I'm a newcomer here but I hope you won't mind if I share the story of how we tragically lost our 17-year old kitty on August 6, 2002. We're not bashing shelters. They fill a definite need but if you're looking for your lost pet, please know that it's up to you to ask questions -- your pet's life depends on it. Kuhio's name is pronounced Coo-He-Oh. It is the name of a Hawaiian Prince. Kuhio was a female and we live in Alaska -- don't ask me why we named her Kuhio -- it just seemed to make sense at the time.
A Needless Death
A tragic series of events resulted in our family's beloved 17-year old cat "Kuhio" being put to death by Animal Control on August 6th 2002. We want to make sure that this doesn't happen to another family.
We found that Kuhio was missing on Sunday, August 4th and after canvassing the neighborhood, went to Animal Control on Monday, August 5th. My husband reported the cat missing and was told to look in a certain room. He looked but did not find her. He went back to the front desk and told them that she wasn't there and asked what he should do. He was told to fill out a Lost Pet Report - which he did and left. He also put up a poster in our yard offering a reward for information. On Tuesday, August 6th, neighbors notified us that they had called Animal Control about a cat matching Kuhio's description on Sunday, August 4th. This was confusing to us because Animal Control could not seem to find any record of this when my husband checked on August 5th. Since Animal Control was closed for the night, I left a message giving the name of the neighbors and the date that the cat was picked up. My husband and I went to Animal Control as soon as they opened on Wednesday and were shocked and horrified to learn that Kuhio had been put to death on Tuesday morning. We asked how it was possible when they could find no record of her on Monday and my husband had looked at all the cats. We were told that there is ANOTHER room (referred to as the Clinic) where new arrivals are kept while they are being checked for disease and illness. That's where Kuhio had been held. She was never going to be placed in the room where my husband was told to look because she was old and ill and would never be offered for adoption. When we explained that we weren't told about looking in the Clinic, we were told that it was our responsibility to ask questions about their procedures.
We offered several suggestions about how they could improve their process. We suggested posting a sign that informs the pet owner of all the places to search - ask about all the rooms where your pet may be held. Ask if your pet could still be in a transport vehicle. We suggested that the Lost Pet form include a header or footer with a list of all the possible areas/rooms where your pet may be. We suggested a database that matches up the Found Pet form with the Lost Pet form. In our case, both of the forms stated that the cat was from Brookridge Street. A simple search in the database or a review of the forms would have saved our pet. (She was picked up 4 houses away from us).
We removed Kuhio's collar because the tags had worn a bald patch around her neck. We take full responsibility for this action. We've since found a website www.k9collars.com that offers to embroider the name of your pet and your phone number on the collar. We're ordering them for friends and family with pets with hopes that no other family has to go thru something like this. We've also educated ourselves on microchipping. We had no idea that this technology even existed. www.avidid.com/faq/index.html
Also, www.petrescue.com/library/find-pet.htm has a list of places to look and questions to ask. One of their tips is to check all areas of the shelter, including the infirmary. If we had known this in advance instead of relying on Animal Control to direct us, Kuhio would be home with her loving family today.
Update: Several weeks after this happened, my husband went to Animal Control and adopted another cat. While he was there, he told Kuhio's story to various people in the lobby. NONE of them had been told to check the Clinic for their lost pet. It appears they have not taken any of our suggestions.
Bob and Lisa
You can see photos of Kuhio at Webshots. The Alaskana album has some pictures of Artist Peak -- Kuhio's favorite place in the world -- with the exception of her Dadcat's lap.