There are many animal groups dedicated to finding space for every shelter animal so no one has to be euthanized. But in a recent tragedy, one dog was put to sleep before he was able to reach the foster home that was set up for him.
Proving Animals Are Worth Saving (PAAWS) is a no-kill animal shelter in Indiana dedicated to finding foster homes for shelter dogs at risk of being put down.
Recently, they successfully arranged for a dog named Stanley, who was at Evansville Animal Control, to be relocated to a foster home.
The organization contacted animal control on Sunday night to let them know the news and left a voicemail when there was no response, saying they would pick him up at noon on Monday.
But Stanley would not live to see it. Animal control officers did not check the voicemail and started euthanizing dogs on Monday morning. Tragically, Stanley was one of the first on their list.
“One of the not-so-nice parts of the job of the men and women of animal control is we do euthanasia, and we do those first thing in the morning,” Todd Robertson, Evansville’s director of transportation and services, told WFIE. “We don’t have any front desk taking any calls or anything like that until the 9:00 hour.”
Employees at PAAWS were heartbroken by the outcome. “I think that’s what makes it that much harder, that he was so close to being able to get out,” PAAWS treasurer Julie Frazier told the outlet.
Evansville Animal Control says that Stanley was moved to the top of the list because of behavioral issues, but PAAWS says the dog was justifiably scared by his new surroundings and just growled at an employee.
The story has prompted outrage from animal lovers online. While it was a failure of communication that led to this tragic outcome, PAAWS says they don’t blame the animal control officers for Stanley’s death, and highlight the broader extenuating circumstances that leads to dogs being put down at overcrowded shelters.
“This is what is happening in this town due to lack of space, an outdated Animal Control that is much too small for a population of this size and owner surrenders,” PAAWS wrote on Facebook. “Our hearts are broken.”
“It’s not animal control’s fault. It’s not the rescue’s fault. It’s this community problem that all the shelters were empty during COVID,” Frazier told WFIE. “People were home and they had time, and everybody invested in an animal and now those animals are getting returned.”
“This is an incredibly difficult time to work in sheltering,” Vanderburgh Humane Society, who partners with Evansville Animal Care & Control, wrote on Facebook, explaining that it’s become routine for big city shelters to euthanize due overcrowding. “Every kennel is full, sometimes with 2-3 dogs per kennel, with floor cages & crates stacked in hallways and offices. And yet the dogs don’t stop coming in and adoptions are not keeping up.”
“Pet overpopulation is a societal problem with societal solutions, and our Animal Control Officers & admin staff are brave for being willing to step up and help pick up the mess that other people have made. Everyone must place the blame where it belongs: the people who don’t spay/neuter their pets, and who drop pets off simply because they are unwanted or too much energy/work. THAT’s who we can collectively blame.”
Rest in peace, Stanley. It’s so heartbreaking and tragic that you were euthanized before ever getting to go to your foster home. Our hearts go out to every dog that has been euthanized due to overcrowding shelters 💔😭
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