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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 20 May 2006 Special Alert Issue

Help Stop Animal Cruelty at Summit County Shelter

For years, a pattern of severe neglect has been taking place at the Summit County Animal Shelter in Akron. Dogs and cats are routinely denied basic veterinary care and even food, and many animals are killed well before the mandatory holding period has expired.

Worst of all, some dogs recently received insufficient doses of sodium pentobarbital during the euthanization procedure. It is likely that some and perhaps even all of them regained consciousness in the freezer where they slowly froze to death.

What's At Stake:

Over the past several years, Ohio-based animal protection advocates have documented a pattern of severe neglect and cruelty taking place at the Summit County Animal Shelter in Akron. Under the "care" of shelter employees, dogs and cats are routinely denied basic veterinary care, and even regular feedings and clean water. In fact, at least 53 dogs and cats died in their cages over a recent 18-month period.

In defiance of state law, staff routinely feed animals only once a day, claiming they wouldn't have enough time to clean up the extra waste from a second feeding. Even still, shelter cages all too often remain filthy for lack of cleaning, with animals forced to lie in their own urine and feces.

In addition, many animals are killed almost immediately after intake, well before the mandatory three-day holding period has expired. Some of these deaths have been illegally ordered by a shelter employee who is not authorized or qualified to make such important decisions. This contributes to Summit County's exceedingly high kill rates:

last year, the shelter killed 49% of the dogs and 65% of the cats that it received. Compare these figures with the neighboring Geauga County Animal Shelter's 3% overall euthanization rate, achieved through aggressive adoption efforts, and it is clear that drastic changes are needed in Summit County.

Perhaps most appalling of all, a licensed veterinarian has charged that shelter staff recently administered insufficient doses of sodium pentobarbital, the chemical used to destroy unwanted animals, to 18 dogs during the euthanization procedure. The quantities were so small in comparison to the dogs' weight that at least some and perhaps even all of the animals certainly regained consciousness in the corpse freezer and slowly froze to death. Such horrific cruelty is unacceptable for any animal shelter, and must not be tolerated by the citizens of Summit County whose taxes pay for the care of animals, not their abuse.

Go on to Take Action
Return to 20 May 2006 Special Alert Issue

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