Should Augusta County (in Virginia) operate its own animal shelter or cede
to the SPCA’s demand that it pay more of its fair share?
The matter is on tonight’s agenda before the Augusta County Board of
Supervisors, and one member believes the county can do the job better
Augusta County is considering operating its own shelter, at least
temporarily, from a truck bay at a warehouse behind the Government
Center in Verona.
Staff budget projections submitted to county supervisors state such a
shelter could be operated for $265,000 a year.
SPCA critics also are using the current contract dispute to seize upon
longstanding euthanasia and adoption issues.
In 2003, the local SPCA euthanized nearly 4,000 dogs and cats, although
the number dropped by more than 500 animals last year.
The euthanasia totals are more than double that of neighboring Albemarle
County, which has 20,000 more people.
Also at issue is how the SPCA euthanizes cats. Instead of using lethal
injection administered intravenously, drugs are pumped into the felines’
serous membranes - the lining of the walls of the abdominal cavity. The
method is called intraperitoneal and, according to regulators, is acceptable
but takes 30 minutes or more to kill the animal.
One former SPCA veterinary technician said Tuesday that she quit over the
IP injections because they were inhumane: Sometimes the drugs missed
their mark and hit vital organs, causing cats to languish.
“Some cats screamed and thrashed for 45 minutes before dying,” Erin
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