This page is designed to foster appreciation and care for all pets. Most of what is found on this page is from guest writers in the St. George area.
Today I received the following report from Chief Marlon Stratton, St. George Police Department. Many thanks to the chief for his diligence in keeping the community informed and animals properly cared for.
St. George Police Department
Update: August 18 – 24, 2013
- The shelter currently has 19 kennels in the adoptable dog section. There are 19 dogs housed in these kennels. Some dogs are sharing kennels, therefore two kennels are vacant.
- The shelter has 18 kennels in the impound/quarantine section. Ten of these kennels are occupied with nine vacant.
- The shelter has 18 cages in the adoptable cat area, with 17 cats in them. There are a few cats that share the larger cages. There are six empty cages. There are two cats in quarantine from the Bat bite incident two weeks ago and are waiting to be picked up by PAWS.
- We have heard back from some local vets with interest in our RFP for medical care at the shelter.
- The shelter is seeing a large amount of public interest and willingness to play with, and walk the animals.
- The rest of the beds we were waiting for were located at P.A.W.S. They have been delivered to the shelter and put together. All dogs currently have a bed.
- The animal shelter received 18 dogs, 12 cats, and one bird.
- Seven animals were claimed by their owners.
- Five animals were adopted from the shelter.
- Animal control responded on 25 calls for service.
- The shelter received 129 phone calls.
- The shelter had 169 people visit the shelter.
- Two animals were euthanized by a veterinarian. One was a dog with kidney failure and the other was a water turtle that was hit by a car near the river and brought to the shelter.
- PAWS took four cats and one dog.
- HART took one dog.
- Kris Neal took one Cat.
- Hurricane Shelter took one dog.
Notable Animals Contacts:
This week we took in a turtle that had been hit by a car. It was taken to the vet and the recommendation was to euthanize it.
Maddy is a Pitbull female that was very thin, and was becoming quite lethargic. She was taken to the vet where she was diagnosed with kidney failure. She was given only a short amount of time to live, with no quality of life. We Contacted “ Best Friends”, and they made an attempt to place her where she could live out the remainder of her life without being in a kennel. They were unsuccessful. The recommendation of the vet was to have her euthanized. Best Friends agreed. Maddy was taken to Red Hills Animal hospital where Dr. Hanning conducted the procedure due to him also being the vet that was caring for her and diagnosed her.
The construction and landscaping at the animal shelter continues to make great progress. The IT department has connected the building to the city network which gives us faster internet speeds. We plan to get voice over IP phones soon. New computers have been setup at the shelter and we are working on options for printing needed documents. We are using “shelter Manager” software to track the animals.
Cement sidewalk has been installed in front of the building and city crews are working to get sod layed.
The construction is in progress on the 13 new outside kennels. The fence panels and gates came in. Unfortunately the gates were the wrong size and had to be returned. Hopefully the correct gates will arrive next week. All of the drain covers are installed in the inside kennels.
Animal Shelter Issues
Comments by Michele Randall, and other City Council Candidates
as posted on Facebook
Today the reality of politics has reared it’s ugly head. I was saddened when I read the articles accusing Mayor McArthur of intimidation. But what is truly more disheartening is the hateful, vile comments being written about the mayor and anyone associated with him in our city government.
It is a sad commentary on our society when citizens can sit at a keyboard and type all sorts of vicious comments anonymously. Others take to social media and share the story and happily rejoice in the cruel comments being left by their friends, all at the mayor’s and his family’s expense.
I know Mayor McArthur and Jon Pike personally. I appreciate both men. I do not believe for one minute that Jon is rejoicing that the mayor is having to deal with this controversy. I also do not believe that Mayor McArthur is a bully. As the mayor himself says he is not the most eloquent speaker. He admits he chose the wrong words to use when speaking to the women at PAWS but I do not think that is justification to publicly crucify and humiliate him.
The issue of the shelter was brought to my attention by community members passionate and devoted to animal rights. I spent an hour at our shelter. I voiced my opinion that there were improvements that needed to be made at the shelter. I spoke to the chief of police, the city attorney, and several council members about my experience and some suggestions I had to improve the shelter. The council, mayor, and Chief Stratton acted in a timely and proactive manner to address the problems and they are currently trying to rectify those issues. Just today a leading animal protection advocate, Kris Neal, said “Work is moving forward at the Shelter. PAWS and One More Chance met with the Mayor and have exchanged ideas and like what’s happening and have agreed to leave the door open for future improvements.”
