Broward County Killed 27 Pets a Day Last Year, Might Not Keep Doing That

Categories: Animal Planet
via the National Animal Control Association
The "euthanasia room" at the Fort Lauderdale Animal Shelter.
The Broward County Commission passed a resolution Tuesday to pursue a strategic plan for instituting "no kill" animal shelters, which would greatly reduce the number of animals housed in the county's two shelters that are put down.

Would it make that big of a difference? For the 9,672 animals Broward County euthanized last year, yeah, it probably would have.

The county took in 17,002 pets last year and euthanized about 57 percent of them, according to Broward County Animal Care and Adoption spokeswoman Lisa Mendheim.

2008 report by the National Animal Control Association outlines how the county kills animals that aren't reclaimed or adopted. Animals are injected with a drug called "Fatal Plus," manufactured in Michigan.

Marketing material says it "produces classic euthanasia by sequentially depressing the cerebral cortex, the lungs and the heart. Action on target organs gives humane euthanasia of unparalleled speed, effectiveness and specificity. Instant unconsciousness is induced with simultaneous collapse of the animal. Deep pentobarbital anesthesia ensues with blood pressure fall, stoppage of breathing and cerebral death. Cardiac function stops, quickly and irreversibly."

Animals receive either sedatives or anesthetics before being killed, according to the report. In Fort Lauderdale, dogs are put down in a "euthanasia room" equipped with stainless steel tables; cats -- which are killed at a much higher rate than dogs -- are killed in the "stray cat room," on a steel table behind a hospital curtain.

The report says it's done differently over in Pompano Beach:
Within the Pompano Beach facility, all animals are euthanized within the Kennel Office. This room does not offer a stainless steel table. Instead, workers euthanize the majority of dogs on the floor, while cats and smaller dogs are euthanized on a wooden table.
It also notes that the "Kennel Office" also doubles as the "employee break area."

A news release sent out earlier this week notes that in the four years since the report came out, "many of the recommendations in the NACA report have been implemented to some degree," so it may be done differently now. And if the City Commission's resolution takes off, it would be done much, much differently -- the "save rate" of no-kill shelters is usually about 90 percent.

"This is an important step in showing the people that the county is serious about saving the lives of adoptable animals," said Commissioner Chip LaMarca, in the release. "As far as fiscal impact, we will work within the existing resources of this division."

It's not clear how the "existing resources" will be used to completely change the operations of Broward County animal control (keeping pets alive instead of dumping their frozen bodies in a landfill), but if it works, it could keep thousands of animals out of the euthanasia room.


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