Family Distraught After Surrendered Cats Euthanized

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

(Thanks H.M.)

67 Responses to “Family Distraught After Surrendered Cats Euthanized”

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  1. Traci says:

    All that, Wescott, I can agree with.

    Again, all shelters, those that euthanize and those that are no-kill are overloaded with an overpopulation problem of animals (animals that all can’t be cared for properly at this time), one created by pet owners–those who dump animals outdoors and those who don’t S/N and those who also are guilty of both.

  2. straybaby says:

    Todd and Bain, I’m very familiar with that no-kill website. have known about the guy for a few years. have also been involved with both the no and kill shelters here for more years than that and breed rescue. and i’m on several rescue lists so i have info coming in all day everyday. i’ve been a part of the no-kill movement here since it’s inception. 5 yrs later we still do not have the room or resources for all the animals. so, which one of ya’ll is going to take the overflow so those caring souls at the NYCACC no longer need to be called killers and worse?

    daily, caring workers at kill shelters across america are trying to find placement in rescues and no-kills for animals so they don’t have to euth them. if you have some magical place for them to go, i’m sure the info would be much appreciated.

    i’m not a defeatist, but a realist with my eyes wide open to the problem. that problem is the american public. it’s going to be many years from now before the no-kill can be successful nationwide, and until then, there will be kill shelters. no way am i going to slam all those workers as killers. anyone who believes in no kill should be actively working at their kill shelter in some capacity to be helping the animals, imo. those are the animals that need the most help.

  3. Tamar says:

    Of course the shelter euthanized them way too fast but what were these people thinking by giving them up in the first place?!?!? The shelter workers cannot magically create more room out of thin air. Cat over populaiton is an even bigger problem than dog over population and if they thought there was anybody who would walk right past all the homeless kittens and pick out their adult non-specialty cats and decide they have time to give the cats “enough attention” these people are dreaming. When you drop your animals off at a kill shelter, you can expect they will be killed. Period. These places are underfunded and overcrowded becasue of people just like this couple dumping off their animals. My sympathy goes to the cats and not the people who dumped them. They have no one to blame but themselves.

  4. 2CatMom says:

    Let’s be careful with the terms we throw around, please. Every bad event is not a Holocaust. For those of us who have lost family members to The Holocaust or the genocide in Darfur, or the near extermination of the Armenians by the Turks, its really insulting to say that these events are equal to no-kill shelters.

    They are not the same. In most cases animals are not targeted because people think their beliefs and practices are evil. They aren’t rounded up, dragged out of their homes, and outright murdered. And no, if the animals end up dead it is still not the same. You might be able to convince me that when Denver that dragged pit bulls out of homes when they banned them came close but its still not the same.

    Now I do agree that many kill shelters could do a better job and hate, hate what goes on there but please don’t compare my relatives to a dog or cat. I love my cats and would do anything for them, but I find it demeaning that you think what 100+ of my relatives experienced at Auschwitz is in any way comparable. Have a little bit of sensitivity will you.

  5. Dennis says:

    The no-kill shelters often have policies that they will not return surrendered pets to their prior owners. Obviously, there must be a good reason for that. If the owners cared insufficiently about their pets or were unable to care for them such that they were willing to give them to a kill shelter, then I am sorry for the pets who weren’t given a chance for a new home.

  6. Velvet's Dad says:

    2CatMom is right. A shelter is not a concentration camp. Nor is a cage an oven. Euthanizing unwanted animals, sad and horrible as that is, does not compare with gassing humans, not for anything did, but for who and what they were. That said, the family giving up their pets is something they will have to live with. Hopefully, there are some lessons for them to reflect on.

  7. Bane says:

    Straybaby, I do believe you are giving up too soon. NYC especially has the potential to do a turn around…what you need is a compassionate shelter director who will manage the funds effectively. The shelter, and city, has to be commited to no kill…you can’t go about it piecemeal. TNR programs must be implemented properly. volunteers must be utilized, off site adoption programs need to be in place, and foster care programs as well. If done properly, no kill will work, but it is a multi pronged approach that does require commitment. IF you are familiar with the no kill equation at all, then you will know that these programs are actually more cost effective than the traditional killing.