The shelter needed improvement but I also believe this was purposely timed as to become a campaign issue. It is still being used as a campaign issue today. I have heard some say the shelter has been in disarray for 18 years. Others have questioned, “Why was this not a campaign issue two years ago?” I asked several people that ran in 2011 if the shelter was ever brought to their attention. The answer was the same. It was not. Even certain candidates using the shelter to their advantage this campaign cycle did not mention the shelter two years ago. I find that curious.
Overall I feel the shelter concerns are being addressed by our city officials. They will continue to addressed, with or without the political agenda that has been attached to it.
The mayor is a good man with a good family. They are hurting having to read such hateful remarks about their husband, father, grandfather, and brother. This is being sensationalized intentionally and it is unfortunate. I have been on the receiving end of those kind of anonymous comments and it is hurtful. I will never rejoice in someone else’s pain. I believe we as a city are better than this form of gutter politics. It is time we stop slinging mud!
Michele is very sincere in her thoughts and emotions on this issue. Her comments should make us all look at how we may have reacted in the last several days.
For the past 38 years I have loved and appreciated the great mayors and city council members who have made St. George City the great place that it is. We have not always agreed with every issue that has been addressed, but the results of the decisions that officials have made make St. George City the place that many want to call home.
The idea of following the national mud slinging campaigns that seem to identify our nation, have no place in this area of our country. Hopefully we can appreciate all the many contributions of past leaders and move forward on a destiny that makes St. George even greater. If the only issues we can come up with in a campaign are to find ways to make others look bad, then we need to evaluate what it is that we can bring to an election and to the management of our city. Surely those who can look for solutions rather than problems should be the people we look to for leadership. Thanks Michele. Joe Bowcutt
07/31/2013 By Greg Aldred
Greg Aldred was asked the following questions by the Spectrum. “Have you been up to the shelter recently, and did you have any strong thoughts about it before the election got underway? Do you think we should have a no-kill animal shelter in the city? Why or why not?” These are his responses to those questions, which he wished to share on this blog.
I have visited the shelter in the past and understand how the shelter is operated. I do support a no kill shelter and have visited with shelters who follow those guidelines.
I’ve often wondered where the pets go when their owners pass on. I have a rescue Lab and I know we can accomplish this without increasing tax dollars.
Those who support this cause need to be apart of helping to make it happen. That’s how it works in Ivins and that’s how it could work in Dixie.
Life is always a priority and the love we receive from our pets is never forgotten.
I would like to include that like people, some living animals are not adaptable to live in harmony with others. Each circumstances need review.
If we have a rabid animal it is in everyone’s best interest to eliminate the danger. The good book says that we are to have dominion over the animals.
We must act responsible as a community to do so. I’ll end with this question. Who would be best in running an animal shelter. Government or private business?
Hello again Animal lovers,
Every Quarter our City Council holds a public open comment work meeting where the public can comment and voice opinions on issues important to our City. This meeting is Wed. July 31, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
The Spectrum newspaper has created significant public awareness through it’s front page article on the need for Shelter improvement and long term remedies. For now we have the ear of the Mayor and a number of City Council members and we need your support to continue the pressure and interest in making our City Shelter a more humane place for our animals. This should not be a time for finger pointing, but a time to show the City Council we appreciate their efforts and offer support any way possible to create immediate, intermediate and long term improvement for out Shelter.
One of our goals is to place a representative for Shelter improvement as a regular agenda speaker for the Thursday City Council meeting. Remember, both meetings are important, but the Wednesday meeting is only for comment, not policy making. Our primary goal for Thursday’s Council meeting should be to have the City Council create a resolution allowing regular representation for partnership with the City to improve our shelter. If you can only make one meeting, the Thursday meeting is the more important. Come early to both as they will begin promptly at 5:00 in the City Council Chambers.
Remember, resolution, not confrontation will move us forward more quickly to our goals.
Thank you in advance,
One More Chance Animal Rescue
I recently visited the St. George animal shelter and have a few thoughts on the subject. I was surprised at how clean the shelter was and that it was not at capacity. I did see some areas that could use some improvements. I would like to get some more information before commenting on long-run solutions for the shelter. I will however comment on the short-run.
