The Foothills Humane Society, which holds the animal control contract to take in all strays for Western NC’s Polk County as well as northern Greenville and Spartanburg counties of South Carolina, is proof that animal control in North Carolina doesn’t have to be about killing. FHS did not kill a single pet during the month of November 2012, and the year-to-date live release rate is 98.96%. (The 2011 FHS live release rate was 97.8%.)
Not only that, but unlike every other animal control facility in North Carolina, FHS has a live-release rate for cats that is as good and often better than the rate for dogs. While pounds all over the state are rounding up and killing feral cats by the thousands, FHS is saving them through its Po’ Kitties TNR program.
Seems like a shelter folks could love, right? That’s why I nominated it for a “Shelter We Love” award, given annually by HSUS puppet group NC Voters for Animal Welfare.
I heard back right away from NCVAW Secretary and HSUS NC director Kim Alboum, who wrote: “The Shelters We Love Program does not focus on euthanasia rates. If it did we would be unable to provide awards for our open admission shelters that cannot turn animals away.”
So much for standards, I guess. Wouldn’t it be a worthwhile goal to encourage these pounds to put in the hard work to change from pet killing facilities to lifesaving shelters? Instead, HSUS and NCVAW prefer to peddle the worn-out lie that saving pets is impossible at open-admission shelters, which is repeatedly being proven false with increasing regularity. Currently, open-admission shelters in at least 83 (and counting) communities across the country have proven it’s possible to save all healthy and treatable pets that come in each year, reserving euthanasia only for its true purpose of ending irremediable suffering.
But it’s as if Kim Alboum and colleagues stick their fingers in their ears and sing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” at the top of their lungs any time it’s mentioned so they can pretend it’s not happening. Meanwhile, they give awards every year to some of the worst kill pounds North Carolina has to offer.
Winners in 2012 included the very high-kill Davidson County pound, a house of horrors where in 2011 almost 88% of the pets taken in were gassed to death. Also honored in 2012 was the Randolph County pound, where the gas chamber kill rate actually went UP from 2010 to 2011.
Winners for 2011 included the Johnston County gas chamber pound (2010 kill rate: 76.8%; 2011 kill rate: 75.36%), Charlotte-Mecklenburg pound (2010 kill rate: 63.27%; 2011 kill rate 64.31%) and the Guilford County pound (2010 kill rate: 42.06%, 2011 kill rate: 47.93%).
But if FixNC had an award to bestow (maybe someday), it would go to Foothills Humane Society, who have thrown away the excuses and blame-the-public mentality and proven that No Kill animal control is possible in rural North Carolina.