Concern about euthanasia policies at Sauk Co. Humane Society - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Concern about euthanasia policies at Sauk Co. Humane Society


BARABOO (WKOW) -- Some people in Sauk County claim the local animal shelter is euthanizing too many animals.

People say they've surrendered what they believed to be healthy animals to Sauk County Humane Society, only to later find the dog or cat had been put down.  They've been communicating along with former employees on Facebook and other websites regarding concerns over putting down too many animals.
Dana Madalon, executive director of Sauk County Humane Society, says the shelter keeps animals as long as health, space and temperament allow. Staff reads the following statement and asks for a signature from those who surrender an animal: "I understand that if SCHS determines a suitable home cannot or should not be found, or if it determines it is the best interest of the animal, the animal may be humanely euthanized."
"We, of course, try to avoid that as much as possible," Madalon says. "It depends on if we have room, it also depends on how severe the injuries are or the illness."
Madalon says SCHS policy allows staff to euthanize an animal if a veterinarian deems its health is poor and would be too expensive to treat, or if the animal has uncontrollable behavior problems and bite history.
One former employee disagrees. Mary Harris says she worked for SCHS in April. She said she had to quit because of what she saw there.
"I have seen many a healthy animal put down there, because I took the intake and I know the animal was healthy, they were friendly, they were happy," Harris says.
Harris tells 27 News as an office assistant, she had to enter information into the record system on each animal. She says veterinarian technicians deemed some animals healthy that she later had to enter as euthanized.
Madalon says a healthy animal has never been put down at the shelter since she's been with SCHS for the past year and eight months.

According to SCHS records from 2012, the shelter euthanized 58 percent of the 2165 dogs and cats that came in. 27 News also requested records from other shelters in our area of varying sizes.
The same year, Dane County Humane Society took in 5369 animals and had to euthanize 13 percent. A spokesperson says DCHS will only euthanize if an animal's health condition is untreatable.
A Columbia County Humane Society spokesperson says the shelter does not euthanize for space reasons and adopts out all healthy , treatable animals, only euthanizing for severe medical or behavioral conditions. In 2012, they took in 1238 animals, euthanizing 15 percent.
Iowa County Humane Society took in just 358 animals, euthanizing nearly 5 percent in 2012, for unresolvable health problems and  severe behavioral issues that are a public safety concern.

The Humane Society of Jefferson County reports taking in 942 animals in 2012, euthanizing 31 percent. The director added, 71 of the 290 animals euthanized there were at the owner's request.
Madalon claims the biggest problem in Sauk County is of animal control. She says the public has to help the shelter by spaying and neutering animals to slow overpopulation. Earlier this year, the shelter took in 40 cats in just one day, many from farm communities. They've already taken in more than 200 animals than last year.
SCHS is building a new facility where they plan to hold a spay/neuter clinic to help get things under control. Madalon hopes the public will use it as soon as its open so fewer animals are picked up as strays.
27 News reached out to veterinarians in the Baraboo area who have worked with SCHS. Some declined to comment, others said they aren't aware of any inappropriate policies.
Det. Joe Sabol, with Sauk County Sheriff's Office handles humane calls in the county. He says he hasn't gotten any complaints about SCHS and in his experience working with the shelter, he hasn't seen anything that would cause concern.
Opponents to SCHS believe a change in leadership is necessary to move on from what they see as a euthanasia problem at the shelter. Harris says they're banding together to bring the issue to the SCHS Board next month at their meeting on August 19 at the shelter.
Powered by Frankly