As of right now, not all the canine holding areas have beds. The beds that they use are specially made, and cost about $50-$75 to build and implement. I would like to see the city create a page on their website of service projects that need to be taken up. I am an Eagle scout. One of the hardest parts of obtaining the rank of Eagle is finding a good service project. I feel like the cities best resource is its people. I feel that if the city were to ask the citizens to help out with special projects, that there would be an outpouring of support. I would love to see the animal shelter get taken on as a project for motivated volunteers and I would like to see a special area of the shelter give tribute to the people that have contributed.
Sometimes the answer is not more money, but more attention. We have great people that live here, and I am confident that we all want St. George to be the best City it can be.
Greg Whitehead – Candidate for St. George City Council
A Moderate Proposal
Answering the Call of the Semi-Wild
By William Way
I am taking the prerogative of commenting on the animal care issues facing St. George.
As a former city manager, who regularly advocated for “no kill” policies and shelters…and having adopted some wonderful pets as a result of my job, I have strong feeling on this issue. In fact, without such feelings I would not have included a special page, Pet Pound, on this blog. Nor would I have established a separate blog designed exclusively as a free site for people to post information about their lost pets.
I begin with the down-side of animal protection. The financial demand on cities to offer shelter services is far greater than the average citizen contemplates. Frequently, elected officials are pulled in dozens of different directions that do not include the relatively invisible issue of animal shelters and policies. It is usually a significant incident that draws these issues to the forefront, such as a child being attacked by a stray or uncontrolled animal.
What happens at that point is reactive. The public and elected officials rightfully bring the issue to the forefront. Radical, rather than temperate, opinions too often get expressed and unthoughtful demands are made. That is generally the worst time to make or revise policy, even though the demand for action is at it pinnacle. The remedies are frequently as taxing as the cause.
On July 25, 2013 the St. George City Council held a work session. During that work session a limited number of people were authorized to address the city council. Naturally, many of the 100 plus citizens in attendance were frustrated and angered by the restriction. However, in the spirit of boldness, their frustrations were generated, neither by the City Council nor the Mayor, but rather by those who whipped the group up into a frenzy to attend the meeting, with unreasonable expectations. The agenda specifically stated the item of business was “Report regarding the Memorandum of Understating with the Best Friends Animal Society”. Nothing more than that should have been expected by the public.
The reactions of a few outspoken people about how the rules should have been abandoned in favor of the audience are unfounded. Contrary to popular sentiment city council meetings are meeting of the city council, not meetings of the public. They are not and should not be occasions for random radical expression of a special interest group.
Having said that, City Councils should in fact be open to public comment in appropriate venues. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and a dereliction of duty. I have attended city council meeting in St. George and have been somewhat shocked by the lack of opportunity for the public to comment on issues. This is the only city where I have witnessed such level of disregard. It should change. But, having said the need for change is necessary does not equate to any member of the public showing up and demanding a voice.
My opinions expressed above will be unpopular with both some citizens and with members of the sitting city council. That is unfortunate, because if those comments were taken in the constructive nature they are intended much good could come from them. But, as the late night commercials say “Wait, there is more.”
I have seen two incidents where animal control officers have been viciously attacked by unprovoked dogs (not in St. George). One required transport to a regional hospital because their injuries were too severe to be handled by local facilities. The natural reaction of those wishing to protect animals will be a knee-jerk response that the Animal control office (ACO) was not properly trained, inadequately equipped, provoked the animal, or some other ill-informed assumption. None of those conclusions would be remotely accurate. The only lapse in judgment on the part of the ACOs was in making a faulty assessment of the dog’s nature, based on the initial friendliness of the animal.
It is easy to point fingers and cast blame at those tasked with the daily burden of tending for caged and rejected animals. But, for those that ascribe unfounded conclusions about ACOs I classify those people as being as vicious as some unpredictable animals. They, to their shame, are doing nothing less than demanding a pound of flesh from those fixing the problems that are most frequently created by irresponsible people that abandon their pets…when the going gets tough.
Well, enough of the chastisement. I have also seen several ACOs that have needed to take time off work for a couple days, after euthanasia was the used as the last resort. They simply had become overcome with grief.
