The City of Lubbock Animal Shelter, TX made a series of mistakes, in my opinion, which led to the accidental euthanising of a domestic cat who had a caretaker...who had a family and was loved by that family including a 4-year-old boy, Adyn.
We shouldn't be unnecessarily harsh when someone makes a mistake but when it's a mistake which can lead to the death of a companion animal then there should be procedures in place which prevent such mistakes and the procedures should be rigorously adhered to.
The cat's name was Rahzz. She was a large tabby cat. She was microchipped and an indoor/outdoor cat. The classic scenario happened. One day she didn't come home and his owner learned through talking to neighbours that animal services had picked him up so Mr Hughes, the cat's owner together with his fiance, Sarah, telephoned the animal shelter.
The first mistake as far as I'm concerned is that the animal shelter did not check the microchip and telephone Mr Hughes. They could have simply handed the cat back to Mr Hughes once he had identified himself with documentary evidence. That would have resolved the matter there and then.
After Mr Hughes telephoned the shelter he was told that they could not release information after 6 PM so he attended the shelter the next day. He discovered his cat was in the shelter and everything was all right. However, he couldn't take her home because he didn't have proof that Rahzz was up-to-date on vaccinations. It seems that the shelter has an obligation to ensure that cats in their charge are vaccinated which added a complexity to this matter because if they had simply returned the cat there and then the cat wouldn't have been killed. In returning the cat, they would simply be placing the cat in the same position that she was in before being picked up and I don't think that would have been such a bad thing.
But they appear to have insisted upon vaccinations so Mr Hughes agreed to pay for a rabies vaccination to be carried out by the shelter staff.
The catalogue of problems/obstacles continued in that the person who did the vaccinations wasn't there and so Mr Hughes had to go away and return. When he returned he gradually learnt that his cat had been euthanised accidentally. The longer a cat stays at a cat shelter that euthanises lots of cats the greater the danger the cat.
Apparently, a shelter worker had swapped over some cages and then got the names of the cats mixed up by the sound of it. That may be wrong but in any case Rahzz must been placed into a queue of cats due to be euthanised. I say a queue because this animal shelter (which judging by the photograph is very large) euthanises an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 animals annually. This must be one of those classic shelters who euthanise unwanted cats and dogs which they can no longer justify keeping at the shelter. The animals are not therefore euthanised but killed because euthanasia refers to humanely killing animals that are terminal ill.
A mistake had been made at the shelter which kills a lot of animals annually and when there's that sort of killing going on in a building - up to an average 30 animals every day - there must be a queue or an area where animals are placed which are due to be euthanised that day and the animals in that place should be checked and re-checked to make sure they have got it right.
I always think that when there's lots of killing going on in a place employees tend to devalue the animal and when you devalue the animal you are more liable to be careless with the animal and that is when you start crossing the line and start disrespecting them which can lead to mistakes which are tragic sometimes.
Mr Hughes didn't want to tell his son that his cat buddy had been killed so he told him she had become ill and had gone to heaven.
This is not the first mix up in a cat shelter I'm sure and it won't be the last either.