More Proof That "Overpopulation" Just an Excuse for Killing
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Photo: Screen Capture of Pueblo Animal Services web site shows only 4 dogs available for adoption, even as they claim their relatively high kill rate is because of "pet overpopulation."
As 2017 comes to a close there is a lot of exciting news going on in the world of animal sheltering. No Kill Learning did a nice recap, so we will not repeat all of that. One thing they mentioned, however, deserves some detailed attention, because doing so proves not only that overpopulation is a myth, it is a myth used by animal shelters to excuse killing even when they have few animals available for adoption and many empty kennels.
The exciting part of this conversation is that Pueblo City Council will soon vote on a proposed ordinance called the Pueblo Animal Protection Act, which would require the municipally funded animal shelter, Pueblo Animal Services (PAS) to do more to save animals' lives. As we have reported previously, PAS has one of the poorest save rates in the state of Colorado. Also as we have previously reported, two of the leading opponents of PAPA have been Jan McHuge-Smith, the CEO of the shelter and City Council member Lori Winner, both of whom have repeatedly cited "pet overpopulation" as the reason for the lower-than-usual save rate at PAS. But, as a well-organized and vocal group of No Kill advocates keep pointing out, the shelter rarely has many animals available for adoption and consistently has several dozen empty dog kennels and much empty cat space. Leading up to the vote on PAPA, Winner has been very active on Facebook using fear-mongering tactics and going off about "pet overpopulation" as reasons the Council should vote no on this important proposal. And, as a result, multiple people, in multiple contexts have asked Winner to explain why she believes so-called overpopulation is a viable excuse for killing, when the shelter has so few animals. Her response has been the same each and every time: complete silence. She does not even acknowledge that the question has been asked, yet continues to spout off about "pet overpopulation."
For all of these reasons, we have concluded Winner, Smith and others at PAS who KNOW the shelter is not overrun with animals are deliberately misleading the citizens they are supposed to be serving, in order to justify killing healthy and treatable pets. Ironically, if that does not prove the need for an ordinance like PAPA, we don't know what would. We urge the Council to vote yes on PAPA.