As I mentioned above I am a strong proponent of no kill shelters. I would like to see this area have a broad no kill philosophy, under virtually all circumstances. But, coming back to my earlier point “The financial demands on cities to offer shelter services is far greater than the average citizen contemplates.” Whether some folks like it or not the priority for people-safety does, will, and must prevail over that of animal safety. That is where the money will go, by any well-intentioned city council. It is appropriate.
In a recent news article several candidates for the St. George City Council offered various opinions about the future of the animal shelter. Michele Randall was quoted first as emphasizing the necessity for team work within the community. “With the city and the community working together, I believe we can find solutions to improve the shelter to where everyone is satisfied.” Warren Wright, another candidate offered this “There are some really creative people in town, and probably at least half of the funding construction, or renovation or upgrading could come from private sources.”
This mentality, as expressed by many of the candidates, ought to be applauded. Yes, there are undesirable situations that exist at the St. George Animal Shelter. In my visits to the shelter I have witnessed both the good and the bad. Stealing from an old Clint Eastwood movie I would hope that a few do not make the bad also ugly. One person posted a somewhat unsavory (ugly) comment on this blog, which I promptly blocked. The comment expressed frustration about politicizing the St. George Animal Control and shelter system.
I offer no justification or excuse for any legitimate complaints. However, the reaction to the St. George animal shelter may be overstated, when compared to a much newer facility in Ivins. In one Utah City the process for correcting over-crowding at their shelter was simply to attach a vacuum cleaner hose to a car exhausted and run it into the sealed shelter, returning a few hours later to “clean-up the results.” St. George is well ahead of that procedure in how it functions. When comparisons are being made there is a tendency for people, even political candidates, to compare their worst to other people’s best, and then unsurprising find themselves inadequate. As we move forward we ought to be cautious of making a similar ill-conceived comparison.
I agree with one city council candidate that suggests that animal control should be a countywide issue, not isolated to each city. I also agree that animal control and shelters should be completely privatized. Because cities legitimately cannot devote the limited resources to animal welfare in an economically viable manner the function of animal care can be shifted back to private industry.
Here is one proposal, which can be modified with rational input.
- Washington County and the cities adopt a uniform animal maintenance Standards of Care ordinance setting standards of care for a no kill shelter system throughout the entire county.
- An Animal Maintenance Board (AMB) be established with a representative appointed from the county, and each incorporated city. The board would administer the no kill shelter system.
- All publicly owned facilities would then be turned over to the AMB for establishing administrative policies and procedures.
- The AMB would establish a bid process for private management of the system, inclusive of animal capture, and compliance with local municipal regulations.
- As part of the Standards of Care ordinance a countywide .5% local option sales tax would be applied to the purchase of all animal care products sold in the county. The resultant revenue would be applied to administering routine care of the no kill shelters, and for providing veterinary care inclusive of cost free spay and neuter services.
- The animal maintenance Standards of Care ordinance would also establish a modest impact fee for new residential units being built within the county.
Through this proposal a focused entity, AMB, provides the community with practical animal safety measures. It is provided with a revenue stream dedicated to animal care, coming from animal care product retail sales. It eliminates the cost factor for spay and neuter services, enticing pet owners to more readily avail themselves of the service. It further provides for a cost effective means of neutering strays. Lastly, the AMB monitors all the animal care facilities and receives immediate complaints about abuse and other issues regarding the private contract service.
St. George City Council is examining this issue. Among their many duties they are taking this seriously. I would urge that they select a team of citizens that would take my proposal and develop a more comprehensive recommendation, in conjunction with our other cities. I would encourage the council, in the appointment of the citizen’s group, to set a realistic yet timely date by which the team would report back to the council with a completed proposal.
We have experienced enough anger, frustration, animosity, and inaction on this issue. The time to move forward to a comprehensive community-based resolution has arrived. Rather than making this into a political campaign about who loves animals the best this is a prime opportunity to demonstrate that we will work together as Southern Utah for the betterment of all animal care facilities and activities.
That’s the Way I See It.
