I am writing to share the horrific experience I had with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, VA. I brought a kitten to the AWLA on Sunday, July
11. Before surrendering custody to the AWLA, I was told that shewould be kept at the shelter for five days since she was a stray. I was assured that she would then be placed into a foster home due to her young age and would be available for adoption within three weeks.

The next day, July 12, I called the AWLA with some additional questions. This time, I was told she would be placed into a foster home only if there were space for her. I was not told on the 11th that there were any preconditions pertaining to the foster program. It was also reiterated to me that she would remain at the AWLA for five days since she was a stray.

On Thursday, July 15, I called to check the status of the kitten. She had already been euthanized. When I called on the 16th for clarification, I was told that she was euthanized on the 11th - THE VERY SAME DAY THAT I BROUGHT HER TO THE SHELTER. The AWLA did not keep her for five days like I was told twice that they would do; they simply euthanized her shortly after I left the building. The AWLA website even states, "The law requires strays stay at the League for at least 5 to 10 days to give owners the time to find them." Not only did the AWLA not adhere to its word to me, but it obviously broke the law.Furthermore, I was told that the kitten's young age meant that she had to be bottle-fed because she could not walk up to a food dish and eat on her own. Bottle-fed kittens require foster homes at the AWLA, and since there was no space available in a foster home, the kitten was euthanized. I KNOW FOR A FACT that she did not need to be bottle-fed; she had been eating on her own from a dish since the day she was found - three days prior to the 11th - and she had even begun to use the litter box.

I was not told on July 11 or 12 about the policy of euthanizing kittens that are bottle-fed. Therefore, the paperwork I completed on Sunday, giving the shelter all rights to the kitten, was signed under false pretenses. Had I known that she would be euthanized immediately, I would have NEVER given her to the AWLA.

This kitten was found in a rural area of Virginia. I brought her to the AWLA specifically because I believed that she would have a much better chance of being adopted in a more populous area. The AWLA website touts an adoption rate of 90% and a foster program that cares for kittens under eight weeks of age and under two pounds. I drove three and a half hours to bring her to the AWLA, just for them to euthanize her without even giving her a chance at life.
It is blatantly obvious that the AWLA made absolutely no attempt at caring for this animal. I am outraged and disheartened that they are willing and able to grossly misrepresent procedures to the public. I talked to four people at the AWLA, all of whom gave me different and false information. I was assured that the kitten would be put into a foster home; she was not. I was told twice that she would be kept at the AWLA for five days; she was not. I was told she had to be bottle-fed; she did not.

I have since learned that the AWLA does not even provide foster homes to special needs animals; it simply deems those animals not adoptable and euthanizes them. All the while, they assert their adoption rate of 90% without accounting for all of the animals who are immediately euthanized.

I am deeply disturbed that the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, VA, receives taxpayer money to continue its unlawful and inhumane practices. Please share my story with anyone you can to show how the AWLA does not act in the best interest of animals and falsifies information to the public.
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I am so sorry to hear this. Especially sorry for the young kitten, (as well as all other cats and dogs), you took to them. I would write to the director exactly what you have written here. It would help if you have the names of the people you spoke to. Also, I would contact your local media, newspapers and/or television news channels, and explain what happened.

In their defense, kitten season is overwhelming on both shelters, fosters and rescue groups. Not enough people are willing to get "Fido" and "Fluffy" spayed/neutered. Although that is no reason to euthanize a perfectly adoptable animal.
Nina
I have to wonder why you didn't keep the kitten in the first place? Also, if you are so sure that the Animal Welfare League there in VA is so bad then why aren't contacting the news media or those that enforce the animal cruelty laws in your state? If you have proof of what you claim then I'd be doing that.

Panther TEK: Staying On Top Of All Your Computer Needs! www.panthertekit.com
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What you've described is standard operating proceedure at any shelter. 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. 5 day holds are only for healthy animals that don't need special care aren't surrendered. During kitten season, foster space is not going to be available. There are NEVER enough foster homes, so some animals have to die. That's a fact of pet overpopulation. Better a too young kitten than a
2 year old cat who was hit by a car and had a benefactor pay for thesurgeries for him, IMHO. There is only so much space available, and you either have to turn animals away or euthanize some to make room. Which animal would you pick to euthanize to make space? Are you going to volunteer to foster and bottlefeed babies to help make a difference? If you can neither pick which animal dies nor open your home and foster, then stop criticizing groups that do make a difference. If the truth hurts you, then it's hitting home. You talk some talk. Walk the walk.
Euthanasia to make space is a common practice especially during cat and kitten season. It's sad to have this happen but it is true. Here in Phoenix the Humane Society is known to have euthanized cats and kittens to make space but from what they have put forth to the public they do so only if the animal is too sick or injured to be saved. They also have foster care providers as well and encourage people to foster so they can make space. They also seem to network with other area shelters to take in cats and other animals which might otherwise be euthanized.

