In previous articles, we discussed the No Kill Equation . Today, we will talk about the most important element of the No Kill Equation, because without this element, full implementation of all other elements will not be possible. The most important element is a hard working, compassionate shelter director who is not content to regurgitate all the tired clichés of why the shelter “must kill”. The shelter director must instead be committed to stopping the killing. Whether a shelter implements all of the elements of the No Kill Equation and stops the killing depends entirely on the shelter director. Everything begins and ends with that person.
Now, let’s look at Houston, specifically BARC, which is Houston’s animal control facility. We will examine one example to see how BARC’s director stacks up.
A young dog named Keiko was brought to BARC on Monday, March 15, 2010. It was obvious that she had suffered severe head/eye injuries. See her picture at left. Despite, Keiko’s obviously severe injuries, BARC leaders decided that she should wait at BARC until Friday when her stray hold period would expire. At that point she would “officially belong to BARC” and BARC would remove her eyes. On Friday morning, BARC vet staff operated on Keiko. This was done despite the fact that BARC had no diagnostic tools to properly evaluate the full extent of Keiko’s injuries, nor did they have the proper surgical equipment for this type of delicate surgery. Not surprisingly, Keiko died.
The day after Keiko entered BARC, rescuers began asking for her release, so that they could take Keiko to a specialist where she could get the immediate specialized care that she desperately needed. This was offered at no cost to BARC i.e. taxpayers yet BARC repeatedly refused these offers.
After hearing of BARC’s repeated refusals, the community bombarded BARC leaders and the Mayor and city council with requests that Keiko be released to rescuers. BARC did not release Keiko to rescue but on Thursday, BARC allegedly took Keiko to a specialist who allegedly recommended that her eyes should be removed. That day, a local reporter reported that the specialist had offered to perform Keiko’s surgery free of charge. This offer was also apparently refused since Keiko was taken back to BARC where they proceeded to operate on her.
For those not familiar with BARC, it should be noted that BARC’s veterinary clinic is a clinic of “last resort” i.e. when there are no other options available. BARC has only the most basic diagnostic tools; they have no x-ray machine and certainly nothing more sophisticated such as an MRI or CT scanner; their microscopes are in need of repair; their surgical equipment is geared towards spays/neuters only; they do not have the ability to run complete blood panels; many of the spays / neuters are done in a former closet. In addition, after delicate surgery such as this, Keiko would have required overnight, medically monitored, care that BARC could not provide. Yet, BARC still proceeded with the surgery to remove Keiko’s eyes and predictably she died.
There are a number of troubling questions surrounding Keiko’s treatment at the hands of BARC’s leader and tomorrow we will discuss some of these questions.
For more info: See No Kill Houston’s website at www.NoKillHouston.org, and read our Blog. Also, follow No Kill Houston on Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t forget to check out cakechow.com’s Spring Fling adoption drive!