SPENCER COUNTY, Ind. – Aug. 31, 2018 – Alley Cat Allies, the global engine of change for cats, is demanding accountability and immediate reforms after news reports revealed that a local animal shelter in Spencer County, Indiana, has been killing kittens in one of the cruelest ways imaginable—by placing them in plastic garbage bags and tossing the bags in the shelter’s freezer until they freeze to death. According to published reports, this happened on multiple occasions, including one situation in which four kittens were frozen together. In each case, the kittens and cats suffered excruciating and terrifying deaths.
The whistleblower in the case, Bridget Woodson, told a news station she was sick to her stomach after being instructed to put a cat who was still alive into a bag and then into the freezer. She refused to comply. Other witnesses have also come forward to say that they, too, saw or were instructed to put live cats in the freezer.
Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, said investigators must look at every individual who had responsibility for the shelter to learn how and why this inhumane practice was permitted to be carried out repeatedly.
“The animal control officer who instructed her staff to kill cats, and did so herself, must be fired. Those who enabled this travesty to occur must also be held to account,” Robinson said. “But the problem is much deeper than that. This situation is a wake-up call. Until strong regulations are put in place to ensure humane practices are standard in shelters across Indiana, the risk is unacceptably high that these kinds of atrocities will continue at individual shelters. Safeguards must be in place, and enforced, to protect animals when shelter officials who are entrusted with their care fail miserably.”
Alley Cat Allies has been working to improve shelters for 28 years and advocates for full transparency, including strong government oversight and detailed records on the intake, placement, and care of animals. This shocking incident in Spencer County, just outside Evansville, also highlights the need for a renewed emphasis on training and supervision in the shelter community.
“Killing animals is still frighteningly routine for many shelters in this country,” Robinson said. “Too often, the individuals who oversee shelter operations, such as directors and boards, do not have the appropriate training to consistently ensure humane, lifesaving practices. We all need to take a closer look at our local shelters and work to dramatically improve how they treat and value the animals in their care.”
Robinson also noted that Woodson, like many employees who become aware of mistreatment of animals in shelters, was slow to come forward publicly as she feared losing her job.
“If we wish to have our shelters operate at a standard of care that is humane and in keeping with the public’s expectations, we must have greater transparency so we know what is going on in shelters,” Robinson said. “We must have state level standards, oversight, and enforcement of these standards. And we must provide protection for whistleblowers.”
Alley Cat Allies continues to monitor developments in the investigation of the Spencer County shelter and will press Indiana authorities to vigorously prosecute any crimes that are uncovered.
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the global engine of change for cats. We protect and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than a half-million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.