, non-identifiable (breed), healthy (rescued) canine companion were waiting. And, all I could think was about the recent articles and uproar about the RC animal shelter's killing rampage. Then to top it all off - a breeder of these dogs came in. (These people buy expensive dogs but use the discount clinic.) I think they are all full of Shih Poo.

Lisa Brockmeier
8
Points
Lisa Brockmeier 06/26/14 - 10:01 am
6
0
There is a proven formula for lifesaving success at shelters!

Thank you for this fantastic editorial.

The good news is that no one at Augusta-Richmond Animal Shelter has to spend a single moment trying to figure out how to not kill most of the animals who come in because they can just copy the programs of other shelters all over the country that are already doing it. Outthefrontdoor.com lists at least 140 communities across the country that are saving 90% or more of the animals that enter their shelters.

The roadmap to shelter success is the "No Kill Equation," which can be found at www.nokilladvocacycenter.org. But the most important element of the equation, without which none of the other elements will work, is a hard working, compassionate animal control or shelter director not content to continue killing, while regurgitate tired clichés or hiding behind the myth of “too many animals, not enough homes.”

I think there needs to be a job opening at Augusta-Richmond Animal Shelter ...

jimmymac
52021
Points
jimmymac 06/26/14 - 10:48 am
0
0
MURDER
Unpublished

This disgusting so called director of the county kill shelter needs to be removed ASAP. To thwart groups willing and able to save these poor animals from slaughter is unconscionable. The mayor who's still in office should fire her immediately she should never be allowed to be around animals again.

historylover
25501
Points
historylover 06/26/14 - 11:01 am
3
0
Great Work ACES!

Although this is a very sad and serious subject, I cannot tell you refreshing it is to read positive, forward moving ideas. Thank you to all who took the time to write their (great!) ideas.

dwb619
109438
Points
dwb619 06/26/14 - 11:22 am
5
1
dogs4me

EXCELLENT POST!
We use a vet in Edgefield, who closes his practice one day a week to volunteer his and his staffs time to the Aiken County SPCA.
My wife and I are both retired, so ANY rescue that has the means to transport pets "Up North" can call on us at any time to drive the animals .

ralphinga
2098
Points
ralphinga 06/26/14 - 12:06 pm
3
3
If everything is a priority nothing is.

I have grave concerns regarding any person that doesn't spay/neuter their animal. Uncontrolled reproduction is reprehensible. But if you want to save all of the unowned puppies and kitties, stop talking about it and start paying. The problem is much greater than a "volunteer" solution. You want change? Change is good, you pay first. You can't just hold hands, sing kumbaya, write editorials and fire everyone, and expect the situation to be resolved.

dogs4me
121
Points
dogs4me 06/26/14 - 07:33 pm
2
0
ralphingaWe have and are

ralphinga
We have and are always willing to pay an adoption fee to cover their expenses in spay and neuter, but Animal services will not let any rescues adopt them either. They say they can't spay and neuter all the puppies if they are too young or have no vet so they just kill them rather than enter into a contract with a local rescue group (who are licensed, and have to follow the same laws and regulations from the dept. of ag. as they do) who will spay and neuter them upon the correct age to do it. It does not make sense.

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