The Melson family took their cats Muffy and Duke to an animal shelter on Friday morning to give them up.
But by Friday evening, the couple had a change of heart. Irene Melson cried all night and decided that they shouldn’t have surrendered their cats.
The Melsons went back to the shelter on Saturday morning, but Muffy and Duke had already been euthanized. The couple was extremely upset over their cats’ deaths and thought the cats were euthanized too soon.
Sam Newsome, director of the Animal Control Bureau, said the cats were evaluated twice and deemed to be unadoptable. “The notes on this said that they were hissing and swiping … and that they would hide and were very reclusive,” he said.
He added some cats can’t handle a shelter environment and are euthanized because they can’t adapt and may undergo a personality transformation.
Melson said her cats would have been fine if they were given time to adjust to the new environment. She said her cats were killed because they were scared. She stated that the shelter didn’t give the cats enough time and a chance to determine if they were unfriendly.
The Melson family surrendered their cats because they said they couldn’t give the cats the attention they needed. They had cared for Muffy for ten years and Duke for five years.
They thought the cats would have at least been in the shelter for a week before they were euthanized.
Newsome said the rule applies to stray pets. State law requires that animals without some kind of identification be held at the shelter for 10 days.
When people bring the pet to the shelter, the owners sign a release form that gives the county ownership of the pet and warns that there is the potential for early euthanization if the shelter decides the animal cannot be adopted.
Newsome stated that sometimes shelters don’t have any other option. Workers tells owners that pets will go through an evaluation process and there is no guarantee that the pet will find a home.
The Melson family hopes that no one else will have to deal with a similar situation.
“What we’re really trying to do is get something enacted where there’s at least a 24-hour waiting period before they can do that, understanding that they are full and that they get many animals coming in,” Irene said.
Newsome agreed and said the shelter would enact a waiting period of at least 24 hours. He just wishes that things had gone differently for the Melson family, Muffy and Duke.
Source: Potomac News