In the backroom of the Manatee County Animal Services in Florida, several alleged disturbing photographs have been released on social media showing two shelter employees euthanizing several dogs and cats. While there remains a huge disparity with shelters as to their methods and applications for euthanasia, problems stemming from an obvious indifference to animal suffering and the failure to recognize this need, is indeed troublesome.
The photographs graphically demonstrate the last minutes of life for a yellow Labrador retriever mix and another black and white dog tethered tightly to the door handle of the “kill room.” One last photo shows another live cat brought in, still in her portable cage. What makes the entire portfolio of photographs particularly heartbreaking and inhumane, are the live animals (the Lab named Kobe and another dog named Sarge) forced to remain in the room with dead animals – watching and smelling the pure fright as cats and dogs are killed as they wait for their untimely deaths.
Tragically, the technicians performing the euthanasia injections seem oblivious to the living dogs in the room and the emotional stress the temporary survivors must have endured. Moments later, Kobe is shown in a photo lying dead in a tub atop of another recently killed dog. According to PetFinder.com., “It is a binding obligation of shelter administrators to evaluate current euthanasia procedures frequently, ensure that animals are being properly handled, and verify that employees are competent, compassionate, and properly trained. Euthanasia should be entrusted to the most conscientious and qualified personnel only–never to a person who is careless, indifferent to animal suffering, or untrained in animal behavior and euthanasia techniques. Employees must be able to cope emotionally with euthanizing large numbers of animals while maintaining a concern for the well-being of each individual dog or cat.”
The sad truth is that 12 million cats and dogs enter shelters across the United States annually. On average, only about 1/3 of the animals put up for adoption at shelters will actually find homes. The photos are disturbing and reform is needed. The cameras in the “kill room” have been rumored to have been disconnected, however that doesn’t erase the problem; only causes more distress for anyone with a compassionate heart. Contact information for the Board of County Commissioners can be found here.
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