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Recently they just passed a law here in Pennsylvania - or at least Allegheny county - all DOGS brought into Animal Control or into shelter as strays have a MANDATORY 72 hour waiting period before either going up for adoption (if it's a shelter) or being put down (animal control and the non-no kill shelters). The same law DOES NOT apply to cats - typically they are put down the same day they are found (again, this is animal control, not sure how the shelters handle).
The one no-kill shelter I foster for goes to the animal control places weekly to save what they can. If they find 20 dogs and 10 cats - (all adoptable - ie healthy and non aggressive), at animal control, they may only have room for 5 dogs and 2 cats at the shelter - it's then up to them to decide out off those thirty, which ones get a second chance - those that aren't picked are put down. What an absolutely awful deplorable position to be in, I could not do it. I try not to think of it, it gets me upset. I want to save them all, but can't.Unfortunately it's a sad fact of life. For some reason they view cats as more disposable than a dog. I don't see either one being disposable. The kittens I foster do belong to a no-kill shelter - I could never foster a litter where there's a chance one or all could be put down. Where's the incentive to take them back? I'd keep them all. I have a cousin in WVA who has 12 dogs - she rescues them from the pound before they are euthanized - some have health problems, some are old.

She tries her hardest to find them homes. I don't know how she can do it. I give her a lot of credit. Luckily she's got a couple acres and kennels to keep some in (believe you me, she treats these animals very well), although most stay in the house. (At one time she did board dogs, now she uses the kennels so she can save some from dying). She even rescue's guinea pigs too!
That's sad about the cats being put down same day. Of course I see lawsuits here if someone's cat accidently gets out and animal control kills the animal the same day. I think a lot of the shelters that euthanize could change their policies and go no-kill or network with other shelters to take cats if they have room but I think they choose not to. Pretty sad.

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What you've described is standard operating proceedure at any shelter.

Most open admission shelters, at least.
Animals that needs to be bottle fed will only be alloted space in foster care if that space is available and are never held for 5 days.[/nq]The OP wrote that the kitten was eating on its own and did not need to be bottlefed. My concern with any very small kitten would be exactly how MUCH it's eating. A little help here and there is necessary even with some adult cats, but kittens are much more draining on time, materials, and yes, money. If the kitten isn't eating enough to sustain itself with only minimal help needed, it's considered unweaned (generally around four weeks or under). Our policy for these kittens is that single unweaned kittens, healthy or not, are euthanised.

The chances of a single kitten surviving are much smaller than a litter of kittens; the thought behind the policy seems to be that if we have a single unweaned kitten with a lesser survival rate and a litter of unweaned kittens with a higher survival rate... well, it's better to save four (or even two) kittens than just one. We have specific staff and volunteers who are trained for neonatal kittens. ONLY those people are allowed to take unweaned kittens - experienced people don't balk at the restriction (for them, it's only a technicality), but even the best-intentioned unexperienced people will be floored by how much time and effort and emotion goes into caring for these kittens...

some of which still may die from any number of things (fading kitten syndrome, uri, etc).
5 day holds
are only for healthy animals that don't need special care aren't surrendered.[/nq]Thankfully, we have a quarantine room and an isolation room. Quarantine is for fractious cats, ferals, bite/scratch cases, and fungal cultures. Isolation is the sick room. We will keep them and medicate them (here the law is a full seven days for ALL species - cats, dogs, birds (unless wildlife - which, if of a certain age and in good health, are rehabbed in our barn by our marvelous wildlife volunteers), rodents (guineas, hamsters, rats, etc) even iguanas and snakes - some of you may have heard about the ball python found in a rental car - it was brought to us) through the stray period, and if they're deemed adoptable...

if we can medicate them, they haven't tried to attack staff or volunteers, they don't have any additional health issues (FIV or FeLV positive), they'll be treated until they're well, be altered, and go up for adoption. FIV and FeLV positives... if unclaimed by the end of their stray period, they're generally euthanised. We do have people who already have a positive cat in their home and are interested in adopting another positive, and if one of our positives is healthy, we do our best to make a match.
During kitten season, foster space is not going to be
available.