  8. Bane says:

    Another very important thing….feral cats should be given TNR, but then set free. They are not adoptable, but that doesn’t mean they should die. Dogs might need domestication and human contact to remain tame, but cats do not form dangerous packs, and effective TNR will actually reduce their numbers. Killing them as they come into shelters never reduces numbers as other cats who are never caught will breed unabated, so it is unnecessarily cruel AND less effective in solving the overpopulation program. Remember, feral cats can live happily without us, be it a city or the country. And if their numbers are kept down with TNR, they won’t be a nuisance to the public either.

  9. Bane says:

    For those of you upset at the genocide thing…well, I hold animals, especially cats and dogs who over thousands of years have become domesticated to be our trusted and loyal companions… to be equal with people. You may be outraged at that statement, but that is how I feel, and my relatives died in the camps too. Doesn’t change how I feel. So the two events are the same to me. What is happening in kill shelters now is the ultimate betrayal of these beings who are our friends. That fact that it is tolerated basically affirms my belief that humans, in general, suck.
    And 2CatMom, I’m sorry about your relatives, but I don’t think comparing a human to a cat or dog is demeaning anymore than I think comparing one of your relatives to one of your children would be. Why should it be? Dogs have saved human’s lives on many occasions at great risk to themselves. Cats have remained faithful friends to people after their human relatives have deserted them. I hold my pets equal with my family and they understand because they feel the same way. I believe animals have souls just like humans. In spite of my Jewish ethnicity, I reject all traditional religions that say otherwise. And these animals that are being killed in shelters ARE being killed for what they are…because they are not human, and their lives are considered less important, even by many of you folks. The greatest measure of a civilization is how it treats its animals…I think Ghandi said that? Well, right now we sure don’t measure up.

  10. 2CatMom says:

    Bane you are perfectly entitled to your beliefs. What I asked for was a little sensitivity toward those of us who don’t happen to agree. It is one thing to say that you love and consider your animals to be family. So do I. It is entirely another thing to say that shelters are equivalent to the intentional murder and extermination of people who are different than you.

    Perhaps because these events were before your living memory, its easy to look at them dispassionately.

    I’m sure you family understands that you love your animals as family. I really doubt that they would understand you saying, Gee Mom I’m sorry your Mother, Father, Three Brothers, Four Sisters, Aunts and Uncles, etc got killed in The Holocaust, but I really can’t get too upset cause there are animals that are being killed every day because they have no homes and no one to care for them.

    Would you really go visit my my Rawandan neighbors across the hall and say, “hey, so sorry your child got hacked to death in front of you but ….after all there are animals in shelters…..?

  11. straybaby says:

    Bane says:
    September 2nd, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Bane, you are so busy spouting your message, you are not comprehending anything i’m saying. NYC IS on the no kill program and has been for 5-6yrs. i was there in the beginning. i haven’t given up or i wouldn’t be on all the rescue lists. you are just so all or nothing you are missing the point. the point i was, am and will always be making:


    after 5yrs of numbers, there is BARELY a dent in the intake numbers even though ALL the shelters/rescues are working their asses off trying to reach a true no/low kill city. the shelters can do everything right, but the one thing they can’t do is change a greedy self serving americans mindset. you can’t get them to grow compassion anymore than you can Vick. but that does not mean i have given up. i just refuse to call hard working caring compassionate people killers (and worse). so get off my back and go help out a kill shelter. they need some spare hands.

    oh and you might want to check out NYC’s program. they KNOW what they are doing. and while you’re at it, check out the mayor’s alliance. for such a no-kill junkie, i would think you would be more aware of who’s doing what.

  12. straybaby says:

    and if that feral TNR message was directed at me, i’m well aware. trapped my fair share and live with a few.

  13. Bane says:

    Well, when it comes to the situation in Rwanda…who hacked that couple’s child to death? Other humans. People who were their neighbors…and the thing with genocide is…one group has the power, and they torment the other. Then the other group has power and they torment the first…and it goes on and on. This is especially true in situations where two neighboring ethnicities have existed side by side for centuries and quarreled side by side for centuries. Such as Bosnia and Rwanda…this can’t be applied to the Holocaust…but when it comes to modern cases of genocide…there are individual innocent victims (such as little children) but no innocent sides. If the victimized side rises to power they will do the same to the other side, and the cycle will go on. At the heart of it all is pervasive human evil.

