POSTED: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 2:24pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 2, 2011 - 4:44pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — The Companion Animal Alliance, or CAA has confirmed they will begin euthanizing animals temporarily to get the population at the shelter back under control. But that's not all they are doing.
In an email, CAA Director Laura Hinze writes, "To ease overcrowding, CAA has temporarily revised euthanasia rules. At the same time, we are expanding the number of adoption days to save more dogs and cats."
You may remember, CAA took over the shelter at EBR Animal Control on August 1st, vowing to put an end to euthanasia. The population at the shelter sky rocketed, from a maximum of 500 animals, to over 750 animals.
On Monday, allegations of overcrowding and unhealthy conditions at the shelter there were confirmed by a law enforcement investigation.
Animal Control Director Hilton Cole lead that investigation. He says it's unrealistic to go from a 65% euthanasia rate, which was the average last year at EBR Animal Control, to zero overnight.
"The mindset to move towards a 'no kill' society in East Baton Rouge Parish - how could anyone argue with that philosophically? But the problem is the reality is that this is a long term solution. You can't come in, like they kind of did and all of the sudden on August 1st until August the 22nd and decide, you're not going to euthanize."
Animal Control Director Hilton Cole says it's that decision that lead to immediate overcrowding at the shelter.
"There's a very stressful environment with intense noise, intense smells, intense activity around feeding time - especially feeding time," says Cole. "That's when it becomes a frenzy."
Cole investigated the companion animal alliance, or CAA, after getting complains from the public. He sys the condition of the kennel surprised him the most.
"Certainly large amounts of fecal matter to the point where animals couldn't lay down or be comfortable in the pen, bullying, things like that jumped out because they were so very obvious if you put that many animals in one pen."
Now Cole, and the law enforcement arm of Animal Control is monitoring the shelter to make sure things get better.
"We want the dust to settle. We want to move on," says CAA. "We want CAA to have a plan and implement it and we just want the animals taken care of."
He says that means making tough decisions.
"You either adopt them out, you foster them out and unfortunately, to prevent cruelty and overcrowding, you have to euthanize," says Cole. "This is an open-intake animal shelter that takes in animal everyday."
The Shelter doesn't turn any animal away. Cole says 25% of dogs at Animal Control are pit bulls, a breed he says is tough to adopt out. Another 75% have heart worms and need special care.
"The trajectory needs to be lowered a little bit," says Cole of CAA. ”They set their trajectory way too high. This is a long term goal."
But that's a goal Cole wants to reach with CAA. He says the group is doing a lot of good things, like partnering with other local animal welfare groups, hosting satellite adoptions on weekends, and opening up the shelter seven days a week for adoptions.
CAA is also rolling out an aggressive spay and neuter campaign, which Hinze says will ultimately reduce the number of stray animals dropped off at the shelter.