By Kris Neal
Saving the unwanted
She walks alone quietly under the cover of darkness. She would just as soon not have the sliver of light in the night sky so she stays even closer to the shrubs lining the fences. She stops by the house that once offered her a full bowl of food, clean water and a warm bed. She takes just a second to look back on what she’s done to make the people angry enough to leave her behind. Now the house is hostile. She won’t make that mistake again; she will not trust humans and she will teach her babies to fear man. She can not dwell on this now, she presses on. What’s it been? three, maybe four days since she’s dared look for food. The new litter she has safely tucked under the shed has taken what strength she has and if she doesn’t eat, she’ll not have milk to feed them. She must hurry, they are alone. She crosses the street into the parking lot where she’s found scraps of food in the past. She barley misses a car that swerves to hit her and fear creeps through every part of her body. Who will find them if she doesn’t return. Who will care for the new life she’s left under the shed.
There is an estimated 100 million feral cats in the United States. They are the product of man not altering their domestic cats. These cats breed and their offspring fear humans. They are the single largest tragedy of man’s irresponsibility. Feral cats are not a problem they are our responsibility.
by Kris Neal
Hello Animal Lovers,
please cross post
The political process is working. We are getting a little closer to obtaining our goal of a new St. George Animal Shelter. One that is humane, friendly, spacious, one that will entice you to adopt a family member and yes…No Kill.
There is a City Council work meeting scheduled this coming Thursday, July 25th at 4:00 at the St. George City Offices 175 E. 200 No. There will be a discussion on the existing City Shelter, it’s shortcomings, what should be done to improve or replace it as well as becoming the leader in animal care and no kill. Best Friends Animal Society and myself will be there giving a report on our Community Cat Act and what is needed to continue this valuable program if we are to move to No-Kill.
This will be the single most important meeting in animal welfare ever held. You have the opportunity to be part of this and let our City officials know by your attendance that the time is here for us to move in a new, modern direction. The Candidates and existing Council have our ear right now. Don’t let the opportunity pass us by. Please plan on attending.
In the mean time, please email a note to the existing Council members and Candidates, continue with FaceBook messages. Let them know that it is time for a new shelter, humane treatment and no-kill.
We will make this happen
Dan McArthur [firstname.lastname@example.org];
Gil Almquist [email@example.com];
Gail Bunker [firstname.lastname@example.org];
Jimmie Hughes [Jimmie.Hughes@sgcity.org];
Ben Nickle [email@example.com]
Jon Pike [firstname.lastname@example.org]
One More Chance
by Kris Neal
Years of carefully growing our city, our leaders have skillfully providing our community with diverse array of activities under adverse conditions. In any direction we find a comprehensive trail system that in a few short steps takes us from Lush River bottoms to the red sands of Snow Canyon. A gathering area that boasts of family friendly activities and new neighborhood dog parks. Through a difficult stretch of budget cuts in the wake of the Great Recession, we realized a new Airport, Library and Court House while remaining on strong financial footing. Growth has been the buzz word, how to grow our community but preserve our quality of life.
Despite the carefully orchestrated growth, our Cities Animal Shelter, the one safe haven for abandoned, abused and relinquished animals remains unchanged. It stands exactly as it was built 25 years ago when our population was less than 20,000. Each building boom, each economic down turn followed by a new growth spurt renders the shelter less and less adequate. Our leaders realizing that keeping animals out of the shelter through comprehensive spay/neuter programs are more cost effective than building a new shelter began funding low cost spay/neuter programs as well as a comprehensive Community Cat program. I shudder to think of how many good animals would be dead if not for these program. But still, rescue groups have served as over flow for the shelter, housing and finding homes for countless animals on their own time, at their own expense. Today the shelter is stretched to its limit, the rescue groups are over extended, exhausted and crying enough is enough.
The time is long past due to replace this tired, outdated building with a modern facility that is a reflection of its elected officials and the people. A shelter that is respectful of the animals that are entrusted to its care where dogs have a blanket to sleep rather than the wet cement, an outdoor run to sun while their pen is being clean. A shelter with a communal area for the cats to exercise, an adoption area where prospective adopters can evaluate a new family member. A shelter that says we are a compassionate and responsible community. A shelter that empowers the modern sheltering management techniques that will equal us to the standards of Best Friends. The new City Officials we have the opportunity of electing will have the chance to shape how St. George develops moving forward. And to move forward without a new Animal Shelter is simply unacceptable.