Stop the Unethical Animal Killings at the Henry County Animal Shelter in KY

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    Henry and Trimble County Magistrates and Members of the Gallatin County Commission
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    PETA and Animal Lovers Everywhere
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an international nonprofit organization with more than 750,000 members and supporters dedicated to animal protection. Our office is in receipt of graphic video footage reportedly filmed in the last month (a copy of which is available upon request) that documents cruel and illegal conditions for animals at the Henry County Animal Shelter. On behalf of our thousands of members in Kentucky, we ask that you consider this an emergency situation and that you take immediate action to end the following illegal practices and deplorable conditions depicted on the aforementioned video.

-Dogs are housed in filthy runsmany severely overcrowdedthat are covered wall-to-wall in urine and feces. Water containers in these pens are bone dry and no food can be seen. One dog enclosure housing multiple dogs has only one doghouse; overcrowding and filth are so severe in this pen that one dog finds refuge perched atop the doghouse.

-Dogs and puppies are roughly handleddragged, hung, swung at the end of a catchpole and slammed into a backhoeand shot.

-Before being shot, fully conscious and friendly small and medium-sized dogs and puppies are generally hauled out of the facility and suspended in mid-air by a catchpole for up to 20 seconds before receiving a bullet to the head. The animals are immediately (without death being verified) thrown into a backhoe containing a pile of dying and dead dogs previously shot.

-The shooter does not verify the death of any of the dogs.

-Most of the large dogs are still visibly alive after being shot. The shooter clearly notices the injured animals flailing and kicking atop other dogs, but does nothing to alleviate their suffering. The shooter proceeds to drag out of the facility and shoot another dog, then throws the animal on top of the still-kicking previous victim.

Approximately 22 minutes into the footage, the shooter fires a bullet into the back of a German shepherd mixs head, the dog wagging his tail as he is prepped for the killing. After the first shot is fired, the shooter lifts and suspends the heavy dog by the catchpole noose around the animals neck and slams the dog against the steel bed of the backhoe. He shoots the dog a second time, but the dog continues to struggle. He lifts and slams him against the backhoe a second time, then kicks the dog in the midsection and uses his foot to shove the still-kicking dog into the pile of bodies filling the backhoe.

The shooter uses his foot to press another still-kicking shot dog further down into the backhoe. The injured dog rolls out of the backhoe and onto the ground, then attempts to stand and walk but falls over as the shooter looks on. The dog continues to struggle; the shooter walks away and returns with another dog. It appears that the dog is left to die on the ground throughout the rest of the shootings.

Several times the shooter dangles dogs by the catchpole as he fumbles with and/or reloads his gun and uses the end of the catchpole to push still-alive dogs further into the backhoe, much like a poker is used to move logs in a fire.
These conditions are in flagrant violation of Kentucky law, which deems a person guilty of cruelty to animals in the second degree when he intentionally subjects any animal to or causes cruel or injurious mistreatment through abandonment mutilation, beating, torturing, tormenting, failing to provide adequate food, drink, space, or health care, or by any other means. Kentucky legislation defines cruelty as every act or omission whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Report of the Panel on Euthanasiathe ultimate authority on euthanasiastates, Gunshot should not be used for routine euthanasia of animals in animal control situations, such as municipal pounds or shelters. Shooting is not an approved, reasonable or reliable method of animal control; it is dangerous and often fails to achieve instantaneous unconsciousness, as in the cases of many of the dogs in the aforementioned footage; animals can be injured, rather than killed, by initial gunshots and suffer tremendously before dying.

If catchpoles are to be used, they should be used humanely and properly. A catchpole is not designed to be used, and should never be used, to drag, yank, pull, or lift an animal by the neck. Weve attached instructions on proper usage of catchpoles; please see to it that such procedures are followed effective immediately.

Many of the dogs on the video wear collarsat least one bearing a 2001 rabies tag. We are told that the Henry County facility is hidden behind two locked gates and is closed to the public, making it impossible for families to look for and redeem their lost animals and for potential adopters to adopt homeless animals. Please let us know what your standard operating procedure is with regard to adoption and reuniting lost animals with their human families.

Allegations reported to our office also include claims that Henry County dog warden Jim Brewer carries a gun and often shoots and injures dogs in the field for no other reason than that he is unable to easily capture them and that Brewer routinely leaves animals caged in his truck without food or water for days. We are told that Brewers neighbors have in the past fed and watered these animals out of concern for their welfare and safety.

It is our understanding that Henry, Gallatin, and Trimble counties contract with the Henry County facility to house and kill homeless and stray dogs. The issue is not whether to euthanize animals; it is that if they must be killed, they must be handled and destroyed humanely. Citizens of these counties certainly have a right to expect that the animal control facility and its employees are operating legally and humanely and that their tax dollars are not funneled into cruel housing, handling, and killing of dogs.

Weve been made aware also that the Henry County and Gallatin County dog wardens attended and passed a euthanasia by injection certification course in October 2000, at no cost to the counties, and that Gallatin County received a $50,000 grant toward the construction of an animal shelter from the Animal Control Advisory Board. Please let us know what it would take for your counties animal control facility to comply with minimum standards of animal care and killing; perhaps we can help in some way. In the meantime, we ask for your immediate assurance that the conditions detailed above will be investigated and corrected at once and that proper charges will be filed against the person or persons responsible.

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