A professional person trained as an animal behaviorist is a luxury that many shelters cannot afford, but having such a professional on staff even as a volunteer is necessary for saving lives. A shelter that is moving toward achieving a TRUE NO KILL status should make every effort to have a trained staff member who understands every aspect of animal behavior in every circumstance. Animals do feel every emotion that a human feels. There are countless stories of animals showing fear, compassion, and shyness. There is a wonderful story about the German Shepard that served as the canine partner to one of the police officers who was tragically gunned down in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area a few years ago. A handler for the dog took the dog to the funeral of his human partner. The dog stood quietly outside in the crowd with its handler until the casket of his human partner was brought out. The dog began to howl and cry when the casket was brought out. He was aware that his human partner was in that casket. The press members were astounded at the dog’s behavior. No one will ever forget the dog’s reaction to his human partner’s casket. The dog was clearly showing grief. This dog was retired and given to the widow of the officer, and now lives with the family.
The Manatee County Animal Services shelter is slowly moving toward a status as a No Kill shelter as demanded by the community. One major piece of the protocol that is mandated by the No Kill Advocacy group is missing. The shelter must have a professional person who is trained in animal behavior. A person qualified to assess medical, behavior prevention and rehabilitation is listed as a piece of the No Kill Equation. Such a professional on staff at the shelter at the time that this dog was confiscated would have saved Sedona.
Her name is Sedona, and she was confiscated by animal control and taken to Manatee County Animal Services shelter on September 22, 2014. According to the shelter’s census, there were two other dogs that appeared to be puppies that were confiscated from a home at 5920 11th E in Bradenton. The dogs were confiscated because there was no food or water provided for the dogs when in the yard. Sedona was given the ID as A066511, and the two puppies were given ID’s of Breezy A067753 and Sandy A067754. By accounts, the owner should have been charged with neglect and animal abuse.
One of the things that the shelter is currently doing well is working with rescues to pull dogs and save lives. The two puppies were pulled by Honor Rescue on September 26. Sedona was left behind at the shelter and branded as both “Timid” and “Aggressive”. A qualified animal behaviorist would not have used both of these terms, and would have understood that the dog was terrified. According to the shelter census as viewed by the manager of the Support No Kill Manatee County FaceBook page, Sedona was murdered on September 27 after a 5-day hold.
Manatee County Animal Services shelter hastily took on the label of a No Kill Shelter in 2011. It is slowly moving toward this as a true label with many good things that they are doing now. They are partnering with more rescues that are pulling dogs and saving lives. They are creating more adoption events for the public to attend. However, the shelter is still seemingly a High Kill shelter. It is a long road and the community demands that they change.