Wanting to clarify statements made at a recent meeting of Loyall City Council, Dr. Doug Mickey, veterinarian at the Harlan Animal Hospital, addressed his thoughts regarding the Harlan County Animal Shelter and the stray dog and cat problems in the county.
“A lot of these places are turning away people, not just here in Harlan, but other no-kill shelters are turning away people. When they do that, usually they take recourse you don’t want to know about,” Mickey said.
According to statistics, one male cat and one female can produce a multitude of cats over a seven-year period.
“So, really, turning animals away when they say the shelter is full or whatever reason contributes to the problem. That’s where we have an issue. If we just pretend it’s just not a problem and it’ll go away, it doesn’t go away but (instead) accumulates,” he said.
Mickey continued, saying “It’s ridiculous that they turn away people, and this isn’t a personal crusade on my part. This is years and years of hearing people come through the door of the Harlan Animal Hospital and say, ‘I can’t adopt. They won’t take this animal. They won’t put down this sick and dying animal. What am I supposed to do? I have no money. My county shelter is supposed to help me and they aren’t helping me because they are serving rescue groups.’”
When asked what his vision is for the shelter, Mickey replied, “First of all, I’m not for euthanizing ‘the rest’ as I was quoted in a recent article and didn’t say. The main problem we’re discussing in Loyall at these meetings is giving citizens of Harlan County the first option to do something about their problem. Instead of turning them away why aren’t you helping them.”
While stating the shelter is there to serve the public, Mickey commented “The public need is I want to adopt an animal. I want to drop off an animal I don’t want. I want you to help me with an animal that is sick and dying that I can’t afford. Yes, euthanasia is part of this. It has to be. You can’t say, well, we’re never going to euthanize an animal again and anybody who talks about euthanasia is the devil. That’s just the solution to the problem. Either you have mandatory spays and neuters in your community or you take the unwanted animals, find homes for what you can, but don’t turn people away so that they release animals and create more of the problem you say you’re trying to fix.”
Mickey said he is speaking out because he’s “a concerned citizen.”
“Spay and neuter your pets. Really, it’s a people solution.”