Why this is important:
“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals”.
– Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher
Wave 3 news recently featured a story outlining horrid allegations of animal abuse and cruelty at the Taylor County Animal Shelter. In a letter written by Andy Stewart, an inmate at the Taylor County Detention Center, Stewart claims he witnessed the brutal killings of cats and dogs, botched euthanasia, and animals being buried alive.
Stewart claims that on April 7th, he was part of a mass euthanization of at least 39 animals in one day. The shelters incinerator was broken that day so the animals were buried sin three mass graves, and some of those animals were buried alive. “After euthanizing the animals, some of them would still be alive and we would throw them and the dead ones in the bucket of a backhoe and take and dump them into the incinerator dead or alive”, Stewart wrote in his letter to the Central KY News Journal. Taylor County Executive Eddie Rogers, said the burner went out on the incinerator and it was down for about two weeks. He said that it is true that 39 animals were euthanized and buried in mass graves. While shelter director, John Harris, denies the allegations, the State of Kentucky and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit- animal rights group in California, haven’t been so quick to dismiss Stewart’s claims. They also include one account of animals that were thrown into the shelters incinerator, called the “eliminator”, while they were still alive.
This is not the first time that rumors and allegations of animal abuse and improper procedures have swirled around the Taylor County Animal Shelter. For years, such claims have existed, and been long known by many citizens in Campbellsville, Kentucky. This is the first time, however, it has received the media attention it deserves. The cruel fact is that no one seems to care or want to stand up for what is right. Management seemingly does nothing to try and find homes for these animals.
Taylor County Animal Shelter does NOT allow volunteers or utilize websites to try and list animals that are up for adoption. It is impossible to get on a computer and find a listing for a dog or cat available for adoption at the Taylor County Animal Shelter. There is no calling of rescues or foster homes. Why would a shelter not allow volunteers? Is it because people who volunteer care? Is it because people who care would blow the whistle?
The KY Board of Veterinary Examiners is meeting December 1st, to decide whether or not the mass graves need to be exhumed. By then, it may be too late. The evidence may be gone. In the recent story on Wave 3, it states that when two EPA investigators met with the director John Harris, on site they “identified three separate areas in the woods near the shelter that appeared to have been recently disturbed”. These graves DO NOT need to be disturbed while an investigating is pending.
Shelter Director, John Harris, needs to step down or be placed on administrative leave until the case has been fully reviewed and until such time as he is exonerated. ANY wrongdoings at Taylor County Animal Shelter need to be stopped IMMEDIATELY, until it can be confirmed that they are following proper procedures and state laws.
Our goal is to get the word out to as many people as possible, and prove to the powers that be, that people all over Kentucky, and the country, are watching and horrified by the allegations of the way Taylor County treats the animals they are supposed to “shelter”.
No matter where you live, help make your concerns known. Let the officials know you are watching and care what happens to the animals in Taylor County. If we see a cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and we do nothing, we make ourselves sharers of the guilt.
To Whom It May Concern:
“The awful wrongs and sufferings forced upon the innocent, helpless, faithful animal race, form the blackest chapter in the whole world’s history”. -Edward Freeman, English Freelance Historian and Journalist.
Taylor County’s faithful animals are facing a pivotal point in a long lived “black chapter”. Today is a turning point. Today is the day that we say, “No more”. We will defend the defenseless. We will speak for those that have no voice. We will protect those that protect, serve, and comfort us.
We demand that changes be made now, to improve and investigate the conditions at the Taylor County Animal Shelter. Calls, letters and ongoing media coverage will continue until the Taylor County Animal Shelter follows basic laws and rules to care for and protect animals in their care.
An investigation is currently pending by the KY Board of Veterinary Examiners, to determine whether or not the mass graves of animals should exhumed. In a recent story on Wave 3, it states that when two EPA investigators met with director , John Harris, on site they “identified three separate areas in the woods near the shelter that appeared to have been recently disturbed”. These graves DO NOT need to be disturbed while an investigation is pending.
We ask that:
1. The animals buried in the mass graves be exhumed and autopsied by an “outside source”. Investigations that serve only to cover-up the truth and keep reputations untarnished and do “damage control” will not stand! We ask the bodies be exhumed and analyzed, and the graves not be disturbed, pending the decision of the board.
2. The current director be asked to step down and/or be placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
3. Every available resource be utilized to find the owners and homes for these animals. This includes photographing those animals up for adoption, as well as scanning every animal for a “microchip”, within a reasonable amount of time (within 24 hours). What is the point of an owner paying for a microchip, if the shelter never scans for it? Since they are building a new facility, now would be a great time to set up web cams for public viewing like many other animal shelters already have. They could be planned for and “wired in” in the new shelter, since it hasn’t been constructed yet.
4. Taylor County Shelter allow volunteers to come into and work with the shelter. It will save valuable time and monetary resources for the shelter, as well as help socialize the animals and help them to be adopted. Liability is a poor excuse to not allow volunteers. Thousands of other shelters have overcome this with a simple liability waiver. Also, allow foster and rescue groups and actively participate with the shelter to help adopt and reduce the number of animals euthanized.
5. ALL animals be properly sedated before being euthanized, and to be dead before being buried or placed into the incinerator, or the “eliminator”, as they refer to it.
6. The shelter allow an appropriate, and "set" amount of time to pass before euthanizing and/or putting animals up for adoption. This should be a set amount of days, and should not vary, regardless of circumstances. People deserve to have the time for a lost pet to show up at, and be found at the shelter.
7. To institute an animal shelter community review board, so that the public can be involved in, and be kept abreast of the happenings at the shelter.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to my concerns. I believe that God has placed these animals here as our companions and aids. They deserve our care and utmost respect.
“A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives”. – Albert Schweitzer