What We Can Learn from the Killing of Charlie at Pueblo Animal Services
Last week we wrote about how the killing of savable pets in animal shelters disrupts and divides communities. As if on cue, and to prove our point, Pueblo, Colorado Animal Services killed a dog named Charlie who was, by all accounts, social, friendly, playful and who had rescue groups wanting him. In spite of all of that PAS killed Charlie. Understandably, people in Pueblo are P.O.'ed and are taking action.
First, a new Facebook page, Reform Pueblo Animal Services, has been started, and already has a couple of hundred new followers. Then, several people came and spoke out at the May 22, 2017 City Council Meeting. Watch the City Council Meeting here, but skip ahead to the 7 minute mark, when public comments begin. There is some really powerful testimony given to the City Council. The first speaker, Dr. Kent Hill, who runs a chiropractic clinic, and who uses canine therapy dogs in Pueblo made a strong case that what PAS did to Charlie was not "euthanasia." Dr. Hill said, "Lets start calling this what it is... This is killing for the sake of convenience."
Dr. Hill also said that No Kill is a movement that has come to Pueblo and that it is not going away.
Other speakers discussed problems relating to lack of transparency, issues with the "temperament testing" being done at PAS, and generally draconian practices at Pueblo Animal Services. Others strongly advocated for Pueblo to become a No Kill community. Still others graphically described the "heart stick" approach used by PAS to kill animals.
One particularly thoughtful statement was made by a local advocate at about the 28 minute mark. She said, "We animal lovers are not going away. We will be here every week. We need to figure out something better for Pueblo."
With all that said, No Kill Nation would like to send a thank you to Reform Pueblo Animal Services for their inspiring and thoughtful work. We also would like to take a moment to point out that while various bloggers and other status quo apologists have declared Colorado a "No Kill state," nothing could be farther from the truth. Colorado has a large number of No Kill communities, but it is not, in any way, a No Kill state and anyone who says it is should be immediately discredited, as this story clearly proves.
We would also like to offer an olive branch of sorts to Pueblo City Council: if you contact No Kill Learning to seek improvements to your shelter's live release rate, we will sponsor up to $1,000 0f confidential consulting services. To everyone else: Like the Reform Pueblo Animal Services and consider making a donation to No Kill Nation.
The shelter director, Julie Justman insists that Charlie was a dangerous dog insists that Charlie was dangerous and that a behaviorist evaluated him and recommended "euthanasia." It is unclear if one of the standard shelter "temperament" tests was used to make this determination. If so, it has been proven these tests are generally no better than flipping a coin at predicting canine aggression.
Here is a video of Charlie taken at PAC. You decide how aggressive he looks.