There are also rescue groups here locally that also try to rescue cats from the euthanasia list. Yes, kitten season is overwhelming many shelters right now. Shelters are constantly thinking of new ways to get the felines adopted. Some will reduce prices or do a two for the price of one deal so cats will have another feline buddy to share their new human with.

Panther TEK: Staying On Top Of All Your Computer Needs! www.panthertekit.com
Cat Galaxy: All Cats, All The Time!
www.catgalaxymedia.com
Hence we should NEVER take a cat to a shelter unless it is a non-euthanizing shelter. There are more and more of them around here and there can be where you live, if you take the time to look for them. This is not to criticize the original poster who had to trust what the shelter said and had the concern to let us know what can happen.
I don't know how people can work in those places.

Jatadiah and his hooam, Fred
(Remove FF from my email address to reply if by email).
Hence we should NEVER take a cat to a shelter unless it is a non-euthanizing shelter. There are more and ... had the concern to let us know what can happen. I don't know how people can work in those places.

Here in the UK things are very different. I volunteer at my local Cats Protection shelter (see www.cats.org.uk) and we have a strict no-kill policy. The only time a cat is put to sleep is if a vet decides there is no other option. Usually this is only in cases of FeLV, otherwise the cat is kept as long as is necessary; we have some "permanent residents" that have been there several years, although this is exceptional and they aren't kept in the usual pens but have free run of the place.

I have spent a lot of time in the USA over the years and I love the country and (most..!) of the people, but I cannot understand this almost callous disregard for an innocent animal's life. Also, AFAIK, the USA is one of the few places left that still permits the deplorable practice of declawing, but that's a different topic.
Ivor
E-mail them at (Email Removed) and let them know how you feel!!!
You have already had a variety of replies and I'm just adding my two cents. Some have made good points.
I am a long time volunteer at a large shelter so my ideas are not just theory. We are required to keep animals for a period of time to see if the owner comes to pick them up (stray time.) Only if the vet says that the animal is so bad that it cannot be saved is it euthanized. We are required to hold the animal for the stray time otherwise. I would assume that shelter is bound by similar laws and customs.

Since this kitten could and would eat on its own, any policy that AWLA has on bottle fed kittens is immaterial. There is no reason to even discuss it here, that is a totally different discussion and would only cloud this issue.
The issue of shelters that euthanize and those that do not is also NOT the issue here and should be another topic. Whether or not AWLA believes in euthanasia or not, is not what you are complaining about. You are complaining about being lied to in this one, specific case, not overall policy.
When you brought the kitten in, you signed a waiver that gave the shelter complete control over the animal. It terminated any rights that you might have had to any decisions from that moment on. That fact is also not the issue here and is NOT important in any discussion. Don't let that get in the way.
The real issue is that you were lied to when you brought the kitten in. Everything else is perhaps important, but not the real problem in your case. It is important to focus on that because there is too much chance to go astray in the discussion.
My advice is to contact the director of the shelter, personally. I would not settle for anyone else. The ONLY point to make to the director is that you were lied to . You could mention to him/her that there are other issues that concern you, but you are complaining about the lies, not their policies.
I suggest this because I doubt you will have ANY impact on their policies. Whatever those policies are, the people making them have been criticized many times by those who don't agree. This is common to ALL shelters, no matter who they are. There is always someone who thinks they can do it better and the shelter's policies are not the best that they can be.
The director will not even listen to anything that you have to say on the subject of policies. If they do listen, it sill simply be to make you think that you are getting through to them. I assure you that they will not even consider any changes, no matter what they say. I have observed that people who run shelters are unusually resistant to suggestions. They are not like other business people in reguard to customer service, but that is a totally different discussion too..

No one, with any business ethics, will condone lying to a customer. Any given two people may disagree on policies, but one universal fact is that lying is unacceptable, period.
At my shelter, we are told that we are not to answer any question that we are uncomfortable with. If we cannot tell the truth, we are to refer the person to a supervisor. If the supervisor cannot resolve it, it goes to the director. No one is allowed to lie. I hope the AWLA has a similar stance on the truth.
If that doesn't help, you could try the newspapers, but I doubt they would publish it. There is too much contraversy about these issues and too many point of view. How about the Better Business Bureau? Just a thought. Again, the issue is condoning lying, NOT the euthanazia policy.
Is this agency a govenment agency? If so, find out who they report to and go up the chain of command. As before, the issue is the lies, not the policies. No government official is going to debate policies of the shelter with you. At least, not in a manner that is going to result in any policy change.
Another thought...if the director would not accept your complaint, you could picket the AWLA. Your sign could read "I was lied to." I would have an information sheet to hand out to people who wanted to know the facts. If you do that, be sure to get legal advice first. For example, you cannot stand on private property. Where I live, it is legal to picket as long as you don't impeed traffic or harass anyone and you are standing on the sidewalk. Laws vary, in some locals, you need a permit to picket.
Again, focus on the lies. If they had not lied to you, none of this would have happened. Let the battle of their policies go for another time.
Note to those who disagree with me on the specific subjects of "top posting", euthanazia, declawing, activism, or any other subject that doesn't pertain to this person's problem, please start another topic.
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