When more than 90 cats were taken from the home of Raleigh resident Carol De Olloqui earlier this month, Wake County pound director Julie Federico, DVM, decided to kill 60 of them. Now animal advocates are calling for her resignation.
Dr. Federico said the cats were suffering from upper respiratory disease, and several were emaciated and dehydrated, had ringworm and/or nails grown into their feet. All of these conditions are treatable, as Dr. Federico, a veterinarian, should know. But instead of sheltering them, Dr. Federico killed them.
In their petition, the advocates point out several other factors that they believe were not taken into account before the mass cat killing:
- Ms. De Olloqui was physically restrained and not allowed to provide veterinary documentation to support each animal
- Four of Ms. De Olloqui’s personal cats were destroyed
- Four of the cats present on the property at the time of the raid were being held as a courtesy for an owner that recently lost her home in a fire
- Several of the cats euthanized were under various area veterinarians’ care. The veterinarians were available but not allowed to present any documentation at the time of the raid
- Several of the cats euthanized were the property of other rescues
- Calvin’s Paws Rescue and many other rescue fosters were in route to Ms. De Olloqui’s home to retrieve animals and provide them with shelter but were turned away. Many are approved partners of Wake County Animal Shelter.
- Ms. De Olloqui granted access to Dr. Frederico and her team into the home of her own accord
- Calvin’s Paws Rescue is an approved partner of the Wake County Animal Shelter
Dr. Federico deflected the blame for her pound’s killing of the cats onto Ms. De Olloqui. But while Ms De Olloqui almost definitely had more cats in her home than she could properly care for, those cats were alive when Federico took them, which means they all had a chance at health and a home where they were loved. Dr. Federico took away any chance of that by choosing to kill them.
Killing is the ultimate form of violence. While cruelty and suffering are abhorrent, while cruelty and suffering are painful, while cruelty and suffering should be condemned and rooted out, there is nothing worse than death, because death is final. An animal subjected to pain and suffering can be rescued. A traumatized animal subjected to savage cruelty can even be rehabilitated, as the dog fighting case against football player Michael Vick demonstrates. Dogs who the Humane Society of the United States lobbied to have killed because they claimed they were dangerous as a result of the abuse went on to loving, new homes and some even became therapy dogs, bringing comfort to cancer patients. Where there is life, there is hope, but death is hope’s total antithesis. It is the eclipse of hope because the animals never wake up, ever. It is the worst of the worst–a fact each and every one of us would immediately and unequivocally recognize if we were the ones being threatened with it.” ~Nathan Winograd, “Animal Lovers Need Not Apply.”
This is not the first time Dr. Federico has been quick to choose death for a pet who had other options. Almost a year ago, Danielle Miller says Wake pound staff assured her they would find a home for her dog Tucker. Instead, they killed him 45 minutes after his arrival, despite having told her in two previous phone calls that Tucker was doing just fine. “I told them I was coming back to get him, and they said, ‘Don’t bother. He’s already dead.’ I said there must be some mistake.”
Dr. Federico said the 45 minutes Tucker was given to “chill out” in his scary and strange new environment was actually longer than she and her staff usually give pets before deciding to end their lives.