LETTER: Burien Animal Care & Control’s Rebuttal To Monica Horn’s Letter
[EDITOR’S NOTE: On Sunday, Oct. 17th, we published a Letter to the Editor from Monica Horn, who claimed that the “City of Burien Animal Control … decided to euthanize all of the cats” along with other claims, like they “euthanized many healthy dogs.” Monica also said that the King County Animal Shelter in Kent “took much better care of these animals and at least they had a chance” and more. As of Wednesday (Oct. 20th), this Letter had elicited 68 Comments, making it one of the most-discussed issues in the history of The B-Town Blog. On Wednesday, Oct. 20th, we received a rebuttal from the city of Burien’s Animal Care & Control. For the sake of clarity, we’re re-publishing Monica’s letter first, then the city’s rebuttal:]
MONICA HORN’S ORIGINAL LETTER TO THE EDITOR (published 10/17/10):
Dear City of Burien Council Members,
Companion Animal Medical Center located at 19655 1st Ave South #106 Normandy Park, Wa, the facility that manages the City of Burien Animal Control, has decided to euthanize all of the cats. Dr. Leslie Kasper stated that one of the kittens adopted out last week had the Panleukapania Virus. Dr. Kasper had not accurately determined that the Panleukapania Virus was the cause because she did not run any blood work to determine if the white blood cell count was low. Dr. Kasper did run a parvo test on the kitten but the test can read false positive or false negative which is not the determining factor that the kitten had the virus. Dr. Kasper has decided to euthanize all of the cats based on this information.
Dr. Kasper is going out of business effective tomorrow Friday 10/15/10 and has no where to house the current animals at the shelter. She has conveniently decided that all cats have the Panluekapania Virus and will euthanize them.
Many of the kittens at the shelter have died, due to not being treated and taken care of properly. Many of the kittens required antibiotics and fluid therapy of which she failed to treat them due to financial expenses but yet the City of Burien is paying her monthly to take care of these animals.
I would hope that the City of Burien would care for the welfare of these animals and expect that the animals are treated fairly and not just outsourcing the animal control services in spite of saving money and not caring for the welfare of these animals. I would hope that is not what the City of Burien intended. The citizens of Burien need to know what is actually going on when they bring in a stray animal to this shelter.
Dr. Kasper has euthanized many healthy dogs due to requiring additional space for her boarding dogs. These dogs were great dogs and very healthy. They have paid the ultimate price due to the horrible management of the animal control services taking place at Companion Animal Medical Center.
The King County Animal Shelter located in Kent took much better care of these animals and at least they had a chance. They do not have a chance at this facility as the facility itself is not set up properly for animal control services and Dr. Kasper is in the animal control business only for the money and not for the welfare of the animals. Dr. Kasper has tried very little to find foster parents or additional animal resource centers to find homes for these animals. Instead, they are just euthanized.
The City of Burien may be saving some money outsourcing the animal control services elsewhere but the animals are paying the ultimate price and this is not moral or ethical.
I expect the City of Burien council members to review, revise and change the way you are handling animal control services. The current contract with Companion Animal Medical Center needs to be canceled immediately.
Of course Dr. Kasper would like to continue with the animal control services, she’s making 120K a year to do this. How can she spay and neuter these animals without a facility. She will just euthanize more animals. If you are heartless, this is not a bad gig for 120K a year.
She is not an official animal control officer she’s a DVM. There is a big difference. The City of Burien needs to go back to King County to professionally-maintained animal control services.
– Monica Horn
BURIEN ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL’S REBUTTAL LETTER:
October 20, 2010
Dear Community Members:
This is a response to the letter submitted to The B-Town Blog from Monica Horn regarding the shelter facility for Burien Animal Care and Control under my direction. I would like to address the situation regarding sick animals at the BACC shelter and the statement made that all of the cats at the shelter were euthanized. This is false. We still have many healthy, immune cats available for adoption. They can be found on PetFinder.com listed under Burien Animal Control.
We did have a kitten adopted out who developed Feline Panleukopenia. The adopted parents’ veterinarian diagnosed the kitten through a combination of fecal and blood tests. We were promptly notified and began investigating the health and exposure possibilities of the other cats in our facility. I pursued a recognized best practice to prevent a widespread outbreak, consistent with the Koret Shelter Medicine program at UC Davis’ College of Veterinary Medicine, a leader in shelter medicine education and research:
“At risk/exposed cats must be strictly isolated to prevent continued spread of disease. Depending on resources, this can be done either by a 14-day quarantine or euthanasia of exposed cats.” They also warn “The incubation period is generally less than 14 days, and cats may shed infectious virus for 2-3 days before signs are observed. Kittens are at highest risk for this disease, and adult cats with current vaccinations are at very low risk.”
I decided on a mixed approach of isolation and then testing if any cats or kittens appeared sick. During the initial 48 hours after the confirmed kitten’s diagnosis, nine kittens and cats tested positive for Feline Panleukopenia on conventional tests and required euthanasia.
We make every effort to find homes for every adoptable cat or dog that we handle. While this is not always possible I can assure the community that every animal is treated humanely and in accordance to the contract that I have with the City of Burien.
I am in regular contact with City staff, including the City Manager, who have been to my facility and met with me on several occasions. The City Manager has said on numerous occasions he is supportive of the way I handled this situation, and of the way I am performing all the terms of my contract with the City. It has not always been easy, and when it became clear that I would need to cease operating my veterinary practice, I worked with City staff to ensure that Burien Animal Care and Control would continue to operate smoothly.
In closing, I would like to thank the dozens of volunteers and supporters of our efforts. Without your dog-walking, cat-cuddling, box-scooping time and devotion we would not have been able to help as many animals as we have. I am actively searching for a new location where we can reestablish a publicly accessed shelter to continue to serve our community. If you are interested in helping with this process, please contact BACC.
Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to continue to provide the Burien Animal Care and Control services for you and our animals.
Leslie Kasper, DVM
Director, Burien Animal Care and Control