GARY, Ind. (AP) — Concerns over high euthanization rates
and illness have sparked a petition calling for Gary's city-run animal
shelter to be transferred to Lake County and have prompted Mayor Karen
Freeman-Wilson to order a weeklong assessment of the shelter's needs.
The mayor said
the current facility isn't equipped to handle the volume of animals coming
through its doors and can't provide an effective quarantine area for
priority is to provide a safe and sanitary location for these animals to
dwell until rescued," she said in a statement. "Ideally, we want to keep
these vital services here in our community. A city of Gary's size and
population deserves it."
launched by Save A Dog Rescue director Char Swift on change.org urges
Freeman-Wilson to shut down the city shelter, saying animals are being
euthanized after a rescue has been arranged. The petition also accuses the
shelter of using euthanasia as the solution to control a recent outbreak
of parvovirus that sickened several dogs.
"A few weeks
ago, an outbreak happened and we rescued three dogs who have so far not
contracted the disease," Swift told the Post-Tribune. "A bunch more came
in the week following, but when I called, they said no, we can't release
them. On Monday, I called again and they said they're not letting us take
the dogs. On Tuesday, we found out that they euthanized all of the dogs,
which I was initially told was eight dogs and now they're backtracking. At
least one of those dogs had a rescue and I willing to bring the dog home
and quarantine it."
Swift, who has
pulled dogs from the pound for years, said the facility isn't adequately
testing dogs for parvovirus and gets many false positives because it tests
the dogs within a day of administering the 7-in-1 vaccine.
seem to euthanize when they feel like it," she said. "And we know for sure
they don't use sedation when they euthanize."
said Animal Rescue Corps president Scotlund Haisley will visit the
facility from July 8-12 to assess its operations. Freeman-Wilson said she
hopes the process will lead to the construction of a new facility,
renovating the existing building or finding another location in the city.
petition has received more than 650 signatures. She said she hopes the
city institutes changes at Gary Animal Control.
just going to take a storm of people who are outraged for them to even to
shape up," Swift said.