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County Health Director Responds to Charges “Too Many Dogs and Cats are Being Put to Death”

"We have a strategic plan" says Doc. Dolores Gunn
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - In the St. Louis County Charlie Dooley verses Steve Stenger debate over the euthanizing of animals, the latest volley comes from the County Health Director.

Doctor Dolores Gunn says Steve Stenger’s assertion that the county animal shelter is mismanaged, and too many dogs and cats are put to death, is just not the case.

“We have a strategic plan that the county implemented over five years ago. Councilman Stenger knew about it. Everything he suggested on Tuesday was nothing new.” said Doc. Gunn.

That strategic plan says Doc. Gunn involves holding animals more than double the time that the state suggests, treating the sick and wounded and only euthanizing those beyond help, which has numbered about four thousand a year.

Those animals , she says, often carry contagious diseases or have severe behavioral problems…and they are put to death only if a panel, which includes a vet, is in complete agreement.

She says the strategic plan has adoption as the first priority, then treatment and euthanasia only as a last resort and those cases usually involve animals with contagious diseases or severe behavioral problems.

Doc. Gunn says euthanizing animals is not taken lightly. “We have a written policy and no one person in the St. Louis County animal control facility can make that decision. That has to be a team decision and that team must include someone that has behavioral experience with animals and it has to include a medical vet.”

She also said the office works with rescue groups to help with adoptions. It also uses a number of websites like Petfinder, Adopt a Pet to get homes for dogs and cats. They also use social websites.

“When an animal comes to the facility information is immediately put on the web site http://www.stllostpets.org

Doc. Gunn says the hours at the facility have also been extended so people can reconnect with their lost pets

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