Facebook Group Addresses Concerns With St. Joseph Co. Animal Shelters

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WOWO): What was a routine piece of business regarding a contract with the humane society in St. Joseph County wasn't quite as routine earlier this week.

A Facebook group that calls itself the “St. Joseph County Animal Welfare League” has taken issue with the Humane Society of St. Joseph County and has been actively pushing local politicians to sever ties with the facility.

At issue is whether some live animals that were taken to the facility were counted as “DOA” or “Dead on Arrival”. That was the focus of arguments from one group member that attended a county commissioners meeting earlier this week.

Ultimately, commissioners voted to extend the contract with the humane society through the end of the year. Dr. Carol Ecker, director of the Humane Society for St. Joseph County, says the group’s claims are baseless and she isn't entirely sure why her shelter has been targeted. As far as the euthanasia numbers- the shelter put down more than 1,500 animals in 2014, including dogs, cats, wild animals, livestock, and other pets.

That number is down more than 60% from two years prior. Ecker says other area shelters they do not turn away any animal regardless of its physical or mental condition. She says, it’s not uncommon for them to give a small amount of euthanasia to animals that arrive nearly dead to help them avoid any suffering.

The group claims in those circumstances, the shelter is counting them as DOA in an effort to make their euthanasia numbers look better.

The Facebook group has boasted in recent posts that they now have more than 700 followers and with growing numbers, their cause becomes stronger. Among other claims by the group is that they've discovered illegally discarded animal remains at the local landfill, a practice that Ecker says is perfectly legal and a widely accepted practice.

Overall, she suggests part of the problem may be that members of the St. Joseph County Animal Welfare League have never come into the shelter and seen the way it works first hand, or spoken with the volunteers that work there every day.

Recent posts to the group‘s page suggest they plan to meet soon to determine their next move. In the past they've suggested county officials partner with other private no-kill shelters to handle the county’s animal control.