Society

Why are Animals Dying at the No Kill Lynchburg Humane Society?

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Last Friday, No-Kill News had the title of "Another Myth Bites the Dust" on a piece about the Lynchburg Humane Society's No Kill policy not creating problems for surrounding communities. Lynchburg has an appointment policy for owner surrenders. When a shelter resorts to appointments or waiting lists, then it becomes a limited admission shelter, not an open door shelter that serves the public by taking any and all at the time of presentation.

According to the No-Kill News, "In Lynchburg itself, stray intake dropped from 1,306 in 2009 to 1,018 in 2010". But it rose again in 2011 to 2.093. No-Kill news is trying to make a point that surrounding communities haven't been impacted with Lynchburg's appointment policy, a contention of those against the No Kill Equation program.

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No-Kill News states that No Kill opponents frequently attack appointment systems, arguing that owners who want to give up a pet are too irresponsible to make an appointment and will dump the pet or take it to another shelter. Most shelters have a residential requirement to take owner surrenders plus a surrender fee. What happens when an owner is told this from a shelter, then the owner will turn in their pet as a stray they just happened to have picked up off the street from the goodness of their heart. They are forced to leave their pet with no history, and with no name. Very cruel but this is what the appointment system forces upon owners who need to surrender their pets.

According to the State reporting system, although Lynchburg's stray intake dropped in 2010, their "death rate" (those dying while under the care of the shelter), was 62 animals. There are three neighboring communities that No-Kill News refers to in their Myth post, Amherst, Bedford, and Campbell. That same year, 2010, Amherst had 15 animals to die while in their kennels. Bedford County only had 50 animals to die in their shelter and Campell County had only 17 to die. The year before, 2009, Amherst had no animals to die in their shelter, Bedford had 35 and Campbell had 27 pets to die. Lynchburg had 100 animals to die in their facility.

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The year of 2011, Amherst had 37 animals to die while in their facility, Bedford had 13, and Campbell had 11 in theirs. Lynchburg had 164 animals to die in 2011. When asked why so many for Lynchburg, Susan Houser of No-Kill News responded that the Lynchburg facility is old and cleaning is a problem. Excuse me? If this were not a No Kill shelter, that would not be acceptable. If this were not a No Kill shelter, No Kill would be condemning it as it does others with much less of a death rate in house.

If anything a Myth was supported by No-Kill News but not the way they intended. It is no myth that No Kill causes shelters to become overcrowded. Several dogs in one kennel is only an invitation for a bloodbath in fights. It is no Myth that No Kill distorts the numbers. No Kill deals in myths, calling pet overpopulation a myth. I invite No Kill into any shelter in the country and then tell me that there is not a pet overpopulation problem. A problem that is not being solved by the No Kill Equation math.

And the extraordinary amount of pets dying under the care of the Lynchburg Humane Society is no myth either.