Tuesday 21 September 2021

What's wrong with the registration of all animal shelters?

Is there anything wrong with the idea that all animal shelters of any kind should be registered with the authorities? I note that the state of Colorado has obligatory licensing for animal shelters but how widespread is this across the US? The intention would be to ensure that standards were kept high enough in the interests of the welfare of the animals at the shelter. 

Michelline Toulouse. Video screenshot.
Michelline Toulouse. Video screenshot. She ran her own 'rescue' while volunteering at another but was herself a cat hoarder who was later charged. Licensing would have prevented her behavior.

Registration would entail inspection which in turn would be taking preventative steps against those cases in which the animal sanctuary owner loses control resulting in neglected animals some of whom end up starving to death or becoming very ill.

Surely, it is wiser to take preventative steps rather than reactive ones? On an almost daily basis we read about well-intentioned cat owners looking after more than one cat which then becomes an informal cat shelter of sorts. This then develops into an out-of-control situation in which the shelter founder and owner fails to have sufficient funds to run the establishment. 

I am concerned about individuals who have good intentions but end up hurting the cats while running informal "sanctuaries" or "shelters". I put these words in quotes because they're neither shelters nor sanctuaries. They become hellholes for cats. Sometimes you can't really blame the person but it would be far better to take proactive steps and it might be cheaper for the authorities.

And there aren't enough volunteers to help or foster carers. The complexities and difficulties of running an animal shelter can bring them down unless the person is well-prepared.

Of course, you would have to keep a register and have somebody to inspect the property. I don't foresee that as being very expensive for the authorities because there aren't that many animal shelters. I read many cat-news stories and I'm forever being reminded of the failure of informal, private cat shelters.

A recent story (Sept 2021) concerns a cat hoarder who was 'rescuing cats' from other cat hoarders. A bizarre state of affairs as she was also working as a volunteer at another rescue facility.

Michigan State University say that as at 2014, in America, traditionally, there's been a lack of regulation and supervision in monitoring rescue and foster care organisations. Licensing, they argue, would subject rescues to inspections and hold them accountable for the animals that they take in.

Of course, rescues are governed by the general laws of animal welfare in any particular state and therefore they are indirectly monitored through the potential of being punished should they break those laws. But as mentioned this is reactive and in the meantime, cats are hurt or killed. It is not as good as registration provided registration is carried out properly and combined with inspections.

1. Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act or also referred to as PACFA - info on Colorado obligatory licensing.

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