The interesting thing about this? We offer training for finders on unweaned kittens. We make them aware of the policy regarding euthanasia of unweaned single kittens, and if they're willing to take it on, we regard it as a 'finder foster' and keep track of the progress. If the kitten does well, they can bring it in when it's big enough for surgery and healthy and we have the space.
There are NEVER enough foster homes, so some animals have to
die. That's a fact of pet overpopulation. Better a too young kitten thana 2 year old cat who was hit ... to turn animals away or euthanize some to make room. Which animal would you pick to euthanize to make space?

The hardest thing... we're the county stray intake facility. This time of year... let's put it this way. The last I heard, we had nearly 500 cats and kittens in our system. We have 167 cages in the shelter for them. We have fees now, for surrenders, but people still walk in with a cat in a carrier, wanting to give them to us. If we explain how full we are, that it DOES come down to them keeping their cat for another week or two or us killing a cat today, people WILL threaten to just dump the animal outside. Someone quite literally opened a carrier one day and dumped his cat on the counter and walked out... because he didn't want to pay $20 for not having an appointment.
Are you going to
volunteer to foster and bottlefeed babies to help make a difference? Ifyou can neither pick which animal dies nor open ... that do make a difference. If the truth hurts you,then it's hitting home. You talk some talk. Walk the walk.

I have to agree that dropping strays off at the shelter doors isn't exactly 'doing your part.' Hell, I work for a shelter. Most of my days are 10-11 hour days, and I don't feel like I'm doing enough unless ALL of my foster units are filled. My supervisor said I'm not allowed to take the nice friendly highly adoptable cats anymore; I can only take the sick, decrepit, or feral cats/kittens. She was only half joking.
And now I'm done ranting.
~K
The issue here is the original poster was lied to AND the length of time that it is appropriate to keep a stray. The question of whether or not euthansia is EVER appropriate is not the issue in the original post. That discussion is important, but should be given a new topic.

Because of that, I am starting a new topic to inform those who are new to this group of some facts.
What you've described is standard operating proceedure at any shelter. Animals that needs to be bottle fed will only be ... do make a difference. If the truth hurts you, then it's hitting home. You talk some talk. Walk the walk.

Very well said, thank you.
The original poster (OP) tried to help out and had a bad experience. I think she is to be commended for trying so hard. Please don't let her bad experience stop you from trying though.
OP was lied to and that is unacceptable, but for others...

There is only a finite amount of room. There is only a finite amount of funding to pay for people, food, space, supplies, etc. There are only a finite number of people to do the work and spend the hours necessary.
To expect that finite amount of resources to take care of an infinite number of animals is just plain foolish.
There are volunteer positions available to anyone. If you are skilled enough to read this post, you are skilled enough to help at a shelter. If you have enough time to read this post, you have enough time to help at a shelter.
That is rediculous.
I have started another topic about this subject since it distracts from the orignal poster's issue. The new topic was started partially since what you said is so wrong.
I am writing to share the horrific experience I had with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, VA. I brought ... to show how the AWLA does not act in the best interest of animals and falsifies information to the public.

I think that the AWLA deserved to tell their side of the story and so I e-mailed them outlining what had been said by the OP. One or more members of their staff was accused of lying to the original poster. The following is an exact copy of their reply with the exception that the names and titles have been snipped. Nothing else was changed or omitted.
Their position is that the OP was informed of the possibility of euthanasia and that she was told that the foster program was a possibility, not that it would be an absolute.
Unfortunatly, this is now a he said/she said situation. Someone either misunderstood and/or misspoke and/or is not telling the entire truth. I'm afraid that there is no way of proving anything. What happened to the kitten is sad. The OP did what she could, but the outcome was bad.

Let me tell you what I have found out in researching this situation.The kitten that you refer to was brought to the shelter on a Sunday. Since we are not open on Sunday the cat was taken in by a kennel staff person. I spoke to this employee to make sure that she told the person all the correct information, and it sounds to me that she did. She did talk to her about the possibility of fostering. She would be in no position to know if we had an opening in our fostering program that matched this kittens needs so what she said was that we had a new program to foster these little kittens and that there might be an opening.

In fact we did check to see if we could foster the kitten, but unfortunately the special skills that we needed were not available at that time. During the summer months many fostering programs are at or past capacity.
When the kitten was dropped off the finder signed a statement turning the kitten over to the League and very specifically stating that we might have to euthanize this kitten. Of course our staff wanted everything to work out well for this kitten and I'm sure that the finder was hopeful as well. Sadly this is not always possible.

I do not believe that the League lied to this good Samaritan, but I am sorry that there was a misunderstanding.