"Manatee Animal Services received complaints, evidence against Napier shelter for years, records show," (Herald, March 9)
The allegations that Manatee County Animal Services sent hundreds of animals to a "rescue" facility where they were neglected and kept in unlivable conditions are an example of a disturbing nationwide epidemic: In communities where an obsession with "no-kill" status has trumped concern for animals' welfare, animals often end up suffering and dying slowly and painfully in "rescues" and "no-kill" shelters.
As "no-kill" campaigners are increasing the pressure on shelters to end euthanasia at all costs, cases like this one are rising.
Every week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals receives reports about "rescues" and "fosters" abusing, starving, and hoarding animals in tiny, feces-filled cages to "save" them from euthanasia. In nearly every state, officials must routinely save animals from these facilities.
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Experts estimate that 25 percent of the approximately 6,000 hoarding cases reported annually in the U.S. are "rescues."
Handing animals over to anyone who will take them may improve a shelter's "live release rate" but it puts animals in danger of horrific fates. Shuffling animals around will never solve the animal homelessness crisis.
The only humane way to become a "no-kill" community is by first becoming a "no-birth" one, through breeding bans and mandatory spay/neuter laws -- and that's where Manatee County should place its focus.
Visit www.PETA.org to learn more.
Teresa Chagrin, Animal Care & Control Specialist, PETANorfolk, Va.