Update: September 22, 2018
Alley Cat Allies is demanding accountability and increased oversight after a prosecutor in Spencer County, Indiana, decided not to file charges in the case of an animal control officer accused of killing cats and kittens by putting them into a freezer. See the most recent stories in local media about our presence at yesterday’s press conference and calls for accountability for shelter staff members involved in freezing kittens to death:
Update: September 21, 2018
No criminal charges will be filed in the case of the Spencer County Animal Shelter because authorities said Friday there was no direct evidence that live cats were put into a freezer to die.
“It is outrageous for such clear acts of animal cruelty—freezing cats and kittens to death—to result in absolutely no consequences after Spencer County’s own Animal Control Board acknowledged that unacceptable actions occurred,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Thousands of people from Spencer County and around the country have spoken out to demand accountability on this case. We are still searching after more than a month.”
At a press conference to report on the findings of a state police investigation, Prosecutor Dan Wilkinson said the supervisor at the shelter, Christina Payne, was not seen putting cats into a freezer, though an employee and volunteers said she directed them to kill cats in this horrifying manner.
Shockingly, Wilkinson also said under Indiana laws and statues, humane societies and county animal shelters are exempt from most animal cruelty standards.
“It’s now up to the commissioners to do the right thing by immediately removing the animal control officer and all other individuals who are responsible for these actions from their positions and guaranteeing that animals in Spencer County are never subjected to abuse while in the county’s care ever again. Commissioners also need to immediately increase their oversight of the shelter to make sure other acts of animal cruelty are not still taking place.”
For more information, please see Alley Cat Allies’ statement.
Update: September 20, 2018
Alley Cat Allies is at the forefront of efforts to work toward humane reforms at the Spencer County Animal Shelter. See the most recent stories in local media about our presence at the Spencer County Commissioners meeting and calls for accountability for shelter staff members involved in freezing kittens to death:
Update: September 18, 2018
Alley Cat Allies is on the ground in Spencer County, Indiana, and pushing for reforms to its shelter after it was revealed that live cats and kittens were put into garbage bags and thrown into a freezer to die.
Staff members from Alley Cat Allies will attend the Spencer County Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, September 18, to urge county officials to implement humane, non-lethal practices at the shelter and to ensure that these atrocities never happen again. We will hand the commissioners a sign-on letter, signed by more than 7,000 cat advocates and concerned citizens in and around Spencer County, that calls for immediate reforms.
This is only the beginning. Our work will continue until non-lethal policies that end the abuse and suffering of cats are implemented.
Last month, a shelter employee and volunteers publicly disclosed that they observed or were instructed to kill live cats and kittens by placing them in plastic garbage bags and throwing the bags in a freezer until the animals froze to death.
Despite Alley Cat Allies’ immediate call for reforms and an offer to help the county implement humane policies and practices—something Alley Cat Allies has done many times with other shelters across the United States—no county officials have responded. The shelter has failed to adopt meaningful safeguards in the weeks since these allegations were made public. In addition, no shelter employees or Animal Control Board members have been suspended or fired.
Last week, local residents voiced their concerns about the shelter’s cruel practices at an Animal Control Board meeting. The board members got up and walked out of that meeting.
Alley Cat Allies will demand at the County Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday that they enact reforms and hold accountable every individual who was responsible for the abuse that occurred at the shelter.
“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,” said Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson. “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 is asking concerned members of the public to join the effort by signing our letter to the County Commissioners, to add to the 7,000 names, supporting the implementation of immediate reforms to prevent such cruelty and protect shelter animals.