    The cats and dogs victimized in shelters dedicated to overkill will never rise up against us or exact revenge…they cannot defend themselves. They don’t have even the slightest hope of defending themselves. They give so much to humans…we owe them…we should speak out for them and give them the first priority of protection. Yet in our society, they get the last priority while convicted murderers and rapists are given every comfort at taxpayer expense. Straybaby, I’m sure you mean well, and it is good you personally have helped animals, but you are still repeating the excuses of the kill shelters verbatim…the kill shelters blame the public 100% but they do this to avoid accountability for their own incompetence and failure to bring about any positive change to the pet overpopulation problem. You darned right I’m a no kill junkie..and proudly so. And I AM all or nothing…I do not condone the killing of ANY healthy cat or dog…it is as wrong as is killing an innocent human. And it is NOT a tragic necessity…it is done for the convenience of shelters dedicated to overkill run by directors who don’t give a damn. Philadephia is a recent example…they have decided to implement a no kill program, and though they are not quite there yet, they have made great strides. They used to kill 9 out of 10 animals they received, and they were horrible. Often, their workers were notorious for abusing the animals and engaging in retribution killing. In retribution killing, the workers would kill a particular animal that a rescue group wanted to save simply to spite the rescue group…sort of as a mean spirited power play. When Philadephia decided to go no-kill, they fired these criminals, implemented the required programs and are now saving 60% of the cats and 70% of the dogs that come through their doors. That is a huge improvement for such a short amount of time. Soon they will no doubt reach their goal. There is just too much room for abuse of animals and needless killing in the old kill sheltering system, which is why I will continue to speak out against it.

  14. Bane says:

    I really do think that in 20 years or so, hopefully sooner…no kill will be the norm. Many large cities have started the transition already, but this is a big country, so it will take a while to get all municipalities on board. The no kill movement has even spread to Europe.

  15. Scratch says:

    I really dislike comparisons of this type. To me each species is unique. Comparing animals to humans is a disregard of the contribution of each to our planet. To compare the plight and horrors of each species is a disregard of the pain and injustice each have suffered.

    Possibly some of you who volunteer and support supposed no kill shelters would be better to put all your emotions secondary and volunteer in a kill shelter. Think of how much better you could make the last days of a dog, cat, or rabbit. Be an advocate for placement of each cast out pet to the local newspapers, etc. Love them, pet them, walk them, and tell them you are sorry the human race has done this to them. Then go home and cry your heart out. Wouldn’t your energies and ambitions be better directed toward the ones that need you most?

  16. 2CatMom says:

    Bane, your disdain for other humans is pretty apparent. So guess you think my neighbors are at fault. That’s really pathetic. You are obviously one of those people who have difficulty connecting to your fellow humans. You love animals, because they are easy to love, but understanding people is obviously beyond you. Your rigidity and inability to show any empathy for your fellow humans border on the clinical.

    You seem much more interested in criticizing every one elses efforts than doing something yourself. Please, tell us what YOU are doing to end the suffering of homeless animals beyond pissing off those of us who give substantial time and money to the cause. We don’t have the perfect solutions, but we’re trying. How much time do you volunteer a month at a shelter? How much $ or % of income do you give to shelters so that they can save more lives?

    Straybaby, I’m not going to dignify Bane with any more responses. I have read enough of your posts to know your dedication to homeless animals. Bane’s black/white stance, all animals are good, all people are bad (except him/her of course) is a symptom of some very serious problems. You cannot reason with someone is is always right and has all the answers. You keep up your good work - you are making a difference!

  17. Betsy Weathers says:

    While I think the shelter acted fast, I don’t hold them nearly as responsible as the family who took the cats to the shelter after owning them as they had. You don’t just give your mom or dad away because they get to be too much or give your kids away because you just don’t have time. You work it out…I think anyone who owns a pet for any length of time and then can take them to a shelter must have a heart of stone.

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