Ruth, I would guess you either work with a rescue or have spent a lot of time looking at shelter disease rates because you are spot on here. I also have looked at shelter numbers, and the truth here is that URI rates took a significant decline the year after Amanda changed the cleaning protocols and improved cat housing at the old facility. It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the new building. I think the fall in euthanaisa rates this year is due to Amanda's work with UC Davis. She came to realize that all these animals didn't have to die, that there were other options. The foster program she started and the fact that she started putting older animals up for adoption against the director's wishes are the primary reasons. Also, I think when she had control of the shelter facebook page she would put animals on there specifically so the director couldn't have them euthanized. I don't know any of this for sure, I'm just making an educated guess.
I have witnessed some of the wretched things these women have done to Amanda simply because they do not like her or her ideals, and I will tell you that they are not the caring people you think you see. While I don't feel that people should boycott the shelter, I also don't think people should back a staff that acts like unruly children when they don't get thier way nor do I think you should back a director that doesn't have the managerial skills to stop it from happening. Not only does she not stop it, she promotes it. I won't share some examples of their behavior in an open forum because I don't think Amanda would want me to, but trust me, it is deplorable the way these "adults" act. The community should be ashamed.
We could debate this in circles all day. I do agree with Sandy that debating this is not the point here, however. The bigger issue is whether Amanda deserved to be treated this way simply because the director and the assistants did not agree with her ideas. Yes, Amanda has lofty goals. She also has the experience and education to back up what she says. People that work in shelters need to believe they can make a difference. When they lose sight of that, there becomes no point in their work, they no longer have the desire to try, and it all just becomes a cycle where they go through the motions with no real interest in what they do. My opinion is that the others were burnt out and Amanda trying to force them to care created a lot of anger and resentment among all involved. Who knows though, really. Maybe they just didn't like her because she makes bad jokes. Lord, I don't know. What I do know is that she did not deserve to be treated the way she has been for the last two years. It's ironic that we can have a friendly debate in a normally contentious environment (the internet) yet someone felt the need to hide agas chamber rather than openly discuss it. A few words come to mind, the first of which is cowardly.
You may not believe this, but there are shelters in the north that don’t have enough animals. I am serious. They have so effectively used spay/neuter practices that they run out of animals. When they get a litter of puppies or kittens in, people will line up in the parking lot for them and fights will start a la Black Friday sales. Amanda had already spoken to a shelter in Milwaukee that was set up to transport Jeff City’s animals to them when JCAS got too full. She had worked out a plan, but hadn’t needed to use it yet. And before anyone complains about cost, these shelters up north actually pay the shelters in the south for these animals. It would’ve cost nothing to send these animals up there to be adopted.
How did she know to do this and know to call Milwaukee? She is well-connected thanks to her fellowship.
There have been rumors circulating that Amanda was the one that refused to work and caused all of this. I have worked with her for many years on many projects, and I can assure you this is not the case. Amanda has been endlessly bullied by three specific women at JCAS. The things they have done are childish and sometimes just plain cruel. She put up with them trying to stop her at every corner, refusing to work with her, and doing so many other things that I just won’t mention here. She put up with it because she had a commitment to the animals here and she felt that she was needed. Finally, she got tired of it. She decided to leave and to move closer to family and not deal with this garbage anymore. I think she knew the gas chamber fight would cause an upheaval so she waited until she was ready to leave to get rid of it. She knows the temper of the director and knew she would come after her with guns blazing. This is not the reason she left, but it is the reason the city kicked her out before her time was up. And after all she’s done for them, it’s sickening.
Jefferson City will never employ a better shelter veterinarian.
The proposal was about “ferals” that come in to the shelter in traps and finding barn homes for them. There were only 230 ish of those last year. Amanda can pretty easily perform 40 surgeries BEFORE LUNCH with the help of two assistants. She could do the annual workload of “feral” cats in 6 days and still have her afternoons free. The shelter already employs two full time assistants so there would be no extra staff needed. And, of course, these cats don’t come in all at once so they would just be added to the surgery schedule as they come in.
Why do I put ferals in quotations? At least half of these cats killed in the gas tank are not feral. Many are frightened pets. With Amanda’s plan, these cats would no longer be killed before they had a chance to be claimed.
Now, the barn homes. You are correct, finding barn homes would be difficult. Amanda was working on setting up relationships with non-profit partners and no kill shelters that would be willing to help. Fact is, some of these cats would still need to be euthanized. But it wouldn’t be done in the tank. It would be done by Amanda after she sedated them and evaluated their health and well-being. Declawed cats would no longer be euthanized as being “feral”.
Now TNR is a whole other can of worms. TNR is a lot of work. It would take a lot of volunteers and probably some other part time vets to help. Here’s the thing though. Amanda never planned to use city funds for any of this. She had already set up grants with multiple organizations and already had a plan to pay for everything, including paying the city back for use of the facility. This was going to cost the city NOTHING.
TNR numbers, you ask? I worked at a shelter where TNR dropped our shelter intake of cats 45% in three years. That means there were half as many cats to find homes for every year. HALF AS MANY. That saves time, saves money, and makes it much easier to find homes for the ones we do have. TNR has been proven over and over again to be a more efficient way to manage cat overpopulation than trap/kill. The University of Florida has done a lot of research into these numbers if you are truly interested in looking it up online.
Another thing you elude to is how we are going to find homes for all the animals if we quit euthanizing so many. I will tell you she had a plan for that too. Amanda’s goal was to get JCAS down to a 15% euthanasia rate. She made no secret of that to anyone. So what does the shelter do with all those extra animals that aren’t being killed? (cont)
I know the vet very well. I used to work with her and I feel I can respond well here. Connor, you do not sound like an animal hater. You sound like someone that is frustrated with the irresponsibility of other people that do not care for their animals.
First, the wildlife. Attached to Amanda’s proposal was a letter from the Missouri Animal Control Association stating that we shouldn’t be taking in the wildlife. Amanda also called 7 other animal control agencies in Missouri, and NONE of them take in wildlife. This is simply not the responsibility of animal control. It is the responsibility mostly of the homeowner. Please trust me on this, if Jeff City stops taking in wildlife and euthanizing it, it does not mean rabid raccoons will roam the streets eating off the hands and faces of children. Wild animal populations are controlled by natural means without the involvement of animal control.
The bigger problem you mention is the lack of availability of low cost spay neuter in Jefferson City. People are not spaying their animals because they cannot afford it, then are dumping the puppies and kittens on someone else. People are also dumping pregnant animals and also animals they simply cannot afford anymore. Amanda fought and fought HARD for the first three years she was here to get low cost spay neuter in Jeff City. She fought despite the fact that she made a lot of enemies. She really felt like the best and possibly only way to create massive change here was to help people get animals altered. When this failed repeatedly and she was told by those above her that no such thing was ever going to happen, she moved on to something else. A lot of your problems would be solved if people had access to affordable spay/neuter procedures.
You may not realize this, but your third issue really refers to two things. Amanda’s proposal above is not about TNR. She was working on how to make TNR possible for Jeff City, but that particular proposal was not TNR. TNR takes a lot of time and work, and she was only really in the beginning stages of making that work. She did have a lot of powerful people behind her, however. I’ll get more to TNR in a minute. (cont)
That is all public information. The vets were hand-picked by Karen because they are the three that wouldn't fight her on things. Also, you can Sunshine request the meeting minutes, but there won't be many. Karen cancels those meetings on a regular basis. I wouldn't be surprised if it has been over a year since a meeting was held.
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